In December of 2008 I joined Asphalt Green Tri Club, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the City’s premier training location for triathletes in NYC. I decided to join a club instead of a team because I was so new to the sport. I knew nothing, like literally not sure how to clip into my bike, how to put on a swim cap, or how to run more than 5k. Luckily for me, I meet some very friendly people who thankfully knew the answer to these questions and so many more. This atmosphere with this club is like no other, everyone is positive, happy, and helpful. Whether you have done a full IM or just learning what a triathlon is, like I was at the time, everyone accepted you. It is kind of the culture of triathlon. I would learn more about tri-culture later and certainly will discuss how it has influenced my life on various levels.
The Spring & Early Summer tri season in New York can be fickle you can get a random heat wave for a weekend or a real nasty cold snap. My first triathlon, Ironclad was a Sprint Triathlon held in mid-May, unfortunately Ironclad is no longer around, which in my opinion is a shame because it was a great race that ended with an amazing smorgasborg of breakfast food! Good god; tell a triathlete there is food, and I guarantee the turnout will be great! I remember the day so clearly probably because it was my first race, yes I still proudly wear the finishers shirt, super early wake up call. A short drive to the race location, transition set up and wedging myself into my wetsuit I was participating in my first triathlon. Making my way down to the beach I remember the freezing cold air filling my lungs as I looked out over the Long Island Sound (body of water where the swim was held) and feeling my heart stop. As I sized up the farthest buoy marker I realized I had never swam that far in one continuous swim and nearly then and there had a panic attack about what I was undertaking.
As I struggled to catch my breath the gun goes off, and men rushed past me to enter the water and it was a little surreal. I pulled my new goggles down over my eyes and crashed into the oncoming waves and seriously swam the first two buoy markers in 10 mins, I got passed by older men and women, young and fat people, everyone who knew what they were doing out there! Then my goggles started to take in too much water, I began to panic and breast stroked for a little with my Goggles up. It was during this moment that another triathlete doggie paddling came up alongside me, and would you believe it or not I actually knew the guy! It turned out to be Sasha and we swam the rest of our first sprint tri together, road our bikes out of transition and it wasn’t until the finish line that we saw each other again. Nevertheless we high-fived and were instantly bonded by completing our first sprint distance races together, and that is the beginning of our training partnership and a kinship that could only be described as brotherhood.