Louisville IronMan overcomes huge hurdles to return to competiti - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville IronMan overcomes huge hurdles to return to competition

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --The IronMan triathlon is made for people like Mike Rice.

"You've got to learn how to handle that challenge, and that's like life," he said.

He started taking on the monster 140.6 mile competition in 2009.

"I was a total rookie, but I finished and got the bug," said Rice.

His future of running, biking and swimming was set until he was hit by a car in 2011.

" I didn't realize how hurt I was. I destroyed my bike," he explained.

It happened in LaGrange near the fairgrounds during training a few weeks before the race. Rice's back was pretty much broken, but he wasn't about to give up on the IronMan.

"I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit, but that wasn't an option," Rice said.

He completed it that year. That was obviously a huge physical challenge, but they were far from over once he crossed the finish line.

"I couldn't do my job. I couldn't play with my kids," he told WDRB.

He had to get himself healthy.

"So I've got two rods and four screws in my back now," said Rice.

And, he's been back at it for a while now. By the year's end, he'll have competed in IronMan Louisville, Texas, Wisconsin, and Florida. Plus, he plans to race a half iron distance for team USA in China.

His story is inspiring to those who hear it, pro or novice.

"I think he's a great example not just for his kids, but for anybody who doubts they can do anything," said his coach, Peter Copland

But, Rice says it's just who he is. Never one to back away from a challenge, no matter how intense.

"You don't quit at life. When life gets hard, you don't stop living," he said.

Rice says he is not close to being done. He said the next step is for him to take on the Ultraman competition. That's a total of 320 miles of running, biking and swimming.

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