Hipster bikes, Hawaiians and haphazard training

Bronwen's Vachery progress hits a snag in the form of Brooklyn pizza and one-speed bikes


I’d like to say I’ve been training really hard and am feeling well on my way to being ready for my first Olympic-distance tri. I’d also like to say that I understand the theory of relativity and can work my own DVD player, but none of these things would be true. But it’s not for want of trying.


I’ve been in New York for the last couple of weeks, which has been somewhat disruptive to my already haphazard training regime. Not only have I been trying to fit in university work around sightseeing (and eating a slice of pizza roughly every ten minutes), it’s also been difficult to find suitable places to swim, cycle and run in unfamiliar Brooklyn. But I have managed a little.

My first effort was a run around Brooklyn where my friend and I have been staying in. I mapped out a route online to try and fit in a park or two. This was all very well and good until I completely forgot which roads I was supposed to take and ended up completely lost  in a less than salubrious part of town. Eek. Nevertheless, I dodged the flying bullets and navigated my way out of the ghetto (OK, I’m exaggerating somewhat) and soon found myself back on familiar territory. I think with all the mini detours I managed around four miles. Not great, but better than nothing.

We’ve managed a couple of bike rides too, though these really have been in the loosest sense. The apartment we’re staying in has a few retro bikes for communal use, so we’ve taken advantage of them on a few occasions to see a little more of the city. We’ve cycled around Brooklyn a fair bit and have also taken them into Manhattan for a trundle around Central Park. However the machine I’ve been using has only one gear (and one speed – slow) so I wouldn’t really call it hardcore training. It’s good to remind my legs what to do though, if nothing else.

My other training effort of note has also been the most enjoyable. On our several visits to Central Park we’ve noticed lots of joggers making use of the specific marked running lanes that follow the perimeter of the beautiful green space. We decided to join their ranks and make like real New Yorkers with a gentle lunchtime jog. The six-mile path took in some beautiful scenery and the undulating ground made it quite a challenging run in places. But we made it round in one piece and congratulated ourselves with yet another slice of pizza. Perfect.

I’m heading back to London next week and will hopefully be able to enter into a more structured training plan on my home turf. I think I’ll have to make the lido my first port of call – the closest I’ve got to swimming over here was nearly falling overboard on the ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I wonder if the lido serves pizza…  


The Vachery Triathlon takes place on 21 July in Surrey, with more info at www.vacherytriathlon.com. You can follow Bronwen’s progress here and on twitter at @bronwen_morgan