COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced the 16 members of the 2021 Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon National Team, the group of athletes who will represent the U.S. at the highest levels of elite paratriathlon competition during the 2021 season.
The talented group, which includes four Paralympic triathlon medalists and six world champions, will compete at World Triathlon Para Cup events, World Triathlon Para Series events and the World Triathlon Para Championships throughout 2021. Select athletes will also represent Team USA at the postponed Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will take place this summer from Aug. 24-Sept. 5.
“USA Triathlon is proud to honor the 16 paratriathletes who will represent us on the world stage this season,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, USA Triathlon Paralympic Program Director. “The 2021 roster includes both veterans of the sport and relative newcomers, but all have the potential to win medals against fierce international competition. Our athletes have adaptability and resilience at their core, and they are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to qualify and compete at the Tokyo Paralympic Games this summer.”
The Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon National Team is supported by Toyota, USA Triathlon’s Exclusive Mobility & Automotive Partner. Toyota has shown unparalleled commitment to the paratriathlon program, serving as the title partner for the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships and in 2019 combining with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and USA Triathlon to offer the first-ever professional prize purse for the event. Toyota also directly sponsors select Team Toyota paratriathletes.
Read the rest of the entire article, including the complete team roster HERE.
Looking to support a great cause? Check out the Endurance Exchange Silent Auction benefitting the USA Triathlon Foundation. Proceeds from the auction will support the Foundation’s mission to transform lives through sport for all, to include supporting our Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and athletes competing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The auction will close at 12:00PM EST on Sunday, January 31st. Packages are available for all interests and budgets starting out at Cases of Vice Wine all the way up to VIP Spectator Package for the IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Have questions about the auction items or want more information about the Foundation? Please contact Dave Deschenes at Dave.Deschenes@usatriathlonfoundation.org.
In November, 2020, I did one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. In this social media post, I came out as gay.
I think I’ve known I was gay since college, but I fought it for a long time. I already fell into one minority group having lost my leg to cancer, and I guess I didn’t want there to be one more thing to make me different. Even as I began to accept this piece of my identity, I was ambivalent toward the idea of coming out publicly. On the one hand, it felt like something I shouldn’t be obligated to do. While my sexuality is a part of me, it’s certainly not the most significant part. I didn’t want to make a big deal about being gay because in the grand scheme of who I am, it’s not a big deal.
(It’s my hope that one day people won’t feel like they have to “come out” as we know it, because acceptance of differences in sexuality is the norm. And for the record, I think we’re close to this being the case.)
But the reality is, we’re not there yet. And in our current world, if you’re a gay professional athlete who’s not publicly out, you’re hiding something.
And let me tell you, hiding a part of yourself is exhausting. The weight of that burden is not unlike the weight of a chronically high training load. When you carry it around long enough, fatigue becomes your baseline, and you stop noticing how much effort you’re using just to stay afloat. You get really good at convincing yourself that everything is fine, ignoring that extra edge of irritability or the racing mind that keeps you up at night. And so you power through, believing you’re doing what’s best, until one day you wake up and realize you can’t possibly spend one more second pedaling your bike … or pretending to be someone you’re not.
This is where I found myself in November. It had been months in the making, but I was finally able to admit to myself that the weight of hiding was too heavy to continue carrying. I decided I had too much to offer this world, and the energy I was using to filter myself needed to be devoted to greater things.
That was when I decided to share the most difficult — and most liberating — thing I had ever written.
Are you ready for National Triathlon Week? Starting June 22, join the multisport community in celebrating the sport of triathlon by sharing your experiences, inspiring stories, advice and support on social media using the hashtag #TriWeek.
National Triathlon Week is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the sport of triathlon and all of the members of the multisport community. It is taking place from June 22-28, 2020. This week is geared toward education, celebration and participation in the multisport lifestyle. The schedule for the week features a new theme each day, with a spotlight on all of the components that make this sport so great. National Triathlon Week, or #TriWeek, is a celebration of not only triathletes, but all members of the multisport community — including officials, coaches, race directors, families and friends of triathletes and more.
There are many ways to get involved in National Triathlon Week! Whether you have 5 minutes or a full day, you’ll find a way to join the celebration. Check out the Get Involved page for ideas on how to share your excitement for the sport of triathlon, and be sure to use the hashtag #TriWeek on social media. This is your chance to share your story and compete against friends and triathletes across the country for daily prizes.
New to triathlon? Visit mytimetotri.com to get started today! Triathlon is an amazing sport, and we want to share it with you.
National Triathlon Week is for everyone, and we want to celebrate with everyone! We look forward to hearing your best stories and advice, seeing your favorite photos and sharing the multisport lifestyle all week long!
Follow and like us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for special feature content throughout the week and details on you can be eligible to win some amazing prizes from our partners.
National Triathlon Week Prize Giveaways and Discounts
Winners selected June 22-28, 2020, unless otherwise noted. Check out our social pages and engage with our giveaway posts to be entered to win one of the day’s special prizes, listed below. You can also find discounts on your favorite triathlon gear all week long at the USAT Store!
2XU Triathlon Prize Package, featuring a pair of 2XU MCS Run compression Tights, a pair 2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights, a pair of 2XU Recovery Socks, a pair of Full-Length 2XU VECTR Socks, a pair of 2XU Vectr Socks and a 2XU Run Belt
New this year, National Triathlon Week will also include a #TriWeek Virtual Challenge presented by TOWER 26, as well as a #TriWeek Triathlon Tournament to determine the best all-time moment in U.S. triathlon history. The complete schedule, along with ideas for how to participate are at usatriathlon.org/triweek. Get pumped!
It was announced today that USA Triathlon and the Professional Triathletes Organisation have joined forces with CHALLENGENORTHAMERICA to be part of its iconic CHALLENGEDAYTONA race at Daytona International Speedway on December 4th, 5th and 6th. The three-day triathlon festival will attract athletes from around the world to compete at the “World Center of Racing ®” and will feature an array of different events, including age-grouper sprint and middle-distance events, junior challenges, a Pro-Am relay and will culminate with a PTO Middle Distance World Championship Race with a $1,000,000 prize purse for the world’s top professional triathletes.
William Christy, CEO of CHALLENGENORTHAMERICA shares, “In often a divided world, triathlon has been a unifying force for athletes across the globe. We come together to compete as a family of global athletes. The global pandemic has displaced athletes and cancelled races and now more than ever, our world needs to unite. Our festival allows us to cheer and compete for a shared cause.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our daily lives and routines in dramatic ways. As we adjust and adapt to these changing circumstances, we also know that our entire multisport community is eagerly awaiting the day we can safely and responsibly race again,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “USA Triathlon is proud to support CHALLENGENORTHAMERICA and the PTO by sanctioning a world-class event in December that will showcase the camaraderie of our sport.”
Charles Adamo, PTO Chairman, stated “The PTO is pleased to be able to work with the USA Triathlon and CHALLENGEDAYTONA to support the triathlon community to provide race opportunities for athletes. Since many professional events have been cancelled and some races rescheduled without a professional prize purse, the PTO is committing $1,000,000 of prize money for the PTO Middle Distance World Championship.”
In addition, the PTO Championships on December 6th, the CHALLENGEDAYTONAFestival weekend will include a wide array of events catering to athletes of all ages and abilities. The event weekend is anticipated to host the following events:
· PTO Middle Distance World Championships
· Sprint and Middle-Distance Triathlons
· Junior Challenge kids’ race
· Pro Am Relay Race
· 5K/10K run/walk events
· Relay categories
· Duathlon and Aquabike events
The top six male and female finishers in each Middle-Distance Triathlon age group will qualify for entry in THECHAMPIONSHIP, to be held in May 2021 at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.
Zibi Szlufcik, CHALLENGEFAMILY President of the Board, commented, “While there is still uncertainty associated with the effects of the global pandemic, we know that planning, preparation and hope must continue for the triathlon community. Our teams are busy making the necessary preparations for what we all hope will be a tribute to our sport.”
Triathletes tend to have many vices including spending way too much money on bikes, signing up for a handful of races year after year, and we’d like to venture to say that drinking wine in copious amounts can be added to the list.
Triathlon and wine apparently go hand in hand like peas and carrots.
Yesterday the USA Triathlon Foundation announced a partnership with The Vice Wine. For USA Triathlon members, The Vice Wine is offering a 25% discount on all orders. Use the discount code USAT25. Check out the press release below on how you can give back to the sport and add to your current wine collection!
USA TRIATHLON FOUNDATION PARTNERS WITH THE VICE WINE, MAKERS OF “THE TRI BLEND”
Proceeds from luxury limited edition batch will benefit the Foundation’s mission
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The USA Triathlon Foundation today announced a partnership with The Vice Wine, a luxury winery based in Napa Valley, California, and operating out of California and New York, through 2022.
Proceeds from The Vice Wine’s triathlon-inspired luxury limited edition batch The Tri Blend will benefit the USA Triathlon Foundation and help to support its mission, which is to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run. The Vice Wine is co-founded by Malek Amrani, a multi-year member of USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA, and his wife, Torie Greenberg.
“Pursuing a partnership with The Vice Wine is a unique opportunity for the USA Triathlon Foundation,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of the USA Triathlon Foundation. “We’re able to provide our athletes with a high-quality, one-of-a-kind product, while also offering a unique way to give back to the sport by supporting the mission of the foundation.”
“Elite and amateur triathletes alike have an ongoing quest for improvement in sports, while maintaining a clean and healthy diet, which is a pillar of the triathlete lifestyle,” Amrani, Founder and Winemaker of The Vice Wine, said. “In 2017, triathlon became a healthy vice for me and helped me tremendously thrive in my field of winemaking. I’m proud that the simple pleasure of enjoying a glass of The Vice Wine can now help the USA Triathlon Foundation achieve its mission.”
The Tri Blend is available exclusively at The Vice Wine’s online shop at thevicewine.com. Based on triathlon’s three disciplines, the blend includes three distinctive grapes and is ultimately comprised of 16 percent Petite Sirah, 54 percent Malbec and 30 percent Cabernet Franc. The inspiration behind the precise blending is the percentage of total race time spent on each discipline — swim, bike and run — by world champion Katie Zaferes en route to her victory at the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“In triathlon, you have to consistently train for a long season and excel at all three sports during a race to score a victory,” Amrani said. “As in triathlon, I’ve worked very hard for the past three years to craft three unique wines from three vineyards of Napa Valley to blend this winner.”
“When I found out the inspiration behind The Vice ‘Tri Blend’ was my win at the ITU Grand Final 2019, I was both honored and excited,” Zaferes said. “It’s such an original and neat way to celebrate that day. I love that the blend of the wine is based on each component of the race, which really makes it all the more meaningful. This type of specialty wine has me looking forward to both savoring it and holding onto it just as I wanted to do with that moment in Lausanne last year. I just can’t wait for the moment when we can reunite with family and friends again and celebrate with such a meaningful wine that brings back many happy memories as we start a new journey to get back to racing, while being able to support the mission of the USA Triathlon Foundation.”
The Vice Wine will continuously craft dedicated batches for the triathlon community in support of the USA Triathlon Foundation. The Vice Wine will be available in the expo area for athletes over 21 years of age* at the Legacy Triathlon in Long Beach, California, and the Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee. USA Triathlon annual members may use the code USAT25 to receive 25 percent off of all The Vice Wine products through May 30, and The Vice Wine will communicate additional member-exclusive offers throughout the year.
*Note: Advertising for The Vice Wine will not be included in materials or content targeted to USA Triathlon’s youth or under-21 audience.
The Vice Wine is a result of passionate labor, sustainable farming, a long expertise of the wine industry and a current understanding of the consumer’s wine trend. The luxury brand sources small-batch, single-grape varietals from hand-selected vineyards in Napa Valley. The wines contain no added chemicals, are low in sulfites and are certified vegan. The Vice Wines have received ratings of 90+ points in leading publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and James Suckling.
To donate to the USA Triathlon Foundation, or to learn more about the foundation and the programs and individuals it supports, visit usatriathlonfoundation.org.
About USA Triathlon USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors – as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation – USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
About the USA Triathlon Foundation The USA Triathlon Foundation was created in 2014 by the USA Triathlon Board of Directors as an independent tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. Under the leadership of its Trustees and Committee members, the Foundation serves as a means to create a healthier America through triathlon and seeks to transform lives by opening up new pathways to the sport for all, especially those who are otherwise underserved. The USA Triathlon Foundation operates with the belief that every child should have the chance to participate, every paratriathlete should have the opportunity to compete, and every aspiring elite athlete should be able to chase his or her Olympic dream. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $3 million has been provided to worthy causes and organizations that support its mission. Donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation ensure America’s youth are introduced to the benefits and fun of a multisport lifestyle, athletes with disabilities receive the training, support and gear to be able to participate and excel, and the best aspiring young athletes have a chance to pursue their Olympic Dreams. Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to learn more and donate today.
About The Vice Wine The Vice Wine is a Napa Valley luxury wine brand made in small batches. Each batch is crafted from single grape varietals sourced from hand selected vineyards that best express the grape varietal and the region that it comes from. The Vice wines is a result of passionate labor, sustainable farming, a long expertise of the wine industry and a current understanding of the consumer’s wine trend. The Vice wines is about as personal of a brand as it gets. Everything is done by the founders. We drive the truck to get our fruit, we crush, bottle, label; we do everything by hand when possible. We design the labels, work the market, and sell the wine. We believe that the best wines in the world aren’t the most expensive ones. We thrive at providing the best quality wine at the best value. For more information visit thevicewine.com and follow on @thevicewine.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon and IRONMAN U today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership that will enable multisport coaches in the USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program to earn USA Triathlon Approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by completing the IRONMAN U online coach certification course.
The USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program was established in order to provide aspiring coaches with the tools to develop athletes effectively, help them set and reach their goals in multisport, and maintain safe environments for training and racing. The program also enables coaches nationwide to network and share best practices through in-person and online clinics and educational events. The USA Triathlon coach development pathway starts with an online learning course called Foundations of USA Triathlon Coaching, then progresses through increasingly advanced coach certifications to educate and support triathlon coaches of all levels.
IRONMAN U is a 100 percent online, interactive 11-module course that covers topics such as IRONMAN history and coaching philosophy; principles of exercise science; the science of swimming, cycling and running; sports nutrition; strength and conditioning; developing training plans; the art of coaching; event preparation and execution; and coaching business. The innovative online education and coaching certification platform offers instruction for coaches and endurance athletes of varying skills and abilities.
“USA Triathlon is proud to collaborate with IRONMAN U to offer a variety of coaching education pathways and expand the collective knowledge and expertise of coaches across multisport,” said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer. “Through this partnership, coaches will be better able to earn recognition and credit for the time and investment they have put into their professional development. We are always looking for ways to provide our certified coaches with more opportunities to learn and grow to better serve their athletes and the broader triathlon community.”
The IRONMAN U certification will be worth 10 USA Triathlon Approved CEUs for USA Triathlon-certified coaches. Coaches recertify every two years. CEU requirements for USA Triathlon coaches vary based on certification level (I, II or III), but for Level I coaches, the requirement is 15 CEUs per two-year recertification cycle.
“The most valuable asset a coach has is their knowledge of the sport,” said Earl Walton, Global Director of Coaching and Training at The IRONMAN Group. “Working with USA Triathlon to create more opportunities for coaches to learn is critical to the success of our sport at every level. This is the first part of a more unified focus from USA Triathlon and IRONMAN to collaborate to build great coaching programs for triathlon coaches.”
USA Triathlon and IRONMAN are exploring a more expanded coaching education collaboration in the future, with an emphasis on providing mutual benefits for coaches across both platforms.
For more information about the USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program, click here. To learn more about IRONMAN U, visit u.ironman.com. To find a triathlon coach for you based on specific expertise, location and level of certification, visit usatriathlon.org/findacoach.
About USA Triathlon USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
About The IRONMAN Group The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® VR™ Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 50+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
The past weekend The Time To Tri Virtual Triathlon kicked off and there is still time to catch up. Here are some details on the program and how to start,
The #DreamingSeason Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon starts Friday Jan. 31! Click the green “Join Challenge” button below to get started.
This FREE and convenient triathlon allows you to be a triathlete on your own time at your own pace.
Indoors or outside. Day or night. On a stationary bike and a treadmill or on a trail. All at once or broken into one leg per day. You decide. That’s the beauty of virtual racing – swim, bike and run where you want and when you want.
Regardless of your familiarity with triathlon or your fitness level, anyone can participate in the #DreamingSeason Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon.
About the #DreamingSeason Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon
The FREE #DreamingSeason Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon is an entirely online swim, bike and run event that allows you to seamlessly sync your workout devices to the #DreamingSeason Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon results and leaderboard. Virtual triathlon allows for anyone — with any level of experience — to compete in a triathlon at their own pace.
What is a virtual triathlon?
Athletes have the convenience of swimming, biking and running the distance of a sprint triathlon on their own schedule anywhere in the world — indoors or outside. Do the distance all at once like a traditional triathlon or break it into one leg per day. The beauty of a virtual triathlon is the flexibility.
Who is virtual triathlon for?
Anyone! Whether you’re looking to do your first triathlon or have done hundreds, anyone can participate. To be considered a finisher, you simply need to complete the required distance for swimming, cycling and running before the end of the event.
Where should I participate?
Wherever you can safely swim, bike and run! Swim in a pool or open water. Ride on the trainer or outdoors. Run on a treadmill, track or trail. As long as you can measure your time and distance via a smartwatch, GPS-enabled device or phone, you can sync to the Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon platform.
What equipment do I need?
A GPS-enabled device, phone or smartwatch to record your workout is encouraged, but you do not have to have a tracking device. Basic swim, bike and run gear or access to a stationary bike, pool or treadmill is all you really need to participate. Visit mytimetotri.com/gear-checklist to learn more about triathlon equipment. You can link compatible devices to your Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon profile and it will track and upload for you. The platform supports Apple Health, Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin devices and more! Learn more about how to connect your device and if it is compatible at https://www.fitrankings.com/connect.
The conference in Tempe, Arizona, brought together race directors, coaches, retailers and others in the multisport community.
The inaugural Endurance Exchange triathlon industry conference brought together more than 500 race directors, coaches, retailers and others in the multisport community for three days of learning, sharing best practices and networking Thursday through Saturday at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium.
The event, a collaboration between USA Triathlon and Triathlon Business International (TBI), was created in an effort to grow, inspire and support the triathlon community by collaboratively hosting the nation’s largest experiential triathlon summit where everyone within the multisport community can learn; share best practices, trends and innovations; network; and collaborate.
Featuring a dynamic lineup of expert presenters from across the multisport community, Endurance Exchange offered content specific to coaches, race directors and retailers, along with general sessions relevant to the entire industry. Sessions included interactive roundtables, question and answer forums, panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics relevant to endurance sports.
Among the topics covered were diversity, equity and inclusion concepts and their relevance to the future of triathlon; mental health and performance; CBD usage in endurance sports; creating new and unique revenue streams for your events; how to create a successful charity partnership; what race directors can do to make their events more environmentally friendly; running biomechanics and the growing trend of gamification of endurance sports.
In addition, professional triathlete and Picky Bars CEO Jesse Thomas and longtime Boston Marathon race director and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame member Dave McGillivray delivered entertaining and inspiring presentations, chronicling their experience with the sport of triathlon.
“I was really seeking out the endurance sports type of conference. I’ve been to a lot, but this was pretty different. I wanted something triathlon-specific that would help me grow my business and help me grow as a coach and help me pass that knowledge on to the next coach that I’m mentoring. This is one of the better conferences I’ve been to,” said Jen Myers (Chesapeake, Va.), a USA Triathlon Level I certified coach.
Eric Byrnes, former MLB outfielder and current MLB Network analyst, and Pasquale Romano, President and CEO of ChargePoint — both avid triathletes —delivered keynote presentations.
Romano’s keynote explored the relationship between endurance sports and entrepreneurship, put into context for athletes, race directors, coaches, manufacturers, brands and other business stakeholders in the multisport industry.
A couple of months ago some friends encouraged me to try our first draft-legal triathlon. I’ve been doing non-draft triathlons for nearly 15 years, and thought it was time to try something new. “First” experiences at my age are rare!
This wasn’t just any draft-legal race, this was the Sun Devil USA Triathlon Draft National Championship for age-groupers and collegiate athletes. As a veteran of IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, I was familiar with the area, except this transition area was on the opposite shore.
On my pre-race shakeout ride, I knew this was going to be a different experience. Packs of riders pre-riding the course passed me on my aluminum Cannondale (the same bike I did my first triathlon with) like I was standing still.
Later, in the practice swim, other swimmers passed me at rates leaving no doubt about the high competition level. This was Nationals after all!
On race morning, USAT officials screened every athlete for draft legal rule adherence before allowing entry. For instance, those with sleeved tops or aero bars were stopped. Officials encouraged a clean transition area by asking athletes to locate tri bags to a corner of the transition area, otherwise the transition was just like any other race, aside from the fact that the transition area was under a highway overpass.
As a beach start, the only thing that I noticed being different was the presence of a blue carpet spread across the beach, freshly swept to display numbered start positions which would be used by the NCAA teams later that day.
When the horn blew I felt like I was in a new, unfamiliar type of race. The best swimmers sprinted to the water and dove in with these graceful, arching dives that propelled them forward fast. Stroking and sighting in the 65 degree water, the remainder of the swim played out like any other open water swim.
Once on the bike, the differences of draft-legal racing quickly became apparent. The first pack passed me at dizzying speeds as I was still tightening my bike shoes. Just two minutes out of transition and I was by myself watching the pack speed away.
Before I processed what happened, someone else came upon me pulling half dozen riders behind him. I tried to jump on the last wheel, but within 30 seconds I fell off and enjoyed most of the first of three laps by myself.
On the second lap, I heard a new rider on my wheel. After clearing a couple of corners, he passed me. I jumped on his wheel and noted his Team USA kit with the name “Hefflefinger” on the backside. I soon realized there was another rider on my wheel.
After 30 seconds or so, Hefflefinger called me up for a pull. I was stoked to work with someone on this race! Here I am on the same aluminum road bike I rode in triathlons 14 years ago, riding in a draft-legal pack! I eagerly take the lead and am careful to not let adrenaline get the bettor of me. I don’t want to drop my new alliances!
We took turns pulling and near the Mill Avenue bridge, I heard a train of guys approaching from behind. As they passed, I made a knee jerk decision to go with them and jumped on the last wheel. As we turn the corner on College and over the hill, I maxed my effort trying to hold on to this new train of guys. We crested the hill, made the turn back over the hill and the caboose (that’s me) came off the back of the train.
Great – I’m starting the third lap the way I started the first – alone!
I abandoned Hefflefinger and the train left me to fend for myself. On the final crossing of the Mill Avenue bridge, I heard another group approach from behind. It was my new buddy Hefflefinger and a couple of other guys. Heff shouted, “jump on”! Relieved to be back with a group, I followed them for the last time and headed to transition.
I hit my lap button running out of T2 in :52 seconds. I saw a few Team USA kits ahead of me, but no Heff. I assessed how I felt about this pace while thinking about a nagging calf injury that kept me from running for a month. My only run; one mile at rest stop driving to this race from Denver!
I had no idea how this was going to go. I tried to catch an older guy in a Team USA kit, but can’t seem to close any distance. We ran through Tempe Town Lake park and onto the Ironman run course again with an out and back on the opposite side of the river from the finish line. I continued at a measured 5K pace until I hit the pedestrian bridge at just past two miles into the race. I increased the pace to the edge of what I think I can hold for the remaining half mile to the finish.
I heard foot steps behind me. I don’t want to get passed! I up the effort to squeeze whatever I have left to propel me to the finish!
I’m wiped! I almost throw up! THAT meant I probably raced beyond my fitness. This race tapped the adrenaline and allowed me to find a new level of effort.
I regrouped with my friends Tom and Todd to share our stories of the race, when Hefflefinger came by. We had a good chuckle about the race and working together. It took experiencing it to fully appreciated the magnitude of working with a group on a draft-legal race. The competition at the Nationals level is high in non-draft, but in draft-legal, it’s another level.
This is fast racing that is so stinking fun! The whole experience of being with friends and seeing familiar faces. I actually gave USAT President, Rocky Harris, a hug while still in my sweaty tri suit – sorry Rocky!
I had a decent race, placing 16th in my male 50-54 AG. I didn’t even come close to the top 10 to qualify for Team USA, but that’s not the point. I had an absolute blast and feel proud of the accomplishment and experience. I’m proud of getting outside of my comfort zone and trying something new for sure. But there’s more. I tapped into a rush of adrenaline yesterday that almost made vomit at the finish line! That’s cool!! Not the vomit part, but the tapping into that much human drive. I want more of it and I’ll be back for it next year!