Bevoman returns triumphant, hosts regional collegiate conference in Pace Bend

Joe Freedman, Life and Arts Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 25, 2022 flipbook.

At the crack of dawn, onlookers could glimpse athletes stretching and tuning their bicycles across the forested hills of Pace Bend Park. Just as the sun began to peep over the horizon, the sound of an airhorn bounced off the trees, sending a fleet of athletes into the frigid lake water below.

Once I hit the water, my cheeks were like ice cubes. I couldn’t feel my face, my fingers or my toes,” said Julie Pham, an engineering graduate student and Texas Triathlon member. “It was a difficult start for sure.”

The Bevoman Triathlon, founded in 2016, is an annual fundraising event for the Texas Triathlon team that consists of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run. After a two year hiatus, this year’s race took place in person on March 20, welcoming the general public to race in its open division and hosting 113 collegiate athletes from the South Midwest Collegiate Conference.

While the race now serves as the championship race for the Conference — including athletes from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas — according to Kyle Polansky, Bevoman’s unofficial founder and UT class of 2018 alumnus, Bevoman’s success was a long time coming. 

“Bevoman started as a small-time trial to help the Tri Team prepare for Nationals in Lake Lanier, Georgia,” Polansky said. “Over the years, setup for the race has gone from a handful of bike racks to dozens of them, along with many other pieces of equipment that have helped ease the growth of the event.”

In the months before the race, the 30 members of Texas Tri trained under Coach Matt Abshire, a class of 2020 alumnus and longtime program member. Abshire held practices almost daily, many of which included a combination of swimming, biking and running to prepare the athletes for each aspect of the race. 

“We discuss everything from transitions to race nutrition, and I do my best to give advice on improving race times,” Abshire said. “While my focus has never been on winning trophies and awards, I want every individual on the team to push themselves athletically and work towards their personal goals.”

After two years of training with Texas Tri, Pham was excited to show her skills on the course. She placed second in the collegiate female bracket, finishing just behind UT-Arlington athlete Peyton Hisel. Pham completed the race in just 2 hours and 34 minutes.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve done a collegiate race because of the pandemic, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into the Bevoman,” Pham said. “It was motivating to see everyone representing UT being so supportive of each other out on the course.”

Since this year was the first in-person race since 2019, many members on the team had never experienced the Bevoman, including current president Jack Cooney. The MIS junior said he viewed the race as a success and is looking forward to the continued growth of the program. 

“It felt great to see all the collegiate athletes cross the finish line with a huge smile on their face,” Cooney said. “They just completed a very tough race, and you’re able to see all their months of hard work and preparation pay off.”