The Rookie Tri Recap

The Rookie Tri Recap

The Rookie Tri last weekend blasted off the local triathlon season, and what a great day of racing, camaraderie and fun!

Eleven of the 15 Bicycle World Racing Team athletes showed up at Walter E. Long Memorial Park for the 300-meter swim, 11-mile bike ride and 2-mile run. The weather was perfect. The spectators were awesome. The volunteers were fantastic. And the racing was fast.

Our own Paul ‘Barny’ Matthews was the overall winner, and Natasha Van Der Merwe locked down the women’s overall win. BW athletes Haley Koop and Doreen Redenius rounded out the women’s top three spots. The BW women took six of the top 10 places overall, with Quincey Arey in 5th, Brandi Swicegood in 7th (and 1st in her age group) and Carly Conrad in 8th. Padre Mora made his podium debut, winning his age group. Aaron Shapley took the W for his age group as well. Todd Sapio was the 8th male finisher in the uber-competitive open division. And CP Ross finished 5th in his age group of fast dudes.

Now, it’s time to start looking ahead to the next races. Natasha and Doreen head to the Chattanooga 70.3 next week. We’ll be following along and cheering from afar. And the CapTex Tri kicks off at Auditorium Shores the following week.

If you’re racing CapTex, you won’t want to miss Bicycle World’s next clinic on May 19: Conquer Open Water Swimming with Coach Casey Arendt of Go the Distance Coaching. She will discuss swim training and techniques and share tips for open water swimming. Casey Arendt is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and a SlowTwitch Coaching certified triathlon swimming coach. You don’t want to miss these words of wisdom, so join us for the knowledge and stay for the great company!

Before we get too focused on the next race, though, let’s take some time to bask in the glory of the Rookie. The best thing about the Rookie is that for many it’s their first dip of the toe into the triathlon world. It can be terrifying, exhilarating and, it’s almost always a downright blast. Which often leads to addiction to the sport.

Joy Marpa was one of those Rookies on Sunday. In April, she didn’t own a bike. Now, she can officially call herself a triathlete, and she’s planning a whole season of triathlons. Read her amazing story below. Thanks, Joy, for sharing your experience and letting Bicycle World be a part of your journey! We’re super proud of you!

Q: Why did you decide to sign up for The Rookie?
A: I ran out of reasons not to. My friend got the flyer for the Rookie Tri at the Cap10K race packet collection. She said since I had been thinking about doing a triathlon, I should consider the Rookie. Considering the short distance, I should be able to do it, she said. At the time, I had just started running and didn’t own a bike. When I saw Bicycle World’s Rookie Tri Training Weekend post on Facebook, I told myself if I can survive the bike route, then there should be no reason why I can’t complete the race.So, I went to Bicycle World and bought a bike, but it wasn’t going be ready in time for the Saturday ride, so Mike at BW hooked me up with a rental. On the morning of the Rookie Bike Route Preview, I took a bus downtown and biked to Walter E. Long Park. I arrived five minutes before wheels down and survived the morning! I was still apprehensive about the swim, but then I joined the Austin Tri Club’s happy hour and met the great triathletes in the group. They told me that knowing I had already done the bike course AFTER biking to the park, I could definitely do the race. So I signed up for the club and the Rookie Tri right then and there.
Q: What was your training like?
A: I just incorporated swimming, biking and running in my daily schedule. First, I started riding my bike everywhere. Initially, I thought I could handle the swim, but when I did the first Splash and Dash, I almost didn’t reach the first buoy and had to swim back. So I added a swim practice every morning for 20 to 30 minutes. I watched YouTube videos and read about how to improve my technique and breathing. I practiced open water swimming with the Tri Club at Pflugerville Lake, Barton Springs and other places. I also do weekly runs with my mentor from the Tri Club.
Q: What did you learn about yourself during your training?
A: I learned that sometimes I baby myself or I overthink things. I thought I wasn’t capable, but I have more in me than I realize. Changing my perspective allowed me to recognize that I am capable of more. If your brain tells you that you’re out or you don’t have it or to just stop, and you listen, then that’s your limit. But if you persist and believe that you can, you will be amazed just how far you can go.
Q: How did Bicycle World clinics and/or workouts that you attended help you prepare for the race?
A: The Bicycle World Rookie Training Weekend was the big step in. Riding the course was a huge catalyst in increasing my confidence. The transition session showed me how to properly set mine up and I did well. I received a perfect comment from my mentor when I showed her a picture of how I was going to set up on race morning.
Q: What were your biggest fears before the race? How did you handle those issues on race day?
A: My fear was just not finishing, having to be fished out of the water and seeing my dream of completing the race end right there. But at the race, I stopped myself, focused on the task at hand, and visualized the route, my strokes and breathing. I reminded myself of what my swim buddy taught me: relax, stop thinking about anything else, just focus on yourself, one stroke at a time and breathe; it will be over before you know it. And I did and it was!
Q: What was the best part of the race?
A: The best part of the race was the people. Enthusiasm from the spectators never stopped, from the start of the swim to the end of the run course. My fellow triathletes never failed to encourage others or just give a smile on the road. And, of course, the Austin Triathlon Club, and all their support before, during and after the race!!!
Q: What was your funniest race day moment?
A: The funniest part was having a personal “race” with someone else on the course. I passed someone on the first turn off Decker and we ended up chasing each other all the way to the last turn. It was funny for me to feel like I was having a direct competition with somebody I didn’t even know. I didn’t even know if she felt like she was racing me. Maybe it was just in my imagination. And yes, I finished first.
Q: How did you feel when you crossed the finish line?
A: As I crossed the finish line and raised it, I was ecstatic, I thought, “I am a triathlete!!!” Then I thought, “Oh, is it over???”
Q: What wisdom would you share with other rookies?
A: Give yourself credit and learn to trust yourself. Do not compare yourself with others because, it is a different kind of journey for each of us.
Q: Have you signed up for your next triathlon yet? :-)
A: Not yet. I am looking at the CapTex Tri sprint distance, maybe even the whole Texas Tri Series this year, ending with the Olympic distance at Kerrville. That's the goal at least!