Monday, January 14, 2008

Does Triathlete Magazine Dislike the Phoenix Triathlon Club?

Triathlete Magazine logo The February 2008 issue of Triathlete Magazine had a surprising addition to its "Mail Call" column: a letter dissing the Phoenix Triathlon Club for not having a single kind, friendly human being on their team. I grew up in Phoenix and actually agree with the letter's author, Jake Hamby. The thing is, when I was last living there (in 2001), everyone was still pretty friendly. It was a strange case when someone I'd wave to on my daily bike ride wouldn't smile and wave back, or offer a kind "Hello!" Maybe it's because I looked like a goofball, wearing Adidas soccer shorts, a cotton tank top, a Camelback, and lace-up mountain biking shoes to ride my full-suspension mountain bike all over the roads. Whatever it was, people then were just the way triathletes should be: friendly.

However, riding in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley during trips home over the last year, I got the feeling Hamby described in his Triathlete Magazine letter. Hardly anyone waved, nobody smiled, and the few people that did talk to me seemed like they only did so to size me up at stoplights, then try to drop me when the lights turned green. And I certainly got passed several times on the Beeline Highway when I was changing a flat, without a single "Got everything you need?" or "You OK?" I never thought I'd say this, but cyclists in Los Angeles are a million times friendlier than the new breed of transplanted Phoenicians. I'd like to think that people who grew up there before it became another tabloid-obsessed mini-Hollywood would still smile and change Jake Hamby's tire if they saw him.

The question remains, however, why did Triathlete Magazine choose to run this particular piece of mail? They only ran 4 letters in the February '08 issue--one promoting their magazine, two promoting Ultraman events, and Hamby's disillusionment with Phoenix Tri Club members. Perhaps an editor felt the same way? Or some Phoenix Triathlon Club charter member really pissed someone off? Whatever the reason, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who was saddened by the behavior of other athletes in Phoenix. I'll stick to riding up PCH where almost everyone waves, if only in acknowledgment that you have something in common: a dislike of all drivers on PCH, and the feeling like every one of them is plotting to take you out.

Happy Training! And smile, for goodness sakes! :)

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