Taking the CAF Challenge

By Debbie
October 30, 2009 on 9:36 am | In Giving Back | No Comments

This past weekend was the San Diego Triathlon Challenge, by far my favorite triathlon event of the year. I have been on the starting line at this event with people like Robin Williams, Will Ferrell, and current, former and future triathlon world champs. For instance, I had a little chat with Macca on the way down to the swim about how crappy the heat is in Kona, and chatted with Michellie Jones post-race. The coolest thing is that none of these people are the stars today. They are all there on the same playing field as the rest of us, and all of us are there to help raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The stars are people like Cody McCasland, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Sarah Reinertsen and so many other inspirational athletes.
We first learned of CAF when a customer asked us for a donation. Interested in what he told me about the organization, I looked into it further. With an Ironman on my horizon, I decided that the CAF event would be a great first half for me to do. I raised funds on my own, almost $10,000, and Seton and I traveled to and participated in the event (it is not a “race” as no awards are given for time, only for money raised). We were hooked! You can’t watch someone take off their arms and legs to go swim and not be moved. I can’t even describe the feelings I got that day watching these incredible athletes overcome their challenges to compete on this very difficult course (luckily I only had to do the swim this time, and I loved my TriSports.com Rental Wetsuit – so flexible and comfie!). CAF uses the money raised for various programs to give grants to athletes in order for them to pay entry and travel to competitions, for education and mentoring, to help them buy necessary equipment that insurance won’t cover, and lots of other things that most of us never think about as we prepare to race.

TriSports.com CAF Relays

TriSports.com CAF Relays

In 2004, we began our non-profit, TriSports Racing, which produces the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival. A large chunk of the proceeds from this weekend of events goes to CAF, and we encourage our staff to fundraise and attend the event so they can see firsthand where this money goes and why we have adopted CAF as our charity of choice.
There is no way to really explain everything this event represents, so I recommend getting out there and doing it yourself. We have participated 4 of the last 6 years, missing only the year I was very pregnant and the year it was cancelled due to fires, and I anticipate being there every year I possibly can. There is no greater gift than knowing you helped give someone else the freedom of independence and hope.

TriSports.com Brand Quality

By Seton
October 27, 2009 on 9:22 am | In Product Information | No Comments

Several years ago I was looking for a hat that was of high enough quality that I would put the TriSports.com logo.  The answer finally came when I ran across a startup company called Headsweats.  These hats are common place now but 7 or so years ago they weren’t. 

TriSports.com Headsweats Hat

TriSports.com Headsweats Hat

Ever since this time we have been very particular about what products will bear our logo. I bring this up because every now and then I get the chance to go to expos and hang out in our retail store and I will occasionally hear comments from customers like “is this cowbell free?”, “can I just take a lip balm?”  Obviously, as consumers, we have all been conditioned to the free cheap logo’d schwag that is out there.  Below are two of the products we sell that have our logo and some history as to why we don’t sell it on the cheap.

TriSports.com Cowbell – as athletes we know the sound of a good cowbell.  Too high and it is lame, too low and it sounds like an obese bovine is walking behind you.  There is just the right sound of the perfect cowbell.  We actual sampled 15-20 cowbells from several different manufacturers until we found the right one.  This, my friends, is the best cheering cowbell money can buy.

All we need is a little more TriSports.com Cowbell!!!

All we need is a little more TriSports.com Cowbell!!!

TriSports.com EcoLips – Debbie was a Blistek connoisseur and when she couldn’t find the type she liked anymore she went on the hunt for not just a replacement, but a better replacement.  We were at Timberman out in New Hampshire a couple years ago and she got a sample of EcoLips.  She was hooked.  EcoLips is an organic lip balm that is made here in the USA.  They are VERY protective of their brand and will only co-brand with companies that share the same business philosophies as them (StonyField Farms is one example).  Thankfully they liked our company enough to co-brand.  Sorry Blistek, EcoLips is the best stuff on the planet.

TriSports.com EcoLips

TriSports.com EcoLips

Rubber Revolution.

By Nik
October 23, 2009 on 1:32 pm | In Product Information | No Comments

It happened this week.  While we won’t remember the exact time, day or week down the road, Emilio De Soto has changed the wetsuit game with the official introduction of the De Soto T1 Water Rover.  10mm of rubber in the legs.  Yes, you read that right – 10mm!  And 8mm of rubber in the arms.  For those of you who are thinking that this suit is definitely illegal, think again (as long as you are racing in the US under USAT rules).

Check out more information here.  If you are interested in the suit, I would HIGHLY encourage you to pre-order because they are moving fast and will sell out.  Welcome to the new world of triathlon wetsuits.

GU Seasonal Flavors: Tasty Treats and a Great Cause

By Sarah
October 22, 2009 on 2:21 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

It’s here! The hugely popular Chocolate Mint GU Gel is back for the holidays. But wait! It has a new friend – the Vanilla Gingerbread GU Gel. Mmmmm delicious! But be careful, open up a pack on your next ride and you just may see sugar plums dancing in your head. Ok, maybe not, but they are pretty darn good. Each flavor is sold in a 6-pack only as GU is donating 10% of the proceeds from the sale of these special flavors to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. This amazing organization helps athletes who are physically challenged remain active in the sports they have a passion for. In fact, this weekend is the CAF’s San Diego Triathlon Challenge; a flagship fundraising event where able bodied and physically challenged athletes compete side by side. If you live in the La Jolla, CA area, I highly recommend taking a trip down to the cove this weekend to check out this great event.

IronKids – A Visual Perspective

By Seton
October 19, 2009 on 12:17 pm | In Giving Back, Random Musings | No Comments

A couple weeks ago IronKids, a recently acquired entitiy of WTC, was in town for their Tucson race and National Championship race.  The race came to Tucson in large part due to some significant work from a couple people at TriSports.com.  Our actual involvment on expo/race days was pretty involved as well – expo, bike support, as well as lead and sweep bike and lead run.  I had the chance to put my wrenching skills to the test on Saturday (I have never worked on that many bikes in such a short period of time) while the Tucson race was happening.  Sunday came around, for the National Championships, and I was the lead cyclist (the older kids made sure I used up the last little bit of fitness I had in me) and lead runner. 
Sunday morning I borrowed someone’s camera and tried to absorb the calm before the storm in the transition area.  Much to my surprise I would say more than half of the kids there came from parents who weren’t triathletes.  Below are some images from the race that I think really helped me digest what was happening that morning.  Enjoy.

Brody the CAF superstar and his mom

Cody the CAF superstar and his mom

A dad helping with last minute prep

A dad helping with last minute prep

One of my favorite pics from the day, like father like son.

One of my favorite pics from the day, like father like son.

 

Just put your helmet here!

Just put your helmet here!

TriSports.com sponsored athlete Mary White doing her part to volunteer

TriSports.com sponsored athlete Mary White doing her part to volunteer

Yeah, I think this kid one, he put the screws to me on the bike!

Yeah, I think this kid one, he put the screws to me on the bike!

TriSports.com bike support crew - getting the kids ready to go!

TriSports.com bike support crew - getting the kids ready to go!

Drum roll…………and my top two favorite pics:

I think this picture embodies the spirit of the race.

I think this picture embodies the spirit of the race.

...and I can ride my bike with streamers in my handlebars...in my handlebars...

...and I can ride my bike with streamers in my handlebars...in my handlebars...

Hidden Gems.

By Nik
October 15, 2009 on 1:49 pm | In Product Information | No Comments

Have you ever taken a look at a product offered by TriSports.com and just wondered…”Why in the world are they selling that?”  Often times, we bring in a product for testing and it fails.  Sometimes they fail product testing miserably.  Other times, we simply decided the product is not a good fit for our selection.  However, there are times when a product surprises us or times when a product is so interesting that we must sell it.  These hidden gems are what sets TriSports.com apart as we try to bring top level products to our customer base.

The thinksport stainless steel waterbottle is one of those hidden gems.  The bottle is not designed fit into a waterbottle cage or designed for racing so you may be asking “why?” and I have the answer…

  • thinksport bottles are free of BPA, Polycarbonate, Phthalates, Cadmium, Lead and PVC.  In general, these bottles are good for the environment and also non-toxic for human use as well.
  • If the environmental reason is not enough, this bottle is great at keeping things cold (or hot) and I cannot stress this enough – these bottles are awesome!  I can tell you from experience that the thinksport bottles are perfect for recovery drinks.  Even in the hot summer of Arizona, I have filled up this bottle with a recovery drink and ice then come back several hours later to find the drink mix just as cold as I left it.  I think we all know how wonderful recovery drinks taste when warm – not fun.

More hidden gems to come…

Forgotten race gear = creative solutions?

By Lisa R.
October 12, 2009 on 5:38 pm | In Employee Adventures | No Comments

A couple weekends ago a few of us from TriSports.com  travelled out to Elephant Butte, New Mexico to race one of our sponsored races, Elephant Man.  We have a sponsored athlete who welcomed us to stay at his home and share his campsite with his family for the weekend – yet another joy of having such a wonderful TriSports.com Team!!  By the way, if you’d like to be part of the team, our 2010 Team TriSports.com sponsorship application is online!! 

The evening before the race, as we finished dinner and began to relax for race day, I realized I had forgotten my bike shoes in the TriSports.com trailer that was passing through from its breakdown experience in Albuquerque (see previous post for this story). This was a first for me to forget such an important piece of equipment.  We started making phone calls to see if anyone had any extra shoes with them….um, sure, we’re out in the middle of a recreation area in New Mexico at 8:30pm.  I had eventually settled on the option of duct taping my run shoes to the pedals and then cutting them free in T2 to do the run.  I really think that could work…

I was lucky enough to find someone who had an extra pair of mountain bike shoes and pedals for me to borrow – they were a couple sizes too big, but I wasn’t complaining at this point.  I struggled to get into the shoes at T1 (especially since there was about a 1/4mile climb out of transition), but I was able to make it out with one foot partially in the shoe and the other one out.  I was lucky I didn’t ride out of the shoes with all the climbing on the bike course! I was extremely grateful for the borrowed shoes, but very relieved to get into my own run shoes at T2!! 

Any lessons learned from this one?  Well, first of all, be sure to double check ALL your gear before you leave for a race (or before the gigantic TriSports.com trailer pulls out of town) and second, take some time to dream up (and practice) some creative ways to rig your equipment when all else fails!!  I will be practicing the duct tape option, as well as some others…anyone have any creative alternatives they have had to use that worked for them?

It was great to be able to meet some of our awesome TriSports.com Sponsored Athletes at the race!!  Oh yeah, did I mention that TriSports.com women swept 1st, 2nd, and 3rd OA in the race?? :-)

Interbike 2009 videos are coming

By Zachary
October 6, 2009 on 8:13 am | In Announcements, Product Information | No Comments

Have you ever wanted to be an industry insider? To see the latest and greatest gear from bike and tri manufacturers months before it hits stores? Stay tuned to TriSports.com TV in the coming days for a cavalcade of videos showcasing the latest and greatest in cycling, swimming and triathlon from the greatest manufacturers in the business. You’ll get all inside info, minus the sore feet and hoarse voice from actually going.
In the meantime, to whet your appetite, here is De Soto Sport founder Emilio De Soto showing a product that’s already created quite a buzz on the blogs: the 10mm (you read that right!) thick Water Rover Wetsuit.

So that’s all you do?

By Seton
October 2, 2009 on 3:09 pm | In Giving Back, Random Musings | No Comments

TriSports.com is coming up on our 10th Anniversary and after all of these years, I still meet tons of people who aren’t involved in this sport that are surprised this business keeps me busy.  Here is an example of a typical conversation:

Person: “So what do you do for a living?”

Me: “I own a company that sells triathlon equipment.”

Person: Blank Stare

Me: “It’s stuff for swimming, cycling and running.”

Person: “Oh, that’s cool.  What does that entail?”

Me: “The short version is that we take orders and ship product”

Person: “So does that keep you busy full time?”

Me: “Ummmmm, yep, me and 50 other people with who I work.”

Person: “50 people!!!???”

Me: “Yep”

I guess the point of this story is to illustrate that the grass is always greener on the other side.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great working at TriSports.com, but it’s also a lot of (rewarding) hard work.  There is so much stuff going on behind the scenes to make the machine work, it’s quite amazing.  Below is an illustration of this happening – two weeks ago we were in Oklahoma City for the TriSports.com Halfmax Championships and our truck broke down on the way back home. 

24,000 lbs getting ready for a lift

24,000 lbs getting ready for a lift

We had to scramble to have the truck towed, get the truck crew on a plane back home so they could be with their families, send a driver out later in the week once the truck was fixed in order to rendezvous with our next event at the Mt. Graham Hill Climb.  And all we do is take orders and ship product.

Annual Polar Power Throwdown.

By Nik
October 1, 2009 on 12:54 pm | In Employee Adventures, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments

For most companies, Interbike is a time to look at new product and meet with potential and existing vendors.  For TriSports.com, Interbike is time for the Annual Polar Power Throwdown (among other things – including meeting with potential and existing vendors).  Every year, the employees of TriSports.com that attend Interbike spend the entire summer NOT preparing for this event which makes it even more special.  This year our rag-tag crew just finished up a brutal day of talking and walking before we met to see who could produce the best power-to-weight ratio in a one minute test.  Zachary came away the grand champion this year and deserves special props for also lugging around a heavy video camera all day prior to the event.  He comes home a most honorable and deserving Champion.  Here are the numbers:

  • 1.59 – Webster
  • 1.93 – Sarah
  • 1.97 – Seton
  • 1.98 – Alison
  • 2.09 – Billy
  • 2.32 – Erik
  • 2.67 – Mark
  • 2.78 – Nik
  • 2.81 – Zachary

Special thanks to Polar.  Here is a pic of our third-to-last place contestant warming up for the event.

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