A Confession:

Okay, I know I’m a little too "triathlon-ish" for some of you. You’re cyclists, not triathletes. Well, before we go any further, I want to make one thing straight, if I haven’t already: I’m not a swimmer, a runner, an ‘age-grouper,’ an Ironman™, or an ‘olympic distance’ triathlete, but I’m also not a roadie, or really much of a mountain biker (although I thoroughly enjoy mountain biking and do it as often as I can); I’m a time trialist. Yes, it’s official, that’s the category I fall into.

If you’ll bear that in mind, I’m about to admit something: this year, I’m more excited to see the results of the Ironman World Championship than I was to see the results of the Tour de France. It’s not that the Tour wasn’t nifty, but I was restricted on internet at work this year—meaning I couldn’t even follow the race as minimally as I used to—and half of the competitors were pulled from the race with positive doping tests. How Interesting can that really be?

Actually, I do have to thank Boz for mailing me some DVR recordings of the Tour—it really was pretty exciting stuff.

But last year the most entertaining race I watched on TV was the 2006 Ironman World Championship, and I actually got a little hooked on it. Since then, I’ve only found it more and more interesting.

See, in long-distance triathlon there are two basic schools of strategy at the moment: one school, traditional Ironman racing, says you put it all out there all day shooting to hit the finish line first; the other school of thought says you conserve as much energy and absorb as much advantage as you can (even on the bike where drafting is supposedlly illegal) and then you try to get a high enough placing to satisfy your sponsor or your ego.

The odd thing about is, both schools are valid.

See, on one hand you have the purists who say the spirit of racing is throwing it all out there, then on the other hand you have those who point out that this is Kona, Hawaii, we’re talking about. When you get too brash at the Hawaii Ironman, as many have figured out before, the island itself can turn on you—capricious ocean currents, unbelievable crosswinds, searing lava field heat, take your pick. You never know what will happen.

Nonetheless, I still cheer for the purists who put it all out there. My favorites win off the bike (go figure) and aren’t afraid to take the front. It also doesn’t hurt that NBC puts together a wicked-good TV package for the race.

Still, for me, that’s too much distance—the same way the Tour is too much distance. I’m content to do the occasional sprint triathlon. And even then, I know I’m just a time trialist in a triathlete’s game.

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3 thoughts on “A Confession:

  1. Boz

    If I could run, I\’d probably try a sprint tri, but for now that\’s out of the question. I know alot of local triathletes, and they are always trying to get me to join in the fun. My wife\’s knee should be good enogh to start training for a couple of local tri\’s she wants to do. She\’s a super strong swimmer, good cyclist, but hates the run. I\’m no swimmer, was a decent runner, and of course, like the bike best. Maybe I could run on a treadmill…..

  2. Zed

    Just a thought on the running thing: try getting a gym membership for just a couple of months and doing some squats. Get someone to check your technique to make sure you\’re doing it just right, but then hit the gym 2-3 times a week and squat it out.I said something about having bad knees in front of my aunt this past summer, and she responded, "Why don\’t you rehabilitate your knees in the gym?" I hadn\’t thought of it, but it made sense and I needed to do something for bone density anyway. I already knew what to do in the gym (thanks to plenty of high school and college weightlifting experience), and  my employer happens to have a free gym in the office, so it\’s not costing me anything.I did that second sprint tri after two weeks of doing squats, and I was pretty surprised to find that my knees didn\’t hurt like they usually do. Since then, I\’ve read a few things suggesting that squatting is great for balancing the strength in your leg muscles. Nonetheless, I do low-weight, high-rep sets to avoid injury and (with any luck) benefit my slow-twitch muscles as I believe I have more of that than the other stuff. I\’m discovering that the weight doesn\’t need to be overwhelming for a fitness benefit.

  3. Boz

    The running thing w/ me is foot pain and sensitivity due to diabetes. My knee is fine, I\’m a good runner when I can tolerate the pain. It seems like a tread mill doesn\’t cause much, but running on pavement can be very painfull. I take neuronton for it, which helps, but doesn\’t take care of it completely. I do have custom shoes and insoles which have helped in day to day living, but as for running, no luck as of yet.  Here\’s what it feels like – walking on hot coals with needles sticking up, then adding a strong electrical charge. Owww.
    Biking is another story, no impact, no pain. But things are slowly improving due to better blood sugar control.

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