Freeman Cebu Sports

Why I don’t do Triathlons

ALLEZ - JV Araneta - The Freeman

Triathlon is one of the most popular sports in the country today. And I think the reason that makes it popular is not the star triathletes who dominate the sport professionally but because  any ordinary human being can ride a bicycle, run on their feet and can swim and therefore can join the event.

We are born to run and as kids, we learn to ride our bikes. Some of us who live along the coast mostly know how to swim, maybe not in the “competitive way”, but we can always learn how to swim fast even past our teens if we hire a good coach.

There is no denying that the sport is expensive. Tri bikes cost a fortune, and with the gears that go with it, well…The running aspect is the cheapest, you just need a pair of good running shoes, while swimming, you have to spend every time you swim. Unless you have a pool in your backyard or the ocean just a stone’s throw away.

These days and times, triathlons are getting bigger and bigger. With the pandemic holding triathlon back, it has come back stronger today. I think I have found out why triathlon is so popular not just with the triathletes, but it also tickles the imagination of the local fans who are not even into sports.

During its early days, I remember one race in Danao in the 90’s, when one old timer commented- “There’s really something wrong with the young people today. I see them jogging at noon wearing underwear!” I conclude that triathlon is the sport of this generation, the “Look-at-me” generation, and I don’t mean that in a derisive way. This is the generation of Facebook and Instagram, the generation of TikTok and YouTube. Whether we like it or not, this generation has its stamp all over the sport.

However, glamorous as some may perceive it, there is a lot of work to become a triathlete. No athlete is born glamorous, and if you only see them training for a big race, then you will know it’s not. My college landlord, the late Alfredo de Jesus, who was a member of the Philippine National Football team in the 50’s, said that actual games are the easiest, it’s the daily training that is tough.

I have done exactly two triathlons. One was in 1999, it was called the “NIKE Everyman” held at the Plantation bay and then in Bohol. In the former, I struggled during the swim and the run. In the latter, I had a flat tire and DNF’d.

At that time, I used to call the sport “quadrathlon” since after the evening running sessions at the Abellana Oval, I had to do the laundry since my wife was pregnant. And that didn’t help me to love the sport.

That is why I have immense admiration and respect for friends who can juggle work, family, and training. Believe me it’s not easy. The support of your loved ones is a requirement.

Since a few friends of mine are asking me why I am not joining the Ironman, or any triathlons, it is because I realized that if I cross-train cycling with running and swimming, I don’t have the same energy during criterium racing. And my passion is in bike racing, not swimming or running. And that’s why I don’t do Triathlons.

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