It's hard to believe Duncansville's Dr. David Bozak will ever enjoy a week that tops what he experienced recently.
Bozak, a physiatrist at Blair Orthopedics for the last two years, became a national champion cyclist and a first-time father in the span of four days.
Bozak, 37, was part of the four-man team that won the team pursuit title in the Masters Men 35 division at the 2012 USA Cycling Masters Track Nationals in Colorado Springs, Colo., last Sunday. His wife of three years, Andrea, gave birth to their first child, daughter Mila Cristina, on Thursday in Altoona.
Duncansville’s David Bozak (left) won the national team pursuit title in Colorado Springs, Colo., with (from left): Daniel Casper, Jason Meidhof and Joshua Frick.
"We were cutting it close,'' Bozak said during a phone interview from the hospital while holding his newborn daughter hours after her birth. "I flew back [from Colorado] two weeks before our due date. I had talked to [Andrea] each day, and I was prepared to leave out there earlier if I needed to.''
Bozak, a Germantown, Md., native, actually left Colorado last Sunday before he had a chance to enjoy his moment on the medal stand due to his Monday work schedule. His wife, who was 37 weeks pregnant and couldn't fly to Colorado, was not able to witness the national title.
After Bozak returned to Blair County, Mila was born four days later, 10 days before the due date.
"I was excited both for the win but also for him to come back,'' said Andrea Bozak, a native of Brazil who also is an avid cyclist. "I'm glad [Mila] waited for Dad to be home. She wanted to be the daughter of a national champion.''
Bozak won the national championship with his longtime friend, Joshua Frick of Bethesda, Md., Jason Meidhof of Bethesda, Md., and Daniel Casper of Northfield, Minn. The four compete for the DC Velo team - as does Andrea - and finished with a time of 4 minutes, 35.823 seconds at The Velodrome at Memorial Park.
The event is competed over a distance of 16 laps, or 4 kilometers, by four riders who rotate their positions on the track. Cyclists follow each other closely in line to minimize total drag.
In the Olympics, teams compete against their opponents on the track at the same time, but teams in the national championships raced against the clock.
Bozak's team finished nearly 3 seconds ahead of four cyclists from California, who finished second in 4:38.746.
"We didn't know we won until the end,'' Bozak said. "We were second-to-last to go and knew we posted a pretty good time, and it was a matter of watching [the final team] and waiting. We were timing their laps, and it was pretty close until the end. It was nerve-wracking, but when the final team lost one of their guys, we knew it was a good sign for us. We all got really excited because we knew we had it.''
The gold medal was a longtime dream for Bozak, who has been racing for more than 10 years and has won previous national medals, including last year when the event was held in Trexlertown, but had never claimed a national title. He also competed in three other events this year but didn't medal in those.
Bozak, a University of Maryland and Nova Southeastern University Medical School graduate, races each weekend from March through the summer. His 2012 cycling season is now essentially finished.
"I accomplished the main goal, and we just had our baby,'' Bozak said. "I'm done with all of the serious racing this year, but I'll probably race again next season.''