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Triathlete finishes 4th after crash

Staff writer

In spite of a fall near the end of a 14-mile segment of a triathlon, Kevin Nickel was able to pick himself up and finish the race in fourth place.

Nickel, a Newton resident and graduate of Goessel High School and Tabor College, competed May 2 in the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute Triathlon.

The competition began with 11 swimmers competing in Nickel’s division for the 400-meter race. When swimming was completed, the competitors ran to a transition area to mount racing bicycles. A sloped route took riders on a 14-mile loop that included the streets of Columbia, with lead bikers returning to the transition area, facing bikers just beginning the biking segment. A 180-degree turn returned bikers to the transition area.

“Although I slowed enough to take the corner in my lane, my front wheel skipped off a seam in the concrete,” Nickel said.

As he began to lose his balance, he steered his bicycle to regain balance.

“Unfortunately it took me into the lane of riders coming out onto the course, Nickel said.

Averaging more than 24 mph, Nickel was not able to avoid another biker and their right shoulders collided, throwing Nickel to the concrete. Sliding across the street on this left side, Nickel knew he would be scraped and bruised.

“I had a lot of road rash and a scuffed helmet from hitting my head on the street,” he said, “and a sore right shoulder.”

Nickel picked himself up, noticed the bicycle was functional, finished the bike race, and began the 3-mile run.

Nickel finished the race in 1 hour and 27 seconds, 78 seconds behind third place and 31 seconds ahead of fifth place.

The winning time for men’s division was 58:02. There were 355 men competing.

“The accident probably cost me nearly two minutes, mostly affecting my time in the running segment,” Nickel said.

This was the second race of the season for Nickel, who won the Emporia triathlon April 18.

Last modified May 26, 2010

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