Last Thursday night Liam (aka Snakebyte) and I loaded up a Tahoe with two other adults, three other kids, and four bicycles to make the 14 hour drive to Des Moines, Iowa for the Hy-Vee Kids Triathlon Championship. The kids have to place in the top 15 of their age group to even go, so just the opportunity to race it was an honor! We all had so much fun and the experience is a life-long one.
SuperDad Mike Singletary with John Marshall, Will, Mia, and Snakebyte at the Iowa state line
Our young Schools of the Sacred Heart triathletes, almost there!
We checked into our hotel and immediately went to the expo for packet pick-up and the race briefing. The whole thing was incredibly well organized and a lot of fun. At the race briefing we got to meet pro triathlete Hunter Kemper, who also has four kids of his own and is the HyVee KidsFit ambassador. The kids got their picture taken with him. He's such a sweet guy! The next day on the course he was out there at the swim start cheering the kids on, and we witnessed him at T2 running over without hesitation and helping a little girl who had fallen off her bike. AND the following day, he won the HyVee Elite Cup with it's $100K purse!
Our awesome kids with Hunter Kemper at the expo
Hunter pep talking the kids before the swim start
We racked the bikes that afternoon and went to sleep asap, so tired! The next morning we finished tattooing up our kids and made our way to the race. John Marshall and Will both competed in the Intermediate group which is a 100 meter swim, 4 mile bike, and 1 kilometer run. Mia and Snakebyte raced in the Junior group, a 50 meter swim, 2 mile bike, and 500 yard run.
Liam aka Snakebyte Koll at his transition. He's very organized and his transitions were so fast!
Mike got this sneaky pic of me talking to Snakebyte, I didn't know he was taking it! I love it. I don't think we should live through our kids, but I'm so glad Liam is into triathlons and I can help him even though I can't -yet- race them again myself.
Proud Mom KC and son Will Singletary at the swim start! Will has a genetic metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria but he's so tough you'd never know. Gotta brag on KC a sec too, she is an amazing mother and veterinarian. She and Mike are raising some independent and smart kids who accomplish things despite setbacks. The future generation is going to be great with personalities like these.
Mia Singletary - that's one girl who knows she's rockin'!
The Singletary kids race for Crawfish Aquatics and had great swims! This was Liam's first open water swim race and he got a little scared, stopping for a few seconds at a buoy. But then, he decided to start up again and race! To me this is the importance of the experience. My son, all on his own, gritted up his nerve and decided he was going to do this. I *may* have teared up when he told me about it; this is exactly what a kid needs to grow up as a confident adult and it is something that I could never give him, it's something he had to do on his own. Thank you HyVee for giving him that!
The bike course was changed due to flooding, and was changed to the better! All the kids at the end said it was a beautiful ride across the bridge and their favorite part of the race.
The 5150 race. Des Moines is beautiful.
The finish was fun! Mia high-fived everyone on the way in. They all did so well!
After the race we went to Zombie Burger and Drink Lab, so fun! And the Science Museum and watched a show about Great Whites at their IMAX. I really love Des Moines, wish we could have stayed longer.
Zombie Burgers! Fun fact: we loved this place so much that we went again for lunch on Sunday and ran into Rinny Carfrae, Greg and Laura Bennett, and other pros. SEE triathletes do eat!
We went back to the expo to watch the press conference with some of the pros. I got Snakebyte's picture taken with my personal fave Mirinda Carfrae, and with Greg Bennett.
We watched the elite cup the next day, so fun! They raced right past us going into T1, then we headed to the finish line where I, because I have a broken neck, was allowed to sit right at the finish line!!! Mike laughingly makes fun of me for using my broken neck as an excuse for Everything and he's right, I'm totally an opportunist that way ;)
John Marshall hanging out with me at T1
Hunter Kemper winning!
Helle Frederiksen winning!
I got some great shots at the finish line, and that's what I'd like to wrap up with. These guys and girls were all competing against each other for big prizes, and they were so sweet to each other at the end! Hunter holding his baby, sweaty hugs between the Bennetts and Carfrae, everyone encouraging each other and hanging out with each other as they recover from racing so hard. I love what kind of example that sets for our kids about good sportsmanship all the way to the top of the sport. In their respective age groups at the national championship - top of the nation - Liam placed 35th, Mia 31st, Will 51st, and John Marshall 49th. At the very height of their pride and excitement they witnessed the top triathletes of the world showing each other respect and comradeship. I'm really proud I could witness it all.