… but I still love triathlon!

For the first time in about a dozen of competitions my old but loyal metal stallion failed me. More about this later.

Today there was a triathlon over the olympic/short distance (1.5k-40k-10k) here in Lausanne. Though I hardly trained at all (in total 6 times in the last 2 months), I decided to participate to see if (a) I can still finish, (b) I can swim with a periscope on my back and (c) the Swiss have a sense of humor.

With respect to the level of the competitors, this was probably the toughest race over this distance I’ve ever been in. This might have been due to the fact that it was also the Swiss national championship. Kind of a funny feeling: You prepare your transition area ( …. with your bicycle with a wind wheel [Sylvia’s idea] attached to the steering bar and a big rocket engine [or rather just a big white tube with red paper at its edges] behind the saddle) while the guys next to you wear their national jerseys.

Swimming: Small starter group with only 50 people, 47-48 of which were faster than me. 🙂 But at least I have an excuse: I had a periscope on my back. I hope that someone took pictures and that I can get hold of them. I think/hope that it was a funny sight, even though it was only moderate fun to swim with it.

1st transition: I did not manage to get out of my wetsuit. The small cord of the zipper of my triathlon suit got stuck in the zipper of the wetsuit. Fortunately, one of the other “non-swimmers” helped me out (which took 1 minute or so). Really nice guy, also not too serious. Met him later again while cycling/running.

Cycling: It all started well. I was slow (as expected) but not horribly slow. The course, however, was exactly the kind of course I don’t like. Lots of sharp turns and fairly rapid descents. I’m a chicken. I know. But I always break far too hard. I was especially happy to get lots of positive feedback (mostly for the wind wheel) from the crowd and even from fellow competitors (though also at least one not-quite-so-appreciative look from a more ambitious fellow). But, unfortunately, after 22 km my left pedal came of (in the fact the whole crank)! At least this happened while I was going up and hence even slower than usual. So I didn’t fall or anything. Still – what to do? I asked a policewoman if there might be a technician or at least tools somewhere – no luck. I even asked a bystander if I could borrow his bike for 20 km – but he needed it himself (and this also would have been against the rules I guess). So, after cursing for 5-10 minutes I decided to accept my fate, well, at least sort of. I ran back to the transition area (3 km in socks and with my bike), so that I could at least finish the 10 km run at the end. Still, officially I’m of course disqualified. If it had been 32 km, I would have run the last 8 km. But running 18 km without refreshments and wearing only socks while pushing your bike …. I considered this seriously before the small amount of common sense left in my told me: “Rather not”.

Running: My costume was a bit bizarre. A blue shirt with the buttons/the front on the back, a blue/yellow tie (with smileys on it) pointing dangling on my back, gray shorts also with the front pointing to the back and an ugly mask on the rear of my head. From the front it didn’t look like anything. Only from the rear it made some sort of sense. Especially kids were laughing at me. Great! 🙂 Running itself is always my strongest (= least weak) discipline. The 10 km took me something like 48 minutes. Not a fantastic time, but given my current fitness level I was quite pleased.

Overall: I made some people smile and laugh, so I won! I also had a slogan on my rocket engine: “Triathlon is fun!” and “Triathlon macht Spaß!” on the other side. I hope, I managed to convey a bit of the fun and joy of doing sports.

I was also thinking: are there any organized costume swim races? I mean, there are lots of costume runs … but swimming in a costume seems to be less popular. Would be great to do it in a team: three people embodying the Loch Ness monster e.g., or pulling a small raft with somebody/something inside.

Anyways, I’m still a bit upset about the breakdown of my bike, but still pleased with the overall event. Would do it again any time.