Tri Fort Worth — the city’s first triathlon event — takes place May 21st.
The triathlon: no sporting event inspires quite the same mixture of curiosity, intimidation, and awe. Like modern day gladiators, triathlon runners measure themselves against the dual challenges of road and water, armed only with their natural strength and a bicycle. If you’ve ever wanted to test yourself to discover the limits of your fitness, a triathlon surely ranks alongside the full marathon as a premier challenge. Unfortunately, those in North Texas were presented with practically zero options among triathlon competition. This is all about to change, as Tri Fort Worth is coming to the city on May 21st.
If you have only a vague understanding of the triathlon, you likely don’t appreciate the event’s logistical complexity. A multi-stage competition, the triathlon involves the completion of three sequential and continuous events. The three challenges, cycling, swimming, and running, utilize different muscle groups, and thus necessitate a comprehensive level of peak fitness.
Triathletes compete against one another to attain the fastest overall completion of all three events. Athletes must learn how to quickly transition between events, manage their equipment, and cope with the mental and physical strain of the lengthy competition. For the opportunity to compete in this event, triathletes in Fort Worth can thank Tim Tarpley. As a triathlete himself, Tim understands the demand for a homegrown competition.
“I’ve been a triathlete for 18 years,” says Tim. “We started putting on events back in 2003 and 2004, and have always wanted to make this race happen. It was tricky to find a good area to do it that included a body of water. Everything fell into place with the improvements to Marine Creek. The Convention and Visitors Bureau also wanted to be a part of something, so it just started to grow.”
Generally speaking, area triathletes had to travel, sometimes long distances, in order to find events. As one would imagine, Tim and his team have received a substantial amount of enthusiasm and interest for Tri Fort Worth.
“We’ve gotten responses from all over the world,” says Tim. “This is really the only chance people in this area have to roll out of bed and do a race. This is our first year, and we’ve seen a lot of overall excitement.”
Though registration for the event continues right until May 21st, Tim recommends that participants make the decision early. Unlike a 5k or fun-run, Tri Fort Worth necessitates months of careful training in order to compete safely. As a general rule of thumb, triathletes should have mentally committed no later than January for the May event. This allows for the approximate five to six months of intense training time that the competition requires. It’ll all seem worth it, however, the day of the competition.
“You have to train for three different sports,” says Tim. “Swimming, biking, and running, about three times a week each. The difficulty of the event varies from person to person, however. Some people find marathons more difficult. The training for triathletes, since it’s differentiated, doesn’t cause as much wear and tear.”
No sane person would ever consider a triathlon as a walk in the park, though. Participants in Tri Fort Worth can choose between a half and full event. Half events consist of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. The full event clocks in at double these numbers: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. Participants drop off their bikes on Saturday before the event in downtown Fort Worth. Sunday morning, a shuttle carries racers to Marine Creek, which will host the swim. From there, the race continues as a bike back to downtown, and concludes with the running portion.
If you find yourself tempted by a truly unparalleled challenge, you’ll want to get training early. Most first-time triathletes need some help with preparation. For this service, you can turn to Tim and Trident Sports (www.tridentsportsfw.com).
“We’re a full-service training company at Trident, so you won’t have any surprises,” says Tim. “Someone who doesn’t have a coach won’t understand the complexities of triathlons. We are the only storefront that offers triathlon-specific training, and we specialize in endurance sports. Whatever the modality, I will get you ready.”
“This is the only and biggest event that we’ve ever organized in Fort Worth,” says Tim. “There’s a lot of people who have embraced it and want it to happen. It’s truly a community action.”