Ass On Bike; the definitive start time for a ride : If you don’t have your AOB at 5a.m. you will be left to fight off the raccoons on your own.
The short period of time after a training interval on the bike when you try to stop sucking wind and keep your heart from popping out of your chest. Never seems to be as long as you would like it to be.
Alligator Bayou (AB)
A series of curvy loop roads, laden with interesting wildlife and an assortment of shacks and homes, well known to local cyclists as a good place to train : “A group of us are going to AB, AOB 5:30 am. Come join.”
What happens to your toenail when your shoes allow your foot to slide forward, thus causing your toes to repetitively hit the toebox when running : “Hey look guys! My black toenail just fell off!”
Flashing red lights that are attached to your bike or body and used in early dawn or late afternoon cycling to increase your visibility : “Liz, can you please adjust the strobe pattern on your blinkies, I think I am about to have a seizure.”
The extreme fatigue that comes with not judging your nutritional needs adequately during a race, particularly during the bike or run segments : “I bonked about 1 mile into the run. Guess that Egg McMuffin for breakfast wasn’t the best idea after all.” Also see Hitting the Wall.
The practice of training with back to back workouts of two different disciplines, most often a bike workout followed by a run workout, in preparation for a triathlon. Derived from the fact that your legs will feel heavy like bricks when you first begin the run after riding on a bike.
Usually a large brightly colored floating object used to mark the turnarounds or boundaries during the swim segment : She clung desperately to the buoy, waiting for the kayaker to tow her back to land.
“Car Up / Car Back”
What is yelled out on training rides when one person in your group spots the speeding El Camino flying towards the pace line from the other side of traffic. Usually repeated until everyone in the line has heard the warning, or the Camino makes contact.
The act of stocking up on carbohydrates the night before a race in hope to ward off the bonk : (To the waiter) “I’d like the pasta, an order of mashed potatoes, and a loaf of French Bread please.”
The excuse to eat anything you want with the justification that it will all be worked off in the morning. “Let’s go to Sicily’s pizza buffet. I’m carbo-loading.”
An oxymoron; Very small, often the size of a quarter, pedals that special bike shoes clip into to allow the rider to pull up on the pedals rather than just mashing down on them. Often the cause of ZMPHRs. “I still haven’t figured out how to clip out of my clipless pedals when I am trying to get off my bike."
A small cylinder filled with compressed air, used to quickly inflate a flat tire : “I forgot and unthreaded the C02 cartridge before I had it attached to the tube, now all the air is gone and that was my last one.”
Stands for disqualified. Letters you never want to see after your name or bib number.
To ride within inches of the rear tire of the cyclist in front of you, with the intention of reducing wind resistance to make it easier to go fast and maintain the same speed as the cyclist in the lead. Illegal in most triathlon racing, but often used when riding in a paceline in training. Also not recommended to do in front of your coach when she is conducting a time trial for her riders. “I was so proud of myself for being able to keep up with McCall. I didn’t know I couldn’t draft off of her.”
When unforeseen circumstances lead to the removal of a portion of a triathlon, often reducing it to only two events such as the bike and the run, often to the dismay of the participants who have been training hard for all three events : “I’m sorry to have to tell you that because there was a drowning last night in the lake and search and rescue is still looking for the body, the race will be turned into a duathlon. Now you will run twice the distance you have trained for. Good luck to you.”
A division of cyclists riding anything other than a road bike (skinny tire). Often made up of bikes with baskets, hybrids, and a variety of mountain bikes. A good way to begin getting into the sport of triathlon...until you realize road bikes are much faster. “Did you see that lady on the fat tire? The one with the basket? I can’t believe she just passed me!”
A token prize given at the end of the race just for completing the course. Usually in direct opposition to the amount of money spent registering for the race, but when placing is not possible, the finisher’s award means everything. “Dude! Did you check out the coffee cup I just got? Sweeeet!!”
A thick sticky substance that is flavored to hide the fact that it is a thick sticky substance that is supposed to help you get through the race when you ingest it; the foil wrappers of which are often found littering the bike course of a race: “I’ll trade you a vanilla bean for a triple berry gu.”
Harden the F--- Up. A bracelet sporting these words is passed through our training group on an as-needed basis, given to a team member who is struggling mentally or physically with training in an effort to make them laugh and remember to get back in the saddle. A badge of honor, as everyone at some point needs to HTFU...
Hitting the Wall
See bonk. Often used during the run phase of a race. “I hit the wall and there was no coming back.”
A non-gender specific term of respect given to those who have earned it by officially finishing an ironman distance race. Some day I hope to hear the words, “You are officially an Ironman”.
Refers to a branded ultra-distance triathlon event that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a marathon distance run. “Can you believe she is training to do an Ironman?”
The beginning of a triathlon where you should expect to get kicked in the head, punched, or trampled during the open water swim. Not for the faint of heart or those with severe open water phobias.
An intermediate distance triathlon consisting of a 1.5 km swim, a 40 km ride, and a 10 km run. “I’ve just been doing sprints so far. I hope to train for an olympic next season.”
“On Your Left”
Proper cycling ettiquette for passing someone in a race. Builds confidence if you are able to say it more times than it is said to you.
Open Water (OW)
A large forbidding body of water that strikes fear in the hearts of those with open water phobia. Required as part of the swim portion for most triathlons.
Open Water Phobia
An intense fear of open water swimming, that usually presents itself with episodes of panicked shallow breathing, streaming tears, and cries of Oh God Help Me. Can be tamed slightly by frequent persistent attempts to conquer it when one is surrounded with capable support swimmers, kayakers, and a coach that carries a kickboard. Unfortunately, it never really goes away but does become less intense at times. “I dreamed last night that I was swimming in open water. I woke up drenched in sweat.”
Personal Best. That record that you are always looking to beat. “I just got a new P.B. at Meat Pie!”
A single line of cyclists riding within a few inches of each other’s rear tire when doing a long training run. Usually the stronger riders lead, or pull, and the weaker ones hold on for the ride.
A form of nutrition inhaled before or during a race or training in hopes of gaining superhuman powers and speed. Usually taste like grainy chocolate with a weird aftertaste.
Nervous twitching, loose bowels, and fast pacing prior to a race. Intensified by dairy products or a history of irritable bowel syndrome.
The lead cyclist in a pace line who pulls the cyclists that come behind by allowing them to draft. “Everyone take a 30 second pull.”
A belt worn during a race to allow for quick application and removal of your race number. Alternatives to using a race belt are fumbling with safety pins or using toupee tape on your race jersey.
One option for participating in a triathlon if you don’t feel you can complete the entire event. Find two others willing to compete and each pick an event. A good way to get a start in the sport and to boost your confidence level.
A long paved road that runs along the levee where most local cyclists train on their long rides. Known for crazy drivers and the occasional mad dog, it is one of a small handful of options in the city for cyclists to ride.
Also known as a skinny tire, road bikes are the preferred choice for triathletes because of their ability for increased speeds. Often the envy of other cyclists, as their price tags can range easily from $650 - $15,000.
Shin pain often associated from overtraining or a sudden increase in distance running. Easily identified as the runner with shin splints is often grimacing and groaning as they continue to run, or is covered by ice packs after the run.
To raise your eyes from a forward head position to search desperately for a clue that you are on the right path in your open water swim: I mistakenly sighted off of the large woman with the bright pink swim cap, only to realize later that she was swimming way off course.
To catch a glimpse of someone along the way: I sighted my husband drinking a cold beer and talking to an attractive woman while I was changing out of my sweaty bike helmet in transition.
A triathlon distance that is typically a 750 m swim, a 20 km bike, and a 5 km run.
The act of quickly running towards the Pot-o-Gold prior to a race. See pre-race jitters.
Volunteers who are ready to pull to land those athletes with severe open water phobias or those in distress. An invaluable and often under appreciated service.
Swag Bag (aka Schwag)
Plastic bag filled with race goodies and freebies and given out at packet pickup prior to a race. Often the quality of a race is judged by its swag bag. “I got three packs of gu, a pair of Yankz, and a cool technical shirt!”
A local term referring to the area on River Road that splits. Often a place time trials are held and cyclists park their vehicles. With the use of this term comes the understanding that you lock your car and leave your valuables at home. “Let’s meet up at the split. AOB 9am.”
Two obscure pieces of plastic that are necessary to peel the tire off of the rim when changing a flat. Helpful to have an idea how to do this before you need to.
The time period between events in a triathlon during which you are expected to remove a wetsuit, change into your bike shoes, apply a helmet and sunglasses, blow your nose, put gum in your mouth, puff on your inhaler, and unrack your bike...all in under one minute. In case you can’t get it done in T1 (transition between swim and bike), don’t worry ~ you can try again when you get to T2 (transition between bike and run)!
A one-piece super snug outfit that is next to impossible to get on when you are sweaty, but once applied will remain on during the entire race, preventing the need to change into additional clothes for the bike or run portion of the race.
The staging of the start of a triathlon by dividing the athletes into groups based on age or ability.
A simple hand gesture that can be used as a friendly challenge as you pass someone on the bike.
A claustrophobic rubber suit intended to keep you warm during cold water swims. Although the tendency is for it to help you to float, if you are in a size too large, the filling of the suit with water may actually make you sink.
Elastic laces that make changing in and out of your running shoes quicker. The time consuming part is trying to figure out how to lace them up in the first place.
Zero Miles Per Hour. Taking a fall off of your bike when clipped in, but with your bike at a complete standstill. One of the more embarrassing kinds of falls, but a rite of passage when you transition into clipless pedals. “Did you see Amy take that ZMPHR into the ditch? That was hysterical!”