Enjoying The Aloneness Of Ironman Training With My Girly Triple


Hi folks,

Swim coach, Johnny's Gone Fishing Carrboro NC, Ironman training,

FitOldDog (right) and his great new swim coach, Rick Fee, talking about training today and races of the past, at Johnny's. Photo by Meghan Truesdell Fee.

There is a big difference between loneliness and aloneness. I used to feel lonely a lot when I was younger, but that seems to have faded as time went by. Aloneness is another matter. I find that I really need alone time in order to recharge my batteries and deal with the complexity of people again. In this respect, Ironman training is perfect. You undertake these races on your own, with the only ‘team work’ being the ability to draft off of strangers during the swim, or to have people drafting off of you, which you feel as the occasional tap on your toes. The rest of the time you’re on your own. This is also true of the training, much of the time. During long training rides or runs you have plenty of time to talk to yourself, dwell on whatever you like, think about your biomechanics, or do what I love to do most, look around for interesting animals or plants. The problem I have with Ironman training is that family members and friends sometimes feel slighted when you don’t want to stay up late and go dancing ’till the small hours, preferring to get up early the next morning to hammer out a 70-mile bike ride and a 5-mile run instead. It does help to talk to other athletes, like my new swim coach, Rick, because they do get it, and it is good to have this kind of confirmation from time to time.

During today’s long ride there was some pretty interesting stuff to see, including a bunch of signs on the side of the road relating to an important proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution.

proposed constitutional amendement, North Carolina, marriage act,

Proposed wording change to the North Carolina Constitution.

Now, I have definite opinions about this idea and I plan to vote, but I don’t want to express my personal thoughts here, as this is not a political blog. Aortic aneurysms and Ironman races have no respect for political views.

Politics, religion, cycling, ethics, tolerance,

Whilst riding my bike I get to see evidence of differing social, ethical, political and religious views of the world. Click on the figure to read the signs.

I would rather say that I really hope that the people who put up these signs on opposite sides of the road are also good friends. Democracy depends upon conflicting ideas, tolerance, fighting for equal rights and fairness, standing up for our own ethics whilst listening to the ideas of others and so forth. You can’t have the left without the right, and vice versa, and if either gets out of hand because of the absence or suppression of the other you’ll have communism or fascism respectively, you mark my words. So encourage debate, try to stay calm in the face of apparent stupidity and prejudice if you can, and if it is appropriate, though sometimes tolerance is not a good idea. We each have to decide which battles are worth fighting, and it is the fact that we can do this in the USA that makes this country work as well as it does. So, these were my thoughts as I pedaled past these signs on the side of the road, but then I noticed my wattage had dropped and I picked up the pace.

Chez Ollie

I love my triple crank because it allows me to keep my cadence up.

I must admit that I enjoyed this ride in the countryside, at my own steady pace based on training wattage zones set by my Ironman coach, Chris Hauth, and using my triple to maintain a decent cadence on the hills. Several people have mocked my triple gears, even calling them a ‘girly triple.’ This I find odd, as I know several girlies who could kick their butts on the bike over short or long distances. I don’t think that ego should play a role in the selection of your training and racing gear. Just do what works, and for me it is my triple, nicely installed by my bike guru, Victor of Bicycle Lab. I suspect that Victor thinks that I don’t respect his bikes (but I do!), letting them become really dirty (which I do). A few months ago Victor rolled his eyes when I came in complaining that one of my bike cleats wouldn’t go into the pedal. He took one look and said, “Just clean them out and they’ll be fine,” which he did and they were. Well, the same thing happened again, so I got out a piece of gear recommended by my Ironman/dentist son, a water pick for my teeth, and I found that it worked equally well for my bike shoes. Victor and Nigel would both be proud of me!!

Here is one final view from my long ride today. You can see why I can’t resist stopping to take a photo.

cycling, flowers, countryside, the joy of cycling, taking your time, beauty,

Sometimes I just have to stop and admire the flowers when out riding my bike in North Carolina, USA

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, Ironman!

-k @FitOldDog



  1. I’ll take the dancing until the wee hours! [I’m pretty sure I burned as many calories as I might have on a 70-mile bike ride.] Good thing I’m only the race photographer.

    • I really hate that late night stuff, but Deb appeared to have had a good time, seeing that she slept until 1:30 pm the next day (same day, sorry). Glad y’all enjoyed yourself as much as I did sleeping.
      Hope you can do the photos at LPIM.

  2. Pauline Watson says

    I think I need a “bike guy” and a swim coach. You are lucky to have found such expertise, which probably helps you maximize the effect of your training, and reduce time away.

  3. Yep! You’re right about that, though such people are around you somewhere, so keep your eyes and ears open. Kind Regards, Kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.