So as I sit in my living room, watching the rain decide to linger through mid-day, I’ve decided that I might as well introduce myself. My name is Tim Fridsma, and I got into cycling four years ago.
Home on vacation just after my senior year of college, I watched my mom compete in a triathlon and I got nostalgic. Yes, the atmosphere surrounding hundreds of sweaty bodies got me all worked up. Mind you, I do not feel this way when walking into the locker room of my local gym. That is a totally different sort of sweaty. But the mood of everyone present made me think back to my childhood, when my dad regularly competed in 5k road races. As a kid, there was nothing better than running in the Kiddie Race, getting your ribbon for finishing, and then sneaking some food left invitingly on multiple tables throughout the finish area. I watched my mom and all the other competitors cross the finish line with smiles or grimaces. But every one of them also had this sense of satisfaction and achievement. After the race was over, I heard the announcer tell the finishers that they were now part of one of the most exclusive demographics in the US: that of triathlete. More people in the US become famous than complete a triathlon. That stat blew my mind. As I looked around me I realized that a good percentage of the finishers were in worse physical shape than I was. Maybe this triathlon thing wasn’t so impossible after all.
But as with so many grand ideas, my ambitions to complete a triathlon were quickly forgotten as I plowed full force into the post-graduation real world; my head now filled with bills, car insurance and my weekly fix of LOST on TV. Then my roommate came up with the bright idea to compete in a local sprint tri. Feeling as though I was destined for greatness, I sent in my registration fee and began to train. I had a bathing suit and some running shoes, so all I needed was a bicycle. After asking around, I was able to get my feet on an older, but recently restored, Bianchi in a wonderful salmon color. At least, that’s what I told myself as I began my first training ride on the faded pink frame. My summer was taken up by swimming, biking, and running. The event at last arrived, and I hopped into the water, waiting for my wave to start. One sprint tri later, I was also part of that exclusive demographic: Triathlete! I had found myself something to be passionate about. I had found meaning and purpose. Most importantly I had beaten all three of my friends who had also entered. And the roommate who’d suggested the tri? He maintained a rigorous training regiment of smoking while delivering pizzas and found himself clinging for dear life to the side of a kayak halfway through the swim.