There are very few who paddle, pedal or push their way around the planet who understand the phrase, “Life doesn’t always happen as you plan,” more thoroughly than the assisted triathlete team of Kyle and Brent Pease.
So when nearly three thousand Ironman competitors faced the challenge of thirty mile an hour head winds and dangerous rip tide currents as they set out to conquer the 140.6 mile course at Ironman Florida this weekend, it was simply business as usual for the Pease Brothers.
“Every day is an Ironman for me,” explained the ever-positive Kyle, who was born 29 years ago with cerebral palsy. “But that makes a challenge like this just another day at the office.”
The fierce current that strangled the Gulf of Mexico this past weekend was deemed to be so dangerous that race organizers made the eleventh hour decision to cancel the 2.4 mile swim with wet suit clad racers standing on the ready at the edge of the white-capped surf.
In the case of the Pease Brothers they had inflated their kayak and had Kyle safely fitted in his life jacket awaiting the sounding of the starter's horn blow when race organizers made the decision to change plans.
"At first we were certainly disappointed in not having the swim component," added Brent, who leads his younger brother through the surf towing the kayak via a rope tied around his waist. "But watching the lifeguards and boat struggle out there we knew Ironman did the right thing. It certainly didn't take from the experience of the day."
The competition therefore began an hour later than expected as the Ironman officials declared the event a duathlon, reducing the length to 138.4 miles, yet face first into the teeth of a 30 mph head wind. The Pease Brothers navigated the bike portion of the event in just over nine hours and at times questioned whether or not they would make the cutoff.
"We certainly had that thought. That fear. But we were not going to allow that to be our deterrent", added Brent who pedals the custom-made three wheeler with Kyle sitting in front of him at the mast. "Kyle worked his tail off and helped push us all the way to the finish of that bike. The headwinds were brutal and it was like trying to sail against the wind but we somehow managed to find a way together to get there."
To the encouragement of the inspired crowd, the Pease Brothers disembarked their bike, re-fueled and headed out to run the final 26.2 in a time of 4:28:15, finishing their slightly shortened Ironman in a time of 13:53:08 and for the second time in the past two years crossing the finish line, not one in front of the other but side by side to the sound of the announcer's voice, "Kyle Pease, Brent Pease, You are an Ironman."
The Atlanta-based brothers, who completed Ironman Madison Wisconsin 2013 in a time of 15:09:24, are the founders of The Kyle Pease Foundation, whose purpose is to create awareness and raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities by providing assistance to meet their individual needs through sports.
"This was an opportunity to put the Foundation in the spot light through the efforts of Brent and I," beamed Kyle, a graduate of Kennesaw State University. "There was no way that Brent and I would fail while representing all the members of KPF."
Brent added, "I didn't honestly think it would be as special as Madison was but in many ways it was more special. I think this opens more doors to inspire others to live their dreams."
"To live without limits and to take on the biggest of challenges. We look forward to a race soon with kids from our foundation taking on something like Ironman."