You know you’re part of the multisport community when you describe your races and workouts in triathlon-ese. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek glossary of triathlon jargon for those who still speak multisport as a second language. And for those who have fully mastered the register, some insight on what the rest of the world has in mind when you utter those words out of context.
This dreaded activity occurs when an athlete completely runs out of energy, usually a result of failing to suck down GELs or drink enough electrolyte replacement. A bonking athlete has HIT THE WALL, and it takes a SHOT of gel, energy BAR or perhaps a RED BULL to get the legs turning again. Not to be confused with a similar term used in British dialect, which can be translated into some American dialects as knocking boots, or doing the wild thing. A bonking athlete has little energy to engage in this other type of bonking.
See related terms TRASHED, HIT THE WALL.
See FLY and HAMMER.
Synonymous with the verbs to CRUISE, HAMMER or just plain go fast…like an airplane. No security checks or squeezing into cramped seats is necessary for this type of flying, just a strong heart and lungs.
An endurance athlete’s best friend, approximately 100 Calories of easy to digest simple carbohydrates packaged in an easy to open plastic wrapper. Flavors include everything from chocolate to vanilla to strawberry and baby-food carrot n’ peas (uh, that last flavor actually failed focus group approval). A gel can be sucked down at periodic intervals during racing or training to avoid BONKING. Not to be confused with a product sold in hair salons to keep hair in place.
Denotes the ultimate in effort, especially appropriate for describing blazing fast bike splits where one FLIES, or crushes the course. Origin can be traced to the crushing effect displayed by a hammer in the hand of a skilled carpenter, who also hits the nail on the head, metaphorically similar to what the athlete does with his effort in the race or training ride.
See related terms HAMMER FEST, HAMMER HEAD.
HIT THE WALL, verb
The metaphorical act of facing one’s worst nightmare in a race situation, the point at which one feels they can no longer go on; often accompanied by BONKING. The best remedy is eating GELs and BARs, and hoping for a second wind.
PRIME, noun (Pronounced prEEm)
An intermediary spot within a race where extra points or prizes are earned, e.g. being the first out of the water or the one with the fastest run split. The most commonly mispronounced word by those new to the cycling or multisport world (and who don’t speak a Romance language).
RED BULL, noun
The worst tasting edible beverage ever put into liquid form, loaded with caffeine to rev up the heart and focus the mind, sugar, and for some reason, carbonation. Perhaps it is this last ingredient, along with the caffeine and horrible taste, which evidently makes it best suited as a dilution for hard alcohol. As a result, this drink tends to be more popular among the rave crowd in bars than among athletes at races. (Perhaps one would be better off sticking to coffee and Gatorade).
Used as a quantifier to specify an amount of GEL consumed by an athlete in motion. A SHOT of GEL refers to a one-serving package of approximately 100 kilocalories of nutritional value. Not to be confused with a fluid ounce serving of something that smells like rubbing alcohol often added to a mixture of RED BULL in a BAR.
A state achieved after a HAMMER fest, or hard training bout. BONKING may or may not have occurred in the process of becoming trashed, but an energy depleting effort is required, leaving the athlete ready for bed in the middle of the afternoon or a well-deserved rest day to recover. Also the state achieved after drinking too many RED BULL mixed drinks at the layman’s BAR during a night out on the town.
The trinity of swim, bike, and run–the foundation of modern multisport. Those who engage in TRIATHLONs are termed triathletes, and once initiated as such are required to spell the word correctly without inserting an extra a between the h and l as the layperson is often tempted to do, i.e. triathAlon (sic). Variations on the multisport theme consist of DUATHLON (running and cycling), and AQUATHLON (swimming and running). Along with PENTATHLON and DECATHLON, there is no extraneous a to be found in these words.