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Triathlon club grows in Bethlehem

Interest exceeds founder's expectations

When John Guastella decided to start his own triathlon club at the beginning of 2012, he thought he might get 50 people to join in the first year.

Less than nine months later, Guastella's Bethlehem Tri Club has approximately 150 members, and it continues to grow.

"It's unbelievable how quickly it's growing," said Guastella. "There's a lot of new people getting into the sport. And it's not just our club -- all of the area tri clubs are growing."

Three newcomers visited the club's Warners Lake training site Aug. 2 including Dave Lancaster, who recently moved from Atlanta to Glenmont for work. Lancaster had previously trained and competed with the Peach Tree Triathlon Club.

"I'd always biked and swam, and I was turning 30," said Lancaster of his decision to become a triathlete. "So, I thought I'd get in shape."

Guilderland resident Sylvia Decarr -- another recent Bethlehem Tri Club addition -- had a similar reason for joining the club.

"I love to bike and run," said Decarr. "I had ACL surgery, so in my attempts at running marathons or half marathons, my knees couldn't take the training for that. This (triathlons) allows me to stay active without putting too much impact on my knees."

Guastella said the Bethlehem Tri Club is geared towards all athletes, whether they are using the sport to get in shape or to compete at the highest level.

"We nurture everyone from the beginners to the people who have done the Ironman in Lake Placid like me," said Guastella.

Guastella had been training with the Capital District Tri Club when he decided he wanted to form his own club.

"There was a bunch of us (from around Bethleheme) who had trained with the Capital District Tri Club, which trains at Crystal Lake (in Averill Park)," said Guastella. "We spent so much time with each other, we said to each other, 'We have to travel so far. Why don't we try to find somewhere closer?'"

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