It isn’t surprising that this is billed as “The World’s Toughest Triathlon": the Uberman consists of a 21-mile swim across the Catalina Channel off the Californian coast, a 400 mile bike ride through the Mojave desert, followed by a 135 mile run in Death Valley. It also isn’t surprising that most race participants tackle the course as part of relay teams.
But American Scott Sambucci, 42, competed in Uberman as an individual competitor, one of only two individual starters.
Leading the race after his 14 hour, 25 minute swim through challenging currents and headwinds, Sambucci suffered severe neck abrasions, rotator cuff damage, and was suffering from both tendonitis and lacerations on his feet from the swim.
“I knew the swim would be extremely tough given the start time, tides and expected currents but I could not have predicted the injuries. My team was phenomenal in getting me back on the course quickly," explained Sambucci.
“It truly took an incredible effort for Scott to push through the last few miles of wind and chop to get himself to shore,” said Dan Bercu, Uberman Race Director, who observed Sambucci’s swim from a support boat.
Because of injuries and logistical challenges, Sambucci was “only” able to complete 140 miles of the event’s 400-mile bike and 40 of the 135-mile run course. “No regrets,” Sambucci remarked. “I came here to see how far I could push myself. My body simply got thrashed on the swim. While I felt great on the bike and run, I just decided I had proven enough to myself and it was time to head home satisfied and proud of what we accomplished."
What a phenomenal performance over an 84 hour period!
Sambucci’s background is as a three-time Ironman and he plans to continue his endurance racing next year in ultra-marathons and local triathlons.
When not performing such incredible endurance feats, he is an accomplished business coach, author and public speaker, and not surprisingly has already fielded requests to share his experiences with companies, corporate teams, and health and fitness groups. “I learned a tremendous amount during the training, logistics and execution of the adventure, and I’m excited to share those with others that want to learn from it.”
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