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 $6,000 Specialized Shiv I had no business looking at much less buying, I was approached by a shop employee who probably noticed the drool falling from the sides of my mouth. 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 opening up next door. I certainly had not, and told her that if she was joking, I’d need a bottle’s worth of anti-depressants to cure my disappointment.
Thankfully she wasn’t joking. 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.” Even 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 purplepatch 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 be more familiar. That list includes San Francisco’s own Meredith Kessler, Ironman Arizona’s defending champion and 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 by no means hyperbole to say that Matt’s one of the leading triathlon coaches in the world.
The planned accoutrements 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, or water tank, 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, a force-plate treadmill for run gait assessments, and space for sports medicine practitioners.
While the Presidio Aquatic & Fitness Center might not be the triathlon mecca in the works near Wilmington, North Carolina – whose plans include a 25-acre lake specifically for open water swimming, a permanent transition area with individual stations, 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 us in on the details in the comment section below. Meanwhile, I’ll go back to praying with my grandmother’s rosary for the Center’s completion. If and when it opens, I plan to live there, like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal” or that Texas teenager who secretly moved into a Walmart. I hope to see all of you Rare Birds there.