Last April I walked into WWMS Tri Night with no idea what to expect. Although I knew I wanted to do my first triathlon that summer and had been invited to check out Wheelworks by some friends, I wasn’t totally sold on joining a team. The interior of Belmont Wheelworks was overwhelmingly stuffed with bike gadgets and paraphernalia - intimidating for someone whose cycling career up until that point consisted of learning how to ride a bike around age seven and not pursuing it much since then. I spent a few awkward minutes wandering around and trying to keep track of all the people I was meeting, but the night turned out great. I met a ton wonderful people and decided to join the team!
My most vivid memory from that night was the Caitlin Clavette Memorial Foundation Awards. Listening to the Clavettes speak about their daughter, I was touched by descriptions of Caitlin and the relationship between the team and the Clavette family forged in Caitlin's memory. The foundation sponsors race entries for Wheelworks Multisport teammates who support the foundation's vision of a community where all people live healthy lives, preserve and appreciate the arts, respect and protect all living things and live with passion.
In my mind, the sense of welcoming I experienced that night, and continue to experience as part of this team, is inseparable from Caitlin’s legacy. I would venture to say that Caitlin may not have totally realized what a huge impact she had on others. I don’t know any of us ever realize our impact on others. The way this team, and each of us as individuals, welcomes and inspires each other is so special and meaningful. We are so much more than athletes (even when it literally feels like training is all we do). Our team is about building a welcoming community and helping individuals embrace new challenges. The foundation is offering race sponsorship for Wheelworks Multisport teammates to apply for once again this year, and I'm looking forward to learning more about all those teammates who apply and align with Caitlin's vision.
Teammate and past recipient, Leah Reis-Dennis, adds “It's easy to focus single-mindedly on triathlon when we're hanging out with WWMS teammates. I love that the Caitlin Clavette Foundation is explicitly more holistic, committing itself (and committing us) to remembering Caitlin for the multifaceted person she was: an artist as well as an athlete, a teacher, daughter, and sister as well as a friend and teammate. WWMS can continue to support this vision by encouraging its members to get to know each other as people and as friends—not just as teammates to sweat it out with on early morning rides.”