WESTPORT, Conn. Fairfields Chris Kinney wears the colors of Targetraining when he races, making him look like a contender.
Kinney, who works in the Targetraining's retail cycling and triathlon department in Westport, will compete in Saturdays New York Ironman . He races for enjoyment, however, not hardware. Although he reaps the benefits of associating with some of the nations top endurance athletes, he also endures expectations that he must be an elite athlete as well.
Its hard to go to a race and just be myself, said Kinney, 48. If youre wearing a Targetraining outfit, people automatically assume youre going to be fast.
Saturdays race starts at 7 a.m. with a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River. That is followed by a 112-mile bike ride on the Palisades Parkway. The race finishes with a 26.2-mile run that starts in New Jersey and crosses the George Washington Bridge before finishing in Manhattan.
Saturdays Ironman will be the first for Kinney, who has done a number of triathlons, cycling events and running road races. Its local, the registration was open and I thought Id take a shot, said Kinney, who was among the athletes who got in before the race filled in 11 minutes. It has been on the bucket list for a while. The goal is to have a good time.
To do that, he has tapped the knowledge of his colleagues at Targetraining, particularly Dom Gillen, and the head of triathlon and swim programs. He also has access to some of the best equipment and information around.
I have amazing athletes around me all day, Kinney said. The resources around me are just incredible. The people around me are an incredible inspiration.
Kinneys athletic background includes baseball and soccer. In those sports, when you were told to go run, it was because you were in trouble, Kinney said. He started working at Targetraining a few years ago and started to compete in triathlons. The first time I went swimming, it was all I could do to make it across a 25-meter pool, he said.
His strength is the bike. He has completed several noteworthy rides, including the grueling 7.6 grind to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. I get on the bike before I go to work, Kinney said, and sometimes Ill ride to work. Sometimes Ill ride home from work and Ill actually be going away from my home, because I have to put in the miles.
The bike holds the key for Kinney in Saturdays race. The race begins at 7 a.m., and the course will shut down at midnight. The bike will make it or break it for me, Kinney said. If I go too hard, too fast, Ill just blow up. I have to conserve some energy for the run to get to the finish line.
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