Karen and Rodger Bivens conquer age groups at Show Low, AZ Triathlon

Miles Bivens

On Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, SaddleBrooke residents Karin and Rodger Bivens competed in the fifteenth annual Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival in Show Low, Arizona. Several triathlons and running races are put on during the weekend, including a kids’ sprint triathlon on Saturday afternoon. It’s a great advert for triathlon training providers as all the participants have great fun and achieve so much to be proud of. Triathlons are often considered the most challenging of sporting events, so they’re a great target to work towards. The organizer of the Festival is Trisports Racing, an Arizona nonprofit, and all net proceeds of the races are donated to charity…75 percent to the Challenged Athletes Foundation and 25 percent to the town of Show Low.

Karin raced the Olympic Distance triathlon, which entailed a 1500-meter swim in the Fool Hollow Lake inside the State Park, a 40-kilometer bike ride on the roads around Show Low and a 10-kilometer run inside the park around the lake. The day was windy and hot, as temperatures have been in the high 80s over the past week. This was Karin’s first triathlon race in some time, since she has been recovering from injuries. She was particularly careful in the swim, since the high altitude in the Show Low area (6500 feet) can lead to oxygen deficit quickly. Once on the bike, she was a dynamo and showed her skills and stamina. Finally, the run during the heat of the day where one had to continue to hydrate carefully. As she crossed the finish line, she learned she had won her age group and was able to add the beautiful 1st place trophy to her finisher’s medal.

On Sunday, Rodger competed in the XTERRA triathlon, which entailed an 800-meter swim, a 24-kilometer mountain bike on single track trail, and an 8-kilometer trail run. The mountain bike and trail run courses would normally take the competitors into the National Forest area…a very scenic traverse. However, due to fire prevention restrictions this year, this area was closed, so the courses were reconfigured to remain inside the park. For the bike route, this meant a more challenging two loop, single track course with several steep, rocky, loose sand hill climbs and descents and two-way traffic in parts. The run course covered some very rocky and hilly terrain as well. Being the oldest competitor in the race, Rodger had to negotiate the course with care, as the temperature climbed into the 80s once again. Still, he had two mishaps…a downhill crash on the bike and a trip on the trail run. But with a bloody elbow, he crossed the finish line and was informed he had won his age group as well.

The sense of achievement and being fit enough to take on such challenges is what keeps Karin and Rodger competing in such events.