Director Corner w/ Cal Berkeley's Vincent Bartle

Race Director + Community = Success!

Ladies and gentlemen... Vincent Bartle!  First time race director, humble triathlete and all around great human being.  Vincent was nice enough to sit down with us to chat about his first pass at Race Directing, how he managed the process and a little history about his event.  Golden Bearathlon 2015

RM: What was the first year of your event?
VB: The team was founded in 1989. The true, inaugural Bearathlon, was in 2002. We have hosted 6 Bearathlon's since then.

RM: How long have you been the Race Director?
VB: Since May of 2015.


RM: What’s your competitive background?
VB: I ran track in high school and cross trained with swimming and cycling to prevent injury.

RM: When/how did you get into Race Directing?
VB: 6 months ago! I remember going to other schools races and thinking about how great of a team-growing opportunity hosting a race must be. I also realized we had not hosted a race ourselves in quite some time. Applications for the position went out last year and I thought I'd give it a shot.

RM: Tell us the history of your event? How did it come into being?
VB: The following is from all recorded history I could find. 2002: 1st Bearathlon, on campus: A large hill made up the entirety of the bike course 2005: Bearathlon on campus. 2007: Lake Anza -- Precarious, school did not support 2008: Treasure Island -- Financial and logistical difficulties 2011: Lake Temescal -- Bad water quality 2015: Berkeley Marina: May: Previous president, and alumni suggest the course April - July: Receive USAT sanctioning and permits, put together a team to develop the race and handle logistics. August: Bring together and work with police, city and school officials to develop a long-term plan while dealing with lingering permits. September: Close all loose ends and bring it together: water quality, road closure, and notifying communities.

RM: Describe your race, what is the course like? Are there unique points along the way? Has the course changed over the years?
VB: This is the first year we held it and are still waiting for feedback to come back. That being said though, so far it's received good feedback! The swim takes place in the Berkeley Marina. The water comes from the bay, and is relatively warm due to it being shallow, and protected from ebb and flow thanks to land protecting it within a cove. A lot of wind surfers like to surf in the late afternoon, and during high tide, it can become a popular sailing outlet. The bike takes three loops for a sprint distance and takes up West Frontage Road, a road parallel to the freeway (yay more permits!), that looks out to the marina. It is generally used to bypass freeway traffic, or to get into the Marina on special event days. The run goes around Cesar Chavez Park, a scenic park that also overlooks the marina.

RM: How many racers do you expect on race day?
VB: We had 9 MTR teams, and 67 athletes.

RM: Describe the typical participant of your race? Do you have a professional field at your race?
VB: The majority of our athletes were collegiate. Due to how early in the year we had it, we saw many experienced triathletes who were unafraid of the draft legal race, had been training throughout summer, and had likely already raced. We also saw some age group folks doing their first draft legal race, as this was an open race that provided that opportunity. Unfortunately this mix ended with a large amount of men being DQ'd due to the lap-out rule, so we'll have to keep this in mind and adjust for the future.

RM: Does your event support any charities or non-profit making organizations?
VB: 10/10/2015 was Fleet Week, meaning many community members came into the Marina to watch air performances by the navy, and navy fleet ships out in the Marina. We had a lot of company, but it was a beautiful day that oversaw the Golden Gate Bridge, and had several airplanes flying over.

RM: What is unique about your event? Location? Theme? Nature?
VB: The Berkeley Marina hosts a ridiculously great view of SF and the golden gate bridge. A dense fog usually covers it all up in the early morning, but as the day progresses and the fog rolls out -- it's very easy to have beautiful days there.

RM: Local knowledge: Are there any great parts of your race or surrounding area that you would suggest people visit while they are here for the event?

VB: Stick around after the race and hang out/have a picnic with your team! There are BBQ grills everywhere, and plenty of room for team lunches.

RM: Prizes? Swag? Sponsors? What should the racers expect?
VB: Prizes: Primal Wear: kit, socks, bottles, sunglasses. Sports Basement: gift cards. Rudy Project: Backpack. Gu: Hella' Gu. Fits by Pedro: A free fit by world-renowned bike fitter, Pedro! Roka: Swim caps. Road ID: Gift card.

RM: How has the evolution of the sport evolved and affected your event?
VB: The emergence of draft legal and mixed team relay was a big push factor towards having it be a DL/MTR Medley, and it ended up working out well. We are planning on shortening the MTR to have it become more spectator friendly and be a more exciting race than it already is, and the DL is a great opportunity to emulate DL Collegiate Nationals and ITU style racing.

RM: We don't want to get too negative, but what’s your biggest headache as a race director?
VB: All the hurdles there are toward actually making the race happen: permits and sanctions -- and having them ready in time to launch registration with enough time for people to learn about the event and decide to sign up.
Besides this race. Do you have a dream race you want to create? Please share!
We struggled to do so in the past because of insurmountable financial and logistical issues, but hosting a race at Treasure Island would be absolutely incredible.

RM: Any last thoughts or shout outs?
VB: Thank you Brogan and Kyle (the brains behind RaceMill) for your incredible support throughout the race -- we had a great experience working through RaceMill, and are looking forward to using RaceMill and its soon-to-be rolled out features. And a massive thank you to: The Bearathlon Committee: Agnes Zhu (Volunteers), Clayton Kinsey (Operations), Derek Ahmed (Webmaster), Louie Cao (Co-Director), Mariko Stenstedt (Marketing), and Philip Tow (Finance). The Cal Triathlon Team and friends who volunteered most of their Saturday to make the race as much of a success as it could have been.

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