Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Expo Uses Inappropriate Methods




If you went to the Lifetime Fitness Chicago Triathlon, you were greeted by this display. Most athletes whipped right past. I was talking to a friend who had a display very close to this set up. He said there had been "quite a commotion" since the expo opened. Hundreds of people where taking pictures of the display, pointing, laughing and commenting.

Lots of women and girls have body image problems. They don't need to be greeted with a display of D boobs on a model. So much for the "family" image they would like you to buy into. I won't go into the amateur race itself for fear of being accused of piling on.

Lifetime Fitness has done a lot for triathlon. I'm going to ask it to do one more thing; clean up their act.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Retul-ed at Wheel Werks in Crystal Lake, IL

A few Sunday's ago I got my first professional bike fit in years. I know - not what a serious racer does. Let's face it... since 2006, I haven't been a serious racer. It's ok. Life has been grand. You have to get away from the sport you love in order to learn and understand it more. Injuries are finally healed (although, some issues remain) it's the cost of racing into your 40s. Family is balanced - if not healthy. (Dad is fighting yet another cancer.)

My "home" bike shop has been (and still is) Village CycleSport in Elk Grove, Barrington and Arlington Heights. The owners are great and I am still very much a part of the Village family. I wanted to get Retuled for the last 3+ years. Village isn't a Retul shop. Additionally, the owner of Wheel Werks is Bob. Bob was the mechanic for the great Lon Haldeman.

Follow this link.

Bob's shop is on Main Street in Crystal Lake (right by the train station). http://www.wheelwerksbikes.com/

The Retul process (combined with Bob's years of experience and keen eye) made this a fast process (relative to perfect cycling fits). We managed to fit two bikes (road and time trial) in just over three hours. The fit made a difference of 15 watts at LT. An FTP of 250 is magically 265! (Now to work on the power to weight ratio.)

I highly endorse Bob and Wheel Werks. He did a fantastic job. I'll be back to have him tweak the position as I improve my fitness. Here is a shot of me in the shot and one in action for Team Marathon.



Monday, August 9, 2010

A Spark of Life! Bangs Lake Triathlon Festival

Thursday morning before a Sunday race I registered for my very first aqua bike. A swim bike race. Life has been rough lately and swimming and cycling (sort of) is really all I feel comfortable with. Even so, it was a bit odd toeing a starting line without being in good condition or even having a "feel" for how hard is hard.

RAM Racing out of Chicago has a few events. These events don't use USAT marshals and are a bit chaotic. No pre-race talk. No instructions. Just do a swim, bike and run... unless you are in the aqua bike and then we don't know where your finish is. More about that in a minute.

I showed up to about 1,000 people in transition. My rack was fairly empty and everyone was cool about sharing space and helping the new folks.

The swim was certainly long. Additionally, a lack of boats and marshals in the water allowed for several folks to cut some buoys. Most notably the final turn buoy. I noticed that I was one of two or three folks who actually went around the final buoy from my wave. Everyone else just went for the mucky exit. At least the high school swimmer (relay) who beat me went around the buoy. When I tried to stand up I went nearly knee deep in muck. Freaky. The weeds were pretty high in a lot of places. Not the best swim I've ever done but not the scariest. That easily goes to Lake Louisa (FL) where the water is opaque red from the cyprus trees and there are signs warning of alligators everywhere. Matter of fact, the starting line was a "WARNING: ALLIGATORS" sign. I'm pretty sure I had the third fastest overall swim that day - pros included.

After a 400m run or so, I was back at my rack and my private wrestling match with my wetsuit which seemed GLUED to my legs. It seemed like for-ever to get that damn thing off. With it off, the rest of transition went fine.

The bike was going to be rough. I just got Retuled last Sunday. I rode for 1 hr Saturday and didn't feel great, but I was going racing anyway. Sunday I felt a bit better. Once on the bike I started to roll past some slower folks. I wasn't in a rhythm yet and had a few folks from the earlier waves torch me before I could get the water to stop dripping from my face. By the top of the hill, I was at 19.3 mph and moving well. Top speeds of 37.1 mph was not very good. The most exciting thing is that it came at the end of my second loop and I felt I was getting stronger as the race wore on. According to my Polar CS600 (the first time I've ever raced with a computer/power meter) the largest hill was 9% and avg was 5%. Top speed of 37.1 mph and avg of 22.1 (race had me at 22.3 I believe). Wattage was kinda low for a 38k ride, but I had a few nice peaks. I did hear someone who recognized me yell out "Go get 'em Bob!" when I started my second loop. It came at a good time. I was feeling the pain. After all, this was my second ride (counting Saturday) since the first few days of July. Since my dad has been diagnosed with Cancer, I have been doing more with dad - workouts be damned from time to time. Swimming three or four days a week (this will increase shortly... namely tomorrow - going to 5 days a week. I need to pull some weight off and the pool is the best way for me to get CV fit and burn some calories.)

Here's where it gets interesting. Before the race I asked a race leader where the finish for aqua bike was. She said "T2 entrance". Cool. Simple. Easy. Upon entering T2, I was told to "run to the finish". Joke or not... I was off. So was the guy behind me in aqua bike. We ran all the way to the finish... barefoot about 600 meters or more.

Other than a few odd happenings - there wasn't a ton of drafting. A lot, but I was passing a lot of people so I didn't see any bad drafting except for a few guys who latched on to my wheel on an uphill. Unfortunately for them, my 56 tooth big ring (and gravity) helped me pull away from them on the down hill. On my second loop of the bike I was pushing hard in front of the crowd. 27.1 on the flat.

I got what I wanted. A hard open water swim effort - even if everyone I was "racing" didn't swim around all the buoys... I did. I had a good hard ride which went alright considering lack of training. No USAT marshals was very notable. I really don't like racing where there are no marshals ITU, WTC or USAT. So, my expectations were that guys would cut the course. Whatever... losers.

There's hope. Dad has an 80% chance of kicking cancer (again) and I am back on my way. Final verdict: 2nd in my AG and 10th overall.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ironman Rule Changes Effective 9/1/10

This will be my third year as an official for the pro race in Kona. This year I was the head official at the Ironman 70.3 Racine. I’ve been an official or head official at a lot of races now, and anticipate being elevated to USAT CAT 2 for 2011. I’ve seen some very interesting (and quizical) things from athletes (pro and amateur), spectators and media at just about every event. I’ve had to DQ top pros in Kona (twice) as well as age groupers just trying to finish. I hope this information helps you become more prepared mentally for the new rules moving forward in WTC races. I think you’ll have a better experience and like what the rules committee has decided.

World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners of the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Series, announces modifications to several rules and regulations relating to the swim at U.S. races. The first races and athletes to experience the changes will be: Ironman Wisconsin as well as 70.3 races in Muskoka, Syracuse, Cancun, Branson and Augusta.
Effective September 1, 2010, which is the start of Ironman's 2011 competition season, new rules for apparel and wetsuits will apply at all Ironman and 70.3 events in the U.S., including both World Championships. The amendments were made to further standardize rules in the Ironman/70.3 Series and ensure a fair playing field at events around the globe.
The changes will include the following:

• Swimwear and swim apparel must be comprised of 100 percent textile material, such as nylon or lycra, and may not include rubberized material such as polyurethane or neoprene. Swimwear may not cover the neck or extend past the shoulders or knees. Swimwear may contain a zipper. A race kit or trisuit may be worn underneath swimwear. **Speedsuits are most notably effected.

• Wetsuits cannot measure more than 5 millimeters thick.

• Wetsuits may be worn in water temperatures up to and including 24.5 degrees Celsius/76.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes who choose to wear a wetsuit in water temperatures exceeding 24.5 degrees C /76.1 degrees F will not be eligible for awards, including World Championship slots. Wetsuits will be prohibited in water temperatures greater than 28.8 degrees C/84 degrees F. USAT races are still 78.0 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Ironman recognizes the importance of showcasing the competitive element at all events. We believe these amendments place more emphasis on performance and function and less on technology, therefore staying true with the Ironman spirit,” says Ironman’s Head of Officials, Jimmy Riccitello.

Ironman's rule changes are consistent with rule changes adopted by swimming and triathlon’s international governing bodies, FINA and ITU, respectively.

For athlete questions, comment here.

Originally from: http://ironman.com/mediacenter/pressreleases/new-rules-to-take-effect-on-september-1-2010#ixzz0vfXD7x7n