This is Part 1 of two inspirational stories coming out of Daybreak... Mike Bringhurst decided to turn his life around a couple years ago, largely through the sport of triathlon. I met him on the walk from transition to the swim start and asked if he'd be willing to share his story.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Daybreak was not on my list of races to do this year. I decided just a few weeks prior to sign up. I had just recently joined the Salt Lake Tri Club in the spring and thought since I was going to the after party I might as well do the race.
Just a little intro on me. I have had quite a big transformation in the last few years. I feel like I have woken up from some type of coma. Life had become just going through the motions. I essentially decided to check myself out of life and numb myself. Several factors woke me up. One being that my weight had got out of control. I was shocked when I stepped on the scale in July 2015 and it read 320 lbs. The feedback was loud and clear that I had to change. I sat down and made some goals. First lose 100 lbs and the second was to complete my first Triathlon. I had seen my sister Linda and her husband Brad do them for years. I decided Spudman would be my first because I liked the fact the swim was downstream. At the same time I set my goal to lose 100 lbs by the end of July 2016.
I bought my first road bike in April 2016 and just fell in love with cycling. I became a little addicted to the data on Strava and dreamed of one day getting a KOM. But it woke up my competitive spirit and the athlete inside me that had been dormant since high school. I did not reach my weight goal last year but I did become a triathlete. I had lost 60 lbs before Spudman. Hours after the race I sat down and really thought what would it take for me to get on the podium. I first set a goal time and started breaking it down and making my plan. A month later I took another leap and signed up for St. George Ironman 70.3. I figure that would push me through the winter to keep going. I continued to drop the weight and finished my second triathlon in May 2017 on the savage St. George 70.3.
Daybreak is just such a gorgeous setting with the Wasatch Mountains as the backdrop. I love that feeling of the sun coming up and being surrounded by triathletes before a race. There is just a good energy in the air. I was feeling good and had just reached passed the 90 lbs mark on my weight loss goal that week. I felt really prepared for the race. I decided to put my name on the “Clydesdale division” the morning of race day.
The national anthem was about to be sung but for some reason there was no flag. Then I saw someone pull out an American Flag. And I thought in my head who just has a Flag on hand? But grateful he saved the day. I knew he was a member of the SLTC but did not know Andrew Pullens name at the time. I did notice the “O” & “C” on his right calf though.
After the long barefoot walk to the Olympic start I got into the water which felt like the absolute perfect temperature. This would be my first beach start. My goal was simply to swim straight. I had made some major sighting mistakes at St. George that I did not want to repeat. I felt good and strong. At about the halfway point I remember bumping into the “Flag Guy” Andrew Pullens. I know he had a later start time and figured I was a little slower today. I made the final turn to head to last buoy and found myself in a shallow part of the lake. The plants just below the surface felt like they were trying to hold onto my legs and my arms with every stroke and I just kept going but that was a creepy feeling. After coming out of the swim I realized I was behind a few minutes from where I thought I would be.
I decided I would skip socks for this race. I had attempted a few unsuccessful flying mounts the night before and decided with the long cobble sidewalk that I would just stick to running with shoes on. I was excited to get on the bike and wanted to push it. I was feeling good and had a faster average speed up the false flat than a week ago. With being a bigger rider hills are always a challenge but at this point no one had passed me. Then it happened I got passed and the guy was a lot older but really strong on the bike. It motivated me to kick it up a notch and I passed him when the road went down hill for a bit. We went back and forth a few more times but he passed me for final time on the hill right before the copper mine. I knew I would scream past him on the downhill but he turned for the sprint.
I let it go on the down hill and was flying at 42 plus. After the turn around I started picking off riders, but started to struggle on the last blind corner hill before the copper mine entrance. I knew it would be the last hill before the final descent, so I continued to push. I gave out a scream at the top of the copper mine and then let her rip. I topped out a few times on the road back. The traffic right before soda row sucked. I was competing with the cars. As I made the turn on to Soda Row going pretty fast a pedestrian was not paying attention and did not see me coming. He seemed to be clueless that there was even a race going on. I decided to pass behind him but could not resist yelling “Boo” into his ear at point blank range as I passed by while he was halfway through crossing. I wish I could have seen his reaction. This is so out of my character but I just thought he needed a little reminder on how close he came to almost being hit with a 230 lbs Clydesdale at 27 mph that would not have been a good thing for him or me. Checking the results my average for the bike came in at 21.3 mph. Which put me at top 8th spot for the Olympic bike course on the day. By far my strongest discipline of the day.
I started the run but was just not feeling it. I was struggling to keep a 9 minute pace at the beginning. Just a week prior during a brick I was closer to 8 minutes for the first two miles. I just kept fading but kept going. I started getting passed and saw a few in my age group that came by I was looking for the “C” but did not see them on anybody. I continued to fade and made one push before the finish. As I typed my number in to get my results the printout read I was first for Clydesdales. I was shocked because I felt my run was just not that good. Reality was not that many signed up for the Clydesdale division. But to be called up to the podium on my third triathlon was an amazing experience and totally unexpected.