Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Collegiate - Issue No. 6

By JP Severin


As some of you may know, I recently moved to the Dominican Republic... It was a life dream of my girlfriend, Caitlin, to live in Latin America. She was 100% behind me for Ironman Wisconsin so here we are.

Transitions are always difficult but that is what triathlon is and that's what we're best at. It takes a while to warm up and who knows how the next event will go. I think the thing what triathlon has taught me is to never judge how you feel based on the first 10 minutes. Things take time to get used to... that being said, here's a peak at what I have been up to and what my triathlon experience will be like as I move from Collegiate Pooh to Latin Flavor Bear.

Upon arrival, the city of Santo Domingo was overwhelming. It is pretty dirty, pretty exciting, and more modern than you might think. I was like a robot on overload. At first glance, I thought, "wow, triathlon will be absolutely out of the question here." Wrong. You can find anything in any place if you just look hard enough.

That's what I did for the first week. I hunted and scouted and researched and here is what I found. First, the Federacion de Triathlon Dominica is located only a 15 minute run from my house. They are the hub of racing in the country and will be a huge resource. They are located in a place called the Centro Olympico.

For the swim, El Centro has an AMAZING set up: a 50m pool and a huge 25m pool. The water is relatively clean which is more than you can say for the tap water. But the most wonderful thing about Centro, for Centro is a wonderful thing. It is totally free.

For the bike, I have found a great bike shop called planet bike and am in the process of getting bike route ideas from them. This will be the hardest of the three to maintain as the traffic here is... well, let's say murderous is an understatement. Working with this bike shop helped my Spanish as well. How do you say, "I broke a spoke" in Spanish? Not exactly your basic ordering off a menu or hailing a cab (incidentally, it's se rompio un rayo).

For the run, it is a different ball game. Running in this city stands out like a triathlete walking around the grocery store in a full compression outfit. No one runs and it is no wonder why. The city is not built for pedestrians. I fell down a manhole when the water was too high to see it! However, I found a botanical garden about 1.5 miles away which led me to see the first runners I have seen in 2 weeks. It also led me to a mildly trafficed stretch of hills that I could potentially bike on.

I love triathlon too much to let it go, so you take the hurdles in stride. One of those sayings that always stuck with me is "If you love something, hold tight to it." Here goes nothing. August 30th will be my first triathlon in Santo Domingo! I found it through the federation and it costs a whopping $8 for the sprint and $50 for the half ironman... I'll let you know how it goes.

Until then, may all your transitions be fast and smooth.