We’ve all seen it. Somebody riding their Divvy bike down the street in a suit and tie wearing gym shoes. We all struggle to understand the stark contradiction riding past us, but inevitably we always smile, shake our head in disbelief, and wish the working commuter a safe journey.
Having a Divvy station just a block away from our store in the West Loop, we see a rush of these “professional commuters” every evening. A few weeks before the Chicago Triathlon we remarked at one particularly quick commuter and wondered if he was getting his evening workout in on his commute home.
Our very own Rishan, who had just signed up for the Chicago Triathlon SuperSprint Divvy wave race, remarked that a “professional commuter” could very easily become a “professional triathlete.” $18 at the local thrift shop later, and our idea of a “professional triathlete” was days away from become a reality. We had a few concerns to address first though…
1) Chaffing. Let’s answer the question everyone wants answered first. Rishan decided to wear more “traditional” triathlon clothing under the wool blend suit. This eliminated the chaffing issues but created the larger issue of…
2) Overheating. A humid Saturday morning and 4 layers of clothing created heat and hydration related issues. Following his own advice, Rishan simply hydrated frequently. Although, he did dump more water on his neck tie than is advisable on a normal workday.
3) Drag. A swimmer by nature, Rishan was most concerned with the, well let’s call it “billowing effect” of a 3 piece in the open water. A simple solution, hair ties around the cuffs provided some relief, but still did not allow for an optimal swim. The exact quote when asked how the swim went was “heavy.”
The much bigger question we’ve seen being asked is a little more difficult to answer. Why did Rishan decide to race a triathlon in a suit?
Rishan is a fun loving guy with a fierce competitive nature. He looks to challenge himself whenever possible, but more importantly he looks to help others challenge themselves. Never losing his down-to-earth humor, Rishan wants to help other people accomplish something bigger than they thought they could, while remembering to have a little fun in life along the way.
The part of this story people haven’t seen is that on Sunday morning, Rishan lined up to start the International distance Chicago Triathlon, but more importantly he did so as part of the Live Grit First Timers’ Program. 450 athletes lined up Sunday morning to tackle the challenge of completing their first ever triathlon, with a few veteran athletes sprinkled in for help along the way. Anticipation and anxiety filled the air, but there was Rishan, a pillar throughout their summer of training and preparation, cutting the tension with laughter and jokes. He jumped in the water with nervous athletes, providing a sense of calm and excitement that only he can. He reminded everyone how much fun this sport should be.
At Live Grit, we strive to break down the barriers to the wonderful sport of triathlon. You don’t need the most expensive stuff and you don’t have to be the most fit athlete in the world. You just need a willingness to take an adventure and remember to have a little fun along the way. Rishan and Live Grit believe that there must be a balance between the “compete factor” and the “fun factor.” So on your next Divvy ride home, race to the next stop light, tie flapping in the wind and all. But when you get to that stop light, heart racing, remember to smile and have a little fun along the way too.