club profile ubc Triathlon Club
TheUniversity of British Columbia Triathlon Club is full of team spirit, support and camaraderie. From first timers to professional triathletes there’s a range of intensity, performance and depth, yet connections run deep in the club.
Seth Blumen was immediately drawn into the ubc Triathlon Club by the helpful feedback of the coaches. A third-year kinesiology student, Blumen joined the club during his first year as an undergraduate. “The coaches would point out the improvements I was making and provide me with encouragement to keep up my work ethic,” says Blumen. “This meant a lot to me.”
Brendan Neaf, one of the club’s coaches, is pursuing a PhD in law, while racing as a professional triathlete. Blumen praises Neaf ’s ability to tackle two challenging careers at once.
“I see Brendan as a great inspiration, balancing academics, community involvement, a social life and triathlon,” says Blumen. “If it weren’t for Brendan’s words of encouragement when I first joined the club, I don’t think I would have been able to survive those early training sessions. I would’ve given up after experiencing a few rough workouts.
“What drew me to the club was that I wanted to try something new and stay healthy during my undergrad, while also making some new friends on campus,” explains Blumen. “I thought joining the triathlon club would be the best way to do this. I was right. Since then, I’ve gotten into the best shape of my life and gained a lot of close, meaningful friendships.”
The Vincent Lavallee Cup
ubc alumni Winston Guo describes Vincent Lavallee as one of the most memorable club members. Lavallee would probably agree. In fact, he named a club trophy after himself.
In the fall of 2009, a ubc Triathlon Club Race Series was born. In order to boost off- season motivation and attendance at practices for all three sports, Lavallee organized ongoing competitions. After each one Vincent would write a blog post and tally the series points.
“I was doing a master’s degree at the time and [the Vincent Lavallee Cup] was the only thing that mattered to me,” recalls Guo. “We were hitting the refresh button constantly on the blog to get the latest updates. Many nicknames and legends were born that year.”
The Vincent Lavallee Cup tradition continues as a way to inspire athletes to stay in shape throughout the off-season. With about 10 races per semester, the mini-goals throughout the fall and spring keep athletes motivated.
Vancouver’s mild winters permit the club to swim outdoors year-round. ubc’s indoor pool is booked solid for other swim groups, so training in the 50 m outdoor pool provides the best time slots. As long as the heater works, the experience is enjoyable, but because the pool was built in 1954, that is not always the case.
Swim practices often start with a mad dash from the aquatic centre to the end of the pool. The cold weather provides incentive to avoid pausing too long between sets. Everyone makes a run for the hot tub after practice is over
“We occasionally have to cancel or shorten practices when the weather is extra cold and the heater isn’t working,” says Dylan Stephanian, club president. “I think our coach gets the worst of it, since she isn’t working up a sweat.”
The club has some of the most beautiful training locations for swimming, biking and running. The access to great cycling locations is unparalleled, including the North Shore Mountains and the ubc Endowment Lands Trails. Along with the 50 m pool on campus, there are a couple other nearby swimming options for club members. Kitsilano has a salt water pool that is 130 m long and is on the ocean. Also, twice a week there is a 1.5 km open water course that is set up by the Vancouver Open Water Swim Association. Training runs take place on trails near campus or at the ubc track.