2021 ambassador Team
The Golden Gate Triathlon Club Ambassador Team is a group of selected club members who have established themselves as role models both inside the club and within the triathlon community.
They have distinguished themselves through leadership, volunteerism, club spirit, successful race results and representation of Golden Gate Triathlon Club on the podium.
As members of the Ambassador Team they act as a resource for club members and support the club’s training programs.
A member of the Golden Gate Triathlon Club Ambassador Team is someone who embodies the competitive spirit of triathlon, displays leadership, integrity, club spirit, and positively influences athletes for the betterment of the membership, the community and the sport.
What The Ambassador Team Provides
2021 team members
In my first triathlon, an Olympic back in my homeland of Australia, I misunderstood tri training so badly that I ended up running the last 5k with a 75 year old man pacing and encouraging me. My greatest achievement was not gagging on the chocolate-flavored gel (without water to chase it) I’d chosen as my fuel (literally. This was the first time I had eaten a gel). Since then, I have participated in Olympic and 70.3 training programs with GGTC, learned a little more about tri training, and completed the Santa Rosa 70.3 and Wildflower, with a couple of Olympics and cycling crits thrown in. In 2020, I’ll be doing the Coast Ride and subsequently apologizing to my crotch, hopefully alongside a few cycling races and Olympic tris.
In my spare time, you’ll find me nerding out to Excel, getting my ass handed to me on the bike, bringing my inner 80-year old to drink as many porters and stouts as my liver will allow (gotta offset that calorie burn), and extending my goal of the number of days I haven’t showered while camping. In 2020 I’m excited to get everyone who’s anyone out on the bike, exploring this fine part of the globe. Old or new to the sport, I’m always down to ride with you.
I was born in Italy and grew up there, in the Congo, then Belgium, and later moved to the USA. I did my first triathlon in 1990 and have competed regularly since. In 2018, I finally realized that training solo was not a sound idea. Since joining GGTC, all my times have improved, but more importantly I discovered a wonderful group of athletes and friends. My goal will be to help others remain motivated and improve their performance while staying healthy and having fun. My pet project would be to get more senior people join this great GGTC community.
I have been a runner since I realized my only skill in team sports requiring coordination was the part at the beginning of practice where you do laps to warm up, and a swimmer from about the same age. I swam competitively in high school and ran track in high school and college, all in Massachusetts. I guess you could say my first bike race was when my parents sent me to my best friend's house on my bike across town by myself at the age of 6, and after exploring the Berkeley hills in grad school after moving to California I managed to complete the Lighthouse Century in 2017. But I had not completed a multi-sport event until I joined GGTC in 2018, raced the Napa HITS sprint course, and loved it! I have been enjoying making friends, challenging myself, participating in JD's awesome Oly program, and building a community as part of GGTC since then and am so excited to be an Ambassador this year to share the joy of training and racing with others. My 2021 might include an Ironman 70.3 (Santa Cruz?), a marathon, and/or some other races, and will definitely include sweating/snacking/laughing with the club, remembering to push it on the bike (my weakest link), trying not to get injured by actually doing strength workouts, and continuing to make GGTC a friendly and welcoming place (ask me about our Community Outreach opportunities)!
Hey Hey GGTC! What’s the craic? I’m the Belfast boy with a weird aul accent... I landed in San Francisco 3 years ago by way of Toronto and Pittsburgh, PA. just chasing that California dream like everyone else.
I used to run through forests in the Boy Scouts, jump over hurdles in the Irish schoolboy championships, and could swim two lengths of the pool, max; but pretty much played Rugby my whole life (26 years). Then my body fell out with me because of too many knocks, so I retired 5 years ago. This left a massive void in my life and with it a lack of fitness and health routine. (sad emoji)
So here I was in my new city, running through Golden Gate Park and slowly building up my biking gear trying to find my ‘new’ routine. But like, I’d get out once a week if I was lucky and the bars weren’t calling out my name. So I joined GGTC at the start of last year to discipline myself and tackle the triathlon world by storm. Since then, it’s been an absolute blast. I’ve met a great bunch of new mates, got rid of my beer belly, completed my first triathlon, and now I train up to 5 times a week (hint: signing up on the calendar is HUGE motivation).
2021 is going to be Whopper! I’m looking forward to supporting the club and its members over the next year and partaking in some fun activities, both on and off the course. Happy Days!
Before joining GGTC in 2017, I had never considered myself to be much of an athlete. As a kid, I was on a swim team during the summers, and rode a bike a lot, but that all ended as soon as I got my driver's license. I didn’t believe that I was capable of more.
Fast-forward to 2015 and a move to SF, I was looking for a way to meet new people and get out and enjoy the Bay Area's natural beauty. I bought my first legit road bike and discovered a passion and skill for cycling that I had no idea I possessed! But I was still missing the community of friends to share it with, and I still didn’t really see myself as an athlete.
A co-worker suggested GGTC, and I signed up for the OLY Program with Coach JD in Spring 2017. The decision was literally life-changing! Not only did I find wonderful friends and cycling buddies, but I discovered that I AM AN ATHLETE. My courage, confidence and self-esteem flourished. Now I approach each new year with "what epic thing can I do next to push my boundaries?"I'm thrilled to represent GGTC as an Ambassador again this year, so that I can help others discover their own inner athlete. My 2021 epic things include racing my first 70.3 or two, up-leveling my gravel riding game, and seriously considering if I want to be an Ironman. If triathlon has taught me anything, it's to never say never!
I'll always be thankful to my parents who instilled the love for sports in me. Growing up as a competitive gymnast, running and biking were my off-season sports and I did a few sprint races in my 20s.
After a long break from competition and just doing all kinds of sports just for fun, from surfing to kiting to skydiving, I decided two years ago that it was time to get back into something more competitive. I saw a few people landing at Crissy Field from an Alcatraz swim and thought "I want to do that"!
Last year I was lucky enough to get a spot for Escape from Alcatraz and joined the Oly program to get prepared and met a lot of great people with the same mindset. I topped the year off with the Santa Rosa 70.3. This year, I trained with the long distance squad, what a humbling, fun experience and just the right preparation for my first full ironman in Sacramento in 2021.
I'm looking forward to training with you!
When I first moved to SF from NY three years ago, my brother convinced me to sign up for the Marin Olympic triathlon. I have always loved to run and enjoy swimming, but didn’t own a bike or wetsuit at the time and never considered signing up for a tri in the past. So I rented a bike and wetsuit and decided to give it a shot. I quickly fell in love with the challenge of the sport and have never looked back!
Since joining GGTC last January, I’ve made many close friends and accomplished training goals I never imagined possible. 2020 threw many curveballs, but participating in the HIT/long distance programs helped keep me motivated and on track during the crazy year. I am continuously inspired by all of the incredible people in the club, and am really looking forward to 2021 with this awesome community. Whether you are new to the sport or an experienced athlete, I’m always down to run/ride/swim with you. Can’t wait to see you out there!
I moved to San Francisco from the east coast in 1999 after falling in love with the Sierra Nevada mountains during a two-week backpacking trip in Ansel Adams wilderness. There’s probably no better place in the world for an outdoor adventure junkie like myself, and I immediately fell into an amazing rhythm of camping, backpacking, mountain biking, and snowboarding.
A couple of years later a good buddy challenged me to do Wildflower with him. Given at the time I could barely swim 50 yards and I wasn’t much of a runner, I was skeptical that I could actually do a triathlon. But I committed, and sure enough I did it (and loved it). That year I did 3 more tri’s and the following year I added 4 more, including Escape from Alcatraz and Vineman (70.3). I was hooked.
Two years ago I came back to the sport after a long hiatus. Knowing that a big part of why I loved doing triathlons was training with other people, I rejoined GGTC. It’s great to be back, and I must say with all the craziness that has been 2020, it’s been super rewarding to be an active member of the club and supporting other members through these difficult times. I’m fired up to be a club ambassador again for 2021, and I’m looking forward to getting after it.
Growing up I really didn’t have much formal training when it came to the different disciplines of Triathlon, other than some competitive swimming in AK in the ‘8 and under’ category, and a small stint of cross country running in high school. Regardless, I have loved to do all three individually, and as I got older, I gravitated to doing lap swimming, long distance running, and even road biking in OR and WA.
Some might say that it is surprising that I didn’t put all 3 together earlier, especially with having the encouragement from family members, several of whom had been collegiate athletes, and a few even being sponsored triathletes. So, I may have been a little stubborn about getting into the sport, but joining GGTC 2 years ago has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’ve found this incredible group of individuals to be some of the most humble, caring, and talented people I’ve ever known, not to mention filled with some of my best friends. This club has supported me through some of life’s biggest challenges, and has also helped me achieve some incredible physical ones as well.
If the GGTC event involves water, you’ll likely find me attending it and loving every second of it, as water is my ‘happy place’. If on the bike, you’ll find me eagerly anticipating any technical descents on the route, and likely pondering what should be my next ‘gear buy’ to get me quicker. If you find me running, well, I’m likely gritting my teeth, sweating, and trying to get faster, all while reminiscing about my pre-injury years & former half-marathon running pace.
Growing up, I loved being in the water. I swam competitively from ages 7-11, but a diagnosis of a degenerative connective tissue disorder derailed my young athletic career before it started. I graduated high school at the heaviest I had been and had resigned myself to chronic pain and joint weakness.
Once I was in college, I discovered my love of indoor cycling when I happened to wander into a spin studio. I was hooked, and eventually made it my goal to complete a marathon with my school's team. After dropping over 75 lbs, I managed to successfully complete the Boston Marathon in 2014. By then, I had started bike commuting, so triathlon seemed like the next logical step. I completed my first triathlon when I was doing field research in Gallup, New Mexico in 2015 (I came in first! Out of one...), and I fell in love with the sport.
After three seasons of training solo, I joined Oakland Tri Club at the start of 2018 and was floored by how much of a difference the camaraderie from a club made in my training. When I moved across the bay, I joined GGTC for training buddies to push me as I worked towards my first long course national championship. I've since completed 2 national championships, ITU Aquabike Worlds, and my first 70.3 with GGTC. I'm thrilled to have found a home in the triathlon community, both here and in Oakland, and I'm looking forward to combining my triathlon friends for some rides in the East Bay hills!
I came to San Francisco in the last days of 2018 on what was supposed to be a 3 month sabbatical from my life in New York City. A swim in the bay led me to the present day. Here I met members of GGTC, quickly made friends and gained a community of people who want to do weird things like swim in the bay without a wetsuit. This community is very much one of the reasons why I never went back to NYC.
From a very young age I was thrown into the water and swam competitively from the age of 6 through college. I started open water swimming as the next chapter completing 7.5 miles in the Hudson River and most recently Alcatraz. Bridge to Bridge is next on my SF bucket list.
Beginner or advanced I’m always happy to share a pool lane, or an Aquatic Park buoy lap, or coaching advice with you!
When I was a kid in Iowa, I ran track - more than 400 yards was too far. At 15, I competitive swam and was terrible at it, in my 20s, I biked to work in Chicago - 14 degrees outside was my limit.
Fast forward to my second year of triathlon and I am surrounded by people that inspire me every day and who define what it means to never give up.
In 2020, I did nearly every GGTC training program, did an Alcatraz swim, completed a 240 mile run challenge around the bay and fell in love with trail running. In 2021, I’m running the St George and Santa Cruz 70.3s, Alcatraz, my first full (IM CA), and some Olympics, half marathons, turkey trots and 10ks thrown in. Join me!
Being anxious about a training or a race reminds me I’m alive. Who wants to be bored?
I moved to San Francisco on March 31, 2013. On my way to the airport (DFW), I dropped off my car at CarMax. The next day I went to Mikes Bikes to buy my first bike since I was a kid and that quickly evolved to cycling around our beautiful city, picking back up running, learning (still) how to swim, and signing up with the club. I then went on to do multiple Olympics, 70.3s, and, as of this writing, signing up for my first Full.
The club is full of inspirational stories, told by truly exceptional people with amazing talent. The best part of the club is that some of the fastest people are also some of the most humble, and will go out of their way to help others. Spending time with the friends I have made through the club is the highlight of any week.
I joined GGTC at the beginning of 2019 after a few years of building up to and completing my first full Ironman-distance triathlon. I had been a lifelong runner and increasingly serious cyclist, but swimming was a mystery and training both in running and cycling doubly so.
The club has been a lifeline for me during 2020; giving me an outlet and connections that mean so much. I try to post many workouts, both recurring and one-off, with the hope that i can give as much as I receive.
You can often find me leading long runs in the park. If you're interested in the longer events, i can share my experiences with you, having done 5 ironman-distance triathlons, 20 double centuries, and more than 50 marathon/ultramarathon runs in the last two years.
I played team sports competitively most of my life. After taking a hiatus from sports in college due to the academic load and other commitments, I needed something athletic to focus on. My close friend was very involved in the local San Diego triathlon scene and convinced me to sign up for my first triathlon in 2013. I was hooked and immediately joined Tri Club of San Diego to join the community.
After I moved to the Bay Area in 2014, I joined Silicon Valley Triathlon Club to meet people and have people to train with. After a few years in the South Bay, I finally moved to San Francisco and joined Golden Gate Triathlon Club and have been a part of this community for 3 years. I’ve gotten faster and fitter than ever before from joining the long distance/half ironman programs. I’ve found a community of like-minded people that love to train hard, have fun, and give back to the city and the sport of triathlon. I’m looking forward to 2021!
I have always hated running. Even as a kid growing up in England where my sport was rowing crew, to get to the good part was always some kind of team warm up jog with I hated. I have done everything possible to avoid running.
After college I moved to Boston for work and rediscovered cycling and more specifically road cycling. It became part of my social life and even though our annual century ride “The Flattest Century in the East” did very little to prepare me for the world of San Francisco cycling, it was a great way to train and flex my competitive nature.
GGTC was recommended to me by a friend as a great way to train and just have a general blast. Now in my second year, although I have only done one race in 2020 - the invitational GGTC “Tri-ing through 2020” race - I have been part of the Oly programs and progressed with my swimming, cycling, running, and fearing seals less.
I look forward to (hopefully) some actual races next year like Santa Cruz half iron man and a few others. At least I know there will always be some great training and fun with the club. I am very excited to be an Ambassador, and part of an awesome team for the coming year. I still don’t really enjoy running, but GGTC and triathlons have made me dislike it a lot less.
As a California native, I've lived in the Bay Area for over 20 years. Originally planning on just staying for 2 years, I fell in love with the outdoor and city life that SF had to offer. I wasn't active growing up, but realized the joys of running in my late 20s. A friend asked me to join her in a sprint tri in Napa. Despite racing with a heavy old mountain bike, I enjoyed it so much I purchased a tri bike and the rest is history. I participate in everything from sprints to fulls, but sprints and halves are my favorite distance. Based on my experience, it's integral to have a solid group of people to train with...they're not only workout buddies, but lifelong friends.
When I'm not working or training, you can find me reading or traveling. Hiking the Dolomites and spotting penguins on Antarctica are next on my list. I'm so excited to be a GGTC Ambassador, and can't wait to meet all of you! If you're ever in need of company (for workouts or travel), just let me know!
Siberian born, I moved to San Francisco five years ago with almost zero athletic experience. I started running along Embarcadero a couple of days a week and then realized I could probably train for a half marathon; that's where it all began. A couple of years and a dozen half marathons later I pulled the trigger and signed up for a marathon - oh, first marathon, such a milestone in an athlete's life.
In parallel to the marathon training, I occasionally jumped into the pool and biked Paradise Loop once a month which brought me to the idea of trying a triathlon, something that I only heard of a couple of times before. Thus, the day after I finished the SF Marathon in 2019, I signed up for the Santa Cruz Olympic distance triathlon. I only had 3 months to train, so I had to learn all the basics by myself - overcoming the fear of open water, learning what transitions were... And that paid off! I fell in love with the sport!
Once I signed up for the IM 70.3 in Santa Rosa, I finally decided to join the club, and that changed everything because of the truly wonderful people I met! It's amazing how friendly and supportive our small community is, and how many inspiring stories our members have! That’s why I decided to become an Ambassador, to help people unlock the potential they have, and to share my love for the sport.