In Mexico I stayed in a condo with Matt Chrabot. This year was his second win at the Huatulco World Cup, and he’s been on the podium there three of the last four years. If anyone knows how to race well in Huatulco itâ€™s Matt, and staying with him was a great opportunity to learn a little from one of my most successful peers.
Even though Matt lives across the hall from me, we have different coaches and we rarely train together. And thatâ€™s just the way it is at the Olympic Training Center. There are about 15 athletes training out of the center in Colorado Springs, but none of us train together on any regular basis. Itâ€™s not any kind of animosity between the athletes, we all get along pretty well, itâ€™s a mix of us having different coaches that never talk, and then once the season starts our training priorities are just different. Itâ€™s something that USAT has been working to fix, but we wonâ€™t see any real change in the structure of the resident program until after London.
In Huatulco, however, Matt and I were on the same plan. Even with different coaches our training objectives in the days leading up to the race were identical. We wanted to practice the hill, and get used to the heat. Even the water was warm in Huatulco, so we did a hard swim workout three days before the race to get used to working hard in warm water. Everything we did meshed up, and it was fun to have a training partner for the week.
We were in a condo, so we had a full kitchen and plenty of space. It was actually a really cool setup because the condominium was brand new, and the two of us were one of just two rooms being rented while we were there. We basically had an entire hotel staff just waiting around for us. We made ourselvesÂ omeletsÂ and sandwiches during the day then went to the town square for dinner. We found this hole-in-the-wall just off from the main tourist area. It was a little restaurant run by a family in the back yard of their house. They grilled all the food right in front of us, served us homemade lemonade (with mint and cucumber!) and charged us half what we would have paid for lower quality food elsewhere.
Our setup was notÂ conduciveÂ to socializing, so the two of us ended up having an inordinate amount of down time, despite getting in everything we wanted to do. Â It was by far the best accommodations Iâ€™ve had in Huatulco in the three years Iâ€™ve done the race, and it was all thanks to Mattâ€™s planning.
â€¦.I need to put in an aside here, Iâ€™m on an airplane watching Hawaii 5-0 and they just interrogated a guy who was helping triathletes blood dope. I’m not a fan of the image their creating of triathletesâ€¦
The whole experience with Matt made me wonder why weâ€™ve never been able to work out the obstacles of training together. We both like group training, but we both stubbornly insist on having our own coaches (for good reason, at this level you really do need a coach who optimizes your schedule for your own individual needs). USAT played with the idea of having mandatory runs and bikes during the week, but the older guys complained and it never happened.
â€¦Now the TV is showing these two triathletes training together in an endless pool at a waterfront house in Kahala, which is probably a 10 million dollar home. That’s probably a more realistic impression of a triathlete, right?…
Anyway, itâ€™s the off-season now. Matt finishes in a few weeks, and over the winter weâ€™ll hit up the fire roads together on our cross bikes. Maybe next year our schedules will match up for more than a few days in Mexico.
â€¦And now theyâ€™re showing footage of a race start at Ala Moana Beach Park. Â I just saw my former roommate Tai Blechta! That is so cool! They got real triathletes! Now if only they werenâ€™t showing two people in aero helmets climbing the side of a building to steal money from a bank vaultâ€¦
What was I talking about? This show is distracting…