Saturday, September 5, 2009

Looking for a new challenge

I was reminded this morning of the Cal triathlete who put his tribike up for sale, "so he would not be tempted to do another asphalt triathlon." He was going to focus on XTerra events instead. I too am yearning for a new challenge. Ironman is all good fun but it is expensive. Now that my immediate family members are no longer interested in joining me there, it is inconvenient too.

Speaking of triathlon, the event I enjoy the most is the bike. Biking is my favorite sport and it is the one thing I truly enjoy doing at all times. Although I have come to like running better than before, the fact that I sweat so much makes running a loss less enjoyable for me. To say nothing of being prone to aches and pains.

As for swimming, I have to admit, it is rather boring. I am not very good at it, and I do not seem to improve much. It is somewhat ironic that I say that at this point, now that I just made a significant step in the right direction. The truth is I do like open water swimming (although maybe not with 2,000 of my best friends), but there are few opportunities for it where I live.

Lake Temescal is the best option, but there you have to pay and you have to swim in a small rectangle under the watchful eye of aspiring life-guards who always feel the need to make one comment or another. The other issue with Temescal is that the water is murky and foul tasting. Not ideal. Anza is close by too, but Anza is pretty much the same story if not worse. It tends to get very crowded to boot.

I feel I can live without swimming, but I have been thinking about the Boston marathon. The signup starts next week and I am not sure whether or not I should do it. It too is rather expensive and inconvenient -although I can still persuade the kids to come-, but I had committed to run three and this would be my third one. Three is a nice number. You could argue I should do 12 ironman races, but 11 is quite good too, and maybe I should have stopped at 10?

This morning I was looking to find out more info about the Great California Landrush. It is a two day double double century from SF to LA, that I did in 1990 or 91 and enjoyed greatly. It was organized by a group in Glendale called Wandervogel and they did a great job supporting it. Unfortunately, they stopped doing it in 1997 and nobody picked up on it.

I would love to ride across America. It is something that always intrigued me. I used to follow RAAM closely and dreamed about doing it one day. But the logistics are too complex. Logistics is one of my least favorite things and I am very poor at it. Organizing a RAAM entry would not work for me.

Last year I toyed with the idea of riding across the country with Alistair. Then I thought about crossing California (shorter and less logistics). But neither materialized and I ended up doing another Ironman instead; even though I had vowed to take a year off.

After meeting Seth in Penticton and discussing a major event like riding across America with him, my interest is re-awakened. It is something I would love to try. Another friend of mine is doing an organized trek across country right now, but his takes 45 days and that is not something I can afford to do. Furthermore I am not sure I would like it, the speed is too slow for me and there is no competitive angle. There needs to be a goal of sorts, a time limit, a cutoff, something.

That was what was fun about the Landrush. You could do it leisurely -although you had to make the flight on day two, but you could also aim for the "brevet" cutoffs. And although I did not sign up for those -I was unaware of these beforehand-, I did make all of them easily. And that made it fun!

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