Be strong as iron! Is it possible to buy all the Ironman gear for 50 dollars? Is it easy to run barefooted? How to tie a loaf of bread to a bicycle frame? And how can one not get overheated in a Soviet headset?
A dedication to all those who think that money can buy everything in this life and that only rich people can participate at Ironman. Bullshit. Life is not ruled by money, as well as Ironman isn’t just about expensive carbon and cool wetsuits. Success can be obtained only through hundreds of hours of hard work, strong spirit and will. So strengthen your spirit and make it steel!
I decided to prove that you can be a pro triathlet without money, and conquer an olympic distance (1.5 km swim, 40 bike and 10 run), with a 50$ budget. As it turned out later, a half can be done for the same money.
Sooo, how to save money? No wetsuit, no swimskin, only underpants. Glasses? Of course, I can spend 10$ on some, but it’s un-kosher. I’d rather find my old green Soviet mask for diving in the garage.
I don’t own a garage, so my friends helped me here (thank you, Sasha!). A swimming cap… Well, the organizers will give me one anyway.
Ok, the most expensive part is a bicycle. So I’ll spend most of my budget on it – 40$. It’s an Aist from the 70’s.
It’s a little bit rusty, but still good enough. My friends gave me a dynamo, a headlamp, two retroreflectors and a pump. The organizers of Ironman have special requirements for bicycles, so I had to put a front brake.
The helmet is not very expensive itself, but I wanted to find something stylish, so I chose a Soviet motorcycle helmet, which I’ve successfully bought at a flea market for 10$. By the way, it’s the very same helmet that Morgunov was wearing when he took the Caucasian captive away from her happiness.
Gloves are a luxury, so screw them. And the velo jacket, glasses, gels, gps watches, airbars, bottle-holders with bottles, tools and spares go the same way. I don’t have money for these. Simply, I don’t.
Here everything is much more simple. “Dynamo” runs? Runs! Let’s take the clothes from “Gentlemen of Fortune”, but instead of shoes (too expensive for me) let’s put on some slippers. Number on an elastic band, T-shirt in pants. Alright.
Expenses – 0$. All this stuff can be found in your granddad’s chest.
I felt a little nervous before the race – Ironman was developed as an expensive, high-end brand, inaccessible for every kind of loser. After all, if I conquered one of the distances, it means I’m better than other athletes. This is the reason they may not like such a mythbuster like me. But we’ve read the rules hundreds of times, and they seem to have nothing to punish us for…
I was thinking all the time about the list of weak links in my gear. In fact, there were no strong links at all, kind of a necklace made of copper wire, stretched by two elephants.
1. My mask will leak;
2. It will get fogged;
3. I can freeze without my wetsuit.
4. Tyres might deflate;
5. Rim could bend;
6. Hub might jam;
7. FK what else…. (as it turned out , FK was the seat…)
8. I will damage my heels without good shoes;
9. Without my watch I may start too rapidly and get tired soon;
10. I may develop calluses.
I decided that I can’t afford some gels, so I will eat and drink whatever I will be offered on the route. And I also duck-taped a loaf of bread to the frame, just in case I get too hungry…
To enhance the effect of the bicycle I did NEVER sit on it before the race. To make it more fun. And now I get on it to cross the transit zone. First hundred meters are ok, three hundred, too. It creaks but still works. But after a kilometer my iron friend stopped being a friend – my seat fell back. I straightened it, but after 300 meters the same thing happened. Damn it, surprises played their part, but I thought I can fix it in the transit.
And here we are, my fellas and I – Vadim Jeleascov, Roma Shtirbu and a group of supporters – 1,2, 3,4… At 8 am in the transit zone. I feel nervous. After seeing my bicycle, the volunteers begin to smile and take pictures of it. At the entry it’s being checked: brakes, wheels, handlebars. Everyone laughs and takes pictures, but they let it in!
I notice a Shimano workshop and take my bike to them. The repairmen laugh, take pictures and try to fix it. No luck… They laugh again and apologize. Alright, I will have to move my butt then, at least the distance is short. I park my bike, normal people with 10K carbon bicycles walk by, laugh and take pictures.
I head to the water, put on my mask and dive – I need to check it first. It’s too tight under the nose, but beauty is pain, isn’t it? At least the view is terrific, as in an aquarium!
This time there were twenty of us from Moldova – Sporter club is growing, there are more and more triathletes, and travelling becomes more fun!
And here it is, the start! Well, I won’t be describing the whole race, better to see once:
What can be cooler than finishing with your friends and a medal from your son?
In fact, this weekend was remarkable for another event. My entire family: son, daughter and wife, participated in different competitions and conquered them! Two IronKids and an IronGirl.
Five medals for a family over the weekend! Who’s got more?
Now we have got all the Ironman medals:
- IRONMAN Switzerland
- IRONMAN 70.3 Zell am See-Kaprun
- IRONMAN 5150 Budapest
- IRONMAN 70.3 Budapest Relay