The Urban Triathlete

By Debbie
September 8, 2014 on 3:34 pm | In Community, Life at TriSports.com, Random Musings, Training | No Comments

This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Anthony Bagnetto. Pay attention all you city-folk! Check out Anthony’s blog or follow him on Twitter – anthonybagnetto.

Being a triathlete is difficult.  Let’s face it, it’s a huge reason we all do it. ‘Easy’ bores us, only one discipline bores us (what, no transitions!?). Early mornings, inclement weather, technical and nutritional failures are all par for our course. But there is yet another subset of us who face an additional challenge in preparing for races which, time wise, is 95% of being a triathlete.

I’m speaking of us inner city dwellers. No, not the townhouse owners on the city’s edge with driveways and parking but us brave-hearted souls who dream of a second bedroom so we can not have bikes hanging precariously from the wall over our beds as we sleep. The barriers we face on top of the difficulties inherent in our endeavors require a lot of creativity and close intimacy with repetition.

The concrete jungle

I live in the heart of New York City, and happily, there is a strong, thriving triathlete community here with no fewer than 8 solid Tri teams, organizations, and countless cycling and running teams. The community is strong, the will is there–the space isn’t. We are up against each other every morning, runners darting out into cyclists, cyclists swerving into running paths. And, of course, the tens of thousands of tourists that descend, making going fast dangerous and nearly impossible.

This all happens on a 6 mile circle between the hours of 5-7:30am every weekday morning in our training ground, THE ONLY training ground, Central Park. OK, that’s not totally true. There are several spacious parks in the other boroughs, but if you’re centrally located, the commuting time might take longer than your workout time.

Central Park - triathlete training grounds

I’ve broken down challenges and clever ways we city-folk create to overcome them by discipline.

Swimming:

Being in the northeast and surrounded by concrete, the idea of an outdoor 8-lane Olympic sized pool is a pipe dream. Access to a 25 yard or a 25 or 50 meter pool is supremely hard, or at least very expensive, as they come with mandatory gyms fees attached (by my count, there are 3 Olympic lane swimming pools in Manhattan, none of them easy to reach). One way triathletes get around this is through those tri teams that we belong to. They often have relationships with different facilities, so if you are going to do mostly group workouts, you are allowed to use the pool with the group as part of your membership. Some private triathlon coaches, like myself, have these relationships, as well, and can get you in for private lessons.

Some are lucky/rich enough to have a pool in their doorman building, and I’ve had clients in a lot of them. While this sounds awesome, it really isn’t. I haven’t found one yet that’s actually 25 yards long. So being good at both math and flip turns is essential.

As for open water practice, you can head way out to one of the Brooklyn beaches and brave the waves but as for anywhere else, as they say there, “fuggedaboutit”

Biking:

Here in Manhattan there are 3 options, and only 2 of them really useful for any kind of speed work. The West Side Highway has a very nice bike/running path but therein lies the problem. Runners, walkers and aerobar’d speedster triathletes competing for space within 5 feet of each other isn’t ideal for anything other than slow recovery rides. Which leaves that 6 mile loop of Central Park I mentioned and that’s only useful during non-tourist hours before 8:30am. If you are a long course triathlete, it’s off to Jersey, along the well-ridden 9W route. While this option is great (wide shoulders, frequent cyclist-friendly coffee shops and bathrooms) it can become mind-numbingly repetitive. Plus, depending on where you live in NYC, the commute to get out over the George Washington bridge (read: warmup) can be over a half hour each way.

Want to really bike? Then get out of town!

There are a handful of growing indoor cycling studios with computrainers and flatscreens that welcome both teams and individuals for different workouts, and they become very popular in the winter offseason. Even these are cramped, though, and few have shower or changing facilities.

Running:

This is really where my city (or really any other city) shines for triathletes as it is much easier to lace up some shoes and be running just outside your door in only minutes. On foot there is no need to stick to the boring 6 mile drive in Central Park since you can veer onto any number of the hundreds of trails that crisscross the many iconic acres. Running with traffic can be challenging, but it’s a skill easily learned and, unless you are doing speed work, you can generally work the traffic lights so that there is minimal stopping. The people-watching is unrivaled and, with each neighborhood sometimes seeming like a separate country, boredom is never an issue.

Endless possibilities for run training

No matter which leg of a triathlon you are training for, in a city it’s difficult to escape the glass, steel and concrete bearing down on you every day. So when you are at those races in the country and you see a few of us looking up at the clear wide open sky in astonishment, just remember, this is our escape both figuratively and literally. We won’t let it slow us down, though, we just take it in faster.

TriSports Tempe Store Update #3

By Seton
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!

TriSports Tempe Panorama PictureTriSports Tempe Panorama- A look inside the new store as construction starts to wrap up.

TriSports Tempe Store Update #2

By Seton
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.

Run shoe wallA look at the shoe area – With 80-100 different makes/models of  shoes TriSports will have one of the best run shoe selections in the entire Phoenix valley for both runners and triathletes!


Morning sunThe early morning sun in late April shines into the store with the famous ASU A-Mountain in the background.

TriSports Tempe Store Update #1

By Seton
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.

Empty Shell, November 2011A walk through the empty shell just after the lease was signed (and the day after Ironman Arizona).


Early store mock upHere is an early mock up of the store layout, most of the actual build will look this way.

A look in the store April 13, 2012A look in the store April 13, 2012

Houston, can we get a Go, No-Go, for Launch?

By Seton
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.

Battle of Words: A Conversation Between Two Endurance Geeks

By Seton
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).

Thesaurus:

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.

Seton and PT at the finish of Leadville 100 MTBSeton and Paul at the finish of the Leadville 100 MTB Race.

(7:00 PM)

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.

(7:57 PM)

PT: I am actually motor pacing behind the Vangina as I write.  I told Noreen to keep it between 45-48 mph.

(8:49 PM)

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.

(9:07 PM)

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.

(10:00 PM)

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!!!!!

A welcome home hug at the finishAfter many hard hours of training, it was good to see PT at the finish line.

Leanda Cave the Nanny

By Seton
March 15, 2012 on 4:00 am | In Employee Adventures, Life at TriSports.com, Races, Sponsorship | No Comments

TriSports has been sponsoring Leanda Cave for the last three years.  Over this short time she has accomplished numerous athletic feats in the world of triathlon.  One thing she hasn’t yet mastered is the handicapped bet with the staff at TriSports.  In July of 2010, she lost a bet to our sponsorship coordinator and had to put in a long day of work at TriSports.

Without a doubt one of our BEST employees!

Fast forward to November 2011 at the Ford Ironman Arizona and we were both going to be on the starting line.  Two days before the event, I had breakfast with her and she said that we should have a friendly wager.  The bet: I would get a 20min handicap.  She wins and I shave my head (a real problem because I don’t think it would grow back).  I win and she has to babysit my 3 and 6 year-old kids.  My goal for IMAZ was 9:30 and the fastest Leanda has ever gone was 9:20’ish. I took the bet.

Race day dawns and it is going well for both of us. I see her on the run course at about mile 6 (the pros left 10-15 min before the age groupers) and did a time check…she had 6 min on me so I thought all was fine. Mile 16 comes and I find myself stopped in front of hundreds of people under the Mill Avenue Bridge, unable to move because my legs are locked down from cramps.  I finally got going again and had one more time check on her that was north of 20min.  I should have been jumping for joy because I was about to crush my IM PR that I set 10 years earlier, but noooooooo, all I was worried about was having to shave my noggin.  I went 9:14, Leanda went 8:49.

I arrived at my hotel that night, got the kids down for bed, checked my Twitter account and found this message:

Yes, 26 minutes.  Look who’s babysitting now!

Leanda, the consummate professional, lived up to her word and in December she came over and watched the kids for a solid 5 hours.  When we got home at 10:30PM, Leanda was on the couch (reading Lava magazine) and I asked how the kids behaved.  Before she could answer, our 3 year old jumps up from next to her, yelling “mommy, daddy!” “Leanda, ummmm, bed time was 8:30PM.”  Her response: “Your daughter has a lot of staying power.”  I will take that as a compliment coming from one of the best athletes on the planet.  I guess her idea of pumping the kids full of candy didn’t pay off too well!

Ironman Arizona – a group effort

By Seton
November 17, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Community, Employee Adventures, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com, Random Musings, Uncategorized | No Comments

This weekend is the 9th edition of Ironman Arizona and for all 9 of these, the TriSports.com staff, family, friends and loyal customers have been on the course volunteering and racing.  This year will be no different.  Our great customers from around Tucson, Phoenix and beyond come out in droves to support the TriSports.com aid station that is nestled under the 202 and Mill Ave bridges.  This aid station serves as a safe haven for volunteers, racers and spectators because of the built in “roof” above.  Along with volunteering, we have four great staff members, representing four different departments (customer service, accounting, buying and management) stepping up to the line representing the red, white and blue of TriSports.com.  All combined, over 40% of our staff will be involved with the event in some way, shape or form.

Retail manager, Erik Jacobson, volunteers at the 2010 Ironman Arizona.

I have to say that we are very fortunate to work in our facility because it really does feel like the entire TriSports.com staff is behind you.  They understand when you had a hard day on the bike, a great run or a meeting in the Pain Cave.  Most of the time when you see someone dragging in this building, it is because they just tortured themselves on some epic workout.  Why?   Because we live the endurance lifestyle, it is what we do, it is who we are.  See you up in Tempe!

2011 Ironman Arizona finisher, and Team TriSports athlete Matt Grabau.

Halloween at TriSports.com

By Tom D.
November 1, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Community, Employee Adventures, Life at TriSports.com, Uncategorized | No Comments

Treats await the tricksters at the TriSports.com Halloween Luncheon with Mrs. Green, Gina Murphy-Darling. TriSports.com was awarded “Arizona's Greenest Workplace” by Mrs. Green’s World for 2011.

There really is no place like home as Dorothy enjoys the Whole Foods Luncheon at TriSports.com in celebration of winning the “Arizona's Greenest Workplace” award at our annual Halloween Costume Contest here in Tucson, Arizona.

Apparently the lack of devil’s food sandwiches upset Adam McCreight, retail associate, during the Halloween Luncheon with Mrs. Green as TriSports.com celebrated the “Arizona's Greenest Workplace” award for 2011.

Some of the TriSports.com family dogs got into the act including this one with a fairly convincing Guernsey costume at the TriSports.com Halloween Luncheon with Mrs. Green.

An impressive turnout of ghouls, goblins and get-ups for the 2011 TriSports.com Halloween Costume Contest during the Halloween Luncheon brought to us by Whole Foods, with guest Mrs. Green (AKA Gina Murphy-Darling), CEO of Mrs. Green’s World, on hand to help judge. TriSports.com won the Mrs. Green’s “Arizona's Greenest Workplace” award for 2011.

 

CAF San Diego Triathlon Challenge

By Adam McCreight
October 25, 2011 on 11:31 am | In Community, Employee Adventures, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments
Cody McCasland, one of CAF’s Shining Stars
A few months back, I was given the opportunity to join a relay team for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) through TriSports Racing, TriSports.com’s charity arm. I had recently heard of this organization and thought to myself that this is a chance to participate in a triathlon that raises money for athletes with some kind of disability so they have the means to compete through grants and other assistance. What I knew beforehand about CAF were the cool running prosthetics, hand crank bicycles, and other high profile items. What this day meant to me was that I was going to San Diego for the weekend to check out some really cool hardware on amputees and get to also run beside them.
Tyler, Shari and Adam head out together on the run
On the day of the race, I was convinced this is not a race, but an event. What did that really mean? TriSports Racing had two relay teams during this “race” and I was to run on one of them. I had decided ahead of time to get a swim out of this day as well. After the opening ceremony, which had an unbelievable signer belting out the national anthem, and a parade of the challenged athletes competing, I scrambled to go to the bathroom and then put on my wetsuit. That is where I met Sean. He was in a corner with his girlfriend, trying to get on his wetsuit before the start. I was in my own world and was using this quiet corner to put down my wetsuit while I went to the bathroom. As soon as I put down the wetsuit and turned to leave, I did a 180 and asked if I could help. He replied back with “Yes, if you have the time.” That right there changed this day from a race into an event for me.
The “wheelies” prepare to start
Here is a paraplegic trying to get on a wetsuit to swim one mile in open water. Yes, I had the time. If you have ever attempted to put on a triathlon wetsuit, you know it is tough. For some people it takes 15-20 minutes, and that is with the ability to stand up and work the wetsuit up your legs and butt. Sean is a paraplegic in a wheelchair. He had to lock the wheels, use his arms to get his “trunk” off of the seat, lean forward for me to work the wetsuit up, and because he has experience in this, use his girlfriend as a stability device with his head as I jerk on the wetsuit to get it past his butt.
World Champ Chrissie Wellington accompanies some of the kids during their run
After a few attempts, the wetsuit was up far enough that he could get his arms in. A part of my job at TriSports.com is to help fit people in wetsuits. I could tell the wetsuit was not far enough up on his torso, but Sean’s swim start was in 5 minutes and he had to get from the cliffs of La Jolla Bay down to the water. As I was fretting with the fit, I realized that Sean has a lot more to overcome on this day than a wetsuit that is pulling down on his shoulders a bit. We parted ways and all I got was his name and a new understanding of what this event was really about.
Determination!
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