Imagine you’re standing clad in your finest wetsuit about to launch yourself into the icy waters at the start of a race. What’s the last thing you want to hear? Well I’ll tell you, it’s ‘BANG’, the unmistakable sound of someone’s tyre exploding in the bike racking area. Occasionally the bang will be followed by an announcement revealing the number of the unfortunate puncture-bingo winner, which happened to my friend Mike at a tri some years ago. We heard the bang, then they shouted a race number, at which point he looked at me and just had time to say ‘B*llocks!’ before diving in.
So with this thought in mind I thought I’d set out some of the other things which I hope don’t besmirch your ears this year:
10. Broom wagon
Some races have a vehicle that follows the race, sweeping up unfortunate athletes who don’t make the various cut-off points. And when you’re struggling there’s nothing quite like the sound of an approaching engine to crush the last of your resistance.
9. Jeez that’s cold
Jumping from nice warm land into nice cold water is already hard enough, but the last thing you need to hear is someone who’s jumped in ahead of you say ‘Oof’, ‘Brr’, ‘Cor that’s freezing’.
You’re pedalling along in the aero position – and then you hear it, the ‘whump-whump-whump’ of a disc wheel approaching you from behind and passing you at a speed that suggests you’re in fact travelling more slowly than mist.
7. Looking good
I know people mean well, but when someone shouts this to me, I know they’re lying. I’d much rather have honesty, although I’m aware that ‘You look like a henchman from a Bond film who’s going through a taxing divorce’ is a bit of a mouthful.
6. Your calf
One year at the National Relays I was hammering round the 5km when I not only felt my calf go, but I distinctly heard it make an audible ‘doink’ like the noise you used to get in cartoons when Jerry pulled out one of Tom’s whiskers.
5. Some algae
Many moons ago I lined up for the start of a tri, when literally seconds before we were about to dive in, the organisers said: ‘We’ve had reports of some toxic algae in the water so if anyone wants to withdraw and have a refund come and see me now’. Yes, because I’m really going to do that in front of hundreds of others. No, I’m now wondering if I can manage 1.5km with my mouth shut.
4. Th-dunk, th-dunk
I once was absolutely storming the bike leg at Ironman Austria, nothing could stop me – except that th-dunk, th-dunk noise of my now flat front tyre. Is there anything in tri more depressing than a puncture?
3. Come on (insert name of rival)
We all have a rival who we love to beat, and there’s nothing worse than running along and hearing a spectator shout their name just seconds after you pass them, meaning they’re stalking you close behind. This works the other way when someone shouts YOUR name as you sneak up on your rival, blowing your chances of a stealth attack.
2. hope we get round before it rains
Yes I know the forecast said rain, but, person in transition, if you mention bad weather again I will slay you with a track pump.
1.And the winner is…
Some years ago at Ironman Lanza I approached the finishing line just in time to see the race winners mount the podium. The fact that I was arriving after they’d finished was bad enough, but as anyone who’s ever done Lanza will know, the run laps take you right up to the finish before sending you back out again – and I still had another lap to go.