A few days ago I had a tiny mental breakdown as I was sitting on the living room floor with my TT bike trying to get my power meter set up after numerous failed attempts. If you know me well, then you know this is not really out of the norm for me, haha.
Anyway, I had traveled from Florida to San Francisco to race Escape from Alcatraz, raced, got hit by a car after the race, and still had to pack up my bike and fly back to Boulder to unload my life from being on the road for 7 weeks. Then I stayed up until midnight unpacking and assembling my bike, packing my new bike with race and training gear, and building up a road bike that had been delivered while I was away.
I woke up and had a normal training day. Then I packed up again for another month on the road and flew back to Florida.
Woof, that was a quick 36 hours but I can happily say that I am now settled in Florida and doing just fine. I survived (well, I knew I would, but sometimes I seriously think I won’t).
The overall experience had me thinking about how much easier this “job” would be if I had a someone/significant other to work on my bike, clean my bike, pack my bike for races, cook for me, do the laundry, take care of travel logistics, calm me down when I am stressed, pace me during training sessions, give me time splits on course, and oh the most important of them all- to be my personal photographer so I could have an unlimited bank of photos for my sponsors.
Honestly, I would just take a bike mechanic.
I can pretty much do everything else on my own after eight years of doing everything on my own. But it would sure be nice to not have to and have another person to pitch in.
Racing for a financial living is hard emotionally. The pressure I (and I am sure mostly all of us) put on myself is sometimes hard to handle alone. It would be nice to have someone at my side to talk sense into me when I start over-analyzing everything after a less than ideal race or training session.
I try really hard not to think about the ‘making money’ part of triathlon, but it is a part of it. This is all I do for a living (by choice), so for me this is it. It is a tough yet very self-satisfying way to live.
When everything goes to plan and I did it all alone it feels really really good. It’s a feeling I cannot replicate doing anything else. When things go bad though, I am alone, facing dark thoughts…and also facing the task of packing up my bike up, somehow lifting the giant awkward-shaped bike case into the rental car, and dragging myself on the airplane to get back to work.
It’s not easy being a solo pro triathlete.
So the next time you see a girl struggling through the airport with a bike case, two suitcases, and a backpack guys, please help her out!