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Local triathlete McGuigan on the mend

McGuigan back on the bike after crash in Hawaii

Usually one visits Hawaii to drink mai tais and relax, but the trips have been painful for Ryan McGuigan.

“I have some demons with Hawaii,” the Tucson triathlete admits.

Things started out splendidly at the Ironman World Championship in Kona in 2006.

“Awesome swim, awesome bike,” he says. “Then I spent most of the marathon throwing up on the side of the road.”

He was there last October for another try, but during the bicycle race, he reached for a water bottle behind him, lost balance and collided with two highway reflector signs.

“I couldn’t move my foot to get out of the pedal and I knew I was in trouble,” McGuigan said. “They took me to the (Kona) hospital and it took two nails and two screws for my hip and femur. They did a good job.

“I didn’t even realize until much later that I had also badly hurt my shoulder.”

He was still woozy the next day when against all practical medical and common sense advice, he checked out of the hospital so he could see his girlfriend, Chrissy Parks, who was receiving her Ironman medal for finishing fifth in her age group.

“I didn’t see any benefit lying in a hospital then,” McGuigan said. “And Chrissy, she really rocked that race.”

McGuigan doesn’t want to be known as the guy who has rehabbed himself back into competitive condition, but instead the guy who competes well.

With luck, he’ll become the kind of triathlete who finished third in his age group in the 2008 Ironman Arizona.

He still can’t run, but McGuigan is regularly competing in the weekly local all-comers cycling Shootout.

He finished seventh last month in the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association Valley of the Sun time trial.

He’s making a remarkable recovery. He was on the stationary bike and in the pool rehabbing two days after returning home from Hawaii.

“I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself,” he said. “There are always people worse off. There was a girl in the same race in Hawaii who broke both her arms, and she is a pro. It’s her living. We keep in touch.”

McGuigan moved to Tucson last year from Ontario, Canada, seeking new challenges and an ideal training climate.

“I’ll compete again,” he said. “They say I won’t be as good . . . I don’t know.

“I don’t want to get mad at them (the skeptics). I’ll have a leg length discrepancy but you know endurance improves as speed slows with age anyway.

“My goal is to get back to Hawaii.”

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