Richard On Wheels
Rick Tangard is an inspiring individual in the Richmond, VA endurance community. He’s been an active cyclist for years and also trains for triathlons of every distance. He has a high level of commitment to everything he undertakes and shares his journey with others along the way with some detailed race reports on his blog. Meet Rick.
Age group? I am approaching the upper reaches of the 55-59 age group.
I have observed that you have a knack for getting others involved in the sport of cycling specifically with your group ride planning and YMCA spin class instruction. What motivates you to do this? For decades I’ve been cycling for fitness and fun. I love cycling and it is very rewarding to have good friends out there on the road with me.
Can you share with us your IMTX experience and what advice you would give to others who may find themselves in a similar situation? After my first ever open water swim of the Ironman distance, I dragged my soggy self from the water after 2:04. That’s not fast, but with the 2:20 cutoff, it was fast enough. The fun thing about being a slow swimmer and a middle of the pack cyclist is that you overtake countless others during the bike stage. It makes you feel like a cycling rock star. Despite the 90+ degree heat and high humidity, I was having a great ride on the flat rural course north of Houston. At mile 77, just as I glanced over my shoulder to see whether it was clear for me to pass again, the woman in front of me stopped in the middle of the road. On that smooth, flat road, sheltered from the wind by a row of trees, I was moving at over 25 mph. My right handlebar hit her left handlebar. After spending a moderate amount of time airborne, I touched down and slid along the pavement, leaving behind copious amounts of blood and epidermis. Eventually I did finish the bike stage, but when I stopped for bandages at the T2 medical tent, still bleeding and looking pale, they took my timing chip and said I was done for the day. At the time I was not happy about it, but in hindsight it was probably the right decision. Here’s the link to the full story:
What groups/individuals do you train and race with? My frequent training partners are Monica Glave and Cindy Hii, but I ride and train with many groups including RVS (my team!), the Gentlemen of the Road / Ladies of the Lanes, the Spin Doctors, Richmond Bicycle Studio, the RTC Winter Ride Series and RABA. Also, I am fortunate to have many friends among the members of River City Women’s Racing, a team I am honored to sponsor.
What got you into the sport of triathlon and what inspires you to stay? In 2003 I watched some friends participate in the sprint triathlon at the Shady Grove YMCA. It looked like so much fun I just had to try it, which I did the following year. An ancient knee injury prevents me from running any significant distance, so I slog through the “run” stage at a leisurely pace. But I do it.
Who are your role models in the sport? There are many I could name, but I will focus on Danielle Robinson, who several years ago completed Ironman Florida. She is quite determined and simply refuses to permit her MS to prevent her from doing what she decides to do. When I saw the video of her taking long, even strides as she ran for the finish in Florida late at night, it gave me goosebumps. I told myself I need to do something like that.
What are your specific goals for this season and beyond? I’ve signed up for the RTC Sprint Triathlon at the end of April, in response to a challenge laid down by my pal Cindy Hii, who beat me by a small margin last year. I’m heading back to Texas for another shot at the Ironman distance on May 17. There’s also the Rocketts Landing Half IM distance in September.
Will you give ironman another try? See above.
What is the best advice anyone has given you when it comes to endurance sports? You are capable of doing more than you imagine. Never, never, never give up.
What is the most challenging/fun race or training day you have had to date? I’d have to say the 2013 Rocketts Landing Olympic distance triathlon – Aquabike Division. The days leading up to this event witnessed deluge after deluge. On race day the James River was high, brown and angry, so the race director (wisely, in my view) cancelled the swim segment. The Aquabike Division therefore consisted of a 25 mile time trial on wet roads. With a third place finish, I got to stand on the podium for the very first time. Hopefully that will not be the last time.
What is your favorite sports related indulgence? I take great enjoyment in wandering through 3 Sports, drooling over the new machines on display there
You can follow Ricks adventures on