Songkran Triathlon

Here’s our Songkran triathlon and duathlon story from Brian!:

This morning we did the Songkran Triathlon (1000m Swim, 25k Bike, and 10k run) and Duathlon (5k run, 25k bike, 5k run).

We have been looking forward to racing this for a LONG TIME! We first did it together 2 years ago when Amanda was just visiting me here and we had just got engaged. At that time I had no vehicle so we rode our bikes with all our gear 15 miles to the start of the race (nice warm-up eh?) We were both not at our peak but we did pretty well anyways. Last year things came up last minute and we weren’t able to go. This was our year!!!

We borrowed a friend’s truck and were all set to go when all of a sudden a huge wind storm came through last night moments before we were leaving for a Bible Study and Worship Night we attend every Saturday night with about 8-10 other young families. The wind was so strong that it knocked an entire tree over onto our friend’s truck parked outside our house! Some neighbors came by to help me move the tree off the truck. When I tried to start it the battery was dead. We got the tree off but had to rush off to meet everyone. So the whole time I was distracted about thinking of how we could get to the race, what we would do about the truck, and if we should even go at all. Then during the group, a huge pile of dishes and and silverware crashed to the floor when the drying rack broke. It made us all jump and made most of the kids cry. (except for Paxton, who I guess is used to hearing loud noises when dishes break…he didn’t even notice). So it was just a very rough and frustrating night for us and it was getting late as we got home and still trying to figure out what to do. We prayed for God’s guidance in the situation and then I went out to try the truck again. Still wouldn’t start. But our super nice Thai neighbor (whom we had never met in person before today because he lives in a mansion and has a huge gate and usually doesn’t come outside much) happened to be outside in the street and heard me trying to start the truck. He said he could fix it…so I said OK! He went in his house and came back with a battery charger! We plugged it in and left it on for the night. This morning we piled in the truck and it started right up, no problem! Woohooo!! We were so excited to be going to the race. I really didn’t think we would make it and was praying that if God wanted us to go then he would make the truck start.

We got to the race and started unloading everything from the truck and Amanda’s front tire blew a flat! We were running out of time so I hurried to change it (while she changed Paxton’s diaper!) We finally got registered with less than 30 minutes till race start. I saw a bunch of my runner friends (Thai and foreigners) who had just finished the 10.5k race and got to say a quick hi as I hurried to get my gear set up. They had spots marked out on the bike rack for everyone’s bike except mine. I told a race director and he called someone on the walkie talkie. I waited for about 10 minutes and then just put my bike next to Amanda’s. Race would start in just a few minutes.

I had a good race but Amanda’s race got cut short on the bike. She had a strong start on the swim and felt really good (maybe nursing a baby right until the horn blows to start a race gives you a boost of energy?). She was rockin’ it on the bike and was set to take the win today but the course was REALLY bad and had lots of potholes and spots of concrete that had shifted and created some really bad sharp bumps that caused multiple flats for people in the race and ended up breaking Amanda’s bike frame. This was the only multi-sport race scheduled in Chiang Mai for the whole year and she has been looking forward to racing it since we moved here a year and half ago! So, needless to say, she was quite bummed when she had to stop.

Despite all the challenges this weekend brought, we ended up with a unique experience that stretched us but also taught us things, and we saw God’s hand in it all. We are making some snacks to thank our neighbor and hope this will open doors for a friendship that could lead to conversations about Jesus. I was able to chat with several of my Thai running friends that I’ve met at previous races this year and also make some new friends, including a guy from Louisiana who works for Chevron and recently moved to Thailand for work and will be here 4 years. He lives way south near Pattaya but will be traveling for races. He primarily does running events such as marathons but decided to try his first multi-sport race. I will see him again in June at the Phuket Marathon and maybe in future races. We invited him to eat lunch with us and he really wanted to but he ended up not making it. I got to chat a bit after the race with the guy who finished 2nd in the Duathlon several minutes behind me. He commented on my “vintage” bike but said I was too fast on the run for him. He had a REALLY nice expensive triathlon bike. I rode on my trusty yellow 90’s Fuji that I have ridden all over Turkey on all sorts of bad dirt roads, across the entire state of Montana, and across numerous parts of Texas and all over Chiang Mai, Thailand. Ginger Maximus (my bike) has served me well.

Below are some pics of the tree and the truck, the race, Amanda’s broken bike, and my trophy (with special case!). The trophy is really cool and you can read what it says on top through the bottom of it as well! And this is the first trophy I’ve ever received in it’s own nice special case!