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    Bike Crash at the 1/2 Vineman Doesn't Stop Athlete From Completing

    Every now and then you hear a story of someone taking it to the extreme to make it to the finish line. Like Doug Jeffrey, who during the 1998 Wildflower half ironman, tied his spare bike tubes around his feet like Flojo thongs and ran the last 8 or 10 miles of the bike course after a wreck so that he could finish the race (incidentally, Doug used to be a roommate of mine).

    Well, here's a new one.....Ted Raad of Seattle sent us his story of perseverance and victory (over the race and the pine cone that nearly kept him from the finish) from this year's 1/2 Vineman.... Congratulations Ted!!!

    Ted writes:

    First of all, the vineman was to be my first 1/2 ironman distance race. Actually, it was my second triathlon including the Boulder Peak several months earlier. I trained with the Online Coaching Program and I was ready for the race. The 1.2 mile swim went well (37 minutes/1.2 mile vs a 48 minute/.9 mile at Boulder Peak). I was fired up and feeling good going into the bike.

    The first 20 miles on the bike went well. It took just about an hour. The course became less technical and I was in the aero bars grinding it. Delusions of a 5:15 minute finish were flashing in my head. Maybe that was why I didn't see the obstacle ahead. I did everything that I could to avoid it. I tried to look where I wanted to go instead of directly at the obstacle(rule #1 in crash avoidance) but my eyes continued to fixate on the road block ahead as did my bike: a pine cone the size of a softball.

    Next thing I knew, I was hugging the side of the mountain alongside the road. I quickly picked up my bike and realized that my rim was bent and my profile bars resembled a crushed can. Nonetheless, I tried to ride and got 3 more miles out of the rim before it became evident that I would not finish the race on THIS bike.

    Probably in some kind of shock after the wreck, I took off running in my socks pushing the bike ahead of me. I guess I thought I could run the remaining 36 miles and then crawl through the 1/2 marathon. Fortunately, 3 miles and 40 minutes later I came upon a household with a group of farmworkers washing there car in front of the house. I put my Spanish to the test and a couple minutes later I borrowed a bike to finish the race. The sag wagon took my bike to the finish, while I took off for the remaining 30+ miles on a borrowed mountain bike built for a small teenager. Three working gears and semi-flat tires was not my idea of aerodynamic. However, the SLOW ride allowed me to really take in the scenery of the Russian River Valley.

    After 30+ miles of comments like: "You're on a mountain bike!", "Nice Bike", "You are the man!" I finally reached the run transition over 4:06 hours after I started. I managed to shuffle through the run in under 2 hours finishing the race in 6:42. Not quite, the 5:15 time that I had dreamed of but still the best race I've ever done.