Triathlete Europe Europe's leading source for triathlon news and information. Wed, 05 Aug 2015 08:00:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Columbia Threadneedle Investments title sponsor of WTS Leeds Wed, 05 Aug 2015 08:00:05 +0000 Columbia Threadneedle Investments, a leading global asset management group, has been confirmed as the title sponsor for the Leeds round of the prestigious 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series next summer.

The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will take place on 11-12 June 2016 and is set to feature the world’s best triathletes racing around Leeds city centre, as well as amateur athletes experiencing the thrill of competing on the same course in front of huge crowds.

As the current Global Financial Services sponsor of the ITU World Triathlon Series and official Rankings partner, the Leeds sponsorship announcement builds on Columbia Threadneedle’s already successful relationship with the sport of triathlon.

Rupert Pybus, Global Head of Brand and Marketing at Columbia Threadneedle, said: “We are delighted to extend our association with the ITU World Triathlon Series to become the title sponsor of the 2016 event in Leeds. The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will provide substantial global exposure for our brand during an Olympic year. We are excited to give our clients, especially those based in Yorkshire and the north, unique access to participate in front of thousands of enthusiastic triathlon fans.”

As well as elite GB athletes featuring in their final home triathlon before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which commences in one years’ time (5th August 2016), the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will welcome thousands of amateur athletes to compete over the two day event. Entries for the mass participation races are due to go on sale next month via the new event website launched today Interest is already high with thousands of people having registered their interest in taking part, spectating or volunteering via

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “We are delighted to be working with the ITU, British Triathlon, Lagardère, UK Sport and all the partners on this wonderful event, and very much welcome Columbia Threadneedle Investments as the title sponsor. This announcement of their involvement, along with the event website going live today, is another exciting step along the way as we build to what I’m sure will be a very special weekend showcasing our city to the world next June.

“Hosting the ITU World Triathlon Series in Leeds will be fantastic, as the event will have something for everyone. People will be able to take part by volunteering to help run the event, get their first taste of triathlon or line the route to give their support and generate an amazing atmosphere. Anyone keen to take on the challenge of the mass-participation elements will be able to sign up in a few weeks, so don’t miss out on the chance to be part of something incredible.”

British Triathlon Director for Major and National Events, Jon Ridgeon said: “There is a fantastic buzz surrounding the ITU World Triathlon Series coming to Leeds next year. To confirm Columbia Threadneedle Investments as title sponsor almost a year in advance of the event, demonstrates the prestige and commercial attraction of both the ITU World Triathlon Series and the sport of triathlon.”

ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado added: “Columbia Threadneedle has been a fantastic sponsor of the ITU World Triathlon Series, and the city of Leeds has already been incredibly enthusiastic about its addition to the 2016 WTS calendar. This partnership is going to make for one phenomenal race that triathletes will not want to miss out on.”

To find out more about the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds, part of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded #EveryRoadtoRio series, visit the official event website:

Entries for the mass participation events will go on sale via next month. To be the first to hear when entries open, individuals are being encouraged to pre-register. British Triathlon will also provide an exclusive week-long priority booking window for Home Nation members. To join your Home Nation, visit

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What to drink… And what to avoid Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:30:06 +0000

Here are 10 popular drink choices, appearing in descending order of how much you should consume. There’s plenty of information available ]]>

Here are 10 popular drink choices, appearing in descending order of how much you should consume. There’s plenty of information available to runners about what to drink during and immediately after workouts. A lot less attention is paid to setting guidelines for what to drink during the rest of the day. So, what should you drink — and not drink?

I don’t believe in creating dietary taboos — lists of foods you should never consume. And I see no more reason to ban specific beverages than particular foods. However, some drinks are clearly better choices than others. The healthiest and most exercise-supportive options may be consumed liberally while the least healthy should have a very small place in your diet, if any.

Water while there are no prohibited beverages there is one must-have beverage, and that is, of course, water. While you can get the water you need from other beverages and from fruits and vegetables, the best source is plain water.

Tea provides water for hydration plus healthy antioxidants and caffeine, which has proven benefits ranging from improved mood state to enhanced exercise performance. Regular tea drinkers have a significantly lower risk of heart disease than the general population, thanks to the polyphenols in tea.

Fruit juice is controversial. Some argue that even 100 percent fruit juices are bad because they are high in sugar. Others argue that fruit juices are good because they are natural and full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. I lean toward siding with the defenders of fruit juice. There is no evidence that 100 percent fruit juice is associated with weight gain. But because fruit juice provides a lot of calories without a lot of satiety, it’s best to drink it in moderation — say, two glasses a day or less.

Coffee – Google the phrase “coffee study” and you will be presented with many links to stories about studies demonstrating health benefits of drinking coffee, from lower risk of type 2 diabetes to increased longevity. Coffee is good for you. Still, those who drink it in very large amounts often become dependent and cannot maintain alertness and productivity without it, so “moderation” is the watchword. Consider three cups a day an upper limit.

Diet soft drinks, sugar-free or “diet” soft drinks are better than regular soft drinks because they have no sugar and no calories. However, they are worse than the previous beverages in this list because they contain artificial ingredients whose potential long-term health effects are unknown and because diet soft drink consumers are just as likely to be overweight as regular soft drink consumers.

Wine is often praised for the healthfulness of its antioxidants, but its alcohol is also good for you. That’s why studies have shown that regular moderate alcohol consumption provides health benefits such as reduced heart disease risk, regardless of the type of alcohol consumed. All those positives turn into negatives, though, when alcohol is consumed in excess, even occasionally, so keep it to a drink or two (wine, beer, whatever) a day.

Milk consumption has declined drastically in the past 30 years as soft drink consumption has increased. The rise in obesity has paralleled this shift. The fact that as a nation we were leanest when we drank the most milk is pretty good evidence that milk need not make you fat. And it’s a good source of protein, calcium and other good stuff. Milk is very calorically dense, so I wouldn’t recommend having it with every meal, but almost no one even wants to anymore. As long as you limit your milk consumption to one or two cups a day and limit the amount of saturated fat in the rest of your diet, it doesn’t matter much whether you drink skim, low fat, reduced fat, or whole milk (which is high in saturated fat).

Energy drinks are just soft drinks by another name and should be eschewed for the same reasons.

Sports Drinks – The sugars and high-glycemic carbs in sports drinks are just what your body needs for maximum performance in workouts and races. They are not what your body needs at any other time of day. When not required for immediate use by the muscles, those sugars and carbs will be quickly converted to fat and stored in adipose tissue. Keep your sports drink consumption to a minimum outside of workouts. For more how sports drinks should fit into your diet, check out The Straight Dope On Sugar In Sports Drinks.

Soft drinks are high in sugar that, as mentioned earlier, is readily converted to body fat when consumed at times of inactivity. Carbonated sports drinks also contain phosphates that leech calcium from bones. For these reasons they should have a very small place in your diet.

About The Author: Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit

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Overcome your open water fears Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:30:15 +0000

“Fear” — even the word makes some people twitchy. Recent research in neuroscience has told us a lot about why some people become ]]>

Figure One: What’s happening inside your brain during an open water swim start

Figure One: What’s happening inside your brain during an open water swim start

“Fear” — even the word makes some people twitchy. Recent research in neuroscience has told us a lot about why some people become extremely nervous and worried before the swim. Most people’s brains on race day are like an unruly school playground. All the main characters are there: the show-offs, the bullies, the shy kids, the nerds, and a bunch of other kids just trying to make it through another day. The same is happening in your brain on race day. Different parts of your brain start fighting for control. If we simplify the science, we can think of your ‘swim fear’ as a battle of six regions in the brain, each with different priorities come race day.

This article first appeared on For more click here.

The gun goes off and you sprint into the water. There’s thrashing, there’s kicking. It’s hectic. All of your technique and breathing rhythm goes out of the window because it feels like you’ve been dropped into a warzone. Just at that moment, someone grabs your ankle. Then someone grabs your shoulder. Then you get punched twice and pushed under. Figure One shows the running dialogue between your six brains.

Open Water Swim
Figure One shows a cheat sheet about how to take back control of your own brain: You see the problem? You have six brains in a fight. One of them has got to get control. We’re hoping the one who wants to punch the offending swimmer doesn’t get control. Sometimes the socially acceptable but devious brain (#2) takes charge by saying “Three strong kicks to the mouth should do it!” Sometimes the rational frontal cortex brain (#4) takes control and says “I’ll just swim 2 feet over to the left and all will be fine.” Depending on your personality, the brain left holding the reins is likely to vary. Regardless of the outcome, you can see how very complicated this all is. As a triathlete brain-trainer, I’m just trying to help you cope with staying calm and efficient during an open water swim start, and this involves making all six brains work together.

Step 1
Stop avoiding things that scare you and instead confront them head on. Not swimming in open water, not practicing swim entries and exits with others, not entering a race because the surf is usually big, not moving up a lane at masters when you should all make paranoid Brain #1 even stronger (in science speak, synaptic strengthening occurs). You’re left with too few experiences to draw on in which things went ok (you lived) or even felt great. It’s a cliché, but the magic really does happen out of your comfort zone.

Simulate and Isolate
Ease your way into stressful situations by simulating the problem first. The bike stationary trainer and treadmill remain fundamental training aids for the bike and run, yet so few triathletes see out complementary training aids for the swim. For example, swim trainers and ergometers are incredibly useful tools to work on technique and race simulation sans the anxiety and/or boredom. Short, high intensity power intervals help prepare you for swim starts, and longer sets with video feedback from a camera phone help identify when your technique starts to break down. In addition, without the confusing and disorienting presence of water, a Vasa Ergometer enables you to more easily focus on critical technique cues such as your high elbow catch, engagement of the lats, power in the catch phase, and follow through to the hip. Record bilateral watts and add a mirror beneath you to get precise and immediate feedback about subtle changes to your stroke.

Use Third Person Thinking
Picture yourself as an outsider, as though you’re watching someone else look nervously at the water. What advice would you give them?

Recognise That Actions Can Fail, But People Cannot
One of the biggest misjudgments that people make is mistaking a failed plan for a failed person. Plans fail. Actions fail. People are not failures. The critical point is what we do with our failed actions and plans (or the thought of failure). Mental toughness is built by enduring in the face of failure, it doesn’t come from an easy swim during taper week.

Reframe the Goal
In a comfort zone-busting new experience, force your goal to be something you are always in control of. When the goal is under your control, you always get to define success and failure. The best goal is based on the effort you plan to give, not the time it takes you, where you finish, or how others see you. Start every new swim with this simple pledge: “No matter what happens today, I agree to give it everything I’ve got given the circumstances.” You might be unfit or under prepared, you might get your goggles knocked off, or be the slowest person in the lane or wave – these are all your ‘circumstances’ – but they have no bearing on the effort you give.

Make Snap Decisions
If we let our fears and concerns linger long enough, we can become paralyzed by them, unable to make a decision. Sometimes, it’s good to be impulsive. Go on I dare you, make a quick decision about something scary in the future, whether it’s entering a certain race known for big surf or signing up for master’s swim.

Step 2
Recognise that feeling overwhelmed by fear and anxiety about the swim simply means that your brain has been hijacked by the part of your brain trying to keep you alive (Brain #1). Brain #1 is irrational, paranoid, very emotional, and thinks catastrophically. It’s one of the oldest parts of your brain and is the source of the fight-or-flight response and the fountain of all instincts, drives, and pleasure. Evolution has given it incredible powers, like the ability to receive and process information much quicker than the rest of your brain, and the ability to throw a chemical brick at your rational brain to stop it taking ‘over thinking’ when your life really is in danger. Dr. Steve Peters, the British sports psychiatrist, calls this region your “Chimp brain” because it’s prone to tantrums and acts like an immature primate. To regain composure and enjoy yourself, you need to take back control. After all, it’s only a triathlon.

Rather than telling your Chimp Brain to shut up (it won’t work, it’s much stronger than you), try doing the exact opposite. Let it have 2 to 3 minutes of uninterrupted ranting. By letting it say all the things that it hopes will persuade you to pack your bags and go home, it will start to calm down. After all, everyone likes feeling listened to. “I’m going to come out of the water last. I’m going to get pushed under by those big waves. A shark is going to eat me. People will think I’m a joke. I’m not a real athlete. Everyone is looking at my fat legs.” And on it goes. Don’t interrupt your chimp. Let it rant until it runs out of insulting and scary things to say. Remember, it’s not the “real you” talking, it’s your Chimp using tricks to get you to quit.

Step 3
With some of the wind taken out of your Chimp’s sails, you are ready to regain control of your brain using facts and logic. The parts of your brain that are best described as the “real you” are located in your frontal cortex (Brains #2-6). It’s the only part actually capable of thinking (as opposed to just reacting). Unlike your Chimp Brain, your frontal cortex deals only in facts and logic. For this reason, we call the frontal cortex, your “Professor Brain.”

For each of the Chimp rants, start to dissect each statement with two weapons: One, what is the actual likelihood of this happening? (using only facts), and second, so damn what? (Using only logic). For example, “I’m going to come out of the water last” would be dissected as: “I’m probably going to be at the back of my wave but the faster swimmers in the wave behind will catch us anyway up so no one really knows who’s in what place. Besides, who cares if I come out of the water last? Just watch an Ironman finish at the cutoff? The slowest athletes get the biggest cheer!”

Step 4
Be prepared and find a way. I’m amazed at the number of triathletes for whom the swim is their weakest discipline, or who are terrified of ocean starts, but never actually practice or simulate race conditions. Inconsistent swim training has a cascading effect on your physical, technical, psychological and emotional readiness to race.

Get Creative
If you don’t live near an open water location or your schedule prevents you from getting to the pool enough, get creative. Why not invest in a swim ergometer and bang out intervals in your garage? Swim Ergs have the added advantage of providing data on your stroke (e.g., power, cadence, stroke length) and enable you to do very specific upper body resistance work to reduce deficits in your wet swimming. In addition, get a group of tri club members to meet you at a local OWS location and practice race-simulation entries and exits – complete with body contact, drafting, and mishaps.

About the author: Dr. Simon Marshall is a former Category 1 road cyclist, a current age-group triathlete, and an international expert in sport psychology and mental toughness. Simon has a BSc (hons) in Sports Science, a Master’s degree in Kinesiology, and a Ph.D. in Sport & Exercise Psychology. From 2002-2012 he was a tenured professor of Sport Psychology at San Diego State University before becoming a Professor of Behavioral Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He has published over 90 academic articles about the science of behavior change. In 2014 he left academia to have more fun and focus on the brain training of endurance athletes. Simon is also the husband of Lesley Paterson, the 3-time World Champion in off-road triathlon. Together, they run Braveheart Coaching ( and Team Braveheart, a Clan of like-minded triathletes, runners and cyclists who juggle busy lives while also striving to be fast, happy, and mentally tough.

This article first appeared on For more click here.

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How to avoid side stitches Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:15:51 +0000

Photo: iStock

That sharp pain you can get in your side while running can sometimes be severe enough to force you to stop. It can be caused by several ]]>

Photo: iStock

That sharp pain you can get in your side while running can sometimes be severe enough to force you to stop. It can be caused by several things, the most common of which is a diaphragm spasm—especially for runners who are just starting out or pushing a run beyond their current capability. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the lungs and chest cavity from the abdominal cavity, and it expands and contracts with every breath. When it has to work too hard it can spasm, causing a pain that feels like a knife in your side.

Another common scenario: The diaphragm is working fine, but the breathing effort is excessive due to panting, and the accessory muscles of breathing, the obliques, spasm.

Triathletes face a cause specific to their sport: the stress of transitioning from cycling to running. If the core muscles aren’t stretched after a long bike leg, they may spasm.

Fix It
Stretch it. First, try to relieve the side stitch without stopping your activity.
Raise your arm on the side that hurts and place that hand on the back of your head. Continue the activity. The idea is to allow those side muscles to stretch, hopefully relieving the spasm and, of course, the pain. Try this for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat if the side stitch returns or doesn’t abate.

If this is ineffective, take a break and stretch those side muscles as you rest. This is a two-pronged attack. One, you stretch the spasming muscles. And two, you rest your diaphragm and obliques, which should solve the problem.

Prevent It
Strengthen your core. Since the most common causes of side stitches are muscle related, increasing core strength with exercises like planks and crunches—especially with rotation (see at right)—often fixes the problem.

Try Pilates. I’m a big fan of Pilates classes for core reconditioning. Adding just two sessions a week to your normal regimen will give you incredible results. No more side stitches is one benefit, but the benefits to your sports performance will be even bigger.

Exercise #1: Rolling Side Plank
Start by performing a side plank with your right side down. Hold for 1 or 2 seconds, then roll your body over onto both elbows—into a traditional plank—and hold for 1 or 2 seconds. Next, roll all the way up onto your left elbow so that you’re performing a side plank facing the opposite direction. Hold for another second or two. That’s 1 repetition. For an added challenge, try it on your hands, starting from a high push-up position. Make sure to move your whole body as a single unit each time you roll.

Exercise #2: Wrist-To-Knee Crunch
Lie faceup with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees so that your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Place your fingers on the sides of your head. Lift your shoulders off the floor as if doing a crunch. Twist your upper body to the left while bringing up your left knee to touch your right wrist. Simultaneously straighten your right leg. Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side.

From The Athlete’s Book Of Home Remedies by Jordan D. Metzl, M.D. with Mike Zimmerman. Copyright 2012 by Rodale Inc. Published by arrangement with Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098.

New York City sports medicine specialist Jordan D. Metzl, M.D. is a 29-time marathon finisher and 10-time Ironman. His book, The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies, has more than 1,000 tips to fix all types of injuries and medical conditions.

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Highlights: Gomez & Jorgensen win Rio 2016 Qualification event Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:00:39 +0000

Photo: Wagner Araujo/ITU Media

The opening shots in the race for the Rio 2016 triathlon gold medal were fired at the weekend, with Javier Gomez and Gwen Jorgensen taking ]]>

Photo: Wagner Araujo/ITU Media

The opening shots in the race for the Rio 2016 triathlon gold medal were fired at the weekend, with Javier Gomez and Gwen Jorgensen taking the honours at the Rio Test Event. We’ve got highlights of two fantastic races here:

The men’s race

The women’s race

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Paratriathletes impress at Rio test event Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:00:23 +0000 In preparation for paratriathlon’s debut next summer at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games, paratriathletes tested the course on Saturday and scored points that go towards making their Paralympic dreams come true.

Great Britain’s George Peasgood took a commanding lead in the men’s race, dominating both the swim and the bike legs. Remaining in a consistent second-place position through the first two disciplines, Martin Schulz (GER) exited the second transition down by 43 seconds as he entered his run. Gaining speed on Peasgood, Schultz was able to capitalize on his competitor’s weakest discipline to close the gap and take over the lead position, setting himself up for victory. Stefan Daniel (CAN) followed close behind and was able to secure the silver. Taking the bronze was France’s Yannick Bourseaux, who also competed as a Paralympic skier, proved he can excel at both winter and summer sports.

“I’ll try to make the Paralympic team next year, and it’s exciting, it’s a cool city, fast course,” Stefan Daniel said of paratriathlon’s debut at the Paralympics in 2016. “I’ll be excited to compete.”

In the women’s race, Lauren Steadman (GBR) commanded the course and was the frontrunner from start to finish. She led out of the water and the bike, which gave her a comfortable last leg all the way to the gold medal finish line. Behind her, Grace Norman (USA) stepped up for silver, while Faye Mcclelland (GBR) followed two minutes later for bronze.

After being down in the swim, Bill Chaffey (AUS) forced a change in the leaderboard after a phenomenal bike leg that ultimately carried him through to the finish line. The four-time World Champion displayed a standout race that proved he is going to be the one to beat next summer in the Paralympic Games. Earning the gold medal with a time of 59:41.

“I loved it, I could hear people shouting ‘Go Aussie’,” Chaffey said of the crowds. “I think Copacabana Beach, with all of the tourists around anyways, and then you have more people coming to support the race and it’s really, really good. I wanted to get an idea of this course. I knew it was going to be flat and fast, but there are multiple turns. Having that knowledge and knowing what I need to train for is one of the benefits, and the competition is so strong.”

Setting himself up with a slight edge after his quick transition after the bike, Geert Schipper (NED) positioned himself into second place entering the run. But USA’s Krige Schabort overtook Schipper in the final lap to claim the silver medal. Schipper finished with bronze.

Hailey Danisewicz, Melissa Stockwell and Allysa Seely carried on the US women’s stronghold on women’s medal this 2015 season when they swept the women’s PT2 sport class. While it was Paralympic swimmer Stockwell that was second out of the water, with Danisewicz trailing more than two minutes behind, a strong bike put Danisewicz back in the game with a bike split three minutes faster than the field. The move put her out in front heading into the two-lap 5km run. From there, the eventual gold medallist continued to surge ahead, as she scorched out the fastest run split as well. Danisewicz won the race in 1:24:37 followed by Stockwell two minutes later and Seely two minutes after Stockwell.

“It was critical to be here, just being able to see the course, I think that’s going to be huge for next year – to get a whole dry run in,” said PT2 winner Hailey Danisewicz. “Rio has been awesome, great food, great people, awesome hospitality. It’s surpassed all of my expectations.”

Vasily Egorov (RUS) continued his dominant career in paratriathlon with his fifth win of the year and lucky number 13 overall. One of the slower swimmers out of the water, it was a dominant bike performance that edged Egorov out in front. The Russian carried his lead into the two-lap run along the Copacabana Beach and never let up, scoring to the win in 1:08:58. Mark Barr (USA), who has the fastest swim of the day, finished second, whileAndrew Lewis (GBR) took bronze.

Great Britain showed up on Saturday in the women’s race, taking home both the gold and silver. Alison Patrickwas the showstopper who was able to glide onto the blue carper untouched with a commendable minute lead. Second to cross the line, however, was compatriot Melissa Reid. The bronze was awarded to USA’s Patricia Walsh, who finished with a time of 1:10:05.

“She responds to the cheers, she wanted to run off” said Patrick’s guide of the local support. “I was like, ‘no, keep it steady’.”

“I can’t see, so I’m listening to everything and the spirit was really good,” said Patrick.

The battle for fourth place saw Susana Rodriguez (ESP) and Joleen Hakker (NED) is an all-out sprint to the finish. Rodriguez was able to push a last burst of energy and land her fourth by a nose.

On the men’s side, Jose Luis Garcia Serrano (ESP) unquestionably claimed the PT5 title. Winning the overall race by an outstanding lead, the fresh Spaniard placed himself in the rights of being a name to keep in mind when next summer roles around.

With their home country fans cheering them on, Brazil swept the podium in the men’s PT3 race. Jorge Luis Fonseca blew by the competition and was uncontested for the entirety of the race. Finishing with a time of 1:08:41, he was the frontrunner through all three disciplines and rightfully earned the gold. Walking away with the silver medal was Roberto Carlos Silva, leaving the bronze to go to Edson Dantas.

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First look: Scott’s 2016 Foil Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:31:43 +0000

The 2016 Scott Foil has been redesigned with new aero tube shapes and an integrated cockpit. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

On a wet and cold July morning in Park City, the long row of Scott Foil road bikes glistened beneath the chair lifts as mechanics huddled ]]>

The 2016 Scott Foil has been redesigned with new aero tube shapes and an integrated cockpit. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

On a wet and cold July morning in Park City, the long row of Scott Foil road bikes glistened beneath the chair lifts as mechanics huddled beneath EZ-Up tents, readying for the soggy day of test rides ahead. This was not ideal weather for trying out a new bike on steep, unfamiliar roads slicked with steady rain, but with a flight out of Salt Lake looming, the ride was happening now or never.

The bike itself was motivation enough: a combination of aero frame design coupled with compliance features to allow the foil to dip its fingers in the do-anything bike market. So goes the current trend, and Scott is no different: most bike companies are responding to customers’ desires to have a fast, stiff bike without the spine-shattering ride quality. The new Foil is Scott’s answer to those calls.

The redesign of the 2016 Foil is immediately noticeable when compared with the 2015 iteration: the seat stays have been dropped lower at the connection point with the seat tube for better airflow and increased vertical compliance; the frame itself is reshaped with a new aero design; the rear brake is now tucked underneath the bottom bracket; and perhaps most notably, the cockpit is now integrated with a one-piece handlebar and stem. All vertical tubes on the frame have also been reshaped for aerodynamic advantage, while the reshaped PF86 bottom bracket is said to be 13% stiffer than last year’s Foil. Scott says these features combined save an average of 6 watts, or 27 seconds over 40K at an average speed of 45kph.

Like other bikes using a truncated airfoil design, stiffness is inherent in the frame which is both beneficial and problematic: exceptional stiffness means quick acceleration and exceptional power transfer, but it also means a harsh ride that can wreak havoc on the rider over the long haul. Scott’s priority seems to be aero first, comfort second, but with the 2016 Foil, comfort is a reality. It’s not sacrificed entirely in favor of aerodynamics. The lower seat stays, in addition to providing an aero edge, tend to flex more than the longer stays on the 2015 Foil, which means less road input reaches the rider’s spine. Scott says they have increased vertical compliance 86% over last year’s Foil, and that seemed noticeable out on the road.

Integration is, of course, a key component to Scott’s design process. The Syncros RR1.0 handlebar/stem combo reduces drag at the front of the bike not only by integrating aero shaping into the handlebar and stem, but also by tucking away the cables and housing. While not internal all the way through, it does de-clutter the bottom of the bar; the cables come out of the handlebar near the junction with the stem, which means there are still some pesky cylindrical shapes at the front of the head tube. The cables tuck neatly into a port on the top of the down tube and run internally the rest of the way.

Unlike many of its aero brethren, the Foil does not have a drastically bladed seatpost. Instead, it is shaped with a slight aerofoil design but is more round than a true aero seatpost. While this isn’t the best option in terms of aerodynamics, it does help soften the ride a bit and keep the rider comfortable, which is increasingly important in the burgeoning aero bike sector. It’s a trade-off that seems ultimately necessary, and it’s probably a high benefit, low detriment trade-off at that.

Our test bike was decked out in Shimano’s finest Dura-Ace Di2 with direct-mount brakes. The rear brake is tucked beneath the bottom bracket, making pro mechanics and home wrenches cringe in unison. This presumably helps reduce aerodynamic drag. Braking power in both the front and rear seemed plenty strong coming down the rain-slicked steeps of Guardsman Pass, so it’s hard to complain too much about the location of the brake.

Speaking of Guardsman Pass, that was the playground from the day: a steep, long, winding climb up and out of Park City. Out of the saddle, the big, stiff bottom bracket was immediately noticeable, and the Foil accelerated fairly quickly. It wasn’t the quickest accelerator in the aero bike realm, but it had a decent peppiness up long, moderate grades. It also felt quite light; it’s nice to see a trend toward weight savings in the aero segment, since many early aero models were overly bulky. Climbing with the Foil felt natural.

Assessing the descending capabilities of the Foil was a bit more difficult because the rain prevented me from really opening it up. Ripping through switchbacks was a bit more of a cautious affair, though the Foil did seem to bite in well. There was no wandering, and the wheel went where it was supposed to go all the way through the turn. Can that be chalked up to the one-piece bar and stem? Perhaps in part; rider feedback definitely seemed to translate into near-pinpoint steering, but again, the real test would have been at higher speeds that the slick roads prevented. The bike handled well without too much of the traditional jarring harshness up front, though on particularly deep cracks and potholes, the Foil reminds you it’s still an aero bike at its core.

There isn’t much flat tarmac in and around Park City on which to test the sprinting capabilities, but there was one small stretch where we burned a flat-out effort from standing. Given its acceleration on the climbs, it came as no surprise that the Foil got moving quickly and felt sturdy and capable when swaying side to side in full-on sprint mode. Once again, the one-piece cockpit translated into decent stability.

If you’re in pursuit of the stiffest, quickest sprinter, however, the Foil probably isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a bike capable of competing in hair-raising crits as well as an everyday ride you can take up the local epic climb, the Foil has a lot to offer. That’s the thing about the Foil: it’s bridging a gap that needs to be bridged. Everyone’s looking for a light, stiff, comfortable ride, and while no aero bikes have combined all those elements perfectly yet, many are coming close. Count the Foil among the few that are coming very close very quickly.

To truly assess its capabilities, we would need plenty more ride time, but initial impressions are good. Scott’s onto something here, and that something is fast and comfortable.

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Seven tips for stronger running Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:30:51 +0000

Photo: Kurt Hoy

Brian Mackenzie, a strength and conditioning coach and the creator of CrossFit Endurance, shares skills and drills to help athletes run ]]>

Photo: Kurt Hoy

Brian Mackenzie, a strength and conditioning coach and the creator of CrossFit Endurance, shares skills and drills to help athletes run with greater efficiency and speed.

Pull with the hamstring
Consider your form like a piston in an engine—after your foot touches the ground, pull the ankle and foot up with your hamstring. The more compact your form, the more efficient it becomes. Imagine your stride can only be as long as the area in a phone booth.

Maintain proper posture and position
To promote better posture, keep your head up, eyes focused down the road and core muscles engaged. This will take the load off your knees and place it on your trunk (hips and hamstrings).

Your proper running position can be found by first placing your body weight on the ball of one foot. Slightly bend your knee over your planted foot and hold your ankle below your hip. Hold for one minute on each leg.

Keep your stride quiet
The less time each foot spends on the ground, the better. Listen to your stride—the quieter it becomes, the less time your ankles have to roll inward and create injuries.

Pick up your cadence
Grab a metronome and set it to 90 beats per minute, and your right foot should make contact with the ground on every click. The increased push-offs per minute also increases speed while decreasing over-striding and heel striking.

Develop a forward lean
Lean forward as you run by slightly engaging your core muscles. This will force you to lean from your ankles, not the waist.

Land underneath your centre of gravity
Contact the ground with your mid-foot or forefoot directly under your centre of gravity. After a few practice runs, your stride will begin to feel like a spinning wheel with relatively no pounding.

Be patient
Your proper form will be developed through practice, so dedicate one day a week to form drills.

Develop a forward lean
Lean forward as you run by slightly engaging your core muscles. This will force you to lean from your ankles, not the waist.

Quick Mobility for Runners
Adapt these easy movements into your training three times a week for increased mobility.

Grab a foam roller, massage stick and massage ball, and do each movement for one minute on each side—a timer helps to stay on track.

1. Roll the ball under each foot and find any hot spots that need attention.
2. Knead out each calf muscle with the massage stick, and feel for any knots. Spend extra time in sensitive areas, and use the massage ball to target specific areas.
3. Roll out the quadriceps muscles by lying face-down on the floor, with the foam roller beneath your thighs.
4. Target the iliotibial (IT) band with the foam roller by rolling from the hip to the knee on the outside of the leg.
5. Spend one minute rolling out each hamstring with the foam roller.
6. Finish off by using the foam roller to roll out your lower back and hips. The massage ball can also be substituted when working out the gluteus muscles.

Adapted from the book Unbreakable Runner ( by Brian Mackenzie and T.J. Murphy.

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Monday swim set: Nothing over 150 Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:15:18 +0000

Photo: Shutterstock

Triathlete Europe contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim ]]>

Photo: Shutterstock

Triathlete Europe contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim program. We’ll feature a workout every Tuesday so you have new ideas to take to the pool. On her blog (, you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

The A sets are between 4–5000 yards total, with intervals ranging from 1:20–1:30 per 100. The B sets are 3000–3500 total, with intervals of 1:50–2:00 per 100. The C sets are 2000–2500 total and all based on a rest interval.

500 warm up
8×50 at :60 (kick/drill by 25…IM order)
8×75 at 1:20 (odds: fly/bk/br; evens: bk/br/free)
8×25 pull at :30
5×150 pull at 2:05
8×25 swim at :30
5×150 swim at 2:10
8×25 w/ fins at :30
5×150 w/ fins at 2:00
8×50 at :60 freestyle drill choice
200 cool down
*4900 Total*

500 warm up
6×50 at 1:20 (kick/drill by 25)
6×75 at 1:30 (3/5/3 breathing pattern by 25)
6×25 pull at :40
4×150 pull at 3:00
6×25 swim at :40
4×150 swim at 2:45
6×25 w/fins at :30
4×150 w/fins at 2:30
200 cool down
*3700 Total*

400 warm up
6×50 w/ 20 sec rest (kick/drill by 25)
6×75 w/ 30 sec rest (3/5/3 breathing pattern by 25)
6×25 pull at :50
3×150 pull w/ 30 sec rest
6×25 swim at :50
3×150 swim w/ 30 sec rest
100 cool down
*2500 Total*

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Dutch on top at Ironman Maastricht-Limburg Mon, 03 Aug 2015 09:45:24 +0000 Two Dutch athletes celebrated great wins at the inaugural IRONMAN Maastricht-Limburg. Thanks to outstanding performances Yvonne van Vlerken and Bas Diederen took home the victories in their home race.

The men’s race
In the men’s race, it was a group of five that dominated the race for a long time. Dutch Martijn Dekker set off for a fast swim split early in the water and exited the river Maas after 46:17. Within only 7 seconds, the top five came out of the water including favorite Bas Diederen who ranked fourth at the IRONMAN European championship Frankfurt four weeks ago.

Dekker was the man at the front of the group for a long time, but on the last third of the flat but challenging bike course, Diederen attacked. He made a decisive move, broke up the group and opened up a huge gap. When Diederen came off the bike, he was almost 5 minutes away from Oude Bennink, the rest of the group was dropped by more than 8 minutes.

Diederen kept the pace high on the marathon and controlled the race with ease. On the second half he was able to extend his lead up to more than seven minutes over his compatriot. After taking sixth place at the IRONMAN African championship in April and ranking fourth in Frankfurt, he celebrated his first ever IRONMAN title in 8:27:18 ahead of Oude Bennink and Italian Alberto Casadei.

The women’s race
Yvonne van Vlerken was the reason the Dutch flag reigned as well in the women’s race. Although she was a bit behind in the water and for a longer time on the bike, the 36-year-old made her way as she has done so often in her career.

Van Vlerken came out of the water 4:02 behind leader Sarissa De Vries. Through the first half of the bike course, Van Vlerken was only 20 seconds behind her fellow countrywoman, but she broke away from De Vries only minutes later.

When the five-time IRONMAN champion reached T2, she had an advantage of more 5:32 and looked strong. Like a flying Dutchwoman, Van Vlerken then increased her lead with every single step. Through 11 kilometers, she was more than 9 minutes in front; when she embarked on final 10 kilometers the gap was nearly 17 minutes. Van Vlerken had a great day and took home an impressive win ahead of IRONMAN rookie De Vries. Third place Carla Van Roijen completed the triumph for the Dutch team.

2015 Ironman Maastricht-Limburg

Top 5 Men
1. Bas Diederen (NED) 08:27:18
2. Mark Oude Bennink (NED) 08:35:15
3. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 08:38:04
4. Tim Brydenbach (BEL) 08:40:38
5. Matic Modic (SVN) 08:44:11

Top 5 Women
1. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 09:39:24
2. Sarissa De Vries (NED) 09:58:44
3. Carla van Rooijen (NED) 10:04:38
4. Carolin Lehrieder (GER) 10:19:57
5. Irene Kinnegim (NED) 10:34:46

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