It’s said that triathlon is not about finding out about your limits; it’s about finding out what lies just beyond those limits.
It’s a philosophy that Mike Neill, former professional triathlete, hopes to bring to Sooke with the creation of the Human Powered Racing team.
Neill is the driving force behind Human Powered Racing, an organization dedicated to the concept of creating a team approach to what is arguably one of the most singular of sports.
“There’s no question that triathlon is a very individual sport. No one can complete a race for you. It’s something you can only do by yourself … for yourself,” said Neill.
“But training for the sport, developing the strength you need for it, that’s something that’s best done as part of a team.”
It’s why Neill emphasizes the fun and social aspect of the team concept, saying that when it’s a cold, drizzly weekend morning and it’s time to go for a training bike ride, the chances of actually getting out there is exponentially higher if there are friends and teammates waiting for you to join them.
“Misery loves company,” he said with a chuckle.
The Sooke team will train out of the SEAPARC Recreation Centre on Mondays and Wednesday evenings, between 6:30 and 8 p.m. and again on weekend mornings.
Human Powered Racing is a concept that started out in Victoria in 2006 under Neill’s supervision. With the expansion to Sooke, the organization has brought on coach Rob Dibden, an original member of the Human Powered Racing team.
Dibden was the director of youth development for Triathlon B.C. and represented Canada at the Age Group World Triathlon Championships. He has also been the race director of the Triathlon of Compassion and a collection of other events.
An aspect of the Sooke team that has Dibden excited is the inclusion of a youth component, an initiative that will allow adults to train alongside their children, if they wish.
The youth team will be made up of members aged six to 17 and, although their training regimen will be somewhat different, there will be the opportunity for the adults to work with the younger team members.
“There are other triathlon groups around, but we really limit the number of people on our teams. I think it’s important that you know the people on your team, and that we develop relationships that are going to inspire us to keep going,” said Neill.
“When all is said and done, with all the training and discipline and energy required for this sport, it’s still got to be fun. That’s why we have the team. So people can train and improve while they meet people and enjoy themselves in the process,” said Neill.
Anyone interested in jooining the team can do so by contacting the organization at humanpoweredracing.ca.