Sonoran Hot Dog

Posted on March 9, 2011


Sonoran Hot Dog = Many Layers

It has been little less than a week since I arrived home from my 3 week training camp in Tucson, AZ.  Cliff English’s camp and meeting many of the athletes that grace most of the triathlon publications provided a lot of insight into what it is like being a professional athlete. Just like a Sonoran Hot Dog, a regional food that consists of a hot dog rolled up in bacon with salsa and many other condiments, there are lots of layers to what it takes to “make it” in this sport.

This will be an odd analogy since I’m mainly a vegetarian but, hopefully, we can have some fun with it.

Ingredients to making a Sonoran Hot Dog/becoming an elite triathlete:

  • Hot Dog/Athlete: If you don’t have a good dog to start with then you will not reach full potential of deliciousness (Is that a word?). Although, there are so many other ingredients that a crappy dog can be hidden by all the other variables. Same goes for triathletes. On the most basic level you have to possess talent. Either the talent of speed or endurance.  Again, if you excel in some of the other areas then you can fool some people but, you’re walking up the stairs of a skyscraper with a low ceiling.
  • Bacon/Strong Body & Mind: Next the hotdog is wrapped with slices of bacon and then grilled or fried.  The bacon protects the hot dog from being over cooked and is what brings a large portion on the flavor to the dog. As an elite triathlete, you need to have a strong body and mind in order to handle the training volume and intensities required to make it. Any weakness in these two areas and you can consider yourself, well, fried!
  • Salsa/ Marketability:  Now, if you view the picture above you can’t really tell what that red stuff is. Is it tomatoes, salsa, etc? However, first bite in and your taste buds are screaming, “Def. Salsa!”. Well, just like you need salsa for a good Sonoran dog, being marketable is probably the most hidden undertone of being an elite endurance athlete.  Ultimately, it is a business and finding some way to market yourself will make your career more profitable.
  • Pinto Beans/Personality: Without Pinto Beans the dog is just not complete. If you have no personality then you better have some of the best results out there because, just like any other thing in life, if people have no way to connect to you then you’re not really going to get many opportunities.
  • Mayo/ Results: Like mayo, you need good results. In the long run you can be deficient in the personality and marketability departments but, results are results. If you’re winning titles then you are doing your job!
  • Ketchup/ Social Media: What hot dog doesn’t have ketchup? Mine sure does! Without social media outlets, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogspot, etc., you will not have the same ability to reach a wide range audience. Most sponsors require you to tweet and post their name a few times a month. It’s all about gaining fans and followers.
  • Cheese/ Structure: Cheese is sticky and gooey but, it holds everything together. In order to succeed one needs to have structure in their lives. Whether its a detailed training schedule or a set block of time every day that training is to be done, the more consistent and structured you are the better you will perform.
  • Other condiments (mustard, chili, etc)/ Other variables: Of course, there are always more options or variables that can add substance depending on the individual like sleep, diet, coaching, etc.

I know a little far fetched to compare a hot dog and a triathlete — although, just as I wrote that I know some of us that “Hot Dog” it!– haha.  Anyways, my trip to Tucson was a great and pivital experience for me. It showed me that I have to work really hard but, more importantly, that give the same opportunities I think I can hang with some of the top athletes in our country. Maybe not in every discipline but, I know I can get close enough to compete with them. Maybe it’ll be this year or maybe it’ll be next, whichever it is, I know it’s going to happen.

I want to thank my Dad for driving me back and forth to the airport, Steve and Gina Slaby for the awesome homestay, Bec and Laurel Wassner for getting me into the camp and driving my ass around Tucson for 3-weeks, Cliff English for letting me join the camp, my sponsors Bikeway Bicycles and Main Street Bisto who’s monetary contribution allowed me to travel to Tucson, and to all the people who have purchased or sold raffle tickets for me — the support has been unreal and it not only paid for my food, it also provided me the mental support to get through all the hard workouts. I didn’t and don’t want to let anyone down!

Now its back to the grind while trying to keep up the volume of training. Today I’m heading out for a long ride and I hope that I don’t run into too much flooding.

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