*** many thanks to Brett Taylor for this blog post ***
“Brett, do you fancy trying a triathlon?” Yes I thought why not. A few beers later though it was not only my first triathlon, it was Olympic distance, and only two weeks away.
The swim and run parts didn’t really concern me, however the bike leg did as I had at that point never been on a road bike, and struggled to remember in fact the last time I was on any bike. So with two weeks until ‘Race Day’ I thought first things first, I need a bike, luckily my girlfriends sister had a road bike and was willing to let me borrow it for two weeks. I picked up the bike and headed up to the old camel race track to check out the cycle track I never knew existed.
The target was 40km’s, I thought I better see if I can even manage it, but after 90mins I was on target. Once off the bike I had the bright idea of trying a run, a few k’s won’t hurt, how wrong was I, after 800 meters I did that weird crazy run back to the car, and called it a day. As much as I love a challenge, I wondered if I was maybe slightly out of my depth with the lack of training time.
Saturday a session with the Dubai Masters group gave me a good workout before sitting down to devise my plan of attack. My hope was that my swim and run abilities should get me through, but I would need to work on the bike. Also a little bit of Google research about how to best get rid of that funky run after the cycle leg, and also any other little tips that were floating about. I kept coming across “BRICK’ and all other new terminology, was as well as confusing, it got me very intrigued into the world of triathlons.
Sunday, my friend who talked me into the race and me thought a gym session between the bike and treadmill might help accustom our legs, as it was less than two weeks to the race, it probably just served to get use that burn.
Monday I just kept with my gym routine, I am currently following a program called ‘5x5’, where you perform basic compound exercises and slightly increase the weight every session. I thought I would chuck a few more legs exercises in to help with the bike.
Wednesday, I headed back to the track where I tackled 21km cycle followed by a 2.6km run. Still wasn’t happy with my cycle pace, it would put me on for 90mins to cover the 40km. Also there were some ‘wizards’ flying about which further planted the seed of doubt in my mind. On the plus side though, I tried a tip for the run transition and it seemed to have worked. Upon approaching the final leg of the cycle, I put the bike into the highest gear and stood up and pedaled like a mad man for about 20 secs, I then dropped it to a very low gear and finished off. Once into the run my legs didn’t feel as bad as I had been dreading.
My friend thought it would be good idea to get a late entry into the 2XU sprint triathlon being held on Friday. I agreed, it would be a good training event and also give us an insight into the world of triathlons. However at this point I forgot I had committed to a birthday dinner/drinks that Thursday night. Its ok I thought when I realized, I won’t go ‘crazy’, famous last words.
To be honest, I didn’t go crazy, but also I didn’t get to bed until 2ish, and was up at 5 raring to go. I made a school boy mistake though on route, I saw a car with a bike strapped to it heading in the same direction on SZR, so my logical though was it must be going where I am. I was wrong, after roughly heading the same way, I found myself in an unlit sand lot by an unknown building, before any headlights or interior lights starting flashing I decided to do a u-turn. After that detour I made it, and headed with my gear to the famous ‘racking’ I had read about. Most people had buckets and all sorts going on, I stuck my bike on the rack, chucked my trainers down then felt like I should be doing something as everybody else was.
I found my friend and when called we headed down to the water, I think we were the only two people without wetsuits, and after dipping my foot in, started to see why. The race was a training run, although in my head I thought 90mins would be a good target, although where I got that number I have no idea. I always believe if your mind say yes, your body will follow, I also thought I can’t lose to my mate as I will never hear the end of it.
3.2.1 we were off, after finding my rhythm in the water, I decided it wasn’t that cold, but it probably helped I had various people trying to swim over me. It was a free for all, but I decided to stick wide, and plod on. A minor leak in the goggles, and a few mouthfuls of water later, I decided I was in good shape. I think I climbed out the water not too far behind the lead group, but then I was heading into the unknown.
After seeing my friend all ready changing I thought I better be quick getting out the transition. However my socks had other ideas, so I just yanked my trainers up over them. After a quick wrestle with the helmet, and surprisingly the T-shirt, I was off into what felt like a hurricane, I hadn’t noticed the wind before but I felt like I would have been better off running with my bike. I must admit, a few seeds of doubt entered my head when facing that wind, I know everyone was affected by it but it seemed like I was the only one going backwards in it.
I also noticed people had repair kits and water bottles on their bikes, in all my excitement of pre race non activity I didn’t stick my trusty masfia water bottle on the bike. An uneventful 24km and the constant blow of watching a ‘wizard’ fly by finally drew to a close, although I need to thank the guy racing with the number ‘150’, as he managed to stop for a quick chat about the wind before leaving me in his wake.
I jumped off the bike approaching the transition area, and saw an unfortunate person lose a battle to his clip on’s as he took a tumble. I am thankful I remembered the tip I tried, as within the first 800 meters I managed to claw a few places back. From there the 5km was fairly straight forward; I just picked one person off at a time. Even though it was only 5km, a few little seeds of doubt entered my head again, maybe it was lack of sleep, or not putting all three disciplines together before, but I knew I was ahead of my friend and I wasn’t slowing for anyone.
I completed it in 1:34:07, which I was a little disappointed with personally but the lessons learnt were priceless ahead of Yas. Such as I discovered I could run without socks (slight time saver), as I took my trainers off they had bundled around my toes where I had just thrown my trainers over the top. So with a week out, a gym session and a final cycle/run session was on the books and then rest. My legs had hurt instantly on the bike, and I knew I shouldn’t have trained Wednesday with my legs still adjusting to the muscles used for cycling.
Monday, after waiting for my friend I was taken back when he got out a brand new bike with the works attached, I guess he has to stick with it now after getting all the gear. A 30km cycle in 64 minutes which gave me hope I could finally crack that 90min barrier, then a 5.5km in a steady 27mins. I have set 3hours as my goal, 30mins swim, 90mins cycle and 50mins run. Each is at the slower end of what I believe I can achieve and still allows me some ‘fudge’ factor and transition time of 10 minutes. Although it is my first proper crack at one, and I haven’t trained to much for it, and know I can only get quicker, I will kick myself if I don’t make the 3 hour mark.
Now I intend to rest, stretch and make some ‘quick’ laces for my shoes…oh and buy a water bottle for the bike.
See you at Yas.
*** [TriDubai update: Brett ended up having an awesome race, completing the Olympic distance in a fantastic 2.40.16. Splits were: swim 27.43; bike 1.21.18; run 47.22. Good effort Brett!] ***