Triathlete Europe Europe's leading source for triathlon news and information. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:30:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The new Trek Madone aims to redefine the road bike Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:30:28 +0000

Trek aimed for aero advantages with total integration. As a rider you'll reap the benefits, but mechanics will have a headache on their hands. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

They say it’s lonely at the top, but for the past several years Trek has shared its throne in the cycling world with the likes of Giant ]]>

Trek aimed for aero advantages with total integration. As a rider you'll reap the benefits, but mechanics will have a headache on their hands. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

Trek aims to redefine the road bike

Out on the road, the Madone was comfortable and stiff. The massive bottom bracket means exceptional acceleration. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

Trek aims to redefine the road bike

Trek aimed for aero advantages with total integration. As a rider you’ll reap the benefits, but mechanics will have a headache on their hands. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

Trek aims to redefine the road bike

The Madone solves the most common aero bike problem with the IsoSpeed decoupler. An outer seat tube provides the stiffness while an inner tube flexes to keep you comfortable in the saddle. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

They say it’s lonely at the top, but for the past several years Trek has shared its throne in the cycling world with the likes of Giant and Specialized. All three companies innovate fast and furiously, so it came as no surprise that all of the ‘big three’ took the opportunity to roll out big product launches just before the start of the Tour de France. Each tried to dethrone the others, with interesting results.

Trek’s entry into the arena is the all-new Madone, which was redesigned from the bottom up. Trek president John Burke touted the release as the most important day in Trek’s history, and the hype machine trotted out the old cliché with big implications: the ‘game-changer.’ Trek’s aim was to do more than revolutionise the aero bike; instead, it hoped to revolutionise the road bike altogether with a combination of stiffness, aerodynamics, and comfort. We’ve heard this before; many have tried and failed.

VeloNews’ Caley Fretz and Dan Cavallari were on hand in the Netherlands to put the Madone through its paces, to see if the game was really changed. Here’s what they found out.

Caley Fretz’s impressions: In our earlier overview of the new Madone, I described its centre-pull brake setup as “like an old Dia-Compe, but hopefully less terrible.” The brakes were the nagging question for me going into a first ride: A bike can go like hell, but if it can’t stop, nobody should be riding it.

Good news. Though the return of centre-pull brakes was at first startling, much like all the neon and hideous patterns that have risen from dead out of the 90s in the last year, the Madone’s new brakes are not terrible. They’re not even bad. In terms of power and modulation, they’re perfectly fine, as stiff and responsive as any top-tier brake.

I never thought about them while riding, albeit on quite flat terrain. We made a few panic stops, as usual in a large group on unfamiliar roads, and the power and control were excellent. The design is better than the mini v-brakes found on bikes like the Giant Propel and Ridley Noah. I can’t yet compare them to the v-brakes on the new Venge, as I haven’t ridden that bike.

The brakes have a great range of adjustability, with screws to adjust spacing and tension. There’s a little switch that can be flipped to open them around a wide tire, too. But adjusting cable tension itself is one of those projects that would be far easier with a third hand.

Such is the cost of aerodynamics. Do you want to go a bit faster? Then you pay at the bike shop, or with your own time in your own garage.

As for ride quality, the IsoSpeed decoupler works on the Domane, on the Silque, and on the Boone. Despite a considerable design change, it works on the Madone, too. It allows the seat tube to flex (a hidden seat tube, in the Madone’s case, and a normal one for the rest of the models) in ways that would be impossible without the small pivot at the joint of the top tube, seat tube, and seat stays.

The inclusion of the decoupler was brilliant. We’ve become accustomed to aero road bikes that ride poorly, too vertically stiff to provide any comfort over the long haul. The Madone is quite comfortable in the saddle, with noticeable flex from the rear end. It’s a welcome change.

The front of the Madone, with its massive fork and head tube, is not as comfortable. It translates vibration straight to the hands. Cornering stiffness is phenomenal, but at the cost we’ve come to expect.

Handling is quite good. The steering geometry is the same as the Emonda, with a trail figure around 56 depending on tire size. That’s good and sharp, and you feel the bike waver a bit with lots of weight is over the front end — climbing out of the saddle, for example. It’s race-bike geometry, solid and dependable and, most importantly, predictable.

Flip the Madone back and forth, out of the saddle, and it responds well. Bottom bracket and torsional stiffness are excellent.

The new Madone, much more so than its predecessor, does not apologize for its eccentricities. Trek does not apologize for the wacky brakes, or its proprietary steerer/stem/handlebar setup. The old Madone was compromise; the new one is purpose.

You want to go fast? The Madone a great option. It’s more comfortable than any aero road bike I’ve ever ridden (and that’s pretty much all of them), and if the wind tunnel numbers pan out, probably the fastest too. It’s going to be an almighty pain to keep it running properly, but so is the old race car in Pop’s garage. He loves that thing anyway, right?

Dan Cavallari’s impressions: I didn’t get a good sense of how the Madone climbs since the Netherlands are legendarily flat, but the first few surges in pace in the peloton (led by none other than Jens Voigt) revealed a very stiff bottom bracket that rocketed forward. Yes, rocketed. The bottom bracket junction is utterly massive, and it’s built with Trek’s OCLV 700 carbon.

You’re probably assuming this means I ended the ride with a backache and shaking molars, but Trek has addressed the almost-ubiquitous harshness of aero bikes with their IsoSpeed decoupler. I agree with Caley; simply stated, it works. The ride was comfortable, and not just for an aero bike. We hit some cobbled streets and the decoupler delivered.

The mechanic in me wonders what the long-term maintenance will be like on this redesigned system that includes an internal tube for flex and an external tube for stiffness, but in terms of ride quality, I was immediately convinced. The mechanic in me was fully quaking in his boots thinking about running all the internal cable routing, but from a riding standpoint, all that effort to hide the cables entirely makes sense. You may want to farm out maintenance to the local bike shop, and be ready to tip your mechanic well.

As with all things in life, with the good comes the bad, but the bad in this case was very little. On chattery cobbles, the internal cables tapped against the inside of the tubing, and while it was annoying, it was not a constant noise, so it was barely a problem.

Burke touted the exceptional handling of the Madone, and when compared to other aero bikes he’s right, it does handle well. But if Trek hopes to redefine road bikes in general, the handling was not its finest quality. When I stood up for a sprint, small movements garnered bigger movements; in other words, if my hands moved, the wheel moved a lot. The result was a little bit of twitchiness, but not nearly as noticeable as other aero road bikes I’ve tested.

Trek is on to something here, a real contender for the throne. Expect to pay top dollar for that seat on the throne, though. Serious racers will appreciate the attention to detail and the smooth ride that will keep them fresh in the saddle longer thanks to the IsoSpeed decoupler. Detractors will bemoan the almost-twitchy front end. This is a racer’s racing bike for sure; Sunday group-riders need not apply.

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Bent v straight-arm swim recovery Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:30:11 +0000

Photo: Shutterstock

There are a wide variety of recovery arm positions in freestyle. Some athletes bend the elbow, with the hand sweeping just above the water ]]>

Photo: Shutterstock

There are a wide variety of recovery arm positions in freestyle. Some athletes bend the elbow, with the hand sweeping just above the water line in the more traditional way. Others keep the arm straight or nearly straight as it leaves the water and moves back to the front for another stroke. Which is better and why?

Each type of recovery has its advantages and disadvantages. Though one may more frequently see a straight-arm recovery used with pool sprinters, some pretty amazing distance swimmers and triathletes use a straight arm. Bottom line, one can use either recovery in distance freestyle.

Let’s get technical
While considering the benefits of the two types of recovery, the Law of Conservation of Energy comes into play. This universal law states that the total energy within an isolated system is constant. The energy is conserved over time. While the arm recovering over the top of the water is not an isolated system, since the shoulder is connected to the body, for this analytical purpose, we can consider it so.

The freestyle arm recovery is a rotating system, pivoting at the shoulder. The total amount of energy in the arm recovery is proportional to the square of the angular velocity (speed of the hand) and what is called the moment of inertia. The moment of inertia is proportional to the mass of the arm and the square of the length of the arm (radius). What this means is that if we shorten the length of our arm, we should see a resultant increase in speed in the arm recovery. A good example of this is a figure skater starting a twirl with arms extended. Then, when the hands are brought in tight to the body, the result is an extraordinary increase in the angular speed of the skater.

That is not what we see in swimming. The sprinters with a straight-arm recovery are swimming with the fastest stroke rates; some at as high as 140 strokes per minute. Janet Evans swam the mile with a stroke rate of 100 all the way. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy that must mean that there is more kinetic energy in the straight-arm recovery than in the bent-arm recovery of the same angular velocity. That also means it takes more work to recover with the straight arm than with a bent arm, which one can easily confirm by doing these two motions on land.

So why swim with a straight-arm recovery?
If the straight-arm recovery requires more work to do, why do it? That is where the concept of coupling motions comes in. A coupling motion is defined as a motion of some part of our body that, by itself, creates no propulsive force, yet, when coupled with a propulsive force, augments the effect of that force. For swimmers, coupling motions lead to increased distance per stroke. The two most notable coupling motions in the freestyle are body rotation along the axis of motion and the recovering motion of the arm. The more energy we put into those coupling motions, the more we can augment the forces of our hands and feet propelling us through the water. The timing of those motions is critical. In order to work, they must take place either while the propulsive force is taking place or while the motion from the propulsion is still taking place. Therefore, the freestyle technique and stroke rate being used end up determining whether a straight-arm recovery will have any benefit at all.

Which recovery style is best for you
For those swimmers using a hip-driven freestyle, with stroke rates typically in the 50–70 range (learn how to check your stroke rate below), it makes no sense to recover with a straight arm. With this technique, the hand that enters the water usually delays by pushing forward prior to initiating the propulsive phase (where it moves backward in the water). By this time, the other hand has already entered the water, the angular velocity is now zero, and the kinetic energy in the recovering arm had no opportunity to couple with the pulling arm during its propulsion. In this case, you would want to recover the arm with the least amount of energy possible, with a bent elbow.

Once the stroke rates reach 80 and above, where the freestyle technique becomes shoulder-driven or a hybrid (one arm shoulder and one arm hip), coupling between the pulling arm and the recovering arm can take place. Then, it may make more sense to use a straight-arm recovery, though it requires a greater level of fitness to do so. A hybrid freestyler might benefit from one arm recovering straight and the other bent, as is not uncommonly seen.

There are also biomechanical considerations. In order to do a straight-arm recovery, the body must be rotated backward enough to unlock the shoulder joint for this recovery motion. Not all shoulders are equipped to do so well and many swimmers don’t have the core strength to achieve this extra body rotation over and over again.

How to check your stroke rate
The best way to check your stroke rate is by using a Finis Tempo Trainer, a small device that fits under your cap behind the ear and, when set to mode 3, makes a nice audible beep each time your hand should be entering in the water. Set it to whatever rate you desire or can handle, depending on your technique and fitness level. You can also use it for cycle times (mode 1) or lap split times (mode 2) if you desire. It is the most valuable tool in your swim bag.

Pros and cons of each type of recovery

Straight Arm
– More coupling energy when done with fast stroke rate
– Forces more body rotation, which means even more coupling energy

– Requires more work and strength to do
– Only benefits those with a high stroke rate
– May be challenging with tight shoulder joints

Bent Arm
– Easier to perform
– Can be done with less body rotation
– Works for any stroke rate

– Less coupling energy with high stroke rate freestyle
– May encourage a lazier, slower freestyle with less body rotation

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60 minute session: VO2 run workout Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:15:39 +0000

Photo: Shutterstock

Every Friday we’ll feature a different coach’s workout you can complete in 60 min (or less!). This week’s workout comes from Marilyn ]]>

Photo: Shutterstock

Every Friday we’ll feature a different coach’s workout you can complete in 60 min (or less!). This week’s workout comes from Marilyn Chychota, a former elite cyclist and triathlete and now coach for Endurance Corner. “The key thing that the research indicates is running faster than VO2 max doesn’t lead to superior adaptations,” she says. “A little goes a long way with this type of training and the fact that we don’t need to crush ourselves really helps the big picture of managing our fatigue/recovery.” Chychota recommends doing this workout on a treadmill.

Key things to remember:

1. Focus on quickness, not velocity
2. If you lose form, you are either going too fast or have done enough repeats. It’s easy to tell when form is gone on a treadmill because you’ll start pounding the deck!
3. Hold your best form during the quick part of the set as well as during the recovery

15 min easy, aerobic
Then do a ladder from walking up to a steady pace in 1 min steps followed by a powerwalk for a couple minutes before beginning the main set.

Main Set
This is 16 minutes long as 1 min on/1 min off (“Off” minutes are always done at 50 percent of VO2 max)
#1 and #2 are done at 80 percent
#3 onwards is done at VO2 max

End with walking to settle heart rate

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PROfile: Camilla Pedersen Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:00:50 +0000

Photo: Jeff Lau/ International Triathlon Union

During the summer of 2013, it looked like Danish pro Camilla Pedersen was on her way to a top Kona finish, after she won both the Ironman ]]>

Photo: Jeff Lau/ International Triathlon Union

During the summer of 2013, it looked like Danish pro Camilla Pedersen was on her way to a top Kona finish, after she won both the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Barcelona and the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. Then on a training ride a month out from Kona, she crashed her bike while dodging a group of kids. It left her with bleeding on her brain, among other injuries, and doctors were forced to put her into a medically induced coma to give her brain a chance to heal. When she woke up a month later, doctors told her she wouldn’t be able to walk again, but her fierce determination and new outlook on life pushed her defy the odds and get back to training. She started racing again in April 2014, and she earned multiple Ironman 70.3 victories as well as the title of ITU long distance world champion last year. This year, the defending ITU Long Course world champ has her sights set on a top-five finish at Ironman Hawaii and, one day, the Kona crown.

My training is based back home in Denmark, in the town where I was born, grew up.

I swim with the elite swimmers in my town, and I bike with some of the cyclists and other triathletes. But normally one or two—I don’t like going in a group because you have to do your own work, so sitting on wheels—it’s not what I like to do. All the time that I’m out on the bike, I want to do the work because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting my time.

Mentally, I’m still the same—I’m just as strong as before. But I still have some things to work on after the accident, and we’re still on the way up the stairs—step by step—so there’s still a lot of things to work with, but I’m getting closer and closer. … We have to figure out, so why does the body react like this now? It didn’t do that before.

I just really wanted to come back to the Camilla everybody knew and [had] always known. Also from my family, I had the biggest support I could ever imagine. My family was there for me 100 percent all the time, and also people from all around the world—they started a collection for me because they didn’t know if I was going to go get surgery. … And for me, I wouldn’t be able to thank enough for all the help I got from everybody. That’s also why I wanted to come back and show them, as a thank you.

I got a call one day in 2010 from Rasmus Henning, who had created a team of young triathletes. He asked if I wanted to come for a weekend and do some tests. I always trained a lot, but I also needed goals for my training—why do I have 15 spinning classes a week, and why do I go work out at the gym every day? … I said, ‘OK, I will start the new extreme sport with Ironman.’ I’d never run a marathon or never biked on a road bike.

I used to be a swimmer. I was on the national team for juniors, but I stopped swimming in 2002, and then I didn’t swim for eight years. I hated swimming after that—I got too much of it. So for me the hardest part about doing triathlon was that I had to start swimming again. … I used to play ice hockey on the boys’ team for six years. And otherwise I’ve always been active, always loved to do a lot of training and different kinds of sports.

My family thought I was crazy because they were like, ‘Seriously?’ But they always thought I was crazy. I like to use my body because you get to know yourself and your body a lot more when you go through your limits, and that’s what I like. You never really know where the limits there, and you get surprised every time—you actually go over the limit you thought you have.

If I’m not nervous the morning or the evening before a race, then I know I’m not ready. But it’s also important to see some races as a training day. Because if you are nervous in all the races you do, then you won’t be able to perform every time. For me, the important races, you have to be focused on that. And then, on the not-so-important races, see it as a training day. Because in training, you also train hard, it also hurts. So for me, I just like to go out and do races because I enjoy it and it’s a fun day.

I’m a nutritionist myself—I’m educated in that. … I know pretty much what I have to eat and what I must eat the day before and the days up to. But for me, what works is the evening before, if I eat meat, it’s only chicken, but not after around lunchtime before a race. Then I just eat pasta, and no vegetables or stuff like that because it takes time and energy for the body to digest. So it’s pretty simple food up to races, but it’s not always the same.

I love food, I really do. But you also figure out what works and what doesn’t work. So if you go over to your grandparents and eat a lot of sauce and meat and dinner with a lot of fats in it, you can definitely feel it the day after in training—your performance in training is a lot harder. You can’t train as well. So for me, it’s fun. I’m still learning what works the best for me in races. But I also try different things because I’m pretty new in the sport, so what works and what doesn’t work. So for me, that’s also what I like about triathlon—it’s not an easy sport. You not only go out and swim, bike and run. You have to have focus on the nutrition all the way. Did you get enough salts, electrolytes, energy? What works for you is not what works on another, so you have to figure out yourself.

Chrissie Wellington—she was always smiling, and she’s crazy. So she’s a big inspiration for me, like really. She always looked happy, and you could tell that she also did a sport that she loved—not to make money or to be a known person, but because she loves it and she loves the challenge—you could just see it on her face. And that’s kind of the same way I feel—I can’t help smiling even though it hurts.

When you first get into Kona, it’s a lot easier to get the points [to return the following year]. But when you come from the outside, it’s a lot harder when there’s only 30, 35 spots. For me, it’s harder, but yeah, if you’re in Kona and you finish top 14, you already got as many points as winning an Ironman, so you don’t have to do that many races to then come back to Kona. It’s always hard to get in, but what I like about it is they also changed a lot of the rules where now we can only do three Ironmans—you can only collect points from three full Ironmans and only collect points from three half-Ironmans. And I kind of like that because there were also a lot of girls that were there last year that I was like, ‘Seriously?’ Every time I’d done races with them, they were kind of easy to beat, but they’d done so many races that when they finally get to Kona, they’re totally crashed, tired, their body is dead. So for me, it’s tough—of course 50 women, but then you know there’s a lot there that yeah, they just have points enough to be there, but it has to be the best in the world. And I think 35, 30, that’s fine for me. Because then you know that it’s also the best that’s there. It shouldn’t be easy because everybody that goes to Kona should go to Kona to do well, not just to finish number 35 or 30. So they [shouldn’t] want to just go to Kona just to go to Kona—they don’t have the motivation enough.

You just have to enjoy every second of what you’re doing. This is something I’m always thinking about—you only live once. You could be here, and then one second later, you could be gone. So you really have to enjoy life and love what you’re doing; otherwise, don’t waste your time. … It’s a lot of hard hours, but it’s worth it in the end. The day I don’t have the motivation is the day I won’t do triathlon any more.

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Preview: Top field ready for XTERRA France Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:00:09 +0000 It’s about to get real on the XTERRA European Tour. Stop number six of 12 takes the tour to Xonrupt, Gerardmer in northeastern France for one of the World Tour’s most iconic races on Sunday.

The XTERRA France Championship is arguably the toughest and most popular off-road triathlon in Europe. The main event sold out in three months at 1,000 entries, the light race has 900 entries, and there are more than 200 kids racing as well.

Among this massive collection of XTERRA Warriors are 43 elites from a dozen countries, including some of the finest off-road triathletes on the planet. Just look at this list…

RUBEN RUZAFA, ESP – Reigning and 3x World Champ. Hasn’t lost a race since 2013 (11 straight W’s)
KRIS CODDENS, BEL – 2015 XTERRA Greece Champion
BRADLEY WEISS, RSA – 2015 XTERRA Philippines, Reunion, and Asian Tour Title in Malaysia
ARTHUR FORISSIER, FRA – 2015 XTERRA Switzerland Champion
FRANÇOIS CARLONI, FRA – 2014 XTERRA Greece Champion, Ranked No. 2 in Euro Tour standings


The women’s elite field is equally impressive:

KATHRIN MÜLLER, GER – 2014 XTERRA European Tour Champ, 2015 XTERRA Portugal Champ
HELENA ERBENOVA, CZE – 2015 XTERRA Spain & Greece Champ, 2x Euro Tour Champ
CARINA WASLE, AUT – XTERRA Guam and Switzerland Champ
MYRIAM GUILLOT-BOISSET, FRA – XTERRA Asian Tour Championship in Malaysia
BRIGITTA POOR, HUN – XTERRA Malta Champ, Ranked No. 1 in Euro Tour
LOUISE FOX, GBR – Ranked No. 3 in Euro Tour
JESSICA ROBERTS, GBR – Ranked No. 4 in Euro Tour
KARIN HANSEN, SUI – Ranked No. 5 in Euro Tour


Race organizer Paul Charbonnier believes the women’s race will come down to a big battle between two past winners – last year’s champ Kathrin Mueller and two-time winner Helena Erbenova (2012-13). “Each time these women won, they just destroyed the field,” he said. The spoilers could be Carina Wasle who was super strong in Switzerland last weekend and young Brigitta Poor who is having a breakout season and sits atop the European Tour standings after the first five events.

In talking about the men’s race he wonders, like the rest of the XTERRA Planet, if anyone can catch Ruzafa. “I think the South African Brad Weiss will give him a tough challenge, along with the strong Frenchmen Francois Carloni, Arthur Forissier, and the fast Belgians Yeray Luxem and Kris Coddens.”

Ruzafa won last year’s race in front of Braden Currie and Coddens, but fell to hometown hero Nico Lebrun in 2013.

“That was the last time he lost a race in Europe,” explained Charbonnier. “He was passed by Lebrun in the last 2k of the run course. It’s rare for a rookie to win XTERRA France.”

The signature spot on the XTERRA France course is a huge man-made, twisting-and-turning bike ramp in the middle of the village to the delight of spectators and racers alike. This year they are running the bike course in the opposite director to give all those who have raced it before a whole new experience. Also new this year, Charbonnier is hosting the “XTERRA Eliminator” competition on Saturday before the main event. It’s all on and around the ramp with a mountain bike loop of 800-meters. Four mountain bikers race at a time and the winner advances, thus the name, Eliminator.

We caught up with former XTERRA World Champ Nico Lebrun to hear what he had to say about XTERRA France…

“XTERRA France is the best race of the Euro tour, off course, I’m French,” “With Zittau and Maui those three races are the biggest organizations I’ve seen, and from what I’ve heard we can add South Africa, New Zealand, and soon England to that list.

The Charbonnier Family have a great background organizing triathlons, a really professional staff, an amazing reputation, and they grow this race every year. Last year with the ramp they added something enormous I had never seen in XTERRA before. I won this race twice, and I’m really proud of it, first because it’s always special to win at home, but winning this kind of perfect and big event make it even better. Last year I was on the side, for XTERRA and my Organicoach team, and to see the campground with the huge ramp around a big screen, spectators all around, music and speakers lighting the fire when an athlete was riding it, showing him on the screen it made me speechless! We have to thank Paul and his family to bring XTERRA to this level, and invest in our sport like this!

So just for that this race is already special. Then you have the beautiful Vosges Forest, with the smell of pine, green foam. It’s a tough bike, maybe too much, but people look like they love to suffer, and to have a big challenge even if they are not sure to make the cut off time.

For the elites, I think Ruben will be again the man of the day with young Forissier full off motivation, Coddens on a race he was strong last year, Carloni rest last week to be fresh on this one, and Fernandez want to show Malta was not an accident. For the women, another battle between Muller and Erbenova with Poor and Wasle stronger than ever and I bet on Guillot for a surprise on this one!”

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Quick tips: Make your road bike triathlon ready Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:30:06 +0000

Photo: Shutterstock

So, you’ve been doing triathlons on your road bike and, while you seem to be able to hold your own in the swim and run, you keep getting ]]>

Photo: Shutterstock

So, you’ve been doing triathlons on your road bike and, while you seem to be able to hold your own in the swim and run, you keep getting passed on the bike. What gives? You might attribute the difference to training specificity and a lack of aerodynamic equipment, but those tri bike riders up the road are likely working easier and more efficiently than you. A proper triathlon fit not only saves drag, but lets your body get the most out of your fitness level. The good news is that, with a few changes to your road bike, you can take advantage of the huge benefits a triathlon-specific position can offer.

Here are the keys to finding an efficient position when converting your road bike for tri:

Get fit first: Establishing a comfortable and efficient triathlon specific position is the biggest key to reducing aerodynamic drag and maximising your power and speed. Find a qualified tri bike fitter and make an appointment.

Add aerobars: Getting narrower (and lower) than your road position can save time and energy on the course. Adjustable clip-on aerobars that setup low to the bar are often best for road bike conversions.

Shift your seat forward: If you want to lower your profile to the wind while still pedalling efficiently, you have to keep the angle between your hips and torso open while lowering your back. A forward-oriented seat post creates a saddle position specifically geared to a tri position.

Lower your bars: Most riders’ optimal tri-specific position will be lower than their road bike position—just don’t set it up below your functional range for comfort and efficiency. Finding that sweet spot happens during a fit.

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Healthy habits of fit triathletes Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:30:15 +0000

Photo: Challenge / Getty Images

If you’re struggling to reach your ideal race weight, try implementing these healthy habits this season. They read hunger signals. To ]]>

Photo: Challenge / Getty Images

If you’re struggling to reach your ideal race weight, try implementing these healthy habits this season.

They read hunger signals. To stay lean year-round, learn to eat when hungry and pass when full. This also means that you don’t feel pangs of guilt for chowing down on seconds because you know when you need it. Athletes who constantly restrain themselves suffer more guilt and are more likely to have blowouts.

They sit down for meals. As a busy athlete juggling three sports, it’s easy to eat on the go all the time. Sit down to eat meals and switch off distractions to fully enjoy your food and be aware of exactly what (and how much) you’re putting in your body.

They don’t overestimate calories burned. Many athletes overeat after a big workout because they think they can make up for a huge calorie expenditure. Try to only modestly increase intake to more accurately match training demands.

They are organised. Shop and stock your cupboards, fridge and emergency stash locations so you’ll have less impulse eating and reliance on fast food or sugary hits. Have a plan for meals and snacks throughout the day.

They eat (healthy) fats. Fat is satiating and essential for optimal health, functioning and energy. This means you should eat fatty foods such as salmon, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil.

They focus on themselves. What your body needs is not what your colleague, training partner or spouse needs. Don’t stack your plate next to theirs.

They sleep a lot. Calorie consumption increases when you are tired. Getting a full night’s sleep will keep you on track.

They don’t skip meals to lose weight. Getting overly hungry will just raise cortisol (stress hormone) levels and make weight loss harder. Plus you are more likely to eventually break down and binge. Slow and steady is the rule for lasting weight loss.

They get enough protein. Protein helps curb appetite and maintain muscle mass even when weight loss occurs.

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Cannondale CAAD12 – Converting us to aluminium? Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:12:18 +0000

Shimano's hydraulic disc levers felt a bit large compared to Ultegra or Dura-Ace mechanical and Di2, but were generally comfortable. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

The last time I rode an aluminium-frame road bike, I had hopped on it as a last-minute replacement for my own carbon bike. I didn’t ]]>

Shimano's hydraulic disc levers felt a bit large compared to Ultegra or Dura-Ace mechanical and Di2, but were generally comfortable. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

The last time I rode an aluminium-frame road bike, I had hopped on it as a last-minute replacement for my own carbon bike. I didn’t realise it was aluminium, and I remember thinking, “Boy, this carbon frame sure is rough.” When I realised it was aluminium, I amended that to, “Boy, this aluminium sure rides smooth.” It certainly wasn’t the smoothest ride in the world, but I put away some miles on it and felt pretty good at the end. That’s a fairly strong endorsement for a frame material that has seen its heyday come and go.

Cannondale feels a little differently about aluminium, and its passion for alloy was on full display in Kitzbühel with the release of the CAAD12 frame. Cheekily dubbing itself the ‘Aluminati,’ Cannondale reaffirmed itself as a passionate defender of the much maligned alloy, citing its cult popularity among cyclists who have taken aluminium frames and put lavish build kits on them, particularly the CAAD10 frame. Granted, there are significant benefits to aluminium as a frame material, but when it’s pitted against carbon, it doesn’t stand a chance.

With the new CAAD12, Cannondale hopes to change that notion. In fact, it’s so confident in the new aluminium frame that it skipped CAAD11 altogether because it thought the new frame was just that good. Did it live up to expectations when we rode it?

Yes and no.

Let’s start with the yes. The ride quality of the CAAD12 was surprisingly good, and out on the road, chatter was muted, and the bike itself lively enough that I could envision riding it on a semi-regular basis. Cannondale achieved this finely tuned ride quality using a proprietary computer modelling system it calls Tube Flow Modelling, which essentially allows engineers to use computer software to figure out which tube shaping works best for compliance and stiffness.

SmartForm Alloy Construction combines several common aluminium construction types — hydroforming, taper butting, mechanical shaping, 3D forging, double-pass smooth welding, post-weld heat treat — to tailor the ride quality as much as possible. It’s labor-intensive, but Cannondale believes the payoff is worth it for an aluminium frame with what it believes is near-carbon-quality comfort.

Up front, a carbon fork takes on road chatter along with an hourglass-shaped head tube, optimized for stiffness. It’s a tried-and true combo that mates nicely with the ride-tuned aluminium frame, and as I climbed up what felt like a brick wall in the Alps, the bike did have a certain peppiness to it. That said, the CAAD12 felt heavy and geared too high for the terrain, though on paper, its weight is actually quite light. This sluggishness could be due to flex, weight distribution, or any number of factors. The bottom line is, it just didn’t feel as lively going up the steeps as carbon bikes generally do.

The CAAD12 I rode was equipped with Shimano disc brakes. Cannondale made a completely new direct-mount post for the rear brake that is mitered and then welded into the non-driveside chain stay, and it is touted as the strongest mount Cannondale has ever created. Did that translate into noticeable gains out on the road? Not really, but extra strength certainly doesn’t hurt, especially on steep, winding descents. There was no brake chatter to speak of.

Speaking of steep, winding descents, I was on the brakes pretty much constantly, and the disc brakes certainly have a learning curve to them. Light touch is key, but I did get a harmonic hum running through the frame that was distracting enough to be almost dangerous.

Like the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod, the CAAD12 features a BB30A bottom bracket shell for extra stiffness. Also like the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod, the chain stays are shaped to combine both stiffness and compliance, and the seat tube tapers for compliance. Let’s talk about that big C-word: Was the aluminium frame as compliant and therefore comfortable as carbon? Not quite, but it certainly was a comfy ride for an aluminium frame.

All told, I felt like I suffered a lot more on the CAAD12 than I did on the SuperSix Evo, but these bikes aren’t built for the same type of riding. If you’re looking for a light bike, spec’d with Dura-Ace, at an approachable price, the CAAD12 is quite good, though it has its foibles. It won’t climb like carbon, won’t descend like it either, but it’s no slouch and if you’re not racing, carbon might not matter much to you anyway, especially if the aluminium rides fairly comfortably.

Am I ready to convert to the Aluminati cult? Not quite, but for a serious rider in search of a good build at a lower price, drinking the Kool-Aid might not be a bad idea.

There are seven CAAD12 models ranging from the 14.8-pound Black INC model with Hi-Mod fork and Dura-Ace 9000, down to the 18.8-pound 105 model with stops in between. Pricing is not yet available, but you can expect to see these bikes hit the streets in mid-September.

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Ironman makes changes to World Championships start times Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:00:46 +0000

Ironman announced today that it has made changes to the start times for its 2015 world championship events, including the Ironman World ]]>

Ironman announced today that it has made changes to the start times for its 2015 world championship events, including the Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Ironman World Championship (Oct. 10 – Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i)
Over the past few years, the pro men and women have been split into separate start waves, the age group men and women have been split into separate start waves, and the times between each of the waves have grown. Today’s announcement will further separate the various groups, with a full 45 minutes separating the first group (pro men) from the last group (age-group women). The professional men will kick off the action at 6:25 a.m., with the pro women following at 6:30 a.m. Age-group men will start their day at 6:55 a.m., with the age-group women concluding the starts at 7:10 a.m.

Ironman says the decision to adjust the swim start times was made following an analysis of past participant data and with the goal to manage course density and level the playing field throughout each event. The start times at this race have been a hotly-debated topic in the sport. What is the best way to give the professional men and women a fair race (without mixing too much with each other and the age-group fields), while also taking into account the very competitive (and growing) age-group field?

“The adjusted swim starts at the Ironman World Championship will help to ensure a fair start for both professional and age-group athletes,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman in the press release. “By spacing out the start times, especially increasing the gap between the professional women and age group men, the athlete field will be more evenly spread throughout the course and provide a safe and balanced racing atmosphere.”

The new start times will not change the existing cut-off standards (two hours and 20 minutes for the swim and 10 hours and 30 minutes for the bike), but will alter the total finish time of the entire course to 16 hours and 50 minutes. In the past, the cutoff was set at 17 hours.

2015 Ironman World Championship new start times:
6:25 A.M. Pro Men
6:30 A.M. Pro Women
6:55 A.M. Age Group Men
7:10 A.M. Age Group Women

Ironman 70.3 World Championship (Aug. 30 – Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand, Austria)
The 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship swim waves will also be adjusted for both professional and age-group athletes. The altered gap times between waves are designed to minimise swim and bike density on the course.

2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship new start times:
10:45 A.M. Pro Men
10:48 A.M. Pro Women
10:50 A.M. Physically Challenged and Hand Cycle Athletes
10:58 A.M. Men 35-39
11:04 A.M. Men 30-34
11:10 A.M. Men 25-29
11:15 A.M. Men 18-24
11:20 A.M. Men 40-44
11:26 A.M. Men 45-49
11:31 A.M. Men 50-54
11:36 A.M. Women 30-34
11:41 A.M. Men 55-59; Women 55+
11:46 A.M. Women 40-44
11:50 A.M. Women 50-54
11:54 A.M. Women 35-39
11:58 A.M. Men 60+
12:02 P.M. Women 45-49
12:05 P.M. Women 18-29

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Stunning field set to race Ironman European Championships Thu, 02 Jul 2015 08:00:48 +0000

Unquestionably the best professional Ironman race outside of the Ironman World Championship this season will take place this Sunday, July ]]>

Unquestionably the best professional Ironman race outside of the Ironman World Championship this season will take place this Sunday, July 5, in Frankfurt, Germany. The bragging rights for the two athletes crowned Ironman European champs will be huge, but there are also important season implications—guaranteed Kona spots, KPR points and prize money—for several pros on the start list.

There are no less than a handful of male athletes who could claim the win on Sunday, with several current and former Kona podium finishers on the start list. Reigning Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) will be racing this distance for the first time since his big Kona win, and will look to defend his European crown in his home country. 2013 Ironman world champion Fredrik Van Lierde (BEL) finished second to Kienle at this race last year and then went on to have a disappointing race in Kona, but he’s coming off of an impressive victory at the Ironman African Championships back in March and is showing the form that earned him the world title two years ago. Perhaps the athlete that many will be most excited to watch is 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2014 Kona third-place finisher Jan Frodeno (GER). Frodeno has competed in two Ironman events (this race last year and Kona) and, despite several setbacks in both races, managed to finish third each time. Other top Ironman veterans making the start include Eneko Llanos (ESP), Andreas Raelert (GER), Bas Diederen (NED), Andi Bocherer (GER), Marko Albert (EST) and Tyler Butterfield (BER).

The big story in the women’s race is the battle between Swiss stars—and Bahrain Endurance 13 teammates—Caroline Steffen and Daniela Ryf. Steffen will be looking to again prove her ability to dominate at the distance after struggling in Kona last year and in Melbourne this year. Triathlon fans will be excited to see how Ryf can perform on this big stage. The former ITU star has been nearly flawless in her transition to long course, with an Ironman 70.3 World Championship title and Kona runner-up honors to her name. A dominant win in Frankfurt could solidify her status as a pre-race favorite for the Ironman World Championship title. Other contenders on the start list include Julia Gajer (GER), Tine Deckers (BEL), Kristin Moeller (GER), Michelle Vesterby (DEN) and Sonja Tajsich (GER).

See the professional start lists below:

The pro men
1 Sebastian Kienle (GER)
2 Frederik Van Lierde (BEL)
3 Jan Frodeno (GER)
4 Eneko Llanos (ESP)
5 Andreas Raelert (GER)
6 Bas Diederen (NED)
7 Andy Boecherer (GER)
8 Miquel Blanchart Tinto (ESP)
9 Carlos Lopez (ESP)
10 Michael Ruenz (GER)
13 Marko Albert (EST)
14 Simon Billeau (FRA)
15 Thomas Bosch (GER)
16 Tyler Butterfield (BER)
17 Emanuele Ciotti (ITA)
18 Martijn Dekker (NED)
19 Martin Droell (GER)
20 Thomas Kaiser (GER)
21 Lachlan Kerin (AUS)
22 Maxim Kriat (RUS)
23 Ludovic Le Guellec (FRA)
24 Wouter Monchy (BEL)
25 Young Hwan Oh (KOR)
26 Gilian Oriet (SUI)
27 Mark Oude Bennink (NED)
29 Lukas Polan (CZE)
30 Mario Radevic (GER)
31 Evgenii Rulevskii (RUS)
32 Evert Scheltinga (NED)
33 Andreas Thissen (GER)
34 David Dellow (AUS)
35 Marek Nemcik (SVK)
37 Alfred Rahm (GER)
39 Frederic Limousin (FRA)
40 Ivan Jezko (SVK)
41 Anton Blokhin (URK)
42 Juha Laitinen (FIN)
43 David Jilek (CZE)
44 Fabio Carvalho (BRA)
45 Mathias Nagel (GER)
46 Maksim Kalinin (RUS)
47 Lewis Elliot (USA)

The pro women
51 Caroline Steffen (SUI)
52 Daniela Ryf (SUI)
53 Julia Gajer (GER)
54 Tine Deckers (BEL)
55 Kristin Moeller (GER)
56 Michelle Vesterby (DEN)
57 Ruth Brennan-Morrey (USA)
58 Katharina Grohmann (GER)
59 Helena Herrero Gomez (ESP)
60 Tine Holst (DEN)
61 Annett Kamenz (GER)
64 Nicole Woysch (GER)
66 Sonja Tajsich (GER)
67 Astrid Ganzow (GER)

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