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.
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.
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.
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.
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.