Well, Internet, this past weekend I, your faithful servant, had a running-type event. But not just running-type! Cycling too! Plus swimming! That's right! It was a triathlon! Only my second one! And first in about 7 years! As triathlons go, it wasn't that long. 750 metre swim, 30 km bike and 7.5 km run. But long enough, right? In Binbrook! Outside of Hamilton. Steeltown!
But why, you may be asking? Well, why not! I am white! I am supposed to like it! (yes, I know, that was so three years ago or whatever, but funny is funny!). And, you never know, Internet. Maybe some day, you will consider doing one, and ask yourself "but...what's it like!?"
Well, I am here to tell you what it's like!
First...get there! It's raining. Sucky! Can't they make it sunny!? What kind of race is this!? You go look up your bib number, then go pick it up, with your swim cap (I got a yellow cap!). Then get your timing chip and somebody writes your bib# on your arm and your age on your calf. Why they write your age on your body, I have no idea. But I do admit, it was pretty useful later on, when I could see that I was being passed by 65 year olds.
Then you take your bike and other equipment and put it along a metal bar. Time for a pre-race poop, then it's wetsuit time! From what I can see, everyone around me has a specially designed-for-triathlon wetsuit. I have my I-bought-at-Costco-8 years-ago-because-it-was-$30-and-have-used-about 6-times wetsuit.
Into the lake we go! Warm water...but choppy out there. The horn goes! We're off! Gahh! Swim to the buoy! Go go go! Man, lots of us in this wave...touch a guy...oops, sorry touch another guy...oops, sorry...try not to inadvertently get kicked in the face... The choppy water causing water to go in my mouth when I try to breathe. Hope this lake doesn't have Beaver Fever! Where's the buoy!? Go go go!
Now, let me tell you something, Internet. This triathlon had 300 odd entrants. Basically each one of them were what I would consider "hard-core". As you will read when we get to the cycling! Clearly all of these folks put lots of time in to being the best triathletes they can be. So most of the swimmers were damn good. But some? Well, based on what I saw, if you grow up not a swimmer, your swim ceiling may not be too high. There were guys doing the breast stroke, guys doing the back stroke (the back stroke!) guys going way left, guys going way right. Guys stopping and resting on the lifeguard's surfboards.
Next buoy! Field starting to dispel, room to swim! Next buoy (stay on target...stay on target!) and heading for the beach!
Out of the water! Feeling good! Ever try to take off a wetsuit while running? It's hard. They're kinda clingy!
To my bike! (whee goes the time chip beeper!) I was going to bring a water bottle for my bike! But forgot. Doh. It's hard to be me sometimes. Anyways! Lets put on my socks and running shoes! No biking shoes for me! I have pedal cages! On my hybrid bicycle!
Run to the bike start area (whee! goes the timechip beeper!) mount up, and I am off! Let the humiliation begin! Now, I had been told about the bikes that triathloners use. And how a hybrid might fare against such bikes. But hearing and experiencing are two separate things. These bikes were absolutely nuts. Want an example of what I was looking at?
Complete with crazy helmet. While I ride my hybrid in my tech shirt.
When somebody passes you, they say "on your left". Man, I heard that enough for a lifetime. And from no shortage of retirees. Who looked damn good, by the way. And the worst was that I couldn't even compete with the straight road bikes. Which may be my slow-pedalling fault, not my hybrid's. And how many other hybrid bikes did I see? One. One besides mine. Sheeeit.
But I did pass a couple of people! One guy who appeared to have some sort of handicap with his lower legs and had to be helped to his bicycle. Passed him. That felt pretty awesome. And the woman riding the one other hybrid? Yeah, passed her. Look at me! Superstar!
Ride, ride, ride, pedal, pedal pedal....30 km down! back to transition! Take a gel and some energy drink. Running shoes? Already wearing 'em! That's where I make up the time!
From my first triathlon, one thing I remembered was how weird my legs feel trying to run after cycling a long distance. Hard to describe. I expect that I look like I am running barefoot on gravel. This strange sort of hoppy thing. Takes about a kilometre and a half to dissipate.
But then I am feeling good! Time to take a little revenge on all these jerks for owning the appropriate bicycle for the activity! Except that holee man, can these mother-effers run. Almost everyone's running as fast or faster than me! Jerks!
Goal was to come in under two hours. Take my last gel. I don't see anyone else taking gels. I hate that. Makes me feel like a cheater. It's just sugar, not blood I have extracted from myself and re-injected, but still feel bad. Until I get that energy kick! Suckers! Meh, didn't make much difference. And I thought maybe it was gonna make me poop.
But gotta finish strong! Go go go! Argh! (see picture above!) Plus there's free burgers after the race! And chocolate milk! Unlimited! Yum!
Finish! One hour fifty-seven minutes. Good for...180 out of 300. Bottom half. Even though was first triathlon in seven years...that's a tough pill to swallow. I like to think I can do these endurance events ok. Bottom half. Damn. I might need to find a less competitive group of folks.