Team Coci helps Students compete in Triathlon
It’s very rare to meet a student who wants to compete in a triathlon event. After all, most students are into basketball or football. This story however, is not just about one student, but rather a group of students. They don’t really swim or bike on a consistent basis, but that is not deterring them from setting their minds on competing in the Sugar Land Tri relay. Despite not ever competing in a Tri event, they have decided to give up their Sunday morning and do something that will test their endurance, will, and mental fortitude. (and I am just happy to be a part of it).
Rewind back several weeks… I’m part of Team COCI, a fun group of athletes who raise money for kids here in Houston. Many of us members don’t know each other, after all, triathlons are mostly individual events (except for the relays). Triathlons are not like softball or soccer where everyone has to work together. So when COCI leadership asked members if they’d like to participate in a relay race with some of the kids we raise money for, we said heck yea!
Now I cannot speak for all members of the group, but I am more excited about doing this race with the kids than I’ve ever been about any event I’ve ever done. Maybe it’s because we can see the excitement and enthusiasm in their eyes. For many of them, competing in this event will be an accomplishment, and to know those of us from COCI were able to help out in some way makes us all very proud.
We won’t be able to push the pedal for them, we can’t breathe for them while they are in the water, and we can’t run for them, but we can sure as hell cheer for them and be behind they every part of the way in spirit! So now that they have had a couple of training sessions at Memorial Park with a few COCI members, we are just a few days away from race day….
Boy is it tough waking up early on a Sunday morning. Brush my teeth, drink a glass of milk, put on the shoes and check my phone to see if anyone from COCI is up and communicating via the GroupMe app. Yep, they are up. (conversation below took place at 5:15am).
The kids are psyched and ready! It’s not even race time yet and Kenneth’s got his bike gloves on already. Romie’s got his bike helmet on and DeeDee is walking around with her goggles. I check in and group with my team. Since I am running, I make sure Kenneth has his bike secured away on the racks properly and he and Stefano are marked properly. Oh yea, can’t forget the computer chip.
“Did you eat something?”. “Did you drink some water?”. “Did you eat something?”….. I must have sounded like a broken record asking my team the same questions over and over, but hey, I wanted to make sure their bodies had fuel and they were not dehydrated.
The race begins. Over 600 athletes competing, probably 8 or 9 relay teams competing. Most of the COCI relay teams are the last to get in the water. I don’t mind, it gives our bikers Kenneth, Romie, and Jada the chance to pass a lot of other riders up during the bike portion. Stefano get’s out of the pool and it’s like Kenneth is a bit shocked as if he can’t believe this moment has finally arrived. He gets the bike out of the bike area and looks at all of us COCI volunteers and athletes who are cheering him on.
“Get on the bike Kenneth!”. “Go, Go, Go!” we shout and cheer as he gets on the bike and slowly starts to pedal away. I’m excited. Soon, all of the kids running with us have either completed the swimming, or are on the bikes, or are now running the last leg. I won’t forget my first triathlon because I forgot my goggles and the swim was in a lake. (I also did the bike portion on a mountain bike). I will likely forget the other triathlons I competed in, but this day, this day will be unforgettable.
A BIG Congratulations to Sherry, Aaroma, Lakedria, Hector, Romie, Ignacia, Kenneth, Tonie, Jada, and Denetria! Also, special thanks to Team COCI members: Gabrielle, Bill, Angelica, Ramon, John, Albert, Rik, Sandy, Sandra, Chris, Beverly, and Steve for helping make this event possible!