Granted, most of the muscled men and women competing in the upcoming Granite Man triathlon are serious about their swim stroke. And running stride. And keeping mountain bike tires on the trail while slicing seconds off their finish time.
But beyond the boasts about breaking "CRs" (course records), tales about skidding past 90-degree turns and descriptions of skin scrapes from careening down hills in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, there is lighthearted fun.
Slow runners, families and spectators also enjoy this two-day racing series on idyllic Applegate Lake.
Granite Man race director Chad Wikander, a past race winner himself, has added a 5K scavenger hunt and other activities to the seventh annual event, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, at Hart-Tish Park. He is expecting 300 participants and uncountable people cheering them on.
Across the country, race organizers are trying to broaden challenging triathlons to interest first-timers and bystanders, says Liz Hichens of Triathlete Magazine, based in San Diego, Calif.