On Monday, the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Convention Bureau announced that Burlington will play host to the 2011 and 2012 USA Triathlon Multisport Festivals. This means that a couple thousand people who like to suffer will descend on our fair city by the lake to get their swim, bike and run on. Pretty exciting for those of us who like the idea of hot, athletic people in skimpy swimsuits parading their fit selves around our petite ville. Nothing wrong with that. Beats the model train convention people any day.
For Burlington, this is a pretty big score. Triathlon is hugely popular and continues to draw more and more people into the fold. I'm not sure why. The idea of having to be proficient at more than one sport seems overwhelming. I'm barely good at one thing; I can't imagine having to be good at three things. Plus, there's that whole clothing issue — you have to bike and run in a swimsuit, essentially. And that's pretty much like running in your undies. If I'm going running, which will be never, it's going to be at night in my baggiest sweatsuit.
The festivals, which will occur in August each year, will consist of the USAT Aquathlon National Championship, the USAT Age Group National Championship, the USAT Sprint National Championship and the USAT Elite National Championship. I have no clue what an aquathlon is, except for a pain in the ass word to say, but I do know what a triathlon is.++
A standard triathlon race is composed of a .93-mile swim, a 24.8-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run. All of the races will be this distance, except for the sprint championship. Those folks will be swimming .47 miles, biking 12.4 miles and running 3.1 miles. Lucky sods.
Scenically, you can't get much better than Burlington for a triathlon. With the majestic Adirondacks looming in the distance and all that blue-green algae floating in Lake Champlain, who wouldn't be inspired by our Queen City backdrop? And Burlington is obviously well equipped to handle huge events like this. The KeyBank Vermont City Marathon draws 8000 runners to the city, 3000 of whom run the full marathon. The Green Mountain Stage Race brings in about 750 cyclists from around the country. My tiddlywinks/charades biathlon brings in a good one or two hund.. well, zero people. But whatever.
So welcome, racers. Try not to swallow any lake water. And enjoy the hills.
*Please excuse the craptastic title. Despite working at Seven Days, home of the bottomless pun, that type of wordplay isn't really my jam. So mea maxima culpa. Suggestions are welcome.
++ An aquathlon is a triathlon without biking. It is not a duathlon — running, biking and running some more — nor is it a biathlon — Nordic skiing and gun shooting. Do not confuse it with the other meaning of aquathlon — the sport of underwater wrestling.