It takes more than age, bad knees, illness, and 60-degree water to slow the Rye YMCA’s Tribe. Twenty-eight members of this women’s triathlon training group traveled to Farmington, Conn., September 9 for the Wearsafe Women’s Triathlon. Ranging in age from 27 to 73, the women were part of a larger group of “Tribees” who trained for months for this difficult race. Seven of the participants in the event were first-time triathletes.

There were several challenges that day, noted Tribe coach Denise Cypher. After six years at the IronGirl competition in Sandy Hook, N.J., the group was facing a new racecourse in Farmington. The air was cool and the lake water even colder. Cyclists shared the road with traffic, rather than the closed course they were used to, and the run took place on hilly, rough terrain.

And then there were the personal challenges. Two of the women are going through cancer treatment. Another had recently undergone surgery. Others had troubles with their knees. Yet every Tribee showed up early and embraced the race with enthusiasm and grit.

Cypher, fellow coach Sally Braid, and swim coach Cathy Meeker are heartened by the determination of the women and enjoy seeing the relationships that develop. “There’s so much camaraderie during the training process,” Cypher remarked. “I really like that they enjoy that part and the fact that you hear women in their 70s making plans to get together with women in their 20s for open water swims, bike rides, and runs.”

In a note sent to the Y after the triathlon, Emily Greer wrote, “I never thought I would be able to do this type of event, but Denise, Sally, and Cathy helped me gain the skills I needed for the event and inspired me to pursue the challenge.”


Now in its seventh year, the Rye Y’s Tribe is open to women of all ages. For information about the next group, which starts in the spring, contact Diana Vita at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..