So, let’s cut to the essence of this whole Roth thing, then, eh. The competition between the generations. Dads versus the youth.
On the one side there’s Ric, progenitor of the whole Roth idea (and half the opposition - Jack and George) with his old uni mucker, the mysterious Wave [Editor: I should mention that we had a blip in the ether the other day and we think it was Wave trying to communicate, so he probably is an actual person, rather than some vanishing effect of physics]. Both are just shy of 60 and in the vanguard of a new generation of men who just can’t teach the body what it means no longer to behave like a young man.
And on the other side, the youth, are the four lads, Jack and George, and their uni mates Mark and Si. They’re just setting out on life’s journey of sporting endurance, blasting it, using innate fitness and speed. George:
“While us lads are humbled by Dad’s generosity when it comes to kit, advice and training guidance…”
“You what?" chips in Jack. "Every time we enter a big challenge he chews off our ears with advice and stuff about training, even questions our chances of actually finishing… And yet every time, we youths prove him wrong and finish far quicker than he ever thought possible.”
“Er, as I was saying, while us lads are humbled by Dad’s generosity with… well, kit, have you ever wondered why it’s only over 40s who do these river swims and multisport events? Because we’ve got a life! When your mates are dragging you out to socials, drinks and general fun three nights a week, what do you think it's like heading off to an empty gym for an hour and a half on the Watt Bike...”
So, will it be a leisurely passing of the baton between the generations? In which the one graciously ushers the other ahead, knowing the glorious adventures that await them?
Will it hell. The oldies’ll be gritting their teeth and hanging on as desperately and as long as they can. Or blowing a raspberry with any spare breath they have as they inch their way past.
“It is a simple matter of two crossing lines”, pontificates Ric, during an extensive post-exercise massage. “Dads get slower with age. And yet, with a bit of training, even just a bit of fitness, bless ‘em, kids get faster.”
And let’s not forget sarcopenia. Which, for those who don’t know, is the decrease in skeletal muscle mass due to increasing age. It happens at about one percent per year, from as early as your mid 30s if you’re unlucky, so it’s enough to scare any sportsman - though in fact much scarier than the idea of sarcopenia is the word itself. Any concept formed of the words sarcastic and penis is surely enough to terrify a man.
But will this be the moment of intersection? Will the lines cross at Roth? What’s a sporty, competitive Dad to do?
Well, Ric’s got a secret spreadsheet of course, of things in which he can maintain his spot as top dog, what with all those young ‘uns bounding along at his heels, snapping and ready to take a chunk out of his already dodgy Achilles. It goes something like this:
· Cycling. Yipppeee… I’m still ahead, though gifting too much expensive/ aerodynamic kit to Jack and George probably means the writing is on the wall…
· Triathlon. Yippee again… Also still ahead, mainly because I have accumulated 20-30 race results across all distances
· Rowing on Concept 2. Jack ahead with 6:24 followed by Dad at 6:42 (19 years ago)
· Running. Still have family best half marathon time, though that could go this Sunday at Monster Mojito… or on 20/5 as daughter Rosy races this distance in Sydney; she already has family marathon leadership. Rosy and Amy miles ahead on middle distance, George fastest sprinter
· Swimming. In the pool over shorter distances Rosy and Amy again miles ahead, followed by Jack and then Dad, however Dad still leading (probably not for much longer) over all triathlon open water distances : 1500m, 1900, 3800m
Is Ric just in denial? Or will he pip them at the post at Roth (and then conveniently retire)?
“The odds are completely stacked in his favour”, says George, “home gym, an army of bikes, excessive holiday and three tropical training camps to get into shape…. We’ll see… “
Jack: “He keeps looking over his shoulder for us, but we’re looking only at the road ahead. A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep. It’s just a matter of time…”
And the mysterious Wave? Well, he still maintains he’s the housewife’s choice. Hi advice about transitions being the triathlon's fourth discipline was interrupted by static and something about hair-driers.
By the way, all six of the crew are out this weekend at the Monster Mojito, a half ironman distance triathlon in Peterborough, so expect stories of derring do – and caustic ribbing – early next week.