This month’s Tri Club Spotlight is on the Boca Raton Triathletes. LAVA sat down with Kristy Breslaw, who founded the club six years ago with her husband. With more than 250 paid members and hundreds more joining in for their weekly open water ocean swims, rides along the A1A Highway and run sessions along the water, this club makes the most of their scenic, ocean-minded city.
LAVA: Tell us a little bit about your tri club.
We have everyone from tri newbies on cruiser bikes to Boston Marathon qualifying, multiple Ironman finishers. It’s a great group and we’ve grown every year since we started. We have about 250 paid members, which is already more members than we had at the end of last year. We really try to be really open to new members. We have two volunteers who are new-member ambassadors and so they field any questions that people new to the triathlon might have, like where to get a bike or what race to train for their first triathlon.
LAVA: Living in such a warm climate next to the ocean, are most of your workouts beach focused?
Yes most of our workouts are along the water or in it. We have open water swims every week for much of the year, and then we have a lot of 8-week, coached sessions that lead up to different races or focus on different things like running speed or swimming. A lot of our members schedule small group workouts through our Facebook page, but we also have an online calendar to let people know when and where to meet up. So from there we have several workouts going on every week. We have two weekly rides and one weekend ride pretty much regularly. Because triathlons don’t train in big groups, we’ve found that it’s better to have different leaders in charge of different groups for different levels. We have a no-drop ride and then some more competitive, longer rides.
LAVA: Do you have a longer triathlon club racing season because of the weather?
Yes because we can train year-round here. It’s a really long season. We tend to go January through the first week in November, which is when Ironman Florida takes place. We have one local race the weekend after Ironman Florida, and so those two races are kind of our send-offs to the season. We have just a few scheduled workouts through December and then in January people start to really get going again. We used to have some races in March to get people going earlier, but now they have fizzled out so it’s kind of back to just a training base during those early months. We shut down our open water swim right after Ironman Florida because the water is kind of cold and there’s not as much daylight, and it starts back up once the time changes again.
LAVA: Your ocean swims get really large turnouts. Is there a particular beach you swim at?
Our groups meet right at Central East Boca. It’s right in the middle of town so it works for everyone regardless of where in town they live. Everything we do is focused on the beach. And all of our rides are based along A1A, which is the main road between Miami to the very end of Palm Beach right along the ocean. It’s one straight road, so we get no real bike handling skills around here! No climbing either, but we can go straight and fast for long periods of time. Our main ride starts in Boca and heads north to the end of Palm Beach and round trip it’s about 30 miles. There’s another one from Boca to an inlet rest area with a bathroom and back which is about 40-mile ride, and there are longer turnaround points at different rest stops from there. All of our rides are based around the ocean and bathrooms!
For running, we run along A1A as well because there are tons of golf courses along the way to get water. But we have a ton of local parks where we meet up with a local running group and do speed workouts with them.
LAVA: With so much training for so much of the year, do you make time for any social activities?
We actually do as much social as we do training! We’re very good at the social aspect because we have great local sponsors who help us get free food and drinks. We have a quarterly happy hour and we’re able to pay for all food and drink tickets for our team members. We alternate that with educational clinics where coaches come in and give presentations on nutrition or training skills. We have an annual summer bash at one of the member’s houses where we have bounce houses for the kids and food and it’s a pretty big event. We also have an annual beer mile and costume contest which kicks off our season in January. It’s kind of a membership drive. As amazing as our athletes are, they are equally as interested in having fun and generating excitement in the build-up to big races. We always help organize a Fourth of July race here in town and we make custom suits with American flags on them. It’s safe to say that wherever our club goes, we bring a lot of excitement.
LAVA: With the season under way, what big races do you guys have planned as a team?
This year we had 25 people Ironman Florida 70.3, and we have 15 people going to Ironman 70.3 St. George and 35 people doing Ironman 70.3 Augusta. And of course Ironman Florida is always a popular one for both competitors and volunteers. A lot of our members who don’t compete volunteer on race day and that’s always a lot of fun.