By Jack McDermott

I think that it is about time that I comment on Mr. Labossiere’s article, “When Friends Go Tri” printed in the September issue of the Fleet Foot. Now, it really is not an issue for me since I have no friends, but if I did, I would be very concerned if they ever “went tri”.

It is my understanding that triathlons were developed under Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law as an ethical means to end one’s life. To save you from this near-death experience, several members of the club have offered helpful hints to avoid making the triathlon entry form your last will and testament. One of these experts is our resident Tri-Swami, Kathy McDaris. But now you have someone better – I give you Jack McDermott, Tri-Salami. (If you follow my advice, you will probably drown).

My Qualifications
I have none. To be honest, I have never done a triathlon, and I don’t know the difference between a brick and a tick other than one of them gives you a rash. I will say that I have seen the Freedom Springs Tri two years running, and I have watched the Iron-Man on TV five times (and let me tell you … it keeps getting funnier every time I watch it!). Think of me as the Dennis Miller of triathlons — sooner or later someone will realize that I am clueless and ask me to please shut up. So here are a few things runners should think about before they “go tri”.

The Swim Portion
It has always amazed me that if you punch or kick someone in the head on the streets of Tallahassee you will probably get arrested for assault and battery. However, if you give someone a triathlon race-entry form, not only does it become acceptable behavior — it is almost encouraged in the swim portion.

Swimming is a lot like running except there is a much larger probability that you will get attacked by sharks or alligators. Not only that, I have been told that these predators like to go after the slow fat ones, which gives me another reason to remain on land. It really makes me wonder how they do triathlons in South America with all of those piranhas. I bet they have to slaughter a goat and throw it in upstream to occupy the fish. You just better hope you are finished with the swim portion by the time the fish get back!

If you are lucky enough not to drown, you will emerge from the water suffering from blurry vision and a mild concussion only to stagger into the first transition area. A word of warning — these transition areas are not like the NASCAR pit stops where you have teams of people helping you with your equipment and giving you water. In fact, the few races that I have seen did not even have a massage therapist in the transition area!

The Biking Portion
The main difference between biking and running is that there are so many rules. For example, all bikers are required to wear a helmet. This is frustrating because I really do not think I need to wear a helmet. In fact, several people in the club have remarked about how I have “a very thick skull”. Also, to look at me, it is pretty obvious that I do not need extra weight. On the positive side, it is buoyant – so you might consider wearing it during the swim portion. Another rule that they impose is the “no drafting” rule. I have no idea what this means. All I can say is that when the race director says, “draft” – I am the one who is looking around for the Beer Garden.

One reason the biking portion frightens me is that bad things happen to good cyclists. Greg Lemonde won the Tour De France, and he gets shot in a hunting accident while Lance Armstrong gets testicular cancer. I am sure that if I won the Tour de France I would get a malignant tumor on my face (not that it would make me less attractive). But do not worry, I am not a threat to win the Tour just yet. The only way I am going to the Tour de France is if I win the instant-win scratch off game at McDonalds.

The Running Portion
Supposedly this is my best event, but this is relative — like saying Venezuela is the best OPEC country. ($1.52 a gallon! Good grief! For that price I should get a date with the female gas attendant when I fill up the tank!).

After all the other stuff, running should be the easy portion, provided that you did not read the triathlon literature. Now I do not think these triathletes art too bright to begin with, but someone needs to get them a dictionary. One of these tri-people told me that the Freedom Springs Race was “a sprint”. In my world, anything that takes more than an hour involving blisters, chafing, dehydration, and internal hemorrhaging is definitely not a sprint. So you better save a little energy for the “easy” running portion of the race.

In Summary
As you can probably guess, I am not brave enough to attempt a triathlon just yet. Instead I am more than content to sadistically watch the pain and suffering of others. However, you never know, one day I too may catch the tri-bug. So if you ever finish the swim portion of the tri, and you hear the faint noise of a small group playing “Marco Polo” in the background – you will definitely know that Jack McDermott has “gone tri.”