“Brief History of the DC Tri Club”
Updated for 2012...
Some memories that stand out from the last 11 years or so. Many dates are approximate, some facts are fuzzy, and incomplete.
If you have big memories of your own, fond or otherwise, post them:
2001(?)—The club’s first webmaster, Ed Zastrow, at his own time and expense, patches together a primitive web site, the first of three that will be rolled out. The many glitches and the tardiness of the web site start a club tradition of constant complaints about the site…
2001—Many clubbers race at the old Spud Triathlon, the site of the current Gen. Smallwood Tri.
C. 2001-2002—DCTri begins a tradition of large, boisterous happy hours on Thursday nights, usually around Capitol Hill where many early members and club officers reside.
The club culture is sort of punk-like: many ride to the HHs on hand-me-down bikes, some look like weightlifting extras from Mad Max films, and with few organized swims some pick random spots in the Potomac to jump in for workouts.
2002—Clubber Ed Moser and Zastrow patch together their first Olympic triathlon. An informal affair on a 90-degree day, they swim a mile at Ed’s Arlington apt. pool, then bike 28 miles, without Gatorade, along the Mt. Vernon trail. Then run a 10K without water. Zastrow bonks, and Moser collapses under a tree at the end, beginning a personal tradition of collapsing at the end of races. Other clubbers begin to think that race day hydration and more formal training programs are in order.
2002(?)--After a crash of a club member at the Civil War Century, club president Marc Schneider rides 40 or so extra miles into cell phone range to call for an ambulance, giving him 140 miles and making him guardian angel for the year. After leaving the Marine Corps, Marc decided to try something more dangerous—not triathlons, but banking…Marc and other leaders help set up regular club features like a board of directors and membership dues.
2002—Due to a weird weather spike during the Columbia Triathlon, temps suddenly jump to 95 on an already boiling day during the very hilly beginning portion of the run. All at once, hundreds of runners begin to walk. Near the finish line, Ed Moser collapses under a tree, which is surrounded by poison oak; he itches for weeks.
2002-2003(?)--The first club race clothes can be ordered, with a smashing red, white, and blue design. However, it takes forever to order and deliver the stuff, starting an enduring club tradition of waiting, and waiting some more, for the arrival of club colors.
2003—In the freezing year of Hurricane Isabel, the Columbia Triathlon starts with a swim in the low 50s. (Wetsuit legal.) A number of shivering pros, unable to continue, drop out of the race at the bike transition. Other racers are barely able to grip or operate their gears for several miles, so numb are their hands.
2003—With the hurricane devastating the Mt. Vernon Trail and the C&O Canal trail, some clubbers take to doing their long runs at night on the National Mall, and discover one of the most scenic running courses in the nation.
2004—The club’s fun annual meetings are usually held in the movie house of the Arlington Draft House.
2004(?)—DCT hosts a annual presentation of club ironmen who speak on how to train for and race in an IM event. One inspiring speaker around this time is Sean Ward, who races at medal pace with a strict dietary regimen due to insulin problems.
2005--After a terror alert due to some nitwit leaving a package on the 14th St. Bridge, the course of the Army Ten Miler is changed at the last minute—without informing the runners, including various clubbers. The event turns out to be 11.2 miles, which enrages elite runners keeping to fast, precise paces before bonking near the end. Many not-so-great runners, however, are overheard at the finish line exclaiming, “Awesome! That’s the longest I’ve ever run!”
2005—DCT founds the New Triathlon Club (NTP). It becomes an efficiently run model for fun, inexpensive training for new participants in the sport.
2005?—Conte’s (later Performance) Bikes in Ballston begins first-Tuesday bbq/beer rides that eventually draw up to 250 cyclists, including scores of clubbers.
2005(?)—Club webmaster Eric Goetz sets up one of the country’s premier long-distance bike events, Total 200. Goetz also helps establish one of the most humbling, for non-elite bikers, biking events: the frenetically paced dawn workouts at Hains Pt.
2005—The club is by now putting on regular lectures around the region by experts on nutrition, bike maintenance, transition, running form, and more.
2005()—To help NTPers and others gain experience, and to defray the expense of the sport, DCT is by now holding inexpensive, well-attended training sprint tris at Hains Pt.
2005—DCT wins its first of 5 straight Mid Atlantic championships, and 7 out of 8, often by overwhelming other clubs in the region by sheer numbers. The towns of Northeast, Maryland, Princeton, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh, PA are among the venues for the title events. USAT is later forced to change its “each racer counts” scoring due to the huge number of DCT participants.
2006(?)—Under club president Chad Lewis, and vice-president (?) Cory Churches, and organized by Gary Dean, DCT holds its first bric-nic, in Centennial Park in Columbia, MD. The popular bric-nics are later expanded to Rock Creek Park, and held multiple times a year.
Membership in the club, maybe 12 in 2001, explodes to many hundreds during this time, especially in the spring when the fat club discount on buying a bike is often employed.
2006—The inaugural Nation’s Tri, organized by Chuck Brodsky, is held, despite many doubters, in Washington, DC. When the swim is cancelled at the last minute, due to failure to get a permit from the city, and fears about sewage flow into the Potomac, the future of what becomes an annual classic is cast in doubt.
2006(?)—A precursor to today’s popular Montgomery County and NOVA subgroups of DCT, a southern Maryland group is established by Anathea Powell, “Lazy Bones” Mike Bowman, and others. It often holds runs at the National Zoo, followed by burgers at the Zoo Bar.
2006—Adding a spring marathon to the fall Marine Corps classic, the inaugural National Marathon and Half Marathon are held, with many DCT racers and vols.
2006(?)—During a swimathon at the Eastern Market pool, clubbers are thrown out of the place for hogging too many lanes. Paul Contino manages to swim 10,000 yards, though, mostly via the butterfly.
2006-2007(?)—With a big boost from DCTers like former club president Nic Jafarieh and Michelle Harburg, the Achieve charity for young, inner-city triathletes is set up. Over time, annual fundraisers raising thousands of bucks are held.
2007—With major administrative and participatory support from DCT, and triathlete mayor Adrian Fenty, the second Nation’s Tri is a big success.
2007(?)—The winter Club Challenge was taken more seriously back then. To nail down most bike miles nation-wide, Kip Pierson rides a century—in January. Yet the Challenge is marred by apparent cheating by members of other clubs who post “typos” that claim impossible mileage.
2007—On a dare from Angie Deveraux (now A. Neilans), burly future club president Joe Coyne races the Mid Atlantic title--in a tutu. Few doubt his manhood, though, as Joe probably shaves 5-6 times a day…
2007—During a swim clinic, Sarah Thorpe directs Casey Creech and Ed Moser into the “penalty box” for 30 minutes of the doggy paddle, as punishment for “having the worst strokes I’ve ever seen.” Sarah has obviously never seen Tuan Nguyen swim…
2007(?)—The first, epic SavageMan training weekends are held in the wilds of Deep Creek, Maryland, on the course of the SavageMan Half, founded by Kyle Yost.
2008—In Race Across America, a San Diego to Annapolis bike competition, the mixed team of clubbers Phil Schmidt, Andrea Vasquez, Eric Goetz, and Patrick Serfass finish second—in the men’s completion, a still-existing record. Clubbers follow them intently on the Internet as they race over the Appalachians and approach a climactic finish.
2009—Building on the success of NTP, the club begins a Half Ironman training program. More training programs, staffed by elite coaches, will follow.
2009-- During SavageMan training weekend, Glenn Elliott veers sharply on his bike, to avoid a cyclist who’s braked to avoid a bear in the road, and crashes down a steep ravine, momentarily knocked unconscious. He gets up and finishes the ride.
2009—Many clubbers begin helping out with a series of High Cloud charity half-marathons and tris put on by Matt and Adriana Anderson.
2009—After the opening of a beautiful pool at Wilson High, some in the school demand the 50-meter lanes be changed to 25 meters, touching off a lengthy and heated imbroglio on the club web site.
2009-2010—Hillary Peabody & Capitol Striders begin a popular series of weekly track workouts at Wilson High. They feature involved active stretching which some mistake for the contortions of bikram yoga.
2010—The inaugural PeasantMan tri, supported by many clubbers, is held at Maryland’s Sandy (Chiang) Point. Founder Tuan Nguyen is targeted by MD’s notorious, brown-shirted park police, who cancel the run the morning of the event after giving its approval months before. The event becomes a popular annual event for newbie triathletes.
2010—The inaugural Washington, DC Triathlon is successfully held. A logical race for NTPers, it boosts a great many DCT volunteers, often organized by club president Travis Siendhel.
2010—Race coordinator Hugh Harris, in running the time trials and sprint tris at Hains Pt., survives a flood, overflow crowds from Mall demonstrations, and the city’s brown-shirted park police cancelling use of the Hains pool at the last minute.
2010—The EagleMan half ironman in Cambridge, MD takes place with an irregular 1.35 swim leg due to drifting buoys, causing some competitors to miss the swim’s time cutoff. The run takes place in record heat, causing most to start walking in a fair imitation of the Bataan Death March. A typically fun EagleMan…
2010-2011—Phil Schmidt, Kelsie Beebe, Olwen Huxley, and others qualify for the Kona IM world championships.
2010—A chartered bus breaks down three times bringing a large contingent of clubbers to the Myrtle Beach half iron championship. The bus limps into town at 11 pm; almost everyone on board has a substandard race. By trying manfully to arrange alternate transportation by spending 15 hours on his cell phone, Steve Carlson assures his later election as club president. An obscure team from Columbia, Missouri, not Maryland, somehow wrests the title from DCT.
2010—Under president Julie (Onassis) Kennedy and others, the club adds Ironman and Olympic Distance training programs. To reassert a stress on top performers, it also sets up an Elite Team.
2010—At the Beach to Battleship IM, Stephanie Ewert and blind athlete Tina Ament swim 2.4 frigid miles tethered together.
2011—The club takes back the Mid-Atlantic title at a sweltering Rockett’s Landing Olympic distance race where the water temps in Richmond’s James River hit 93 degrees. (Wetsuit not legal).
2011—Faulty Garmins lead to a 6.0 mile run leg of the Nation’s Tri, and yet another web site imbroglio, per club tradition. Carrie Campbell is volunteer coordinator for her fourth-straight city-wide tri. Club racers and vols again make up a huge contingent of the annual classic.
2011—The inaugural, and funereal, Hot Chocolate 15K/5K overestimates the number of runners who can fit in the narrow trails along the Potomac by a factor of 10. And organizers forget the course route. Massive gridlock ensues, including for scores of DCTers—and that’s only for driving to the race!
2012—The club breaks new ground by heading out to the ITU/Olympic Trials World championship in sunny San Diego. Club prez Ryan Troll arranges for free shipment of bikes to the race, and for some Catherine Myung arranges for free barbecue provided by her parents. Despite La Jolla’s dizzyingly steep Mt. Soledad, the club cops its first world title in Division II?, against tough opposition (no one else is in its category…)
2012—For reasons much debated, the Washington, DC Triathlon is cancelled, supposedly due in part to legal issues and city reluctance to issue permits during tourist season. NTPers training for their first tri are left in the cold. An inaugural National Harbor Half Tri is also cancelled, ending hopes for an eventual IM based in that area.
2012—The club, with WaveOne, starts its own master’s swim team at Wilson High, led by Denis Crean, Jule Miata, Amanda Bauer, Cat M, Kate Tobin, Holli FINNnRun. The swimmers get noticeably faster over the course of the year.
2012—NTP is so popular that for the first time it puts on two programs in the same year, with leader Bryan Frank juggling the twin teams. Two unusually talented, fast programs, but three local tris are cancelled!
2012—The General Smallwood Oly takes place in record heat, with memorable performances. Phil Schmidt breaks the tape first, but is edged out by two others in other AGs. Patrick Serfass forgets his bike shoes, rides in running shoes, finishes 7th. Luke Holman has a sizeable 1st-place lead deep into the run, but in 104-degree heat hasn’t taken in enough water, and collapses, then spends over 5 days in intensive care, before fully recovering. Meantime the club’s women quietly take care of business, with Hillary Cairns & Jenny Leehy finishing 1-2, & the club taking another Mid-Atlantic title. But the county’s EMS are overstretched with 30 ambulance calls, cancelling the following day’s sprint tri, leaving many NTPers out in the cold again.
2012—A certain noted cyclist enters the sport of triathlon, shatters the Kona Half record, leading to much anticipation concerning a Kona IM smackdown, then is banned by USADA, leading to heated debates on the club site, and later wins the local HalfFull as a charity racer.
2012—The NTPers are amazed when the Nation’s Tri is NOT cancelled. An amazing 500 clubbers compete, plus 100 volunteers, and DCT’s Stephanie Ewert finishes first. (Earlier in the year, clubber Ben Winterroth wins the Rumpass in the Bumpass tri at Lake Anna.)
2012--Andy Sovotnik leads a blind runner to a 7th place finish at the National Harbor Half Marathon... CrossFit becomes the rage for quite a few clubbers seeking to cross-train.
2012—DCT sets its annual new record with over 1,300 paid members…