How Nikole Dominated the Row Ride Run

Ed and Nikole paddling

Finishing the paddling in our borrowed super canoe. Try not to notice that I am not keeping up with Nikole’s race pace paddling

Nikole’s journey to the Row Ride Run podium began with a visit to master paddler, Judson Steinbeck. He loaned us a Wee-no-na canoe and paddles worth more than our minivan. He gave us instructions and pushed us away from his dock for a practice paddle on the backwaters of the Mississippi. We almost did not return – not because we were having fun, but because we could not steer. As we endeavored to return to his dock, I think I saw the St. Louis Arch in the distance. On race day, we switched and I paddled and steered from the stern while Nikole sat in the bow playing the part of the motor. We stayed on course a little better on race day. Our canoe was the fifth out of the water. Nikole was the first woman out of the water.

Ed getting on bike

Your author demonstrating advanced triathlon bike mounting

Nikole and I employed different techniques when we transitioned from canoe to bike. She slipped under the rope supporting the bikes, put her helmet on, and jumped on her bike. She was already wearing mountain bike shoes that clipped into her clipless pedals. I stepped over the rope, tripped and laid myself out in the grass, just to give other competitors a false sense of security. Above, you can see me mounting the bike like the pro triathletes with my fancy road shoes already clipped into my pedals. As I fumbled to get my feet into my shoes I only rode off the bike trail once into the soft wet grass and came to an almost complete stop. It took me two miles to catch up with my wife already far out on the bike course.

Ed and Nikole finishing the bike ride

No Ed! Don’t look at the photographer! Lame.

I entered the bike-run transition area five seconds in front of Nikole. She still got out on the running course before me. I chose not to trip and fall in the bike-run transition area.

Ed and Nikole finishing the run

Powering up the final climb to the finish line. (That doesn’t look like powering)

I finished the run portion of the race one second in front of Nikole. She tried for five kilometers to drop me, but I held on and was able to eek out a tiny sprint at the end. But I was disqualified for having the most hideous running wardrobe on the course.  How could they not like cycling shorts and black, wool socks?

First Place Female

I had known that Nikole had the stuff to win the Row Ride Run, but she would not let me express my opinion lest she succumb to race nerves too soon. She would not even acknowledge other female competitors the morning of the race for fear she might go into psych-out mode. But she was forced to acknowledge reality when she crossed the finish line minutes in front of the next female racer.

Below are more photos from race day.

Laurie finishing the run

My sister, Laurie, took first place in the Saint Mary’s Business Office Employee Catagory


Claire, Bethany, Nikole, Ed and Ruthie

Nikole in the winner’s circle with some adoring fans.

Lydia with broken arm

A cute little girl with a broken arm

Nikole, Edward, Claire and Helen

I looked and thought, “Three teenagers talking together… Wait! One of them is my wife!”

Lydia stealing flags

Nikole actually owes her victory to Lydia who moved many of the course markings sending several women way off course.

Marilyn and Claire

Isn’t the brooding teenager supposed to be the one texting? Can’t you just imagine Marilyn texting “I’m stuck at this race and its like so boring!”

Roger, Steve and Maddie

More of our support crew: Roger in charge of canoe security, Steve in charge of transition smoothness, and Maddie in charge of pooping in embarrassing locations.

The Row Ride Run was a super fun time, and we were very blessed to have Roger and Marilyn, Josh and Mackensie Hale, Steve Haase and all our kids to help us. And thanks to Laurie and Steve for throwing the best pre-race carbo feed and slumber party ever. It would not have been half as fun without all that help.

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9 Responses to How Nikole Dominated the Row Ride Run

  1. Helen says:

    Can I ask what all the smudges are on the photos? in some of them you are lead to believe that the person featured has become a fully decked out saint halo and all

    • eddiehale says:

      I think the professional photographer I hired to chronicle the event was eating jelly donuts while she changed lenses, and she got a smudge on the lens. I was hoping no one would notice, but now they will.

  2. Marilyn says:

    Great job Eddie! Thanks for the entertainment!! :)
    A very fun day….

  3. Jo says:

    Great story and photos! I was equal parts proud and entertained. The last bit about the dog made me laugh out loud. I love you guys!!!

  4. Helen says:

    the photo of dads “support crew” made me giggle as well. For a while I sat there just laughing about the absuridity of it all.

  5. Nathan Warden says:

    Very fun to read! The picture/caption with Lydia’s smirk and moving the course flag is hilarious! Congratulations to Nikole and you!

  6. Helen says:

    You know dad you really should post stories more often. Everyone likes it when you do so I think you should consider adding to this blog more often.

  7. Helen says:

    yeah yeah yeah that sounds great. I would love it.
    Instead how about “how dad swam his first 100 meters without coming up spluttering and choking at each end of the pool.”

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