The Pease Brothers: Inclusivity, Competition, and Overcoming Adversity Transcript

Brian Lord: Today we have Brent and Kyle Pease, brothers who are amazing triathletes. Raced Kona this year, also the authors of Beyond the Finish. Kyle, Brent, thank you guys so much for coming on.

 

Pease Brothers: And thanks for having us.

 

Brian Lord: So this is a pretty amazing thing. You guys race Kona in 2018, the first brothers to compete together and then, of course, following Rick and Dick Hoyt and their pathway of doing this way- How did you get started as triathletes?

 

Kyle Pease: It started in 2010 when I- We've invited the family to go up and watch compete in his first Ironman. I mean, I would get involved by everything that I felt that they needed. It reminded me a lot of my life, what they go through on a daily basis. And I grew up a big sports fan and I always wanted to be on the other side of the fence and not watching my brothers compete. So yeah, it started in 2010.

 

Brian Lord: What got you guys into that specific sport of triathlon?

 

Brent Pease: I mean, for me, it was just a personal journey. You know, we were as we were talking a little bit before, I mean, I was kind of the same thing. I had a lot of things that were certainly closer to the addiction spectrum, just chasing a lot of unhealthy habits. And so it started with a 10K for me and I remember being so sore after that first 10k and I was like, this is awesome and that it slowly built up. And, you know, Kyle and my family were watching as I was building up. And when I hit that Ironman triathlon... I grew up swimming and so it kind of felt like a natural fit from running to get back in the pool to buy a bike. And so it started for me in 2007 and by 2010 was when I was ready for that first Ironman. And so, as Kyle mentioned, he came along and saw that experience. And so that became the thing we wanted to do together. Plus, you know, you go to these triathlons and there's no shortage of inspiration. You look around and it's- You watch people crawl across the finish line. You see people that, you know don't belong in an endurance event or you don't think they should. And yet they're passing you and they're going- they go by you like you're standing still. And it just it became something that spoke to both of us and to share it in this fully inclusive way, it was was pretty cool.

 

Brian Lord: Now, for those listening an Ironman triathlon is a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and then a 26.2-mile marathon.

 

Brent Pease: That's right, you finish it all off with a marathon.

 

Brian Lord: Just a bit at the end! [Laughing] So Kyle, I'll start with you. What is the hardest part of a triathlon?

 

Kyle Pease: The bike. It is very hard. It's probably our greatest equalizer. Because I'm in a position that I am normally not in. The wheelchair that I am in right now is very custom to my needs and the bike is not. You know, and the bike is not! To be on the bike for eight and a half hours is intense not only by physical stamina but by mental stamina as well. Looking back now, the whole thing is pretty hard, too! [Laughing]

 

Brian Lord: So, Kyle, with you having cerebral palsy, are there certain things that are different for you as a racer for that?

 

Kyle Pease: No. I can feel like I'm- Even though I don't do the physical activity of the sprint, I feel like I'm very involved I feel like I'm the coach sometimes. "All right, good job." I give a good pat on the back and words of encouragement.

 

Brent Pease: Not always a good pat on the back. [Laughing] Sometimes it's a very strong hand, yeah, slapping the back. Yeah.

 

Brian Lord: What kind of encouragement or trash talk do you give your brother.

 

Kyle Pease: I don't know what we can say on this podcast! [Laughing] You know, "Good job, buddy." And the other stuff I don't know if it's appropriate for the podcast!

 

Brent Pease: Kyle's learned the sport as I have. So in addition to knowing I mean, he gets technical, he knows what our splits are, he looks at the bike computer and knows what the wattage- He knows what our power output should be but he also knows from a lifetime together as brothers, you know, when he needs to yell and when needs to hold my hand and when he needs to talk me off the ledge. And, you know, it's crazy like I'll be craving him to just hug me and tell me it's gonna be OK. And then at that moment, he says this, like, kind, reassuring thing, or there are moments where I'm in my head, where I'm you know, I'm not even thinking about the fact that I'm helping him. I'm only worried about myself. And we all do this in endurance sports. And all of a sudden Kyle starts yelling at me. He's barking at me. And, you know, I remember our coach actually in Hawaii saying, guess I was haunted by some of the things your brother was saying. But then at the same time, he has siblings and he has kids that are siblings. And he's like, I get it. Like you guys, it's almost an unspoken language, right? Like with your kids, you see them sometimes and, you know, like, it's so amazing to watch. And it happens over the course of one hundred forty point six miles for us over and over.

 

Brian Lord: Who's older? Who's younger?

 

Kyle Pease: We actually have another brother. I'm a twin and we're gonna be 35 in a couple of weeks and Brent is the big brother, two years older.

 

Brian Lord: Ok, ok, nice. Nice. And when you guys are doing these races, I know you pull from a lot of different inspiration. Who are the inspirational people that you think about when you're training and when you're racing?

 

Kyle Pease: I think about our parents and that they raised the foundation for us. I think about the people in our foundation that fight and overcome their challenges every day. I definitely draw inspiration from Brent, you know, because he brings a lot of hard work into what we're doing. And I would say to everybody to show them what is possible and that you can overcome your obstacles as well.

 

Brian Lord: Mm-hmm.

 

Brent Pease: There's always that extra thing that comes in but for me, it's the same thing that we started with. You know, it's Kyle and watching him. I think, you know, we've mentioned it, but now we've learned through this experience that Kyle's really the best athlete in our house. We just didn't know what the outlet was for him to showcase that and I've watched him put himself through some of the most intense and difficult conditions. I mean, Hawaii is not for everybody. It's incredibly challenging. And Kyle, you know, pushes himself in ways that are hard to imagine sometimes for somebody that sees him sitting, sitting in a chair and thinks what's so hard? But imagine if you sat in a chair 16, 18 hours a day and then had to push your body through 140.6 miles. So that always motivates me and gives me that internal drive to keep pushing.

 

Brian Lord: Now, it's really- especially with Kona, Hawaii, it's really hot. The wind is terrible. It's extremely humid. But one of the ways you get through that is through eating. We're just talking about this off-air, but eating like small children.

 

Brent Pease: Yeah.

 

Brian Lord: So what do you eat during a race?

 

Brent Pease: So Kona is white gloves treatment. I'm not sure if you're familiar, but the volunteer support is second to none. And so one of the things that's a magic elixir for me in training and racing is Coca-Cola. So if I'm in a really dark place or struggling physically or mentally salt and vinegar chips, Coca-Cola. Well, on the course in Hawaii, they take the top off the coke and they put a sip top on it for you. So, you know, because I had done that in training my coaches like, look, if you need coke on the course, they'll have it. It's cold, it's chilled. Grab it. But, Kyle, you can't have it because you never trained that way. So Kyle had to wait. But that was my favorite thing in Hawaii and so around the 50-mile mark, I started grabbing Coke at every aid station. So here I am, I'm sure it was way more caffeine than I needed, but it's sugar, it's carbonation and so that's like my big special treat or my guilty pleasure out there.

 

Kyle Pease: I would do- I like a lot of salt. So pretzels, chips, skittles-

 

Brent Pease: -Skittles is still the small child in Kyle. Always, at every race, we always have Skittles somewhere just in case.

 

Brian Lord: Well, actually a lot of people don't know that, but when you're doing triathlons- And I do them not to the extent you guys do, but I mean, that's kind of a nice time to cheat when you're racing. All though you guys get it, when I go, it's like in half of a Dixie cup and it's flat and warm and the Coke does not taste nearly as good.

 

Brent Pease: Oh, ours was fresh, it was awesome. 

 

Brian Lord: Yeah, I'm a little bit jealous right now. So when you're training- So I guess next time when you're training for Kona, are you, and talking to Kyle here, are you going to train with Coke and the other things so you can have it on the course?

 

Kyle Pease: Yeah. You know, I never thought of it. I do enjoy a good Coke, so, yeah, I might have to put that into the repertoire for sure. [Laughing]

 

Brian Lord: How do you guys train? Do you train solo or together or is it a combination?

 

Brent Pease: That's part of the fun is that we get to do this together. So usually like 12 weeks out from a race, we start getting together for training sessions. So, you know, for Kona, it was more than that. But, you know, every other week we were doing something typically on the weekends. So Kyle was putting in ten to twelve hours per week and I was putting in twenty to twenty-five hours per week of training. So about 50 percent of my training a lot of times was with Kyle. And that's more- Sometimes that's even more pleasurable because we're just we're relaxed and you're hanging out. There's no intense race environment, there's no race clock, you know, screaming at you that you got to hurry up and get there. So if nothing else, we'll always get to enjoy that part of this together.

 

Brian Lord: And now, Kyle, do you beat Brent up? Because I know you said you have to get up early for work.

 

Kyle Pease: Yeah. I mean, I guess now that I have to work those hours, I am an early riser so on race day I always wake up early and I'm always like "Brent are you ready to go" and he is just starting to wake up. [Laughing] But it is a lot of prep work the night before with our water bottles and stuff that we need for a successful day so yeah, it's a great time and I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

Brian Lord: Now what do you do for work when you're not training, what are you doing early for work?

 

Kyle Pease: So I work at a local hospital in Atlanta in their customer service department.

 

Brent Pease: Customer circus. [Laughing]

 

Kyle Pease: So I tell people where to go I help people find their loved ones and take people to labor and delivery. "Thank you but I won't help you have the baby." But it's a great job!

 

Brian Lord: Yeah. Smart man. Yeah, I would not... I would pass that off to somebody else, too. [Laughing] And then, Brent, what do you do for work besides this?

 

Brent Pease: So I have a small coaching business, so I actually help some people do marathons and triathlons and then I run the foundation as well.

 

Brian Lord: Okay. And tell us about that. What is the Kyle Pease Foundation?

 

Brent Pease: So the Kyle Peace Foundation is a nonprofit aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities through sports. So Kyle and I started it in 2011 and have helped people find their inner endurance athlete. So 5K, Ironman, we've had a couple of people do Ironmans besides Kyle. Just anything just to show them what this inclusive world can look like and just what their possible is.

 

Kyle Pease: You know when we do our presentations I always make it this... you know we do try to recruit more but we all have challenges. But when they come and race they can forget those challenges. They can be the athlete. For their parent or their guardian, they can be the soccer mom or dad and hang out with other parents and just enjoy watching their son or daughter cross the finish line.

 

Brian Lord: Very cool. What advice would you have for either parents or athletes who may have some challenges who want to compete? And that's, by the way, that's a question from Shane Clayton and we got some questions from online. And so he had that question and also, where do you get your equipment?

 

Brent Pease: Well, I would say to parents, and I'd like oversimplifying it as my dad does is it's gonna be OK. It's so hard, I mean, you know, you remember being a first-time parent with an able-bodied child and you're freaking out. You're like, I have to keep this thing alive. I have to care and nurture this thing and throw a disability on top of that, imagine what that parent feels like, but it's gonna be okay. You're your child can grow up to work at a hospital and go speak and go to Ironmans and do these incredible things with their lives and it's gonna be ok. It just... We see it. There's certainly more struggles or more evidence. But I like I just love what my dad says. So Kyle turned out alright.

 

Brian Lord: [Laughing]

 

Brent Pease: So the equipment that we race with, we get the boats from a company called Advanced Elements. So they make an inflatable kayak, which we've found for people with disabilities, works wonders that we can manipulate how we're gonna put them in it, whereas a rigid boat, they only offer one or two positions. So the way Kyle sits in a boat is not the way others may. For the bike, there's a company out of Winnipeg called Freedom Concepts. So our goal was for Kyle and all the other athletes that we work with, that they got to have the experience as a cyclist. So they're on the front, the winds in their face, they're not being towed like we may tool tow our children. So they've helped us develop a bike really since 2011. So on the back of the book, we can show that photo or we can share it with you guys as well. But we actually help manipulate the bike for the winds. And why? Oh, why so? Normally, Kyle sits directly upright just like any cyclist, but for a while, we had him at a 45-degree angle because we were a little worried about what that wind might do to us. And the chairs we get from several different places, there's actually a lot of places. We get some in Snellville, Georgia, so right in our backyard. We get some from Tacoma, Washington. And then they make there's a company that makes what is effectively an adult stroller that can hold up to 250 pounds. So we have a warehouse full of toys for people with disabilities.

 

Brian Lord: Very cool. Very cool. And you were telling me earlier and I found out that we actually raced one race together, the Muncie Half Ironman in Muncie, Indiana. So Kyle, do you like running over people in a boat? I didn't get run over, by the way. This was a friend of theirs. So I was- I may have just beaten you guys, but just barely. With a head start.

 

Kyle Pease: Yeah, I get those competitive juices going and of course I like going fast. So yeah, I do like running over people. [Laughing]

 

Brent Pease: In the safest way possible, in the safest way possible.

 

Brian Lord: This is inflatable, this is the best way to do it. We're not talking about some kind of Viking ship here or something else. So, very cool. Now one thing you guys are kind of, I wouldn't say passing the baton, but Rick and Dick Hoyt are you know, two of the pioneers in this type of racing and triathlons and marathons and that sort of thing. Tell me about your relationship with them and kind of what they're doing with you guys.

 

Brent Pease: So I would love it actually. Just tell you two quick stories about it. I mean, obviously, when we first got into it, the first people we reached out to were the Hoyts. And they're famous for responding to every email or every letter that they get. It's just something they've always done. And so they immediately came back to us with this list of all the things that we should get. It's how we started finding some of these companies. So they, you know, they've always encouraged inclusion and in sharing this so that was some really good inspiration to start especially thinking about as we look at it now that it's not just Kyle and me, but so much more. But really the second thing that happened that was amazing is Kyle- I had met him a couple of times at various races, but Kyle had just always missed them in person. And we were at the Falmouth Road race last August, which is a seven-mile race along Cape Cod. And Kyle and I were both talking to Dick, and he would start to ask some questions and I got a phone call that I had to take. And so I stepped away and I came back. And Dick was asking Kyle about Hawaii. And then, as you know, Rick is non-verbal. And Dick had tears in his eyes. And I told my dad afterward the thought that I had was, here's a guy talking to the only other person that's experienced what his son has. And he's hearing maybe for the first time how special it was, you know, the things the gifts that he gave his son and seeing the way that it impacted Kyle and so many more and that was really... I'm glad that somebody called me. I'm glad I got to just step back and watch that.

 

Kyle Pease: I think, first of all, they are great athletes. You said it, Brian, they are the pioneers and they are the biggest cheerleaders. They paved the way and they opened the door and for that, I will be eternally grateful. To meet Dick, you know, it's like winning the Super Bi=owl. he is so nice and so generous with his time. To win the Super Bowl. For me to verbalize how I felt you could see how he was genuinely grateful that I was able to communicate that to him because maybe Rick felt that way. You know, maybe see it from that perspective. So it was an honor to meet them.

 

Brian Lord: Yeah, that's amazing. I love hearing that because I've followed them for a long time and that's cool. So I'm glad you were able to share that with him and communicate with them. I'm sure that was special to him.

 

Kyle Pease: Yeah.

 

Brian Lord: Very cool. You guys are not only, you know, well-known in the triathlon world, but apparently, you're a big man on campus in the Atlanta sports scene, big players. Who are teams do you like and which sports teams like you guys?

 

Kyle Pease: I think both of us follow the three major sports teams in Atlanta. The professional sports teams. I would start with the Falcons, the Braves, and then the Hawks. I would say that the Falcons and the Braves are big supporters of what we do. I remember when we finished Kona, the Braves posted on their social media about us which was cool. And then the Falcons are a good group of guys as well.

 

Brian Lord: Yeah. And you guys were honored at a Falcons- or a Braves game after Kona- and maybe the Falcons as well- But I know the Braves games... We were talking about that earlier- We're here in Nashville and Dansby Swanson, former number one overall pick from Vanderbilt here in Nashville got to hang out with you guys. Tell us what that was like.

 

Brent Pease:  Well Kyle's got more world championships than Dansby. 

 

Brian Lord: [Laughing]

 

Kyle Pease: Dansby was, he was cool. he didn't know about triathlons and we kind of had to explain that to him and he was in awe of all of our accomplishments so it was really cool.

 

Brent Pease: You want to... I mean, you want to not be starstruck. You want to be, you know, cool and like just talking to him like a guy, but you can't help it. I mean, this is a number one overall pick. This is a professional baseball player. But then when he's talking to Kyle as he's an elite athlete? Again, for me to watch that was amazing. You know, like, you're Dansby Swanson and you're talking to him like what he did is bigger than being out here in front of whatever thirty-five thousand people every night, you know. And that was... Plus he was... Just he couldn't have been more accommodating and genuine and generous with his time to us. So that was pretty cool.

 

Brian Lord: And the Falcons, too. I mean, I like where you guys were saying and the things that they've done with you guys, with Dan Quinn, who's the head coach and a really respectable person. What's your relationship with them and what have you learned from them?

 

Brent Pease: Dan's your buddy!

 

Kyle Pease: He really has communicated... It talks about the brotherhood with the team. And I think that we have a very special brotherhood with what we do. And those kind of overlap. They've done that with the Falcons and do a better job with their brotherhood Good. But Dan and I can talk about life and how it's going for us.

 

Brian Lord: Very cool. Very cool. So you do one of the best stories... I know Shannon, who's your manager, said: "I love this story." So were you who's inspired so many people and to do so many things- But one of the best stories I've heard was the New York City Marathon, which I've never heard of this happening before. So can you guys tell us about... So New York City marathon- largest marathon in the world. It's November every year. What year was it?

 

Brent Pease: 2015.

 

Brian Lord: And so you're in one of the chairs, Eagle Sports Chairs. And so you're racing the NYC Marathon, 50 thousand people or so, you're at mile eight? And then what happened?

 

Brent Pease: Well so to... Just one quick stage setting- As the foundation grew when we first started this, our marketing plan was just to race every month. We wanted people to know about this work that we were trying to do. So by 2015, the foundation had grown to a point that Kyle and I said, "You know, we need to keep one race that's kind of just for us each year where we can take a deep breath from everything that we're doing and just enjoy it." And we got into the New York City Marathon through a lottery program. So we were the first- part of the first five athletes to ever race that. And so it was truly worldwide. There was a family from Germany, Australia, Korea and then two families from the United States. And so this was this international group. We'd been waiting for this thing forever and so at mile eight, the chair starts to wobble. And I'm not really sure what's going on. And Kyle says, "Are you OK?" I'm like, "Yeah, I think everything's fine." And it just keeps getting worse and worse. And by mile 13, I'm really having to fight this chair. And so Kyle is about 115 pounds, the chairs about 17 pounds. So you're trying to push 130 thirty plus pounds down the road. And it was like pushing it through the sand. And so I kind of peek through the wheel. We have these covers and there are three broken spokes. So one spoke is bad. Three is catastrophic. And the next step we took the wheel crumbled under Kyle's weight. And he was basically laying on the side of the road. And so, you know, we did what any two typical males would do. And I stripped him out of the chair and I started walking up a hill. And I would love to end the story and say, "And then I carried him for 13.1 miles." But I made it about 100 yards. It's getting long. I think I was pretty close to 50 yards as the legend grows. [Laughing] But I mean, we didn't get very far. And so I took kind to a medical tent that was nearby and we laid him on a cot and we just were determined. This was our thing by ourselves. And we were like we have to finish. We have to at least try before we quit. And so I actually got in the back of a police vehicle. They drove me to a bike shop. The bike shop tells me it's gonna take a day or two to get the thing. I'm like sweating. I've got the bib on and I get back and a race official is getting ready to hand Kyle some paperwork to sign to pull us out of the race. And I was like, "We need two more minutes." And what we did was you took a bunch of rope out of the medical tent and some blankets and we tied the rope to the axle and then slung the rope over my shoulder and started walking. And again, we didn't get very far and it was looking like we weren't gonna be able to finish. And this woman stops and says, you guys need help. And after a little bit of back and forth, we agreed to give up this, you know, this, "We're going to do this amazing thing" we were like we just wanna finish. So she starts helping us. And about two miles later, about mile 16, this male runner stops and he starts helping us. And that became our team. So, two people, two strangers give up their race. And then the three of us are carrying this mangled wheelchair. And we went from running like seven and a half minute miles to 13 to eventually doing twenty-two-minute miles. And as we sit here and we're telling all these great stories of brotherly bonds and brotherly love at this point, Kyle and I are just like any other brothers we're fighting, we don't- We're angry at each other. I'm angry at him for making me stay out there. He's angry at me for trying to quit. And I pulled Kyle to the side of the road. I made the strangers stand to the side. I said, "I don't wanna keep going. I'm done. I can't handle this." And he looked at me and said, "Well, I'm going to finish. And if you want to quit, you can quit." And talking about like, he almost knows what to say. I just saw this look in his eyes that was like, "Okay, I can do this." And after 7 1/2 hours, we came across the finish line and finished and there was no fanfare. Nobody was waiting for us. There were no lights or cameras. It was just this woman who was handling the disabled athletes and these two strangers and they're bawling and Kyle and I are angry at each other. But I mean, it was just this amazing experience that we look back- It took us a little while to talk about it because we really were so angry. In fact, we got in the cab after the race and I get a call from a friend of ours who really helped us get started when we started this journey, just support physically, mentally, financially. And she starts- She's bawling on the other line and she says, "You guys just gave everybody this amazing gift in showing that you never give up." And now I'm crying as she's telling me this story. And Kyle, as he didn't have this wheelchair, he didn't have his fancy chair. So he's even more... he's facing every disability. So I get off the phone and I try to explain to him what she's saying. And my face is covered in tears. And he goes, well, "You're a wuss. You quit." And I said, "Well, you're a jerk." And we started to scream at each other in the back of this cab. We're fighting now.

 

Brian Lord: [Laughing]

 

Brent Pease: We get back to the hotel. And, you know, eventually, we just hugged. And, you know, it took us a little while to realize that wasn't about what we did. It was about what the strangers did. It was about the community that supports us. And it's... It now it's this incredible legendary story of, you know, carrying a broken wheelchair for 7 and a half hours.

 

Kyle Pease: The ironic thing was, the lady that helped us had a fractured foot. 

 

Brian Lord: Oh wow!

 

Kyle Pease: They both still run without aching. They come down to Atlanta and they push a wheelchair. It's a bond that's continued to this day and it's really cool. And then a year later we went back to New York. We pointed out "this is where the wheels started to wobble, this is where you pulled me out, this is where we started walking, this is where you started yelling at me." And "here we go again" we're rehashing it all over again. That really put us on the map and it was a true testament of our love and brotherhood. It really made our bond a lot stronger.

 

Brian Lord: I know we know some of the same race directors and everything. What advice would you have for race directors? Whether it's triathlon or just regular road running races to be more accommodating to tandems like yourself or other challenged athletes.

 

Kyle Pease: I think that's a really good question. you just have to communicate with them and advocate for yourself because they don't know unless you tell them. you might have to write several emails.

 

Brent Pease: It's like the handshake discussion we were having before. Just ask. Because we can carry Kyle up a flight of stairs. So, like, you know, the Chattanooga half, we think we know we can carry Kyle up the stairs to get out of the water. But the race directors, you know, to really, truly include tandems like ourselves. You have to just ask the questions because there are more people doing this because of the Hoyts, because of Kyle, like they want to do this stuff. So just ask and you can figure out how they can be a part of it. There's, as Kyle says, where there's a wheel, there's a way.

 

Kyle Pease: You know, there are so many other teams that are doing what Brent and I and the Hoyts have done and so I think the more teams and inclusivity that we have, the better it will be.

 

Outro: Thank you for joining us for the Beyond Speaking podcast. To learn more about the Kyle Pease Foundation, go to https://www.kylepeasefoundation.org/ To learn more about today's guests, go to BeyondSpeak.com and https://premierespeakers.com/pease-brothers. Make sure to leave a review and subscribe wherever you listen!

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The Pease Brothers: Inclusivity, Competition, and Overcoming Adversity Transcript
Brian Lord: Today we have Brent and Kyle Pease, brothers who are amazing triathletes. Raced Kona this year, also the authors of Beyond the Finish. Kyle, Brent, thank you guys so much for coming on. Pease Brothers: And thanks for having us. Brian Lord: So this is a pretty amazing thing. You guys race Kona in 2018, the first brothers...
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