Man on Top of the Mountain

Triathlete running down the finish shoot of an Ironman
December 13, 2016

Mike Ricci


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As I sat gazing up at Mt. Princeton one Sunday night, I pondered the daunting task of ascending that towering peak. Standing at 14,197 feet above sea level, it ranked as Colorado's 10th highest 14er. Despite having conquered five 14ers in recent years, I found myself not quite in the peak physical condition of my past mountaineering expeditions. Nevertheless, I fortified myself mentally for the impending challenge. Experience and fitness, while valuable, were only part of the equation required to summit a 14er. My thoughts drifted not only to the ascent but also to the descent – for reaching the top was merely half the journey. A failed return would deem the trip unsuccessful, echoing the tragic tales of many who dared summit Mt. Everest but never descended to share their triumphs. Mountaineering is no leisurely pursuit; it's fraught with peril, demanding meticulous preparation. Though our excursion would span a mere 6-7 hours, we readied ourselves for an overnight stay, adhering to the wilderness ethos of over-preparation. Planning for a two-day venture meant packing supplies for four days, including ample dry clothing, extra matches, flashlight batteries, and emergency rations. While this thorough preparation extended our pre-trip timeline, it promised enhanced safety and comfort should unforeseen circumstances arise. This preparation prompted reflections on the ingredients for building a successful company – one that not only dispenses training plans and advice but also generates employment opportunities for dedicated coaches driven by passion and ambition. I contemplated the factors that hinder some coaches from scaling the pinnacle of success. Is it a deficiency in their can-do spirit or a lack of requisite skills? Perhaps they settle for 90% effort rather than giving their all. Maybe they overlook the significance of minor details crucial for success. Reflecting on my own journey, I've streamlined my weekly objectives to three key priorities, inching closer to my Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) in this industry. I recognize the arduous ascent that lies ahead to reach the summit of success. Indeed, reaching the apex of a mountain is no fortuitous occurrence; it's the culmination of relentless toil and unwavering determination. When all is said and done, the individual atop the mountain did not stumble there by chance – they earned their place through tireless effort and unwavering resolve.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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