This could easily have been an “in memoriam” type of article. As some of you may know, our very own Dark Mark, was involved in a serious mini van vs bicycle collision at Galveston 70.3 a few weeks ago. Luckily after a short hospital visit he was swept up in the arms of Andrew Starykowicz and rescued. There are rumors that he is suffering from a lack of consortium, but it’s possible this is a pre existing condition.
So, yes close call, but it got me to thinking. When do I feel safe or unsafe during a triathlon? When do you?
I like to act like the swim is no big deal, and really it shouldn’t be. I grew up in and around the water and usually find it a calming setting, even peaceful. However, the swim start in a Tri is far from a peaceful experience. It’s basically organized drowning, with a bit of MMA thrown in for good measure. Seriously, who thinks it’s acceptable to throw punches during a triathlon swim? Obviously some of you do. Some of you even think a proper freestyle “catch” involves hitting another persons crotch area with some kind of weirdo Kung Fu crane technique! Triathletes argue about whether we should do flip turns during our pool training swims, but no one ever brings up the very real need for water self defense training.
Cycling as a lone activity doesn’t really induce fear in me. I think the last time I fell off a bicycle because of a lack of balance was pre kindergarten. However, lets mix several hundred or thousand other athletes plus pissed off and impatient motorists and we get some seriously dangerous situations that we have to navigate in a reduced mental state at high speed. No problem, right? I’ve dodged dropped water bottles, helmet visors, pedestrians, and free flowing urine. I’ve had to lock up the brakes and slide through intersections. I’ve zig zagged through ducks and geese and deer and dogs and toddlers. All the while, trying to hold my wattage and cadence, remember to hydrate, take in calories, and maintain proper spacing with my fellow competitors. Geez! No worries! Completely under control! Wow! How do we not have more wrecks?
The run? How can it be dangerous? Oh, let me count the ways. Heat stroke, blisters, tripping, animals, dehydration, getting lost, pedestrians, more toddlers, chafing, cars, trucks, motorcycles, and vomit/diarrhea/snot and other miscellaneous bodily fluids. We also have a fun little tradition in the Midwestern United States of jerk offs “rolling coal”. Basically this is a diesel trucks version of farting in your face. Really pleasant stuff. All this and we still have to face the fact that we paid to participate in this race. This is voluntary. We don’t have to be here! Plus not all of us are triathlon luminaries like Dark Mark. Starky won’t be there to carry us from our hospital beds. We will be left broken and alone, our trisuits torn and our confidence crushed. All in the pursuit of that elusive podium. Man I can’t wait for my next race!
So, seriously, which of the three disciplines makes you the most nervous? Do you feel safe? Vote in this weeks poll and head over to the forum for a discussion! TRS Triathlon wants to know!