When the rubber meets the road (or not): Tracy finally quits the bike and triathlon

Tracy on a country road holding her new time trial bike with the helmet slung over the handle bars in fall 2015. Caption reads
Me in fall 2015 when I was full of hope that the new TT bike might turn things around.

If anyone has been following the blog for awhile, they will know two things: Sam loves cycling big time, me (Tracy) not so much. But despite what I have described as debilitating anxiety that has gotten worse, not better, I have given it the good college try. I even bought a fancy new triathlon/TT bike (which I totally regret and is now for sale–message me if you’re interested).

I’ve teetered on the fence for quite awhile because, though I do not really like the bike, I do like triathlon. If that seems weird, maybe it is, but I’m not alone. I’ve blogged about loving triathlon without loving the bike.

I mean, you can get by on indoor training, which would solve the fear of the road issue. I definitely prefer indoor training to outdoor training. Like: it’s a lot better. At first, (two years ago when I started), I thought I’d found a solution to my “issues.” You can read about my indoor cycling “tour” here. I also talked about leaving the cocoon of indoor training.

Last week, when Sam said she was about to start her indoor training, the first thing I thought was “I am so glad I’m not doing that this year.” Yes, indoor training didn’t have the same anxiety for me as outdoor training. So that’s something in its favour. And yes, the novelty of it a couple of years ago kept me interested. But it’s not exactly enjoyable in itself. I mean, unless I’m getting ready to ride outside when the snow and ice melt I might as well just attend a spin class instead. Less lugging around of equipment and it’s already included in my Y membership.

I kind of made the decision to give up trying to like biking some time in the summer. But I haven’t been ready to blog about it because despite my attempts to feel okay about it, I’ve actually experienced a certain amount of self-recrimination over the whole thing. Like, what’s wrong with me? Everyone else seems to like cycling and even be good at it. But I’ve never been able to and I honestly don’t ever get any faster (I realize this has a lot to do with not training but I don’t think I would get faster even if I trained. Which is all irrelevant because that’s not about to happen anyway).

But I also felt ambivalent because giving up biking really does mean giving up triathlon. And that was a tougher call but one I decided to make, at least for now. It was a toss up between giving it one more summer (2017) or ending it effective immediately. My reasoning for possibly keeping things going for one more summer was that it’s really the last summer for a couple of years where I can train effectively. Starting summer 2018 I will be moving onto the sailboat for a year, so that rules out the 2018 and 2019 triathlon seasons.

I’m a big believer in doing what you love. In order to be consistent with my own convictions on this, I had to give up the bike. Since biking is a major part of triathlon–in fact, I’m usually on the bike for almost as long as I am in the water and pounding the pavement combined–it makes no sense for me to belabour things just because I feel like bailing makes me something of a failure.

I had my exciting turn as a triathlete, culminating in 2014 when I did four in one season, including two Olympic distances. Bracebridge and Lakeside. No one can take that away from me. And it was good fun and I trained (even on the bike!) for that season and felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

Do I feel a bit sad about it all? Not really. Mostly I’m experiencing relief. I sold my indoor trainer on the weekend. Next up: the bike itself (the road bike has already gone to Sarah) and the bike computer.  I’m hanging onto my commuter bike because I actually do enjoy  my leisurely commute on the pathway at my own pace with no training goals.

I’ll add too that I’m doing plenty of other things that I’m loving. I’m training for the Key West Half Marathon.  That means regular running, which I find energizing and I’ve got an awesome group of running peeps. My personal training, started about a year ago, is fantastic. I’m so much stronger than I used to be and I almost always look forward to my training sessions. I’ve reconnected with hot yoga.

I’m still hanging on to my Y membership even though I have not been making it our regularly to the pool. Swimming with the group is the next thing on the chopping block — I’m not signing up for the early morning slot for the winter triathlon session that starts in January. It’s a high demand program and I haven’t felt all that motivated to get out for a 6 a.m. swim. I’ll step aside and let a triathlete have my spot in this sold out training program. I’ll go back to swimming on my own again for now. All in all, I’ve got lots of happy-making stuff on the go these days.

So there you have it. No more tortured deliberations about what I should do about the bike. I quit!

What about you? Have you ever struggled to give up on something that you thought you should (for whatever reason) continue doing?

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