January 16, 2019 at 5:15 pm #23600
DC Tri Club President
Survey response about value of membership: The monetary value of the membership is easily discerned through the race/gear savings through partners, but there’s something to be desired for group workouts. There’s no reason why we can’t have a general (very basic) training plan for veterans (not NTP) that culminates in a goal race. This way, people can get amped together by training together. And if people want more, they can always touch base with the elite team for suggestions or local coaches that can modify the basic workouts. Community (in sport) is built through group suffering. Give people a reason to get together and you’ll have a more engaged community that’s chomping at the bit for the next session.
- I’m happy to hear that the monetary value of the club membership is readily perceived through race discounts and gear/service savings with partners. There is a lot that goes in to developing the relationships that derive these savings for club members that I will have to expand upon in a future response post, but I’m happy to hear that people seem to recognize the monetary value that is there.
- The bulk of this response will focus on group workouts, generic training plans, and goal races since that was the major point of the survey response!
- So first let’s tackle goal races. Years ago, we tried to pinpoint 5-6 races per year that we would put the efforts of the Club behind and try to focus our members to race them, and then we (the Board) would ensure that the club tents, chairs, post race refreshments, etc. made it to the event so that we would overwhelm the race course with our kits and look really awesome!. We always included the program goals races (NTP, HIP, etc.), the USAT Mid-East Regional Club Champs, and several others (we sadly have now lost our hometown race of Nation’s Triathlon, so that won’t be on any list again 🙁 ). Over the years, we saw that this was less and less useful. We could choose a slate of races and announce them way ahead of time as the Club’s Featured Races, but somehow we ended up choosing the “wrong” ones. People seemed to flock to ones we hadn’t selected and we’d only have a small crew at ones that we did select. So last year we went away from naming Club Featured Races. We still have the program goal races and the Regional Club Champs (we are STILL waiting on USA Triathlon to announce this race and we will broadcast that information as soon as we hear), but outside of those, we haven’t really opted to name “featured races” for 2019.
- The DC Triathlon Club is a different entity from a smaller team like District Multisport where members are required to race a set of specified races on the team’s race schedule and are required to race in the team’s kit in order to stay on the team every year. We don’t have those requirements. We have a broader base and we encourage our members to race all over the region, the country, and the world. We don’t require our general club members to race in the club kit (the Club’s Elite Team is different). We highly encourage our members to sport the club kit or to wear a club visor or hat so that we can recognize you on the race course and cheer for you, but we don’t require it. Given how big the club is and the variety in our demographics as described above, we spread out all over the area and it’s very tough to get the club focused on a specific goal race.
- Having said all that though, I am all for bringing the idea of “featured races” back and getting some races for club members to focus toward, but we can’t read club members’ minds, so we try to encourage everyone to tell us what races they are doing on the Club’s Upcoming Races page by “attending” the race (if you don’t see a race there, then please email support@dctriclub to get it added!). Hopefully that will help us focus our members on specific races so that we can build that community of club members racing together again! And if we (the Board) see a lot of people aiming toward one race, we will work with people going to get the club tents and chairs there and give them a budget to buy refreshments for club members.
- And just so you don’t have to go searching, here are the program goal races for 2019 and we encourage everyone to join us at one, some, or all of them, even if it’s just to cheer:
- Now let’s dive into a discussion of group workouts! Spoiler alert:my conclusion of this discussion is going to refer back up to ideas in my response from last week, but let’s dive right in! Currently the club puts on:
- All of these workouts are open to everyone and do not cost anything to join. People don’t have to be a club member to join either. We welcome potential members who might be interested in joining to come to a group workout and see what we are about. We encourage club members to join these weekly group workouts and meet new people and potential training partners who are on similar training schedules and train at similar paces.
- We used to have weekly swims that were outside of the Masters Swim Program and open swims for club members to get together and swim, but pool space is not cheap in the DC area and the one pool we had ready and cheap access to was out in Brookland and club members complained about how hard it was to get to during the week. Sadly we ended up dropping that because it cost the Club way too much and our point person for those swims moved to the midwest. We used to have Tuesday/Thursday group rides down at Hains Point and other weekly rides in the mornings. They were very well attended and lasted for many years but the point person for those workouts stopped riding and the rides faded away. We used to have weekend runs in Rock Creek Park and other weekly runs and track workouts around the area, but they either faded away because the point person moved or were canceled because of no attendance.
- That’s what we’ve had in the past and what we currently have going on. Is there room for more? Most definitely! But as I forewarned above: the conclusion here is the same as above. We need the help of club members to do this! The common denominator of our weekly training events fading away has been the loss of a point person. The track workouts, winter marathon group and Tuan’s Sunday rides all have a point person that is there every week for people to corral around. The Saturday ride is really the only thing that has managed to go on without a single point person leading the ride.
- Side note regarding another member response: we will start making definitive calls about when the ride moves between winter and summer hours so there aren’t endless discussions about when the ride switches.
- So I want to encourage club members: if you have a standing workout that you do every week, please share that with us on the club forum and let’s see if we can get more group workouts going and more interaction between our members! The club Board can only do so much. I can say “hey, people should meet at such and such place on such and such day at such and such time to do such and such,” but if no one is there as the point person then it really is a futile effort. And as I mentioned previously: me leading a group ride or a group run is more likely to be a disaster as I ride or run off at my pace making people glare angrily at me. So the Board can only have so much influence on making group workouts successful, we need the help of our members.
- Now having said that, we are going to try a new idea this year that we are still fleshing out details on that will hopefully drive more regular group workouts. We are still ironing out the specifics, but hope to have this idea launched by February 1 and implementation of the idea started by March 1. So please stay tuned for that idea to be announced!
- In addition, I am working on another idea that will hopefully bring more weekly runs to the Club. That will also be announced soon once I get things finalized! As for weekly swims, we encourage members to try the Masters Swim Program and see what the swim coaches can do for you and how they can help you out. And once it warms up, we encourage someone to start a weekday ride again!
- Finally, a quick word about basic training plans. There is a fine line we balance here given that we want to encourage our members to participate in our distance programs but we also realize that you can get basic training plans free off the internet. That’s why the strength of these programs is in the technique clinics, the information and the interaction with coaches, instructors, and other program participants, and a more in depth training plan that is way greater and more utile than any free training plan you can get online. So we want to encourage you to join the programs and join other club members aiming toward a common goal race. These programs are not about making money for the Club. The programs essentially run at cost for facility rentals, coaching fees, instruction time, etc. However, club members can also talk amongst each other, find a common goal race, and develop a group training plan that has them all doing the same workouts together! But that’s a member driven effort!
- So I think that covers a lot of information. I wouldn’t say it’s a completely coherent response as I’m sure I ramble around a lot, but that’s my response for the week!
President | DC Triathlon Club