I could very easily use this piece for a few cheap laughs about triathletes and their habits and shortcomings on the bike. I’d like to think I’m above such lazy hatchet jobs (though the jury is out).
So, I’ll avoid passing comment on their bike handling skills, choice of clothing, and weird desire to bookend every bike ride with a swim and a run. There’ll be no mention of sleeveless cycling jerseys, Speedo’s, or riding without wearing socks. I will not, whatever the provocation from my fellow road cyclists, make fun of anyone who feels the need to call themselves an ‘ironman’.
In many ways cyclists and triathletes are very similar. Depending on who you ask, athletically speaking a triathlete equals approximately a third of a cyclist, or a cyclist equals approximately a third of a triathlete. Either way (the correct way, or the wrong way) we have things in common.
Having said that, if you were presented with a police line-up containing nine semi-serious cyclists and a single triathlete, and were asked to pick out the one who likes swimming and running, there are always tell-tale signs. Quite which cryptic crime has just taken place that requires you to identify a triathlete amongst a bunch of cyclists is another question.
A fashion crime, perhaps?
Ultimately the combination of St. Trinians style knee-socks and muscles on the arms and shoulders is always a dead giveaway. We cyclists may well be happy to consider ourselves among the fittest and toughest endurance athletes, but ask us to lift a heavy box or take the lid off a jar of particularly persistent mayonnaise, and you’ll find yourself in for a long wait.
There is another reason why I am avoiding tarring my triathlete friends with the comedy brush.
I ride locally from time to time with two or three of them. They usually turn up dripping with water, and I presume they pop out for a run afterwards, but I’m always back home nursing a cup of tea by that point. The thing about these two or three triathletes is they are all capable of giving me a good hiding on the bike. In terms of writing a mocking blog post, that’s a bit of a deal breaker.
I can’t very well tear into them with my rapier wit if, in return, they will simply reduce me to a gibbering wreck the next time the road heads upwards, can I?
So, in summary, I have nothing but the utmost respect for triathletes, whilst simultaneously agreeing to differ on their clothing choices. Once I’ve got myself in decent shape and am able to go pedal stroke to pedal stroke with them on my local roads, I may revise this viewpoint.