Age groupers and professionals riding together in Gran Canaria.
Nice story from Camp this week on conflicting assumptions made by both pro and age group athletes.
One of Nicola Spirig’s biggest concerns in this Olympic year is how her life has changed so much since the last Olympic preparation; Now with a husband, young son, a huge workload of commitments which came with her success in 2012. Her time and training schedule is in her mind compromised. She doubts not her ability to race – but whether she can still do it on a more limited and much more mentally tiring schedule!
This is not a worry for me as I believe she is a better athlete than in 2012. More mature. More in control.
To me such maturity was seen in camp last week in an incident demonstrative of what our great sport can offer.
During training Nicola was riding the 1km training loop and joined by one of age group athletes, Ingrid Kidd. Ingrid’s a first time camper and a wannabe Ironman finisher – nothing new about that. But during what must have been a very painful hour numbed by adrenalin, she put in 120% to hold onto the Champ’s pace and even launch a couple of her own counter-attacks. After the ride she wrote to her coach, Susie Langley, that she was so excited that she got lost on the way home and forgot what the next program was.
Couldn’t be happier for her, that’s what coming to camp is about. You show respect, give your best effort and you receive respect from the top down.
What was strange to me however was when reviewing the day’s workouts with Nicola, she kept talking about the extraordinary woman she met at training today:
Ingrid has 4 young children, been through university and is now a veterinarian running a full-time practice – all while finding some small space for herself to try and achieve her dream and goal to complete an Ironman! The respect and admiration for this lady was obvious and it was not lost on her that while she also may be a very busy woman these days, you can do it all and still succeed.
This is where triathlon is truly unique. Both professional and age-group athletes in their own way inspired each other. People of character, no matter their profession, make unchangeable circumstances work! And if Ingrid has made the road to Rio gold look that little bit more possible for our busy Champ then I thank her.
Triathlon is the only sport I know that the champions and the amateur athletes can share courses, war stories and the blood of the battle together on equal terms.
May it never lose this quality.
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