Chained up for a few weeks

Apart from a brief two days on the saddle exploring the Canal du Midi  on holiday in the Southern French province of Languedoc, I hadn’t really done any cycling since childhood until I bought my Planet X racing bike in 2011.  Here is my cat Joey inspecting it the day I brought it home…

…Joey is a big cat and it is a small framed bike…

The reason I bought my bike was primarily to enter the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, but also to improve my general fitness.  By my own admission, my bike has been under used since, due to a combination of factors; my relocation to Muscat and their poor quality roads, the generally poor driving skills on the roads of Muscat, my work routine and the fact I switched to do more SCUBA diving as it was on my doorstep.  All of this meant my bike got occasional weekend use. This has just changed though.

Taryna, one of my former cycle training cohorts from Abu Dhabi, is now living in Perth and she is currently training to compete the swimming leg as part of a three person team on the Ironman 70.3 Bussleton  in May.  This is a very popular half Ironman and one of her friends is in a three woman team that had just lost their cyclist due to injury.  Taryna knew I was back in Perth and that I had my bike with me, so was I interested in filling the vacant cycle leg spot and competing?  The cycle leg is 90.1km and I had 58 days left to train.  After sleeping on it, I decided to go for it and step up to the challenge…

My first planned day of training didn’t get off to a very good start.  The weather was atrocious – thunder and lightening  with twice the monthly rainfall descending upon Perth. The next day however was perfect for a “shake down” cycle, but I had couple of minor delays so didn’t get on my way until 1120.  I took a familiar route close to where I am staying which is open road up to Yanchep…

I am of course used to the heat and wind from training in Abu Dhabi, but it is very flat there – Taryna and I used to cover 25 km in about 55 minutes cycling out on the superb but adventurous Sheikh Khalifa highway to Yas island.  The route above has several hills which is excellent training, but of course hard work, especially with the headwind which is with you going out or coming back. It really is worth the effort though when you get to admire these views at the turnaround point – Yanchep lagoon…

Many cyclist cover this route and I had seen people training individually and in both small and large groups.  After a quick google search to see if there were any cycling clubs locally, I was very pleased to see that Northern Beaches Cycling organise group rides every Sunday.  Groups are divided according to experience and speed.  The meeting point was also convenient to where I am staying, so I joined their facebook group, told Taryna and we both pitched up yesterday for our first group ride. We were met and welcomed by Chris, a very helpful and knowledgeable member, who also guided us for the first few kilometres explaining the club cycling rules and etiquette along the way.  He even spotted a couple of kangaroo’s but I couldn’t see them.  Boo! He is a true cycling ambassador and enthusiast and excused himself after 30 minutes or so to go off to take part in another club cycling activity.  Taryna and I then carried on to Two Rocks, a few kilometres up the coast from Yanchep, with the faster groups passing us, shouting a few words of encouragement. The round trip was 44km and we were both pretty proud of ourselves at the end, albeit a bit tired, hence no pictures!  It’s a great route though I’ll be doing this route twice a week, aiming to extend it by a few kilometres each week.

So far as the rest of my training, I am still working on my schedule and nutrition   Thanks to some tips and guidance form various friends, I plan to be out five times per week, do a couple of long 100km plus cycles before race day and swim on my non-cycle days to give my muscles a good stretch – a tip from my Muscat based triathlete holiday buddy Clare.  My main goal is to complete the 90.1k distance safely and in a respectable time, spending as little time as possible in that tiny little saddle!  I will of course keep you posted of my progress.

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