Triathlon is the greatest sport in the world and absolutely everything about it is fantastic. There, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we should of course acknowledge that there are, very occasionally, some extremely minor things about Tri that can be a tiny bit irritating.
So as this is my 101st column for the mighty multisport magazine of 220 Triathlon, I thought it was high time I put my various personal pet-peeves into my very own Tri Room 101 in a not-at-all contrived fashion. Strap yourselves in, this could be a bumpy ride….
1. Jamming my finger on swimming lane ropes.
2. Seeing a yellow mile ahead on a run leg which, as you get nearer, turns out to be just one of those “Caution Runner” signs.
3. When my bike computer won’t pick up a signal even when the magnet is clipping the bloody sensor with an infuriating “tick…tick…tick.”
4. A snot drip on the end of my nose while I’m cycling on the tri bars, which has to be removed either by sitting up and losing aerodynamism, or rubbing it with my top lip which makes me look like I’m pulling a pervy face.
5. Someone’s old sticking plaster floating in a swimming pool.
6. Getting energy gel on my fingers – and thus my handlebars, face, bottle, shoes, tri suit and everything I ever touch again.
7. The person who racks their bike facing the wrong way who, when you point out their error, says “I want to face towards the bike exit”, as though they were at a level where a couple of seconds is going to make a difference to their result.
8. My reflection when I run past a mirrored window, which reveals that my running style does not resemble Mo Farah but instead that of someone who’s been broomhandled up the tunnel.
9. Swimming face first into a ball of pond-weed like a gorilla’s fist.
10. Being overtaken by pizza-laden Deliveroo riders when I’m out on a recovery ride, compelling me to regain my honour by speeding up and overtake them back while trying to look like I’m not really trying.
11. The speed with which my left big toe makes holes in running socks.
12. Walking barefoot across a stony path to a swim start (and appearing to be the only person hopping about like a big fanny).
13. Hitting my shin on a pedal while running into transition with my bike which, at risk of filling up the 220 letters page with irate Tri mums, I estimate to be 11 times more painful than childbirth.
14. The moment on a turbo trainer when you realise your crotch has gone numb.
15. A post-race bag which contains nothing but leaflets.
16. Putting your thumb through your brand new expensive wetsuit as you try to hoik it over your fat bum (this for my friend Neill).
17. A finishing time that has “01” at the end of it – for example a 1500m swim race which you did in 23.00.01 (this for my friend Keith)
18. Post-race photographs which catch you in an unguarded moment, for example when you’ve finished posing with your finisher’s medal and are slumped exhaustedly on a wheelie bin (this for my friend Tony).
19. Not being able to find your wetsuit zip cord as you get out of the water and standing there flailing your arms around behind you and scrabbling at your neck for several minutes in front of a large crowd (this for my friend Joe).
20. The person who overtakes you on the bike and then drops in front of you and slows down having spent too much energy getting past you, forcing you to ether drop back or put disruptive effort into re-overtaking –just as the draftbuster marshal appears on their motorbike.
21. Removing race numbers from your body, a process which can only be successfully completed using napalm.
22. Opening my kit-bag after I’ve left my post-race kit in it for a couple of days because I was too knackered to do it when I got home, an event which has unleashed an odour so powerful that it has caused passing birds to drop dead out of the sky.
23. The moment the cold water hits the small of your back as you wade into a lake.
24. The person on the run leg who runs past you, then walks for a bit, runs past you again, then walks for a bit, and beats you.
25. Cramp in my left hamstring, which I also estimate to be 11 times more painful than childbirth.
26. A gunged-up energy bottle teat which almost removes your front teeth when you try and pull it open with your mouth while cycling.
27. Coming round to start the last lap of a run course and seeing people finishing.
28. My swim cap slowly riding up my head and making me look like a baby bottle.
29. Getting sunburn on the fleshy bit under your shoulder which you can’t quite reach with your hand but isn’t covered by your tri suit.
30. When you can’t get a communal track pump in transition to seal around your tyre valve and you stand there in front of a waiting queue pumping away with air going everywhere except in the tyre, looking like a complete beginner.
Anyway after all that jollity all that remains is for me to wish you a fantastic triathlon season. May you have a year full of PBs, which are all slightly slower than mine
Martyn has a regular column in the monthly magazine 220 Triathlon and you can subscribe to either the digital or print version here