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Fairfield Woman Sorting Out Athletic Aspirations

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Since winning an NCAA Division III championship in the steeplechase in 2008, Fairfield’s Cait Bradley has searched for the right mix of competition and recreation to cram into her athletic lifestyle.

She’s still sorting it out, and enjoying the process.

Bradley won the New Canaan Four on the Fourth race last month. She still returns frequently to her running roots, which began at Fairfield Warde High School. She has, however, also led cross country cycling trips, competed in her first triathlon and still seeks out the occasional steeplechase race.

“I am still figuring it out,’’ said Bradley, who teaches at Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts. “This June was my first event in two years, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I still do love the competition. This fall, I’m going to try to develop a serious training plan. I love to compete and train hard, and I’d like to do it until I can’t do it any more.”

Bradley spent four summers as a ride group leader for Apogee Adventures . In 2010, she led a group of 12 riders on a six-week trip across the United States. The ride began in Charleston, S.C., and finished in San Diego.

“That was my favorite trip, hands down,’’ said Bradley, who also led excursions in Maine, Cape Cod and Italy. “The trip boils down to the people you’re with. I was with a fantastic group and I formed some great friendships.”

The cyclists averaged 85-90 miles a day and carried everything on their bikes.

“I started it the year after I finished college,’’ Bradley said. “I wasn't preparing for a collegiate season any more, and I was looking for something to do. It was good cross training.”

Bradley’s college career ended with a bang, when she won the steeplechase for Dickinson College at the 2008 Division III championships. She still has the Centennial Conference record in the event and tries to find opportunities to race.

“I've been lucky to hop into a few,’’ Bradley said. “It’s not easy. It’s not like a road race.”

She competed in the Westport Sprint Triathlon in June, the first time she has tried the multi-sport concept. She finished second in her age group. It was one more step in the process of Bradley’s self discovery. She doesn't know if there’s any one path in which she is headed. The win in the New Canaan race showed she still wants to compete.

“That was kind of a pleasant surprise,’’ Bradley said. “Toward the end, there was a girl right behind me who was really pushing me. I had a lot of fun with that.”

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