I haven’t written about my cycling in quite a while, and my training blog is dead at the moment — I haven’t posted there in over a month. That’s largely because the blog was meant as a way to record my adventures in triathlon training, and those adventures have stopped for the moment. I’m still riding, but I’m not running, and only if I’m running does it make sense to me to swim. I’ve just had so much trouble getting over my most recent running injury, that I’m wondering if running is ever going to work for me, or if I’m willing to be patient enough to make it work. My injury from last fall has gotten steadily better over the last couple months, and right now it appears to be gone, but I’m not entirely sure it won’t come back if I try to run again. I did sign up for a couple triathlons for later this spring, and I can still train for them, although I won’t have time to train well, but I can’t decide if I want to.
So I’m in a holding pattern for the moment, waiting for the desire to do one thing or the other to surface and make itself known. My feelings about bike races versus triathlons are still the same: I think I would like triathlons better because they are more individual — I can race against my own best time — whereas bike races are very much about group dynamics and whether I can keep up with everybody else. I also like the idea of being proficient in more than one sport and using different sets of muscles with each one. On the other hand, triathlon training is very time-consuming, more so than training for bike races alone. Even if I train the same number of hours each week for triathlons as I do for bike races, it still takes up more time, since the total number of workouts is higher and the training involves trips to the pool, which means some extra driving time.
I’m also really, really bad at doing strength training and core exercises, which I desperately need to keep me in good running shape and to be a good swimmer. I think a weak core is the main cause of my last running injury, and I’ve tried lately to do core exercises, but I just can’t seem to make myself keep it up. I tell people that I’m really, really undisciplined when it comes to exercise, and they laugh at me, but it’s true — if it’s not 100% fun, I don’t do it. Core exercises are not 100% fun.
So that’s that. As I see them, here are my options for this year: 1. pick up the triathlon training again and give it another go, 2. stick with the bike racing and just deal with the fact that I’m not fond of how bike races are run, or 3. ride my bike mainly as a recreational rider and race only if I really, really want to. I’m training right now as though I’m going to do #2, although I don’t plan to race until a little later in the season than usual. I suppose I’ll keep doing that until I decide to do something else.
I went on a really great, if totally gross, group ride today. It’s the 50th birthday of the local bike shop owner, so he arranged a ride to celebrate. About 30 of us did the beach loop, which is a 50-mile trip down to the Long Island Sound and back. I had a lot of fun, but what made the ride gross was the fact that the roads were thoroughly wet from rain and melting snow, so pretty much from the first minute out, every one of us was covered in mud. Every time we rode through a puddle, which was often, I got a spray of muddy, gritty water in my face and all over my clothes. I know better than I’d like about the taste of mud. We stopped at a coffee shop about halfway through the trip to get something to eat, and we must have been quite a sight — 30 wet, muddy, hungry riders invading the small, clean, quiet place in search of food. It’s all just part of the fun of late winter riding, I suppose.