December 15, 2017

Tri Newbies Welcome

We were all newbies (triathlon virgins) once.  My first race was in Iowa back in 1983.  Like a lot of us, a friend of mine talked me into my first triathlon – a friend that didn’t even do the race!

Since I didn’t have a bike (a lot of newbies don’t) I borrowed one from a friend of mine.  It was a beautiful Schwinn 10-speed.  Reflectors, headlight, fenders and all.  After I took all that crap off, I was ready to race.

Keep in mind that back in 1983 the sport was still pretty new.  In Iowa they hadn’t figured out how to spell t-r-i-a-t-h-l-o-n yet.  So as far as knowing how to train, how to nourish yourself or even the rules, no one had a clue.

I remember practicing on my friend’s bike the morning of the race (that’s right, I hadn’t ridden before race day).  I was all decked out in my Adidas sweat suit looking fast.  A young girl that was there with her parents said “Boy he sure looks fast.”  Funny, I haven’t had anyone say that since . . .

Coming from a swimming background I was first out of the water (out of ALL athletes – all 50 or so of us) in this super-sprint triathlon (even shorter than the normal sprint distance).  Feeling great, I jumped on the Schwinn and sped off, promptly getting passed by most of the field.  My arms cramped up so bad I had to massage them as I rode.

By the time I got to the run I was so exhausted I was forced to walk at one point (this was a 5K run).  My “friend” caught up to me and urged me to go faster.  At that point I was calculating his early demise.

Anyway, that was my first race – one I will never forget – I had survived and could now call myself a triathlete the rest of my life.

We were all newbies once so don’t fret if you’re a newbie now.  We can help you get through it.  Then, you can reflect back on the days when YOU were a newbie.

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