Montana USAT updates from Ann Gilbert

Hello Triathletes,

One of my goals in doing this USAT Regional Board of Directors duty was to keep all the Montana triathletes informed on what’s up at USAT and to understand where all that money goes and how the organization benefits us.  This is my semiannual letter to you all…great hopes for more next year. 

 I was able to sit in on the National Board Meeting at Nationals in Portland as the regional board rep since Mike McCormick (Chair from Idaho) couldn’t be there.  It was very interesting.  Discussion ranged from how can we get some gold at the Olympics (noting how well the athletes DID do there) to how Nationals can be more active on the regional//state level.  Locally we have been receiving notices from Nationals on their restructuring plan – basically there are some legal issues driving it.  There probably won’t be a “regional board” anymore but the same type of structure will be in place.  Money will probably be handled a little differently as well from Nationals to Regionals.  They are looking for input…if you are interested read the strategic plan and comment.  I think it’s all necessary and good change.

In the meantime, the money is not being held differently and I reign as the PNW Treasurer.  It has been very interesting how money has been spent and how it can be spent.  It’s been a bit of a learning curve as most of our board members are new.  We are developing great programs to benefit our members.  The more we spend the more we get.  Now where else in the world is this happening?  So………our projects included and will include:

1.  Updating of the website.  The website was actually crashed most of the summer as we lost our domain address.  We are up and running, have a great web designer (from Helena), and Montana currently fills the news page!  Bozeman Club news and Linsey in Hawaii.  In an effort to get more people to the site we are luring folks in with a great offer (keep reading!!).  There is still a little updating that needs to happen.  If anyone has anything they want on there send it to me.  This would include anyone who would be interested in advertising on the page.  Bike shops??  Website is  Check it out (and find out that great deal)!

2.  Club Championships 2008.  The club championships took a different twist this year as primarily a membership drive.  Bozeman took the bait and won $750 for their efforts.  They are the PNW Reigning Club Champions.  Congratulations! (the trophy should be there soon!)

3. Club Championships 2009.  We have a championship committee working on this now.  PNW Region will offer bragging rights and cash to the USAT-PNW regional club that earns the most points in a series of Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons.  Points toward the Championship will be awarded to the team that participates in the selected events. Olympic and Sprint distance races will be selected in each state with points awarded to top finishers in each age group. If you want to make sure your favorite race makes the list, contact your local race directors and encourage them to apply!  First place team will be awarded $750, second $500, and third $250.  If you are a race director of a USAT sanctioned race and want to be a part of this series, please email the 2009 Club Championship Committee . All sanctioned races will be considered and if multiple races in a state demonstrate interest selection will be based on venue and field size.  Tentatively it will be a point series based on specific races in each state.  Stay tuned as it develops. 

4. Junior Development.  I am the chair of the jr develpment committee and am fortunate to have a great RADC (Regional Athletic Development Coordinator) working with me.  His name is JJ Johnson and he is out of Hawaii.  He has developed a plan that includes four objectives:  educational clinics, race director support, regional cups, and a PNW Youth Triathlon Team.  We have submitted grants to Nationals to get this done.  The plan is to have one clinic in each state.  The idea is that certified USAT coaches will coordinate this clinic.  If you are a USAT certified coach and interested in helping out with this endeavor email me .  There is talk of combining this effort with an adult clinic the same day.  Forward ideas and suggestions to me.

5.  Junior Races.  At the national level they talk about teaching kids how to draft in draft legal races (like the Olympics!)…which at some level should be worked on in Montana as well.  We’ll probably have to count on the  cyclists for this one (and point out the diff between draft legal races and illegal races, thanks).  But, we need more opportunity for kids to race.  We want to have a Junior State Championship.  I had talked to Dean McGovern about this last year but we missed some deadlines.  Seems that Garden City falls after swim season and has the best potential.  Comments?  Interest?   The region has ordered medals for these races and a budget request for covering the sanctioning fee. 

6.  More USAT sanctioned races.  Currently Janet Clarkson (off-road), Spring Meadow, and Treasure State are the only sanctioned races in the state. We can easily double this.   Write to your favorite race and ask them to sanction!!  It is proposed that the Region pay 50% of the sanctioning fee for any race that has never sanctioned or has not sanctioned for the past two years.  Also proposed is that we pay 100% if the sanctioning is done by Dec 31.  (End of the year sale…. )  Of course there will be a limit to the pot but if you are interested…speak up now.   Nationals is very interested in helping with the sanctioning process because they know that the paperwork is intimidating.  In previous years they have sent people to help at the races.  Currently they are designing an Ambassador Program with the potential to hire sanctioning gurus in each state.  Stay tuned.  They want to make it easy.  And, the sanctioning rules lead to a safer, better organized race.

7.  Special Qualifier in Montana!!  Requests went out to all race directors who would be interested in hosting a special qualifier for Nationals.  The regular qualifier is in Portland, date to be determined but probably in August, for Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Yes, not quite as convenient as Portland.)  Mike Jacobson from Helena submitted Spring Meadow and has been approved as a special qualifier.  Hip hip hooray!!   July 11. 

8.  FREE WETSUIT!  Go to the PNW website and check it out.  Currently there is a raffle for an XTERRA sleeveless wetsuit. We plan to raffle more items…… KEEP CHECKING IT OUT!!  You have to answer a question (it’s not hard, no research needed, you don’t have to have a 4.0), be an ANNUAL member, and live in the region.  So, needless to say, if it’s time to pay your dues do it now….or if you think you want a wetsuit for Christmas but can’t find one for $40 this is your chance.  Deadline is December 15.

9. More money available.  There was a notice posted on the Nov. 14 about the availability of club grants.  There is money there to help promote efforts on the club level.  I believe Bozeman received funding this way.  Submit a proposal. 

10.  Check out the National Club Challenge offered by USAT for winter training incentives.  Most of our teams are too small to compete…..what about…….. Team Montana??

Please send this note on to any person/groups I missed.  Thanks.

Okay….send me your questions and ideas.  Montana put on a great showing this year on many different levels.  We have tons of new people out there pounding pavement with us, folks ranking high nationally and internationally, and a lot of people out there having a really great time.  Way to go!!!

ann gilbert


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