Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I know I am going to need all the help I can get this season. I want to not only have someone to ride with on a regular basis but also maybe actually get better this year. In terms of the events I am training for, I figure I should improve at any event I do this year, but I can't help but feel a little unsure of myself from time to time.

So I have been looking into tri clubs in my area. One can be found at http://blinkmultisport.com/ and the other is at http://www.vbstriteam.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=36 (if you can access these links). Two different groups and focuses. Both have membership fees and both have benefits of joining. But which one??

Whenever I have attempted to join in with a training group before, the results have been less than desirable. For example, you meet at 6 am for a training ride, only to get dropped in the first 15 minutes of the ride. Not only do you bust your butt to get there on time, to be "ride ready" as they say, but the ride is not necessarily on a course known by you, so when you get dropped, you are lost, and there isn't much point in continuing on. Or you lose your incentive to go as far as you planned. Or you start out on a training run, only to have most of the people run away from you almost immediately, leaving you to plod along by yourself. Another example: several people are going to meet for an "after-work" swim. Only their after work time is not 5:30 or 6 pm, but 4:30 or 5 pm. By the time you get to the other side of town, they are already gone or are pretty much done. Once again, you wonder why you bothered. And the worst example was when I went to the "tri class" at the Y a couple of years ago. The promise was we would have our own lanes to swim in or share with another participant, our own spin class for the bike portion, and then we would all run "together." Let me tell you, it didn't happen that way. Not only were there NO lanes available for the participant swimmers, the spin class filled up before a couple of people got to their bike, and once we started running, the majority of the people were done and gone home before the slower ones even finished. One time of that was enough for me.

So naturally, I am hesitant to pay money for this type of abuse. I know I am slow, but I am not really a turtle. I'm slowest on transitions, which puts me behind everyone regardless of ability. I need more practice and training. But do they wait like they say they will? No. Never. And its not necessarily that I want or expect them to wait. And its not that the triathletes I mention aren't nice people, they are just over and above me in their fitness and training, and while they constantly are recruiting new people to the group, the ones who succeed with them are of the same caliber.

That is why I got to the point where I trained alone most of the time. That is why more than likely I got hit by a car. That is something I never want to go through again. That is why I don't think I really progressed to where I could have last season.

But this leaves me torn as to which group to hook up with. The one I'm leaning more toward has the more expensive joining fee ($175) because I feel I would have access to more than just training buddies. They also provide access to people with experience in injury prevention, and maybe in my case injury advice.

What do you all think? What would you do for yourself? What expectations would you have of working out with a group?


sharon said...

It's important to find out the advertised pace of the ride or run ahead of time. Where I live we have training groups of all different levels. My Thursday night run is mostly beginners who believe it or not mostly all slower than myself. I like running with them because I have no pressure to "keep up".
On our local Saturday group rides there are 3 different level rides that go out. The slowest of the 3 advertises that "no one gets dropped". They absolutely will not leave anyone. Can you get with something like that?
When it's time to "move up" and join a faster group where you might get dropped and don't know your way, I usually solicite some help. You can do 2 things. If you know someone in the group, explain your situation and ask them to babysit you the first time or 2 and stay with you to show you the way if you can't make it. Don't be afraid to ask! People are more willing to help than you would realize. The other thing you can do is ask someone who knows the route to either write you directions, or draw you a map, or... what I have done is actually done the route on another day with someone who knows it and stop at every intersection and write my own directions. I do a fast hilly ride out of town sometimes that I don't know very well and I always get dropped, but I take my little map with me in my pocket everytime so I don't stress about knowing how to get back.

WADDLER26.2 said...

I am sorry that I can't hrlp ,uch on this question. I also would like to be in a group but have your same problems. One marathon group said they even had really slow paced runners at 12:30/mile. Unfortunately ,I am slower than that. I am anxious to hear what you decide and wish you luck. If you lived closer-I think we'd start our own club!

Flo said...

I'm not a whole lot of help except to say contact the group and see what they have going on. The groups here always have a slow group that won't leave anyone behind. Talk to them first, explain your situation and what happened and your concerns. The second group seemed to have some older people and may be more of what you're looking for. Anyway, wish I could be more help but I definitely prefer training alone. Good luck.

Shelley said...

Good luck with you search!! You've turned into a tri-crazy gal!!!!