Boost Your Power1 of 9
Climbers don't worry, swimming won't throw off your power-to-weight ratio. Swimming is a great total-body workout—the side-to-side motion and posture in the water stabilizes your core, and the kicking motion and extension in the stroke works to lengthen your hip flexors. After all, your core and hips are the foundation of your cycling power, so it's win-win. Better yet, swimming also increases your lung capacity and range of motion—all contributing to greater efficiency on the bike and correlating wattage gains.
New Gear (a.k.a. N+1)2 of 9
While you could technically use your road bike for triathlon (and definitely should for your first few races), why not use your new hobby as an excuse to head to your local bike shop and pick up the newest tech on the market? Triathlon bikes are created to slice through the wind as aerodynamically and efficiently as possible. But really, those deep rims and sweeping carbon frames just look badass.
Cycling gear aside, it's not much of an investment to get up to speed for the swim and the run. All you really need is a pair of goggles, a tri suit and pair of running shoes. Of course, a wetsuit, nice running socks, a running hat, sunglasses and a race number belt will make the experience more comfortable, but it's not necessary when first starting out
Feed Your Obsessive Nature3 of 9
Triathletes are a notoriously scrupulous bunch. As a cyclist, though, it's likely you already have the eye for detail needed to successfully plan for and execute a triathlon. If you enjoy the painstaking process of perfecting your bike position, nutrition plan and training regimen, you're already way ahead of the curve. Just think, you'll be able to satisfy your need to quantify your efforts with three meticulous sports instead of one.
Increase Bone Density4 of 9
Cycling may give you the cardiovascular system of a high-performance sports car, but the lack of impact can significantly reduce your bone density, especially as you get older. A study by the University of Missouri found that high-impact activities, such as running, might have a greater positive effect on BMD (bone mineral density) than resistance training. Throwing run workouts into your weekly training routine will not only get you ready for race day, but you'll improve your bone health as well.
Make Friends5 of 9
You thought your Saturday group ride was social? Triathletes apply their Type-A personalities to having fun as well. From post-run beers to weekend potluck shenanigans, triathletes know how to get down. Also, if you've never been to a triathlon, you should. The course has a contagious mix of supporters who cheer and encourage both elite athletes and first-time finishers as equals. Having fun is the name of the game, and you just might meet new triathlon friends to train and hang out with.
Try Something New6 of 9
You might love to ride right now, but hours on the trainer or too many intervals can cause you to lose motivation and question your love for the sport. Adding swimming and running into your training regimen can help keep things fresh and your mind engaged. Plus, all three have aspects that complement one another. Boost your love for cycling (and your cardiovascular capacity) by expanding your horizons to swimming and running.
Hone Your Efforts7 of 9
Triathlon is all about managing efforts over a long period of time, and this parallels the skills needed for individual time trialing. If you go too hard at the beginning of the bike leg, you'll feel these effects once you lace up your running shoes in T2. Finding the maximum pace you can sustain over a given distance is something all triathletes (and cyclists) love to hate. Get this right and you'll have plenty of sexy mouth-breathing photos to share from the course post-race.
If You Can't Beat 'Em...8 of 9
Once you get past the preconceived stigmas, triathletes and cyclists aren't too different. Both enjoy living a healthy, active lifestyle while striving to hit their personal goals. If you're looking for a performance-oriented and supportive community that loves to drop the hammer, explore new roads and stay in shape, triathlon is a great (and inclusive) way to strengthen your love of cycling.