I looked forward to doing the Statesville Sprint Tri because not only was it ceremonial for us being Gina’s first triathlon last year, but now, it was actually going to be he first Tri race I did this year. Been a hectic schedule with work and the unknown of WHEN I could get a chance to race, but knowing a few weeks ahead, I took the chance to enter and MAKE it possible. The difficult part this year has not been staying in shape. It’s been the emotional battles we have been “fighting” around us that takes its toll. It’s been the major reason we try and grasp at times when it’s just us, screw everything. Let it go. Unplug and BE. With some sangria too. We get hit pretty good most weeks, but those days when we can just “have it our way”, man, it’s better than a Whopper.
We planned a day around the event. Since its in Troutman, we hoped to get to a local donut shop, then hop over to Daveste Vineyards for a yoga class and wine tasting (and restock on wine). Then get to a local place for brunch, before finally making our way home. The weather has been consistently hot and humid, so with no rain ever, maintaining a hydrated state post training and at work is key. Most days it’s with a mix of coconut water and espresso – Zola drinks. Awesome. Then of course the Dunkin Donuts Iced Java, or even the occasional Rita’s!! Gina’s garden is popping tomatoes so her specialty cheese/tomato/mayo sandwiches are a great dinner without the cooking. Yum.
I’ve added some intensity the past few weeks and looked forward to the equivalent “pain” I get from doing a 5k running race – just in the triathlon version of it. The race is a 150 yard pool swim, 9 mile bike, and a 2 mile trail run. Blitz. My goal was anything in the 45 minute range so when seeding myself in the time trial swim, I made sure to be in the top 10. When the start times were released Thursday, I drew the 7. Getting everything set was fun as it felt new again, but welcomed, race time, the focus. Nothing was drastic since it was only a sprint, but the detail still had to be planned. Though I didn’t sleep that night with my 110% compression knickers, I did sleep with my socks.
Since it was a good 45 minute drive north, we were up around 5am and were out the door by 6. Nice, quiet drive up, we were there and parked by 7am. There were only about 150 people entered so the parking lot was easy to navigate and so close to transition. Got checked in and numbered. Met Steve Trinkle, fellow AAA Carolinas team member as he did this race last year and is a great triathlete friend. Met other people during the 45 minutes between setting up and walking around and lots of families enjoying a weekend morning together in sport. One good thing about a sprint is the minimal prep required. All I had was a small amount of drink in my Clean Bottle and that was it. Got body marked and soon was time to line up. I felt the mind prep the body for some serious fast.

After giving Gina 3 kisses, I lined up after getting a quick feel for the water. 6 lengths of the pool and was going to be 15 second intervals between athletes. Steve Trinkle from Team AAA Carolinas was in the race seeded #5 and he is always a pleasure to see at races. Guy is 10 years older than me and can still stick it to the young guys. Awesome friend and fellow Polar user as well!! We high-fived each other and the guy in from of me was in his FIRST triathlon. He was a swimmer in college but he said his kid got him into the sport when he did it last year. Awesome. Gave him some encouragement and everyone around was getting excited. As the first few swimmers went off, I zoned out – took 3 deep breaths – and jumped in to prepare my start.

5-4-3-2-1- go and I was off. Focus on strong pulls and get to the ends. Push off – pull. pull. Repeat. Though it was all of 2 minutes that was the swim. I caught Steve at the end and he took the ladder exit, I hopped out. Quick and out we both went on the bike. I had hoped to key in on his speed since I knew he could ride. The work with James Haycraft at IOS on my saddle was about to be tested finally. I got rolling and cranked it real quick. The aero helmet made for a nice tunnel vision moment and that was it. My breathing and pedal form. Steve and I caught a few so we knew we were at the front. Though he zoomed by me on the down hills, when I was able to catch and pass him going up, I knew I would have an edge after 6 miles when it was a slight up-down course to the end. Sure enough I made my way to the front and led from mile 7 on. Coming right back into transition in first – a 22 minute ride time, I knew I would still have a tough trail run to speed through. Gina gave me a shout as I headed into the woods for the down hill mile. The gravel was tough to navigate but you roll. Not much to see and it is shaded but the day was still humid and you fought for every breath at that Zone. Quick turnaround and now you climb back UP the one mile. However, this always seems quicker than coming down it. I saw Steve and he still had second. A few were right behind him though but I couldn’t speed up. Just kept churning the arms. Around the bend and back out the exit, it was a small 200 yards to the finish in the parking lot and what a feeling crossing the line first. I finished in 41 minutes and change!!! Holy Anaerobic! Welcome back to Tri yo! I hugged and kissed Gina and poured a bottle of water on my head. Wow! Fun times. Just channeled a whole week of strain into pain and now gain! I waited till Steve finished and we gave a good bro hug. I had to walk-jog around a bit because cramp city would have been built, so I cheered on a few more guys who came in and then the first female. Gina and I then celebrated what was thought to be a good victory!! Well, was fun while it lasted - for at least a good hour.


Turns out the LAST started, who seeded himself at the end and was an uber-biker, finished in a 39 minute fashion! Never saw the dude. None of us up front did. He actually now won the race! Oh well, I still posted the fastest run split and was well pleased with my bike time. I had nothing to complain about. The day started awesome. We then tried to get to a local donut shop which we directionally mapped out way wrong. Ok, so we headed to Daveste Vineyards for a yoga class that they were offering at 11am. Made it with plenty of time to set up and unwind. Wow! That was a good class. The scenery could not have been more suitable. The wind, blowing of trees, and gentle stretching that hour was so chill. Granted I was the only dude there and still in race gear but it worked yo. Gina had a good session as this type of yoga is what she prefers. All relaxed, we had a comp glass of sangria and hydrated on the rocking chairs overlooking our wishing tree. Awesome. Got some “goods” to bring home and tried to get brunch at some local areas but after 2 strikes, said screw it and made a bee line to home. Mad traffic after a few exits closed I-77 but we got fortunate to be near and exit that allowed us to bypass it a few miles and back into the clear. We FINALLY at 2pm, got to the Park Road Café where we had always wanted to dine and had an awesome brunch. 2 PB/banana sandwiches for me and Gina got her burger. And we had fries. So good. Great place too. Then a quick HT shop where we DID get a few donuts and by 4pm we were back home. What a day! Gina got to pass out for a few hours and we just enjoyed a bottle of wine with a light dinner of leftovers to boot. Yeah it was a whopper of a day, but we made it our way, and enjoyed everything about it. Salute!

July will be over soon and we have some details to work out in the next few weeks, but we fight each day the way we can. Its been tough out there and no joke, from the looks of things, from the looks of the way people are behaving, will only get tougher. How much fight we chose to prepare for each day will vary, but we pray we can and hold our own. May not be fair, but we will – trust and faith in that - yes, we will, eventually have it OUR WAY.



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