There's No Such Thing as a Sprint Triathlon

If you think about it, there's no such thing as a sprint triathlon. Triathlon is an endurance sport -- one of the longest and hardest that tests an athlete's muscles, athletic abilities, mental toughness, strengths and weaknesses and most importantly, endurance.

However, if you could design true sprint triathlon, it might look something like this:

1. A 50-meter freestyle swim
2. One velodrome lap
3. A 100-meter dash

Now that would certainly be a triathlon where transitions matter. I haven't seen many velodromes with indoor pools around my neck of the woods, so I wonder if this true sprint triathlon would have a hard time catching on. In America, the founding home of triathlon, if there's a will (and there's money to be made) there certainly will be a way.

For all you wannabe race directors and/or Nike, please feel free to take my true sprint triathlon idea and run with it. Just think of all the commercial possibilities for new true sprint triathlon gear to speed up the all important transitions, like:

  • The Aqua Helmet
  • The Running Goggle
  • Nike's new full-body, one-piece, super fast-dry Shark/Lance/Sprint skin complete Air Racing Cocoon leotard featuring built-in ear plugs and built-in biking/sprinting cleats
  • Full Body Glide Spray in a Can to be able to remove Nike's new Air Cocoon after a race
  • The GU Power Pellet for a super small and super fast burst of energy
  • The Nose Marker for marking the nose (which as it happens is the only part of the body left exposed by the Nike's new Air Cocoon
  • Breathable and brimmed swim cap
  • Imskorts (swimming skirt and shorts -- Nicole DeBoom feel free to run with this idea)

A true sprint triathlon would also benefit a completely different type of body physic. Most current pros would have a hard time succeeding in this event. Let's face it; the ideal body type for a good or great triathlete is that of a depression-era Nebraska farmer.

I'm lucky enough to have met some pros up close and personal and to say these guys and gals have body fat is like saying Oprah has a hard time promoting herself. Unfortunately, when I started in this sport I misunderstood my goal for the ideal body. I've spent years trying to cultivate that perfect washtub stomach when all along I was supposed to have a washboard stomach. Oops!

Let's face it, one of the reasons so many of us Everyman Triathletes have taken up the sport is to lose weight. I know that my goal is to be fit (read: thin) and enjoy a healthy lifestyle (read: eat whatever I like) and enjoy some friendly age-group competition (read crush the other big guy with a 40 on his calf like a hapless bug).

For this reason, a true sprint triathlon wouldn't really appeal to as many people, unless Dairy Queen created the true sprint triathlon nutritional race supplements. I'd call it the DQ Oreo Wizard for its magic ability to provide tons of calories while being smooth and delicious ... Mmm the DQ Oreo Wizard!

Many of us Everyman triathletes got started at the sprint level of the sport. I remember saying to myself before my very first race, "Self, why not sign up for Louisville Triathlon, after all it's just a sprint tri?"

It took me until the first transition to really understand what I had gotten myself into. I was about 10 minutes into the race. The swim was only 500 meters in a pool, but I was breathing harder at that first transition than I ever had in my life. And yet I still had a 15-mile bike and 4.5-mile run to finish. I somehow managed to muddle my way through the bike (washtub stomach and all), while being passed by spry 84-year-olds on mountain bikes with massive under-inflated knobby tires.

One the run my thighs seized up like the jaws of an angry alligator. I kind of stumbled through the finish after having walked most of the "run." But I finished and I was a triathlete. I finished the race in just over two hours, which by anybody's reckoning, is not a sprint.

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Roman Mica is a Clydesdale amateur triathlete who lives and races in Boulder, Colorado. His favorite race drink is brewed by the Boulder Brewery and his favorite nutrition supplement is made by Dairy Queen. Visit his Web site at

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