One rusty bike, one rusty cyclist, Lynda Kiernan with her bike.
In eight weeks time I’m taking on the first triathlon of my life, the beginner friendly TriLaois based in Portlaoise Leisure Centre, but I haven’t started training yet.
My daughter’s old bike is currently undergoing life saving surgery so I can get back in the saddle. - thanks John Boylan from Laois Sports Cycles, my bike is in your hands, complete with pedals chewed by my dog.
“The saddle is a bit hard is it? Do I need a softer one?” I ask him, after hauling the cobwebby bike from Mountmellick to Portlaoise in my tiny hatchback, for which I already deserve a medal.
“It’s not bad, you will feel it it you haven’t cycled for a while, your best bet is a gel saddle cover or cycling shorts,” he said.
Neither of which I have, and the last time I cycled was four years ago when I gently toppled off while dismounting a kerb.
Oh and I can’t take part in the formal 8 week beginners training course, organised by Trilogy Triathlon Club in Portlaoise and Laois Sports Partnership, nah that’s too easy.
As a single parent working full time, I am sole taxi driver for my beloved teen girls for their sports and social lives, so I exercise around their schedule instead, most of which clashes with the triathlon training course.
For €50 they offer coached swimming, running and cycling lessons, with a practice triathlon before the big day.
I headed to one training session to get the low down last Tuesday night, arriving just as it ended having mixed up the time.
Very helpful Trilogy member Sharon Roche filled me in afterwards, so now I know it’s a swim first, 400m or 16 lengths of the pool, or I can do 750m if I’m feeling up to it.
Then it’s a mad dash out the back door around to pull on clothes over swimwear - because apparantly nudity is banned - and hop on our waiting bikes, for a 19.3km cycle, then jump off for a 5k run.
“How long does it generally take a beginner, three or four hours?” I asked her.
“God no I did mine in an hour and a half,” says Sharon.
It’ll be grand, I keep telling myself, sure i can swim a bit and run a bit, it’ll be great craic.
Why am i doing this? I have a very persuasive friend in the form of blushing bride-to-be Ursula Farrell, I’m a stubborn fool who can’t turn down a challenge, and I love the euphoria of getting to the finish line!
I’ve set my own schedule, two runs a week, one fast, one long on soft ground in the woods. One hours cycle and one hours swim at the weekend.
Right now I can run 5k, and I’m able to swim about 250m so I’m hoping that is a good base.
The cycling scares me, but this Saturday I will take to the Mountmellick roads, with a new shiny helmet on.
More next week, I hope!
TriLaois is on April 8, and costs €45 to enter, which includes a medal, t-shirt and goodie bag. Participants must buy a €25 one day licence for their insurance, from Triathlon Ireland. Associate membership to Trilogy triathlon club is €20, which includes the option of taking part in their training sessions.
To join Trilogy email firstname.lastname@example.org or for information on the People in Sport 8 week training course, email Catherine at email@example.com