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Members of the San Diego Tri Club enjoy some downtime a day before competing in the Club National Championship.
Members of the San Diego Tri Club enjoy some downtime a day before competing in the Club National Championship.

Something for Everyone a Day Before Club, Long Course Nationals

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BOULDER CITY, Nev. — A day before the late-season USA Triathlon Club and Long Course Triathlon National Championships, competitors and their supporters soaked up the pre-race atmosphere Friday at Boulder City’s Government Park.

Athletes made their way around to the various expo tents, reacquainted with old friends, prepared their transition areas and assisted fellow club members with their pre-race preparations.

From experienced Ironman veterans competing in the Halfmax National Championship to relative newbies attempting the sprint distance race, just about every type of competitor was represented.

This event is a stark contrast to the individual nature other national championships as many athletes will compete for club points and ultimately a Club National Championship in one of five divisions.

Some good-natured rivalries have developed among the top clubs in the nation, and many competitors insist they’ve brought their “A” game this year.

“We definitely have an effort going to try and get the championship this year,” said Mark Anderson of the L.A. Tri Club. “We have some eager beavers on our team.”

For others, the spirit of club camaraderie fuels their performances.

“Being a part of a club makes it easier to get excited because you have other people who share the same goals,” said Suzy Taylor of the L.A. Tri Club. “It’s almost like a tribe – there are people who you know are going to be your friends and you know you have common goals and support from them.

“Before my first triathlon, I was training by myself pretty much. I feel much more confident going into my second triathlon having trained with the club.”

Without club support, some relatively new triathletes say they likely would be out of the sport by now.

“We have very good training schedules plus a nice group of people that comes out for the training,” said Lisa Ramos of the San Diego Tri Club. “They’re very motivating and so supportive. Without the support group, I probably wouldn’t be doing triathlons now – I would have given up because the training is so rigorous and time-consuming.”

While many competitors are focusing on their club’s efforts, others are competing individually in the sprint or Olympic distance Pumpkinman races or in the Halfmax National Championship.

For Ken Pearce, who will participate in the sprint race, not even a broken thumb, a freshly inserted pin nor the hindrance of a heavy cast could stop him from competing. Pearce has not been able to train since he had surgery last week after injuring the thumb while mountain biking.

“I’m going to give it a shot,” said Pearce, who is a member of the Richmond (Va.) Tri Club. “I’ve only rode my bike up and down my street to confirm that I could actually shift but other than that, the doctor’s instructions were not to do anything until I got to the race.”

Though some competitors were focused solely on their races, others, like Dave Bramhall enjoyed the beautiful fall weather and spent time with their biggest fans – their families.

Bramhall’s family has made triathlons a family affair, with Dave and his wife Tracy toting their young son to races this summer. On race day, he’ll have a cheering section of many relatives from the Las Vegas area.

“The triathlons entertain all of us,” Tracy said. “It’s fun and exciting for the whole family.”

From the uber competitive triathletes to newbies, weekend warriors and even the aspiring young triathletes watching their parents compete, there is a place for everyone in multisport.

Links

Race preview article
USA Triathlon Club Nationals site

USA Triathlon Halfmax Nationals site
Club National Championship – Pumpkinman Triathlon site
Halfmax National Championship site

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