Experience Triathlon; Experience a Community

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Experience Triathlon uses the hashtag ETFamily… it’s a community more than a business, after all.

The Owner

Joe LoPresto: “We created the community years ago as a way to inspire a healthy lifestyle of all ability levels, all athletes. It’s not elite training, it’s about becoming the best that we can be.”

Joe LoPresto is the founder and CEO of Experience Triathlon – a company serving athletes in the Naperville area and beyond for 15 years. On this day, the company is hosting one of its four scheduled indoor triathlon events – a much different experience than the outdoor version.

Joe LoPresto: “It’s not as intimidating as the outdoor triathlon in a lake. So we created it as an easy way to get into the lifestyle of triathlon without the nervousness of getting into the lake and the fear of deep water. So it works great for that.”

Experience Triathlon Indoor Series

Here’s how it works – participants start with a 10 minute swim in the pool with the goal of completing as many laps as possible. Athletes then have 10 minutes to move to a half an hour stint on the bike. After that, a 20 minute run rounds out the day before medals are awarded.

Joe LoPresto: “There are a lot of competitive threads. And it’s different for each individual. One individual may come in and they want to win the event by getting the most mileage in every single event. The next person in the lane next to them may be coming to compete with themselves to be better than they were yesterday.”

That’s the case, not for an individual… but for a family taking part in the day’s event: The Watt’s. Eric Watt first tried his hand at the Naperville Sprint Triathlon

The Watts

Eric Watt: “As soon as I finished, one of the standard responses when you finish your first triathlons is – I’m glad I did it and I’m never going to do it again or when’s the next one. And then I found out that ET does an indoor version and the nice thing about the indoor race is you don’t have to walk back to the starting line.”

Eric is joined by his family, including his daughter Sophia, already a seasoned pro, but one battling back to the event.

Eric Watt: Sophia raced the kids race (at the Naperville triathlon) and she won the 8 and under girls race. But then, last January she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and was unable to race. And she’s been going through and fighting through the last 13 months with her autoimmune disease… and this is her first race back.

The last year has been tough for the Watts, but made easier by the genuine care and attention from the ET Family.

Sophia’s Battler

Eric Watt: Each time that Sophia has gone into the hospital, Joe and Susie have made it a point to send a dinner or reach out to see if there’s something they can do…. It’s nice to have that.

But they aren’t the only ones helping out. Unable to complete the full race last year, Sophia tried her hand at cheerleading.

Sophia Watt: “Last year I did the swim for my mom. I went from spin bike to spin bike asking if they want Gatorade or water.”

But back in the action this year – well, of course it’s more fun.

Sophia Watt: “It’s awesome, it’s really cool and awesome… because not only can I race, but I can also cheer them on while I’m racing.”

ET Family through thick and thin… and through swim, bike and run.

 Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman