I'm Not That Guy.

Let me put it right out there- I am not a fan of triathlons.
  
A lot of this has to do with my knees preventing me from running anymore. Sure, I can run, but I want to walk and do other things when I'm 50. The wear and tear became too much, and I eventually found the bike, which I liked far, far more than I ever liked running.
  
I grew up swimming. I raced for a brief time when I was a kid, before I realized Speedos on my scrawny physique weren't appealing to anyone and my aptitude for competitive swimming was limited. But yeah, I spent a lot of time swimming in lakes and rivers. It was just something I grew up doing.
  
Like most roadies, I give triathletes a lot of crap. I also get my ass handed to me on a regular basis by triathletes, because they spend all of their times working on the diesel. If I can hold their wheel, I can usually come around them in a sprint. Again, if I can hold their wheel. Time trials? I get crushed. Hill climbs? Crushed. All I'm good for is wheel-sucking when faced with a superior diesel.
  
Last Saturday was the Alaska Man Triathlon. A 2.6 miles swim in frigid water, then a 112 mile time trial over a major pass and into the wind, and the a 27 mile run that took them up Alyeska Mountain twice. Sounded fun. Except for the swimming in Resurrection Bay. And the whole marathon up a mountain I usually ski down. To be honest, the bike ride sounded a bit long. Screw that crap.
  
I rode down the Seward Highway on Saturday. To be honest, I had forgotten all about the race. All I knew was I didn't really want to climb and more fucking hills and the wind wasn't blowing for a change. When I got to Bird Creek, I saw the bike to run transition point. From then on, I waved at the competitors as they rode the other direction. Few looked really happy by that point. Some looked delirious. Yeah, screw that crap.
  
I caught sight of a Speedway rider, Rose, as she ran along the bike trail. I shouted encouragement and other useless stuff. That woman is nails. In fact, I'd say pretty much everyone who completed the race was pretty much badass. This wasn't a race for the participants and bucket-listers. You showed up trained and ready to perform for the long haul or you never made it to T2.
  
On the way back the wind kicked up into an impressive, gusty headwind. Both hands on the bar. Hydration meant stopping out of the wind. 300 watts to average 15 MPH. Most of the return ride was slower than that. I just wanted off the bike. I just wanted to lay down and wait for the wind to die down. I kept going.
  
When I got home, my computer said I had ridden just under 77 miles. I was wrecked. I'm a complete powder puff. No way would I have lasted 112 miles. Add in a brisk swim and a marathon, and I would have completed it weeks after they tore down the finish banner. I'm just not built for that sort of thing. Sure, I put in a lot of miles down in Biloxi when I had the time and nothing better to do, but they were flat and unchallenging miles for the most part. The miles these triathletes put in were hardcore miles. Again, screw that crap.
  
Don't give me wrong- I'm still going to give triathletes shit. That's what roadies do. That, and buy all of the really good TT equipment they sell for cheap after they've checked off enough races or "need" to upgrade to the latest and greatest equipment.
  
The guys that finished this race have my respect. I don't necessarily understand the attraction, but I can respect the achievement. The dedication, mental/physical strength, and time invested is impressive.
  
That said, I'm fully expecting half the guys who did the race to dump all of their gear on Craigslist and take up golf. That's what I'd do if I were them.
  
  
 

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