I am very excited to announce my partnership with 3Sports triathlon store in Richmond, Virginia for my upcoming Appalachian Trail self-supported thru-hike record attempt. They will be outfitting me with shoes and nutrition for the trip. I really couldn’t do it without their support and expertise so major thanks to all the amazing staff at 3Sports! Check them out at their store off River Rd. in Richmond and online here: http://www.threesports.com/
I sat on a toilet seat for the first time in a month a few minutes ago. I washed up, cleaned the travel grime off, trimmed the nails, shaved the beard, cut the hair, and now I’m ready to return to civilization, sort of. I’m actually scared out of my mind and can’t sleep. Believe it or not, after all the crazy scary things that I have done over the past three months, immersing myself in the social world and heading to medical school are scarier prospects than a lot of my adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and paddling a kayak 70 miles from civilization out into open water solo is about as absurdly scary as it gets. But medical school is a close second. Maybe I’m overreacting, but it just feels like I’m starting all over again, and that’s kind of overwhelming. Continue reading Home
I like biking and I like going places, so logically I thought I would like the two together but I was wrong, dead wrong. The last 48 hours were absolutely torturous. I began a test ride from Virginia Beach to Richmond, VA to see if I would enjoy biking across the country. In reality, it was me beginning an adventure in secret after a highly announced and altered adventure before. It was tough changing my plans so severely from a Bahamas trip to a Tortugas trip, despite each being equally exotic and challenging. Continue reading Shyeah, no.
Yesterday I rode for the first time in months. I ventured down south of the James and rode on the beautiful low traffic roads that I remember once believing were hilly. It was an amazing feeling to be mobile and fast again. Despite the occasional tweak in my ankle, the pain couldn’t compare to what I experience when running or swimming. And the pain from my lack of training was an adequate distraction. For the first time in many, many years, if not ever, I was passed on a solo ride by another cyclist. It was awkward as hell and I’ll admit my heart sank when I heard the whir of his spinning chain slip by. I felt broken but I remembered I had vowed to not let my insecurity be my motivation and I continued to enjoy my ride. With my hairy, skinny legs, I was determined to accept the state where I had arrived with acceptance and pride.
I had my MRI yesterday morning. Ever since learning about the basic of an MRI in my organic chemistry class, I have been fascinated with that form of medical imaging. For the twenty-five minutes I lay with the magnets clambering around my leg, all I could think about was the amazing feat of human knowledge and engineering to be able to create such a machine. Continue reading Badass pictures
Last weekend I won my sixth race in six races in Virginia. I made it six for six, no mistakes, perfect speed, absolute precision. Three of those I won by twelve seconds or less. The goal was to win, so I raced for the win, with confidence in my ability, no matter how close it was.
Today, for the first time ever, I received a bold DNF next to my name. I denied every hint of fatigue my body showed me. Rockett’s was my third triathlon in two weeks, having just completed Colonial Beach triathlon a mere 14 days earlier. I told myself, this time is different. I would win 3sports without digging deep into the well to be able to recover and race hard again the next weekend.
“I can’t just walk away. I’ve got to test the waters.”
My new years resolution for 2010 was to not doing anything stupid for a long, long time.
Yesterday I sent out a dozen texts to my triathlete friends around Richmond. “Hey man if you’re home for break, want to go swimming at Huguenot at 2:45?”
Three people were dumb enough to respond yes. At 1pm, one of them bails.
And at 2:45 another bails.
But my friend and teammate Alex Burton who I have been training with and racing against since I started doing triathlons shows up at Huguenot at 2:45.
A half mile from the finish I passed a guy who barely mustered the question, “What age group are you in?” and upon my short breath response he exclaimed “Good!” and relaxed into his own pace again.
I spent the whole morning yesterday on the chase. And although I recently had a breakthrough at Power sprint triathlon, yesterday was not my day under the spotlight. A guy from Freeman High School gained almost two minutes on me on each leg of the race. Sadly my chase was fruitless and I never saw him.
I had a highly unusual swim in which I lost minimal time to my competitors. However, the bike leg unveiled my rusty mountain bike handling skills. My body hit the ground four times throughout the ride but with no major injuries. They simply were reminders of the fact that I had not ridden this course in this direction since last year. To add to my difficulty I had a rubbing front brake that in addition to slowing me down, squealed at me the entire ride.
With that said, Xterra is a race of problems. Nothing seems to go perfect and the person who does well is typically the one who handles those challenges the best. In road triathlons, preparation in the months and weeks and night before the race can almost always prepare a racer for the day to come. However, in Xterra, no quantity of training or preparation can completely prepare an athlete for the challenges to come during the race. Those preparations can only give the racer a false sense of readiness. Experience, patience, confidence, and perseverance outweigh the fitness which solely propels on-road triathletes to victory.
In Xterra my four years of training are useless. My only foundation is the two Xterra triathlons I have done before. The challenge, although frustrating at first, is in essence what entices me to the hellish race.
Conrad Stoltz, the winner of the Pro division this past weekend raced with a three inch open gash on his foot. He wasn’t making excuses so what is my rubbing front brake compared to that. I was almost happy that the brake rub was the worst thing that day.
My run went smooth. I made sure to pace and yet I still cramped. My kick was late though. I prefer to feel like death at the finish and with this race I simply had to much left in the tank in the last mile. I finished second in my age group but still my competitor and I both beat everyone in the 20-24 age group.
I guess after going two years straight without being beat in my age group it serves me right to be humbled this year. I’m excited for the competition. If I am in the best shape of my life and so are they, I won’t mind losing. Endorphin fitness is home growing some of the fastest juniors I have ever seen. I hope the guys share the same dream as I do and maybe one day we’ll all race alongside each other wearing red, white, and blue.
This week is a taper week. Its killing me. I’m supposed to take it easy for every workout. I just want to get out on my mountain bike and hammer it hard. I even dream of hammering, ripping my legs to shreds. I love the feeling of getting home after a hard ride or run and sitting down on the carpet with a recovery drinks that tastes like a mix of my own fecal matter (and looks it to) and stretching my sore legs out.
On Sunday is Power sprint triathlon in Richmond. This will be my third time racing it. Both times I finished third overall. I hope for something more this year, but with the athletes on my team having outdone me earlier in the season, that goal may be difficult. I have started off slow this season and I hope this will be my break through race. Rocketts turned out to not be that race so maybe this one will.
It is my birthday on Saturday but my mom and I decided to shift it to Sunday so that I will be able to eat cake. My new backpack for hiking the Appalachian trail will come in soon and so will my new Kazane road bike frame.
The day of Powersprint there is also a cycling race in Richmond. I may attempt to race the afternoon race after my triathlon. If I do not do well in the tri I may want to race again to redeem myself. Graeme Obree set the World one hour record on sore legs the day after his first attempt. Maybe I could do that on a lesser scale.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP Bang!
An hour later a replacement duathlon began. I held top ten until late in the bike. Nutritionally I messed up big time. I only consumed 180 calories and I was supposed to have 500. I was running low on electrolytes and calories. At around mile seventeen on the twenty-five mile bike my quads were cramping big time.
I pulled myself together mentally, got more calories and electrolytes on the run and finished strong. I spent the final mile of the race chasing a guy that was hundreds of meters ahead of me. I caught him just before the last turn. Later my coach told me of his epic sprint to the finish to beat our friend by a mere second.
That is why I do this sport. Man versus man. Competition. Natural selection in essence. The stronger man wins. It is a test of pure strength, mentally, physically, emotionally. Whoever holds themselves together wins. Whoever wants it more wins. My coach held himself together better than the other guy. That is why triathlon is so epic. It is not tactical. It is a test of pure strength and willpower.
Cycling races are completely different. The man who wins cycling races is not always the one who is the strongest. With cycling, the tactical element comes into play. That adds a new level of excitement. But the two are completely different animals and I love to do both. Triathlon because the strongest man wins and cycling because the smartest, savviest, and relatively strongest man wins.
That is why I do this sport.