Sunday, August 13, 2006

I have seen the future......

and it is good.

I know. Where is the bike report?!?!?! This has been a crazy weekend. So the race journal has to wait, but I am inspired to write about my weekend.

Friday I was working from home and getting some good work done when a last minute task slammed my way. It would involved getting into a customer remotely to do some computer setup. Great. But I did manage to have lunch with Coach Angela and talk about the past, present and future. AKA, Ironman recap, how I'm feeling post IM and where I'm headed next. I'll tell you about my future racing plans later. More work after lunch then BuckeyeRunner's hisband came over so I could help him get him new wheelset on his bike. After the mechanical work we went for a 2 hour ride. he was worried that I might want to hammer at some obscene speed like 26MPH, remember....Ironman is about pace not speed. Anyways he's a strong rider and we were clipping along at times. I'm still in my post IM recovery phase so I'm not supposed to be hammering yet.

After that it was getting things ready for the rest of the weekend and dinner. Pick up my daughter from her day at the Van's Warped Tour and off to bed.

Saturday started early because I am a captain for a bike aid station at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. This Half IM event is in it's second year and I love helping out at this race. My aid station is at the furthest point on the course and people are so glad to see you at mile 30. I recruited my Snakebite teammates so it was an all SBR affair, including a new running friend Lloyd.

So I picked up my supplies Sat. morning and watched the kids races before heading home. Aimee and I had tickets to the Indians game in the afternoon then a quick appearance at a summer picnic held by one of Aimee's clients. It was good to see Carmen because I wanted to thank him again for a huge donation he made for my charity. Then back home to get my daughter to work, prep my gear for the aid station, then tackle my work task. Of course it didn't go perfect and I was up until midnight trying to make things work. I had to leave it at 95% done since I had to get up at 5:30 in the morning.

5:30 came too fast. First Aimee's alarm was still set for 4:30AM....that hurt...but I was able to get that last hour of sleep in.

Wake up, eat, contacts, pack the truck with aid station gear, fill water coolers. I left by 6:30 so I could swing by Panera and get bagels for my crew. Off to the aid station. I was early, because my inner self said I had to be, and started placing the gear. The crew started showing up and we finished our area. Made signs for the racers and filled water bottles. Then the Sherrif's Deputy came over and said there was a course change. We managed to confirm the change and move our aid station 400 yards to the otther side of the intersection. I was so proud of my teammates. We moved that aid station like nothing. We knew it was going to be tight before the first racer came through, but we did it.

Our Aid Station was awesome. Everyone did a great job. Except for Aimee and Mel, all of the ohters were road cyclists. I think they really got into it though. Doing anything the racer asked for and making sure Gatorade, water and gu made it to everyone. They all learned something about triathlons today, all the better for everyone.

After the last racer came through we tore down the station and I packed everything into my truck. I hauled everything back to the transition area for the RD.

After I hung out with friends post race I had to zip over to my father-in-laws to cut the grass. He got stuck in Houston because of work, so we were trying to help out around his house. Remember I've been up since 5:30AM with only 5.5 hours of sleep.

Back home I unloaded what was left in the truck, then Aimee came home. Dinner and blah blah blah and here I am writing a blog post when I should be in bed. So why am I posting?

Because, I have seen the future and it is good.

Three sightings have improved my field of vision.

#1
I drove my daughter to work Saturday night. Her brother was working two doubles this weekend to make up for the small vacation he took with his girlfriend's family. I hadn't seen him in a while and wanted to talk. He was working the go-cart track, no he was the manager at the track that night. Actually he has manager duties wherever he is working. This is his third year at this place. Watching him grow up, accept the responsibility and do a job well makes me proud. I would watch him as he let people get into the go-carts, having to tell some kids they were unfortunately too small to ride and perform his final safety check on each driver. He had a serious air about his duties. I've always tried to instill a good work ethic by example. I think that's how I got mine, from my dad. So I was very proud to watch him work. I know he will be great at whatever job/career he undertakes in the future.

#2
The bike course at the Greater Cleveland Tri is not easy. Actually there are some nasty hills involved. Nothing like what Bolder has been riding but significant for Ohio. Well, the race had some major changes due to devastating flooding along the shore of Lake Erie. The event site had to be moved, course changes made and so forth. Some people made wrong turns or were guided in the wrong direction. An unfortunate occurance but everyone was under pressure. Regardless, I was loaded with all of my aid station stuff and following the sag car. He had already picked up two people off the bike course so his rack was full. I wanted to make sure he didn't need my help. Sure enough one person pulled off the rode and was going to stop. I offered to take him back in my truck. We put his bike on top of the already full bed and headed out. This athlete was mid 50's, from Detroit, doing the aquathon (Swim/bike) at half IM distances. He had accidentally done the sprint Tri bike course, yet he decided to head back out of transition and ride the original 56 mile route. When I picked him up had was at mile 65, and still smiling and laughing about it. He said he would catch some guff from his friends but I told him to shut them up since he rode 9 more miles than they did, who's laughing now?

His attitude was what struck me as awesome. Despite coming from Detroit he stayed the course, once he made it on the right one, and rode his bike. He did say that he enjoyed the Indians game the day before and was impressed by downtown Cleveland. He didn't let a small turn of events diminish the fun weekend he was having. The future lies in the spreading of his attitude and spirit to those around him. I was encouraged myself.

#3 - and this one amazes me.
After I picked up the guy from Detroit, there was one more rider on the course. The SAG car and I pulled over to discuss his options. He wasn't going to make the bike cut-off. The SAG driver explained the situation to the racer and I could see him trying to make a good decision. He crossed the street to my truck and we placed yet another bike on my pile of stuff. The guy from Detroit commented to me about this persons bike. The tires were dry and cracked. I had never seen pedals like that before, pre-Look style, he was riding in his running shoes. Shifters on the down tube. This bike must have been ridden my Eddy Mercx in the Tour de France. Before we pulled back onto the road I congratulated this racer. He was the last cyclist. He was 16. That's not a typo people. Sixteen years old and doing a half IM race. I was amazed. Not only that we was out there doing it but stunned by his composure. He had an air about him that he knew he put his best effort forward. He knew the bike was his weakest sport. Yet he was calm and composed about it. the more I talked to him the more impressed I was. He already is a good swimmer and runner. He's going to school at Bowling Green, OH, where they grow 'em fast and lean. The girls cross country team has won state four years in a row, so he's in good company. He has raced triathlons for several years at olympic and sprint distances. He ran the Columbus, OH marathon in the fall of '05 with a 3:50:00 time...and told me how he didn't race smart that day and surged too early at mile 13....I'm like oh okay. He said that if he could have made it to the run he would have been fine. We was probably looking forward to running 13.1 miles, and would have clipped off some fast splits.

I saw the future of not only our sport (triathlon) but hopefully other sports as well. Athletics filled with composed young men and women who compete for the joy and satisfaction and not for the hardware or money. To walk off the bike course and have his attitude......I saw adults today with far worse attitudes. INCREDIBLE. I know he will learn from this day and come back stronger than before.

It inspires me and renews my faith and spirit in this wonderful sport that I have found and love. WOW.

7 comments:

TriSaraTops said...

What a great day! Sounds like you had a wonderful experience.

E-Speed said...

I didn't even recognize you this morning! Glad you guys had such a great time at the aid station! Thanks for giving back to the sport!

Cliff said...

Eric,

Thanks for sharing the last story with us...all I have to say is wow.

That's what the sport is all about..just go there and have a great time...regardless of equipment...

qcmier said...

Thanks for volunteering out there. As you wished me "Good nutrition" I was about to pull out the rest of my sandwhich for you, but I didn't want to lose another bottle of Gatorade.

Lloyd said...

I had fun helping out with Snakebite Racing! That was a close call with the bike course change, eh? We picked up and moved the aid station with plenty of time before the the first racer zoomed on by.

Thanks for sharing your IM story a bit. I look forward to reading more.

Jodi said...

Thanks so much for the stories! If you read the slowtwitch forum too much you get to thinking that all triathletes are self-rightous whiners :) Great to hear there is still a large contingent that do the sport for the right reasons: Healthy living and to just have fun.

Thanks so much for the encouragement at the aid station. It was so motivating!

trifrog said...

There is definitely a lot more people out there not necessarily going for the finishing time or hardware than I thought until I became one of them. I expect this attitude is the one that will continue to grow our sport as the alternative leads a lot to burnout...

I'm thinking a couple years of this, a couple years of racing, a couple more years of less focus, etc, etc, to avoid the burnout.