History of triathlons and triathletes in Davis, California

The first record of Davis athletes participating in triathlons was in November 1976 when Dave Scott, Head Coach, Davis Aquatic Masters (DAM), lead 9 DAM members in competing in a triathlon sponsored by the Dolphin Club of San Francisco.

The event was organized by a Lt. Col. of the US Marine Corp and conducted like a military exercise. The swim was one mile inside the perimeter of Aquatic Cove, the bike on the Embarcadero to a turn-around beyond the Oakland-SF Bridge, and the run through the military reservation west of Aquatic Cove to a turn-around at the SF Yacht Club. There were no life guards, wet suits, course monitors, signs, traffic control, medical support or other features included in today's triathlons. Dave, his older sister (Patti Scott-Baier) and dad (Verne Scott) competed. Walt Stack, a 60 year old legend for swimming in San Francisco Bay daily, competed with a balloon tire bike that had a bushel size wire basket on the front of the bike. The next year 14 members of DAM competed, and collectively, within the limited age groups, won 6 turkeys as first prize. These birds were shared with DAM members at a holiday dinner.


In 1979 the first Davis Triathlon was organized by Verne Scott with the support of DAM members. The event attracted 240 competitors, including Scott Tinley, Scott Molina, Sally Edwards, and Tom Warren, the winner of the first Hawaiian Ironman, and several Davis family relays. The swim was in Stonegate Lake, the bike on County/rural roads to Winters and back, and the run on paths and streets of West Davis. The attendance the next two years was 410 and 640 competitors.

DaveScott Shortly after Dave Scott (pictured at left) won the first of his six Hawaiian Ironman World Championships in 1980, he organized the Dave Scott Triathlon Club (DSTC). Weekly swimming workouts were held at the Davis Community Pool, and biking and running on neighboring roads and paths.

In the mid 80's the Dave Scott Triathlon Club became part of the Davis Athletic Club's programs (DAC), and membership in DAC was required to participate in the DSTC. Swimming, biking and running workouts were held on a regular weekly basis with Dave Scott coaching. Social events were on-going, frequent and well attended functions of the DSTC.

During the 80's and 90's DSTC members participated in a variety of triathlons locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Event locations in California included: Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Rancho Seco, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Santa Jose, Redding, San Francisco, Donner Lake, Palm Springs and others. Out-of-state events were in Kona HI, Portland and Bend, OR, Provo, UT, Las Vegas, NV, Hilton Head, SC, Houston, TX, Vancouver, Canada, and St Croix, VI.

The first annual Dave Scott Youth Triathlon was held in June 1990. This event was approached as a "fun" triathlon to acquaint young athletes with the sport of triathlons, encourage healthy exercises and promote camaraderie among the competitors. It was sponsored by Davis Age-group Swim Teams, sponsors of Dave Scott, the DSTC and local merchants. 165 children participated from ages 7 to 14. Dave Scott was accessible to all kids, readily talking with parents, giving advice, answering questions, presenting awards and posing for photographs with the youth. This event continued for two more years and stopped, but was resumed in 1996, 97 and 98 with DAC as the sponsor and host.

It is noteworthy that Alan Schmeiser and Dan Thompson, two triathletes in the initial DSTC, are still competing and are current members of the Mad Cow Tri Club. Alan (69), over 28 years of competition, has established an enviable and untouchable record of competing in 279 triathlons as of January 2004, including participation in three Hawaiian Ironman World Championships.

As Dave Scott's time and availability to coach became more limited, Verne Scott, Dave's dad, managed and coached the DSTC between June 1988 and January 2000, when he followed Dave's May 1992 move to Boulder Colorado.

Triathlon continued in the late 90's through 2002 in Davis with one of the top-ranked long distance triathletes in the world, Beth Zinkand. She made her mark on the triathlon world with a victory at Ironman Switzerland and 4 th and 5 th place finishes at Ironman Hawaii. She was followed by ex-pro mountain bike and road bike phenom, Steve Larsen, who burst onto the triathlon scene in 2001.

The Mad Cows were founded by a group of about 10-15 members led by Jennifer Aguilar, Steve Caswell and Damian Horstman who thought it would be a good idea to have some camaraderie for all of the people racing and attending Ironman California in 2001. While it wasn't a true club, they had shirts printed with the original Mad Cow logo (designed by Jennifer) and were supportive of each other.

Steve and Carrie Larsen moved back to Davis after many years away and, together with Diana Hassel and Lydia Delis-Schlosser, really kicked the Mad Cows into high gear in 2002 by forming the Mad Cows Triathlon Team. Current pro triathletes residing and training in Davis include Jamima Iley, Diana Hassel, and Chad DeMasi, agent and athlete for the highly successful "Team KINeSYS." These individuals are trained by Beth Zinkand's former coach, Dr. Jan Elsbach, who is a "Mad Cow" himself and coaches many of the top athletes in Davis. With the advent of the Mad Cows Triathlon Team, Davis has become a nexus for the athletic and an excellent place to train for athletes of all abilities and ages.

Here is what the original Mad Cows website, created by previous President - Steve Nowicki.

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