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Ryan - Jan 05 2013 09:28 AM
Lukas Verzbicas, the Carlsbad 5000 this weekend!
The triathlon hopeful is on the road to recovery after a bad bike accident last year.
Lukas Verzbicas is a lucky man to be able to compete in the under-29 age-group race at the Carlsbad 5000 on Sunday.
Last July 31 at about 9 AM, while bicycling along the Garden of the Gods in Colorado on a training ride, the now 20-year-old Verzbicas encountered a wide 180-degree turn on a downhill stretch of road. He tried slowing down, but his bike got caught up in some sand and he slammed into a guardrail. The horrific accident left him with a broken thoracic vetrebrae, a broken clavicle, a broken spine and a partially collapsed lung. He also was paralyzed in his right leg and went through multiple hours and days of surgery at Penn Rose St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs.
Here was a man who had been the fifth high-schooler in history to break four minutes for the mile, had set national junior records for two miles and 3,000 meters, was a two-time Footlocker Cross Country champion during his sophomore and junior years in high school and was a two-time world champion in World Junior Triathlon. His chances of recuperating and regaining his brilliant athletic skills were slim. Even his chances of being able to walk properly again were considered a long shot.
Despite those odds, Verzbicas never doubted himself, even though he was hospitalized for 35 days. “I had lots of plans and hopes athletically,” he said. “I thought that took them all away.”
After this incredible talent gets injured, he comes back even stronger now with really big goals.
Source: Competitor Running
Now, he feels he’s ready to take on the Carlsbad 5000 this weekend. He has been getting ready for the race by training three to four hours a day, boosting his endurance and increasing his weightlifting. “I still have some weakness in my right leg,” he said. “The nerves have to be regenerated.”
At the Carlsbad 5000, Verzbicas will be close to where he currently trains at the Olympic Center in Chula Vista, Calif., with Olympic 800-meter gold medalist Joaquim Cruz of Brazil. His next scheduled event is also nearby, next month’s Wildflower Triathlon in southern California.
These varied competitions are aimed at helping Verzbicas realize his goals: competing in the triathlon and running either the 10,000 meters or the marathon at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Those hopes seemed so far away at the end of last summer. Now, in Verzbicas’ mind, they appear realistic.
I'm curious, hopeful and excited to see how Verzbicas does this weekend! I'll post updates as the race goes on and hope you guys will too Who else are you all excited to see race this weekend?
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