I’m heading to my first rodeo and it has nothing to do with riding bucking bulls or roping horses. Instead of tight fitting Wranglers, ten gallon Stetsons and belt buckles the size of Chevy pickups, the crowd I will be mingling with next week on Kona will be wearing Speedos, aero helmets and the latest running shoes. Yup, I’m heading to my first triathlon and it happens to be the grandaddy of them all: IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. I’ll be there in support of Gu Energy Labs’ athletes.
When it comes to triathlon, I’m a complete newbie. I don’t swim or run, but I do ride a mountain bike professionally, so I have some idea of what the riders will be going through, although I’ve never ridden a TT bike before. I am in chin dropping awe of what participants will subject themselves to next Saturday and cannot wait to witness it first hand. In preparation for my first “rodeo”, I’ve had to buff up on my Tri lingo so I don’t stick out like a city slicker at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, NV. Luckily, sites like Beginner Triathlete.com exist to help with my education. Before my recent immersion into the Tri dialect, I would’ve thought that T1 and T2 were references to the first two Terminator movies instead of Transition 1 (the change area between swim and bike) and Tranistion 2 (the change area between bike and run). It shouldn’t have surprised me that just as rodeos have different disciplines like cutting, roping and bull riding, so too does triathlon. I would’ve never known the difference between a 70.3, 140.6 or 1/2 IM without the help of my beginner triathlete glossary. I’ve also started reading LAVA magazine, which seems to be the holy grail of Tri mags. I am now aware that come next Saturday, heavy weights like Craig Alexander, Chris McCormack and Michael Realert are some of the men’s favorites while fast women Mirinda Carfrae, Caroline Steffeen and Leanda Cave are predicted to be duking it out for victory on the lava beds of Kona.
I wish all IRONMAN athletes a successful race next Saturday,whether that’s a PR or just finishing. I give a respectful tip of my Stetson to all those toeing the line, quietly thanking my lucky stars that it’s not me saddling up to tackle such a beastly event.