“Why would people want to get up so early and do this?”
Completed my first triathlon of the season yesterday morning. I managed to post a personal best time of 1:17 and a little change. The weather was perfect – low seventies – the lake as still as coffee in cup – the bike course was a bit windy but I wedged in with a group traveling along at a decent clip (technically there is no drafting allowed in a tri – but that’s a dumb rule anyways) and the run ended with a downhill slope for almost the the whole second half of the course.
Early on in my triathlon participation I would edge myself to the front of the pack before the start of the swim and would find myself being crawled over by the guys behind me once we got underway – slamming my face underwater just as I was coming up for air – brushing against my legs as if I were being chased by the creature from the black lagoon. This would send me into panic – get my heart racing – I switched strategies last year during the Cleveland Tri – moved to the back and I became the person climbing up the backs of folks in front of me. Made it out of the water in the top five or so today – even catching up to the group of younger guys whose wave started five minutes earlier before us geriatrics.
The first half of the bike leg I was pretty much on my own – I could see some riders in front of me but there was no way I was catching them anytime soon and the riders behind weren’t gaining on me so I spent those six and a half miles pedaling away trying to find the silver lining related to having thighs that felt like they were going to split open. I kept grinding along around 21+ mph which is a good clip for me so I figured I had a wind at my back and wasn’t really looking forward to the turn around. Then right at the turn around a pack of eight riders came up on me and passed – i slid into their slipstream and we pulled each other along into the headwind way quicker than any of us could have managed on our own. Like I said – technically not kosher but I still think it’s a stupid rule – what’s more sportsmanlike than a crew of competitors working together? In any case I finished the leg in (for me) record time.
In order to keep up with the crew on the second part of the bike ride I had to push near my limit spending a lot of time down in aero bars – those are those things added to handlebars so that your elbows rest on the crossbar keeping your riding stance extra low and more wind resistant. It also does a number on your back – so when I got off the bike I found it pretty tricky straightening up to do the run. My two thousand year old man impersonation wasn't wasted on my fans who included my parents Sara, Max, Frank, Scotty baby Sara and Isaac a friend of Frank’s responsible for the quote that opened this blog.
Fortunately after about an eight of a mile my joints self lubricated and i finished the race with a smile on my face. I told Frank - afterwards as he helped me gather my gear that it has taken three years – but running these things have gone from a test of survival to fun.
So I guess that’s why people get up so early in the morning to do this – for fun.