IRONMAN 70.3 Lubbock triathlon marks first wins for Siebert, McKechnie –

IRONMAN 70.3 Lubbock triathlon marks first wins for Siebert, McKechnie

Ryan Siebert made sure to come prepared Sunday.

A year ago, Siebert got a flat tire during the cycling portion of the IRONMAN 70.3 Lubbock triathlon, crushing his hopes of a quality finish. He didn’t even bring a repair kit, figuring the race was too short for it to make a difference.

Siebert had time to think as he awaited assistance with his flat. Whether it was that alone or a combination of past missteps, the 30-year-old vowed to clean up the little details in order to give his best performance.

Siebert had no such dilemmas this go-around, winning the annual triathlon in 4 hours, 7 minutes and 1 second. It was the first 70.3-mile win for the The Colony resident.

More:Ukraine native completes Lubbock triathlon less than a month after arriving in U.S.

“I stepped up to the 70.3 distance last year, and it’s lots of bumps along the way — flats, poor nutrition,” Siebert said. “Before this race, I felt like I had everything dialed in, so it feels great to execute and come away with the win.”

Following in the footsteps of his mother, whom he called a “stud back in the ’80s,” Siebert did his first triathlon at age 10. By 17 he was competing in sprint- and Olympic-distance events but got away from the sport when he joined the Air Force. Picking up the sport again a couple of years ago, Siebert said everything came together Sunday.

“I knew I wanted to come back and get some redemption, do it proper,” he said. “I’ve really gotten into the weeds on everything.”

It was the eighth 70.3 triathlon for Siebert, who will compete at the world championship in October.

As will Kelly Ann McKechnie, who was the top female finisher. The 30-year-old El Paso resident crossed the finish line near the Texas Tech engineering key in 4:39:18 for her first win.

Not long after, McKechnie went to hold her baby daughter. The nine-month-old Bryan, affectionately nicknamed “Bam Bam,” made training a bit difficult, but McKechnie worked it out.

“I wasn’t sure how I was gonna do,” said McKechnie, who grew up in Lexington, N.C. “I only started training a few months ago, after having my daughter. Today was just, ‘Come out, have fun, see how it goes.’ …

“It’s tough. There are days I have 10 minutes with her. … I’m a full-time mom and I work full-time, and then I train full-time. So it’s a lot of juggling.”

McKechnie planned to celebrate her achievement with a red velvet cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.

It was McKechnie’s second 70.3 race and her second time to qualify for the world championship, which is Oct. 28 and 29 in St. George, Utah. However, last time she advanced, the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s looking forward to competing this year.

Joining her will be Ty Valdez. The 37-year-old from Seminole grabbed a spot at the world championship with a 4:35:35 finish. He said he got motivation from Tech football coach Joey McGuire, who was on the videoboard as the course took runners through Jones AT&T Stadium.

“Having McGuire in the Jones talking about the brand, that really fired you up going through there,” Valdez said. “Coach McGuire, I loved that, man. I appreciate that.”