Scientific Review of Triathlete (homo triathletus)

BOULDER, CO

Scientists from the University of Colorado in Boulder recently published their seminal research on a new species of human.  Their research was conducted throughout the world and was funded, in part, through sales of certain medicinal and recreational plants.

These scientists have called their new species a triathlete (homo triathletus).  The redacted review of research identifying this strange species was recently published in the Journal of Medical Fabrication Dynamics and is included below.

The triathlete (homo triathletus) is an endurance junkie whose native range lies largely within developed areas of the globe, concentrated in the Americas, Europe, Australia, but with smaller populations located in other parts of Asia, the Middle East, and extreme southern Africa.  The average male triathlete weighs around 68 – 90 kg, while the female is generally a third of that size.  Sexual dimorphism does not generally exist in this species, with the occasional exception of clothing styles.  This strange species of athlete has evolved to occupy a narrower niche than its sister species, the swimmer (homo waterwingus), the runner (homo mercurial hermes) and the cyclist (homo rapidus pedalus).  While triathlete has not developed body characteristics that differentiate itself from its sister species, research indicates that this species has developed an affinity for objects made from carbon fibres and neoprene.  Although most triathletes are born on land, they spend at least a third of their time in a variety of aquatic environments.  They are equally at home in saltwater environments, freshwater and free-flowing waterways.  They will often be found inhabiting chlorinated, rectangular ponds.  Triathletes hunt for their preferred food of gels, kale, electrolyte drinks, and soy-based energy bars, often living off of convenience food reserves of pretzels, de-fizzed sodas, bananas and chicken broth.

Naming & etymology

Don Shannahan and Jack Johnston, prominent researchers from the San Diego, CA area, were among the first to identify and classify the triathlete as a distinct species in 1974.  Additional research was conducted and published by John Collins in 1978.  The naming convention was based upon the three primary habitats of these creatures:  in water, upon bikes, and afoot.

Biology and Behavior

Physical Characteristics

Exteriorly, triathlete resembles its distant cousin homo sapiens in appearance.  Specimens are found with a myriad of skin and hair colorations.  A commonality found amongst triathlete is that they tend to clothe themselves in form-fitting brightly colored costumes.  One might question the skull structure of some members of this species, given the proclivity to cover their cranium with helmets.  Research has indicated that some, in fact, have evolved teardrop shaped craniums, which is believed to aid in the reduction of a concept known as drag.

Wide-scale observation has revealed that the male of the species may have an innate fear of body fur.  Observations of triathlete in groupings or conclaves within their natural habitat indicate that the males typically are hairless on their lower skeleton.  Additionally, this species often has strange numeric tattoos upon their arms and, oddly, on one leg.

Some specimens of triathlete have been observed with strange color schemes upon their skin – often alternating darker pigmented skin with areas of lighter pigmentation.  Notably, these color variations are found upon the ankle, thigh, and often upon the upper back (which usually presents in semi-circular pattern around the shoulder area).

Hunting and Diet

Triathlete appears to be an omnivore in general, although there are pockets within the species that abstain from certain foodgroups.  Some are apparently berrytarians, consuming a large amount of berries and fruit – often in mixed up beverages called “smoothies”.  Other specimen of triathlete eat nothing but meat (paleo), nothing but gluten products, and nothing with gluten (gluten free).  Research indicates that a high percentage of triathlete have no idea what gluten is, but they either consume it or they don’t.

Interestingly, triathlete tends to gravitate to thick liquids that come packaged in foil-like shells.  These “fruit” (sometimes called “gels” by triathlete) often come in a variety of flavorings, somewhat dependent upon the variety of plant producing the fruit.  Some of the favorite plants include Powerbar, Gu, Hammer, etc.  Curiously, these plants not only produce the foil-like fruit mentioned herein, but they also produce odd square-shaped vegetation that reportedly provides sustainable nutrition for hours.

Behavior

The most remarkable thing about this new species is the behavior that it displays.  H. triathletus is often found in strange gatherings ranging from around 100 to well over 2000.  It is during these gatherings that the true characteristics of this species are displayed.  These gatherings, however, do not represent the totality of the uniqueness this species brings to the ecosystem.  H. triathletus are often found in small packs in one of their preferred habitat, swimming merily, furiously pedaling, or running as if fleeing from their sole predator, Homo fatamusbottomus.

In culture

Indigenous folklore reflects that triathlete appears to enjoy suffering.  They have been seen stumbling, crawling, and otherwise struggling.  Some of the more developed of the species even has been witnessed completing their unique mating activity – called by some “the Blazeman Roll”.  Other species tend to view triathlete with suspicion, fear and concern.

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Texting Driver Hits Cyclist and Just Doesn’t Care

Imagine this scenario.  A cyclist gets run over by a vehicle and is left with a broken back.  Allegations are made that the driver of the car was texting and/or distracted just prior to the accident.  The cyclist needs surgery and months of rehab.

That scenario plays itself out literally weekly, somewhere in the world.

What perhaps makes this situation slightly different is that not only was the driver clearly texting while driving, but that she was more put out by the fact that the cyclist had the audacity to cause some damage to her car as a result of the collision.

Here’s the backstory – Kimberly Davis, of Port Fairy, Australia, pleaded guilty earlier this week to dangerous driving as a result of her collision with cyclist.  Phone records showed that Davis had texted 44 times just prior to the accident (with a text message being received less than a minute prior to calling emergency officials indicating she had hit a cyclist).  The cyclist was critically injured and suffered a severed spine.  He spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.  Davis was fined $4500 and lost her license for 9 months.

What makes this whole situation worse is that Davis had the incredulity to not show any remorse, and moreover to be upset with the cyclist.

Davis told police investigators, “”I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it. I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car.”  She further went on to say, “I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”

There are a couple of issues associated with this that concern me.  The first is obvious:  distracted driving causes accidents.  The second is the clear lack of remorse that Davis had.

There’s likely nothing that can be done about the later concern, but there certainly can be things done relative the former.

First and foremost, distracted driving should be a primary traffic offense.  Police should be able to pull over and cite drivers for nothing other than distracted driving (texting, SnapChatting, Facebooking, even just calling).  In far too many jurisdictions, texting while driving is a secondary offense.  In Florida, for example, I can get a $30 fine for texting while driving (totaling about $100 when court costs and fees added) – but I can only get that ticket if I am pulled over for some primary offense – like speeding, careless driving, DUI, etc.  If state legislatures and governments pass laws or ordinances changing this offense to a primary offense and make the fine prohibitive, then there may be a corresponding decline in the incidence rate of drivers committing this act.

In my opinion, cycling can be tough enough of a workout.  We don’t need to continuously be on our guard for distracted drivers as well.

Product Review: Athletes Treating Athletes – Solid Injury Treatment Advice Online

Since the advent of the internet, way too many of us like to self diagnose our illnesses so that we can make somewhat informed decisions about what sort of treatment we’d like to think.  The reality is, though, that there is no shortage of websites or material online.  Far too often, we find information that leads to a misdiagnosis or a perspective that we’re more (or less) injured than we might be in reality.

The problem with endurance sport injuries is that some of the “mainstream” sites only scratch the surface of the injuries that we tend to get.  Some sites, unfortunately, even give incomplete or bad advice – or at least lead us to making improper decisions.

How do I know this?  Well – over the past 16 months, I have been dealing with a variety of lower leg ailments – notably plantar fasciitis and peroneal tendonitis.  While I have absolutely sought the opinion and treatment of physicians (both a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon), I have done more than my fair share of research online.  Far too often, I’ve been disappointed in what I have found.  Essentially, it has been difficult for me to find a singular source for diagnosis and treatment plans.  Until now.

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a really awesome site – which I have since fallen in love with.  It’s called Athletes Treating Athletes, and can be found at http://athletestreatingathletes.com/.

The site was founded in 2010 by Leigh Boyle – a doctor of Physical Therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist.

The site is geared towards endurance athletes, and is really slick.  The goal of the site is to help athletes like you and me not only treat injuries but also strengthen our bodies so that we don’t end up with injuries in the first place.  The website is easy to use and navigate.  There’s a blog (that contains posts called “injury of the week”) and a really intuitive body map that will help you pinpoint the specific area of your body where you are injured.  You can also search the site for a particular injury if you already have an idea of what you have going on.

The site carries a five-part approach towards self treatment:  (1) self massage (2) mobilization techniques (used to break up soft tissue and adhesions), (3) stretching, (4) KT taping, and (5) strengthening.  Basically, it seems that the treatment approach is exactly what you’d experience by going to a local physical therapist…just without the office visit and insurance co-payment.

Finding your injury is pretty darn easy.  As I noted above, if you know what your injury is, you can search for it.  You can also leverage the “Body Map” page to find and link to the specific area of your body that is hurting.

BodyMap

 

When you click on a body part, you go to a webpage that is detailed for that section of your body.  There’s usually a nifty graphic that shows the interior anatomy of that body part.  Since I’ve been dealing with peroneal tendonitis, I looked for it by clicking both the “foot” link and the “shin + outer leg” link.  Alas, peroneal tendonitis is found under “Shin + Outer Leg”.  Once you land on the page for the specific body part, you’ll find a ton of information, including a diagram of the body part and a listing of injury treatment plans available.  The example (of the Shin + Outer Leg page) below shows both the bones and muscles of the anterior portion of your lower leg.  You can see that there are two specific injuries listed on the Shin + Outer Leg page:  Peroneal tendonitis and Shin Splints.

ATXA leg

 

Since I’ve been dealing with Peroneal Tendonitis, I clicked that link:

ATXA peroneal

All you have to do to gain the information you need to treat your injury is to click the hyperlink for it.  I clicked the link for “Peroneal Tendonitis”.  Once you land on the page for the specific injury, the site gives a good description of the anatomy of that area, the potential causes of the injury, and then a detailed treatment plan.

ATXZ peroneal tx plan

As you can tell, each treatment plan contains some pretty easy to follow (and non-scientific) language about how to treat the injury.  There are typically a plethora of hyperlinks to videos.  For example, in the post above, you will find links to videos about how to correctly apply KT tape to help provide stability.

Even cooler – You can download an injury-specific treatment plan that includes hyperlinks, exercise descriptions, sets and examples, and a full suite of treatment steps that you should take to heal an injury.

In short – this is a self-treater’s Mecca!

Even better, the information is generally free!

Hope you enjoy the site.  As I noted above, you can subscribe to a weekly newsletter that the site sends out.  They also have a Twitter (@A_Tx_A) and like most other companies these days have their own Facebook, YouTube channel and Pinterest page.

From Entertaining to Disturbing

I was asked yesterday what was the most entertaining or disturbing thing I’ve seen at a race.  That question really spurred a few vivid memories of races gone by – and the things, both amusing and some revolting, sprang to mind.

Events that we compete in tend to be a cornucopia of sights, smells and tastes.  And trust me, over the years I have seen some doozies!

Take, for example, those triathletes that run out of transition without their shoes – only to turn around and run back in to get them.  I’ve seen that happen at least three times.  What about the triathletes that put on their helmet backwards in transition.  I’ve actually done that before, even though I didn’t leave transition with the helmet on backwards.  I’ve seen people singing to themselves on the run, people skipping, and people bent so far over at the waist that it was amazing they were still (somewhat) vertical.  I’ve witnessed athletes sounding like a motorboat due to flatulence with every step.

I’ll never forget the lady at a local race here in Jacksonville that tied a helium-filled balloon to her handlebars so she could find her bike in transition.  Novel idea, I suppose.  I can only imagine if she were to leave transition with the balloon still tied to her bike, trailing her like a balloon follows a four-year old at the circus.  The same lady was equipped with a 5-gallon bucket of water so she could wash her feet of after the run up the beach following the swim leg.

I’ve seen crazy costumes at races.  I’ve run with a pink-clad Spiderman, been whipped by spectators dressed in S&M outfits, and accosted by a guy in a hot dog costume.  I’ve run by people literally tailgating – cooking out and drinking beers.  During a few marathons, I’ve seen people partaking in mimosas while they watched runners pass.

I have seen pictures, as you may have as well, of an athlete who was so focused on finishing his Ironman race that he defecated on himself and ran I don’t know how many miles with his…um…poop running down his legs.  While getting a Kona spot is a big deal, I frankly can’t imagine what a poopy run would be like.  For the runner or for the runners/spectators near him!

We’ve all likely witnessed our share of vomiting athletes.  Maybe we’ve done it ourselves.  While I haven’t thrown up at a race, one time I did blow a snot rocket right into some other guys face (on accident, of course).

Of course, we’ve seen our share of disturbing images at races.  Images that haunt us or bring back bad memories.  Crash victims, full of road rash and blood.  Cracked helmets.  Broken bones.  I once rode with a guy who did an endo and landed square on his face.  He broke his jaw and lost several teeth.  It was one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen.  I’ve seen a rider at a criterium suffer a compound fracture of his femur.

The fact of the matter, though, is that every race has some element of hilarity and some element of disgustingness or disturbingness.  It’s a matter of perspective.  Do you notice the amusing things and tend to not “see” the other stuff, or do you focus on the grime, slime, and vomit?  As a people watcher, I’m drawn to all of it.  I observe, make mental notes, and either smile or say a prayer.  The comforting thing for me is that as a back-of-the-pack athlete, I’m often on a course so long that I get to see lots of things!

What about you?  What are some of the things that you’ve seen at races?  What are your lasting memories?

Triathlon Trainer B-I-N-G-O

#TrainerBingo

So my Team Rev3 mate Jamie Bull has got to be a genius.  No, seriously!  The dude has mad skills in so many things – he’s a social media expert, lives in Boston (so he’s wicked cool already), has an awesome pup, likes good beer, and is one of the funnier guys I’ve come across.

I guess living in the cold northeast does funny things to one’s brain, because Jamie came out with a really funny idea the other day:  #TrainerBingo!

This is much like buzzword bingo – you know, the game you play when you’re in some corporate town hall or at a seminar and hear words/phrases like synergy, out of the box, deckware, win-win, payback, innovation, stakeholder, benchmark, runway, except this game is all about triathlon.  And more specifically, the crazy crap that some of us post on social media while we’re spending hours on the trainer watching Breaking Bad.  Or Barney.  Or whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, Jamie came up with a great grid for #TrainerBingo – check out the card over on his blog.  In fact, do more than just check it out – go over there and DOWNLOAD it!  And the next time you’re toiling away on your trainer, why not play along.  The thing is that filling out your card won’t be all that difficult either!

Here’s the catch – if you play #TrainerBingo, you need to play it up on social media too!  Call it out and hashtag it.  “I just saw someone post a picture of their sweaty calf! #TrainerBingo”.  The goals here are to have some fun, get our training on, and make fun of all of us crazy type A triathletes.  Let’s see if we can’t get #TrainerBingo trending on Twitter!

Have fun, and good luck.  Anyone seen a recent sweaty picture of someone’s face hunched over their aerobars recently?  I’ve got that space open on my #TrainerBingo card!