Below follows a short review of the different types of personality (some might say personality disorders) that characterise in my opinion the majority of the people that carry out the various sporting disciplines.
I know very well that some readers will only recognise a part of themselves, or won’t recognise themselves at all, in the descriptions below, and I hope they’ll be read just with a spirit of irony provoking perhaps a little reflection.
The Triathlete: someone who lives their life with at least 3 bags in the car, obsessed with optimal organisation and balancing the mileage between the three disciplines, a satisfied and amused smile when they find themselves in front of a 20% climb, a force 4 sea or a mountain that needs to be climbed on foot.
They enjoy the physical pain derived from tiredness and fatigue, suffer from an inferiority complex when they compare themselves to their “pure” cyclist, runner or swimmer friends, but take heart in the hope for a hypothetical future confrontation across the three sports that will however never happen.
Generally they take a break to work between a long session on the bike in the morning and a quality training session in the pool in the evening without ever overdoing things (at work). They can’t remember what it is like to walk without leg pain.
The Runner: They generally have more shoes than an A list celebrity. Obsessed by kilometres and tables, they put a lot of time and energy in the search for the right combination of intervals, fartlek sessions, tempo runs and long runs that will lead to optimal performance.
Often reflective and withdrawn they always have an eye on their gps watch – upon which their mood for the day to a great extent depends.
They run to get back into a good mood, to reflect upon the day, to go beyond their own limits, but also, just to run.
The Swimmer: Practically an underwater hamster, their wheel is the pool. For the swimmer, the only possibile relief from the stress of life is to put their head under water and soothe away the clamours of the day in the liquid. The repetition of the athletic action, the anxiety for an infinitesimal improvement that length after length leads them to feel more efficiency in their stroke, kick and turn are like repeating an obsessive mantra that brings them back into equilibrium with the world.
The Cyclist: They have two objectives in life: to not get off of their bike and to get on a pair of weighing scales. The number of kilometres cycled and weight/strength ratio are two fundamental aspects of performance. Given these considerations it is easy to understand why in winter they are irascibile and bad tempered (especially where it is difficult to go out cycling because of the cold), degraded to pedalling on the roller inside and from the perennial sensation of not having pedalled enough. They flourish again in the Spring where you can find them alone or in groups in their natural element, out on the roads.
The Alpine Skier: Revels in the insane fatigue from the climbs and from the adrenaline-fuelled sensation of the descent on fresh snow with the imminent risk of being swept over by an avalanche. They are sportsmen and women with similar characteristics to mountain bikers and sky runners who live in a strange equilibrium made up of different types of madness that offset each other. But above all, they are dominated by their passion for the mountains and nature, to which they pay all due respect, enabling them to come back alive and on their own two legs after each excursion.