Name: Randy Hadzor
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up right here in Syracuse, New York, went to college at Monmouth University in New Jersey, moved back to the area and co-founded a design firm called Variety Studios. I do running races, bicycles races of all sorts, and multisport races; racing for the Mello Velo cycling contingent and the WoolSports multisport team!
How long have you been involved in Triathlon and what made you take it up?
I’ve been involved with triathlon for about 3 years now. I suppose the whole order of events leading up to it started way back… I ran Division 1 cross country, indoor and outdoor track (distance and steeplechase) at Monmouth University in New Jersey. At school, we somehow got set up as product testers for the ‘new’ Garmin 305 forerunners. Towards the end of college I was having issues with Achilles tendonitis, and occasionally I would have to ride the bike to keep fitness up. It was fascinating to see your course mapped and the exact distance no matter where you chose to run… it was great not having to drive the course to figure out the distance! So, as awesome as that was with running, biking was exponentially more cool, as you could go even further. Especially the summer before graduation, when I would commute from my parents’ house in LaFayette to my internship at Eric Mower & Associates in Syracuse; then as much as possible exploring the roads south, east and west of Syracuse, and all around on Route 20. After school, rather than a suit or some other professional / scholarly mumbo jumbo, my family got me a bicycle as a graduation present. No longer did I have to steal my dad’s Trek, with the ol’ down tube shifters, to zip up and down Route 20. Being able to switch gears with the flick of a finger was pretty much the most amazing invention ever!
After 4 years of running, I was getting a little tired of all the running and I took time off to just have fun, relax, and ended up riding a lot. At this time I was living with my brother in Otisco and commuting to work at Fleet Feet in Syracuse, where I first started professionally mixing art and athletics by doing marketing, graphics, etc. After a couple months off, I realized I had signed up for the Lake Placid Marathon and realized just how close it was. So I upped the running miles, survived the Marathon, and did trail runs including the Virgil Mountain Madness and Monster Half type trail runs; trail runs were the coolest. Then that summer the real fun started when a friend from college suggested I come down do this ‘sprint tri’ thing down in New Jersey.
Who is your Hero?
This is a tough one. There are a lot of people I think of randomly that are super inspiring in all different aspects of life… when thinking about hard work and sports in general I see quick images of athletes like Jaromir Jagr, Ulf Sammuelson, Wayne Gretzky, Tie Domi; even dudes like Lopez Lamong, Anthony Famiglietti, and more recently people like Fabian Cancellara for being so fast people could accuse him of having a motor on the bicycle, Graeme Obree for ripping apart everyday appliances to create faster bicycles, and then artists like Space Invader that turn everyday life into an interesting adventure using art, wit and no doubt some sick climbing skills… But all said and done, my hero is probably my dad. He’s taught me the most about hard work, doing the right thing, working hard and being in control of your own success; he’s even upping the ante this year as we’ll both be competing in age group world championships though he’s in the more cut throat 60+ category…
What is your athletic background?
I started playing hockey and lacrosse when I was about 5. For the first few years, playing hockey for the Valley Eagles then eventually the Syracuse Stars, and playing lacrosse for the Onondaga Athletic Club Warriors (now called the Redhawks). We would play all year round, traveling mostly to Canada for both hockey and box lacrosse. I have fond memories of dressing in cars and racing across Canadian towns changing from lax arm shells to hockey shin guards in the back seat… this is actually the origin of my multisport career no doubt. It was all contact sports until in high school where I stopped playing football and started running cross country, mostly to get faster for lacrosse and stay fit for hockey, and then eventually indoor and outdoor track. Our high school, LaFayette, didn’t have track but I transferred from a different school and the first year at LaFayette played hockey at Corcoran. The next year, I was able to kind of start our own mini team and train with the great folks at Faith Heritage where open hallways and stairs actually made a pretty fun practice ‘track’. Then I went on to run cross country, distance and steeple chase at Monmouth University.
What are your Triathlon strengths and weaknesses?
I love hills; both on the bicycle and running. I’m not a very smooth swimmer.
What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most?
Ok, so my friend Beard suggested we do this sprint tri that started on the beach in Longbranch, NJ, where you swam in the ocean, then biked and ran basically in the same neighborhood that we practiced everyday all year round for MUXC &TF. So, Sarah and I went down to visit and give it a try. It was a blast! I swallowed a lot of salt water and had a lot of fun catching all the people in funny hats (aero helmets), on shiny bicycles, and with whirring fancy wheels… it was a relatively short ride and I took each corner faster and faster — until the last turn, before the final straight away back to transition.. this turn happened to be a particularly wet and sandy turn — I ended up sliding across the sandy pavement on my chest nearly losing my nipple, dropping my chain, and even worse, scuffing up my bar tape! Luckily, no one else was involved. I slid the entire width of the road, the crash just heaped on more adrenaline. I righted the bicycle and was about to go, but of course, the chain was no longer on the gears, so I lost a bunch of places — I managed to get the chain on with shaking, no grease covered fingers, and took off hammering… back into transition and then a pretty quick transition; jamming sandy, sockless feet into shoes, then off on the run. I caught a couple of the folks that had passed me and finished up 4th. That evening we went to an Italian restaurant we used to frequent in school, relaxing, joking, having a beer, etc. reflecting on the new adventure that Beard, Sarah, and I had just endured… despite how much water I drank, it seems Beard had beaten me in that department, resulting in a very uncomfortable stomach and maybe even a DNF… Halfway through dinner I got a call from my dad asking if I was ready for the race tomorrow. I asked “What are you talking about?” He said “Yea, I see here online that registration is at 5:30am in Asbury for the Born to Tri Sprint Triathlon”. So needless to say, we put the beers down, finish up dinner and headed to sleep. We woke up dark and early. Sarah and I registered for our second ever triathlon under the parking lot lights of the famous Asbury Casino. At first the salt water stung on my chest, but we had a while to float around and get used to the water before the gun went off. The race was a blast! After, we had bagels and chocolate milk and as we were peeking in some of the windows of the shops and galleries of the Asbury Parlor Gallery on Cookman Street, a yoga class was about to start, so they invited us in for a free sample. I didn’t know much about yoga at the time, but it certainly felt good to stretch a bit while being able to look at the cool art on the walls. All the yogis thought we were a little nuts (with giant sharpie numbers scribbled all over our limbs) to have done the event that shut down all the streets on this odd summer weekend morning… I’ve been hooked on multisport since.
What is your favorite race and why?
I’ve been focusing on duathlons (run, bike, run) last year and this coming year; the coolest so far was probably the American Zofingen which is in the Catskills, it consists of a 5 mile trail run followed by an 84 mile hilly bike and finishes with a 15 mile trail run.
It’s hard to really pick a favorite race, there are so many ridiculously fun races, and it’s a tough call between any of the Cyclocross races across the state. I’m a big fan of the Caz Tri, Delta Lake, and the two original races we did in ‘Jersey, the Black Fly, Tour de Syracuse, Tour of the Catskills (stage races are wicked fun)… basically, anything that’s hilly, long.
What was your worst race and why?
My worst race was probably the NEC conference championship steeple chase race my last year of school. I had been battling achilles injuries on and off for a while and despite all effort it really sucks to have the field pull away ever so slowly and not being able to respond to it.
What are this year’s goals?
This year my main goals are two World Championship Duathlons. The first is Powerman World Championships on September 2nd in Zofingen, Switzerland. The second is the ITU Standard Course Duathlon World Championships, September 20th in Nancy France, where I’ll be racing for Team USA. (**SEE BELOW TO HELP RANDY RAISE SOME MONEY!**)
In five years you hope to …
be racing at an elite international level in endurance athletics, be it cycling, tri, or du and/or to continue doing fun and interesting art / design work while continuing to grow Variety Studios.
Something most people don’t know about you:
During high school when the politics of team sports started to get tiresome, and before I started running all three seasons, I got into training for boxing… nothing beats after having doubles for cross country, hockey practice, and going to boxing for an hour and a half or so, then upon first effort not being able to lift your arms to get a shirt off the top shelf of your closet.