February 15, 2012 on 12:14 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments
The Emerald Health Triathlon, Ohio, 1985 or ’86. A half Ironman. That’s what they called them before “70.3’s”.
Time has distorted the memory in some ways, sharpened it in others.
The race unfolded across open farmland on smooth roads. Even though it was a major event there were only about 200 competitors. The “pro” field was three men. A lithe foreigner with a vaguely Anglo accent, favored to win. A tan man from California and a boy with a red tri suit from whom we expected little.
The sun was out. Dust from farm fields blew on breeze that gathered early. The swim was inconsequential. Empfield wasn’t around yet. We didn’t have wetsuits yet. I had been racing every weekend and had good form. We spread out quickly among the top athletes on the bike course. After the first twenty minutes I didn’t see anyone on the bike course. “Volunteers” stood at corners to direct us. They were spectators really, local farmers whose plots butted up against the roads. They watched more out of curiosity than concern for competitive outcome.
The race unfolded, the wind picked up, it got warmer. I recall being about twentieth out of the bike to run transition, that’s what we used to call “T2”.
The run was out and back, 6.5 miles each way. Good. We could get a look at who was in front of us. A mile and a half before the turnaround the kid in the red trisuit was coming back toward me. He had about eighteen minutes on me. Hmm. There was a big gap, then the foreign pro. He was fit but he looked in distress on the run, his face twisted like a forgotten fig bar. The third pro followed at a more reasonable interval.
How did that kid in the red trisuit get so far out in front?
The race ended. I don’t remember how I did. I got a plaque with green writing on it at the awards ceremony. Hanging out at the little host hotel a debate was raging between officials, race directors and the kid in the red tri suit. He had an older man with him too. Apparently the boy had won the race, but been relegated for missing a turn on the course. The other pros were adamant since there was an unprecedented $500 prize purse on the line. There was no way this kid could have won. He was only 15 I think.
A jury of sorts was assembled. An inquisition was held. Questions and accusations flew. The boy was fiery and determined to argue his case. The others were dismissive of his performance. Finally it was determined that if each of the marshals could confirm the boy completed the course his win would be bona-fide. If any volunteer did not see the boy in the red tri suit pass, he would be relegated. The survey began.
“Yeah, well… I seen him comin’. He went through here first.” The first farmer said. The survey continued. The final farmer told the officials, “Well, that boy came along before we was set up. Just puttin’ up our table to watch. He came tearin’ through here in that red suit. It was a long time ‘fore we saw anyone else.”
The other pros were deflated. The result stood. The boy in the red tri suit was awarded the check. He left in a businesslike manner.
When the results were mailed to us I saw the boy’s name at the top: Lance Armstrong.
February 10, 2012 on 11:18 am | In Employee Adventures, Product Information, Random Musings, Tech Tips | 2 Comments
There aren’t many products that I gush about, but I have found myself more than once in the past few months on the sales floor gushing to a customer about the Saucony Kinvara. I had been a long time Mizuno Wave Rider wearer, but after my last 70.3, the first thing I did was take off my shoes. My heels were once again blistered, my feet ached, my shoes were soaking wet and seemed 5 pounds heavier. It was time to find a new pair of running shoes.
I headed to the TriSports shoe wall and consulted with one of our expert shoe fitters. I wanted a light weight shoe with good drainage, enough cushion to run an Ironman marathon, and a lower heel-to-toe drop (around 4-6mm). I tried on the Brooks T7, the K-Swiss Blade Light, and the Saucony Kinvara. Right away the Saucony’s were noticeably different. The shoe’s upper was soft and flexible, free of unnecessary decorations, and allowed for good ventilation. The heel cup was also very pliable and securely wrapped around my narrow heel. With 4 mm of drop between the heel and toe it was the perfect shoe for transitioning to a more minimalist style of shoe.
Fast forward 5 months and I still love my Kinvaras. I am well over the “300 mile limit” and the shoes still feel like they did when they came out of the box. If you are in the market for a light weight trainer/racer with a low profile, try out the Saucony Kinvaras, and if you need a stability shoe, try the Fastwitch. Happy running!
November 30, 2011 on 12:16 pm | In Announcements, Community, Giving Back, Random Musings | No Comments
We are once again raising the bar on what we feel a true triathlon store should offer in the way of amenities. You must have an indoor pool (check), you must have a dedicated bike fit studio (check), and you must have a treadmill to do foot strike analysis (check). Our newest addition – Port ‘o Potties.
Seriously, how many of us practice using these things? You really need to know the ins and outs of these giant plastic stink tanks. Sit or squat? Use TP or run it a bit dirty? Share or wait in line? These are all decisions we have to make when racing and we think it is important to practice every aspect of racing. So, next time you are at a store that says they are a triathlon store you know what to ask them – Where is the pool, fit studio, treadmill AND Port o’ Pottie. See you in line at the races!
November 24, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Community, Random Musings | No Comments
We are thankful for :
Our wetsuits that keep us warm.
Our super aero bikes.
Our running shoes that help us go fast.
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook on Monday for Cyber Monday deals!
November 23, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Employee Adventures, Random Musings | No Comments
If you have ever done an Ironman, or ever been to see one, there are two things that are most certainly consistent – the M-dot logo and the voice of Mike Reilly. Mike has announced over 100 Ironman races over the years and has said the words, “You are an Ironman,” tens of thousands of times. His voice is the welcome home committee for many of us that cross the line. I have been racing Ironman races for over 12 years and am about to do my 8th race; in all but one of them Mike has been there to welcome me across the finish line. Mike and I are on the board of Triathlon America together and have gotten to know each other a bit better over the last year. On his way to Ironman Arizona I persuaded him to make a right hand turn off of I-8 onto I-10 (he lives in southern CA) to come and visit our operation.
I have to say it was a pleasure to have him in the building, as I think almost everyone one had a life story that involved him. He is pretty much like Kevin Bacon, except in triathlon you are only 2 degrees or less away from him. If you haven’t met Mike Reilly, I will tell you that he is the real deal; he cares about this sport and more importantly cares about the people that are fortunate enough to have found this sport as part of their lives.
November 21, 2011 on 3:45 pm | In Employee Adventures, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Do you remember the first time you watched an Ironman? Did you get goose bumps at the swim start, shed a tear as you watched athletes cross the line, and get up early the next day to sign yourself up for next year’s race? That is how most people end up doing an Ironman. I, on the other hand, signed up for my first Ironman on a whim one day at work, without ever witnessing one. With a long list of sponsored athletes, coworkers, and friends racing Ironman Arizona, I figured I should go see what this Ironman thing is really all about.
I arrived about 45 minutes prior to the swim start giving me enough time to park, swing by Starbucks, soak in the energy, and head to the bridge. The energy throughout Tempe was like Christmas morning, with everyone bubbling with the anticipation of the long day to come. Watching 2,500 people tread water below the bridge was incredible, and as the cannon went off and the athletes started their day, I tried to picture myself on the beach in Idaho.
After a quick breakfast and more caffeine, I found myself on a curb about ¼ of a mile from the bike course turn around. The day was perfect for racing, with temperatures in the mid 70’s, mild wind, and 0% chance of perception. Here I was able to get a good picture of how our athletes were doing. Torsten Abel looked calm and confident in the chase group (12th place), which was quit a few minutes (about 8-10) down from the lead pack. I knew the day was still young and Torsten has a killer run, so I wasn’t worried. Leanda Cave came out of the water in 4th but experienced a crash and some mechanical problems and looked pretty frazzled as she exited T1 in 8th. I was worried, but by the time she finished lap 1 of the bike she looked focused and back on her game. Woohoo! Seton was cruising right along, enjoying the cheers, and hamming it up as he rode in 3rd place in the men’s 35-39 age group.
As the pro’s took to the run course, I made my way to the best aid station at Ironman Arizona – Aid station #7 under the Mill Ave. bridge, which is staffed by the employees and customers of TriSports.com and headed up by our Vice President, Debbie. My goal on the run was to make people smile and with the help of my trusty hot pink sign, I think I accomplished just that.
The run consists of 4 loops; with each lap I watched Leanda’s lead increase and Torsten run his way up through the ranks. As they passed through the TriSports.com aid station for the last time I made my way over to the finish line just in time to see this happen…
Then came Thomas Gerlach. Thomas received his pro card about a month ago and this was his professional Ironman debut. 8:57, not too shabby!
Not too long after Thomas crossed the line, Leanda passed under the Ford arch with the biggest smile I have ever seen from the mild mannered and reserved Brit. A few month ago Leanda was in the shop and said, “I want to win one of those,” referring to an Ironman. With numerous 70.3, ITU and coveted race wins (Alcatraz, Wildflower), it was only a matter of time until she won one. It was incredible to watch one of the most decorated athletes in our sport finally cross the line first at this distance.
Just 18 minutes after Leanda, TriSports.com CEO, Seton Claggett, came running down the shoot to win the men’s 35-39 age group, finishing 50th overall and 8th amateur. Imagine what he could do if he didn’t have 2 small kids and a company to run?!
Charisa Wernick hung tough and rounded out the top 10 for the pro women after a Tour de Porta-Potty during the second half of the marathon.
For Billy Oliver, the day didn’t go quit as planned. After a 2 minute swim PR, Billy crashed on the 2nd loop of the bike. He only suffered some minor road rash, so he dusted himself off and got back into the race, willing himself to the finish only 3 minutes slower then his IMAZ PR. Bad ass.
Could I have asked for a better first Ironman to watch? I don’t think so. Multiple podium finishes from friends, watching Team TriSports athletes dig deep and push through the pain, all while spending a lovely day in Tempe, Arizona. Congratulations to all those who competed yesterday; you are an Ironman!
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.
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!
November 15, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Community, Giving Back, Random Musings, Solar | No Comments
There are three things in life I will fight for:
1) My family and friends.
2) My business.
3) The environment.
This is a story relating to #3 on my list.
Earlier this year we made the decision to install solar on our building. By June we had selected a vendor (Technicians For Sustainability) and by early July we had started the permitting process. This also included submitting plans to our BOA (Business Owners Association – it’s like a Home Owners Association but for the area our facility is located – the Butterfield Business Park). Fast forward to October and all of the permits, structural drawings, etc. were completed, which included getting a variance from the city because one of the structures holding the solar will go a couple feet into the easement of our property. We were contacted by TFS that they were ready to begin, what an exciting time – STOP! The day before we were to start construction we were contacted by our BOA that the architectural review committee, headed up by a local architect here in Tucson, decided to decline the installation of our project. Why? They stated a couple reasons, but mainly because you can see the solar panels from the road.
Yes, bureaucracy (and complete arrogance) at its best. Luckily the state of Arizona has a law that protects us – A.R.S. § 33-1816; however, it is a fight that I didn’t think we would have to address, especially considering the BOA had over 3 months to address the issue. Needless to say, we are proceeding with the project without the blessing of our BOA. This is for the environment, this is for my kids, this is for our future.
November 2, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Random Musings | No Comments
By Tom Demerly
I’m not superstitious. I don’t believe in luck when racing. Not at all.
I’m also not a total idiot. So, I would never ride a green bike again.
Do a Google search on the key words “green race cars bad luck” and you get 5,570,000 results. That’s not luck, that’s data. I had a green racing bike once. I hit a concrete telephone pole at 37 M.P.H. on it. Broke my left arm in nine places, got a concussion and broke my tailbone. No green bikes. Green bikes aren’t a matter of luck. The data confirms they are dangerous. They should have a CPSC warning.
Never say “Good luck” to me on race morning.
Because I’m a pragmatist I don’t need luck. If you want to say something, say “Have a good race”, which is what I say to all my friends in a race. If I am racing a specific guy I want to beat I may tell him “Good luck” because, well, as I’ve mentioned saying “Good luck” is bad luck. But, because wishing any bad luck on your competitors by saying “Good luck” would be bad karma, I don’t do that either. It would be bad luck, which I don’t believe in anyway. Too much negative energy. So just say, “Have a good race”.
Never wear white sunglasses or a bright colored hat before your race on race morning.
Again, not being a believer in luck, this is a data-driven decision. Look at race car drivers. They always have their photo on the podium with white sunglasses and a cool sponsor hat. Before the race they wear dark framed glasses and keep a low profile. The data verifies that wearing white sunglasses and a light colored hat before a race quantifiably diminishes your performance. However, wearing white sunglasses in a race gives you power. It isn’t luck; I think it has something to do with your peripheral vision, or something…
Never shake hands before a race. It has nothing to do with luck. It, ah… messes with your aura. When a person shakes your hands or touches you before a race you can almost see the heebie-jeebies jumping off them and onto you. I know there is a scientific term for that, just can’t remember it. It is, however, steeped in physiology. Don’t shake hands before a race. Negative ions or something… bad. Nothing to do with luck.
Because my race decisions are data-driven I know that even numbered race numbers produce odd results. Not luck; math. If you get a race number like “682” something really odd is going to happen on race day. Now, if you get a race number with an “11” in it, like “511”, be ready for a PR and an age category win. That is a solid number- it’s all odd and there is an “11” in it. That is a strong numerical conversion. Nothing to do with luck, after all, numbers don’t lie.
Racing is about details, not luck or superstition. So, if you attend to the details you, ah, won’t have any bad luck.
October 31, 2011 on 1:53 pm | In Athlete Profile, Random Musings, Sponsorship | No Comments
By Team TriSports athlete Thomas Gerlach
While most people were busy preparing their Halloween costumes, this week I got to work making myself into a real-life walking zombie. I knew I hit the mark when I walked into TriSports on Saturday for the Tinfoilman packet pickup, and the staff actually commented on how much I looked like a zombie. But that was the plan, and with both the Amica 19.7 Sprint Championship and Ironman Arizona fast approaching, I had little time for rest during my hardest training block ever.
The goal of the Tinfoilman was to get in a fast threshold workout and compare it to a race earlier this year on the same course. Now to be fair, I had crashed 10 days prior to that race, but I thought it would be a wash with the extra fatigue for this one.
Run (17:17) I got back to transition, racked my bike, and swiftly put on my run shoes. I had a GPS watch that I was going to use for data, but it served little purpose in trying to chase down a future Olympian.
I took off on the run with the mindset that I was only 20 seconds down – surprisingly the legs felt pretty good. It always amazes me how much fresher legs feel after short races than the longer races that I am accustom to. On the downside, fresh legs means there are no excuses but to run fast.
The run is a flat 2-loop course that offers multiple opportunities to grab splits. That first opportunity came at about 1K and I was roughly 250 meters down. Ben looked strong, but the gap didn’t seem unreasonable so I pressed hard. I was flying by other participants from earlier waves but my gap to Ben was growing and the signature smile was fading to a grimace. I continued down the homestretch and could only muster a faint “on your left” as I flew by participants. I left it all on the table, but in the end I would finish nearly a minute and a half down.
Overall (55:34) I had my best swim ever swimming 825y in 9:59. That may not impress many – but it continues to show that my swim work is paying off, and a strong swim is key to my success at the next level. The bike was lacking today but I knew it would be and the run was on par. Overall my time was 55:34 and good for second place and was a good minute faster than my race back in May at 56:37.