This past weekend was the 7th Annual Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon; a race that is near and dear to me on multiple levels. I wear a few different hats during this event weekend. For one, it is one of our Team in Training events so myself, along with my two coaching partners Todd Wiley and Ken Modica, proudly coached about 30 athletes in the years event(s). A handful of athletes competed in Saturday’s sprint distance event, and the majority raced in Sunday’s Olympic distance race. My second hat is as a member of the race staff. I have been a part of this event since its beginning and have been a friend of one of the founders when this event was barely a concept. So it will always be one of my working races or “give back” races. And of course my other hat is simply that of fan and supporter of the sport as a whole.
The weekend started with the V.I.P. party held Friday night for various pros, sponsors, invited guests, etc. As I looked around the room and greeted many of my long time friends in the sport, I was reminded yet again, what keeps me coming back year after year – the people. While we did hang out with many of today’s top ranked professionals, and I have nothing but respect for their abilities, I got far more satisfaction out of sharing a bite with legends of the sport such as Jeff Devlin, and one of the more inspiring stories of triumph, Sarah Reinertsen. This is the company that I prefer to keep.
Saturday morning saw me on site at 4:30 AM, making sure my little area of responsibility (from Black Road to “Bike Out” for those in the know) was finely tuned, coned, barricaded, and ready to go. The weather and water conditions were excellent and Saturday’s race went off without a hitch.
Sunday was an even earlier scheduled arrival time. I was actually a little late when I strolled down Black Road at 3:45 AM, jumbo java in hand. Again, I took to my tasks, and again, we had perfect race conditions. I also had an all time coaching highlight on Sunday…
One of my TNT athletes crashed on the bike right in front of me. As I scurried to get her and her bike out of the danger of oncoming bikes, she could not stop crying at the disappointment of potentially not being able to finish the race. We called for medical assistance to get her fully checked out. Within a short period of time, she was released from medical and brought back to us where we promptly saddled her back up to finish the bike leg. She finished her second loop on the bike and then finished the run with the biggest smile I had ever seen.
I was lucky enough to see her as she crossed the finish line and she would not stop hugging me. When she did she said, “I was so upset when I went down that I didn’t even know it was you who had picked me up and was talking to me. Once I realized what was happening and that it was Coach Steve who was helping me, I knew I was going to be ok.” That experience, and hearing those words, is like a million dollar lottery ticket to me. That is the very reason why I do what I do.
There was one more memorable moment of levity for me during Sunday’s race. At one point, one of the photographers settled in an area that I was patrolling. Never short of idle worthless small talk, I walked up to him and asked, “Hey, who are you shooting for?”. His apparent response caught me a little off guard because it SOUNDED like he said “Bride and Groom”. Of course this made no sense so I repeated it back to him and asked him if that’s what I heard, and his response was hysterical. With a chuck he said …. “No, BRIGHTROOM Photography, not Bride and Groom. I don’t shoot weddings, I only shoot happy events…. Like triathlons”
For complete Philly Tri results visit www.phillytri.com