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Triathlon training hurdles jumped – despite the weather. Part 1

Written by Fiona May 27 2011

Triathlon training is tough enough – without having to endure the outrageously poor weather conditions of late. The wind and rain (Is this a return of winter?! Surely that wasn’t our summer?! ) made me tetchy and grumpy over the weekend and at the start of the week because I could only look outside and worry about my lack of cycling and running (you try being 9st and battling winds of up to 70mph on a bike or on foot).

Although the weather didn’t improve that much I then tried a new tactic: Convincing myself that exercising in severe conditions is good training.

Some of my determination paid off… And this week I overcame two hurdles: Lack of cycling confidence and total fear of open water swimming.

Wednesday’s training schedule from the Mighty Vickster suggested a Glasgow Triathlon Club 10-mile bike time trial. I say “suggested” because I do not have to do any of the training. I choose to train. I decided that I would choose to do the TT. I only decided to choose to do the TT because the morning dawned a lot brighter and a lot less windy than previous days. By 7pm, when the TT was due to start on the old Ayr Road, I wished I’d decided not to choose to do a TT.

But I was there and despite driving wind and rain I thought I might as well go for it. A TT is a race against the clock and against other competitors. It is handicapped according to ability as well. So the slower riders set off first, with minute intervals. No drafting is allowed.

This was my first solo 10-mile TT and so I had no idea how to go for it. In the end I just cycled as hard as I could for the whole distance. Except that cycling as hard as I could for the first five miles meant riding into driving wind and rain and so it often felt as though I was going nowhere and had no strength or breath left to fight the elements. Of course, it was the same for everyone and slowly but surely I started to overtake a few of the cyclists who had set off ahead of me.

I kept pushing and telling myself that if the headwind was this bad on the way out, the tailwind on the return would be awesome. But the miles didn’t seem to come in fast enough and the hills seemed to get tougher and the wind and rain seemed to get worse. Until I thought I’d throw the bike down at the side of the road.

And then suddenly, I saw the roundabout that marked the halfway mark. I sped around it and set off at top speed with a tailwind. Awesome. Except I’d taken the wrong road and was heading up the sliproad on t the M77. Eeek.Aargh. Noooooo. Thanks to GTC member Craig I heard him shouting at me to turn round. I imagine I wasted a good 20 seconds but there was nothing I could do but return the wrong way down the sliproad and rejoin the right road.

Ahhh, but the return leg was a joy. Well it would have been more of a joy if the rain had stopped but there was still a fabulous tailwind. I rode the whole five miles in my hardest gear, wishing I had another two gears to utilise. I have no idea what speed I was doing as I couldn’t see my speedo through rain splattered glasses but I know I was going fast because the road beneath me was a blur (admittedly, that could have also been because of the rain-splattered glasses!)

I was determined that no-one would overtake me on the way back. The big boys had set off behind me but I didn’t want them to catch me. I just didn’t!

And they didn’t. I pushed myself and kept going as my legs felt like they would burn up. I managed 30 minutes and 5 seconds. (If only I’d not wasted time  going the wrong way!). And I was first lady on the night. Of course this was only a club session and the top-dog female cyclists weren’t out in force so it’s not that much to be proud of but it did prove to me that my cycling has got better over the last few months and I should have more confidence of being able to push myself.

Triathlon Training Hurdles Jumped…To be continued.. in Part 2.

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