Board and Leadership Team

President: Thomas Risse

Thomas Risse on his TT bike "Brutus." The bike has a yellow-on-black honeycomb design pattern.

Tell us about yourself:  I’m an age grouper triathlete who enjoys triathlon as a sport and the people attracted to it.  They are positive and root for everyone to do their best.  I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in distances from sprint to full ironman.  People who know me, know I love to race and would rather attend a race than train any day.  Racing is fun!  

In a race, the swim is the hardest part for me.  I’m always happiest on land, with the run being my favorite.  Though the bike is a close second.  And I love a quick transition between disciplines too.

What do you like about Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group (SGLTG):  It provides a community of people with similar interests to enjoy those interests together.  The club is accepting of all people, for who they are.  And it doesn’t matter whether you’re attempting your first sprint triathlon or doing your 10th Ironman…whether you’re first or last or even not able to finish.  The point of the club is to support each other and provide activities, events, opportunities to learn, socials and all around love of multisport.

Tell us about one of your favorite races so far: One of my favorite races was Lake Tye sprint.  They started the “over 40s” first and for part of the race, I was leading the entire race.  Ultimately I did get passed, but it was pretty fun to be the leader for a bit.  I love the big races like Ironman puts on, but there is something really special about local races with local organizers and lots of people you recognized and can cheer each other on.

What is a life lesson that you think triathlon helps teach:  That even in adversity, you just keep pushing forward.  And with hard things come great reward.  If it was easy, we wouldn’t feel the sense of accomplishment we do!

Vice President: Chuck Ayers

Tell us about yourself: I was the executive director of Cascade Bicycle Club for 17 years, thus, people think I know all about bikes. I don’t. I take mine to a shop! I work with people. Besides Cascade, I worked for the National Park Service, Outward Bound, a union, and a community advocacy organization. I did PhD work in Social Work focusing on adolescents (I nearly finished). I played sprint sports all my life, (soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey) so endurance sports—especially multidiscipline sports such as triathlons—are a challenge. I always go too hard on the bike.

What do you like about Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group (SGLTG): While I mostly train alone as I don’t keep a regular schedule, it’s nice to have a community of support. What I really appreciate about SGLTG is the community we provide. You can dance around the perimeter of the group if that’s what you want and/or need or you can jump into the inner circle by hosting events for other members, attending socials and clinics, joining the board, etc. We can be a conduit to your first Tri or training and support for your 100th—you can find support even if you don’t plan to race.

Tell us about one of your favorite races so far: Finishing the swim on all my races knowing that I didn’t drown. I’ve gotten to be a better swimmer over the few years of racing if only I can keep the panic at bay. It’s not always about your physical condition as much as your mental/psychological condition.

What is a life lesson that you think triathlon helps teach: Get on with living.

Treasurer: Paul Paradise

Tell us about yourself: I grew up a swimmer and beach lifeguard, but took a 10-year hiatus from most exercise upon entering college and immediately after. When I returned to swimming, a friend talked me into doing a triathlon and I’ve been hooked ever since. I started at the Olympic distance, which I consider to be long enough to scare me into training but short enough I can accomplish it while still having a life outside of triathlon. More recently I managed to step up to 70.3’s, but then jumped back down to Olympic distance with new baby at home eating up more of my free time.

Professionally, I serve as a Production Engineering Manager at Meta, supporting a team focused on infrastructure reliability. I have a background in software development, security, and systems administration.

What do you like about Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group (SGLTG): I really appreciate how as a group we welcome and celebrate the accomplishments of everyone, from the first-time athlete to folks competing in USAT Nationals or IRONMAN World Championships. Our event hosts do a wonderful job making everyone feel like they belong here.

Tell us about one of your favorite races so far: My first and most-attended race through the years has been the Lake Meridian Tri. As a fast swimmer, okay cyclist, and survivor on the run, I remember racing against a friend with the opposite skillset, seeing him going the opposite direction on an out-and-back portion of the bike, and being able to work out pretty accurately if and when he’d pass me on the run. I beat him the first year we competed together, and he took the crown the next year.

What is a life lesson that you think triathlon helps teach: this is a race first and foremost against yourself. Don’t worry too much about what everyone around you is trying for, and aim for your own personal records or goals.

Secretary: Michael Freedman

Tell us about yourself: I’m originally from Washington D.C. but have lived in Seattle for 6+ years and love the outdoor access and community here.  While I only competed in team sports growing up, I’m constantly seeking new ways to challenge myself physically and seeing photos of my dad completing triathlons in his younger years inspired me to finally get involved. When I’m not directly training, you can find me skiing, mountaineering, and doing drone photography. When I’m behind a desk, I’ve fortunately been able to combine my personal and professional interests, as I’m currently a product manager at Zwift. Previously, I’ve held a diverse array of product and program management roles with the US Navy and large/small tech.

What do you like about Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group (SGLTG): Before joining this group in late 2022, I knew nothing about triathlons. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such a supportive, enthusiastic, and engaged community that is always willing to answer any question and workout together. I love that all athletic levels are not only welcome but encouraged. This group has endless potential that builds as members continue to get involved.

Tell us about one of your favorite races so far: My first triathlon was in 2023 and in that year, I completed three olympic races and one Ironman 70.3. I loved my first olympic (Lake Wilderness) because of the novelty and exhilaration of competing in a race setting. However, my favorite race was Ironman 70.3 Maple Valley where I truly pushed my own limits, experiencing the culmination of an entire year of training coming to fruition.

What is a life lesson that you think triathlon helps teach: One of my favorite quotes is by T.S. Eliot: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” I believe that triathlons can help people push themselves physically and mentally to understand their limits and how far they’re able to go.