This weekend was triathlon's Collegiate National Championship in Tempe, AZ.
There were so many things that happened this weekend...in order to keep this shorter I'll try and just go over the highlights.
Mostly a travel day, but we eventually made it out onto the course. The team did a short course preview ride, had a pep talk, and a shake out run.
With having left Fort Collins just after 5 in the morning, the time change, and only a small breakfast...we were getting hangry (I know I was). The rest of the evening was mostly spent getting ready for the draft-legal race the next day and hanging out at the hotel. I may or may not have eaten an entire container of hummus during that time.
Friday, Draft-Legal Sprint
The crowd support was ridiculous. Just before I got in the water, the CSU Tri team showed up. All the "good lucks" and "kill its" made me really proud. Being able to represent our team and school at the race - for the men at least - was really cool. I tried not to think of it as additional pressure but really just a great opportunity to race for and represent our team!
|Coming out of the swim|
It was fun being able to race again with people I knew. At Clermont, Andrew tore apart the field and played a big role in the swim/bike in Friday's race. Getting to ride and work with Ryan Petry was fun.
|A couple of bike shots...thanks Jorts Sports for the photos|
It was my third draft-legal race but it was a blast! The course was very spectator friendly and the CSU team members stood out in their bro tanks!
|Every time we went by...huge cheers|
After getting some ice from the med tent to help with the bruise after falling near the swim exit, I focused on recovering for the next race. Big thanks to our coaches Mace and Tess for offering to get me whatever I wanted. For the first hour I mostly drank fluids (Skratch and water) and had some fruit.
The rest of the day was spent cheering the girls on, picking up packets, returning to the hotel, getting bikes ready for the oly race and eating more hummus.
Day 2: Olympic and Super Sprint
Saturday's race was the main focus of the weekend. The girls' waves went off first so one of the highlights was getting to watch all of their hard work throughout the year pay off. The girls all did awesome and from what I could tell were pleased with their races.
I was happy with the improvement on my swim. The amount of time I need to make up seems slightly more realistic now. Thanks to our coach, Tess, and my teammates that push me.
The team support not only within our team but also for this competition is something really unique about collegiate races. The entire time during the bike leg I was getting splits from not only our coach but U of A coaches, my parents, Dan Frost and random volunteers. One thing I noticed for the future when I may be spectating, you really need to yell for bikers to be able to hear.
The run this year was a highlight. Last year I underestimated the course and went way too hard the first 2 miles. I tried to run conservatively the first 3 or so miles before really focusing. It was getting hot out there for everyone and I knew we would all be suffering.
|Coming off the bike, Justin right behind me, EMJ teammate Yoni right in front|
|Team EMJ headsweats visor was a big help|
|Running partner for first half|
Huge thanks to the volunteers for tossing water on us. Thanks to coaches and teammates for encouraging/yelling.
Seeing others succeed in this race was awesome. Even though he out-kicked me in the finish chute, Bill Jones had a great race after some unlucky bike issues Friday. Back in January, I saw athletes from our conference preparing for this race. Riding up a mountain, to get ready for a 2-3 hour event months away is not easy...that's why we have people to do it with.
|Mixed team relay|
Trash talking team "B" from CSU was pretty fun. Unfortunately we lost to them (given a 4 min handicap) and now owe them fro-yo.
|Willie tearing it up|
|Great venue for the spectators|
Going to the awards ceremony was fun as well. Our team dressed up as minions.
|Yea I know...lame costume Steve|
Overall, it was a fantastic weekend. Too often we get caught up in numbers and results...it is important that we remember why we do these events that can sometimes be painful. As I knew they would, the races all went by much too fast. Sometimes we need to smile and think about the big picture...appreciate it.
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Thanks for reading and have a great day!