7 things we miss from the good ol' days

Phil Wrochna misses the good ol' days with all the rivalries, crazy tech, fun nicknames and more.

| June 5, 2017 | PERSONALITY

Dave Scott

Dave Scott

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

Ahh ... the good ol days! The triathlon world has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Some things have gone by the wayside. Here are a few that we miss:

  1. Bare chested racing. Back in the day it was all about the torso. Which was OK, because most of us skinny kids could get away with it (not so now). Then the rules tightened up and singlets while racing became mandatory. Those who had spent their hard earned money on an abdom,inator were crushed as they could no longer get the rig out and race.
  2. Low tech. Remember when heart-rate was a buzz word? Now you can download your left toe movements on any number of 17 devices and post to all and sundry. Selfies on a ride? Never would happen either. When you rode a bike or did a run, you did it for the miles, not for the satisfaction of showing your legions of followers that you are, in fact, doing what you say. Low tech too was OK, too, when you went to a race with toe clips, no aerobars and a helmet that could have been an ice cream container.
  3. BS. Yep you used to be able to tell people you were faster than you were! Until the almighty internet came into our world and crushed any of us who wanted to hit a bar and tell people that you were on a sub-9 hour Ironman legend! But let’s just say that most of the BS element in the sport is still thriving. Just the checkable things are in doubt.
  4. Stupid Tech. These days the tech coming out (for the most part) is pretty well thought through and established. Science plays a huge part in the development of the sport of triathlon and has effectively taken over on the tech front. In the early days, stupid tech was all the rage. Plastic wheel covers, bikes with wire instead of tubing, etc. were head turners, but, sadly, lacking the finesse of today. Still, it was a way forward and that tech forged the way for what we see today, even though some of it was snake oil.
  5. Fierce Pro Rivalry. Remember Allen v Scott, Newby-Fraser v Baker, Pierce v Sousa? The old school style of racing pitted the best against the best a lot (due to the lack of events). That built a fierce rivalry and a desire to go head to head and crush each other. A really good pro rivalry is compelling, but all but non-existent today.
  6. Nicknames. As a follow up to the whole pro rivalry thing, the racing elite were also rocking some pretty fun nicknames. Plucky, The Grip, The Man, The Terminator, Pigg Power were the monikers that those who made it big were happy enough to run with. More of that!
  7. Local racing. Local racing used to be a "turn up on a Wednesday night or weekend morning and have a bash" kind of set up. But this has gone by the wayside as traffic management, public liability and other legal issues has killed off the small, 200-person race you used to use as a fun hit out. If there ain’t no bums on seats, it doesn’t get a run.