Tuesday, March 14, 2006

MAP Triathlon


Well I got in my first race of the season, the MAP (Metrolina Aids Program) Tri. It was held down in Huntersville. The race went pretty good. I ended up 17th out of 42 in the my age-group. As always swimming was my weakest leg. Also I thought I'd do better on the bike and run, but my energy level was somewhat low. I think all of the IM training is really breaking me down, but I've got the taper coming up and it'll be all good. I can't wait.

But I digress, back to the MAP Tri. Its great to go out to the races and be part of my tri team, Fleet Feet Sports, Carborro. There just aren't too many black folks at these events and I can feel a little alienated. It helps a lot that I'm part of a team and when I show up, so I have folks to hang with and get that good encouragement. Don't get me wrong, the folks at the events I don't know also give off great vibes. I think its just my self-consciousness or something like that. Its almost like I feel out of place. I did see two other Black athletes. One guy and one girl. The brotha gave me a shout out when we passed each other on the course. Of course I gave him big ups too. That reminds me, during White Lake 1/2 IM last year, there were 3 Black athletes and one dude told me "represent" when we passed each other. I was feeling strong that race and he pumped me up even more. I passed off some good encouragement to him too.

It feels like this is turning into a race relations thread, but hey thats what I consider blogs for; an opportunity to record my thoughts. Since I'm on this race thing, I've got to admit that I'm also really blessed to live here in NC. This place feels really liberal in terms of race, even though its a strong red state. I mean the confederate flag is somewhat ubquituous, you can even order it on the license plates for your car. But I feel really accepted, w/ no "feelings" like I'm treated less than. Its my opinion that race relations are better here than in other places I've lived. Like in Phoenix when I lived there a policeman stopped me because he "claimed" people are pulling the registration stickers off of cars and putting them on their vehicles. What a fucking joke! That has got to be the lamest Driving While Black profiling stop excuse. I'd respect the officer if he just said I don't like how you look so I stopped you to run your license for warrants or something. Whats funny is that when I lived in Phoenix, I was a member of a predominately Black golf club and played in a group w/ the Phoenix Police Chief, Harold Hurtt. Hell we even rode in the same cart. Then I got another DWB stop in Beverly Hills. The cop asked me where I was going and basically what was I doing there. Both times I didn't get a ticket or nothing, they just wanted to check me out.

Now out here on the other hand, my first month in NC, Lisa and I were driving to the NC BBQ festival and I was speeding, pretty bad too. I got pulled over by a state police and all the southern law enforcement stereotypes ran through my head. I was even thinking I could turn up missing or something. We had a Mercedes at the time and it still had the CA plates. I probably looked a little thuggish w/ my baseball cap too. Hell I might've admitted to myself I fit the profile of an out of state drug runner. The officer stopped me and instructed me to get out of the car. Damn I was really scared then. He has me sit in the cruiser w/ him in the front seat and runs my license (I think this may be fairly standard procedure). He checked me out was real polite and give me a warning. Man that was pretty cool. Don't believe the hype about the dirty south down here, its an awesome place to live.

I am happy to say that for those two fucking incidents, I've got thousands and thousands of good relationships w/ white folks. My tri team is a good example. I'm the only Black person (I think I'm the only non-white too) and everyone treats me like a long-time friend w/o any condescending attitude. I mean if I can't keep up w/ a group ride training session, my ass gets dropped like anyone else. I can't say enough good things about them. Man I feel lucky to know these guys.

Okay I've really went down a different path than I intended let me wrap up. Here's some pics from the race and my results.

I did a 112 mile ride to the VA state line the next day. What a weekend!

Peace,
Rob

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