IME triathletes are mostly runners and swimmers that ride a bike because their sport requires them to. They're not cyclists that run and swim.
...and I'll agree with the 'its a gearing issue' to a certain extent because of the above.
Speaking of gearing... Mark your calendars now! The Devil's Backbone ride is going to be on 23Mar13 this year. (details on the web) I'll be there.
Had a great time last year at both rides. Bring rain stuff, the ride goes off rain or shine.
...AND bring a 27t cassette. You'll need it!