Kevin Nickel, an exercise specialist in Hutchinson, won the El Dorado Lake Triathlon Sun?day, June 27, with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds.
?This is the first time I have been in the lead in the swim,? said Nickel, a Goessel High School and Tabor college alum.
He added with a smile, ?I had to look behind me to make sure the rest of the field was following.?
The triathlon began with a 1,500-meter (0.93 miles) swim, 40 kilometer (24.84 miles) bike route and a 10-kilometer (6.21 miles) run.
Nickel said he was pleased with his overall time despite a swim that race organizers admiited was long.
?We all started the 500-meter swim course together and I was in the lead after the first lap.?
After completing the third and final lap, Nickel was still in first. He then mounted his racing bike for the strongest part of his race.
For the second race this season, the timing chip was not functioning at all transitions, so Nickel said he isn?t sure how much ground he gained during the bike segment.
After two loops on the route, Nickel dismounted and donned his running shoes.?The temperature was approaching 90 degrees as he crossed the finish line nearly six minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.
This has been an interesting season, Nickel said.?After winning the Emporia triathlon in April in a field of 77, he fell while biking at the large race in Columbia, Mo., but endured the pain to finish fourth among 355 men.
Among the nearly 1,600 competitors in the 70.3 mile race at Lawrence, his timing chip failed. Stopwatches determined he finished 27th?first among Kansans?in an international field of professionals and amateurs.
Nickel plans to race at several Kansas events this summer. His next race will be July 11 at the Mudwater Triathlon at Lake Afton.
Nickel is sponsored this year by Pinnacle Sports Performance in Hutchinson, Bicycle X-change, Brooks Running Shoes, The Citizens State Bank, KS River Valley Triathlon Club and Bracken Anesthesia. He is employed in Hutchin?son at Pinnacle Sports Perform?ance.