A Challenge awaits.

Over the last few weeks I have been grappling with a tough decision. Much as I still greatly enjoy Cycling I have been tempted by a new challenge. Last year I briefly took up running, with the aim of building endurance through cross training whilst injured. Fun though it was, there was no way I could have carried on and performed at my best in bike races whilst also focusing on another sport.

Racing has been a fantastic experience, I’ve pushed myself more than I ever thought possible in both training and competing. However there are aspects of it which I haven’t found especially enjoyable, namely the chaos and the crashes. It’s hard not to worry about the potential consequences of incurring another injury, not the most helpful thought to be having on the start line.

Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that I lack the fearlessness that is needed to do really well in bike races – you won’t ever see me descending at 60 mph or really pushing my luck through tight corners. My tactical ability could also be called into question – in fact a lack thereof probably cost me a win in the penultimate race of the season. To this day I’m not quite sure what possessed me to attack with four laps to go rather than three, had I not faded on the final straight I wouldn’t have been caught by a sole rider. Of course I must remind myself that hindsight is a wonderful thing – it was still an awesome experience to stand atop a podium for the first time.

I have committed myself to a few races already, to that end I’ll follow my current training plan up until May. The question that I have been asking myself is this: What to do next? Triathlon is the obvious answer, I have some background in Swimming and Running, Cycling is certainly covered – I’d like to think I have something of a head start. I’m searching for an Olympic distance event to do in September or October, before that it will be Sprint triathlons. In some ways it will be back to basics, yet in the end surely worth it.

There is one event that has always been on my radar – a big part of my sporting bucket list. Some call it the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance, I think it’s fair to say that anyone who chose to participate could be described as a bit mad to say that least. For some reason this only makes it appeal to me even more. This evening I finally decided – my ultimate goal is to complete a full Ironman triathlon. 2.4 Mile swim, 112 mile bike and a marathon to top it all off – for anyone who doesn’t know.

It would be foolhardy and unrealistic to think that I could train in time to compete this coming year. 2018 is however a possibility and as such it will become my target. I haven’t got as far as finding a specific event yet, mainly as the dates have yet to be released. At present Ironman Wales sounds appealing – being relatively local and involving a hilly course, well suited to a smaller individual such as myself.

It’s time to put all my sports science training into practice. If I am to meet the demands of this challenge it will require a great deal of investment, in terms of both time and finance. I’ll have to be more disciplined than ever – continuing my teetotalism and bidding goodbye to some of my favourite foods. Daunting as it may be my motivation has been reignited and I can’t remember the last time something filled me with such excitement.

I realise that switching my focus may serve to make the title of this blog redundant. I’ll still write Cycling specific posts and I don’t plan to stop competing in bike races – especially with many shorter Triathlon events now being draft-legal. Admittedly however, from May onwards I can predict that much of the writing will centre around my triathlon training and journey to (hopefully) become Ironman. Judging by past experience it is set to entail many amusing misadventures, hopefully alongside a few successes. As always I’ll do my best to make my writing entertaining and informative.

To finish with – if anyone reading this happens to have completed an Ironman, any tips on how to avoid common pitfalls would be much appreciated. I can read all training manuals I like yet experience has taught me that things are often different in practice.

On that – goodnight.


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