Austin grad finishes strong at Ironman

Austin grad Scott Bowe recently finished with a career best time at an elite Ironman competition in Tempe, Airz. -- Photo provided

One day after he averted disaster, Austin grad Scott Bowe was on top of the world.

Bowe, a 1998 Austin High School grad who now lives in West Allis, Wis., was practicing to compete in his second Ironman competition in a six-week span when his world stopped for moment.

Distaster strikes

As Bowe biked through Tempe, Ariz. on the day before what would be the biggest race of his career, he saw a car coming right for him. With little time to react he jumped off his top of the line custom built bike and watched his dream crumble right in front of him as the car collided with it.

“I jumped off and watched my bike get hit,” Bowe said. “As the bike was cracking, I just thought ‘there goes my race. I’m done.’ I was really dumfounded and it was a close call.”

After shaking off the near miss, Bowe and his wife, who also competed in Arizona, were in a frantic search for a new bike. After all, they had already flown to Tempe and paid for a hotel room with the sole purpose of competing in the Ironman the next day.

No giving up

Bowe was coming off a career best time in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished 214th out of almost 2,000 of the world’s elite triathletes in the Ford Ironman World Championships, so he was determined to race in Tempe.

Going from place to place in search of a quality bike was a long day for Bowe and his wife, but they eventually found a rental at the Bike Expo.

“It added a lot of stress that we weren’t really prepared for,” Bowe said.

The show went on and on Sunday and Bowe was ready to take on a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run.

The finish of a lifetime

Though not much went right for Bowe on Saturday, it all came together on Sunday when he was the best amateur finisher and won the overall age group Championship by cutting 35 minutes off his time in Hawaii.

Bowe, 31, finished the Ironman in nine hours and one second and he took 32nd place overall out of more than 2,400 competitors. Everyone ahead of him was a professional athlete and Bowe also placed ahead of a large amount of elite professional athletes.

“This was definitely a breakthrough performance,” Bowe said.

With his finish, Bowe has now qualified in the World Championships three times and this was his 10th career Ironman.

During the race, Bowe was still a little frustrated about losing his bike the day before, but he didn’t allow it to distract him.

“There’s not a lot I thought about, it’s more task based on what I need to be doing,” Bowe said. “There were no excuses, and I needed to make it happen. That day, of all days, I had to do it.”

Swimming with ease

Austin grad Scott Bowe was one of more than 2,400 competitors at the Tempe, Ariz. Ironman. -- Photo provided

Bowe, who is a computer analyst, was a five-time letter winner on the swimming and diving team at AHS and he was a Division III All-American swimmer at University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point, so the swim wasn’t too hard for him. Although it can be tough for those who get caught in the pack.

“For me, it’s not real hard because I’m lucky enough to be near the front,” Bowe said. “For athletes who haven’t swam as much, it can be pretty hectic. There’s lots of arms and bodies in the way.”

Learning to run

One thing Bowe didn’t have a lot of experience in before his Ironman training was running. He was on the track and field team at Austin, but he threw shot put and discus and he didn’t like to run.

In fact, Bowe loathed it.

“I hated running in high school with a passion. I would try to find any way to worm out of the two-mile warm-up run every day in practice,” Bowe said. “Now it’s just a great way to get closer to nature and be alone with my thoughts.”

While finishing one Ironman can be tough enough, it’s even harder to do two in a span of six weeks like Bowe did this year. He normally does one a year or puts six months between competitions, but with the right balance of light training and nutrition, Bowe was able to get ready for the Arizona Ironman in a short period of time.

“I was already in shape from Hawaii. I just had to work hard enough so I wouldn’t lose anything,” Bowe said.

Bowe’s next Ironman competition will be in June. His wife, Mary, who was also an All-American swimmer at UWSP, finished with her career best time at the Tempe Ironman.

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