Salty Triathlete: The Future, Tri Style

The year is 2039, and, yes, you're still a triathlete.

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You’re ejected from bed—the mattress tips up gently when it senses through heart and sweat rates that you’ve experienced the optimal amount of sleep for peak recovery. Your bathroom mirror scans you, noting hydration status, muscle tone, mood, and posture, then sends the info to your virtual coach who instantly pinpoints what you should work on today.

Then you jump in your space-saving smart pool, where the jets adjust according to the workout. Yeah, you’ve slammed into the wall a few times when Coach wanted to crank it up and you were zoning out and didn’t hear the voice through the in-water speakers telling you the all-out sprints were coming. Good thing there’s some padding around the edges and your full-face swim helmet was buckled up tightly.

You could jump straight onto the smart trainer next, but Coach thinks you need nature stimulation today. You fire up your bike’s anti-car forcefield (yes, it’s glitchy but most self-driving cars recognize it and steer themselves away) and put on your lightweight vest that encases your body in an inflated bubble within a split second at the hint of a collision. It’s only self-triggered once. The resulting YouTube video titled “The Bounce” shows you being punted like a toddler kicking an inflatable ball, the force of the inflation ping ponging you between a second floor apartment wall and the car that caught it on film. You broke a few bones and had to buy the driver a new Tesla. But the ads running on those 2 billion YouTube views and the resulting speaking engagements covered the expenses and have let you live the tri lifestyle full- time for three years now. Totally worth it.

Your coach wants you to run on the beach to strengthen the tiny muscles in your feet, even though you live in the mountains. No problem. Your treadmill’s belt softens to a sand-like consistency while the 360-degree surround screens pull up a beachscape from Cabo, the location of your next race. The room adjusts the temperature and humidity to the averages Cabo typically experiences on race day—your 3D scentometer even replicates the smells of seafood and taco carts. Sometimes the system overdoes it, at your coach’s request, but today is more about strength than heat (and scent) acclimation. You say hi to the life-like avatars of the other athletes training here—you like the company, even though sometimes Coach makes them disappear so you can be alone with your thoughts.

When your morning workouts are done, Coach demands human interaction of the non-triathlon kind and an act of kindness; you have to be reminded of these things as the opportunities don’t come up as naturally as they once did. Everyone you know is involved in the sport, so you walk to a coffee shop—a truly local place as there’s been no Starbucks since the Bean Grower’s Revolution of 2030—and buy the $55 latté for the person behind you as you sit on a stool, ready for an hour of the speed-dating-inspired Talk Tuesdays. When you return home, you rest in your infra-red massaging cryochamber and contemplate buying that implantable voice-command forearm biostats screen you’ve been eyeing as you relax and dream about competing at the new Ironman that current owner, Amazon, has hinted it’s starting on Mars. Kona is too plebeian now, and you need bigger accomplishments to keep the speaking engagements going. Or you could just trigger the bubble again, as long as someone captures it on film.

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