AWOL

It's not Christmas without pav

There is a pav under all that fruit and cream

I had two weeks off from my job over Christmas, a break enforced by my esteemed employer who staged a company shutdown, presumably to remind us all that our our work is worthless and entirely expendable.

In the first week, I enjoyed logging in to my computer to write my blog posts… But as the second week arrived and the dreaded return to the coal face loomed ever closer, I frankly couldn’t bear the sight of a keyboard and computer screen.  So I escaped to a small cabin in a campsite out past woop-woop with Shane (my partner) and tried to pretend that the only existing technology was beer factories, microwaves and Instagram.

So if you were wondering where I had gone, you can rest assured that I simply had my head buried in the sand – in complete denial that I have a job or need money to buy beer and expensive triathlon crap.

But I am back now and there is no escaping the fact that this week I am working.  And the blog is back on track. So how was Christmas training?

As expected and completely permissible during the most fantastic time of year that is Christmas, the gym was closed for a few days and open for only a couple of hours on certain other days, and I had friends or family commitments and hangovers to deal with on the days in-between.  So the consistency of my training was nowhere near as high as I usually commit to.  Twice a day 5 days a week and once a day for the other two days a week is a high standard to maintain, so I wasn’t concerned that I didn’t maintain it during my holidays.  In fact, I effing loved it. Continue reading

The Flat Tyre

flat tyre face

Sitting on the side of the road with a flat

After reading yesterday’s blog post (particularly if you read it in combination with any other post I’ve ever written) I’m surprised nobody emailed me with a first draft of today’s post written out, ready to use.

Because obviously, obviously, after attending a workshop on how to change a flat tyre and deciding that I don’t need to invest in a flat tyre repair kit just yet…

I got a flat tyre the very next morning. Continue reading

Bike Maintenance

smug face

At 99 Bikes North Lakes for a Bike Maintenance Class. Feeling pleased with myself at my organisation skills.

So it turns out that I can’t drag Shane (my partner) behind me on a little bike trailer to fix any flat tyres or bicycle issues that crop up in my triathlons.  Primarily because he is refusing to do it.

Sad face.

Which means that I had to commit to learning yet another skill for triathlon training – bike maintenance. Continue reading

Rookie Lessons

bike grease

My bike loves me so much she kisses me on the leg as we ride. But her mouth is dirty.

I’ve been cycling on the road for just over a week now, and am enjoying it immensely.  By acting confident, I have gained real confidence and I feel as though I belong on the road just as much as everyone else.  I take pride in being a courteous cyclist, helping to enhance the good name of road bike riders everywhere.  I make sure to keep as far left as possible, I ride safely, I don’t do anything that would scare my fellow road users.

I actually feel more comfortable on the road than riding on the path, where I always worried I’d suddenly run over some pedestrians as they stepped out of their front gate.

I know I have the telltale ‘rookie’ signs, of grease on my leg (see above) and a distinct lack of lycra.  Thankfully I do have a pretty helmet that matches my bike, as well as very nice clippy shoes, but that doesn’t really make up for my ‘rabbit hopping’ up and down on the bike when I start trying to pump my legs extra hard.  Apparently the pros pump the legs and not the neck, but for some reason as a newbie I find bobbing my head up and down in time with my legs makes me go quicker.  I’m trying to stop this; the more time I spend on my bike, the more I will improve.

Conversely, the more time I spend on my bike, the more likely two ‘not-so-good things’ become.  The first is that I will get an extremely sore bottom, lose the dare set by The Other Lauren and buy some cycling shorts.  The second is that I will fall off the bike.

Apparently this morning, the Triathlon Gods decided that I had spent enough time on the bike to warrant the ‘Likelihood of Things’ to become 100% guaranteed. Continue reading

Cycling On The Road

Arriving home

Arriving home after Friday’s ride. Not dead.

One of the ways in which my brain has changed since commencing triathlon training is that when driving along roads I am constantly assessing them for bike-ability.  I watch how narrow the bit on the side of the road gets, I create imaginary routes around dodgy-looking sections, I ‘tut’ like an old woman at the rubbish strewn across bike lanes, and of course most importantly I take mental notes of where there are coffee shops that I might stop and refuel at.

I have also been paying much more attention to other cyclists I see on the road – how are they going to navigate that treacherous-looking intersection?  How do they go right at a roundabout? How do they know where to park themselves at the lights?

In my head I have asked these cyclists so many unheard questions that I think I have come up with their unheard answer by myself. Continue reading

A New Helmet

New helmet

Happy Birthday to me!

I’ve been banned from cycling in social groups until I get some lycra, a punishment I have accepted with gusto because if ever there was a triathlon challenge that I knew I could conquer, it is the shopping challenge.

However, all purchases need to be factored into the household budget with a little bit of care, as it’s not very fair to expect the rest of the family to stop eating so that I can buy a new cycling jersey this week.  So, I am trying to maintain my philosophy of approaching triathlon with a level of commitment that is ‘within reason‘ and spread my spending out. Continue reading

Banned From Social Cycling

cycling get-up

My current cycling get-up

In attempting to do my very first triathlon, I am not expecting to really ‘fit in’ with the usual triathlete mob.  I currently have no intention of joining a triathlon club or anything like that.  I am not the right size, shape, level of ability, level of dedication… And I like training at my own pace and doing my own thing anyway, so being a lone wolf suits me quite well.

However, as I proudly announce to people that I am now the owner of a road bike, I am surprised by the number of offers I get to go on training rides with other riders.  I get the impression that it is ‘the done thing’ in cycling world; you go on rides, next to each other.  I can only assume that there is a national shortage of willing participants if they are asking me to tag along – I mean, some of these fools have read this blog; they know what they’re dealing with.
Continue reading

My First Mash-Up

Mash

Mmm, sweet potato mash

I will admit to watching at least two episodes of the TV show Glee in my lifetime (but no more than that) and I was quite taken by their ‘mash-up’ songs.  Probably because a mash-up sounds so fun and well, gleeful.  Plus it makes me think of mashed potato which is the sixth main food-group in my own personal non-Government-endorsed eating pyramid (which looks more like a cylinder and also consists of vegetables, Chobani yoghurt, protein, porridge and sugar.  Maybe I will draw it and blog it one day)

And so it is with some excitement that today I bring you my first triathlon mash-up; that is, the first combination of two of the three sports I am attempting, mashed together into one glorious mess.  Continue reading

Cleat is Not a Rude Word

Triathlon Bike

Say my name, say my name

A sure sign that I am not a real bike rider yet is that I don’t know how to pronounce the brand name of my new Merida bike.  I initially assumed Meh-rih-dah and thought I might call my bike Meredith as a kind of extension of this.  Plus I love that name. But the more I stare at the beautiful matte black frame and minty green writing, the more I think it might be Mee-rider – as in ‘oi, where’s me rider gone now??’

[EDIT: I have been reliably informed since this post went live that it is pronounced Mah-reed-ah]

So, the name is still a bit up in the air.  Please comment with your suggestions below (note that I have already considered and dismissed Lucy, Ursula, Lizzy and Blue)

Luckily, I can ride her without a name, so on Sunday afternoon I decided to prepare for my first proper bike ride. Continue reading

A Change of Plan

Salad or Pizza?

If you plan on having salad, be prepared to change your mind

You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and you tell yourself that you are going to choose a nice, healthy salad for your main course… but as soon as you see the menu you have an epiphany, that actually your whole life up to this point has been meticulously planned by some Higher Power to lead straight to a delicious wood-fired pizza with a large side of chips?

Yeah, well that kind of ‘change of plan’ is exactly what just happened to me.
Continue reading