Among the mixed emotions and the "coulda" "shoulda" or "woulda", I couldn't be more hopeful about my future as an elite. If nothing else, I challenge you to commit your life to something, give everything you have to it and either achieve it or die trying. My sub par result at the Clermont Challenge doesn't represent my journey, which has been full of wonderful people and stories, to which I will always use as energy. Why do I put myself through countless hours of training with 2 other jobs and college classes? Because it's what brings me to the best version of myself and JUST might inspire someone else. My race recap will be brief, but please know I'm truly driven to continue this path and I've certainly learned more with a failure like this, then the achievements last year put together.
Clermont Draft Legal Challenge
This path leads to the lake where I was most certainly humbled. You see, I knew it was going to be the hardest I'd ever had to push but I overlooked the microscopic margin for error. The swim started with a cannon, instantly dumping gallons of fuel into my furnace...I shot off like a rocket. I gave it my all, executed at the right intensity and was in the mix. Heck, my pool times show I could at least hang with these guys but open water is a different battle. My mistake was in the details. Was my path a straight line or a ridiculous bendy straw? Things were smooth until right before the first buoy. I noticed I'd swung a little right and everyone was moving left. I'd attempted to correct but at full throttle, I misjudged. Before I knew it, I'd gone just slightly off course, just enough to cause a disconnect. I again screwed up my perceived direction 2 more times, losing valuable time. By the time I'd hit the shore, there were only a few feet left to chase...my race was pretty much over.
That being said, I had a race to finish. My amazing support group with that damn cowbell stood strong, cheering my bike laps as if I was really doing something meaningful. I managed to hunt down 4 guys who DNF'd, so at least I did some solid work on the bike. I was so jealous every time I saw the lead packs go by the opposite direction...I wanted to make them hurt. So that leaves the run, where I ran extra...totally missing the turn around. Didn't even really notice 3 little cones were the "mark"...guess the volunteer had to pee. Either way, I freaking finished. You'd better believe I'm focusing on the positives and trucking onward! Right now I don't live by victories and I'm not defined by a "placing"...but one day I will be. One day it'll all pay off and I'll be the man!
I meant what I said, this failure is going to drive me even further...it's almost going to be a blessing. I've spent a lot of time excelling in this sport, every race getting a little faster. What did I expect when I jumped in with the best in the world? I expected this; A lesson I try and teach any athletes I coach...don't be afraid to fail. Having the courage to try something difficult where the odds are stacked against you is tough. Often, it's why people sit on the couch and complain about their sub par lifestyle, rather than taking charge and making it better. So next weekend at the Sarasota ITU race, I'm going to swim in a damn straight line and give everything I have to hold onto some feet. If I fail again, then I'll have plenty more lessons in my toolbox...and oh well, I'll have to explain it to everyone again. This won't be easy and it will take time!
The most interesting observation I've made is how other people handle your failures. Friends describe how they would feel and loved ones tell you how awesome you are anyway. Some people don't even mention it to you, they are only there to congratulate a good race rather than listen to what you may have learned from a bad one. Some will just never get it. On race day, I want to win...and eventually with the right mind and training plan, I'm going to get there...I look at Javier Gomez, it's been a long road with many ups and downs. He's the type of athlete I look up to, hoping that I can achieve greatness as he has done and will continue to do! I'm still going to do my best to represent everyone who has supported me over the years. Check my sponsors page, they are the people who empower me to do what I do. The US Military Endurance Sports program and our sponsors have opened the door for tons of racing and self improvement, I couldn't be more driven to represent their cause! My new bikes from Scott are still being dialed in but I really enjoyed the upgrade...the Foil 10 is super light and even more stiff than my Felt F1. Finally, if you need a bike shop...Flying Fish Bikes have ALWAYS taken care of me when it comes to fitting, tune ups and last minute orders....Totally go to their shop and support the locals!