2009: A Season in Review


2009 was a season defined but wonderful distractions.

After beginning the year with a 3rd place finish at the always competitive Desert Duathlon Classic in Phoenix, AZ my season looked to be off to a solid start.  Then came the first of three major life events (distractions that I would not change for anything).  This first distraction was graduation, as I finally finished up my Doctorate of Physical Therapy.   It was this fun filled day that should have tipped me off as, despite serious attempts on my behalf to persuade my family otherwise I was told that it was out of the question to miss my graduation in order to race the Lookout Mountain Hill Climb.

Distraction number two (a huge blessing as we look at today’s present economy) came the following Monday as I began my first steps in the real world, starting work as a Physical Therapist.  Two big distractions down one major one to go.

Knowing that we (my wife Bethanie and I)were T-minus 3 months from the expected arrival of my son it was time to race and race often before my wife grounded all out of state flights.  So I did.

While adjusting to the new schedule as a working man I raced as often as I could manage.  Among these races was the all important Apple Duathlon in Sartel, MN where I would punch my ticket as a member of Team USA  to my second World Championships in as many years.

Then 2 1/2 weeks early came my son, Ethan Myles Merrick.  With mom and baby healthy and all of us sleep deprived we spent the next three weeks trying to settle into some semblance of normalcy.

Once settled, I again set my eyes on the goal of winning a National Championship and rectifying last years tore hamstring hobble World Champs.  With the welcomed distraction of Ethan I was slightly behind the training eight ball and was now scrambling to find my fitness and form (ideally found separately) before the WC starter’s gun sounded.

The World Championships, 17th place overall, 6th fastest bike split , and second American.  This is the down a dirty.  It was good race considering my less than ideal preparations and a results that made me realize that 2010 World Champ was not a far fetched goal.  More on the WC race details in a separate post later.

So in review, while not a banner year as far as race results read I would not change it for the world.  For, finishing school, having a job that provides for my family (and attempts to pay off my monster student loans), and my wife and I being blessed with our son Ethan are gifts beyond the exhilaration that any race could provide.  In short, life is messy and messes with your plans but with each bump it becomes richer and richer.

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