So I want to tell you about a group of people I've met here in Huntsville who are a pretty amazing bunch; it's a triathlon group called Team Rocket Tri Club. On paper, it is a triathlon club that puts on races and training events for people in our region. We have several sprint distance races, an Olympic distance race, an open water swim race, and even a reverse trail triathlon. Every one of our races supports one or more charities, and after we pay our bills and give back to the club and the equipment fund, a gajillion dollars goes to these charities to help all kinds of random things, from medical research to food banks to everything you can imagine. So with regard to being a functioning athletic club, I guess you could say we're pretty stout.
But in reality, we also do things you wouldn't expect from a tri club. We get together for potlucks and exchange dessert recipes. We have pool parties at our friend Tony's house. We shop at our local bike and run shops together and empty our bank accounts on the newest Hoka shoe that we soooooo don't need. We have White Elephant Christmas parties where we argue about who gets the ginormous box of chocolates and the whiskey. We share our extra helmet when some doofus forgets theirs (me!). We have a kickoff party every spring and a season ending party in the fall, where we give out our charity checks and feast upon tacos and queso dip. We lend each other Garmin watches and anti-fog wipes for our goggles when we forgot them (also me!). We welcome new people and we get to know old ones. And we have a lot of old ones! VERRRY VERRY OLD ONES! Ha ha!
We have our trials. This past year, we lost one of our own unexpectedly and it was like losing a family member to many of us. We mourned together and comforted one another in remembrance.
We've also had people take on amazing challenges together. One of our members rode his bike all the way from Alabama to Colorado a few years ago and we sat and watched slides together at one of the local bike shops. Many of our members have traveled across the country together to do Ironmans or Age Group Championship races at a time when their own family members either could not go or didn't really have interest in going. Sometimes a group of families have gone together and piled in cars with their southern accents and bikes like some wild Beverly Hillbillies contraption. Some of our members spend time raising awareness for veterans who have served our country, and wear matching Red-White-Blue shirts and fist bump each other every time they see each other.
When we do put on a race, it's like a huge family reunion where everyone brings bikes and running shoes instead of food. Oh, who am I kidding, we bring food too! And this club really supports our races; you end up seeing the same families and people volunteering and we more often than not have way more volunteers than we need.
And you know with most clubs where it's super hard to get anyone to volunteer to do anything and then when they do, they don't really want to do it or do it well? Not this group. This group is jumping up and down to help and do things like get up at 4 in the morning in the freezing cold to drive boats, set buoys, set up parking lanes, and cut up bananas. Crazy? Yeah, probably. But this group is more than some people to wave at and someone to talk to when you're nervous before a race.
You might be thinking... I could never join a triathlon club; I don't even know how to do a triathlon! Well, then, you're in the right place. This is where beginners get started and find friends to explore the sport with. You should join us!
If you're a veteran to the sport, you should join us too, because we need your experience and your insane stories like that one time you broke a pedal and kept on riding all the way to the finish on one leg. Also that one where you got locked in the port-o-potty accidentally and had to bang on the door till someone let you out. And especially the one where your suit ripped right up the hiney right before the swim started.
Come join the crazies. You'll fit right in.