After a 2.4 mile swim, the Ironman continues with a 112 mile bike ride.
I learned how to ride a bike on my sister’s blue banana bike. One of my dad’s boys scouts, Jim Lagios, was the one who actually got me up and going on my own for the first time. I remember it so vividly as one of the best days of my life to that point. Out my dirt driveway and to the right, down the small hill on Wildwood road, where now 4 generations of Barry’s have lived.
My first bike. Christmas 1983. It had ET on it of course.
I got my first 10-speed for my 8th birthday. Definitely a big girl bike.
I spent the rest of my childhood biking EVERYWHERE. My mom didn’t drive and dad was gone at work all day so it was literally my only way to get anywhere fast. Ahh, the 80’s. They were pretty perfect, weren’t they?
Leisure biking is great. We’ve got beautiful trail systems here in MN. The Divvy’s that have sprouted up around the Twin Cities and Chicago make seeing a city fun and efficient.
But for exercise? Eh. I could leave it.
I don’t know why – I just don’t like it all that much. It hurts my butt and lower back. I REALLY don’t like riding with traffic – drivers are dumb these days and I find myself constantly worrying about someone clipping me from behind. Because of this, I picked up one of those rear-view mirrors for my bike helmet, but that snapped in half the day Dan used my helmet to get the attention of a car speeding through our neighborhood.
Add that to the fact that I’m over my need for speed. In fact, straight up, I don’t like going fast on a bike. I am constantly braking on downhills, apparently a big no-no when you’ve got a limited amount of time to get a long way.
Ironically… as I’m typing this… I’m still stewing from my last ride, frustrated to no end about how freakishly SLOW I am on the bike trainer. While my friends are pedaling around 17-18 mph, I can’t seem to push past a 12 mph average. I have my cadence up where it needs to be. I’m working hard and sweating profusely. But my progress is as slow as the wheels are turning.
Which means, right now, my doubts are on overdrive. If I struggle to maintain 12 mph for 60 minutes, how the heck can I even fathom hitting the 13.9 average for 112 miles (that’ll take about 8 hours)? I don’t remember that last time I was so unsure of myself. It is not a good feeling.
I need to just stop right now, and as humbly as possible, ask that as you read this, to please resist the temptation to launch into a bunch of “helpful” ideas. The amount of unsolicited advice I’ve been receiving has been a bit overwhelming. It’s one thing when it’s from experienced Ironman finishers – even that can be a lot to consume. But I’m not your typical Ironman competitor. For one, I’m doing this on a very limited budget. I’m on a borrowed bike (thank you, Jeremy). I bought my shoes on ebay. I simply can’t “afford” the advice people like to give.
Rest assured, I have a great team of trusted friends around me, some of which have completed several Ironman. Beyond that, Team World Vision provides us with a professional coach. I know where to go when I have questions.
People are well meaning. I know I am loved. I appreciate the support.
But when I wrote my first swimming post and someone, who has never done an Ironman, told me to make sure I got some open water swims in before the race (that was then 9 months away)… I felt patronized. I’m already extremely vulnerable in doing this. I need to be able to share my struggles without even well meaning people making me feel like I’m an idiot. There I said it.
I do welcome your prayers.
I’m also feeling extremely tired lately. “Duh, you’re training for an Ironman.” A nice sentiment, but I feel it’s a bit early for that. The training I’m doing right now isn’t any more intensive than the marathon training I’ve endured thus far. Something else is going on.
So prayers. Yes, please. Prayers.
But most of all for Africa, and children, and clean water.
I’m doing this for children who have struggles far greater than mine.
God, I wish I could keep this in perspective at every moment.
These children are carrying about 45 lbs of water in each jerry can. A typical household of 5-6 family members in Uganda uses 6-8 jerry cans of water, about 120 to 140 liters a day…You see this all day every day, children walking or riding bikes pushing the bikes loaded with water. And yet they smile….
The best way to keep me motivated and encouraged on the long journey ahead of me is by providing clean water to children like these.
“Whatever you did for the least of these my children, you did for me.”
Jesus, in Matthew 25