Christian Riera and Marcela Viglianchino pose with a few of her candelabra.
Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
A couple that does everything together, stays together. That’s what Christian Riera, 41, and Marcela Viglianchino, 36, think.
Together, they work, play, train, do crafts and rebuild motorcycles, and they’ve been together for 17 years.
In March 2007, they moved to Ocean Ridge from Argentina to open their business, Transition-Area Triathlon Shop, at 5011 N. Ocean Blvd.
“My father has a vacation home in west Boynton Beach, so when we’d come to the beach, we’d take Woolbright, which brought us right here,” Christian said.
The two met at the beach in their hometown in 1996, when Christian was working in his family’s cookie business. Following that, Christian and Marcela had the Timex distribution in Argentina. “But in 2001, there was a [currency] devaluation, so we had to quit with Timex,” Christian said.
“From one day to the next, the price of the watches went up three times, and no one wanted them,” Marcela said. “But thanks to that, we started getting into sports and selling bicycles. We realized that there were no triathlon products in our country.”
Transition-Area Triathlon Shop carries all things triathlon (a transition area, by the way, is where triathletes store their gear). But you won’t find the store open, because most of their customers are Argentines, and Christian and Marcela are at their desks upstairs, taking mail orders, via phone or email.
Their business is mostly referral, Marcela explained. “People trust us because they are triathletes and they either know us or know of us.”
Christian ran his first triathlon in 1995, and Marcela ran with him as a matter of course. Since they were both triathletes, they were well-versed and well-positioned to sell bicycles and triathlon gear.
“I always liked triathlons, but because I was overweight, I thought I’d never be able to do it. But I started running, then swimming, then riding bicycles,” Christian said.
“Once you start, it’s a lifestyle,” added Marcela. “It’s addictive. You can’t spend a day without training, even if you don’t have a race.”
Christian has participated in the Florida Ironman seven times and he’s gearing up for a competition in Claremont later this year. Marcela doesn’t enjoy competitions, but she likes training.
Currently, Christian trains two hours a day, five or six days a week on his bike, with two or three days running and two days swimming. Marcela does a little less. “I try to keep his pace, but he’s stronger,” she said.
Some other things to know about the two: They don’t watch TV, and rarely drive their cars, although they like restoring cars and motorcycles (both are mechanically inclined). They eat healthy, and they never sit still. And because Marcela has started making candelabras from wine and alcohol bottles, and Christian helps her, you might find them dumpster diving (because they don’t drink).
The two started out with nothing. At first, they slept in the store and took showers at the park, but that’s all behind them. They are proud to have built a successful business and find that they need to scale down a little.
“We have what we need,” Marcela said. “We want to keep it simple.”
— Christine Davis
Q. Where did you grow up and go to school?
C.R. Both of us grew up in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
M.V. Mar del Plata is a city by the Atlantic Ocean, the most popular tourist destination in our country.
Q. What are some highlights of your life?
C.R. We turned vegetarian in 2002.
M.V. Of course, the most important moment for me was meeting Christian in 1996. We’ve been living together and working side-by-side since then. Moving to the United States was another important event.
Q. How did you choose to make your home and business in Ocean Ridge?
C.R. We used to vacation in Boynton Beach once or twice a year, and we loved the quiet beaches here. It was an easy decision.
M.V. We spent two weeks looking for a place to rent to start our business. We couldn’t find anything in Delray Beach or Boynton Beach, but on the last day of our trip, we found a nice space for rent here in Ocean Ridge right on A1A. It was a perfect location.
Q. What is your favorite part about living in Ocean Ridge?
C.R. It has a small-town feeling, but is close to everything.
M.V. I love Old Ocean Boulevard for a late walk or training run. Everyone knows each other here on Douglas and Oceanview drives.
Q. If you could change anything in your life, what would it be?
C.R.: I wouldn’t change anything.
M.V. You don’t want to change anything, when you are happy with your present situation. That is what I think.
Q. If someone made a movie of your life, who would you like to play you and why?
C.R. Philip Michael Thomas, because he’s my kind of person. He’s cool, popular and also he became a vegetarian in 1984.
M.V. Right now, I’m thinking Barbara Feldon. I love to watch her as Agent 99 in Get Smart. She and Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, were always working together and she’s always helping him. That’s similar to how I feel for Christian. We are alone here, but we have each other and try to do everything together. She would be a nice Marcela, if she was 36 years old again.
Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
C.R. and M.V.: We don’t watch TV, so we play music all day at home. We play jazz, electronic, reggae, 1980s and 1990s rock.
Q. What do people not know about you that you wish they would?
C.R. In 1995, I used to weigh 225 pounds, and then I started taking care of myself, watched my weight, trained a little more and began doing triathlons.
M.V. I think that some people must think that we are kind of a crazy couple. Maybe they see us training almost everyday, running or riding our bicycles, doing crafts, fixing something. We are very active. We can’t stay quiet for more than 10 minutes. We always have something to do.
Q. What’s the last book you read and would you recommend it?
C.R. I’m reading about Pablo Escobar’s life. Also, I’m reading cycling training books and books about nutrition.
M.V. The Anti-Aging Solution, by Vincent Giampapa. I’m always reading something, usually novels, but I’m also interested in books on spirituality.
Q. Who/what makes you laugh?
C.R. We laugh a lot. We joke about almost everything, mostly about ourselves.
M.V. We love dogs. Any funny memories about our dogs Oski and Loquita, who have passed away, make us laugh. They came with us when we moved to the United States, so they will be a part of our history forever.