It’s been a while since last writing and a lot has happened in that time (part of the reason for not posting, catch 22…..well yes)
We’ve done our first big cycle ride (the Sportive, more below), an open water swim seminar, bought wetsuits and tri suits and individually swum an open water endurance race (totally wasn’t me), freaked out during a lake swim (totally was me), done a cycle/run, and signed up for our first super sprint triathlon (now only than 2 days away, only mediumly terrified ). I’m exhausted just writing about it.
The Sportive was a family affair. A sportive, for those who might not know (i.e. me) is a short, medium or long distance (i.e. you can pick which one you want to do) mass-participation cycling event. The tri-brother and sister in law and tri-brother nephew are super keen cyclists and suggested we might want to form a peloton, basically we could hide behind them and hope no one noticed we weren’t really cyclists.
It wasn’t much different from signing up to a running race, there were different distances to choose from (we were doing the 27 miler but there were options all the way up to 122 miles, which seems ridiculously far but apparently popular and evidently achievable in less than a day), it started stupid early on a Saturday morning somewhere far away and you really shouldn’t drink too much wine or eat a curry the night before (almost universally ignored by the family peloton).
But the differences did begin to become apparent on the morning of the event. There is an awful lot more faffing required to get 6 cyclists and more importantly their bikes on the road. And apparently it’s ok to stop for a big breakfast on the way there, at least according to the tri-brother, something I would never dream of doing before a running race. And then there’s the very relaxed approach to start times, no “synchronise your watches” mass start here. You are given a window of time and you can basically set off whenever you like within that window.
The ride was great fun, we did the Wiggle Sussex Gran Fondo, lovely views, big hills. It’s tricky keeping track of where everyone in your group is but we managed to stay together for most of it. I found sharing the road with car drivers quite stressful, especially on some of the fast roads. And I was also conscious that not long ago I would have been one of those car drivers and would have been middling to extremely grumpy about being held up by a “stupid” cycling race. A weird dichotomy. Half way round there was a feed station stocked with bananas and energy drinks and cakes and jelly beans. Everyone stops, eats, chats. It doesn’t feel like a race. Odd feeling for a runner where usually you are trying to drink a cup of water while actually running (and mostly missing your mouth too).
We finished in around 2 hours (once it didn’t seem like a race I stopped really paying attention). And it was hard! Especially the last half an hour. Having only cycled for maximum an hour before, there were muscles in my legs, torsos and arms that were quite unhappy but thankfully my gel padded shorts did most of the trick in the groin department.
When we got off our bikes, the 3 of us attempted a small jog which was a weird feeling. Very numb rubbery legs. A taste of the brick training we really should have done some of before the Triathlon in a couple of days…..ho hum
The family peloton post race (check out the Tri-sister in laws cycle jersey!)