Tri. What does it mean? It means three.
Triathlon is traditionally three sports:
- Cycling, and
These three sports are done one after the other in one event known as Triathlon.
Whoever made up this multi-sport got the name completely wrong. I’m going to tell you why and successfully argue that Triathlon should really be called Decathlon.
Discipline 1: Triathlon Packing
This involves much thought, preparation, time and list writing. Without the essential triathlon gear there will be no triathloning!
- Swimming: cap, goggles, wet suit, conditioner for the legs and arms to make wet suit taking off easier, spray oil for the same purpose, rubber gloves to prevent finger nail damage of the wet suit, plastic bag for the easy slipping on of the feet and hands into the wet suit
- Cycle: bike, helmet, shoes, sunglasses
- Run: cap and running shoes
- Transition: drink, jelly beans, towel, lip balm, sun screen
- Carefully place all in the transition bag and place bike securely on the car.
Discipline 2: Transition Setting Up
Lay out the gear so that it’s straightforward to get it on and get it off quickly (quickly? Yes, quickly!). Sounds simple but trust me it’s an art.
Discipline 3: Wet Suit Application
- Conditioner on legs and arms
- 1st foot in a plastic bag, slither into 1st wet suit leg, repeat on the other side
- Same process with arms
- Spay oil on legs and arms of suit
- Find someone to heave up that zip
- Pop on the swim cap
- Spit in the goggles, goggles on
Discipline 4: Swimming
Get in water, swim for a god-awful amount of time to a distant buoy, keep swimming then eventually stagger out of water to transition thanking the gods that a) you didn’t drown and b) you didn’t become shark food.
Discipline 5: Swim to Ride Transition
- Take wet suit off
The crowd looks at their watches…
The 1st competitor finishes the run…
Yep, wet suit is off now.
- Put on helmet, shoes and glasses
- Un-rack bike and race off to the mount/dismount line
Discipline 6: Cycle
Ride the bike out and back, round and round or whatever is required, hopefully pass a few beginners on mountain bikes.
Discipline 7: Cycle to Run Transition
- Get off bike at mount/dismount line
- Stagger into transition
- Rack bike, remove helmet, put on running shoes and cap
Discipline 8: Running
Stagger around the course in a posture that is reminiscent of Neanderthal man puffing and wheezing and generally looking pained. Cross finish line. Collapse.
Discipline 9: Transition Pack Up
After all the careful packing to get to the event, stuff everything into transition bag. Wet stuff. Dry stuff. We are too stuffed to care! Grab bike and wheel carefully (we do care about our bikes, all homage to our beautiful road bike that allowed us to zoom past the beginners on mountain bikes) put on car. Stuff the stuff in the boot. Drive home.
Discipline 10: Triathlon Unpacking
Carefully and lovingly put bike away. All other stuff just dump it down and slowly sort:
- Rinse wet suit and hang to dry
- Rinse and dry cap and goggles
- Rinse and put shoes to dry
- Shake grass and debris from transition towel, put all the disgusting salt-encrusted gear in the washing machine and wash, hang to dry. Flop on couch. Drink coffee. Start planning for the next triathlon because all of that was so much fun! Post smiling happy snaps on social media! (Delete all happy snaps that make us look like a bedraggled, homeless walrus in colourful lycra).
Triathlon? I think not. Decathlon is a much better name for this multi-discipline multi-sport of swimming, cycling and running known as Triathlon.
Triathlon has kept me sane this spring/summer season, it was something to focus on while my ITB healed. At the time I wanted to be training for and doing a 64km ultra marathon. Instead I tried at triathlon and found that I love it. Those clouds do sometimes have silver linings. Thank goodness for wonderful friends who look out for us and give us a shove in the right direction when it’s needed. I’ll be forever grateful to Bruce and Janette for getting us into this wonderful sport. If Triathlon is on your wish list don’t just wish, have a go. If I can do this then there is no reason why you can’t have a try at triathlon too.
Today was our last triathlon for this season. I’ll tell you about it next.
Happy running 🙂