The Commuters Corner – “Committing to Commute”

July 30, 2009 on 10:41 am | In Life at | No Comments

                 Here at we are big fans of riding your bike to work.  It just makes sense for us.  As a company we strive to reduce our footprint on the environment, advocate cycling, and be healthy.   Riding into work is more than just an option; it is the result of our desires.  So there it is, as my co-worker Billy would say, “Ride your bike, it’s just that simple”. 

                The truth is sometimes it’s not just that simple.  Like anything worth doing there are going to be detractors.  Detractors like time, safety, and convenience.  Commuting on your bike is great if you live 3 miles away but what if you love 30 miles away.  What if there are no bike paths and your are forced to interact with drivers who in their hurry to get to work are not paying attention to how close they are to you.  Or what about riding in bad weather?  All the above issues ring true for me.    I am not going to tell you that you just need to get on your bike and get over it.  There is risk associated to riding your bike, but there are risks with everything.  You are risking your life when drive your car to work.  All you can do is try to control the level of risk. 

                This blog will help encourage, instruct, and hopefully entice you to ride your bike to work.  If I can do it anyone can.  I am not the standard employee.  I have more than 15% body fat and my legs still have hair on them.  J Hey, if anyone can understand the commuters’ plight it’s me.  I’m in your corner.

                So at the risk of being cheesy, let’s make it official.  Repeat after me, I am going to ride my bike to work.  Did you say it?  I hope so.  How much are you going to ride? Well, that’s up to you but I am going to shoot for three days a week for myself.  Hope to see you out there.


My new Car!

My new Car!

2XU V:1 Velocity Triathlon Wetsuit – Review

July 28, 2009 on 8:35 am | In Product Information | No Comments

I am a pretty picky person when it comes to wetsuits.  I have a strong swimming background and I expect a wetsuit to perform and function at a very high level.  Many of our manufacturers actively solicit me for wetsuit feedback and design enhancements – if they send me a suit that isn’t up to par, well I will be very blunt with them that they need to step it up a bit. I am not a big fan of some of the marketing gimmicks that go into suits, at the end of the day I want to know if the suit is fast, period.  I had a chance to put a 2XU V:1 Velocity Triathlon Wetsuit through the ringer last week and here’s the review:

2XU V:1 Velocity Triathlon Wetsuit

2XU V:1 Velocity Triathlon Wetsuit

Putting it on: This suit went on like most suits but was a bit tight in the knees.  As with all suits, once I let some water into the suit (you really need to do this to loosen up the shoulders/arms) it felt great.  I swam a couple hundred meters, got out of the water and let the water drain through the suit – this freed up the knees and the suit felt great!

Swim Test: This suit swam exceptionally well.  It kept my legs up nice and high and gave some great body position.  Some people at who have tried on the suit really love the Roll Bar technology but I already roll quite a bit so I didn’t notice it as much.  The neck on this suit is low but I think it could be about 1-2cm lower for more comfort.  The shoulders are very flexible, but my favorite feature of this suit is how easy it is to breathe.

Take Off: I would argue that this is one of the easiest suits on the market to take off.  Taking off the arms was the same as other suits in its class, but taking off the legs/ankles was incredibly easy – the easiest wetsuit I have ever tried.

My overall grade for this suit is a solid A, if the neck line (personal preference) was a bit lower it would be an A+.  So, if you are looking for a super fast suit that is easy to breathe in and easy to take off then the 2XU V:1 Velocity Triathlon Wetsuit is for you!

Editors Note: I swam 52 minutes (and change) in this suit at Ironman Lake Placid last weekend.

So Much More Than an Ironman

July 27, 2009 on 12:08 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

It isn’t often you run across a story as turbulent as Karen Keefer’s. Karen is a TEAM sponsored athlete currently in her second season of our sponsorship program. In the past 14 months Karen has lost her husband (while riding across the country), sustained multiple injuries from a bicycling accident (also while riding across the country – same trip), has been diagnosed with breast cancer (for which she underwent surgery), and trained for and competed in the 2009 Ironman Lake Placid. Karen finished the race yesterday in just over 14 hours and 20 minutes. I have had the pleasure to meet Karen on more than one occasion and despite her rocky road, she remains one of the most positive and dear hearted person’s I have met. You can read about her story in The Record Herald here.








Karen racing in the 2008 Halfmax National Championships.

Our congratulations go out to Karen and her fellow TEAM members and employees who raced yesterday. Congrats to: Seton C., Billy B., Ali R., Scott J. and all of the rest of the hard working athletes who competed in yesterday’s race.

My Ironman Journey: Final Chapter?

July 24, 2009 on 11:38 am | In Employee Adventures | No Comments

While searching for some peace and quiet the night before my first Ironman race in Coeur d’Alene, the following words spilled onto my page.

T’was the night before Ironman
And all through the room
I had all my stuff out
And it was all strewn.

I packed it all up
In five separate bags
Each of them marked
With my own special tags.

I have eaten and showered
And taken some time
To ponder this Ironman
And make it all mine.

My family is here
To cheer me along
And in my thoughts and my heart
Are my Dad and my Mom.

I will wake up early
And head down to the lake
I’ll put on my wetsuit
And make my own wake.

I’ll come out of the water
And put on dry clothes
I’ll get out on my bike
And pedal with my toes.

I’ll ride and I’ll ride
Up hills and down
Through trees and green meadows
For two trips around.

I’ll come back to the lake
And change once again
I’ll head out and run
As steady as I can.

I’ll loop around twice
and back to the Man
To hear Mike Reilly
Shout You’re an IRONMAN!

While I’m in Coeur d’Alene
My sister’s in Kuwait
She is doing her first tri
On this very same date.

Many miles may separate us
We may be apart
But on this special day
We’ll beat heart to heart.

We’ll swim, bike and run
We’ll strive for our best
We’ll have challenge and fun
And then we will rest

We will have accomplished our goals
Something bigger than each
With God, Family and Friends
There’s no goal we can’t reach!

…Post Race…

Without drowning in details
I think you should know
We finished those races
And look forward to mo’

Betty Rolling through the hills

That's right, I AM an Ironman!

Post Race Recovery – Style

July 22, 2009 on 3:54 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

Picture this: you’ve just finished 70.3 miles of racing, you’re hot, tired, the sun is blazing and all you want is a cool drink and some shade.  You stumble around the post-race area in search of fluids and there it is, calling to you like a cool drink of water – the Recovery Lounge.  900+ square feet of tented shade, complete with ice cold recovery drink, lounge chairs and great company.  Exclusive?  Nope, anyone and everyone who raced is welcome.  Will your next race feature a Recovery Lounge?  Maybe if you’re lucky!  Next lounge date is scheduled for the Halfmax National Championships!

Vineman 70.3 2009 Champion, Joe Gambles, relaxes in the Recovery Lounge while hooked to the Compex.  Our lounge partners included PowerBar Recovery and Compex for the full recovery effect.  Photo by Larry Rosa.

I Live in the Desert

July 21, 2009 on 1:36 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

This time of year in Tucson is awesome, yes, it is a bit warm but the monsoons roll in and show off Mother Nature at her best.  When one of these storms come in the temperature will literally drop from 106 to 70 within a matter of minutes.  With the influx of rain (we have two rainy seasons here: January-March and July-September) the animals really come out.  I happen to live in an area of town that was developed about 50 years ago so the desert has had a chance to really come back to life….especially this week.

Saturday 5:30AM – Leaving for my ride and come out of the garage to a Bobcat standing about 10′ away from me starring me down while wagging it’s tail.  How do you explain that one – “yeah, guys I was late for the ride because a Bobcat was looking to feast on my freshly shaven calves”.  Luckily it ran off as I rolled out.

Yummy, I like carbon fiber!

Yummy, I like carbon fiber!

Sunday 6:15PM – I was cleaning out the garage and found a rather large tarantula.  I caught it and brought it in for the family to see.  We let it go so it could continue taking care of our bug problem.

Clif Blocks would be nice, but I will stay with bugs.

Clif Blocks would be nice, but I will stay with bugs.

Monday 8:30AM – I was leaving for work and tried to push my gate open but it was stuck.  Next thing I knew I hear a rather dreadful “Hsssss”.  I look down and there is a Gila Monster blocking the gate – he was rather upset. 

The endangered Gila Monster

The endangered Gila Monster

These are just what I saw this past week (and a few dozen lizards), I have seen other animals at my house including rattlesnakes (and other snakes), javelina, and coyote. If you aren’t from Tucson but have seen the pictures of these creatures depicting the southwest, let me tell you they are true.


July 16, 2009 on 2:58 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

8:31:59.  Chrissie Wellington.  Quelle Challenge Roth.  July 12, 2009.  4:40:28 bike split.  Sub 3-hour run.  World Record.  Simply amazing.

Check out the article here courtesy of TYR.

Coming out….

July 14, 2009 on 12:20 pm | In Random Musings | 1 Comment

There is something I need to confess, I know that doing this on a public blog probably isn’t the place but I think it needs to be done. Drum roll….I am no longer a swimmer. There, I did it. That’s right, for many years of my triathlon life I was masked as a swimmer doing triathlons. I would go to master’s swim practice and unload the pain with the other fast master’s swimmers. Over the last couple of years I have taken time out of the pool and now fully realize that I am no longer a swimmer. I am now a triathlete with a swimming background.

My first Ironman in 1999 - top 5 in the swim

My first Ironman in 1999 - top 5 in the swim

As a kid I swam on one of the best club teams in the world and we literally had the best coaches in the world (David Marsh, Bob Bowman, Rowdy Gaines, etc.). As with most age-group swimmers we swam 2-3 times/day 6 days/week and cranked out up to 80,000 yards per week. Now days my swimming is down to a meager 8,000-10,000 yards per week. When I go to practice my master’s teammates call me out, wanting to bring out the swimmer in me – the one they knew just a couple years ago. It is not even worth explaining to them that I am exhausted from my 4-hour ride up to 8,000′ on Mt. Lemmon earlier that morning. I am less than two weeks out from my next Ironman (Lake Placid) and am finally in the taper phase. If my Monday swim workout is any indication, my teammates in the pool will, at least for one day, get a piece of the swimmer in me on Friday.

The “track”

July 13, 2009 on 12:19 pm | In Employee Adventures | No Comments

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to San Diego to ride the velodrome.  Nevermind the fact I have not ridden a fixed gear bike since I was, say, about 10 years old (and there were a couple little guys around that age out there racing – quite well I must say) and I have never even seen a velodrome in real life.  But, there I went.  Not knowing what events to register for, I just signed up for everything they offered – and I quickly found out what a “flying 200” was and why my gearing is super, super important.  I was able to rent a track bike for $10 (a chrome plated Bianchi) and participate in any events I wanted for $15.  Not a bad deal. 

My mantra for the entire week leading up to the trip was, “don’t stop pedaling, don’t stop pedaling”, and I did much better with this aspect of track riding than I thought I would.  I have to say that the only similarity between track racing and road racing is that you are sitting on a piece of equipment that has a seat, two wheels, and some type of handlebars.  Brakes? Nope.  Gears? Nope.  I have to say it is the purest, most simplistic form of cycling you can experience.  Just you, the track and whatever gear you choose to ride (I won’t go into the details of the gearing here, maybe for the next post). 

I tried the 500, 2000, 3000, flying 200, and match sprint.  My favorite was the 3000, mostly because I’m a TT’ing “diesel engine” (my friends claim) who just likes to ride as fast as I can for as long as possible.  But do have to say that the tactics involved in the match sprint is a good way to tap into that part of the brain that actually has to think a little while riding – and it does remind me of being a kid again.  I’ll go into match sprints later too, and in the meantime will be searching through YouTube to watch past races to see how they’re done. 

I do have to say that after the uncomfortable, “fish out of water” feeling wore off, and I got out there to ride, I will definitely go back to see how I can better my times and techniques.  And I do think that some regular track bike riding will help my pedal stroke on the road bike in the long run.  I highly recommend everyone should give it a go at some point!  Hope to see you out there!

Kid’s Triathlons

July 12, 2009 on 2:27 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

So this past weekend my children competed in a Kids Triathlon here in town. The swim was 250y, bike 4 miles, and a 1 mile run. I really enjoy seeing my daughters racing. They are really competitive. They were so funny getting all their stuff together the night before. We had a check list and they really enjoyed setting up for the race.

One of the first items they got together was the race number belt. It is a basic item that everyone should have so that you do not have to poke holes in your tech shirt–why would you want to do that? Another key item was a hat. I know what you are thinking but keeping cool on the run is important and what better way than a hat. On the run, a great way to stay hydrated is by using a hydration system.

Blue Lizard Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sunscreen

One of my daughters wanted to use the Nathan Hydration system but at the last minute decided not to. This is actually a great hydration system for racing. Protection from the sun is key in Arizona. Blue Lizard Sunscreen offers great for protection from the sun.

After the race, we got in the pool at the University to cool off. I bet my daughters felt so much better after getting in the pool. I could see how warm they were.



I wish there were more opportunities for kids Triathlon races in Tucson. The Ironkids race is one of the greatest Triathlon events for kids. They help to keep kids healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle. The Ironkids Championship is also here in Tucson. This is planned for the day after the Tucson Ironkids race. For now, we will keep training and wait for more race opportunities.

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