Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tri Latta Sprint Triathlon 2010 Race Report Part 2/3

In my brief triathlon career I have nailed the two key moments of the triathlon. The first is finishing the swim and the second crossing the finish line; both are equally important. The swim is what makes us triathletes. I was certainly glad that this swim was over for a number of reasons. One: it was over! Two: After proving I wouldn’t die in the open water without a wetsuit, I feel like I can do any swim that is giving to me; as long as I am praying and singing in my head. This swim put a HUGE dent in my apprehension of open water swims.

I get out of the water and I see some Fellowship of Christian Endurance Athletes and they were cheering! It was awesome! I didn’t have a clue who those guys were! Who knew the relationship that would develop…that’s another story!

I run past them and Scream “all to the Glory!” (Glory of God that is) I make it to the bike and I become emotional. The triathlons are more than just endurance events for me. They are small miracles. They directly contradict who I once was. The lost soul who hurt. Who wanted so badly to die and not brave enough to live. Who thought everything was impossible! At the time, living was impossible! Today, nothing is impossible. I just have to keep my faith in the right place.

I suck it up and I’m out on the bike course. My last baseline testing I, unfortunately, showed little improvement on the bike. I think there are a number of things that played a part in that but that too is another story. Today, I felt like a beast! I was moving today and, like in New Orleans, looking at my bike computer speedometer thinking it was broken! Except this time I was moving faster than expected. I couldn’t believe the speeds I was posting. I was going to PR on the bike! That was going to set me up for a faster overall time than I expected.

I had forgotten about my faith that had just gotten me through the swim course. I didn’t forget about ME and MY times though. Somewhere early on in the bike course I saw a stranded cyclist. He said he had a flat. I intended to get off the bike, throw him a spare tube and some CO2. I would be on my way in no time still able to post the fastest bike time yet! When the cyclist told me he didn’t know how to change a tire my bike times suddenly didn’t seem that important. I stopped and changed that guy’s tire. It took me about 10 minutes to change his tire. It’s kind of a story but here is the brief version.

When I reached the cyclist, he had his rear tire taken off, kind of. Long story short, he made a bit of a mess when he took off his tire. One thing he didn’t do was release his brake lever. So uhhhh, yeah it took kind a while to take the tire off because of how he had the chain positioned. I mean I cant even describe it. It was just a bit of a mess. The biggest issue was when I tried to put the tire back on it wasn't sliding into the rear tire well. I was like hmmm. So I finally turned the bike over and saw what was going on. The brake lever had not been released so it was preventing the rear tire from going into the tire well.

Once I figured that out he was on the road. During my time with the stranded cyclist, I learned this was his first triathlon. It was awesome that he was now going to be able to complete it. I jumped on my bike and decided in my head I wasn't going to let this cyclist pass me! I had already bombed my race time but I still wanted to have fun! Making the friendly pact in my head to not let him pass me kept it fun for me. I was still posting pretty good speeds and you know…that cyclist didn’t past me…on the bike. More on that later!

I apparently started making some ground because as I started passing people they asked if I was the guy changing the tire for the other cyclist. When I said yes they said I was an inspiration. I was seriously speechless. I realized that God made this race His and all of these races are His.

Benjamin Wooten, the stranded cyclist, and I had the same swim wave start times. If I didn’t have the stomach issue on the swim and stayed with the pack during the swim, I would have never been there to help Ben out! God was at work the entire time! That was WOW moment when I realized that.

I hit my T2 which had a looooong walk. I learned how difficult it is to walk in cycling shoes. In the future, I will work on taking off my cycling shoes and pedaling on top of the shoes.

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