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Jerry Budrick
06/06/2014 2:40 PM

Justin Mendoza is 23 years old. Born and raised in Jackson, he attended Argonaut high school and received his AA at Columbia College, in Sonora. Growing up, Justin played competitive basketball, raced competitive motocross and finally found his passion in triathlon. School was definitely not his passion. As soon as he finished, he decided to make the leap and go after the professional world of triathlon.

In October, 2013, Mendoza competed in his first Olympic-distance triathlon, which included a .94-mile swim, 24-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run. During the next seven months, while engaging in very serious training, he completed five more triathlons, three of which he finished in the top ranks of not just his own age group, but overall, as well.

Last weekend, Mendoza competed in the Total Body Fitness Triathlons, held at Rancho Seco, running back-to-back races on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, he finished first in the 19-to-24 age group and second overall, out of 300 competitors in the sprint distance triathlon. On Sunday, he took first place in his age group for the Olympic distance triathlon and third place out of 200 overall.

Mendoza now has set a goal for himself — Ironman. After his success at Rancho Seco, despite having only one year of triathlon experience behind him, he signed up for his first half-Ironman distance triathlon, a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 13-mile run competition scheduled to be held in Henderson, Nev. on October 5. Mendoza trains at Bodies-n-Balance, in Martell, where his trainer/coach/best friend Dominic Vicari has designed an extensive training plan to become competitive professionally.

“I have trained a lot of people,” said Vicari, “but none have come close to showing the passion, drive, dedication and determination that Justin has shown to make a dream come true. He has all that it takes to make a successful career triathlete. It excites me more and more every day when I see the incredible pace at which he is improving across the board — in such a short amount of time.”

Dominic Vicari has been an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer at Bodies-n-Balance, in Martell, for three-and-a-half years. He has trained professional athletes in the areas of motocross, golf and triathlon sports, as well as Amador County’s local youth, teaching them the importance of good form and technique. He also trains active seniors to help them prevent injury or ward off potential disease.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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