Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The New Status Symbol


As I was trolling around the web , I came across an article :


These days if you're looking for cachet, you'd better be willing to swim, bike, and run for it. By Simon Dumen

Chances are you've been there: a dinner party where you get stuck sitting next to a lawyer who has nothing to say about the law—but won't shut up about Chamois Butt'r cream and the wonders of his triathlon ladder workout. 

More subtly than, say, whipping out the keys to his Bugatti, a certain sort of image-conscious striver makes the distinction clear: Prestige comes with being an athletic triple threat.

I am not sure it is. I recall cycling was the new golf in the corporate world and I know lots of professional types into cycling but sadly I can count the number of colleagues or acquaintances I know ( outside my social group of triathlete friends) who  have done a triathlon.

It still seems a fringe activity. Sure the Corporate BRW Triathlon has grown and  as everyone in Australia and possible the USA knows , Triathlon has become more popular. The USA Triathlon membership is now at 150000 ( USAT membership demographics ) Triathlon Australia has 12,000 members and 180 affiliated clubs .Races sell out and  it just seems more crowded at races. But is it a Status Symbol ?I am not so sure. I certainly stumbled into triathlon and got the buzz from finishing my first race , overweight and slow and scared but exhilarated at finishing.

It seems if it is the new Status Symbol ,it seems a lot of effort and pain for a Status symbol especially if you don't enjoy it or get it .

in a more recent piece in the Wall street Journal , Mr Alex Stubb , Minister for European affairs and foreign trade of Finland and a self-described "multi sport fanatic was featured and described the sport as:
"Triathlon is the new Harley-Davidson of middle-aged men like myself. Instead of leather, we're getting into Lycra,"
How A Diplomatic Finn Trains For A Triathlon by Frances Robinson (WSJ)

That is probably a more  apt description of the sport. 

I have been to the extremes of the training cycles and speak with some authority , if you don't enjoy the training you aren't going to last because there is a fair bit needed with 3 disciplines and it does suck if you don't improve. Whilst  Chrissie Wellingtons was at the apex of the sport she decided to have a break:
One of the reasons I felt I needed to take a break from full time training and racing, was that I felt I had lost a bit of the love. Instead of feeling like I wanted to ride my bike, I felt I ‘had’ to ride my bike. Instead of wanting to go out and power up a hill, I felt I ‘had’ to power up a hill. It is a subtle, but important distinction. Sport had become incredibly ‘structured’. I was obsessed with the minutiae: accounting for every second, every calorie, every breath, every repeat, every rest interval, every wobbly single leg squat. I wasn’t even seeing the scenery, hearing the birds, or chatting to my friends. And I sweated the small stuff … the really small stuff that I wouldn’t have given a thought to when I first started. What tyres are faster? What depth rims on my wheels? What pedals are best? Is someone else using go-faster drinks bottles? How many vents does my helmet have? What colour should my laces be? Is my rear hydration system floppy or aero?

Chrissie Wellington - Stripping Down

There are days and weeks when  I have had the same feelings . It effects us all especially if you are working and have a family and  other commitments . It all gets too much and that's when the fun is gone. I have had to readjust and re calibrate to rediscover what it is that is fun and enjoyable and why I still love the sport. As they say ...." Too Much Of A Good Thing....".  If only I had taken up Stamp collecting .