Montana’s Women Specific Triathlon Clinic a Great Success

By Mitch Horton | April 29, 2009, 5:37 p.m. (ET)

Women filled Helena's YMCA classroom for a women-specific triathlon clinic on Saturday, March 28th. The interactive discussions covered transitions, local races and integration of swimming, biking and running into triathlon training.

The youngest participant, Grace (age 5), plans to do her first triathlon this summer. On the other end of the spectrum, another woman came to hear about the sport her daughter and son-in-law love so much. After the clinic, she was inspired to join the local swim group.

The clinic focused on beginner racers and women interested in learning about racing triathlons. Attendees included swimmers, bikers and runners interested in trying their first triathlon, although several attendees participated in triathlons in the past.

"I'm so grateful for the grant from the USAT Women's Commission; this clinic wouldn't have happened without it" said organizer Karen Powell. "We filled the room with new women racers who were anxious for information on training and racing triathlons. Every woman who attended asked questions, and attendees especially raved about our local women triathletes."

After introductions, local triathlete Ann Gilbert, Ironman World Championship competitor and USAT Regional Council member discussed the advantages of joining USAT and racing USAT sanctioned races. USAT certified coaches Matthew Parks and Aubrey Curtis presented a lecture and took questions on types of triathlons, periodization, and training skills.

Several members of Team Great Divide, a local triathlon team, discussed the specifics of training and racing triathlons. Ironman racer and USAT Nationals competitor Karen Powell covered the key skills and equipment necessary for open water and the pool swim for triathlon. Laura Holien, USAT Worlds team member and Ironman competitor discussed bike skills and nutrition needs for women.

Ironman World Championship competitor, Team USA competitor and Helena, Montana, hall-of-famer Ann Seifert covered running for triathlons and transition skills.

Team USA competitor Peggy Stringer urged all women to give racing a try and reminded the crowd that age and fitness need not be a barrier to training. The lively discussion included many questions by the audience on issues ranging from what to wear for races to racking a bike in transition.

Race directors Mike Jacobson and Russ Gates urged clinic attendees to race at this summer's Queen City Triathlon and Spring Meadow triathlon. Greg Wirth, USAT Worlds team member and President of Team Great Divide, invited all attendees to join Team Great Divide for an additional triathlon clinic April 25th. The day ended with giveaway items from local sponsors.

Participants received a packet of training information, a coupon for local bike/triathlon store, Hammer nutrition products and local event flyers. Demonstrations included transition set-up, bike set-up and triathlon-specific equipment including wetsuits, lock-laces and race belts. Local sponsors included Helena YMCA, Big Sky Bikes, Great Divide Cyclery, and Rocky Mountain Credit Union.

Karen Powell

USAT coaches Parks and Curtis walk through training options

Youngest participant Grace C. is giddy about triathlons