December 9th, 2013
Meet the Team: David Berry

David Barnes and Nobles exiting the water at UCSD's Tritonman

David Barnes and Nobles exiting the water at UCSD’s Tritonman

What is your research all about?

I’m a second year graduate student in UCSD’s Bioengineering program, and I mainly work in an orthopedics lab. The three-word answer is: “lower back pain”. Specifically, I use novel MRI techniques to study kinematic and biomechanical changes that occur in the lumbar spine in active duty Marines with varying levels of pathology. I am also working on a method using high strength MRI to make non-invasive measurements of muscle physiology.

Where did you grow up/what was your athletic background?

I grew up in the suburbs just north of New York City. I started playing tennis when I was two years old until I was forced to quit at age 17 due to a partial rotator cuff tear. I was really good at running 15 feet in either direction, none of this long distance stuff. Just after I injured my shoulder and was deciding what to do from there, a science teacher in my high school convinced me to race in a local Duathlon that her tri club Toga Multisport held. I came home excited to do a race and my family’s reaction was, “You won’t even run down the block, how are you going to run 3 miles!” True I thought. But somehow I finished, randomly won a raffle for entry into The New York City Triathlon, and the rest is history.

What made you join the tri team originally?

After racing New York City Triathlon the summer after I graduated high school, I became addicted to the sport. I joined the Boston University Triathlon Team and raced for 4 years as an undergrad in the NECTC and at Collegiate Nationals in Lubbock, TX and Tuscaloosa, AL. When I got into UCSD, I immediately contacted the tri team to say I was interested and planning on joining in the fall. Racing as a collegiate has always been way more fun/competitive than racing as an age grouper.

What is your favourite sport of the three?

Biking. I also raced for the Boston University Cycling Team for two years in college.

What is your best race experience?

Wildflower 70.3 in 2013. It also doubles as my worst race experience. I was hit by a car and knocked off the road at mile 30 on the bike. I kept going another two miles and realized that my front skewer had been knocked open from the crash and my front wheel was shaking back and forth. I bonked going up nasty grade. For whatever reason I decided going and running 13.1 miles in 90 degree heat after that was a good idea? Two miles into the run my body started rejecting fluids. I almost stopped when I ran by my campsite but the race energy and finishing the race (and earning that expensive medal) kept me going. I finished, and collapsed. One hour and two IV’s later walked out of the medical tent still feeling like crap. Why is that my best race experience? Because I managed to keep myself going, even though I should have probably stopped. It was a real humbling/learning experience. Wildflower 70.3 2014 Ill see you in 6 months!

What’s your favorite workout (any sport)?

Hill repeats on Torrey Pines Outside

What race are you most proud of?

I am typically happy just to be able to race and my overall goal is always to finish. I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2010 in 3:22. I didn’t realize until after I tore a ligament in my ankle at some point after mile 20. Once again, just happy to race. Also did I mention I used to have a sweet afro!

What was the most embarrassing rookie mistake you made?

In my first collegiate triathlon, Mightyman Sprint in Montauk NY, there was a four-way intersection (top-center) that you were supposed to turn right at every time you hit it (apparently). The second time I continued straight through the intersection and saw people racing on the other side of the road. I didn’t turn around until the road looped back at the 4-way 1 mile later. Lesson Learned: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look at the course map.

What are your goals for this academic year and triathlon season?

At least one first author paper and to run a sub-39 minute 10k at nationals.

What is one thing no one would guess just looking at you?

I brew beer

So how did you get involved in beer making/what is your favourite recipe?

I became interested in beer during a 6-month stint in Germany where I worked as a bartender at a bar called The Gutz. Back in the states, I met someone who had been brewing their own beer and said there was a homebrew store nearby. The next day, I woke up and decided, “Yea why not, I’m going to do this and make it work.” 4 years and many “learning experiences” later, I am most proud of a Rye PA I made last year.

How does racing in San Diego compare to Boston?

Two things stand out in my mind: 1.) December Tan Lines 2.) In Boston I didn’t see a pro every time I went for a ride.

Do you have any hobbies outside of triathlon/beer?

I like to go out on my shred-plank and shred the aquatic undulations at La Jolla Shores when the aqua-fauna isn’t in bloom. (Colloquially known as pretending how to surf).

Dave finishing hard at Nationals 2013.  Photo provided  by Daniel Heineck

Dave finishing hard at Nationals 2013. Photo provided by Daniel Heineck