There are several levels of seriousness for athletes who compete in triathlons. Some compete just to stay or get in shape. Some use certain events to train for longer, more difficult events. Some just love the thrill of competition. One reason is universal for every triathlete: to compete, there must be desire.
In the sixth annual Pioneer Power Sprint, produced by Dallas Athletes Racing, held on the TWU campus Sunday, more than 270 athletes swam 300 meters, biked 26 kilometers and ran 3.1 miles.
For 30-year-old Nick Nagel of Denton, who has competed in nearly 40 triathlons, Sunday’s sprint triathlon served as an appetizer for his buildup to a half-ironman triathlon in the fall that features a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.
“Today was a lot of fun, and the weather was great,” Nagel said. “The guys from Dallas Athletes did a great job putting on the event. This was just a speed day. I’m getting ready for the half-ironman in Austin.”
For Nagel’s training, he swims 6,000 yards, bikes 80 to 90 miles and runs 35 to 40 miles a week.
“It’s a lot of time and my wife sacrifices a lot of time, especially early in the morning when I wake her and the dog up,” Nagel said. “That’s the life of these triathletes. We are all a bunch of type-A personalities having fun.”
On Sunday, Pedro Trindade was the male overall winner with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes, 20 seconds, while Mandy Lozano was the female overall winner for the second straight season, crossing the finish line in 1:17:11.
Scott Olden won the male masters division with a time of 1:08:04, and Chris Hughes (1:10:46) successfully defended his title from last season as the male grand masters winner (1:10:46). Julie Sheridan took home the female masters division in a time of 1:20:49, and Katherine Compton won the female grand masters (1:21:28).
Joshua Doty, 34, who has been training for a year and just completed his first triathlon in McKinney, admits how tough it can be to find the time to train.
“It is a little bit of a struggle, because I’m a husband and father of four with really long hours,” Doty said. “My schedule is often very erratic, so finding time to train and stick to a regimen training plan can be very difficult for me.”
Contributing to his erratic schedule are his duties as a pilot at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he flies Lear jets to transport military officers and civilians.
Even with his duties as a pilot, Doty finds triathlons challenging in their own way.
“It’s a different type of pressure because in my job with the military, we are put under mental stress where we have to make quick decision or evaluate risk and reward based on those decisions,” Doty said. “The struggle here is to meter your energy and push yourself beyond what you think you can do.”
A common hurdle for athletes in triathlons is the term known as “bricking,” which is the transition from one event to the next as the body has trouble transitioning between different groups of muscles.
“That was something I discovered early on when I wasn’t sure I could meter my output and recognizing the signals my body was giving me,” Doty said. “That was one of the things I focused on the most here was recognizing when I was going to hit the wall and back off from that a little bit to preserve energy and finish strong.”
Sean Sylvera, 23, is new to the sport but has had success early in his training and events and has plans on competing in a half-ironman as well.
“I jumped on with a team in training and signed up to do a charity thing for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society,” Sylvera said. “I’m doing the Austin half-ironman in October. I usually try to race once a month, just to keep it fun and interesting. Training gets monotonous after a while.”
One advantage Sylvera had in Sunday’s race as a Denton native was his familiarity with the course.
“I know the bike routes pretty well,” Sylvera said. “Just knowing the roads and knowing what type of surface you’re going to come across and where the hills are at. It’s all about efficiency and not about power. Going out on FM428, you’ve got the wind at your back going out and you have it at your face coming out.”
Sylvera’s first triathlon was last year’s Pioneer Power Sprint, and since then he has ratcheted up his training in a very unique way.
For Sunday’s event, Sylvera wore two weight vests totaling 65 pounds, the amount of weight he has lost since his first triathlon.
“I was almost 300 pounds last year,” Sylvera said. “When I first ran this event last year, I wanted to do it to see how far I’ve come. I think I’m going to do it every year. The biggest thing is to keep moving forward.”
With the hard work and training behind him, Sylvera recalled his final steps across the finish line.
“It was pretty cool,” Sylvera said. “Everybody was cheering. Usually people don’t cheer. You might get a couple cheers here or there. It’s not the best spectator sport, but it was really awesome finishing and having the culmination of all that hard work.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is email@example.com .