Team Nancy partners bring equalparts vision, heart to triathlons |

Team Nancy partners bring equalparts vision, heart to triathlons

Carrie Click
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox Team Nancy aka Nancy Reinisch (left) and Nancy Stevens head to the finish line in the Tri-Glenwood Triathlon Sunday. Stevens is a blind triathlete and this is her second year to compete in the Tri-Glenwood event.

If Nancy Reinisch and Nancy Stevens raced in triathlons on enthusiasm alone, they’d take first place every time. Known as Team Nancy, the two master athletes – Reinisch is 51, Stevens is 43 – were laughing and chatty while doing their best to out-compliment one another after completing Sunday’s Tri-Glenwood Triathlon. “We took five minutes off last year’s time!” exclaimed Stevens. “I’m so psyched! Nancy is so awesome. She talks while she’s running, and I’m just trying to breathe!”Completing Glenwood’s triathlon – a 15-mile bike ride, a half-mile swim and a five-mile run – is an admirable achievement for anyone. But for Team Nancy, competing in the race has an extra added challenge. Stevens is blind, and Team Nancy is the only all-women, master’s level blind and sighted-guide team in the United States.Putting the fun back inBut all Stevens wants to talk about is Reinisch.

“I gotta get this plug in here,” Stevens said, with a huge smile on her face. “I couldn’t do this without her and Paul (Reinisch’s husband, Paul Salmen). He was great helping me with swimming. And Nancy is an awesome coach. She’s so patient and encouraging. She runs 8-minute miles and I run 10- to 11-minute miles, but she stays back with me. She won the overall masters class this year in a race in Minnesota!”Reinisch said coaching and guiding Stevens is “a gift,” taking the pressure off of competing by allowing her to enjoy sports.”Nancy is giving me the opportunity to put fun back into sports,” Reinisch said. “And Nancy is so generous and thankful.” Reinisch said training and competing with Stevens has given her a new perspective in other ways.”I’ve tried closing my eyes while working out,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I tried closing my eyes while running today. I couldn’t make it 10 feet! I have so much admiration for Nancy.”An athlete with self-proclaimed A.O.A., “Adult Onset Athleticism,” she explained with a laugh, Reinisch came into competitive athletics at age 32 when she completed her first triathlon. Since then, she’s helped found Roaring Fork Women’s Triathlete Group, of which Stevens is a member. The group has grown in five years from five members its first year to 38 members in 2004. The women train and compete together, and help train and coach Stevens, too. Challenged AthletesFoundation

Not content with having completed Tri-Glenwood – as well as two other triathlons earlier this year in Denver – Team Nancy is now preparing to compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in Malibu, Calif., on Sept. 19. The two women will be competing with the C Different Team, the five U.S. blind triathletes and guide teams (see box). And while they race, Team Nancy will be raising money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.”It’s a pretty cool organization,” said Stevens, explaining that CAF provides money to purchase training and athletic equipment for physically disabled people. Stevens said one woman who has benefited from the organization is Tricia Downing, a top U.S. cyclist who was recently hit by a car. Now a paraplegic, Downing was able, with the help of CAF, to purchase a hand cycle that she uses to compete in races. With Tri-Glenwood behind them, Team Nancy is excited about the upcoming race in California. On Sunday, wearing their exclusive triathlete shorts with “Team Nancy” embossed on the leg in neon-green lettering, the two contemplated the possibility of becoming trendsetters. “Isn’t Malibu where all the trends start?” asked Stevens with a laugh. “Team Nancy is really going to make a fashion statement!” Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

cclick@postindependent.comTEAM NANCY FUND-RAISERWhy: Be part of a fund-raiser to help send Nancy Stevens and Nancy Reinisch to Malibu, Calif., for the Sept. 19 Nautica Malibu Triathlon.What: A coffeehouse concert featuring Nancy Stevens and The Last Minute String Band; coffee, tea and cash barWhen: From 7:30-9 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 14Where: Summit Canyon Mountaineering’s Coffee House, 732 Grand Ave., GlenwoodHow much: Donations of any amount accepted at the door For more information, contact Nancy Stevens at 945-2171 or Nancy Reinisch at For more information, contact Nancy Stevens at 945-2171 or Nancy Reinisch at

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