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SimplyStu Podcast Series

Welcome to my Podcast.  I love what I do and hope you enjoy the shows!

I met pure magic

Jun 11, 2007

It started like any other race. I was excited just to be in great shape and test my abilities just 3 days after my last sprint Aquathon race. After setting up my transition area, I looked at the sky and saw heavy rain. I smiled and just watched as the rain soaked the bikes, shoes and just about anything that wasn't covered. I stood under a tree and just smiled. So many people panicked, but I just smiled and enjoyed it all. After about 15 minutes the skies cleared and the race was on. Note: I was prepared and always carry a big garbage bag with me in case this happens. My stuff was nice and dry once the race started.

After a good swim warmup, my age group was called. A new age group for me this year - the big 40. I looked at the guys and for the 1st time thought - I can beat these guys. I normally start up front to get off fast. The gun went off and I quickly was out front. Huh What? Where is everyone? I looked left. Nothing. Right. Nothing? Huh? What? I hit the first turn and saw nothing. Wow. Is this happening? It's not that big of a deal, but I have never been out front - even if this is just with the 40 year olds. So I hit the 2nd turn. Still out front. In the past I would have started to get tired, but with Coach Mike's help, I'm in better shape and not hitting the wall in the swim. I started to pass the groups in front of me, and finally saw a guy come up to the right. For a spilt moment I said, just let him go. NO. NO. NO. I picked up the pace and made sure that I could look Coach Mike in the face and tell him I gave it my all. I was out 1st.

The bike started out ok. With my PowerTap, I was able to see my power. The problem with the sprint is you have to go so hard that your HR is high. I was not feeling the best, but I held on. I was not getting passed in mass like past years. I did count 4 guys pass me from my age group, but I was staying close. Wow. At mile 7 I was starting to get in a rhythm and staying at 90 cadence. It was a mental battle. Come on Stu. Stay with the guys. Say with them! Come on.

I was flying and feeling better until the sound we HATE to hear. Psssssssssssssssst!

Yep. Flat city. My day was done for the division race, but not for me. I changed the tire but noticed a big cut. I didn't think the tire would hold, but I tried. I rode another mile and got another flat. I was not surprised, but not all that happy either. My day was done. What do I do? Well, I figured I better start walking. I walked about 3 miles, trying to tell people "Nice Job", or "way to go." People felt bad for me, but I was actually enjoying all of this. Not sure why, but it was not that bad.

I hit the main road and found 2 older women and a boy about 16 years old getting in a van. I asked if they could drive me back to the start line. I got in the van and jumped in the back seat with the boy. After talked for a few minutes I found out he was mentally challenged. He told me how he had made it to Special Olympics Nationals in Iowa. He was so proud. He asked if I wanted to see the medal he won in power lifting. Our conversation went on and I felt like I was riding in the car with a super star. I promised him that I would tell all my friends that I met a Olympian. He smiled and told me to "go get 'em." Have you even seen a person that works so hard and never wants to take that medal off? Have you seen the pride? The passion? This kid had it all! He had 2 gold medals, 1 silver medal, and the best attitude!

I took my bike out of the car and just smiled. I put my bike together but thought that I had to finish the race. I told the guy at the start that I got a ride but wanted to finish. I asked if that was ok. He looked and at this point I was dead last in for the men. "Sure, go on." I looked at my tire and figured it was better for me to carry the bike so I didn't do any damage. I picked up the bike, put it on my shoulder and started to run. I was abut a mile from the transition area. I was running in bike shoes. Not the best thing, but I had to carry the "virtual" Olympic torch that my new friend gave to me while in the car. I just smiled and started to hear the crowd go crazy. I ran faster and decided that I could not let my new friend down. I had to keep running. I ran and carried my bike over the bike finish! The crowd erupted! I was already in dead last, but decided that I could not stop. I was the LAST male out of T2.

I ran hard and finally caught a few people. I finished the day swimming, biking, flatting, walking, riding in a car, running with a bike, and finally running. (I want to make it clear that I did ask an official if I could continue even though I had to take a ride in a car). Officially I had a DQ as I got in a car, but I really didn't have a choice. I do want to thank my new power lifting Olympian to show that sport is not about winning, it is about passion! I'm 100% sure that I had the best race of the day. No question about it. I met someone that would make even the last place finisher smile. I met an Olympian. I met pure magic. I just hope that one day, on your worst day, you too can meet him. I guarantee that he will make your day! He certainly made mine! 


Mal James
almost fourteen years ago

With hindsight you will remember this race for many years as one of your best not because of what happened but for the fact that meeting a true champion inspires us far more than t shirt and a plastic trophy
Great report

almost fourteen years ago

Wicked Cool.

almost fourteen years ago

great race, great report.


you definitely brought your own weather to this event!

almost fourteen years ago

Way to go Stu! You are a trooper!

almost fourteen years ago


Outstanding story. I bet when you\\\'re an old man and look back on your triathlon days, this will be one of your top memories.


almost fourteen years ago

Special Olympics is sportsmanship at its best and most raw. It\\\'s pride in accomplishment of the individual as well as everyone competing.

That is an awesome story Stu. Your attitude and spirit in this race is not only an example to look up to but also to emulate.

Of course anybody that knows you, even just a little bit, shouldn\\\'t be surprised! Your attitude toward those that compete as well as those that are about to compete is well, \\\"wickedly cool\\\"

almost fourteen years ago

This is one of THE BEST race reports I\'ve ever read, Awesome, it\'s all about the experiences and the people along the way. Well done :) :) :)