I read Charlie’s post a while back on why triathlon is a stupid sport and why triathletes are assholes, and I got a good chuckle out of it. Parts were ridiculous, which made them funny. Other parts were true, which made them even funnier. I talked about it on Twitter with some other MOP age groupers, and it seemed to be a consensus that Charlie was sort of right–there are a bunch of assholes at triathlons. I’ve been thinking about this article a little more, and I’ve been asking myself, “why?” I think he’s right, but not necessarily for the reasons he listed.
He seems to be pretty fixated on the fact that the average tri-geek is an “elitist prick with a bullshit job and money to burn.” Not sure where he pulled his numbers from, but I can infer from his statement that dude doesn’t like his boss very much. Fair enough. But the truth is, when you go to a race you are going to be around a bunch of over-achievers who are pretty competitive and focused on doing their best and growing their list of accomplishments.
You know, the kind of people who eventually end up being your boss and making more money than you.
I don’t think there’s anything inherently assholish about that, but those traits make people appear that way when the heat is on. The place I’ve witnessed it most is in transition setup. The only real assholes there are the people who try to take up a whole bike rack and then freak out about “who touched my stuff?!?!?!” when someone tries to correct it. This makes the person who moves their stuff look like a jerk too.
That’s what I see the most at races–people who appear to be assholes because they are keeping to themselves. Actually, most are just focused, nervous, and don’t really know that many people at the race. The nature of the beast is that you have to spend a lot of time training alone. Swimming doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of chatting. And while you can bike with others, that’s not allowed in the race, so it’s not very helpful to spend your training time in a big group. Besides, other people get rightfully nervous when they see show up for a ride with aero bars. When someone you don’t know is riding behind you at 25mph and may or may not have access to their brakes, well….