It’s that time of year again.
The CU Tri Team has been back at school and training hard for a few months
now. We’ve spent hours in the pool, on the bike and on the trails, and our first
time trial is behind us. Needless to say, all this training has us a little tired out.
Thanksgiving break is just around the corner, but until then, we’ve been doing
all we can to motivate each other to keep working hard.
That’s why this Sunday, four teammates decided to host a pancake party
following our weekly long run. Our team has gotten pretty skilled at pancake-
making over the the past year, thanks to the ingenuity of Rudy Kahsar and other
like-minded cake connoisseurs. We know, for instance, that Oreos make the best
mix-ins and that while maple syrup is a classic topping, vanilla yogurt and
peanut butter can work wonders on a flapjack.
Before we could chow down on pancakes, though, we had to earn them with a
good workout. With a big group — about 20 runners of varying speeds — and a
workout that could range from 45 to 90 minutes, we knew we would spread out
over time. Still, we left together from the “Casa de Pancakeo,” heading south
towards Bobolink Trail and eventually to Marshall Mesa.
It was a warm but windy morning, and as we struggled up hills into oncoming
gusts, the only thing that kept us going was the prospect of pancakes to come.
Marshall Mesa is a set of rolling trails near Colorado Highway 93, and it is
completely exposed. We had no shelter from the wind and were all trying to
draft off each other to make the effort a little more bearable.
As the time on our watches slowly ticked by, we finally settled into a comfortable
pace. Finishing a long run is always a mental battle, but with teammates to talk
to and pace with, it tends to be over sooner than you think. We picked up speed
for the final few miles, knowing that the faster we made it back to the house, the
sooner delicious cakes would be filling our bellies. When we reached the
driveway of the Casa de Pancakeo, someone’s GPS recorded 10.8 miles;
naturally, we took one more lap around the block to get to a solid 11 (it’s a
Rob Helvestine was the hero of the morning as he poured dollops of pancake
batter onto the skillet and took mix-in requests nonstop. The rest of us, spent
from our effort and in need of some serious fuel, huddled around the stovetop
with our paper plates outstretched. Leave it to a team of college-aged triathletes
to consume enough pancakes and coffee to feed a small country over the course
of an hour.
Without times like these, we wouldn’t really be a team — we would just be a big
group of training partners. Triathlon in itself is an individual sport, but when we
take the time to bond over new pancake-topping creations, we make it a team
thing. It may sound silly, but the friendships we build outside of regular practice
are the ones that will stick.
And when we race, those friendships will carry us to the finish line.
Note: The pancakes were so delicious we forgot to take pictures! Whoops, I guess eating is more of a priority for college athletes!
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