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News / Sports / Clark County Sports

Family triathlon is a kick with former NFL player Rian Lindell

Vancouver family improvises after event cancellation

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: August 24, 2020, 8:48pm

In the age of COVID, many people have been settling for “good enough” in place of the real thing.

But for the Greenwood family of Vancouver, their alternative might have been better than the real thing.

Mike Greenwood had a plan this summer to complete a triathlon with his son, Kevin.

Those plans went off the rails when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Pacific Crest Endurance Festival triathlon in Central Oregon this summer.

“Then Kevin said ‘Let’s do a family triathlon instead,” Mike Greenwood said. “Three generations of Greenwoods.”

So last Friday, the Greenwood family did just that as Mike Greenwood, 79, Kevin Greenwood, 53, and Kevin’s son, Mick Greenwood, 16, took off for a swim, bike and run around Vancouver, and a little bit of Oregon.

And to make it more of a family affair, Mike’s nephew joined the fun — former NFL kicker Rian Lindell.

“We had to do this three-generation thing while we could,” Kevin Greenwood quipped, “because Dad’s not getting any younger.”

“This was Kevin’s idea,” Mike Greenwood said, “but I’m the one who had to do all the work.”

Kevin Greenwood, a Vancouver native, brought his family up from Waldport, Ore., for the event. Lindell, 43, made the trip down from Sammamish, where the 14-year veteran of the Seahawks, Bills and Buccaneers has been a PE teacher and assistant football coach at Eastlake High School the past three years.

“This sounded like something fun to do,” said Lindell, a Mountain View High graduate. “It kept me busy during the summer. I trained more than I would have if I didn’t have this to get ready for.”

The event began at Cascade Fitness athletic club, where the four competitors hit the pool for a 750-meter swim.

“Cascade Fitness has been so great with us,” Mike Greenwood said. “If we didn’t have their pool available, I don’t think we could have pulled this off.”

Kevin Greenwood was first out of the pool in around 18 minutes. Mick finished two minutes after his dad, followed by Lindell and Mike Greenwood.

Next came a 12.4-mile bike ride through Cascade Park, over the Glen Jackson Bridge into Oregon and back. Mike Greenwood passed Lindell in the first half of the ride, but surrendered that advantage when he got a flat tire along Interstate 205.

“That darn flat,” Mike Greenwood said. “I would have beaten Rian if not for that. In fact, I had Mick and Kevin in my sights on the bridge.”

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From there, the order would remain unchanged through the 3.1-mile run. Youth prevailed as Mick Greenwood finished first in just over 1 1/2 hours, followed closely by his father, then later by Lindell and his grandfather.

“It was tougher than I thought,” Lindell said. “My legs were pretty shaky after the bike ride.”

But there were no losers in this event. Mike Greenwood had T-shirts made for all participants, including other family members who took part just in the 3.1-mile run/walk. Everyone was an age-division winner, either for the triathlon or the run/walk.

A few bumps aside — Mike’s flat tire and Mick’s post-race migraine — the first-ever G & L Triathlon (Greenwood and Lindell) was declared a success.

“We could have just been upset about not getting to do the triathlon we planned,” Mike Greenwood said. “Instead, we got to do something as a family and stay active together. … I’m thinking about do this again next year.”

With one alteration, of course.

“Next year, I’m beating Rian,” Mike said.