My neighbor’s nephew, Sean Kute, drove from Colorado Springs to take part in the August 31 Ironman competition.
The contenders meandered through a lengthy chute -- that’s Sean waving to me in shot No. 10 -- that fed to a dock beside Joe’s Crab Shack where their start time was electronically captured with a tracking device. Then they dove into the Ohio River, one by one. Except that few dove. Most jumped feet first. I even saw one woman carefully lower herself into the water as though for the first time. Not sure how she fared. There were surprisingly few participants who looked like Ironmen. Some had doughy love handles. But of the 1900-plus participants, 1788 finished -- the last one more than 9 hours after first-place finisher Maximilian Longrée of Germany.
After their 2.4-mile swim, the participants came ashore and changed into their cycling outfits. Volunteers directed them to a roped-off field where their gear was stuffed in bags and laid out in numerical order by participant number. After grabbing their gear, the Ironmen hustled into a changing tent. Their bikes awaited them on racks, just beyond the tent. Some of the participants had their cycling shoes already attached to their pedals and emerged from the changing tent in their socks or bare feet.
After mounting up, they pedaled through another chute and emerged at the foot of Louisville’s most beautiful new downtown building, Waterfront Park Place. I photographed Sean (No. 1090) as he set out on the 112-mile middle leg of the event.
Sean’s family and several friends converged on Louisville to watch and cheer him on. They wore “team” T-shirts, as did many other groups cheering their own Ironman.
So how’d Sean do? He was 172nd overall. He drove back to Colorado the next day, returned his rental car to the airport and -- as if he hadn’t had enough -- cycled home from there.
Music: The Ba-Benzele pygmies of the Central African Republic