I read a story once in an Antique Engine Magazine call Bitten by the Bug. It was a story about a man’s epic journey of falling into the world of collecting old hit and miss antique engines. It was a hobby, a passion and brought joy and pleasure to him as he traveled to shows lugging his engines around to meet with other people of his kind, talking about things such as; types of engines each person had, where they had found it and the stories behind the engines. And every engine had a story that could last for hours, as the conversations sometimes lasted that long.
As a kid I didn’t get it. I really didn’t understand why the author, my dad, had this crazy little hobby as I was taken all over the state to auctions and shows in search of a New Holland or a prized Foose and all the other engines that passed through our hands throughout the years, and didn’t really get “it” until I had been Bitten by the Bug.
From the first race I ever did, I knew my life was changed forever. At the time I didn’t think much about how different my life would be as a result of triathlons, and never expected racing to take me all over the world to enjoy amazing adventures as I do today, but is amazing what the Bug does to you.
In the beginning, you start your racing with the basics for fear that once you survive your first race; you might never want to do it again, so you spend as little money as possible and buy all the low end gear. However, once you have been Bitten all you can do is think about your training and what races you will do next. You start dreaming about racing, begin swimming and running in your sleep. Then you start upgrading to everything you had already bought, but only better since triathletes are known gear junkies. Once you have the Bug it is all over for you.
1 race a year turns into 3,4,5,6 and more as you decide next season it is time to take the show on the road so you have to buy a travel case for your bike and plane tickets and hotels and the list gets longer and longer. Before you know it, you look in your closet and see that 1 wetsuit now has become 2. The 2 pairs of running shoes as turned into 15-20. You don’t have 1 bike, you have 5. There are countless swim caps and sticks of Body Glide everywhere and you start to think that maybe when you are Bitten by the Bug that this Bug was carrying a virus that is non-curable.
I can’t help myself from wanting to travel and race and have amazing adventures! Every destination I go to I meet interesting people where we talk about our bikes, training, what other races we have done…I have become everything I didn’t understand my father to be all those years ago.
Saturday mornings we used to get up at 6:00 to go to these shows and auctions. I get up at 4:30 to make my way to a race. Dad would spark up conversations with strangers and always find a common ground with them…so do I. Dad would spend hours tinkering with his toys…so do I.
I always loved to read my dad’s story in the magazine over and over again and mainly because I was so proud of him to have a story published. Today, I love dad’s story because I have become his story. I never thought I was much like him until recent years, but a lot of who I am and why I am is because of him. I love my dad. I love that both have been Bitten by some king of Bug, it gives us something to enjoy with each other. Who knows, maybe even one day we will get the same type of Bug.
Tonight I take off on my next journey. It will be epic. I go to a place of many mysteries. It is a place where eras were once known as Dynasties. It is a country that built a wall along its border that is large enough you can see from space. A land where you can feel like you have traveled back in time as you scour the countryside yet still have the modern novelties like anywhere else on earth in the city. Its language is beyond foreign to me and so will be the food…which could be a bad combination with seafood allergies.
I travel to Beijing, China for the Sprint World Championships. This time I will be traveling with a guest, my husband; unusual for me to have him travel with me to races, but how can I say no on this trip. It should be fun, as long as we survive the flight together (he is not to keen on sitting on a plane for 14 hours…but I surprised him with a business class upgrade). Not only will my adventure take me to my first world championship race, but also to a land filled with mystery and intrigue. It sounds like my perfect place!