‘Cacti’ Soldier takes IRONMAN silver

| November 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
1st Lt. Travis Kaufman, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, finishes 11th overall and 2nd in the military division of the 2014 SUPERFROG Triathlon IRONMAN, recently, in California. He now qualifies for the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship. (Photos courtesy of 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

1st Lt. Travis Kaufman, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, finishes 11th overall and 2nd in the military division of the 2014 SUPERFROG Triathlon IRONMAN, recently, in California. He now qualifies for the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship. (Photos courtesy of 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

 

1st Lt. Loren Bell
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division
CORONADO, California — A Soldier from the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, had a unique opportunity to prove that goals can be achieved through what he described as “hard work and dedication.”

1st Lt. Travis Kaufman, physician assistant, placed 11th overall in the “SUPERFROG Triathlon” IRONMAN, with a 2nd place finish in the military division.

Originally established by U.S. Navy Seals, the triathlon consisted of a 1.2-mile swim through bone-chilling open ocean, a 56-mile bike course and a 13.1-mile run.

“When I arrived in San Diego, two days before the race, I scoped out the course and immediately noted the 6- to 8-foot swells and choppy surf of the cold Pacific Ocean,” said Kaufman.

When the race finally began, Kaufman quickly put aside the challenges of the extreme environment and focused on the task at hand.

“I knew it was going to be a fight to get through the rough surf, but when the starting gun went off, it was go time and I dove into the waves,” Kaufman said. “The surf was crushing my stroke, and it seemed as if I would never reach the first buoy, but once I passed the surf, it was smooth sailing.”

After completing the swim, Kaufman still had two difficult challenges ahead of him, but the idea of earning a slot at the IRONMAN World Championship motivated him to keep pushing hard.

When Kaufman hit the beach, he found that the sand made for a grueling run to the bike transition.

1st Lt. Travis Kaufman performs the biking portion as he finishes 11th overall and 2nd in the military division of the 2014 SUPERFROG Triathlon IRONMAN, recently, in California.

1st Lt. Travis Kaufman performs the biking portion as he finishes 11th overall and 2nd in the military division of the 2014 SUPERFROG Triathlon IRONMAN, recently, in California.

“I spent most of the 56-mile bike ride feeling like I was a sugar cookie from all the sand that was caked on me from the beach,” he said.

After a smooth transition from the bike to the running event, Kaufman was able to settle into a heart-pounding 4-mile run.

“My legs were suffering, but I continued to push the pace. I knew I had to keep it steady and strong. I was able to crush the last 3 miles on the hard trail to get to the finish line,” he explained.

At the last turn, Kaufman could hear the excitement at the finish lines as the crowds cheered him on.

“I finished strong and heard them announce my name as the 11th finisher overall,” said Kaufman.

His overall placement in this race earned him a slot to compete in the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship triathlon in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

“Competing in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona has been a goal of mine since 2007. I am grateful to have the chance to race this epic event and represent the U.S. Army,” Kaufman said.
(Note: Bell is a unit public affairs representative.)

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