U.S. Open Triathlon; Happy & Healthy

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Imagine a city built for bike traffic.  Where a downtown core caters to the needs and wants of a cyclist not a driver.  Can you picture all the smiling faces as people get from place to place under their own power?  If this same place had a network of singletrack trails available; wow, can you say, “Utopia!”?  
I’ve put one tank of gas in my car this year.  It’s a nice car in excellent condition.  However, I prefer my bike.  Those 50+ miles of commuter biking a week aren’t a lot when training as a professional triathlete but the 2500 miles over the course of the year add up in more ways than one.  Once you commit to riding your bike everywhere, you embolden a fuller spirit.  There is something very awesome about being outside a lot.  One of my favorite motto’s, ‘There is no bad weather, just bad gear.” makes getting out a challenge to find the joy in most situations.  It makes me healthy and happy and I’d like you to be too.
When I began this journey to become proficient at moving my body over land and sea, I was single and it was all about getting fast.  Now I coach kids and adults at the Y as a Dad.  The experience I’ve gained over 20+ years of endurance activity has helped me teach.  Being fast means being healthy.  Being healthy means having fun.  Does your exercise put a smile on your face?
There is a larger sense of purpose when I train now, it’s about being an example and having a voice for making our community healthy and happy.  For me, It’s more exciting for a good finish and result to garner the interest of more kids into our youth Triathlon program.
We have a special community in Boise, a seed has been planted and the people are awakening to the benefits of fostering this growth.  We don’t want to be like other cities, we want to be the cutting edge of creating a community of striking health and vibrance.  We’re doing well, but we have the chance to do something amazing.  Find a passion for movement, if you’re lucky that means getting outside and being in touch with nature.
When Sebastian Blanco and I booked our hotel just a couple miles from the race venue south of Dallas we figured it would be no problem to ride our bikes back and forth.  Yikes, it is funny in hindsight, but scary while competing for space on roads that have no thought of cyclists.  Even walking was difficult.  If you want to get somewhere you get in a motorized vehicle, no questions asked.  This is not OK.  We had to laugh about the absurdity of trying to walk and bike around our area.
I don’t mean to pick on this city in Texas, it’s certainly not isolated to this state.  Unfortunately, sprawl is the status quo.  Go to any of the ‘places to be’ in any city in the world and I bet you’ll find pedestrian & cycling friendly areas.
There are some forward thinking people in Dallas putting on a celebration of the human spirit with the US Open Triathlon.  Allowing several thousand people to take to the streets with only HPV’s. (human powered vehicles).  Thank You!
A cool windy morning greeted the athletes with many lingering inside the giant rooms of the host hotel.  I put on my Aqua Sphere Phantom wetsuit inside and let my core warm up.  Then, made a v-line for the water.  Jumping into the dark gray water under the morning dawn skies jolted the senses to full alert.
For the pros, this was a non wetsuit swim.  The cool ambient temperature not being enough to chill the water.  After getting in several minutes of work in, I got out of the lake and took off my wetsuit.  Brrrrrr.  The few minutes I waited before the start chilled me well.
We finally dove in and I took the opportunity to warm up the body with a strong effort, drag racing Cam for the first few moments of the swim.  The effort felt a little high so I found some feet.  I lacked assertiveness in the swim, being too comfortable with my fitness.  I ended up giving up a few seconds to the leaders in the swim but came out of the choppy water ready for a powerful bike.
You must race with little fear on the bike or the talented athletes will eat you for lunch.  Controlled bouts of explosive energy.  It comes and goes during the race, you find your moments and you take advantage.  I ride 100% on feel and race situation.  At the pro level, this is ideal with enough experience.  It also makes for one fun ride.  It’s not often that you get all geared up with a speed bike with all the potential the SCOTT Plasma has and give it a go.  I hear in my minds eye “Allez, allez, allez!” my 2 year old daughter shouts as I ride recklessly fast on streets with no cars.
I smile.  I’m grateful for the vigor of my body and mind.  I tap into energy most of us don’t know exists.  It flows, my energy and the movement become one.
I know I’m riding well when I ride through all the athletes except for super bikers Ben Collins and Cam Dye.  It is thrilling to enter T2 in 3rd position.
But my hands, like everyone else, are too cold to be of much use.  I barely got my feet out of my bike shoes and now I’m struggling to get my SCOTT T2’s on.  Usually, all I have to do is pull up a strap on my heel and off I go.  But today, I’m unable to get any pressure applied with my thumb!  Hunter Kemper, Bevan Docherety, and James Seaar start running while I fumble with my shoes.  I give up and start running without having pulled up the strap.  It’s disappointing to let these guys get away so easily.  I run a few hundred meters and then stop to try and secure my heels.  It doesn’t work!?, it won’t work!? C’mon! @#$#%!
Finally, I manage to pull the heels into place and I’m running.  Those 3 are close together but far on the horizon now.  The run is either up or down on subtle and sometimes steep hills.  I’m running well but Chris Foster, (fastest run split on the day) catches and passes me for 6th position and begins hunting the 3 in front.  I hold my position the rest of the run and finish with the thrilling satisfaction that comes with reaching your potential.