Triathlon team strives for another successful season

After the finish - UC Davis 4:27:14.jpg
The Chico State triathlon club poses at the finish line after a competition last year. Photo courtesy Nick Brugioni.

5.4 miles of swimming.18.6 miles of running. 73 miles of bicycling.

For some that’s a death sentence. But for the Chico State Triathlon Club, that’s the total mileage of a spring semester’s worth of competitions.

It’s no wonder it’s starting early.

The Chico State Triathlon Club has started preparing for five triathlons this spring semester. The team was named Chico State’s most improved club, and it’s shown so far at fall tryouts.

The club has 22 triathletes returning from last season, and 15 more came to try out last week.

It’s a substantial improvement over the four returners last year, said Enrique Pinon, the team’s treasurer.

“I respect anyone who has done a triathlon, just because you push your body to the limit doing three sports in one,” said Manuel Avila, the president of the club and member since he was a first-year.

The team’s fall conditioning consists of six practices a week, with Mondays being the only day off. It has early morning swims at the Wildcat Recreation Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, completing about 2,500 yards in the pool. It participates in a spin class at the WREC on Wednesdays.

Fridays consist of a bike ride roughly 15 miles along the Sacramento River. Saturdays and Sundays include a 3-10-mile run or a 15-40-mile bike ride starting at One Mile in lower Bidwell Park.

Some of the athletes took to events by themselves to get in shape. Kyle Gunther and Joseph McCurley competed at an Ironman 70.3, or half-Ironman, in Lake Tahoe. Sean Molina, the club’s coach for cycling and running, participated in a full Ironman, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run.

The team starts competition in mid-March, with competitions all over the state. It is planning on competing in sprint triathlons at UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Stanford University. It is also trying to enter a race at UC San Diego.

“In the spring we hit it hard,” Molina said. “That is when the show starts.”

The biggest race it competes in is called the Wildflower, which is an Olympic race located in Paso Robles with triathletes coming from all over the nation.

The difference between a sprint triathlon and an Olympic race is only the distance; the order of swim, bike and run is always the same.

A sprint triathlon consists of:

  • 0.47-mile swim
  • 12-mile bike ride
  • 3.1-mile run

While the Wildflower Olympic race is:

  • 0.93-mile swim
  • 25-mile bike ride
  • 6.2-mile run

The team is looking forward to another great year with even greater teammates, said Nick Brugioni, vice president of the club.

“We are a new team and look to grow and develop to hopefully one day have our own triathlon event here in Chico,” Brugioni said.

Samuel Wolfson can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Samuel_Wolfson