Considering the Cal Triathlon legacy, it is not surprising that many traditions exist that have been passed down through the team across the years. That being said, new traditions are always being created, and Cal Tri continues to grow and expand to new bounds with each passing year.
Before any Triathlon race, almost every college has a chant or cheer to fire up their team and carry themselves towards victory. Considering the size and depth of the team, our cheer usually ends up being the most intimidating, thunderous, and resounding. Like a bear’s roar, it echoes across the morning and strikes fear into our opponents. The cheer can take place either in-water or on the shores, and is a sacred ritual that embodies the camaraderie, success, and spirit that is Cal Triathlon and the University of California, Berkeley.
Winter Tri Camp
Near the end of Winter Break, the Training Vice-President, Coaches, and the rest of the Board put on a week-long training camp in gorgeous Oceanside, CA. What better way to kick off the New Year than to spend a week swimming, (eating), biking, and running up and down the coast with 60 of your bestest friends. The team takes over a few beachfront condos and insures that the team is well accommodated with tons of food, drink, and all the latest in Triathlete needs. The week also includes plenty of non-training events including surfing, beach volleyball, and team dinners every night. Unofficially, Winter Tri Camp marks the start of getting down to business in preparation for the upcoming Spring Racing Season and another run at winning Conferences and Nationals. Make sure you don’t miss out on this one as outside of racing, it is usually the highlight of the year and where the fondest memories of Cal Tri are forged.
Fall Tri Camp
Not to be outdone by its Winter counterpart, Fall Tri Camp takes place earlier in the school year over a weekend and provides a chance for athletes just joining to really get into the sport and feel like part of the team. Veterans of the team also use the weekend as a chance to get together and begin preparing for the adventures and endeavors of the upcoming year. Venues have varied from year-to-year from camping in Santa Cruz to occupying Cal Lodge in Lake Tahoe. Wherever it is, don’t miss out on a chance to bond over swimming, biking, and running with the team that will become your family over the next year, and possibly for the rest of your life.
As racing season draws closer, the Board organizes excursions to exotic locations to throw in some sugar and spice to the weekly training regimen. These training days have carried us to locations all over NorCal such as Aquatic Park in San Francisco, where the team swims and then embarks on a run across the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge, or Lake del Valle in Livermore, where a pristine lake swim is followed by a trail run leading to a 25-foot leap off a cliff back into the lake. These days provide a great way to hang out with the team and engage in some quality training, and also are a great way to see parts of the Bay that you’ve never been to before.
As has been a longstanding tradition, the Nationals Team that is sent to represent Cal Triathlon in the greater United States picks a theme to follow, sometimes incorporating a song or current event as well. Past years’ themes have included Crocs and Aviators (2006-2007), Stunna Shades (2007-2008), bath robes (2008-2009), Legalize Triathlon (2009-2010), and bro tanks and Occupy Nationals (2011-2012). Just like our talent, our spirit is unmatched and the team has taken home the coveted Team Spirit Award at Nationals on multiple occasions.
Three Bears Time Trial
The Three Bears is a hilly, 18-mile bike course that loops around the picturesque Briones and San Pablo Reservoirs, located about 10 miles from the UC Berkeley campus. The course is famous in the area and many people use their best times on it as a gauge of their fitness and a chance to stoke their inner cyclist pride. The two Team Vice-President will organize monthly Time Trials for the team to head out and see what kinds of times they can throw down – see what you can do and compare against the team’s all-time records. Oh and unless you want to become really (in)famous, really quickly on the team, please please don’t miss the right turn onto Bear Creek Rd.
This is one of the classiest and most-anticipated events of the year, as it gives us busy triathletes a chance to let our hair down, dress up (or down), and get our dance moves on with our desired triathlete of choice. Tri Prom is a satire of that magical night of high school prom, complete with (awkward) prom photos, tickets, and the girls looking absolutely gorgeous compared to their humble male dates. Especially considering the abundance of ridiculously good-looking athletes around, Tri Prom offers a chance for the team to enjoy a fancy dinner, spend a memorable evening with good friends, and let that outpouring of CalTriLove out.
Summer Touring Trip
In many of the past years, team members kick off the summer and for some, celebrate Graduation by embarking on a multi-day, cycling touring trip. Past trips have included destinations of Portland and Los Angeles, though the possibilities are endless. The most recent trip, for example, happened in the Summer of 2011 when 8 of our bravest journeyed on 2 wheels over 8 days from Berkeley, CA to Portland, OR – a total of over 800 miles. Check out some of the pictures below and the blog written by the participants recording all the details of this epic adventure.
The Wildflower Triathlon is one of the biggest, most prestigious triathlons in the world (it even has its own Wikipedia Page) held in a remote location known as Lake San Antonio, CA. It is referred to as the “Woodstock of Triathlon”, and for good reason – there are usually about 8000 competitors and 30000 spectators for the 3-day weekend “Festival of Multisport” and because of the location, EVERYONE camps out together by the shores of Lake San Antonio. Wildflower takes place in the beginning of May, just a few weeks after the collegiate racing scene has wrapped up with Collegiate Nationals. The team thus heads down for one of the best weekends ever known to mankind. There are two options for racing – the Long Course (Half Ironman) on Saturday, which serves as a qualifier for Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and is regarded as one of the toughest and most beautiful courses in the world, and the Olympic on Sunday, in which the team takes part in the Wildflower Collegiate Championship and once again demonstrates its excellence on the national scene. Ask anyone on the team who’s experienced it, and they’ll tell you that it’s one of the most awe-inspiring moments of being a triathlete and being on this team.
Davis Century Ride
As far as century rides (100 miles) go, Davis is one of the easier ones in terms of hilliness. Once you clear the Berkeley bumps, it’s all flat, smooth sailing from there. Accordingly, team members will get together a couple times a year to make the daylong journey out to Davis, with the traditional date set as Veteran’s Day. Why? Because saying you biked from UC Berkeley to UC Davis sounds really impressive and you can brag about it, of course. Cal Tri Alum Kenny Rakestraw wrote up a thoroughly entertaining account of one specific episode of the Davis ride which you can check out here.
Welcome Back Brunch
Welcome Back Brunch takes place right at the end of Welcome Week at the start of Fall Semester. It involves a little adventure run culminating in a massive brunch worthy of the Triathlete Gods served at the Farm (see above), and is the first chance for many of the new members to meet the team and see what we’re really all about and how much hungry triathletes can really eat.
NorCal vs. SoCal Swim Meet
At the end of the year after all serious competition has ended, Cal Tri holds a swim meet with the prize being the Blue Kickboard. Though lacking in a grand name, the Kickboard is symbolic of the age-old battle over California and which half reigns supreme. Internationals and out-of-staters are divvied up based on location or allegiance, and a fierce duel in the pool commences. Though this is a newer tradition, it stands to become one of Cal Tri’s most anticipated events of the year.
Lauren Picard Cal Triathlon Lifetime Achievement Award
This is the most prestigious and notable award given to a member of the team at the End-of-Year Banquet (see below). Lauren was Team President for 6 years during her tenure on the team from 1996-2006, and was the one who took the team from its small, humble roots as a club that nobody knew about to one of the most successful collegiate sports programs at Berkeley and within the triathlon community. Under her reign, we won our first National Championship, got our first true Coaches, and grew from 15-20 members to close to 100. Thus, this award is gifted to someone who embraced the team and gave everything he or she had to its cause; someone who was wholly committed and devoted to the betterment; and someone who literally bled Cal Tri and embodied everything that team is about.
There are so many things to celebrate about this team, and Banquet serves as a chance to recognize all these wonderful aspects of being a Cal Triathlete. The food, friends, and good times flow all evening, and awards of both the serious and humorous nature are given out, some with a long history behind them. As a whole, this event also caps off the year, giving everyone a chance to remember all the new memories, traditions, and legacies created, and to appreciate what it really means to be a member of Cal Triathlon.