News
News

Chicago's got the triathlon bug

Terri Visovatti didn't know she wanted to try a tri until she saw triathletes in action at the Ford Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October 2011.

Visovatti, a massage therapist, had clients who participated in triathlons, but she had long described herself as "the girl in gym class who had a note to get out of swimming ... because I said chlorine affected my skin."

Still, Visovatti wanted to give the race—which typically involves swimming, running and biking at varying distances—a shot. Little did she know how much time and money her new hobby would consume.

Typically, she spends Tuesdays and Thursdays running and swimming (either in a pool or, during the summer, at Ohio Street Beach). Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for biking on her road bike.

And then there's the cost of gear—Visovatti estimates she's spent $5,000-$6,000 on equipment including two wetsuits (one long-sleeved, the other short-sleeved) and about $3,000 on health club memberships and swim coaching since she began training for triathlons last year.

Then there's the cost of the races. Visovatti, of Bucktown, competed in July in Racine's half Ironman (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run), which cost her $250. She's also signed up for this weekend's Life Time Tri Chicago, which includes varying distances and can cost $295.

But despite the heavy training and the hefty costs, triathlons are growing in popularity. Annual memberships to USA Triathlon, the governing body of U.S. triathlons, have increased from 40,299 in 2002 to 176,458 in 2012.

And Chicago has gotten into the game. The city announced in June it will host events for the 2014 and 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series, which crowns world triathlon champions through multiple events.

Even Mayor Emanuel has competed in at least four triathlons, including one last year. He hasn't signed up for one this year, his spokeswoman said.

Visovatti has participated in five triathlons since June 2012, and her goal is to improve her times at some of the races she's already done. In increasing her speed, she finds herself constantly upgrading her gear, including replacing her bike seat and swapping her Garmin watch for one that tracks her performance in all three sports, not just one.

"I look at it that it's my hobby. I'm lucky that my hobby is healthy for me so then I don't mind [the cost] as much," said Visovatti, 40. "It's an investment. It's not something you can get by that inexpensively."

tswartz@tribune.com

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

Comments
Loading
69°