Triathlon team to compete in national championships

The Minnesota Triathlon Team will send nine members to compete this weekend in Texas.

Social Psychology graduate student Susanne Gabrielsen leads a group of swimmers Monday at the Aquatic Center. The University of Minnesota Triathlon Club is training for a triathlon that will take place in Texas next week.

Aleutian Calabay

Social Psychology graduate student Susanne Gabrielsen leads a group of swimmers Monday at the Aquatic Center. The University of Minnesota Triathlon Club is training for a triathlon that will take place in Texas next week.

mackenzie collins

While other University of Minnesota students are catching extra hours of shut-eye at 6:30 a.m., students from the Minnesota Triathlon Team are up with the sun, motivating one another by swimming, biking and running. The Minnesota Triathlon Team will travel this weekend to Lubbock, Texas, to compete in the 2010 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships. The club, founded at the University in January 2009, will join more than 100 other college teams to compete as individual athletes as well as for team honors. âÄúIâÄôm super stoked. I canâÄôt wait,âÄù said David Preston, a graduate student in the School of Music, who has been competing in triathlons for more than three years. The team, which has about 30 active members, will send Preston and eight others to the national event. At the competition, seven of the University triathletes will compete in the Olympic triathlon, a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run. Two of the nine will compete in the Sprint triathlon, a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run, according to USA Triathlon. The groupâÄôs president, Mike Torchia, said the trip will cost about $3,000 âÄî money that the group raised through extensive fundraising. But the triathletes didnâÄôt get to the USAT Collegiate National Championships overnight. âÄúItâÄôs amazing. These people are so motivated, determined and persistent,âÄù graduate psychology student and triathlon newcomer Susanne Gabrielsen said. âÄúItâÄôs a yearlong training process, and most of the people that I get to train with are seasoned triathletes that helped me learn how to motivate myself.âÄù The team swims almost every day of the week, on top of a 6:30 a.m. running workout at Bierman Field every Monday morning, Gabrielsen said. The team also created an online forum on its Web site where members can agree on times to run and bike on the weekends. âÄúIf I know IâÄôm going to be meeting people, that gets me going in the morning no problem,âÄù Preston said. âÄúBut getting to the pool by myself when no one is going to be there, now that is a lot harder.âÄù While the end goal is to compete in triathlons over the spring, summer and fall, Preston said that the sport is more of a lifestyle. âÄúItâÄôs a release for me from the hours of practice in the practice room with my viola just to wind down,âÄù Preston said. As a college student, Preston said shopping for nutritious foods can be difficult because the processed foods are easier and cheaper. But because staying healthy is a key factor in training for a triathlon, he said he spends the extra time in the grocery store seeking out lean meats and healthy carbohydrates, especially when he gets closer to race times. âÄúIt makes me really happy that people are getting involved, because it seems to be the kind of sport you can take a lot of pride in. ItâÄôs on a lot of peopleâÄôs bucket lists,âÄù Preston said.