I don't mean a training group, or a training program. A club is a different beast, part training, part learning, part social and the ability to drop in and out as my time and commitments allowed. A club doesn't have an end goal in mind, everything isn't organized around a race, or a distance. I went from strength to strength as an athlete and was able to give back in both formally and informally during my time with my former UK Club Tri-Force including 3-years as club Chairman.
When I first learned I was moving to Austin, I searched online, found Austin Triathletes, sent in my membership form and money and became a member. Turns out that for various reasons, I was one of the last paid new members, over the next year for the same sort of reasons that often effect volunteer organizations, the club moved in a different direction and is now largely dormant. Austin Duathletes has continued to be a small, separate club that has continued to run events including the Bizzaro Duathlon and Buddy Du that I participated in last year, actually winning my age group at the bizzaro. The duathletes turned to me a recently and asked if I could help out on a number of fronts as the committee members were faced with a number of challenges.
This got me thinking. Jack Murray and I had discussed a few times how we could extend the excellent training sessions he runs at the Jack and Adams Bicycle shop, and the shop rides we've built together with Zac, Hugo, James and Tammy over the past 2-years from nothing to a ride with over 100 riders some Sundays. Jack and I had never concluded our discussions, we had different but similar objectives, how to build a better multisport community club for Austin.
And so it was about 2-months ago I started a round of meetings with current and former Austin Triathlete and Austin Duathletes organizers. Jack and I continued to discuss, I was invited to talk to Tim Carlson of Slowtwitch by Rick Kent, we discussed my views on the community in Austin over dinner at Gueros. And then I'd finally got an idea what I needed to do.
A few weeks back Jack and I were talking and Jack said there was a chance to bring Chris Mccormack 2010 Ironman Hawaii winner and Ironman World Champion to town, and we decided to use that as the way to announce the new Austin Triathletes and Duathletes club. Jack used his legendary organizational skills to pull together a fantastic event lining up sponsors. I'm grateful to the Austin Duathletes and Austin Triathletes for agreeing to contribute to the evening, and so it was last night we announced the plan to bring the two clubs under the same framework, and in association with Jack and Adams Bicycle shop.
I still have much work to do, but we plan to re-launch the club as a community club, working as a framework to grow activities and a support organization around many of the core activities needed in a multipsort community such as coaching, event production and management, officials, as well as the more traditional training as an extension of the existing Jack and Adams programs. The idea being that we will have people who want to learn more about the mechanics and organization of the sport, as well as participation. We'll do that by giving people a support mechanism and mentoring, as well as a development environment to experience and learn.
In addition I plan to bring some of the activities we created at Tri-Force, such as the duathlon race series, a club championships, while at the same time carrying on the great social and fun activities such as the Red Dress run and the Buddy duathlon from Austin Duathletes.
I don't plan to do this on my own, I've already got commitments from a number of people both past and present from the clubs, I've also had a few fascinating people who've offered to help and I'm really excited about.
However, the key is to get the club started, set the outline of the framework in place, encourage and support some of the core activities, and then stand back and let you develop the club and it's activities in the direction you need.
So, if you are willing to get involved, want to help please feel to post here, comment on facebook, send me an email and I'll be sure to include you in the pre-launch activites!
p.s. It was great to have Macca along, he gave a great talk answered some questions and satisfied a long line of requests for signatures and photographs afterwards. I never got the chance to meet or talk to him. Maybe next time ;-)
(1) Picture of me, Jack Murray, Phil Carmichael(Austin Duathletes) and Rick Kent(Austin Triathletes) from Kelley Knight Heins facebook pictures.