Tell us a little about yourself outside of triathlon.
I live in Cleveland Heights. I am a folk musician and songwriter. I travel
a few times a year to perform and have released a few records that
receive airplay throughout the world on Folk Radio programs.
I am currently president of Folknet(NEOHIO Folk music society) and
serve on a citizen's transportation advisory board for the Cleveland
Heights City Council representing disabled people.
I currently live with a spinal cord injury.
I am considered an incomplete quadriplegic.
How did you get involved in the sport?
While training for a marathon, the program director at the local Y
suggested that I try Triathlon because my cross training had already
prepared me for it. I loved the variety.
What is your favorite discipline?
Prior to my injury I was a runner at heart. Today I use a racing wheelchair for the run and a handcycle for the bike. Swimming has mostly remained the same (I never had much of a kick). At this point, I am so happy to be able to do anything, that I love it all. I enjoy swimming because I am able to swim with able bodied athletes, and hold my own. I rarely get to compete against others on the handcycle or racing chair.
What’s your favorite local race?
Greater Cleveland Triathlon has always been a good place to be. Mickey Rzymek has always treated me well.
(Charlie has sometimes provided the live post race music.)
What does your race schedule look like for 2016?
Cleveland Marathon, Twinsburg DU, Monroe Falls Triathlon, Greater Cleveland Triathlon, REV3 half
Do you have long term goals in triathlon? What are they?
I am new to the world of paratriathlon. Before having surgery 6 years ago, I told the surgeon that I wanted to get back to an Ironman start eventually. It is difficult to find handcycle friendly IM races. Handcycles are considerably slower than leg powered bikes and hills are very slow, so locating a course that would give me a shot at the bike cutoff is tough. Right now I am shooting for REV3 Cedar point full in 2017. If all goes well I will continue. Who knows? maybe Kona someday. I think being new to the sport, a lot is unknown and the possibilities are endless. Maybe even the paralympics.
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a race?
I ran for half a mile during a CTC fall duathlon with my helmet. It was cold out and I had a stocking cap on under it. I really didn’t notice the helmet at the time until someone let me know.
Do you have any tri “words of wisdom” Training strategy? Mental approach to the sport?
“Keep moving forward”. In my last marathon as a runner, I was experiencing knee pain at mile 16 along the main street bridge on the shoreway. Matt Collister was working an aid station. I let him know the pain was bugging me. He simply said “Keep moving forward”. Less than a year later I was in physical therapy learning how to walk. That phrase stuck with me. It moves me.
What is your favorite triathlon/race moment?
Crossing the finish line in Sherborne Dorsett UK and hearing the words “You are an Ironman”
What is the toughest workout you have ever done?
Probably a long ride leading up to Ironman. I would often follow the emerald necklace around Cleveland. 8 or 9 hours solo with no support is a tough day. My long days on the handcycle are very hard. I imagine once I start doing century rides, I will know a new pain.
What is your favorite thing about the triathlon/multi-sport lifestyle?
I like the discipline. Following a plan in pursuit of abstract goals. I love the inclusiveness. For the same reasons I like folk music, triathlon rings true. Anyone can do it. Some are great, some just have fun. But everyone can take part. I have sung with Pete Seeger and raced with Mark Allen.
I race today with the support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
I am also raising money to support CAF.
Cleveland Tri Club