January 2018

Ironman training: Five things I’ve learnt about cycling

Ironman UK is set for 15 July 2018. Almost every aspect of my training for the triathlon is brand-spanking new to me. Sometimes I wonder if I would have thrown myself with such gusto into this training if I had entered Ironman UK with triathlon experience under my belt.

It’s been over two months since I started training for the big race, and with that, I’ve learnt so much about each of the disciplines and I thought I’d share this with a short light-hearted series from my perspective as a new triathlete. Let’s start with cycling.

1. That small saddle will fit your Kim Kardashian-sized peachy derriere Bertie (my bike, in case you don’t follow me on Instagram)i is a special one. He’s a Giant Contend 2, admittedly bought begrudgingly from the the men’s collection at Giant. My spending budget along with my weirdly long body proportions meant Liv’s women bikes were out of the question – I really, really wanted a Liv Avail. Bertie’s dark blue and orange frame reminded me of a Gillette men’s razor (this one, in case you’re wondering). Yet overtime, we are growing close. A relationship slightly forced onto each other, yet gradually beginning to work. Out of everything, when I bought Bertie, I didn’t think that rather slim and small Liv saddle I was supposed to sit on, would fit my big ass. But, oh, but, it does. And, it’s quite comfy.  

2. Clipless pedals aren’t clipless
Oh boy. I’m in the process of starting to look at cleats and cycling road shoes. When I first looked, it gave me a brain freeze. You actually clip into these pedals.

Mara, you just said they’re called clipless pedals. I know.

3. Cyclists love cake and coffee. Not tea.
Unless you are the Brownlee brothers, you sure are no true cyclist if you drink tea. The ability to eat lots of cake, preferably cinnamon buns, is a must. Every long ride involves a mandatory stopover at a cafe.

4. Any distance is doable for a cyclist
Cycling 10km? Yes, sure that’s fine. Cycling 10 miles? Sounds good. “Up for a casual 456.45km bike ride on the weekend Debrah?” “Ya sure, Richard. Let’s stop over for cinnamon buns on the way.”

5. Cyclists are minimalist travellers

They can cycle any distance for however many weeks, with literally just a small bag of kit. A tiny, tiny bag hooked onto their bikes. I, on the other hand, love a Mary Poppins bag. How am I going to cope on my 2 hour plus long bike rides without my strong and stable rucksack? That’s a genuine question – I seem to always have a lot with me, wherever I go.

Are you a triathlete or cyclist? What else would you add?