2020 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
2020 team members
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!
Before joining GGTC in 2017, I had never considered myself to be much of an athlete. As a kid, I was on a summertime swim team, 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. After talking about it for a year, I finally bought my first 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 in Spring 2017. The decision was literally life-changing. Not only did I find my beloved SF family, 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 this year, so that I can help others discover their own inner athlete. I'm also a captain for the Spring OLY program with Coach JD. My 2020 epic things include racing my first 70.3 at Victoria in May (never say never!) and signing up for more gravel riding.
I joined GGTC early in 2019 thanks to substantial peer pressure from a friend. Prior to GGTC I was a competitive swimmer and had become an avid cyclist but never thought I would be able to run well enough to do triathlons. The club certainly proved me wrong and helped complete two half and one full Ironman over the course of the year. Joining GGTC has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, leading to better fitness, close friends, and a renewed competitive spirit. I’m excited to bring everything I have learned and continue to learn about endurance sports to the Ambassador Team in 2020.
I first signed up for the OLY program last year. Completing a triathlon had been on my todo list, and I needed a little help making it happen. Over the course of the program, I got to meet the amazing members of GGTC and spend some quality outdoor time in the Bay Area - by foot, bike and wetsuit. And somewhere along the way, the workout lingo, gear lists, and transitions stopped being daunting and mysterious and just started being part of a really fun, challenging sport.
I had such a great time that my one planned race of 2019 quickly turned into three, and I've somehow accumulated a mountain of triathlon gear I'm having trouble hiding in my closet. I can't wait for the 2020 season, and I'm aiming to complete my first Half Ironman.
A couple years ago, I signed up for the Hawaii 70.3 race, my first at that distance. I didn’t know anyone except my parents who would be there and decided to post on the GGTC forum to ask if anyone was going. Fortunately, a group had an extra bed in their rental house and took me in. I had an awesome time (shout out Roseanne, Kevin, Mason, and Caroline) and by the morning after the race, I had signed up for my second 70.3 distance race.
I feel fortunate to have access to so many club workouts and events with all of you. After 2 Ironman races in 2019 and Arizona on the books for 2020, it’s shaping up to be a great year. Now let’s go out there and get to the finish!
Greetings! I hail from Connecticut and moved to San Francisco in 2013 to have myself an adventure; it’s been nothing short of life-changing. After rowing competitively for 10 years, I took up cycling in the hope of finding another sport that I was just as passionate about. Little did I know, that would eventually lead me straight into the world of triathlons.
At the recommendation of a former member, I joined GGTC in early 2019 with the aim of completing my first triathlon. After successfully completing my first Olympic-distance at Monte Rio, I was ecstatic to win my age group at the Marin County Olympic in October. For 2020, I’m ready to take things up a notch; I’ve signed up for 70.3 Santa Rosa and 70.3 Santa Cruz and hope to sprinkle in a few Olympics.
My goal is to continually improve both my fitness and experience in triathlons while helping others new to the sport do the same. As part of the GGTC Ambassador team, I want new members to feel as welcomed as I did when I first joined. If there’s any way I can help you succeed in reaching your goals, I’m here for you.
I want to thank GGTC and my fellow members for having such a profound impact on my journey thus far. I look forward to sharing many more successes with you all in 2020!
I took to the water at a young age, and started competing in Nashville at 12. After swimming Division I, I took some time away from sports to go to grad school and to gain weight (even Jesse Thomas says it also happened to him). Coming to San Francisco in 2009, I fell in love with the area, but even though I had short stints swimming and occasionally working out, I was getting winded going up stairs and could hardly run a half-mile. At the end of 2014 I started training for my first triathlon, Half Moon Bay Olympic, and fell in love with the sport.
I joined GGTC in May 2015 to do a team Alcatraz swim, came to a member meeting that September, and did my first team bike ride the next January. Wow, were people fast! It was then that I knew that this was the club for me: good people who didn't take themselves too seriously and who definitely were much faster than me. Room to grow with awesome teammates? Yes, please! I love to have fun doing this sport (these sports?) and love it even more that I can do it with some of my favorite people!
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 on the east coast, I played just about every sport under the sun. I ended up playing tennis in college, and was looking to fill that competitive athletic void I so missed. I decided to dip my toe into triathlon, mostly just to see if I could do it. I signed up for a local sprint tri, and, like so many others, was hooked immediately after, competing in multiple sprint and olympic distance tris around the mid atlantic.
When I moved to San Francisco from Washington DC a year ago, I found myself on a new coast, in a city, with a new job, and virtually no local friends. I’d seen how welcoming, supportive, and powerful the triathlon community could be, and figured that would be the best place to start to settle into my new home. I joined GGTC, signed up to go to training weekend as my first club event, and never looked back!
In the past year, this club has brought me many new friends, experiences, and challenges (first 70.3, whaddup), and I couldn’t be more grateful. I love this sport and this club, and I can’t wait to share that with you throughout 2020 and hopefully beyond!
See you out there, Dixon
My first Triathlon was Skippy’s UCSC Triathlon way back in 1999, it consisted of a hangover, a 1000yd pool swim, a cyclocross slog up and down the east side of campus, and a track run. The gear:
Since then I’ve been on again off again wandering my way through various masters swim programs, group rides, and misc half marathon and triathlon diy efforts, that is until a good friend insisted that I give the Golden Gate Triathlon Club a try.
What I found was an incredibly inspiring, diverse, knowledgeable group of athletes, spanning a range of top age group finishers to the teammate who finished their first 5k two months ago. What unites us all? A welcoming attitude, a willingness to toss your hat over the wall, and friends who will help you jump over and grab it.
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’m excited to be returning as an Ambassador and coming out of semi-retirement from triathlons. As they say, the spirit of the sport always remains with you and especially when there’s a great club and supportive community like GGTC which I feel fortunate to have found when I returned to SF 3 years ago after many years in NYC. My triathlon roots from a decade ago began locally when I took my first open water swim in the frigid water of Aquatic Park and learned to ride a bike while taking spin classes at 24 Hour Fitness. The beginner road bike I purchased soon thereafter from Mike’s Bikes is still among my prized possessions, even helping me capture a slot to the World Championships 70.3 a couple of years ago. Triathlons have also afforded me the chance to discover so many wonderful places around the world such as Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Austria, Brazil, and, most recently, New Zealand.
Over the years, I have introduced and mentored friends curious about triathlons and look forward to continuing that tradition as an Ambassador. I’ve been known to take the fun of the sport to the next level by racing in costumes and encouraging others to partake as well (I’ll even lend you my Wonder Woman shield if you’d like!). Whether you’re training for your first triathlon or venturing into your next challenge of a Half or Full Ironman, you can count on me to lend a listening ear and support your training goals.
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.
I have really enjoyed GGTC track nights, which play to my strengths, and aquatic park and pool workouts, which help me address my weakness!
The club has been very helpful for me, and i want to help others enjoy the sport as much as i do. I race a lot and encourage others not to be shy; get out there and do it!
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 3 ironman-distance triathlons, 6 double centuries, 3 ultramarathons, and more than a dozen marathons in 2019.
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 moved to the bay area in 1999 after falling in love with the Sierra Nevada mountains during a two-week backpacking trip in 1997. During my first year here I got hooked on mountain biking and I think my lungs doubled in capacity going up all the ridiculously steep grades on fire roads in Marin.
In 2001 a good buddy challenged me to do the Wildflower short course with him. Given at the time I could barely swim 50 yards, I was skeptical. But sure enough, I finished (in 100 degree temperatures no less). That year I did 3 more tri’s and the following year I did 4 more, including Escape from Alcatraz and the Vineman Half (70.3). I was hooked.
Fast forward to 2019 and I’m back in the sport after a 12 year hiatus. It feels great to be part of GGTC again, and I’m really looking forward to being a 2020 club ambassador to support all of our members in anyway I can.
I turned to running and indoor spin classes as a way to stay active after college athletics, but said I would never do a triathlon because I hate swimming. When I moved to San Francisco, an alumna from my high school (and former GGTC member) encouraged me to check out the club’s Women For Tri program and I found myself signed up for my first race shortly after in the spring of 2018. Swimming 90% backstroke after a small panic attack in the water, I finished determined to race the next one faster.
Nothing beats training/racing with the support of the club. I completed the Oly program that fall and ended up racing four 70.3s this past year. For 2020, I’m looking forward to building off of last year with the Boston Marathon, Victoria 70.3 and a few other Olympic/70.3 distance races.
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.
After rowing for seven years at the high school and college level, I turned to long-distance running and have completed six marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2016 and 2018; numerous half marathons; and several trail races, including the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k in 2017.
Though I love running and plan to race a few run-only events this year, ongoing running injuries hindered my ability to achieve the results I wanted and in 2018 I decided to make the jump to triathlon. I joined GGTC in fall 2018 and was overwhelmed by how friendly and genuinely excited about triathlon everyone was. The initial bike rides and open-water swims were challenging; however, everyone was extremely helpful in telling me things that they wish they had known when getting started in triathlon and encouraging me to keep going. When I raced in the GGTC kit for the first time at my first 70.3 in Santa Cruz, the cheers and kind words from my teammates made me feel a strong sense of community and made the day a lot more fun.
From that day on I was hooked on triathlon. This year I’m excited to train for and race several 70.3’s in preparation for my first full Ironman in Santa Rosa. Along the way, I want to improve my cycling and have fun at every race while remaining injury-free.
The Golden Gate Triathlon Club coaches and members helped me achieve more than I could imagine, and even better is that I found a group of true friends that understand how great it is to finish a swim in cold water, finish a tough run, and support you before during and after your race.
Before GGTC I was a runner with triathlon dreams, but trained alone and was injured more often than not. My first workout with the Oly group I could barely run and was terrified I'd be left behind. Since then I've learned the value of showing up and doing the best you can with what you've got - and what happens when you are patient and persistent. Even if you can't run, bike or swim on that day - showing up to support a race, help at a workout or go to a social makes you feel better almost instantly. This group is amazing in that way. I've completed the Oly program 4 super-fun times and with the help of this crew 4 70.3's.