Thursday, May 2, 2013

Real Bike Racing vs. Triathlons

I’ve always loved bikes, and started tearing down and re-building racing bikes when I was a teenager. But there was no a real bike racing culture in Toronto when I was young; it has only started to be a thing here relatively recently. So while I loved to ride, I was just as likely to get into hai alai as competitive cycling. Sure, In Canada there actually was a kind of deep, Europhilic, underground roadie scene that produced riders like Jocelyn Lovell and Steve Bauer, but it was a very exotic, niche sport. Unlike say, in Belgium, where bike racing is like junior hockey* here.

I didn’t do anything remotely like bike racing until I got into triathlons & duathlons in the early 90s. That was a Turning 30 Project, and triathlons appealed to me because of the biking part. And I'm an OK swimmer. And while it got me into a more focused type of training on the bike, triathlons aren't real bike racing. A mass time trial is a pain in the ass, and you spend half your energy trying not to draft because you’re worried about being DQ’d for it.

Anyway, I did one last duathlon about a year ago, & while it was a good time, I came to the conclusion that really, I don't like running very much. But I love the bike bit.

Real Bike Racing (RBR) looked like a lot more fun. But a helluva lot more scary. If I was going to get into it, I was going to need some help.


* Like most Canadian kids, I played organized hockey, which was no-holding-back full-contact back then. (And this was a church league.) I quit at 13 because I was a defenseman, and was starting to get wiped out by guys who hit puberty way before I did. No scouts tried to talk me out of my decision. (Though I went back to playing beer league hockey in my 30s for The Mighty Pirates.)

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