Jan 30, 2011


The optimistic yet straightforward tone in the room was convincing. We all stirred in our chairs easily portraying the sixty hour training block that now lived deep within our muscles. Our brain, world class triathlon coach, Paulo Sousa, stood towards the front of the New Mexico classroom. We reflected on the two weeks of training that was in the midst of completion. Gracious “pats on the back” were forfeited for a hard-nosed lecture on accountability. Races wouldn’t be won and careers wouldn’t be made on a successful two week training block. Regardless of effort, these two weeks were trite; far from extraordinary. Success comes neither from days, nor weeks, nor months… but years of dedication. Listening intently, we all understood that notion. Just as quickly as we accepted this concept, the tone shifted. In true Klep fashion, Pedro Gomes, an accomplished Portuguese triathlete, strolled to the front of the classroom and took over the meeting. Intrigued and sitting at the edge of our seats, we watched as Klep asked for chalk and started writing the acronym, I.T.W.N.P. Fittingly, acronyms are commonplace within The Triathlon Squad. Phrases like G.T.W.D. (Get The Work Done) and D.Y.J. (Do Your Job) and have seen the surface of the workout white board many times. Today, we sat in anticipation as Klep turned and faced the room.

In broken English, he proclaimed, “I tink. We need… PAINTBALL!” The tone of the meeting was immediately changed as the room broke into laughter. Klep, notorious for lightening the mood of any training session, spun off into a story about his hesitance to leave his Portuguese training center in search of another elite training squad. Although the speech was slightly mushy, we all shared in his general feeling of total approval. His newly crowned acronym may have been a joke, but it pointed towards the idea of building an even stronger unity between the squad members. At that point, it was easy to see that although the training squad was filled with a hodgepodge of individuals, we all meshed in our quest for excellence. 

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