Monday, October 15, 2012
Five Years...Ten Posts: Part 5
Regular readers of The Two R's know that there are a few topics that just set me off every single time. One of those topics is the extremely high cost of competing in the sport of Triathlon.
Just thinking about it right now makes me want to start ranting and raving about how crazy it is...but why? I already ranted and raved about as well as I could on May 10, 2010.
HAND ME THE DAMN SOAPBOX!
A very funny post today over at Frayed Laces ultimately left me, after a little too much thought, dismayed and disappointed.
It made me wonder, "has any sport gotten farther away from the pure athletic ideal than triathlon?"
Has any sport made the toys more important than the body like triathlon?
Don't get me wrong, I believe the athletes, from top to bottom, in triathlon may be finer specimens than in any other sport.
But why don't you watch an elite athlete in a race over the next couple weeks and add up the cost of the equipment they use:
-The $800 wetsuit.
-The $5000 bike
-The $2000 wheelset
-The $200 aero helmet.
-The $150 tri suit.
-The $300 aerobars.
-The $200 bike shoes.
-The $300 bike pedals.
-The $100 running shoes.
-The $150 sunglasses.
-Oh, and don't forget the $500 entry fee to that Ironman race.
Have we added up to more than your latest car yet?
Look, I like nice toys too, but it's just getting a little ridiculous. At least you can still run a 5k on a $100 budget, from shoes to entry to shorts and shirt. Not so the triathlon. If you think the pro golf circuit is full of pampered rich kids, don't look too closely at your local Olympic Triathlon. It's not pretty.
I know what you're thinking: "OK, big talker. What's your great plan to fix the problem?"
Well, it's not great, but why don't you try this. Instead of buying that $4000 bike, why don't you buy a $3000 bike and give the other $1000 to a program that encourages running or biking or triathlon in the inner cities? Or buy the $80 Nikes instead of the $140 pair and give $60 to a program that buys running shoes for children in Africa that can't afford them?
Give before it's too late, I say, because to me, the Sport of Triathlon looks like its pricing itself right out of existence for the normal athletes of the world. And if it keeps going the way it has been, the great growth of the last twenty years will be lost because so few kids will be able to buy enough crap to compete at a high level!
Or if you're really adventurous, how about some race director out there starting a tri that bans aerobars? Bans wetsuits? Bans aero wheels and aero helmets? Would that be so bad? Just once? For fun?
As Lake Padden Triathlon Race Director Lance Romo once said to me, "I remember back when, if you wanted to go faster on your bike, you had to pedal harder!"
Those were the days.