Triathletesworld.co.uk Editorial Assistant Dominique Brady takes on a brand new racing challenge - but first, she needs a bike!
When we decided to take on a relay triathlon, I was full of beans for a new challenge - that is until we drew straws and I heard my discipline, cycling.
It's fair to say that I've never been a cycling enthusiast. A few too many close shaves on the roads a few years ago made me determined to stick to transport of the two-legged variety. Then a cycling holiday last year in France seemed to finish off any affection I had left for the humble bike.
Loaded up with supersize camping bags, the cheapest hired bikes we could find and (of course) wearing utterly inappropriate gear, we notched up miles traversing Brittany. And whilst the views were admittedly spectacular, it took some time to be able to walk again without wincing in pain or looking like a poor man's John Wayne.
Scroll forward to late spring 2011, when Team TW decided to take on the Hyde Park Triathlon. After working on the Triathlete's World website for a year, I knew that I could no longer blame cycling itself for my irrational hatred. Not wearing the right kit, training sufficiently or swotting up on road rules were classic rookie errors. But this time it would be different, this time I would be an informed and enthusiastic cyclist - and I'd be gunning for a PB.
Training has started well and I'm amazed at how I'm enjoying becoming cycle fit. My wonderfully well-equipped gym The Third Space has several Wattbikes, the indoor training bikes endorsed by British Cycling. Armed with a training schedule devised by their triathlon bike specialist Gareth Cole, I've been putting in three to four sessions a week.
Experiencing the great outdoors has been a little trickier. I spent a long weekend ripping up the tracks on the glorious Exe Trail on a hired bike (and refuelling with clotted cream ice-cream). Aside from that I've been begging and borrowing bikes from family and friends and sticking to fairly unadventurous routes. With less than two months to go, my next task is all too clear: get a bike of my own.
The good news is that I'm confident that I can complete the 20K and even enjoy it. The bad news is that there's still a lot of work to go, especially if I'm going to be able to live up to James' competitive zeal.