Archive for the ‘Member of the Month’ Category

Tanya Gesek

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Tanya Gesek

Tell us about yourself. I am a psychologist who specializes in children and families. I have a private practice and also work part time for SUNY Upstate in the Pediatrics Department. I have lived in the Syracuse area since 2000 and am the mother of a 12-year-old son, Kai, who is a seventh grader at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School.

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? I signed up for my first triathlon a little over four years ago when I turned 40. Call it an early midlife crisis!

Who is your hero? That is a hard question. There are so many people that I have been impressed with over time, not always someone famous. The heroes are the unknowns that overcome such adversity to bounce back and be better than ever. No one person fits that bill for me. 

What is your athletic background? I started as a dancer and dabbled in soccer throughout high school and college. I never really saw myself as an athlete but was always active.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? It’s funny, when I started to get back into fitness after my son was born, I picked up running. Now I feel like my running sucks. I guess many triathletes feel that way. I only learned to swim after I signed up for Iron Girl so that should be my weakest link but it is the sport I have grown to love the most.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? Iron Girl 2011! Leading up to it I was terrified. Thanks to my first coach, Lisa Dolbear, what I remember most is feeling like I really belonged out there, like I had found my niche.

What is your favorite race and why? I have to say that Gillie Girl is my fave. Iron Girl was definitely my first and has a special place in my heart, but it feels good to do a truly local race for women that also supports a great cause. 

What was your worst race and why? All of them. . . just kidding. I guess my worst race ultimately has been the best learning moment for me. I had to DNF Du the Lakes one year due to a calf injury. Devastating but humbling at the same time.  I learned to listen to my body and let the smaller race go. I was registered for my 70.3 and I wanted to be whole for that. It ended up being a good call, but a rough moment.

What races are on your race calendar for 2015? I am registered for Ironman Lake Placid. Eek. Before that I hope to complete the Syracuse Half Marathon, Syracuse Springtime 10K, Triple T in Ohio, and Syracuse 70.3.  After that I will turn to zumba and hiking for a while.

What are this year’s goals? This year I am hoping to see just what I can push my body to do. Whereas I never would have thought it four years ago, finishing IMLP will be a truly amazing personal and fitness goal. I have a great coach in Jennifer Corona and great supporters in my friends, family and triathlon community. (Thanks, Joe!) Together, I think we got this.

In five years you hope to. . . In five years, I would love to have the fitness to realistically sign up for another Ironman.

Something most people don’t know about you. So maybe keep it to things people don’t know but want to know? I have two tattoos and have picked out my third, I danced on Club MTV in the 1980s and I love ABBA.

What triathlon has taught you. There is nothing you can’t do.

Eileen M. Clinton

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Eileen M. Clinton 
Tell us about yourself. I am currently the vice president of Risk Management at Brown and Brown Empire State. I have been in the insurance business over 33 years now. I moved around a bit with the job, from Massachusetts to Illinois to Binghamton to Syracuse, where I met my husband Jim, and had our son Matt who is now 23, a civil engineer near the city. I grew up in West Hartford, Conn., but always call Syracuse my home. I come from a family of five girls and one boy, so I learned at an early age how to compete!

How long have you been involved in triathlon and why did you take it up? I started triathlons in 2003, so it has been 12 wonderful years. I was an avid bicyclist for years, but discovered I had developed osteoporosis and my doctor said I needed impact to strengthen the bones. He suggested running or volleyball. I had run before, and started running on a more consistent basis. With summers at Cape Cod as a kid, I always liked to swim and I could bike, so triathlons became and still are my passion. I still have a lot of what I call “joy” moments training with friends, swimming at Jamesville or just being outdoors.

Who is your hero? My mom, Mary Ellen Higgision. She has been physically active all her adult life. When I was a kid, she would ask my dad to stop the car 6-8 miles from home and she would walk home for exercise (or to get out of a car full of screaming kids!). At age 85, she is the only one at her senior living center with a bike.

What is your athletic background? I made the varsity crew team at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., and rowed varsity crew for three years. I always loved to bike, even as a kid.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? My strength I would say is my consistency. I have tried to place in my age group every year since 2003 and have accomplished this goal. I actually started to enjoy the swim the last couple of years, but alas, I’m not very fast. I have taken swim clinics for years to get faster and all that technique goes out the window when you start your mass swim in an event, so I would say that my swim time is something I still want to work on.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? I think it was the Green Lakes Y Tri. I remember running neck and neck with my friend Mickey. My shoe lace untied and I had to make the decision to tie the lace or trip on my run to the finish. I decided to tie the lace and Mickey ran past me to the finish line. She earned that win.

What is your favorite race and why? I would say the First Syracuse 70.3. It was the first Ironman event in our area and the excitement and buzz was great. I also loved the flat run. I have relatives in Jamesville and I remember all of them out with their cowbells cheering me on.

What was your worst race and why? The 2013 Musselman 70.3. That was the year with the double fatalities. I learned of the first fatality Saturday night at the event dinner and it was so sad. Then I was on the bike course and came upon the woman who crashed. I saw the ambulance and we were told to stop.  The ref let us walk our bikes around the crash and mount up. It was not until I finished that I learned this young woman had died. This terrible tragedy at such a well run event was so sad. I will never forget it.

What races are on your race calendar for 2015? I always sign up for Cooperstown in May (yay, 55 degree water last year!), Delta Olympic, Syracuse 70.3 relay (I will do the bike section) and the Incredoubleman in September.

What are this year’s goals? My goal is to continue to place in my age group each year as I get older and not to crash. (I had a bad crash last September and it took me a while to heal).

In five years you hope to . . . Continue to have fun with the triathlon events and with my tri buddies. I also hope to qualify for Worlds and maybe tackle Ironman Lake Placid.

Something most people don’t know about you. I led bike trips for the national Sierra Club for several years, touring in places like Nova Scotia with groups. I loved it!

Ken Geary

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Ken Geary

Tell us about yourself. I am the typical baby-boomer, 58 years old, in denial of the aging process and still trying to remain an athlete. Luckily I have lots of role models that are very successful in remaining fit and strong! I have two daughters, one still in college, and they are both athletes also.


How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? I am relatively new to the sport, having started in 2011. I saw many of my running friends move to the sport as a way to diversify their fitness and try something new. It seemed like a natural progression, so I jumped in.


Who is your hero? I don’t have a single hero, there are just many excellent local role models, and I look up to many of them. If I had to single out someone it would be Brendan Jackson, my first coach and role model. Brendan is excellent at inspiring others to believe in themselves and guides, rather then pushes, his athletes into a pattern of success.


What is your athletic background? It’s diverse and sporadic. High school track and wrestling, softball and football as an early adult, then a long hiatus while my kids were growing up. My daughters and I took up tennis together (my daughter Jessica is captain of the LeMoyne tennis team). Tennis led me to running to improve endurance, and three marathons later I decided to engage in the sport of triathlon.


What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? I would say that my strength is swimming and my weakness is running. It’s that aging-athlete curse, and a complete reversal of where I was four years ago. I attribute the swimming strength to the coaches I’ve had along the way, Brendan Jackson, followed by Bill Houser and then Karen Allen-Turner. All are great coaches and each has their own set of tricks to make you better.


What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? My first triathlon was the Syracuse 70.3 in 2011. What I remember most was the cycle training, and how difficult it was at first. I trained with team Fleet Feet, had a great summer of rides and was inspired by the wide range of athletic abilities. Truly, anyone can do this sport if they are willing to put in the training time.


What is your favorite race and why? Easily it’s the Green Lakes Triathlon, mostly because it is the first race of the season and it’s a chance to catch up with all my tri friends that I barely see all winter.


What was your worst race and why? The 2013 Syracuse 70.3. It was incredibly hot and muggy, and I started the day realizing that I’d left my own personal fluid mix at home in the refrigerator. Use a checklist, it works. I bonked on the run because I couldn’t cool down. Then the deluge (rainstorm) opened up and they closed the race–not that I was going to complete it anyway. I gained a lot of respect for those that toughed out the race that day and completed it in that incredible energy-draining heat.


What races are on your race calendar for 2015?My calendar is just forming, but I have signed up for the Green Lakes Triathlon. I am sure there will be three or four others.


What are this year’s goals?

To improve my Olympic distance cycling time.


In five years you hope to … : I don’t have my goals set out that far, but I do want to improve each year and continue to train smarter and not harder. This year I am using the Computrainer to improve my cycling efficiency, and I am optimistic that I will see results.


Something most people don’t know about you. I am a Canadian, and I don’t love or follow hockey. I think that is why I had to leave the country and move here…


What triathlon has taught you. Role models are everywhere, and I get inspired by watching entry level athletes improve and flourish. It keeps me motivated to continue to work on all three sports. It is the main reason I joined CNY Triathlon, to be a part of a club that encourages athletes of all skill levels. I learn new things from fellow club members all the time. We are lucky to have so many talented athletes and coaches that are willing to donate their time to us. It makes you want to pay it forward, and do the same for the newer club members and athletes.

Susan Kreplin-Michaels

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Susan Kreplin-Michaels  

Tell us about yourself.

I am 58 years old. I lived in Skaneateles for 25 years and moved in 2013 to the Town of Sennett. My hometown is Weedsport. I’m a graduate of Le Moyne College where I majored in accountin

g. I currently work part-time for Cuddy Financial Services in Auburn. I have been married to Lee Michaels for over 28 years. We have no children but three great cats, Gummer, Sawyer and CharLee.

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? My first fairly serious triathlon was the Tinman in Tupper Lake in 2003. It was sort of on a lark. I got talked into it by my good friend Tim Walczyk, who also competed. At that time it was possible to qualify there for an IMLP slot. Amazingly I got one but did not accept it. My first IM was the 2004 IMLP. I was planning on it being a “one and done.” In those days they were actually posting results on a board in the competitors’ post-race food and refreshment area. I had no idea how I had finished. My husband walked over to the results board, returned with a big smile on his face, and told me that I was 2nd in the 45-49 AG and had earned a Kona slot. That night we discussed the pros and cons of going to Kona. He was for it; I was against it. The next morning we found out that John Van Slyke and Mike Parker, both of Skaneateles, had also qualified for Kona. So I signed up. Believe it or not, the second IM I ever did was Kona 2004. I had a pretty decent race. Overall I’ve completed six IM races, four of them at Lake Placid. In 2006 I won the 50-54 AG and earned another Kona slot. At Kona, I was doing quite well. Around 11 miles into the run I had worked my way forward. Lee was waiting for me at the top of Palani Hill, right where the QueenK begins. He had been counting and excitedly told me I was fifth. What he did not know but I did was that I was injured. I faded to seventh place overall, thus missing a dream visit to the podium. After 2006, I began racing in 70.3 events, in the hopes that I would not be injured as much. I had some pretty good suc

cess, especially at Timberman and Muskoka, where I have won my AG three times. In 2010, with injuries continuing, I began to race the Olympic distance. Even though I had not competed in the USAT Nationals, I was selected to compete in the Worlds in Budapest in 2010. While there, I met and quickly became fast friends with the great Ellen Hart from Denver. More about Ellen later. Overall, I have competed at USAT Nationals four times and have competed as a member of Team USA in the Worlds four times: Budapest, Auckland, London and Edmonton.

Who is your hero? First is my husband Lee. He has been guru, cheerleader and staunch supporter. He is always willing to take a road trip or get on an international flight to watch me race. My second hero is Ellen Hart. She has a well-publicized medical disorder that she deals with all the time. She is an amazingly versatile triathlete, regularly winning whatever age group she is in, from sprint to full IM races on the U.S. and World stage. Despite all her success, she is very modest.

What is your athletic background? At Weedsport High School, I competed on the boys’ track and x-country teams until I was a senior and the school added girls’ teams. I ran the 220. I also played basketball, volleyball and field hockey. In college I played basketball, volleyball, field hockey, and  ran x-country.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? I would say that my strength is biking and my weakness is swimming. I have a coach, Eric Prager. Under his guidance, my swimming and running have improved. And, I have managed to stay relatively injury free.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? My first serious triathlon was IMLP in 2004. My husband advised me to “smile any time someone smiles at you or calls you by name, and don’t complain.” A decade later, I still try to follow his advice.

What is your favorite race and why? I have two favorites. The first is IMLP 2006, when I won my AG and set an AG course record that lasted two years. The second was the USAT National Championships in Milwaukee in 2013, when I made the podium with Ellen Hart.

What was your worst race and why? Without a doubt, it was the USAT National Championships in Milwaukee in 2014. Everything was going great until a nutrition error caused me to fail miserably in the last 1.2 miles of the run.

What races are on your race calendar for 2015? USAT Nationals 2015, again in Milwaukee, Rev3

Olympic Williamsburg, Va., Gillie Girl, and other local races.

What are this year’s goals? To qualify for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Worlds.

In five years you hope to … The first comes to me quickly: To race competitively in the 60-64 AG. The second requires a story. Last summer I finished third overall in Gillie Girl, sharing the podium with Megan Leubner and Kara Hoselton. It was very exciting to discover that their combined age was 1 year less than my age. I would love to have something like that happen to me again in five years. I have formed many wonderful friendships within the multisport community. I hope to hold on to all of these friends and make new friendships.

Something most people don’t know about you. Until the summer of 2013, when the USAT Nationals fell on the same weekend as the Great Race in Auburn, I canoed competitively with my husband. Several times our team received an award in the “open” category.

What triathlon has taught you. While racing, keep smiling, don’t fret over the little things. While
training, don’t try to fight through a lingering injury, as it will usually get worse.

Steve Tibbits

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Steve Tibbits 
Tell us about yourself.
Born and raised in Utica. Moved to Guilderland, N.Y. in 1988 and returned to New Hartford in 2001. Currently 55 years old and happily married for 34 years to my wife Lorrie.

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? Became involved in triathlon in 2012. I joined ATC Endurance swim sessions in New Hartford, I was already a cyclist and thought tris would be fun.

Who is your hero? My father.

What is your athletic background? High school football and track. A few years bike racing and local running races.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses?My strongest element is the bike. I can swim distances, but at a slow pace. So that is my weakness. I am working on that, though!!

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? Delta Lake Triathon in 2012 with ATC Endurance. I most remember freaking out in the water–it was my first experience with so many people swimming near me so I sat up until they were all away from me! I am over that now.

What is your favorite race and why? 2014 Lake Placid Ironman. I trained for seven months and loved it. A fantastic venue and amazing sense of accomplishment.

What was your worst race and why? I loved them all! But the first was my worst because I was a beginner and didn’t know what to expect. Like taking 3 minutes in transition to put on my socks.

What races are on y

our race calendar for 2014? I focused on Ironman 2014 and did the Old Forge Tri in August.

What are your goals for 2015? I signed up for Ironman Lake Placid, and will do the ATC Endurance tris in Cooperstown and Old Forge, and hopefully Ironman Florida in November. I hope to take 45 minutes off my IMLP time. I was 18th in my age group and want to be in the top 10. I placed third in my age group at Old Forge and would like to take first this year.

In five years you hope to... Qualify for Ironman Kona.

Something most people don’t know about you. I am an open book, but if I had to choose something..I wish I had finished college.

What triathlon has taught you: To believe in myself, and live every day.


Donna Boots

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Donna Boots 

Tell us about yourself. I turned 55 this year. I have lived in Central New York my entire life, now living only three miles from the farm where I grew up. My little slice of heaven on earth is on Gates Road, west of Baldwinsville, where my husband and I live and work. We own and operate Merritt Seed Company and just recently started Merritt Apple Orchard, which is now producing apples. Being self-employed is hard work. I guess you could call me a bit of a workaholic. I believe in working hard and playing harder. Besides my love for triathlon, I love participating in mud run obstacle courses like Tough Mudder and Spartan races. I love mountain biking and trail running. I love to travel and I have been very fortunate to have traveled all over the world. My favorite sayings are:Dream It…Do It…I Did….and continue to…Life is Good! and Have Passport, Will Travel!

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? My husband was an avid sheep hunter and I used to go along with him on all his hunts. Sheep live high in the mountains so hunting them involved a lot of hiking and climbing. When his knees went bad he stopped mountain hunting and I needed another outlet to focus my energy on. With a seasonal business, in 2006 we I started going to Florida for a couple of months to escape the winter and there I had time to swim and bike to my heart’s content. One day I thought if I took up running I could do a triathlon. So I started running. I did my first triathlon in 2008.


Who is your hero?

My big sister Pat. She is a true big sister that I look up to and admire. She is my best friend and biggest cheerleader. No matter what is going on in my life she is supports me 100%. She always has my back.

What is your athletic background?

I was very athletic growing up in the country as a middle child with three brothers and two sisters. In high school I was a diver on the swim team, competed all around in gymnastics, played field hockey, ran hurdles and did the shot put in track. I was voted Most Athletic my senior year in high school. After high school I really didn’t participate in any sports. Over the years I kept pretty active with work and did a lot of hiking and non-technical mountain climbing.


What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? I think my biggest strengths are my strong will, mental determination and a never-quit attitude no matter how hard the going gets. My weakness is that sometimes I underestimate my ability and don’t push as hard as I could.


What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? It was a sprint: Tri-America in Brewerton in 2008. I remember feeling like I could take on the world after crossing the finish line.


What is your favorite race and why?

How do you pick a favorite race…so hard to do…so many stand out for different reasons. I suppose my favorit

e races are the ones for which I have trained properly, executed properly and the stars align to make it feel like a perfect race. If I had to pick just one I would have to say it was the Cape Argus Cycle Race in Capetown, South Africa in 2013. The 67.5-mile mountainous route circumnavigated the Cape Peninsula on completely closed roads and offered beautiful cliffside ocean views while riding. With over 31,000 riders completing the course it is one of the largest single day cycling events in the world.

What was your worst race and why? I can’t say as I have ever had a worst race. I have, however, had one really scary race moment. During Ragnar Key West in February on my very first leg of the relay I set off at too fast a pace on a 7.5-mile leg in the dark on an unfamiliar course with no fluids or nutrition. I barely remember rounding my last turn at mile 7.2, seeing the lights of the exchange in the distance. I made it to the exchange, stumbling in on auto pilot using dogged determination. Tara, our team’s next runner, had to grab the slap bracelet off my wrist because I was out of it, I was within a hair’s width of heat stroke. I thought my quest to reach Key West was over without making it out of Miami; it took well over an hour to start feeling normal again. I learned a very important lesson about proper hydration and nutrition in humid conditions and to never, ever, no matter how fit, trained or prepared I think I am, go out on a long run, ride or swim without proper supplies.


What races are on your calendar for 2014? This year has been pretty full. I did the Green Lakes YMCA Tri, Tinman Tupper Lake 70.3, Iron Girl, Xterra Off Road Tri at Green Lakes, Skinnyman and most recently back-to-back 70.3s at Incredoubleman in Sackets Harbor in September (photo at top). In addition to triathlons, I mixed things up with Ragnar Key West, Tough Mudder Buffalo, Point to Pint Century Ride and I’m All That! I have one race left on my calendar: Ironman Western Australia, December 7.


What are this year’s goals? This year’s A goal is to complete my first Ironman distance tri, Ironman Western Australia. When I first signed up, my goal was to merely finish even if it meant crawling across the finish line in 16:59:59. I enlisted Karen Allen-Turner to coach me knowing with my busy schedule I would not be able to train properly on my own. I would need someone to make me accountable. As part of my training she suggested I sign up for Incredoubleman in Sackets Harbor this year. Completing back to back 70.3s on consecutive days would be a good test of stamina as well as a confidence builder for Ironman. I was able to put together two consistent races: 6:17:56 on Saturday followed by a 6:17:54 on Sunday and was the first overall woman finisher for the two-day combined time. Now I am actually setting a goal time, no longer competing to finish but actually competing to race. It’s a neat feeling to see how proper training has changed my perspective on the race.


In five years you hope to: Still be Dreaming It and Doing It! And enjoying life to the fullest.


Something most people don’t know about you. I bungee jumped off the Victoria Falls Bridge in Zambia, over 300 feet, with Victoria Falls roaring behind me and the Zambezi River flowing below. I felt like an eagle soaring! OK, so now you know I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, within reason, or maybe not. Zip line, anyone?


What triathlon has taught you. It has taught me how strong a person I am. It has also taught me not to judge a book by its cover and that everyone has a story. I see so many different types of athletes in all shapes and sizes and ability and fitness levels that compete in and complete triathlons. I am in awe of each and every one who gets out and just “tri’s.” I hope they all know just how strong they are or can be. Being a member of the CNY Tri Club and taking part in the sport of triathlon has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow not only as a triathlete but as a person.


The postings I have been putting on Facebook offering Apples for Athletes at discounted prices to members of the CNY Tri Club is my little way of giving something back to a sport which has given me so much.

Joslyn MacDougall

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Joslyn MacDougall


Tell us about yourself. I am 36 years old, a wife to a great guy and mom of two amazing kids who are 9 and 11. Originally from Long Island, I came to Oswego for college where I met Kevin (my husband). We moved to Boston for a short time and when it was time to raise a family we moved back to Central New York. I teach water fitness part time at the North Area Family YMCA and occasionally yoga there as well. I also teach yoga at Tai Kai BJJ and Mixed Martial Arts in Liverpool, and a few other places locally.

Who is your hero? Honestly this is not something I have put much thought into. There are many people I look up to in many ways because they invoke in me a feeling of inspiration and WOW. When I see someone doing something they never thought they could do, that they did what they set their mind to do–that is to me what makes a hero.

What is your athletic background? Ha! Athletic background! Me! NOT! I was one of the least athletic people ever growing up. I have been trying to remember my best mile running time in high school, and I honestly believe it was over 19 minutes. I can almost guarantee that I didn’t run the entire thing; I walked most of it. I was a theater/music girl in school.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? I feel my strongest event in triathlon is the swim. While I may not be the fastest swimmer, I am confident in the water and I just keep pulling. Now if I could only swim straighter. As for weakness, the run. I hated running! Never, never, never thought I would do a triathlon because of that. But once I began running with a good friend (Maria Bradshaw, you know it’s you), I realized that it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought. Though it is something I still mentally struggle with (as my coach and husband will attest to when it comes to certain run workouts, I get the look or get lectured for whining….which I really try not to do…but…).


What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? My first triathlon was a Y not Tri put on by the North Area Family YMCA over at the Cato Recreation Center in the summer of 2010. I had run my first 5K a few months before and had a friend who was participating in sprints and I thought, well if she could do it and I can swim and she has a difficult time in the water, then I can at least try this triathlon thing. It was a 400-yard pool swim and a nine-mile hilly ride and 1.5-mile track run. There are two things I remember most about this event–having the other participants and coaches and family members cheering everyone on! After I had finished and was talking with my family and friends I saw the last few people out there and the gal who got me into triathlon and running has gotten it into my head we are much like the Marines, NEVER leave anyone out there alone. So, with Maria in my head, I went out there and ran along the wonderful woman I now know to be Mary Moore to keep her moving forward to finish her first triathlon too!

What is your favorite race and why? Hands down my favorite race is mini-Musselman. I have participated in the sprint since 2011 and the past two years have volunteered in the water during the half ironman distance the following day. It is well organized. The support from the local community and the racers is outstanding and the Finger Lakes area is just so beautiful. This was my first sprint race and so it holds a special place in my heart because I felt so supported and welcomed by all the athletes in my age group and the volunteers and just everyone I encountered there. This is my go-to race every year. One day I will do the Double Mussel.

What was your worst race and why? Worst race would probably have to be Cayuga Lake Olympic Tri last year (2013). Not for the race itself, because it is a beautiful course and very well run, but for bad fueling and mechanical errors. There is a good size climb right out of T-1 so you don’t really have any momentum to get up the hill with much speed. Not to mention that I had not really been training on hills and wasn’t very proficient in where my gears should be. I dropped my chain about five miles into the 25-mile ride. It wasn’t just dropped, but I jammed it in the crank. So I was off my bike, “attempting” to get it out with a stick, when the neutral support truck came up and got me set. They even held my saddle and gave me a push back onto the course. After grumbling through and trying to get a decent ride in, I had a great T2 and pushed too hard on the first loop of the run. As I came back in toward transition my husband was there cheering me on and just as I hear him my quads start to cramp! The kind of cramp that you can barely walk let alone run. Regained some composure, but was not happy with how I felt the rest of the race. So my takeaway from that race was to train some more hills, gain confidence climbing and better pacing on longer runs. And how to fuel properly!

What races are on your race calendar for 2014? Syracuse Half Marathon (pictured at left), Green Lakes Tri, Syracuse 70.3 (my first 70.3), Mini Musselman, Cayuga Lake Olympic, Corporate Triathlon, Dave Parcells Madison Triathlon (Conn., an ocean water sprint triathlon), Wineglass Marathon (my first 26.2).

What are this year’s goals? Finish strong at Syracuse 70.3 was goal No. 1. (This was achieved and exceeded!) Have no issues at Cayuga Lake. (This too was accomplished! Huge PR even if I subtract my estimated time off the bike from the previous year). Finish my first full marathon (currently questioning my sanity with this training).


In five years you hope to … Just be happy and healthy. Not setting too many long-term goals right now. Just trying to be the best me I can be.

Something most people don’t know about you. I was a zookeeper. I worked at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston for a few years before moving back to Central New York.

What triathlon has taught you. To endure. Physical pain, mental struggles, they will always be there. It is how you face and push through them that make the outcome better or worse. Keeping positive through that struggle to endure and strive and survive. My motto this year has been Suffer, Sweat, Smile, Succeed! In life and in triathlon.

Ruth Ripley

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Ruth Ripley

Tell us about yourself. I am 67 years old and have resided in Pennellville my whole life except while I was in Massachusetts obtaining my nursing degree. For 43 years I worked nights (7 p.m.-7 a.m.) in the Emergency Department at Crouse Hospital as the Permanent Charge Nurse. Last June I retired but continue to work per diem in the department. I have been married for 46 years to my husband Larry and have two children, Matthew and Amy, and four grandchildren.
How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? This is my fifth year of competing. One of my good friends at work, Diane Goode, was doing triathlons and having so much fun that she talked me into entering the triathlon world even though I could not swim. One quiet night at work I gave her my credit card to order what I would need to do triathlons and the UPS man was making daily deliveries. There was just no turning back at that point.

Who is your hero? I have many heroes but I will tell you my top two. First, my husband Larry, who has given me his unconditional support first in all the running that I have done and now in the triathlons. He is continually checking my equipment and traveling with me to the triathlons. Of course, he likes some of the benefits such as the wonderful buffet at the Keuka Lake Tri and encourages me to do this race each year. My second hero is Jill Walsh, who never ceases to amaze me in all she does despite her multiple sclerosis. One of her recent adventures was Escape from Alcatraz and she is now training with the American Paralympic bike team for the world finals. Go Jill!!

What is your athletic background? My athletic career did not start until I was 40 years old. I started running and have never stopped. This is truly my favorite sport. After five years of running I tried my first marathon in Washington, D.C. I trained very hard and finally qualified for the 100th running of the Boston Marathon in 1996. I read about running a marathon in all 50 states and thought I would give it a try. I was in the middle of my 50 states when cancer struck, but I remained determined to complete my dream despite the advanced stage of the cancer and the surgery and chemotherapy. It forced me to take five months off but I quickly returned to my marathon dream. I ran a marathon in all 50 states and the nation’s capital, the second woman from New York State to accomplish this. I could not believe that I was still alive, so I ran another 50 marathons for a total of 100, and then said “100 is enough.”
What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? Of course, running is my greatest strength with all of the marathons I have run over the years. My severe weakness is swimming. I have come a long way, however. I couldn’t even swim half the length of the pool when I started. Last year I signed up for Escape from the Judge in Skaneateles, which is a mile swim, and placed first in my age group. But I’m still working very hard on the swimming with continuous lessons. My biking has improved since the purchase of my new bike and riding longer miles.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? My first completed triathlon was the Iron Girl in 2010. Everyone was so very nice and so very supportive. This is such a wonderful triathlon to have as your very first. Even though I had only just started triathlon, I finished third in my age group but only because of running.

What was your worst race and why? My first triathlon attempt was at Green Lakes in 2010 and was my very worst. The swimming did not go well, as hard as I tried, and I went to the kayak and asked to be taken to shore because I could not stop hyperventilating. I knew all of the medics in the tent and did not want them to cut off my brand new wetsuit and then have them take me to the Crouse Emergency Department where everyone would have laughed. This is when I decided I really needed expert help with the swimming.

What is your favorite race and why? My favorite race was the second Iron Girl triathlon in 2011. My swimming had improved along with my biking. There were 25 in my age group for this event. I had no real aspirations for the race and just wanted to do the very best that I could. To my surprise, I placed first in my age group and was just elated. This only happened because I passed my competition, who up until that point had been the leader in the age group, in the last half mile of the run.

What races are on your race calendar for 2014? I really enjoy the sprint distance and will continue to race it. So this year I signed up for seven sprint triathlons. I have completed the Green Lakes Triathlon, Tri Oswego, Henderson Harbor, Delta and Cayuga, with Old Forge and Skinnyman left on the calendar.

What are this year’s goals? My goal is always to the do the very best I can in all the triathlons and just have fun.

In five years I hope to. . . Still be able to enjoy this sport and encourage others to stay active and treasure each day of life as much as I do.

Something most people don’t know about you. I was raised on a dairy farm. My father and brother would go back out into the fields in the evening and leave me to milk the cows. I had my own calves that I raised and would show at the local fair and also the State Fair.
What triathlon has taught me. I have learned that you cannot become a triathlete overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to be very patient to build the skills needed to complete a race. I also have learned to not only accept the support others give you, but to always give encouragement and support back. Some of the nicest people you will ever meet are runners and triathletes. I have made many wonderful, long-lasting friendships during my athletic career. But above all, just have fun.

Jude Burke

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Jude Burke

Tell us about yourself. I am 47 years old and married to Karen Burke. We have two kids, 11-year-old Casey and 8-year-old Sierra. I grew up in Auburn and went to school at CBA, Le Moyne College and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry where I received my

Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. I am in general private practice in Baldwinsville and have a special sedation permit, which allows me to treat highly fearful patients. My professional interests include computer-guided implant surgery and adult cosmetic orthodontics.

IMLP finisher.


How long have you been in triathlon, and what made you take it up? I have been involved in triathlon since 2004. I was a licensed amateur bike racer for almost 15 years before I became a triathlete. After “retiring ” for a year I got tired of just mowing the lawn and decided to gi

ve triathlons a try. I have probably done about 250 bike races and about 30 triathlons. In bike racing you race almost every weekend from March until October.

Who is your hero? I really no longer have any sports heroes. I respect them, but I took down my Lance Armstrong poster a couple of years ago. I would now say my heroes are the veterans of the Iraq an Afghanistan wars.

What is your athletic background? I ran cross country at CBA, but was nothing special. I did the Great Race in Auburn a few years as the runner. One year I lost a coin flip and had to be the biker. I passed a lot of women and children in the race and found my new sport :-). While at the University of Michigan, I joined the cycling team at age 23. I was team captain by my senior year of dental school. I was definitely the only dental student traveling around the Midwest doing bike races every weekend when I should have been studying. It’s a miracle I graduated! I kept bike racing and eventually became a licensed Cat. 3 rider, which allowed me to do a lot of Pro-Am racing where I was the “Am.” On occasion, I got to race against U.S. domestic teams like Saturn and Motorola. I even did some one-week stage racing like the Tour of West Virginia and Super Week in Wisconsin. One day back in 1994 Frankie Andraeu rode in 60 miles from his home in Detroit, kicked everyone’s ass in a 50-mile race and then rode back home. I won some local smaller races like the Oswego Tour de Loop back in ’97 but I am a shadow of my former self on the bike. However, I can now swim.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? My strength in triathlon is the bike although I was more of a sprinter than a time trialist. My one piece of advice is that triathletes need to learn how to “hit the apex of the turn.” Start wide, hit the apex and then finish wide all while holding your line. It will allow you to carry more speed through the corners. My weakness is the swim, although lately it has gotten better. I will never be confused with a fish though.

What was your first triathlon, and what do you remember most? My first triathlon was Green Lakes in 2004. I remember lining up right in the front row for the swim. Almost everyone in the wave proceeded to swim over the top of me. My family thought I drowned. I almost had to grab a kayak, but managed to flounder around to the finish. I was hooked.

What is your favorite race and why? My favorite race is Ironman Syracuse 70.3. I don’t know if people realize how great it is to have that kind of race right in your back yard. There are not a lot of sports where everyday people can share a course with pros from around the world.

What was your worst race and why? I don’t believe in “worst” races. You learn the most when you fail. Every race teaches you something. I guess IM Lake Placid was my most difficult race. When they say hydration is more important than eating they are not kidding. I got so dehydrated it hurt to pee for two days after the race. My recommendation for anyone doing IMLP is to get a coach even if you think you know what you are doing. Placid is no joke and should be respected.

What races are on your calendar for 2014? Last year I finally qualified for Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee. I honestly don’t think I would have made it if not for my coach, Kristen Roe at T2 Multisport. So I will be at Delta Lake for a tune up and then to Nationals in August.

What are this year’s goals? At Nationals the goal is to kick a bunch of old guys’ asses and represent the 315. No, seriously, there are a lot of fast people there. If I finished in the top 50% of AG, I would be ecstatic.

In five years you hope to… still be above ground and still doing triathlons. I just got a camp on a Finger Lake so I may chill out a little more, but I will always be doing some kind of sport if I can.

Something most people don’t know about you. I am probably a borderline extreme skier and can ski any double black diamond chute in the Rockies. My family and I love to surf behind our boat on a surfboard. We are inventing a new sport.

What triathlon has taught me. Triathlon has taught me that family and friends are actually the most important thing in the world. Triathlon, however, is a way of life. It brings balance to my life and teaches me something new every day.

Lynn Douglas

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Name: Lynn Douglas



Tell us about yourself.

I’m 51 and reside in Camillus. I am a Vermont native and moved to the Syracuse area in late 1995, from Connecticut. With 28 years of tenure, I work for Verizon as a Service Manager. My team provides contract governance and technical support for 17 worldwide healthcare clients. Locally, I’m proud to be on the Mountain Goat committee and board. I was probably one of the first 30 members of the CNY Tri Club and a club officer for a few years. I’m a dog lover and I’m destined to get another dog in my life, perhaps in 2014……

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up?

I’ve been involved with triathlons since 2002. Close friends of mine had just started doing triathlons and they were having a ball and feeling the benefits of cross-training. With my running background, I decided to join in the fun, and added swimming and cycling to my training. I was confident I could swim, with work, having grown up on Lake Champlain and having ridden the hills of Burlington, Vermont, on a 10 speed bike when I was a student at the University of Vermont.

Who is your hero?

My local hero is Samuel Clemence, age 75. Sam is a soulmate Lake Placid Ironman training partner. Ironman pal Rich O’Neil and I went to Sam’s retirement party recently as he retired as a Syracuse University Meredith Professor within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I was deeply touched to hear firsthand about his enthusiastic transfer of knowledge, inspiration, passion, critical thinking and integrity to his student base over the years. He has shared this same positive spirit and tenacity through his accomplishments with his triathlon “students” and family.

What is your athletic background?

I was the captain of my small high school cross country and track teams. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed many sports including skiing (my passion), cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking, waterskiing and scuba diving in addition to swimming, biking and running. I would love to try winter hiking in the future. I’ve enjoyed building on distance over the years. You all know that once you do your first 5K run, your interest and crazy aspirations turn to the next goal and others often inspire you or talk you into more. I’ve run 11 marathons (excluding Ironman), including a couple of Boston marathons, and have completed numerous triathlons, including Lake Placid Ironman twice. Some of my PRs are: 10K, 45:37, Auburn Great Race; half marathon, 1:40, Tucson; marathon, 3:43, Mohawk Hudson; half Ironman, 5:27 Tupper Lake; Ironman, 12:35, Lake Placid.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses?

I’d have to say running is my strongest sport, not because I am fast but because I’ve been through so many miles that I’ve learned what my body can and can’t do. Furthermore, I have thoroughly enjoyed the mental outlet, cardio value and social benefit of the sport. I’m excited that I still have plenty to learn and to improve with my cycling and swimming.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most?

My first triathlon in 2002 was the St. Croix VI sprint triathlon on a rented mountain bike. I remember the island-start swim and large waves with tropical rain pummeling my back. I was thrilled that I wasn’t doing the slick-road half Ironman course, including the “Beast.” I also had a ball when I met and chatted with pro Joanna Zeiger’s husband out on the bike. He was doing his first tri too.

What is your favorite race and why?

Ironman Lake Placid 2005. I had massive butterflies in my stomach as I arrived in Lake Placid. I vividly remember hitting the point that I knew I was ready for the race–I had gone to Placid Planet around 5 a.m. the day prior to the race to get my derailleur tweaked and I cycled out onto Mirror Lake Drive alone to work through my gears when I saw the fog lift on Mirror Lake to reveal the red tetrahedral buoys at the swim turn. What a pure, unexpected and glorious fog-lift “sign” to know I was ready! Also, I burst out laughing on race day when I was in the water with the helicopter overhead and the swim was so tight my first strokes were the dog paddle. I knew my family would laugh at me if they saw me on TV. Lastly, after the race I was so amazed and fulfilled by the athletic goals set and results accomplished by other people after I shared my Ironman journey story with them.

What was your worst race and why?

Thankfully, I haven’t had many bad race experiences. For my first marathon, the Vermont City Marathon, after having been encouraged by Lindsey Reider and Eric Prager to run the event, I gratefully ran 22 miles with Bobby Angotti. I crossed the finish line happily only to have my entire thighs and calves seize up with cramping. I had to be carried away; I quickly learned about electrolyte replacement.

What races are on your race calendar for 2014?

Nationals, Olympic distance in Wisconsin; Henderson Harbor tri (love this one); Skinnyman and others.

What are this year’s goals?

I am focusing on Olympic distances, speed work and perhaps a half Ironman, which is in tune with my training buddy Monique Cuyler. Professionally, I am working on my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification by year’s end, which is a large commitment.

In five years you hope to… :

I hope to enjoy great health and new athletic accomplishments with varying locations and venues, as part of a balanced life. Another Ironman may be in the future…2015? I’d like to continue to inspire and assist others to achieve memorable athletic accomplishments, at any level.

Something most people don’t know about you:

I once roller skated for 24 hours for a charitable cause when I was a teenager. That might have been my first endurance experience.

What triathlon has taught you:

Triathlon has brought thorough enjoyment to me alongside great friends! The triathlon journeys have been such an important part of my life and balance. The hard work, laughter and memories have been amazing. Triathlon buddies over the years include Sam Clemence, Rich O’Neil, MJ Reinhart, Karen Allen-Turner, Lynn Festa, Monique Cuyler, Robin Cottrell, Ann Haley, Marlene Cleary, Sue Shopiro, the Ginny and Bob Burton cellar cycling crew and my Camillus neighborhood running ladies.