Though Seavey grew up living in a yurt and being homeschooled, he'd been swimming competitively with the high school swim team for two years. Ready for a challenge, Seavey signed up for the tri with about three weeks to prepare. The Polar Bear Pink Cheeks Triathlon is a reverse tri, with athletes running 5K, biking 10K (mountain bikes recommended) and finishing with a 900-meter pool swim.
"That morning I was pretty nervous because I'd just started biking and running two weeks before the race," says Seavey. Determined to have fun, he used his nerves and went for it, taking eighth place overall and beating his swim coach. "I was like, 'Whoa, this is awesome, I wanna do more!'” he says.
Solid choice. Now, two years later, Seavey, his parents and the family dog Buffet, are on a six-month training and racing RV trip, touring the western U.S. via eleven events in six states.
"My racing performance has improved a lot since being coached by Amber and Conrad," says Seavey. "I’m now finishing much stronger than I was last year and I can push harder during races without going over the edge."
When the time is right, Seavey hopes to turn his frequent podium performances as an age-grouper into a pro career. "I would like to build up to being one of the top amateurs especially in off-road triathlons before going pro so I'm not in a big hurry," he says. (Learn more about the elite qualification process here.)
His other life-goal—to enjoy life as much as possible each day! "If I wasn’t a triathlete and I wanted to be active I would probably be swimming one day, then biking or running the other," Seavey says.
Seavey and I share similar tastes in TV (24) and movies (Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Avatar). And then there's music—it takes me a second to catch up with Seavey's confident humor. For favorite music on his blogger profile, he writes, "Let me think ...."
When Seavey was seven months old his parents noticed he wasn't responding to their voices or other sounds. "My dad even did his own test of starting and running a chainsaw behind me to see if it scared me," he says. "But apparently I ignored him haha." Last time his hearing was tested Seavey was 98 percent deaf.
On race day Seavey wears a tri suit with the word deaf written on the back. "In training it’s usually not necessary to have those marks because my Dad is along for the ride or run too," he says. "Earlier this season at the Lavaman Triathlon, during a dicey section of the bike course involving a sharp corner and a speed bump, volunteers were warning me about the speed bump but I didn’t hear them or see the speed bump. Consequently, I went flying over the handlebars of my tri bike. Fortunately nothing was broken, I was more concerned about my bike and I apologized to it! Then I was able to get back on and finish."
- Turn to p. 56 of the July issue of Triathlete Magazine for a feature on Seavey.
"I felt very honored to be interviewed by Triathlete Magazine," says Seavey. "I’m happy to help people see that they can do anything once they set their mind and especially heart into it."
See pictures from his photo shoot here. Preview the digital issue of Triathlete and enjoy Seavey's feature here.
- "As the only deaf person in Seward my parents decided to teach me English rather than ASL, meaning that I sign pretty much how hearing people speak rather than in American Sign Language," Seavey says.
- Alaskan triathletes race most between May and August, when the weather is more cooperative. "In December I did one winter triathlon in Palmer, a little bit north of Anchorage, and it was a fun race," says Seavey. "I did it on my mountain bike with studded tires on icy roads and it was a frosty five degrees below zero F."
photos used with permission from Seavey
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