Missoula’s Matt Seeley is a goal-setter. He’s concentrating on winning 10 Northwest triathlons in 1997.
And in the year 2000 he’d like to have a showdown with a friend at Hawaii’s Ironman Triathlon.
Seeley also is a team player. He hopes to do his part in helping his friends in the Missoula Stampede Club win the National Club Championships in Pacific Grove, Calif., in September.
Seeley, a May newlywed, is off to a good start on a personal level with wins at Missoula’s Grizzly Triathlon, Victoria’s Half-Ironman, the Elma, Wash., Vance Creek Half-Ironman and Ellensburg’s Whiskey Dick Triathlon.
As the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon men’s winner, he will return Aug. 10, looking for a third consecutive victory.
Last year’s Coeur d’Alene race ranks a highlight in a successful 1996 season for Seeley. He set an amateur course record at the Scenic Challenge by crossing the finish line in 1:58.42.
“Considering the great athletes who have raced at Coeur d’Alene and my struggle with the course in 1992, I never would have thought that I would be able to put my name in the record books,” he said.
Seeley has competed at Coeur d’Alene four times. “I remember the exhilaration of the first race,” he recalled. “Throwing my body into the churning water, grinding up Mica grade and dodging rocks with tired legs along Tubbs Hill.”
He saw improvement in 1993 and took pride in standing next to his brother, Lane, on the awards platform when the Seeleys took third and fourth in their age group.
After watching from the sidelines because of a bike injury in 1994, he battled Stampede Club teammates for a victory in 1995.
“Last year I remember my surprise when I saw the clock,” he recalled. “I had finally mastered one of the toughest courses anywhere.”
Seeley trains, travels and competes with the Stampede Club. The group could be sending as many as 20 elite amateur athletes to Coeur d’Alene. Members continually set high goals as they eye swimming, running and cycling contests throughout the country.
They seldom come up short, and they have a good time doing it. Seeley said the group was formed by three UM graduate students in 1992. Olympic swimming gold medalist Dave Berkoff, collegiate track runner John Hartpence and endurance runner/rock climber Kelly Cordes were original members. Seeley joined in 1993, along with a few other athletes.
“We raced the 1995 season as a six-person elite triathlon team, winning almost every race we entered,” Seeley said. “Our membership grew until we combined forces with a local cycling and mountain bike club. In no time we were up to 60 members, with the majority of them being triathletes.”
The group includes both men and women, including last year’s Coeur d’Alene women’s champ Ann Seifert. Seifert aligned herself with Club Stampede this year.
Although the group is known for its hard work and talent, members schedule plenty of time for fun. “We break up our weekly sequence of group workouts with barbecues, all-you-can-eat pizza, movie nights and theme parties,” Seeley explained.
Besides competing, the group sponsors its own events and organizes several workouts, indoor triathlons and swim meets throughout the year.
Stampeders openly welcomes new members to both the club and the sport. “We go out of our way to encourage everyone…and to congratulate them on improvement,” he said.
Seeley said the Missoula club enjoys competing in Coeur d’Alene because of the race organization and its challenging course. “Everyone loves the course,” he said. “Many use the tough hills and the bike and beautiful run as a gauge for their end-of-the-season fitness.”
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