The Iron-Sherpa

By Shelley D.
October 29, 2008 on 5:50 pm | In Random Musings | 1 Comment

Every athlete who has been fortunate enough to cross the finish line of an Ironman event and heard the magical phrase, “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”, understands the importance of having a supportive spouse, family, or friend.  This individual has been there for their Ironman each and every step of the way by offering the understanding, support, and everything else in between.  Much like the Sherpas of the Himalayas, without the Iron-Sherpa many Ironman athletes would never have made it.

The following is the basic job description of the modern day Iron-Sherpa.  (yes, all of these stories are true!)

1.  The Iron-Sherpa must be willing to give up her (or his) bike to their Iron-athlete.  In the event that the Iron-athlete suffers a mechanical breakdown on a training ride, the Iron-Sherpa will be willing to sit on the side of the road, waiting for a ride, while the Iron-athlete gets to take the Iron-Sherpa’s bike so the exact training ride can be completed.

2.  The Iron-Sherpa must be willing to wake up at 4 A.M. and prepare for a full 19-hour day frantically chasing their Iron-athlete around the racecourse.  In the likely event that you missed your chance to see your Iron-athlete at the scheduled turn at mile 45.7 of the bike course, you must be able to quickly come up with plan B and drive 83.9 miles, navigating multiple closed streets, in an effort to catch a 3 second glimpse of your Iron-athlete at mile 94 of the bike and then pray that you have time to get to T2 in an effort to get another 5 second glimpse.

3.  The Iron-Sherpa will forgo any calls of personal duty, such as meals, bathrooms, etc. in an effort to frantically find a wetsuit, the morning of the race, for his or her Iron-athlete who happened to find a fist size hole in their wetsuit at 10:00 P.M. the night before the race.  (Yes, the Iron-Sherpa did manage to find one!)

4.  The Iron-Sherpa may not forgo additional family responsibilities and must also figure out how to cater to the needs of their children.  This includes dealing with the fact that the ketchup at McDonalds in New Zealand does not taste like the ketchup in the U.S., which naturally results in tears.  This is in addition to the fact that …..it is hot……the kids have to poop……..they are hungry…….when can we go home?….etc.

5.  The Iron-Sherpa must be willing to prepare all pre-race meals in the last few days leading up to the Ironman.  This will ensure that their Iron-athlete gets plenty of opportunities to rest, sleep, hydrate, and visualize the upcoming event.  (i.e, nap)

6.  The Iron-Sherpa  must also be able to manage dozens of phone calls, from family and friends, who must know the exact condition of the Iron-athlete and why they took so long to finish the bike.

7.  The Iron-Sherpa  must patiently try to understand the reasoning behind spending countless dollars on a helmet, wheels, aero bottles, etc. to save mere seconds in a 14-hour event.

8.  The Iron-Sherpa  must be able to juggle the kids’ soccer, piano, dance, homework, etc. in an effort to give the Iron-athlete time to train for the Ironman.

9.  The Iron-Sherpa must be a psychologist, massage therapist, sag wagon driver, training partner, and any other profession that may be needed to support the Iron-athlete.

10.  The Iron-Sherpa must be able to explain to the Iron-athlete why they were unable to navigate their way through thousands of spectators during the swim in time to take a video of their Iron-athlete exiting the water.

If you have ever had to experience any of the above  or any other duties related to the successful completion of an Ironman by your Iron-athlete, congratulations because “YOU ARE  AN IRON-SHERPA!!!”

Taking it to the Streets

By Webster H.
October 27, 2008 on 2:48 pm | In Life at TriSports.com | No Comments

On my way to work this morning a song popped into my head.  I’m not sure if I remember all the words, it’s been a really long time since I had heard it, but I think it went something like this.

“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”

Do you recognize it? Let me know if you do.  I think it is from Sesame Street.  Pretty funny when you think about it, teaching kids how to tell what doesn’t belong.  So why is this song on repeat in my head?   It probably has something to do with working at TriSports.com and not being a triathlete.  I have been working at TriSports.com for two months now and it has been the most unique work environment I have ever experienced.  I can’t help but laugh when I think about my first day,  driving into work and seeing only three cars in the parking lot.  I recall thinking to myself, “Where is everyone?”  Only to be greeted as I enter the doorway by all the coworkers I thought were “slacking off”.  Turns out people really do ride their bikes to work.  I have heard of these people but have never seen one, much less a whole group!  Later I am introduced to my rest of my department.  Not only am I the new guy and the youngest, but I am also the only person there who has not completed an Ironman or full marathon.  I don’t even want to tell you about the guilt I felt eating fast food for lunch in front of a guy who is having fresh bell peppers and fruit. 

It has been a very weird and fun couple of months.  You will be happy to learn that I am already looking at races for next year.  After being immersed in the world and culture of the triathlete I must say that I am hooked.  And why wouldn’t I be?  Triathletes to me are everything I want to be in life, disciplined, intelligent and a little crazy.  Take that Sesame Street.

A little treat from the Cookie Monster

The coolest thing….

By Alison M.
October 27, 2008 on 12:40 pm | In Employee Adventures, Random Musings | No Comments

Ok we are all fans, fans of something or someone. Some of us love football (go Cowboys!!) some of us game-shows (I love to show off how smart I am, or think I am while playing Jeopardy at home). Maybe it is UFC fighting and you like Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, you get what I mean…we all have something or someone out there that we think it would be really cool to meet that person or an event to experience.  Well I got on my chance at “That was so COOL!” experience.

I was “racing” (cough, cough…another story for another day) this weekend at Red Rock’s SOMA triathlon. I was participating in (again not really “racing”) the Half IM distance.  While at the packet pickup and expo I learned something new, that Nicole and Tim DeBoom are partners in the Red Rock Company and would be at the expo that day (what!! Nicole DeBoom?!?, I have to meet her!) For anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge fan of Skirt Sports products (which of course we sell here at TriSports.com ) and admire Nicole. It was like a two for one day for me.  One because I wanted to have a chance to tell her how much I love the product and philosophy behind Skirt Sports and of course an opportunity to meet a successful woman in Triathlon. I was able to achieve both of these!

I introduced myself to her and she gave me the biggest hug! She spoke with me as we had known each other for years and was so friendly, gracious and very sweet.  She of course wished me luck out on the course and said that she would be handing out finisher medals at the end. I thought to myself that would be so awesome to have her give me my finisher medal! Well needless to say after a very long day, I finished way too late to get my medal from her.  I did get see her again as I was going to get my stuff from transition.  She was so nice, asked me how my day was, asked me how I felt and again was so sweet.  I will admit that made my very long (very hot, and full of suffering) day much better!

The only thing I regret was not having a camera….bummer!

Come Run with Me

By Greg H.
October 25, 2008 on 1:10 am | In Random Musings | No Comments

I’ve got a challenge for you. I want you to come run with me. If you’ve never run before, come in and see us and we’ll help you out. Don’t worry, we are’nt going to embarass you or laugh at you. I just want you run with me. You don’t need to know how fast I am. I just told you that I’m going to run with YOU. Do me a favor…..go and google the results of any major marathon (Chicago, New York, any big city) and you’ll see you are not alone. There are a ton of people…just….like….you…..already out there doing it. You’re falling behind. The only ridicule you’ll ever receive from me is calling you a slacker to get out there. Start slow. Do it for you. I’ll make you love running. Don’t fear it. You can do it.
And once you come terms why us crazy runners love this sport, maybe you’ll end up wanting the people around you to run with you….
Look for me in the white TriSports.com shirt and red TriSports.com hat out there running and at races…and come run with me.
See you out there…..

Racing for fun

By Billy
October 24, 2008 on 10:11 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

Race for fun. Sounds obvious right? Well if you’re anything like me racing isn’t always fun. Racing is hard from the first week of training until you break the tape. This season I lost sight of why I became a triathlete in the first place and focussed solely on my progress (not as a person, but in terms of 40k bike splits. gross). Anyway, last weekend we were expoing in Las Vegas, NV. Seton ahhh, completed the half (I know he would never say that he raced it) while Zachary, Matty B. and myself did the olympic. Back to the beauty of the sport. No pressure, no expectations, no worries. Just did the swim and hopped on my bike for a leisurely ride through the Nevada desert. Everyone I saw on the bike received both a big smile and a “good work” or a “nice ride” or something of that nature. Having fun. Of course once I hit the run I was ready to suffer a bit, which was fine because I was topped off with mental “juju” as we call it. Ran like an animal and what do you know, came through with a great finish.  Race for fun and go fast, huh.

The Halfmax Experiment

By Seton
October 23, 2008 on 1:26 am | In Random Musings | No Comments

Last year I competed in Ironman Hawaii (qualified at IMW in ’06) and after the race I new I would be taking a substantial down time.  The goal for this year was to fish, yes, fly fish.  I turns out that I am an awesome fisherman and an awful catcherman.  The only races I did this year were for fun (BAM Doggie Dooathlon, and a couple races with my son – yes, he rides on daddy’s back during the swim). A couple months into this little break I saw a sample of the Halfmax Championships medal and it had our logo, I mean these are some sweet medals.  So, all year I kept telling people I was going to do this race.

Fast forward to race week and I am sick with an upper respiratory virus of some sort, we expo all day the day before the race (and I finally pull the trigger and sign up…yes, I have some connections :) ).  I won’t bore you with the details of the race but this is what I learned:

  1. Being a swimmer and only putting in about 2500 yards all year does have an affect on your swimming; however, you are actually able to still come out in a good position.
  2. I swam in a suit that I have never tried on before – one we will be carrying next year – obviously a big no-no; however, this suit was off the hook comfortable and fast.  I just felt really bad I was so out of shape and wasn’t able to put it through it’s real paces.
  3. Out of the water I put on CEP socks for the bike and run – ones I have never worn before, nor have I ever raced in.  However, my legs have NEVER felt so good getting off the bike.  Once again, I just wish I was in shape to capitalize on this.
  4. I think the pain is about the same if you go fast or slow – it just lasts a lot longer when you go slow.

So I finished my race in a blazing fast time (not even close) and when I finished they gave me the medal for the Olympic distance race that was happening at the same time.  “Whoa…..wait a second, what do you think I was doing out there for 6 hours?” I told them. “Well you have a Pumpkinman (Olympic) number on.”  This was very funny, especially b/c the other people that were with me were going to pull this prank on me and just didn’t get around to it.  Needless to say, there were plenty of other people there that did the race with me that could back up my 6 hour story.  Well, I got my medal, and although the race side of it didn’t mean that much to me I was actually very proud that I kept my word and went out and finished that race – especially because my fitness dictated that I had no business being out on that course.  Below is a picture of me after I finished (sorry about the quality, it was taken with my cell phone):

The coolest medal in the world!

The coolest medal in the world!

Introducing Customer Service

By Betty P.
October 21, 2008 on 12:47 am | In Life at TriSports.com | No Comments

Here at TriSports.com, we know you have many choices of where to shop for your triathlon needs. We aim to not only have the widest variety of the best equipment available, but also to have the best Customer Service Department in the industry. What attributes are important to reach this goal? We aim to be cheerful, knowledgeable, responsible, and to be held accountable for what we say we will do. If we can’t find the information you need while you are on the phone, we will research it and get back to you within a reasonable amount of time. The good working relationship we have with our buying, warehouse and shipping departments is an essential aspect of getting the products our customers want to them in a timely manner. While we many not be able to fill every need, we will do our best to try!

Over the next month or so, we will introduce you to each of our Customer Service Representatives. The photo below will help you to put a face to the names of the people you will interact with in our Customer Service Department here at TriSports.com.

Front Row: Susan
Middle Row: Betty, Nick, Mickey and Shelley
Back Row: Oley and Pat

Serenity…

By Nik
October 21, 2008 on 12:05 am | In Employee Adventures | No Comments

Webster defines Serenity as follows…  “The quality or state of being serene; clearness and calmness; quietness; stillness; peace.”

I find serenity at the start of most open water triathlons.  I took this photo at the start of the TriSports.com Halfmax National Championships this past weekend at Lake Mead.  It illustrates one of the reasons why I continue to be drawn to our sport on a non-athletic level: serenity.

Planning out a season

By Lionel
October 18, 2008 on 10:58 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

So another season is over–at least for me it is. We can now look back and see how we did or did not meet our goals. What we want to do different next year. Now its time to take some time off and let your body recover. You can also start your base training–which is what I am doing. I ended my season earlier that I anticipated. I am looking at what races I want to do the following year right now. I want to look at doing mostly Half-Ironman distance races and maybe a few Oly’s. When I plan my year, I write out the races I want to do and prioritize them. I prioritize them so I know which ones I will put most of my focus on. I know it sounds simple but having it on paper really does something to help you focus on your races. You can get your training together better for the year by planning out your season too.

I use various tools to plan out my races. I look at the race website, look at the area where the race will be held, and read about other peoples experiences. There are various books on this that will definitely help you plan your year. A great one is The Triathletes Training Bible by Joe Friel. In the appendix, there is a template you can use to help you plan your year. I copy one every year and plan my races out for the year.

TriSports.com Long Ball tournament, sponsored by Callaway

By Debbie
October 15, 2008 on 6:06 am | In Employee Adventures, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments

If you think that all we do here at TriSports.com is triathlon, think again!  We have a small group of people called the Fun Squad who organize extracurricular activities for us and this most recent one was our Long Ball tournament.  Seton got the ball rolling on this evening of excitement by contacting one of our long-time sponsored athletes, who also happens to work at Callaway.  He provided us some kick-a@! drivers, balls and cool schwag for awards.  It really wasn’t officially sponsored by Callaway, but it sure sounds cool!

1st Annual Long Ball crew

1st Annual Long Ball crew

We converged on the driving range on Friday, October 3rd.  We were 23 strong, including spouses, friends and family.  The evening started out with some practice swings, then the tourney got started.  Each player got 3 swings and the crowd determined how far the balls flew.  Erik, one of our newest staff members and former NCAA division 1 golf star, easily took the night with an estimated 390 yarder.  Maris, another of our newer staff members, and myself had to duke it out for the women’s division, and Maris ended up taking it.  There were lots of hooks and slices and any other embarassing thing you can imagine in golf, and out of golf (our almost 3-year old pulled his pants down and peed right there on the tee box – I was just happy he didn’t pee in his pants!).  Needless to say, we had a blast!  Awards were plentiful, so almost everyone took something home.  We all had a ton of fun and I am very proud of the camaraderie that we share at TriSports.com.

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