Triathlon Beginner, The Making of a [Girly] Triathlete

I’m a bit of a girly girl.

I don’t like to do ‘hard’ cardio because I don’t particularly like to sweat. I don’t like to run or cycle in the rain because I’m afraid I’ll fall and break a tooth. I don’t like racing bikes because at heart, I really just want a big basket on the front of a hybrid so that I can fill it with flowers and race day and throw them to the [imaginary] crowd waiting at the finish. I don’t like to ride cycles on London’s busy streets because I value my life (and nearly callous-free hands). I don’t like changing sans dressing rooms in the cold morning air because I value my modesty. And I don’t like to lift ‘big’ weights because I don’t want ‘big’ muscles.

These are my ‘barriers’.

Triathlon training has forced me to step over most of these barriers. In fact, I’ve overcome most within the last week! But no matter how far I’ve come, I still have a long way to go. And this was made painfully apparent during a cycle-care workshop I attended Tuesday evening.

A local cycle store runs evening workshops for girl-only sport shopping and consultation. It’s really a great idea. They serve cupcakes and champagne (can you think of anything more perfectly targeted to a Kimberly???) and you wander about asking all the all-female employees silly questions.

So. I showed up wearing my silk shirt dress [that makes me feel like Peter Pan], leggings and my patent boots [it was raining] in order to have cupcakes, sip champagne and buy a bike lock 🙂 In the process, I learned how to change a tire properly, how to service my own brakes and gears, which running shoes would correct my slight pronation. Perfect! The only non-perfect bit of the experience is that I’ve now identified more barriers:

  • Female staffers at these types of shops aren’t very ‘girly’ and snear a bit when you ask questions like ‘do you have gloves that match my bike and helmet?’ OR ‘These shoes are a bit too plummy for me, do you have other colours?’
  • After changing your own tire and servicing your own brakes & gears, you’re filthy! [with this in mind, instead of a second pair of gloves and a spare tube, I will now plan to carry taxi fare for use in case of a flat tire :)]
  • ‘Real’ cyclists don’t like baskets–they wear backpacks and sporty jerseys in bright colours with funny looking pockets across the back (which are filled with ugly bulky stuff!)
  • The £50 lock that they recommend can’t be bracketed to the bike–you have to carry it in your boyish backpack and/or jersey pockets 🙁
  • ‘Real’ cyclists don’t like bells on their cycles

I am painfully aware that I am currently consciously incompetent at sport–and I’m ok with that. On the bright side, my muscles are way more defined. Regardless of how silly I look to ‘enthusiasts’ in my ‘girly’ attire and accoutrements along the way, I’m ok so long as I’m more toned in the end…so far, so good.  🙂

Which barriers are you working against? Any pointers for mounting a basket to a racing bike? 🙂

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