February 3, 2015 on 12:01 pm | In Community, Random Musings, Sponsorship | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Karin Bivens. She got a late start in triathlon, but she’s tearing it up! Join her as she breaks down the confusing age group assignments in various sports. You may just end up more confused! Check out Karin’s blog and follow her on Twitter – @konakarin.
This past year was an “age-up” year for me! I was so excited and looking forward to being the youngest in the new age group which, in my case, is F70-74. For all of the sanctioned triathlons and duathlons, I would race in my new age group since they have you race whatever age you will be as of December 31st of the current year.
In addition to my multisport events, I signed up for a number of running races, cycling races and swim competitions. In the running races, however, they have you run the age you are on race day, so in all the running races for which I had registered that occurred prior to my birthday, I raced in the F65-69 age group. Of course, it was very frustrating to know how much higher I would have placed in the next age group (although occasionally there was an exception where there was some “ringer” in the next age group), but running races do not use the age-up rule.
Like triathlons and duathlons, in official cycling races, you supposedly race your age as of December 31st, as well, unless you race in a “Cat” ranking; however, in a Time Trial which I did in February, results show me in the F65-69 age group even though my US Cycling license has me as F70-74, a mistake perhaps, but it didn’t matter this time as I would have won in either age group.
Swim competitions get complicated. I did swim a USMS meet last January and asked the official which age group I would be racing under. I was told for that particular event, I raced my age on race day since the event was in yards! If the event had been in meters (International), though, then I would race in the new age group. In checking out swim competitions online, I found that even this varies as some meets (even those in meters) still had you race your age on race day. Another interesting aspect was that if the swim meet covered more than one day, some races had you race all the days at your age the first day of the meet, while other had you race all the days at your age the LAST day of the meet. Are you confused? I sure am!
In the Senior Games and Senior Olympics that I found, they tend to have you race your age as of December 31st no matter what sport you compete in.
It does make it easier to race at the same age for the whole year, especially when it comes to annual rankings. Plus it is a lot less confusing for races you do before your birthday in a year in which you move into a new age group. Moral of the story? Check closely to be sure that you are correctly registered for the appropriate age group when racing and realize that not all competitions have the same age rules.
January 20, 2015 on 1:50 pm | In From the shop, Product Information, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Team Athlete Mark Tripp. Embarking on his first year as a Pro, he’s one to watch. Check out Mark’s blog and follow him on Twitter – @trippmj.
For most people, including me, riding outdoors is a lot more appealing than staring at a wall while riding your bike on a stationary trainer. But there are still those occasional cold and rainy days that end up interfering with planned bike workouts. For these types of days, I am sharing two of my “go-to” trainer workouts. I ride these two workouts regularly and for different purposes. One is intended to be an endurance workout for strength building and the other is more of an interval speed workout.
I should point out that these workouts are geared towards training for the Olympic distance triathlon, which consists of a 40 kilometer distance bike leg. For my trainer setup I use a compact crank and my rear cassette has the following gearing: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25. For both workouts I also try to maintain a 90-95 RPM cadence throughout the entire workout.
Trainer sessions can be efficient and valuable additions to your triathlon training. I understand that they can sometimes be boring, so to fight the boredom, I recommend incorporating some entertainment that helps the time pass by but does not distract you from your workout goals. I typically listen to up-tempo music or if the timing is right, watch a football or basketball game on television. If that doesn’t work, maybe try closing your eyes and pretend you are riding through the Swiss Alps. Whatever you do, try to choose something that helps pass the time but doesn’t distract you from your trainer session goals. Happy trainering!!
I like this workout for early season training when I am trying to simply build strength and endurance. It is perfect for the spring months when the days are still short. If I am feeling frisky, I insert another half hour after the first 5 minute recovery that consists of 20 min (L-17), 3 min (L-16), 2 min (L-15), and 5 min (S-17). If I am feeling less than frisky, I insert a 5 min cool down at 40 minutes and stop. Note that the gearing descriptions describe the gearing in the form of “crank-rear”. As an example, “S-17” means small chainring on the crank and 17 tooth chainring on the rear cassette, “L-16″ would be large chainring and 16-tooth on the rear.
Time Gearing Description
5 min S-17 Warm-up
30 min L-17 Cruise
3 min L-16 Hard
2 min L-15 Harder
5 min S-17 Recover
12 min L-17 Cruise
2 min L-16 Hard
1 min L-15 Harder
5 min S-17 Cool-down
Total: 1 hr 5 min
I like this workout for mid-season when I already built a base. If I am feeling frisky, I’ll drop a gear on my rear cassette for parts 2 and 3 except for the recovery portions. If I am feeling less than frisky, I’ll only repeat the first two parts twice each.
Time Gearing Description
5 min S-17 Warm-up
Part 1 (repeat 3x)
1 min L-18 Moderate
3 min L-17 Cruise
1 min L-16 Hard
2 min S-17 Recovery
Part 2 (repeat 3x)
2 min L-18 Moderate
5 min L-17 Cruise
1 min L-16 Hard
2 min S-17 Recovery
Part 3 (repeat 2x)
1 min L-16 Hard
1 min L-15 Very Hard
1 min S-17 Recovery
4 min S-17 Cool-down
Total: 1 hr 6 min
January 12, 2015 on 12:00 pm | In Community, Nutrition Tips, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Monica Pagels. Unexplained tummy aches? Wondering if you can go gluten-free as a triathlete? Tune in and hear what Monica has to say!
Ever feel like your body just won’t cooperate during a workout? Maybe you just feel sluggish, or maybe feel muscle pain or fatigue, or maybe you’ve had that all too embarrassing intestinal discomfort while out on the run. If you’ve been a runner as long as I have (30 years and counting), you have experienced it all! But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if our runs could all be just as good as that one magical Fall long run in the woods when everything felt perfect and easy, and you remembered why you loved to run?!
Recently, my running, and fitness in general, went from bad to worse. In June, I was at the top of my game, having just completed my first Ironman in Coeur D’Alene, and by August I was suffering from extreme fatigue and muscle pain during my runs. Many said it was a delayed reaction to the IM, and to just ride/run through it. By October, my running was suffering even more, I was falling asleep during the day, my belly ached, and I suffered extreme headaches. Never before had I felt this bad for this many workouts in a row! Something had to change! By January, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is an auto-immune disorder where your body attacks itself upon ingesting the protein gluten (wheat). The cure, go figure, is to eliminate gluten from your diet… easier said than done, coming from the pasta-loving queen and post-race pizza crave! We have all done crazier things, I thought, to improve our performance, so why not give it a try. Within 4 weeks, my everyday symptoms of fatigue, stomachaches, and headaches had all but disappeared, I had lost almost 10 pounds, and imagine my delight – I could finally run under 8 minute-mile pace again! Now, almost a year later, I continue to see improvements in the way I feel and how my body performs during workouts and races…and recovery!
Could your workouts use some improvements? Are you darting off into the woods for those emergency bathroom stops? Giving up gluten may be worth a try! You do not have to be diagnosed with Celiac disease to have an intolerance to gluten. Admit it, we, as triathletes, love our pasta, breads and pizza! Could we have consumed it in such excess that our bodies now punish us? When I first gave up gluten, I thought it would be challenging to stick to the diet. I quickly realized that it is not what you are giving up, but what you are gaining instead! I turned to much more whole and natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and long grain rice. I also love chicken, and have even come up with my own black bean burger recipe! Yes, I have become quite the pro in the kitchen, from peanut butter balls with chia seeds and red maca powder, to quinoa and apple energy bars, to beet and zucchini muffins! The benefits far outweigh the challenge of foregoing that fine micro-brew I used to cherish after a marathon (gluten-free beer is pretty decent, by the way)!
Give the gluten-free life a try and see how it improves your performance, as well as your overall health. You will be amazed at the results, and your body will thank you by completing runs bathroom-stop free and begging for more miles!!
For terrific gluten free recipes or a list of gluten free foods, try the following websites:
Or, to hear more of my gluten-free journey and how it may help you, feel free to message me on Facebook!
January 5, 2015 on 12:00 pm | In Community, Random Musings, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion George Cespedes. What is the best thing about triathlon? The fitness? Being able to eat whatever you want? The competition? Read on to learn what George thinks, and I think he’s onto something! Follow George on twitter – @georgecespedes.
We humans like to be part of a tribe. We have evolved to ascend to the top of the food chain, so to speak, by banding together in tribes, and through cooperation and shared experiences, built great civilizations and exist as part of many communities.
Triathlon is one such community that I love being a part of. Triathletes are awesome people. While we often find ourselves solo on long training rides or runs, or swimming endless laps in the pool with only the sound of our own labored breath in our ears, we do this to be a part of special niche in society. We share a love of testing our physical and mental boundaries, of following a training plan and the satisfaction of finishing a race.
As competitive as triathletes can be in training, racing and even life, they are also each others’ greatest cheerleaders, supporters and partners in pain. We all know what it takes to get from the swim start to the finish chute and we love to celebrate the accomplishments of others.
There is no bigger crowd gathered than around midnight of that epic race…you know the one I mean. Watching the last finishers stagger under the giant finish line clock to hear, “you are an Ironman,” somehow invigorates us all. We race to be fit, to beat our previous finish time, to test ourselves, but we celebrate our fellow triathlete competitors’ accomplishments as happily as our own.
Through my years as a triathlete, I have had enjoyed seeing the race kits from many different organizations and wondered what drives them to raise money for this cause or that person. I have raced for the Melanoma Research Foundation for the past two years and have just joined team Blazeman to race for ALS. I know, personally, that it gives meaning to the training time spent away from my family, the aches and pains that follow, and the tough miles out on the course. I am not just doing it for myself, for bragging rights, but to make a small difference in the world and give back to society in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way.
Another big reason I love being part of the triathlon community is because of how diverse it is. People from all walks of life, ages, and abilities make up the sport and triathlon community. I love meeting triathletes at different events across the country. Being a member of the TriSports Champions team has given me the opportunity to meet so many of these unique and wonderful people. We are all out there racing for our own reasons, but we share a lot of the same experiences and goals. I follow my teammates and friends to see how they are doing and I know they are doing the same for me. We want everyone to have a good race, to have a PR, to finish, because beyond our competitive fire is a shared passion for the sport and we know what it takes to finish, even if you are the last finisher.
Being part of the triathlon community has enriched my life in so many ways. It’s about so much more than being really fit, new PRs, finisher’s medals and swag bags, though. The best thing about triathlon is the triathletes!
December 29, 2014 on 12:00 pm | In Community, Random Musings | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Kent Rodahaver. Need some inspiration in your next race? Look no further than the person right next to you!
I was looking at some images in my computer’s photo folder recently and came across this one of the race start at Lake Placid a couple of years ago. Most of these races begin with a mass swim start – often referred to as “combat swimming,” “the human blender,” and “open water mixed martial arts” by participants. It is truly one of the most fascinating spectacles in all of sport, and looking at this made me reflect on the how the triathlon experience parallels some of the challenges of being a business leader in today’s demanding and challenging social environment.
In theory, triathlon is really an individual sport – you are competing against yourself, – your previous performance and time, aiming at each race to record a new PR. Pushing yourself, persevering and gritting it out to cross the finish line is part of the triathlon culture. And it begins with the chaotic swim while you are simultaneously battling for space in the water with 2000+ other athletes and occasionally seeking support and encouragement from them to start your journey. Believe me…after about 11 or 12 hours and it starts to get dark, you are searching for any type of encouragement – feeding off of the enthusiasm of the crowd, the encouragement of fellow athletes who are feeling the same excitement (and pain), recognizing a similar goal, and striving for the same finish line. That energy is great to share and it is even better to receive. That energy is amazing!
While racing a triathlon is mainly a solo endeavor, wise and experienced endurance athletes understand that they gain strength, energy, and inspiration from their fellow racers, particularly in a long distance race like iron distance events where an athlete can be on the race course for up to 17 hours. In any endurance race it is natural to have a singular focus on you – on your performance, on how you are doing at critical points in the race, on what’s up ahead and how you will adjust your race plan for changing weather, equipment problems or physical issues.
Likewise, as a business owner and community leader in these challenging times I have occasional concerns about my own personal effectiveness; about how I can help achieve more with less; and how I will inspire other business leaders and community members who are also trying to anticipate issues and obstacles that may affect their business decisions, mission, and community out-reach. With so many demands on our time and resources it often seems like a daunting task to step back and seek insight, support, and counsel from our peers and others around us.
My hope for all business organizations, individuals, and fellow athletes is for us to stand out in the community as giving, caring, hospitable, and welcoming. Role-model the type of behavior you would like others to exhibit, get involved in your community, and share often. I want people impacted by us to talk about endurance athlete leaders with excitement and enthusiasm. Triathletes are an exciting, electric, goal-driven bunch. Wouldn’t you like to see more community leaders with similar qualities?
You may not share my intense passion for having thousands of people thrashing about in the water around you, or biking and running until you are about to collapse, but a few wise, well-chosen fellow travelers on your journey could make the difference between slowly inching forward each day toward your goals and quickly and efficiently crossing the finish line with a smile!
December 22, 2014 on 12:18 pm | In Community, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Team Athlete Laura Balis. She has, unfortunately, gotten very familiar with injury, so pay attention, what she has to say just may help you! Follow Laura on Twitter – @LauraBalis.
This isn’t the most upbeat topic to write or read about… but it’s something I’ve dealt with for the past year, and I’m sure there are others out there going through similar struggles. It seems like triathletes don’t like to talk about or admit that we’re injured. Maybe we don’t want our competitors to know that we’re injured and feel like they have an edge on us. But there are also times when we’re not at our best and race anyway, and we feel like telling everyone, “Hey, you only beat me today because I’m injured!” But of course we don’t do that.
Staying motivated when you’re dealing with a long-lasting injury can be tough. I’m hoping that by sharing some of my experiences and tips, I may be able to help someone else who’s dealing with a pain-in-the-butt injury.
To make a long, long story short, I’ve dealt with calf pain and plantar fasciitis for about three years, and haven’t been able to run at all for the past year and a half. So, after this long ordeal that I’m going through, here’s my advice for physically and mentally dealing with injuries:
- Get second opinions – and third, fourth, and fifth… Be stubborn! I really believed that there was someone out there who could figure out and treat my injuries, so I kept going until I found someone who could. There are lots of good doctors and PTs out there, but they don’t all have experience with the same injuries.
- Figure out who your support network is. I talked to my husband about my injuries, a lot – probably more than he wanted to hear! I also had a couple girlfriends and my sister who I could call for a sympathetic ear or some advice.
- Do what you can and what’s fun. Luckily, most of the time that I’ve been dealing with the calf and foot issues, I’ve still been able to swim and ride. But I didn’t really feel motivated to go out and ride for hours and hours by myself when I wasn’t training for anything, and didn’t know if I had any races in my future. So I did whatever I felt like, mostly lots of shorter, fun rides with my husband on the river trail. As for swimming, I was able to join in with a friend’s swim workouts – and only do the parts that sounded fun!
- Find some new hobbies or something else to do with your time. When you can’t train much, all of a sudden you have more free time! The doctor and physical therapy appointments and rehab exercises can take some time. But if you still have more time, maybe pick up an extra hobby or volunteer to keep yourself busy and keep your mind off of not training. I started doing some freelance work on top of my normal job since I had more time for it.
- Stay motivated (as much as you can!). One thing that helped me as I started feeling like I’d make it through the injuries and be able to race again was putting together a tentative race schedule for the season. It was fun to look up different races and start to get excited about them, and was enough motivation to get me out the door for some longer rides.
December 16, 2014 on 4:28 pm | In Community, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Team Athlete Hayley Benson. Think you have to give up your triathlon lifestyle because you are starting a family? Think again! Follow Hayley’s blog.
No matter what kind of shape you are in, or what kind of athlete you are, or how strong willed you, are your body and pregnancy will have its own ideas. I was quite convinced that I would run throughout my pregnancy. We lived so close to the hospital that I was even convinced that I would jog the 1.5 miles to the delivery room when labor arrived. How naïve was I! I am one of those annoying people who actually likes running and could run a sub-6 minute mile even after months of not running, so I thought for sure I would be running through my pregnancy. This just wasn’t the case. I managed a little bit in the early stages, but due to the Arizona heat, the bowling ball in my stomach and the nausea, I just couldn’t do it at all after 28 weeks.
Doing flip turns in the pool during pregnancy will not harm your baby.
No amount of activity, swimming, hiking, running, whatever you are able to do during pregnancy, will induce labor. When it’s time, it’s time, there’s no changing it. I was taking long hikes, swimming 1000s of yards and my baby was still late.
I’m sorry to say, but you will pee yourself while running the first few times after delivery. Things are a little stretched out and traumatized down there, but this is a TRANSIENT thing and it does go away.
You will get your fitness back far quicker than you ever expected. You will not believe this, but I’m writing it anyway because it is true. I understand why you don’t believe it, you are bloated, beyond tired, still on the heavy side even after dumping out the actual baby, but you do get your fitness back fast. The body is remarkable at recovery.
The first few months of babyhood:
Every new Mom athlete needs to have an espresso machine and a treadmill. You will be sleeping A LOT less and you will need caffeine. You will need to take advantage of when baby sleeps to get some training done, so buy a decent treadmill…you are going to use it a lot. You don’t have to get a new one, there are some great deals on Craigslist.
Get back on the bandwagon with racing, that first race is always going to be nerve-wracking, but when it comes down to it, it’s an accomplishment in itself just to be on the starting line when you are trying to care for a young baby. I can attest that even if you can’t breast feed your baby right before the start of a 10km race, your baby will not starve during the time it takes you to complete the race, no matter how slow you are. I remember being quite convinced that my baby would starve while I did my first 10km post delivery. Hey, I was sleep deprived and rational thought was non-existent. Triathlons generally take longer than running races, so I would advise either breast feeding or pumping before the race, especially if your Tri top is very tight fitting because you will not be able to get it on without pumping first!
You will have to train tired…if you waited to train until you weren’t tired you would never get any training done. You can tolerate more sleep deprivation than you think you can, and don’t listen to the “babies sleep through the night at x weeks/months old, at x weight, at x developmental stage,” your baby will sleep through the night whenever he or she feels like it. In my case I had to wait 9 months!
The times when you could ride your bike from sunrise to sunset, when you could just take off on an adventure trail run and come back when you feel like it are gone, you have to think about who is going to watch the baby. If you are lucky enough to get out for an epic training session, it can’t be too epic as you have to be able to function when you get home. There are no days off from motherhood (yes, you will have a bit of nostalgia for those old times…it’s OK to feel like that).
Hire a coach if at all possible. If you are like most mere mortals, you are also working a steady job, as well as being an athlete and a parent, and you don’t have the time to put in crazy amounts of hours training. A coach will help streamline what you do. I am actually faster post-baby and with less hours training all thanks to a good coach.
Being an athlete and a Mom isn’t easy, but then again, if it were easy it wouldn’t be worth doing. My daughter, Sierra, is worth the challenges I have had to overcome with my athletics and she enriches my life. I’m looking forward to teaching her to swim, bike and run, just like mom!
November 25, 2014 on 1:23 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Product Information, Random Musings, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Team Athlete Ali Rutledge. During this week of giving thanks, you should also thank your body by giving it the tools to recover better! Follow Ali on Twitter – alaida.
When it comes to triathlon success, recovery is a key component. Here are a few things to help you recover to your best.
- Compression - Use after a hard workout to speed up the recovery process. This will promote blood flow and remove toxins from your aching muscles. You can use a variety of socks, calf sleeves (active recovery only – do NOT use if you are just lounging around), tights or recovery pump boots, just to name a few.
- Ice - Used since the beginning of triathlon time, cold water is cheap and reduces soreness. A bath tub, lake or any body of water 55 degrees for 15 minutes will do. Your best result will be after your hard workout. If you have problems tolerating the cold, sipping warm fluids can help.
- Massage - You can use your own licensed massage therapist or your own tools for self massage. Today there are many massage tools on the market. Just a few to name are a foam roller, the Stick, or Trigger Point Therapy products. Massage promotes healing by removing old blood with toxins and getting fresh blood flow to the injured areas to promote recovery.
- Active Recovery - This will promote blood flow and homeostasis if done correctly. An easy spin, low-intensity run or an easy swim can promote recovery to injured tissues. You must leave your ego at home for this one!
- Rest - Recovery days, good sleep and a mental boost are imperative for improving athletic performance. We all need physical and mental relief from the stress of training. Doing something different or just a sleep-in day is a good example. You will feel fresh and ready to go the next day.
- Nutrition – Within 30 minutes after a hard training session, recovery nutrition is important to repair muscles and rebuild glycogen stores. There are many bars, shakes or just real food from which to chose. Blender bottles work great to mix any drinks. Eat like a champion!!
A training plan is not complete without a good recovery plan. Being smart about your recovery will be the key to making a happy and healthy triathlete. Cheers to swim, bike, run and recovery!
November 18, 2014 on 3:04 pm | In Community, Random Musings | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Tom Golden and Team athlete Leo Carrillo. They are partners in triathlon and, apparently, enable each other. Hey guys, we can probably find you some help! (Editor’s note – In no way is this blog post meant to bring lightness to the serious problems of addiction…it is meant only to make fun of ourselves).
[Scene] I’m on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Kona for a vacation with my family. I’m feeling super pumped to be going to the home of triathlon’s biggest event. In the plane, I am waiting in that peculiar line for the bathroom and some guy says to me, “You do triathlons?” I’m thinking, “Why would he ask that? Is it my shaved legs, my year round tan, my Zoot shoes or possibly my fit triathlete looking physique?” “I do,” I replied, beaming with pride, “how did you know?” “Your Oceanside 70.3 shirt,” he says. “Ohhhh, right my shirt,” I reply. “You do triathlons?” I ask. “I did, most addicting sport ever,” he says. How great is this, a fellow triathlete to chat with on my way to Kona, this is great! He then goes on to say, “My wife divorced me and my kids hate me because of triathlon and it nearly ruined my life. It’s a selfish sport,” he says. I was speechless. You would have thought I was talking to a recovering addict. The nerve of this guy! Well, for the next few hours, I started to think about what he said. Addicting, could one be addicted to triathlon? Maybe? So I started thinking what the similarities between a Triathlete guy and an Addict guy might be, just to check his theory. My training partner, Leo, and I came up with the following:
- Addict guy usually has a partner that he uses with; Triathlete guy has a training partner.
- The lean physique of Addict guy and race ready Triathlete guy could be confused for one another.
- Addict guy gets cranky and agitated when he can’t get his fix, whatever that may be; Triathlete guy also gets cranky and agitated when he can’t train.
- Addict guy has a dealer or supplier; Triathlon guy has TriSports, run by the one they call Seton.
- Willingness to spend top dollar on the best stuff, interchangeable.
- “I can do more, I can handle it.” Interchangeable.
- Despite the amount of pain and suffering, you continue to do it anyway, interchangeable again.
- Addict guy craving a six and a half hour high sounds like awesome, normal fun (for him). Triathlon guy craving a six and half hour workout also sounds like awesome, normal fun.
- Addict guy pushing the limits, teetering on the edge; much like Triathlon guy pushing the limits on a long training session, risking injury. Both would say totally worth the gains.
- Addict guy swearing he’ll give up his addiction after being caught/busted/found out, even as he’s planning how to do it again. Triathlete guy 20 miles into the run during an iron distance race swears never again and tells himself this was a stupid idea, yet he finds himself standing in a long line with stiff, sore legs the next day, credit card tightly in hand, ready to sign up again.
Well, there you have it. I may have been stretching on a few of those, but let’s face it…this is an addicting sport. I admit it has a grip on me and my fellow triathletes. Just call me Triathlon addict guy, I’m OK with that, I guess. Maybe the airplane guy had a point, but for me, it’s a good addiction. Triathlon has taken me to some really cool places to race. It’s transformed my health and physical condition. I’ve learned to push myself and juggle a loaded work/family/training schedule. Most importantly, I’ve met some really unique and great people over the years. After being a triathlete, anything in life will be a piece of cake. Yup, I’m OK with the thought of being a Triathlon addict! OK, gotta go…need to get to TriSports now!
November 11, 2014 on 2:51 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments
This blog brought to you by Team TriSports member Thomas Gerlach. He is in his third full year as a professional triathlete and recently took 2nd at Ironman Louisville, along with numerous podiums in 2013 including 2nd at Ironman Louisville and 7th at both Ironman Los Cabos and Coeur d’Alene. He has the 3rd fastest Ironman bike split by an American at 4:15:57. He writes a weekly training update every week at www.thomasgerlach.com where he publishes his weekly training numbers. Follow him at facebook.com/thomasgerlach and twitter.com/thomasgerlach
Race Wheels? How About Cleaning and Optimizing Your Drivetrain?
Why is it that people train on training wheels and with a road helmet, but then swap them out on race day for race wheels and an aero helmet? I would argue that most people do it because they want to go faster on race day by improving aerodynamics. So why do people race on a drivetrain that is dirty and non-optimized? The reason I believe this to be the case is because people don’t understand how much time they are giving up in a dirty drivetrain, and particularly one that is not engineered for speed. If you are a serious racer looking to go as fast possible, then you need to look at places your competition isn’t. Looking around at the rest of the Pro bikes in transition I can tell you one place my competition is losing “Free Speed” is in their drivetrains.
According to Friction Facts – a totally independent testing company – those racing a dirty drivetrain could be losing as much as 7 watts in a dirty chain. A chain that was clean but had the lubed stripped off was as much as 20 watts. In both cases the load on the chain tested was 250 watts – a very realistic output of a rider unlike the unrealistic number of 30mph used in wind tunnel tests. But the savings don’t stop there. Just like race wheels are tuned to be as aerodynamic as possible over training wheels, there are drivetrains that have been engineered to reduce the energy that is normally lost in mechanical inefficiencies. One company that is engineering drivetrains to be as efficient as possible is a company called Atomic.
Atomic specializes in making drivetrains as fast as possible but they don’t actually manufacturer drivetrain parts. Instead Atomic has a special coating that is impregnated on to your current chainrings, cassettes and metal derailleur pulleys. This coating reduces the friction between their specially lubed chain and those parts and results in an energy savings. In this case the savings is through improved mechanical efficiency and not aerodynamics. The benefits, however, are still the same…you either go the same speed on less watts, or you go faster on the same watts. Using Atomic coated chainrings, cassette, and chain, the rider can save an additional 43 seconds over an Olympic distance triathlon, 1 minute and 37 seconds over a half-Ironman, and 3 minutes and 14 seconds over a full Ironman.
Next time you set out to race, make sure you have a clean drive train. You can clean a drive train in 10 seconds by using some White Lightning Clean Streak Degreaser and then properly lube the chain afterwards. If you want to go as fast as possible, though, you can send your current parts in for coating to Atomic or you can always purchase a new set of chainrings and a cassette from TriSports.com and send them in for coating, as well. Either way, when you combine it with race wheels and an aero helmet, you will know you will be going as fast as possible.