Zone 5’s Recipe for Triathlon Success: Flat Water, Sharp Focus, Cold Beer

The Zone 5 triathlon team kicked off their second season this spring, leaving their mild, 65-degree Pennsylvania training grounds and heading a thousand miles south to compete in the bright, 87-degree heat of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Watching the sun rise over the still waters of Tampa Bay on a hazy Sunday morning, Zone 5 coach Andrew Hanlon told his team, “It’s a perfect day to race.” Team members Dan Young and Bill Dawson enjoyed a quiet moment and tried not to think about the rising temperature. Moments later, the resounding echo of a starter cannon marked the start of the annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon.

The Zone 5 team swam, biked, and ran. Midway through the run, the course took them through a neighborhood block party where local residents were cheering them on and enjoying cold beverages. “How about a beer?” one local yelled out in jest. To his surprise, Dan seized the opportunity to boost his nutrition and enthusiasm. It was hot, and even on a 6 mile run, a cold beer tastes good on a hot day.

When all was said and done, it was a good season opener for Zone 5. Bill took 3rd place in the sprint race’s Clydesdale over-40 division. Andrew placed 8th out of 93 athletes in a very competitive age division, and Dan made second place in the men’s novice division! Inspired by Dan’s finish, the team is considering adding beer to their race-day nutrition plan for the rest of the season.