Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Plabnox History Lesson: Victorian Triathlon

The modern triathlon originated in Victorian times. Queen Victoria was a frequent participant, and the spectacle was named in her honor.

Below: Queen Victoria, triathlete.

Each race commenced with the swimming portion, which was the most scandalous due to the lascivious yet streamlined bathing suits.

Below: The Victorian Speedo left nothing to the imagination.

After the dip, the athletes would undergo an extensive costume change into their running outfits. Gear for the run consisted of a bustle, which was available in numerous forms and sizes, a floor-length skirt, puffed taffeta sleeves for lift, and a parasol (indispensable for the stretches where the runner was exposed to direct sunlight; when closed, the parasol could be used to trip, stab, or poke other competitors).

Below: A daguerreotype of a triathlete clad in the full running gear panoply.
Below: Profile of a bustle.

Below: An array of bustle varieties. Each discrete breed performed a unique function, much like the modern running shoe in its many styles.

The final segment of the Victorian triathlon involved the bicycle race. Cyclists found the design of the Victorian racing bike was to their advantage because the high seating allowed them sweeping vistas of the surrounding terrain.

Below: A disciplined moustache trains for an upcoming triathlon on his racing bike.

Below: This rare prototype was designed for, but never used in triathlons. While the bike failed to take off in the racing circuit, it did become the first gay dance club of the Victorian era.

Below: For reasons obvious in the photograph below, the straight dance club did not catch on.

No comments: