by Chris Bagg
"I met people through the Facebook group, and then showed up to races in Victoria, Idaho, and California, and instantly had this great community to race with. Every race I went to this year I saw people I knew, which is big for me, since I've only been in the sport for a few seasons. It's somewhat overwhelming, but it's a big inspiration for me. Plus, you get to wear this amazing product that's incredibly functional. On October 1st I want to be one of the first people re-applying to the Hit Squad." —Scott Goodrich, two-year Hit Squad Member
Why join a team in what is, ostensibly, an individual sport? Triathlon, no mean logistical challenge by itself, would seem to be harder when balancing the schedules of others. On race weekend you have your own obstacles to surmount—why add a social event with others, or meet up for a group workout, when you could monk it up and arrive on the start line completely focused on the work at hand?
This is, obviously, a rhetorical question. Triathlon will always try to separate and isolate—it IS simpler to go and do your workout alone—but training with others, and racing alongside friends, has been proven to make you faster AND happier. The best triathletes in the world gather in groups formal and informal to push each other to new heights. Right now your author is sitting at a Whole Foods in Tucson, Arizona, tapping out these words in a fatigue-induced haze, after swimming 8000 yards this morning with friends. That's what the Wattie Ink. teams are about: community fostering performance, happiness, and pride. Heading to Ironman Arizona this November? There's a good chance Heather Jackson will be on the sideline cheering for you, alongside a throng of W-wearing teammates (that might be the only thing they'll be wearing, though—forewarned is forearmed, yeah?).
The Hit Squad, founded in 2016, is our company team. Striving to strengthen the triathlon community through supporting each other in training and racing, it's grown in record time, and we believe that's because we focus on the principles of camaraderie and esprit de corps. Having a tough training day? Log in to the Facebook group and find an empathic ear. Knock one out of the park on race day? You'll get a full-throated "Hell Yeah!" from your Hit Squad teammates. We are tough but fair, firm but warm. We offer no excuses for tough days, but we're also gracious in victory. 2018 Member Lisa Wourms says "I was drawn to the Hit Squad by the great people associated with the brand, and I already knew that I loved the way the kits fit, look and feel. The team is such a positive, kickass force at races and it’s energizing to know that you’ll be an ambassador embodying that force. Triathlon can be such an isolating sport at times, so it’s great to have the positive social media connection to realize that we are all going through the same ups and downs and can help each other out. I was also thrilled when Wattie asked us for our thoughts about his upcoming line ideas. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this?"
The benefits of membership go even further, though, then a community that will push you to be your best. Scott Goodrich, whose quote led off this piece, noticed a stretch goal posted in the Hit Squad group early this year. It said "teach someone to swim this year." Scott, a new swimmer himself, didn't think twice. He asked his daughter "Hey, do you want to try out for the swim team?" She said yes, and soon he had the same experience many of us adult swimmers do: getting crushed by the under-12s at a swim session. He swallowed his pride and went further, asking her if she'd like to participate in a triathlon. As many pre-teens might, she grudgingly agreed. You know how this story ends, right? "To see her cross that finish line, with that joy on her face? That was the highlight of this season for me," Goodrich says. "The team planted a seed in me, and I passed that on to my daughter, and now she can't wait to race again next year. Sure, I’ve had some great races this year, but that was the biggest success for me by far."
So are you ready to Rock the W—on course and off—in 2019? Join your community on The Hit Squad and you'll never race alone. Sign up today.