As any triathlete knows, some workout days flow seamlessly—your legs feel strong and the Garmin is ignored because time flies. Other days your body struggles to crank the wheels and the bike just doesn’t cooperate. Worst of all is when a bad day occurs during a race. Such is the hardship of Janice Biederman, 63, of Boston, Mass. who flatted in a challenging area of Rev3 Maine bike course. We delve into this lady behind the photo—an age-grouper who mustered up a high level of determination to cross the finish line.
Biederman is an experienced triathlete and started in the sport well before the recent craze. Back in 1990 she competed as part of a relay team for a sprint race with a group of local triathletes she met at a health club. Becoming a triathlon sponge, she learned everything about it and pressed on to cross numerous finish lines racing in all three disciplines.
Eventually she found her way to Rev3. “I heard great things about Rev3, especially how they treat each athlete and wanted to try one of their races… When Maine was announced, it was a natural since I live just one to one and a half hours away and the timing was good,” Biederman says.
Belonging to the Boston Triathlon Team, she trained for this event and as essential for anyone in the sport, received substantial support. “My husband is my number one supporter. He doesn’t race himself, but is incredibly understanding and tolerant of my training schedule, needs and triathlon expenditures,” Biederman says. Even her friends demonstrate support. “[Janice] is very dedicated to her training plan and really puts in the time. However, it’s all about the fun of doing the race and the sense of personal achievement rather than what place she finishes in,” Tracey Levenson, Biederman’s close friend, says.
Unfortunately, a flat tire left Biederman just happy with her personal achievement in the Rev3 Maine race. “I did not love getting a flat. The bike course was really pretty and well marked and there was great traffic control. Unfortunately, I had a flat (rear wheel, of course) around mile 25,” Biederman explains. To make matters worse, it occurred on a section of the road with no shoulder. This meant riding on the flat for 100+ yards to pull into a driveway. “I watched 12 to 15 riders fly by me—very frustrating,” she says. Luckily the run course offered a little reprieve from the anger. “I really liked the run, particularly the Eastern Trail section…shade and soft surface.”
Looking back on this race, not getting a flat is obviously at the top the list and being able to get the wheel back on is a very close second. But sometimes, as any triathlete is fully aware, you just have to shrug your shoulders and let it go.
Biederman is having no trouble following this philosophy. “I made a very conscious effort to work on my mental game this year. It’s just too easy to get into a mental funk when things aren’t going your way and that only makes things worse.” For this race, she used positivity to keep in the mental game. Rather than beat herself down, she focused her energies on ignoring the things she couldn’t control. “My ignore-it thought went like this: You had a flat—it happened. It’s not life threatening. All you can do is change the darn tire and get back in the race. Now do it,” Biederman says.
We all can learn from this uplifting message. When we reach a tough place, whether it’s a flat tire, injury or simply not achieving an optimal performance in a race, we can just get back in there.
So do it.
Article by Jennifer Purdie