Brock B. – Alumni Blog
Overcoming Challenges – Xterra Race
By Brock B.
I will start by saying that I never thought I would complete a triathlon. In fact, before I moved to Carbondale, I had never even been on a mountain bike. I remember during my intake at Jaywalker lodge, I expressed my concern about being able to keep up with the most basic fitness activities. But I quickly fell in love with mountain biking. I love being able to push myself to my physical limit on the uphill and then rip as fast as I can on the way back down. Our Jaywalker alumni network has some of the best riders I have ever seen and they all push me to want to improve.
I have been fortunate to work at a job that allows me to network with some of the most interesting people in the Roaring Fork Valley. One of these people, Ace, hosts the Xterra Race series in his own backyard! Ace knew that I was an avid mountain biker and asked if I would like to participate. After some consideration, I decided I was up for the challenge. So where to start? One of the most important things recovery has taught me is that it’s ok to ask for help. So I reached out to the only person I knew that has completed a triathlon, Jaywalker Alumni Coordinator, Peyton W. Peyton became my “triathlon sponsor,” coaching me through my journey. We discussed everything from training, to diet, to gear. I can honestly say that I would not have been able to do it without him.
Weeks passed, as I executed the training plan set out for me and before I knew it race day was upon me. Peyton reminded me to carry out my plan and above everything, finish with a smile on my face. The Xterra begins with a 1200 meter swim around the Kodiak Ski, a man made lake tucked along highway 82 in El Jebel. As the starting gun went off, I dove forward. Swimming was the hardest event I had to train for because I hadn’t swam in over a decade. But on race day, it was arguably my strongest event. I finished in just over 25 minutes in the top third of my group. Next, I transitioned onto my mountain bike for the portion I was most excited about. The mountain bike course is incredibly technical with flowing single track and wood features, rarely seen in an Xterra. The ride is approximately 12 miles long with just over 1200 feet of elevation gain. I raced though the course, passing several competitors. I was feeling great, riding with a smile on my face. As I climbed up a rocky section of single track I heard a loud pop as my feet began to spin rapidly. I realized I had broken a link in my chain. I panicked! I was devastated! I had trained too hard to have to quit because of a bike malfunction. So I coasted on a road back to the beginning of the race, where I explained to Peyton what happened. We tracked down another racer who had a spare chain link. After about 20 minutes, we fixed the bike and I raced back up to the point where I had exited. I finished the last nine miles, grateful to have a second chance at completing the race. By the time I crossed into the final transition area for the run, I was completely depleted of all energy. I laced up my shoes anyways and trotted off, my only thoughts were to keep pushing no matter what. Even though, it was one of my slowest 5ks, I still finished with a huge smile on my face.
I finished the Aspen Valley Xterra 77th place overall out of 108 competitors. Although, I was and still am frustrated about the bike malfunction, I truly found gratitude in being able to be sober and healthy enough to compete in a triathlon. I could not have done it without the principles of recovery and the help of my alumni peers. I’m not sure if it’s my addictive personality or just a desire for redemption but I cannot wait to compete in this race again next year!