If you run, swim or bike but have never considered doing all three at once, this new race might be a great way to challenge yourself this year.
Race director Gabriela Gallegos estimated that more than half of the women who completed a Mighty Mujer Triathlon were beginners.
Gallegos started the ladies-only triathlon in El Paso, Texas about seven years ago as a way to encourage mighty women to pursue active lifestyles. With an eye to expand, she settled on Tucson as the second city to host a Mighty Mujer Triathlon, a race that includes swimming, cycling and running. Tucson's first race will be Oct. 6.
"The Tucson community was really embracing, and the cycling shops and triathlon folks in town were really excited about it and opened their arms to it," Gallegos said.
Leading up to the race, Tucson Endurance Performance Center will host several clinics to build confidence and skills for Mighty Mujer participants or anyone in Tucson who's interested.
Plenty of beginners have tackled — and conquered — this triathlon. The clinics and support of fellow athletes are a big part of that.
"Reach out to the community — friends who do the sport, coaches, shops, clinics — and get as much knowledge as you can," said Brian Grasky, the owner and head coach of Tucson Endurance Performance Center, a race sponsor. "Every piece of knowledge breaks down fear and trepidation of a new sport, and the more you break that down, the happier and more comfortable you'll be on race day."
The first clinic is bright and early this Saturday — 6-8 a.m. — and will discuss cycling safety for beginners. A ride will follow the presentation, so bring your bike.
"What I have found with people going to the clinics is that there is such support from other women who are doing it that it becomes a community and you think, 'You know what? I can do this.'"
Joanie Rogucki, the vice president and secretary of Tucson Tri Girls, started doing triathlons about 10 years ago in her 50s after decades of running. She agreed that support within Tucson's triathlon community makes the challenge doable.
"Everybody has been there, so the people who beginners are talking to are people who have been there and can help them move through things..." Rogucki said. "My husband and I, we moved from Ann Arbor in 2008 ... In 2009 we went to our first triathlon and watched it ... and that introduction helped me move onto the next step."
Gallegos herself didn't compete in her first triathlon until the age of 29. Although she worked out regularly, she said she "didn't grow up athletic." Instead, she met a woman on a business trip who was training for a triathlon. Suddenly, the sport seemed far less mysterious.
"Crossing the finish line was exhilarating, and it was that feeling of personal achievement and satisfaction, that you could work toward something and accomplish it," she said. "You could be training with a whole lot of other people, but in the end, it was you who had to get it done."
Gallegos started Race El Paso to increase the number of races in El Paso. Mighty Mujer grew out of a fundraiser to benefit the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence. They sold calendars featuring women bicyclists, and the momentum from that fundraiser blossomed into the El Paso race, which still supports the center.
In Tucson, race participants can sign up to support Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse.
Here, racers will swim 400 meters at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center, bike 14.6 miles and then run 3.1 miles.
"This race is more Wonder Woman than princess," Gallegos said. "It's meant for feeling like you really just did something."
To register for the Mighty Mujer Triathlon, visit mightymujertriathlon.com/Tucson. Registration fees go up from $90 to $100 after August 31.
If you go
What: Mighty Mujer Tri Clinic — Beginner Ride & Cycling Safety
When: Saturday, July 14, 6-8 am.
Where: Tucson Endurance Performance Center, 4811 E. Grant Road, suite 147.
More info: Visit the Facebook event here.