I’m always looking for a new experience, so I’ve decided to sign up for a triathlon: swim, cycle, run; one immediately after another.
A lot of people are fierce and brave, and they like to tackle the Ironman triathlon, which consists of a 3.96-kilometre swim, a 180.25-km bike ride and a 42.2-km marathon, without any rest or dying in between.
I am not an iron man. More like a straw man, so I thought I’d start with a “sprint triathlon,” which sounds very zippy, doesn’t it? A sprint is to the Ironman what a Yaris is to an F-350 pickup: 700-metre swim, 20-km bike ride, 5-km run.
There’s less chance of sinking like a stone at about 2.57 km into the swim or falling off your bike into a ditch at 127 km, or wandering into traffic, dehydrated and disoriented, around 37 km in the marathon.
Still, this “sprint,” which occurs on July 22 (why are my palms sweating already?) has its challenges, not the least being I’ve never done all three of these things in a row on the same day, and rarely in the same month.
The main challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting through the transition, which means getting from the pool and onto the bike, then off the bike and into running shoes, all while the clock is ticking. The “three Ts” are key to transition: towels, talcum powder and tugging, not necessarily in that order. It’s also important not to get confused and cycle in your swim goggles or run in your bike helmet, all of which apparently happen. How would I know? I’ve never even watched a triathlon.
Which might lead you to ask why am I doing this? Well, it was either this or one of those river cruises along the Seine. Both of them involve going someplace exotic, like Paris or the pool at UBC. But the river cruise costs $7,000; registering for the triathlon? $68.
Two weeks after the Point Grey Sprint Triathlon, on Aug. 7, is a similar event called the London Olympic Triathlon. While I’m just starting out, the great Canadian gold medallist (2000 Sydney Games) Simon Whitfield is in the twilight of his career and will be competing in one last Olympics before he retires, a geezer at 37.
Even though I can spot Simon a couple of years, once again, there are some similarities. Expectations are the key. On Aug. 7, the whole nation will be holding its breath hoping that Simon is able to win gold one last time. On July 22, my wife will be holding her breath hoping that I at least make it out of the pool.
OK. So what did you want for $68?