April 2, 2017
After 14 years of competing in triathlon, with 7 of them as a professional trying to make a living, I’ve begun to feel the strain of it a little more than the fun. The sponsorship struggles, the cost/benefit balance, the stress of working other jobs in order to pay for this career/hobby can detract from the fun of training and traveling and it begins to feel like you’re actually working for a paycheck rather than racing for the passion of the sport. So after Xterra Argentina, Branden and I spent 36 hours in Buenos Aires, taking in as much of the city as possible. Everyone raves about the beauty of the city and Argentina is such a long trip from North America, that I was happy to take a little time off from training and thinking about the next race to enjoy an opportunity that I may not have again. We left our training gear packed for 36 hours, and got our exercise with lots of walking around the city. We took the hop on hop off bus tour to see the landmarks, walked around various neighborhoods and ate some great meals to enjoy the local beef and wine that the region is known for.
On Wednesday, we left Argentina behind us and flew out to Santiago, Chile for the next leg of our South American adventure, and that it was. It seemed like for the next 5 days, we were constantly on the move, and figuring out the logistics of it all was a job in itself! On Wednesday afternoon, we went to the race venue to ride the bike course, but I unfortunately had some mechanical trouble and wasn’t able to ride the full course so I had to just spin up and down the roads keeping close to the cars in order to get back in case of further trouble. Luckily Andres, a great guy and local athlete who had picked us up at the airport was gracious enough to ride with me and be my guardian when the local dogs came chasing after us each time we rode by. On Thursday morning, my homestay host “Gato,” who is also a triathlete took me to the local tri club swim practice for a doozie of a workout, then we hit the bike course for a pre ride, as my wheel seemed to be holding air and able to ride. The course had a lot of climbing and steep, loose descents, but my legs felt pretty good and aside from a slow speed uphill fall where I hyperextended my thumb, I rode well and was feeling good about race day- as long as I could use my sore and swollen thumb by then to shift!
Race day didn’t exactly go as well as I had wanted it to…I didn’t feel good in the water and felt like I couldn’t get my legs and lungs to work together on the bike either. Aside from one or two silly mistakes and dabs early on the bike, I rode well technically on the sketchy descents and managed to stay upright for a change so I was happy with that! The run went a little better; the steep climbs were tough but the course was fun and there were a few age group guys nearby, including my new friend Andres so that made it a little easier too!
The race itself was very well done; the organization was great, the course was challenging with enough climbing to rival Maui, and the markings were plentiful and clear. The venue was outfitted for great post race socializing over the local Food Truck burgers, beers and band playing all our favorite old school hair band songs! I’d definitely recommend visiting Chile if you’re up for a challenging course and an opportunity to meet some great locals who are friendly and outgoing! I’m so grateful for the new friends I made in Santiago and those who helped make my experience so enjoyable!
On Sunday, Branden, Bri and I took a drive to the coastal town of Valparaiso. It was a very cool, colorful old city built on a hill where we spent a couple days recovering (or healing from injuries in my case), with a little training and a lot of tourism! We did a lot of walking around the city, found a vineyard for a tasting of the local Vino and took a ton of pictures! Another great way to recover from one race and prepare for the last race in our series of three opening Pan Am Tour events!