Four Score and…No. Just 6 years ago…

Posted in Uncategorized on 06/29/2014 by TriHollywood

So I thought it was tomorrow, but I’ve been told that the anniversary, if you’d like to call it that, is today. Sometimes the brain, it like to jumble things up. Massive trauma and all that. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well six years ago today, I found myself with both feet inside Death’s door. Seven days later, I was pulled back from, and given a second chance. Every day since then has been a gift, and something I thank God for. Probably shouldn’t be here; He thought otherwise. The original post is below, copy-and-pasted. Obviously some updates, but most of those up on here already. They aren’t important. The message below is. Enjoy…

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This is a quick kind of background on my life the past couple years, and what has happened is really the only reason I’m where I am now, doing what I do. I will tell you now that it may come across as “preachy”, but I promise that’s not what I mean by it; it just kinda happens because of the story and what happens in it… That being said; I’ll begin…

I’ve always been a 110%,full out, go big or not at all, kind of guy; this goes with sports, as well as everything else in life, and makes it almost impossible to balance life. In high school, I was the leader of my little clique, and no one, maybe my best friend at the time, could stop me from doing something or alter my decisions. We did what I wanted, and that happened it be partying most of the time. I’d do just about anything to get a buzz and then, to get wrecked, and I got pretty into drugs for a while. Alcohol was always a staple, which was probably amplified by strong alcoholism on my biological father’s family, and my great grandparents on my mom’s side. My first issue with alcohol came the first month of ninth grade, in public school(I had attended a private Christian school from k-8th; there were just as many problems there, just harder to get substances) when I literally chugged a 20oz bottle of McCormicks vodka. This was my first time drinking, so I didn’t know what I was doing, and it landed me in my bed with no recollection of what happened. Turns out I had passed out, my cousin called my mom looking for me because I wasn’t answering my phone, and mom found me not breathing and pale blue. She told me she simply said, “please God…”, and I rolled over, puked. After she and my stepdad cleaned me up, they put me in bed. You’d think that near death experience would get my attention, but I’m more than hard-headed, so I needed something else, something much much bigger, to catch my attention; that’s what I’m writing about in this next part…

First year out of high school, June 30th 2008, was normal Friday night. I was going to a party with my mind heavy and foggy because I didn’t want to go to school, and I didn’t know how to tell me parents I was going to join the Marines because I felt like I was out of options. My friends and I threw an open house at some kids house who’s parents were out of town. After winning who knows how many games of beer pong, with another beer in hand, and almost a weeks worth of oxi, I blacked out around 2am. Now I don’t remember anything after I blacked out, but friends tell me that all that liquid courage made me want to go home to talk to my parents about the Marines, and that no matter what they did, they couldn’t stop me from getting in my car and driving off.

Half way home, I wrecked. I was thrown out of the sunroof because I thought seatbelts were highly overrated, and I was 19 and invincible anyway. I landed on my head after being ejected, cracking my occipital bone, which happens to be the body’s hardest. My Ford Escape, ironic right, flipped 6 times, and stopped, no joke, 8 inches from my body. One more flip, and I would have been under it. Here’s where you have to start thinking SOMEONE was looking out for me for some reason bigger than me.

Where I wrecked was in front of the only place open, a gas station, on that street for 2-3 miles either way. An EMT who had just gotten off her shift, and was on her way home, saw my wreck from the opposite lane, and got out to take care of me while the gas station cashier called 911 and prayed until the ambulance arrived. I was responsive, sort of,  until I arrived at Kennestone Hospital, when I fell into a coma. They ran tests and told my parents that with the damage I had, including 3 times the cranial pressure I should have because of my brain bleeding, I’d be extremely lucky to make it through the night. However, they didn’t know if I would, and if I did make it through the night, I’d need months of rehab because of the parts of my brain that took the brunt of the damage. I may lose all inhibitions, motor skills, short term memory, and my sight… WAIT! It gets better, or worse depending on how you’re looking at it.

With every damn machine in the hospital hooked up to me, including 2 catheters(brain and the normal kind), I looked like my life was done; game over man. When I woke up for the first time, after 3 days in my coma, I had no vision. I still don’t remember this part, but I’m told I freaked out when I realized I couldn’t see, and I was put back into a coma. The next day was the same as the last three in the morning, but that evening I woke up, looked at my mom, and told her that she was wearing a blue shirt before passing back out. I could see.

The catheter in my head was removed, along with the neck brace, but I was still in bad shape. I tried to feed myself on day 5, my first very foggy memory after the wreck, but unless my mouth was on the side of my head, that idea was out. Yeah; say goodbye motor skills. Day 6 I regained my motor skills enough that I could shovel jello into my mouth, but that was about it, and the docs still didn’t think I’d regain everything.

Early morning day 7, around 4am, I woke up, looked at my mom who was asleep on the couch in my room, and told her I was hungry. I grabbed my hall tree of my IVs, tubes,  and catheter bag, and set off to the cafeteria like nothing had happened. I hadn’t been able to keep any food down the past 6 days, and I needed food right then.

I don’t think I need to say that my doctors and mom were in awe. I seemed like nothing had ever happened. After some final cleanup of the glass and asphalt in my back(there’s still some in there), I walked out ON MY OWN the afternoon of the seventh day. Even the doctors said it had to be a “God thing”. If you wanna call it a long chain of coincidences, go ahead, but that takes more faith than saying that I was being looked out for.

After all that, I walked out of the hospital with some scars, a new hole in my head, some ADD, and a new respect and belief that there is something bigger out there. I figure that’s a decent trade off, and a damn good lesson learned. The first words out of my mouth when in the passenger seat on my way home was, “I think I had alone time with God. I had to make a choice between myself, and believing and following Him.” Do I need to tell you what my decision was?

3 months after I being discharged, I ran my first 5k road race, took 3rd in my age group, (The picture is from my first 10k, a few months later; I don’t have a picture for the first race… look at how awful my form is.. :^/) and have been hooked ever since. That love, and healthy *cough* addiction, led to competing in triathlons. I’ve raced triathlons of every distance, numerous running events, and had podium finishes. Only 2 years from that first 5k , I competed in a full iron distance triathlon in North Carolina at Beach2Battleship.

I’ve used this new ability as a medium to share my story of His glory and power. I’ve learned a lot since then, but most importantly that God kept me here for something more than myself, I’m not invincible, that you have to be humble, and not many people get at lucky and blessed as I have been.

‘Pre-approved…’

Posted in Misc, Race Reports, Uncategorized on 06/28/2014 by TriHollywood

I wanted to go ahead and get this update out there before the annual post that’s coming in a couple days. Lots have happened since the Rev3 Age Group Championship Race back in May. Well maybe not a lot, but a few things worth mentioning.

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A couple races. The PaTRIot Triathlon down in Fort Pierce. Neat little race; needs some polishing. Cool town too. The fun thing about this, aside from the organization they donate to, is that the distance was .911-49.11-9.11. Obviously a play on 9-11, the whole reason event exists, but also a good take 2 on the Rev3 AG Champs race that I felt I didn’t do as well as I could have. You know, because I haven’t gotten over descending around blind corners at 40mph. There’s a certain number of crashes and times you get hit by a car while riding that screws forces a governor on your psyche. Anyway, I finished 4th in the very small field, but left happy with my effort. Then there’s the local race series an hour up the road near Amelia. Fun event, always a solid field. raced the sprint up there and came across the line 2nd, but finished 3rd because of the waves start. Those masters athletes man, they crank it out on the bike. Top 3 of us all finished with less than a minute between.

Probably the more important thing, probably, as the reason for the title, is that I’ve been ‘pre-approved’ to graduate with my BA in August. Taking my last class now (psychobiology), and then I’m [being forced] to walk. Not a big fan, and it’s ruining my streak of not walking, but…anyway. From there it’s 6months of hard work building my resumé to start in physical therapy school. Probably PTA, but there will be multiple applications. So in two years, I’ll be able to answer with certainty all these, “My arm hurts over here *points*” questions I keep being asked.

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That’s all. For now. At least until the 1st. So until then… I’m going to work on my surfing. Which coincidentally, looks a lot like falling. But hey, you gotta start somewhere.

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Rev3 Age Group Championship Race – 5/18/2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/23/2014 by TriHollywood

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Last weekend I drove up to Knoxville Tennessee to compete in the inaugural Rev3 Championship race. A hybrid distance of a 1.2 mile swim, 40 mile bike, and a 10 mile run. I also had the Peak Racing Team set up at the expo, since we were the coaching sponsor for the event and I built the plans. Knoxville is a fantastic venue, and I was excited to go longer than the previous three years when I raced the olympic. And looking forward to much more much more merciful conditions than last year’s frozen hell. 

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Knoxville has a great swim where you start against the current and then pull two quick rights to finish the majority with the current aid. A quick wetsuit legal swim (and I do love my blue70 HELIX), quick as in some of the pros pulled 23:xx times for the 1.2 miles, and it’s off on a bike course that forces you to use all your cycling skills and then some. 

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As you can see in the chart and map above, that is not an easy ride. The trick though, is the technical descents. If you’ve known me long enough, you know I’ve had my fair share [and then some] of bike crashes, some on my QR I rode Sunday. Conditions, other riders, cars, I’ve fought them all in my attempt to keep wheels down, and lost at one point or another. So maybe it’s just in my head, but I couldn’t get myself to be one of the people bombing down these winding roads in my aerobars, trees and mountain views whizzing through my peripherals. If you were out there and you heard the distinct squeal of brake pads against carbon fiber for the duration of a downhill, my bad. Which is a real shame because my new retul fit that All3Sports through together earlier this year is sick. 

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After the 40 miles of ups and downs, the run takes you on a fun course. You run along the river, then hit a nature trail, then move into a neighborhood where you reverse course. Honest run; a few hills to make sure you don’t doze off mid-stride, and to make you just uncomfortable enough to remind you that you’ve already swam and spent some time in the saddle. The on-course PowerBar PowerGels were a big help all day, but especially here. 

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A sprint down the finish chute in one final attempt to make up the time I lost on the bike, and then cheering the other athletes in.

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Not only did I get to yell for the Rev3 Team, but for my own athlete who raced the HalfRev, and left it all out there on the course, so kudos to everyone else too. Here’s the pro recap.

Next up is a fun in-between distance race that’s kind of a secret. But There’s still more Rev3 races on the calendar, like the kid’s race Revvie Rev3 put on in Knoxville, Rev3 RUSH this weekend, Williamsburg in a few weeks, and with Rev3′s proclamation of awarding money to age group athletes, you know these races are going to continue to be magnets for family get aways, diehard racers, and everyone in between. So if you don’t have a Rev3 event on your race calendar yet, or you haven’t ever raced their events, you’re running out for reasons not to. Get on it. 

West Point Lake RR

Posted in Race Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 05/03/2014 by TriHollywood

Please ignore the boring title, but I’m already far too behind the ball in getting this posted to be witty. So I’ll get straight to it. Classes ended on the 24th of April, and I drove straight up to good ole GA as soon as I turned in my last final.

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As I’m gearing up to Rev3 Knoxville Age Group Championship race, West Point is perfectly situated 3 weeks out to be a tune-up/benchmark race. Similar course, more so than living in Jacksonville anyway where hills are nonexistent. So after seeing my family and getting by back and shoulder adjusted, I headed to Franklin and got my inner redneck on Friday afternoon

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Yeeah c’mon!! Also; probably undid all the chiro work done on my shoulder earlier that day…

before focusing in on Sunday’s race. I was ready to see exactly where I stood this close to Knox.

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The swim has curiously become my favorite. Big part of that is blueseventy

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Haha! That dude is all, “Who’s this kid passing me?!” That’s why I swim in until my hands hit bottom twice

Race morning came, and call me thin-blooded all you want, but it was cold. 55* water temp. Or 59* Either way that’s cold. Luckily, as it turned out, I had popped my eardrum a few weeks back during a turn in the pool. I had earplugs in my bag from that, and with both ears covered, the water temp was a non issue. That same trick will probably be used in Knoxville. Anyway, it was a TT start, and I sat on feet until the last turn towards shore, then picked it up to come out of the water in 24:31, a solid 5 mins slower than a few weeks ago in Clermont. But that split was the day’s 11th fastest, with the fastest being just under 23. Something was short or long… A quick T1, and no flying mount because I couldnt feel my feet, I was out on the bike as I yelled, “It’s freakin’ cold”, to my coach as I passed.

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Yeah…I’m firing the photographer

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But not THIS photographer…

The bike was well, a hard effort all the way around, but uneventful. Except that later I found out that I got an overtaking penalty, that I could have argued, but I was ok knowing that even if I did (I don’t think I did), it wasn’t on purpose. Also first race in my new aero helmet, the Bell Javeline. BIG fan. Came in at 1:07:55, 16th fastest (w/o penalty +2:00), and made my legs move as fast as they could on the run.

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‘Damn it glasses!! How do you even get tied into a hat?!’

Run run run…RUUUUUNNNNN! That was the plan. I wanted to break 40, and I would have if not for that one hill that blew off everyone’s legs. Came in at 41:26, 10th fastest for the day. And a run that I will remember as a breakthrough because instead of yelling at my legs, I pulled off this really awesome disconnect where I just ignored them. And ran faster.

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Yeah. I know that his shirt is WAY cooler than mine…

2:17:58 (with the +2:00 penalty… *sigh*) for 13th OA, down a single spot from what it’d be without the extra 2 minutes. Solid race. HUGE turn out and performances for Peak Racing Team. And getting to race against and cheer your athletes is awesome!!

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Next stop is Knoxville. 1-40-10. Lots of fun. Maybe some cursing, but that just means you’re pushing. Excited to kick off the Rev3 season and meet the newbies. In fact...registration is still open through May 14th, so if you’re not already signed up, COME ON!! And I’ll see you out there.

2015 Quintana Roo PR6 – First Look

Posted in Uncategorized on 03/28/2014 by TriHollywood

TriHollywood:

I don’t think I’ve ever reblogged anything but umm…yeah…THIS. Check out (and subscribe to) the AeroGeeks review of Quintana Roo’s new PR6. Sexy fast.

Originally posted on AeroGeeks:

Colin Chapman, who founded Lotus Cars, is famous for describing his philosophy for designing race cars thusly, “Simplify, then add lightness.” He gave us the Lotus Seven, arguably the most minimalist thing on four wheels, from both a design and maintenance perspective. And he also spawned an entire school of thought when it came to making things that are meant to go fast. With Quintana Roo’s new PR6, we’re starting to wonder if the engineers over there are devotees of Mr. Chapman’s ideology, because the PR6 seems very much like the Lotus Seven in superbike form.

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The largest complaint about the current generation of high-end bikes is that—no matter which one you pick—cabling them is an absolute nightmare and fitting them can become an exercise in how many times one wants to do a complete rewire. That ends with the PR6. There’s nothing complicated about how it deals with cable…

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What’s the word…starts with an R…

Posted in Race Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 03/25/2014 by TriHollywood

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Redemption. That’s the word. And it’s a great descriptor for this past weekend’s race. After my abysmal performance in the draft legal challenge down in Clermont a couple weeks ago, I had some work to do at the Great Clermont this past Sunday. I’ll spare you the details of a race report of how I ate and slept (or lack there of), and just go with the highlights.

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I’ve found a trick to swimming fast. I think. But I haven’t had enough time to really test it so I won’t share yet. I did come out of the water in under 20 Sunday though, which is a first and HUGE PR for an international distance event. Chip registered in at 19:42. Announcer said “Go”, and I just went. I ended up staying on the hip of another racer then entire time. Not on purpose, but he kept me from slacking off. blue70 helix wetsuit did me well, so kudos to them.

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After a relatively quick T1, I headed off on Dixie, my Quintana Roo CD0.1 and Reynolds Strike wheels. Plus, thanks to gear guru RH, race tires and tubes. If you’ve never ridden or bought into tires playing a role, you’ve never ridden a good set. They came in handy since for the first time since Rev3 South Carolina I was forced to use my small chain ring. If you’ve never been to Clermont, it’s not the stereotypical flat Florida landscape. It’s not uncommon to break 40mph bombing down a hill. After 1:07 on the bike, from what the chip registered because my Garmin came out of the water filled with water…I set off on the run.

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I’d stayed in 6th all day. The collegiate males were the first wave, and I stayed about 2 minutes behind the next racer (and fellow UNF team member Dustin Beller) since exiting the water. I pushed the run, ignoring everything but keeping my form smooth, and ended up finally getting passed at mile 5 by a kid who made me look like I was walking (he ran a 38, I a 41). The race clock finally came into view and read 2:10:something. I crossed the mat in 2:10:38, and honestly a little disappointed I didn’t break 2:10. But that’s still a 9minute PR for the distance, all of that coming from the run and swim. 7th collegiate, 4th collegiate in the FCTC, and 21st over all. And much thanks to my coach Tony Hammet at Peak Racing for getting me to that level this early in the year.

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Back to training and the school grind stone (I miss spring break…), but 4 weeks from now the term will be over and I’ll be racing at West Point. I’m curious to see how much time I can shave off before then. And what my next PR will be.

That’s 0-2

Posted in Uncategorized on 03/08/2014 by TriHollywood

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I’ve held off writing this for the last week because it’s taken me a while to figure out what happened. And I think a lot of it is simply swallowing that big ole slice of humility. I’m talking about last weekend’s ITU event, Clermont Challenge.
“I feel incredible.” “I’m so ready for this race.” “This is big…”
Those are the things I said and exactly how I felt going into race weekend. I could probably say I’ve never felt so mentally ready and excited for a race. That special kind of balance of anxiety and calm focus. That stayed through race morning…until I climbed out of the water.
If you’re not familiar with ITU rules, that’s ok. All you need to know is that it’s draft legal on the bike, and if you get lapped, you’re pulled from the course and the dreaded DNF shoes up on your race results. It’s the triathlon format used in the Olympics. That’s what’s happened both times I’ve started [not finished] these races.
There’s lots of excuses I could make, but they’re all just cop outs for the truth: I was flat out old fashioned out raced last Sunday. Coming into T1 and only seeing 4 bikes, including mine, mindset went from ‘win’ to ‘finish’ to ‘don’t get freakin pulled…again’. Coming in on the last leg of the 4th and final bike lap, I was given my red card and asked (forced) to hand over my timing chip. When I finally coasted into transition, all of that fire that had been ablaze moving to race day had been reduced to less than an ember. And the weirdest part? The only word I could come up with for my performance was copacetic. My swim was terribly slow, and I can’t explain that one, but it *felt* like a threshold effort. The bike, the 30 minutes I was on course, I stayed atleast 15% above threshold power, with my pulls being over 200% more than just a few times. And that’s why I’m ok with it now. My body did exactly what I asked of it, even beyond maybe. Just wasn’t up to snuff for the field that day.
Draft legal racing isn’t my strong suit. I’ve gone down enough times in a group that Sunday was the first time I’d been on my road bike since the crash that landed me in the ER for 2 days last July because I avoid group rides. There’s also a whole new set of rules and tactics in ITU racing. I’m ok with the day. With the lessons I learned. And I’m really excited to get back into my QR CD0.1 at the end of the month where I can just put my head down and pick off other racers and make them chase me. So until then, I keep in mind that there’s still plenty if work to be done and room to grow until September. Back to training now, because I can promise myself that those guys who raced and finished Sunday are still at it, and wether you’re putting in the work or not, your competition is.

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