07-23-2009, 12:24 AM #1
Warren Frank 2009 LB2CAT Challenged Athlete National Champion
PWC Offshore Challenged Racer 2009 National Champion
By Shawn Alladio
Warren Frank began training diligently a month prior to the LB2CAT National PWC Offshore Race. He along with fellow Challenged racer, Ryan Levinson decided they would try the offshore PWC race and see what it held for them. Both racers started out on Sea Doo RXT watercraft, a great choice for offshore race boats. I was privileged to have Ryan contact me on email asking, for some direction, and I didn't know it at that time but I was soon to become their coach. I'm so glad I did.
Warren is a below the knee amputee and accomplished athlete participating in CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation) select events, such as swims, runs and cycling. He owned his own PWC so it was a natural progression for him to move from riding to racing.
Training was intensive. Testing of gear and riding style merged as Warren began to get into a zone of posture, pace and security underway. Once his confidence passed any reservations he had, he just simply flew away at speed. A week out of the race, Warren purchased a Kawasaki 260X, the premiere offshore racing boat. This boat has proven itself as a winner in prior offshore races when the Channel between the mainland and the island of Catalina roughened. I estimate the Ultra's hull design set a tempo that is difficult to surpass for any racer. It also holds increased horsepower and that takes body fatigue consideration.
Something that is common for Warren as he's had to make adjustments to body trim style on other disciplines is to discover advantages, not disadvantages. Expanding on this a PWC has more of a varied strength application, just like it's namesake it is 'personal'. It takes technical handling abilities at speed to stay in step. I have always believed it is possible for people whom have physical limitations to find a level of operations on a PWC that are believable. Once defined, and tested, one merely needs to keep moving with the helm, throttle and balance points, all which are personal to each individual. Not a problem. Warren is one of the myth busters.
Warren came to the starting line of the LB2CAT on July 12th, 2009, best prepared as he could be for going into an unknown. He had come up the day prior and spent the night at my house. A thorough going through of his boat and a team BBQ, the final assault had launched. Warren had dialed in his body positioning, adjusted his prosthesis needs and set his mind to not only going the distance but defining his own limits, not those set by a physical distraction.
This is a key observation I, along with others have appreciated about Challenged Athletes: As individuals they keep moving forward, knowing the despair of a life changing episode on a personal level, it takes a lot more to take away from their appreciation of achievement.
Warren's goals were not outside of any other able bodied athlete. In fact his competition results put him in a very stable position with our without a prosthesis. This rendered an stigmas or expectations of lower performance levels to be neutralized. Now the able bodied athletes simply had another able bodied competitor on the track with them, and a fast one at that!
I even harbored thoughts that Warren could ultimately beat me at my own game and I found pleasure in those thoughts. Why? Competition is healthy. It brings something out of us to push us beyond our own comfort level. Was I now too comfortable? Possibly.
The end result was Warren took home the LB2CAT National Challenged Athlete Championship title. RPM Racing Enterprises had the foresight to agree the time had come, a Challenged Athlete Division would be included,. Timely and deserving. Warren's National PWC Offshore Title will stand for one year. He has another race ahead of him in September 2009, and has already set the pace for those practice sessions. Warren doesn't need coaching any longer, he just needs Wide Open Throttle! And I think I also need a faster boat!
Congratulations to Warren Frank and the entire community of Challenged Athletes who compete because their spirit is fully engaged.
This is the first ever Challenged Athlete PWC category in the history of Personal Watercraft Racing. Warren just wrote the first chapter in our PWC history book for others as well as himself. Other racers will follow and set new marks and explode the racing scene with their own level of heroism, and we will all be cheering on those warriors who choose to battle life head on with "Heart and Soul'.
Challenged Athlete Foundation: http://www.challengedathletes.org/about_caf/history.htm
It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. The Challenged Athletes Foundation believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.
July 12 - Long Beach to Catalina and back PWC race (personal watercraft)"The race yesterday was grueling. Much harder than I expected. The start was crazy, All the pro guys with highly modified skis went ahead and everyone else including me had to follow in their white water which was wild. After about 8 miles everyone started dispersing and the water became easier to read.
Within about 10 min's after the start I started getting very bad forearm cramps but I pushed on. Once I got to Catalina and rounded the turn boat and on the way back I couldn't hold the throttle or the steering anymore and had to stop about 6 times going at idle speed while stretching my fingers and wrists backwards to loosen up my forearms.
Once my forearms were loose I could go at full speed at about 60 - 65 mph for a while and passing a few guys. At 65 mph the wind resistance is so great that I was leaning into the wind at a 45 degree angle and it was holding me up giving me a little bit of rest, but after a while the pain returned and I had to slow down and the guys I passed, passed me again.
I came 16th overall. My time was good but I could have done MUCH better. I came 1st in my division of only 3 challenged athletes. Granted I was on a much faster ski.
Next race I'm not going to be so tense with my hands at the start and I need to do some serious forearm workouts in the gym." -Warren Frank
Next race - Dana Point to Oceanside and Back - click here for race flier
Warren Frank L and Ryan Levinson R
Mike Arnold, Shawn Alladio, Ryan Levinson, and Warren Frank
07-23-2009, 02:50 AM #2
Warren Frank the 1st Nationally Ranked PWC Challenged Athlete in Offshore Racing
LB2CAT 2009 National PWC Offshore Championships
Name - Warren Frank
Age - 42
Race Boat Make/# - Kawasaki Ultra 260X #
Class - Challenged
Time for the race: -78mins. 16secs.
Placing for the Race : 16th
Why did you choose the class you raced in and what does it mean to you? Challenged Athlete Division - to bring awareness to the sport and that other "dis"Abled athletes can race too.
Your position as best you could determine on the start?
What did you do the day before, any preparation?
Checked all hoses on my ski, tried to relax, drank a lot of fluids, and basically tried to relax
What were you thinking of the night before?
"I hope I don't come last" and "why am I hyperventilating"?
Why did you choose the boat you raced?
3 months training for the race on an 06 RXT and riding a lot with Shawn and a few times with Mark Gerner, Robert Carreon and Pirate. I saw how they hit some rough stuff with such ease and after talking to them and reading up on the Ultra online.
What time did you wake up!
2 Hours out of the race, what were you doing?
Ummm sitting in the porta potty getting rid of some unwanted weight and trying not to be so nervous
1 Hour out of the race what were you doing?
I ate a bowl of cereal with my secret "power" mix and put all my gear out in the parking lot and double checked everything
What was your first thought when you picked your position in the lineup for the start? What were you looking for?
I was looking for Shawn Alladio because I knew if I was close to this BADASS woman, nobody would try mess with me and drift into my line.
As the start went off, and you passed the Queens Gate (harbor mouth) What was going through your mind?
Shit that's the start, no warning! I need to point my ski in the correct direction, for real..........this is it. Wait for me!!!
How was the first 10 miles of the race for you?
It was all good but the white water from the other boats was a little more bother than I anticipated. Made it hard to read the natural flow of the swell and chop. I was gripping with my hands much too tight.
When you came to the turnaround boat, how were you feeling? How was your boat doing in those conditions?
Boat was doing fine, how was I feeling? Mentally - OMG now all the way back from where I came ?%#@ my hands and forearms are too tired
Half Way back did you hit a psychological or physical wall? How did you overcome it?
I hit a physical wall, I think the 1st 10 miles I gripped too tight and I sat when my legs were not tired, I thought sitting would save my legs for later. Sitting actually gives me extreme forearm cramps and I had to stop to idle speed 6 times on the way back to stretch my hands backwards on the grips. My new training technique is NO SITTING. It saves my forearms and lets me adjust my feet according to the conditions, which keeps the boat hooked up better and it will save my lower back in the long run.
Any mechanicals failures? How did you deal with it?
Did you have any 'Battles' during the race with other competitors you especially enjoyed?
There was a guy on a RXT silver in color, I didn't get his race # but we were back and forth until 1/2 way back from the Island I had to stop too much and stretch my hands and he was gone
What advice would you give to recruit other racers to this event?
DO NOT take it lightly. Its not just sitting on your butt and hitting the gas.
Cross train - weights, bike, run, stair climbs, stretching, strengthen forearms. Get on a good nutrition plan for your best performance.
Ride with friends, not only from the safety aspect but the competitiveness too.
Carry all the correct safety equipment to make it back in good shape,
Train in the afternoon when the water Isn't glassy
Anything else you want to comment on?
The people in the sport are amazing, almost like an extended family. Everyone wants to share tips and stories.
My goal for my 1st race was to come in the top 20 and I was shocked to learn that I came 16th with such a bad performance on the way back.
We need more competition people!!
My goal for next race is to come in the top 10.
One last thing, there are so many potential PWC racers out there that have no idea that Offshore Endurance racing exists.
Everyone should make an effort to get more people racing.
Note: Warren is the Newly crowed National Offshore PWC Challenged Champion for 2009 due to his racing efforts in the LB2CAT.
07-23-2009, 08:45 PM #3
Great story! Thanks for sharing.
07-24-2009, 09:40 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Southern California
very inspiring !
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