If you’ve ever seen a woman biking around Spokane while towing two kids in a bike trailer, then you may have seen Teri Tucker on a training ride.
She completed her first triathlon on April 10, 2004—a “mini-tri” at the old downtown YMCA, organized by the co-founders of Team Blaze, Scott and Tristin Roy. “They taught me how to swim. I had never used goggles or a swim cap before this class,” says Teri. “For the mini-tri we swam 300 yards in the YMCA pool. I was so dizzy when I got out that I fell down.”
She eventually made it to the front door, rode her bike through Riverfront Park down to Mission Park and back, and then ran 1.5-miles.
“This was a wonderful experience for me. I met some great people that I still stay in touch with,” she says. “I actually won that tri, but to be fair there were only nine people competing in the whole event.”
And then mommyhood was upon her; Teri was pregnant with twins. Her sons were born in the summer of 2005, and her next race was the Valley Girl Triathlon in 2007—a sprint tri featuring a one-third mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, and three-mile run.
“I signed up with Kirsten DeHart’s group, Moms in Motion, and we spent eight weeks training for this event. This group was fantastic,” says Teri. “Each woman was juggling motherhood and a love for athletics, and it was very satisfying to be connected with other women who were pursuing the same goals, especially during this time of my life. I have met some amazing women through this group who have enriched my life and have become wonderful friends. The spirit of camaraderie is magical, all of us working together for the simple goal of improving—improving our time, our technique, our fitness.”
Teri’s Valley Girl finish time was 1:13. “Looking back, that seems like a very slow time, but I was very satisfied with finishing it,” she says.
After this, her triathlon résumé revved up. In 2008, she competed in another sprint triathlon, and in 2009 completed both the West Plains WunderWoman sprint triathlon and the Spokane Triathlon, which was an Olympic distance. And last year, she ran a marathon and completed two sprint triathlons.
“I trained for the marathon to improve my triathlon times,” she says. “My best time for the sprint tri distance is 1:06, last year’s WunderWoman. My ultimate triathlon goal is to compete in San Francisco’s Escape from Alcatraz.”
She admits that tri events make her nervous, but she loves training and especially cycling. “When I bike with the boys, I usually pull them in a Chariot® bike trailer,” she says. “We crisscross the South Hill [trying] to sample as many parks as possible. Now that the boys are five years old, we have a tandem trail-a-bike that we will ride all over Spokane.”
When the weather is warm, she swims in Medical Lake and completes 30 to 70-mile rides on the Palouse on the weekends.
“I would like to train year round, but invariably the winter quarter is my busiest [one],” says Teri, who teaches online anthropology classes at Spokane Falls CC. During the winter, she skis every weekend and is a volunteer Nordic patroller at Mt. Spokane.
“I love triathlons because I like giving myself a challenge and seeing if I can meet my goals,” she says. “The fact that I couldn’t swim and now I compete in triathlons is personally rewarding.”
Here is Teri’s competition gear list:
SWIM ATTIRE: “I swim in a sports bra, tri top, and my bike shorts on the day of the triathlon. I don’t own a wetsuit—I rented one from Fitness Fanatics for the Spokane Tri,” she says. She also wears Speedo or TYR dark goggles and a swim cap.
BIKE & ATTIRE: Cervélo P2. “My favorite piece of gear is my tri bike,” says Teri. “I love this bike. For the first year that I owned it, every time I walked by it in the garage I would blow kisses to it. This bike makes me feel fast.” She uses Vision tri-bars, which came with her bike, and wears Sidi clipless cycling shoes, Zoot bike shorts, and her Moms in Motion Sugoi tri top for competitions.
HELMET: Giro Ionos
SUNGLASSES: Rudy Project
WATCH: Garmin Fourrunner 310XT
RUNNING SHOES: Saucony ProGrid Omni 9. “On my second triathlon, I did not wear socks and I still have the scars to remind me that saving 30 seconds is not worth that particular pain,” she says.