In 2005, through the lens of my Canon D1, I watched Jamie Whitmore cross the finish line wearing a bright yellow tri suit at the XTERRA USA Championships in Incline Village, winning her 4th national title, I was inspired and honestly jealous.
She made the race look effortless as she finished what most consider to be grueling race. She was young, sponsored, in the best shape of her life and got paid to do triathlons, who could want more?
The truth is I don’t know Jamie too well, the only time I see her in a race is when she is lapping me. But she’s a part of the off-road family that is XTERRA. She is sincere, approachable, kind and continues to inspire even when she’s down.
Two and a half years later and after perhaps the best season of her career Jamie struggled to walk down the hallway of a San Francisco hospital. She was diagnosed with a pelvic tumor leaving her crippled.
Despite being sidelined, Jamie did not loose her drive or competitive edge. In one of her postings on her web site, www.jamiewhitmore.com she expressed frustration, not at her diagnosis, but the fact she got passed in the hallway by an elderly woman with a walker and IV—a true triathlete.
Jamie faces a lot of uncertainty—is the tumor malignant, when it’s removed will it cause nerve damage? And if so, how much? Will she be able to walk let alone swim run or bike again? Not to mention the expenses of living in a hospital for months.
To help support her friends and family are hosting a ride Saturday April 5 at Mammoth Bar ORV Park at 9a.m. and 1:30 a.m. for more information go to www.jamiewhitmore.com.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
'Tis the season for both summer and winter sports. Yesterday I was able to ride my mountain bike in 70 degree warmth while the day before I was making tele turns at Sugar Bowl. My first weekend off in three weeks.
The first weekend in March I was competing in the Great Ski Race, a 30-k cross country ski race from Tahoe City to Truckee with a killer climb and then 20-k of downhill, and an even better post race party at the finish.
I week later I was off to Snowbasin, Utah for the inaugural XTERRA Winter World Championships consisting of mountain biking on snow, snoeshoeing on singletrack, running on groomed trails and randonee skiing up the resort. I entered as a pro and ended up with some prize money placing 5th despite a bad start due to difficulties biking in the fresh and soft snow.
I also learned there is a lot of technique involved with putting skins on and off in the randonee ski leg. This was a new event for everyone and one of the hardest aspects was picking out equipment. Ogden, Utah is always warm and welcoming to endurance athletes. Check out Bingham's Cyclery if you need a tune up or post-ride smoothie.
The following week I was in San Francisco doing a the Emerald Nuts 12-k across the bay, pavement and sea level was a huge contrast to elevation and snow. I entered in wave 3 with a group of friends running in memory of Paul Sloan, a victim of 9/11. We do this race every year which starts in Sausalito and goes over the Golden Gate Bridge finishing in the Marina.
Being two waves back and trying to run somewhat fast means running into a lot of congestion throughout the race. I was literally tapping walker's shoulders on the bridge to get by as they were wearing headphones. Managed to pull off 6:44 miles which wasn't bad considering I had been running slow and on snow all winter but I paid for it the next few days when I woke incredibly sore! guess I need to pick up the pace a little.
Next week I will be heading down to Granite Bay for my XTERRA Real, my first triathlon of the season and will switch into summer mode. Well-almost I will be getting my skis out one more time for the Auburn Ski Club Biathlon race, can't wait!