Triathlon is a study in contrasts. The open water swim is a contact sport.
Other athletes might swim over your back, or kick you in the head!
But once you mount your bike you are almost alone. Rules forbid drafting--
so you'll ride for mile after mile surrounded only by your own thoughts.
As you can see in this photo I took at the Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon.
(This cyclist was just behind me. A camera on my bike took this photo as I rode.)