April 18, 2013 on 10:54 am | In Races, Sponsorship | No Comments
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend USAT Collegiate Nationals in Tempe, AZ. I haven’t been to a college national championship in over a decade – back when it was held in conjunction with Wildflower. Back in the day, the college kids would just be lumped in with the rest of the Wildflower Olympic race. The race and venue were great, heck, we didn’t know the difference. Actually, the naked run we would do was a bigger highlight than the race itself.
Fast forward to now: USAT has full control of the race – a move by our national governing body that has many race directors up in arms (they don’t feel USAT should be producing races). I am here to tell you that USAT has made the right move by taking over the race; they are providing an experience for collegiate triathletes that no one else can consistently deliver. What an incredible experience for all of the college athletes that make the annual pilgrimage to this great event (the race site moves around the country every two years). This year they had a total of three races over two days: on Friday there was the first ever ITU Draft Legal Collegiate race, on Saturday morning was the Olympic non-drafting race and on Saturday afternoon was the Super Sprint Relay.
If you have never seen an ITU Draft Legal race, I can tell you as a veteran of 25+ years in the sport that they are really exciting to watch – especially when it comes to college racing. It’s like March Madness all rolled into a one hour race in April, with kids who aren’t getting huge scholarships to compete. As cool as the ITU race was, the Super Sprint Relay was incredibly fun to watch. The relay teams are comprised of two women and two men; each athlete does a very short triathlon of 250m swim, 5km bike and 1.2km run – about 15 min of anaerobic amusement.
I haven’t seen this much pure fun in the sport for many years; it was the most enjoyable time I have had watching the sport I have grown up with. Of course, it’s even better when you sponsor the team (my alma mater) with the men’s winner of the ITU and Olympic race (University of Arizona TriCat – Ben Kanute) as well as sponsor the women’s Olympic winner (Colorado – Michelle Mehnert) .
September 26, 2012 on 4:51 pm | In Announcements | No Comments
Over the last several weeks we have been awarded some very unique awards from a couple of our manufacturers. Here is a look at a couple of them!
Thank you to all of our customer for putting us in a position to earn these awards.
July 24, 2012 on 2:56 pm | In Employee Adventures | 2 Comments
Just about a year ago I set off to accomplish a bucket list ride and when I finished I didn’t say a whole lot about it outside of my circle of friends. After a year of reflection I have come to the realization that I should probably write about it – not for bragging rights, not for chest pounding, but merely to document my experience for historical purposes. To the best of my knowledge I am the only person to do this exact ride. Who knows, maybe my kids or grandkids will read this one day.
If you are a serious cyclist in this country you know about at least one of the great mountain top hill climbs – Mt. Washington, NH; Haleakala, HI; etc. In southern Arizona, we happen to be home to three of the best hill climbs in the U.S. – Mt. Lemmon, Mt. Graham, and Kitt Peak. Two of these – Mt. Lemmon and Kitt Peak – are visible from Tucson, and when you are climbing either one you can look far across the desert and see the other staring back at you. Well, over a decade ago I was coming back from a trip full of debauchery down in Mexico with some friends and we were driving by Kitt Peak on our way back to Tucson. Needless to say, this is when the question was planted in my head, “what would it be like to ride both Kitt Peak and Mt. Lemmon in the same day?”
The top of Kitt Peak – photo from http://www.noao.edu/kpno/
Fast forward to the spring of 2011. I had two big races I was prepping for – Leadville Trail 100 MTB and Ironman Arizona. I was putting in some monster 300-350+ mile weeks on the bike w/tons of climbing leading into late June, and it magically dawned on me that the moons had lined up and I was going to be in good enough shape to take on this monumental ride. The catch with this particular ride is that I made one rule for myself – it had to be completed in daylight. In order to make that happen, the ride would have to be as close to the summer equinox as possible so there is enough daylight. The obvious downside is that I live in the desert and it is quite hot in the summer. Of course, because the ride window opened up so suddenly (back to my fitness and training cycle), the ride fell into the first part of July (July 9th to be exact), smack at the start of the monsoon season. The monsoons open up a whole other potential issue because they tend to explode in the mid to late afternoon and can wreak havoc due to wind, hail, rain, flooding and lightning. I figured I would just duck and cover if this became an issue.
About 10 days out I started getting the word out to some other crazies I know that I was going to do this ride. I was able to get three “volunteers” – one of our sponsored athletes (Chrissy Parks) and two employees (Billy Brenden and Steve Acuna) to accompany me through the 120 mile Kitt Peak leg. I was also able to get another warrior to join me for the entire ride – Chris Chesher. Chrissy is the real deal on a road/tri bike, Billy and I had trained for IMLP together in 2009 and Steve is an up and comer in the sport who was there for the beating. Chris is a BAMF, one of the strongest guys on the bike in Tucson – he will punish you. If you ever come to do the shootout here in Tucson, Chris is probably the guy in the front making you suffer.
I didn’t bother mapping the ride because I have ridden both Kitt Peak and Mt. Lemmon many times, but I was guessing about 200-210 miles. Chris met me near the base of Mt. Lemmon and we took off west at about 4:45AM (just as the sun was coming up behind us). We picked up Chrissy, Billy and Steve by the University of Arizona at about 5:15, and we were off. To make sure this was a real suffer fest and that people couldn’t come back and say, “but you went the easy way,” we headed over Gates Pass and around McCain Loop and headed out Sandario to hook up to Ajo (Hwy 86). With the exception of me getting a flat and not having an inflator with me, it was a pretty uneventful ride to Kitt Peak. Chesher was really pushing the pace as we circled our pace line – he was probably putting out 300W – it was the train of pain and we hadn’t even done a climb yet. I didn’t mind only because I knew my fitness and knew the longer this went, the better I would feel. We arrived at the base where Debbie, my wife, brought the kids for a “fun day watching daddy ride his bike up a mountain.” She played sag support for us on the mountain. We all rode Kitt Peak at our own pace (leaving the car at different times) and Chris and I rode together at a sustainable 230W.
Kitt Peak (6,880 ft) is a National Observatory that houses 24 telescopes and sits alone in the Sonoran Desert. The climb is about 14 miles long and is unique because it only gets steeper as you climb – there is absolutely no relief on this climb. A friend of mine who has done Alpe d’Huez several times said that Kitt Peak is equally, if not more, difficult. At the top is the 4-meter Mayall Telescope that can be seen from both Tucson and Mt. Lemmon. This particular telescope taunts you all the way from Tucson and all the way to when you “think” you are done with the climb.
We fueled up at the top and headed back to Tucson where Chrissy, Billy and Steve detached from the mother ship and headed in for the day (a “mere” 120 mile ride – one that not many people ever do). By this time the temperature was pushing 102F and the humidity was about 60% with no cloud cover. To make sure, once again, that no one questioned my ability to suffer, I dragged Chris over the back side of Gates Pass (it’s a climb over the Tucson Mountains that pitches to about 16%) before we descended into the Tucson valley and made the voyage across town to do Mt. Lemmon. I was dreading this part of the ride, dealing with the cars and the lights, but it was actually fun! The crazy thing was that I felt fantastic – yes, 140 miles into the ride and I was feeling fresh as a daisy. Along the way across town my Garmin 705 was giving me the Low Battery warning so I had Debbie bring me the charged Garmin 310xt I had at home – there was no way I was doing this ride without proof! Chris and I made it back close to the base of Mt. Lemmon and swapped out our TT bikes for road bikes for a change of pace, and because I wanted the better climbing position, then headed toward the 26+ mile climb.
This brings me to the part of the story where things get interesting. As we are climbing the first miles of the mountain I tell Chris “yep, over 150 done and about 50 to go, just this small mountain in our way.” Chris looks over in all seriousness and says “wait, I thought this was a 170 mile ride……I guess it doesn’t matter.” By about mile 5 the realization of what we had already put our bodies through started to sink in. I think my lungs were literally burnt from inhaling the hot air and I was having a very difficult time breathing – from here to the top it would be short, shallow breaths. Chris didn’t have enough nutrition so I was donating mine because I knew I needed the company (and a witness). Both Mt. Lemmon and Kitt Peak are known as Sky Islands because they emerge from the desert floor and host their own ecosystem – pine trees, ferns, bears, mountain lions, skunks, deer – it’s a forest in the middle of the desert. Another unique thing about these mountains is that they create their own weather, especially during monsoon season. As we climbed, it was becoming quite evident that a monsoon was pounding the top of the mountain and our destination lay in the middle of the beast. Luckily, the storm was dissipating about as fast as we were climbing and we didn’t get hit by rain or hail. As we climbed toward Ski Valley, however, the roads were wet, steam coming off of them, and the temperature had plummeted to about 50F (it felt like 35 after being in the heat all day). The road was lined with about an inch of hail. My big reward for the day waited for me at the vending machine at the bottom of the ski lift – a Coke. When I arrived there, thirsting for an ice cold caffeine-laden drink, it was out of stock! In fact, everything with caffeine was out, all they had was Sprite. What a letdown. After waiting for Chris (he was about 20min back at this point), he finally arrived and he was destroyed. He had a white rag wrapped around his head and when I gave him the Sprite he dumped it on the rag. “So, um Chris, are you going to go with me to the top?” Chris replied with a confused and startled look, “we are at the top!” I replied, “no, the real top – up the telescope access road.” Chris looks at me and says, “you are f’ing crazy, I will head down to where it is warmer and I will wait for you. See you at Palisades.” Palisades was about 8 miles back down the mountain at around 7,800 feet and out of the hail-entrenched monsoon war zone.
So this was it, just me. There was no one on the mountain but me. I started the final 1000 foot, approximately 1.5 mile climb with a little reluctance. The monsoon had absolutely destroyed the road. There was 2-3 inches of hail on huge sections of the road and the sections that didn’t have hail were full of rocks and mud. This would be a challenge on my mountain bike, let alone on my road bike with wet tires. The real problem wasn’t going up…it was coming down. This was a very real threat because I knew I would be freezing and, worse, I questioned if I would be able to actually make the bike stop in these conditions. I made my way through the debris without ever unclipping and made it to the gate to the observatory. I hiked through the hail and rode my way to the Mt. Lemmon Sky Center, the home to several telescopes, the same telescopes you can see from certain parts of Tucson and that stare back at you when you are on Kitt Peak. I took my self-portrait and gingerly headed down the mountain. Shivering almost uncontrollably down the descent, I willed my hands to stay on the brakes as I weaved around and through the debris. I managed to make it back to Ski Valley with the rubber side down!
After climbing to the very top of Mt. Lemmon (9,157 ft), you would think you could just coast all the way down, which you can except for one ~750 ft climb about five miles from Ski Valley. A very miserable sight to see for anybody who does Mt. Lemmon. I made my way over the climb and down to Palisades to find Chris resting. We joined up and headed back to the desert floor below (about 2300 ft). We finished the ride as the last little sliver of sunlight was left in the sky behind a couple of picture perfect monsoons that were hanging over Kitt Peak far off in the distance.
To put icing on the cake for this ride, I got up the next morning and rode with Debbie back to Mt. Lemmon (this time only to mile 5). As I made the turn at mile two, I looked over my shoulder out to the west and could see Kitt Peak staring at me. Probably one of the best feelings I have ever had – I now knew, I knew the answer.
Distance: 209 miles
Elevation Gain: 13,637
Food Consumed: About 2500 calories, but a ton of water!
June 8, 2012 on 1:11 pm | In Announcements, Life at TriSports.com, Random Musings | 1 Comment
Construction for the new TriSports Tempe store is on the home stretch. With just a couple weeks to go, all final preparations are coming into play. It is funny, today I was reminded that TriSports was in fact the first triathlon store to ever enter the Phoenix area way back in 2003 with the launch of our first expo at a race that would eventually move on to be the now popular Soma Triathlon. I remember seeing the store manager of one of the local bike shops (the now defunct Bicycle Showcase) looking quite shocked at the lines outside of our expo setup while no one was at his booth. Soon after he quit his job and eventually started Tribe Multisport (he sold this operation about a year ago). So, coming back full circle, we are opening up our store across the street from the location of our first full blown expo at the Tempe Mission Palms. It is good to be bringing TriSports back into the valley in a more permanent fashion. See everyone soon!
May 21, 2012 on 11:45 am | In Announcements, Life at TriSports.com | 1 Comment
With a narrow 14-week construction timeline we are seeing rapid progress on the construction at the new store in Tempe. When we installed our Endless Pool in our Tucson store we ran into permit problems and now we are running into them again up in Tempe (for some odd reason city permitting offices don’t know how to handle above ground pools in a commercial space that are used for wetsuit fitting); however, this time the U.S. Department of Justice is giving us grief.
May 9, 2012 on 1:53 pm | In Announcements, Life at TriSports.com, Random Musings | No Comments
Construction is moving along rapidly up in Tempe on the new store. We took what we have learned at our Tucson location and teamed up with Architekton to accomplish one small task – take the greatest triathlon retail store on the face of the planet and make it even better in Tempe, and oh, yeah, keep sustainability at the forefront of the project. Our general contractor, Caliente Construction , is now well on the way to getting us moved in by the end of June, 2012. Here are some pictures of the progress.
May 3, 2012 on 8:30 am | In Announcements, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments
There are many books written on business – many, many books. The highs and lows, the good and the bad have all been documented over many decades. It is actually quite remarkable, pick up most of the popular business books and, if you are involved with a business, the thought that goes through your mind is “Dang, how did they know that? They wrote this book before I was born and I can plug my business right into this situation.”
TriSports.com is no exception to these business rules and about a year ago, like many businesses, we had to make a critical decision to upgrade the software that is used to run our company. This software will, once we get the bull under control, improve efficiencies for all of our operations that will ultimately help our customers. The dedication of our entire staff has gotten us to this day, the day we walked up to the edge and looked down. Over the next four days we will be making all final preparations for our Go-Live on May, 7. From the outside it may seem like a simple task – all you guys do is sell triathlon equipment. Yep, and all that NASA did on July 20, 1969 was get a man on the moon. With this, can I get a Go, No-Go for Launch?
Receiving Logistics – GO!
Tucson Retail – GO!
Returns Integration – GO!
Wireless Warehouse – GO!
Purchasing Ops – GO!
Marketing Command – GO!
Tempe Launch Controls – GO!
Data Systems – GO!
TriSports.com, we are all clear for Launch! On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of customers from around the world, and the former and future employees of TriSports.com – Godspeed.
April 30, 2012 on 2:14 pm | In Announcements | 2 Comments
I would say that it was back in late 2005 that the first real thought of expanding our retail store came into my head. At that time, we were just moving into our new facility in Tucson and our previous retail operations had been nothing more than a showroom. Once we moved into our current Tucson location, we started a multi-year experiment on triathlon retail.
During this retail experiment, Debbie and I happened to be in Tempe in December of 2008 for the Phoenix Tri Club Holiday Party at Monti’s. I don’t know how I missed it, but they had just built a fabulous new building smack in the epicenter of triathlon in Arizona. I pulled Debbie out of the party and we walked around the building. I told her that if we were going to expand our retail outside of Tucson that this was the location. We weren’t ready on an operational standpoint to expand at that point, which was disappointing initially because we didn’t want to lose the opportunity for the space, but ultimately didn’t matter because the people who built the building went belly up and it went back to the bank. After a couple of years sitting idle, Paul Allen’s (co-founder of Microsoft, owner of the Seattle SeaHawks, Portland Trailblazers, etc) commercial investment group came in and bought the building. So, in February of 2011, Debbie and I finally got our first look inside the building. After a lot of negotiating, we got the deal done in November of 2011 (although it looked planned, it coincided perfectly with Ironman Arizona; sort of a big race that finishes about 300 feet from the store).
The store is now slated to open in late June 2012 and in the home stretch I will be updating the progress on our blog. For employment information, please visit http://www.trisports.com/employment-opportunities.html
April 23, 2012 on 10:46 am | In Fat Tires, Life at TriSports.com, Random Musings | No Comments
This past summer I did quite a bit of crazy riding to get ready for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race. One of the guys that I trained with was Paul “PT” Thomas. This conversation took place about 16 hours after the finish of the Leadville 100 Mtb Race (August 13, 2011) between me and PT (who subsequently went 7:13, a blazing time especially at the young age of 41).
Vangina – the name of Paul’s VW Euro Van
Noreen – Paul’s wife
Debbie – Seton’s wife
Molino – A basin about 5.5 miles up the famous Mt. Lemmon climb in Tucson.
Sabino – A popular walking/running/cycling canyon in Tucson.
PT: How do the pistons feel?
SC: Feeling good, I just got back from an easy ride up to Molino Basin. It was a bit warm.
PT: I am actually motor pacing behind the Vangina as I write. I told Noreen to keep it between 45-48 mph.
SC: Just got back from my run. Kept it easy, just two repeats up Sabino. I had to run on the road because it was getting dark.
PT: Interesting….I don’t want to make it seem like I am one upping you, but Noreen ran outa gas after 3 hours of motor pacing. We are fixing up a cabled harness and I am going to ride the Specialized, pulling the Vangina 30 miles to Deming.
SC: That sounds similar to my experience earlier today. Our plane ran out of fuel right after we landed so I volunteered to hop our and pull that bitch to the gate.
PT: I am way too familiar with runways. I once had to tow a plane up to speed that needed help as it was carting the space shuttle Challenger back to Florida….not to “one up” you though.
SC: Yeah, I remember that, they had me on that mission hooked up to a power bike to provide aux power for the shuttle.
PT: Sorry for the delay in responding…I was pre occupied with taking the lug nuts off with my bare hands. Noreen thought I should rotate the wheels as the Vangina was pulling to the left a bit.
PT: F#*c….after all of that manual labor, we figured out it was not the wheels, as now it is pulling to the right. I switched my one legged drills from left to right leg.
SC: Damn, I am spent. There was a creaking under the house so I had to lift it off the foundation so Debbie could have a look underneath. Turns out it was just noise from my one-arm clap push ups I was doing.
(2:26 PM next day)
PT: Just read this one. You are the winner as I am laughing hard!!!!!
April 1, 2012 on 10:13 am | In Announcements, Random Musings, Tech Tips | No Comments
Tucson, AZ (April, 1, 2012): TriSports.com, the world’s premiere triathlon store, announces its patented new leg shaving technology known as Hybrid Shave Technology. After 2-years of research and development using wind tunnel, CFD and real world data, the engineers at TriSports.com have released their findings. Seton Claggett, who earned his Master’s in Hydrology from the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona, says “we have been using this proprietary shave method with our athletes for years but as we have grown as a company we know that for the betterment of the sport and in light of great customer service that we should reveal our research to the world.”
The Hybrid Shave Technology uses a scientific approach to removing leg hair on cyclists and triathletes to improve aerodynamics and speed. “The experiment,” says Tom Demerly, one of the chief investigators on the project, “was performed over many conditions and using many different shave patterns and what we found was that using basic aerodynamic principals of laminar boundary conditions coupled with muscle formation resulted in the ideal real-world power conversion on the bike.”
The final testing came down to analyzing the real world results of 1) Hairy Leading Edge Legs, 2) Full Shaved Legs, and 3) Short Stubble Leading Edge Legs (the Hybrid Shave Technology). Full hairy legs performed exponentially worse than the three chosen tests. The results are shown in the diagram above. “It was amazing how superior the performance was using the Hybrid Shave Technology”, said Claggett, “the power savings were staggering. It is amazing how basic aerodynamic principles such as using the Navier-Stokes equation and Reynolds numbers to estimate the boundary layer conditions of a hairy legs work in wind tunnel and real world testing.”
The results have shown an actual average power savings of 10 Watts over distances greater than 30k (compared to a full hairy leg and almost 6 Watts over a fully shaved leg). Over a 112 mile relatively flat course with little wind the TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology will save you about 6 minutes. “6 minutes”, says Claggett who used the Hybrid Shave Technology at the 2011 Ironman Arizona, “is a ton of free time, especially if you are trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible.” Claggett consequently won his age-group by a mere 45 seconds. “You can spend hundreds of dollars on an aero helmet, thousands of dollars on aero wheels and an aero bike, or you can use the TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology and get the same benefits – do everything and you are all-in.”
A video showing actual footage of the TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology
Conclusion: Hold off as long as you can during the season to get the training benefit of hairy legs and then shave them just before your “A” race. The results of the TirSports Hybrid Shave Technology speak for themselves, so when you do shave, use this method if you want to optimize aerodynamics.