I met Aaron Scheidies in my freshmen year at MSU. He was the president and is a blind triathlete. Naturally, this is kind of hard as you need to see pretty well to race. Especially on the bike where Aaron, if left to his own devices, could run over a dog or smash into a telephone pole. He saves the dogs and poles by using a guide. Yesterday, I got my first chance to guide him!
He flew in from Seattle on Friday. He stayed with me for a bit then we went to a small (or so we thought) race a little east of LA. When he talked about this race, he said it was a dinky sprint that he wanted to do because he knew the race director. It was a reverse tri (5k, 10mile bike, 150m swim). He sent me the website and I saw it had a gigantic prize purse! 2500 for first. I called him up to ask him about this. He isn't completely blind so he can use a computer if he presses his eye up to the screen and uses a zoom program that makes words look as large as Star Jones tattoos. Sorry, I'm catty.
Anyway, he hadn't seen this and once he realized that huge money was on the line, he was in attack mode. We showed up to the line thinking no pros would show up to this obscure race. wrong. Over the loud speaker we heard, "And we have olympic silver medalist, and IM world champ, Michellie Jones in the house. Also, Bryan Rhodes the 5 time IM champ will be toeing the line." ITU stud Chris Sehulus had noticed the money up for grabs as well. We laughed and shrugged it off. It was a race that we knew we could smash despite the field. Aaron can move. He has gone sub 2 in olympic distances and won the amateur US open triathlon overall.
We figured if we could limit our losses on the 5k and hammer on the tandem bike we could win the race and claim the 2500 prize. We went to the line and Rhodesy made a gun motion at Scheidies and I. (seriously) He looked confident, but I could tell he was crying like a tiny baby squirrell inside.
The gun went off and we went with the leaders in a pack of 5. We were moving at my absolute limit. We hit halfway and were 30 seconds down on Sehulus and 15 seconds down on Rhodes. I was stunned. We were hauling ass and went through halfway at 8:15 or so. I was thinking, "I cannot let us lose this race in the 5k but I am not going to make it onto the bike." Aaron was flying. We hit the last hill (about 30 seconds from transtion) and Aaron basically dragged me up it. I was more of an anchor than a guide. We came in at 16:45!!!!!!! (best 5k ever) We were down by 30 seconds on Rhodes and 1:10 on Sehulus.
The tandem is unstoppable. We knew we had the money if we could smash the bike. 2 miles in we were down 10-18 seconds on Rhodes and 35 seconds on Chris and closing fast. I couldn't believe we were going to win a race with Michellie Jones and Bryan Rhodes in it. Then the worst happened. Aaron's pedal broke off which reduced us to a three legged monster. In the shock of the pedal incident, we missed a turn. We went back, adding about a mile and tried to get through the rest of the bike. Very difficult going up hills with a tandem with only three legs and a ton of weight. It's harder than a normal bike with both people pushing hard with all legs. With one person, it is like a midget toeing an elephant around on a rickshaw. I gave everything I had and Aaron's left leg was pushed to its limit. We were still passing people and after losing about 3 minutes we were back to about 14th place (a bummer after sniffing the lead). We pushed into the transition and gunned it to the pool passing another one on the 500m sprint to the water.
We finished in 13th....... dammit. We had the win. AGAINST BRYAN EFF WORDING RHODES.
Still it was amazing and the day was not lost. I loved guiding Scheidies as it turned triathlon into a real team sport... I ran my fastest 5k ever by about 30 seconds... and we met Bryan Rhodes after the race and found out he is staying in LA. We exchanged numbers and are going to hit the bike together in the next couple weeks.
After the race we bought 2 quarts of ice cream and plowed through about a quart between the two of us. It was kind of a "boyfriend dumps you so you console yourself with ben and jerry's" situation. The food coma put us out at 8pm and we slept for 11 hours.
Not bad for a dinky triathlon.
It was a great weekend with Aaron. He is hilarious and we just screwed around the whole time. He is great and his future is so bright he needs a sundress.