2023 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, and representation of Golden Gate Triathlon Club in the sport.
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
2023 team members
PEDRO PINHERO-CHAGAS (he/ him)
I am from São Paulo and grew up in Minas Gerais, Brazil. I played tennis competitively during elementary and high school. Still, my joy was always found outdoors, hiking the rolling hills of the Atlantic Forrest and Tropical Savanna. I moved to SF 5 years ago after a very bohemian Paris experience and slowly got back into a more active lifestyle. While running daily up to Bernal Heights, I discovered my passion for endurance sports. Around 3 years ago, I did a steep increase in running volume and intensity and ran my first half marathon and marathon. To balance my training, I started cycling and swimming in early 2020 and soon realized that I was already hooked on the world of Triathlon. I then joined GGTC and discovered our incredible community of supportive, strong, and fascinating humans. Through the delightfully cold pacific waters and astounding views of the Bay, San Francisco became my beloved home. On the side, I am a Neuroscientist at UCSF with a growing interest in sports science. As part of the 2023 Ambassador's Team, I aim to support new members in all aspects of their Triathlon journey and pass along what I have learned.
MAURIZIO BONACINI (he/ him)
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.
SARAH BOUDREAU (she/her)
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 the awesome training programs and coached workouts, and building a community as part of GGTC since then and am so excited to be an Ambassador again this year. My 2023 race schedule will at least include couple of deferred events (Half Moon Bay Oly and Santa Cruz 70.3) from an eventful 2022 and maybe some new races too! Find me sweating/snacking/laughing with the club, 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)!
BRYAN STEELE(he/ him)
I grew up in California (San Jose) where I swam competitively for many years. Recently I caught the triathlon bug after watching my friend train for Ironman Oklahoma City in 2021.
Last year I joined GGTC and competed in my first triathlon with the spring Oly program (Napa). Then my second (Half Moon Bay). And my third (Alcatraz). And my first 70.3 (Santa Cruz). And my first marathon (CIM). So yes, by "caught the triathlon bug" I meant "grew hopelessly addicted."
Triathlon is a wonderful sport(s), and GGTC is an amazing community of kind, motivating, Lycra-wearing people. I can't wait to get to know you as we train for 70.3 Mallorca, my first full Ironman (Ironman California), and hopefully a shot at world champs down the road.
Please keep this between us, but I cave very easily to peer pressure, so more often than not, YES, I am willing to go on that 100 mile+ weekend bike ride or that far-flung destination race. 70.3 Kazakhstan anyone?
AIMEE DEWANTE (she/her)
I was born and raised near Sacramento where I swam competitively, biked leisurely, and ran only from my inner demons. I moved to Chicago in 2010 where my tri-curiosity was piqued by the incredibly alluring Lake Shore Path; biking along the lake seemed obvious, but I surprised myself by waking up one day wanting to join the hordes of runners I saw every day. This is when I discovered “runners high” and never looked back.
I moved to San Francisco in 2021 with just my trusty steel steed. I decided pretty quickly I needed friends, a pandemic-friendly hobby, and probably a lighter bike. GGTC has given me all that (ok so I bought my own bike) and more. This club is full of the most ridiculous and generous people I have ever met and I love that I’m now part of it.
In 2023 I’m excited to do my first half iron man and my first race-cation in Mallorca. I also plan to be the loudest and most obnoxious cheerleader at as many events as I can, including track night. I’m a big believer in Zone 2 training and social workouts, so if you want to run to a coffee shop, bike to a brewery, or find something to warm our bellies after a bay swim - I’m your gal!
Josefine Ohlsson (she/her)
I have been a member of GGTC since the spring of 2021 and I absolutely love this community of crazy, fun athletes!
I grew up in Sweden, where I was swimming competitively from a young age. After having to quit swimming because of messed-up, worn out knees (ooh yes, knee injuries from swimming are possible) I took a couple of years off to get my injury under control and eventually got back to recreational swimming, and even tried running for the first time and got hooked right away!
I discovered open water swimming through an open water race in my hometown, and completed my first OW race in 2016. A couple of years later I moved to San Francisco and fell madly in love with swimming in the Bay. I have since completed the Alcatraz swim, Golden Gate Bridge Swim, Bay Bridge Swim and the Bridge-to-Bridge and did my first marathon swim this summer, 12mi true width of Lake Tahoe.
I joined GGTC as I was seeking a new community, and a new challenge - triathlon! I have so far done the summer Oly program in 2021 (to prepare for my first Olympic tri), the Long Distance Program summer 2022 (targeting Ironman 70.3 in Santa Cruz) and most recently the trail running program. Not only did these programs prepare me well for my races, I also made so many amazing new friends along the way. Yay!
MAX FLORES (he/ him)
I love running and swimming so joining a triathlon club seemed like a natural choice. Except I hate cycling! I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was 26 so it feels very unnatural for me. For 2023, I am challenging myself in my worst sport and will be doing the AIDS Life Cycle which is a fundraising cycling trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles covering 545 miles over 7 days.
My favorite race distance is a marathon because of the friends you make over training. I will also be doing Swimrun events for 2023. Ask me about it.
Rebecca Dauer (she/her/hers)
Originally from Kentucky, I’ve always loved being active and getting outdoors. Between COVID and steep climbs, the Bay Area slowed me down in terms of recreation and activities, until I found GGTC in the summer of 2021! Since then, GGTC has not only gotten me back on the saddle, and riding longer, harder, and stronger than before - but also has taken me from a non-swimmer, to finishing both my first Olympic distance triathlon and first Ironman 70.3 races through the OLY and LDP training programs this past year.
More than anything, however, the camaraderie, kindness, and encouragement from fellow members, ambassadors, and coaches alike has helped GGTC grow from a group of amazing athletes to a close group of friends and community I’m excited to invite others to!
Next time you see me at an event, be sure to say hello and if you ever want to talk shop about being new to any of these sports (I’m new to all of them!) be sure to reach out. When I’m not on the bike, circling Kezar, swimming at AP, or working on my laps at the pool, I love to ski, do yoga, see friends, travel, bake, paint, watch movies, sleep in, and most importantly, drink lots of coffee!
Brittany Steers (she/her)
I was introduced to triathlon after college by a close friend. I had mostly played team sports my entire life so I was excited to try something different. After my first women-only sprint triathlon in 2013, I was hooked on endurance sports. I immediately signed up for several half marathons and got involved in Triathlon Club of San Diego. After a few months of being involved in the club, I moved to the Bay Area for graduate school and immediately started looking for a new club to get involved with. I spent my first two years in the Bay living up and down the South Bay/Peninsula and was an active member of Silicon Valley Tri Club.
After finally moving closer to school in SF, I joined Golden Gate Tri Club in 2017. I had found my people! I've made friends, participated in the Long Distance Program and Trail Programs multiple times, gone on trips with teammates, and been pushed to be the best version of myself. I was an Ambassador in 2021 while Covid was still affecting daily life, and am so excited to be back on the team in 2023! This year I hope to participate in several trail running races, do a few Sprints/Olympic tris, and one 70.3. Whether you're new to the sport or a veteran, I'm always down to ride/run/swim/get a coffee or a beer.
I look forward to training with you all!
Kristina (Kiki) Koepke (she/her)
Hi everyone - I am very excited to be your Ambassador! GGTC has been extremely instrumental to me in the past year. I have made new best friends and made a 180 degree turn in all three sports. So, if you are a little hesitant with one of them, trust me - you’ll be fine. :)
I swam for a few years in High School, but stopped because I found it to be the most boring sport ever. I used a bike for commutes only, and while practical, it definitely was not my favorite way to commute. I used to run a few times a week but only to afford extra calories for food and wine.
Fast forward, the club swim workouts are probably my favorite workouts of the week. I bought my first road bike a year ago, a TT bike a few weeks ago, and despite some teething problems with clipless pedals, I am now always down for a (long) bike ride or Zwift meetup.
With very little cycling experience, I finished my first few Oly races and a 70.3 last year. For the upcoming season, I hope to stay injury free and race with you all across all distances. I love to train, eat and drink - so hmu for any of these.
Nick Lolli (he/him)
My triathlon journey began a few years ago when I was living in South Carolina and looking for ways to keep in shape after graduating from school. Armed with just a pair of running shoes, a commuter bike, and three months of high school swimming experience, I only got one race in before moving to California, but I was hooked!
Joining GGTC has been one of my best decisions since moving to San Francisco. There’s no better group of people that can encourage you to go beyond your comfort zone, whether it’s trying a longer distance race or swimming a little bit further out into the Bay. I hope that by joining the club, you all get the chance to accomplish something that seemed completely impossible just a few months ago.
This year, I’m excited to be getting more into trail running while also training for my first 70.3! In the meantime, you can always find me racing up Hawk Hill with GGTC on Wednesday mornings. Hope to see you there!
Dan Pierce (he/him)
I first visited San Francisco with family in 2004 and no thanks to Karl, didn’t even get to see the Golden Gate Bridge! If you told me I’d be living there nearly 20 years later, I’d have jumped out of my skin.
Born and raised in New England, I spent my high school and college years rowing competitively so endurance sports have long been part of who I am. I picked up cycling shortly before moving to SF and became good friends with a triathlete and former GGTC member who encouraged me to join. Fast-forward, and I’ve now got 4 Olympic and 4 HIM races under my belt. 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year, including my first shot at a full Ironman.
I’m thrilled to be part of the GGTC Ambassador Team and look forward to planning and leading numerous events. My goal is for everyone to feel just as welcomed to the sport of triathlon as I did regardless of background or ability.
Rachelle Kresch (she/her)
For as long as I can remember (going back to middle school?) completing an Ironman Triathlon was on my bucket list! When I graduated from an evening Master’s program in 2018, I was in search of a way to fill up all the free time I was about to gain so I bought a bike. In 2019 I found the Women Tri Together program (formally Women for Tri) offered through GGTC and completed the Monte Rio Olympic distance with big plans to do my first 70.3 triathlon in 2020. With that deferred to 2021, an Ironman became my 2022 goal! Now that I am an Iron(wo)man, I am excited to be an ambassador to keep us all accountable to swim, bike, run but mostly have fun!
In an attempt to get in wedding shape, I will be racing Oceanside 70.3 this spring with a very strong emphasis on avoiding funky kit tan lines. When not swimming, biking, and running, my fiancé and I love to backpack, golf and ski.
I am also a data nerd so I get excited about the latest sensors and gadgets to track my stats! Please hit me up if you have questions, want to swim/bike/run (especially in the outer sunset) but also if you want to go to barre class with me J!
Kelsey Kress (she/her)
Hi there! I’m a Bay Area native and grew up in Petaluma. If you don’t know where that is, come on a bike ride with me and experience Sonoma County! My entire childhood was dedicated to competitive soccer with some dips into cross country, track & field, and volleyball. Fast forward to life after college, and you would have found me at Orangetheory. Many years of this high intensity exercise led me to my grand idea of trying triathlon! I won my age group in the 2021 Donner Lake Sprint Triathlon and joined GGTC two months later thinking, “I have to try an Olympic next!” In 2022 I competed in the Half Moon Bay Olympic, Victoria 70.3 and Santa Cruz 70.3 triathlons. I spent the entire year in GGTC’s Long Distance Program and became addicted to the endurance side of the sport. My goal for 2023 (pending some injury rehab) is to complete a full Ironman! As someone who is obsessed with being active and outdoors, you can also find me anywhere from skiing in Tahoe to freediving in Nicaragua. Some random fun facts about me are: I love traveling, I’m a civil engineer and design highways, I’m a UC Davis Alum, my spine is permanently fractured, and I have an awesome cat! I’m excited to be a GGTC Ambassador this year and join you on your multi-sport journey. This club changed my life, and I hope I can help show you what a positive impact it can make on your life too!
Andy Ia (he/him)
Hello! Growing up I was never really a fan of running or any type of endurance sport; I spent my days in a wrestling room and at tournaments on the weekends. After college and while living in DC, I agreed to do the Navy-Air Force half marathon then followed that up with a trail marathon in 2017. I caught the triathlon bug while training for that marathon and decided that Santa Cruz 70.3 would be a good fit. Despite almost turning around and calling it a day after the first 100 meters, I finished the race and immediately signed up for Santa Rosa 70.3 in 2019. Fast forward to 2021, I moved to San Francisco and joined GGTC right away. I had just signed up for Ironman Lake Placid and thought joining a club would be a great way to meet people and improve my training.
I can honestly say that joining GGTC has been one of the best decisions I’ve made since moving here. I’ve discovered an amazing community, met so many great friends, improved in all 3 disciplines, completed my first Ironman, and most importantly realized my love for the sport!
In 2023, I’ll be racing several triathlons (Morro Bay 70.3, Ironman Sacramento) and maybe a few running races (Kaiser half marathon, CIM). I’m also looking forward to all of the GGTC events and hanging out with fellow members!
ANDREY VYRVICH (he/him)
Siberian-born, I moved to San Francisco 7 years ago with practically no athletic experience. I started running along the Embarcadero a couple of days a week. Over time, I worked up my stamina so I could compete in the SF half marathon! But that wasn't enough for me—I went on to do even more races like Half Moon Bay, Berkley, Kaiser, Golden Gate Bridge, Bridge to Bridge, Giants half-marathons, and more. Eventually, I decided it was time for me to take on an even bigger challenge: running San Francisco Marathon! So I did just that - and not only did I finish the race, but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that I had achieved something incredible.
As a next challenge, I decided to try a triathlon! Being a newbie, I had to learn every aspect of the sport by myself so that I could cope with the fear of open water, transitions, and nutrition. After crossing the finish line of the Santa Cruz Olympic Triathlon, I knew that I had truly fallen in love with this new world of multisport racing.
I was so excited to join the triathlon club and become part of this incredible community. Everyone was so welcoming and passionate about their sport, which gave me the motivation I needed to tackle each new challenge. From long bike rides in the mountains to winter swimming in the bay, it was an amazing journey that helped me push my limits and become a better athlete. Thanks to the support from this awesome club, I have now completed a few half-Ironmans, ran Rim2Rim2Rim in Grand Canyon, finished Golden Gate Trail Classic 100km, and conquered Dolomites Extreme Trail 103km in Italy!
This year is going to be even more exciting for me! I'm looking forward to taking on the Full Ironman in New Zealand and Canada as well as The Canyons 100 miles trail run.
Ironman's motto is "anything is possible", and my goal as an ambassador is to help members of our club believe in this and push their limits!
So get ready - it's time to take on some epic challenges!
AARON WALZ (he/him)
For my second year as an ambassador, I look forward to more exciting challenges and sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport and lifestyle of triathlon and open water swimming with our membership.
I am half Australian, born in San Francisco, and raised in Marin. I have always enjoyed being outdoors whenever possible. I have been a competitive tennis player and captain for over a decade, taking my teams to sectional championships and being awarded NorCal Captain of the Year. After various tennis injuries provoked my doctor to insist on cross training, I started hiking, running, biking and swimming in the bay. Lacking swim skills, I took adult lessons to feel confident. I began joining Odyssey Open Water in Berkeley on Sundays and did so all winter long because I fell in love with the ocean. I called it my Church. It is my spiritual practice. A friend said I should try a triathlon, which I thought was bananas. Before I knew it, I was renting road bikes, then bought one and even began commuting to work with it, then did my first sprint tri, and I was hooked, but still did it alone. Until...
When I found the Golden Gate Triathlon Club in 2019, little did I know what utter joy the organization and its members would provide. Plus, how it would improve my swims, rides, runs, beer and post-swim mulled wine drinking ability, and social connection. The members and board were supportive, encouraging and welcoming. The timing of joining and falling in love with triathlon was perfect right before the pandemic, since I still had so many activity options outdoors. I have now done the GGTC Oly Program twice, Long Distance Program once, and completed a 70.3 Half Ironman! I am also a proud Blueseventy Ambassador. Please message me anytime on Slack to chat, ask questions, or set up a workout!
CARMEN WHITING (she/her)
Hi, my name is Carmen! My first Olympic triathlon was 7 years ago. I moved to SF in 2010 from Long Beach, CA and became a member of a couple of running groups before joining GGTC in 2019. Somehow I convinced two other runners to do a triathlon with me so I wasn't alone. I printed out the online book "Triathlon for Beginners," which we all followed for training, and we completed our first Oly Tri!
Even though I enjoy running the most of the three sports, I like challenging myself with different activities. GGTC has provided that for me and most importantly, friendships... GGTC members are great athletes. But most importantly, we are supportive of each other no matter what level we are; we are all looking to improve and lift each other up.
I am very proud to be part of the team! This year I was fortunate enough to participate in the long distance and trail running programs. I made some great friends and participated in swims from Alcatraz, ran Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim (Grand Canyon), ran my first 100k, and participated in other events that I can't remember. I could not have survived COVID without my GGTC friends! As an Ambassador, my goal is to coordinate fun trail runs, bike rides, and swims for members who are new to the sport. Welcome to GGTC!
Soledad Calderon (she/her)
I was born and raised in Spain and came to the US over ten years ago to play college tennis in New Orleans. After a lifetime pursuing my tennis career, I replaced my rackets with a pair of running shoes and fell immediately in love with it!
I then moved to San Francisco in 2018 and picked up road biking and floating (or was it swimming?!) but never had the courage to race a triathlon. After few years riding solo, I joined the club and since then, I crushed my previous half marathon PR, raced my first 3 triathlons and recently ran my first marathon!
GGTC has really helped me structuring training and achieving a level of fitness that I never thought possible. But honestly the best part is the community around it! They have forever changed the way I feel about sports and push me everyday to be and do better.
For next year, I am training to run my first Ironman 70.3 in Mallorca and another one in Santa Cruz. Hit me up if you wanna know more!
Sarah Weidman (she/her)
I am so very pleased to serve as your ambassador this year! I've been an avid lover of water since I can remember and dove into triathlons in 2004. I have competed in all distances of triathlon from Super-Sprint to Ironman and joined Golden Gate Triathlon Club in 2017.I am constantly blown away by the support, encouragement, enthusiasm [oh! and athleticism] of my fellow club members. It gives me immense joy to watch new members go from fearfully putting a toe in the cold open water or learning how to clip in pedals to completing their first triathlon. This year possible races include: Alpha Wins, Morro Bay and Santa Cruz.
Aoife Weeks (she/her)
One of the things I am grateful for the pandemic is that it brought movement back into my life. Growing up in Ireland I was never big into sports, but when I was suddenly home 24/7 and no longer spending hours every day commuting and stuck in an office I started to get out and about again. I was lucky to have Golden Gate Park and the Presidio just blocks away and over time one daily walk became two, I started hiking, bought a bike, did a couch to 5k running program and braved the waters at Aquatic Park.
I joined GGTC at the end of 2021 and it has been a journey since then! I completed the Women Tri Together programme in the spring of 2022 and challenged myself more and more as the year went on. I went on to complete three sprint triathlons, two 5Ks, a 10K and was part of a relay team for Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz where I took the run leg and completed my first half marathon! Along the way I have met so many fantastic people in the club, many who I now get to call friends. There is always someone to inspire and encourage you, whether you are targeting your first sprint tri or your first full Ironman. I'm excited to join the 2023 Ambassador Team and look forward to seeing you out there! #SwimBikeRunHaveFun
A fun fact is that since spectating Escape from Alcatraz 2021 I've gotten into following the pro triathlon scene too, so if you want to discuss the latest PTO rankings, upcoming races, who's qualified for Paris/Kona/The Collins Cup let me know!