Developing a taste for Mexico

April 5th, 2010

Bienvenido (or Welcome) to Mexico!

One benefit of being a triathlete is being able to travel around the world.  Yeah, you might have to pay an arm and leg for an airplane ticket, especially with the airlines increasing their prices by the hour it seems.  And at times you find yourself with a language barrier, having to rely on your basic arm and hand signals to communicate.

Nicholas Sterghos in Mexico.

When I first became a triathlete, I never had ventured outside the United States, not to mention very far from the southeast, except to run the 100th Boston marathon with my father in 1996, the USATF cross country championships in Schaumburg, IL in 2004, and of course my college years at West Point, NY from 2005 to 2009.  Since then, I have visited Canada, Mexico, and Germany and more than 10 states just to do triathlons.  And, I am planning on going to race in Peru for another ITU Continental Cup coming this weekend.

Nicholas Sterghos in Mexico.

Although I lived no more than a quarter mile away from Mexico when I was living in El Paso, TX, I never dared cross the border.  As much as I like to travel, I usually like to come back from my travel destinations, but Juarez doesn’t always offer that option, at this time.

Well, I finally took my trip to Mexico, but to a more peaceful city located on the Pacific Coast named Mazatlan.  It was an exciting and interesting trip to say the least.  There, I competed in my first ITU (International Triathlon Union) draft-legal race of my professional triathlon career.  I had a great race, finishing in a time of 1:57:47, placing me 18th out of a field of over fifty athletes. With that finish, I was able to pick up 54 ITU points and ranking me 333 in the World.  The field consisted mainly of American and Mexican athletes, including Olympic triathlete, Jarred Shoemaker.  I had a much better draft-legal bike experience than Clermont, not only being able to handle the bike pack, but trying to be a group leader so that we could gain as much time on the next bike pack.  The winner, Mexican Francisco Serrano, posted a time of 1:53:35, running down and passing USA’s Cameron Dye before the finish, only 11 seconds behind.

Nicholas Sterghos in Mexico.

Outside the race, I was able to enjoy the beautiful Mazatlan beach and resort where I was staying.  Although, it was a weird feeling staying in an area that somewhat wealthly and exotic, but surrounded by much less wealthy areas driving in and out of the city.

I also had a chance to meet up again with my fellow TC2 teammates, Jarred Shoemaker, Sean Jefferson, Omar Nour, and Alicia Kaye, all coached by Tim Crowley.  Congratulations to Sean and Omar, who competed in their first ITU Continental Cup triathlon.  I wish them all the best as they compete in the future and hope to see them again soon.

Nicholas Sterghos in Mexico with coach and manager Louis Tharp.

Thanks to my swim coach and manager who accompanied me to Mexico, providing encouragement and a body to guard all my equipment whenever I was away preparing before and after my race (he appears in one of the pictures above.)  Special thanks to all my sponsors – Total Immersion Swimming, sbill swimming, TGI Healthworks, Serotta, and Sable Water Optics, who allowed me to get to Mazatlan, specifically the PHLY Triathlon.

Nicholas Sterghos in Mexico.