Friday, June 21, 2013

Tri Guy

A new person, Joshua, has recently joined the UP lunch group ride on a regular basis. Actually, he's not new because he's ridden with us a few times before. That was four years ago, before he took a transfer to Denver. Well, he's back now, and picking up where he left off.

A lot has happened over those years.

Joshua remembered me as "that guy" who did triathlons, particularly the Black Squirrel triathlon, one in which he also competed in before moving away to Denver.

But years before that, I was strictly a runner. That's it. Run. Run. Run. How boring.

When I started doing triathlons, I sucked really bad at cycling. To get better, I joined the UP lunch ride. Then Fred introduced me to weekend group rides. Later that summer, I bought my first single day license to compete in the 2008 Corn Husker State Games Time Trial. But make no mistake, at that time, I was still a triathlete. 2008 was the year I also competed in the Black Squirrel Triathlon.

That's why Joshua remembered me as a "tri guy".

As an aside, I really dislike that term, "tri" (/╦łtrahy). Stop that. It is triathlon. Please take note, people. That especially includes you, KGil.

Anyway, this whole triathlon discussion came about at the end of a recent Thursday taco lunch ride. Joshua was back-filling Shim on what he's been up to over the past few years, including triathlons.

Shim slowly wiped the corners of his mouth with a paper napkin before telling Joshua that genteel cyclists like us do not hold the triathlete, nor his triathlon with much esteem. Or something like that. You know, Shim.

At any rate, I really wasn't paying much attention to their conversation. I had more important things at hand, like assembling the perfect ratio of cabbage to radishes on a neat row of chicken tacos.

"But Brady does Tris," Joshua countered.


"Excuse me?" I said. My clumsy hand knocked a saucy chunk of chicken to the ground. Damn.

"You're a triathlete, right?"


It's funny how a little time can change one's perspective. Five years ago, I would have proudly backed up Joshua's assertion. While I never went so far as to get one of those stupid M-DOT vinyl stickers for my car's rear window, I still would have labeled myself as a triathlete.

But not anymore. Since then, I suppose I've become an elite cyclist snob. I realized that the moment Josh asked me if I was a triathlete.

Even more, I've grown a strong aversion toward that label, triathlete. I wanted nothing of it. It was as if he asked me if I had herpes or something.

Now I have nothing against those who use triathlons as a motivator to get fit. I applaud whatever it takes to make it work for you. Keep at it. Seriously.

But it's just not for me anymore. My issues with triathlons basically are twofold:
1) Race fees start at $50 for local races; Ironman entry fees are $650. That's no typo.
2) See rule #42

Oh wait, three-fold: 3) "Tri" and M-DOT must go away. Now.

I suppose I'm a purist.

It's true that I still swim. I do masters swim workouts on average about four times a week. It's also true that I competed at the Masters Nationals swimming meet last year.

And I still run. Not much anymore, but I'm not adverse to lacing up if time for a workout is short, or to jump in and do some intervals at the track. I also competed in a 10K last fall.

You know that I cycle.

Yet do the sum of these parts make me a triathlete? Eessh. How about a multi-sport athlete?

I suppose multi-sport is better. Perhaps even cross-over athlete. Indeed, these are much better than being referred to as that tri guy.


  1. So when did you get the M-DOT tat removed from your right shoulder blade AND your left calf muscle?