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Thursday, September 3, 2015

World Championship Prep Weeks 18 & 19, Riding through Adversity.

Wisconsin State 40 K TT Champion 55-59

  "Things do not necessarily happen for the best, but some people are able to make the best out of the things that happen. " -Tal Ben Shahar

Sunday      8/16     Ft Atkinson Lions Club ride 2 hours and run 80 min
Monday     8/17     Open Water Swim 45 min
Tuesday     8/18     Run 50 minutes, yoga 40 minutes
Wed           8/19     Wts 30 minutes
Thur           8/20     Bike 90 minutes, weights 40 minutes
Friday        8/21      Bike/ 40 minutes, Swim 60 minutes
Saturday    8/22       Bike 40 minutes, Swim 60 minutes

Sunday      8/23      Time Trail State Championship, 1st place women 55-59 Bong State Park
Monday     8/24      Swim 40 min, Wt, 30 min, Run 30 min
Tuesday     8/25      Yoga 45 minutes, run 40 minutes
Wed           8/26      Weights
Thru           8/27      Bike 90 minutes
Friday        8/28       Rest
Saturday     8/29       Bike 90 minutes, run 21 minutes, 60 minute swim

Triathlons start with the swim and the swim starts with gender and age waves.   My wave is usually one of the first waves in the race. That means I am usually done while other athletes are out on the course.

Your bike and all your other stuff stays in transition while you are out on the run.  Because other athletes are still racing, race officials do not let any of those finished into transition

This is not usually a problem.  The exception was a few years ago here in Milwaukee at the Age Group National Championship.  It was beginning to drizzle and many athletes were begging  volunteers to let them into transition to get their stuff. They needed to get in because they had flights to catch. Me I wanted to get my bike. As I told a volunteer " You don't understand my bike doesn't get wet".  I was totally serious. I never ride in the rain and my precious racing bike does not get ridden in the rain.  I was able to get my precious Fuji Altamira out of transition with no damage.

Well last year at the Chicago Triathlon we had the option of racking our bikes in transition the night before the race. Since I had a 6:30 a.m. swim start I thought that sounded like a good idea. One less thing to worry about in the morning.  Less chance of rolling over glass or anything else in the dark that might cause a flat.

I racked my bike and went up to have an ice cream on Michigan Ave.  The skies just opened up. I did not know it could rains so hard. My precious racing bike got a baptism.  The bike was not worse for the wear and I kind of got over the whole thing.

Good thing too since the weather was windy and rainy for the Wisconsin State Time Trial Championship.  I would be racing a 40 K, which is twice around the course laid out on the roads around Bong State Park.

I knew rain was predicted and was hoping it would hold off at least until I was through the 24 mile course. I had scouted out my competition and there was one, maybe two women in my age group. I thought I would not place first, but I wanted to ride as fast as I could to see how close I could get.

As I was getting ready, someone came back from a warm-up and said it was so windy he was going to change wheels.  Racing wheels with deep rims, the kind I have, can be hard to handle in a cross wind. The way the wind was blowing, we would have a cross wind twice on the course.

In a time trial you line up in line and the racers go off one at a time every 30 seconds or so. As I waited I ask the line official if he could hold off the rain.

About 100 yard into the rain started. I reached down to adjust my shoe strap and felt something hard hit my helmet.  It took me a minute to realize the sound I heard was hail. I thought about turning back. Then I realized it was warm and I should get a podium spot. I decided to tough it out.

A bit later it rained so hard, I had trouble seeing the road.  The cross winds were pretty bad, but I handled it and gained some good experience.   It continued to rain as I finished the first lap in 44 minutes or so. Not fast, but considering the rain and winds, it was OK.

I don't like riding in the rain because bike breaks do not work well when wet.   Lots or riders passed on the left, quite close. Even on the hills I did not have any trouble with the breaks.

It continued to rain and be windy on the second lap. I was soaked to my skin and I could feel water sloshing around in my bike shoes.  But I also realized I was having fun, It was warm and the rain felt good. I was pushing my pace the whole way and my thighs were burring. I did the best I could

I must have looked like I was struggling because one of the other women racers past me and yelled some encouragement to keep at it.  I sped up and finished strong.

Turns out I was the only women in my age group, but I will wear my championship jersey with pride.
On a tough day I stuck it out, did my very best under the conditions and had fun.

Sometimes the things we imagine happening to us are not so bad. The fear of the bad thing, like riding in the rain was so much worse than the actual experience.  Adversity is not something to fear, but to embrace.  Racing on a tough day made me a stronger athlete in lots of way.
I look forward to the next challenge.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the Boston Marathon.  In 2012 she finished 2nd at Boston in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was on the course in 2013 when the bombs exploded.

She has appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Champion.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship. She has qualified to represent Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015.  

 In 2014 she represented  the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete.

You may visit her author page at:

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 165 members in 32 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, England and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; or

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Additional Link
Follow CMT affected Paratriathlete Timmy Dixon

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