Joining A Tri-Club. Should You Or Shouldn't You?

[caption id="attachment_8907" align="alignright" width="300"]tri club - ironman - triathlon Source: Ironman[/caption] Tri clubs seems to be sprouting up all over the place and that is to be somewhat expected.  The popularity of the sport of triathlon continues to grow.  In the past couple of weeks the following has taken place:
  • World Triathlon Corporation announces Ironman Chattanooga as next race and it sells out in 3 minutes.
  • Challenge Family has announced that they will be hosting a race in the mid-atlantic region in 2014.
With the popularity of triathlon at an all time high the questions about joining a tri club are being asked.  I am a member of the FW Tri Club and have been a 'member' of the Friday Swim Club for the past couple of years.  I became involved with both of these clubs for various reasons.  Last year as I was training for Ironman Arizona I wanted to get more open water swim training in I discovered that Michele was swimming with a group of friends every Friday morning at the lake.  I decided to join them and sure enough those swims led to bike rides and runs and about a year later I have competed in IMAZ with Michele as well as IMTX with two other guys from the group.  This year another member of the loosely formed Friday Swim Club is racing IMAZ himself.  Having this connection has been great because we can post to the Facebook page and link up with each other for swims, bike and runs.  There is always somebody available for whatever workout you are doing. Joining the FW Tri Club was more formal.  I paid my club dues and started reading the Facebook page and attended the member meeting.  I thought about what has been done for me since I entered the sport and had the sense that it was time to give back.  I wanted to share my experiences with those that are either just getting into the sport, doing their first Ironman, or doing IMAZ or IMTX for the first time and lend them my experiences.  The club is far more formal with about 15x the member that the loose group of friends on Friday is.  The similarity, though, is striking.  There are posts on the Facebook page for group workouts as well as individuals looking to get a workout in and post Friday afternoon about a late Friday evening run.  As usual there is always somebody who is ready to do the same thing. The sport of triathlon can be lonely at times.  With runs at 4:30-5:00am when the sun is still hitting the snooze bar to long rides that are going to be done by yourself because you need to find that mental space for race day.  Swimming, while you can go out with a group, is an individual sport because you are not conversing while actually swimming and so you spend that time in your own head.  Despite all the time that you can spend on your own, this is a sport with teammates as well.  As a member of a tri club you have immediate teammates but even if you are not you will have those that know what you are going through and can shed some light on your experience thanks to social media. Whenever I speak with Jeff or Kevin they will bring up their local tri club in conversation and how they trained with a group of people for this race or that race.  There is a camaraderie that is developed amongst the athletes because we are all going through the same things.  How we deal with those things are going to be driven by personalities but that doesn't mean that we cannot learn from our teammates.  There is no substitute for experience and when you surround yourself with tri club teammates, whether they be 10 or 150, you will find somebody that has or is going through what you are currently experiencing. Also, if you tri club is big enough there is the added benefit of discounts from companies.  The sport of triathlon is very expensive and having access to discounts can ultimately help pay off your membership fee because of the savings.  I caution you though to not just join a tri club for the discounts.  Get involved and find out how great the sport can be when experiences are shared with friends.

Are You A Member Of A Tri Club? What Has Been Your Experience?

News from Ironman.com about the Tri Club Program: Ironman Tri Club Program Championships Decided At Last Moment
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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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