Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Features and More

Three friends team up for triathlon fun, fitness

CLEARWATER -- When they met in middle school, their common interest was skateboarding. In high school, one played football, another basketball and the third pursued a dream of skateboarding with the pros.

Time flew by. Decades later, the three amigos from Clearwater kept in touch, but found it hard to stay in shape, given the demands of work and family.

"I knew I had to do something," said William "Spike" Fry, who persuaded his two buddies to form a team for the upcoming TriRock Clearwater triathlon. "I wanted to do something that was fun and a good workout. Triathlon was the perfect fit."

Fry, a lieutenant with the Clearwater Fire Department, said his newfound, multisport fitness regimen saved him from an impending midlife crisis.

"I felt really weird about turning 40," he explained, "so I figured that if I had to get older, I might as well be in the best shape as possible."

Fry entered his first triathlon on a lark. The former Clearwater Beach lifeguard had always been an excellent swimmer and accomplished runner, but he never spent much time on a bike.

"I had nothing to ride so I borrowed a bike from a friend," said Fry.

Fry said he felt a little self-conscious riding a $180 bicycle while his fellow competitors whizzed by on machines that cost 10 to 20 times as much.

"But when it was over, I had finished fifth in my age group," he said. "That's when I started thinking about what I could do if I actually trained."

So Fry started running, biking and swimming whenever he wasn't working or taking care of his little boy and girl. He started doing well in local triathlons and called his old skateboarding buddy Bret Applefield, a natural runner, and persuaded him to join in the fun.

"It's a great way to relieve stress," said Applefield, 42, an auto broker. "I'm pretty competitive, so I started setting little goals for myself, and each time I raced, I just tried to do a little better."

Fry and Applefield soon found themselves competitive as individuals on the triathlon circuit. But many triathlon participants don't do all three legs of the triathlon. They only do one discipline — swim, bike or run — as part of a team.

"I love racing by myself," Fry said. "But I started thinking that we could put together a killer triathlon team and maybe even win some races."

Being part of a triathlon team is a great way to get a taste for the sport without investing a lot of time in training for all three disciplines.

So Fry and Applefield called up their old middle school buddy, former professional skateboarder Mike Frazier.

"After my ninth knee surgery I figured that I had to do something that wasn't quite so hard on my body," said Frazier, 40. "So I started riding. And I guess you can say I am sort of obsessed with it at this point.

"On the days I ride hard," he continued, "I'll log 75 miles in the dark and be back at home before the family is even out of bed." Frazier even works in a bike shop.

Fry, Applefield and Frazier hope to place at the top of the pack Nov. 11 when the Tri Rock Series comes to Clearwater Beach with sprint, intermediate and relay triathlons.

"We have had a lot of fun with this," said Fry. "And if anybody has ever wondered what it would be like to do a triathlon, being part of a team is the way to do it."

Terry Tomalin can be reached at [email protected]

?

Comments

Review: Show Palace’s Pippin daring and dangerous

HUDSON —If you saw the musical Pippin when it first hit Broadway in 1972, or a high school drama club version, or even a touring company rendition a decade ago, it’s not exactly the Pippin you’ll see if you’re wise enough to go see the spectacular mo...
Published: 01/15/18
Baseball coach Billy Reed lived a life of courage, integrity

Baseball coach Billy Reed lived a life of courage, integrity

TAMPAAs a teenager in the late 1940s, when Jim Crow remained the South’s two most notorious syllables, Billy Reed had to walk past Hillsborough High’s baseball field to get to all-black Middleton."Those (Hillsborough) students would hurl racial slurs...
Published: 01/13/18
Restaurant review: Ichicoro Ane brings ramen, Japanese small plates and a whole lot of fun to St. Petersburg

Restaurant review: Ichicoro Ane brings ramen, Japanese small plates and a whole lot of fun to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURGWhen Station House restaurant opened on Christmas Eve 2014 it was a totally reinvented space, Steve Gianfilippo’s vision for the basement level of a 104-year-old, five-story, 30,000-square-foot building he’d bought for $3 million. For y...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18
With Zev Buffman at the creative end, Ruth Eckerd Hall brings Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer to the stage

With Zev Buffman at the creative end, Ruth Eckerd Hall brings Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer to the stage

An actor famous for playing a radio station manager will star this week in the world premiere of a radio play.Mike Hammer: Encore for Murder brings Gary Sandy, who played Andy Travis on WKRP in Cincinnati, to Ruth Eckerd Hall. And the star power was ...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18
Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani will open a restaurant in downtown Tampa

Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani will open a restaurant in downtown Tampa

The Tampa Bay restaurant scene has hit a certain kind of critical mass. For several years, rumors have swirled that the nation’s celebrity chefs were considering this part of the Florida peninsula as "the next big thing," a place to colonize and set ...
Published: 01/12/18
Here’s how to sing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack at a Tampa library

Here’s how to sing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack at a Tampa library

If you’re already singing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack alone, why not meet like-minded folks and do it together?A Hamilton singalong goes down tonight at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library in Tampa. Fans will gather to sing the entire — y...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18
Airbnb Experiences a cool option for solo travelers

Airbnb Experiences a cool option for solo travelers

BARCELONA - I slipped into the back kitchen of a Portuguese bakery, late and alone for my class on making paella. Pairs from Australia, Toronto and Manchester had beaten me to the wine and small talk. Outside of their circle, I fumbled for talking p...
Published: 01/11/18
Beacon 2018 brings professional dancers and choreographers to the Palladium

Beacon 2018 brings professional dancers and choreographers to the Palladium

ST. PETERSBURGThe dancers kept moving, spinning, pausing for arabesques or stretches. Over most of a December afternoon at the Mirror Lake Studios, they rarely stopped, whether rehearsing specific routines or not.Choreographer Lauren Ree Slone also m...
Published: 01/11/18
Local craft beer of the week:  Bean Porter, Pinellas Ale Works

Local craft beer of the week: Bean Porter, Pinellas Ale Works

When St. Petersburg’s Pinellas Ale Works held its grand opening in May 2016, it featured a baltic porter treated with vanilla and coffee that proved to be a crowd favorite. The response was so positive that the brewery made another batch of Bean Port...
Published: 01/11/18
Canadian cops hunt former Opera Tampa maestro Daniel Lipton in connection with sexual assault

Canadian cops hunt former Opera Tampa maestro Daniel Lipton in connection with sexual assault

Daniel Lipton, Opera Tampa’s most recent artistic director, is being sought by Canadian authorities in connection with a sexual assault.The alleged assault took place in the late 1980s, a woman the Times is not naming told the Hamilton Police Service...
Published: 01/10/18
Updated: 01/11/18