In a race packed with world champions, Ironman champions and Olympians, the first athlete to emerge from the 200km ride through the desert in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon was Andrew Starykowicz, a young American triathlete lacking the pedigree of many other athletes in that race. Starykowicz may be a relative unknown, but he has displayed incredible strength on the bike, taking third place at the 2010 Kaiser Permanente LA Triathlon over the likes of Greg Bennett and Filip Ospaly.
Bjorn Andersson took the early lead on the bike and build a substantial advantage before wilting in the heat and dropping out before T2 in Abu Dhabi. After Andersson dropped out, Starykowicz inherited the lead and rode away from a group of the strongest riders in the sport. He blazed the 200km bike course through the desert at an average speed of 26mph, but he paid for this brave effort and struggled through the 20km run before finishing 10th and collapsing at the finish.
Starykowicz raced on this Orbea Ordu, outfitted with a mix of Shimano and Vision components. He shifts with Shimano Dura-Ace shifters and a Shimano Ultegra front derailleur. He swapped the pulleys that came standard with his rear derailleur for ceramic FSA pulleys. He uses a Vision TriMax Carbon aerodynamically shaped crank, a Vision TriMax Ultimate front wheel and Vision TriMax Disc wrapped with Continental Sprinter tubular tires. He rides on the Vision Vector Carbon R Bend aerobars along with Shimano Ultegra 6700 pedals, FSA K-Force brakes and Mavic Tri Helium race shoes. Instead of using a power meter or other high-tech computer, Starykowicz goes truly old school and rubber bands a Timex Ironman wrist watch—complete with an eight-lap memory—to his stem.