So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mahatma On The Track

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” - Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi (1869-1948)

"...when they have to walk that 20-pound, flat-tired bike back to Quietwater. Oh, they had no water bottle?" - MSB (7/12/09)The challenge of coaching often comes as the result of collaboration with other coaches. I help coach a beginning triathlon group which meets every Sunday morning for three months leading up to a couple of mid-autumn sprint distance events. While everyone knows who the head coach is, sometimes it's not clearly communicated the advice of his well-meaning and highly-supportive assistants might be taken with, at the most, a single grain of salt.

I know my limitations quite well. When it comes to swimming I provide very little advice & counsel outside of body positioning & technique when it comes to breathing, because (so far) that's the only thing I have down pat. Yep, I know how to's more by necessity than anything. Probably the first thing I got schooled on. I am the land-based, air-breathing aerobic animal, no doubt. Throw my leg over the top tube of a bicycle, or strap me into a pair of racing flats & I am in my element. I've had the perfect days & the not-so-perfect ones, & after this long, I know most of the root causes of the not-so-perfect days, too. But, the problem that presents itself is that of 'well, what the hell do you know' attitude which comes from (often) a female of the 25-35 year-old demographic, first-timer, who prefers to listen to the half-baked advice of her friend (who may have completed one event) rather than that of the collective wisdom of people who have raced more mileage in one year than they have trained. The bottle cage on that bike, honey, are not for your cell phone. That's for putting a water bottle. I don't care that you can't reach it while you're riding. You can stop, grab a drink, then start up again. You also have no flat kit. What happens if there's no sag wagon to help you put a new tube on your bike? What if you have to walk back to transition? That one-and-a-half-hour ride in 75-degree weather you planned just turned into a two-and-a-half hour ride/walk, in 85 degrees.

But, there's nothing like the hard lesson of walking five miles (or more) with a flat tire in 90/90 (degrees/humidity) conditions in Pensacola Beach on a big holiday weekend...with no water bottle in the teach perhaps either a little humility or a little preparation. Ah, but sometimes you have to pay the tuition before you learn the lesson.

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