One of the reasons I love the sport of triathlon is that the people are incredibly nice. Its one of the only sports where age-groupers are mingling and racing with professional and semi-professional athletes. These pro athletes are also genuinely nice and supportive of anyone actually out there racing with them. I’ve been on courses where people who are heading back into the finish as I’m heading out are yelling words of encouragement. I rarely found this to be the case in running. A lot of times fast runners are very judgmental of slower runners (I’m about a 12 – 13 minute miler).
Yet, to my surprise, I got to meet a super elitist, masters triathlete this past weekend. You may know from a previous post that on Sunday I ran the transition at the Ft. Ritchie Triathlon. Believe it or not there are times where you lose a little faith in humanity. This was one of them. Transition opened at 5:30am with open racking (meaning that spots were not assigned). At 7am I had the “privilege” of meeting a man who wanted a front spot with the elite racers. When I asked him if he was registered as an elite I got the following AWESOME response…
“No, I’m not registered as an elite. I am an elite racer but not for this race. However I shouldn’t have to force myself in there and I certainly do not want to be forced to rack with all these “weekend warriors”
I’m pretty sure I stared at him for a hot second just stunned that he would say something like that. However, being one of those “weekend warriors” I smiled politely and said “I’m sorry sir, if you didn’t register as an elite you will need to mingle in the racks with everyone else.” I then received..
“Well I want to speak with the race director NOW! This is unacceptable!”
Yet again, a polite smile and I simply said “If you can find the race director right now and he cares about your problem of showing up 30 minutes before transition closes, then by all means go for it!” and I walked away.
Some to find out the race director (who is awesome) didn’t care in the slightest and that man got to mingle with the commoners. I’m said to say I learned who he was and found out he is sponsored by a local AA Co bike shop. I guess even elitist jerks deserve sponsors also. However, when the racks in his area filled 10 minutes later and I was able to pull people for better spots in the front he was not one of them. The 5 people who were nice to me and tried to make the best of the situation got the VIP treatment so to speak.
I know race day prep can be stressful. Just a word to the wise, the volunteers are there to help you. If you are nasty or rude they will not go out of their way to assist you but a volunteer always remembers the nice people. Also, remember that your race is no less important than the elite racer or the person next to you. You trained the same and paid the same to be there. Enjoy your race a screw the people who think otherwise!