Accidental Ironman: How Triathlon Ruined My Life
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Having spent 10 years scaling the lower echelons of the sport, the time has come for one of Britain's least successful athletes to reveal all about how he got involved in all this nonsense in the first place. Marvel as he reveals: His sporting history - how being last pick at school football in the 1970s set him on course for a lifetime of being rubbish at team games. How he took up triathlons in the first place (for a bet, and the cow who made it with him never paid up). How he overcame a crippling lack of talent and a chorus of complete indifference from his family to complete 10 Ironmans, all outside the top 500 finishers. The many triathlon adventures he has experienced over the past 10 years (cow pats, Ironmans, incontinence, driving bans, broken bones, public nudity, spending entire redundancy payments on a new bike, Belgian portaloos, German knocking shops, sunburnt arse cheeks, channel swimming, fights with chavs, obsessions with weather and the nutritional value of Jaffa Cakes, 3 hour marathons, chronic dehydration and so on). The many and varied idiots he's got to know as a result of taking up the sport (aka his mates). The typical training (hell) he goes through to take part in a race given he has absolutely no ability whatsoever. How triathlons ultimately caused him to sell his Mercedes, give away his expensive suit, chuck in his job in the City and become, as his father put it, a "god-damned hippy" (A cycle path designer who owns a camper van).
has them sweating more than Peter Andre on University Challenge. Neither Mark nor Joe, my fellow Challenge Roth-men, are relishing the swim while for me it’s going to be easily the best bit of the whole race. Having spent a lot of time paddling about, I have acquired the following tips about triathlon-swimming, which I now pass on to you at no extra charge. Tip 1 – Choose your swim cap carefully Just as triathletes spend ages selecting the right race T-shirt to wear to intimidate others with
he felt the cold more than the rest of us, due to having the same percentage body fat as a paperclip. However, showing true determination he dug in and finished his hour before coming aboard and amusing us all with an impersonation of a man getting changed during an earthquake as he tried to stop shivering long enough to put his pants on. The next four hours were a repeat of the first four except it was now light, which wasn’t all it was cracked up to be because we could now see that we were in
their races with them. So it was that on top of my planned races of the ‘Kernowman’ Half Ironman in Cornwall and the Cotswold 113 Half Ironman in the, er, Cotswolds, I now added two further races, namely the excitingly titled ‘Swashbuckler’ and ‘Avenger’ – both of which were also Half Ironmans. This made a total of four middle distance races in my pre-Iron/Challenge/packet-of-fags build-up, exactly double the number that I needed. Ho hum as they say, and yet more evidence of the accidental
around the scenic lanes between Beaulieu and Brockenhurst (giving way to ponies at all times), and a run around some lanes which may be equally scenic but which I didn’t notice because I banged my nut on the bike rack in transition so spent most of the run clutching my head like I’d been clobbered by the riot police. Again it was campervan time. I also drove Joe down with me with both our bikes perched precariously on the back. Normally, sleeping arrangements in the van involve me in the
another matter and after a bright start involving passing lots of clearly inferior athletes, I progressively slowed throughout the 14-mile course and was passed by lots of clearly superior athletes who were better at pacing themselves. After a final lurch up the hill to the finish, I crossed the line with the words ‘Fetch me a bucket quick!’ Still, I was happy enough with my performance, especially as this was the first time I’d done the Swashbuckler and rarely had I enjoyed a race more. Not