Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vive, le diff'erance! Except for those damn triathletes

When it comes to getting to know new people, I will be the first to admit that I tend to be a little standoffish. To really tell the truth, I generally avoid new people like the plague. I don't know if I'm just getting more and more cranky as I get older, or if I'm just lazy. I really don't want to put forth the effort it takes to get to know someone new. For those people that I've gotten to know in the recent few years, you should feel pretty good about yourself, in that you seemed interesting enough that I chose to put in the work. As I said, I'm raising laziness to never before seen heights.

I mention the above, because in today's post, I will attempt to compare and contrast the differences between cyclist, runners, and that most unusual of enthusiast, the triathlete. And since I don't meet a whole lot of new people, most of the opinions that I will express here today, are derived more from observation, than actual face-to-face interaction. Matter of fact, most of the runners and triathletes that I do know, are actual cyclist who also run and swim. So we're talking about a very shallow pool that these opinions have been developed from. I freely admit that the opinions expressed here might be completely unfair generalizations, quite possibly wrong, and even actually mean.
But that's all I have to go on, so get over it.

From what I can see, cyclist tend to be a very social group. At least the cyclist that I hang out with are. Actually, if we didn't "hang out" together, I probably wouldn't think they were very social. It's kind of a catch-22 thing. We're social because we hang out, and we hang out because we're social. But anyway, this seems to be true amongst a large percentage of the cyclist that I see. At local bike rallies, the after-ride activities are almost as important as the ride itself. If you read some of the bike rally reviews on, there seems to be as many comments about the food and festivities after the ride, as there are about the ride itself.

Bicyclist seem to be generally happier than their running counterparts. From time to time, I'll go out and ride around White Rock Lake here in Dallas. This is an area also frequented by a lot of runners. While the cyclist seemed to be really enjoying themselves, the runners typically look like someone just shot their dogs. I see them going by, their foreheads all furrowed, running like their late for a funeral. On the other hand, the cyclist are riding along, usually chatting with the other cyclist around them, without a care in the world, except for trying not to run into the runners who seem to be in the clutches of a oxygen debt induced fog.

Another difference that I've noticed, is that for the most part, runners seem to be a lot more intense about running, than cyclist are about cycling. You see runners out running in their little tank tops and running shorts, constantly checking their stop watch/wrist watches, to see if their pace has fallen off by a tenth of a mph. When I'm out on a bike ride, I usually don't check my average speed until after the ride is over. But like I said, laziness is an art form for me.

A perfect example of this intensity comes from the wife of a friend of mine. Due to knee problems, she switched from running to cycling. So she's at her first bike rally ever, and she arrives at the first break point. Now for those of us who have been cycling for a while, when we get to a rest stop, we coast in and come to a stop, gently lay our bikes down, and casually walk over to the food tables. We get something to eat and drink, and after 5 minutes or so of making small talk with the other cyclist, we'll casually walk back to our bikes, get back on, and ride off. But that's not how the converted runner does it. She flies into the break point, jumps off her still rolling bike, runs over to the food table, slams a couple of glasses of gator-aid, shoves a couple of cookies in her mouth, sprints back to her bike, the wheels still spinning as it lays on the ground, jumps back on and flies back onto the road, possibly running over cats and small children as she goes, but never slowing down. She said it took several bike rallies for her to realize that the person who finishes first, gets the same crap*y t-shirt as the person who finishes last.

I haven't talked about triathletes yet because, quite frankly, I really don't understand them. In a prior post, I mentioned that triathletes should hereto after be referred to as "crazy people". If you think I'm going to apologize for saying that, you've got another think coming. While I certainly admire the dedication that it takes to complete a full triathlon, actually doing so has to be one of the dumbest things that I've ever heard of. And I've heard all the arguments about pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do, and the joy of accomplishing something that seemed impossible, and blah blah blah. To quote the great Gene Wilder in the movie Young Frankenstein, (quite possibly the funniest movie ever made), "your listening to the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind". I personally think that breaking all of my knuckles with a hammer is something beyond what I thought I could ever due, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to start training myself to do it. Just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

I'm hardly a unbiased judge on this, but it just seems to me that cyclist are the happier and more relaxed group of the three we've discussed here today. I'm sure that runners think their happy, but they sure don't look like it. And triathletes, who knows what the hell their thinking.

Peace out.......Nearly Famous Fred


Charisa said...

Love your post. I'll vouch for you - I'm a triathlete and yes, we are all crazy!!

Nearly Famous Fred said...


Glad you enjoyed the post. No offense intended.

Just curious, were are you from and how did you find my blog. I'm just trying to track my readership growth.