Welcome to the Bright Side!

Thanks for joining the team! Whether you're training with us, helping fundraise, or just interested in what's going on, answers to your questions may be found here.

Thanks for joining the team! Whether you're training with us, helping fundraise, or just interested in what's going on, answers to your questions may be found here.

General Questions about Team Bright Side

What is Team Bright Side?

Team Bright Side is a 501(c)3 charity triathlon team that raises money to fight pediatric blood cancer and help save children's lives. In the 11 years that we’ve been a team, we have trained over 1,000 athletes to compete in the sport of triathlon, with over 750 completing the Chicago Triathlon alone. Our athletes have crossed finish lines globally at races of all distances, including Escape from Alcatraz, Chicago Triathlon, NYC Tri, and various 70.3 and Ironman competitions, including the World Championships. With a completion rate of 100%, we’re committed to giving our athletes the training to be the best versions of themselves on race day, whether it’s their first or 50th. Awarded Guidestar's Silver Seal of Transparency in 2021, the team supports initiatives such as the Pediatric Cancer Data Commons at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital.

How do I join?

Click here to join Team Bright Side! Most of us will sign up for the Chicago Triathlon, but if you're feeling sassy and strong you can choose any race you're interested in.

What do I get when I join the team?

Signing up for the Chicago Tri Team will get you a full training plan, coached in-person group workouts in Chicago, open water swim training, daily workout emails, a Team Bright Side kit to race in, a ticket to our Inspiration Dinner, and a guaranteed slot in a race that sells out every year.

What do I need to do to participate?

Sign up, show up, and fundraise for cancer research. For the Chicago Triathlon, the fundraising minimum is $1250 - Credico will put up half for all employees who race, so you're already starting out ahead!

Can I bring a friend?

Absolutely! Bring three! The more the merrier, and it's a great time for a great cause. Have them sign up here, and they get the same stuff all Team Bright Side athletes have - the training plan, coached group workouts in Chicago, open water swim training (once the lake warms up a bit), daily workout emails, a very snazzy Team Bright Side race kit that basically gets you a built-in cheering section on race day, a ticket to our Inspiration Dinner before the big day, and guaranteed paid registration for a race that consistently sells out every year. (Credico's fundraising contributions are only for employees, though.)


When does training start?

Wednesday, May 1! 7pm! Our first group workout will be a pool swim at the UIC Sport and Fitness Center, 828 S. Wolcott Ave.. Arrive a smidge early to check in and get changed! Towel service is provided, or you can bring your own. Bring your swimsuit, goggles, swim cap, a water bottle, a lock for storing your things, and your ID. Our first Saturday workout will be a group bike ride starting at 8am on Saturday, May 4th. Meet us at the north end of Castaways (the boat on the beach), 1630 N. Lake Shore Drive. Bring your bike, wear your helmet, pack your water bottle, and we'll go out for brunch and a little kickoff/info session afterward.

Do we have to train every day?

HECK NO, rest days are super important! We've got two every week. And some workouts are easy maintenance runs and lower-intensity sessions - it's not all super intense, feel-like-you're-dying workouts, nobody wants that.

Can I join the team later in the season?

Certainly! You may want to sign up NOW just so you're on the roster and get the emails, but you can start joining the group workouts and whatnot whenever you're available.

What's the training like?

Group workouts are in Chicago on Wednesdays (swim) and Saturdays (alternating between bike and run), with three days “on your own” and two rest days every week. Coach Nic has posted the first month’s schedule here.

How will I know what to do?

When you sign up for Team Bright Side, you’ll get an email from Coach Nic every morning (super early!) outlining the day’s recommended workout. You can also always check the training plan online, which can be super helpful for planning ahead.

Where do I go for our group workouts?

On Wednesdays, we swim. We start in the pool, because nobody wants to get in Lake Michigan in May. POOL SWIMS: Wednesdays at 7pm at the UIC Sport and Fitness Center, 828 S. Wolcott Ave. Enter through the east, on the Wolcott side, to check in. Bring your ID! Later in the season, we swim in the lake! LAKE SWIMS: Wednesdays at 6pm at Ohio Street Beach, 600 N. Lake Shore Drive. You'll see a group of people changing into wetsuits near the Park District sign. Go there and meet your fellow Bright Siders. On Saturdays, we bike or run. BIKE MEETUP: alternating Saturdays at 8am at Castaways (the boat on the beach), 1630 N. Lake Shore Drive. We usually meet somewhere around the north end of the building; look for a group of people waiting with their bikes. RUN MEETUP: alternating Saturdays at 9am at Montrose Track, at Wilson and the Lakefront Trail. You can generally find us at the northwest "corner" of the track. There may be a flag!

Do I HAVE TO come to all the group workouts/stick to the schedule?

Not necessarily! Things can be flexible - we all have lives and other things going on, and training doesn't need to eat your entire summer. However, the group workouts are great for both accountability and meeting awesome new people, and the schedule is set up for your success. It's also entirely possible to do this all remotely - we have team members who train on their own (sometimes in another state or country!) and show up just for race day, so feel free to rearrange as needed around your schedule, childcare, vacations, and so on. But we’d love to see you on Wednesdays and Saturdays if you can make it.


OMG how do I do this fundraising thing?

WE GOTCHU. Sometime soon, Coach Nic will send out instructions for setting up your own fundraising page. It’ll be an easy link you can send to friends and family who want to support you! Share it on your socials, send a few emails, and keep an eye out for more fundraising ideas in your inbox as the season progresses. Tell all your friends about Team Bright Side’s goal of eradicating pediatric cancer, and brag about your bad@$$ training too 💪 And remember, Credico will be contributing half your fundraising requirement, so even though it won't show up until later in the season, you're still starting out ahead.

Can I help raise money without doing the triathlon?

Absolutely! You can share your colleagues’ fundraising links to help them meet their goals, or point all your friends and family to donate to Team Bright Side here. Volunteering at one of the Open Water Swim clinics can also help with fundraising, and there’s also the big volleyball tournament fundraiser in July.

What kind of fundraising activities have worked for people in the past?

All kinds of things! Like, even literal bake sales. Emporium does a great fundraising partnership with tokens for video games and drink tickets. Plan a group spin or other fitness classes for a donation. Host a happy hour or guest bartend at your favorite spot. Put your donation link in your email signature. But the best way to fundraise is to just ASK people. I promise they want to support you! Ask in person, ask via email, ask your golf buddies, ask your book club, ask on the socials, and do NOT feel like you're asking "too much." There are actual studies that show it takes multiple repetitions for an idea to stick in someone's head, so check in a few times over the summer to remind people about how you're fundrasing for this incredible cause. Post workout selfies - it's social proof you're Doing The Thing - with details about your fundraiser. Tell people about where their donations are going and the amazing work Team Bright Side supports. And check out the team's resources page to get even more fundraising ideas!


What gear do I need for the triathlon?

Bike, helmet, shoes, and clothes you can swim/bike/run in. Everything else is optional, though a few extras may make your training and your race way better. Recommended but not required: goggles, wetsuit, water bottles, sunglasses, nutrition, flat tire kit, and a phone or watch for timing and tracking if you're into that sort of thing. There are LOADS of other goodies that The Algorithm will probably start showing you. If you want them, go nuts! We'll talk about some of the nice-to-have items at our group workouts. But you don't NEED them to race.

What kind of bike do I need?

The bike you have probably works! It cannot be a fixed-gear/"fixie" - it must have two working brakes and the ability to coast. Road bikes are most common, but you'll see people racing on hybrids, mountain bikes, beach cruisers, and even Divvy bikes. If you NEED a bike, reach out to Coach Nic to see how he can help you find one. If you're ready to buy or looking to upgrade, BFF Bikes in Bucktown has been lovely to Team Bright Side and offers a discount on parts, labor, accessories, and more.

What kind of shoes do I need?

The kind that fit your feet! A good pair of running shoes are, hands-down, the number one thing that will keep you from getting injured. Get your shoe fit personalized for you at one of the MANY running stores around Chicago - they'll look at your feet, watch your gait, ask about how much running you're wanting to do, and help you find a great pair. (Do NOT buy shoes based on color.) Road Runner Sports and Fleet Feet are great places to start; ask Beth about discounts for Team Bright Siders.

Do I need a wetsuit?

MAYBE! You'll see most racers wearing one for both warmth and buoyancy - more comfort plus free speed! Shipping can take a while, so you'll want to plan ahead for when we jump in the lake. (don't wear your wetsuit in the pool.) Wetsuit prices can vary WILDLY, but the major difference between a cheap wetsuit and an expensive one is just price. When shopping, anything in the $125-150 range is likely perfectly fine, but make sure that you’re getting a triathlon or open-water swimming wetsuit as opposed to a diving or surfing wetsuit. There is a huge difference, so be careful. The ones we want are usually 100% neoprene and shiny all over. The choice between long sleeves or sleeveless is about personal comfort. Some find sleeveless to be too chilly and some find that full sleeves can feel restrictive. Don’t stress too much about sleeve v. sleeveless. TYR is our swim sponsor - ask Beth about the great discount they give us.

What about goggles?

Highly recommended! Any that fit your eyes and head are perfect; you can get them anywhere but our TYR discount applies to goggles too, just sayin'. It may take a few tries to find your perfect pair, and "no fog" is... wishful thinking, but we can dream. You may end up needing more than one pair throughout the season, but they're generally pretty inexpensive.

Do I need a specific kind of bike helmet?

Most bike helmets purchased in the US within the last 4-5 years are certified and meet the requirements for the Chicago Triathlon. As long as your helmet doesn't have, say, visible cracks and hasn't been in a crash, you're probably fine - they're like car seats that way. Certifications may be from one of several organizations, including ANSI, CPSC and SNELL, and are usually indicated in tiny print on a label inside the helmet or the box it came in.

Race Day!

When is the Chicago Triathlon?

The 2024 Chicago Triathlon is August 24 and 25. The kids' race and SuperSprint are on Saturday, August 24, and the Sprint and International races are on August 25. More info is here on the Chicago Triathlon website.

What are the race distances?

There are three sports for each distance, and each race is different, so let's do some charts and graphs. Get the deets for the Olympic/International and Sprint distances here - those races are on Sunday, August 25. Info for Saturday's SuperSprint is here, and the kids' race here. (Yes, kids can race too! It's much shorter.) And if you're feeling particularly ambitious, here are the distances for Music City and Alcatraz.

Still have questions?

Ask Beth!

Send an email