Try the Tri

Let’s say you’ve just completed a marathon, and you’re wearing your periwinkle race shirt with pride, but wondering what your next big challenge could be. Or maybe you’ve done so many road races that they seem repetitive, and you’re looking to add a little more excitement to your athletic exploits.

If so, we’ve got the perfect antidote for you: taking on the Triathlon at Pacific Grove this fall.

September 12th and 13th will be the fifteenth anniversary of the PG Tri (as it’s locally known), which was one of the first races created by Tri-California Events, owned by Terry and Betsy Davis of Pacific Grove. The race is another example of the world-class offerings we have right in our Monterey Peninsula backyard.

Through the years, both Tri-California and the PG Tri have enjoyed enormous growth in size and prestige. The first Pacific Grove race had just over 200 entrants, and the business operated out of the Davis’s garage on David Avenue. This year nearly 2000 triathletes will participate in what has become a two-day event, with an Olympic Distance race (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) on Saturday and a shorter Sprint Triathlon (.5mi swim, 12.4mi bike and 2mi run) on Sunday. Go to www.tricalifornia.com for detailed race information.

Tri-California has expanded to include races throughout California (including the world-famous Wildflower and Escape From Alcatraz triathlons), and has grown from a shoestring budget to a successful enterprise that also raises thousands of dollars for charity. Their events attract top professional talent as well as amateur and novice triathletes of all ages – and the PG Triathlon is definitely the best opportunity for locals to get their feet wet in the sport of triathlon.

Transitioning from running to triathlon isn’t as complicated as it might initially seem. Obviously, you’ll need to adjust your training schedule a bit, and make a few investments in (or borrow some) basic gear - but your general fitness from being a runner will carry you a long way towards getting started in triathlon.

The timing of the PG Tri is perfect, as warm summer days and long daylight hours provide expanded opportunities for training. The race date in September typically sees ideal weather conditions. And if you start now, you’ve got more than three months to prepare, which is plenty of time.

Here are some tips to get started …

· Assuming you’re already a runner, decrease the number of days per week that you are running, and substitute a swim or bike workout instead. You won’t lose overall fitness by cutting down running mileage to cross-train; in fact, it will probably improve. Try to bike and swim at least once per week.
· Get a bike – but it doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a road bike; many first-time triathletes use off-road bikes for the sprint distance. Use whatever you already have or can borrow; you can splurge on a bike after you decide to become a full-time triathlete.
· Likewise, you’ll definitely need a wetsuit for the cold ocean swim. If you can’t borrow one, you can rent one online at www.wetsuitrental.com or similar sites. Until then, your swim training can be done in a pool.
· Fleet Feet Sports in Monterey schedules coaching sessions for new triathletes. Call 372-5664 for details and times.

Many local athletes successfully jump back and forth between the sports of running and triathlon; with a good plan and a little bit of help, this may be the perfect time for you to join them.

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