Team Train Right Blog: Why I race

By Bill Plock

Being fairly new to Team Trainright and with my first race coming up, something my yoga teacher said the other day really made me think about why I race. I love to compete, I want to win, but as someone past his prime, why do I continue to race?

Remember when you were 8 years old and maybe you and a few friends would race to a tree or telephone pole? Or maybe at field day, you lined up with the rest of the class and competed for a ribbon and more importantly the coveted "fastest" kid label? Remember when racing was fun and even if you had never won a race in your life, you found a way to convince yourself you would win the next one, you were invincible.

I won a few races as a kid, and loved to race and compete. I played any sport presented to me and as I aged I settled in on soccer and basketball–even though playing playground football might've been my favorite. But I never ran track or cross country and didn't seriously start riding a bike until about 8 years ago. Endurance, individual sports didn't interest me at all.

40 years later things have come full circle. I love to race again. The fast twitch sports don't intrigue me anymore. But why do I love to race? I don't have a shot in hell of winning a triathlon. I might do well in my age group, but to flat out win a triathlon–are you kidding me.

So why? I could just train and keep in shape. Yes, having a race to shoot for helps keep me motivated and focused, but I would probably still ride my bike and run and maybe swim without racing.

My yoga teacher Jane gave me the reason.

She is, self admittedly, about the least competitive person on the planet, yet she was telling us about a half marathon she had just run in Steamboat over the weekend. It was her first, and she seemed thrilled to have finished it. More than anything, what impressed her as she ran was the sense of community she felt during the race.

Community? Not inspiration, or competitiveness or accomplishment? Community huh? What does that mean? Most of us live in a community, but what community or communities are we really part of? Or seek to be part of?

If I had to boil it down and do a little self analysis, ultimately it is the community of triathlon I seek and the more success I have, the more races I enter, the more events I go to, I become more entrenched in the community. Without a day to day job (I'm a stay-at-home dad), it no doubts helps me feel connected and successful.

The other night typified that as I went to a celebration party at Tri Bella for Team Transplant, the team I helped with some training rides. Tri Bella is a really cool new triathlon shop, in downtown Denver
(www. specializing in women's multisport. Naturally I chatted with the staff and met the owner James Sharpe. We instantly had a connection talking about bikes and triathlons and people we knew etc. While I had never met him, because we are in the same "community" it was easy to converse.

I am in the triathlon/cycling community. Right where I belong. I race to be part of it. This year I race to do well. I want on the podium for my age group. I feel like a kid again. I want to be the first to the tree.

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