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Book Review:  When Big Boys Tri

by Ron

“There is no better time to start than today.”

From 368 pounds to more than a dozen triathlons later, Michael Pate is still Tri'n.  Do you think that you are absolutely crazy for thinking about doing a tri?  How many excuses are you finding to not go through with it?  Weight?  Lack of motivation?  How about the seemingly sheer absurdity of the thought?  Like “I can do a triathlon?”  Are not triathlons for elitist athletes who seemed to be bred just for this sport?  Absolutely not!!!  After reading Michael Pate’s book ‘When Big Boys Tri,’  all of your prior rationalizations to not do tri’s will be dispelled.

Michael Pate takes you on his journey.  Taken from his training diary, you will feel like you are living his experiences.  From his days of watching his first triathlon as the sound man for a local triathlon to actually participating in his first, Michael will give you the inspiration and encouragement needed to do your first tri.

Chapter 1 – The Tri That Made Me Try

“The first racers out of the water were just what I expected: those little bitty guys with zero percent body  fat.  But as time passed, I realized that people were getting out of the water who weren’t the zero percent body fat folks.  They were your average, everyday joe.  What I didn’t understand is that each one had a big smile on his face, as if to say, “I did it!”

By the end of the race, Michael decided that he could tri too…especially after the fact that he was told that one of the better triathletes in the state at that race used to be a big guy.

Michael will then take you through journey of “walking, jogging…O.K Slogging!” to starting to bike when running wasn’t working out for his knees.  Michael gives you a step-by-step on how he selected a bike AND what a good bike shop should be like.  Michael quickly builds up from a few miles to 16miles by the end of the year…plus he rides with clips!!!

By Chapter 4, Michael starts swimming.  “As with biking, I had no clue about swimming.”  From a modest ¾ of a lap and little improvement, to getting some coaching, Michael progresses from tens of yards to 1300yards!

Chapter 6:  Michael joins a local tri club and has his first sprint tri.  You will feel like your with him on his first tri.  By the time he finished he writes…”I had done something that had only seemed unattainable a year before, but this was only the start.”

Michael gets the rather stunning realization in chapter 7 that he had FORGOTTEN ABOUT GOLF.  Before the tri-training, Michael was a golf-nut, everyday on the links.  He even mentions that he cancelled his subscription to his golf mag…”holy smokes!  What am I becoming?  I was willing to sell my golf cart to get money for a new tri bike!”

Chapters 8-12 are Michael's  triathlons that he does for that season.  He describes each one in detail:  what was the “problem for the day” and what he improved in…plus many tips.  My favorite quote was from Chapter 11 – The Bare Bones Tri.  He describes what happened to him while walking down the swim ramp.  “As I reached the water and started down the ramp, I felt a nice layer of slime under my feet and as I got about waist deep, I felt myself losing balance and my feet going forward.  At that instant, I knew that I really needed to look cool so I just tried to make it look as though I had planned the whole thing and slipped gracefully into the water until my head disappeared below the surface of the water.   HAHA…had to look "really cool”  I would have done the same thing.

Yes, Michael does get his running into gear by Chapter 12 – 3.2miles w/out stopping.  YEAH!  But the River Cities Tri was very eventful for Michael, plus he learned a lot of tips.  I will not tell you, you will have to get the book.

The last chapter, Chapter 15, Michael offers many pages of tips for the beginner.  All in one section.  That really ties the book together and reiterates a lot of things that were mentioned during the books course.

This book is not for those wanting a training plan. BUT this book is for you if you need some encouragement to start training for your first tri.  If you think the odds are against you, Michael will dispel ALL of them. 

“It’s not what I did today, it’s what I know I can do tomorrow” – Michael Pate.



Rons Articles

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Book Review - When Big Boys Tri


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Quick Bike Thoughts for Beginners


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Thoughts from PineIsland Florida...a New 2003!


Can't Swim? Then KAYAK, Bike, Run!


Shin Splints


Starting from Scratch


Thoughts on Weightloss


Training Tips


Training for your First


Why Triathlon?  An Amateurs Perspective




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