An Open Letter to Fellow SB Tri Club Members

By Joe Howell

This note is a simple personal pitch.

PLEASE consider signing up for one or more virtual events for the upcoming Santa Barbara Triathlon. I just talked to a close friend who is a veteran participant in the SB Triathlon. He was unsure about signing up. I will now give to all of you (and hopefully your friends) the
pitch I gave to him.

  • SB Triathlon is the longest running long course triathlon in the WORLD other than the Hawaii
    Ironman. There are many reasons for that success, but a key one is the decades of local support
    of the event by sponsors and competitors. This year, more than ever, we need to demonstrate
    our support as competitors, just as the sponsors are so generously showing their support. Race
    Director, Joe Coito, has created what appears to be one of the most innovative virtual events
    now available…and there are lots of options. Note the NEW events this year….swim only….bike
    only….run only… and many combinations.
  • If ever there were a year to enjoy a flexible schedule and a casual (or competitive) format for
    the SB Tri, it is this year. As the website explains, you do the event(s) you want, when and how
    you want, at any time between August 9 and August 23. Just as SB Tri does every year, a very
    deserving local organization is the event beneficiary. This year it is Sansum Clinic. Sansum and its
    team are providing front line medical care and protecting our entire community. Do the race;
    support a good cause.
  • Personally, I hope to do some legs of the long course with friends, submitting my best time at
    the appropriate distance with possibly several “attempts”…every mile ocean swim might be the
    time to post! I plan to have a friendly competition with some of those friends (making up some
    age-graded equalizer if it will help me) but do I care how, on what course or how fast other
    participants in my age group might do the same distance? Absolutely not. Listening to various SB
    Tri Club members, the consensus view is that anyone participating in SB Tri Virtual who claims
    his or her posted results this year should mean something when compared to others in their age
    group really has a need to be on a virtual podium. (Is there a steep, downhill 34 mile bike or 10
    mile run course somewhere? Bound to be…but should you even care whether THAT..or a lap
    pool, stationary bike and treadmill, are someone’s course this year?
  • Do you have friends or family who are “almost” ready to do the SB Tri? Might they be convinced
    to do one of the many options this year if you or others did it with them, on a schedule they
    selected, as casually or competitively as they wanted? I think back to 1988 when I wanted to “up
    my game”, going from Tri relay runner only to biker and runner…but no way was I going to
    compete in a one-mile swim. My solution? I recruited my then 11 year- old son Ben to be my
    swimmer. With the virtual Tri, Ben could have gotten me thru the swim…….very slowly!
    I did take the big step to the full long course in 1990, have done it and the sprint most years
    since. Last year, a SB Tri career highlight was competing alongside 42 year old son Ben (still a
    way better swimmer, 31 years later) and son-in-law Lucas, coming across the finish line, hand in
    hand, with Ben, Lucas and with my three grandkids.


Think about it; sign up; create a great virtual 2020 SB Tri memory and do your part in keeping alive the
legendary status of our local event and supporting Sansum Clinic... Thanks for considering… Joe Howell