Ever wonder what sort of people are the ones behind the scenes at Challenged Athletes Foundation? Meet one of our passionate and dedicated employees, Jason Karavidas, Manager of Business Development. Jason is also an accomplished duathlete and triathlete and shares his experiences outside of the CAF Headquarters.

jason 2Though the title of my blog would imply some inspiring story of overcoming adversity, my long road actually refers to the 1,000-plus mile drive to get up to Bend, Oregon, from San Diego. Self-imposed adversity, I suppose, since it was my bright idea to drive and even brighter idea to take the scenic (but dreadfully slow) route up the California coast, but making my out-of-town races at least resemble a vacation has been a great way to rationalize with my wife Christine why I spend so much time training and racing. And this trip is already worth it.

Only 11 hours to go!

Making this a family road trip rather than a purely race-focused mission also helps me relax and take my mind off of stress from work, the upcoming run/bike/run, and really a lot of my daily responsibilities. A true vacation! Not like I can respond to emails while spending the vast majority of my last two days in the driver’s seat. When not driving, we got to be tourists stopping off at whatever looked interesting. Tour de LA traffic, Morro Bay (aka giant rock photo op), Hearst Castle (well, just the parking lot — dogs in the castle are frowned upon), elephant seals in San Simeon (did you know male seals can weigh up to 5,000 pounds???), Bixby Creek Bridge (a staple in car commercials), Lake Shasta (no clever thoughts here) and one weird rest stop somewhere before the Oregon border.

USA Triathlon Duathlon Nationals in Bend will be my third National Championship event, and one I’ve been looking forward to since the location was announced last year. The visits to Tucson and St. Paul were both incredible experiences with great venues, atmospheres and results. My sprint race in Arizona qualified me to go to Spain with Team USA, and no complaints were heard from Christine there between Pontevedra and Madrid (especially because that’s where we got engaged … and no, not at the finish line!).

jason 1Win, lose or DNF I’ll be happy with our Bend trip (slightly less happy with a DNF). My speed work has been on point, I was able to shake out with a little run yesterday, and just got back from a course preview on the bike (you guys/girls ready for a nice climb???), and now can rest up and enjoy some of the great stuff USAT has in store for athletes and visitors this week. Looking forward to representing my home town RIDE Triathlon Team come Saturday, and of course, crossing the finish line with my family cheering me on.

Jason ended up finishing 2nd in his age group and 4th overall, securing his invitations to 2017 Worlds in Penticton, Canada!

Follow Jason on Instagram (@jasontri) and Twitter (@hey_jmoney).