Hey fans of the journey. That’s right, you read it right in the title, over the course of the last year I’ve decided that I won’t be racing triathlons in 2015 and that this will likely be my last season racing triathlons ever. Forever and ever? Forever and ever. It’s been a fun ride and I’m happy with what I’ve been able to achieve in the sport, notably two wins at the New York City Triathlon, 6 total professional victories, 2nd at two 70.3′s including the ever competitive Boulder race, 13th at 70.3 Worlds, and a fun epic finish. It feels good to have started the sport on a whim as something to do after graduation from college and leaving college running behind. I didn’t know how to freestyle swim when I started so I’ve come a long way with what I’ve achieved. I’m not done yet though, I’ve got the month of August to go and am very eager to add to that list and leave on a high note.

2006 at the 5430 Long Course on my 650c wheels Roo.

So the obvious question. Why stop racing now? To stop the vicious rumors now, I’m not moving to Patagonia to breed Swiss Mountain Dogs and embark on a pro gymnastics career although the Patagonia and dogs part does sound pretty sweet. Seriously, the main reason is that it’s a beautiful world out there will millions of things to do in life and I want to explore a few more of those millions of things. Triathlon is a beautiful thing to me and I’ve been very committed to it for ten straight years now and I’m ready to move on to something new. I do love swimming and biking and running and I am sad to be leaving something I love, especially after pulling together these photos with so many great times, but I’m also eager to move on to new discoveries.

Rockin' it old school with a plain white in 2006 at the 5430 Sprint

Right now I’ve got an adorable son Alistair, a wonderful wife Amy, an amazing business with Powder7 Ski Shop, lots of incredible friends and family, as well as a world out there that is still largely unexplored to me. So I want to have fun with all that, take on some new challenges, find some new things that interest me, as well as really dig into some things that interest me now but I haven’t had the time to really delve into. Building the business from scratch in the basement to what it is now has been thrilling and that’s definitely something that I want to really put even more passion into. I’ve even always like coding the website and want to see how good I can get with that. Something like that is a total 180 from competing as a professional athlete but it’s that kind of pivot in life that I think often makes life interesting. In a matter of hours I can go from tanned buff pro triathlete contact lens me straight to pasty skinny guy yet with a gut eating Cheetos rocking some some amazing hipster glasses me. Ok, maybe not that far and admittedly I am allergic to Cheetos. Getting back to Powder7, another great aspect of our business is that it’s so much of a team effort and even one that Amy and I can enjoy together. I really do enjoy working more in a team environment and find that very fulfilling. I mean who knows, maybe Alistair will even join the show and be our go to guy to sell kids skis in five years right?

I’m always motivated to live life by exploring new possibilities with an open mind rather than moving forward by inertia. It’s so easy for us to do something today just because we did it yesterday but it’s important to break out of that cycle sometimes. Stick with things and work hard but always look at the big picture with an open mind.

I’m still loving racing and competing right now but I’d rather try to be ahead of the curve and bow out while I’m still feeling that way. I’d rather move on before the flow of new experiences and life lessons that come with racing triathlons become just a trickle as things begin to be old and par for the course. I’ve always straddled the line between approaching the sport as a profession versus a hobby and in many ways there’s no clear delineation. I’ve worked to get the most out of myself in the sport while also maintaining balance with other things in life. Lauren Fleshman wrote a great post once about how despite being a national champion runner, she had found that she didn’t enjoy doing it with the approach of most other pros and had to have other things going on in life that seemingly detracted from her running but mysteriously added to her success in the sport. That really encapsulates how I’ve always felt that I race and train my best when I have other things to focus on. When I’ve put in blocks where triathlon is nearly my only focus then I’m really not happy and don’t race as well. Fortunately, having that balance has put me in this position where I can leave the sport while I still love it as well as leave with many possibilities for the freed up time and effort.

If racing triathlon at the professional level were a 10 or even 20 hour a week commitment then I’d probably still do it because I could fit it in with all of the other things that I want to pursue. But the time investment really is huge. To be my best just at the olympic distance, I need to get in at least 20 hours of actual training time a week. Add to that the few hours of getting to and from training like the pool, the extra say hour of sleep needed to recover from the 20 hours, the time getting ready for every workout, the time getting back into doing something else post workout, the time maintaining the stable of equipment required for triathlon and it really becomes a 35 hour a week commitment to train and race at the level that I’ve been at. That doesn’t even include the huge mental focus required to train and race at the level. I don’t say that to complain in any way, just to show the commitment level and how it inevitably crowds out many other possibilities in life.

Since I do still enjoy the experience of training and competing, I plan on getting back into running which will take up less time. Even though I know I certainly won’t compete at the same level as triathlon, I’ll still be able to give it a good go and enjoy the many aspects of sport. Amy and I have talked about going back to race at Boston U where we ran in college for an indoor track meet which is something I can get excited about. That as well as racing the local road race scene and maybe even traveling to a bigger race once in awhile sound like a good future plan for me right now. I think it’d be fun to get back into some hard intense track work and see what I can do with that and the base I developed in my years in triathlon. Ultimately though, running will be more of a fun project for me rather than being the mission that triathlon has been.

It’s certainly possible that I may jump in another tri a couple of years down the road or who knows, link together a few races to make a season out of it when Ali is old enough to spectate his old man racing. So I won’t say that I’m done for good but at this point it appears that way. I’ve still got my unfinished business though and am ready to get after at my races in August. I’ll race the New York City Triathlon on Sunday, the Chicago Triathlon on August 24th, and, if I get in, Hy-Vee on August 31st. Now I’m really hoping that I get into that one with my fitness starting to really feel good later in the season. I may also do a local race in early September to go out at the kind of race that I came in at.

I’d love to share what I’ve learned in the sport so ask me a question in the Facebook plugin below and I’ll respond with a post on the site with my thoughts. Training, racing, the state of the sport, the state of pros in the sport, the ins and outs of pro racing, have at it. Til then, cheer me on at these last few races!

Also of course, big thanks to the many, too many to list, who have helped me through my years in the sport and been along for the journey.

More fun pictures through the years:

Look at those Riptide studs on Lookout Mtn. in 2009

With good friends at St. Anthony's Triathlon 2009

Mazatlan ITU post race 2010. Oops! Especially you Amy!

Riptide at Littlefoot Triathlon 2010. Love you guys, great times!

Game face for a fun unexpected finish with what we called a Spiderkick in college.

Some fun easy training with good friends on our wedding day in Vail. 10.1.10.

 

Hy-Vee Elite Cup 2012. Hot hot hot.

A run battle at 70.3 Cali in 2013

 

En route to a win at New York City Triathlon 2013

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Fighting it out at Boulder Peak

July 18, 2014

Boulder Peak has long been a race where a strong result amid a strong field has eluded me. The last time I raced it was 2011 where I posted a calamitous 13th place finish in the heat to just barely earn my ticket to Hy-Vee. This time around started on a similar note. I parked [...]

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70.3 Boulder

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Ouch. That race stunk for me. This was probably the biggest letdown triathlon in my career in terms of the gap between where I thought I’d be able to perform and where I performed. I’ve had bad races before but as most athletes know, usually you know deep down something is up before a bad [...]

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70.3 New Orleans DNF

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I started my triathlon season on April 13th at 70.3 New Orleans but had a bad go of it which ended in a DNF. I usually really mull over a DNF but I viewed this race as an extra race to start the season and one that I would give my best on race day [...]

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Elk Mountain Grand Traverse Ridiculousness Race Recap

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The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse. 40 miles, 9200ft minimum elevation, midnight start time, over 30 pieces of mandatory gear to carry, almost completely self supported, below freezing temps. All on skis. And as I would later shockingly learn, not a single coffee shop along the entire route. Yup you’re really out there in this race. [...]

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How To Climb Mountains On Skis

March 14, 2014

Right now I’ve got two weeks to go until the big Elk Mountain Traverse ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen. The race is a whopping 40 miles through Colorado’s backcountry. That’s right, there is a zero after that four and that still sounds like a heroic amount of miles to me. I am indeed [...]

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2014 USA XC Running Championship

February 16, 2014

Yesterday I got back into the saddle or should I say dirt and raced at the USA Cross Country Championship. That’s running if you’re wondering, not cross country skiing, there’s definitely no national championship cross country skiing going on here. The race was 12k comprised of 6 2k loops at Flatirons Golf Course in Boulder, [...]

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Gulliver Skis Loveland

December 19, 2013

Garret, Zack, and I made the weekly Thursday early morning trip to Loveland for some skinning and skiing. I brought Gulliver along, not sure what to expect from his maiden voyage to the ski slopes of Colorado. Going up was a breeze for him as expected but he really impressed with his descending skills. I [...]

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Early Season Skiing At Beaver Creek

December 11, 2013

Amy and I drove up at night through the storm last week and caught some early season turns on the hill. So far so good this winter. Keep the snow coming!

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