Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend sun

The Casa de Campo was completely overrun by triathlon events all weekend. I popped down there on my bike on Saturday to watch a bit of the "popular" races. It was great to see such a mixture of abilities and bikes. I didn't manage to figure out a way to get there using only cycle routes and back streets, so my plan to run with Luca on his bike to see the triathlon on Sunday turned out to be a bit too ambitious. Just as well, because we would have had to go there during the hottest part of the day.

Instead, we got up fairly early and we did a 16 kilometre out and back route that was 100% pavement, cycle path and forest. We managed to keep up an average speed of about 10 kph and Luca seemed to enjoy it, as long as we stopped for breaks now and again. He also got to eat a Donut, a Kitkat and a Magnum ice cream because I figured he would have burnt that many calories. I really enjoyed it, I suspect much more than he did. Even though we weren't going fast, there were stretches where I had to run quite hard to keep up and I felt like I got a good workout. He had to walk up some of the hills because his bike weighs nearly as much as he does.

I'm not sure that we will make our (my?) goal of completing the "anillo verde" (64 km bike path all around Madrid) as it would mean repeating this feat another three times and would take about 6 hours. My wife is worried that I will push him too hard - some kind of M√ľnchausen training by proxy - but we will just see how it goes. Now he knows what the deal is, if he wants to go on another training ride we can try to go a little further; if not, then we just leave it for another year. The absolute last thing I want to do is put him off doing sports. I looked into a racing bike in his size and Decatlon had one but it was the best part of €300. What a bad dad, you may think, to spend €€€'s on bikes for himself but to balk at shelling out a fraction on a bike for his son... That's not the problem: he needs to feel like he has earned it first. It's not a question of getting a better or more expensive bike, I just wish there were cheaper, lighter, simpler bikes available, like there used to be when I was growing up. Maybe I can find one second hand.

In the afternoon we went down to the Casa de Campo again, to watch the elite men compete. It was a bit difficult to work out who was where from the blur of bikes as they whizzed past

but I did manage to catch the bike-run transition which was impressive for the sheer number of people arriving at the transition zone at once and for the speedy dismount. Jonathan Brownlee (the younger brother of former World Champion Alistair) was the eventual winner. What I found even more exciting, was to watch the para-triathletes because, if the elite (able bodied) men all finished within minutes of each other, there was much more to separate these athletes. It was also moving, of course, to see how each one of them was locked in their own personal version of "superación" (overcoming their own limits). The athletes compete in categories of people with similar disabilities but, even so, it is inevitable that you wonder whether those who could only swim with one arm will be able to catch up those who can only pedal with one leg on the bike. Or imagine having to swim, ride a hand-bike and then push yourself in a wheelchair: your arms would get no respite. I like to think that if (God forbid) something happened to me that left me with a disability that I, too, would attack life like these guys but there is no way of knowing how you would respond: you have to remember that these people are at the top of their game. It's like when I see an 80 year old running a Marathon - I may think "I'd like to be like that when I get to his age" but I am comparing a complete outlier (unless it becomes standard fare) with a middle-of-the-pack. Won't stop me trying, though...


  1. Hi Rob,
    Came across your blog when I was looking at IM Frankfurt as I am planning on doing one in 2014! I am a paratriathlete and raced in Madrid. In fact my son is in the red shorts in transition in your photo. My daughter and him were my transition helpers. I race in the female TRI1 category.
    I can't imagine using your legs for the bike and run is easy either!
    I blogged my first year in paratriathlon, if you are interested: http://lizmcternantri1feat.blogspot
    I am not competing much this year as it is so expensive to transport my equipment and helpers to races, but I couldn't resist Madrid! We loved it there!
    I think most triathletes are obsessed with PB's, gadgets, etc. I know I am!Take care and enjoy!

  2. Wow, how cool is that? The one time I post coverage on a World Championship Event and I get a reply from one of the competitors. I'll definitely check out your blog.

    Glad you liked Madrid. I can imagine that it is even more expensive for you if you have to transport extra equipment and people to be able to take part.

    I really enjoyed watching the event. Good luck for your Ironman!!