They decided to split the triathlon into three legs — and each came away with their own unique experience.
Three Knox County natives teamed up to compete in Crofton’s Dam Race on Saturday.
In their first-ever triathlon experience, Kayla Eisenhauer of Bloomfield joined Creighton natives and sisters, Theresa Hansen of Crofton and Rachel Costello of Omaha.
Hansen, 37, paddled the kayak 1.5 miles, before Eisenhauer, 30, ran the 5K portion and Costello, 28, rode her bike 12 miles over hilly terrain to cross the finish line. The race started on the shore of Lewis and Clark Lake traveled through the Weigand Campground, and ended in downtown Crofton.
This unique race allowed competitors to do all three portions themselves or compete with a team of two or three with each teammate taking on a separate leg.
Hansen said she brought up the idea to her friend and sister.
“I wanted to do it last year and didn’t get a team put together, so we decided we’re going to go in together and each do a part of it,” she said. “That way, it wasn’t too overwhelming.”
In early May, Hansen said her team was quickly put together.
“I think I sent out one message and we were all like, ‘Yep, let’s do it,’” she said. “I knew I wanted to be a part of it somehow because last year’s looked really fun, and it’s just a really cool thing for the area. And the lake is a beautiful place to be.”
Instantly, Eisenhauer said she’d like to take on the 5K run. So that left the kayak and bike legs.
“Kayla knew she wanted to run, so then it was just between the two of us,” Hansen said pointing back and forth between herself and her sister. “And I had just bought a bike,” Costello added with a smile.
So it was settled.
Eisenhauer, who grew up in Bloomfield and graduated in 2007, now resides in her hometown with her husband Kyle and three girls and serves as the city clerk.
“I didn’t really train specifically for this,” she said before the race. “But, I exercise 5 to 6 days a week and I run pretty regularly.”
Hansen, who is a 2000 Creighton High School grad and now lives in Crofton, said she and her husband Aaron started kayaking with their three children a couple years ago.
“We’ve been taking the kayaks out on the lake more often near Devils Nest, and I’ve done that several times, so I feel like that helps keep my endurance up,” said Hansen, who works as a family nurse practitioner. “So I feel like I’m as prepared as I’ll be.”
Her younger sister is a 2009 Creighton graduate who now resides in Omaha with her husband Rick and is employed as an interior designer.
Costello wasn’t feeling as confident about her biking leg of the race.
“I got a new bike, but I don’t really ride it,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know how it’s going to go.”
In the end, they each thought their section of the race was challenging.
“It was harder than I expected, but the second half was easier,” Hansen said of the kayaking. “I was so glad I did it.”
Eisenhauer said it was pretty hot for her portion, but “it was a beautiful run.”
Biking through the steep hills was the toughest leg of the race and worse than she had even expected, according to Costello.
“It was absolutely worse,” she said after the race. “All of the hills were terrible, absolutely awful. I struggled on the first hill. It was hard.”
Two of the three said they would definitely compete in the event again. Costello said if she’s being “brutally honest,” she won’t be taking on the 12-mile bike ride in the hills anytime soon, but she would still encourage others to try it.
“I say, ‘Give it a go,’” she said.