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For 16 years, thousands have chosen Rookie Tri as their first triathlon

Registration for the 17th annual Rookie Triathlon opens this Sunday, September 27th. The 2021 Rookie Triathlon will take place on Sunday, May 2nd, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. Every year, more than 1000 participants complete the first triathlon of their life or the first triathlon of their season. 2021 Rookie Triathlon’s $79 best pricing is available until Tuesday, October 20th.

2021 Rookie Triathlon opens registration on Sept. 27, 2020.“It’s thrilling to have watched thousands of people become triathletes when they cross their first triathlon finish line at Rookie Tri,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. 

The Rookie Tri has three different divisions: Rookie (first or second triathlon ever), Veteran (completed more than two triathlons), and Open. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Open Division participants are not eligible for age-group awards. Rookies and Veterans start the swim in their division based on their age group, with two participants entering the water every few seconds. Veterans start first so Rookies can watch and cheer. Age-group awards are given to both Veteran and Rookie Division in five-year increments. Rookie Tri also features Athena and Clydesdale categories. Rookie Tri has aquabike and relay options for race day. The relay team can consist of two or three members and the aquabike completes the swim and the bike only.

Rookie Tri perks

Participants will receive custom 2021 Rookie Triathlon participant shirts, finisher medals, water bottles, and swim caps. After the race, everyone can enjoy the beer garden (21+), a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, will make this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. 

Rookie Tri, an award-winning triathlon, consists of a 300m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a two-mile run through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Triathletes who can’t make it to the event can still participate through the virtual Rookie Tri. Participants can complete the Rookie Tri on their own time at their preferred locations. Follow Rookie Triathlon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Meet Laura! She was once a Rookie and this is her story

Laura is the Volunteer Manager at High Five Events, but before she was part of the crew, you would have seen her at our races, either cheering or actually racing. Here is the story of Laura’s first triathlon.

How I Started in Triathlon

I started training for triathlons in the fall of 2013 when I moved in with my brother Pablo, who was a pretty serious age group triathlete at that time. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to do what my brother did, so naturally, I started doing triathlons. Shortly after I joined the triathlon team, Austin T3,  where Pablo had been training for a couple of years. 

I got my first road bike. It was a Felt that was a “petite” size because even the smallest frame was just a little bit too big for me. That’s when I started to train more seriously. I would swim, bike or run almost every day. While my fitness level was more than ready for the Rookie Tri, I was very nervous about competing.  

Laura Riding the bike course around Walter E. Long Park training for her first triathlon

Riding the bike course around Walter E. Long Park

About a couple of months before the 2014 Rookie Tri, I went to Decker Lake and rode the course multiple times. Even though those hills wouldn’t get any easier, I got more comfortable with shifting my gears and riding in general. I would also practice my transitions over and over again.  This helped me get used to running without socks. I also remember practicing getting in and out of my wetsuit by wearing it in the shower. Long story short, I was very scared of not being prepared, which resulted in me becoming a total dork. 

Getting Ready to Tri

Race weekend came, and I remember being super excited, but also very nervous. I went to Jack and Adam’s to pick up my packet the day before, and then I went home to get everything ready. The first thing I did, was put the stickers on my helmet and bike, and my bib number on a race belt.  I also tried on my timing chip, which at that time was on a velcro strap. It happened to be too big for me. Because it was so loose, I could lose it in the water so I had to put safety pins on it to secure it.

Laura’s First Triathlon – Race Day

Swim

On race day, I got to Decker Lake early in the morning. I had plenty of time to set up my transition area and warm-up. I didn’t get in the water, but I had some elastic bands that I used to warm-up. The swim was the part I was most excited about. By that time I had participated in open water swim events, so I felt confident. 

The horn went off and we all started. In 2014 the Rookie Tri didn’t have a time trial start yet, so we all started together in the water. I was feeling pretty good throughout the swim until my watch started to get loose. The watch as a birthday gift, so I really didn’t want to lose it! I stopped for a couple of seconds to take my watch off and put it in my sports bra to be able to keep swimming. I finished the swim, ran up the hill, found my bike and off I went.

Bike and Run Laura standing on the Rookie Tri podium at her first triathlon

My heart was beating SO fast, and I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body as I got on my bike. As much as I want to believe that I am not a competitive person, you put a timing chip on me and the switch flips. I finished the bike faster than I expected, and now I just had the run left. I racked my bike, put my running shoes on and it was go time.

With the run being so short, I knew I could run faster. However, I didn’t take into account that the run was ALL ON GRASS! While that was a little bit of an adjustment for me, I was still able to finish the race and it was so exciting to get across the finish line. I ended up finishing third in my age group.

The coolest thing about the Rookie Tri is that it has separate awards for rookies and veterans, so if you’re a rookie, you’re only competing against beginners. Therefore, I was able to get on the podium and receive a trophy!  

Take a break and meet these adorable dogs of triathlon

Over the years, human spectators have brought their 4-legged counterparts to cheer on triathletes. These good boys and good girls bring a smile to everyone’s face, including their favorite triathlete! They’re also game for a good scratch from staff and others. Our triathlons are dog-friendly and we’ve met countless adorable pups over the years. We even asked y’all to share images of your spectating dogs at our events. Meet some of the most adorable dogs of triathlon that you’ll ever see!

Adorable Dogs at Rookie Tri

Want to bring your furry friend to the next triathlon? Review our dog-friendly triathlon tips below. We’d love to meet your pup and add them to our list!

Dog-Friendly Triathlon Tips

  • Bring snacks and water – Spectating is hard work, just like completing a triathlon. Bring hydration (and a bowl) and nutrition so your dog can refuel during the event.
  • Keep your dog on a leash – As much as we’d love to see pups roaming freely at our events, participant safety is vital. Keep your dog on a leash so participants aren’t tripped up and Fido doesn’t try to complete the swim portion of the triathlon!
  • Pick up after your dog – No explanation needed. Help us keep the race site in better condition than when we found it. Bring extra bags. You never know if you’ll run out or someone else runs out.
  • Follow park and/or city rules and regulations – If there are additional rules, follow them. We want to keep seeing more dogs of triathlon at our events, so follow any additional rules and regulations.

If you have a photo of your furry friend cheering you on at Rookie Tri, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Tina’s First Triathlon

My first tri was The Rookie Tri on May 5, 2013. Here is how I remember it, looking back at it seven years later. But let’s back up a bit. I forgot to introduce myself. 

Who I Am & Why That Matters a Little Bit

Tina's First Tri Rookie Tri Staff StoriesMy name is Tina, and I am the Marketing Manager for High Five Events, the company that owns and produces The Rookie Tri

I got really into cycling in my junior year at the University of Texas, around 2009. My car had bit the dust, so I decided to save the money and get a bike instead. I was instantly hooked; I LOVED IT! 

This love of bikes eventually lead to my working at Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in the summer of 2011. For those not familiar with Jack & Adam’s, now Jack & Adam’s Fredricksburg, it was THE triathlon store not only in Austin but in the US. We had a fantastic staff that was full of knowledge and loved introducing new people to the sport of triathlon and cycling. 

Why I Did My First Tri

I have never been very competitive, and while I dabbled in swimming and running, it took two years before the staff/customers at Jack & Adam’s actually convinced me to sign up for my first race. We had decided to have the entire staff at the time do the Rookie. Everyone was at different levels, with many having completed many races, including Ironmans.

Prepping for My First Triathlon

Prepping her tri gear for The Rookie TriI trained for about 6-8 weeks leading up the event, mainly focusing on swimming. I went to the pool twice a week with a friend and did I think three open water swims in what at the time was the Pure Austin Quarry. I think one of the most helpful things was sharing a lane with multiple people, as it gives you the feel of swimming around others on race morning. 

The night before I stayed at a friend’s house so that we could get up in the morning. I was so nervous I set up my transition area several times, double-checking I had everything. It was supposed to be a little colder than usual the next day, so I “panic packed” extra stuff to stay warm on the bike.

The Big Day

Swim

Tina is ready to go at the Rookie Tri in 2013

The morning of, we got there as early as we could to set up in transition. We went down to swim start, and talked with people while we waited for the start. It was definitely chilly, and the wind had made the water a little choppy. As we entered, I realized all the “waves” (from the wind and other people) were coming from the right, and I only knew how to breathe to my right. Uh oh! I had to work out what to do on the fly, so I switched to a simple breaststroke and grabbed on the kayak at the first turn to help get my bearings. The lifeguard asked if I was okay to continue, and I said yes and continued. I also stopped to apologize to every person I ran into during the swim, not that they were listening. After making the next turn buoy and facing the shore, I knew I had it in me to finish. My final swim time, according to the results that year, was 10:01. 

Bike

I rushed into transition, and I was so amped and excited by everyone cheering that I forgot all of the extra arm warmers and stuff I had packed and jumped on the bike. Thankfully, it was okay because I was plenty warm after a mile or two on the bike. I completed the bike in 43:07.

Run

The run is my least favorite of the three sports, so I was not looking forward to the run. I reluctantly slip into my running shoes and head out on course. Looking at the results now, it says I ran a 20:59. Probably true because I remember enjoying myself and taking my time during my first tri. At this point, I think everyone else had already finished, so my only time constraint was finishing with enough time to drive back and be at work when it opened. 

I remember being greeted at the finish line and everyone cheering, and I still have my finisher medal. Total time 01:19:28. Not bad for a true Rookie! 

Overall First Triathlon Experience

Tina crossing the Rookie Tri finish lineOver the years, I have convinced untold amounts of people to sign up for their first triathlon because I honestly believe that it is good for people. It is such a unique experience, and above all else, it is fun. The triathlon community is so supportive, and I am lucky to call so many of them friends. 

I hope my story has helped inspire you to go ahead and give triathlon a try. If you see me at the next High Five Events race, stop by and say Hi!

Celebrating Rookie Tri Moms for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating all the hard-working moms who stay dedicated to triathlon on top of everything else life throws their way. While appreciation for any parent should be every day of the year, we wanted to show our extra appreciation for all the moms on this special day. We love seeing you all show up and show out each year at Rookie Tri, so moms, this one’s for you!

Moms in action at The Rookie Tri

Moms can do it all. Balancing work-life, family, AND making the time to stay dedicated to tri! Take some time this Mother’s Day to celebrate the tri mom in your life and thank her for everything she does for you.

Make worrying about transitions a thing of the past when you use these time-saving tips for triathlon transitions

A quick and easy transition is an important skill to save time during your triathlon. However, it is often overlooked during the training process. These transition techniques should be practiced during your training leading up to your upcoming tri to save time and reduce any stress you may be feeling about tackling transition on the morning of your race.

Know Your Way Around

Having an idea of the layout of the transition area of your tri beforehand is especially crucial on race day. Reviewing the course maps will eliminate any uncertainties you have and should be done in the days leading up to your race. Take it a step further and arrive at the race site early to do a pre-race walkthrough in transition.  Get familiar with the flow of transition during your walkthrough.  Make a point to identify where you will swim in, bike out, bike in and run out.

Athlete getting her gear set up in transitions before the racePlan Your Gear

Know what gear you will be using first will help you determine how to layout your gear when you arrive at the race site. If your goal is to improve your overall race time, you will need to be organized in your transition layout. Another common mistake we see athletes make is bringing too much stuff. Only bring what you need to avoid losing any items, or having items in the way to slow you down. Layout your items in the order you use them to save time when you arrive in transition during the race.

Practice

Practicing your transitions is the best way to be prepared come race day. Set up a practice transition area wherever you find an open space like in your driveway, or an empty track. This will give you the opportunity to time yourself and see how long the swim to bike transition will take, as well as the bike to run. Determine which time-saving techniques you’ll use such as deciding to have your shoes already clipped into your bike, or where to place your helmet for easy access. Practice putting on and removing shoes, and mounting your bike while keeping your rhythm. Layout your gear to get in and out of transition in the least amount of time possible.

Only Bring the Essentials

Getting into gear in the transition area

Only bring what you need to avoid losing any items, or having items in the way to slow you down. Along with completing a gear check to make sure you have all the items you need, take some time to make sure your gear is functioning properly. The idea is to have everything ready to go when you run into transition during your tri.

The best way to get good at anything is practice, practice, PRACTICE! Training for transitions ultimately determines how well you can tackle them on the day of your race. Use these tips for your upcoming tri to improve your race time, or maybe even PR!

If Rookie Tri is on your calendar or on your radar, we want to help you feel prepared when you toe the start line by offering you a free training plan

Be ready to swim, bike, and run and celebrate your accomplishment at the finish line party when you follow this free Rookie Tri training plan to get to the finish line on May 3rd! Look no further than the 3-month training plan below.

This training plan was created by professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews just for you. Matthews has won or placed at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished 2nd in his home country with an impressive time of 8:02:14. He has also won some local races, including Jack’s Generic Tri and yours truly, The Rookie Tri.

This downloadable training plan is geared for triathletes of all levels, from true Rookies to seasoned veterans. You can further customize it yourself by cutting certain workouts in half (first-timers), adding more time (veterans), or adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

After you download Barny’s free Rookie Triathlon training plan, click on the day’s workout to learn about the workout’s description.

Pro tip: When you have a rest day, take it! Listen to your body and don’t over-do it during training.

If you want to take your training to the next level, then contact Matthews today. Make sure you ask for his special Rookie Tri coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email and download your FREE training plan today!

Barny's free training plan for the month of February for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

Barny's free training plan for the month of March for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

Barny's free training plan for the month of April for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

Barny's free training plan for the month of May for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.