April 25, 2002 (pre trip)

oh oh... What have I gotten myself into?

Today was the first training day that most mimics what I'll be dealing with as far as work volume goes on the trip. A four hour bike ride followed by a 90 minute run.

The cycling was easy - Three hours on my Elite averaging around 30km/hour, then one hour on the trike at a lumbering 15 km/hour.

The run started out fine - felt great, but after 90 minutes as I neared home I started to imagine what the run would feel like following a 6 or 7 hour bike ride which is what I need to do to drive the beast (the trike) 80-90 km per day. Top that off with having to PUSH the thing while running (which I'm still having some technical issues with), and then have to find a hotel room which means dealing with people, dealing with a new town, traffic, directions, yada yada....

I have a way to go.

That's what I like about training - when I am finished, I am DONE. In the front door, strip off my sweaty clothes, into the shower, pop open a cold beer (my recovery drink of choice), and eat a hot dinner. Seldom do I possess the mental wherewithal to deal with anything other than taking care of my immediate comfort needs - beer, shower, food, bed. I'm having a difficult time now imagining having to deal with the trials and tribulations of traveling through new towns, new states, weather, traffic, people.

And dealing with all of that alone. All by myself.

Two years ago I solo cycled the Dempster Highway from Dawson City, Yukon, across the arctic circle to finish in Inuvik, NWT near the arctic ocean. It was the trip of a lifetime. Daily moments of extreme euphoria coupled with an equal quantity of torture. 720 kms of dirt, rocks, gravel, shale, mosquitoes and rain. There were days where I didn't see a single vehicle all day. It was tough - the cycling was hard, the weather did not cooperate, the bugs ate me alive. I had to lug all of my food, tent, sleeping bag - everything I would need to survive. But, I would have to say the hardest part for me was dealing with the loneliness.

I love the solitude, but hate the loneliness.

I think that's why I like Ironman training so much. I get to spend entire days on my bike in the mountains with myself and my music and the glory of the natural wonder I am part of. Then, when I start getting real tired, when my blood sugar starts to drop, when I've had enough of the solitude and mother natures freaking splendor, I get to come home. I get to see my wife and my kids.

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