Triathlon Buddies is a small but dedicated group of tri-trainees. Some come from mountain biking backgrounds, some from running, but all are eager to train for the two upcoming Indonesian triathlons: Bintan and Bali. I'm doing the first in the end of May.
My first outing with the group was to Indonesia's Thousand Islands, an amazing bit of sea spotted with sparsely populated islands an hour off the coast of Jakarta. Here I was inducted into the group. Mir and I received out t-shirts and stickers, and we took pictures; lots of pictures. On Pulau Tidung, we swam for about an hour from one island to another that was about 600 meters apart. Apart from the horrible sunburn I had to deal with later, this swim was absolutely magnificent. Most of the time I couldn't remember if I was training or snorkeling as we swam over coral loaded with fish of all colors and shapes. We finished up the day with a short run around the island and chowed down on some delicious local fare.
|The path for our run|
|The trek from one island to the next. We just swam it instead.|
|Some new buddies|
|I cannot take the credit for this pic...but look how adorable!|
I spent many an hour stressing out over what exactly to do with my new, very expensive, treasure. I read through all the manuals about how I would face certain death if I didn't do exactly as they said. It took me a good thirty minutes puzzling at diagrams just to figure out how the front wheel came off. Off to an excellent start.
With my front tire securely on again, Mir and I headed to meet the group for my first group ride. This was a serious looking bunch. Waves of anxiety passed over me as I tried to come off like I knew everything about road biking. This would later be wiped away when I would execute an excellent fall into traffic. My first time out was shaky, but I spent quality time with my death machine. We quarreled a bit about which orientation to stay in, upright or horizontal, but after a bit, I got the hang of it. I was ready for the big bad city.
The following weekend, I set off with Mir, Lanny, and Pak Wayu. Pak Wayu knows his stuff. I believe he even owns his own bike club, so I felt secure following this man through the already busy streets of Jakarta on an early Saturday morning. We departed from my apartment and headed for the northern part of the city. This involved crossing through main thoroughfares several times. Each time tempted fate, but we all arrived unscathed. At our destination, we joined up with several other bike groups (some with ojek pace motorbikes!) to do some 5k repeats at a fast clip. We practiced staying in a draft line and got some good tips on muscle training from Pak Wayu. By the time we finished our repeats, I was feeling pretty confident. So, as we weaved our way back through the snarls of traffic toward my apartment, I took some risks. At various points I ended up neck-and-neck with a bajai, taxi, and city bus. At the most harrowing moment, we rode up to a stop light. I squeezed between two vehicles just as the light turned green and they began to move again...toward each other. I had to stand on it and pedal as fast as I could to get ahead and not become a very expensive Jackie/Trek pancake.
So far my conclusions about road biking are:
1. It is very expensive.
2. It is very complicated.
3. It is very dangerous.
4. It is addicting.