Triathlon is not exactly the Sport of Kings

By Daniel J. Smiechowski

What motivates someone in pushing their body to the limit for fifteen hours or more in a single event? Unlike horse racing, this sport appeals to all the Kings subjects. The human mind works in mysterious ways. Triathlon may well be defined as the sport of masochists. Indeed, the sport of cycling has long been associated with suffering so adding swimming and running to the mix creates a more balanced sense of discomfort.

One of the first triathlons started on Mission Bay during the early seventies and has since morphed into a worldwide phenomenon. There are triathlons in virtually every country on the planet. Several years ago in a standing joke, I stated that I competed in Saint Denis, France so after an eleven hour flight to the Parisian Suburb, I quickly boarded a flight for Saint Denis, Reunion Island making it another continuous eleven hour flight to this speck of land in the Indian Ocean.

In speaking of the mind and triathlon, it should be noted that perhaps more triathletes and water polo players are recruited into the ranks of Navy Seals than from any other discipline. Considering that many so-called average competitors swim fifty meters under and then fifty over during workouts, it’s plain to see that these folks have the mettle to persevere. The beautiful thing about this sport is that one is never too old to join in the fun. I’ve been at it since the seventies and at sixty, I still feel young and ready to hammer the roads. Once you hit a certain age the competitor’s drop precipitously making it easier to win your age group. Our local Mission Bay Triathlon for example has an average of about six to seven athletes in the sixty to sixty four year old age group. There was a cyclist in Europe not long ago that barely topped the century mark!

Staying fit is not only personally rewarding but reduces our national debt, frees up overcrowded hospitals, relieves stress and tension, improves self esteem, is environmentally friendly, makes for safer neighborhoods by travelling on foot and in the long run saves money and brings personal happiness. As hard core triathletes say, “Go hard or go home.” See you on the roads and stay fit!

Be nice, do good deeds and don’t be a stranger as we at the Clairemont Times value your participation. This column is devoted to Juan Carlos Vinolo,  the seriously injured cyclist on Fiesta Island from a few weeks ago.

Daniel J. Smiechowski has been a resident of Clairemont since 1967 and can be reached or 858.220.4613


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