Becoming Friends with the Bike

By Debbie
November 4, 2014 on 11:42 am | In Life at TriSports.com, Product Information, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments

This blog brought to you by Team TriSports member Pam Winders. She’s living proof that you simply can’t fake the bike. Follow Pam on Twitter – pamye6.

It’s interesting how things always come full circle. This past summer I have had friends come up to me after races, devastated with their bike performance. They proceed to pick my brain as to why I believe their bike didn’t go as planned and what training they could have done prior to the race in order to succeed and see where they went wrong. It amazed me how many of those people had only gone on a ride or two prior to the race. So with that, I basically told them what they didn’t want to hear, which was the obvious; if you want to do well and meet your goals, then you have to do the work and actually train for your desired results.

When I first started triathlon four years ago I was always amazed with the bike portion of the race…there are some really fast riders out there! I wanted to be the fastest, so my first goal in triathlon was to “master,” or at least get better on, the bike. I quickly learned two things; 1) Bikes are REALLY expensive and 2) There are no shortcuts to success – aka: you have to do the work in order to see the results you’re seeking.

With my overachieving goal of always being on the podium, I went out and bought Betty, an awesome women’s specific Felt DA, and a bike trainer. When I started triathlon I was living in Alaska, so getting out on the road and accumulating what I call “real life” miles was nonexistent; therefore the trainer was a necessity. In addition, I purchased my first pair of heavy duty diaper biking shorts. I wasn’t winning any fashion awards in them, and I definitely wasn’t picking up any hot guys, but I knew that in order for me to put the time in the saddle, comfort was vital.

Hardcore cycling in Alaska

From that point on I spent many days, especially Sundays, in my living room watching NFL while riding Betty instead of snuggled up on the couch. As I began to educate myself more on biking, I learned to incorporate more specific workouts for racing and that’s when the real fun began. I would include hill repeats, speed and distance intervals and soon enough I was seeing dramatic changes in my riding; I could ride longer and was stronger and faster!!

My real love for biking didn’t come until after that initially painful boring living room period from which I went out and did my first “real life” ride of the season racing St. George 70.3. Not the smartest move on my part after training in dark, cold Alaska on a trainer and a treadmill all winter, but all the hard work and time I put in by becoming friends with my bike made it so worth it and I was actually able to enjoy the ride instead of suffer through it.

After St. George I’ve continued to embrace my bike; I’ve put on a power meter, which I’d highly recommend to anyone wanting to race competitively or who has a thing for numbers. By incorporating power into my riding, it has taken my training to a whole different excruciating level of pain and sweat, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A strong bike = good chances for a podium position!

In the end, the only way to get better and have fun while riding is to put in the time and become friends with your bike!!

The Off-Season

By Debbie
October 21, 2014 on 1:51 pm | In Life at TriSports.com, Product Information, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments

This blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Liz Miller. The off-season is coming, so what are you going to do about it? Check out Liz’s blog or follow her on Twitter – FeWmnLiz (can you tell she’s a geologist?).

Some people dread the off-season, and other people love it. I usually feel a little bit of both excitement and anxiety when it’s time to transition to the off-season. Excitement because the off-season typically means sleeping in, weekends away without my swim, bike, and run gear, and maybe more than just an occasional glass of wine. Dread because the off-season also means shorter days, potential lack of motivation, and the occasional unwanted weight gain (especially around the holidays!).

In preparation for my off-season, I started looking around for some fun activities that didn’t necessarily involve swimming, biking, or running, or least not all 3 activities in the same race! Here are a few ideas for those of you who are getting ready to start your off-season, or maybe just looking for a few ideas to refresh your off-season routine.

Find a new type of race

I recently participated in my very first ultra-marathon. I have always been intrigued by ultra-marathons, but I typically need to save my quads and knees for quality long runs during Ironman training. This means that running 50K on trails is out of the question! But once your triathlon season is done, an ultra-marathon is a great way to put your fitness into something new and different.

I had a blast in my first ultra-marathon, not to mention the fact that since I wasn’t running with the goal of winning, I had more than enough time to stop and take pictures! Who can complain about running 50K when you have beautiful scenery like this?

The view during the Mt. Taylor 50K on 9/27/2014 (mttaylor50k.com)

Also, if you live somewhere with snow, look for some winter racing options. Snowshoe and cross country ski races are a great way to have some fun and challenge yourself without the pressure or stress that can sometimes be involved with a triathlon.

The ski to snowshoe transition during the Mt. Taylor Quad a few years ago (mttaylorquad.org)

Lastly, the winter can be a great time to try a swim meet or two! I participated in my first swim meet two years ago, and while I got DQ’ed from one event and certainly didn’t win any of the other events that I entered, I had a good time and enjoyed the challenge. Check out the U.S. Masters website for a list of local Masters groups that might be sponsoring an upcoming meet.

Try something new (or go back to something old!)

A few years ago, I took an “Introduction to Kettlebells” class that was required before participating in the local YMCA’s kettlebell course. I was hooked! It was a great mix of strength training and cardio work, and the 6 AM class was a great way to kick off the workday. The off-season is the perfect time to work on strength training (which is often overlooked during triathlon training), and kettlebells is a great way to do that.

Other strength training classes include TRX, Cross Fit, and other local YMCA or gym classes. I have found that TRX is another butt-kicker of a workout, relying mostly on body weight rather than weights, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s easy!

Yoga and Pilates are additional options for new and different workouts that offer a nice variety to your typical swim, bike, and run schedule. Power and Bikram yoga can both be very challenging if you feel that you need a harder workout, and Pilates can really help with core strength, which can translate into better cycling form and faster running.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself!

The off-season shouldn’t be about constantly watching your food intake, weeks of difficult workouts, and a lack of social life. The off-season should be about kicking back, enjoying a treat now and then, and maybe sitting on the couch to watch a little more football than what is reasonable. Even more importantly, the off-season is about giving your mind and body a break from the rigors of triathlon training, to have some fun and not be too worried about missing a workout here and there.

Kicking back during a week-long canoe trip on Lake Mead during my winter off-season, 2012

The off-season also gives all of us triathletes time to step back, reflect on our performances over the season, and set new goals for the next year. And it’s important to remember that while we might lose a bit of fitness during the off-season, we’ll quickly gain it back at the start of the season, along with a renewed excitement for the sport and exciting goals to keep us motivated for the season.

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.

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