Near the end of last year, I found myself browsing bikes at Roaring Mouse Cycles, a small but well-loved independent bike shop on Crissy Field’s west end.
While gazing at a gorgeous Specialized Shiv that was unquestionably beyond my riding capabilities, I was approached by a shop employee who noticed my interest. We got to talking and I learned she was a triathlete too, newly hired to expand Roaring Mouse’s burgeoning triathlon business. After talking about our favorite California races, she asked me if I’d heard about the new triathlon center planned for next door. I certainly had not and, like any good Rare Bird, was thrilled and intrigued to hear the news.
I can now confirm that there are indeed plans to open a 24,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art swimming and fitness facility in the former airplane hangars next door to Roaring Mouse. The facility, to be developed by the Presidio Trust in partnership with an anonymous donor, will be eponymously named the “Presidio Aquatic & Fitness Center.” More newsworthy to you Rare Birds, the Center’s anchor business will be the “California Triathlon Center,” San Francisco’s first triathlon-specific training facility for professional and amateur triathletes. Matt Dixon and his Purple Patch fitness company will manage the CTC.
If Matt’s name doesn’t ring a bell, the long list of professional triathletes that he coaches might. The list includes San Francisco’s own Meredith Kessler, Ironman Arizona’s defending champion and a four-time winner of Ironman New Zealand; Tim Reed, winner of this year’s Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship; and Jesse Thomas, the four-time defending champion of Wildflower’s famous long course. Matt’s also helped dozens of amateur age-group triathletes snag coveted Kona slots for the Ironman World Championships. So it’s no exaggeration to say that Matt’s one of the leading triathlon coaches in the country.
The planned features for the Presidio Aquatic & Fitness Center should be tantalizing to every triathlete. I know of no single facility in the Bay Area that can match them. According to Presidio Trust documents, the Center’s features will include:
- a pool with enough 25-meter swim lanes to run two training programs at once, and that will have access to the outdoors to allow triathletes to practice their transitions between the swim, bike, and run segments of a triathlon race;
- a flume that will allow Matt and his team to analyze individual triathlete’s swimming technique;
- a cycling studio large enough to accommodate 30 people and that will include up to 25 computer-controlled power trainers;
- a strength-and-conditioning gym and yoga studio, with accompanying amenities like lockers, showers, a sauna, and steam and massage rooms;
- bike storage for up to 50 bikes and additional space for bike fittings; and
- a running studio with an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill for training and rehabilitation work.
While the Presidio Aquatic & Fitness Center might not be the triathlon playland in the works near Wilmington, North Carolina – whose plans incredibly include a 25-acre lake specifically for open water swimming and a 14-mile paved bike loop closed to cars – the Center sounds like the dream home for any Bay Area triathlete.
The only bad news is that there’s been no news about the Center’s progress since last summer, even though the Presidio Trust has said that they intend for the Center to be open by 2016. If anyone out there knows more about the Center’s status, please fill in the Rare Bird flock on the details in the comment section below.