Prior to coming to CGA, I'd really just dabbled in triathlons. I know I've said this before here, but being on the team here has advanced so much for me, and beyond just swimming, biking, and running. I wish I could quantify all of the other things, but I don't know if it's possible.
My start in high school in triathlon was somewhat of a perfect storm, if I remember the story correctly. The fall of my junior year is really where it started. My cross country coach had run the NJ Marathon and I was mildly intrigued by the idea of something beyond just 5k's and baseball. I recalled back to my youth swimming days and thought maybe I'd give triathlons a shot, maybe not. I made no plans in my mind. At the same time, that fall was somewhat of the fall baseball season that never happened. I think we played one game, between rain, people not showing up, etc. Then, in my cross country season, I started having issues off and on with stress fractures and was getting a bit fed up with running. It also just so happened that my high school had its first swim team. I figured why not, because I really didn't want to run another season of winter track. At this point, I decided I was doing a triathlon the following summer because well, how hard could riding a bike be (look at my draft legal and XTERRA race reports, as well as my hospital visit following a crit this weekend to figure out if I've done that yet) My mom also decided she wanted to give one a shot.
To make the storm a little more perfect, I pretty much woke up one day early spring my junior year and couldn't throw a strike. As a pitcher who had nothing but a fastball and couldn't hit, I was pretty much useless at that point. By the summer I learned how to hit well enough to DH a little bit, but it was a sad attempt. I did, however, do my first triathlon and ever since then I was hooked. I dabbled a little bit the rest of the year, doing one other, then another two before reporting to the academy in June of the following summer. My HS graduation present from my parents was my first real bike: a Fuji Aloha that replaced my 1980s Univega with stem shifters (what Mom still used for her tri last summer!)
I still wasn't sure if I was going to do triathlon at the academy. I knew there was a club, but I was planning on swimming. Then, it was actually one of my cadre (the people who yell at you) who mentioned that he was on the team. That summer he actually did Rhode Island Ironman 70.3, and that's when I decided I was going to be part of the team.
|Hammerfest 2008: My first race experience with the tri team. I volunteered instead of racing because of an injury, but I could tell there was something special about this|
|Mightyman 2009: My first NECTC race, also known as "The Great Flood of Montauk"|
So if I were able to offer advice to a current or prospective collegiate triathlete it would be this: take advantage and cherish the time you have training, racing, and hanging out with such a close knit group. Triathlon is great because it is a lifetime sport, but nothing will compare to the time you spend racing as a collegiate.