Join Date: Dec 2004
Bikes: Colnago ExP, Look 595, Look 496, plus a few more...
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In a perfect world, yes, the 18 weeks should've been spent in the offseason. Why don't you try a sprint Du to gauge yourself. Just remember, this is an endurace sport (albeit, speed will be fairly high throughout) so don't kill yourself during the first run, or during the bike. I've seen way too many people going out like a champ just to completely die during the bike or on the last run... There's no medal for being fastest during 2/3's of the distance. Pace yourself!
You can get into reasonable shape (if you're not already there) in about 6 weeks. Takes some very dedicated training, but it can be done. And don't start out too hard as you will burn out and end up with all kinds of injuries and ailments.