Monday, October 6, 2003

Duathlete prefers a double challenge

Basic training

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sometimes you get so good at a sport, you want to try another. Always an active person, 35-year-old Nicholas Ciaccio of Oakley searched after college for another competitive outlet.

Twelve years later, this guy's a world-class duathlete who has raced for Team USA in Europe.

What is it?

Duathlon is a sister sport to the Olympic sport of triathlon. In duathlon, the athlete runs, bikes, then runs again. The National Duathlon Championship and all Team USA qualifying races are in the format of a first run of 10K (6.2 miles), a 40K (24.8 miles) bike ride, then a 5K (3.1 miles) run. However, there are local duathlons with shorter distances.

How did you get started?

After college, I missed the competition and started running 5 and 10K races. Running alone quickly bored me. I bought a cheap bike and entered my first duathlon in March 1991.

What do you get out of it?

I do it for the self-fulfillment of pushing myself to complete each race the best I can and the satisfaction of knowing I set a goal and accomplished it. I have met some of my closest friends and built camaraderie with other athletes around the country. I have competed in cities in the U.S. and Europe I might never have visited otherwise. Most importantly, it keeps me fit and healthy.

How much does it cost to get started?

He estimates: running shoes $80-$120; socks $5-$8; Tri Shorts (shorter, thinner biking shorts) $35-$45; singlet (sleeveless shirt or tank) $30-$40; helmet $100-$175; sunglasses $80-$150, bike shoes $120-$250; bike $750-$5,000; USAT Membership $35 annual fee; race entry fee $12-$80.

How long does it take to get started?

I suggest a mock race, doing all three stages of the race in order as if it were the race. When you can comfortably complete 75 percent of the distance of each event consecutively, you're probably ready.

How long did it take you to learn?

It took me a full season of 10 races, as well as reading everything I could and talking to many experienced duathletes and triathletes to start feeling comfortable. It took nine years to get to the Elite amateur level and make the National Duathlon Team.


Basic Training spotlights Greater Cincinnatians who work hard at having fun. If you would like to nominate someone who keeps fit by playing sports or developing a new skill, let us know by e-mail: or fax: 768-8330; mail: Basic Training, Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Please include a daytime phone number for you and your nominee.

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