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Collegiate Nationals: That's a Wrap

By Brady Thomas | April 23, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

bradyOn the way down on Thursday we looked like the pig in the GEICO commercial — a van full of us hanging out the windows yelling, overly exuberant that we were on our way down to Collegiate Nationals. We all raced hard on Saturday, a lot of us twice, so the ride back was much more subdued.

This year we dedicated the race to all of our fallen teammates like Przyblicious, Stone Cold, Casey, Scott, and Caitlin. Nothing bad happened to them; they just stayed back in Clemson because of academic obligations.

As always, Collegiate Nationals was a fantastic weekend, but this one was our team’s best one yet. We rocked out at the truck during packet pick-up and our pre-race bricks on Friday. Rudy Project took a ton of pictures of us in our Budgy Smuggler swimsuits and hooked us up with some free stuff. As proven by the number of Clemson Tigers in the medical tent after the race, we left it all out on the course Saturday morning, complained about how we didn’t feel like doing the draft-legal mixed team relay, rallied, and had fun while racing the relay as hard as we could. After, we ran up on stage in the Budgys when the WCCTC was doing their dance. Saturday night we got to spread the gospel of the Booty Mix to some of the Duke athletes at the Checkers near our hotel. In exchange they told us about Brunn P, a local Tuscaloosa hip hop artist.

bradyOne of our teammates Roxanne raced well but had to leave before the relay and Saturday night festivities to get back for a dental appointment on Sunday morning. Without medical dentists there’d be no smiles in the world.

bradyLast weekend while we were all on our party taper was our president-elect Jackie Lauer’s birthday and now that the race and the party tapers were over, we all went out and celebrated it Saturday night.

The most disappointing part of the weekend was seeing the results this morning. Going into the race I was expecting us to be a lock for a top-ten coed team finish. While 16th is our highest team finish ever, it doesn’t seem to reflect our level of preparation. I still feel a sense of pride for all that we achieved this year. When I took over two years ago, I wanted us to be faster and closer. Looking at the team now, it feels like we’ve created a new team culture reflecting these goals that will be around long after I’m gone.

All this makes me think of something John Wooden said, “If you prepare properly, you may be outscored, but you will never lose. You always win when you make the full effort to do the best of which you’re capable.”

What I’m most proud of is that everyone on the team now knows the words to “Wagon Wheel.”

We acted like a team this weekend and carried ourselves with the verve and style that’s customary of the Clemson Triathlon Team.

bradyOur freshman phenom, Lee “The Answer” Gedney alerted me to the fact that Moose from UCSB might have misinterpreted one of the earlier blog posts as a dig at her. It was purely coincidental and no harm or jest was intended. We think UCSB is cool and thanks for inviting us over before the awards ceremony.

Since I got the opportunity to write this, a lot of the Clemson Triathlon Team’s sponsors have been hitting me up for mentions. If you mention this blog to TRACY at The Sport Factory Pro Shop, she will give you 10 percent off. What that 10 percent means is that if you buy a set of Zipp wheels for $2000, you’ll save approximately $200, but you might want to check my math on that one.

See y’all at Age Group Nationals.