Team offers opportunities for competitors of all ability levels
Boulder is a town filled with athletes. Starting a new sport is intimidating in a town where known athletes dominate the roads and trails. But the CU Tri-Team offers a low-key alternative to getting into the triathlon community.
“Our program is very welcoming to people who have no clue about triathlons. We are always looking to introduce new people to the sport,” said David Morse, vice president of the Tri-Team and a junior mechanical engineering major.
A triathlon is a race consisting of three seemingly different sports. Running, biking and swimming are all incorporated into one continuous race, and the distances can vary. An Olympic-distance triathlon is a one-mile swim, 26-mile bike ride and a 10k run.
Matthew Daugherty, president of the Tri-Team and a senior environmental design major, receives e-mails daily from people all over the country and the world inquiring about attending CU and joining the triathlon team.
“(Boulder) is a premier place to train,” Daugherty said.
The team has close to 120 members and is entirely student-run and student-organized.
The coach, Kirk Nelson, is a professional tri-athlete who raced his first triathlon with CU’s team, Morse said.
Nelson created a new workout plan this year, allowing for flexible training based on ability and motivation. The training system is broken down into three sections. Called the workout goal matrix, the calendar has workouts for seven days and is updated weekly.
“Group A” is training for those who are competing in a first triathlon or are more committed to a fun experience. People in this group still have the goal of the National Championship in mind but may not place with a high rank, Daugherty said.
“Group B” is referred to as the “middle of the pack” on the club’s Web site. It consists of the top 20 athletes on the team.
“Group C” is called “make-me-faster” and is for tri-athletes who want to be within the top 50 at the national competition. These students should expect to train for about 12 to 16 hours per week, but the reality of training times may be longer.
“I train 18 to 20 hours a week,” said Daugherty, one of the top three athletes on the team.
Morse agrees training is a big time commitment.
“I train about 20 hours per week, but I would go crazy without training. I enjoy the endorphin rush and the structure added to my day,” said Morse, one of the top performers on the team.
Members of the team can pick from the three levels of workout plans depending on their strengths. For example, those with a strong ability in running may choose a higher group for running workouts but may choose a lower group for swimming.
“The team is an open environment for any skill level,” Daugherty said.
Ashley Tillman, a junior business major, joined the team this semester.
“I missed being on a team and people to workout with,” Tillman said.
The team is training for the 2007 USAT Collegiate National Championships, held April 21 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The race will feature a 1.5k swim, 40k bike ride and a 10k run on and near the campus of the University of Alabama.
Visit the CU triathlon team Web site for more information.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Kathleen Straney at Kathleen.Straney@thecampuspress.com.