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Coaches Blog

A Canceled Triathlon

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

We trained. We prepped. We planned. We coordinated. We trained some more. Jackie was ready. For six months, Jackie trained to become a triathlete. She signed up for a triathlon here in Michigan.

Less than a week to go…

The first sign that something was ‘up’ was the incorrect dates on the website for the triathlon when Jackie and I were looking at the triathlon bike and run routes. I contacted the race director for more information - it was then that Jackie and I found out the triathlon had been cancelled and that it was being changed to a virtual exercise event.

Jackie worked too hard to not complete a triathlon. So, last week we got to work. We consulted maps, decided on a large park/nature preserve with a spot Jackie practiced most of her swims in, and decided the best and safest routes. Since it was very close to my house, I decided I would go...and I had a job...take lots of pictures! Before long, we had planned our own sprint-style triathlon.

I met virtually with Jackie once more to finalize our race courses and make sure all clothing layers for each event were ready (hey, it’s October in Michigan...and it was supposed to rain...we were bringing layers…). Jackie was ready to complete the Inaugural Jackie’s Swim-Bike-Run Triathlon Extravaganza!

Sunday morning arrived.

It was pouring rain in the early morning, but by the 10AM start time, it was clearing up and settling on a perfect 65 degree day - a perfect day for a race! We set up Jackie’s bike, checked the tire pressure, made sure Jackie had her helmet set, and made our way down to the lake. The “gun went off” (which was actually me shouting ‘3...2...1...GO!!) and Jackie started the swim portion of the triathlon.

After she finished her swim (which according to her was very cold!), Jackie immediately jumped onto her bike and started down the bike path. Thats when things got interesting… 15 minutes into Jackie’s ride, her husband, who was supposed to be at the turn-around point, drove up to me in transition and told me she had a flat tire...and her bike pump broke.

But, since this was Jackie’s Swim-Bike-Run Triathlon Extravaganza, we made it work! We changed her race into Jackie’s Swim-Bike-Run-BIKE Triathlon Extravaganza. We cut Jackie’s bike short, switched to her run while her husband quickly ran to the store to get a new bike pump.

10 minutes after he came back with a fixed bike, Jackie returned from her 3 mile run. Then, since this was Jackie’s triathlon to test her own endurance, she got back on the bike and finished what she started.

Finally, Jackie flew past the finish line. She had done it! She had proven her endurance; she had done a triathlon!

Jackie had one proud coach!


Coach Becky Piper is a USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Triathlon Coach, Paratriathlon Coach, and Cycling Coach. She is currently on her way to Michigan but has made a little stopover in Wisconsin to see friends and family while her husband Sam is serving in the military. Her dog, Gunner, is with her on the long adventure across the country. She is the reigning national champion in the Time Trial and Road Race in women’s C2 Paracycling and is preparing for her debut in the Paralympic Trials, but her true passion is coaching. Coach Becky can be reached at


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