Tri-ing in the Holy Land

The ramblings of a struggling triathlete in Israel

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Location: Israel

I'm the mother of 3, a teacher and a couch potato turned triathlete.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Thank you, Eli

Today was our last practice ever with our coach, Eli Gez. Actually, Wednesday was the last practice, but Eli decided to accompany us on a long ride today for the last time. We rode just under 75 km with Eli behind us the whole way. He had bottles of ice water in his car and when it got really hot (and it did!), he poured ice water on our heads and the back of our necks to keep us cool. He picked up a couple of riders who got tired along the way. He made sure we all had water and that we all felt ok. He spent three and a half hours driving behind us, starting at 6 a.m. No one paid him to do this. He just did because he's Eli.

Eli Gez is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. He's warm, encouraging and motivating. He's the type of coach who makes you believe you can do anything. At every race, I'd come around a corner and find Eli waiting there, screaming, "Go, Bari! You're a champion!" or something similar. After my first long ride, Eli called me to make sure I felt ok. When I was sick with the flu, Eli called me to see how I was doing. Eli truly dedicated himself to building the triathlon team in Lehavim. Eli dedicated himself to each and every one of the athletes on the team.

Tomorrow, Eli is moving about an hour away. We'll see him at races and we'll stay in touch, but never again will he drive behind us on a long ride or a rainy run, never again will he be waiting for us at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning, never again will Eli be there at practice to say, "Of course you can do it!"

We'll have a new coach, but we won't have Eli. Eli is one of a kind and his daily presense in our lives will be sorely missed.


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