Kevin Nickel, resident of rural Newton and Goessel High School and Tabor College graudate, finished first July 26 in the overall category at the Mudwater Triathlon held at Lake Afton, Goddard.
Nickel was the only competitor to finish the course in less than one hour. Delays of 20 minutes, due to lightning, did not discourage the 150 athletes entered in the triathlon.
After coming out of the water in the swim portion of the race in fifth place, Nickel wasted no time in overtaking the competitors ahead of him.
“I finished the swim about like I expected,” Nickel said. “That is not the strongest part of my race, so I always hope that I am not too far behind the leaders when I come out of the water.”
With his biking shoes already attached to the bike, Nickel left the lake barefoot, ran through the transition area in 39 seconds and mounted the bike.
“I pedal for a ways to get some speed on the bike and then I get my feet into the biking shoes in the first quarter mile,” Nickel said.
Within 10 kilometers on bike, Nickel had passed the leader, and then it was a race against the clock in order for him to meet his finishing-time goal.
Nickel dismounted from the bike, hung it on the rack in the transition area, and then slipped into his running shoes.
“A little powder in the shoes always helps them go on better,” Nickel said.
Elastic laces also mean that he does not have to tie the shoes, which saves seconds and adds to the overall performance.
Nickel ran a blistering pace in the 5-kilometer race to finish the event in 59 minutes, 25 seconds; 3:46 ahead of second place.
Nickel’s times for the segments of his race were: 750-meter swim, 12:15, fifth place; 20-km bike, 28:37, first place; 5-km run, 17:18, first place; overall, 59:25, first place.
This season Nickel was sponsored by the Bicycle X-Change in Wichita, and Pinnacle Sports Performance in Hutchinson.
Along with a first-place medal, Nickel earned a gift certificate from a running store which will come in handy as he noticed a hole developing in his running shoes.
The triathlon was hosted by Kansas River Valley Triathlon Club.