Surfing the triathlon-related sites the other day, a press release caught my eye. 101.06? This couldn’t be. Yet another distance and series of races? That’s right, a new 2007 series cleverly called one-o-one with 4 races covering true long course distances; 4K swim, 120K bike, 30K run.
With the release of this new race series, it seems an appropriate time to for me to jump on the bandwagon and introduce a new, number-related race that has been stirring around in my head for some time.
As in, 40.0 work hours in a week. As in the number of hours you need to work to be considered full-time, as in the numerical value of selling your soul to some company in exchange for what they consider generous and what you consider embarrassing as a yearly exempt salary. Exempt as in exempt from over-time, double-time, freetime, or any good time that you could be having if only you didn’t have to work 40.0 damn hours each week.
As such, this race will showcase the finest training that a full-time, 8 am – 5 pm, work schedule has to offer including swimming at peak pool usage times, biking along rush hour busy roads, and running in complete darkness.
The only qualifying factor for entry into this race is proof of full-time employment. Full-time employment denotes that you show up at a desk – not within your own home – by a certain time each day or someone in a position above you will question your absence and discipline your disappearing ass if you don’t show.
To verify employment status, all athletes must present a copy of last years W-2 form on race day. Just for an added kick, we will pin your W-2 to your back so when you get passed by some maniac athlete they will not only have the option to shout on yer left! but may also opt to ostracize you for the meager size of your salary. Chances are if they are passing you, they make twice as much money to buy twice as fancy equipment at retail cost to kick the ass of people like you two times over.
Now, stay-at-home moms and work-at-home employees, we at 40.0 believe you work just as hard as the rest of us. In fact, you probably work harder. However, this is not the competition for you. You just don’t qualify. To be fair, we will have a lottery and for a small fee you can get a chance at a slot to compete in this highly awaited and highly coveted event. We accept all forms of bribery, pity stories, and pleas as entry into the race. And we will automatically enroll anyone with celebrity status.
The race will start after work at 5 pm. Here at 40.0 we completely reject the standard 7 am race start time knowing that most of you are either up at 4:30 am training before work or out until 8 pm training after work. The only people ready to race at 7 am are the unemployed, graduate students, and professionals athletes. The rest of us have barely choked down 5 ounces of our 21 ounce cup of coffee and are still wondering if we left the house fully dressed.
The race will begin at a local gym with a 1000 yard swim directly after work on a weekday. Note that this tends to be a time of heavy usage in the pool. Unfortunately, participants will not have special pool privileges. In fact, expect to sit and watch time tick by for 10, maybe 15 minutes while waiting for half of a lane to open up because all of the lanes will be double stacked with people doing some semblance of swimming but unsure if they are drowning or just waving. By chance that you actually do get into a lane, the swim portion will consist of snaking your way up and down over 4 lanes filled with other pool users. Consider it a version of pool steeple chase, if you will.
In Lane 1, you will find a woman walking laps back and forth while you take the other half of the lane against the wall. Since this woman is swinging foam weights in each arm as she walks, you can expect to swallow approximately ½ of the water in the pool including ½ of the stuff that seeps off of all those band-aids that keeping sinking to the bottom and some gum. Also, being pinned against the wall, you can expect to swallow another ½ of the pool water after it hits the wall and then bounces back in tsunami force at you. Because of this woman’s girth, space will be very limited and you can expect to scrape your entire body against the wall at least once every lap adding blood and skin to the other specks of suspicious items floating around the pool at any given time.
Lane 2 will contain a man doing breakstroke back and forth while overkicking the black line making a swift kick to the ribs or stomach punch a likely inevitability. When he finally does an entertaining version freestyle swimming, his flailing arms will make contact with you at least every 50 yards and you will lose your goggles at least one. After each lap, he will stop at the wall and stretch his hamstring over and over again, hogging half of the wall in the process, making any turn impossible.
Lane 3 will consist of the group we shall refer to as the two noodles and a kickboard club. We’re not sure what they’re doing in the pool or why they need to do it in water, but one thing is certain – they are not getting out anytime soon because they have a strange affinity for floating in chlorinated water and freakish endurance for mind boggling boredom and inanity as they coast up and down the lane with these inflatable toys.
Finally, in lane 4, participants will be faced with the biggest obstacles of all – a water aerobics class designed specifically for pregnant women. As these mommy’s-to-be move up and down in the water, kick their legs side to side, their collective weight alone causes all of the water in the pool to move in the fashion of a swirling vortex ready to suck in any unassuming swimmer as they go by. Their chattiness is deafening, their penchant for bad eighties music set to techno beats is nauseating. Even worse, the instructor insists on talking to all 6 of them in a screeching, high-pitched voice while she jumps around like a monkey on the deck completely oblivious to the fact that no one in the class is even watching her. But the hot tub finds it highly entertaining. After a few laps you will feel grateful you spend most of the time submerged underwater.
Upon completing the swim, you will jump in your car and drive to the bike course at approximately 5:20 pm (because commuting from work wasn’t enough, because you just couldn’t wait to commute for your work out as well). Since it is after 5 pm, you will not have time to drive the 30 – 40 minutes to any decent roads. Instead, you will ride right from home. The bike course will be 20 miles of out-and-back along a very busy, four lane road again at the peak of rush hour. Just to be sure your average speed doesn’t get too high, there will be a stoplight planted cleverly every ½ mile.
Participants will bike along the shoulder of the road. At times, this shoulder may be 4 feet wide, at other times about 4 inches. And sometimes, for no reason, there may be no shoulder at all. Expect to flat 2 – 3 flat tires as you ride through debris most commonly found along a shoulder, including, but not limited to, glass, random pieces of metal, remnants of headlights, paper, plastic bottles, hubcaps, large clumps of grass or dirt, cigarette butts, old shoes, a bumper, and other assorted items that you have no clue how people lose from their car going 50 miles per hour.
50 miles per hour is also the speed limit along this road. And so you best pack an extra pair of shorts because at some point along the course you will get scared shitless and soil yourself after a far-too-close encounter with a semi-truck or a suburban housewife driving a Lexus SUV shouting senseless and rude cuss words at you while either driving her kids home from soccer practice or driving to Target to buy juice for the fourth time that week.
Part of the bike course will also take you through a neighborhood. This will showcase some of the finest and safest cycling available to those that ride after 5 pm. In the neighborhood, you will complete 10 loops of the same 1 mile circuit. If the sheer monotony alone does not cause you to drop out after 10 loops or throw up from going in circles, you will go back and do the same 10 loops in reverse.
Along the bike course, there is also the slight risk that you will be verbally assaulted by a genius. Yes, a rare genius that has somehow mastered how to drive a car and talk at the same time while informing you with window rolled down as they come squealing around a corner that bikes belong on the sidewalk, not on the road because the road is for cars. Who knew.
And as for other wildlife, beware the wild turkeys along the side of the road that get scared silly when you ride by and start gobbling which will send you in a panicked frenzy swerving into oncoming traffic. Do not approach the angry geese that do not look both ways before crossing the road. As for the squirrels, they are fuckin’ fearless so watch out.
When you hit the turnaround point, you will make your way back to experience all of the joy, love, and fun of riding down a busy road during rush hour in tight black shorts, a colorful jersey, and matching socks but this time you get to do it in reverse. Before reaching the end of the bike course, you will go under what is referred as the bridge of death – a tricky descent down a 45 mph road on which you on a bicycle can reach 35 mph right before going under the bridge with no shoulder to save your sorry two-wheeled ass so you must keep turning your head back while simultaneously praying to god that no car drives under the bridge at the same time. If perchance you make it through the bridge alive, as you sit at the stoplight catching your breath a car will pull up to you, roll down their window, and say “Oh you think you’re fast, do you?” provoking you to sprint out of the light to catch up with them, tap on their window, and flip them the bird – also another type of wildlife you will need to watch out for.
If by some miracle you survive the bike course unscathed, you will then transition to a 5 mile run. You will run through neighborhoods in complete darkness because by this time night has arrived. To avoid traffic, you will run most of the course in the gutter. You’ve been treated like crap the entire course of the race so it is most appropriate for you to finish it in the gutter like the rest of the street trash. By the way, running in the gutter is great for your IT Band and balancing out your hips.
Along the run course expect to be chased by at least one small dog that thinka it is 10 times it’s size. Mostly like this will be a pug that the owner has leashed but still has not learned – after 2 years of runners running by it – that the pug tends to lunge at runners when they approach in the dark, yanking the owners arm and leash far enough to run into the runner and attack them in a vicious frenzy of barking and small sharp teeth.
Part of the run course will take place on a path through a local forest preserve. You will maneuver your way along the path in total darkness while avoiding large branches, nocturnal wildlife, and large piles of horse crap. It is best to attach bells to your shoes for this portion of the run so those enforcing the forest preserve’s deer management program don’t confuse you for a deer or else you risk getting a few rounds of buckshot in your ass.
At some point along the run course, your stomach will drop. At that point, you will have two choices – hold it and risk the massive bowel movement being reabsorbed by your body or sneak into some dense shrubbery to drop the anchor that is sitting in your ass. Whatever your choice, choose wisely – you could pay for it either way.
The participant who completes the course first will be crowned the 40.0 champion. Other than the intrinsic gratification of calling yourself a champion, there will be no other accolades, awards, or prizes. Of course, next year we will either completely change the series or eliminate it all together so your championship title will become obsolete.
The 2007 date won't be announced for another few months. But, registration will be open soon and we will gladly take your $600 entry fee any time.