70.3 in Monterrey or ½ Iron, ½ Rhabdo

Monterrey, Mexico.  A weekend of perfect weather, beautiful scenery, and the Iron Man 70.3 competition.

I had never done a triathlon or any swimming competition in my 58 years of life.  Why did I choose to begin my swimming career in a municipal drainage ditch with 2000 people, 1900 of them half my age?  Why did I drive through the most dangerous area in Mexico to get there?  Why did my wife check to make sure my life insurance policy was paid up before I climbed over the border wall?

Why did these important questions come to mind only in hindsight?

I have given up trying to answer these questions and will instead give you my pointers on how to win the Monterrey Ironman 70.3, based on my intimate observations.

  1. Prepare for the swim by flapping your arms Michael Phelps style. That will cause all the people watching you to do the same thing, creating Rotator Cuff injuries and Anterior Dislocations.
  2. Line up with hundreds of fellow athletes to use the one pooper in the entire starting line area. This will cause hundreds not to use the pooper, insuring that they will be distracted by sphincteric disturbances for the next six hours of swimming, biking, and running.
  3. Avoid the corral of starters who are hugging each other and taking smiling group-selfies. These friendly types are about to ruthlessly swim over their chums with abandon.
  4. Expect to be groped during the swim. This is just business, not pleasure.
  5. Expect to be bludgeoned during the swim. This is just pleasure, not business.
  6. Expect to suck in water from the public canal, water washing hundreds of swimmers in front of you, some of whom should have gotten to the pooper prior to the swim, and some who did, but had no bidet to finish the project.
  7. Don’t count the 1900 bike racks that are empty in the transition area. Remember that at least one person that you bludgeoned and groped is still floating in the canal, along with last night’s tortillas.
  8. Beware of the elite bikers who will be lapping you at 100 mph as you get started on the ride.
  9. Enjoy the unusual sensation of biking over cobblestones for the first half mile of the ride. This is simply an obstacle course that will make sure all of your water bottles are bounced out of your racks, leaving you at the mercy of water station attendants who enjoy chucking water bottles at bikers to see if any of them can actually catch one.
  10. Do not try to open the water bottles. The child-safety locks are well designed. They do make excellent ammunition to conveniently throw into the path of oncoming riders who have the audacity to try to pass you.
  11. Have no fear of the tunnel at the end of the fastest downhill on the course. You will be completely blind due to sunglasses and pinpoint pupils, so you will never see the pedestrians that you hit nor the gaping drainage pipes with grates perfectly fitted to catch your front tire and send you sprawling.
  12. Enjoy the transition area that has no port-a-johns, but do avoid stepping in fresh puddles in the area.
  13. Begin your run carefully down the cut stone stairs rather slick with those same transition zone puddles.
  14. Use a bit of strategy while running along the 6 inch walkway along the canal that you swam earlier. A competitor who is foolish enough to try to squeeze by you and the canal could relive the earlier swim if you supply a tiny nudge caused by a convenient misstep or stumble or sneeze.
  15. Grab a few bags of the ice cold water at one of the stations. These infuriatingly difficult to open bags can be popped over your head, but aimed to douse a runner daring to pass too closely, creating an effective diving reflex and resultant hypotension.
  16. As you pass fellow runners, yell something encouraging: “The humidity is 95%…I can hardly catch my breath.” “Have you ever had heatstroke?” “Is this your first lap?  I hope not, ‘cause it is getting hotter by the second.”  “You’re doing great!  Only thirteen miles to go in your dehydrated, catabolic, ketotic state.”
  17. If all else fails, have the judges mark you with two numbers. One of them is sure to finish faster than the other.