A stiff north wind April 19 did not deter 178 athletes from finishing the Spring Migration Triathlon at Emporia.
Kevin Nickel, a Goessel High School and Tabor College graduate, won the 15.77-mile race with a time of 54 minutes, 54 seconds.
He finished the 400-meter swim in third place as individuals are allowed in the pool in 20-second intervals.
With wet skin and clothing, each athlete mounted bicycles for a 12.4-mile ride.
Bikers traveled approximately 23 mph on their racing machines and the wind chill was intense.
“Because my fingers were so cold, I really struggled getting into my running shoes after the bike race,” Nickel said.
He had the fastest time of all competitors in the bike portion of the race and then transitioned to the running segment.
Nickel worked his way around the 5k rolling course in Emporia to finish 42 seconds ahead of the next closest competitor.
He plans to enter several more races this year at the sprint (15.8 miles) and Olympic triathlon (23.8 Miles) distances as well as possibly one race at the half-Ironman distance (70.3 miles).