Back in January, a race director from South Carolina proposed that we Mid-Atlantic Collegiate triathletes pitch to the NCAA triathlon as a varsity sport. When I heard about this opportunity, I was extremely excited and told the other officers of Virginia Tech triathlon team about the race. However, with weeks going by with no word on whether the race would actually happen, none of us were overly committed to keeping that day on our calendar open. But when Taylor Knight of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference (MACTC) sent me an email with a link to the race website, I immediately signed up and encouraged my teammates to do so as well. He told me of some of the other competition he was rallying and it seemed an opportunity that I definitely wanted to be a part of.
Last year I signed up for the Clermont Draft Legal Challenge with a throbbing swollen sprained ankle. I was a broken man. I needed a way to get out and test myself before Collegiate Nationals though and this was my opportunity. However, this year is different. I am in the best shape of my life, having no injuries since those ripped ligaments over a year ago.
My friends and I left Blacksburg in the first hours of spring break to drive through the night to Clermont, Florida, just outside of Orlando. We arrived at the race site to meet some of my teammates from Endorphin Fitness at 9:30 in the morning. During warm-up I could tell my body was in good shape. However, having ignored the warnings of the dozens of people warning me about my reddening back, I got the wicked sunburn that my ignorance deserved. After warm up checked into our sketchy hotel with abandoned buildings and residents that looked more like beached whales than humans and headed to grab some Chipotle lunch.