Above all Kajlich wants you to enjoy it: "After the restrictions on land, the three-dimensional freedom in the water feels good," he says.
On Mental Strength
Of course one of the most important traits of any Iron athlete is an Iron mind. Kajlich says that you can get most of the way there by committing to the race and preparing for the distance. What better way to gain confidence for long-distance racing than with long-distance training sessions?
To get the rest of the way however, you need to have a few reliable tricks to lean on. "You need an arsenal of strategies to cope with the mental side of [triathlon]," Kajlich says. "Just having one technique will only get you so far."
While in Kona, before the race, Kajlich decided that he would commit to riding his bike forever. That's what it would feel like so that's what he would do: keep going. "If that's what it was going to take, there was not going to be an end," he says.
"There is a little bit of going crazy out there, but after all, we are a little bit crazy for being out there," he adds.
After a busy triathlon year, Kajlich looks forward to getting more wheelchair races under his belt and learning some tricks of the trade from other athletes—tricks that he can transfer to the tri course where he hopes to qualify for Kona again.
"I didn't win," he says. "So I have to start the long road back again."
Resources for Disabled Athletes
- Amputee Coalition of America – The Amputee Coalition holds a national conference annually, which is where Kajlich met the athletes that invited him to his first triathlon.
- Challenged Athletes foundation (CAF) – An organization that provides grants to athletes with disabilities.
- Craigslist – Kajlich bought used equipment from sites like Craigslist. He admits the gear didn't fit well, but it helped get him started.
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