Newark Valley Iron Man Dick Litzel

Armstrong ain't got nothin'...

... well, ok - so maybe he does. But - he isn't the only "old timer" who made took a crack at guys younger than him and scored well recently. Newark Valley's own Dick Litzel placed 2nd in the Lake Placid Iron Man qualifiers this past weekend in Lake Placid, NY. Dick is at the high end of his age bracket this year - 65-69 year olds and his entire field was younger than he is. There is a story behind the 2nd place finish - Dick had to deal with mechanical issues with his shifter on the bike during the cycling leg of his race and was frequently stuck in a high gear (one that is hard to pedal) and he was unable to get it into the lower (easier to pedal) gears required for traversing the hilly/mountainous roads in the northern part of our state! Needless to say, this made for a much more challenging, and at times frustrating, ride. He persevered though and figures that he lost somewhere between 10-15 minutes of time as a result. The fellow that one the event was only 6 minutes faster! Dick would have won (more like crushed) his opposition had he not had the mechanical...

The qualifier races, like the one this past weekend in Lake Placid, are full distance events - 2.5 miles in the water (swim), 112 miles on the bike and a full 26 mile run. WOW!! That 2nd place finish would not have qualified Dick for the championship event in Hawaii but he's ok with that as he indicated that he and his wife, Paula, didn't plan on going to Hawaii this year anyway. He's done the Hawaii event several times over the years having finished 10th just this last year in his age bracket. He tells me, with a twinkle in his eyes and a big smile, that he is actually looking forward to turning 70 so that he'll be one of the young guys next year. His goal is to finsh top 5 at the worlds in Hawaii. I wouldn't bet against him.

Dick has been doing triathlons for 27 years now and from listening to him he doesn't appear to have any plans on letting up on his training schedule. I got tired just listening and speaking with him while he described a typical weeks worth of running and cycling in the area. We can all only hope that we're in half as good a shape as he is when we get to be his age!

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