Team OAM NOW’s Chuck Grzanka Looks to Continue Podium Spots in Grand Rapids Tri

June 5th, 2014 by Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors

Triathlon season in West Michigan got off to a chilly start. As a matter of fact, the first race in the area was changed to a duathlon this past weekend due to water temps being in the low 50s. However, that has not stopped OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors triathlete Chuck Grzanka from taking to the races. Chuck has already raced and landed on the podium in two triathlons in Charleston, SC this season in order to prepare for the USA Triathlon National Long Course Championships to be held at the Grand Rapids Triathlon in Michigan on June 8th.chuck2

Chuck Grzanka began training with Mark Olson of Athletic Mentors seven years ago to race mountain bikes. Since then, he’s spent a few years racing road bikes, and for the last three years has focused on racing both sprint and olympic distance triathlons and consistently been on the podium in his age group. Encouraged by his coach to try a half iron distance triathlon this year (and share in his suffering), Chuck has been preparing since January for the big event in Grand Rapids.

Part of that preparation included the two races in South Carolina. On April 19th, at Try Charleston, Chuck raced the sprint distance event. While one might think the weather and road conditions would be more favorable there than in Michigan that didn’t prove to be the case. After 10 hours of torrential downpours that ended at 5am the morning of the race, the air temp was a cool 55 degrees and the water temp a comfortable-with-wetsuit 65. Unable to avoid potholes even in South Carolina, the bike course was riddled with dangerous puddles and the run course, in many places, required stomping through mud that covered the entire path. Despite less than great conditions, Chuck placed 2nd in his age group with a time of 1 hour 17 minutes.chuck3

This past weekend, Chuck raced a second sprint distance race in Charleston with, thankfully, more pleasant conditions than a month ago. An air temp of 62 and a water temp of 72, smooth roads and sunshine is something we’ve been longing for in Michigan. Chuck placed 3rd in his age group with a time of 1:12, with a stellar bike split that placed him 12th fastest of 243 men. He is now headed back to his home turf for the final weeks of training for the big day.

The Grand Rapids Triathlon is just one week away. Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors would love lots of fans and if you wanted to roll up your sleeves and lend a hand, I’m sure the race directors wouldn’t mind some extra volunteers.


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