Nobody ever wants to get hurt, but if there ever was an incentive to fake an injury the Tricredibles Triathlon Team have it in the esteemed BAGUBA award. Credit for the invention goes to Carl Bonner, who came up with the concept loosely based off of a similar award he remembered from his high school’s wrestling coach. How he knows that I’m not sure, since word is he lettered on the cheerleading team. But anyway, the coveted annual BAGUBA award started in 2009 and stands for Beautifully Athletic Guy (or Gal) Uninhibited by Adversity. The criteria to qualify are simple:
1. You need to get injured or really sick. The worse off you are the better your chances. If it doesn’t set you back riding the pine during the triathlon season for at least a little while you need to get more injured or more sick. Try harder.
2. Overcoming the injury or sickness is okay, but you score more points if you go on and participate in races even though you aren’t fully healed yet.
So it requires poor genetics, a little bad judgement perhaps, and not just a small amount of stupidity basically.
Carl hand crafts the awards himself. Various (mostly) bike parts are cobbled together to resemble the winner’s exact likeness and then mounted on a plaque. No two awards are the same, making them rare collector’s items the moment they pass hands from the presenter to the recipient. Traditionally, the award is presented during the annual Tricredible Christmas Party to celebrate the closing of another triathlon season. Here’s a list of the distinguished BAGUBA award winners over the years:
2009 Bob Morrison
Bob trained for Ironman World Championship Hawaii while undergoing chemotherapy! Bob probably qualifies every year for a BAGUBA more than anybody because he’s just that much tougher than us but we gotta spread the love around at least a little bit.
2010 Phillip Rowan
Phillip’s favorite thing to do on a bike is come up with new ways to come off of them. That year he suffered a wreck during the Thursday Night World Championships. With stitches everywhere and nerve damage he still was up racing triathlons within a few short weeks. Phillip could have been a BAGUBA award winner for his various crashes in 2011, 2013, and 2014 as well. All of which resulted in various broken bones with shiny new metal hardware to put himself back together again, but we got tired of him falling off his bike on purpose just to start a collection of BAGUBA plaques.
2011 No Winner
I think we didn’t have a Christmas party that year and the award was neglected as well. Shame on us.
2012 Bert Kelly
With a stress fracture in his foot, Bert wore a boot for 6 weeks leading up to Ironman Florida and ran it anyway unbeknownst to his doctor.
2013 Mike Colombo, Bruce Richter (1st ever tie)
Mike broke his collarbone in a crash during a training ride. Still not completely healed, he went on to race Ironman Louisville anyway. Thinking it was just a torn meniscus, Bruce did Ironman World Championship Hawaii on a bum knee. After painfully limping for 16 miles of the marathon he came home to find out it would take a series of surgeries and other people’s parts to fix all the damage that was within.
2014 No Winner
Everybody was too healthy that year to get one! I’m sure some people tried to fake an injury or two, but the judges were not fooled.
2015 John Caracoglia
John rode 100 miles on a training ride and the next day passed out. When he came to a doctor was suggesting he needed a pacemaker. After completing a required rest period John jumped right into the Medoc Marathon. That’s swinging for the fence!
As of yet, we have not had a female BAGUBA winner. Speculation is that (1) women are far too smart to race on damaged limbs and (2) the prospect of Carl sculpting female anatomy with bike parts is a little disturbing and probably won’t be very accurate. But the tradition lives on as we eagerly anticipate the crowning of a new BAGUBA champion for 2016! So, be safe, train hard, and if that doesn’t work for you maybe there’ll be a shiny new trophy for you at the end of this year!
Here's mine from 2013. The Hello Kitty bandaid on the right knee I thought was a nice touch.
Here's Phillip and his BAGUBA. Carl captured the details of his head perfectly in this sculpture.