Writing by Sheridan on Friday, 26 of November , 2010 at 8:09 am
Ah…I love this time of year. Not for the pen-in-ear inducing Christmas music in the stores, nor the incessant chatter about Kris Kringle, or even the fact the Hot Cross Buns will be back soon. November (in Australia, and for mere amateurs) heralds the start of triathlon season. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you train from April to October with barely an event to compete in, it is a huge deal. That extensive 2XU wardrobe is not going to show itself off, is it? And how many other times during the year do you get to wear a skin-tight one-piece suit? Not often, if you’re anything like me. Speaking of which, how many outfits do you have which can take you from ocean, to bike to track and then to the bbq?
I love everything about triathlon. Nothing at all I hate (apart from the physical feeling whilst actually doing one). I love the early mornings, and having everything on de-mist in the car so I can partially see where I’m going. I love wiping the outside of the car windows with an old screwed-up Safeway receipt, again in an attempt to see the road. I love trying to get my bike into and out of the back of a 3-door hatch. I love going in to set up my transition area and obsessively going over whether to put my sunglasses in or on my helmet, even though I never actually put them on my face during a race. I love the nervous banter that goes on with the person who writes my number on my leg. I love going down to the beach and checking out where the turn buoys are and reassuring myself that it’s not that far – I can make it. I love to tell other people who are nervous that they can make it, too, and that they’ll have a great time and there’s no need to be nervous. Then I love kicking really hard and erratically when I swim in an attempt to slow the people behind me, mainly so I’m not dead last. I also love to sprint up the beach past the people who overtook me in the swim on my way to transition. I love to run past them with my bike on the way out as they struggle time-consumingly with their wetsuits.
I love the sound of carbon being deposited on bitumen as people make clumsy attempts to get on their bikes with their shoes already clipped in. Then I love to pick people off, one by one, as I show off my speed-demon skills on the bike. I love to snigger internally each time I do this. I take particular joy in coasting past someone on a mountain bike with wheels comparable in size to those of my car. I love to corner like I’m a pro even though I have very little idea what I’m doing. I love to romance the idea of getting off my bike in a pro way to save a few seconds. I love that I don’t have to do this, and that I’ll still overtake heaps of people who can’t run in their cleats.
I love to head out on the run because it means I am nearing the end and with any amount of luck, I might get the chance to overtake a few more people. Plus with each step I am closer to the time when I have an opportunity to empty the sand and grass out of my runners. I love the kids at the drink stations that hand out drinks as well as what sounds like sincere encouragement to people they have never met. I love to take the run as my chance to work my pain face for the photographers and they lap it up. I am particularly amused that my Garmin seems to shit itself around this time. Or it might perhaps be a user problem. But I love that it distracts me from the jelly feeling of my legs. Garmin – I would love to know how fast I am running at this stage please. Thanks. I love that there are people in the squad cheering for me, even though they have no idea who I am. I love to compete in squad uniform.
I love the velcro rip as a timing assistant removes the timing band from my ankle. I then like to stagger around for a bit with my hands on my hips like I have recently completed an Olympic marathon, just for the crowd. I think they kind of expect it, and they seem to enjoy it. I love to get three partially-full cups of Gatorade and tip them into one cup and have a mega-full cup (why don’t they fill them up more???? Are we that un-co?) I love to get at least 3 free apples and sit and read my free newspaper whilst I watch other people race. And then I love waiting in a huge line for a mediocre coffee that costs $5. The whole experience is just a bundle of aceness.
I love it that people have amusing nicknames, and I love that we all get to learn about them through the wonders of cheering and barracking (GO RISSOLES!). I love it when kids yell out ‘Go Daddy!’ at their fathers (obviously) and that dogs seem to love triathlons as well. Heaps of them always turn up. I love that it presents free and wholesome entertainment for the entire family, and parking is free too. I love it that anyone can have a go, it’s all-inclusive and age or fitness level poses no barrier.
Most of all, I love it that random people shout encouragement to other random people and this is viewed as completely normal behaviour. Makes a nice change from the rest of the working week.
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