Triathlete Europe Europe's leading source for triathlon news and information. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:00:33 +0000 hourly 1 Tri Bike Check: Cervelo P3 Dura-Ace Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:00:33 +0000 Aaron Hersh

All triathlon bikes are not made equal. What’s more, price or technological advancements do not always mean you are getting the best ]]>

All triathlon bikes are not made equal. What’s more, price or technological advancements do not always mean you are getting the best bike for you. We’re taking a look at four different triathlon bikes, each boasting different technologies and at different price points. So far we have examined the Orbea Ordu M30. Today we take a look at the Cervelo P3 Dura-Ace.

While most bike designers equip tri models at this price level with a flashy front-end system, Cervélo instead elected to build a near-perfect version of a non-integrated tri bike. In that sense, this bike is a throwback. Shifting is crisp and immediate; hydraulic brakes are immune to the typical spew of sports drink that clogs many traditional calipers; fit specs work for most triathletes; the bike thrives while twisting through tight corners. And the Cervélo engineering crew’s hard- earned reputation as aerodynamic wizards builds confidence in the P3’s straight-line speed, even without the added drag savings of an integrated nose cone.

Of all the triathlon bike frames, this one might fit the most athletes. With sizes stretching from microscopic (45) to gargantuan (61), there is a P3 for just about every body type. And the frame shape is crafted to match realistic tri-specific fits. The 3T Aura Pro aerobar offers limited adjustment. Stack height adjustment range is minimal and, while the extensions can move in and out, the pad position cannot be drawn far backward to shorten the reach length. Mounting the aerobar with a standard stem and steerer tube instead of an integrated system provides about six centimetres of stack adjustment range (from stem position and orientation), which helps counteract the limited aerobar but with a penalty to aesthetics and stiffness.

Along with changes to geometry, the handling feel of Cervélo’s tri bikes has evolved in the past few years. The P3 retains the nimble touch of the prior-generation Cervélo tri bikes and boasts a few notable improvements. This bike calmly holds its course without any over-exaggerated movement and feels more stable when reaching for a bottle—although it still requires more in- put than the Cannondale. Overall stiffness is better. Jam the bike through a corner, and every part of the frame moves in unison, inviting the rider to press harder and take advantage of the bike’s agility.

Forgoing integration isn’t just a cost-saving measure; it simplifies a bike and reduces mechanical complexity. Combined with Cervélo’s liveable cable routing system, the P3’s basic housing path makes trouble-shooting, travelling and routine service relatively easy and rapid. Component performance is outstanding. Gear shifts are swift and precise (11-speed), and the hydraulic Magura RT6 TT brakes provide ample yet predictable stopping power. ISM saddle popularity has rocketed upward ever since it was first released because its two-tong design helps the majority of riders get comfortable in the aero- bars. Including this valuable saddle is a big upgrade.

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Triathlon Training: Go All In Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:20:09 +0000 Matt Dixon

Photo: Kurt Hoy

A few weeks ago I was invited to give a speech to a company on what it meant to be all in. The company itself was at an interesting point ]]>

Photo: Kurt Hoy

A few weeks ago I was invited to give a speech to a company on what it meant to be all in. The company itself was at an interesting point in its evolution having achieved solid progress in the last years, but was now aiming to take a big leap of growth and success over the coming years. The employees are highly motivated and eager for success, but the CEO let me know that they were worried that the ambitious goals laid out for them would only mean more work, a chance for burnout and looming fatigue.

The staff had individually and collectively achieved success but were now asked to strive for something greater. My task was to discuss the concept of all in, and hopefully motivate them to take a leap toward excellence while providing some insight into what this might mean. A daunting task was laid out for me. The stories and lessons I laid out focused on my expertise and experience as a coach, with lessons drawn to their business goals. We can draw direct learning from some of the topics I highlighted. Let’s investigate.

I often get asked what makes pro athletes special. Beyond the obvious genetic traits, I would identify 10 traits and characteristics that are typically present in the most successful athletes make up and approach. It would be easy to write a feature on these traits alone, but I will simply outline them as a backbone for this piece.

1. Resilience: Almost every successful elite displays wonderful emotional and physical resilience, as well as a great capacity to manage adversity.

2. Goal Orientated: It is no surprise that elite athletes have a strong sense of goals and purpose.

3. Value Assessment: Most elite athletes understand the value in ongoing assessment to ensure they remain on target with their goals, or enable a refinement of the plan and direction in order to meet the goals.

4. Embrace Support: While this is an individual sport, few would diminish the relevance of a support team, and the need to gain outside assistance to help set and guide their path.

5. Low Peaks and Valleys: While we all have emotional fluctuations, the best performers are able to keep these fluctuations minimal, never wildly diverging from the path of purpose.

6. Value Recovery: While hard work is the key to success, the consistent performers are able to weave needed recovery into the programme and approach.

7. Specific Purpose: The best are able to filter out noise and distractions, and place most of their focus on the specific areas that will help create success.

8. Patience: Another obvious one, but of great importance to success. Elite athletes embrace the journey and understand that most overnight success will have many years of work behind it.

9. PASSION: We go nowhere without passion, and a true love for the craft, work and process is essential to stay the course.

10. Calculated Risks: Finally, greatness cannot be achieved without stepping out of the envelope of comfort. Smart and calculated risk taking is a critical element to making magic happen.

These traits and characteristics are omni- present in almost all the most successful elite athletes I meet, but the truly special ones also understand what it means to be all in. It’s an x-factor of process, mindset, wisdom and approach that enables them to go from good to great. As you will find out, being all in means much more than great commitment, and certainly includes more than hard work and lots of effort. Being all in requires a smart and tactical approach of your resources to facilitate optimal performance. Luckily, it doesn’t require genetic gifts to be all in, it just takes a little gumption and a willingness to take the risk. You might just be surprised and like what you find.

My Story
I seldom worry about telling my story of athletic success. This is because it holds little value for most to read, and certainly carries little inspiration athletically. While I did compete as an elite swimmer and professional triathlete, I am wonderful example of completing a pro career poorly. While I had great grit, passion and determination, coupled with a strong work ethic, the results were never commensurate with my talent level.

The main reason for this was that I focused so much on hard work, with little real consideration to recovery or supporting the training with adequate fuelling and hydration, that I placed my body in a state of fatigue and disrepair. I believed all in simply meant working harder than anyone else. I drove myself into the ground, to the point that I left the sport with deep fatigue and frustration.

The reason that I relay this is that this experience was fundamental to me stepping back from the sport and really considering what it meant to shoot for elite performance. Despite my background in physiology, and my background in age group and collegiate swimming coaching, I pushed myself so hard as to create failure. I also saw many doing the same thing around me, and this experience providing the key chance on reflection on how I had approached the sport, as well as how many of my swimming and triathlon coaches had guided the plan.

I realised that the obsession with work, and little else, made no sense and couldn’t believe how so much lip service was given to concepts such as nutrition, hydration, recovery, functional strength and more from what I call ‘the supporting cast’, but no real value was given in daily practice. This was central to why I began coaching and educating through a framework that I call the ‘pillars of performance’. By this I mean that equal emotional and physical value is given to an athlete’s endurance training, functional strength, nutrition and recovery, to make up the complete programme.

More that a nice tag-phrase, these ‘pillars of perforamnce’ have developed a way of thinking for purplepatch athletes, and an easy way to maintain a laser-like focus on the programme. We have had some great results from this way of thinking, and the examples below showcase how this is an important element of athletes being all-in.

Chris Lieto
Chris has had a quite wonderful triathlon career, and many people have contributed to his various Ironman and half iron distance victories and successes. I am proud to have helped in his journey, and his story of his success draws many lessons. As I outline his path, I think it is important to understand that Chris achieved much of his success following a major injury following a collision with a car that left him with a severely damaged foot. While it plagued the final year or two of his career, he did a great job managing that limiter in addition to what I discuss below.

When Chris came to me, in 2008, he was already a household name within the sport, known as a great cyclist, as well as multiple Ironman champion. He came to me as a frustrated athlete, following disappointment in his last couple of Ironman races, and was at the stage of his career that his only remaining goal was to aim to win the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

Our mission was to aim to win the Ironman World Championships, and this meant that I needed to review his previous approach before looking forward and mapping the plan. What I found was a highly committed athlete, who sustained a great training load and weekly training hours, but wasn’t gaining a return on his efforts. I felt that Chris needed more specificity in his training, for the Ironman World Championships and how he would plan to race it, but also needed to heighten his focus on recovery, nutrition and supporting strength training.

The ‘supporting cast’ of proper fuelling, nutrition, strength and a heightened focus on recuperation and rest would help him create a platform of health, and maintain a more consistent training regime. In addition, I asked Chris to take a risk and radically decrease his overall weekly training load with the hope of leveraging his existing platform of fitness. At the same time we increased the intensity and specificity of his key sessions. I asked for laser-like focus on the big sessions, but reduced his overall load. The final evolution was to truly plan and define a specific strategy for race day that would play to his strengths and allow his strongest performance.

The result was that Chris went through the next year with a reduced training load in terms of weekly hours, but remained healthy, motivated and energetic throughout the season. He also experienced significant improvements in sustainable power on the bike and pace in the run. He improved. You may know the results of the year with a great second place finish at the Ironman World Championships, which represented a true breakthrough for him. This result came from the transition from simple hard work to training with a specific purpose for what he was aiming to accomplish.

To be successful he truly had to understand what he was aiming for, and direct his effort directly toward that single goal. He also had to be willing to risk change and deviate from an already seemingly successful approach. This took plenty of courage, but to alter the approach and plan can be the catalyst to elicit improvements.

In addition, just because Chris was truly working hard, he had failed to place adequate focus on the smaller elements of performance that truly help in producing results like fuelling, nutrition, recovery and strength. These are all critical elements to place high focus and importance on. For Chris, being all in, didn’t mean working harder, or doing more, it was shifting emphasis on where his energy was placed, and ensure that he embraced the specific work that could help him improve.

Chris has always been a hard worker but became a truly smart and tactical worker, who channelled his commitment into specific focus to yield great results. Of course, this example relates to an already established professional aiming to fine- tune his results, but great success can sometimes be hidden in surprising places.

Meredith Kessler
It was about seven years ago that an innocent looking Meredith Kessler approached me about coaching. With 20 Ironman races under her belt, with the best taking about 11.5 hours, there was little to suggest that she had any type of elite potential. Her goal was to ‘see what she could do, and get good’, but with a demanding position in the finance world and a limited training knowledge, I had little inkling of the champion inside.

Meredith still holds the record for the worst training plan I have ever seen. Her swims comprised of 6-10K straight a few times a week, seldom rode her bike and she ran 10 to 15K each morning on a short 200-metre indoor track. There was no specificity, no variance and no progression. The one thing she did have was a great attitude and plenty of gumption.

I knew that her journey would not be a quick ride, and asked Meredith to be patient as we heightened specificity, increase intensity, focused on sleep and recovery, and began to transition from ‘working out’ to truly training. Her results began to improve and she progressed to finishing an Ironman in under 10 hours in year one, which allowed her to hit her first cross-roads in the journey.

As Meredith evolved through the levels of performance we had to assess and evolve her approach. This meant increased focus, decreasing emphasis on work and the addition of more training specificity and intensity. By the time she had won most of what an amateur could, she began competing in the pro ranks. Meredith won Ironman Canada while still maintaining her work schedule.

Already a big success, it was time to evolve and adapt the approach again, and she realised that to become world-class, she needed to make a decision about her life. Quitting her job, she now had capacity to truly train like a professional athlete. As a result was able to increase both workload and intensity with her focus on recovery protocols and rest. The end of the story has not reached its conclusion because she still has major goals to accomplish, but she has become a five-time Ironman Champion, and US Pro Champion in the Ironman 70.3 distance.

For Meredith, the lessons from this are wide reaching, but the primary one is that hard work doesn’t necessarily equate to progress, it is just hard work. You can commit to working hard but true success can only come from being all in on completing smart work. This doesn’t make that training easy. The work is demanding but is balanced with enough recovery to maintain health and gain adaptations from the stimulus of training.

In addition, as the journey progressed, it was critical to continually evaluate the approach and plan, and evolve it to suit her needs and goals. Meredith’s commitment can never be questioned, but it is her ability to truly embrace the fact that performance wouldn’t arrive overnight and is, instead, a journey that requires huge patience, persistence and gumption.

The nicest part of the story is the message of hope and surprise, as you might never know how good you could be until you truly commit to something and follow the journey to find performance. No one would have thought of Meredith as a champion in waiting, more a simple and lovely women who loved to exercise. She committed to the path and has overcome plenty of obstacles on her journey, but she has embraced it with commitment, passion and plenty of gumption.

So what does all in mean to you? How are you approaching your sport and your training? Are there things that you can do to truly evolve your performance and make a breakthrough? It might not be about simply doing more, and you might just need to shift your lens and have the courage to alter your approach if you are going to make your own breakthroughs

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Shoe Review: Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:00:18 +0000 Triathlete Europe

The Kiawe 2.0 are lightweight triathlon-specific race shoes that were developed in conjunction with ITU world champion Javier Gomez and ]]>

The Kiawe 2.0 are lightweight triathlon-specific race shoes that were developed in conjunction with ITU world champion Javier Gomez and 2012 US Ironman champion Jordan Rapp. They feature seamless slip-on style one-piece uppers that have been designed to work well with or without socks. We think the sizing was designed to work without socks, so if you want to wear socks you might need to go for a half size bigger. These uppers are cool, airy and breathe well. Plus they dry quickly if they get wet. The overlay lacing helps to provide ample support and keep the shoes in place when running.

Ours came with regular laces, which we prefer for middle and long distance racing because of the added support on the foot, but you could fit elastic laces for shorter distances. The high holed tongues and heel loops making getting into the Kiawe 2.0s a quick affair. These lightweight racing flats feature an internal carbon shank in the soles, which have a 6mm drop between the heel and forefoot. These shanks help to provide stiffness and support while providing a smooth and powerful toe-off as you leave the ground. This makes the Kiawe 2.0s feel firm yet lively for a race shoe.

The outsoles provided good grip in the dry and worked remarkably well in the wet too. Drainage holes mean these shoes don’t hold water which helps with blister protection and means you’re not carrying any unnecessary weight. The Kiawe 2.0s are not cheap, but have all the right ingredients for fast race shoes with slipper-like comfort, whatever distance you race.

Performance: 9
Value: 8
RRP: £105

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Video: Upper Body Strength Exercise Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:30:06 +0000 Triathlete Europe

In this video, Tim Crowley and friends show us the dumbbell pushup to row, a simple exercise that has a variety of benefits. The list of ]]>

In this video, Tim Crowley and friends show us the dumbbell pushup to row, a simple exercise that has a variety of benefits. The list of muscles this compound movement does NOT challenge and condition is shorter than the list of muscles it does!

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Q&A: Training & Racing With A High Heart Rate Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:35:58 +0000 Greg Close

Question: I have a high heart rate (160-170) when I work out, regardless of perceived effort. Will this limit me in longer distances? ]]>

Question: I have a high heart rate (160-170) when I work out, regardless of perceived effort. Will this limit me in longer distances?

Answer: The short answer is no. Age and athletic history will certainly impact your heart rate, but genetics play a huge part as well. Some people just naturally have higher than usual heart rates, and you might be one of them. As an example, I’ve worked with two 30-year-old Ironman racers with nearly identical athletic histories. Both are sub-nine-hour Ironman finishers, yet one races the marathon at 150 beats per minute while the other races at more than 180!

The more important question—and the longer answer: Is 160–170 the right heart rate for you to be training at? Perceived effort is obviously not the most accurate indicator of exertion level, and what feels easy for a 30–60-minute run might not feel so easy after a 180K bike ride.

Lactate testing is a great way to determine your optimal training and racing zones, but if you don’t have access to a portable lactate analyser or lab, you can run an all-out 30-minute effort with your heart rate monitor on. Take the average beats per minute for the last 20 minutes of the run and consider this your threshold rate. Generally speaking, a safe percentage of threshold for an iron-distance event is 80–85 per cent, and 87–92 per cent for a half.

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Screw Your Weaknesses! Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:30:45 +0000 Jesse Thomas

Illustration by Matt Collins.

Unless you’re Ryan Gosling from the movie “Drive,” you probably have a weakness or two. I’ll tell you that I am no Ryan Gosling. I ]]>

Illustration by Matt Collins.

Unless you’re Ryan Gosling from the movie “Drive,” you probably have a weakness or two. I’ll tell you that I am no Ryan Gosling. I don’t own a leather jacket, I drive a Prius and there are tons of things I could work on that would make me a better person.

Most of us try to work on our weaknesses at least once a year, either with New Year’s resolutions, or in the case of us athletes, new season resolutions.

Most people take a deep look, make a list, set some goals, download an app and set off with big goofy smiles on their faces, convinced that they’re six weeks away from their perfect selves.

The problem is that three weeks later, most of us give up and revert to our old habits. WikiJesseBrain says that only 7.4 percent of new season resolutions last more than three weeks, unless that resolution involves more cookies, more TV and/or fewer vegetables.

I’m the same way, and used to do the exact same thing. I can’t tell you how many times I set tons of goals—no TV, juice every day, 1,000 kick in the pool, get a regular haircut. But alas, I just couldn’t do it, people! Like most of us, in the excitement of a new season, I’d overreach. I’d binge-better myself. And when the binge wore off, I’d pay the price with too many unsustainable goals that I couldn’t achieve. I’d burn out, feel bad about myself, throw ice cream, cookies, peanut butter and chocolate into the juicer and drown my sorrows watching “The Mindy Project.” (The last sentence is too detailed to be fake.)

But over the past few years, I feel like I’ve gotten better … at getting better. And ironically, I feel like I’ve done so by doing less. I work on fewer weaknesses, and in a more gradual, sustainable way: The results have been slower but shown more consistent improvement. That consistency ultimately leads to better performances, relationships and happiness.

Luckily, for the price of this magazine, my weaknesses-ridding plan can be yours. And if you read it twice, you can get two plans for the same price! Don’t miss this incredible opportunity and read below right now—Dr. Jesse’s Three-step Plan for Screwing Your Weaknesses:

Step 1: W.I.P. yourself.
Every year, in preparation for my next season, I go through a Weaknesses Identification Procedure (WIP). I WIP myself solidly for a few days. I brainstorm all the bad habits, personal, professional, or athletic deficiencies that keep me from being Ryan Gosling. If I have trouble identifying my problems, I just ask my wife, coach, family, friends and employees—which immediately results in dozens of reasons why I’m failing to live up to expectations. The process doesn’t make me feel awesome, but I do it. Self-understanding is an unfortunate but necessary part of self-improvement.

My list will range from purely athletic weaknesses (I don’t swim in a straight line) to my personal or professional weaknesses that keep me from living my best Triathlife (I’m late to workouts/meetings/dinner with family). As we all know, the non-athletic aspects of your life cannot be completely siloed, so while you’ll naturally focus on athletic things to improve, feel free to write down personal or professional weaknesses that might lead to a better you. Chances are they’ll eventually lead to a faster you as well.

Step 2: Remember that you probably also suck at working on your weaknesses.
So now I’ve beaten the crap out of myself, clearly identifying the dozens of things that I suck at, and what do I do? I add one more weakness: “working on my weaknesses.” Like most people, I suck at working on my weaknesses. I’m a person of habit, and changing those habits is really hard. If it weren’t hard, I’d have been a perfect human being since I was 4 years old, like Doogie Howser. Most athletes are the same way, but for some reason, after they go through a WIP brainstorm they assume they’ll be able to make 100 changes to their habits and everything will be fine. I just don’t work that way. I can’t change everything at once. If I try, I can guarantee that I’ll give up within a few weeks and lose all the gains I tried to make.

So instead of working on all my weaknesses, I think to myself, “If I can only focus on three to five of these, which ones are going to make the biggest difference in my performance, fitness or ultimate happiness?” Usually a few crop up to the top, the ones I know are really holding me back. The other ones, I let go. I know that I can’t do them all, and if I have a chance at making real change and progress, I’ve got to focus on the priorities. Otherwise, I risk making no gains at all. I’ll keep those other weaknesses on the list for next season.

Step 3: Screw your weaknesses.
When I was a kid, I used to “help” my dad build stuff. During that time, there were only two ways to fasten together two pieces of wood: a nail and a screw. Nails were great because I could use a hammer and smash them in in an instant. But a lot of times (for me anyway) they’d bend, wouldn’t go in all the way, and I’d end up in a screaming rage smashing them into the wood sideways. Regardless, they rarely made the connection, and even if they did, they wouldn’t hold the wood together for long. Screws, on the other hand, took forever to set. They’d take thousands of small rotations with a screwdriver over and over again until my forearm felt like a brown banana. It was hard, slow and a little frustrating, but the screw would stay straight, keeping me engaged and encouraged. I was always on track to making it work. Eventually the screw spanned the length of the nail, perfectly straight, and provided a much stronger, more permanent connection.

So for me, improving on my weaknesses is just like building stuff as a kid. To get a solid, dependable, permanent connection, I need to use a screw and turn it a quarter-turn better each week, month or season at a time. That way I’ll stay engaged, getting the positive reinforcement of making small but steady, regular improvements. Instead of “eat healthy,” I’ll eat healthier one meal a day. Instead of “strength every day,” I do one session a week. Then when I’m comfortable with those changes, I turn the screw a little farther—two meals, two sessions and so on. I get gradual, consistent improvement by using small but sustainable changes in habits. Eventually I’ve fulfilled my goals and developed the habits that make the eradication of my weaknesses second nature. At that point, I’m ready to go back to my WIP list and do the whole thing all over again.

So there you have it: Dr. Jesse’s Three-step Plan to Screwing Your Weaknesses. BAM! No, wait, not bam. SCREW!

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Interview: Andrew Messick On Kona, Doping & Expansion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:20:15 +0000 Julia Polloreno

Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

Ironman CEO Andrew Messick announces a separate age-group start for men and women at this year’s Ironman World Championship, fewer North ]]>

Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

Ironman CEO Andrew Messick announces a separate age-group start for men and women at this year’s Ironman World Championship, fewer North American qualifying slots for 70.3 worlds, and talks doping and more with Triathlete magazine editor-in-chief Julia Beeson Polloreno.

With this week’s announcements of two new Ironman events—in Barcelona and Taiwan—it begs the question: How do you grow the international Ironman event roster, while the number of Kona slots must remain the same?
The big challenge that we have in Kona is not in fact the size of the pier, which is what most people think, but rather the extreme concentration of gifted athletes in that particular race. It creates problems unique to Kona. Least year we had 1,100 athletes get out of the water in a 15-minute period, between 55 minutes and 1:10. That concentration of really strong swimmers, all of whom can ride a bike, is our operational limiter. What we’re most mindful of when we think about how we manage Kona, and we’re really focused on, is how can you have a world championship event with the best athletes in the world and yet still create a race that’s going to be fair for everybody. So we’re very thoughtful about that, and our ability to solve some of those operational problems is really what is going to govern the size of the race at Kona, and by extension, any slots we have at different races around the world. We are virtually certain to have a separate age-group men and age-group women start in Kona this year. That is largely designed to manage and reduce swim density. Swim density of course creates conditions where bike density happens because the rate at which people get out of the water and onto the bike course determines the extent to which we’re able to have a clean bike. The more direct answer is: we expect the size of Kona to increase.

So you’re making operational changes to accommodate that.
Right. We have to. The operational changes really relate to ‘how do you have a clean, fair race and still be able to accommodate the best athletes in the world?’ The best athletes in the world are coming from all over the place—and we have more and more of them. As we grow our footprint, we’re going to see increasing numbers of athletes from different parts of the world. We don’t want to have those slots come at the expense of slots from our historic strength countries—the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia. That’s a balance we’re trying to find.

You don’t anticipate reducing the number of slots at those marquee Ironman events?
We hope not to, and we are de-emphasizing 70.3s that have Kona slots. You’re seeing a trend of more and more 70.3s that aren’t offering Kona slots. We expect that’s going to continue. We’re looking for other areas to find opportunities to preserve the slots that we have at as many races as we possibly can.

At Oceanside 70.3 recently, I was talking post-race with Andrew Starykowicz, who told me a little anecdote about relentlessly heckling another pro racer who was in the field and who’d been previously busted and served a ban for doping. You told Lance he couldn’t race Ironman, which I know was a decision based on WTC being a WADA signatory, and others who have served bans are back racing, sometimes to a hostile reception from athletes like Starykowicz who feel they shouldn’t ever be able to race again. Will WTC be staying the course regarding its WADA status—and how do you navigate this obviously emotionally charged issue?
I don’t anticipate us leaving WADA. We don’t have any plans to do it, and I think it would take a fairly dramatic set of circumstances for us to leave the one global organization dedicated to clean sport. For us to walk away from them would really require an unusual set of circumstances, and one that we don’t anticipate. This is difficult, because everyone has a point of view about whether the punishment fits the crime. There are those that believe that athletes who are sanctioned for doping infractions should be banned for life. I get it. I understand on an emotional level why people would feel that way, but I also think it’s fair that punishment be proportionate to the crime and that people who make mistakes—even serious ones—be given additional opportunities to live their lives and make their livings. There’s nothing simple about it, and I think it’s conceptually easy to say ‘first offense, banned for life,’ but when you really think it through you’ve got to deal with issues of justice, fairness and appropriateness. You have to live in that world if you walk away from WADA, and our belief is that the WADA code, which is very thoughtful and has been embraced by almost all sporting institutions—they’ve thought through all those issues. I think their point of view of the punishment and the crime is more thoughtful and nuanced than people might necessarily or immediately see. I get all the emails and see the social media and understand the frustration people have—one of the things that makes our sport even more complicated is that a lot of those doping bans happened when people were participating in a sport other than triathlon. That just makes all of that harder.

With so many events and more being added all the time, it seems like we’re not seeing super deep fields at anything outside of the championship races. How do you create more racing opportunities for age-groupers and a window to the Ironman experience but still preserve that sense of excitement you get from watching a fiercely contested pro race with the sport’s top names?
I’ll use the example of Ironman South Africa because I was just there 10 days ago. I would certainly not characterize the age-group race as uncompetitive. It was as competitive as it was extraordinary. And the pro race was extraordinary too. Nils Frommhold went to the front and Kyle Buckingham, the young South African guy, was in second all day and blew up and got passed by Faris Al-Sultan, then he passed Faris back to win second place. And in the women’s race you had Jodie Swallow who was out in front by herself all day long get run down in the last kilometer by Simone Brandli and Lucy Gossage. That’s one of your “uncompetitive” races and it was fabulous. Tremendous performances by two local South African athletes, finishes that were gripping. So I don’t fundamentally accept that the races aren’t competitive. I will say that we’ve really tried to structure the point system and the prize money to reinforce and provide opportunities for people who compete at Kona well to have chances to compete against one another. The Melbourne field was super deep, Frankfurt we expect to be super deep, Tremblant will be super deep, and we see the same thing on the 70.3 side. So, I think there are a lot of races, people compete in races for lots of reasons, and we do put a fair amount of effort and energy into trying to make sure we’ve got concentrations in our large point, large prize money events, but that there’s also a strong local flavor at other races too.

With the announcement that the 70.3 world championship will be in Austria in 2015, obviously a dramatic departure from the Vegas venue, how different do you envision the field looking?
We’re going to rebalance all the slots—that’s the first thing. Starting with the 2015 qualifying cycle, which starts in April 2014, virtually all North American races will have fewer slots and all European races will have more slots. We’re very much anticipating—and engineering in the process—that there will be more qualifying opportunities in Europe for the 2015 world championships than there were in 2014. I would expect—and this is broadly speaking—if it’s going to be a 2,500-athlete race, we’ll have 1,000 North Americans, 1,000 Europeans, and 500 from Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific. Roughly speaking. We want there to be more local opportunities for Europeans to race a world championship. What we don’t know, of course, is the extent to which Europeans are going to go elsewhere to get their slots. What we do see is, for example, a lot of Canadians are pushing to find slots for Tremblant because they want to be able to race a world championship in Canada. I think we’re going to see that a lot of Europeans are going to start searching for opportunities to qualify because if you’re a European age-group triathlete, being able to compete in a world championship is something that’s going to resonate.

What has been the reception to the transfer program you launched earlier this year? Do you expect to expand on it, change it at all?
It’s been extremely popular with our athletes. It provides a lot of opportunities for athletes who, for whatever reason, can’t participate in the race they originally signed up for to race later, earlier or shorter. We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds—probably in the 500 range—of athletes who’ve taken advantage so far, and they’re happy. Almost everyone who signed up for a race doesn’t want a refund or partial refund—they want an opportunity to compete.

How has the SwimSmart initiative been working? You’ve tried a few different approaches at different Ironman events. Did one approach work better than another? Will there still be mass starts at some events like Ironman Arizona?
There are still going to be mass starts, for sure. We’re going to expand rolling starts, which, by and large, we thought worked very well. The athletes like them a lot, and we got higher swim satisfaction scores for SwimSmart starts—higher scores than from the previous year’s race when they were mass starts. We also had fewer people who had to abandon the swim with SwimSmart starts, and our operational teams thought they were better able and in better positions to help athletes who needed help. By and large it was a success, and we will continue to expand it both domestically and internationally in 2014.

Last week you tweeted that in a single week you’d been on 10 flights and visited 4 countries. And then you raced the 70.3 relay in Florida. Give me your best travel tip for triathletes.
Don’t do that! I try to manage my effort—and my expectations—pretty carefully. What I try not to do is put myself in the position where I have unrealistic expectations given training and travel. We’re all competitive people, want to do well and have goals for ourselves, and I think it’s really important that all athletes who have busy lives have realistic expectations for what they can do, given everything else that is going on in their lives. If you’re not in the position to be able to deliver a triple-A performance, don’t let it get you down. Sometimes you’re just not going to be able to do it, considering everthing else that life throws at you.

With Boston on everyone’s minds, it brings the issue of event security and participant safety to the forefront. I assume WTC has a rigorous safety protocol in place for all your events around the world, but can you speak generally about your efforts to ensure a safe racer experience for all your athletes?
Boston, unfortunately, changed the way events have to be organized. At all races, you see bomb-sniffing dogs now and you didn’t used to. You have to be more careful—not just in Hawaii but everywhere—about packages, backpacks, just the basic blocking and tackling of event security. Everyone in our industry has to grapple with that new reality—it’s running races, cycling events, triathlons. We have to put more behind it, and we are. We wish it were different, but we’re operators, and if you’re an operator you play the cards you are dealt, and that’s what we’ve been dealt.

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Video: Andy Potts Cold Water Swim Tips Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:10:34 +0000 Triathlete Europe

The sun might be shining but the water is still a bit chilly! If you’re thinking about hitting the wet stuff have a watch of this. ]]>

The sun might be shining but the water is still a bit chilly! If you’re thinking about hitting the wet stuff have a watch of this. One of the fastest swimmers in triathlon, Andy Potts, explains how he gets his body ready for racing in chilly water.

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Dorney Lake To Host Final Round Of F3 Maxifuel Events Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:00:54 +0000 Press Release Sporting action is set to return to the stunning Dorney Lake venue this Saturday, as over 750 runners, duathletes and cyclists get set to take on a variety of sporting challenges based out of Dorney Lake.

The action kicks off with the 4th and final edition for 2014 of the very popular Maxifuel Eton and Windsor Fun Runs on Saturday 19th April. Hundreds will take on the 5km, 10km, 15km and 20km distances on offer around the 2012 Olympic Games venue with many looking to test their fitness and beat their times from previous editions of the series held earlier in the year. Cash entries will be taken on the day for all of the races.

Held on the same day are the very popular duathlon races, where athletes will be tested across a series of different distances over the run/bike/run format. These events are perfect for anyone looking to get fit or take part in their first event and Dorney Lake is the perfect venue for a duathlon event. Already this year the series has attracted pro athletes such as Karl Alexander and Alice Hector to the venue, whilst Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes also raced in the 2nd edition of the 2014 series. Cash entries will still be taken on the day for all of the duathlon races.

Whilst this festival of sport occurs, hundreds of cyclists will take part in the 4th edition of the annual, iconic, Longest Day Sportive. Cyclists will be treated to some amazing riding around the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire countryside with plenty of opportunities for coffee stops along the route. There are two routes on offer, a 90km and 180km distance course, and participants can expect a mixture of challenging hills with fast sections as a reward.

Martyn Edwards, owner of the event organisers F3 Events said:

“We are delighted to return to the iconic Dorney Lake venue for these running and duathlon races. It is a wonderful venue for sport and an opportunity for people to race at one the venues used in the London Olympic Games.”

These events are perfect for anyone looking to get fit or take part in their first event. The Maxifuel Eton and Windsor Fun Run and Duathlons offer 100% accurate course and are 100% traffic free. It’s a fast and fun race and in the perfect location for watching events with every discipline only an arm’s length away.

Dorney Lake, Eton College Rowing Centre is conveniently located along the M4 Motorway, only 20 minutes from London and 15 minutes from the M25 and M40 motorways.

The event will have full car parking facilities available, which will be in operation to allow participants to come and go, whilst the event is still taking place and makes it perfect for spectators and family to attend and soak up the atmosphere. The event also has full catering facilities, music and commentary, massage, on-course nutrition plus fun and games for kids of all ages – not to mention a great atmosphere for competitors and spectators.

More information and entry information can be found at

The Maxifuel Windsor and Eton Winter Fun Run and Duathlon Series are partnered with Ashmei Apparel, Triathlete Europe, XTERRA Wetsuits and Wattbike. Their charity partners are the Sue Ryder fund.

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Tri Bike Check: Orbea Ordu M30 Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:35:35 +0000 Aaron Hersh

The most technologically advanced bike isn’t necessarily the best. Each individual rider dictates what he or she finds valuable in a ]]>

The most technologically advanced bike isn’t necessarily the best. Each individual rider dictates what he or she finds valuable in a tri-bike, and many personal lists do not align with the cutting edge of innovation. Fundamental attributes like ride quality and fit can easily get lost behind flashy nose cones and dramatic aero tubes, but function — not flair — will keep you happy with your tri bike years after rolling it out of the store. Start your search for a tri bike by listing the characteristics that mean the most to you (and by getting a bike fit). Tri bike design has split into many directions, and these four bikes cover the complete range of fit, ride and construction styles to choose from.

Suited to the values of road time-triallists with a twist of tri-friendly fit, the Ordu shifts instantaneously and has a mean-looking integrated front end suited to aggressive positions. It jumps at every input—steering or sprinting—and responds with aggression. For a forgiving fit, this bike isn’t the one, but immaculate component function (except for the rear brake) and compact fit make it an ideal choice for the hard-nosed and discerning rider.

As the sport has grown and welcomed athletes of every body type, tri bikes have become increasingly friendly to moderate and upright positions. The Ordu is not part of that trend. Orbea’s integrated front end is shaped to drop the bars into a demanding, aero-oriented position. Flat aerobar extensions provide ample leverage through the wrists to yank an extra couple of watts out of an intense effort. These bars, however, do not create a relaxed grip suited to long riding or offer the ability to reshape into a dramatically more conservative fit. Make sure your position is suited to this bike before pulling the trigger because it is best for an ambitious riding style.

Forget the notion that Shimano Ultegra is a mid-level group- set—it functions at the absolute pinnacle. Derailleurs get the glory, but it’s the full kit spec’d on the Ordu M30—crank, cassette and shifters—that separates this group from most tri bike builds. Every piece of this 11-speed kit is designed to work in unison, and the difference is tangible. The external Shimano front brake controls the bike beautifully, although the hidden rear caliper lacks stopping power and is a challenge to adjust.

Responsiveness trumps stability with the Ordu. The bike feels dynamic in all situations, and the under-foot stiffness of this frame seems to outdo the others, yet most road vibration melts away. Moving quickly is the bike’s natural inclination, which places more responsibility on the rider to hold a straight line from the aero position. A steady cruiser this is not. Its stiff and snappy construction makes riding it a blast.

«It Goes to 11»
Ten-speed kits have had a decade-long run that is coming to an end. Mid-level 2014 SRAM and Shimano kits are both 11-speed, and the most price-conscious Apex and 105 groups are likely to follow in the near future. These component kits are not technically compatible with their prior-gen predecessors (although some pieces can be crow-barred together), so replacing parts and swapping between bikes will become increasingly difficult over the next few years as 11-speed becomes ubiquitous. Ten-speed parts won’t disappear, but having an 11-speed kit will become an increasingly valuable convenience in the next few years, irrespective of shift performance.

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