2007 triathlon in Nelson, BC
Photo by Phil Best - www.bestphotos.ca/
I've always liked this photo. I don't know why, but I don't really like that many photos of my time racing. I haven't done it for a few years, but in reflection, it's just so surreal. I can't believe the way people give a shit about me doing a simple triathlon. It's so tripped out...
So, when I look at photos of those times, it's a weird thing for me. I never did anything out of the ordinary, certainly nothing that tons of people don't do all the time, but my racing has actually generated some extraordinary experiences for many people.
I've always really liked this photo though. It was right before the race. It was like clockwork for every single race I did: One last schwill of Gatorade Orange before I walk out of transition and onto the beach for the start.
I was most often among the first people to arrive at a race, and close to, if not completely, the last one out of transition to the beach. I never wanted to walk around with all the tape and wraps on because they were so uncomfortable, and I just don't like line-ups.
It'd take me so long to put everything on that I always ended up scurrying at the end just to make it on time. (In Christina Lake it was mostly due to me shootin' ball in the park just down the road from the transition area.)
**I loved Christina Lake for that. I'd get my bike racked before anyone. Then I'd grab my ball, and me and Honey Bear would go to the park to shoot baskets til it was time to get ready. As soon as all the race stuff was over, I'd go back to the court before I drove home over the pass. It was great! Pure fun!
(One year I hosted a potluck at my place in the early afternoon the day that I 'Ball > Triathlon > Balled' in Christina Lake in the morning. Good times!)
Even though this photo is from Nelson in 2007, I can see every race I did in it. I can feel the moment and very vividly picture it all.
Looking at it now though, one of the things that stands out the most is my Jerry necklace, because I put it around Honey Bear's neck when I had her cremated after she died. I had gotten it from one of my most loved friends of my life, Simone, in the Fall of 1993 when I was first getting sick. I wore it every day from then until I sent it with Honey Bear 20 years later in 2013.
I see my racing, I see my Honey Bear, I see a beautiful friend of mine, and I see the experiences my triathlons made all rolled into this photo. It's such a mix of emotion. When I see Simone and Honey Bear, it's all love. When I see the moment before the race, it's all calm adrenaline...where I can even taste the Gatorade. When I see the experiences though, it doesn't feel right. I just feel outta place, like, I'm not that guy. It ate at my mind. It weighed on my shoulders. I try to sink into my race and charge, but inevitably, I create a scene that I don't deserve.
It's then that I can often feel like I wished I was invisible, which would, in turn, make me feel shitty, because why would anyone want to hide from being a source of really good things for other people?!
When I'm in that place, I'm glad I'm in so much pain because I can kind of hide in it. It hurts so bad that everything becomes blurry except for the pain that is crystal clear. I guess in a way I am in some semblance of an invisible cloak because I can't see anything clearly except pain.
Pain: Always the purifier!
Then I remember that it's the pain that makes that big scene for so many people, and then I find myself stuck. I don't know why people make such a big deal about pain. It's just pain. It's never been a problem for me to handle. It doesn't matter that it hurts. It's just like anything, you get used to it. Sure it can slow you down, but is that a bad thing? I don't think so. I've always thought that hurrying was for suckers anyway, so maybe pain was a good marriage to my body. From there, I just have fun.
So, what's the big deal?
That's what I wrestle with with the triathlon photos of mine. I mostly just see something that isn't real. Every so often though, there is one that gets me, like this one Phil Best took of me before that race in Nelson.
I'm actually quite lucky because Phil became a good friend of mine over the years, and it all started with this set of photos he took of me.
It's crazy the ripples of life. I'm glad I know how to pay attention to them. ...and the ones that triathlon kicked off, jeezuz, fuck, maaaan!
I can't wait to do it again. Next summer can't come soon enough!
I also see things in this photo that I can no longer do. I can't kneel down like that. For the wraps I know that I have around my ankles, I can't do that anymore because I can't really reach my feet.