When I was young, we would go riding. We would hop on our bikes and see how far we could go before we got tired. We didn’t pack PowerBars or gels or even Gatorade. Just a couple of water bottles and maybe some little snack that mom would make us. We didn’t log our miles, have computers that told us how fast and how far we were going. We just rode.
One day we let Mission Viejo and ended up in Irvine. Another day, Newport Beach. We dreamed of riding to San Diego, but we didn’t even know how far that was. We found our way to UCI, to Fashion Island, to Irvine Lake. We even climbed hills. But we never thought about them as hills we just rode.
These days, I train. I have an agenda, a schedule. I pack PowerBars, gels, Gatorade, and even salt tablets. I calculate how long I’ll be riding on make sure I have at least 350 calories available to me every hour. I don’t stop to look around. I keep my eyes straight ahead and just pedal.
There is a point when you discover that Ironman is a very lonely sport. No one really wants to ride more than 40 miles these days. It’s a good distance, and if you’re lucky you knock it out in about 3 hours. But 50, 60, 70, 80 miles? No one really wants to go that far. But I have to. And I don’t stop because every minute counts. And you’re always afraid that if you stop the forward momentum, it may never pick up.
Running is becoming the same way. People we go 5 or even 6 miles. But 10, 13, 20 miles, not really.
Don’t get me wrong, there are those who do that, especially in LA. But they’re just like me. They have an agenda and no room for anyone else.
Like I said, Ironman is a lonely sport. We all have our own personal reasons for doing it, but they are just that. No one really understands why I do it. I can’t really explain it much these days either.
But it gets a little lonesome when you have to turn down rides because you have to train.
It will be like this for another 10 weeks. Then the event. Then I rest.
In 2009 I am going to start riding again.
Nowhere in particular.