News & Stories

Forever Young- Karen and Karl’s Tri-Loppet feat.

Karen and Karl Peters complete in their first UCare Tri Loppet.

“It was fun… It was like playing bumper derby,” said Karen Peters as she remembered the choppy wakes and sidelining boats at the start of the 2012 UCare Tri-Loppet. “We’re still laughing about it.” While the Peters may be laughing, they have the greater Twin Cities area community in awe. At 72 and 76 years of age respectively, Karen and Karl truly embody the spirit of the Tri-Loppet, and what it means to lead a lifelong outdoor, healthy, and active lifestyle.

The Peters are no strangers to Loppet Foundation events. They enjoy skiing at Theodore Wirth Park and have participated in the REI Tour several times. In the summer months they like hiking and biking and had recently embarked on a paddling outing in Lanesborough spending two days camping and canoeing on the river. The unusual passengers in their canoe were the two bicycles carted along in order to retrieve their car at the end of the trip. When the Tri-Loppet brochure arrived in the mail, Karen was intrigued. “Let’s try something different,” she proposed to her husband, and they agreed.

The start of the paddling portion of the race is often the most exciting.

On Tri-Loppet morning, they unloaded their Kevlar canoe and wiggled their way into the mass of watercraft corralled at the start. “We held our ground during the paddle portion of the race,” said Karen. “We were in the middle of the pack, but the mountain biking was pretty new for us.” Karen used her hybrid bicycle, which had a hard time gripping the muddier portions of the mountain bike track. At one point she got slightly off the woodchip trail. “I put my foot down and I sunk down to my knees!” She laughed and said Karl had to drop his bike to pull her out. “The mud was like a suction cup. It took quite a few pulls to get out. I was just grateful my shoe stayed on.”

The Peters crossed the finish line side by side to an applauding crowd. Later they were recognized on top of the podium as the oldest Tri-Loppet participants; winning their age category and the hearts of may Tri-Loppet racers. “I think everyone here hopes to be recreating and doing things like the Tri-Loppet at that age,” said Foundation Director John Munger, who presented the Peters with their medals. “We hope to see you here next year as well,” he said over the microphone.  Neither Karen nor Karl anticipated that kind of recognition they received for their feat. “Spending all that time on top of the podium… We were not expecting that.” Karen laughed. “We’re going to have to do the event again.”

Karen now has the Loppet Foundation’s Hoigaard’s Challenge on her mind. Compete in all three City of Lakes Loppet events and be entered in a drawing to spend a week at Bearskin Lodge in Northern Minnesota.  Look for the Peters on the trail of the next event, or just out enjoying the great outdoors.