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Something has been on my mind a lot lately, and it’s probably time I said it out loud. Some of you have noticed that I’ve been swimming, and it’s not because of my back problems. My family already knows my secret. They found the wet suit back in December. It was awkward, and they were a little confused, but after we talked a little, very supportive, and understanding. Even now, it’s still hard to fully admit… the fact… that I’m… breath… tri-curious.

I’m not sure when it happened. Sure, I’ve always had an affinity for time trials, and I don’t mind riding solo. So, it wasn’t completely out of left field when I talked to my wife about getting a TT bike. I mean, I made sure it was UCI legal, so while it technically has features for triathletes, they’re also going to be handy for um… any long ride, right? OK, coming clean. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t prefer ankle socks, and I have a couple pairs of calf sleeves. Which I have worn, more than once, in the last 6 months… Mustn’t feel ashamed…

If I had to pick a why, it would probably be that many of the same things I like about time trials are part of triathlon. Time trials are all about “you”. There aren’t that many places where complex tactics, let alone group tactics, or two minute power really come into play. I suck at all of those things. And because there’s no drafting, far fewer rocks to come out of nowhere. Which is a massive advantage for the sport, both for me and my wife. Also, it’s one of the disciplines in cycling where equipment plays a huge role; geeking out about kit, and shaving watts, is fun. Right? OK, it includes some other activities, that to be completely honest, I’m more than a little uncomfortable with.

I use to run 15-20 miles a week, so I’m not too worried about that, at least from a know-how perspective. But, of the three it’s the hardest on the body. Coming off of back surgery, I’m going to have to ease into it. Slow. Might even sign up for one of those clinics that the one of the local physical therapy offices runs(🤪), just to make sure I’m not falling into bad habits. It’s been a while. Oddly, while running worries me, I am also looking forward to seeing what it will do to my cycling fitness. Running is much more time efficient when it comes to creating training load on the cardiovascular system. Interleaving a couple 60+ min sessions in to my plan should have a multiplying effect compared to the same time spent on the bike. Finding the time to add volume, is always a challenge, even more so during the week. The difficult part will be in figuring out intensity, and managing boredom. Running is so, damn, boring…

Swimming will be the bigger challenge. Before last month, I haven’t swam, really swam, for more than 30 years. Of the three, it’s also the hardest to fake. Technique matters. But it got much easier in the few sessions I got in before I had to take a break. Haven’t quite figured out fast yet, but keeping the heart rate manageable is now on my skills list, and have gotten comfortable in the water to the point that, at least in a pool, I’m confident that I won’t drown in the 40+ minutes I’ll probably be out there.

40+ minutes!?! That’s a long time to be in the water, no? Well, apparently the average swim time for a 70.3 is 39:38. I figured if I was going to buy a wet suit, I might as well do a Half Ironman. So, I guess the question is when does someone stop being “tri-curious” and have to start identifying as a “triathlete”?


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Sir Ridealot
Sir Ridealot
1 year ago

Dude this is hilarious! I’m having the same thoughts! I always hated running, and sucked at swimming. BUT… I moved to Hawaii for a while and decided to focus on learning how to swim properly, especially since I’m very close to a beach. It was on my bucket list for a very long time, but I needed convenient access to water. I knew how to swim, except I was doing it poorly, I had zero endurance, and my technique sucked. So I started watching YouTube videos for the freestyle crawl, and I applied the theory in open water. After a… Read more »

Sir Ridealot
Sir Ridealot
Reply to  Andrew Van Til
1 year ago

Cool! I’ll have to check out the Evanston YMCA when I get back. I think there might also be an LA Fitness not too far but I dread getting locked into a subscription. I recommend these 2 channels, this is where I learned my skills: For breathing, this video helped me level up massively: “Why Breathing Less Helps Swim Faster” It sounds backward but holy crap does it work! Before this video I couldn’t go more than ~30 yd without stopping to “catch my breath”. After starting to apply this technique, I became the Energizer bunny*. * ocean… Read more »

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