Thursday, December 29, 2011

Team Evotri Presents WIBA 2012



Team Evotri presents the 7th annual Wisconsin Brick Adventure (WIBA, aka 'WEE-bah'). It's a self-supported weekend of workouts on the Ironman Wisconsin swim, bike, and run courses. It's organized to allow you to participate in a laid-back, train at your own pace introduction to the course with local athletes who have spent many hours in the area and who have competed in Ironman Wisconsin.

Who?

You, the triathlete. There's no need to be entered in Ironman Wisconsin. Just be able to complete long swims, rides, and runs at your own pace.

Where?

All sessions take place in Madison, Wisconsin and the surrounding area on the Ironman Wisconsin swim, bike, and run courses. See the lodging options in downtown Madison for easy access to the course and associated activities of the weekend.

When?

June 22 - 24, 2012
See the sample itinerary.

How?

Register for WIBA 2012 in Madison, WI on Eventbrite


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Team Evotri 2012 Entries - Final Week!


Don't forget! Team Evotri is again ready to welcome a new member to the family. For 2012, Team Evotri and its sponsors have pulled together a one-of-a-kind package to provide an age group athlete the opportunity to train and race like a PRO, while giving back to the triathlon and endurance community. The current team members are looking for an individual who embraces the spirit of triathlon: a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the sport, desire to improve, and dedication to give back to the endurance community. Years of triathlon experience and good race results are not deciding factors in choosing a winner, but passion is.

HURRY! There's less than seven days left before the submission deadline! Be sure check out all the details on the main post. Good luck!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Evotri Origins

As 2011 comes to a close, you may reflect on the year gone by and prepare for 2012 through resolutions or commitments. Here at Team Evotri, as we prepare to welcome a new team member in 2012, we went deep into to the way-back machine to reflect on where we each of started in triathlon.

Whether it started from combining several sports into one, desiring to beat your faster, younger sister, drawing inspiration from a local race, finding a desire to compete again, watching Ironman finishers, raising money for cancer research, experiencing a mid-life crisis, or a chance lottery win, the inspiration that triggered our entry into the sport is no different from many others out there.

We've gathered our triathlon origin stories into one page and hope that it provides some inspiration if you're thinking about submitting an application. Even if you aren't applying, enjoy the look back. And, if you feel inspired to write your own, feel free to post a link on our Facebook page. We'd love to read it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'll Take 4 Desserts and 1 PR, Please

Here's Michelle's story about her amazing eating and running in Las Vegas. Note that there are no pictures, as what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. We're extremely fortunate just to get this report.

To summarize.... it was a fabulous run. I can honestly say, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

I was pretty up front with the fact that I was nervous about the race. As much as I tried to keep it in check, I don't think I succeeded because I was testy leading up to race day. I had a hard time relaxing. I think with tris I'm a little bit better just because I've done more of them. There were a lot of unknowns and I don't do well with unknowns!

Prerace
That's another word for EATING in my world. The race started at 4:00 pm. Something I've never done before. I don't like doing any of my workouts in the late afternoon/evening. So, I naturally wasn't real tickled about racing then. Obviously, a girl's got to eat right? And eat I DID! Vegas is FULL of buffets and I thought that would be an excellent way to get in some good carbs and fluids prerace. One thing I am clear on about myself is that I have willpower when it comes to workouts and races but not when it comes to food. I am honestly amazed at how much food I can put down when set to the task. I've had men say that eating with me makes them feel GOOD about themselves (since they eat so much less!). Anyway, I had to have a plate of each type of cuisine; Italian, Mexican, and Chinese. Plus, a little American. THEN....the desserts. I CANNOT resist dessert. And 10 choices? Forget it. I already confessed to my coach so I'm not going to get in trouble now. But I ate 4 desserts; pumpkin cheesecake, mousse, brownie, and chocolate cake. But, take heart, I planned my eating strategically, so I would at least be done by 1230 and have time to digest. I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon in a drugged, carb stupor, lying on my hotel bed with a bloated stomach!

Come race time, we had no trouble getting down to our start corral. My husband so nicely stuck by me and took my gear bag 10 minutes before the start so I could stay warm. The temp was about 50°F at the start and slowly fell thereafter. I was in the 2nd corral and we got off at about 4:02. I ran with my Garmin but no heart rate monitor. I did that on purpose. I wanted to know my pace in an effort to not overrun the first half. But, I didn't care about the heart rate number. I knew if I ran the right pace, the heart rate would be in check. Plus, I think too much data does a number with my head on race day. I've really come to love the less is more philosophy when it comes to racing.

Race
Wow, the race effect is dizzying. I averaged a 7:51 pace for the whole marathon. The first half I felt as if I was running on air. It was heavenly! Effortless! My pace was sub 7:50 and I was trying to slow down! I was talking to people and plain old having a good time. The first 13.5 miles was comprised of just marathoners and there was absolutely no issue with crowding. The course was boring as all hell in an industrial part of town. But, hey, I am NOT complaining. Of course, the 2nd half is where the fun begins. At this point we joined up with the half-marathoners. This race was big and there were about 37,000 halfers. At this point, we all ran together up and down the strip to the finish line. The organizers tried to give the marathoners a small strip of property off on the left for just us. But, this was for the most part overtaken by folks in the half. I remember several race organizers riding bikes right next to me hollering for racers in the half to move to the right. Really, I saw no moving. However, this might have worked out to my advantage as it kept my pace in line. I wanted to go faster and mentally had to tell myself to settle down. After several miles of this, I admit I was losing my patience. I kept saying 'on your left' in an effort to pass. I really tried to watch my tone of voice and be 'nice'. I really only had 1 guy say to me, 'well, then go to the left' in such a 'not nice' tone. I probably had it coming!

I need to mention my nutrition plan somewhere in here. There really was none. Really? Could I stick one more thing down my throat when I probably had put down 3000 calories about 4 hours ago. I literally took a few sips of water at almost every aid station and 1 GU gel at about mile 10. I will put this on record. I DO NOT RECOMMEND my prerace fueling strategy! I think I just got LUCKY!

Strategy in the marathon seems pretty simple. Don't overrun up front and brace yourself for the end. I tried to break the race up into sections. The first half I focused on mentally preparing for the second. And, yes, the second half did get harder. But up until mile 22, it was not bad AT ALL! The 20 mile mark seems to be the magic window that I hear about as to when the wheels can often fall off. And trust me, in training this fall, they DID fall off! So, I was ready. But, it didn't happen! I know part of it was because I came up on my friend Mark, who I had not been running with up until this point. We have a friendly rivalry and passing him seemed like it would be fun at the time. So, that kept me entertained for about 2 miles when all of a sudden I hear this freight train coming up on my right. Here it's Mark passing me back! We were at about the 22 mile mark by now. I knew I only had 4 miles left and now I was started to feel fatigued. Looking at my watch I knew I had well surpassed my goal time of 3:30. But, I didn't know how close I was to 3:25. Secretly, my STRETCH goal was 3:25. After Mark passed me, I think I mentally let myself ease up. It's amazing looking at my mile split times. All great until mile 22, then down around 8:10. Had I known the last 4 miles would have been critical to hitting 3:25 flat I might have pushed harder. I don't know. The operative word is "might". Anyway, when I found myself looking at .25 mile to the finish line, I saw 2 women in front of me then Mark. Well, you can damn well guess I wasn't about to let those 2 girls beat me and, boy, did I want to catch Mark! I pushed as hard as I could over that last stretch and I did pass the girls but failed short of catching Mark by 3 seconds! The look on my face from the picture was taken near the finish line and tells it all.


3:25:48!!!

It's one thing for the race calculators to predict a time, it's all simple math. But to actually realize it is SO gratifying, especially when it seems like a crazy idea. I mean...3:25? What silliness! But who knows, maybe there's a 3:20 or 3:15 in me?!

I can summarize this post very simply. I remember starting in endurance sports when I was 35. I distinctly recall my last marathon about 5 years ago when people were flying by me and I was completely in awe as I posted a 3:54. They were 'running' in my opinion. It was great to see. That gave me the visual in my head that I needed. Now, I am 42. I am no elite athlete, that IS for sure. However, I think I'm a little closer to 'running' than I was before. The thought here is basic. Keep WORKING at it. The gains WILL come and when they do it is AWESOME!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

JP's First Full Distance Win

[JP shares with us the details that went into his first full distance triathlon win. Congrats JP!]


My First Full Distance Win!!!

Wow… the headline sounds cooler than it is, but it’s still pretty cool. Wonders of shock journalism.

First off, the disclaimer: it was a tiny race so it's really not that big of a deal, except to me. I was pretty jazzed because I don't win very often and this was a full Ironman!

Caitlin and I talked about winning the race the day before and I was having visions of snapping the tape before I had even started. How ‘bout I Tarantino it and start at the end?

The sun was slowly going down as I hit the turn into the final 200 meters. The race staff, volunteers, and crowd were all lining the finishing chute and screaming. I was jumping out of my skin. Arms spread wide, I airplaned down the final meters, high fiving everyone, and laughing my ass off. Holding the finish line tape above my head was incredible. They had multiple cameras trained on me and I went nuts grabbing the camera and shoving my face in it, spitting everywhere. After the celebration they gave me a slick trophy and the race director interviewed me. It felt pretty nice. I love winning.

FADE OUT!

7 am the whistle sounded and we were off. The water was colder than an abandoned piece of salmon at the bottom of your freezer. I was swimming well and came around the first loop in third feeling relaxed. The second half of the swim was tough as my arms were going a bit numb and felt sort of floppy. Michigan blood served me well and I sucked it up. I managed to stick with the group and I exited the water to see my buddies Christina and Larry. Larry won the Olympic distance race the day before, so we were hoping I could handle business and complete the double for us. Caitlin yelled that I was out in 51:50! 51:50???! Come on. Talk about short. I swam well, but I’m not Michael Phelps.

Off onto the bike and feeling good.

Ballin

The wind was calm and I was focused on getting the first loop done as fast as possible to avoid as much of the wind as I could. As a result, I overbiked a bit and set off on the second loop feeling a little drained. The roads were shit shakers to say the least and each pothole was very leg draining. The wind had picked up and my speed had dropped considerably. Very annoying, however at mile 80 I got to survey the damage and found out I had laid waste to the field. I was clear of second by at least 35 minutes.

It doesn't even look like I'm at a race, does it?
I rolled into transition feeling rotten and annoyed that I had to run. I waddled out of transition and up the first and only hill on the course. I settled into my rhythm. I needed to get food on board as soon as possible. Being an inaugural ironman, the aid stations lacked some of the luxuries and volunteer support that the larger races enjoy. Weird gels and incredibly high fiber bars are not a good recipe for long distance racing but not having coke felt like sticking a needle in my eye. That stuff may not be for everyone, but it's my lifeblood. Hollatcha boy, Coke. I took what I could and was ticking off miles at a pretty low heart rate.

Miles 8-14 were a debacle. My gut had completely revolted and the chicken broth and syrupy goop were acting as Che Guevara. I will spare you the details outside of the fact that I got very acquainted with the various port-a-potties along the way. At mile 14, I lectured a volunteer about getting coke the next time they do a race... within a half mile, a race staffer poured me three cups out of the back of his SUV. He then proceeded to stock multiple aid stations that I would lean on like a delicious highly caffeinated crutch. I came around after the coke kicked in and started feeling lucid again.

I finally saw second place. I was at mile 17 and he was at mile 11 and seemed like he was in a tough spot. The next guy was another 2 miles back, but running quite well. I had them covered as long as I kept moving. I kept thinking, “Don’t waste Caitlin’s time. She’s been out here running around for you for hours. Just win and then you can go home and sleep. Don't lose after you've been leading for 8 hours.”

I knew the course was a touch long as I was doing the mental math. Dammit. When you're racing an ironman, the last thing you want to do is run extra. Time doesn’t matter anymore, just win and run fast. I covered the last 12 miles at slightly above 7:30 pace and rolled into the last half mile as the sun was setting. The finish line was better than I could have imagined. After snapping the tape, I looked over at Cait who was grinning like a goblin. It could not have played out better if I had written it.

Caitlin was a COMPLETE LEGEND and saw me at least 50 times on the course. No joke. She got me through some really dark spots. Cliche, but seriously I could not have done it without her.

Great end to a great year. Thanks to everyone who supported me through the year, thanks to evotri, the great sponsors who keep us moving, my friends and family, and Caitlin who is the absolute best.

I love you guys.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Big Evotri Weekend!


Team Evotri members Michelle, JP and Sara had big time results over the weekend.

First, congratulations to JP for winning the inaugural HITS full-distance triathlon in Palm Spring, CA. JP split a blistering 52 minute swim, followed with a speedy 5:09 bike, and closed with an 3:51 run to finish sub-10 in 9:57:50 and win the overall by nearly a full hour! Way to move, JP!

And then Michelle, raced on The Strip in Las Vegas for her first stand-alone marathon in many years. As you saw here earlier, she let it be known that a 3:30 was her goal and she wasn't afraid to get after it. Well, get after it she did, finishing in 3:25:48!

Finally, Sara Z. took on her mental demons and lowered her eight year-old 5K PR by nearly a minute! 

Congrats again to JP, Michelle, and Sara! Stay tuned for their race reports, coming soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Michelle's Marathon Mania

Michelle provides us some perspective on her upcoming marathon this weekend on Las Vegas. And don't forget to review the guidelines to be a part of Team Evotri.



The time has arrived, my friends.

Marathon Mania! Las Vegas 12/4/11.

Ever since I signed up for this race (I think in the spring of 2011) I have been excited and anxiously awaiting my chance to RUN. In an open marathon. No swimming or biking. Just RUN. It's been many years since I did a stand-alone marathon. And I want to give it my all. And I want to do well. And I want to push myself.

And.....WHY am I so nervous?

Because it's going to REALLY hurt.
Because it's kind of UNCHARTED territory.
Because I don't want to FAIL.
Because I've packed on a few POUNDS of holiday turkey.
Because, lastly, it would be so much easier to say, 'Ah, just have FUN. Take it easy and enjoy the race.'

But, the trouble is, I'm not wired that way...AT ALL!

So here we go.....the GOAL. I am probably utterly stupid for putting this out there all the time. But some indescribable thing inside me compels me to do so. If I flop, I flop. I'm human and stuff does NOT always go as planned. But writing my goal makes it seem more real.

3:30

That's an 8:00 min/mile pace. I feel like that is totally and completely frickin' insane. But, I've done those silly race calculators and plugged in my numbers from past races. And the things tell me this is doable. Others actually even say 3:25. More importantly, coach thinks it's doable too. 3:30 is 24 minutes faster than my fastest IM marathon time of 3:54. On paper, that sounds okay, but in real life...that scares me!

The race plan is pretty simple actually. Don't fret! Get in with the 3:30 pace group and stay there. No over-running the first 13 miles. Relish in the fact that I'll be running in shorts and sleeveless shirt. Temps in the 50's. No hat, 2 pairs of mittens, insulated pants and 3 shirts like I'm doing now. Heck there's the 2 pounds of holiday turkey weight gone right there. Bonus! I KNOW that I will feel downright nasty over the last 6 miles, but I've just got to GUT IT OUT.

So I'm shoring up the mental fortress. Telling myself all the reasons why this will go as planned. Convincing myself to put behind me those concerns about fear and failure. Yes, it's going to hurt like a SOB. Yes, I can't predict much. But my coach said the funniest thing to me (in a weird, twisted way only we endurance geeks get)......"you can do anything for 3:xx hours."

Just remember that..."you can do ANYTHING for 3:xx hours."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making the Team: 2012


Now entering its sixth year, the members of Team Evotri continue to challenge themselves and others to live a healthy and active lifestyle through endurance sports. They have been given an extraordinary opportunity to train and race with the same equipment and coaching as the pros. They continue to dedicate themselves to maximizing their potential, to sharing what they learn from their experiences, and to making a positive contribution to the endurance sport community.

Team Evotri is again ready to welcome a new member to the family. For 2012, Team Evotri and its sponsors have pulled together a one-of-a-kind package to provide an age group athlete the opportunity to train and race like a PRO, while giving back to the triathlon and endurance community. The current team members will be looking for an individual who embraces the spirit of triathlon: a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the sport, desire to improve, and dedication to give back to the endurance community. Years of triathlon experience and good race results are not deciding factors in choosing a winner, but passion is.

The next team member will benefit by receiving an excellent package courtesy of the team's sponsors:
  • QuintanaRoo will provide a top-of-the-line CD0.1  frameset with innovative shift technology that will undoubtedly take your bike splits to a new level.
  • Zipp Speed Weaponry knows just how to outfit a frame like the CD0.1 with a 404 front and 808 rear wheel set.
  • SRAM will add to the bike with its latest cockpit and drivetrain components.
  • CycleOps finishes the bike off with its cutting edge SL+ wireless PowerTap hub and Joule 2.0 computer.
  • HUB Endurance puts it all together providing a full year of expert triathlon coaching to deliver the newest Evotri athlete to the top of their potential in 2012.
Here's how you can be the next Team Evotri member:
Create a video that's no longer than three (3) minutes. The video should answer the following three questions:
  1. Why Evotri?
  2. Why You?
  3. Can you Evotri?

Guidelines:
  • Videos must be posted to Team Evotri's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/evotri.
  • Videos must be posted by December 31, 2011, at 11:59 PM CST.
  • Videos not within the time constraints will not be considered.
Process:
  • The current team members will select finalists from the video submissions.
  • The finalists will be notified by January 15, 2012 and will be invited to be interviewed via teleconference by current team members.
  • The winner will be announced on February 1, 2012.
Important Notes:
  • By posting a video to Evotri's Facebook page, candidates grant contest affiliates permission to use said video for promotional purposes affiliated with Team Evotri and the 2012 contest.
  • The winner of the team slot forfeits all awards if he/she is unable to continue as a team member for any reason for a period within two years of joining the team.
  • The winner of the team slot agrees to contribute to the Team Evotri web site for as long as he/she is a member of Team Evotri.
  • The winner agrees to race in an Evotri team uniform for all multisport events. Winner to purchase choice of uniform apparel upon final selection.
  • The winner of the team slot must participate in the yearly Team Evotri event. The 2012 event is a training camp in Chattanooga, TN from April 12-15, 2012. You must be present for the entire time.
  • No reimbursement will be made by Team Evotri or its sponsors for the creation, submission or any other expenses associated with the video entry.
  • No reimbursement will be made by Team Evotri or its sponsors for any travel, lodging, race entry fees, or other associated expenses in attending Team Evotri activities.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Announcing Team Evotri - Hub Endurance Sponsorship

Madison, WI
11/17/11

Team Evotri is excited to announce a new sponsorship collaboration with Hub Endurance, Chattanooga, TN. Hub Endurance is Chattanooga's premier multisport shop and also offers a full range of custom multisport coaching options. "The Hub" is the only bike shop in Tennessee to offer professional bike fits utilizing the state of the art Guru Dynamic Fit Unit. Hub Endurance also carries Evotri's favorite line of tri bikes: Quintana Roo! Hub Endurance will provide a year of custom coaching and a professional bike fit to all new Evotri members. In addition, Hub will offer discounted coaching services and products to the full Evotri team.

Team Evotri's tagline has always been "Synergistic Multisport" and that concept is something we take seriously. Synergistic Multisport means that we are always looking for new and innovative ways to interact with our sponsors and supporters. We don't just expect to be given great equipment, but also to dialogue with sponsors about how that equipment actually performs from month to month and year to year. In the past we have had sponsor representatives train and race alongside the team. Evotri's yearly WIBA training weekend is a free event to anyone who wants to show up.  So when Andy Sweet (brother of Evotri member Chris Sweet) started a coaching company and multisport shop this new synergy was a no-brainer.

Below is a Q&A with Hub Endurance owners Jamie Ingalls and Andy Sweet.

Tell us a little bit about your athletic backgrounds.
Jamie Ingalls - Former division 1 ski racer, and semi-pro cyclist. Been racing bicycles since 1988 (age 13).

Andy Sweet - 5-time IM finisher, UMCA RAAM qualifier, competitive swimmer since age 6.

Hub Endurance originally started out as a physical location for your coaching business where you could do bike fits and indoor group rides. Pretty quickly you guys realized that people wanted a lot more.  Tell us about that transition from a coaching home base to multisport shop. How has it benefited the coaching side of your business?

The biggest benefit is that it allows us to better care for and equip our athletes for optimal performances. Upon the growth of our coaching business, we quickly realized that most of our athletes were riding improper equipment and were getting frustrated with the process of trying to find/buy the right products. We started bridging that gap with information and recommendations... then eventually clients started asking us to 'just get me what I need!" In addition, Chattanooga never had a retail location dedicated to the multisport athlete (no swim shops, few bike shops with tri bikes, etc); so we decided that with our bike and retail knowledge, we could attempt to fill that gap.

Ten years ago there were literally only a handful of serious triathlon coaches in the country, now USAT certifies big classes of new coaches every few months. How does Hub stand out? What are your coaching philosophies? 

Our coaching philosophies are rather simple and effective:

    1. We focus on forming and maintaining very open lines of communication with all of our clients. We encourage our clients to call/email/visit with us as often as they can, because the more direct interaction we have with them, the better we are able to assess their fitness, their health, their motivation, etc.
    2. We believe coaching is much more than providing workout schedules. We feel that we have a responsibility to our athletes to help them progress in all aspects of their fitness, which includes important (and often ignored) aspects, such as form, technique, mental preparation, and stress management, in addition to strength and endurance.
    3. We believe in helping our athletes balance their schedules to optimize fitness gains in a realistic amount of time. We realize that most people have full-time jobs, families, and other commitments outside of athletics, so we constantly strive to help our clients maximize the time that they have available, rather than asking them to sacrifice other aspects of their life.

Your "Advanced" and "Professional" levels of custom coaching offer quite a few perks you don't usually see from other coaching companies. What are some of those "extras" that you've built into your coaching packages?

We offer features like regular power/HR reviews, which generally other coaching groups charge extra for, because we feel these are essentials for athlete progression. We love going through files with clients, because the more that they understand their performances (strengths/weaknesses), the better athlete they will become. As a full service bike shop, we are also able to offer some other perks, such as discounted bike service/camps/clinics.

Hub made a substantial investment in a Guru Dynamic Fit Cycle (DFU). Tell us about what the DFU does and why you chose it over other fit cycles / systems that are out there. 

The GURU Dynamic Fit Unit is far and away the greatest fit tool designed to date. We researched all the different offerings in the fit world, and were simply blown away by the DFU's capabilities. It allows us to adjust rider position in real-time (no gettting off and on the bike, swapping components, etc), while providing detailed feedback on the riders performance. It allows us to measure aspects such as power output, efficiency, spinscan, right/left leg balance, and even torque angle. After a DFU fit, we are able to provide customers with their optimal position, bike geometry, and component choices.


What is one thing that absolutely drives you nuts about triathletes?

We find that triathletes are very involved in researching their sport, however, they are not always the best at finding factual, supported information. They love internet forums!


Outside of the family relationship, what made you want to sponsor the Evotri team? Was it the across-the-board good looks that would enable any Evotri team member to be a Hub Endurance poster child and drive gobs of business to the shop?  

Looks are everything! But, in all actuality, we are really looking forward to working with the Evotri team to help us announce HUB Endurance to the nationwide public. We have been extremely successful in growing our business locally and regionally, but feel that our coaching structure and talent will be able to help athletes all of the country. Through Team Evotri's large online presence and nationwide following, our partnership will highlight our remote coaching abilities.


Evotri plans to visit Chattanooga next spring for a team training camp. What local ride/run routes will you be sending them on? Will anyone cry?

They will all have the opportunity to train in the mountains and valleys around Chattanooga... the number of classic ride and run routes are endless. But, the infamous 3-State 3-Mountain ride will likely be featured... some will cry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Bicycle Built for Two

Chris keeps the old looking new as he completely rebuilds a little bit of history:

Daisy Bell
By: Harry Dacre (1892)

There is a flower within my heart,
Daisy, Daisy,
Planted one day by a glancing dart,
Planted by Daisy Bell.
Whether she loves me or loves me not
Sometimes it's hard to tell,
And yet I am longing to share the lot
Of beautiful Daisy Bell.

Chorus:

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage -
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'd look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.

We will go tandem as man and wife,
Daisy, Daisy,
Ped'ling away down the road of life,
I and my Daisy Bell.
When the road's dark, we can both despise
P'licemen and lamps as well.
There are bright lights in the dazzling eyes
Of beautiful Daisy Bell.

(Chorus)

I will stand by you in wheel or woe
Daisy, Daisy,
You'll be the bell which I'll ring you know
Sweet little Daisy Bell
You'll take the lead on each trip we take
Then if I don't do well
I will permit you to use the brake
beautiful Daisy Bell

(Chorus)

History was one of my undergraduate majors (literature was the other) and continues to be one of my abiding passions. Naturally, anytime that I can bring my passion for history together with my passion for cycling I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning. This tandem restoration project has been quite a few years in the making, but before I get to that there is another bit of historical trivia that relates to the inspiration behind the original Daisy Bell song.  As the story goes, when Dacre (an English popular composer) first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged duty. His friend joked, 'It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty.' Dacre was so taken with the phrase 'bicycle built for two' that he decided to use it in a song.

I haven't been able to pin down a date on the bike itself. It is definitely late 50's or early 60's. The first time I saw a picture of one of these I fell in love with it. To me, it is just so iconic of that era. The cars and bikes from that time period both had gorgeous curves with barely a hard angle anywhere. So obviously the bike is good old American steel and quite heavy.  I had saved searches set up on Ebay for years before I finally found this one within a couple hours of home.  Actually I bought two bikes, neither of which was actually in working order.  Both had been stored outside for some period of time, been repainted with probably a can of spray paint and were just generally abused all-around.

Since I knew I didn't have time to jump right into the stripping and painting (I had just started a new job and was in the process of buying a new house and selling the old one) I took parts from both bikes to make a franken tandem that sort of worked.  It was lots of fun to cruise around on, but the handling is complete crap and the gearing was too high.


This is one of the only pics I took of the "original" frame.

Fast forward a couple of years and a friend had found me an original chainguard in excellent condition to repaint.  I thought this was as good an excuse to buy a sandblaster as any, so I picked up one of those and started the hard labor of removing multiple layers of paint and rust.  There were so many problems that I just took everything back down to the bare metal.


Originally I was going to dredge up my rusty and dated automotive painting skills, but decided if I was going to put this much time and effort into the project that I wanted a professional paint job with modern paints. Enter Mike's Collision Center. Mike Mavec is a local triathlete and owner of Mike's Collision.  He had just begun dabbling in bike painting and I approached him with the tandem project. We made a deal to swap a paint job for some coaching-related services.


The pinstripes I am adding in these pics were not original, but one of my personal enhancements!

Don Fogler of Fogler Signs did a great job helping me re-create the original decals that all went under the clearcoat.

After painting, decals and clearcoating it was time for rebuilding.  I was only able to salvage a few of the original parts. The chainrings and seatposts are original but that's about it!  I was amazed at how cheap heavy steel parts are!  The new wheelset cost $45 and the fenders were like $20.  Refreshing since a single tire for my triathlon bike runs about $75!  Getting everything to work took some tinkering.  The fenders and tires are both wider than the originals, but I love the look!  I still need to do some tinkering with the idler pulley that maintains chain tension.


The new bike's maiden voyage was a trip of a couple miles around Lexington.  We live right off old Route 66 and Cara and I did a portion of the ride on the old road that is now a bike path. It seemed so iconic to be riding a classic 1950's American steel frame on the classic highway from the same era!  Really looking forward to having this bike to cruise around Lexington on!

Maiden Voyage! No parts fell off!

So the bike basically handles like crap.  It has a flimsy front fork that has to provide direction for a 50+ pound bike plus two riders.  Little spooky, but the thing isn't meant to go fast!  The only brake is a coaster brake which is pretty effective actually.  I haven't had a bike with a coaster brake in probably 20 years, but it was amazing how natural that braking motion is if you grew up riding old school bmx!

Those of you with short cycling memories probably only associate Huffy bikes with their current line of garbage department store bikes. In the 1980's Huffy invested heavily in supporting professional U.S. cycling and developing cutting-edge race bikes.  The 7-Eleven cycling team rode Huffys for a few years that were actually re-branded Serottas (Huffy made their own copies for the average racer).  In the 1984 and 1988 Olympics athletes aboard Huffys took home gold and silver medals.  Huffy even got into developing time trial bikes and eventually triathlon bikes.  Mark Allen's 1991 win the Ironman World Championships in Kona was aboard a Huffy Triton (pictured below).


Early Huffy Time Trial Bike
Greg Lemond Raced on a Huffy for a time.

Even "The Donald" likes Huffys!  Backstory here.



Mark Allen won Kona in 1991 aboard one of these!

So what's the next project, you might ask? Well I've got something at least equally as cool as the Daisy Daisy in the works: an Evel Knievel 10 speed!  As far as I have been able to determine this is one of the first production bikes to be equipped with a disc brake! Check out the video of the man selling these bikes! Mine is currently in considerably worse shape. When I have this thing done and find a stars and stripes jumpsuit to match, I am going to be so badass!



Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Pumpkin Please!

Sara brings us a tasty treat for the dark, cool mornings:

I don't know about you, but when October hits, I become OBSESSED with pumpkins.

Pumpkin spice lattes?

YES PLEASE.

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes?

GET IN MAH BELLY!

The trouble with this is that all of the above are really pretty loaded with sugar. And that plus the fact that it's easy to just throw on the yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt (it's cold, right?) makes it oh-so-tempting to succumb to the waistline-wrecking ball that is pumpkin flavored pastry or caffeinated goodness.

But stay strong, brothers and sisters!

I have found something that is just as tasty and is not nearly as full of sugar as all my favorite pumpkin goodies. AND, it's awesome after an early morning (or late evening if your schedule is as crazy as mine!) crisp fall tempo run. (Disclaimer: I rarely bake, because I hate measuring things. But I love to cook, because food is art. You just keep throwing things together until you get what works best for you. That's my kind of recipe! So I do a little-of-this-and-a-little-of-that, but for the sake of a recipe here I've given my best estimates at measurements. Just try it out until you find the right pinch of everything for you!)

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal
You will need:

  • 1/2 C Quaker Oats
  • 1 C water or skim milka pinch of salt, if you so desire
  • 1/4 C or so of canned pumpkin (you can always add more!)
  • a healthy spoonful of brown sugar (more or less depending on your taste...and how concerned you are about sugar! I usually do about 1 TBSP or so)
  • a few pinches of pumpkin pie spice (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?)
  • a handful of sweetened dried cranberries (or any dried fruit, really!)
optional: add some chopped pecans or walnuts to really make it a hearty meal and add some healthy fats!

It's really easy, and takes just a few minutes! Simply prepare the oatmeal, using water or milk (and salt if you desire) in the microwave according to the directions. Then, add a glob of pumpkin puree, a spoon of brown sugar, the pumpkin pie spice, and your cranberries. Mix it all up, and enjoy your healthy pumpkin creation.

Now you can save your extra calories for something even better!

REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER PUMPKINS.

Enjoy, and happy fall running!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stu interviews Cait Snow

Listen in as Stu interviews fellow Quintana Roo athlete Cait Snow, who split a 2:53:50 in Kona. Find out how she got into long distance triathlons, how she prepared for her 2011 season, and lots of other great stuff!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

On Being a Race Angel

Sarah shares her story from her 12th consecutive(!) Twin Cities Marathon:

There will be races when you show up to the start line and know you're not in for a PR. Usually this is from being under-trained -- life or injury/illness got in your way. Whatever the reason, at that point you need to finalize your race strategy. Do you aim for a PR anyway and risk falling on your face? Do you assess your training and aim for a more appropriate finish time, or do you throw time out the window and decide to enjoy yourself? For my 12th consecutive Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon earlier this month, I chose that last strategy. At 16 weeks postpartum, I wasn't anywhere close to PR shape. I had squeezed in training that would get me to the finish line, but I knew my time would not be spectacular.

After seeing my brothers and husband off at the 10 mile start, I got in line for Corral 3. When they sang the National Anthem, I said a quick prayer thanking God for the opportunity to be out there running, for my health, and for my VERY supportive family. They played "Everybody Looks Good at the Starting Line," and we were off! My plan was just to go at a comfortable pace, have fun, and hang out at the back of the pack.

At around mile 0.5, I complimented a woman on her shirt. It had the tracings of her 2 kids' feet and said something to the effect of, "We're behind you mom!" With that, I met Shelley. She was running her first marathon ever. We talked about our families. I told her some of the fun parts of the course to look forward to and where the hills would be. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just ran together. We were very matched in pace, so we just stayed together. Around mile 12, John joined us. He had been running near us for most of the race. It was also his first marathon. His son was born on the exact same day as Henry but had had some initial complications, so his training wasn't what he'd hoped. Twelve miles was his longest run. I invited him to run with us, so he did. We ran along the river together telling stories and jokes and enjoying the gorgeous day. Normally, I would have thought it was much too hot, but this year I was glad it was a little warm so Henry wouldn't be cold while he was out cheering. I was so happy to be running, and though the typical aches and pains of a marathon snuck up on me earlier this year, I was having a lot of fun. In contemplating my goals for the race earlier that week, I had decided it would be to hang out with people at the back of the pack and to enjoy myself. If I could find a newbie to cheer on, that would be an added bonus.

John ran with us until mile 22 or so. He was stronger up the hill. I saw him look back a couple of times while he was ahead of us, but by that time, we were on Summit Ave - the home stretch. I hoped he'd go on without us if he was feeling good, and he did. Shelley and I ran Summit together. We never had to stop and walk, though our pace was slowing down. I was just so happy to still be running and to still be feeling relatively OK. We looked for her family around mile 24 and then looked for mine at mile 25.5. I beamed when I spotted them! I high-fived my family and smooched my baby.


Shelley and me at mile 25.5
I spotted the giant flag near the finish line as I crested the hill by the Cathedral. Shelly and I picked up the pace and ran to the finish line together. When we crossed, I congratulated her and asked if I could give her a hug. "I wish you would!" she exclaimed. We hugged twice.


A screen shot of the finish video - our hug was caught on camera

I congratulated her again, and I made my way up to find my family. This was my second slowest marathon ever, but honestly, it was one of my most fun.

This week, I checked my mailbox at work and found this:


This letter made my day!

A closeup of her thoughtful letter

Next time you show up at a start line with a sinking feeling that you're not about to see your best time, consider being a "Race Angel." You may help someone fall in love with the sport and have a blast in the process!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

JP's Ironman World Championship Race Report

JP just published his Ironman World Championship race report in three parts. Like any full distance event, there are good times and there are bad. Here's a snippet of the second post to give you a taste of JP's day:

I moved off the bike feeling fresh in the legs but rotten in general. I couldn’t figure it out. The pace out onto the run was slower than normal but I still ticked off a 7:30 first mile. The second mile was completely torpedoed and I staggered to a stop. I was like a beater car, dying on the side of the road. I saw my Dad and said, “I am completely fried. I'm overcooked.” He said it would come around, but I was convinced it was over. It was the first time in a race where I nearly pulled the plug. I had concrete thoughts of the dreaded letters DNF. For those of you not of the triathlete persuasion, this is the abbreviation for “did not finish” and is a source of incredible shame for us. I prayed again for anything.
Make sure you read all three entries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 to find out how his day turns out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Enter the CycleOps Kona Challenge

Have you entered the CycleOps Kona Challenge yet? Pick winners for fastest swim, bike, run and overall on both the men's and women's PRO fields. But, (Twist alert!) do it without any duplicate answers. Tricky, tricky! (Sadly, JP is not included in the list!)

Then, pick winning times on both sides. Points are given for each correct answer with tie-breakers going to closest cumulative times. After the race is done, CycleOps will be able to sort through the entries and figure out the winners. And of course, there are some sweet prizes!

So whether you know a little or a lot about triathlons and the Kona PRO field you can create a team and be entered to win. Check out the entry page for all the details. Hurry! You only have until 11:59 PM on October 7th to submit your entry! What are you waiting for? Do it now! Good luck!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Your Kona Qualifying questions Answered!

Thanks for your submissions, everyone! JP, Michelle and Chris had a great conversation answering all sorts of things related to triathlon - some serious, others not-so-much. Take a listen in and keep an eye out for JP as he takes on the lava fields surrounding Kona as he competes against the best of the best at the Ironman World Championships on Saturday, October 8. He's bib #1824

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Get into the mind of Team Evotri's Kona Qualifiers!

Evotri superstar JP is off to compete in Kona on October 8. Before he leaves, he, along with past Kona competitors Michelle and Chris will answer your questions on all kinds of topics. Just about anything goes! Feel free to ask about race specifics, strategy or nutrition, but don't stop there. Go deep into the minds and ask about the mental challenges (before, during or after), or even the most noticeable things you don't see on the television broadcast, or even the vast array of cultures that invade the island during the first week of October.

Submit your questions to the team on our Facebook page by this Friday, September 30 at noon and we'll gather them up and answer them in a recorded roundtable conversation to be published next week.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easy as 1, 2, 3?

Chris Sweet brings us up to date on his latest races:


Well this has certainly been a roller coaster season!  My attempt to race well at a big Xterra event in April didn't really go as planned.  I enjoyed the challenge but the results were lacking.  I knew that our new baby girl in early June was going to entail a significant break from training.  The rest of the summer was one long struggle to get back into competitive form.  My strategy was to race a lot and hit just about every workout pretty hard since I was on a low-volume training program.  I didn't feel like I came into short course racing form until August.  By sheer coincidence early August was also when my Evotri team all got new Quintana Roo bikes.  The bike has been really good to me so far!  I literally put it together on a Friday and then raced to an overall win the next morning!  I think I've won 3 out of 4 of our local Tuesday Night Time Trials on the new bike.

Suffering on the new QR during a time trial.

I'm going to give condensed race reports for my last 3 races.

8/5/11
Canton Triathlon
1st Overall
This is a local-ish sprint race and one of my all-time favorites because I have been racing there for so long.  This year was the race's 20th anniversary and I actually participated in the kids race there 19 years ago!  This is a real roots race for me and being the 20th anniversary, I was gunning for a win.  It was also Cara's first triathlon back since having Lorien in June.

Chris Camp, a good friend from my grade school and high school swimming days has shown up as part of a relay the last two years.  We were both sprinters, but he ended up a big Division 1 school where he did quite well.  The week before Canton he pulled out a 47 sec 100 yard freestyle, so he's still got some speed!  In the swim, I jumped on his feet right away and hung on for dear life.  Fortunately for me, he doesn't have much open water experience and I held his feet for about 75% of the race. I blitzed through transition and jumped on my new Quintana Roo CD0.1. About 3 or 4 miles into the bike leg I had taken over the lead including the relay teams. I usually feel terrible on the bike during sprint tris, but my legs finally felt good for this race. Temps were good, winds were low.  I averaged 23.5mph for a somewhat rolling course and still had a lot left in the tank. I hadn't been happy with my runs all season and wanted to turn in a fast 3 mile split. I took off with that intention, but it is really hard to push deep into the pain cave when you aren't chasing anyone. I ended up running a 17:36 for the somewhat hilly run. My time was about 2 or 3 seconds slower than when I won the year before, so that at least showed my race form was finally coming around. Cara managed a win in her age group and good friend and fellow Tri-Shark Aimee Dziekan took the overall win for the women.

8/20/11
Xterra Illinois Wilds
2nd Overall
If you are one of the few that actually read everything I put up on my blog, you will recall that originally 2011 was going to be my big Xterra year, hopefully culminating with the World Championships in Maui.  A variety of factors -chiefly financial- derailed this plan this year.  I love racing Xterra, but the midwest races mostly require long drives and overnight trips which is hard with an infant and 3 year old!  Anyway, this is the second year for Xterra Illinois Wilds which is held near Peoria, IL (about 1.5 hours away from home).  This swim was 800 yards.  I knew that Chris Scott who won last year would be near the front as well as my friend and local masters swimmer, John Pratt.  This was a 1-wave start, so I really got out hard so that I wouldn't get caught up.  I was near the lead for a bit, then caught John's feet for a few hundred yards until he dropped me.  I think I came out of the swim in around 4th?  I had done two mountain bike races this season, but really didn't get out to train much on my mountain bike.  This bike course is actually quite technical and doesn't give you much opportunity to just open up and use your general cycling fitness.  I was pushing pretty hard and taking some risks until I got into second place.  Then I washed out on a loose corner and later went down really hard when I caught a handlebar on a tree.  Some spectators saw my wipeout and just stood there with open jaws, so it must have looked pretty spectacular.  Those two crashes caused me to slow up a bit and take less risks.

I'm riding a hardtail 29er this year, coming off a full-suspension 26er.  The carbon hardtail is fun, but I think I will eventually want to get back to a full-suspension bike for Xterra.  As for the 29er vs. 26er debate, I don't think it is nearly as big a difference as people (and manufacturers!) make it out to be.  The 29er is definitely better over obstacles and for high-speed descents.  The 26er is better in tight terrain.  I can't tell that the 29er has better tire contact, which is a common claim.

As for the rest of the race, Chris Scott had first place locked up after the ride.  I lost much less time to him this year than last which I was happy about since they added a couple miles to the bike course.  For the rest of this race I ran hard, but really just hard enough to defend second place.  Chris Scott cruised to the win about 6 minutes in front of me.  I'll take that since I don't think he has lost an Xterra race in the midwest the past few seasons!

Only other thing worth noting about the race is that Ryan Sutter of "The Bacherlotte" fame showed up at the race with a full camera crew.  As I understand it he was chasing Xterra points for either nationals or worlds and was in Illinois for the Chicago Triathlon.  As I recall, he raced Kona by actually qualifying rather than taking a celebrity slot. He is a Colarado native, so I had no idea what his off-road skill might be like.  He ended up 5th about 6 minutes back from me, so a pretty solid showing - particularly since I believe he did the Leadville 100, one or two weeks earlier!  Minus the camera crew, he pretty much just blended right in with all of us.  Nice guy from what I could tell.
Post-race at the Xterra.  Note the birdhouse award and recovery drink!

9/3/11
Great Illini Half Ironman
3rd Overall
Like lots of things this season, choosing the Great Illini Half Ironman was a compromise.  I wanted to finish the season with at least one half Ironman to see where my long course fitness was at.  I also had my eyes on Branson 70.3 and Rev3 Cedar Point, but eventually defaulted to Great Illini because #1 it had the cheapest entry fee, #2 it was the closest and #3 I thought I had an outside chance at winning prize money.  I've actually won this small half twice before, but it didn't have prize money back then.  I didn't have time to do much volume this year, so I wasn't sure how I would hold up for a half.  On the right day Great Illini can be quite quick and I thought I could turn in a time somewhere in the 4:20s.

We did not have the right day.  We had a downright sucky day. The race was the beginning of September, but summer temps decided to hang around for another week.

I traveled down to the race with good Tri-Shark friends Laura Wheatley and Aimee Dziekan.  My go-to pre-race restaurant when I am racing in Matoon has been the Amishland Red Barn Buffet and this trip certainly didn't disappoint!  It's also Jonah's favorite because they have 4 colors of jello.  A Dos Equis Amber at a little Mexican place by the hotel topped off my pre-race nutrition preparation.
Pre-Race Buffet Goodness!
Who shows up at this event is a big toss-up.  The prize money has pulled in a few pros and top age groupers in the past.  This year the only one I knew for sure that was coming down was good friend Andrew Starykowicz.  There went first place (but I think having Andrew race actually helped me. More on this later).  The water was really warm and well above the wetsuit cut-off. I don't like swimming in a wetsuit if it is above 75, but I also don't like racing in bathwater even without a wetsuit.  I ended up in second behind Starykowicz for most of the first lap of two. On the second lap my lack of swim training showed itself and I lost a little time to a group of about 3 athletes.  I hit transition in 31 minutes and change which isn't great for me, but not bad for a non-wetsuit swim.

The temps at the start of the bike weren't too bad yet.  My long bike training consisted of 3, 3-hour rides where I pretty much figured out what sort of power I could currently maintain for 56 miles.  I was targeting 225-230 average watts and ended up just a little under 225.  Out on the bike I actually felt really good and started picking places back up.  I think it took me about 15 miles to move back into 2nd.  The course is mostly flat, but has a bunch of turns including 5, 180 degree turnarounds.  The course had to be re-routed over some pretty rough roads that beat all of us up as well.  One the second lap some of the olympic distance riders began to mix in with us.  One guy went around me so fast I just assumed he was racing the olympic.  For the record, when racing for prize money, it is really not a good idea to ASSume!  It wasn't until an out-and back around 45 miles that I realized I was now in 3rd and down by quite a bit.  I put some extra effort into the pedals, but was pretty fatigued at that point. My ride was 2:26 or about 23 mph.  Not my best, but ok for this season.

By the end of the ride it was pretty hot and humid.  Having done the race a few times before I knew the run was completely open with no shade.  It was scarily similar to the terrible conditions the day I won the Effinham Half Ironman a couple years ago.  Starting the run I knew getting close to my PR was out of the question. Instead I just wanted to keep myself in the prize money and maybe move up to second overall.  I started out at a pretty conservative pace that I knew I could maintain in the heat.  I felt ok given the conditions and put some effort into the middle miles to see if I could close the gap on second, but he was running really well, so I went back to my strategy of defending third and not blowing up. The aid stations each mile couldn't come soon enough. The temps were in the 90s with clear skies and heat index around triple digits. I utilized one of heat management strategies of dumping iced down my jersey and pants -- and then eating that ice between aid stations!  It is a beautiful thing, I just recycle all my electrolytes! Run was one of my worst ever times (1:40) which contributed largely to my 4:40 finish time. For comparison I've ran under 1:25 and finished under 4:25 on this course in better conditions. In any case, that time was still good for 3rd overall and my biggest triathlon payday to date. I'm pretty certain that having Starky show up actually kept me in the money because it kept away some other racers who knew they wouldn't win overall, so didn't show up.  Thanks man! Seems like the hot race didn't phase Andrew much since he went on to win the Rev3 full the following weekend!  8:28 for his first full seems like a good debut!

So here's the results of the three races:
8/5/11
Canton Triathlon
1st Overall
8/20/11
Xterra Illinois Wilds
2nd Overall
9/3/11
Great Illini Half Ironman
3rd Overall

I think all of that leaves me conflicted over the season.  I knew it would be really tough having a new baby in June, but it was REALLY tough!  For a long time (see Lifetime Fitness race report!) it didn't seem like I was going to be able to get back into shape.  I don't think I ever did get into very good long course shape, but I've got to be happy with these results from my last 3 races.  Even if they were smaller regional races all of them had some good competition.

I had lots of friends and teammates racing IM Wisconsin and Rev3 Full and it really made me want to step back up to that distance.  I just don't see it happening soon though.  When I go back to Ironman racing I want to do it right.  A sabbatical in a couple of years (assuming I get tenured) might be my next legitimate opportunity.  Until then I am looking forward to getting better at cyclocross this fall and then racing Triple-T with my Evotri team next spring!  That sorta counts like an Ironman, right?!