The Full Story
Texas Tri Specialist Team Origins
Texas Tri Specialist was founded by Julian Rangel, owner of Texas Drain Specialist, which is a locally owned plumbing company serving Central Texas areas. This was started to follow his parents' dreams of helping others. He wants to help aspiring and seasoned triathletes accomplish their goals.
Throughout school I was a special Ed student that struggled with typical school courses. I found it really hard to have any confidence when every day I spent my days told how I'm not as good as everyone else and pulled in to a smaller class surrounded by people "like me." This was my reality growing up and this is my story of how triathlons helped me build the confidence in myself to dream bigger and reach for the stars.
In 1999, I became interested in triathlons while attending gym class in 6th Grade. My Coach noticed that I was the only one who enjoyed running in my class and pulled me aside. He showed me a video of the Ironman Triathlon in Kona. At that moment I thought that swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles was an unachievable feat. My Coach told me that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to, even something as crazy as an Ironman. He said that it didn't matter if I couldn't comprehend and read like everyone else my age because, it only mattered if I believed in myself. From that day on I decided I will finish an Ironman.
Fast forward to 2008...
In 2008 I found myself delivering pizza at Dominos and playing video games. Doing nothing to make my dream of becoming an Ironman a reality. One day I was sitting at home depressed at my situation and realized that if I was going to make this dream happen, I was not going to do it sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. I decided to sign up for a race. On 11/8/2009 I did my first duathalon. It cost almost $100 to sign up for it and I didn’t even have a bike. I went on Craigslist and grabbed something I thought would work. I picked up a Stars brand spandex outfit from Walmart.
I ended up getting hooked after the first event. It motivated me to believe in myself in ways I never did before. I began running and biking more, as well as working on my swim. I had the goal of doing an Ironman and I was now working at a different delivery job which was more supportive of my goals. I had a family that backed me. I was still struggling financially but I was motivated to see my dream through.
Over the years I have been blessed by God to be in the right place at the right time to meet the right people, which played a great deal along the way in accomplishing my dreams. In 2011, I met some dear friends, Gary and Jack. Together they helped me with a proper road bike and paid for an event entry to Kerrville. At this point I had already set things in motion to attempt my first 140.6. Unfortunately, without the proper training and understanding of nutrition, I received my first DNF. This failed attempt was on 9/24/11. I will never forget my mom and dad sitting there with me feeling thankful that the medical staff did not allow me to continue. I was severely dehydrated. I was devastated, luckily I would have another chance at another event the following week.
Kerrville triathlon festival 2011
The start of a new beginning
The date was 10/01/2011, I spent the day celebrating my 23rd birthday the best way I could. I was with my dad driving down to Kerrville to do my first 70.3 he was concerned for me as he did not want me to push myself too far and end up in the back of a ambulance again but he told me he was supporting me and this was his birthday present to me. I got into town and picked up my packet. My dad took me to Little Caesars and got me a crazy combo before we went to stay with his friend. I treasure my birthday that I spent with him for the rest of my life. It was the last birthday I spent with my dad. I just didn't know it in the moment. I ended up beginning the race with a prayer that my mom taught me. She said "Mijo, if you find yourself struggling, just give it up to God. He is there with you and ask him for the strength you need to continue. You can pray my Lord my God give me strength." I took her advice to heart and began my swim. I got out of the water and got on the bike to see my dad in a few locations on the bike course. He was stopped on the side of the road cheering me on. To this day, every time I do this race and ride past those intersections, I see the biggest proud smile on my dad's face. I had him to cheer me on with a small sign he made saying "great job Julian." His support got me one step closer to accomplishing the dream I set out to achieve 12 years earlier, when I was 11 years old. I finished my first 70.3 in Kerrville Texas with my dad by my side.
No dreams come with out setbacks
On April 11, 2012 at 9:19 AM I lost my best friend, my mentor, I lost my father.
March of 2012 we were told he had cancer and were given 6 months left to enjoy him. However, we only had one. During this time we had time to talk about life and say our good byes. I will always remember one conversation in particular. He brought up that when I was a child, he had a heart attack and almost died. When he was recovering I asked him if he were to die if he would be cremated and if so I wanted his ashes. Puzzled at the time why a 5 year old would ask something like that, he asked me why that was. I responded "well dad I know you like going on walks a lot and if I have your ashes. I can take you on walks with me." My dad remembered that conversation for the rest of his life. During this conversation when we know the end is near he told me "mijo you will soon have your chance to take me with you... and I look forward to being there when you cross that finish line" That is why I did a race 4 days after he passed; I knew he would never want me to give up on my dream.
The Republic of Texas tri festival, the date was 4/13/12. I found myself in a car driving down to Corpus with my friend Gary to do a my first race in memory of my dad. I remember talking to Gary on the drive down and he told me about his dad and how his dad is still with him in sprit and my dad is with me throughout this event. The wind was strong and the race was tough but I kept my head down and pushed through. I finished my first race just days after he passed. I carried him with me throughout the entire race just like I promised. I was one of the last finishers there, but I made it to that finish line. My friend Gary was there with his camera to take a picture. I will always be grateful for it is me holding my dad with the finish line clock reading 6:16.
A few weeks later I found myself at Decker lake. Which is a lake I grew up on with my family. The Rookie Triathlon was happening and my Dad had promised he would be at that race to watch me. Unfortunately, we didn't have as much time as we thought so, just like I had done in the previous race, I carried him with me along the course. My dad was pronounced dead at 9:19 am and my run time was exactly that. I broke down in tears when I realized my dad was, in fact, there in spirit; that was a sign I heard loud and clear. It ended up being over a year before I noticed the significance of 6:16 behind me in my race in Corpus.
I used these experiences as motivation to realize my dream of becoming an Ironman. As I am writing this story, the date is 9/22/21 at 2:48 pm, and I just looked up the date and realized for the first time in over 6 years, that I became an Ironman on 9/19. That race almost didn't happen for me. One of the most important factors that made it possible at the time was the support of my brother providing the means to make that trip a reality. I did not have enough money to afford it and my mom was helping any way she could with a credit card. If it was not for my older brother, Javier, stepping in and funding the trip I wouldn't have the turning point in my life that I have. I was embarrassed in needing my older brother to cover me financially to make my dream a reality. After that, I made the decisions I did to get me to where I am today.
Over the years I was blessed in so many ways, by being in the right place at the right time and making the right friends like Gary. He was there for some of the worst and best moments in my life, and helped make things possible for me that otherwise would never have been possible. I also learned from people like Jack and John that you can start any thing you put your mind to. Career wise, they had both shown me over the years that hard work and believing in yourself can help take your career to the next level. Before triathlons I really never had the confidence to even attempt something like a crazy career change or even starting my own company. I learned along the way if I want to see a change in the world, it's best to be the change. I want to see and not hope someone else does it. So over the years, I have been blessed to get to where I am. I have had awesome role models and my mom would always tell me how blessed I am, that I should give thanks and praise to God, and do what I can to help others, the way other people helped me.
Bringing us to the Present
In September of 2021 I found myself in the hospital with my mom and, by this point, we knew this was the end and those were my last moments with her. I found this moment oddly too familiar, reminding me of my last days with my dad. I wanted to figure out how to make my mom proud of me one last time knowing that I will never get a chance to talk to or hug her again. It occurred to me that she always wished that I can find a way to focus my energy and resources on helping others. So, as I am sitting there holding her hand, I explain my plan to create this team in full detail. She knows how much triathlon changed my life for the better, so I explain how now that I have been blessed with the resources I couldn't have ever dreamed of having I am going to use those resources for good to help inspire others. She looked at me with tears in her eyes, smiled, and said that is wonderful! She even asked me to make sure one of the kits is set aside for her next to my dads flag.
I lost my mom on 9/12/21. Virginia A. Rangel. She was a wonderful mother, grandma and so much more, including a lover of Jesus. I have been through so many highs and lows in life. I was lucky to have the encouragement and love from both of my parents and that is something I will treasure forever. They always told me how fortunate I was and how important it is to give back to others. The gifts my parents left with me inspired me to create the Texas Tri Specialist Dream Team. I want to help those who are struggling, regardless of their skill or ambition. I want to make a group where everyone feels welcome and a community where people build up and inspire each other. Everyone has a story, a goal, or a dream that brings them to this sport. Whatever your dreams are, I would like to be a part of helping you achieve it. The team is about making dreams a reality. For now, I can offer free group workouts with training plans, supported rides, mock triathlons with supported aid stations, discounted tri kits, and future events to help you get ready for your next race.
Triathlon changed my life for the better in all aspects. I know first hand how something as simple as a person believing in you can change someone's life. Texas Tri Specialist Dream Team is here to help you achieve your dreams.