Swim, bike, run

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May 1, 2007

2:34 AM

__College’s Triathlon club returns to campus after four-year hiatus__

p. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. you’ll find sophomore Ben Bartlett swimming laps at the Rec Center pool. After his classes end in the afternoon, he’ll trade his swimsuit for jogging shorts. Then on weekends, in between time spent at a part-time job, you’ll see him on his bike, going on trips as long as 70 miles.

p. A member of the College’s Club Triathlon team, which re-formed this past fall after a four-year hiatus, Bartlett’s intense weekly training regiment is par for the course for anyone training for the one, two, three punch of swimming, running and biking that a triathlon packs.

p. Bartlett estimates that he spends 20 hours a week working part-time and 15-20 hours training in the three triathlon disciplines. Add school work into the mix and Bartlett’s schedule is packed.

p. “It’s unlike anything else,” Bartlett said. “With the multi-sport lifestyle, you really have to find time to fit things in.”

p. But all the sacrifices he’s made have paid off. At a half Ironman event in April, Bartlett took third place overall and first in his age category (20-24) with a time of 4 hours and 18 minutes. Junior Jon Anderson, another member of the Club Triathlon team, qualified for a national competition in St. Louis after winning his Clydesdale weight category of 200+ pounds in 5 hours and 11 minutes.

p. On June 10, Anderson and several other members of the Triathlon team will compete in the local Yorktown Sprint Triathlon which involves swimming 750 meters, biking for 13.5 miles and a 5k run. The sprint distance is the shortest of four triathlon distances which include olympic, half Ironman and Ironman. While the longer events require greater endurance, sprint triathlons are all about speed.

p. “I have some speed, but not a lot. It’s really difficult for the way I’m built to do short races,” said Bartlett, who is skipping the Yorktown Sprint to train for a different event.

p. Anderson competed in the Yorktown Sprint last year and said his training in the next few weeks will be focused on getting his body ready for a faster paced race.

p. Bartlett’s goal is to qualify for the Ironman Hawaii World Championship next year, but in order to do so he must earn first or second place in his age group at the Buffalo Springs Lake Half Ironman in Lubbock, Texas June 23. The half Ironman event consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run (half-marathon).

p. “I think I have a shot at it,” he said. “I need to get in more quality training time.” Bartlett pointed to the difficulty of balancing work, a part time job and training.

p. “In this sport, all the professionals do is eat, sleep and train. College students who try to compete don’t have that opportunity,” he said. “I never get enough sleep.”

p. While he thinks he has a good chance of doing well at the Buffalo Springs Lake Half Ironman event, finding the time to train the necessary 3-4 hours a day will be his biggest obstacle.
Anderson also said training for a triathlon as a full-time student was a feat in itself.

p. “It takes a lot more will power than other sports,” he said. “You have to get up early and schedule around everything you do in college. Not only that but you have to be ready to experience pain which taxes your body.”

p. Six people train year round for Club Triathlon while several dozen more have expressed interest in competing, according to Anderson. Most of the training is done on an individual basis, with some group swim training and partner bike training.

p. “A lot of the training involves longer workouts and a lot of it involves doing a block of run and bike, then bike and swim back to back,” sophomore Chuck Feerick said, who will be competing at the Yorktown Sprint. “Most days you do two to three disciplines.”

p. Currently the team receives no funding, and everything from entry fees in competitions to equipment is paid in full by the athletes. Costs for a competitive bike can run anywhere from $500 to $8000, and wet suits for swimming range from $200-$400. “It’s one of the more expensive sports out there with all the complicated equipment,” Anderson said.

p. Triathletes can also receive sponsorships if they have good enough results to get noticed Bartlett said, who currently has a coaching scholarship from May through October. His coach talks to him over the phone and via email, giving training plans and other advice, but does not meet with him in person.

p. While members of Club Triathlon often train together, the real beauty of the sport is its individual nature.

p. “You’re not pushing anybody but yourself,” Bartlett said. “You don’t have to live up to anybody’s standards but your own.”

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