I like passing people when I’m on my bike.
You might too. In fact, I think there’s probably some innate feeling of conquest that many of us feel when we blow by someone. There’s some hidden joy in overtaking and passing someone else. Nevermind that they might be going 8 mph on a beach cruiser. Or look like they’re as old as Methusela. It’s just…FUN!
Now let me preface this a little. Lance Armstrong I am not. I’ve never doped. Oh, wait…wrong analogy. I meant to say that I’m not some uber-fast quassi-pro cyclist who averages 25mph or better every time I’m on my bike. I’m like most other age group athletes. I have good days where I can hold and sustain close to 22mph. I have other days where it’s killing me to go 18.
This Saturday, the weather for a ride was exceptional. The temperature was relatively low. The humidity was lower than normal, and there was hardly any wind. Plus, and early morning start meant that there wouldn’t be much traffic out.
And yet….there was a lot of traffic. Lots and lots of folks were out on the bike. This shouldn’t surprise me too much – I mean, the part of town where I live and ride is superb for cycling. Wide open roads (most with bike lanes) and not too much traffic. The picture below shows what part of my ride looked like Saturday morning:
Well, I saw literally hundreds of cyclists out.
After about half my ride, it dawned on me that there was a charity ride going on. I actually figured this out by reading lots of the little signs that were stuck in the shoulder announcing sponsors, distance, rest stops, etc. This weekend was the Tour de Cure – a charity ride that raises money for the American Diabetes Association.
I was passing folks all morning. My ride was an out-and-back, so on the way out I was headed opposite of most of the Tour riders. On the way back, though, I was riding with them. I passed a couple of fairly slow groups along the way, but the biggest group was saved for last.
As I was approaching home – literally only 2 or 3 miles from home, I made a left-hand turn and was suddenly upon one of the Tour rest-stops. I cruised by, getting some “Thanks for riding” and applause (I’m thinking that folks were cheering for my cool Rev3Tri bike kit and not mistakenly thinking I was riding in their ride), and then suddenly came upon a group of close to 30 riders. I stayed behind them for a hundred yards or so, and then decided to go into full-on badass mode.
I plopped down into my aero bars, geared down two gears and started grinding – all the while shouting “on your left”. I took it up to 25mph and blew by the group, keeping my speed and momentum until I completely dropped them and gained a solid gap. By the time I reached the end of the road and had to turn off to head into my neighborhood, I could no longer see the group. Ahhhhh….satisfaction. Not only had I passed this group, but I had totally decimated them and dropped them!
Now, I’d like to think that as they saw my blue and white kit zoom by them that they were awed at the sheer speed in which I passed, and were blown sideways by my slipstream. I hoped that they wondered if I were some top AG athlete or something.
In reality, though, I suspect that most of them likely thought, “Oh what a tool.” “Poseur”. “Show-off”. In retrospect, that’s what I would have thought were I in some group ride and a yahoo on a tri bike sped past.
And so, even though I had a really fun ride, and it was amazingly epic to blow past this last group of cyclists – plus the fact that I did it really FAST – the reality is that I probably didn’t do much for the goodwill building part of triathlon. I likely looked like an ass in the process. Part of me feels bad about that.
The other part wants to do it again.
Without a doubt, you’ve likely seen a tremendous outpouring of support for Boston and the victims of the horrific attack last week. There are so many people who were impacted and injured it’s almost unbelievable.
All last week – and even as we headed into this week, local running clubs all over the country (and perhaps world) were holding solidarity runs for Boston. People ran to honor those injured and killed.
While each of those impacted certainly is worthy of being honored, I fear that so many of those impacted will have a greater burden to bear. The sheer monetary cost of the crime will be difficult for many to overcome. I can only imagine how staggering the medical bills and costs for ongoing care will be for the most injured. Far too many will incur huge medical bills. Many will be out of work due to their injuries.
There has been no shortage of fundraising efforts, either. The One Fund was established as one way to get funds to the victims. Announced earlier this week by Massachusetts Governor Patrick and Boston Mayor Merino, the fund was seeded with a $1,000,000 committment from John Hancock.
Closer to home, the triathlon community is stepping up to support victims of the bombing.
Rev3 Triathlon announced yesterday that it was partnering with the city of Knoxville and the University of Tennessee Athletic Department and will be donating all proceeds from the Revolution3 Glow Run 5k – which will be held on Friday evening, May 3rd – to help fund the treatment and recovery of a former UT swimmer, Nicole Gross.
Nicole was near the finish line with her husband and a friend when the bombs went off. She suffered a catastrophic leg injury – and has had at least seven surgeries already. Her sister was also critically injured.
If you’re planning on being in Knoxville for Rev3′s race that weekend, hopefully you’ll consider also running in the Glow Run 5k on Friday night. If you’re not able to race – or aren’t even going to Knoxville for the weekend, please consider making a direct donation to help Nicole with her medical bills. You can contribute directly at www.bestrongstaystrong.net.
I’m encouraging you to help support those affected by this tragedy. Please consider supporting Rev3′s efforts to raise money for Nicole. Please make a donation to the One Fund. I know that I’m going to do both.
Don’t remember where I got this, but I love it….
This spring, PowerBar introduced a new product that I have flat out fallen in love with: PowerBar Performance Energy Blends.
What are these, you might ask? Well, I could say, “They’re pint-sized goodness” and be done, but I’ll go into a little more detail about the product and why I like it.
First: As triathletes, we eat more than our fair share of fuel on-the-go. We pack gels into our pockets or flasks, load up on bars for long rides, and knock back gallons of electrolyte and/or recovery drinks. I can’t tell you how much product I go through in a year, and the amount of training and racing I do pales in comparison to lots of folks. But let’s face it…no matter how much we love a particular product or flavor (my personal gel favorite is Kona Punch by PowerBar), after consuming too many of one type of product, our palates are left desiring for a different texture or flavor. Enter Performance Energy Blends.
Essentially, these blends have a mouthfeel very similar to apple sauce. Or baby food. Or apple butter. Actually, I think the texture is more similar to baby food than the others….and boy did I ever eat a lot of baby food when my kids were young. “One bite for you….two bites for daddy…one bite for you…” (Did I really just use the word mouthfeel?). They are smooth, not chunky, and very, very swallowable. In fact, I’d say that the consistency is similar to, but perhaps a little thicker, than some gels. Still don’t get the idea? Go down the apple sauce aisle at any grocer and you’ll see similar looking pouches of apple sauce or pear sauce.
In all honesty, Performance Energy Blends really do resemble those kid-friendly fruit packs. The packaging is similarly shaped, all the way down to the yellow plastic screw-off top. Your kids’ Motts these are not, however. The biggest difference comes in two main areas (1) caloric content (2) flavors.
PowerBar’s Peformance Energy Blends carry 80 calories, and deliver 21 grams of Carbs (19g sugars). According to PowerBar’s website, Energy Blends are made with their proprietary C2max, a 2:1 glucose to fructose blend. You can tell from the nutrition facts label below that there are really no ingredients other than fruit. There is a little Vitamin C and E added, but that’s it.
The absolute best thing in my opinion about these new Performance Energy Blends is the flavoring. Let’s be honest – we’re not going to eat anything that doesn’t taste good. And these taste GREAT! There are two flavors: Blueberry-Banana and Apple-Mango-Strawberry. At this point, it’s really hard for me to decide which I like the best. I ordered two boxes each of both flavors just two short weeks ago, and I am literally down to my last two pouches.
My first tasting was the blueberry-banana. These have a pretty solid blueberry flavor, with a nice banana finish. (I sound like I’m describing a fine wine…..well, I suppose these could be considered the fine wine of the endurance fueling sector). Neither flavor is overpowering, but I’m not going to kid you…you need to like this flavor combination. I do, hence I really liked this combo. You can eat these cold or hot – I’ve only had them room temperature, but others have told me that they are even better when cold.
After eating like six of the blueberry-banana flavors, I finally tried the apple-mango-strawberry….and Oh. My. Gosh! This flavor is so, so, so good! I’ve even been tempted to put it over ice cream (that brings the whole concept of endurance fueling to a new level, huh?!). Apple is the most pronounced flavor, but the mango and strawberry compliment each other to add a level of sweetness that is just perfect.
How would you use PowerBar’s Performance Energy Blends? That’s a great question! According to their website, PowerBar recommends that these would be good for pre-exercise as well as during-exercise fueling. I have not yet taken these out on a bike ride or run; I’ve only consumed them prior to starting a work-out. Just like most gels, I have not had any GI problems….not even cramping while doing a big swim set literally minutes after eating one of these Blends. Once the weather gets a little nicer and I put my bike on the road (instead of my trainer), I plan on taking one with me for a trial run. I suspect that my experience while on the bike will be no different than pre-workout.
So….at the end of the day, I REALLY like PowerBar Performance Energy Blends. They taste amazing. They are convenient to hold and carry, and really super easy to eat. And did I say they taste amazing!
Where can you buy them? I suppose you can buy them at major retailers that carry PowerBar products. You can, of course, purchase them online directly from PowerBar (that’s what I did). They retail for $2.99 per 90g packet (or $32.38 for a 12-pack box).
It’s about that time of the year when we all are getting fairly serious about planning our races. Most of us already have a list of the races we want to do – and I’m no exception - but by “planning” I really mean getting down to the nitty-gritty of PLANNING our races.
My first race of the year is coming up in early May – it’s the Olympic Rev put on by Rev3Tri in Knoxville, TN.
I don’t do a lot of Olympic distance racing, but this race has to be up there on my list of favorites. The scenery is beautiful, it’s close to my childhood stomping grounds, and it also just happens to be the place where I set my personal best for this distance
The swim for this race is in the Tennessee River – which flows right through Knoxville. Transition is essentially at the University of Tennessee football stadium (and happens to be inside a parking garage – so it’s covered). The bike route is fairly technical – and offers some serious climbing and descents. The run is a dang attractive out-and-back. The coolest part of this race is the finish line – it’s right smack dab in the middle of the World’s Fair park near downtown Knoxville.
If you’re looking for a super race to kick-start your season with, I’d encourage you to consider this one.
Another cool fact – Knoxville will be the location for the 2014 Rev3 pro and age group series – you can gain some really valuable information for that race. Plus, there are bound to be lots of professional athletes in Knoxville this year too.
If you’d like more details on this race, here are a couple of really solid options:
I’m not sure what it is about Valentine’s Day, but this holiday sure does seem to bring out the creativity in folks. I mean, what’s not creative about shelling out an absurdly large amount of money on 12 flowers? OK, I’m kidding.
Seriously, some folks are crazy creative and go all out for days like today. They get singing telegrams, they buy jewelry, they take their significant others out to eat, the snuggle. Well, yesterday many of the folks on the Rev3 age group team had an email conversation about crazy things that you might hear a triathlete say or things you might see around a triathlete’s Valentine’s Day mailbox. I’ve listed a few of them here (some are a little on the NSFW side – imagine that).
Be on the lookout on Twitter today, as some of these just might pop up there too – under the hashtag #Rev3Valentine.
But I’m not really too sad about it.
Like far too many folks (I hope), I used to be fairly….ahem…..unstructured about my bike trainer sessions. I’d get on and just go. Some days I’d go hard. Other days would be easier. The entire session would be one solid effort. Hard. Easy. Exhaustion. Whatever. 60, 90, 120 minutes of the exact same thing. And I HATED it. I looked forward to a session on the bike trainer just about as much as I look forward to picking up my dog’s poop.
Enter Laura Kloepper, a.k.a. Frayed Laces.
Over the past eight or nine weeks, Laura has been publishing a series on her blog called “Trainer Tuesdays”. Basically, she comes up with a 60-minute bike trainer set and posts it online. She also has been hosting a Twitter meet-up on Tuesdays for folks who are joining in on the pain so they can get online and talk about just how bad she is hurting them or something. I’m actually too afraid to join the conversation, for fear that someone will yell at me, call me a slacker, or tell me to pick up the pace (they can actually see me through my Droid, right?)
The Trainer Tuesday sessions are really good. They offer a little bit of almost everything. There is a nice warm-up, some drill work, and a pretty intense main session. Sometimes the main session is all-out sprints followed by a recovery period. Other times it’s alternating intervals of pushing big gears with easy spins. The really great thing is that Laura breaks up the hour into teeny bits that requires me to really focus and keep tabs of time. This just happens to make the hour go by really quickly. Sneaky of her.
Here’s her most recent Trainer Tuesday workout:
Why did I say at the top of this post that she’s trying to kill me? Well….three simple words. “One leg drills.” I’ve got to say that these are perhaps the most excruciating things I’ve done in a long, long, long time. I’ve done eight of these Trainer Tuesday workouts in the last three weeks or so (I haven’t done each one….I’ve done a couple more than once), and I’ve got to say, these dang drills don’t get any easier. In fact, I think they might be getting more difficult. Each time I get close to the end of an interval, I’m so close to cussing and pleading for my life. I just know that Laura’s out to kill me. I guess that’s good, though, because I’ll be a better cyclist come springtime because of it.
So…..if you’ve been struggling with the concept of getting on your bike trainer in general, or that you’ve found your trainer sessions are a little “less than satisfying”, I think you should try out some of these workouts. I’ve really come to like them, and look forward to the newest edition. I’m still a little scared about joining the Twitter conversation while I’m embracing the suck, so to speak, of these workouts….but that’s a demon I’ll slay later
If you work for a large corporation like I do, you know that distributed teams are the norm. Often, folks working on the same project or team are spread across the country or globe. Creating a strong team bond with folks who don’t live or work in the same city can be difficult.
My team of employees at work is spread out like this. For the longest time, we met only via conference calls. But you know how that goes. People multitask. Surf the web. Stop paying attention. To curb that, about a year ago, we moved all of our interactions from just being conference calls to video calls. We hold our team meetings via video calls (like Skype) and supplement that with occasional face-to-face meetings. It works for us, and has really helped us build a strong team dynamic.
I’m proud of this, but the best example I’ve ever seen of creating a solid, robust, and dynamic distributed team falls outside of corporate America, and instead comes from the world of Triathlon.
Revolution 3 triathlon yearly does an amazing job of taking athletes from all over the country and building an amazing team.
And I’m really glad to announce that this year, for the fourth year in a row, I’m part of Team Rev3!
Rev3 assembles some really stellar and passionate triathletes as part of the team. We have some super fast folks, a crazy lady who has completed 62 iron-distance triathlons, stay-at-home mom’s, fitness experts, more than a handful of triathlon coaches, and even a few folks who are embarking on triathlon for the first time this year. And moi – the resident old & slow guy.
The fact of the matter is that the folks on this team become part of a family. We’re always emailing, texting, tweeting, and facebooking. We support each other at races – both when we’re there in person and virtually. We revel in each others’ success. We try to boost each other up when something bad happens. We become one.
We have a common goal. A synergistic drive. We all want Rev3 to be the best triathlon series in America. We’re proud to sport the Big R on our chest….sort of like a Triathlon super hero.
I’ll be updating my Team Rev3 link off the homepage with all of the updated websites Twitter feeds soon, but please join me in congratulating the newest folks on Team Rev3:
So….Happy New Year, y’all. I know that I’m a little late to the party in saying that, but it still applies, right? It is, after all, a new year. Plus, this is my first post of the year. In my mind, it’s still kosher to say Happy New Year. In fact, seeing as how yesterday was Epiphany, I suppose I could still say Merry Christmas and get away with it.
Regardless, it’s a new year now, and like so many others I’ve put my mind to thinking about what I’d like to accomplish this year. Certainly you’ve done similar things. Over the past month, I’ve assembled my team at work and we’ve come up with a very aggressive list of items we’d like to accomplish during the year. It seems that my appetite for planning multisport activities is equally as robust. The only difference, though, is that when it comes to multisport, I typically overshoot on my goals. Another way of saying that is that I put my stretch goals way, way, way out there. And then I do a spectacular job of not meeting those stretch goals.
Take 2012, for example. In this post, I laid out some very tangible goals. I thought that I had done a really good job of laying out targets. They were measurable. Attainable. Potentially realistic. Time bound. I followed my B-school teachings and set S.M.A.R.T. goals. So, how’d I do against those goals?
TriMadness’ 2012 Multisport Goals:
So overall, not too bad I suppose. 2012 was a busy, busy year for me at work and with family stuff. And frankly, in terms of pecking order – those two things come first for me. I’ll gladly sacrifice a run or ride (or even a race or two – which happened in 2012) to do family related things. It’s about doing the right thing and having the right priorities.
All that being said, and knowing what’s in store for 2013, I’ve again gone through the S.M.A.R.T. process for goal setting. I’m carrying over a few goals from last year. I am also adding a few race-specific goals that I’d like to accomplish as well.
So without further ado, here are:
TriMadness’ 2013 Multisport Goals:
So. There you have it. It’s on paper (again), so I have to do it, right?
Brad Pitt, I am not. For starters, I shower. And shave. And I’m not married to a frea….attractive, movie star gazillionare woman. But most of all, I’m not as photogenic as Brad.
I don’t star in movies or grace the covers of magazines. Which is actually probably a good thing for magazine publishers and movie producers, as putting my mug shot on their cover would translate into immediate loss of subscriptions or doom a flick to sheer and utter failure.
I sure don’t look all that handsome when I’m racing, either. Typically, by the time I see the photographer and think to smile, straighten my back, or improve my running form, it’s too late. I never get that “perfect” picture. I just don’t have good enough timing to get a “good” race picture.
Occassionally, though, I eek out a decent shot. For example, at the recent Rev3 triathlon here in Florida, I had a couple of OK shots taken. I’d like to think I got lucky, but the reality is that it’s more likely that the photographer worked some Photoshop magic before posting the shots.
(Sorry for the big Rev3 watermark on these – I scraped these from the photo site. I’m planning on purchasing them, but just haven’t yet)
I actually really like these pictures. They aren’t quite as if I planned them for a photoshoot, but they aren’t the typical drool and snot-filled or grimacing shots that I normally get taken of me at a race.
But the bonus?!
Rev3 gives every athlete a free photo of them crossing the finish line! Mine is below. I actually tried to plan for a cool shot. I thought about doing a Blazeman roll. I considered jumping. In the end, I decided to just point up in a small gesture of praise. Only you can’t see it in the picture below because I wasn’t fast enough to do it before the photographer took my picture.
I guess timing is everything, huh?