I returned home from London and spent almost 48 hours at home before traveling to Las Vegas for my very first Interbike (an industry tradeshow). It provided me with an opportunity to catch up with sponsors who I normally only communicate with via e-mail.
While in Las Vegas, the USAT Elite Sprint Distance National Championships took place. The race consisted of a 300meter swim, 8km bike, and 2.4km run, twice through. I wasn’t in perfect form for the race as I had sustained injuries from London, but I was able to get through and come away with a National Title/win in Vegas.
My injuries from London still bothered me after the Super Sprint in Las Vegas, so I called it a season. I took four weeks off of training (two weeks of ZERO physical activity and two weeks of 20 minutes a day max of activity). I was stir-crazy, sitting around not doing anything. But it was nice to have more time for my family and friends and to cook/bake all day long.
Pat and I did a tour around WI, MN, and ND. We spent time in ND visiting Pat’s family and attending a friend’s wedding. We then headed to Brainerd, MN where we spent a day at the Brainerd International Raceway where I took a race car driving class. Driving over 100mph scared me, but after a few laps I started to enjoy the drive. I even began to see similarities between taking corners in a car and taking corners on a bicycle. Pat and I then headed to Cable, WI. We were there in the peak of the fall season. The colors were incredible. We did some single track mountain biking and enjoyed time next to the lakes and at bonfires with friends.
A week later, we headed to my hometown, Waukesha, WI to visit with my family and go to another wedding. While in town, I went to David Hobbs Honda. They generously upgraded my Civic to an Odyssey. Pat and I were thrilled to have a vehicle that fits all of our bikes (from my Fate mountain bike, to my Crux and my Amira). I never knew a minivan could be so cool.
I started to train again, but with no structure. I started running about 20 to 30 minutes a day about four times a week. I went to the pool for 2000m workouts, and went on bike rides with Pat. Before we knew it, we were flying to the Bahamas for a race! Pat and I had no idea what we were in for.
Mark Holowesko and Barbara Ann Bernard hosted the UWC Bahamas Triathlon to raise scholarship funds for Bahamians as a part of a transformational UWC College Educational program. The experience was amazing. Our trip started with a beautiful, accommodating home-stay. The real fun began when I had my first meal. Biju the Chef (a chef for professional cyclists) flew in to cook for the pro triathletes. I’ve been following Biju on twitter for quite some time, and when I met him in person I was star-struck. I ran out of things to say after about 30 seconds because I never thought I’d meet Biju! Thankfully Biju was down-to-earth and friendly, he even allowed me to help cook for the Mexican Fiesta.
The non-draft Olympic distance triathlon took place in Nassau, Bahamas. My body hadn’t felt speed or pain in a while, so I was in for a treat. The swim went surprising well, followed by a mediocre (at best) bike, and a relaxed run. I ran with George Hincapie for a little of the run. He previously whizzed by me on the bike. He seemed pretty within himself on the run, as we were able to hold a casual conversation. It was humid and around 85 degrees Fahrenheit; I think everyone was cautious. The race was super fun and I ended up second behind Alicia Kaye. After we raced, we helped with the kids triathlon. The kids were adorable and eager to race; they didn’t seem to mind the potential sharks that may have been swimming with them in Jaws Beach. (That’s some tough kids!)
After the race, Barbara Ann had us over for dinner. We were having a blast when we were told to congregate outside. There appeared Action Jackson, a local celebrity, with his dreads and baggy white pants. He brought limbo and fire. He was a blast – entertaining us with words, sights, and laughter.
The next morning, we woke up early and drove across the island to go swimming with the dolphins. I have never seen a dolphin that close. Feeling the dolphin was nothing like I expected. The skin was soft, yet firm and slippery. Our instructors had our dolphin, Nyah, dance, high-five, kiss, and do the Michael Jackson. The crazy tricks left a huge smile on my face as we drove back across the island to our home-stay. Later that night Patrick and I experienced a Bahamian movie theater – it was refreshing to view Captain Phillips on a reel film, in a theater that only seated around 30 people. When we got to the movie theater we were told the movie was sold out. We stood in disappointment for a few minutes before someone came and said they could “find room for six more.” We entered the movie theater to find more than 20 empty seats….A Bahamian experience we were told.
As I sit here writing this, I’m amazed with the places and things I’m blessed with experiencing because of Triathlon. This weekend, I woke up ocean-side in warm weather. It was relaxing and peaceful. Thank you to everyone who helped to get me here.
A special thank you to Mark Holowesko, Meaghan Holowesko, and the entire Holowesko family for their hospitality. Thank you, Barbara Ann, for your hard work; thank you, George and Rich Hincapie, for your time and continued support; thank you, Chris Farnum, for the wines; thank you, Biju, for the foods; and, thank you to all the volunteers and supporters who made this possible.
I will enjoy a few more weeks of unstructured training before heading back to Australia at the beginning of the year.
Super Sprint National Champs
Race Car I drove
The new David Hobbs Honda van has so much room – Thank you DHH!
Enjoying a boat ride thanks to Mark Holowesko in the Bahamas
Post Race Picture – Thanks for the photo, Paul Phillips
That’s me in the middle helping out Action Jackson in the Bahamas
This was at Dolphin Cay – Thanks Paul Phillips for the photo, and thanks Greg Charbeneau for the great experience (Sorry Blueseventy, they wouldn’t allow us to wear our favorite wetsuits in the water with the dolphins)
Pat and me at a wedding
In Cable, WI with Dennis – Thanks for making it a great weekend, Dennis!