Haven Barnes, a professional triathlete of four years, says his objective is to make it to the Olympic trials in 2008. With a goal like this, it's hard to imagine that in his first triathlon five years ago, he "bonked."
The loss of fluids and electrolytes he experienced forced him to walk six of the triathlon's last 10 miles, taking him "from fifth place coming off the bike to 56th across the finish line."
The persistence Barnes has shown since what he calls his "disaster" has taken him all the way to a third-place finish in the Honolulu ITU Pan American Cup in May 2006. During this past year, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) ranked Barnes the No. 12 triathlete in America and No. 115 in the world.
A typical triathlon, and the most common in the U.S., is the Olympic distance: a one-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. Barnes resides in Manitou Springs to give himself a bit of an edge; the altitude, he says, "is just about perfect for training."
Last Sunday, Jan. 21, Barnes was one of two Americans to complete the La Paz ITU Pan American Cup in Argentina, finishing 37th. This weekend, he'll be at the Villarica ITU Pan American Cup in Chile. After that, he'll head to Australia for six weeks of training with the U.S. national team.
"My ultimate goal would be just to walk away from the sport feeling like I became the best triathlete I could possibly be," Barnes says. "That I fulfilled my potential as a professional triathlete."
Visit havenbarnes.com for more information about upcoming races and results.