Monday, June 22, 2009

Your Know Your A Triathlete When...

  • You usually wake up at 4.00 in the morning but don’t get to work until way after 10:00.
  • Somebody hands you a cup of water and you have to restrain yourself from pouring it over your head.
  • Your car has at least one energy bar wrapper and water bottle on the floor.
  • You have more shoes than you spouse.
  • Cars pass you on the road when you’re driving and you either drop back to get out of draft zone or speed up to attack!
  • You need a photo for a job application and you only have race pictures.
  • You haven’t bought work clothes in two years, yet you own bike shorts made by every manufacturer under the sun and can recite the merits of Coolmax, Supplex, etc. in your sleep!
  • You think there are only 2 seasons in a year; racing season and off-season.
  • You clean your bike more often than your car.
  • Your bike has a name.
  • When asked, how old are you? You answer 35-39.
  • You name your two new puppies Kona and Hawi.
  • You are convinced that if you rest more than one day, your muscles will atrophy, your ultra-fit body will turn into a pile of goo and everyone in your age group will beat you.
  • You bring bottled water to a party so that you’re properly hydrated for the next morning’s long run. Everyone else at the party also brought their own bottled water because you don’t have a social life outside of triathlon. Oh yeah, and they all showed up 7pm and left by 10pm.
If you have any other ones please feel free to share

Transitions: The Fourth Discipline

I know that many of you triathletes out there are practicing there threesomes: Swim, Bike, Run. Many of you cross-train hitting the weights, spinning, etc... Yet with all this many of times transitions get forgotten about. Your T1 and T2 splits are very important to practice as they are part of overall race time. It doesn't matter if you can swim really fast if you get out of the water and take 3:00 minutes getting your socks and shoes on. Therefore practicing your transitions should part of your workouts just like swimming, biking and running are. One minute off your transition time can mean the difference in between 3rd and 1st place.

Transition Checklist
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Towel
  • Tri Shorts (Although you should race in what you swim)
  • Race Number
  • Race Belt (I highly suggest one of these, they are very affordable)
  • Safety Pins (To clip on race number if you don't have the belt)
  • Helmet
  • Sodium Pills
  • Advil
  • Sports Drink
  • Energy Bars
  • Energy Gel
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Cycling Gloves

Pre-Race Setup

Once you have been assigned a race number proceed to find the rack in which you will be mounting your bike. Once you have found your rack look to see where the transition for the bike and run will be and place your bike in a place that will make it easy to enter and exit to these areas. You should also look at the other races to decide if the guy/girl next to you will be exiting the water at the same time. It is preferable not be stuck attempting to transition next to someone who is trying to leave at the same time as you. Once you have your spot picked out you must decide how to mount you bike, depending on your seat clearance, the height of the rack, and whether or not you have aero bars. It might be wise to rack you bike with the back of the seat on top of the rack and to drag the bike under or mount you bike aero first and grab the bike and go. The most important factor though will setting up for your transitions is your clothes and whatever else you will be taking with you when you hop on the bike. Attempt to put you things in a neat pile as a matter of courtesy to other racers and so that you know where to find everything when you come out of the water. You should have the things that you need first at the very top of the pile. For example you socks should be above your shoes as you will need them before you need your shoes.

Fast Swim to Bike Transition

So your swim is going great you are just about to get out of the swim exit, so now what ? You may be really excited and ready to bolt out of the water but remember that you have been breathing underwater which is much different then on land. Make sure to mental prepare for this transition by knowing not to come bolting out of the water as this will make your lungs work in overdrive. As you come out of the water and your are running through the transition looking for your rack already have your transition set out in your mind. Remember what you planned to do before you get to the spot where all your stuff is.

Many times in a race I have glanced over to see a fellow racer doing what I like to call the "sock dance". Trying to get your socks on while your feet are wet can be quite a hassle, so if you are running a sprint tri, and you can stand it, just slide on your shoes without sock. Although I recommend make sure you are comfortable with this in workouts first. Avoid at all cost sitting down why attempting to put on your socks and shoes as this will take valuable time away from your transition, and also a great way to get a cramp.

Once you have your helmet on as well as everything else you came to the transition zone for its time to grab your bike. The best way to take your bike out of transition is to grab from the back of the seat and run it out by balancing it. This may be a little difficult at first, yet with some practice becomes fairly easy. Run your bike all the way out to where the mount bike start is, hop on your bike on the go, saddle your feet in and GO!

Bike to Run Transition

The bike/run transition is much easier than the swim/bike transition. Your time here should also be much lower as you should not need as many things as you did in T1. The last couple of miles of the bike you should start gearing your mind towards T2 and what you need to grab or leave from there (i.e. hat, visor, water, gel, change of clothes, food). As stupid as this might sound remember to take that helmet on you have been wearing it soo long on your head that you might of forgotten that it was there. It would not be the first time that I have seen someone running whom had forgotten to take there helmet off.

One of my least favorite things about racing is the bike/run bonk, which normally happens as you get off the bike and attempt to use your feet on land again. It is such a weird sensation and will make your calves feel like they have rocks in them. I don't really have even secret to tell you how to avoid this other than practice, practice, practice. The best way to avoid this is to practice riding your bike then hopping off and running, and eventually with time this will get better. Regardless you will still get this feeling just not as bad, my main suggestion is keep going at a relative decent place, and don't try and push too hard through this. Your body's energy to power output is very low during this stage.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lance Armstrong Comeback to Cycling

I don't understand athletes fad about going into to retirement then something hits them and they have a revelation. Then the next year they decide they want to comeback out of retirement. I really really do not understand this concept part of me thinks that athletes do it when they start to fizzle out. Maybe its a way to all of a sudden draw more attention to yourself. Either way Lance is back !!! Lance Armstrong just the other day announced that he will be coming out of retirement. The question rest in my mind has Lance come out of retirement to go on to more Tour De France wins or is he just coming back out to race again. Only time will truly tell. Despite the fact that am a huge Lance Armstrong fan i would like to see someone else get to win some for a change. Either way I just glad he's back to doing what he does best.

Lance Armstrong's Trek Madone 6.9 Livestrong

"One of the first observations Trek’s team liaison Ben Coates tells Cyclingnews about is the number of fellow pro riders that ask to be photographed with Lance Armstrong’s Trek Madone 6.9, complete with Livestrong livery. Astana team mechanic Chris agrees, as he checks the weight of the rig.

"Seven twenty six," says Chris to Silence-Lotto mechanic Steven in Flemish. They then discuss the various aspects of Lance’s bike compared to Matt Lloyd’s Silence-Lotto Canyon, the bike I have just been measuring and photographing for this section of Cyclingnews. It’s a nice exchange between two experienced wrenchers who have seen most of the bike exotica the pro peloton has on offer.

"This is a stock bike, we pulled it right off the line," says Coates. "There’s no special person that builds Lance’s bikes, no special process they go through... Someone went to the back of the factory in Waterloo, Wisconsin and took the bike off the line and painted it up."

We did this bike in less than 10 days - from a twinkle in the designer’s eye to the delivery here in Adelaide," says Coates. "It was really a remarkable feat to pull it together - basically, all we got from Lance was, ‘Maybe think about how long I’ve been retired’.

Where it gets all customised is in the paintjob. The number 1274 represents the number of days Armstrong was retired before making his comeback at the Cancer Council Classic in Adelaide, whilst 27.5 represents the millions of people who have died from the disease in the time since the seven-time Tour de France champion stepped off the podium in Paris after sealing his last Tour crown..."

"...Overall, like Armstrong’s comeback, it’s a machine designed to convey a message, and unlike the statement he’s made in the past, this time it might just be a bit about the bike."

It is about the bike... By Les Clarke

Not a bad ride to roll on in after 1274 days of retirement. Looks like such a fierce bike and weighing in at seven twenty six I would die to get my hands on that for a day. It is an amazing looking bike and I hope that we still see many great things coming from him in the future, because he is a legend and desires to continue on as one.

Do you think Lance Armstrong will come back to win it again this year?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fueling up for race day

Whenever have a long day of training or on race days I always make sure that my body is properly fueled. There are several products which I have personal tested and love. One of which is a product called Hammer Gel.

"For over a decade, Hammer Gel has been the benchmark of concentrated carbohydrate energy, primarily because of what it doesn't contain. Hammer Gel has no added refined, simple sugars and no artificial colors or sweeteners.

Choose either single-serving pouches or the cost-effective jugs for even, reliable energy, not the flash and crash of sugar-loaded products. You get only what's good for you: complex carbohydrates, natural ingredients, and real fruit. The result is a great tasting concentrated fuel source that goes down and digests easier than any other energy gel.

Hammer Gel is versatile as well, you can drink it straight, add it to your water bottle, or combine it with Sustained Energy, HEED, and Perpeteum to create a variety of tasty energy combinations for any length activity, anywhere, anytime."

I have found this product to be amazing when you are half way through running and feel like you are done there is nothing quite like this product. It is almost as if you get a second wind and fuels your muscles and your body to keep on pushing forward. I highly recommend you try this product as it has done wonders for me, and is also used my almost everyone that competes in half and full Ironmans.

Although I will heed you one warning DO NOT try and take this product for the first time come race day. Never try something for the first time race day, whether it be nutrition or a day routine. Changes in your workout plan need to be tested first a couple of time in practice before emulating it in the race. The last thing you need come race day is for this not to still well with you. As taking gel or any type of food on the go is something that needs to mastered in your workouts first. This gel is also kind of thick in texture so you should have some sort of drink to wash it down with after.

Just for what is it worth, apple cinnamon tastes like apple pie filling and I have found it to be the most delicious and easiest to consume. Leave a comment and tell us what you favorite flavor is and why!

For more information check them out at:

Preparing For Your Open Water Swim

Worried about how your transition to mass open water starts is going to be? There are a couple of things that come race day you should have practiced and prepared for. One of the most frightening parts of swimming open water is the fact that in most races you will never be able see more than inches underneath you in the water. For most pool swimmers we are used to seeing the bottom of the pool and knowing that it is there. Having the ability to use the bottom of the pool and the lines to keep us straight. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for this open water condition if you can not readily practice in one, is to swimming in a lap pool with your eyes closed for 6 or 7 strokes at a time to get use to swimming straight without the guidance of the bottom of the pool.

How to Guide Yourself Straight in Open Water
In open water swimming you need to be conscience of the fact that you don't have that pool line at the bottom of the pool to guide your way. The last thing you want to do is swim zig-zag in open water because a 1/2 mile swim will very quickly turn into a 3/4 mile swim. This is why i suggest that ever 25 yds in a pool you practice lifting your head out of the water to look in front of you. This can be done using a water polo stroke (freestyle swim with head out of water) or doing a breaststroke pull or two. Then when swimming open water to proceed to left your head out of the water around the same length of time. This will allow you to address the situation ahead of you and allow you to make sure your still on course. Also giving you and out every now and again from the dark water. I have one tactic i like to use all the time. That is to find someone who is swimming the same pace as me and swim parallel with him/her. If they are going straight and in the right direction then so are you. Although i don't highly recommend using just this method, as if the person you are swimming with is swimming the wrong way then so are you.

How to Approach the Mass Start
You need to also be prepare for the mass start which maybe anywhere from 30-1000+ people you may be hopping in the water with. Unless you are very confident about your abilities as an open swimmer I would suggest that you start anywhere from the end to the middle of the pack. Even if you have to wait 10 seconds for everyone to get into the water, being 10 seconds behind is must better then be swallowed up by the pack if you are too slow of a swimmer. In the long run this is saves you time and energy if you swim in a less dense area that you are more comfortable with.

How to Deal with Mid-Race Problems
Sometimes during a race your goggles my fill up with water, you may get panicked, or you may just need to rest some. If that is the case just get you head out of the water and do some breaststroke or backstroke. I found that a quick roll over to your back in order to fix your goggles or some other problem you may have is the quickest and most effective way of fixing a problem mid-race. It is good to practice this in the pool as well, instead of stopping on the edge really fast to fix a problem, try and practice doing while on your back doing a flutter kick. Then roll back over on your side when you are ready to go again.

What to do When Cramping, Panic or Fatigue Happens
Cramps, fatigue and panic do happen sometimes when swimming out in the open water. Since most races you can not reach the bottom normally stop mid race is not a option as you have no place to do so. Most races will allow you to either stop in a shallow spot on the side and/or they will allow you to hold onto one of the lifeguards floatation devices as long as you are not propelled forward. So if fear of finishing is your problem remember while your in there that you have a safety personal that is there to assist you if need be.

My Golden Rule
My number one golden rule when it comes to open water swimming is DO NOT kill yourself the first minute in the water. There is no reason to waste all your energy fighting to get past others if you are not the strongest of swimmers. Take it easy when you get in, it is a race but you don't want to burn yourself out in the first minute then find yourself fight to stay afloat at the very end.

Remember open water swimming is just like pool swimming just without walls as long as you can swim the distance you set out to do you will be fine. Don't get yourself all worked up, take a deep breathe before you get in and swim like you always do, just with a couple extra swimmers.

As I will continue to do, I ask you my fellow triathletes to post comments, ideas, questions, and answers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Try 4 Dummies

As the bio says this blog primary geared for newbies to amateurs. Not all of us get paid to workout, so you shouldn't expect to hit the ground running the same way they do. We race to finish, we race to have fun, we race to stay in shape. This blog understands that and is geared towards you weekend warriors. Triathlons are very social places and I would like this blog to be as well. So feel free to leave comments, advice, or just random chit chat. As I would like to have a strong sense of community here.