Miller, photo

Bob Miller just completed the Washington Island Ultra Relay. The Rochester man went solo, using a day-and-a-half to bike 210 miles, run 42 miles and swim 5.04 miles. (Submitted photo)

Bob Miller had been building toward this. And now he wants to build toward something much tougher, if his wife let's him

But Renita Miller isn't budging on his latest idea: a deca ironman competition, with 10 ironman-distance triathlons to be completed in 10 days.

She's saying "no" to that for the 46-year-old Rochester man. At least for now.

Renita wants her husband to keep it "simple" in his next major venture. So Bob will do the Triple ANVIL race on Oct. 3 in Spotsylvania, Va. It's a 60-hour race, with Bob's hope that he can bike 330 miles, run 76 miles and swim 7.2 miles in that span.

By no means, do not bet against him being able to get it done. Bob lives for this stuff, seeing how much he can withstand. He’s proven over and over that he can handle a lot. That’s included him bouncing back after getting knocked off his bicycle two years ago by what he believes was a car while on a training ride on Highway 61 near Lake City. All he recalls about the incident was finding himself in the back of an ambulance, his elbow shattered and finding out later that he was lucky to be alive.

And he’ll never forget the half a year that followed, with him forced to refrain from training as a result. That was more unbearable than any ultra triathlon he’s ever taken on. He’d been used to working out nearly 30 hours per week, between biking, running and swimming.

But he hung in there and has come on with a vengeance ever since, with his family’s permission.

"I like trying to figure out what the breaking point is for me," Bob said. "The body is capable of a lot more than you think." 

Such as what he just completed the end of July. It was a double ultra-triathlon in northern Wisconsin, the Washington Island Ultra Relay. Except there was no relay for Bob. He went solo, using a day-and-a-half to bike 210 miles, run 42 miles and swim 5.04 miles.

He got some breaks along the way, taking time for a pair of sleeps that totaled five hours, and also putting on the brakes to intermittently throw up (or at least try to) during a brutal 30-hour stretch of the race.

"Two hours into the bike portion, to begin the race, my stomach started going nuts and I couldn't keep food down," Bob said. "That was at midnight. After 40 miles of biking, I then ran 8 miles, then biked another 30. At that point I decided if I didn't eat there were going to be real issues. So I slept for 90 minutes (then started in again)."

Long story much shorter, he got through it, though he was frustrated that the race had a four-hour delay two-thirds into it due to a lashing storm that was literally knocking trees over and making his swim — into crashing waves — almost impossible.

But he made the best of that break, heading to his car with Renita and 18-year-old daughter Kaitlin for a 3 1/2 hour sleep.

And where would he have been without Renita and Katilin, and in other competitions through the years (he's done seven ironmans) oldest daughter Kyra? Well, he doesn't want to think about that. After all, Renita and Kaitlin were with him the entire Washington Island Ultra Relay race, making him sandwiches, recharging his watches and his bicycle light (much of the biking was done in the dark), fetching him sunscreen and offering him continual moral support.

Bob says that being with family is easily the best part of being in these competitions, as they've accompanied him on every one of them.

"Kaitlin ran with me for 16 miles this last time," Bob said. "We talked a lot and had some really good father/daughter bonding time. That came at a good time for me, when things were looking bleak. We got to talk about a lot of things."

Bob went away satisfied with his race and eager for the next one, that triple triathlon in October.

And after that? Well, we’ll see what Renita says.

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Sports Reporter

Pat covers tennis, girls basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and baseball. He also writes about Gophers football and basketball, and the Timberwolves. He’s been reporting for the Post Bulletin since 1994.