Triathlon Bikes

James Lawrence Kona Finish

Kona Ironman World Championships: Iron Cowboy’s 36 Ironman Finish

0

 

Big congrats to Iron Cowboy James Lawrence on his 36th Ironman Finish at Ironman Kona World Championships.  It’s a pretty amazing journey.  Thanks for telling us what it takes and what this amazing day was like. James races his Fezzari T5 Triathlon bike.

Ironman Banner Wow!  I am still in disbelief that I actually did this race!  When I started triathlon over 10 years ago Kona was just a dream, the impossible dream.  Everyone talks about Kona…. Kona, Kona, Kona.  I’ve done a few Ironman races over my career, and without fail the one thing I hear about the most is Kona and the buzz of qualifying.  Everyone talks about it, but few will ever accomplish this triathlon dream.  It is hard to qualify in any division, and I know first hand how difficult it is for men 35-39 to qualify.  My best IM is low 10 hours… respectable yes, but in order to qualify I need to be low nine hours.  I’ve done the math and with my God given talent, five kids and real life, the sacrifices necessary won’t work for me.  At any given race there are just a handful of slots available for the big show, the World Championships.  Typically it is the genetically gifted athletes who have realized their gifts and developed these gifts with lots of hard work.  In 2012, Ironman announced a new program called the Legacy Program.  This is a program for loyal Ironman competitors to have a chance to grace the Kona stage, based on the number of Ironman races completed in a lifetime.  One of the requirements of this program is a minimum of 12 WTC Ironman races to be completed.  Most individuals take a lifetime to achieve this mark.  When they announced this program, I was just wrapping up 30 Ironman races in one year, this satisfied the 12 minimum races in a single year with ease.  Another requirement is to have done an Ironman race the year you meet the 12, and to also be registered for another Ironman the following year.  I met this requirement as well.  You are then put into a pool and they pull “so many” names to be invited to race in Kona.  Two years later my name was pulled and it was my time to go and dance.Hawaii M-Dot   I invited my parents, from Canada, to come to the big island of Hawaii to watch.  My dad had never seen me race an Ironman and my mom only on two occasions, my first and Ironman Canada when it was still in Penticton.  It was the four of us headed to the Island, myself, Sunny and my parents.  I wanted to enjoy the week and to not only be focused on the race.  We did a slew of activities to kick off the week including: sea kayaking, snorkeling, cliff diving, zip lining, volcano exploring and a night manta ray dive.  All were incredible and so much fun.  The second half of the week shifted to race stuff. Post Zip Line Sunny "Spiderman' Repelling Duel Zip Line Zip Line Bridge Zip Lining ZipLine Truck Ride Inside Lava Tube Lava Tube Volcano Tour Before Kayaking During the Athlete parade, we met all the Utah athletes and one of them offered to let us stay at their house the night before the race.  This was a huge help, as our condo was about 45 min away and would have made for an early, early race morning.  The house also served as a perfect ‘home base’ for Sunny and my parents on race day.  Thank you Cameron and LaRane for being awesome! Ironman Expo Athelete Parade I slept well, despite no air conditioning, and woke up excited for the day.  Again, I couldn’t believe I was at this race…. I wasn’t nervous at all and ate my bag of rice and quinoa, like I always do prior to an Ironman.  Cam and I left the house with plenty of time and walked down to the race start.  The pier was already buzzing and the energy was awesome!  The winds seemed calm and it looked like it was going to be a perfect day.  For some reason, they decided to do tattoo race numbers and all the athletes were herded into these lines so that volunteers could apply the numbers.  The system was HORRIBLE and I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with a good old fashioned sharpie.  Anxious and not willing to stand in the ridiculous lines, I sacrificed some of the water in my bottle and applied both Cam and my numbers.  We slid through the crowds and popped out the other side. Me and Cam Transition Bags Bike In Transition There’s not much to do in transition race morning of an Ironman.  Most everything should be done in the days proceeding the race.  I quickly pumped up my tires and placed my bottles on my bike.  Walking back out of the transition area, I stopped at a series of tables where volunteers where doing last minute ART (type of massage) work.  My right leg had been bugging me all week, so I plopped onto a table to see if he could work out any last minute kinks.  I actually felt better and headed toward the swim start.  On my way there I saw Macca and walked over to him and gave him a high five.  I had hoped some of his Kona Championship pedigree would transfer to me during this high five exchange…. as you will find out later, it did not :) Body Marking Race Morning I zipped up my BlueSeventy speed suit and walked off the pier into the famous swim start.  This was the first year they separated the woman and men age groupers.  The men went off first and the woman 10 minutes after.  With this being the world championships and swimming not being my strongest of the three events, I positioned myself near the back of the pack treading water and waiting for the deep water start. I was calm.  Totally at peace with whatever the outcome was going to be.  Sitting in the water, I felt very little pressure to perform.  I was honoured and overjoyed with the simple fact that I was there.  I was in the same spot as so many triathlon greats.  BOOM the gun blows and I start out super slow, super chill.  I am near the back of the mass start and wasn’t concerned about a fight or separating myself from other athletes.  In fact, this was one of the least violent swim starts and swims I have ever experienced.  Three reasons for a calm swim experience: 1 – I positioned myself appropriately, given the quality of the field and my swim skills. 2- I started out super slow and controlled.  I have found in my training experience that when I start out slow, I seem to end up with a better net swim result. 3- Most of the field are seasoned athletes and decent swimmers, meaning they swam straight.  There were very few swimmers making random left and right hand turns, swimming across the paths of other swimmers, and very few swimmers d

Swim Exit

oing the dreaded underwater breast stroke kick of death.Swim Start I was told there is typically a small current against us when swimming out to the boat and to not be discouraged when I look at my watch at the half-way point.  I found some great feet and just settled in.  The water was clear all the way to the bottom and the ocean was alive with fish.  I swam easy and the guys I was following did a great job swimming the buoy line.  I reached the boat, swam across the top and made the right hand turn for home.  I glanced at my watch and it was right at 35 minutes.  I was so happy since my goal was 1:10 and after swimming out and across the top I should easily reach this goal, only having to go straight back in and now I should be swimming with the current.  Well, this was the first cruel trick this island had in store for me today.  Due to the winds that had rolled in, I guess the current or tide had switched and was actually hurting us coming in.  I felt as if my effort was equal to my swim heading out, but when I popped up out of

the water my swim time read 1:18…. meaning an 8 min slower swim on the way in :( .
Overall I was really happy with my swim.  My effort was consistent, my swimming was straight, and I didn’t overdue it.  I quickly picked up my transition bag and headed through transition to my Fezzari bike that was patiently waiting for me.  Off towards the Queen K I go!

0813_055151 I had no issues through transition and felt really good coming out of the swim.  I felt good.  I was ready.  The first part of the bike was a short out and back on the Kuakini Hwy.  This section is in town and mostly protected.  Everyone is super excited at this point of the race and most are going too hard, myself included.  I was 20-30 watts above where I should have been and people were still zooming past me.  I kept saying to myself, “Chill, chill, chill.  Focus on you, your race and what you are doing.  Chill, chill, chill.”  So chill I did.  Early in the ride, I rode up to my good friend Sonja, who is a beast and ended up second on the day in woman 35-39.  I joked with her before the race that she wasn’t allowed to catch and pass me in the water (remember the woman started 10 minutes after us men).  Well, she did just that!  I joked with her for a second on the bike and then she took off like she was coming out of a cannon…. I never saw her again ’till late in the run. 0813_040375 The ride really started once we turned onto the Queen K.  Right out of the gates, the winds were present.  I thought nothing of it and knew that this was Kona and that it was suppose to be windy.  So bring it on!  I put my head down and just dialed in my watts.  I settled in nicely and started banging out the miles as David Warden had instructed.  David has been instrumental in getting me back into shape and will be the man to get me ready for my 50/50/50 challenge.  As we progressed down the Queen K, the winds got worse, and worse, and worse.  I knew I should stay down, stay in aero, but I was scared.  The winds had become angry!  They had become violent!  I found myself up, out of my drops, white knuckled, trying to just keep the bike upright.  One gust in particular scared me silly, which set me up for a disastrous rest of my ride.  There were four us, legally spaced, and suddenly  this gust hit us from the right, blowing us through our lane, over the center line, and into on coming cyclists.  Luckily none of us crashed.  Some cyclist weren’t so lucky and there were many reports, post race, of crashes caused by the wind. 0813_028994 Sitting up in the wind is the worst possible scenario to achieve maximum speed.  I started to get passed left and right, but couldn’t force myself down into the aero position.  I was getting defeated mentally which is rare.  Usually I’m mentally tough!  “Bring on the element!”  I say.  A guy wearing a chocolate milk kit biked past me that looked like Apollo.  I asked if it was him and he said, “No, I’m his stunt double.  I believe he is 10-15 minutes up the road.”  “Bummer,” I thought…. my Cowboy vs. Apollo undefeated streak wasn’t looking good.  I KNEW once I got to Hawi that it was going to be a magical ride back to Kona.  It HAD to be a tail wind!  I surveyed the trees, the bushes, and the resistance against me.  There was no possible way we’d be riding into the wind on the way back.  I FINALLY made it to Hawi and made the turn. 0813_034412 BOOOOOOM!  It was like a different island!  It felt like I was shot out of a cannon.  On the way out my watts were in the 220 range with my MPR coming in between 14-20…. After Hawi, I was pushing only 160 watts, in total recovery, traveling at speeds in excess of 30 mph.  This was about to be a 50 mile PR for me.  I was so excited.  I thought how perfect this was that I was going to be able to go this fast, with this little effort, and save so much for the run!  I was re-motivated and super excited – I was back!  This state of euphoria lasted only 5 very short miles before making a slight right back on the Queen K and back towards Kona.  I couldn’t believe it!  Dead into the winds again!  How is this possible?!  I mean, I’ve heard them say it on TV; but still, how on earth is this possible?  A head wind?  Come on, really?  My hopes of a record time back to town were dashed and I settled in for the long ride back Due to the winds, I was out there much longer than anticipated.  We had planned for specific watts, but not for a 6 hour ride!  My legs grew heavy and I was short on nutrition.  I started to not feel well and coke from the aid station was all I wanted.  I limped into town, but still had a smile on my face.  I saw Sunny and my parents and they looked concerned.  I was a good boy, stayed at my watts and just kept peddling.  Eventually I would get to the finish and would be able to start the run. 0813_019630

I was in the best run shape that I have been in in a long time.  I was pain and injury free (thanks to Dallas at Utah Spine and Sport and Natalie R for their magical hands).  I had PR’ed (personal record) at a run earlier this year in a half Ironman.  I was ready to run!  Coming off the bike I felt good, but not awesome.  I noticed my heart rate was high on the bike, based on the watts I was pushing.  David wanted me to go out hard and just hold on for as long as I could.  He wanted to see how far I could make it at a certain pace.  He said that slow down in an Ironman is typical, so let’s cover as much ground as possible before this happens.   This race really wasn’t my main focus (it is Brazil in 4 weeks), and again I was just happy to be there amongst so many greats.  As I ran out of transition and up the road, I could hear them announcing the winner of the race coming in.  Holy cow!  I must have really been out on my bike along time :) I came out of the gates at a conservative 7:45 (slower than David wanted), but that was all I had…. and it only lasted 4 miles…. ahhhhh!  It was going to be a long marathon.0813_058495 I was hot.  I was tired.  I was beaten.  Mentally defeated.  This just isn’t me.  This isn’t the IronCowboy!!!  I knew there was no point turning myself inside out over the next 22 miles.  I would save it for another day – I would save it for Brazil.  Even if I had run a PR marathon on this day, it wouldn’t have mattered.  The competition here is unbelievable.  So what was the difference between 100th and 200th…  at this point, nothing.  My goal was now to smile, thank the volunteers and cheer on the others around me.  Remember the winds on the bike course?  They were now a blessing on the run course.  We had cloud coverage and a light breeze, which is rare and welcome.  Oddly enough, I was slightly disappointed (I will explain in a moment). My cramping became worse.  It was the worst in my upper inner leg.  So running fast was out of the question and my stomach was starting to turn.  I couldn’t figure out why.  I had practiced my nutrition A LOT and have had minimal issues.  Unfortunately sometimes it is just not your day. 0813_062611I had made it all the way out to the turn in the ‘energy lab’ and committed to run through it and experience it’s infamous heat (insert disappointment).  The cloud coverage made the ‘energy lab’ normal… somewhat cool.  At mile 18.5, I buckled over to the side of the road and threw up a bunch of liquid; man I hoped that would help.  I started to run and a guy that had passed me while I was pulled over remarked, “Oh my!  You are running again!  I’d be down and out after what you just did!  Go get ‘em!”  I laughed and said,  “Thanks,” and finished up the ‘energy lab’ out and back. The next 6 miles were full of emotion.  Happy… Sad… Tired… Energetic… Excited… Disappointed… Stressed… Relieved… but mostly gratitude  Grateful for Sunny, my kids, my health, the journey, all of it. I turned the corner and started to head down Ali’i drive.  I heard cheers from the crowd and tried to hold myself together.  I’ve crossed a lot of finish lines, but none more meaningful than this one.  This was bigger than 30 in a year; this was Kona.0813_080135 Total side note – the most inspiring person on the course was by far Apolo Anton-Ohno.  He REALLY impressed me!  We raced in Boise earlier this year.  I ran him down and beat him overall.  I didn’t think there was any way he could take himself from that performance in Boise to what he pulled off in Kona.  On his first Ironman, on that stage, in those conditions, he managed a sub 10 hour race.  Of all the celebrities/athletes that have graced this course, who didn’t deserve to be there taking the spot from a deserving athlete, Apolo earned his right to be there with that performance.  Hines Ward, Tera from the Biggest Loser and chef Gordon Ramsey… THAT IS HOW YOU DO IT.! Congrats Apolo and you sir have my respect!  I hope we meet again in the future and settle our 1-1 record :) After the race I hugged Sunny, my mom and dad and just thought to myself, “We did it…” What is next?  Brazil… Then prep starts for 50 iron distance courses, in 50 consecutive days, through all 50 States.  #NoGoalTooBig www.ironcowboyjames.com

Sunrise

REV3 Finale: Venice Beach

0

REV3 Finale: Venice Beach

I made my third quick trip of the month to a REV3 event, this time to Sarasota, Florida for the final installment in the 2013 REV3 Triathlon Series. This was a big race with a large prize purse and double points on the line to decide the final standings in the REV3 Pro Series. It drew a strong field with an interesting mixture of athletes which made for an unpredictable and exciting day. Added to that were the unusually high winds from Hurricane Sandy’s steady march northeast, presenting a good challenge on what might otherwise have been a more mundane course. In fact, the winds were so bad that riptide warnings were issued and the Coast Guard informed REV3 that they absolutely could not stage a swim. It’s a good thing the staff are so nimble on their toes and readily adapt to the challenges that are thrown their way. The solution was to cancel the swim for everyone and do a run/bike/run for the pros and a time-trial started bike/run for the age groupers. This was the third race I’ve done within the past 12 months that was altered due to weather-related issues so I wasn’t really fazed and simply reorganized my Pearl Izumi running shoes and my Fezzari T5 triathlon bike to fit what the day called for.

Sunrise and wind. Photo by Eric Wynn.

It was really fun starting off with a quick little run first—with the exception of short-course ITU racing you don’t often find yourself in that large of a pack on the run in a triathlon. It felt like a real horse-race! I think the purpose of doing a 1.5 mile run first for the pros was to attempt to break up the field somewhat but most of the ladies ended up coming into T1 together anyway. It was a bit frantic with everyone trying to kick off their shoes and grab their bikes at the same time, not to mention that it was a really narrow space to begin with, but I had a good spot and was able to get through without any issues.

The 1.5 mile horse-race. Photo by Eric Wynn.

My strategy on the bike was to ride conservatively for the first half and let the tailwind do a lot of the work for me before pushing the pace and trying to make a move once we made the turn into the wind. Alicia Kaye and Becky Lavelle took it out REALLY hard and established a gap right away, but I hung back in a group that included Nicole Kelleher and Lauren Goss. I felt that I could afford to let Alicia go because she was not competing for the overall series, and while Becky was in the running for the series it was a tighter battle points-wise going into the race between Nicole, Lauren, and myself so I wanted to mark them for a while instead of risking a major blow-up by pushing too hard too early. This plan unfolded exactly the way I envisioned and I was able to bridge up to the leaders while building a gap on Nicole and Lauren in the second half of the ride. There was a short out-and-back section with about 10 miles to go where you could get a good look at everyone—and I liked what I saw! Rolling into T2 in 2nd place just steps behind Becky, I knew I was positioned about as perfectly as I could hope for going into the half-marathon.

Changing shoes…yet again. Photo by Elaine Kratz.

I made quick work of T2 and actually got out onto the run course in first place. My lead was short-lived, however, as Becky came storming by within the first half-mile. I didn’t panic because I had done the math and knew that I still had some wiggle room in the overall series in relation to Becky. I’ve been guilty of taking the run out too fast on more than one occasion this season and my plan was to start off more conservatively and then build the pace. However, when I tried to tighten the screws down a bit there was nothing there. My legs felt really heavy, I could tell my form was not pretty and no matter how I tried I could not seem to get my feet to turn over any faster. Nicole passed me somewhere late in the first lap, then I began a steady slide backwards through the field. The second lap of the run was something of a death march and I’m pretty sure that Mile 9 was the longest mile of my life. By the time I crossed the finish line I had slipped to 8th place, which was exactly where I did NOT want to be: in a position that did absolutely nothing to improve my overall series score and would in fact drop me down to 5th place in the final series standings.

Who looks better in this picture? Photo by Eric Wynn.
To say I am bummed is a major understatement. I was in a perfect position going into the run and I let it slip away from me. I’m not really sure what the root of the implosion was—nutrition, hydration, over-exertion on the bike, or if it was simply all in my head. Whatever the case, it provides me with some good food for thought in the off-season and a project to work on so that I will come back stronger next year. I can’t really dwell on it now though because I’ve got an Ironman coming up in less than three weeks and a reunion with my fan club in Arizona to look forward to!

Post-race with Trish, my high school swim coach’s wife. She’s a stud! Photo by Matt Rydson.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the following for their support over the weekend: to Ray & Lynn for theirincredible hospitality; to Brittany for the good company and introducing me to Ray & Lynn in the first place; to Chris Jarc for the much-need post-race piggyback ride; to Charlie, Eric, Sean, Stu, Ashley, Alex…oh gosh, there are too many to name! To the entire REV3 staff for being the most wonderful, friendly, fun, supportive, and professional event staff around; to the media crew for the great work (can’t wait to see the TV coverage!); to the city of Venice Beach for the venue and to all the volunteers who donated their time to make this event a success; and of course to my sponsors who help make it possible for me to get to the starting line in the first place (REV3, Recovery Pump, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, Rudy Project, Blueseventy, Fezzari, Maxxis, and The Bike Shoppe).

Special congratulations to Brittany Banker for capping off a stellar season and celebrating 8 years of kicking cancer in the butt, to Trish Rydson on her age group win (great to see you Trish & Matt!), to Becky Lavelle & Jesse Thomas on their impressive victories, to Nicole Kelleher and Richie Cunningham for their spectacular seasons and the well-deserved series titles, and to my teammate Jessica Meyers for a great performance and clawing her way up to third place on the day. One day I will be tough as nails like that!

 

Any excuse to play dress-up! Any guesses as to what I am? Photo by Ray Pecharich.

Malaika-2012 REV3 Knoxville Bike

Fezzari Triathlete Malaika Homo

2

Meet Fezzari Triathlete Malaika Homo

 

Where are you from originally?  What brought you to Utah?

I grew up in a little town in northern Indiana called Elkhart, which is 25 miles east of another little but more famous town called South Bend.  Northern Indiana is not exactly an outdoor recreation mecca, so I moved away from there to Utah in 2005 to help feed my appetite for playing in the great outdoors.

 

What got you into biking and triathlon?

I guess I had always been training for triathlon from a young age but didn’t know it at the time.  I grew up swimming and was exposed to running literally before I was born because my dad was a track and cross-country coach.  My brother and sister and I were always messing around on bikes as kids.  I first heard of triathlon when my brother did a few races in the summertime when he was in college to stay in shape for his swimming and running seasons.  Several years later it was my turn; I was dating a guy who was in the Purdue Tri Club and he encouraged me to come to one of the club meetings, and somehow I found myself going on a spring break training trip to Florida and South Carolina to do my first duathlon & triathlon.  I won the duathlon and placed 4th in the triathlon and was hooked!  My first couple of seasons I rode my brother’s old bike: a way-too-big-for-me red Raleigh road bike with flat pedals and shifters on the top tube behind the stem.  Every time I stood up to climb (which luckily isn’t too often in Indiana) my knees would clip the shifters and the bike would unexpectedly shift mid-stroke.  I made a lot of what seemed to me at the time to be big improvements to that bike, including putting aerobars and spd pedals on it and replacing the old black foam covering on the handlebars with red, white, and blue bar tape.  I believe that bike is now sitting on a trainer in my brother’s basement, so I guess we’ve come full circle.

What has been the highlight of your triathlon career so far?

Winning the REV3 Cedar Point Full on September 11, 2011 has definitely been the highlight of my triathlon career so far.  It was only my second full-distance triathlon and I knocked 48 minutes off my previous time; having that huge of a breakthrough at a race only a couple of hours away from where I grew up, with my family and friends on hand to witness it, was truly an incredible experience.

 

How many miles did you ride last week?

160-ish

 

What is your favorite race?

Escape From Alcatraz for it’s unique-ness, REV3 Quassy for the challenge.

 

When did you start biking?

I have a picture somewhere of me as a little kid sitting on a bike in the driveway with the kickstand down; right after that picture was taken I actually rode the bike unassisted for the first time.  I’d have to ask my mom for sure, but I don’t think I was more than 3 or 4 years old.  The bike was a red Schwinn with a banana seat and coaster brakes that was a hand-me-down from my brother and sister (sound familiar?).  We all learned to ride on it and none of us ever used training wheels.  I always had a bike growing up, but I first started “biking for real” when I began dabbling in triathlons at the tail end of my college days at Purdue.

 

What was your first bike?

My bikes (in chronological order) from when I was a kid have been: red Schwinn, peach Schwinn, purple Schwinn 10-speed, cheap black mountain bike, ancient red Raleigh road bike, Cannondale “Purple People Eater” (can’t recall what model it was), Trek 5200 road bike, Orbea Orca, Marin mtb, Fezzari T5.

 

What bike setup do you ride now?

My new speed machine is a Fezzari T5 with Shimano Dura Ace components and FSA Vision carbon bars and crankset.  It is RIDICULOUS, and I’m so excited to break it out this weekend at REV3 Knoxville!

Why do you bike?

I love the freedom and the feeling of really GOING somewhere under your own power.  Biking is a great way to see the countryside; some of my fondest memories of places I’ve been are from the bike rides I’ve taken there.  On a more practical level, biking is my preferred mode of transportation.  I live in Ogden but work 5 days a week as a personal trainer in Salt Lake, and I commute to work via a combination of biking and the Frontrunner train.  I usually ride between 20-40 miles per day on my commute, depending on the time of year, the weather, and where I am in my training.  It’s a great way to rack up a lot of base miles.

 

What is your favorite ride or route?

I love riding in Ogden Valley and then going up and over Trappers Loop, over through Morgan to East Canyon and back.  Emigration Canyon was always one of my favorite training rides when I lived in Salt Lake, and I still like to ride it whenever I get the chance.

 

What is your favorite time of day to ride?

I like early morning starts just for the feeling of accomplishment later in the day when you’re done, but I think I honestly prefer the angle of the sunlight later in the day.  The world just seems to glow more in the afternoons.

 

What is your biggest goal with cycling, triathlon, and running?

Oh boy!  I like this question.  The general answer is that I’m trying to be the best, most well-balanced triathlete that I can be.  The specific answer is that I’m aiming to break 9 hours in a full ironman distance triathlon, to qualify for Kona as a professional next year and place in the top-10, and to someday run in the US Olympic Marathon Trials.

 

What does an average training week look like for you? Training hours? Type? Where?

Training hours/type change drastically depending on the time of year and what I’m training for, but a current sample week would consist of 4-5 swims, 5-6 bikes, 4-5 runs, 2 strength workouts, plus foam rolling and quality time in the Recovery Pump boots every day.  Total hours might range from 10-25 hours (not counting recovery work).  I swim at Ben Lomond High School, at 24 Hour Fitness in Sugarhouse, and sometimes in Pineview or Causey Reservoirs.  I get most of my weekday bike miles commuting sections between Salt Lake and Ogden, then do longer weekend rides either in Ogden Valley or in the direction of the Great Salt Lake.  Most of my running is done in North Ogden and on the Shoreline Trail, with occasional forays into the Ogden Valley.

What do you do for training during the winter?

I ride my mountain bike to work and cross-country ski.  This is also when I focus on strength training and corrective exercises.

 

What do you do for nutrition on long rides?

I use Power Gels and PowerBar Gel Blasts, and until recently I used PowerBar Energy Bites—I’m so sad that those are being discontinued!  I also like to eat boiled potatoes.  I typically drink water and PowerBar Perform.

 

What races do you have planned for this year?

Feb.    Striders Winter Running Circuit 5K

Striders Winter Running Circuit 10K

Mar.    Striders Winter Running Circuit 10 Miler

REV3 Costa Rica Olympic Triathlon

Apr.     Striders Winter Running Circuit Half Marathon

Salt Lake Half Marathon

Striders Winter Running Circuit 30K

May.    REV3 Knoxville Olympic Triathlon

Jun.     REV3 Quassy Half Rev Triathlon

Dino Tri Olympic Triathlon

Jul.      REV3 Portland Half Rev Triathlon

Scofield Escape Triathlon

Aug.    REV3 Wisconsin Half Rev Triathlon

Sep.    REV3 Cedar Point Full Rev Triathlon

Oct.     REV3 South Carolina Half Rev Triathlon

REV3 Florida Half Rev Triathlon

Nov.    Ironman Arizona

 

What are your goals for 2012?

∙ Win the overall 2012 REV3 Pro Series

Defend my REV3 Cedar Point Full Rev title

Break 9 hours in a full iron-distance triathlon

Run a sub-1:25 half marathon

Break 3 hours in a marathon

Qualify for the 2013 Ironman World Championship

Top-10 finish at the Ironman World Championship

What’s on your ipod?

I am soooooo uncool, I don’t even own an ipod.  But I do like music!  I’m sort of a throw-back, I really like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, folk music in general, ’80s music (how could I not, I grew up in that decade!), classic rock…and yes, I am a big classical music fan too.  Like Mozart and Beethoven and Bach, those guys.

 

What’s your favorite recovery meal?

Chocolate milk first, then a nice big fat juicy steak with grilled veggies and yams.

 

Do you have a pre-race routine? If so, what?

I like to be organized, so I make sure I have all my gear laid out the night before.  On race day I eat breakfast 3 hours before the start, and I like to arrive in transition to set up my gear about 90 minutes before the gun goes off.  After setting up my transition spot I like to go off by myself to warm-up—usually a little jog and a swim.  I always “christen” the water during my warm-up swim (I think any triathlete who says they have never done this is a liar!).

 

 

Shaving legs

The “Science” of Shaven Legs

4

The “Science” of Shaven Legs

What semi-honest story do you tell when you are asked why you shave your legs for triathlons or cycling? Do you really believe what you are saying, or deep inside do you feel it is a lie?

I set out to review the literature on why you should shave your legs so you can now give a whole-heartedly honest answer to your non-triathlete/cyclist friends.
Most of us have heard of at least one theory about why you should shave your legs. This tends to be the ever-important theory we stick to when rationalizing to our friends. Here are four of the most widely heard:
1. It makes wound care easier when you fall. What more manly reason could you possibly think of? This was my story for a while. I would tell my friends, “I ride very aggressive so I’m bound to end up taking a flight over the handlebars occasionally. Having shaven legs makes it easier to clean the would and less likely to get infected”. The truth…not really.
2. It makes recovery massages easier. This rationale is said by some to be the reason European cyclists originally started shaving their legs. Yes, it may make recovery massages ever-so-slightly easier, but how many non-pro athletes are getting regular recovery massages? Lame excuse.
3. It helps keep me cool on hot days. Yes, there is some merit here. A smooth surface allows for faster convective cooling. For those living in hot, humid climates. This excuse is legitimate. The effect is not big, but there is truth in this statement.
4. Shaven legs are more aerodynamic. Ummmmm, yes, but really? Although I could not find any wind tunnel data on shaven legs. Having reviewed wind tunnel data in the past, I would guess shaving your legs would maybe buy you a second in a 100 mile race, max. Poor excuse.
The Real Reason You SHOULD Shave Your Legs

Yep, you read that correctly. Although the science is not directly linked to shaving legs, there is plenty of sports psychology science that shows benefits in performance when you believe you belong. If you show up to a race hairy and see a bunch of shaven legs, your mind immediately begins to doubt. You feel like you don’t belong, or that everyone else is the “real deal” and you are not. Your confidence wavers.
There is a link between confidence, or believing in yourself, and athletic performance. For those that have played sports like baseball, basketball, and golf, you likely know this all too well. A slump is rarely a mechanical problem, it is most often a mental problem. You spend countless hours training your body to perform an act instinctively, such as identify ball coming into the strike zone. A single failure can lead to doubt. Too much doubt and your mind begins to take over, literally. The frontal cortex of the brain now takes over the role of identifying the strike zone, rather than leaving it to your highly trained instinctive responses. The frontal cortex is not trained. The result…a slump.
This same concept holds true with all sports. Your running stride can change. You can overthink your swimming stroke. You may hold back too much on the bike.
So, a simple doubtful thought about your abilities prior to a race can slow you down. And…it could all start with hairy legs.
Next time someone asks why you shave your legs, just tell them it makes you faster, because it does (unless you are a stubbornly strong minded person. In this case, you can keep the hair on your legs…and your back too.)
part of Mccain Loop by Gates Pass

GPP Endurance Tri Camp, Tucson AZ

2

part of Mccain Loop by Gates Pass

This past week I got the opportunity to help out and train with the GPP Endurance Tri Camp in Tucson, AZ. It was 3 days of intense triathlon training ranging from Olympic distance to full Ironman athletes. I did most of the workouts with the group but also helped map out routes for our workouts. For the past few years, I have been coming down to Tucson to get out of the harsh Utah winters. Tucson is a great place for endurance athletes with weekly group rides and nice pools to swim in.

After 1000 yard time trial

The first day of camp consisted of a 75 min swim workout with a 1000 yard time trial(fun!) mixed in, a 3 hour bike with 6×20 min tempo efforts  and a 1 hour progressive run. I was pretty cracked after the first day but knew that my body would eventually adapt.

Coming back from the Biosphere(one of the many wonders of Tucson)

The second day kicked off with a 90 min swim workout followed by a double duathlon brick.(90 min ride up and over Gates Pass and a 30 min trail run x2) Once again my body felt like it was being hit by a truck and i couldnt even imagine how the other athletes were feeling.

giving directions for bike/run workout

The third day was the most epic day of camp with a 25 mile, 7,000 vertical feet climb up the infamous Mt. Lemmon. It takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to climb to the top from the base. I’ve done it a ton on my road bike, but never on my TT setup  so i was unsure of how my body would respond to that much climbing. To my surprise, my Fezzari T-5 got me all the way to the top without any discomfort. A group of us got to the summit around the same time and rested up for the long descent at the Cookie Cabin where they serve Cookies as big as your head!

on top of Mt. Lemmon at the Cookie Cabin

Everyone at camp had great attitudes and were super motivated durring each workout. Each athlete made it to the summit of Mt.Lemmon with huge smiles on their faces and nothing but positive things to say about the ride up. I love surrounding myself with people like this because it can really push you to a higher level.

Hanging out before ride

GPP Endurance will be  hosting a few more camps this year.
March 16-19 in St. George, Utah
April 13-16 in Henderson, Nevada
You can sign up on www.Active.com.
Also be sure to ‘like’ GPP Endurance on facebook where you can get current news and updates for each of these camps.

Riding my Fezzari T-5!

Doing some run drills before progression run

Dr. Tom Fletcher giving a seminar about injury prevention

bike black_white

Fezzari Triathlete Kelsey Withrow

1

Fezzari Triathlete Kesley Withrow

Kelsey is a pro triathlete from Park City, Utah who races heavily in the Olympic distance triathlons. She spent 5 years training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado as a part of the National Team aiming for a spot in the Olympics.   She also comes from a college swimming background and has had numberless wins in her young career.  She was even named the Junior Duathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon.

In 2011 Kelsey set an age group national swimming record for the 6,000-yd. freestyle.  In 2012 she is planning to focus on the Half Ironman distance in triathlon.   Kelsey is also an avid cyclist where she competes in road and mountain bike races.  In the off-season, Kelsey enjoys going on week-long backpacking excursions and taking trips to the south for good country music and honky-tonks!

 

 

We were able to sit down with Kelsey and learn more about what makes her tick.

Where are you from originally?  What brought you to Utah?

I grew up in Seattle, Washington.  After a 5 year stint at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I moved to Utah for a change in scenery.

What got you into biking and triathlon?

When I was 17, I had a  life guarding job at a local country club north of Seattle.  Sara Graham, a triathlon coach and spinning instructor saw me running on a treadmill on my lunch break, and  asked me if i had ever tried triathlon.  I kept her in the back of my mind until I did a half marathon a few months later.  I was not  untrained and was wearing shoes two sizes too small. I ended up winning my age division and getting a top 10 overall. I called Sara and she helped me discover the wonderful sport of triathlon.

What has been the highlight of your triathlon career so far?

I had a lot of success early on in my career, winning a junior triathlon national championship and being named Junior Duathlete of the year in 2001.  I was fortunate enough to get picked to live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a part of the  National team from 2002-2007.  On the second day of training there i broke my hip in a bike crash and was sidelined for several months.  From that day on it has been a path of perseverance and struggle to get my body healthy and injury free. The highlight of my career was taking 2nd place  at Canadian Nationals.  I shared the podium with several Olympians including Simon Whitfield(Olympic gold medalist) and Sharon Donalley.  It was a surreal moment and I proved to myself that I could compete at the worlds highest levels.

How many miles did you ride last week?

225 miles.

 

 

What is your favorite race?

My favorite local races are the Dinoland Tri in Vernal, UT and Battle of Midway Triathlon in Midway, UT. On the world scale, I loved the course from the 2003 worlds in Queenstown, New Zealand.

When did you start biking?

I started biking in 2001 as soon as i got into triathlons.

What was your first bike?

My first bike was a Wal-Mart bought Norco that my coach Sara Graham loaned to me.

What bike setup do you ride now?

I ride the Fezzari T5 TT bike with a Dura-Ace groupset. Only the best!

 

 

Why do you bike?

Besides the obvious fact that cycling is the second leg of every triathlon, I love the feeling of freedom cycling gives me and exploring new place on my bike!

What is your favorite ride or route?

In Salt Lake City I love the Emigration and Big Cottonwood canyons.  In St. George, I  love the Gunlock Loop (part of the Ironman St. George Course).

What is your favorite time of day to ride?

I am not much of a morning person so I prefer to ride in the afternoon when the sun is out and warm!

What is your biggest goal with cycling and triathlon?

From the first day i entered the sport of triathlon my goal was to make the Olympic Team.  In 2008 I came close but got injured and had to sit out of an important part of the season.  Since the 2012 Olympics spots are all but accounted for, I am taking a break from Olympic distance, draft legal triathlon in 2012 to try my hand at non-drafting Olympic and half ironman distance racing.

What does an average training wee look like for you? Training hours? Type? Where?

An average week is anywhere from 18-24 hours. This winter my coach has me aiming towards quality vs quantity so I am not putting in the huge hours like i have in the past. I have immediately noticed that with this approach, I am never sick, rarely injured, and my motivation stays high so that I can attack every workout.  I’m doing 3-4 swims per week, riding 4 times per week, and running 4 times per week. I am also spending time in the weight room, doing yoga, and focusing on rest, nutrition, hydration, and all of the little things that make the big differences!

What do you do for training during the winter?

I typically spend the winter in Tucson, AZ. It’s an ideal training location because of the stable, warm weather, infinite training options, and amazing training partners! This winter has been very mild in Utah and I have been doing most of my training here, but I did get in 3 weeks of training on Maui (where I got to train with members of the Canadian National Triathlon Team) and have a Tucson trip planned for later in February.

What do you do for nutrition on long rides?

I’ll use anything from energy bars to drink mix, but my preferred ride fuel is fresh dates. I can pack a lot of calories into a ziplock bag with dates, and they provide excellent carbohydrate source that is packed with nutrients!

What races do you have planned for this year?

I have a big list of races planned this year.  I am planning the RAGE Tri series, as well as the REV3 series in Tennessee, Connecticut, Portland, and Wisconsin.  I’ll compete in a bunch of local Olympic distance races as well as do some local road stage races and crits with a TT and endurance mountain bike races mixed in there too.

What’s on your iPod?

I’ve got a bit of everything.  For intervals, i really like electronic and euro pop music:) For easy rides and runs I’m usually rocking the country music!

What’s your favorite recovery meal?

After workouts I usually make a smoothie with 6-10 bananas, soy milk and ice.

Do you have a pre-race routine? If so, what?

The night before my race i listen to chill music on my ipod and visualize myself on the podium!

The Hustle

18 Reasons We Can’t Wait Until Summer

0

We can’t wait for summer. Triathlons. Swimming. Mountain Biking. Tour de France. Road bike rides with friends. Sunsets. The whole gamut.

Images Courtesy of jolisoleil,foleymo,kwinkslag, Allie_Caulfield, smudge9000, Zach DischnerDavid Barker, AndyC

Heath St. George Tri

Spotlight: Fezzari Triathlete Heath Thurston

0

Heath Thurston grew up a swimmer, but like many, gained some extra weight after getting married (50 pounds to be exact). In 2001 he started competing in triathlons as a way to get back into shape and has since won the St. George Triathlon five times as well as competed in seven Ironman events as well as numerous ultra-distance marathons. His personal Ironman record is 9:26. As he preps for one of his last contests of the 2011 season, the Austin Ironman 70.3, we thought this would be a perfect time to learn how he trains, especially during the off season.

1) What have been some highlights of your biking career so far?
Biking a 4:45 Ironman bike split in Ironman Florida in 2008. Being the first biker back to Sundance two years in a row at the RANATAD 165-mile bike ride. Biking around the South Island of New Zealand. Training for triathlons with Ironman World Champion Scott Molina.

2) How many miles did you ride last week?
Probably somewhere around 520-550 miles

Heath Thurston in the St. George, Utah Ironman

Heath Thurston in the St. George, Utah Ironman

3) What is your favorite race?
It’s probably a tie between St George Triathlon the Scofield Triathlon. (Heath is a 5-time winner of St. George Triathlon).

4) When did you start biking?
I started biking in 2001

5) What was your first bike?
First road bike was a super-sweet Schwinn Paramount with Scott aerobars (clipons).

6) What bike setup do you ride now?
I ride mostly Time Trial/traiathlon specific and some road bikes.

7) Why do you bike?
I am a pro triathlete and coach, and I love riding smooth and fast.

8 ) What is your favorite ride or route?
Southfork up Provo Canyon, and The Alpine Loop also up Provo canyon

9) What is your favorite time of day to ride?
Midday or afternoon, except for warm summer morning, I love getting out in the perfect cool morning air when not many people are out and the roads are clear.

10) What is your biggest goal with cycling?
To be able to come off the bike with some of the best triathletes in the world so I am in the mix for the win of the race.

11) What does an average training week look like for you?
3-4 hours a week of swimming, 10-15 hours of biking 100-200 miles and 5-10 hours of running 30-60 miles.

12) What do you do for training during the winter?
A lot of indoor and outdoor training, mostly on bike trainer rides.

13) What do you do for nutrition on long rides?
I do anywhere from 300-400 calories an hour in mostly liquid nutrition

14) What races did you do or have planned for 2011?
March-Buffalo 50 miler run 7th overall in 7:23, May- Ironman St George-finish time 10:09, May-Timp trail marathon 5:09, June-Salem Sprint Triathlon 1st overall 58:10, June-Boise 70.3 16th overall 4:15, July-Scofield Escape Triathlon, August-Lake Stevens 70.3,  October-Austin 70.3

Heath Runs in Scofield Triathlon

Go to Top