Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This one's for you, Greg

Triathlon has blessed my life in many ways. I appreciate the opportunity to challenge myself on a daily (make that a 2-3 x daily) basis, all the chances I've had to travel and explore new places, the satisfaction and confidence I've gained from competing. But, what I feel most fortunate about is the friendships that I've made through the sport. This is a picture of my friend, Greg:

Greg is an awesome cyclist, who spent years racing professionally. I'd always see him at the group rides--well, the start of the group rides, anyway, before he and a few other guys dropped the rest of us. Fortunately for me, he decided at some point to take me on as a "project". For the last few years, Greg would do virtually all of my rides with me. Long rides, intervals, whatever I had on the program, I could almost always count on him to come along. Though I still have a very long way to go, I credit him with pretty much any cycling skills I now possess.

Not that it was always easy. . .for one thing, he would often neglect to include the "Katya factor" when planning our riding routes--i.e. rides that took 4 hours at male pro cylist pace did not necessarily take 4 hours at my pace. So, that occassionaly made for some nice surprises at the end of a ride--or what I expected to be the end. Then, there was the time that he compared his rides with me to the absolute recovery technique that another famous rider would use when he would sit in a chair in between his intervals. Sort of like "sitting in an arm chair" is the metaphor I believe he used only somewhat jokingly at times to describe the training benefit he derived from our rides.

Back in January, Greg got in a really bad bike accident while on a cyclocross ride. Head met rock, and they didn't get along that well. The doctor told him that he had seen a skull fracture like his before. . .just not in anyone that had ever lived. Along with that, he had a slew of other medical problems and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. He is now doing much, much better--he is walking, talking normally, and by most standards is very lucky. His friends and family certainly feel lucky to have him with us. Unfortunately, the doctors have told him it will be years before he is able to ride again. For someone that has been an athlete their entire life, it's an eternity.
Yesterday, I had a bike workout to do--10 x 4' of "best average" (Paul's euphamism for max effort, friggin' hard) intervals with one minute recovery. I'll be honest, I didn't want to do it. I'm a long distance girl through and through. 6 hour ride? No problem, 4 minute all out effort? Scary. But, then I thought about Greg. I realized how much he would want to be on this ride--on any ride, for that matter. I thought about how, for an athlete, no pain that you feel in a workout can come close to the pain of not being able to do what you love. Then, I put my head down and went as hard as I could, hurt as much as I could, and made it count.


  1. Katya,

    Great post. Sorry to hear about Greg. I can only imagine he's reading this with a smile on his face.

  2. I echo Dave's comment above. :)

    To be able to move our bodies the way we do is an incredible gift. When one is unable to, and/or sidelined, the gift of simply training becomes even more precious.

    Great job in getting it done!