4 in 4: “Good Luck Matthew”

I’d emailed the Richmond ITU race organizer sort of out of courtesy asking for a homestay for myself and Martin. We’d already lined up a decent AirBnb that was close enough to the race where we could easily bike around to get what we needed.

Needless to say I was very surprised to hear back right away with the promise of a homestay, “within the next day.” I left our AirBnb host waiting.

“Ben and Cheryl Shaw can take you in. However they’re wondering if you can rent a car?” Being 24 I’m still at that age where you pay extra to rent one cause you’re still considered “young.” But we got one, a little white Yaris which Martin assured me it would fit our luggage and my leg span. Getting a homestay was supposed to be a way of mitigating the cost, but with the rental we would be roughly the same had we gone with the original plan. However I would argue we got the full value of the rental, and then some.

The Shaw’s lived Midloathian, Virginia, a leafy suburb just west of the city of Richmond. From what I can guess it was probably built up in 80’s, a big enough house, but appropriate given size of the lot. There were enough trees to give the sense that it had had some good time invested in it. And the Shaw’s had done just that. Five kids, had and were going through it. The eldest daughter already married and moved on, the youngest, Daniel, already flying through grade ten and earning the next degree of his black belt.

The parents, our parents for the weekend were both Triathletes. Ben a former marine officer and now Financial analyst with Capital One, and Cheryl, the CEO of the seven-member startup were both kind, engaged and ready to help at a moments notice. They were perfect, and I only hope that we were the kind of guests that would have them open their doors to others. Given the chance I would walk through them again.

With their generosity and welcoming attitude I was lucky to race with a comfortable feeling that I rarely experience before these events. It put me in a great head space and it was a big factor in why I had a solid performance.

On the spin back to the car I had a bouquet of flowers that I’d earned for my effort and I was determined to get them to Cheryl. Sure enough on the far turn she was standing there, just finishing her volunteer duties.

We hugged and I thanked her. The flowers would never amount to what they had done for us, but it was something (don’t worry, Ben got some local IPA). It was a quick goodbye with her though, we had to get back on the road, back in the Yaris.

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