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Team Clueless at the Tinman Triathlon
Posted: 08/29/2000 by Jim Owens
Jim posted the following to the Cyclists Combating Cancer Web site (www.ridetolive.org) in August 2000. The piece recounts the misadventures of "Team Clueless" at the Tinman Triathlon.

Mr. TinmanI took a big step last weekend and entered a half-Ironman distance triathlon relay in Menomonie, Wisconsin (The Tinman Triathlon). My team was named the Maximus Men, but maybe we should have been called Team Clueless.

I did the swim leg. Although swimming is my strongest event, I was unsure about putting myself out in the middle of a lake with a bunch of thrashing limbs around me. Although my health continues to be great, I have had two partial seizures this year related to my brain tumor. I decided to give it a try with the understanding that if anything went the slightest bit wrong I would quit.

Team Clueless: Jim, Scott Labat, and Michael DietzmanThe course was a double loop of four buoys in a diamond pattern. Everything was going great, and half-way through the second loop I was in third place. Then, making the second to last turn I went way off course. I am sure many of you can relate to the problem of being out in front - there is nobody to follow. The first two guys were a couple of young hotshots that were out of sight. I aimed at what I thought was the right buoy. After a few minutes a boat caught up to me to tell me that I was cutting diagonally across the course towards the finish. I had to swim back to get the buoy I missed.

I still finished the mile swim in seventh place in 22:40. My brother-in-law Michael took off on the bike. Confidence was still high as he is a Cat 2 rider and had won the Minnesota Road Race Championships (35-44 Division) a few weeks before. He blew by all but the leading two in the first mile, but could not see the leaders yet. At that point he missed a turn. It took about three miles for him to finally realize something was wrong and turn around, adding six miles to his 60 mile race. He still had an incredible ride on a very hilly course, and finished the ride back in the third position.

Tinman Triathlon 2000Then came our injured runner. My old teammate Scott was determined to run even though he had been resting a sore knee for a week. You know those warnings about not exceeding eight pain pills in a 24-hour period? I think he exceeded that dosage by a few, and then a few, and then a few... He took off like a horse and we all held our breath. We were originally expecting 6 minute miles from him but had revised that downward. Third place wasn't so bad - still in the hardware.

We were watching the last of the short course finishers coming in and saw in the distance a runner coming in at full stride. We assumed it was the first long-course finisher and were somewhat deflated to see that he wasn't wearing a white t-shirt. Even with the injury we held out a little hope that Scott would pull it out. It wasn't until he was almost on top of us that we heard the runner yell out "I only needed to catch two, right?" It was Scott with his t-shirt off, in first place! He clocked a 1:23 half marathon! (actually 12.2 miles).

So Team Clueless ended up in the money. It wasn't a lot but enough for a really nice dinner out (to be held sometime soon). After two and a half long years its nice to be back on the circuit.

Thanks for reading,
Jim