Nicole Miller runs during Sunday’s Steamboat Triathlon.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Nicole Miller runs during Sunday’s Steamboat Triathlon.

Nicole Miller: 2nd time’s not always the charm

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Nicole Miller

Call Nicole at 970-871-4246 or e-mail nmiller@SteamboatToday.com.

Race stats

Swim: 3/4 mile

Bike: 22.4 miles

Run: 4 miles

Nicole Miller’s stats

2009 stats in parenthesis

Bib: No. 367 (No. 84)

Place: 339* (407)

Time: 3 hours, 24 minutes, 5 seconds (3:33:39)

Swim: 55 minutes, 27 seconds (57:33)

Transition 1: 2 minutes, 34 seconds (6:44)

Bike: 1 hour, 35 minutes, 35 seconds (1:34:26)

Transition 2: 51 seconds (2:51)

Run: 49 minutes, 36 seconds (52:02)

Sex place: 166* (191)

Swim rank: 166 among women* (405)

Bike rank: 158 among women* (403)

Bike mile speed: 14.1 mph (12.7)

Run rank: 146 among women* (393)

Run mile pace: 12.4 (13)

*Clydesdale, Athena and relay racers not included

Bike course was 2.4 miles longer than in 2009

Online

Read Nicole Miller’s column from last year by clicking here.

— Remember me? I’m the girl who stumbled across the finish line of the Steamboat Springs Triathlon last year in 407th place after 3 hours, 33 minutes and 39 seconds — just good enough for last place.

Disappointed with my finish, I was determined not to make the same mistakes again. Things were going to be different this year. I was going to train — for real.

This year, I had a road bike, a wetsuit and a gym membership. And I had 365 days’ notice.

On Sunday, I finished in 3 hours, 24 minutes and 5 seconds.

Dead last.

There’s something to be said for consistency.

Looking back on it now, I may not have taken “Triathlon: Round 2” as seriously as I’d intended.

I swam once at Old Town Hot Springs and took a suspicious 20 minutes off my time. Ignoring the possibility of a major lap-counting error, I checked swimming off my training to-do list.

I signed up for a weekly fitness class at the gym but quickly realized the workouts were going to interfere with a previously scheduled commitment — Margarita Monday. I prefer to wrap up my weekends sipping frozen strawberry beverages on the Rio roof. Summer’s days are numbered, and the gym was no match for the long-standing tequila tradition.

I even sold my car so I would ride my bike to work every day — in flip flops and occasionally with an ice cream cone in hand — and called it a valiant effort.

The new road bike and commuting habit had me worried about flats. The last thing I wanted was a flat tire riding home from work at 2 a.m. or on the side of River Road during the race. So I headed to Ski Haus to learn some biking basics.

I was talking with Bike Guy Extraordinaire Todd Fellows, who was showing me how to change a flat tire — Step 1: Kick your bike and have a good cry — when he asked me what should have been an easy question: “What’s your favorite part of the triathlon?”

“I despise the swim, and I despise the run. So the bike, I guess,” I said.

After a long pause, he asked, “Why don’t you just go for a bike ride?”

There are two reasons people do triathlons: to prove something to themselves, or to prove something to someone else. Last year, I was in the first group. My life in disarray, I had to prove to myself I could do something hard.

This year, things were different.

I still was riding a wave of enthusiasm from the column I wrote about my triathlon experience last year. My mom loved it. (That’s what moms are for.) My co-workers loved it. Even the former editor of the Rocky Mountain News had good things to say. That’s something I’m not used to as news editor.

Copy editing is a thankless job. No one ever stops me in the grocery store to commend me on a well-placed semicolon or a particularly clever headline. More often, some drunken guy at the bar will tell me he never reads the paper because it’s not edited good. (It’s a joke — get it?)

But after writing my first column last year, I felt a little like Tom Ross. People did stop me in the grocery store to talk about my race and congratulate me for finishing. Several community members and fellow racers sent me e-mails to commend my perseverance. It was something I’d never experienced.

The good thing about finishing last for the second year is that people didn’t feel as sorry for me. Last year, everyone said, “At least you finished.” This year, most found it hilarious, which made me laugh because that sort of thing is infectious.

And if there’s one thing triathlons don’t have enough of, it’s laughing. But everyone races for different reasons.

Some people race to win. Some people race to finish. I race to not be last.

Maybe next year I’ll just go for that bike ride.

— To reach Nicole Miller, call 871-4246 or e-mail nmiller@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

George Danellis 4 years ago

Well done: You did it, Nicole. We tend to be very results oriented, as if achieving a result would provide us with some sort of enduring satisfaction. Maybe it's the process that matters most - because the only thing available to us is what is happening now anyway. So thrive in the effort. And the margaritas.

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