If you know me, you wouldn't have believed I was walking around barefoot all around town. Barefoot with balega socks, but with a bike helmet for safety.
Many people stared and I'm sure many of them thought that I was crazy. Many taxis just drove by as if I didn't exist when I waved and hollered for them to stop.
It all started on the Clara Barton Parkway, at Lock 6 to be exact during the Sunday of the Nation's Triathlon.
That's when I saw a rider wipe out: her rear derailleur had completely detached from her bike. I instinctively stopped to give her a hand.
I sensed despair -- I knew she had trained hard to complete her first Olympic triathlon. I saw determination in her eyes. So I gave her my bike; I felt almost compelled.
She turned down the offer at first because she couldn't believe that I was for real.
"I'm not in this race," I explained. "I'm riding to shadow a fellow triathlete who I'm covering to write a story."
I had captured her graceful exit out of the water, but in the panic of rushing to transition, we had lost each other.
"Please, I insisted. Take the bike. I want you to finish. What's your name?" I asked.
"Nice to meet you. Now go knock 'em dead."
And after some time to get adjusted, she was off like a speeding zombie.
And I was barefoot somewhere in the dense woods near Glen Echo, Maryland at least eight miles from the start line.
Luckily, I met a nice couple who lived just up the street and had come down to watch part of the race.
They gave me a lift to Georgetown and I felt very fortunate. I hoped to get back to the start in time to see KC finish.
From there, I caught a bus to Foggy Bottom, then a cab to Constitution Ave, and walked the rest of the way through the Lincoln National Memorial to T1.
On the way, I met some Sisters who were in town visiting the Memorials. We chatted a bit.
Then I met some triathletes and supporters who had just completed the run and were returning home.
I exchanged greetings -- by now, she should be arriving at the finish line. So I pushed on quicker, faster.
I was glad to see that she had made it back to transition and had already hit the road.
I was also glad to see my bike, and surprised to see hers right next to mine.
But you should have seen the smile on my face when I learned that she had crossed the finish line.
That's whats great about the family of triathletes -- we're always looking out for each other and we will always lend a helping hand, if we can, when on
BTW, my new friend also helped out another triathlete. A few minutes later, someone had a flat and was able to borrow my friend's spare tube -- a friend helping out a friend.
Today's fortuitous incidents helped me realize that we're all one another's keepers: whether on or off our bikes. This was a reminder that:
"When covering a story, slow down to smell the roses. You never know when you will be part of the story."