As with most things in life, there are rules to live by, not as a requirement but more as a willingness to be a part of a community. There will always be the one guy sitting outside the rules, wanting to live in his own world, but for the majority of us we like to be one of the good guys. So, with that said, I give you the Triathlon Ten Commandments –
Thou Shall Honor the Triathlon Gods
If you read my race report of Crystal River 2 back in in 2012 you know of what I speak. The Tri Gods do not like to be played with. They will visit upon you 20 mph head winds (in all directions), currents and visibility to scare Aquaman, and uphill runs in damaging heat. Do not toy with the Tri Gods. With that being said ….
Thou Shalt Not Take a Race for Granted
An extension of the first commandment. All races are hard. Just keep that in your head. ALL races are hard. There are NO easy swims, or windless bikes, or flat runs. As soon as you take a race for granted, and think it is easy, you will find that the next race there will be the hardest of your life. Prepare, always prepare, for a hard race. Then, if the conditions are perfect, you’ll be that much stronger.
Thou Shalt Not Wheel Suck Without Permission
People ride at different speeds and are out there for different purposes. Some are doing speed work, some are getting saddle time, but MOST do NOT appreciate you jumping in behind them without letting them know you are there. It is a common act of courtesy to yell out “on your wheel” if your pace brings you to someone without the oomph needed to go by them. And if you want to join in, then ASK if it’s OK, and be PREPARED to PULL at some point. What’s worse than wheel suckage is not returning the favor.
Thou Shall Call “On Thy Left” When Passing
This is a BIG difference between a triathlete and a cyclist (newbies or not). A triathlete ALWAYS will call out on your left when catching up or passing someone. A cyclist NEVER does (or very rarely). Normally I let this go, but I am starting to be a bit more vocal when they come along side and you didn’t hear or see them coming. This happened on one ride, and just when Jenny had pulled out to the left to let me come up front. He went by her with about a foot to spare. NOT cool. I can forgive a recreational rider or newbie, but someone riding a carbon TREK with full kit knows better.
Thou Shall Wear a Helmet to Protect Thy Noggin
It’s amazing I even have to say this one. You’re doing 15-20 mph on a bike with 4 feet between your head and asphalt. Seriously … put a freaking helmet on. No one cares how you look, and I am tired of my taxes paying for your recovery.
Thou Shalt Not Wear Headphones While Riding
Goes with the helmet. See it all the time. Young girl riding a road bike (a steel one) with NO helmet, and iPhone IN HER HAND, in the drops, and trying to “race” Jenny and I on the back stretch. Went by us doing about 18 mph. Just bopping her head along with the tunes. Needless to say my “killer instinct” kicked in and I pushed it to 22 to get this dumb ass as far behind me as possible.
Thou Shalt Not Covet thy Neighbors Gear
Can’t help it can you?? Me neither. A new hydration system you had not seen. A bike flying by you on the trail. Killer sunglasses. I want them all. Good thing I am unable to buy them.
Thou Shall Thank the Race Volunteers
Always ALWAYS thank the people handing you water, or food, or whatever, during a race. I will even go one further … relating to an earlier commandment. If I call on your left to an obvious newbie, or a recreational rider, and they move to the right immediately I ALWAYS thank them as I go by.
Thou Shalt Not be a Douche Towards Newbies
We were all new at one point. I still consider myself new. I ask stupid questions constantly. The great thing about this sport is that, for the most part, the participants are willing to help everyone. The more in the sport the more the sport grows. Now, I don’t think this is true with the Pro’s, because they are in it for money after all. But for every ass, there are 10 people out there willing to teach whatever they know.
My favorite example of this is the first day I rode at Flatwoods in 2010. I was on a borrowed La Monde and when I pulled into the first trail head (I stopped at every stop back then. Two miles was my limit … at 11 mph) and there was a rider there. He looks at me and says “You going to fix that flat?”. Unknowingly I rode the first two miles on a flat back tire. I had NO idea how to change the thing. He took it from me and changed it as I watch, and GAVE me a tube. Refused to take money for it. His only wish was that I “make up for it when someone else is in need”, which I have done a number of times (I gave a guy the two dollar fee for parking once because he had no change and I couldn’t break his 5, but had two singles). In the long run it comes back to you.
Thou Shall Respect Thy Teammates
Show up on time. If you’re going to be late, call or text. If the workout if for a group ride, ride as a group. If they are struggling … help them. Pretty simple. Triathlon is an individual sport, but doing it with friends is what makes it fun. If you become so competitive, to the point you cannot deal with a friend or brother/sister/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband beating you, then you need to find another activity. I could care less if Jennifer beats me (she always does anyway), or if someone laps me in the pool, or if Dave Baldwin beats my run pace by three minutes. I cheer for them, and I hope they would cheer for me if it was switched. I find as much joy watching them cross the finish line as crossing myself. Truth be known I almost enjoy it more. I know what they have all done to help me along, whether they are even aware that they helped or not, and I hope I have helped them at some point, even if it was just a pat on the back after a great training ride.
Swim Calm – Bike Strong – Run Steady