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Getting to Know Andy Potts

First of all, I cannot believe that this happened. What a GREAT weekend–thank you All3Sports, Dynamo and Andy Potts–not only did I get to meet my favorite boy triathlete, but I learned SO much. Between the Q&A last night and the Swim Clinic today, I’m just blown away. So thank you all.

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The Q&A at All3Sports

Brent Pease from All3 emailed me around 1:30 and asked if I could come by the store.  I was out on a run, and scurried back. I showered and showed up at the store looking like a hot mess. Brent and I did a quick run-through about the evening, and I was out the door and back home to get ready for the event.

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The Expert and I arrived about 4:15.  I spent some time looking at my new bike. It’s not my bike YET. But if I believe it, I can acheive it.  IMG_3791

Pretty soon, the place was packed as we waited on All3Chick, Morgan, and her brand-new hubs, Sean, and Andy Potts to arrive.  I was standing at an angle where I could see the door, and as Brent announced that Andy and crew was running a tad late, but then…

I saw them walking up.  It’s the strangest feeling to see someone famous in person for the first time. And especially for me, to see Andy Potts.

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And then I realized that I was about to talk to him. For like 2 hours… I spazzed a little. Just a little.

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He walked up next to me, and I stuck out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Meredith.”  Duh, he probably figured that out. Then I wanted to giggle when he said, “Hi, I’m Andy.”

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Show was on at this point.  Brent was introducing me, and I forgot that I had a job to do… I was a tad starstruck.

So I introduced Andy, in a way that only I could do (full of ridiculousness)… and we started the Q&A.

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Andy is hilarious, witty, and full of knowledge. He tells some seriously funny stories. The crowd was rolling a few times.  The Expert was cracking up more than a few times.

Fun Facts Learned:

1) Andy likes muffins. A lot.  And chocolate. A lot. And he was born in HERSHEY, PA. Go figure.

2) He loves to try new things on race day.  He found out that slapping his entire body until it was red does not make for a good race and can contribute to some serious quad cramping.

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3) A squished blueberry muffin tastes delicious in a race (muffins again). A chocolate chip muffin would likely be delicious as well, but Andy fears this would look like “poo” if he got it on his hands.

4) We have lots of sphincters.

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5)  Andy does almost 100% of his rides indoors! (I LOVE this. I am such a fan of the bike trainer, and I’m glad to know that he is too.)

6) He didn’t toe the line of Kona this year due to a stress fracture. He just got out of “the boot” two days ago.

7) Andy always starts a race believing that he will win. (I love this also!)

8) He has a pretty intense pre-race breathing ritual:

9)  His favorite Thanksgiving foods are stuffing (me too!) and pie (me too!).

10) Then he mentioned something about a turkey being overcooked and undercooked. But it had nothing to do with the Thanksgiving question.

11) At some point he said, “You have to just keep moving forward,” and Sweet Red caught this shot of me.

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12) Andy’s mantra for 2014 is going to be “What can you learn today?”  I like that.

13) As a kid he learned some mad biking skills riding uphill to school on his bike…carrying his bag, a lunchbox and a trombone.

After the Q&A, Andy stuck around for autographs and photos.

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He took time to speak with everyone and make everyone feels super special.

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The Swim Clinic at Dynamo

I had never been to the Dynamo facility, and man-oh-man is it amazing.  First time I’ve ever swam in a 50 meter pool. I LOVE 50 meter pools.

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The clinic was hosted by Andy and Atlanta area pro triathlete, Haley Chura.

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Here’s the intro video full of great information and advice.

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Then it was time for us all to get in the pool. I hadn’t planned on swimming, but Brent Pease told me, “Oh yes you are. When in your life do you have two pro triathletes to critique your swim stroke. Go change.”

Duh. I can be such an idiot sometimes.

So I scurried and changed, and I am SO glad I did. I just wish I wouldn’t have put on any makeup before I showed up. I was a hot makeup mess after a few laps.

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We first got to experience some of the most amazing swimming technique in the world. Andy did some swim demos for us.

I have been around some really great swimmers, but watching Andy swim—the guy who’s the best swimmer in our entire sport—actually swim? It was breathtaking to watch. And I don’t just mean him. I mean his swimming. [But the boy ain’t baaaaaaad to look at, that’s a given.]

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After the demo, Andy and Haley watched us swim.

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Wait. I would like to repeat that for you so you understand.

ANDY POTTS and HALEY CHURA watched us swim.

Unreal. Pinch me, man. Pinch me.

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We did a warm-up set. Followed by the one-arm drill (which is the ONLY drill that Andy Potts uses, BTW!).

Then 100 and 6×50.  Then a few more drills and sets.

Andy watched me swim, and he said, “You look great! Your technique is great—don’t have much to critique except to rotate the hips more. You look strong.”

OMG. Help me Tom Cruise.  Andy Potts said I look like a strong swimmer.

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I learned SO much today. And the most important lesson of all was to always show up, always participate. If I hadn’t jumped into the pool today, I would have missed out big time.

In closing, this was such a great weekend on so many levels.

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I met Andy, yes, which is huge. In spending time talking with him, I learned what a true class act he is.  I knew he was, but now I know it to be absolutely true.

Here’s Part I of the Q&A: It’s over an hour, so have fun! 🙂


Here’s Part II of the Q&A:

Andy said something that resonated with me, when I had a chance to speak with him one-on-one.  I told him that I just really appreciated the way he was such a welcoming person and amazing ambassador for the sport.

He said, “In five years, no one will even know my name. I have absolutely no reason to not be nice to everyone. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but there is no disadvantage I see to being kind and taking time with people.”

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But I know he’s wrong. We’ll always remember Andy—for the class, the wins, and the love of the sport. But his true humanity and humility… that’s why we’ll remember him the most. And well, it all makes sense.

And that, Andy Potts is why you are and will always be my favorite boy triathlete.

20 Comments

  • Matt Smith

    November 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I’m so glad you had so much fun with Andy! I wanted to be down there at All3, but I had something else going on. And it’s so cool that he critiqued you and told you that you’re a boss! Way to go, Meredith!!!

    Reply
  • Nadya

    November 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you for this great post with so many details on both days!
    The swim session was so interesting, I just humbly listened and soaked every moment of the precious time with this unforgettable person Andy turned out to be like. I knew nothing much of him prior to the meeting, but absolutely adored every second of communication he did for the group.

    The thing about turkey was: somebody asked him about level of readiness for a full course, and he responded saying, that in this case it’s better to go towards the race a bin under-prepared rather then overtrained, like you wouldn’t want to have a turkey overcooked by your Thanksgiving. If you under-cook the turkey, you still can cook it later on. If you overdo it – you don’t have the turkey 🙂

    Reply
  • Kathy Bruinooge

    November 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    What an amazing weekend for you….. We have a pro tri in our circle as well… Look up Jeff devlin… He is older but finished 3rd in Kona 3 times. He was my husbands college roommate and he started in college competing… Now that I have started with sprint tri’s he is my go to guy for questions… He too is so gracious and approachable…. I am always in awe of these elite althetes… Congrats on meeting him and I’m sure you did a great job doing the q &a… Well done keep up the great work and maybe Santa will put that bike under your tree :))

    Reply
  • McBlessing

    November 25, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Meredith…..”If you wish it, it will happen” and that was certainly the case here. I was in Athens with Janelle for the Georgia – Kentucky game but I will admit I checked your updates periodically throughout the weekend. Yes, I’ve always heard the Andy Potts was one of the “good guys” in the sport and I’m so glad you and everyone who got to see him over the weekend in Atlanta can a bear personal testimony to the same. Great stuff, Mere!

    Reply
  • Susan Stewart

    November 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I really wish I could have attended, but getting on a plane and flying across the country was a tiny bit impractical (although I did consider it for a hot second). P.S. It is no mistake that you draw people like Andy Potts to you. Congrats on a great weekend.

    Reply
  • Jess

    November 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    LUCKY DUCK! What an incredible weekend! I loved all of your Instagram updates and I’m looking forward to watching every single video! So happy for you that you got to meet Andy! I hope that you’ll name your new pretty bike that you’re going to get for Christmas (keep believing!) Andy #2 🙂

    Reply
  • Ara

    November 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you for this post! I wish I could have been there, but I live across the country. 🙁 Boo. I’ll have to watch the videos when I get a moment. My ultimate favorite male triathlete is not a pro, but he’s close to it. But, my favorite male pro triathlete is definitely Andy! He impressed me SO much when he made a Facebook post a week or so ago & then when people asked questions, he answered them directly. Most pro’s and famous people don’t do that.

    Reply
  • Amy Baker

    November 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Thank you so much for posting all of the videos from this event! I have been in that post race slump and trying to regain motivation. Seeing Andy’s passion and energy for the sport definitely fueled my want to get back to training again. Sure wish I lived closer to ya’ll, but I truly love where I live. Hmm…. guess it is a good thing with the weather I get that I have a bike trainer!

    Reply
  • Michele @ Micheleontherun

    November 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Reading this inspired me to write a blog post about the “famous” people I look up to. It’s so refreshing to see you starstruck by him- I LOVE that we can idolize people who truly love what they do and share that passion with everyone without being require to be paid millions. These “famous” people mean so much more to me than any celebrity. I’d much rather meet Andy or any other Pro Triathlete than actors or singers. Great job SBM! I linked to your blog from my post because I borrowed the quote that you shared. Hope that’s ok. Thanks for inspiring the SB Army and for taking one for the team and mc-ing that tough event!!! 😉

    Reply
  • Mo

    November 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Finally got to watch all the videos and read the reports! I told you so! I knew you would have an incredible weekend and his smile is the best! Your’s was pretty cute too throughout the video! I can’t wait to see him again in person! Nice job too! You ROCK!!!!! Who knew you would have such an amazing opportunity with Andy Potts!!!!! WAhooooooooooooo!!!!

    Reply
  • cheryl

    January 30, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Very cool! Next Monday I get to meet and talk to Susan Williams-the bronze medal Olympic tri winner! She is raising $ for RAAM and I will actually be having dinner and drinks with her at a friend’s house. Over my tri years I have met and talked to : Erin Baker, Scott Molina, Lorraine Moller, Colleen Cannon, Steve Hed (From HED wheels), Dave Scott’s wife, Michele Jones, and others. Maybe you know some of these names, but probably not, so Andy is correct in saying that many will not even know him in five years as that’s the nature of sport (especially triathlon)-heros come and go. Seems like a nice guy and a great evening! FuN!

    Reply

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