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Triathlon club grows in Bethlehem

Interest exceeds founder's expectations

Guastella found the location he wanted at Warners Lake -- a small lake in East Berne approximately 14 miles from Bethlehem Central High School. The only issue was trying to find a place on the private lake where he and his fellow triathletes could have access to the water for swimming, one of the sport's three elements along with biking and running.

That's when Guastella met with Will Osterhout, who lives on Warners Lake. Osterhout agreed to let Guastella use his property to gain the lake access they needed as long as the Bethlehem Tri Club donated money to the Warners Lake Improvement Association, which Guastella said the club gladly does.

"If it wasn't for him (Osterhout), we wouldn't have the Bethlehem Tri Club," said Guastella. "He wanted the lake to be used."

Once the Bethlehem Tri Club had its center of operations, word quickly spread through the triathlete community about the new training site. Soon, people from all over the immediate Capital District started flocking to Warners Lake.

Member Tony Felitte said being able to use Warners Lake for open water swim training is a key to the club's rapid growth.

"It's not easy for triathletes to get into lakes (to train)," said Felitte, a Delmar resident. "To have this is awesome. You have lifeguards stationed out there, you can swim all you want and you can swim with friends."

East Berne's rural roads have also been a plus for Bethlehem Tri Club members. They can bike and run the road courses laid out by the club with little interference from traffic.

Having the option of training in one, two or all three triathlon disciplines gives Bethlehem Tri Club members variety in their training regimens, which they appreciate.

"I like endurance sports," said Middleburgh resident Sarah Strock, who started triathlon training this year. "I did one marathon in my life, so I wanted to do more endurance sports. That's when I found this."

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