“The joy is in the journey.”
It’s the mantra that Jose Lopez lives by.
And it became the mantra for two Long Island triathletes that Lopez helped train for this year’s Ironman World Championship.
On Saturday, the world will watch an elite crop of athletes take on an unforgiving terrain in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii when the 2013 Ironman World Championship is televised. The world will also get to see how Lopez helped his Long Island Ironman competitors -- Marc Blumencranz, 50, of Manhasset, and Bob Spina Jr., 50, of North Massapequa.
“I am lucky enough to be guided by Coach Lopez,” said Blumencranz, who is a member of Lopez’s Long Island Tri Coach program and successfully tackled his first world championship.
In reference to his mantra, Lopez explained that it was created as “a result of searching for the true meaning behind making the most out of the time spent balancing work, family and the sport we all love.”
Lopez, 50, started LITC -- a multi-sport discipline agency -- in 1998 as a way to help athletes, young and old, fulfill their triathlon dreams.
“One of the missions for my coaching company is to give back to the sport and support many youth who have a passion and dream of competing in the sport,” said Lopez, who also traveled to Hawaii to support Blumencranz and Spina. “We provide as much as we can to allow them to race locally and abroad.”
In preparation for the Ironman World Championship, Lopez said Blumencranz and Spina were regular participants in his track, interval biking, running and open-water workouts.
Blumencranz clearly remembers Lopez‘s intensity.
“Thanks to Coach Lopez, I have probably seen more of Long Island than I would have ever imagined,” he said. “Recently, we rode from Bob [Spina‘s] house in Massapequa to Montauk – truly an amazing 111-mile journey.”
Lopez, a certified USA Triathlon (USAT) coach, has an interesting history of his own.
The Mineola resident has been competing in triathlons since 1983, has received several USAT All-American honors and in 2008 he secured a spot on the USAT World Team for Olympic Distance. Lopez competed in his first Ironman – Cape Cod Endurance Ironman – in 1987 and has since competed in four more.
“I have always had a sincere passion and desire to share my love for the sport,” Lopez said. “I am a believer that anything worth having is worth sharing, so giving to others is a common theme for myself and those who choose to be involved with the LITC family.”
Editors note: NBC will air the 2013 GoPro Ironman World Championship event special this Saturday, Nov. 16 at 4:30pm EST.
Brian T. Dessart is a nationally accredited Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a New York State Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician and an FDNY firefighter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @briandessart.