Prelude to SB Tri: Paredes brings out best in Moms in Motion

The Moms in Motion fitness group is preparing for the Santa Barbara Triathlon. (Photos by Randy Weiss)

It’s challenging to find new, crisp descriptors for Ernesto Paredes — the ones not already taken, that is, like these…

Community builder … strategic visionary … passionate leader … Ironman …  family dude …  great guy … triathlon stud … etc.

And now he’s back as fitness and conditioning coach for Moms in Motion (MiM), a local training club.

After taking a couple of summer seasons off for family and pushing the outer boundaries on his own personal tri training (Hawaiian Ironman competition last October), he’s right where he wants to be — nurturing others in sport.

And all sights are set on the Santa Barbara Triathlon coming soon – Aug. 26, 27 and 28.

He’s the lone male coaching voice encouraging these special moms to invest in themselves.

“You can do it!” Paredes tells them.

“We’re thrilled to have him back,” says Jamie Allison, a MiM Founder. “He’s a ‘giver’ and everyone loves him.”

Moms in Motion co-founder Jamie Allison is happy to have Ernesto Paredes back coaching and encouraging the women as they prepare for the Santa Barbara Triathlon.

The Paredes-Allison connection is many years in the making, starting early 1980s at La Colina JHS.

She is back to coaching, too, after seven years to focus on taking MiM to the national level.

Today, on this gloomy Saturday morning on the grassy area, where the bike path kisses the East Beach sand, they team together on ‘transition tips’ and saving valuable time going from swim-to-bike and bike-to-run venues.

As for Paredes, well, he’s a bundle of ‘good mojo,’ balancing a bike while talking safety and waving his arms for affect — somehow without ‘losing’ the bike.

Then later in the frigid Pacific, he leads the swim charge (‘trunks’ it!) while ensuring the triathletes in the back are safe as they hover around the first ocean buoy about 100 yards offshore — already a PR (personal record) for them.

He is a champion of ‘the triathlon experience,’ especially for the ‘newbies.’

“The beauty is seeing the transition of these incredible women who are so selfless when it comes to their families,” Paredes says, “watching them re-recognize the athlete within them has a positive ‘ripple effect’ in so many other aspects of their lives. ”

Paredes is no stranger to ‘the ripple effect’ himself — he lives it everyday!

He’s ‘all local’ (Foothill Elementary, La Colina, San Marcos HS and SBCC), and after graduating from USC in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in gerontology, he launched himself into SB’s non-profit world — first with the YMCA (aquatics director), where he claims he ‘worked his you-know-what off.’

From there, it was Easy Lift Transportation (10-year stint as operations manager & associate executive director for mentor Tom Roberts), then over as executive director for CASA (Court Appointment Special Advocates) in 2001 before accepting the executive director position back with Easy Lift in 2005.

Along the way, he’s helped American Heart Association, the Non-Profit Support Center (former Board President), Special Olympics of Santa Barbara (led Leadership Advisory Board), CASA Leadership Council (Chair), Santa Barbara Foundation, Hillside House (new Board appointment), the Fund for Santa Barbara’s Youth Making Change Committee, and he still mentors a CASA young adult as he has for the last five years … to name a few.

For his stellar community stewardship, Paredes was named a ‘Local Hero’ by The Independent in 2003.

Ernesto and his wife, Jenifer, attend a recent fund-raising function.

And he’s a ‘Harvard alum’ after recently completing its intense eight-day Strategic Leadership Management Program for Non-Profits with 150 of his fellow Executive Directors from around the globe.

‘Strengthening community’ is as important to him as helping triathletes realize their own inner strength.

On the SB Tri weekend, you will find him hanging around the transition area, spreading good cheer amongst MiM and other triathletes.

Later at the Sunday Sprint, he and Allison will hook up in the ‘Just for Fun’ Division.

For Paredes, a big relationship builder, there is a certain richness in life in giving to others.

He’s blessed with a great family: wife, Jenifer, and soccer-playing kids, Peyton, 17 and Reyna, 13.

As for the future, well, don’t be surprised if there’s a new descriptor for this special community advocate and coach …

‘City Councilman’ has a nice ring to it.

But that will have to wait for now because there are other immediate priorities, like helping many triathletes under his tutelage.

“It’s an honor to coach them,”  says The Coach.

Coach Paredes Top 5 “Tri Tips”

5. Recognize the athlete within you.

4. Complete, don’t compete.

3. The triathlon is won in the commitment you make to your workouts.

2. There are no shortcuts,  you have to put the time into training.

1. Have fun and take time to look around and enjoy all of SB’s natural beauty.