Going all the way back to the summer of 2006, I can vividly remember my first triathlon experience. At that point I was headed into my last year at Lehigh University where I was a member of the NCAA Division I Cross Country and Track teams. I had just received a 1998 Trek with carbon tubing and aluminum lugs as a birthday present from my Uncle a few weeks prior( to use in some cross training while not running). That summer I started riding with my buddy Dave Hryvniak and he convinced me with a few weeks of bike training in me to sign up for my first triathlon - the Mini-Mussel Triathlon! I was very concerned about the swim though as I have never swam a lap of organized swimming in my life! All I had really done before was splash around and play Marco Polo. Back then, the swim was thankfully only 350 meters but with the same bike and run as it is today. With only a couple weeks to swim train I got in a few swims of about 400-500 meters and I felt like I was going to die after each and every lap!
When I toed the line I had no idea what I was in for, yet it was all so exciting. I remembered the gun going off and immediately my heart was pumping out of my chest. Half way through the swim I thought I might not finish it but I kept going. Finally as I dragged myself out of the water and in about 60th place in my wave I got onto my bike and started hammering. I can honestly say this was all a big surprise to me when I kept passing more and more athletes. After the scenic rolling hills bike ride taking me along the shores of Lake Geneva I came back to transition zone in about 10th place. My dad was as much surprised to see how many spots I made up on the bike as I was. After leaving transition 2, I started to run and remember to this day the jelly legs that I had. I was in great shape at this time as I was in the middle of 80 mile weeks. After passing a few more athletes by mile one, the piano finally fell off my back and the legs started moving again. Before I knew it, I was in the lead with about a half mile to go. I ended up crossing the finish line first of the day utterly shocking myself. I ended up finishing second overall that day to the one and only Curt Eggers and my interest in triathlons started. I will always remember that race and have so many fond memories over the years in Geneva at the Musselman Triathlon. I have been fortunate enough to have won the Mini-Mussel 3 times in 2010, 2011 and 2013 but have never competed in the full Musselman.