Ever since I ran that first marathon and started increasing the distances I was running, people have asked me when I was going to go for my first Triathlon. Just as often, I’d smile and reply that “I’d love to do one but I just don’t like swimming & cycling”. And that was that. And then last week, out of the blue, I went for a 86k bike ride.
Well, not entirely out of the blue. Kim kind of dragged me along (little resistance from my side though, I admit) to Dinant. She would go cycling, I would run. A solid plan. And more for the convenience of it than anything, I decided to take my old race bike in case we wanted to make a casual trip. So right after the wonderful Natuurloop in Beernem, a solid but relax 32k run, we headed for Dinant. And after a good night of sleep and a solid breakfast, we both geared up for a morning bike ride.
The plan? She would do a 80+k bike ride. I would join her for about 45 minutes and then head back home and go for a run. And then it happened… I enjoyed it. Was it the mild climbs and the nice car-free route? Was it the gentle spring sun? Was it the company? Who knows! Whatever it was, it was growing on me. So instead of turning back, I carried on. And by the time our route started changing directions, the roads started getting worse and the wind started picking up, now coming in from our 12 o’clock, it was already too late to turn around.
So again, I carried on. We took a shortcut in order not to miss too much from the Ronde van Vlaanderen. And to not entirely kill ourselves from the first day. This, however, meant we had to take a long road in the open with a full headwind. Finally, we reached Namen. From there, it was a (more or less) straight line back to Dinant, wind (also more or less) in the back. We picked up some speed. At times a bit too much. My legs were empty. It’s the strangest thing to be drafting along and then seeing the person in front of you slowly ride away and you just can’t keep up, whatever you try. We slowed down just a bit to a pace that was more enjoyable pace for me and finally got back to the hotel after about 3h45.
I was dead. Proud, but dead. The mere idea of running 42k with over 1000m of altitude the next day seemed like an illusion, but whatever. Shower and Ronde van Vlaanderen, try to get as much rest as possible during the next 16 hours or so.
So will I be doing triathlons soon? Not very likely. I still really dislike swimming…