Proper equipment a must in some events

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Back when I was attending college, one of my professors encouraged me to compete in an upcoming triathlon. I was a very strong swimmer and a decent runner, so I decided to give it a try.

I was in need of bicycle, so I bought one at a garage sale for $50. I figured, like running shoes, your speed is up to the person wearing them. 

Since I was in college and working part-time, I only trained by myself. I was one of the crazy people racing down the feeder roads. My bike made all kinds of funny noises, but I didn’t give any thought.

Race day finally came. I was in great shape and ready to compete. The swimming event started and I was flying by the other competitors. Next, came the running portion, and I was still feeling confident, producing a great stride and keeping up with the front of the pack.

Well, then came the finale of the 50-mile bike ride. It was easy to find my bike amongst the other 1,000 because it was the only one with a kick-stand. I was a little embarrassed, but strapped on my helmet and took off with hopes of a medal. 

I didn’t get 100 yards and people were already speeding by me. I couldn’t believe it. How was this happening?

Then, a very much older man caught up with me, patted me on the back and said, “hang in there sonny,” and left me in the dirt. Now, I was plenty mad because almost everyone was passing me. Plus, I couldn’t hear them coming from all the noise my bike was making. 

At the end of race, I asked someone if I could test their bike. Oh my goodness, it probably weighed less than five pounds. When I peddled it, it took off like lightning.

It was obvious, if I wanted to compete in more triathlons, I would need a bike of this caliber. I asked the young man how much a bike like this would cost. His reply, “probably all these bikes are anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000.”

This was 1986 and I was a broke college kid. I grabbed my $50 bike, loaded it up in my $600 truck, and left with my tail between my legs.

So, what’s the moral of this story? If you want to compete in specific events, then you’ll probably need to invest in proper competitive equipment. 

By the way, I gave that old $50 bike to a homeless man. He was one happy fella.

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