Boulder triathletes show speed in California
By: Will Murray, Boulder Triathlon Examiner
Boulder triathletes Steve Zawaski and Corey Hazekamp climbed the podium at the Wildflower long course triathlon in Monterey County, CA last weekend. Hazekamp, a student at the University of Colorado, took third place in his age group, posting a 4-hour, 42- minute finish time. Zawaski posted the fastest time of any amateur in the race at 4 hours and 23 minutes.
Both Hazekamp and Zawaski work at All Sports Recovery Club in Boulder. Zawaski is also a computer programmer. Hazekamp has been a member of the national champion University of Colorado triathlon team, and is headed to a still-to-be-selected East Coast graduate school to study genetics.
The Wildflower Triathlon is a highly competitive, classic race in beautiful Monterey County, CA.
The bike course has plenty of rolling hills and two significant climbs, while the run course is very hilly, with grades nearly too steep to run up and a sharp downhill finish. The distances for this race are 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run for a total of 70.3 miles.
Zawaski says, “The location was nice. It’s a beautiful area. It’s a fun, outdoorsy event. The course is really pretty, aside from that you are being tortured going up the hills.”
This was the best race of Zawaski’s career. “When I heard the announcer say that I was the first amateur,” the 27-year-old said, “it was almost surreal. I’ve never been in first, never placed this high. It was very exciting.”
Hazekamp had the fastest time in his age group (20-24 year-old), but suffered a four-minute penalty for accidentally dropping a gel nutrition pack. Triathlons have a strict policy of “no abandonment” to ensure that the racecourses stay clean and litter-free. “When you are riding really hard and trying to get a little nutrition on board,” says Hazekamp, “it’s easy to fumble a gel pack. At more than 20 miles per hour, there is no practical way to stop and go back for it. Nobody deliberately litters, but it’s easy to drop something accidentally.”
Hazekamp, who graduated from CU this week, will spend the summer in Boulder before heading to graduate school in the fall. Hazekamp said, “I’m excited to pursue my studies in genetics.”
Reflecting on his big win at Wildflower, Zawaski said, “It reset my goals. I did qualify to become a professional triathlete and I’m deciding what to do about that. I have a decision to make about maybe turning pro next year.
“I was never really very good at endurance sports. I worked harder than anyone, and it had never paid off until now. It’s like a dream. It’s surreal. I can’t believe that this is happening. It comes down to day-to-day. You have to make the time. Get up early. Do what you have to do.”
Corey Hazekamp will be racing in the Summer Open triathlon on May 19 at Union Reservoir in Longmont.
Lonestar 70.3 – U.S. National 70.3 Championship
Timothy O’Donell (Boulder) won his second 70.3 of the year and the U.S. National Championship title with a time of 3:47:40. In an exciting finish, Jordan Jones (Golden) pipped cycling legend Lance Armstrong at the line (see home page video) to take 6th place overall and 2nd American with a time of 3:54:31. Steven Zawaski put up an impressive 4:22:52 to take second place in the M25-29 age group.
Hometown: Boulder, Colo.
Race: 5150 U.S. Championship
Qualified: 3rd in age group, Boulder Peak Triathlon
Pre-race meal: whole grain Cream of Wheat.
Steven Zawaski put up a fast run split to post a 2:10:23 at Boulder Peak and take third in the 24 to 29 age group.
“I surprised myself, since I was running only 10 days off an injury,” he says.
But Zawaski has been surprising himself since he was a child. The Ohio native, who suffered from severe allergies and migraines growing up, learned computer programming on his own as a youngster. As a middle-schooler, he found out that he liked to run. His love for the sport carried into college, where he trained with the cross-country team as he chased an engineering degree and, eventually, a career in the Denver-area software industry.
After the move to Boulder, Zawaski tried biking. He surprised himself again with his ability, and that led to his interest in triathlon.
“While newer to triathlon, I’ve been in endurance sports most of my life. I don’t feel right until I’ve trained a few hours in the morning, and if it turns into an all day thing, even better,” he says. “Aside from triathlon, I like reading and just hanging around all the cool people in Boulder.”
He says he has only one goal for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship: “Have fun and smile.”