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Things That Bother Me . . . Today

June 21st, 2011

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Things that bother me . . .  today (it was that kind of a day).

Bike shorts that are too short. Bike shorts aren’t supposed to resemble hot pants. They’re longish for a reason. When they’re too short you chafe. Looking sexy (or not) at the expense of rug burns on the inside of your thighs is not a fair trade off. It also bothers me when people fold up their bike shorts to make them shorter. When I ask people why they do this they tell me that it feels cooler . . . as in temperature. How’s a centimeter less of bike shorts going to cool a person off?

Vain people (posers). Posers bother me. Our sport has a lot of posers. The latest statistics indicate that a huge number of triathletes get into the sport simply because they want an excuse to show off their body – despite the fact that they have no business showing off their body.  Thank goodness social media did not exist all those years ago when I was running in downtown Chicago wearing nothing but a speedo and a smile.

Recumbent bicycles. Cycling is not supposed to be comfortable. I saw a recumbent the other day; it was just two wheels with a Lazy Boy recliner bolted to the frame.

Men’s bike seats with holes in the “taint” area. As if not being able to “produce” after a 100 mile ride isn’t a sign that you’re a wuss; a saddle with a hole in it only publicly confirms what a wuss you really are. Deal with it.

Tandem bikes. A tandem is usually ridden by a dysfunctional couple (not limited to members of the opposite sex) that feels the need to ruin the ride of perfectly functional individuals.

People who blow snot without making an effort to not get snot on the people they’re riding with. There’s nothing worse than someone else’s booger on your arm.

People who warm up at races on a turbo trainer. I can understand this if there are no roads to ride on. However, this seems to be a disturbing trend, even when there are plenty of nice roads on which to warm up. People just want to be seen looking good. These are people who are usually not seen during the race. I remember one of my first triathlons. I was very intimidated by all the studly bodies, being the small, nondescript person that I am. I wondered aloud how I was supposed to compete with these studs. A good friend told me, “Everyone looks good warming up.” I tell myself this before every race.

Tongue earrings, or tongue rings, or whatever they’re called. Why someone would purposely pierce his or her tongue is beyond my comprehension. I once bit down on a sunflower seed, and the shell went halfway through my tongue. For a while, I thought about leaving it in there. It looked kind of cool . . . NOT.

The Clydesdale/Athena division.  Why isn’t there a division for those of us men who are 5‘6” and under? It’s just as much of a handicap to be short as it is to be heavy. I understand the purpose is to attract all types of athletes to our sport. But most people see it as a chance to do something they were never able to do in regular age-group competition: place in their age group. I know a guy in my hometown who ate his ass off to get up to the 190 pound Clydesdale weight. He won the overall National Championship in the Clydesdale division. How wrong is that? I’ve heard stories of people putting lead weights in their shoes, so they could “make weight” – 200 at weigh-in, 180 on race day. What is this 200 pound stuff? I’ve asked numerous times why the weight restrictions are so low. I know tall skinny people who are 200. Heck, when Paul Huddle was 7th overall at the Ironman World Championships, he weighed more than 190. I coached the Estonian Big Man, Ain-Alar Juhanson the year he had the fastest overall bike split in Kona and finished 13th place overall – and he weighed 100 kilograms.  That’s 222 in American pounds.  And I know quite a few very good pro women who weigh enough to race in the Athena division. I won’t name names, though, because women, for the most part, are kind of sensitive about their weight . . . even when they shouldn’t be. My point – we don’t need a Clydesdale/Athena division any more than we need a division for balding adult men who are shorter than 5 feet 6 inches (although I would enter that division if there were one).  Can’t we all simply be TRIATHLETES?

Women drivers . . . for obvious reasons . . . most of which I will not get into. I live with a woman, after all. I will say this, though. Look behind the wheel of every super-sized SUV, and you’ll see a woman driving. Whose bright idea was it to put women behind the wheel of a rolling fortress? As if it wasn’t bad enough before, now that their lives are not in danger, they think even less about driving. I’m not afraid to say it––I’m scared.  [My wife, upon reading this, points out that I am the one driving around in a smashed in mini van, while her car is unscathed.  Whatever.]

Litterbugs. People who throw their empty gel packets and bar wrappers on the road, without so much as a second thought. How can a person do this with a clear conscience? How hard is it to put these wrappers in your pocket? Why do people throw their cigarette butts out the car window? Last time I looked there were still ashtrays in cars. 

People who don’t bring their own food and money when they go on a long ride.  I’ve bailed out more people than I care to remember. Why would you head out for a five-hour ride with no food or money? And why is it that the people who bonk twelve times on the ride are the people who bring no food or money? If it weren’t for that Hippocratic oath thing, I’d be leaving some hungry-ass people out in the desert.

People who jump in the lane next to you, despite the fact that all of the other lanes in the pool are empty. It never fails. I’m swimming short-course in a 50-meter pool, at the far end of the pool. I have one empty lane to my right and 18 empty lanes to my left.  A swimmer comes on deck, and proceeds to get in the lane next to me. Why is that? 

Perhaps it’s my magnetic personality?

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