A $500 bike will get you nowhere but the back of the pack unless you are Lance Armstrong. Most good triathletes have a couple of bikes that cost 2 - 10,000. If you bend your lightweight titanium rim, that is another $1200. The thing I hate about tri's is that even if you can run the 5K in 16:00, you still can't catch the FAT guy earing a speedo who floats well and got an 8 minute lead on you on his $5,000 bike. He can belly flop a 23:00 5k and still win by a minute, if you don't have the right equipment.
The problem is that a lot of triathletes show up at road races and insist on telling everyone who beats them that they're triathletes. They say crap like "I'm just doing this as a workout for a tri" and explain that they bikes 200 miles to the race. Do they enter bike races and swim meets and say the same shit? What do they say to the other triathletes who beat them in the multi events - "I'm just focusing on one event this season?" Of course, these guys may not be representative of the average triathlete. There are a lot of other insufferable people at road races and all they do is run.
Speaking only for myself, I don't think that I was "trashing" triathlon by agreeing that it's a sport that's out of the economic range of many people in many countries. That happens to be true of most popular sports in the U.S. -- not just traditionally upper-crusty sports like golf, tennis, and squash, but also sports like American football (consider, for example, the expense of maintaining calibrated 100-yard fields and outfitting large teams with crash helmets and pads) and bowling. In triathlon, there is not only the cost of cycling equipment (along with the much larger expense of well-paved roads to ride on) and available time to develop multiple competencies, but also the cost of swimming facilities. A lot of this is, admittedly, no big deal to most Americans, but it's prohibitive to billions of people. There are good reasons that soccer and running seem to be about the only universal sports around.
The debate about whether triathletes are "better" athletes than distance runners, or whether decathletes are "better" athletes than sprinters, is maddening. They're all trying to be as good as they can be in a particular sport or event, and are thereby limiting their abilities and achievements in other sports and events. I will admit, however, that I personally find it more difficult to appreciate the abilities of a world-class decathlete or triathlete than I do the abilities of a world-class distance runner. For me, watching world-class decathletes run 1,500 meters is aesthetically horrifying, and watching world-class triathletes run is only marginally less distasteful.
I agree... Triathlon is still a young sport and "up and coming". But, the great triathletes are usually D1 athletes or cyclists with no different an income or "ego" than the typical elite American distance runner. They live to train and choose to be poor- with a $2000 bike. And yes, I agree with old guy, etc. that the demographics of triathlon cater to the affluent. Nevertheless, just as there are support networks for Kenyans to westernize and excel in distance running, there are more and more support networks for elite triathletes as well. I am also surprised there are not more D1 distance runners turning to triathlon.
make everyone ride the same model bike. socialism on 2 wheels. it'll never happen but it would equalize things
damn i need some help here , could someone take the icepick out of my back, i think silva or barrios did it and it hurts.
D1 runners CANNOT swim! and in general are poor athletes - terrific aerobic machines perhaps but not really cut out to ride and swim with the best triathletes.
incidentally, i've done quite a few triathlons including a 1/2 ironman however i am a runner at heart and have done several marathons as well. the marathons have easily ripped me up more than the 1/2 iron even though the latter took me almost 2 hours longer. the ironman i suspect would be a completely different matter . .. hats off to those guys
runners, triguys/gals, bikers just do what you like, do it hard and have some fun
Runners are minimalists. The bare essentials: Shoes, somewhere to run, water, something to cover genitalia and chi-chi's (for women mostly) when you're running in public, large quantities of desired food, ice when sore. Auxillary items: Advil.
Tri-athlete's bare essentials: bike, cycling shoes, running shoes, tri-wetsuit, speedo, running clothes, bike clothes, helmet, pool, somewhere to ride and run, gu, powerbars, high energy elixers, proper-balanced carbo meals, 90/40 protein range, brick-work target heart-rate workouts, belt to put your running number on over your speedo, bike rack for transportation of bike...
What we've got here, is a failure to communicate. So, my running brothers, when a tri-athlete comes up to you at the track -- of which he/she did not stop by not to work out, just to "check-out" and he/she comments on the new half blend of lycra and cool-max shorts you're wearing, noticing brand, size, and color as "sea-foam", and then wants to know if you're sponsered, so he/she can tell you that they're sponsered (it seems every friggin' triathlete is sponsered by something), just smile and continue on your minimalist path.
Between runners and tri-athletes, there is just a failure to communicate.
We have all talked with the "tri" individual who spends most time talking of clothing and incidental lightweight gizmos to improve speed, etc. (like previous posts have stated). Runners, on the other hand, are minimalists.
My friend Henry's definition of triathlon: The art of doing three things badly.
I bought a bike recently, went out to where about 15 bikers were set to ride, and not one of them said one word to me. I don't need to be catered to, but almost every runner I know offers a "howzit goin'" to a real conversation. Bikers are pricks.
P.S. to Trotsky - If I ever see you in Mexico, I'm going to bury a hatchet in your skull.
Triathletes are gear bitches. They worry more about their gear than they do about training and competing.
Just what I'd expect from a bunch of sissy, skinny runners who are too weak to even hold up a bike. You can't do what triathletes do, so say the equipment does it for them. If triathlons are so damn easy to do, you can borrow my tri bike, I'll take my mountain bike, and we'll see how much easier the equipment makes it for you. Sure, the equipment makes a difference, but triathlons take strength and more athleticism than jogging. By the way, I find it real difficult to put one foot in front of the other and run around in a circle.
Its an oval, not a circle asshole.
Just makes it that much harder, huh?
You guys are really overestimating how much difference a bike can make. Look, you can't fake your way to a 25mph pace on a bike split just because of the bike. It's all about the heart, lungs, and legs. Take a close look at the top guy's bikes - most of them are pretty standard tri bikes, no disc wheels, etc. They know (as do others) that it's TRAINING that makes a cyclist, not the bike. These guys would still be among the top cyclists, even on my old 1978 Schwinn Varsity!
Here's my own experience. Year 1 of my tri career, I rode an old Trek bike that a friend gave me. We put aero bars on it. I topped out at around 23 mph for a 40k bike ride. This was with toe clips and running shoes! Year 2, I bought a sweet little Quintana Roo for around $1200 (entry level). Got the clipless pedals, cycling shoes, etc - probaby $1500 total invested. Guess what? My bike stayed about the same...maybe a little better, like 23.5 mph instead of 23. Big deal! You could say it was the bike, but I'd suggest it was as much another year of training and just growing stronger.
Now, here's the real secret about tri bikes: they help you run faster. This is why some guys drop big bucks on radical geometry frames. I have run 30:58 in a road race, but never ran faster than 34:00 in a tri until I got my tri bike, which has a much different geometry than the old Trek. Guess what? I ran 32:30 after that, and it was as easy as 34:00, because my legs weren't as dead.
Lastly, for those who mock the tri guys running splits, you need to try it. Get out on a bike and ride hard for an hour. Now, you won't cover the 40k (~25 miles) that a good cyclist would in that time, but it's more about the time than the distance. Jump off your bike, then go run a hard 10k - see how close you come to your pr. End of discussion!
I do have a great deal of respect for the top tri guys but as someone stated earlier, a lot of people are in it for the "look." Some of the clothing is over the top. And what's with some guy with his name stenciled on his "bum" shorts?
Also, most tri run courses are way off. Thus, how can we take it seriously when the winner run 31 minutes for 10km when they probably ran 9.4km?
Also, it is the sport for the rich and rich countries. How can third world countries compete in this sport? BTW--$500 is a lot to some dude in Africa.
These arguments pro/con triathletes are getting tiresome. It pains me to add to the noise, but here goes...
1) I keep reading about the lack of respect for the running abilities of triathletes because of fast splits run on supposedly short courses. While this is the case at times, it's the same thing at road races. Face it, unless you're competing on the track or on certified road courses it's likely that the distance advertised is not dead-on accurate. It seems to me that as often as a course is short, there's another race where the course is long. Case in point, I've run four 5k's this year and the time differential has been 3:45. Considering the shape I'm in there's no way that differential should be more than 90 seconds. This weekend I ran a certified course and was 46 seconds off my best "5k" time of the year, but almost 3:00 faster than my worst "5k". You're always reading about road courses which are later shown to be short (old NYC Marathon course for example), so don't be so quick to think that all tri courses are short. Some are, no question, but in my experience most are pretty close (my experience is 50-75 tris, 300+ road races). Or at least as close as road courses. After all, tris tend to get measured by the same people who measure for road races. There's no conspiracy to measure courses short on purpose.
2) How can 3rd world countries compete in triathlon? How is that point valid towards anything? And why is it even important? 3rd world contries have produced many outstanding runners, fantastic. The fact that not too many have competed in triathlons doesn't minimize the achievements of triathletes. It doesn't in any way invalidate how hard it is to hammer out a quality 10k after an hour of mixing it up on the bike. $500 for a bike, sure it's a lot of money for somebody in the 3rd world. But $50 to enter a marathon is a lot of money too.
3) Someone wrote that triathletes don't look like runners during the run leg, they look like cyclists trying to survive a run (or something like that, don't have the post in front of me). All I can say to that is watch Simon Whitfield of Canada or Miles Stewart of Australia or Carol Montgomery of Canada to see some excellent running form. There's always going to be examples of runners who look awkward but run fast, whether or not they're pure runners or triathletes makes little difference to me. I just admire anyone who can move that fast.
4) As for triathletes clothing being "over the top" and some triathletes having their name on the back of their speedos, think back to the time when most runners wore more conservative workout attire, i.e. sweats. Things changed a long time ago, if you're embarrassed by what someone else is wearing, well why do you care? Having the athlete's name on their shorts is a great way to be able to identify who's who for spectators. It's called marketing, and in some ways running could maybe take a cue. For example, why do track meets put a number on the bibs, why not a smaller bib with the athlete's name. Would sure make it easier to identify who's who. It's not like a lot of runners have much face recognition to the general public.
5) Running can truly be "pure sport", while triathlon seems to bring out the gearheads. While this is largely true, you're going to find examples of people who like/dislike technology and toys on both sides. What bugs me about runners is going to a marathon and seeing people with Camelbacks or those water bottle holders. Geez, it's not like you're heading out in the desert for the day, there's a water stop in most marathons every few miles, at minimum. I also hate when I show up for group runs and see all the heart rate monitors. And now somebody in my long run group has some kind of high tech pedometer in his shoelaces to track distance or something like that. No question that triathletes can get nuts with wetsuits, fancy bikes, etc, but I think it more comes down to each person. Some people like their toys, some people are minimalists. Hell, some runners I know have 20+ pairs of running shoes.
Bottom line, running is a great sport, triathlon is a good sport, some people like to brag about their stuff, some people like to brag about their times. Whatever does it for you is fine by me, just get out and train today.
Sure, some triathlegeeks are very good regional-class runners. Mark Allen ran a 46-minute open 15K and a 29-minute open 10K. He ran 15:36 for 5K in Boulder on a slow, hilly course. New Zealand's Erin Baker ran 36 minutes at Falmouth, around 32-flat for 10K aa has Canada's Carole Montgomery (she also made her nation's cross country team). But most triathlegeeks are so insufferably full of themselves and locked into their gearhead mantras that there is no need to praise their accomplishments. They congratulate themselves quite well and often.
And as for the all we're doing is 'running in circles (sic)' comment, El G. would lap these 99% of these doofuses in the 3K. And I'm sure a frail, enfeebled runner like Paul McMullen could 'hold up his bike' and wrap it around your shaved ass too if he wanted to. Sheesh...something's got to give. Most triathlegeeks train some aerobic component five to seven hours a day and barely work. Think some of us runners could benefit if we didn't have to work 50 hours a week, deal with families or have a life?
Most tri geeks hold down full time jobs - there isn't much money in triathlon. I was able to train 4-5 hours a day, only because I had no kids and a very understanding girlfriend. You get creative. I would bike commute to the pool, then to work, then back home. Got in 3 workouts before 5:00 p.m. and still had time to run (this was getting up at 4:45 am, going to sleep at 10:00 pm at the latest, though).
You wrote "Think some of us runners could benefit if we didn't have to work 50 hours a week, deal with families or have a life" - everyone makes choices. No one put a gun to your head and forced you to have a family (I am not referring to you specifically, just those who choose to have kids).
There seems to be some weird american mentality that we have to get married, have kids, and buy a house before we hit 30. That doesn't always work well for those who train a lot... runner or triathlete.
Listen pal, a great athlete is a great athlete. No one questions that. In fact, I XC ski with a whole bunch of Tri guys all winter and we can all put the hammer down on any given day- but that is because we are all pretty good athletes. No one has the monopoly on toughness.
But by far and large, the talent pool in running is deeper at the high end because there are no restrictions such as cost and facilities that impose themselves on 90% of the world's population.
To that end Triathlon is saturated with wankers and pretenders that have no interest in hard-core training. Running tends to draw a more introspective, minimalist type of wanker.
In my opinion, Triathlon draws the rejects from all 3 sports. A real mixed bag of nuts, if you will.
Don't even get me started on Ultimate Frisbee.
No real runners use Camelbacks or pedometers or other crap of that nature. Triathletes are kings of gear.
So true, so true. I am appalled how some of you guys are bashing triathletes. I would think runners would for sure be able to empathize and understand this sport. Why not save your witty, cruel comments for a sport that deserves it?