Chasing Shadows Triathlon Club building camaraderie, logging miles | SierraSun.com

Chasing Shadows Triathlon Club building camaraderie, logging miles

Margaret Skillicorn
Special to the Sun
Courtesy of Cheryl Hogan / CherylHogan.comMembers of the Chasing Shadows Triathlon Club form a human pyramid this past weekend in the Eastern Sierra, where each member of the club participated in the June Lake Triathlon. They will compete in the Donner Lake Triathlon on Sunday.
Copyright Cheryl Hogan Photography, www.cherylhogan.com, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | Copyright Cheryl Hogan Photograp

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Because of her passion and dedication to fitness, Truckee’s Sarah Clement formed the Chasing Shadows Triathlon Club with club member Erika Klenk in the summer of 2010, specifically for young adults in junior high and high school.

The goal of the club is to connect young people in the Truckee/Tahoe area who enjoy the sport of triathlon and#8212; building fundamentals of life lessons and good health, developing confidence and character through commitment, hard work and sportsmanship, and most importantly, creating an environment where training is safe and fun.

A year later, these goals are being met.

Chasing Shadows triathletes experienced their first thrill of victory this season after completing the June Lake Triathlon, coined and#8220;The toughest race in the most beautiful place,and#8221; this past Saturday.

This triathlon is known for its hilly course for both the biking and running portions. Hill training and mental preparation is a must, and these athletes were definitely prepared. Although the club primarily focuses on camaraderie and sportsmanship, each triathlete left the event proud of his or her performance, with a few participants placing in the top 10 in his or her division.

All but one of the Chasing Shadows triathletes participated in the Sprint event, which includes a 400-meter swim, a 8-mile bike and a 2-mile run. One club member conquered the Olympic distances (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run), placing in the top 20 out of more than 80 participants. Thanks to Truckee Rotary, the Chasing Shadows team was hard to miss in their new bright red triathlon suits.

The June Lake Triathlon weekend culminated with a club camp-out and a memorable quote from one of the kids capturing what the triathlon club is all about: and#8220;Chasing Shadows was like a family out there; I can’t wait to tackle the Donner Lake Triathlon this coming weekend!and#8221;

and#8220;I don’t know just how to convey how these kids have become a family through their training and racing,and#8221; says Clement. and#8220;They are so supportive of each other. It’s really amazing to see the club evolve with such a great group of kids. They’re committed, supportive of each other, and they put a lot of hard work into their training.and#8221;

The club holds three organized group workouts a week, and on non-organized group training days, the triathletes are provided with training plans. They use the training plans to train on their own or with other club members. They’re faced with little flat terrain training in Truckee, so they bike and run lots of hills. Coaches and mentors provide skill development and technique as part of the training, which helps build efficiency in all three disciplines: swimming, biking and running.

and#8220;Each young triathlete comes with his/her individual strengths in one or more of the disciplines, but it’s interesting how they all complement each other’s strengths, leveling the playing field,and#8221; says Clement.

Added Chasing Shadows’ newest team member, Andrew Clusserath: and#8220;The triathlon team workouts have helped me learn how to focus, from figuring out what to do at the end of a race and during interval workouts. So now I can study until 11:30 at night and still be wide awake for a test the next day. I’ve built more physical and mental endurance. Oh, and my friends are envious because they see me getting fitter and tanner!and#8221;

The triathlon club is coached solely by community volunteers. Jill Whisler, registered dietician at the Tahoe Forest Sports Performance Center, educates the young triathletes about sports nutrition. Her program focuses on age specific nutrition for endurance athletes. Ryan Solberg, PT, Tahoe Forest Physical Therapy, spent a day volunteering to teach club members the importance of biomechanics, which focuses on the science concerned with the internal and external forces acting on the human body and the effects produced by these forces. In addition, local orthopedic surgeon Jeff Dodd, Wild Cherries, Truckee Rotary Club and the Optimist are also valuable club supporters.

Club triathletes include Kyle Jorgensen, Carly Clusserath, Andrew Clusserath, Camille Hartley, Danielle Nivinsk, Skyler Mullings, Jake Hamilton, Erika Klenk, Bria Riggs, Kyle Zell, Luke Rodarte and Addison Dvorachek.

Chasing Shadows is sanctioned by USA Triathlon and is a 501c3 nonprofit. For information on the club and sponsorship information, contact Clement at swimsarah@yahoo.com.