In 2003, with no swimming, biking, or running background, I began participating in the sport of triathlon for a fun and healthy activity. At that time, I was fifty pounds overweight, working in a corporate environment, and had no experience with any endurance sports or racing. I had moved to Austin, Texas for a job after graduating with an engineering degree from the University of Michigan. Following five years of work at a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, I returned to school to earn a Masters Degree in International Studies at Texas State University. Throughout this time, I became more committed to the sport of triathlon and was able to reach the top of the amateur ranks. With hard work, persistence, and dedication over those years, I became one of the top amateur Ironman and half-Ironman distance triathletes in the country and the world.

    Building on my gains, successes, and aspirations, in the 2007 season, I decided to continue my development by dedicating myself to becoming a professional triathlete. In my rookie season I was able to realize success as well as learn from experience and growth opportunities. Since that time, it's been a challenging, but exciting road. I've been able to build on my success and gorw as an athlete and a person. Looking to the 2011 season, I am excited to continue my development towards becoming one of the top male professional long-course triathletes in the world. I seek to be a positive role model in the sport and the community, lead by example, and represent my sponsors to the best of my ability. My determination and work ethic have been the backbone of my accomplishments and will continue to drive my professional racing career to the top.
    
    I hope that my unique story can serve as an example to others that with persistence, hard work, and a positive attitude we can achieve much more than we ever dreamed was possible. At the age of 24 I was overweight with no racing experience or skills and was able to take myself to a level where I can compete with the best Ironman professional triathletes in the world.

Birthday: June 22, 1977 
Hometown: Royal Oak, Michigan
Current Home: Austin, Texas
Education:
MA International Studies, Texas State University-San Marcos
BS Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan
Interests: Outside of triathlon and activities associated with the sport, I generally enjoy anything social and/or outdoors. I also enjoy reading as a means to force myself to rest and recover from workouts.
Graduate Work: My masters degree is in International Studies. Within that curriculum, I've focused on topics concerned with international relations. I finished my thesis in December 2008, which examines the British military intervention into the civil war in Sierra Leone in 2000. I used that conflict to look at broader questions and problems of Western military interventions into sub-Saharan African civil wars.
Favorite sports star:
Growing up in a hockey family, I've always looked up to the Detroit Red Wing legend, Steve Yzerman. To me he epitomizes the ultimate leader, competitor, sportsman, gentleman, and role model in his community.  
Music: I'm about as eclectic as they come. My iPod has everything from rap to rock to funk to classical to techno to world to classic rock, etc. You name it and I probably listen to it with the exception of modern country music. There's a lot of time to fill on a seven hour solo bike ride. I seem to get a song, group, or genre that I get into each week depending on my mood. In recent races, old school ACDC has gotten stuck in my head
Favorite Hangout:
As of late, I've been a frequent patron at Whole Foods in Austin. After morning swim practice, it's a great place to grab coffee, pastry, and a couple breakfast tacos. If I'm not after food, we like to grab coffee at "the Bean" next to Jack and Adam's Bicycles.
Favorite TV Shows: Frontline, Nova, The Universe, 30 Rock, Seinfeld, Arrested Development, Spartacus, really any documentary or witty comedy. If I'm going to get sucked into a reality show, it's going to be one with emotional train wrecks for contestants.
Favorite Food: Pizza (seriously and completely unsolicited), I also have a major sweet tooth
Favorite Movies: The Great Escape, Thin Red Line, Syriana, Body of Lies, 300, any Indiana Jones, Food Inc, any good documentary.
Favorite Books: Pillars of the Earth; World Without End; See No Evil; Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold our Sole for Saudi Crude; Guns, Germs, and Steel; A Brief History of Time; I'll always pick up a spy novel whenever I can. 
Superstitions: I only have one superstition; which started as a joke, remains really as a joke, but has evolved into a bit of a fun superstition. When given a choice, I will always choose coffee grown in the country which produces the fastest runners. For instance, if there is a Kenyan AA or a Guatamalan blend, I will always opt for the Kenyan because of their runners' success. It started at a coffee house with four or five choices of brews. My friend and I decided that those countries producing the fastest runners must be doing something right, therefore we may be able to absorb some of that mojo by drinking coffee produced in those countries. Because of this, you will see me tending towards East African blends over other choices. This "fitness advantages through coffee production geography" has been extrapolated to other scenarios, such as when we were presented with a difficult choice among "Breakfast Blend", "Hazelnut", and "Bolivan". The obvious choice was the Bolivian. Though Bolivia is not known in the international community for its distance runners, the country's mountainous terrain led us to conclude that the coffee MUST provide some altitude training advantages!!
Favorite Family Member(s): My niece Katherine (5) and my nephew Aaron (3) are the most adoreable kiddos in the world. I am always so excited to see them whenever I come to visit in Michigan. As of late, I've been giving them finishers medals from my races because they're champions. Katherine likes drawing pictures and mailing them to me. I'm convinced they bring me good racing luck.
Favorite Workout:



Hill repeats on either the bike or running. I also love our Friday morning runs in Austin (i.e. the Bomb Run) led by Gilbert Tuhabonye. The run is a progressive run from 7-10 miles in length. We start slow and chit-chat as we warm up over the first two miles, then we go into a strong cruise, sometimes singing African running songs from Burundi lead by Gilbert. Then with anywhere from 3 to 6 miles to go, they "drop the bomb" and its' every man for himself. It's a great race simulation, trying to drop your friends, trying to catch the guy in front of you, and trying not to let your friend behind catch you. It's a real sufferfest, but it's a great workout with a fun group. 
Favorite Races: I absolutely loved Ironman Malaysia. It was so different than the North American Ironman races and I just loved the atmosphere. The race staff, competitors, and locals were the nicest I've ever come across. The country is just stunningly beautiful and the race is tough as nails. So what's not to love?

I also love Ironman Cozumel. Best swim in the Ironman circuit, best and loudest spectators in this hemisphere, beautiful location, and margaritas after the race. Why would I want to do any other autumn race?

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