BAYOU VISTA — Paul Rodgers doesn’t need a calendar to know what day it is.
If he’s lifting weights, it must be Monday. Swimming a mile? It’s Tuesday. A 50-mile bike ride topped off with a 6-mile run tells Rodgers, a Bayou Vista resident, that it’s Saturday.
Rodgers is training for Saturday’s Clear Lake International Triathlon.
“I’ve done it before, and I like it because it’s local and it’s very well run,” he said.
Rodgers will compete in the International Distance race, which consists of swimming nearly a mile in Clear Lake, cycling 46 kilometers and running 10 kilometers.
“About half of our 800 entrants are racing the international distance, and half are doing the sprint distance,” race director Greg Pennington said.
The sprint triathlon consists of a 500-meter swim, 23 kilometers of cycling and running 3.4 kilometers.
The triathlon begins and ends at South Shore Harbour Resort.
“The swim course is all in the marina, so it’s very protected from waves and boats,” Pennington said. “It’s a little tougher than a pool swim because you’re treading water before the race starts and then climbing the ladder out at the end.”
Rodgers is prepared for the open-water swim.
“I train in salt water at home, in the canal in Bayou Vista,” he said. “The salt water gives you more buoyancy.”
After leaving the water, the triathletes cycle the full circumference of Clear Lake, with the international distance competitors making two loops. All roads will remain open to public traffic, though the right lane of eastbound NASA Parkway, northbound FM 270 and southbound state Highway 146, including on the Kemah Bridge, will be reserved for the triathletes.
“The Kemah Bridge is a challenging climb, but the view from up there is really pretty,” Pennington noted.
Pennington is expecting relatively moderate weather.
“It’ll be pretty typical, maybe 90 or 92, which isn’t bad,” he said. “Two years ago, we hit 104 degrees.”
To combat the heat, there will be pools filled with ice at the finish line.
Rodgers completed his first triathlon 25 years ago.
“In 1988, I did a sprint triathlon at Rice University,” he said. “We swam in the pool, biked 18 miles and then ran 3 miles. I still have the T-shirt.”
Many T-shirts and races later, Rodgers is still enjoying the ride.
“It’s addictive,” he said. “Doing the Ironman, the last half-mile is incredible. People are cheering so loud, and it’s just an incredible high.”
One of those people cheering at both of Rodgers’ Ironman finishes was his wife, Barbara.
“I couldn’t do it without her,” he said.
Rodgers also attributes his longevity in triathlon competition to being disciplined about both training and taking a break from training.
“You have to take days off,” he said. “You have to know when you need to rest. Swimming is great, because it gives your legs a chance to heal.”
Rodgers also advises training with a buddy or group and enjoys occasionally working out with the Galveston Triathlon Club at FitTriRun. When he’s not racing, he also enjoys another benefit of his preparations.
“By doing all this training, I can eat pretty much anything I want,” he said.