Champion Michigan Triathlete Karen Mckeachie Dies in Bike Accident.

Ugh. Enough already!

And today in class one of my students said (right after a conversation about road rage), “you aren’t one of those cyclists who rides in the middle of the road lane, are you?”

Could not have asked for a better teaching moment.


By Tom Demerly.


Karen Mckeachie, 63, of Ann Arbor, Michigan was killed in a collision with a car while cycling on Dexter-Chelsea Road near North Fletcher in Lima Township on Friday morning, August 26, 2016.

Michigan State Police are conducting an investigation of the accident.

Karen Mckeachie was an internationally-known elite triathlete and an iconic figure in the sport.

Mckeachie was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2014. In her career as a top age group triathlete across all distances and many age categories, Karen Mckeachie won six world age-group championships and 15 age-group national championships. She was a multi-time Ironman World Championship finisher.

Karen Mckeachie was an engineer with an analytical background she employed in her approach to triathlon training and equipment. She is credited with developing the first ever female-specific triathlon bike saddle when she used a hand saw to modify an existing bike seat…

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I Should Be Running

And riding my road bike for my triathlon this coming Saturday. . . . but . . . .

It was a perfect day for a Fat Bike!

2016-08-20 12.09.34

Gorgeous trails!

Gorgeous trails!

Happy first six miles. I need a new saddle. Ouch.

Happy first six miles. I need a new saddle. Ouch. I do love that VK VIP kit! Apparently Blue is my new color, eh?

Elmwood, NE

Elmwood, NE

Bess Streeter Aldrich

Bess Streeter Aldrich

At the end of the trail: Bess Streeter Aldrich's house

At the end of the trail: Bess Streeter Aldrich’s house

On my own today–imagine, hubby is off sailing his boat.🙂

Earl Craig

Earl Craig was my husband’s 9th grade shop teacher who taught him how to do woodworking, and the proper use and safety of tools.

Thus began my husband’s interest in woodworking. He is, in my mind, a master craftsman. He built me this:


And after working for more than 3.5 years, we had the dedication ceremony and inaugural launch and sail of his 20′ sailboat, a design called the Sooty Tern.


He asked me to make a wreath of greenery to lay on the bow of the boat. As he laid it on the bow (over the white thing in the foreground), he said that by tradition a wreath is placed with the wish that the boat would return safely to shore. I made the wreath from a lilac bush my dad had saved from his first job in town (in 1966)–the city purchased the building where he worked and planned to destroy it and all of the plants around it and turn it into a parking lot. He had grown fond of a particular lilac, so he went to the lot on a Sunday night, dug it up, and planted it in his yard. That lilac must have appreciated him, because it grew over 10′ tall and bloomed like crazy. When we moved to town many years later, he must have known he would have to sell the house (he had started to develop Alzheimer’s). He dug it up and brought it to my house.  We planted it on the south side of the house and I kid you not, it bloomed every summer and again in late December and most of January. When we moved to our current house, he came over to help us transplant it. It broke into two piece, so some of it is in the front yard, the rest is in the back. The wreath came from that lilac bush–my husband wanted part of my dad there. . .

My dad loved sailing since the first time a friend took him out on Lake Michigan while he attended Northwestern University in the 1950s. We have had a Snark, S-12, Windflite 14, Snipe, and a Laser. I grew up with sailboats, even worked at a marina through Jr. and Sr. High school–at the lake where we launched his boat. My husband, so thoughtful to include my dad, laid the wreath on the bow with my mom at his side. (I am the luckiest woman alive).

Back to the Sooty Tern . . . .

When my husband was in 9th grade, he thought his teacher had to be around 60-70. Therefore, he thought Earl long gone. Hubby’s sister, however, found him, still living in Texas. And he was now in his late 70s (kids have no idea about age, do they?). Hubby called him and told the story of his love for woodworking, and thanked Earl Craig for teaching him woodworking, and launching him on his lifelong love of the craft. Then told Earl Craig that he was building a 20 lapstrake sailboat, of Iain Oughtred’s design (a rather famous Scottish boat designer).  More importantly, he told Earl that he had decided to name his sailboat after his former teacher.

Can you imagine?  Getting a call from a student from nearly 40 years before, being so inspired by you that he names his magnus opus for you?  As a teacher, I cannot even begin to fathom the pride he must have felt in his former student, and the feeling that what he did truly mattered.

Meet The Earl Craig.


Besides building the boat, husband also cast the bronze fittings and sewed the tanbark sails, as well!

Not only did Earl Craig not sink, it sailed exceptionally well!