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Gorge Tri Club makes the best of summer

Group invites new members to join year-round workouts

A group of 11 Columbia Gorge Triathlon Club members traveled recently to Windsor, Calif., to participate in the Vineman Triathlon. The event, a full iron-distance triathlon, featured a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run to finish things off.

All 11 participants finished the event and finished somewhere in the top 20 percentile for their divisions. Competing were tri-club members Rutger Engbersen, Patrick Hiller, Jessica Hudec, Bree Hoomans, Bill Mellow, Allan Dushan, Preston Brown, Jennifer Wardell, Trish Kepple, Clint Bogard and Jennifer Donnelly.

“For at least half of the group it was the first iron-distance event,” said club member Jennifer Wardell. “We had to sign up for it last December, so we had definitely been training for it for quite a while.”

The club, founded in 2007 by a group of avid local athletes, holds regular group workouts through the summer, based mainly at the Port of Hood River, where members swim in the boat basin or the open river and ride and run around the waterfront area. Members range from middle school and high school students to elite athletes training for Iron Man events to the oldest member, Bill Mellow, who recently turned 71.

“We’re a very open group; very friendly and welcoming,” Wardell said. “You don’t have to be super competitive to be a part of the club.”

Several members are training for the upcoming 24th annual Aluminum Man Triathlon in The Dalles. The Sept. 8 event features Olympic (1.5K swim, 40K ride, 10K run) and sprint (750m swim, 20K ride, 5K run) triathlons based out of The Dalles Riverfront Park.

Through September, the club trains outdoors regularly and holds a practice mini-triathlon on a weekly basis. Once weather and water cool off for the season, the group moves to other running, biking and indoor swimming workouts until late spring.

The group is open to new members and encourages anyone interested to get in touch while the weather and water are warm. For more information or to attend practice, visit the club’s Facebook page (search Columbia Gorge Tri Club) and ask a member where and when to meet.

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