Back in the early Penticton Ironman days, biking naked or near naked was pretty cool. We didn’t have all the fancy triathlon clothing to choose from like there is today.

I guess I’m dating myself but when I was in Penticton doing book-signings for the 2009 edition of the Penticton Ironman Triathlon this past August, I overheard a conversation that brought back a lot of memories about biking-naked. Well, almost naked anyway!

This one guy said to his buddy, “can you imagine? There were guys who used to do the entire Ironman with just a Speedo swimsuit and a running top on. They were damn near biking naked”.

“Hey”! I thought. “That’s me they’re talking about!”

It’s completely true. Except for that little Speedo and a flimsy running top we “were” darn near biking-naked.

But hey! If you spend hundreds of hours training yourself to Ironman status why not flaunt it?

Back then, it was much like shaving your legs is today.

It was sort of a badge of honor to have shaved legs and wearing nothing but a Speedo and a flimsy top back in the 1980’s.

One year was particularly ugly that the temperature turned cold almost without warning and there was a driving rain and we were still hitting speeds of 50MPH(80k) going down the Yellow Lake Hill in the final portion of the bike course.

Biking naked

Top pro Faris al-Sultan is well known for preferring to wear a Speedo in Ironman races.

I can remember stopping at a roadside turn-off at the bottom of the hill because I couldn’t feel my arms or legs anymore. I wasn’t alone.

There must have been about 15 of us who had pulled off the course.

When I look back, you probably could have taken all the clothes all of us were wearing and put them in one plastic grocery bag.

For all the good our Speedo’s were doing that day we might as well have been biking naked.

I guess those would qualify as “the good old days” of the Penticton Ironman Triathlon when almost biking naked was pretty much the way it was in the early years.

I have to admit that it had it’s good points. Our wetsuits fit much better with just a swim suit underneath as opposed to a tri-suit.

Except for a few really cold years like the one I just mentioned, it was normally pretty hot except for the early stages of the bike and you really didn’t need any more clothes and biking for 112 miles and running 26.2 miles in a skimpy swimsuit was not so bad.

Actually it was great in the run to be wearing as little as possible. In later years when I switched to a tri-suit they would actually become hot and constricting.

I should also mention that those particular Speedo swimsuits were made for triathletes and had padding for the bike in the important areas.

One thing I can tell you though about those years of biking and running near naked in nothing but a Speedo was that I could never get enough of all the female spectators along the course who would whistle at us.

Yes sir! Biking naked. Those were the good old days.



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