If competing in an Ironman triathlon a year wasn’t crazy enough, I decided to up the ante in 2022.
(You competed in two Ironman triathlons?)
I competed in two Ironman triathlons … three weeks apart.
(Was that enough time to recover?)
I thought it was.
(You thought doing two in one year was a good idea?)
I think everything I do is a good idea.
(Does your wife share your optimism?)
No, but that is what makes us such a good team.
If she responds with, “You’re crazy,” then I dive in headfirst.
(And if she says, “That sounds dangerous”?)
Then, I pause and think about it.
(I take it she said the former, not the latter)
The three weeks between the two triathlons was the great unknown, or as the ancient Chinese call it, Ku Wai.
Ku Wai, the land beyond the Great Wall was believed to be filled with uncertainty and danger. Anything could happen.
Yes, but for them; Not for me.
This was not the first time I had put myself in a position of uncertainty:
In 2018, I did a half Ironman a month, for three months. That worked.
In 2019, I ran an ultra-marathon in Central Park three weeks after running the NYC Marathon. That worked.
So, in 2022, I had every reason to believe that I could complete two Ironman triathlons, with only 21 days of rest in between.
The first sign that this might just be a bad idea occurred five days after we got back from England. It was the Sunday after Ironman United Kingdom and I decided to join a Bike4Chai training ride. I was, after all, the team coach, so I tried to attend as many of the rides as I could.
Fortunately, this ride began with a descent.
As soon as I started pedaling, I could tell that I had no strength. I hung on with the other riders for two and a half miles.
(Then what happened?)
I hit a pothole and flatted my back tire.
(Can you really “hit” a pothole?)
However, you phrase it, the tire was flat … but the pothole was a good thing.
(How can a flat be a good thing?)
The pothole launched my water bottle size canister of bike changing tools into the bushes, never to be seen again.
Pretty much. Had this been a triathlon, my race would have been over if I could not change my flat tire.
(Once again, how is this a good thing?)
It taught me not to put the canister on the back of water bottle holders. Keep it in the ones under my seat.
(Just how many water bottles can your bike hold?)
(Why so many?)
One for my tools, one for water, one for electrolyte solution and one for a protein shake.
It is better that this happened in training than in a race. To quote General George S. Patton Jr., “He who sweats more in training bleeds less in battle.”
(Yes, nice sentiment Confucius, but now you were two and a half miles from your car with a bike that you could not ride.)
I called my wife and let her know that all was well. The last thing I needed was for my wife to look at her phone and not see me moving along at 14-18 miles per hour.
Then I walked my bike back to my car and loaded the bike into the trunk.
(OK, so had you actually had your tools, how long would the tire change have taken you?)
My record is five minutes and 45 seconds.
(I’ve never changed a bike tire; Is that fast?)
It’s an OK pace. I’ve seen guys on YouTube do it in two minutes.
(You mean guys who work in bike shops?)
Yeah, those guys. The exact type of guys I now had to go see to rebuild my “flat-tire-fix” kit.
(Couldn’t you just order a “flat-tire-fix” kit off the internet?)
I could, but I want an “if it can go wrong, it will” repair kit, so, I “smorgasbord” the parts.
(I don’t understand.)
Most kits have a spare tube and a CO2 cartridge for filling the tire.
(You don’t patch the tire?)
It’s a race; I’m not waiting around for the glue to dry.
Instead, I have two tire tubes and three CO2 cartridges, plus tire levers to pull the tire off the wheel … and a hand pump.
For all that to fit on my bike I needed to get creative.
With my “if it can go wrong, it will” repair kit restocked I now had to figure out if I could get my body ready for another Ironman Triathlon … in under 14 days.
David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.
He can be reached at [email protected]