As someone who is so passionate about triathlon, I often come across people who ask me why I would partake in such a gruelling activity - sometimes I ask myself the same question.
My desire to participate in triathlon was definitely not inspired from leaving one of Melbourne’s many feral nightclubs twenty or so years ago and seeing crazed individuals in fluoro spandex swimming, riding or running down along St Kilda’s beach road. Nor was it while driving up Mt Dandenong and watching these lunatics climbing what seemed like an endless hill on their bikes. Who were these mental cases? I thought these triathletes had serious neurological conditions. So why is it that I love the sport so much so, that my day and week is focussed around my next training activity, or dreaming of that feeling of crossing a finish line so smashed, and knowing I could not have gone any harder.
And there it is. I just love the emotional, psychological and physical feeling I experience from training and racing. I will probably never win my age group, grab an age group prime, or win a tri- except maybe against a field of local clubbies. But that is not the reason I love the sport. Yes I love the competition, and without racing against others, there is no way I could get that feeling, but the main reason I do triathlon is because I love the training and the feeling of racing.
Triathlon is hard. Anyone who says it is not is lying. And that’s why I love it. While there is the satisfaction and fulfilment I get from doing the training, it is the fact that I can race that gets me through and what I long for. Nothing can beat that feeling just before the gun goes off. With every second, your heart beats faster and faster, until it is nearly going to come out of your chest. To when you come sprinting into T1, fumbling with your kit thinking your heart is actually going to explode and wondering ‘where have all the bikes gone’. Or that feeling of riding TT amongst 1500 other athletes feeling like you are really part of something special – although you wish so many guys were not going past you. But the ultimate and my most desired feeling is when I come out of T2. Everyone knows it, but there is no feeling like trying to run fast after biking like a mad dog at full-gas. That feeling of dead, unresponsive legs, the burn with every step – there is nothing better! For me, the run is where it all gets really fun. The accumulation of lactic acid off the bike, and now I am trying to do a PR for the run. Yes, now that’s what I love about triathlon - the sting of race day!
I have to say, I now go riding or running down past some of the same areas I use to frequent at what some would call, ungodly hours, and I look at those misspent youth leaving clubs and parties and wonder, who are these crazed individuals who have been out all night. Who knows? Maybe one day they might see the light as well.