CAF San Diego Triathlon Challenge

By Adam McCreight
October 25, 2011 on 11:31 am | In Community, Employee Adventures, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments
Cody McCasland, one of CAF’s Shining Stars
A few months back, I was given the opportunity to join a relay team for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) through TriSports Racing, TriSports.com’s charity arm. I had recently heard of this organization and thought to myself that this is a chance to participate in a triathlon that raises money for athletes with some kind of disability so they have the means to compete through grants and other assistance. What I knew beforehand about CAF were the cool running prosthetics, hand crank bicycles, and other high profile items. What this day meant to me was that I was going to San Diego for the weekend to check out some really cool hardware on amputees and get to also run beside them.
Tyler, Shari and Adam head out together on the run
On the day of the race, I was convinced this is not a race, but an event. What did that really mean? TriSports Racing had two relay teams during this “race” and I was to run on one of them. I had decided ahead of time to get a swim out of this day as well. After the opening ceremony, which had an unbelievable signer belting out the national anthem, and a parade of the challenged athletes competing, I scrambled to go to the bathroom and then put on my wetsuit. That is where I met Sean. He was in a corner with his girlfriend, trying to get on his wetsuit before the start. I was in my own world and was using this quiet corner to put down my wetsuit while I went to the bathroom. As soon as I put down the wetsuit and turned to leave, I did a 180 and asked if I could help. He replied back with “Yes, if you have the time.” That right there changed this day from a race into an event for me.
The “wheelies” prepare to start
Here is a paraplegic trying to get on a wetsuit to swim one mile in open water. Yes, I had the time. If you have ever attempted to put on a triathlon wetsuit, you know it is tough. For some people it takes 15-20 minutes, and that is with the ability to stand up and work the wetsuit up your legs and butt. Sean is a paraplegic in a wheelchair. He had to lock the wheels, use his arms to get his “trunk” off of the seat, lean forward for me to work the wetsuit up, and because he has experience in this, use his girlfriend as a stability device with his head as I jerk on the wetsuit to get it past his butt.
World Champ Chrissie Wellington accompanies some of the kids during their run
After a few attempts, the wetsuit was up far enough that he could get his arms in. A part of my job at TriSports.com is to help fit people in wetsuits. I could tell the wetsuit was not far enough up on his torso, but Sean’s swim start was in 5 minutes and he had to get from the cliffs of La Jolla Bay down to the water. As I was fretting with the fit, I realized that Sean has a lot more to overcome on this day than a wetsuit that is pulling down on his shoulders a bit. We parted ways and all I got was his name and a new understanding of what this event was really about.
Determination!

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