Monday, July 12, 2010

Things I Hate (Ironman Training Edition), volume 1

Finished a big ride this past weekend, an 89 mile test of wills Saturday morning, down nearly to Galveston and back again. Little John and G-money as my wing men we braved the dawn, the third ward, and Southeast Texas driving skills to make it 42.5 miles from home (Rice Village's Gingerman actually) and back again, but the true culprit was nutrition. Each one of us ,none of us properly prepared for the rigors of such a distance, fell victim to the slightly uphill and into-the-wind return ride from the coast on a literally and figuratively empty tank. Subway at mile 60 gave us the juice to power home, and a chance to reflect on the now shockingly apparent need for fuel during the ride. Reflecting on the endeavor it was a good ride, and honestly more enjoyable than the 56 mile bore-athon I endured in the half-ironman, but it also served to get me riled up about a few of the things that infuriate me during training. So without any more fanfare here's the list of Things I Hate (Ironman Training Edition) volume 1:

  • Houston Motorists- It is hard enough driving around this city of motorized lunatics, but biking around town can be downright terrifying. The worst offenders? SUV's. For whatever reason SUV drivers are always in a hurry, their vehicles are big but they don't seem to realize it, and the prospect of waiting 15 more seconds to turn into their church's parking lot is always less appealing than nearly killing a cyclist.

  • Houston Roads- Not surprisingly the top two both deal with cycling. The section of training that every triathlete is at their most vulnerable. Houston's roads are occasionally wonderful, but those occasions are few and far between. The majority of the non-freeway surfaces are a tire popping menagerie of narrow-shouldered pothole ridden asphalt and concrete patchwork with tire-sized cracks and uneven slabs keeping one on his toes.

  • Houston Sidewalks- Sometimes just stop, sometimes they are woefully overgrown with weeds, normally they are covered in mud or water or both, and rarely are they even. I'd go so far as to say the sidewalks are worse than the streets, which is incredible when you think about the pitiful lack of soles they carry day to day. The only reason roads is listed first is, despite the fact that I'm just as likely to fall, I'm less likely to be hit by a car. Not much less, but less.

  • Rain- Is intense on the Gulf Coast, and can last for weeks, but the worst thing about the rain is it forces me to use the next two on the list

  • Stationary Bikes/Treadmills- And by extension fitness clubs. The very essence of futility, literally going nowhere for hours. I realize my displacement at the end of an actual training day and one I have to complete on machines is the same, but I've at least discovered some hidden gems while running and biking the streets of Houston. The only thing being discovered at fitness clubs is the inappropriateness of jeans as work-out apparel (there's always one).

  • Pool Walkers- And anyone else using the pool for anything other than swimming. Get out of my lane!

  • Humidity- Making 95 feel like 120 and me feel like staying on the couch.

  • Red Lights- Making an hour and a half ride turn into a two hour ride.

And finally,

  • Panhandlers- I'm not sure how many other people run or bike carrying spare change, or what part of my outfit gives you the impression that I do, but seriously I'm busy.

Miles covered so far:

Running: 347.59

Biking: 1395.87

Swimming: 67.95