Local athlete out runs Lance Armstrong
For the fifth year in a row, Kevin Nickel, a Goessel High School and Tabor College alum has won the Spring Migration Triathlon on April 15 in Emporia.
After a 400-meter swim, Nickel was in first place and dominated the field as he mounted his bike for a 12.4-mile race in a brisk wind.
“The wind was really not a factor,” said Nickel, “Just faster one way and slower the other.”
He averaged 26.1 miles per hour for the 12.4 mile race. He then continued in first place with a good run for 3.10 miles, to finish the event in 51 minutes, 48.20 seconds. This was nearly seven minutes faster than second place.
This was the fastest time for Nickel at this location, but this race was known as the “sprint distance”. Two weeks earlier, on April 1 he competed in a “half ironman” race at Galveston, Texas. This race was an international event in which Nickel finished sixth in his division and thirty-sixth overall with a time of 4 hours 21 minutes 7 seconds.
Included in this race was the cycling celebrity Lance Armstrong. Although Armstrong is a master on the bicycle, Nickel ran the 13.1 miles one minute faster than Armstrong. This 70.3 mile event included 1.2 miles swimming in the saltwater bay, bicycling 56 miles on a fairly flat course at sea level, and then running 13.1 miles in 76 degree weather. Nickel averaged 22.80 mph on bicycle for the 56 miles and ran his thirteen miles at a pace of 6 min 12 sec per mile.
A total of 2,670 entries made Nickel’s thirty-sixth place finish even more impressive. Since there were 300 entries in his age division, the group was divided into two start waves with Nickel getting into the water at 7:20 a.m. The sun was up by the time he mounted his bicycle and raced against a light breeze for 28 miles and then turned with wind to finish this segment. He had a good run for 13.1 miles.
When he came out of the swim segment he was in 18th place in his division and after the bike moved into 12th place and then moved up another six spots during the run segment. Each contestant wears a timing chip, so at the end of the race, their time is recorded specifically for their race.
Nickel is sponsored this year by Pinnacle Sports Performance, Hutchinson; Bicycle X-change, Wichita; Brooks Sports, Inc, Bothell, WA.; Eddie U Massage Clinic, Wichita; and Endurance Company.
The next race on his schedule is May 5 in Columbia, Mo.