Category Archives: 2011

2011 Season Recap

I am two days into the off season following my sixth year doing triathlons. Having taken the last two days away from training, I already miss the sport like mad. I am so excited about breaking the 37 minute 10k barrier that has plagued me all season. My coach and I have known it has been in me all year but bad nutrition, exhausted legs, and poor performances have kept me from achieving the goal I established at the beginning of the year until this last race.

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Giant Acorn Triathlon 2011

“Dude, are you sure you should race?” one of my teammates from Virginia Tech asked me.

“I don’t know man, I’ll just give it a shot,” I responded as I wiped the vomit from my lower lip with my sleeve. The race hadn’t even begun and I had already lost my breakfast and all my fluids. At the time I thought I was about to have the worst race of my life. I had no idea I was in fact about to break down some barriers in triathlon that when I was a kid, I had never thought possible.

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Luray Sprint 2011

I absolutely love being short. People crack short jokes all the time. Hell there’s even a song about how I’ve got no reason to live. Don’t get me wrong, seriously, I love the jokes and the song, I’ll even dish it right back. But what people may not understand is that, while yes it limits the selection of girls I can date, I absolutely love my height. Being short is awesome.

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DNF

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.

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Colonial Beach 2011

In the days leading up to the race I had told my mom that having won four for four races in Virginia would make it hard to lose again. But then I recognized, maybe not. Maybe I would be satisfied with coming in second or even third in a race. Of course, the target remains the same, but sometimes maybe another guy just has a better day. I train for first, but maybe the other guy just had the upper hand that day.

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Cycling in Virginia Beach

Thank you so much to drivers who share the roads with me on my bike each day. I really appreciate the room that most drivers give me and the slow speed and patience they have when they pass me. I am not asking for an entire lane. I simply appreciate it when, if drivers cannot give me much room, they pass me slowly. It makes my passion a lot more enjoyable.

To the drivers who try to get a point across and nearly run me over. Please remember, I am somebody’s son. Know that running over me will not “teach me a lesson”. It will only put you in jail and make for a very unhappy mom and dad. If you think I shouldn’t be on the roads, please write a letter to a politician in your area, or vote for the guy who advocates additional bike lanes. Trust me, I hate riding on busy roads just as much, if not more than you hate me riding on them.

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A piece of script

“The problem is that once this happens, it almost always happens again. And if it does, I don’t know what I’m gonna be able to do for him. He’s an older dog. I honestly don’t think he would survive the surgery.”

“Well, we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

“Well, most likely, it is gonna happen again.”

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Reality check

Seven years ago, it was a persistent case of iliotibial band tendinitis in my right leg that would keep me from running for months.

Less than a year later it set in on the left knee. After months of physical therapy and minimal running, I asked my phsyical therapist what would happen if I just ran through it. She responded, “It may get worse, extremely inflamed. The pain would be unbearable. I don’t recommend it”

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Perfect speed

He claimed they are immortals and that we mortals could never attain their level. I argued against him, claiming that they are not immortal, that they feel pain, that they suffered to get where they are. Just watch any documentary on the Tour de France and you’ll see grown men in their most pitiful moments. They are human and I felt that calling them immortal was taking away all that they had worked for. It was saying that they were born with what they have. And while they were born with an extra gear, that could only be attained after years and years of dedicated, minimum pay, hardcore cycling.

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U23 National Road Race Championships

It is beyond imagination what we as cyclists have gone through to even make it to the starting line of this race. I slept in a rest stop with hobos knocking on my window for money throughout the night. I made meals in my back seat and drank water poured from random restroom sinks scattered around Augusta. And of course I have trained for six years and studied tactics to analyze and reanalyze how to win.

But yesterday I conversed with a compassionate mother who watched her son who just had testicular cancer seven months ago, race hard in the criterium that I had just dropped out of.  That, is balls. And what is my excuse? Why is a guy who is my same age who just recovered from testicular cancer still in the race when I am not? I have no excuse. He deserves to be in there.

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