A Future in Duathlon?

I have known since I started running that a triathlon is not in my future. The reasons are simple; I don’t swim and I don’t bike. I certainly did as a kid, but for some reason they just weren’t activities I went back to as an adult. When it comes to swimming, well it just is never going to happen. I don’t like being in the water, I don’t like being wet and I am completely incapable of getting from point A to point B using any kind of stroke. I can think of a million things, some not pleasant, that I would choose to do before I would go for a swim.

This year, however, I plan to bike again. With two boys I have realized that it is probably no longer an option. So I got my dad’s extra bike and was ready to take the plunge. Really, how hard can it be to ride a bike? You never forget, right? Suddenly I started envisioning myself doing duathlons. I looked up local races and found out that there were sprint duathlons. The two runs were easy distances and the cycling portion ranged from 20 to 30 km. I can run 21k, so surely I can ride a bike at least that distance. Now, I am not totally unrealistic. I admitted to myself that if there was anything mildly resembling a hill I would probably be in trouble. But I could picture myself on a nice flat course, flying along thinking how nice it is to not be pounding the pavement.

So tonight I headed out with the boys, ready to coast around on my “new” bike. It was only when I got on the bike that I remembered gears. I realized that the pedals were spinning far too easily, I don’t even know if that is a high gear or a low gear. Slight panic settled in as I realized I have no memory as to what to do to change gears smoothly. Pedal, don’t pedal? Speed up, slow down? Use the gears on the left or the right handel? Apparently whatever I did was wrong. I only made it halfway down our driveway before the chain came off. In my defense, our driveway is over 400m long. Mind you, I don’t think I can even say I biked 200m since our driveway starts on a downhill slope. Really I was just coasting and trying to not wipe out on the gravel. When I stopped and looked to see if I could fix the chain I was swarmed by mosquitoes. I of course had not put any bug spray on. Why would I when I would be out-racing the bugs while enjoying my relaxing bike ride? So for a 200m “ride”, I ended up with a bike with a loose chain, about a dozen bug bites and a bruise on the back of my leg from managing to jam the pedal into the back of my calf while walking the bike back up the driveway. I am pretty sure I announced loudly at least once while the kids were out of earshot that I hate bike riding.

I’d like to say the kids had more fun. I sent them to the end of the driveway to go for a ride back and forth on the straight section of our rural road while I took the bike back to the house. At some point my youngest fell off, scraped his knee on the gravel and ended up getting a car ride back to the house from our neighbour who passed by. Maybe we should all stick to running.

4 thoughts on “A Future in Duathlon?

  1. Karla @ Run, Karla, Run!

    This is hilarious! And totally how I felt when I started riding again. I had my husband give me a primer on gears because I had absolutely no idea what to do with them. I’m still figuring it all out. That phrase “just like riding a bike” is totally wrong! You CAN forget how to ride a bike!

    1. kristi Post author

      You are giving me hope – glad to know I am not the only one who needed a little guidance as to how to ride a bike!

  2. Rebecca@RunningFoodBaby

    I am doing a try a tri next weekend and I’m not sure whether I will ever move beyond a “try” level as I really don’t have the time to train for the swim portion. That and I don’t have a road bike (just a mtn bike that I will be converting the tires into hybrid style tires). I much prefer running.

    I might get more into duathalons though! Or do a relay triathlon where one of my friends who can actually swim covers the swim portion!

    1. kristi Post author

      The tri/du relays appeal to me too, then I could stick to what I actually know how to do. At some point I will try to do the duathlon though, it will become a bucket list item like the marathon I am training for.
      Are you doing one of the Somersault races? Hope the tri goes well 🙂


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