When triathlon takes over, it can make your rational mind take a back seat, as Triathlon Plus staff writer Tom Ballard is constantly finding out.

Why do we do mental things? Because we tri

Commitment to triathlon can make us do some funny things. As if the looks we get from the uninitiated about swimming in lakes, encasing ourselves in neoprene or proudly strutting our recovery tights weren’t enough, being a member of triathlon community can make you revel in odd behaviour that would have others calling the men in white coats.

My latest example of this came recently as, determined to get to the evening turbo session I’d promised to be at, I found myself cycling through falling snow dressed in three layers of gear with a turbo-trainer strapped to my back. The thing was, the weather wasn’t what bothered me; it was using up too much energy before the tough indoor session that was playing on my mind.

The strangest bit was that I was glad I did it; I’d committed to training that evening and the obsessive compulsive in me – so absent when asked to tidy up, but ever present when it comes to tri – meant I wasn’t going to let a little bit of snow and ice get in the way!

In retrospect, it was a stupid thing to do – a spill could have caused serious injuries – but like a child dared to jump down a flight of stairs, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The session was great and gave that characteristic warm sense of satisfaction that comes from losing your body weight in sweat. Luckily a fellow club member gave me a lift back so I was excused the terror of traversing sub-zero Tarmac at 9.30pm on skinny road tires.

It’s not just me who engages in these strange misadventures either: it’s universal in triathlon. This Sunday will see a band of likeminded nutters competing in the local aquathlon, which after the cosy warmth of the pool, will turn into an icicle-inducing wet trisuit run at minus three degrees. This behaviour certainly attracts points, stares and, from a few, looks of abject terror, but done as a group all these confidence derailing reactions are like freezing cold water off a duck’s back. That’s the beauty of the sport: when you’re with those who understand it – the love training, the euphoria of racing, the fetishism of carbon – no explanation of the weird things commitment to triathlon makes you do is necessary; and that’s a good place to be.

Now, where are those fleece-lined tights for tomorrow’s ride?

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