REV3 Cedar Point 2014 – The Jack ReportPosted: September 15, 2014
All year I look forward to the Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 race. It is my priority race of the season and my goal to have a good day on the course. Because it is a big race, my parents make the trip to Ohio as well, so it is a great excuse for some family time as well. This year was even more special as it was the first time my in-laws were able to see me in an event, and that was great. However, even though I was racing and ready to go after it on Sunday, I was not the main event of the year…
2014 Cedar Point marked the start of a new triathlon career; Over the winter, Jack saw a video featuring a man with Down syndrome who was very excited to get into college. This commercial effected him greatly, and he said, “I want to do something to help people like him.” He then decided that he wanted to do his first triathlon to raise money to help people with Down syndrome.
Having competed at Cedar Point the previous year, and experiencing the care, love and attention that they put into their races, I knew this would be a great first race for Jack and registered him for the Cedar Point Little Rev Triathlon. Now the only thing left to do was get him ready to race.
Collectively, our biggest fear was the swim, so over the summer Jack and his sister took swim lessons and progressed quickly through the levels. And with that our we had our answer, he could handle the swim. CHECK. In the weeks leading up to his race we did some small training and even a few brick sessions, nothing crazy or drill sergeanty, just enough to teach him about pacing and jogging. We also briefly worked on his transitioning from the bike to the run so he could get the full experience of rubber legs before the race. He did not appreciate this feeling at all, but he did it and was ready for the race.
We arrived to Cedar Point on Friday afternoon, picked up his first packet, bib, and race shirt. You could just see the excitement and nervousness in his face and body. Jack was taking it all in, and proudly telling anyone who would listen that he was doing his first triathlon for More Than Sport and how he was raising money for a Gigi’s Playhouse. I was beaming with pride… In typical race fashion, the racer gets to determine what we have for dinner the night before. Jack chose pizza from Brick Oven Bistro, but then ended up getting chicken nuggets. I don’t try to figure it out anymore; It made him happy so it was all good.
The next day Jack and I got to the race site early and it was still raining and wet from the storms the night before. It was cold wet and blah, but Jack didn’t care. He was just happy watching the seagulls flying around the lake. We walked over to transition in the rain and we set up his area and went through again the different steps he needed to take to get everything done. Again he was only half paying attention as he was enjoying the birds, much more than his over anxious father blabbering on about this and that… I get it, its cool.
Finally we were all set and the only thing left to do was race. We started to head over to the beach for the swim start and it was still way cold out. Jack was getting more and more excited and then before you knew it he was off. Rev3 did an amazing job of setting up an extremely safe and fun swim course for the kids. The waves were pretty good size, but the water was only up to around their chest so they could always touch if they “needed to”. Apparently none of the kids wanted to swim today as they all ran the swim course keeping their heads above the water at all times.
They rounded the last turn of the 75 meter swim and headed into transition. I ran along side him through transition asking how he felt, he looked scared and happy all at the same time and just kept running to his bike. When he entered the transition area he remembered everything that we talked about and did a great job getting ready. He put his shirt on first, struggling with wet skin, all tangled and wriggly he put his head through the arm hole, and looked confused, he finally fixed it and pulled it down. Sure it was backwards but at least it was on! I was allowed to go into transition area so I helped him get his socks, shoes, glasses, and helmet on as he grabbed his bike and headed out.
Kelly and I ran over to the bike course to watch him do his thing, he never took it out of the 7th gear as he mashed the pedals. Jack firmly believes that if its harder to pedal you are going faster… whatever right? He rode with a smile the whole time as he made his way around the 2 laps of the course at his own pace, enjoying everything and before we knew it we were back at transition as he came in from his 2 mile bike ride. I ran back into transition with Jack to help him re-rack his bike, make sure he had a drink, get his race belt and visor on and head right back out.
The .75 mile run course takes the kids into the park and around some of the rides, so we didn’t get to see him much. We were nervously standing waiting for him, wondering if he was ok? Was he having fun? Can he do it? Then we saw his bright orange shirt through the bars of the gate, he was trotting along, smile on his face, loving every minute of it. He passed us and made the final turn into the finishing shoot and finished strong.
I am so proud of my little buddy. He did it! He just completed something that most adults can’t do. You couldn’t beat the happiness off of his face if you tried, and really thats what it is all about.
I want to thank my parents, and my in-laws for coming out and being part of Jacks race. I know it meant so much to him to have them there to support him. I will never take for granted the amount of love and support that we have surrounding us in our bubble.
We are super proud of Jack for wanting to do MORE in helping others. Thank you to all that have made donations to Jacks fundraising efforts. We are continuing to accept donations throughout the entire month of Sept and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Gigi’s Playhouse. If you would like to make a donation towards Jack’s efforts, please visit http://hopetogive.org.
GiGi’s Playhouse is an established series of Down syndrome Achievement Centers. Serving children and adults of all ages, each Playhouse provides educational and therapeutic programs at no charge to families; and in a format that individuals with Down syndrome learn best. All programs aim to maximize self-confidence and empower individuals to achieve their greatest potential.