From Wednesday Meet and Greet to a Team National Championship
In two short years the Myrtle Beach Triathlon Club has become a very diverse and vibrant group that has had many successes. Below is a brief history of how it happened.
After many years of training for triathlons as a “lone ranger” in Virginia, Jerry envisioned group rides, swims and runs with like minded people on a no drop, no pressure environment. A simple flyer at Crabtree Gym started the ball rolling.
Paul Walker and Jerry met in March 2009 and the Wednesday morning “meet and greet” ride began from Crabtree Gym.
Tim at Grand Strand Bikes called and asked permission to put the ride on GSB website. This was a real significant event as it allowed for many people outside the scope of Crabtree Gym to establish contact.
Tim Cornell, Pete Politis, George Paraschos and Cayla Pearson soon joined the ranks of the Wednesday rides. It started out as 25 miles at a 17mph average pace. This was a stretch for many of the ranks of the ride.
Paul was curious about triathlons and he expressed interest in training for one. Paul and Jerry trained all summer aiming at a Sprint in Greenville, SC in August 2009. This was a success as Paul finished his first triathlon and for Jerry his 27th.
Many out-of-towners joined the Wednesday ride regardless of ability. The group entertained and biked around Myrtle Beach all summer long on Wednesday.
As the summer turned to fall, a core group of 6 or 7 people formed a swim group with coaching from Rob at Pepper Geddings . This continued most of the winter of 2009. In addition to swimming, a goal of finishing the 63 mile ride in Conway in Feb. 2010 was set. As weather permitted, the group rode outside together and did a 50 mile ride in December 2009.
February 2010 – Several riders from the group did the Conway 63 mile ride.
April 2010 – Coastal Carolina Sprint Triathlon attracted Pete, George, Cayla and Jerry. This was the first event for Pete, Cayla and George. Tim and Mary from GSB were present to offer their support. Talk of Myrtle Beach Triathlon Club (MBTC) began shortly after the Coastal event.
In April 2010, “Lake Secret” was discovered and MBTC started having regular Thursday morning open water swims at dawn. The swim started before daylight sighting the lights on the dock. On the way back it was daylight and one could see the trees at the end of the lake. Round trip was 2,000 yards. The group grew to 12 to 14 swimmers.
A muddy dirt road leading to the lake enabled “Redneck Olympics” one Thursday morning with 3 vehicles being axle deep in mud. All in the group helped each other and all vehicles made it safely to dry roads. Everyone was covered with mud but happy. It was a topic of conversation for many days.
MBTC launched a face book page in the spring of 2010. This event was very significant and the numbers quickly grew to 35. A regular workout schedule was posted with workouts everyday of the week.
The decision was made by UltraMax to hold the USAT Long Course National Championship and USAT Club Championship in Myrtle Beach in 2010 and 2011. Regular ICW swims started on a weekly basis.
August 2010 – Joey Arakas was the first member of MBTC to finish an Ironman. He did Louisville Ford IM.
Many MBTC Members did the shortened UltraMax event in Oct. 2010. The swim was cancelled as a result of contamination in the ICW.
Nov 2010 – Pete Politis finished Beach to Battleship IM in Wilmington,NC. This became a rally point in the ranks of MBTC as this was his first and with only a year of training. In the same month, Ashley Hasty completed her first ½ IM in Florida.
As fall left Myrtle Beach and the winter winds and cold arrived, a determined group of 6 or 7 MBTC members started Sunday “Hot Stacks 63” rides / bricks. The core group was Pete Politis, Jerry Schenkel, Ashley Hasty, and newcomers Alex Parker and May Lauzon. The rides continued all winter in sometimes terrible weather. The 63 mile ride was an endurance builder both physically and mentally. Many Sunday morning were finished with a 6 mile run after the ride.
April 2011 – TryCharleston half IM allowed many MBTC members to finish their first half IM. Wade Davis, Brad Stone, May Lauzon, Tim Cornell and Jerry Schenkel were among the finishers.
Utah IM is rated as one of the most difficult IMs in the world. In May 2010 Pete Politis finished Utah IM but discovered that training on flat and racing on mountains is not a good plan.
June 2011 –MBTC obtained permissions from the owners of a lake on Watertower Rd to let us do open water swims. Watertower Rd “training camp” was established. It became a regular Friday event with swimming, biking and running available from 6AM to 9AM. This was a significant event as MBTC numbers grew to over 100. However the owners of the lake were concerned about liability and these weekly training sessions ended at the end of July.
Summer 2011 – the Wednesday rides continued and many new people experienced their first group ride. The policy of no drop, no one left behind continued. It became a teaching opportunity in a no pressure environment. This was a gateway for many new people to join in.
Summer 2011 -Tim Cornell organized two free triathlons in Garden City and Pete Politis organized a free event at Watertower Rd “training camp”. All three events were a no rigid rules event which allowed new members to come and participate without anxiety or pressure. In addition to the races, a swim clinic at Pepper Geddings was put on with the help of Kathy Anderson and a nutrition seminar lead by Rosann Wilcox. These events were significant in the growth of MBTC. Our numbers grew to over 130.
Late summer 2011 -with the help of Michael Hasty, mbtriclub.org website was built. Pete took the lead and registered our group with USAT and MBTC became an official USAT Triathlon Club. Jerry and Pete launched the website the night before the North Myrtle Beach Tri – September, 10th 2011. This was the first race as an official USAT team.
September 2011 – MBTC Tri Suits were available for members to wear during events. The tri kits we purchased and proudly worn by experienced and new comers with pride.
October 8, 2011 – 32 members of MBTC raced in the UltraMax Club National Championship and UltraMax Long Distance National Championship. The club had the youngest and oldest athletes and someone in almost every age group. This allowed MBTC with several AG wins to score many age group points which resulted in a National Club Championship for tier 4 clubs (30 – 80 members). This diversity was a result of group training where all athletes are welcome regardless of age and ability.
Three MBTC members qualified for the ITU World Championship in Spain in 2012 in the Long Course Championship. Congratulations to Brad Stone, Warren Ratley and May Lauzon.
Six MBTC members will participate in the 2011 Beach to Battleship IM on Oct. 29th, 2011. Four first time IMs will be members of MBTC. We will be cheering for Jonathan Gibson, Paul Walker, May Lauzon and Warren Ratley. In addition Pete Politis will complete his third and Daniel Filippini will complete his fifth.
October 2011 – MBTC formally organized as a non-profit corporation. This provides the mechanism to offer events formally as a club with the corporate liability umbrella plus the purchase of group insurance. As events and opportunities continue, necessities such as money, insurance, formal leadership and planning become a reality. However MBTC will not ever lose sight of our mission to promote the sport of Triathlons in the Myrtle Beach area.
To execute the above, MBTC has initially setup an advisory council. The purpose of the council is to accept input from members, organize events and handle administrative tasks. MBTC now has over 180 members on its facebook page and many members have good ideas and talents to share. An important thread is the club belongs to all members and will grow in the direction the members wish. The initial council is Tim Cornell, May Lauzon, Pete Politis, Jerry Schenkel, Sam Stathos and Paul Walker.
Fall and winter 2011 will see lots of activity …..look for the following events.
- Swim Clinic
- Group Swims
- Run Clinic with Zola Budd
- Sunday endurance rides at a moderate pace of 50 – 60 miles
- Cross Fit lead by Mike Cooke
- Nutrition Seminar follow-up
- Cross Fit Adventure and Competition
Introduce, motivate, coach, train, support and celebrate tri-athletes of all ages and abilities