A friend of mine was in need of a cyclist.
My friend Greg - he's a runner (a very quick runner at that) - really enjoys doing triathlon relays. He loves the team aspect of it, and he really likes the vibe of being at a triathlon. His good friend is a great swimmer - he was All-American while in college - and they typically do very well overall. However his regular cyclist couldn't race for some reason or another. So, I got a phone call and decided to help a friend out.
All in all it was a good day. The bike course was a two loop course, and I have to admit it was sort fun to go out there with the mind-set of leaving nothing in the tank. With the Tour de France in full swing, this was my own personal individual time trial. Legs were burning, lungs were burning, and it was really a blast to just hammer it and not have to worry about the run afterwards.
However, as I finished the bike leg and stood around with our swimmer, Steve, I really wished I was doing the run. More to the point, I really wished that I was doing the entire race. I didn't like watching people leaving T2 to start their run while I wasn't. And I really didn't like watching everyone finish, being completely shattered after punishing themselves in all three disciplines, when all I could think of was that I should be doing the same.
I don't have anything against the triathlon relay, per se. Lots of people enjoy them for a number of reasons. It allows friends who aren't triathletes, but rather runners, cyclists, and swimmers, to compete in an arena that they maybe wouldn't normally enter into. I've seen family's field teams and have a great time doing so. And with all of that said, it does expose people to the sport, and community of, triathlon.
But it's just not for me. I couldn't believe how much it bothered me to not be racing the entire distance. I was almost beside myself with, well, I don't know what......but I had a deep-rooted feeling that I should have been racing as an individual.
In the end, I helped a friend by filling in. But I can't say for sure what I'll say the next time a request like this comes my way.