Tennessee and Me
I’m ten days into an incredible trip to train and race with guide Kirsten Sass here in beautiful, rural McKenzie Tennessee. I’m surrounded by miles and miles of cotton and corn fields and rolling hills with long country roads dotted with family farms. It’s a little slice of heaven for a runner or cyclist. Pair that with her saltwater 25-yard indoor 2-lane lap pool, weight room, and a husband who has been pulling quadruple duty as dad, chef, massage therapist and guide this
week, and I’m tempted to stay beyond my race- lol!
Ok, the heat and humidity here may drive me back to San Diego for milder temperatures and thinner air, but I’ve loved the peace and quiet on the farm. We raced the USA Paracycling National Championships last Thursday in Augusta Georgia, taking the win by several minutes and beating most of the men in the process. It was a great HOT day on a hilly course with crappy pavement, so we were both really pleased with our effort and ensuing result. The goal was to crack open the door for a slot on two National teams, in both cycling and triathlon. The door is officially cracked. It was also a great training opportunity leading up to our big World Series triathlon race in Iseo, Italy next week.
This was a tough trip, as despite being on Team USA for Triathlon, I still have no financial sponsors for the 2018 season, and funds ran completely out 3 days prior to my race in Georgia. It made for a really stressful race, and thanks to some great friends on social media, I was able to cover our meals and hotel and gas to keep us afloat through my Go Fund Me page. (link is here to donate towards our season and qualifying for Tokyo) : https://www.gofundme.com/AmysRoadToTokyo?pc=fb_dn_cpgnstaticsmall_r&rcid=r01-152882012601-67fad16fb4bd45b9
This wasn’t what I had hoped or planned for our start to the season, but it’s the currently reality, and I’m working every networking angle I can think of to make a change to it.
Back to more positive things. Woodstock is loving life here on the farm with Kirsten’s 6 dogs and thinks he’s retired as a ball fetcher and cat chaser. He’s getting picked up by my trainer from Fidelco Guide Dog foundation on Monday when I leave for Milan, and he and I are ‘meeting’ at Newark Airport in a week on my return flight’s layover, where we will then head west together. Normally I would take him overseas, but this is such a rural section of Italy, and the paperwork involved in getting him there and the stress of taking care of him while trying to race at my best isn’t worth the hassle. So he gets a 6 day mini vacation at Fidelco. Lucky dog!
I’m super nervous but really excited to race in Italy. This is my first real ‘test’ of the new level of fitness I’ve developed since starting to work with Coach Jim Vance as of January 1st. After our Florida race, with a less than ideal bu
ild-up and some eye surgery and injury peppered in there, it was nice to have a solid 3 months of thorough preparation in run, bike and swim. I’m now faster and more efficient in all three disciplines and have learned more about execution and mental strategies thanks to Jim and of course Simon Marshall, my chief head-shrinker/ squirrel-brain wrangler/ sports psychologist. I’ve never been more physically and mentally prepared to execute a solid, fast day on the race course.
After Italy, I’ll head home for a couple weeks of training in San Diego, then back north, WAY north to Edmonton Canada, where I hope to defend my title there from 2016. After Canada, I’ll have to have another eye surgery, likely in California, then finish training for our trip to AUSTRALIA for the World Championships! This will be my 5th consecutive year making the US Team for World Championships, and I am a little awe-struck every time. Australia has been long on my bucket list for places I’ve wanted to go, so I’m hoping to tack on a couple days post race for a mini vacation before yet another two eye surgeries, these being a little more involved, that will require me to be off for a solid month of training post season.
So, that being said, wish Kirsten and I luck in Italy, and I’ll see y’all (I’m in Tennessee currently, so this is appropriate) on social media when I get back from our epic adventures abroad, god-willing with a good result that qualifies us to stay on Team USA for 2019. Whatever happens, we will control the controllables, laugh a lot, smile even more, and thank each and every one of you who supports me in so many ways to do what I love, and remind me every day that I don’t need sight to have vision. And my sight is clearly set on Tokyo in 2020. Thank you for getting us one step closer.
Love and Gratitude,
Amy and Woodstock