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Ironman

David Bailey: Collision Course

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After a nine-year hiatus, David Bailey is returning to the Hawaii Ironman to once again contend for the win in the Physically Challenged division. Bailey, a former motocross superstar, first clashed with Carlos Moleda, a former Navy SEAL, during a three-year span in the late 1990s in what made for one oft the greatest rivalries in triathlon history.

Spinal-cord injuries usually result from a traumatic impact that breaks a vertebra. When discs or bone fragments rupture spinal-cord tissue, the initial wave of damage can shred neural cells and crush axons (the wires that connect neurons to one another). Heavy bleeding can swell the tissues within the spinal canal, cutting off blood and oxygen flow to other regions of the cord. The drop in blood pressure can impede self-regulation systems and lead to spinal shock. Neurologists believe this happens in half of all spinal-cord injuries. Spinal shock disrupts communication between the brain and the body. Essentially, the first blow of the accident initiates a cascade of damage, and in the hours, days and weeks that follow, the damage spreads. In all too many cases the end result is paralysis.

Despite how tough it is to rebound from spinal-cord injuries—in addition to enormous physical limitations, doctors list denial, grief and depression as common obstacles to recovery—wheelchair athletes have thrived in sports since shortly after World War II, when the Stoke Mandeville Games were held on the opening day of the 1948 London Olympics. This event was the brainchild of Dr. Ludwig Guttman, the first director of the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Britain. Guttman used athletics because traditional methods of rehabilitation were falling short. The Stoke Mandeville Games evolved into the Paralympics Games that exist today.

After being paralyzed, the challenged athlete’s journey to the starting line of an endurance event is long, painful and complicated. It can take months of healing and rehabilitation to simply develop the strength to make it through a basic life routine. In the early to the mid-1990s, the question of whether a wheelchair triathlete could finish the Hawaii Ironman was tested and resolved affirmatively. In 1996, John Maclean became the first wheelchair triathlete to complete the Ironman in regulation time, and in doing so he paved the way for a Kona rivalry between two determined competitors.

David Bailey was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 1987. Carlos Moleda was shot in 1989. They would meet for the first time in a half-Ironman in 1997, a precursor to their three-year rivalry at the Hawaii Ironman, a rivalry that transcended the disabilities that originally defined them. From the first cannon blast, the question of whether they could finish the race was dismissed. The sport has seen legendary rivalries before: Dave Scott and Mark Allen, Paula Newby-Fraser and Erin Baker. But a strong case can be made that Bailey versus Moleda was the greatest one of all.

Having started out at the age of 10 on a 60cc Yamaha, David Bailey revealed his motocross potential when he won the 1978 250cc amateur national championship at 17. As he tells the story, a crucial moment in his first years of struggling to break into motocross as a pro occurred in 1981. He borrowed his mom’s Toyota Celica and, lacking a trailer, took the front wheel off his motorbike so he could bolt the forks to the car’s hitch and drive from his home in Virginia to a race in Denver, where he hoped to qualify for pro nationals.

In the race, Bailey was leading when a competitor’s crash on another stretch of the track plowed through hay bales and center-punched him, breaking a rib and ending his race. “I drove all that way to race three laps,” says Bailey. Despite the pain, he piled everything back into the car, hitched up his bike and began driving back to the East Coast that night.

While driving, something in the night caught Bailey’s eye. “It looked like a cloud,” he recalled in an interview with competitor.com. “I pulled over and just stared at it. It was the Milky Way.” Under the starry sweep of sky, Bailey examined his motocross dream. “I made up my mind,” he said. “This is what I want to do. This is what I’m willing to do. I’m going to do whatever it takes.” In less than two years, he would sign a coveted deal with Honda to join its factory team. Not only had he made it, he soared. In his eight-year career, Bailey collected 30 AMA victories and was eventually inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

Held on dirt courses erected within major sports arenas, supercross races are known for their steep jumps and demanding obstacles. In a 1986 supercross event, held in Anaheim, Calif., Bailey got into a dogfight with Ricky Johnson, a Honda teammate, in a race that is considered one of the greatest in motocross history. Bailey and Johnson exploited slim tangents and openings as they lapped other riders, repeatedly stealing the lead from one another. The tension of the duel lit up the fans, and Bailey says he gauged Johnson’s moves by crowd reaction. Endurance became a factor after 10 laps of the 19-lap race. Johnson later said he went anaerobic at about lap 12, and hung on for five more laps, before giving in to Bailey’s pressure. “My lungs were bleeding,” Johnson recalled in an interview with racerxill.com on the 20th anniversary of the race. “I was seeing dots at the end. I gave it everything I had. And I knew I was going to have to do that every single weekend for the whole series. I was just thinking about what it was going to take to beat him.”

The race displayed the essence of Bailey’s talent. A good dirt-bike racer knows the intricacies of a course and breaks each lap into concise segments, mustering complete concentration on each increment before moving on to the next increment. According to his longtime trainer and best friend, former professional triathlete Todd Jacobs, Bailey brought to motocross an exceptional intelligence in seeing and handling a course. “David used a natural genius he possessed for finding the cleanest, most efficient lines,” Jacobs says. For instance, Bailey pioneered a technique to use the brake while airborne during a jump to tip the front wheel and sweeten the landing, reducing impact and retaining speed. Jacobs, now a trainer for motocross riders, says Bailey could plumb a course during the few minutes allowed for warm-up at a level well beyond his competition. In the duel between Bailey and Johnson, Bailey showed an uncanny ability to guide a motorcycle on the finest angles and lines, and when Johnson’s final two stabs at the lead were instantly reversed, the crowd got a sense of not only Bailey’s skill but also his raw desire to win—to do, as he had declared, “Whatever it takes.”

“It wasn’t Ricky Johnson” motivating him that day, Bailey says. “It was the idea of someone being able to dominate me. I hated it.”

In 1987, at a preseason event in Lake Huron, Calif., at a time when Bailey was riding at speeds experts in the sport believed were unprecedented, Bailey’s life took the severe turn that would ultimately guide him into triathlon. The weather was overcast and Bailey, as he tells it, didn’t want to race. “It was a lousy day,” he says. As part of an overall bid to just get it over with, Bailey attempted to clear two jumps in a single flight. It didn’t work, and he went over the handlebars, and the bike followed him to the ground. The crash would leave Bailey a paraplegic.

Well before the accident, Bailey had become a rabid fan of triathlon. On his honeymoon with his wife, Gina, in Hawaii, in 1986, he was in Kona to watch the race in person. In addition to pioneering technique in motocross, he was also one of the first to use triathlon as an ancillary form of training to improve performance. Outlasting Ricky Johnson was one example of how this strategy paid off.

In the two years following the injury, Bailey obsessed on finding a way to walk again. Whether it was word of experimental surgery, mental imagery or medicinal herbs, he pursued it. While he received warm encouragement and support from friends and loved ones, Bailey says it was straight talk from Jeff Spencer, a former Olympic cyclist working as a fitness consultant for the Honda racing team, that helped him. As Bailey ticked off the various methods he was chasing to regain use of his legs, Spencer asked the question, “What if it doesn’t work?” Bailey says this woke him up.

“I realized I was going to have to deal with it, now, head-on,” he explains. “I had never asked myself, ‘What can I learn from this?’ I had been so busy trying to get back on my feet. In life, we all have our time when we have to deal with problems. They can shape us, teach us patience, resolve, purpose and faith.”

Bailey’s journey back into athletic competition began in his wheelchair, with circuits up and down his driveway. In the early 1990s, he would meet another straight talker, Jacobs, and the two would develop a lifelong friendship through which they shared knowledge. From Bailey, Jacobs received an education in the art of motocross and the art of patience; from Jacobs, Bailey was able to learn from the depths and experiences of a former professional triathlete who had trained with and competed against the best, including Mark Allen, Dave Scott, Scott Tinley and Scott Molina.

“He kept pestering me about triathlons,” Jacobs says. “He wanted to know all about the Ironman. He’d followed it for a long time and could recite the ABC telecasts. One day I said, ‘Let’s just do one.’”

They picked a relatively low-key event, the Carlsbad triathlon. “It grew to be an obsession,” Jacobs says. “I realized the process was helping him save his life. It was his re-entry into being a man.”

While able-bodied triathletes have the luxury of using different muscle groups in the three disciplines, wheelchair triathletes are restricted to using their arm and back muscles in the swim, handcycle and wheelchair segments. Often, a wheelchair triathlete—and Bailey is a good example of this—has no stomach muscles to use, an issue effecting power and balance. Without a kick, the swim stroke demands greater work from the arms and shoulders to stabilize the body and counter drag. The equipment itself provides another set of problems. For one, the lightest handcycles can be in the range of 35 pounds (“We called them Lincoln Town cars,” Jacobs says), twice the weight of a tri-bike, and instead of being propelled by the largest muscle groups of the body, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals and core muscles, the handcycle is powered by the arms and back. The same is true for the wheelchair used in the run, although wheelchair racers can take better advantage of descents and flats than runners can (ascents are another story). Finally, whatever stress an able-bodied triathlete attributes to air travel with a bike, imagine having to travel as wheelchair triathletes do: They need to get from their home, to the airport, to the hotel, to the race, with a handcycle, racing wheelchair and regular wheelchair in tow. This collection of challenges was the dramatic backdrop for Dr. Jon Franks, the first wheelchair triathlete to attempt the Hawaii Ironman in 1994. Franks didn’t make the bike cut-off, but he did complete the 112-mile leg on a handcycle.

In 1997, John Maclean became the next wheelchair triathlete to take up the goal. Jacobs suggested to Bailey that they observe the 1997 Hawaii Ironman in person. “We went over on purpose,” Jacobs says, “to watch MacLean, to see if it could be done.” MacLean made the bike cut-off and went on to successfully complete the race in the year that debuted the physically challenged division. The fire was ignited in Bailey. “After the race, David wasn’t home a week before he quit his job and started training,” says Jacobs. “I think I got blamed for that one.”

The qualifying event was in Lubbock, Texas, at the Buffalo Springs Lake Half-Ironman in west Texas. Three Kona slots were up for grabs. It was a legitimate test. In 1998, race-day temperatures climbed to 114 degrees. Bailey raced not only to win a slot but  also to be the first wheelchair triathlete across the line.

During the bike portion of the race, Bailey looked over his shoulder and saw a competitor behind him, maintaining contact. “David hammered, trying to drop this guy,” Jacobs says. “I remember saying to David from the road, ‘Uh, he’s still back there.’”
Early in the run, Bailey used a steep, long uphill to his advantage, Jacobs telling him that the man who got to the top of the hill first was going to win the race. Bailey charged it and used the fast decline to make what would be the deciding breakaway of the day, going on to win. Finishing second was the man who Bailey spent the day trying to shake, Carlos Moleda. But second is second, and in rendering his new rival second, Bailey had taken a big step toward claiming the win in Kona. In the metaphysics of dominating an opponent, Bailey had set the flow of energy and expectation to his advantage.

At the 1998 Hawaii Ironman, the spotlight followed Bailey. Not only was he a superstar from the motocross world but he was also deeply networked into San Diego’s pro triathlon culture. Moleda recalls being witness to this phenomenon. “He knew everybody.”

In the race, however, it was all about the man not from San Diego. Although Bailey led him out of the Kailua Bay, 1:17 to 1:22, Moleda biked nearly an hour faster, 7:46 to 8:42, and picked up even more time on the run. Finishing times: Moleda 11:25:55, Bailey 12:34:43.

“Carlos was gnarly,” Jacobs says with awe, remembering the utter shock of the upset. “He made sure David understood he was gnarly. Bailey beat the shit out of him in Lubbock, but in Kona, Dave got whacked. I told David, ‘You didn’t let this happen. It wasn’t about you letting something happen. He did it. He did it to you.’”

During his years as a pro, Jacobs had seen this brand of competitive ferocity in the likes of Mark Allen and Dave Scott. “They hated to lose and would do anything to make sure they didn’t lose,” Jacobs says. “And that was Carlos. Carlos was a former Navy SEAL, and a complete badass. He was someone who didn’t seek out the cleanest lines, like David did, but who went right through the darkness. He didn’t avoid fear; he went straight for it. I guess a day at Ironman isn’t so bad once you’ve been shot at with machine guns.”

“I said to David,” Jacons continues, “‘Do you understand who it is you’re messing with here? If you want to beat this guy, you’re going to have to get bloody.’”

Being defeated was painful for Bailey. It harked back to his sentiment concerning the Ricky Johnson duel: It was the idea of someone being able to dominate me. I hated it.
*   *   *
Carlos Moleda was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1962, a year after Bailey was born. A professional skateboarder in his teens who visited California in 1979, he decided at 18 to move to the United States.

“My family thought I’d only last a month in the U.S., then turn around and come home,” Moleda recalls.

Instead, Moleda enlisted in the U.S. Navy, securing his citizenship and volunteering to join the SEALs, arguably the most demanding of the Armed Forces elite units. It was in SEAL training that Moleda opened a door to the dark powers Jacobs refers to. “It was during the drown-proofing test, one of the tests you have to pass to qualify as a SEAL,” Moleda explains. “They showed us what we were going to have to do. A lot of guys said, ‘I’m out of here.’”

“After they tie your hands behind your back and your feet together, you jump into the deep end of a 50-meter pool. First you have to perform an underwater flip so that you’re forced to start out with no momentum; no push off the wall or anything. You start from zero. Then you have to swim the length of the pool underwater, dolphin style.”

On the weekend prior to the test, Moleda tried it out. He jumped in, flipped and started swimming toward the other end, repeatedly. “Every time I tried, I’d get to about three-quarters of the way there and I’d have to come up for air,” he says. During the actual test, Moleda reached the point where he had given up, but this time he did not. “I could see the wall,” he recalls. “Right then, I made the decision I was going to make it.” This time, Moleda touched the wall before coming up for air.

“I knew then what was possible when you reached deep for it,” he adds. “I think everyone has the capacity for that kind of strength. They just don’t know they have it. They haven’t been put in a situation where they were forced to reach in and find it.”
In December of 1989, now a petty officer on SEAL Team Four, Moleda was deployed in a mission to oust Manuel Noriega, the military dictator ruling Panama at the time. Moleda’s unit arrived in fast-attack boats with the objective of disabling Noriega’s Lear Jet. The unit received heavy fire—Moleda describes it as like being in front of a firing squad—and a bullet lodged into his back. His legs went numb. He crawled through crossfire and was also shot in the leg. The team successfully blew up the jet and Noriega was apprehended. (Noriega was sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison in Miami for cocaine trafficking and money laundering. After serving 18 years of the sentence, it is expected he will be extradited to France to serve more prison time on French charges against the former dictator.)

When Moleda woke up, he told the nurse he would return to duty in a week. He only realized the extent of his injuries when he heard her say, “They have sports programs for paraplegics.”

The bulk of the next year would be spent in treatment and rehab. Whatever trauma he faced during this time, he made quick work of becoming an athlete again. In 1991 he made a statement when he pushed his wheelchair from Miami to his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., a 1200-mile trip.

After racing marathons for a while, Moleda read about the attempt by Franks to finish Hawaii. He thought, “I can do that.”
Sarah Moleda, Carlos’ wife (and a Hawaii Ironman finisher herself), has been witness to the unwavering intent Carlos brings to any goal he chooses to undertake. “He’s hyper-focused on every single thing he does,” she says. “Nothing or no one is going to get between him and the goal. If he says he’s going to do something, he does it. Unless it’s something he can’t control, like his body.”

Sarah describes how, for example, two years ago they decided to build their dream home in Hilton Head, S.C. “We physically built it ourselves,” she says. “We used subcontractors for the framing and foundation, but pretty much everything else was on our own. If there was something we wanted but couldn’t buy, Carlos designed it and made it. It took 18 months. There was no day off. We were here every single day. This is how Carlos is: ‘Building this house is now our job. This is what we’re going to do.’ It can be frustrating. There are times I like to put things off; he’s like, ‘Let’s do it yesterday.’”

Originally from Australia, Andrew Chafer, a landscaper, is one of Moleda’s neighbors. He is also a triathlete and finisher of seven Ironmans. When word of the Moledas’ house building plans spread through the community, says Chafer, he heard people saying, “They’re crazy. They’ll never be able to do it.” Chafer had been a friend and training partner of Moleda for years. “I told them, ‘Just watch.’”

“One day I was in the back yard,” Chafer says, “and I looked over and saw Carlos in his chair trying to plant a 300-pound palm tree. I said, ‘Hey Carlos, can you use a hand?’ He said, ‘No, I got it.’”

Sarah says her husband’s sense of commitment and tenacity is on full display when it comes to his sport. “When he’s going to start training for a race, he’ll say, ‘Monday is doomsday.’ And when he starts training, that’s it. That’s what he’s going to do every day until he makes his goal.”

The first time Moleda started training for the Ironman, he pushed himself through a long ride to the point of physical breakdown. “He came back from the ride and his eyes were literally sunk into his head,” Sarah says. “I tried to tell him he looked awful, that he looked like he was about to die. He finally admitted, ‘Yeah, I don’t feel too good.’”

“He’s a crazy man,” Chafer says. “He will go out on a seven-hour ride, purposefully forcing himself to bonk.”
Like many able-bodied triathletes, Moleda pinned his strategy on the 112-mile bike section of the race. “You have to focus on the bike,” he says. “Don’t worry about the swim or the run. The bike is the key.” Using the old-school endurance-training formula of the more the body endures, the more it will endure, Moleda has cranked his handcycle through all manner of pain and cramping, tempering his muscles to sustain a fast pace even when fatigued.

In 1999, this mindset again catapulted Moleda to victory. Although Bailey swam 1:14 to Moleda’s 1:17, Bailey again lost time on the bike, 7:28 to 7:14. For the second year in a row, Bailey lost and had to suffer through the five-hour flight back to his home in San Diego with the demon of defeat haunting his mind.

“I wanted something bad,” Bailey says. “But there was one other guy on the planet who wanted the same thing. His strength was that he always [went] hard. He never played it safe. He beat me and I gave up. I was the better athlete, but he was the better man. Carlos ultimately made me better. There was always something more I could give, and he forced me to dig it up. I was like, ‘Damn it. Why does this guy have to be so tough?’ But looking back, I was grateful.”

The drama before their 2000 rematch was heightened by Bailey’s all-or-nothing commitment to it. He had decided that, win or lose, 2000 would be his last Hawaii Ironman. Bailey’s agonizing desire to win fueled the emotional urgency not only for him but also for Jacobs.

Jacobs believed the training and racing of ’99 and ’00 were prerequisites for Bailey’s true bid to realize his full potential. “He needed the base from those two years to be able to do the kind of training necessary to beat Carlos,” he says. “Carlos was like Steve Prefontaine. If you don’t go with him when he goes off the front, he’s going to beat you. You can’t think that any amount of pacing will give you a chance. You can’t hope he blows up. Carlos was willing to go hard early in the day and blast through his reserves. David was going to have to go with him.”

On the psychological front, Jacobs spent many hours talking and training with Bailey. They would ride six and seven hours together at 17-18 mph. A great deal of soul searching occurred, for both of them. For Bailey it was about giving his absolute all to the pursuit of a goal in a sport that, unlike motocross, he wasn’t born to do, and for Jacobs it was about coming to terms with professional regret.

“I consider my professional triathlon career a failure,” he confesses. “In the years of working with David, I learned a great deal about myself and about sport, more than I did when I was actually a pro triathlete. The reason I didn’t succeed when I was in it wasn’t because I lacked talent or didn’t work hard enough. It was about appreciation. It was about patience. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. I didn’t understand what a gift it was. Ultimately I didn’t have it mentally back then. These are things David has taught me.”

Bailey was not fully ready to make the absolute commitment need to rise to Moleda’s challenge until he’d had a mental and physical break, however.  “I checked out after the 1999 race,” he says. “I ate donuts and got fat. But then I launched into the strictest regimen I’d ever been in.” Bailey nailed a photo of Moleda to the wall. He’d heard that his competitor believed a 10:30 finishing time in Kona was possible and was training for it. Bailey bolstered his training to aim for the same target.  He took up his rival’s bonk-on-purpose training philosophy. After 40-mile rides he would tack on an additional five-mile time trial at 23 mph. Once on a long ride he rode straight into the deep cavern of a premium bonk. Desperate for fuel, he turned into a McDonald’s drive-through and ordered the works. Pulling into a parking space, in full view of the mystified diners inside wondering what this guy was doing in his space-age human-powered contraption, he spilled his Coke and fries onto the blacktop. He looked down at the mess, shrugged and began feasting on them. Bailey’s weekly training volume hit levels of 5000 yards of swimming, 240 miles of cycling and 90 miles in his racing wheelchair.

At times, the punishing workload wore Bailey down. He recalls, “I would tell Todd how hard the training was and he’d say, ‘David, this isn’t hard. Hard is welding or driving a cab. Hard is trying to take care of a family of four on $35,000 a year. That’s hard. Training, Dave, is awesome.’”

Round three of the greatest rivalry in Ironman history was reminiscent of the 1989 Ironwar pitting a victory-starved Mark Allen against six-time winner Dave Scott. Bailey worked at replicating what Allen did to Scott: He locked onto Moleda’s tail and endeavored to stay there. Swim split: David Bailey 1:16:33, Moleda 1:16:32.

Awaiting the competitors on the bike course were some of the fiercest winds recorded in Kona, Moleda used the handcycle to make a statement. “Carlos smoked me on the first hill,” Bailey says. “Out on the highway, he was still getting away. I began thinking, ‘No way can he go this fast all day.’ And then the wind started hitting, and I swear, it didn’t slow him down at all.’”

Bailey fought to maintain contact and concentration. “It’s a long race, and if you let your mind drift from the task, all of a sudden you’ve slowed down a mile or two per hour for 10 to 20 minutes,” he says.

Regardless, Moleda had established a huge gap. When Jacobs saw Moleda ride by after the Hawi turnaround, he didn’t see Bailey for nearly seven minutes.

By his own account, Jacobs nearly lost it, screaming at Bailey when he came by to get back in it. “This is your life right here! This is critical! This is everything. You have to pour everything into it! All of your disappointments, all of your pity, all of your anger, you have to lay it out right now!”

On the ride back to Kona, Bailey clawed his way back into contact. Heading into T2, Moleda’s gap had withered to two minutes. The race was going to come down to the marathon.

Once again, Moleda started off with a burst of speed. “I pounded as hard as I could,” Moleda recalls. Bailey chose to focus on eating and drinking and not wasting energy going through town. Out of town and onto the Queen K again, Bailey began to push. At the turnoff into the Natural Energy Lab, Moleda held a 95-second lead.

For the first time in the three years of racing together, Bailey sensed Moleda was cracking. By the end of the Lab’s three-mile out-and-back stretch, Bailey had caught up to Moleda. Bailey took a moment to fix his gloves and then attacked, flying by him. “The bear had jumped on my back,” Moleda says. “After he passed me, he looked back. You could see it in his eyes: ‘I got him.’ His arms were just flailing. He was gone.’”

In the final stretch on Ali’i drive, Bailey says he looked back over his shoulder, again and again, terrified Moleda had recovered his seemingly supernatural ability to overcome physical limitations. He hadn’t. When Bailey crossed the line, you could read his lips. He said, “Finally.” Bailey’s time was 11:05, 24 minutes faster than he had raced in 1999.

“It was an honor for me to lose to him,” Moleda says now. “He proved to everyone his grit. I dropped him on the bike. When I passed him I thought, ‘He’s gone.’ But he was the better man.”

“Those two gave as much as Dave and Mark did in ’89,” Jacobs says. “The race between them transcended the pro race that day. You hear about the sportsmanship between Carlos and David. Maybe outside of the race, but during it, it was personal.”

Bailey made good on his promise to leave Kona behind him. Although forever connected to the sport of triathlon, he is now an expert commentator for ESPN’s motocross coverage. He has become a passionate advocate of the use of a protective brace—called a Leatt-Brace—to reduce the possibility of spinal-cord injury (he makes a moving plea to riders in a YouTube video to adopt the brace in the way seatbelts were adopted in cars).

Moleda did return, in 2005, after struggling through complications following an accident on his chair that necesitated a series of surgeries and recoveries. Sitting down as much as paraplegics and quadriplegics do, pressure sores and infections are a constant threat, and are potentially fatal. Moleda had three surgeries, each followed by more than half a year of recovery. “I got through it by telling myself that once it was all over, I would begin training again,” he says. “I would spend my time thinking up training plans in my head.”

Moleda’s comeback, when you think about what he survived to even attempt it, is perhaps the most stunning of his many accomplishments.

In 2005, tested by the talented and tough Marc Herremans, Moleda strung together a 1:17 swim, a 6:43 bike and a 2:23 run to do what he long ago believed was possible: cross the finish line in 10:30. Now that his house is finished, Moleda has again resumed training. Not for Kona, but for another goal: the Race Across America.

In addition to an assortment of causes the pair contributes to, Bailey and Moleda continue to work for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and other similar organizations. To learn more about the foundation and to see how you can help, visit caf.org. Exciting recent advancements in research and medical technology indicate the prospect of being able to repair spinal-cord injuries. For more information and a list of foundations, visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, ninds.nih.gov.

T.J. Murphy
Editor-in-Chief
Inside Triathlon Magazine