The adjacent picture is from David and I cycling a 70-km loop around the southern tip of the island on Sunday. Then on Tuesday I cycled 80-km around the city of Taipei. I am amazed and delighted that all of my Taipei ride is on dedicated bike paths with the exception of three short stretches where I had to cycle with automobile traffic and one short stretch of path construction. I recall my first visit to Taipei some 18 years ago when it seemed difficult to even walk a few blocks amidst broken, cluttered sidewalks and rivers of screaming traffic, let alone cycle for miles on smooth, unobstructed paths.
Saturday's ride at the Ironman 70.3 event was also enjoyable. But the triathlon run was simply a disaster. For reasons that I cannot begin to figure out I felt completely drained overall and my legs ached. I had been on pace to hit my goal times coming off the bike. My total time at that point was about 2 hours 25 minutes. I felt a little off in the T2 bike-to-run transition but assumed that, as always, I would start to gain strength after about 1km of running. But then things just spiraled into darkness. I could barely walk/run from 4k to 14km – my half-marathon run time was over 2 hours.
This was supposed to be my big "A" race for 2012. I had diligently logged more training over the past few months including some strong brick sessions. Plus I was coming off July's Ironman. But I did much better last year (Vineman 70.3) off very little training (on a borrowed bike, and in worse conditions).
So naturally in the hours right after the race I can't help but wonder why on earth I am spending the epic amount of time, money and energy lugging my wetsuit and bike so far, riding for hours, and dealing with all the triathlon logistics. (In dramatic contrast to the easy glory and simplicity of the 10k run events of the previous two weekends -- see earlier posts below..).
But on Sunday, cruising along those bike paths around the scenic southern tip of Taiwan, I remember how great it is to experience the world on a bicycle and why I don't just run 10k races.