On Friday I bought my first tri suit and officially signed up for the Ladies Y-Tri. On Sunday, I did the whole bike portion of the race for the first time. As I swore my way up the millionth gigantic hill, it occurred to me that perhaps I should have reversed that order and checked out the route before sinking my money into a spandex onesie.
I am pretty comfortable on the swim portion of this race, and totally comfortable with the run, but riding a bike is so much harder than I remember it as a kid! I’ve been training for about a month now, riding close to the bike mileage in the race (15 miles), so I felt kind of ok going in to the ride. What I didn’t realize is the 15 miles of the Y-tri course are made entirely of hills. Not just happy rolling hills, but big, giant, monstrous, holy crap are you kidding me hills. I had to walk my bike a few times, trying to skew my face into an expression I hoped told passing motorists, “I’m not bailing on this hill, there’s something wrong with my bike.” (It doesn’t count as a lie if it’s only a facial expression).
It was a humbling experience. But it was also a good experience. I didn’t die. I finished the course and now know what I have to work on (HILLS) and what to expect race day (ALL OF THE HILLS). Plus I met some great ladies after who were also returning from a training ride who kindly let me creep on their conversations and pick their brains for tips. This sprint tri is a totally foreign beast to me, and that bike ride will not be the last humbling experience I have in pursuit of it. I’m sure I will look like a dummy several more times because I don’t know something everyone else knows. But I’m also sure I won’t be the only newbie there and in my experience, people involved in racing are super nice and helpful if you make lost puppy dog/deer in headlights eyes.
On that ride I seriously thought about coming up with some excuse and dropping out of the race more than once. But it turns out telling people you’re doing a race really does make sure you follow through. If I didn’t have such a big mouth, I may have (cough) gotten sick (cough cough) come race day. But I’m glad I’m too proud (stubborn) to back out. For the most part I’m also enjoying training differently than I’m used to for strictly running. Since I’ve never done a race like this, there’s no PR to beat or real time goal. There’s really no pressure except whatever internal crap I put on myself. Yes, the bike is going to be hard. But, you know…it’s a race. It should be challenging. And when I finish, now matter how long it takes me, I am going to feel like a rock star in my spandex onsie and celebrate like I won the damn thing.