Sunday, July 27, 2008

Illustrative Example of Why Triathletes Suck

This weekend we packed the little ones and all our geek gear and headed to Burley, Idaho for the Spudman. My wife is from Burley and this race has been an annual tradition since long before triathlon was cool. This year there were ten of us affiliated with the Christenson-brand racing. Prudently, they put the fat kids in the last wave so we're out of everyone's way. I entered the water an hour after the first wave and waited for the gun. Once the announcer gave the 30 seconds to go countdown, my adrenaline spiked and I was ready to go. Only to be pulled back. Seconds of waiting turned into a couple of minutes before they pulled us all to the side. More and more minutes passed and I finally climbed out onto the docks. During this time, the announcer's incomplete description of the situation downstream fed speculation and rumor. After a few more minutes or relief-society style gossiping the race director called us all together. A man had been seen by some others in his wave to yell for help and then had slipped under the water. It had been nearly 10 minutes and it was clear that the rescue effort had now switched to one of body recovery. As the recovery effort continued, the race director told us all to head to T1 as the swim was cancelled. As the crowd walked by the river near where the boats were doing the search, we were called back to the start line as the body had been recovered. Immediately, the race director started getting heat to restart the race. That wasn't a typo. People immediately began pressuring him to allow them to swim past the same spot where literally seconds earlier Donald Morehouse's body was pulled from the river. His now widow was actually waiting for him at T1 and broke down at the news that circulated that they found him and he didn't make it. I stood there in disbelief at these people, who made up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the crowd. They shouted, "It's not fair, we trained for this." "If you're going to cancel the swim, I want my money back." Seriously. My wife noted that the problem with triathletes is that their focus makes them selfish. That's why they can't go on a ride for fun or have fun on a ride that also doubles as training. Nothing is more important than the next race. Unfortunately, I saw the limits of how far that thought extends - for those sorry bastards, nothing is more important.

6 comments:

K.G. Shippen said...

I was fortunate to be in the 5th wave and complete the Spudman before hearing the terrible news of Don Morehouse's death. Kudos to all who completed the duathlon because I know I would have had a hard time had I known what had happened. I don't think triathles have cornered the market on "sucking". I just think some people suck. And I don't think all the people who wanted to swim were jerks. Some of them were for sure, especially the ones who said they wanted their money back! But maybe some of the people just wanted to face their fears, and weren't thinking that it would be disrespectful to the Morehouse family to swim. I don't know! I think a lot of the last wave was made up of team competitors who were ONLY there to do the swim, so that may have contributed to the percentage that still wanted to swim. Maybe the person asking for his/her money back was a team member who paid 60 bucks to do the swim ONLY. I think I would have been supportive of the race director and NOT wanted to swim, but who knows. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post.

Mr. Flynn said...

Personally, I hate the swim part of a tri. After reading your post I wondered if there were any people out there that were relieved to NOT do the swim....should they feel guilty that their relief came at this fellow's expense?

That fact that someone died out there freaks me out a bit. As if I didn't stress myself out already about the swim, this won't help.

Morkthefied said...

Flynn, you did the Vikingman for Pete's sake. If you can conquer 2 feet wind swells, you can beat the murky but still waters of the Spudman.

Mr. Flynn said...

Yes, yes, but I kept near to the shore in case I freaked out. That sucked obviously

I think that Fish is onboard with me at least a little bit regarding the pre-swim jitters. I must have lost a couple of hours or more of sleep per night regarding that swim for two or more weeks preceeding the Vikingman swim.

bradkeyes said...

Unbelievable!

Austin said...

Simply amazing. The surplus of douche bags in this sport nearly ruins the whole frekin thing. I hope there are a few decent folks out there who happen to like swimming, biking and running.

http://enjoytheridetri.blogspot.com/2011/04/triathlon-is-stupid-sport.html