This year, Triathlons are going bigger than ever before.
What is generally considered a solo sport, triathlons are taking a leap forward. 2016 marks the inaugural year for the MLT, or Major League Triathlon. Teams comprising of 2 females and 2 males representing 8 cities in 8 states compete in a Super Sprint Mixed Relay. Crowds drink beer, cheer, and soak in the sun as world-class triathletes complete a quick swim, bike, and run before tagging their next teammate. The first team to have all their athletes complete the sprint tri is crowned the winners.
Over here at ROUND14 HQ, we know one of these amazing athletes personally. Julie Stupp is one of the members of the MLT Portland Keepers. The swim coach of our resident triathlete, Jason, she is an experienced triathlete with years of racing and many accolades under her belt. She was kind enough to answer some questions for us regarding racing, food, and her new custom team Stem Cap!
SC: What got you into racing triathlons? When and where was your first race?
JS: I have been a lifelong swimmer and I ran some track in high school and in college, so after I retired from swimming in 2012 I decided to give Triathlon's a "go," I figured I have 2/3 of the sport sort of figured out so why not learn to ride a bike! I did my first race, the weekend I moved to Austin in 2013! It was Jack's Generic Triathlon and it was an amazing experience.
SC: Do you have an all-time favorite event? What makes it better than the others?
JS: That's a tough question because I still feel so new to the sport and I haven't gotten to race that many different places just yet. I love racing in Austin, whether it's crits, triathlons or running races, we have a great community for athletes. Everyone in Austin is fit, fast and very competitive. My favorite series though has to be the Major League Triathlon races! It is a super sprint relay format, which suits my strengths well and it promotes a really fun team atmosphere. Each relay team has two Men and two Women racing so the lead changes constantly and it always comes down to a sprint finish.
SC: Favorite on the bike food? Off the bike guilty pleasure food?
JS: Luckily I compete in mainly draft legal triathlons so I don't have to sit on the bike for hours on end! When I am on a "long" ride, I really like to eat Bonkbreaker bars and chews. Since moving to Austin, I feel like all I eat is Tex-Mex so I would have to say my guilty pleasure food is either some chips and queso or gourmet pizza.
SC: Tell us about your impressions of the new Stem Caps. Who designed the logo and what’s the inspiration for the team’s name?
JS: The Portland Keeper's Stem Caps are awesome! Not only do they look super cool but all of the other Major League Triathlon pro teams were very jealous of our team swag! Major League Triathlon actually designed and named the 8 different pro teams that competed this year. Most of the team names were based on the cities where we raced. The final race of the season was in Portland, Maine hence the Lighthouse on our StemCaps.
SC: What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
JS: I am really looking forward to racing more X-Terra (off road) triathlons next year. Unfortunately, I got sick earlier this year so I recently had to pull out of the X-Terra World Championships in Maui later this month. I have had a blast learning how to mountain bike and I can't wait to get back on the trails to improve my skills.