The Endurance Athlete’s Fraternity and Sorority

Paddling aside, endurance athletes like bring pain to others (and themselves). Whether it’s managing excruciating lactic acid levels due to the “I’ve lost count” interval workout in a session, the hill repeats, the unrelenting headwinds, or the worst one of them all, the trainer workouts, where the fan and tv are both broken. All of these are voluntary, self-improving, relationship-building activities that, first, make us more in tune with ourselves, but maybe even more importantly, solidify us into the endurance athlete’s “Greek” life. This little snippet from the May 2011 issue of Triathlete Magazine, page 64 caught my attention.

The “Triathlete Guy” and “Roadie Guy” each belong to their own tribe. While “we tribe members have our differences”, we are all inherently the same. We put in the time. We want the hottest, lightest, sexiest bikes to show off to our peers. We strive for the diamond ‘notch’ in the calf and powerful quads. Some of us even are driven for the darkest cycling tan lines to show we’ve put in the hours. My roommate raced in the Tour of the Gila last year and had a tan line for the next eight months. Wow. Anyways, the author of the article, Holly Bennett, talks about her airport observations and her last paragraph is dead on. “..clan of athletic individuals. If ever we do meet, it’s a foregone conclusion we’ll have more in common than our average airplane neighbor in seat 15B.”

It’s so true. While sometimes we may not be eager to talk to people on a plane, you never know who you’ll meet. I met a guy who tied flies for fly fishing and cut me a sweet deal. I’ve met people who ended up providing sponsorship support. One flight back during college, I was sitting next to a guy about my age and I saw on his computer screen a picture of the Clemson Cycling team. I made a remark and the rest of the flight was all cycling talk. It was great. If we had raced in the same conference, I would have made a peloton buddy.

This isn’t double secret probation, so if you seen a potential roadie or tri-geek, talk it up. However, the old addage goes, you know you’re talking to a triathlete because they’ll tell you all bout it. It’ll make the time pass faster and you may be able to score an energy bar from them instead of paying $5 for peanuts.