The triathlon season is winding down and I’m taking inventory of my season so far.
The year started early, in February, in Sri Lanka for the Colombo 70.3. It was a wonderful adventure with my son, Mats Allen, and we were both fortunate enough to use that race to qualify for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships. Of course, the bombing of Sri Lanka a few weeks later was devastating and our thoughts and love went out to the new friends who were suffering in such a terrible way. The spirit of Colombo is strong and I know they are well on their way to recovering.
Unfortunately, TBT did not service Sri Lanka, and it felt like the dark ages of tri-travel to have to haul my bike through the airport – especially with complicated overnight connections.
My next race was much closer to home at Oceanside 70.3. Once again Mats joined me and we enjoyed a nice weekend of racing with friends and sleeping in our own beds. It was nice to see our friends at TBT working hard all weekend and support them from afar but not require their services.
My most recent race was the Boulder 70.3. This year I was able to spend almost three weeks in Colorado visiting with my good friend and former pro, Wendy “Wingnut” Ingraham. Not only did she put me to work at Skyview Farms, her equestrian center in Castle Pines, but she gave me a chance to acclimate to the extreme heat and altitude in her comfy home nestled in the trees. The community lap pool was only minutes away and was always empty, which provided a great training opportunity.
Racing the Boulder 70.3 was an epic full-circle moment for me, bringing together my past and present. Racing in full view of the majestic Flatirons, I was able to think back to my training days in Boulder with so many Ironman legends. From the very beginning, Boulder was well known to elite runners and cyclists for the miles of mountain trails, open roads, and rare air. So, naturally, it didn’t take long before the endurance newbies of triathlon came a calling. If San Diego is the birthplace of triathlon then Boulder is the most prestigious training ground for Ironman Champions, past and present. Boulder has proven to be every bit the sacred Ironman real estate that is Kona. Here is a list of my fellow Ironman Hall of Fame alumni who were Boulder regulars during my tenure, in order of their induction:
- Dave Scott
- Scott Tinley
- Paula Newby-Fraser
- Mark Allen
- Greg Welch
- Jim MacLaren
- Graham Fraser
- Heather Fuhr
- Peter Reid
- Chrissie Wellington
- Erin Baker
- Scott Molina
For every triathlete racing in Boulder is a unique opportunity to race on the hallowed ground that shaped the best triathletes on the planet. Whether celebrating the pioneering groundbreakers or supporting the current trailblazers, Boulder should be a bucket list race akin to Kona in its depth of history. At this year’s event, the TBT crew was hard at work in some very hot conditions with additional afternoon thunderstorms just to keep them on their toes!
My next adventure is heading to the south of France, to Nice, for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, again with Mats. Mom races on Saturday, Sept 7, and Mats on Sunday, Sept 8. It will be my first time racing with the women’s field on one day and the men’s on the next. I love that ‘ladies first’ still applies.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Nice many times in the early ’80s-’90s. At that time, it was a 3/4 Ironman distance that was one of the biggest paydays in the early days of our sport. The race in Nice was one of the firsts to step up and offer big prize money, which was a huge boost to our professional careers. When I travel to Nice to race this year there will be one big difference – I will be traveling without my bike!
Using TBT for my first international world championship is another memorable first. I’m thrilled to not have to worry about packing the bike, dealing with the crowded airport scene, navigating trains, lugging it up the stairs, and especially not having to reassemble it. Of all my years going to Nice, the hassle of the bike is something I’m thrilled to leave in the past. This year using TBT will allow me to have peace of mind by eliminating the worry of my bike, allowing me to get prepared for the biggest race of the season.
For 2019, I’ve focused solely on the 70.3 distance this season. It’s been one of the most memorable years I’ve ever spent racing triathlon from my time with my son to the friends I’ve made along the way. I often tell people it’s the moment in a race when you choose to dig down and go way outside of your comfort zone that makes you a better person, and it’s the collective energy of all athletes coming together that makes our sport so incredible.
When I got on the plan for Nice, I had packed light – carry on only, thanks to TBT. The only extra baggage I’ll be carrying is the emotional baggage that comes from a full heart and the desire to race like a champion. Can’t wait to reunite again with my incredible triathlon family.