For me, cycling started out as a hobby -- something I enjoyed with my father during the summer months. Reluctantly, I began cycling with him as a means of exercise while I was in high school. It only took a couple of times out on the open roads with him to get hooked into the sport.
My hobby became more of an obsession after he entered me in my first triathlon at Eagle Creek one summer. My background in running, and my new hobby of cycling, made my father think I would love triathlon. Little did he know, my swim was more of a “controlled drowning effort.”
However, I made it out of the swim alive. Now, I was ready to play catch up to my fellow competitors since the other two components were my stronger portions of the race… get me on my bike and let me run!
But I started with a steel framed bike. Turns out, that is not ideal for triathlon and I ended up far slower than my competitors. It did not matter to me. I was encouraged by my competition, so I kept going.
Hopping off the bike and starting the run, my legs felt like Jell-O. It took me about one third of a mile before I finally got into my running rhythm. Running down people was an adrenaline rush.
My first triathlon showed me triathletes come in all different sizes, ages, and abilities. The community is beyond inclusive and they are very welcoming to anyone and everyone that wants to join.
I found this especially true when I joined my current triathlon club, Tri Loco.
Talk about a group of people who love all things cycling, running, and swimming. These people are more than just triathlon junkies, they are family.
Now, almost two decades into the sport, I find myself enjoying the sport more now than I did during that first triathlon. I have found my community, my Tri Loco family, and my outlet. The combination of perfecting the three different sports keeps me motivated to train. Each day brings new challenges -- nothing is repetitive.
If you were considering entering your first triathlon, I would highly encourage you to give it a go. What is there to lose? I promise you will never look back.
You will be welcomed into the triathlon community with open arms and it will make it hard for you to ever want to leave. If you are in the Midwest, look for the red and black tent – Tri Loco – we will welcome you with a post-race celebration!
Now go find your open road…