Triathletes are a bunch of tools.
I learned this important lesson when I first got into the sport in 2001. I was taught to never show up to a group ride (of any kind, but particularly with roadies) with aerobars, or goofy bars as they may be called. Not only did you look stupid if you did, it's also quite dangerous to ride around someone in their aero position.
Every year I went to Columbia and, as a college kid, would look at the bikes around me with jealousy. I went into each race with a huge chip on my shoulder, thinking "it doesn't matter what kind of bike you ride, you still have to pedal." And pedal I did. I have done pretty well in my racing career on a road bike, and really didn't think a time trial setup would benefit me much.
Now I am in a place where I can both afford and rationalize spending the money to get a time trial bike, and I've got to say - it's pretty amazing. My bike splits this year have been retarded. Some of this I will attribute to being in better shape and not racing like a bitch, but some of it is definitely bike-related.
Of course, people still take it to that next level. I picked up a Cervelo P2C with some pretty deep Reynolds wheels. No disc, no power tap, no computer of any kind. I have a friend who is amazing on the bike. All his gadgets are ridiculous. Sometimes I wish I took it to that level, but most of the time I am pleased with my current status.
Triathletes are also, in general, idiots when it comes to running. It's not that hard - run more, do some hills, mix in some harder efforts and recover. As a slow runner, doing 200s on the track all out is probably not something you really need.
Swimming, well, I can't say much on this subject, since I suck. I've been steadily improving over the last few years, but it's only gotten me to where I swam once upon a time (2003). Again, swim more, swim easier - that's how you get faster.
You put all three together and you've got a triathlete. A quirky, "A" personality with possible OCD/manic qualities. They're analytical and not emotional. They love arguing over methods, and never use rationale. In my 7 years of the sport, I can say I've only met a few of the more serious people that I would consider being pretty cool. Doug Clark is one. He's from NJ, around 40 years old, and still competes every year in the NJ Beer Mile Championships. OJ is another. He and I have a good time when we go to races, and despite being old and "out of shape" he still crushes it.
Everyone else rolls around in their dorky triathlete gear, logo-emblazoned jackets and jerseys, and love wearing their spandex hours after the event. They don't seem too friendly and take themselves pretty seriously.
I guess sports like running, cycling and swimming attract nerdy people. Running races are certainly filled with geeks. Cyclists think their shit doesn't stink. Swimmers try to live their college lifestyle through adulthood. And I don't mean by swimming a lot, I mean by acting like 20 year olds. I'm sure that I, too, am pretty dorky, but I do have fun, make fun and genuinely enjoy what I do. I run like a runner, I ride like a cyclist, and I swim...well, I swim.
With that in mind, off to another race site where I get to mingle with the kings and queens of Nerdvana.