Thursday, September 27, 2007
Man that race did a number on me. Although the muscle soreness isn't too bad, I'm feeling pretty beat up mentally and physically after last Sunday. It's a bit of the "post race/back to reality blues" mixed together with some pretty pronounced fatigue. I guess that 6000+ feet of climbing and a tainted win will do that to you.
I suppose that there's one other thing that is finally hitting home as well: The reality of what racing professionally in 2008 holds in store.
Back when I was in my early 20s, and brand new to the sport, I was in awe of the top athletes and, as the magazines made it appear, the glamorous lifestyles that they enjoyed. I'll never forget the picture of Spencer Smith in "Triathlete Magazine:" All propped up against a Mercedes-Benz, wearing a designer suit and pair of sunglasses.
What a bunch of B.S.!
Eleven years have past, the novelty of all things triathlon has worn off, and my perspective has completely changed. Do a little simple addition/subtraction and you'll find that it's very, very hard to make much money in this sport. $14,000 for an IronMan win? $5,000 for a 70.3 victory?
When you figure in the amount of money you have to spend traveling to/from events (entry fee, flight, hotel, rental car, food, etc.), the amount of training time that you must invest to get ready for such an event (20+ hours per week of HARD work), and the equipment that you have to buy along the way (it's not cheap, even when you're getting it at cost) you've got very little to show for your efforts at the end of the day, even if you win. So... if you're in it for the money, you're a fool. You'd be much better off working a minimal wage job.
Now here's where things get tricky. If you aspire to WIN professional races, it's very much a catch-22: You're going to need to free up A LOT of time for training, travel and racing and that means either working part time in a very flexible job, not at all (I hope that you get along with your parents) or running your own business (one that allows you to set your own hours).
What does this all mean: Forget about getting ahead financially.
I'm 100% ready, and committed, to racing seriously as a Pro next year, but the reality has hit home as to what I'll be giving up as a result. Sponsorship is non-existent, so it's all up me to amass enough money for travel and training/racing related expenses. Fortunately, my coaching/training business has grown enormously over the past year, so I can afford to leave my teaching position and not worry about being broke, but I won't be living large, in the financial sense at least.
But... this is the price that I'm willing to pay. I love the sport, love the lifestyle and want to see this long, winding journey of mine through to it's completion. I'm hoping that I'll be happy with the way that it all turns out when the trip finally does come to an end.
Time to train again...
Posted by JRM at 3:30 PM