Worlds – Just the beginning…

Wow. What an experience it was representing USA at the 2008 ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championship in Almere, Holland.

My head is filled with so many memories, and my heart much pride, that I really don’t know where to start. A part of me still hasn’t put the amazing experience in context, while another part has a need to share it early and often.

And so I will honor this need by starting somewhere — here with these pictures. There will be many, many more pictures and certainly more stories, all to come.

I hope this early sampling of photos shows the pride in my heart, for this — the experience of racing for country on such a big stage — is something I will never forget.

ITU Long Course World Championship – Almere, Holland
August 31, 2008

Swim Start: A final wave to Heather before jumping into the water for what was supposed to be 4K swim (2.48 miles) but was, in reality, much longer at 4.8K and with strong currents made possible by the high winds changing direction right at race start.

Swim Exit: Shortly after the longest swim of my life, where I swam farther than ever before and in conditions much tougher than expected, I finally climbed out of the Gooimeer, site of the swim, and made my way into Transition for the bike. After this picture was taken, I needed a good luck kiss from Heather to help set my day straight.

Bike Start: Fans cheered “Go U-S-A!” as I climbed aboard the bike at the Bike Mount line.

Bike Start – Flat Tire: Immediately after mounting the bike and pushing forward to ramp up to speed, something beneath me went horribly wrong. My front tire was flat! And I wasn’t even 10 meters into the course.

Bike Start – Tire Change: And so after a very difficult and slow swim, before I even hit the bike course, I had to change my front tire. Heather, off to the side unbeknownst to me, snapped a photo. She called my name a few times but decided I needed to focus. Although it seriously sucked to flat so soon into the race, it was very cool to hear the fans supporting my efforts with “Go Thor!” and “U-S-A, U-S-A!” It hit me while changing the tire that my fortune, although taking a turn for the worse in the race, was as rich as ever — that’s right, I got a flat in a World Championship race!

Bike Loop 2 Start: Starting bike loop number two with a smile, I was trying to gain back as much time as possible due to the slow swim and flat at the bike start. Here you can see a pesky Netherlands athlete who, despite my attempts to shake with first kind words and next not-so-kind words and a few other actions (middle finger, spit, sport drink spray), sucked my wheel for about 25 miles of the course. I kid you not. I even told a race official on motorbike. Nothing. So I ignored him and got back to work.

Run Start Loop 2: Starting loop two of the run, just after coming through the finish area, I knew Heather, my number one supporter and love, would be up ahead, so I prepared to unload my hydration belt — it chaffed me too badly to carry on — and my sunglasses. I could have used the shades, but the very hot and dry temperatures kept fogging them over, and I was too tired and hurting and holding on to give them the cleaming care they needed.

Team USA World Championship Representative – That’s me!

Wait until the official race photos come out. I finished with that flag, held overhead, waving in the air behind me. It was my Olympics. For I am a World Champ!

World Champs & Trifury Clubmates: Mark and Thor!

Heather (the Ironmate) and Thor: Thank you to the Ironmate, my number one supporter and lover. I love you, baby!


15 Responses to Worlds – Just the beginning…

  1. Raquel says:

    Holy smokes Thor! What a tough start for the race but you pulled through and got it done with style. Can’t wait to read all the gory details!

  2. alili says:

    OMG-you two are just too darn cute! Congrats Thor-what a wonderful experience, never to be forgotten.

  3. MBannon says:

    The flat tire and the wheel-sucker will make the story MUCH more interesting for your grandchildren, congrats!! Glad you had a good experience (with a couple small bumps).

  4. jintorcio says:

    Fookin’ nut.

    Congrats!! You’ve done the USA proud!

  5. Claire Cloutier says:

    Too cool for words!!!

  6. Robin Cain says:

    Congratulations Thor!
    Thanks for sharing these photos, can’t wait to read the rest of your race report!

    Go USA!

  7. daysman says:

    Simply awesome! That was inspiring how you held it together through a tough swim and an even tougher start to the bike. You and Mark have done the US and Trifury proud. Way to go Thor!!!

  8. Dougie Fresh says:

    Thor, way to represent the USA, Boston, your tri club, your tri-peeps, all of us! Way to grit through a tough swim and tough bike start. You rocked it. I think we need a homecoming party. John?

  9. tony d says:

    hey thor great job. it must have been something special to hear your name and the chant of USA just after the olympics. great job!!! Tony D

  10. Charlotte says:

    Wonderful pics, and a great start to a wonderful story. Can’t wait to read the rest. Congratulations, World Champ.

    In Latin:

    A champion inter amicitia a champion inter men est iam a victor. Vos es totus illa , quod a Universitas Champion.

    In Dutch:

    TE voorvechter tussen vriendschap te voorvechter tussen mensen zit reeds te winnaar. U zitten helemaal dit hier , en te Wereldkampioen.

    In the tongue of my fatherland:
    UN campeón entre amigos un campeón entre hombres es ya un vencedor. Usted are todo estos , y un Mundo Campeón.

    Your Fatherland:
    EIN Kämpfer inmitten Freunde ein Kämpfer inmitten Menschen ist bereits ein Sieger. Sie sind alle dieser , und ein Weltmeister.

    and last but not least:

    A champion among friends a champion among men is already a victor. You are all these, and a World Champion.

  11. Michele says:

    You did an awsome job. Not that I know much about swimming/biking/running – but you look like you have excellent form! Great job and can’t wait to hear all about it.

  12. Alyson says:

    Thor: We are very proud of you!! You reign supreme!! Love, Alyson, John and the two junior tri-athletes, Colin and Alex

  13. Lisa says:

    You and Heather are both an inspiration for us mere mortals. Congratulations!

  14. Mom says:

    Fabulous report and photos. Thanks for sharing your joy & hard work. You and Heather look great. Congratulations on being selected to represent the USA. You did us proud.

  15. Paul Both says:

    Awesome job!!! You look like you had a blast! Congratulations, it’s always a pleasure to hear about your races.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: