First paycheck

September 29th, 2010

Taking a couple moments to train on the road.

Less than three weeks leading up to the big race in Tuscaloosa, AL, and with an unexpected flat tire in my last race that did not allow me to finish, I felt like I needed another race to boost my spirit and reassure myself that progress has continued in the pool and on the road.

Purchasing a new bicycle.

The AVIA Austin Triathlon, Austin, Texas’ biggest non-drafting, Olympic distance triathlon, sponsored by Jack and Adam’s Bikes, (one of my sponsors) provided the reassurance I was looking for. And with the help of my new custom Serrota road bike, the results turned out even better than I anticipated.

The triathlon took place in downtown Austin for more than a thousand competitors including local professional athletes like Michael Lovato, and Richie Cunningham who normally race on the long-course circuits.  Wanting to simulate the Alabama race conditions as much as possible, I decided not to use a wetsuit or a time trial bike although they were allowed for this race.  An obvious disadvantage durng the race, but the practice gained for my upcoming race was invaluable.

From the start of the race a small group of half fish/half men separated themselves from a small group of swimmers that included me.  Eventually during the swim, I moved from setting the pace to letting the others set the pace so I could draft.  Tenth out of the water, I was eager to see how my new bike would handle in its first race only a week after becoming familiar with it. Only a couple of miles in, it was apparent that this bike was superior to anything I had ever ridden.  Just as Leonardo De Vinci created the statue of David from a solid piece of stone by chiseling away everything that did not look like David, the new bike allowed me to control and discard anything out on the bike course that did not lead to a great finish.  The bike put me in good enough position to cruise the run and finished fifth with a time of 1:58:34. Phillip Graves of Great Britain took first place honors with a 1:53:30, and the fastest bike split of the day. Richie Cunningham was second.

Nicholas finished fifth.

I was very pleased with my finish and my performance during the final days leading up to Elite Nationals.   But even more rewarding than a good finish and a good result is one that you can touch, and in this case, a check.  It was my first as a pro.  Although I did not win a lot, it provides another marker of things to come and proof that my development in the sport continues.  I have decided to donate the money to the Global Healthy Living Foundation, my chosen charity —  Most people would probably buy something they really do not need but I think it could be put to a much better use by helping people with chronic pain.

As usual, thanks to all my sponsors — Total Immersion Swimming, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Serotta, Sable Water Optics and Jack and Adam’s Bicycles.