2018 ITU World Championships dealing with adversity and staying positive!

12 Jul

I’m back in the U.S. now sitting at my desk at 4am because I’m all jet lagged and out of sorts from being in Denmark the last 8 days. So I finally have some quiet time to write about my amazing experience traveling to Denmark and racing in the standard distance Duathlon World Championships.


When I got the call from USA Triathlon in March asking if I wanted to compete in World Championships this summer in Denmark I was so honored, and so excited. Then when my family said let’s go and we found reasonable deals on flights and actually made it a reality I got even more excited! I was offered this spot at the top American the previous year at World’s in Penticton, Canada. After the flights were booked, the hotel booked and this was real I put my plan in place for training and trying to peak on race day for a special performance!


2018 training has been going very well, and my body has felt great, my legs have been fresh and with surprisingly low run miles compared to years past my run speeds look solid! I spent my winter in the pool at master’s swim class, and riding my Wahoo kicker building up bike strength. I did race a 70.3 Triathlon 4 weeks prior to worlds and that long course training certainly gave me a lot of endurance for racing at high speeds on the shorter course. The body was ready, mind was ready and I was focused to chase a goal in Odense, Denmark!


July 3rd, travel day! Bike was packed in my new Sci-Con bike bag, suitcases ready and we were boarding a flight from MSP to Amsterdamn and then into Copenhagen. All was going nice and smooth got to the car rental place at the airport in Copenhagen, rented out Volkswagon, Touran loaded our gear and began the two hour drive out to Odense. Checked into the Team USA/ USA Triathlon team hotel the Radisson Blu dropped our bags off in the room and then went down to the Team USA bike mechanics room to un-pack my bike. This is where things went so very wrong and where the theme and moral of this story comes in.

I open my bike bag and look in the bottom and think umm, why is my rear derailleur lying loose in the bottom of my bike back with this white piece of frame attached? As I looked closer and had a couple teammates look we realized my bike was broke! The rear derailleur hanger busted, but also maybe part of the frame? I could not tell? (This is where me in the past, and most people would explode and go into a massive negative downward spiral) I sat for a moment almost busted into tears and then paused and said OK let’s fix this, lets find a solution! I stayed positive and said to my wife Shannon. “I’m not going to let this ruin our vacation and wonderful time together in Denmark” My focus was be positive, stay relaxed and calm and find a way to make the race happen.  We ran into USA Triathlon/Team USA managers Lauren and Meg and they gave me the name of a nearby bike shop we took off to locate it and talk with them. They were a Trek dealer but did not have the part I needed and would not rent me a bike no matter how much I pleaded with them. They looked at photos I took of my broken bike also and could not 100% assess if my frame was broker or just the hanger.  After they declined me, I walked outside and began looking for another shop we met Dave one of my Team USA teammates who is 78 years old! Dave walked us down to another store he knew of called Tri-Fyn-Sports.  This shop became my saving grace! The young lad working that day Matieus, sat there as we explained what happen to my bike showed him photos and asked if he would rent me a bike. He said they don’t have any rental bikes, but as I looked at his showroom floor I saw this road bike sitting there that appeared to be close to my size. My wife Shannon and I pleaded with him to rent us the bike, I said what do you like? He said I like beer, I said great what kind and where can I go buy you some beer? He told me and I went off bought him a 12 pack of beer and we made a deal for him to rent me this road bike so I could race! I started to slowly come to a better place and sense of happiness cause I had a bike to compete with! Now it was a road bike and not my nice Trek Speed concept Tri-Bike, but it was a bike! The next day I rolled my case with my broken bike in it down to his shop, as we were taking my aero wheels and putting them onto this bike they would rent me. I also had to leave my Trek as collateral. Matieus got my rental bike all set for me, after I did race packet pick up I came back and got it and then took the bike over to my Team USA mechanic Drew for a quick run through on it and to make sure we had the seat post height good for me. That was all I could adjust since this was a bike for sale and not one I could mess with so the steam/handle bars were not right for me but I could make do.  I took the bike out for a short spin to make sure it shifted proper and road OK. It worked and so race was on for me! I put the race stickers on the bike, my helmet and headed over to transition and racked my bike! My sad and crazy feelings of my broken bike were settling down, and the excitement of racing World Championships was begging to build!

I knew that with this bike and all I had gone through dealing with locating the bike and getting it ready I would not be able to compete at the level I came here to do. But I was going to go out and push my limits and hurt and roll the dice and see how I do. This road bike easily gave up 2mph average over the 40k bike course, but I could still run fast! I also think this bike position and geometry affected my second run some, but again no excuses because I went out and gave it all I had! And I did it with a smile! I went out and was in the top 3 after the first run and was feeling good! But then the bike portion! The winds were a solid 15mph that day and lots of gusts into 20mph zone, so it was tough to battle winds anyway let alone on a rental bike not fitted to me. But I worked hard and pushed and fought and held off the chasers until maybe mile 7-8 of the bike then they began to catch me and I fought back with them as we played cat and mouse until finally they could hold me off. They had their nice aero-dynamic Tri-Bikes and my little rental road bike was no match for those. But during all of this I kept positive, I stayed focused and I fought hard, I gave all my effort and energy into finishing as strong as I could! I believed in myself and was just proud to be on the course and to focus on finishing!

When the bike portion was over and I transitioned to the second run man my butt hurt from the saddle of that bike and fighting the wind! I could tell my legs were not as fresh as they should be.  I took off and ran as hard as I could and I fought and fought for that finish line! Smiling and feeling so proud and positive that I did it!! I overcame this massive obstacle, I dealt with such crazy adversity and I was going to get that finisher medal at World Championships!

I crossed the line, got that medal and just smiled! It was not the finish place or time I dreamed over just a few days ago but considering all I had to deal with I was very happy! 10th place in the World finish and on a rental road bike.  The key to all of this is that when things go massively wrong, we must stay composed, relaxed, take a deep breath and just find a solution, find a way to fix the negative and make it a positive! We must focus on this big picture and not the small things or the immediate heart break. Life is really hard and tough and we get tossed curveballs all the time, we are faced with struggles and adversity and it’s how we deal with this how we stay positive and focused that will allow us to have happiness and truly reach our goals! I find more pride in my attitude of handling this situation more than I do my performance. Its times like this that will help me grow and make me a better person and stronger! I had friends show amazement to me that I could handle this massive issue with such a positive and calm attitude, my wife Shannon and daughter Bella were so great as well! They helped me and were so impressed at how calm and focused I stayed to fix the problem and race at the level I did.

When things come at you and try to kick you down, when things go seriously wrong don’t get negative, don’t give up. Stop breathe and find a solution and stay positive because in the end it can always be worse, and there is always a solution and positive outcome to be had even if goals have to be adjusted. Because of how I handled all of this I can say this is one of my most proud moments as an athlete! I hope my writing, and my actions here help others and can be an education to help you overcome adversity and negative moments in life!


The town of Odense, Denmark is lovely! The race was wonderful! I loved the run course! And I loved everything about this trip and experience! Sure, I hated dragging a bike across the globe and back that I could not race with, but this adversity it caused me was a great lesson and moment in my life and all though it caused me to not place where I believe I could have in the race I have no regrets about it! Because I earned something more than a place on the podium!

Life is about little moments, big moments and experiences, and it’s these moments that we carry with us for the rest of our lives! Don’t be afraid to try, don’t think about the money, just go embrace these little moments and make memories!

So much thanks and gratitude to those who support me! Those who help me compete in races like ITU World Championships and those who always pick me up when I fall!

Thanks to;  F2C Nutrition (seriously Greg and Glenda are the best!) their products are amazing and it was wonderful to have them in Odense and on the course! Thanks to USA Triathlon and Team USA (Tim, Loren, Meg, Pat, Drew) all the staff that came to Odense and supported us! Thanks to Freewheel Bike shop! (Kevin, Tyson, Chris, Mike, Blair, Scott) all of them that work on my bike and take my texts/emails from Denmark when my bike broke to help me find a solution and repair it straight-away when I got back to the states for my next race! Thanks to Rudy Project who sponsors and supports Team Gotta Have Heart and myself! The bike helmets and sun- glasses they support me with! Thanks to TC-Running for the support and my running shoes, thanks to my dear friends and the athletes of Team Gotta Have Heart! The support of friends like Krisana who drove us back and forth to the airport, Liv and her boys Ethan and Luke who looked after Scruffy the day we left before Manuela got home and looked after him the rest of our trip! But most of all thanks to my wife Shannon and daughter Bella for always supporting me and allowing me to chase my dreams, goals, passions! Thanks for the cheers and coming along with me and helping me through all the adversity of this trip and making it one of the best vacations ever!

Peace and love to all! Much gratitude, and respect! And remember stay positive and never give up!








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