And many of you did two or more IM in the season - a phenomenon unheard of in the amateur ranks only a few years ago. 2016 is shaping up to have even more. A handful of you have very real potential of landing slots at Kona next year and there will also be our army of first-timers. We are pulling for all of you!
IM athletes haven't cornered the market on accomplishment. The majority of you raced short course and 70.3's in alarming numbers. And our non-triathlon entries (swim, bike, running races, etc.) numbered in the hundreds. In total team members raced more than 1500 times. You conquered new disciplines, set PR's, trained your hearts out.
As is the nature of all things, the triathlon landscape in the Pacific Northwest changes. Not many years ago triathletes had a surplus of races to choose from and perhaps because of the surplus, many new races didn't make it. Even some of our area's most established races started seeing smaller numbers and couldn't make the numbers work to sustain the event. Issaquah, Lake Sammamish, Kirkland, Escape from the Rock - these are all races that at one time had over 1000 entries and now they're gone. That makes me sad. Like many of you, I raced all of those events and have many great memories of my own victories and struggles!!
Here at RTB we find ourselves with 3 triathlons that remain on the calendar in 2016. Why is that? What keeps our events growing and thriving? There's no doubt in my mind that it's PEOPLE who make the difference. Our athletes & spectators experience a ridiculous surplus of volunteers, staff, sponsors, etc - who generously and passionately work together and make this excellent, exciting, unforgettable experience. It seriously overwhelms me when I peel back a layer or two and think about what's actually happening out there. Makes me all silly and sappy....
No doubt you're taking time this holiday season to wrap your arms around the people in your lives who have cheered for you, washed your smelly laundry, found your missing glove, raised a glass to your victories, and listened patiently to your struggles. There are times our consuming sport consumes our best energy and the people closest to us get the leftovers. Let's give them the best we've got this holiday season - and into 2016. They deserve it . And we will continue, from the home office, to try and give our very best to you. You deserve it too.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!
Why do I do triathlons? This is a very tough question to answer, First of all it is very hard for me to put into words something that is so much part of my life, Secondly I am not much of a story teller. I’m not even sure why they asked me to write my story, but I will do my best. I guess I will start from the beginning… I am the youngest of 4 kids we were always active growing up. I played soccer and football, even tried basketball but that hoop was so high up there and I couldn’t jump, but never really excelled at anything until I started wrestling, I loved the competition, my uncles and brothers were wrestlers as well.
One thing you should know about my family is we do a lot of things together, they taught me a lot. All my hard work paid off when I won the state high school wrestling tournament my senior year, after graduation I followed my brother Pat to Big Bend Community College but soon realized it was time to move on to bigger and better things, like coaching high school wrestling and getting a job.
After a few years of not being very active some friends decided to take up running and I signed up for my first 5k race. I can’t say I was hooked at first but it was fun, the only other time I had to run was to make weight for wrestling, even my mom and dad started running and doing races with us. At that same time my brother Pat and cousin Tony were getting into triathlons and we would go watch and support them at Ironman races, and I would get very inspired, but that whole swimming 2.4 miles part really scared me. It wasn’t long before I started doing short sprints, my first one was Beaver Lake, my dad, aunt and some cousins all did it with me, I was mainly doing it for the fun of it and the comradery, around that same time we started getting into mountain bike and cyclocross racing. Mountain biking is probably my favorite thing to do.
In 2011 my cousins wife and friend of mine Amy Pedeferri talked me into joining the Raise the Bar triathlon team, she says that she had to drag me down to the kickoff party and almost sign my name for me, in order to get more serious about training, In May of that same year I was involved in a very serious accident when a car hit me while I was on my riding lawnmower (long story, ask me about it when you see me around and I will tell you the whole story) which put me in Harborview intensive care for 7 days and ended up with plates in my neck and rods in my back and a totally rebuilt shoulder. During my recuperation my doctors told me to keep moving and I took that to heart and started back with cyclocross and mountain bike racing 5 months after my accident. Swimming was a great rehab for my shoulder and was what I thought to be my weakest event but is something that I really enjoy now.
With the training from RTB and some reassurance from others that I could do it I was able to build up my confidence and endurance to do the Chelan Half Ironman distance in 2013, I finished, barely; let’s just say I had some time to think out on the run when I was walking. Shortly after that race I got it in my head that maybe a full Ironman was possible for me. In 2014, I flew to Tempe AZ to volunteer at the Ironman race and pulled the trigger the next morning and signed myself up for the race, looking back that was the hardest part, just signing up, and then the real training began. Not just the physical training but the mental as well, I started asking advice from anyone and everyone I knew who had raced this distance about what they did in their training and what I should be doing, I may have annoyed a few of them, but the best advice that I received was to get a plan and to stick with it no matter what.
Serious physical training started in June of 2015 and on November 15 the race day was here, did that ever go by fast. I had trained and prepared, followed my plan, stuck with it and had the time of my life on the race course, My wife, 2 daughters, mom and dad, brother, cousin and friends all there cheering me on, I finished in 12hrs 45mins, WOW I still can’t believe that I did it.
So this brings me back to Why I Tri? I tri because I like to push myself, I enjoy living a physical lifestyle and I like the comradery of being around good friends, family and great teammates, Oh and as much as I don’t like to admit it I do have a little competitive nature in me. I just want to thank all the people who encouraged me, gave me advice and especially those who had to put up with me and listen to the same old stories over and over on those long training days.
Raise the Bar
Race reports, upcoming events, news, and more, from RTB.