I had NO idea what I was getting myself into after registering for the Santa Cruz Sprint Triathlon back in November 2016. My mind reasoned the following before I submitted my payment to Active: “1 – I ran five half marathons last year. I will kill the running portion. I got this! 2 – I just bought a mountain bike – that will do… I can definitely participate. 3 – Swimming isn’t my strength, but I know for certain I won’t drown!”
After New Year’s Day, it dawned on me that I had nine months to train but absolutely no training plan. I didn’t know anything about bike maintenance, especially how to change a tube. The most I had biked was four miles, my commute, one-way, to UCSC from my house. The last time I swam in a pool was at my parent’s house years ago – if you consider floating around swimming… I needed help and FAST. I did the most sensible thing and turned to the most trusted source of information I could find – the Internet – and searched for triathlon clubs in the Santa Cruz area. Santa Cruz Triathlon Association was the top hit. I navigated the website, learned about the organization, read the bios for the coaches, and scrolled through the calendar. I noticed the meeting for “Nu2Tri” instantly and clicked on the link to learn more. This was the perfect opportunity for me to learn everything abou
t the world of triathlon! Jenna and Lauren welcomed the Nu2Tri potentials, explained the program, and gave us a list of everything we needed. A few people paid their dues that night, and some of us waited until the General Body meeting the following week.
From February until Nu2Tri Graduation at the end of April, my life revolved around triathlon training, and it still does... We had clinics almost every 2 weeks about running, cycling, swimming – pool and open water, bike maintenance, and race day mental preparation. I remember the first cycling clinic vividly. An active SCTA member let me borrow her really old-school steel road bike. It was really heavy and I didn’t know how to shift between gears properly. I was terrified! I remember riding one loop around Cabrillo College thinking I was going to either kill myself or kill the people around me. There was a club ride scheduled after the clinic and I was uneasy about participating. I listened to my gut and went home. I didn’t want to endanger other members because of my lack of experience.
I wasn’t truly invested in the club until the first group ride up Highway 1 to Davenport. That was the first time I rode 18 miles. We split up into three groups based on skill level and speed. I rode with the third group to start and I received nothing but encouragement and support that day. I truly felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. Then I realized, this was more than just a feeling. I was a team member and I was going to conquer this ride.
Flash forward to all the core classes, track practices, Beer 30 socials, hill repeats, bike rides, and long runs during a time span of three months. I got in the best shape of my life (so far), made new friends, drank beer, improved my endurance and technique, and explored new places. The club has made a huge impact on my life thanks to Nu2Tri. I’m no longer clueless about bike maintenance or triathlons. I’m a stronger, more confident swimmer. While hills are still daunting, I won’t back out from a ride with my friends even if it’s up Empire Grade – especially if there’s beer, pizza, and a hot tub at the end. I found a community of people who can answer questions about anything related to triathlons. I found people who don’t call me crazy for wanting to go on a 50 mile bike ride or 10 mile run. Or at least they don’t say it to my face. ;)