The Rules

I feel like I have been glued to my bike recently. Out of 34 hours training in the last three weeks, 23 hours have been spent on my bike.

It sounds like too much (my undercarriage feels like it is too much) but it isn’t – for two reasons. First, if an Ironman triathlon takes 14 hours to complete (that’s about what I think it will take me) then 7 hours are going to be on the bike. It dominates the event and so it makes sense that it is a big part of training.

Second, I would class myself as a “crap but improving” cyclist so there is work to be done if I am to do myself justice on 20 July.

I should be clear about one thing; I am not a cyclist and don’t want to be one! I think of myself as a runner first and a triathlete second. Definitely not a cyclist – cycling is a necessary evil. Rather like Catholics and Protestants, there is a fundamental philosophical difference between triathletes and cyclists. I regard cycling as a means of getting to the next transition so I can start a run. Cyclists believe it is a means of getting to beer and cake. Never the twain shall meet.

But out of a need to improve on the bike, I have found myself “going native” recently and venturing uncomfortably far into the strange world of cycling. I have done a couple of time trials with the local cycling club in the last few weeks and recently I have become the owner of a time-trial bike. You don’t have to be around proper cyclists for long before you discover a strange code which governs cycling – “The Rules”


My new time trial bike

The Rules are a canon of cycling etiquette authored by a mysterious, self-appointed group of guardians who style themselves “The Keepers of the Cog”. They wouldn’t admit that the rules are tongue-in-cheek, but even if they are not and even if I don’t want to be a cyclist, there are a couple that resonate with me, especially at the moment.

The first is Rule 10 which is simply:

Rule #10 – It never gets easier, you just go faster.

Some truth in that! Cycling never seems to get any more comfortable or less demanding, but somehow my average speed seems to creep up. I reckon I am about 2 mph faster now over 30 miles than I was two years ago. It doesn’t sound much, but over an Ironman bike leg my new self would cover the bike course almost an hour faster than my old self. That’s worth training for!

The second rule that rings bells with me on a regular basis is Rule 5:

Rule #5 – Man the fuck up.

There is almost no situation in my Ironman training where this can’t be applied.

Yesterday I was in the pool doing 2km as 10 x 200m at a tempo pace, I got cramp in my foot in the 8th repeat. 1,600m seemed a good workout and I thought about cutting it there……MTFU!

Last week I went on a mid-week Club bike ride. Lots of testosterone filled youngsters driving the pace. The average for first 5 miles was over 20mph. I didn’t think that was sustainable and began to think about bailout options……MTFU!

On Monday I was at a Club track session running 4k as 10 x 400m “pickups” (gradually picking up the pace during each lap). I had been nursing a tight calf the previous week and thought after 7 laps that I should stop in case I damaged my calf…….MTFU!

You see – it’s a remedy for all eventualities – not just cycling. I would recommend anyone to incorporate MTFU into their training.

In other news, training seems to be going fine. I have cycled 60 miles plus, three times in the last few weeks, which is good news but for the fact that it just ushers in a series of longer bike rides. Swimming is less interesting – there is a limit to the attraction of pounding up and down a pool for an hour and then smelling of chlorine all day. Thank goodness the local swimming lakes are now open and I can add some variety with a weekly open water swim.

But constantly in the back of my mind is the speed at which this event is hurtling towards me. It is now less than three months away and my warm up race at the Outlaw Half is just over a month away. Occasionally I get butterflies thinking about them and then I remind myself…..MTFU!


15 responses to “The Rules

  1. Did you ever think a couple of years ago that you would be doing the outlaw half ironman a 70.3 mile race as a warm up event…

    I love how times can move on…

    I employ the MTFU attitude with most of my training, the other one is MCWB (my competitors will be)

    should I train tonight – MCWB
    should I stay to do the extra 200m of the 2k swim I set out to do – MCWB

    Seems to work aswell.


  2. Wow – I knew Ironman was tough but hadn’t quite comprehended how long they take to complete. 7 hours on a bike and THEN a marathon? My mind is boggling at the prospect. Total respect!


    • Thanks Becca……but all I have done so far is enter it!!! The hard part all lies in front of me – the thought of which makes my mind boggle a bit too 🙂


  3. Liking the MTFU philosophy! I shall be applying that one to my runs. And we’ll done for keeping up with the youngsters – next thing you know, you’ll be beating them!


  4. You are very determined! Keep going, good luck with all your training and races, woo! 😃🚵


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  6. Hi Peter – I stumbled across your blog a couple of weeks ago and think it’s a great read. I’m about 12 months behind you on your journey to IM UK. Coincidentally I was introduced to the rules this weekend while cycling 1 loop of the Bolton bike course and 80 miles on the Outlaw course with some mates doing those events in July. I’m doing Outlaw Half too and would be good to have a chat there, if possible. Keep up the good work and remember to MTFU.


    • Thank you for your kind comments Dave. That sounds like quite a weekend of cycling you did!! I would love to have a chat at The Outlaw Half – if we don’t chat before hand then good luck. I am really looking forward to it.


  7. Sounds very similar to my relationship with cycling however I love the open wAterswim but the run kills me.
    Getting less crap on the bike but as you’ve read rubbish on following direction, a Garmin or a map !
    More bike miles required and we will both conquer IMUK just you’ll be about 6 hours ahead of me !


    • I doubt I will be 6 hours ahead of anyone Zoe. I will just be pleased to cross the finish line…….having a smile on my face will be a bonus. You sound like you have the bit between your teeth in training. Keep it up and good luck.


      • Thanks. I’m going into the unknown so baby steps building up training. My aim is to finish on my own two feet smiling and within 17 hour cut off. Good luck in last 12 weeks training 🙂


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