Trisports Under New Management

A little while ago, Trisports announce to it’s staff, sponsored athletes, and then the public that it would be forced to close it’s doors at any time. Since then they have been liquidating their stock and putting up amazing deals on in-stock items.

A Change of Fortune

Just Thursday afternoon, however, a few of us noticed that they had changed their contact information on their facebook page including a new address in Portland, Oregon. I asked on a private team page about the update and at about the same time received an email that was sent to all the people on Trisports email list announcing that the company had been purchased by a company out in Oregon and the current owners were working with the new owners on a smooth transition.

I am so thrilled to hear that Trisports will live on, even if my friends Seton and Debbie will not be at the helm. The email I received made sure to note that the new owners would be working to continue support of the services, products, athletes and teams that Trisports is currently known for. I am excited at that as well!

The Plot Thickens

Later in the day, the founder of Trisports, Seton Claggett, replied to me and confirmed that Velotech, the parent company for multiple smaller bike shops, had bought Trisports. Then, overnight, I received an email from Slowtwitch founder Dan Empfield that he and a partner had bought Trisports to help usher it into new management. From the sound of the email he was just a temporary owner until the Velotech deal was struck.

There are other tid-bits of info floating around the interwebs such as the merger between Western Bike Works (a Portland bike shop) and Athlete’s Lounge (a Portland Tri shop) to help both shops survive and focus on an online retail platform (assuming with the expertise of Trisports) all under the umbrella of Velotech.

Where does that leave us?

I’m going to be honest, this all is very complicated and confusing. Parent companies and sister companies and mergers with middle men. I bet someone could make a movie out of it all. Regardless, I am hopeful. Trisports has been a cornerstone of the triathlon community for many years and I was sad to see it go. Something in me knew it wouldn’t be for long. Looks like it has new life before it ever fully went away. For that, I am thankful.

The one question is: will it still be the same company we have grown to know an love? With Seton helping with the transition I am hopeful it will be. And it that is the case, they still have my support!

What do you think of all this? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on twitter!

OBX Triathlon Race Report (2017 Half) Part 2- Vacation

Racecation! There is nothing better than combining a vacation to an awesome destination with a race weekend! This is the second year in a row I’ve come to the Outer Banks Triathlon for a racecation. The Outer banks are a great place to vacation, and Outer Banks Sporting Events puts on a great race.

This is part 2 of my “racecation” report. See part 1 for all the details of the race portion of the racecation. Here in part 2, I’ll go over some of the things you should look at when planning a racecation and how things went for us this year!

Timing

This year we decided to arrive a day earlier than we did last year. For a Saturday race we got in to town on Thursday afternoon to give us a half a day to get settled and then a morning to relax and enjoy the beach before focusing on pre-race activities like packet pick-up, naps, dinner, etc. we also back loaded the trip with a few extra days to enjoy the beach and the sights before we had to head back. We prefer back loading the trip instead of front loading it so that we can enjoy time off as a family instead of spending most of the trip thinking about the race that is coming up.

Accommodations 

This year we went with a VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) instead of a hotel. This was the right move. First of all, sharing a hotel room with small children is a nightmare for sleep. Second, being able to cook your own food is a must. I don’t think I’ll do it any other way for a race ever again (I know I know… never say never!) The rule of thumb for a race is to be as comfortable as possible and keep to as close to a normal routine as possible. Being in a house instead of a hotel made a world of difference in that department!

Plan for the worst 

Nothing new on race day is always the biggest rule for an A race. Practice everything! I had everything down and practiced, but I wanted to make doubly sure, so I went for a bike ride in my race gear the day before the race. I’m so glad I did! Somewhere in transit between the bike shop and the beach, one of my tires started to run AND I had a bit of brake rub too! I spent a good 30 to 45 minutes getting that all worked out and went for my ride. On the ride, my power meter was going haywire! Dropping to 0 and then never really getting over 200. S bit of troubleshooting that afternoon and I decided the best thing was to replace the batteries. I didn’t bring any so I went to the grocery store and bought the LAST PACKAGE OF BATTERIES they had that fit my power meter. Altering replacing those and recalibration etc. things were as good as new.

Lessons learned… bring extra batteries (and change them before a big race even if you think you don’t need to). Also, check everything and bring extras. I had a back up plan if my power meter was shot, but it would not have been fun at all. Thankfully I was able to get it all worked out without taking it to the local bike shop. But that’s another lesson: know where the LBS is before you go on your trip!

Unwinding

Like I said, we backloaded our trip with real vacation days after the race. The OBX is a great place for a family to visit! I’ve been going there since I was a little boy and now I get to take my family and keep that tradition alive!

We spent most of our time beaching it up… so basically… spending a hour getting all the kids changed and sunscreen on, loading the car, driving a block to the public beach access, and setting up on the beach. Then we spent about 1 1/2 to 2 hours trying to keep the little ones happy and especially keep the littlest one from eating any sand. It’s great fun!

In all seriousness, we love the beach and even the slight hassle of taking small children to the beach is worth the memories.

We also hit up some of the local restaurants like Sugar Creek Seafood. This one of our favorites… you have got to try the Shrimp and grits! It also have an awesome sunset view over the sound! We also found a sweet little coffee shop that we took a couple of trips to over the weekend. It’s called the Front Porch Cafe and it is wonderful! They roast all the coffee locally and have a wonderful environment to just hand out including a little play area for the kids! Score!!

Obviously the Outer Banks is known for 2 main things: Lighthouses and the Wright Memorial/ Jockey’s Ridge. We spent one afternoon seeing lighthouses and another flying kites at Jockey’s Ridge. Pro tip: park at Kitty Hawk Kites and walk across the road to the park. It’s a long walk if you park at the actual state park parking area. Plus, you can also buy a kite right there if you need it!

Final Thoughts

We had a great trip with the family all around. There is just nothing like going to the beach and enjoying time together, and to add in a race and the fact that it was not peak beach season makes things even better! I hope you have been able to pick up some pointers on planning a racecation and that I’ve inspired you to plan your own. The OBX Triathlon is a great place to start, but any destination race would be awesome to bring your family along and enjoy time together after a successful race!

What are you favorite places to “racecation.” I’d love to hear about it! Hit my up in the comments below or on Twitter!

OBX Triathlon Race Report (2017 Half) Part 1- Race

There’s just nothing like a racecation! A race combined into a family vacation in a wonderful destination. The last two years I’ve been taking a “racecation” to Nags Head, North Carolina for the Outer Banks Triathlon. Last year I raced the Olympic distance, but this year I decided to take on the half iron distance race!

As I started to write this report, I realized many of you may not have done a racecation before, so I’m going to do this in two parts. Part 1 (what you are currently ready) is all about the race. Part 2 (coming out later this week) will be all about coordinating a vacation with race week and how we did it.

So with that, let’s take a look at the best fall triathlon on the east coast!

Pre race

The people at Outer Banks Sporing Events have this thing down to a science! They organize races all year long and they really know what they are doing. Packet pick up on Friday was a breeze! I was in and out in around 15 minutes including the time I spent talking to a few guys about the course and finding out what the water temperature was.

Race morning was easy. Transition is set up between a small airport used for flight tours of the area and the aquarium in Manteo. After the disaster that parking was last year, things were a lot smoother this year. Good on OBXSE for learning and improving year after year! I got set up and ready to roll in no time. Except for all the sand that got wedged in my front brake wheeling into transition. I had to totally take my front wheel off to clean everything out.

The thing I love most about setting up in transition is how much everyone in the triathlon community helps each other out. We are completing against each other but have no problems giving tips and tricks to new athletes and helping calm each others nerves. We are also accepting of any and everyone! There was a guy on my rack doing his first race… a half iron distance triathlon… on a beach cruder with a basket on the front! I think the USAt official made him take the basket off, but other than that we all applauded him for his grit to get through a race like that on what bike he used!

Swim 45:09

This was the best swim of my life! Going into it I had one goal… swim straight! Last year I swam almost the same distance as a half iron swim but I was on the Olympic course… it was bad. This year, I slotted neatly into the second pack and, for the first time, I actually was able to take advantage of a draft for the first 800 meters or so! It was at that point that I pulled ahead of that pack I was in and got caught in no-man’s land for the rest of the swim.

T1 2:00

Coming out of the sound you have to run a good 200-300 meters or so to transition. It’s not a fun run though sand, concrete, grass, and then concrete again. The up side is if you can find your legs in a decent amount of time it is an opportunity to gain a few positions in transition.

I felt like I took my time, but it was still a pretty fast transition.

Bike 2:36:03

Lead up to this race, everyone had tigger eyes on the potential of Hurricane José making landfall somewhere along the east coast. OBXSE did a great job with communication on that by the way! The good news is that José stayed away… the bad news was he was hovering right off the NC coast. This made the bike course super windy!

For the half iron distance race we did two laps of the course which meant going over the bridge to the mainland 4 times! Going out was a tail wind, coming back was a head wind. With the wind at your back you just fly over that bridge! I set my top speed there going close to 40MPH! Coming back into a head wind… I was doing good to get 15MPH.

There was another first for me in this course and that was working with some legal drafting on the course. I came out of the water in 27th place. I made up a few spots in transition and went to work reeling people back in on the bike. I passed a group of 7 or so people within the first 6 Miles. From there I was counting people at every turn around and really started making up positions. Going back over the bridge I caught a guy who was taking it easy on the only up hill section of the race. Going into that headwind made it really hard and he passed me back once we got to the mainland. At that point I was a little spent and was content to sit at a legal distance in his draft. I was amazed that in the legal draft I was able to ride 20 watts less and keep my same speed! It was also helpful that he was in my age group so I wanted to keep him close.

I sat there for a few miles until the start of the second lap. We got to the turn around and looped around the sign making the turn around point. Except… that wasn’t the turn around. We were suppose to go around a traffic loop AFTER the turn around sign. 3 of us made the mistake and had to turn back around to get the loop. It was all of 75 feet or so but we lost a lot of time turning around twice.

In all of that I made up one slot and once we were in a tailwind I made my pass on my draft partner before the bridge. I went hard for about 30 seconds and made my gap. I also kept that going over the bridge and never saw my friend again 🙂

It was on the bridge that I actually passed the SAG car (an ATV they used to pick up the cyclists who dropped out of the race for whatever reason). The problem was that he was taking up the whole lane on the bridge. I couldn’t pass on the right because there was a concrete barrier and I couldn’t pass on the left because you are suppose to go over the double yellow line. I yelled and yelled but he never heard me. I threw up my hands and the race official coming the other direction got his attention and he pulled over so I could pass. That was a bit frustrating and another place I lost time on the bike.

I ended up with the 3rd fastest bike split and I came off the bike in 5th. From 27th to 5th… not bad 🙂

T2 1:45

Coming into transition I took my feet out of my shoes before getting off the bike like I normally do. That is when I knew there was a problem. I cramped. Bad. So much I had my right leg sticking out to the side unable to pedal or more at all. It was all I could do to keep coasting and not fall over. I got it loose enough to jump off at the dismount line and jog to my rack.

I had taken a HotShot before the bike, but I needed another one and couldn’t find it in my bag. I sat down to put my shoes on and took a big gulp of water. That was enough to get my mind back in the game and run out of transition.

Run 2:10:25

I thought I just needed a little food and water and I’d hit my stride on the run. Sadly, that never happened. I ate and drank as much as I could on the run and I couldn’t make it back up. My theory is that I didn’t drink enough on the bike. It was a warm day, but I think it was deceiving because of the wind on the bike. I only used the 3 bottles I brought myself and never grabbed any extra. I probably should have had at least 4 if not 5 for the bike.

I started running at 8:00/mile. I started taking walk breaks every mile. That turned into every other mile. Then my running was only 9:00/mile. Then I was walking every quarter mile and running 10:00/mile. It was all I could do to keep the cramps at bay. I’ve honestly never gone deeper in a race. Ever.

I was still towards the front of the race and I know I had a top 10 coming into the last mile. Then it felt like every muscle in my leg was cramping. That last mile is along the open field at the end of the Manteo airport, totally exposed to the sun. I got passed by 2 people (ladies no less…) and it was there that I lost my top 10.

I was able to limp along to where I saw my family at the beginning of the long finishing chute. I knew I had to run past my awesome fan section, but once I passed them I cramped again. I limped for a bit and then was able to run across the finish line. I’ve never been so happy to finish a race in my life!

Post Race

The post race was a little disappointing compared to last year. I guess all the Olympic athletes took all the good food and drinks. I was left with only a sprite, but at that point I really wasn’t complaining. Oh… and there was pizza too 🙂

Checking my results I realized I got 2nd in my age group. First place was the guy I (legally) drafted for a while who then passed me around mile 3 of the run.

I think there are really only 2 things I could have done better. 1) drink more 2) knowing I was towards the front of the race I should have stayed with the pack and benefited from the legal draft. That may have saved me some more energy for the run and let my muscles work to their full potential.

I ended with a 5:35 finish time. My plan was 5:05 after a 1:45 run. So the extra time was all in the run. And I think the conditions really wanted a slower time. The overall winner finished in 5:06. At the end of the day I am very pleased with that race and I think I made a successful jump up to long distance triathlon. I may have found my distance sweet spot 🙂

Stay tuned for part 2 of my report on the vacation side of the “racecation!”

How Local Race Directors Can Harness the Power of Super League Triathlon

Super League Triathlon has taken the triathlon world by storm! A great mix up on the Swim-bike-run format that leads to more excitement and better viewing both in person and on TV. The format is great for a pro race, but how can local race directors harness this same experience for age groupers?

The Special Sauce
The main ingredient that generates all the excitement the “special sauce” so to speak- is the multi-day, multi-stage, race within a race format.

A local RD needs to start there. A simple stage format would be awesome for a local race! Start with a Friday, Saturday, Sunday layout. Go with a simple sprint triathlon on Friday night. Anyone can participate. Many will do the Friday night sprint and not participate in the other days of racing. This is actually great for a few reasons.

1. More “easy revenue” to make the race as a whole stay afloat
2. Those Friday only participants may stick around to be fans on Saturday and Sunday
3. It allows a qualification race to set the stage, groups, etc. for the following stages

Keep it simple
In these early beginning of a new format, simplicity is key. I would stay away from a points format simply because an age grouper wants to know if he won as soon as he crosses the finish line. The final day of racing has got to be a pursuit style. That means that whatever you do on the second day, you need to let the athletes start the final race in the order and at the interval that they need to overcome to win. The order they cross the finish line is the final finishing placing

Mix it up
One of the great things about super league is the triple mix format. Start Saturday with swim-bike-run, then do a bike-run-swim, then finish with a run-swim-bike. The order doesn’t matter. What matters is it’s not a traditional triathlon. Another option is to go time trial style like the Island House Triathlon and have the second day be 3 individual time trials. Cumulative time overall wins.

A word of caution here is to not make the second day pursuit style. That is needed for the final race (see above) but it could either be discouraging for the racers, or it could be logistically challenging for the organizers.

Keep the competition separate
This is going to be the biggest obstacle to making this work at the age group level. You don’t want to have other racers on course confusing things. I would suggest doing waves that complete a whole race before going to the next wave. Either create your own groups based off of the Friday sprint qualifiers, or combine age groups and keep them separate through each stage.

A simple bracket format with only the top 20-30 completing on the final day would work too. This all depends on the number of registrants and your area, but please, please, please make this clear to the athletes ahead of time (at least a week out). There is nothing more frustrating than a tournament organizer doing things on the fly!

Final thoughts
There is definitely a lot of potential in this area of new, exciting formats for triathlon. This is the perfect time for a local RD to get a plan together and promote a neat race for age groupers in 2018! I would love to see races like this pop up all over the country and get a new and exciting flare in the Multisport community and give people more to work towards beside going longer distances. Pushing the envelope is awesome, but pushing it in different directions is even better.

Do you have any ideas for a neat race format? Let me know in the comment or on twitter! I’d love to discuss them?

Are you a race director and want to put something like this on in your area? I’d be glad to lend a hand or even just a brain to help work through ideas! Use the contact form, hit me up on twitter, or email me directly!

70.3 Race Plan

For many people, the Half Iron distance is the first big step into the long distance triathlon world. It makes sense. 70.3 is a whole lot shorter than 140.6. Most people can only handle one Ironman in a year, and the jump from Olympic to Half Iron isn’t as insurmountable as the jump up to Full Iron. The biggest hurdle comes in the form of planning. Pacing, nutrition, gear… it all changes in the jump to long course! Continue reading

Trisports.com Closing

**An updated article on the future of Trisports was posted on 10/14/17. You can find that here**

In the fast paced word of online information, this would be considered “old news,” but I wanted my readers to be aware of the changes in the Triathlon world that recently happened. Trisports.com, founded and run by Seton and Debbie Claggett, recently announced that they were closing tiger doors due to the final ruling on a lawsuit surrounding their bankruptcy from 2013.

On the one hand, I am sad to see a great company company close. On the other hand, I even more sad for the great people that made Trisports who it was. If you have spent any amount of time around here you know that I was sponsored by Trisports these last two seasons. The people were great to work with and an awesome support for my tri naming and racing. I also had a wonderful time writing articles for their Trisports University. If you haven’t check out that page, do it now before it goes away. (I have high hopes that at least TSU will continue even if their retail store does not)

So what does the future hold for Trisports? Continue reading

How to Test Your Race Nutrition Strategy

Bonk!

You hit the wall.

You know what I’m talking about. You ran out of energy on a long training day or in a race. What was wrong? You didn’t fuel right or you went too hard… or maybe both.

How do you fix it? Practice of course!

We all need to spend extra time practicing our race day nutrition strategy. Even sours course racing requires fuel to get to the finish line, so the question is… how do we do that?

I think weekends are a great time to work on your fueling. Here’s how!

1. Pre fuel
This is something you should do for every workout, not just weekend ones. The only exception to this could be if you are experimenting with fasted workouts. Even then, your big days need to be training ground for your race day nutrition. What are you going to eat for breakfast on race day? Do that in your training! Try it out. Take notes. See what works and what doesn’t. Don’t forget to note the timing too. Oatmeal takes longer to digest than peanut butter and jelly with chocolate milk!

2. Fuel
This is what most people think of for their nutrition strategy, but it is really only the middle pice of the puzzle. You know it’s hard to put a puzzle together if you he middle instead of the edges right?

Look at what your race demands are going to be. If it’s short, you may not need anything or just a simple hydration mix. Going long? You need something else to keep you going. Remember to look at hydration and nutrition. Read the labels and see how many calories and how many grams of crabs you are getting. Aim for 30-60g of carbs per hour, but don’t be afraid to go outside of that.

Again, take notes and see what worked and what didn’t. Try it out with bike rides, runs, and bricks so you can see how your body responds in each workout.

3. Refuel
The often neglected refueling. (Except on race day when there is pizza and chocolate milk and who knows what else waiting at the finish line!) You need to refuel so your body to repair itself and be ready for the next go-round.

There should be two parts to refueling: immediate recovery and your next meal. Get something in your system as soon as you can when you finish. My go to is chocolate milk! Then, make sure you eat a good meal in the next few hours.

Again, take notes and see how you feel. Do you feel tired for the rest of the day? Eat some more! Your brain isn’t getting enough glucose since it’s sending it all to your muscles.

If you practice this in the 12 or so weeks leading up your race, you will not only be better prepared to execute on race day, but you will go into the race stronger because your workouts will have been more productive!

What have you tried for your nutrition plan? What worked? What didn’t? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!

4 Thoughts On Season Planning

You may have noticed things have been quiet around here over the last month. I would say that was intentional… but that would kinda be lying a bit. The month of July has been crazy for me, and that’s normal for my job (I’m a Youth Pastor… summer means we throw the schedule in the trash as soon as we make it and pack in as much as we can while school is out!) This past month we’ve had a Community Outreach Week, a trip to an amusement park, a week-long trip to Atlanta, GA (Go Braves!!) and various other things thrown in like planning for the start of the school year,  family coming to town, and even church softball.

With all that craziness, my triathlon focus went out the door. I was able to keep up my bike rides for the most part. Runs were cut short, and swimming… well… I only swam 3 times in the month of July.

That put me down the path of thinking about season planning. We all know when our busy time of year is. If you’re in retail, Black Friday to New Years is your time. If you are in Education, the start and end of the school year are your time. I’m not going to go through them all, but you know what your time is. Since you know it, you should also take a look at your triathlon (or individual sport) season and plan accordingly. Here are 4 ways you can help ease that tension between life and triathlon life by planning ahead. Continue reading

Running Power Meters… First Impression

Being on the bleeding edge is exciting. But you can also get cut deep (hints the “bleeding” part). Power meters were once bleeding edge technology, but today they are common sights. Ask experienced cyclist or triathlete the best upgrade they can make, and they will (should) tell you to get a power meter (If you don’t already have one). But running power meters? That’s bleeding edge!

There really are only a few names in the game right now as it comes to running power meters. The big name is Stryd, now on their second gen unit. The other is RPM2. A few others are out there, but they are more fringe and aren’t specifically power meters like Lumo run and SHFT. The biggest question hanging over running power meters is, are they worth it? Continue reading

5 of my Top Posts- 100th Post Celebration

Today I just realized that my post this week was number 100 on Triathlonpal.com! Crazy to think I’ve already made it up to number 100.

And to celebrate, I want to look back on 5 of my tops posts (according to view statistics)

1. Super League Triathlon Pro Race Report
This is my most viewed post, and for good reason. Super League triathlon is a big deal. It has the potential to make big waves across the sport. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series turns out. Check it out to see my thoughts on the race.

2. Hammer Nutrition: Fully Charged Product review
To be honest this one has taken me a bit by surprise. I was not expecting it to be so popular, but since it is a fairly new product on the market, people want to know what it’s like. Thanks to Trisports.com for hooking me up for the review! Check out the post and see if it’s something you would like to try (and use the code TEAMSHARE15 to get 15% off at Trisports)

3. Finish Line Super Bike Wash Product Review
Another product review in my top posts. I think people just like to see other’s experiances and know what they are getting. I use this stuff every time I clean my bike. Love it!

4. A Tour of My Pain Cave
This is another fun post. I give you all a tour of my “Pain Cave” or my trainer set up. This has changed a bit since the relocation. It’s so much sweeter now. I’ll have to revisit this one soon.

5. Zwift and FTP Tests
Zwifters are fanatical! It really has grown quite the following over the short time it’s been on the market. I beta tested it, but am no longer on the program. Still, it’s a great program you should check out!

I hope you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane! I sure did! Thank you all for reading the blog as consistently as you do, and if you are new around here, subscribe to stay up to date on all that happens. Here’s to the next 100 posts!

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