I’ve never done a sprint till this year and John Tanner was my last Tri the parks event of the season.
As some of you know, I fixed up my dad’s vintage steel road bike, the 1984 Schwinn Traveler. That’s what started the chain of events that led to me racing completely old school. I thought You gotta go big or go home, that’s why I got the banana Speedo instead of a plain one. I found other options in a google shopping search, but google only showed the page of the product, not the rest of the site. I looked at the rest of the page and holy hell was it some really gay shit. I don’t mean that as derogatory, I mean this is the type of stuff you’d see at Pride in Pensacola and not on a straight man. So yeah I went with the bananas.
I told Ann, the race director, at their last race that if I got the bike done I was going to do this. I don’t know if she actually thought I was serious though. Sorry I kinda got turned off course where I was headed, it happens easily with people who suffer TBIs.
It’s been a long, hard road since suffering my TBI four years ago and I haven’t really had pure fun at a race since before then. I also haven’t been very fast this year either, the depression was like racing while dragging a boat anchor. So that kinda put a damper on racing too, it was like going through the motions and was kind of joyless.
This race was going to be just for me and I wasn’t going to take it the slightest bit seriously, I wasn’t going to be racing the clock.
So let’s get this thing started.
I knew this was going to be awesome, it was actually pretty pumped to race and I hadn’t been in a very long time. There was a lot of effort that went into putting it all together. Right now I”m not even close to what weight I like to race at, I”m a little pudgy because I ate a shit ton of candy over the last month. However I don’t have any fear or shame so I’m not bothered by it, and my ass fills out the Speedo better, so you know the glass is half full.
Oh, free lesson here, if someone insults you and you want a high brow way of responding just say “I’ve been called worse things by better people.” Most of the time the other person can’t wrap their brain around what you just said because of the phrasing and have no response so you get the last word.
Anyway, I got comments and compliments about the banana suit from about 200 people. There were like 10 women who really liked the mustache.
My mom recently found my great grandfathers passport and immigration papers from 1922 while sorting out my recently deceased uncle’s estate and would you look at the stash on this guy, I did not inherit that.
Believe it or not I was not the only dude at the race in a Speedo, the other guy came up to me and said he was glad he wasn’t the only one. I was kinda chilly waiting around as it was 58 degrees, but the water was 80.
The swim was nothing special except the sun was right in my eyes coming off the last turn buoy so I couldn’t see where the swim finish was till the tree line covered it up. I also packed an older pair of goggles I’ve had for like 6 years and the lenses are scuffed so it didn’t exactly make sighting easier. I just didn’t look at them all that hard plus I have a few identical pairs. I should of just pitch those now that I think about it, or put them in my spare parts bag. By the way, swimming with a full stash just feels really really strange.
Putting on running shoes and socks in T1 was a first for me. I also had an regular helmet in lieu of an aero helmet. I knew this bike was going to be hard for several reasons:
First, it’s a hilly course, and the bike would not coast on down hills without slowing down so I was always peddling. Speaking of pedaling, I had regular pedals on the bike so I lost like half my power because I had no pull on the upstroke. Next, the downtube shifting wasn’t indexed so if I wasn’t fully in gear it would keep clicking till I adjusted the shifter to get it in gear. Also, not only was it a royal pain in the ass to have to always be reaching to the downtube to shift, but because of my TBI giving me to have poor balance it caused me to wobble when I’d shift. Last, the shifters actually shift in opposite directions so it took a minute to get used to
I was crawling along, Strava said I averaged 15.7 mph, but it felt like 12 or 13. Tri Joe came flying by on his Ventum at mile 2 and it was the last I saw of him till I was walking to my car post-race. At least 2 out of every 5 people said something about the banana Speedo as they passed me on the bike. The cougar on the trek speed concept called me banana boy, I remember that one, I see you cougs
The stock saddle was already slippery because of its glossy cover material and with all the body glide I schlacked on that morning it was impossible to sit still on without sliding all over. It made that Speedo ride so far Up my ass crack that I could taste the bananas by the end of the 14 miles. I had not practiced flying dismount on this bike and I probably should have because it wasn’t the smoothest one i’ve ever done
I managed to run pretty well with the bike holding the saddle, normally when I walk it by the saddle the wheel cuts hard left. I actually did two things at once here, I ran with the bike using my right hand on the saddle and unwedged my wedgie with my left
Transition was pretty quick, I don’t think it was under 15 seconds like I thought because it was a long way to run go to my rack
Not gonna lie, that bike was the hardest ride I ever did and I thought I was going have no legs to run but somehow I found them.
I ran the entire run too which hadn’t been the case all year. I wore my number off to the side so you could get a good view of the bananas on my ass before you passed me. And I also got a few compliments from the ladies on my butt. Also one dude, hey a compliment is a compliment no matter who it’s coming from. You can either be offended by or flattered by it and today the glass is half full.
By the way, I’m sorry TriTats, I normally wear them but given the theme of the day I went with sharpie to complete the look. The guy who did my body marking did a smiley face on my calf and said he looked for it the entire race. I was like…you know I’m in a banana Speedo, wouldn’t that stand out more?
I had felt good through mile 2.5 and decided to empty the tank, and I was actually running pretty fast by this year’s standards, at least sub-7 min pace. I got about 50 feet from from the finish line and the tank was pretty much empty. But I managed to make the fumes last till the end.
I grabbed some food post race, I set my Ray Bans down on a picnic table, turned up get some bananas and somebody swiped them. It wasn’t a big deal, they were 15 years old and had an inch long scratch in the center of the left lens. Besides then I wouldn’t have needed to get these sweet Goodrs at West Stride to wear at Tugaloo the next weekend with the Speedo. I’m just going to ride the P5 at that race, at least it won’t be like riding in a saddle covered in crisco.
On my way out I finally saw Alex so I rolled down my window and said “I have something for you.” Alex says “uh oh”. I fumble around digging through my bag and pulled out a banana and said “here, have a banana.” Alex say I love that you didn’t change out of your Speedo!” I told him “This is all I came in so I have nothing to change into.”
All jokes aside, but my quasi-senile profoundly deaf 86 year old grandpa gives bananas out to random people he meets and will talk to you about who knows what, probably the Browns or flirt with you if you’re a woman. I think it’s the strangest fucking thing, at least I know the guy I gave a banana to. So if you’re ever in the Youngstown Ohio area, and some random old dude dressed head to toe in Cleveland Browns gear hands you a banana, that’s my grandpa.
Anyway, I don’t know what my time is or the Splits, it doesn’t matter because that wasn’t what the day was about, it was about me having fun racing again and it was completely worth it.
By the way, I didn’t have any chafing so I all worked out well.