Adaptive Mobility Athletes are Conquering Triathlons in 2024

February 23, 2024

In the heart of the triathlete community stands a beacon of motivation, my cousin Andrea Frye, whose life’s work embodies the spirit of, “Yes, you can!” A devoted advocate for inclusivity and empowerment in triathlons, Andrea partners with Adaptive Star to transform lives through sports. She’s encountered profound satisfaction through guiding individuals with disabilities across finish lines, infusing purpose and enriching many lives – including her own – along the way. Join me in discovering how Andrea’s dedication is shaping a more empowering landscape for athletes of all abilities.

We’ll discuss:

  • Andrea’s Triathlon Journey | Passionately Inspiring Other Athletes
  • The Impact of Duo Teams | Breaking Barriers & Changing Lives
    • Pushing in a Triathlon | What it Means to Get Behind the Chair
  • Training Tips for Duo Teams | Embracing Adaptability
    • 3 Crucial Strategies to Train for a Triathlon Duo Team
  • Embracing a New Perspective | Doing Your Best Each Day
    • Andrea’s Words of Encouragement | Consistency Over Speed
  • Treks of Triumph | The Camino de Santiago
    • Journeying on the Camino de Santiago
    • Can you do the Camino de Santiago in a Mobility Push Chair?
  • The Joy of Paying it Forward | Coaching & Officiating Triathlons

Andrea’s Triathlon Journey | Passionately Inspiring Other Athletes

Andrea lives in Spokane, Washington; her transformative health journey began in 2011 with a little running, and it unexpectedly led her to the triathlon world. She has since completed 3 full Ironman races and countless half competitions. She and her husband, Bobby, have even helped mentor triathletes.

Due to health challenges, Andrea has transitioned from the competitive side of triathlons to more of the coaching side, advocating for a life of movement over inactivity. Andrea is also the founder of a leadership and coaching firm called AFryeDay, and she balances being an entrepreneur alongside her roles as a mother, wife, friend, advocate, and resilient survivor.

“I’d rather be the back of the pack than be sitting on the couch watching people do something that I love. That’s just really where my passion comes from now for triathlon and ultra running, marathons, and different events as well. It’s all about just getting up, getting moving, and being healthy.”

Andrea and I share more than familial bonds. We’re also connected by a joint passion for advocacy and empowerment within the fitness world. As cousins and lifelong friends, our relationship has been deepened by advocacy work, particularly through Andrea’s use of Adaptive Star equipment to help other athletes cross the finish line.

We are both committed to:

  • Uplifting others
  • Fostering inclusion
  • Helping individuals of all abilities in their athletic pursuits

The Impact of Duo Teams | Breaking Barriers & Changing Lives

Andrea’s first experience with Adaptive Star’s mobility chairs was at a picnic dinner event in Coeur D’Alene, where we were supporting Team Evans. For Andrea, it was a tangible representation of Adaptive Star’s work: we don’t just build push chairs, we aim to dramatically empower families navigating disabilities.

Andrea got to connect with a local family who received a push chair for their child. Both parents were avid runners and athletes, and Andrea was able to witness their empowering story: the family was now able to do things like go to running and take their child to the beach.

“Running and doing an Ironman can be a selfish thing, but making it for a purpose bigger than you is beyond rewarding. That finish line means so much more when you’re doing it with someone and giving someone else that experience, than it ever does just crossing it on your own.”

Pushing in a Triathlon | What it Means to Get Behind the Chair

Andrea also had a profound experience pushing a close friend at the Hayden half marathon event. Her friend is a strong athlete who was in a life-changing accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. During recovery, Andrea’s friend was really missing the experience of being on the racecourse.

Andrea approached me about finding a push chair to take her friend through the Hayden event. While the course was challenging, Andrea loved the experience:

“Probably my favorite experience of the whole race was when I was pushing her up this super steep hill; I felt like I was doing lunges up it. And I heard this other lady behind me yelling, “I’m coming, I’m coming!” This lady was running to catch up with us and help us get up the hill. It was just so cool to see the sense of community and people along the course saying, “Wow! What you guys are doing is incredible!”

For some families like Team Liza and Team Hoyt, events and races like this are a huge part of their story and they do entire Ironmans together. Andrea expressed that she was so grateful to give the experience of a race to her friend. Thankfully, her friend has continued to heal and fight through the challenges; she’s gotten a power chair, a hand crank bike, among other equipment, and she’s been able to get out on her own.

Andrea said that crossing the line with her friend was such a special moment. People were often really surprised, asking, “Wait, how are you doing this? Did you have to get special permission?”

The answer is often, “No. While it’s nice to let someone know ahead of time if there’s any special accommodations, or something you might need along the way, most races now are all about inclusion.”

There was a young teenager we met, maybe 13-14 years old. At the end, he came up and shook both of our hands and just congratulated us. His friends looked skeptical like, “What are you doing? Why are you talking to these people?” And I just thought, “What an amazing young man! His parents have done a great job raising him like that.” We obviously made an impression on him to the point that, even with his friends worrying, he came over and congratulated us, whether it was “cool” or not.

Training Tips for Duo Teams | Embracing Adaptability

A common question we get at Adaptive Star is, “What can I do to train for X event?” – we may even make a more detailed post in the future about this topic. Because Andrea has helped push athletes, I asked for her thoughts as well.

3 Crucial Strategies to Train for a Triathlon Duo Team

To adequately prepare, Andrea emphasized that it’s particularly valuable to increase your:

  1. Leg strength – especially for hilly courses
  2. Core strength – to maintain proper posture without leaning on the push chair
  3. Coordination – to understand how to run while pushing

If you’re doing anything more than a 5k, training for these three things will go a long ways. Practicing different styles of pushing can also help duo teams learn what works best for them, such as using one arm while moving the other.

You also want to train with the athlete in the push chair as much as possible. This helps the athlete get comfortable and adjusted in their chair, and it also helps the duo team manage longer distance events better.

Embracing a New Perspective | Doing Your Best Each Day

Because of health complications, Andrea’s regimen has evolved from grueling Ironman training to a more dynamic mix of activities. Throughout our conversation, she emphasized the importance of regular, varied exercise for overall well-being. She embraces everything from walking, cycling or strength training to barre classes and HIIT workouts. No matter what, Andrea’s goal is to get at least 45 minutes of daily fitness, with the flexibility to adapt her routine to life’s changes.

Andrea’s Words of Encouragement | Consistency Over Speed

Andrea believes it’s critical to do consistent, attainable activity, rather than comparing your past capabilities with today’s goals. She would urge everyone – regardless of fitness level – to take that first step and celebrate each day’s triumphs. It’s not about the speed or the distance; it’s about persistence and the joy of the journey.

“I’d rather be a tortoise than a couch potato.” Just get up get active. The less you do, the less you’re going to do. I’ve had to accept that I’m not running a 7:45 mile anymore; it’s okay to be at 10, 11, 12, 13 minutes. You’re still doing the same distance, you’re still crossing the same finish line, and it’s still just as rewarding. Even though it’s taking you longer, you’ve had to fight harder to get there.
At the end of the day, you want to be able to say, “Yes, I did the best I could today.”

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete adjusting to new limitations, or a beginner seeking change, I think we should all take Andrea’s words to heart and just do our best each day; let that be your guide to a healthier, more active life.

Treks of Triumph | The Camino de Santiago

Andrea recently embarked on an important, personal pilgrimage: a 200-mile journey on the Camino de Santiago. She went with two companions she met through the triathlon community. Despite qualifying for prestigious events like the Kona Ironman, one of her companions chose this trip over the highly competitive race, emphasizing the significance of having this shared experiences.

Journeying on the Camino de Santiago

The group’s odyssey began in Porto, Portugal. Traditionally, the Camino de Santiago trail is walked over the course of 4-6 weeks. For the sake of time, Andrea wanted to cycle it, and the team reached the final cathedral in five days.

While cycling the trail initially sounded like a breeze, the group faced days stretching up to nine hours under all kinds of unexpected conditions – torrential rain, the novelty of cobblestone paths. They braved hills, deep sand, and muddy ascents; there were moments Andrea described as both soul-crushing and exhilarating.

She contrasted their journey to participating in an Ironman, noting the unique challenges presented by consecutive days of arduous cycling, but she treasured the joys of:

  • Overcoming adversity
  • Forming lasting relationships
  • Finding a deep, inner peace

“It was just such a different journey. I still can go out and do things, it just looks a little different than it used to. The trip was amazing! If anyone ever has the opportunity, I would definitely say go do the Camino de Santiago, whether you’re riding it or walking it. It’s an amazing chance to really disconnect and reconnect with yourself: mentally, spiritually, physically, absolutely.

Can you do the Camino de Santiago in a Mobility Push Chair?

After our conversation about duo teams and what it takes to prepare, I was curious if Andrea thought someone with one of our mobility push chairs could do the Camino de Santiago. Her response was really encouraging:

“Absolutely. 100%, a race chair could do it, especially if you were walking. There’s a few spots on the trail itself where there might be stairs. Because we were on bikes, we would pull up Google Maps from time to time and take a little detour around those. But absolutely, you could do it. While I was researching, I did see other stories of people doing the trail in an actual, traditional wheelchairs. So, in one of Adaptive Star’s amazing chairs, absolutely.”

The Joy of Paying it Forward | Coaching & Officiating Triathlons

Andrea has had such a remarkable journey in the world of athletics, and I asked what’s next for her and her husband in their lives.

Andrea is excited to be a USA Triathlon official now. She’s begun to officiate races as a way to continue being involved and supporting other athletes. She plans to do some shorter races this year and officiate a lot of Ironmans and half Ironmans.

Her husband Bobby is an amazing Ironman triathlete, too. This coming year, he’s looking forward to doing the Penticton full Ironman in Canada and several other half Ironmans. Andrea recalled that she and Bobby actually first met through this sport; it’s been a huge part of their family’s lives and such an incredible and humbling adventure.

Thank you so much for joining me as we talked about Andrea’s journey as a triathlete; I always love getting to chat with her! If you want to connect with Andrea and her company, AFryeDay, you can visit her website or send an email to I look forward to continuing our discussions about the wonderful world of adaptive mobility!