Tri Temple: Church of the Multisport Mind

Tri Temple aims to be the mecca for gear & training that’s all about triathlon 

When interest in triathlon began to rise in 2009 following the staging of the first Ironman 70.3, triathletes were hard-pressed to find the right gear for their swim, bike, and run needs. The usual sports shops, new to the demands of multisport enthusiasts, had a limited supply of specialty equipment, while ordering online, could be fraught with hazards such as wrong sizing.

These were the reasons five avid triathletes came together to put up a specialty store and training center for triathlon in the country. Drew Arellano, Raoul Floresca, Raymond Racaza, Alex Uy, and Shy Vesagas opened the doors of the Tri Temple in Makati. 

The five bandied about the concept a year ago. “This was actually a long-time dream, the whole concept of putting up a facility like this came about from our experience of going to bike shops and other retail facilities here,” says Floresca. “Naisip namin, ‘wouldn’t it be good to have a facility to cater to anything a triathlete needed,’” he adds.

But they didn’t just stop at dreaming of it as a store. They dreamed bigger.  “We wanted to have coaches and facilities for training. The two biggest needs we identified were the need for a training facility to develop swimmers’ proper swimming form, and where coaches can do proper training for bikes,” says Floresca. By February, they agreed to these concepts, and Tri Temple was born.

“It was one of the names that came up and we liked it. It’s a place for people who love and worship the sport. A temple is a place where you can find peace. For us and many triathletes, in a place like this, whether they are training or shopping for gear, they are in their element. This is their peace,” he says.

The Goods & The Gear in One Roof

Hunting for triathlon gear before the triathlon boom was a matter of hunting in the right places.“ When I started in 2009 it was fairly easy to find the gear that we use—if you knew where to look for them,” says Floresca. Finding all these under one roof was a stretch. “For bikes, you went to Cartimar. Running shoes were in the sporting goods stores. For tri apparel, ’yun ’yung  mas mahirap. We looked through magazines and then ordered online, where we had to pay unbelievable shipping and customs fees. It was a challenge,” he adds.

As triathlon grew, local companies owned by fellow triathletes brought in a variety of brands of which 40, encompassing bikes, apparel, gear, accessories, and nutrition, are carried by the Tri Temple. 

One of the fear factors associated with triathlon is that it is a very expensive sport to get into. Arellano dispels the notion aspiring triathletes might have. “They think tri is a very elitist sport. It’s not. It’s a matter of choosing the right gear to match different kinds of budgets,” he says. “We are not going to sell you super expensive stuff—one, if you don’t have the budget; two, if you are just starting. We tell them, ‘chill ka lang,’” he says. “We have beginners’ bikes and mid-level bikes, and ‘hey- money’s-not-an-option bikes’,” Arellano adds.

Because the founders of Tri Temple are all triathletes, they carry only the brands they themselves have tried and tested. “We can say we have actually put them to the test. We don’t want to be a store that has everything, but with only 20 percent of these actually being used. The brands we have are those that a triathlete would know,” says Floresca.

The Training Facilities

The Tri Temple boasts of an endless pool that can be programmed at different speeds and has built-in underwater cameras hooked up to an iPad loaded with a special app for analyzing a swimmer’s strokes. The idea of installing an endless pool came from Arellano, who saw such a facility in Singapore. “I think that it’s a very unique selling proposition for us. When I saw it being completed, I was very giddy about it,” he says.

Racaza, another co-founder and community editor of Endurance Sports, says this pool is the only one of its kind in the country. “We believe that the magic happens underneath the water. Here, you can also train yourself for adverse conditions, and learn proper swimming techniques under accredited professionals,” he says.

In the same vein, the bike lab studies how triathletes can improve efficiency and power on their bikes. The monitors hooked up to the triathlete’s own bike will show the power output, not just the speed or cadence of pedaling. “It is empirical, based on actual numbers with the rate of perceived effort. Here, it is about understanding yourself and your performance through numbers,” Racaza adds.

The bike lab is the five founders’ response as well to the dearth of nearby, convenient places to do bike rides in. “Bike training can be a ‘production.’ You have to drive to places like Nuvali, then after you bike, you have to drive yourself back,” says Uy. Vesagas, the lone female founder points out the bike lab’s added plus for female triathletes. “Unlike guys who just go for it and aren’t concerned that much about safety, this is a safer environment for women. Kung maselan ka, hindi ka pa maaarawan, and you won’t get the pollution. It’s a controlled facility,” she adds.

Tri Temple’s doors are open to both newbies and elite triathletes. “We can cater to those who are not into it competitively, to those who want to naturally progress and transition to multisport,” says Arellano. He also acknowledges that the community has also become more competitive. “There are those who want to take off even a few seconds of their race time—and our facilities can help them with that in a scientific way,” he adds.

Triathletes, the temple is ready to receive you.

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