When Rob and Sarah Bell want to break away from the humdrum of the everyday rat race, they have a simple solution: Take to the road.
The couple is almost always on the move, whether it's running, cycling or, in Rob's case, inline skating. When they aren't off competing at various events, the Bells can usually be found conditioning and training " together or as individuals " on the trails at Lake Hefner or near their home in Southwest Oklahoma City.
That's how they met a few years ago, and it's a big part of what eventually brought them together.
"Rob and I have a lot of common threads, and I think that's definitely made our relationship stronger," said Sarah Bell, a triathlete and Ironman competition veteran. "We both love to compete and challenge ourselves, and it's nice to have someone there to push you a little more. It's kind of our bonding time."
After celebrating their first wedding anniversary last month, the couple set their sights on a pair of major competitions. For Rob, it was the NorthShore Inline Marathon in Duluth, Minn., the largest inline marathon event in the country. And for Sarah, it was the full version of Redman Triathlon in Oklahoma City, covering 140.6 miles via swimming, cycling and running.
Both events took place this past weekend and both yielded memorable results for the Bells. Rob finished eighth out of more than 2,400 competitors, while Sarah turned in the fifth-fastest time in the female division and was the second-fastest Oklahoma competitor overall.
"Pretty much every weekend from May to August, we are competing somewhere. There are times when we compete at the same event, but since our individual focuses are on different things, that makes it tough," said 25-year-old Rob Bell, a Connecticut native who moved to the OKC metro area six years ago while serving in the U.S. Air Force. "Still, we train together a couple times a week. And we try to support each other as many ways as possible."
Sarah introduced Rob to cycling as a way to cross-train for his inline skating, and riding is something they do together on a regular basis. Both are members of Team Undiscovered, an OKC-based competitive cycling team.
"For me, cycling is something I've always used to strengthen myself as a triathlete. But like inline skating, Rob has a real passion for it, and he's become an excellent rider," said Sarah Bell, a Westmoore High graduate.
Besides being a member of Simmons Racing " the top professional inline team in the country " Rob has found his cycling to be the perfect complement to his skating, which he has been doing for much of his life.
"I've enjoyed the cycling. It's something Sarah and I can do together, and it's definitely turned in to something more than just cross-training for me," he said. "Jay C. Upchurch