Thursday, December 6, 2012

JP's Latest Adventure: Coaching!

JP updates us on his latest adventures in triathlon: coaching! Let's find out how it went...

My good friend, Lauren, contacted me last year to talk about coaching.  I thought she was asking for recommendations but she actually wanted me to coach her. At first, I was just flattered. I was blushing all over the place like a middle school girl.  But when I got down to it, I was pretty nervous. I wanted to do things the right way and deliver on my end of the bargain.  She was targeting Ironman Arizona and I felt I could set her up for a good race.  I am not quite sure I would be a good coach for certain things, but I was confident that I understood at least how to get properly fit for Ironman and also felt I could explain race execution which was learned from both nailing it and botching it on my own. I also know Lauren really well.  This was pretty important as I had a good understanding of her strengths and weaknesses.  Sounded like a good situation so I was all in... but still nervous.

The first thing we did was set up some goals.  We then spoke about race scheduling, how to approach training, what has worked for her in the past, and what we wanted to focus on.  We set about ticking things over in training.  I was throwing the kitchen sink at her in terms of workload.  The workouts were really tough, mind numbing in some cases, and pretty intense but she was nailing the program.  Obviously we were cautious in the parts of the season where the worload was highest, when she got sick, and always kept a pulse on how she was responding to the training.  She just kept it rolling, stayed injury free, consistent, and committed.  It was really freaking impressive.  I basically set up a program that I'm not sure I could have done myself and she nailed it to the T.

Race day came and I was super confident in her fitness and our prep for the race.  We had gone over the race so many times it was ridiculous and I knew she was set up for a BIG PR, but it was down to execution. Ironman is such a crap shoot. So many things can go wrong in so many different areas. I had no idea what was going to happen. I posted up on my computer, locked in and focused for a long day staring at a screen. Game on!

She set out and cruised the swim. She was a collegiate swimmer so I knew she was comfy when she came out in 1:00 flat.  We had done enough swim training for that to be totally under control. Onto the bike. I was glued to my computer.

The first few splits were so even on the bike, I couldn't believe it.  The pace was again totally in control and I was starting to get really pumped.  I knew she was on her game, conservative, and executing beautifully.  Praying for no flats, I kept refreshing on my screen to see her splits stay dead even. Unreal.  I kept calling Inch who was at the race and her boyfriend, Eric, to remind her to be patient and keep eating. She hit mile 100 and was still laughing and I knew things were on track. No flats and into T2.
Onto the run, the first couple splits looked a bit quick.  The standard 20-30 seconds per mile faster than you should be going because it's Ironman and you're finally fresh! It's freaking science bro. Everyone does it.  After mile 3, she settled in.  Around mile 10 things started trending in the wrong direction.  She was fading.  My stomach started flopping over on itself and I was biting my nails down to the stumps.  She wasn't far off her pace but it wasn't looking good.  I was on the phone again trying to get someone to tell her to get some coke down and she would come around.  I hit the refresh button probably 400 times and finally her pace started to come right. Phew.  Mile 20 and she was getting on track.  The last 3 miles were faster than goal pace!
I flipped out and was jumping around like a baby howler monkey.  Incredible.  She came in at 11:06 for a 2 hour PR!  But more than the time, she executed to perfection.  Wow.  Who knew hitting the refresh button for 11 hours could be such a rush?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Michelle & Kona: Take Two

It's 2 weeks post-race. Time to get this post up! Subconscious (or probably more truly, consciously) I have been avoiding this. I have to face myself and sometimes that's not so fun! This is the Ironman World Championship Race. I have been there twice and she has kicked my ass twice! Here goes.

First off. I MUST thank the sponsors of Team EVOTRI. I love my teammates and am so grateful to the sponsors we have. What I have been able to obtain through their sponsorship has made my training and racing so much more effective and enjoyable. Thank you to ZIPP, SRAM, CycleOps, Hub Endurance, and Quintana Roo. Also, I love my coach and probably don't tell her enough how much I appreciate her work.

I love the Big Island and the town of Kailua-Kona. It is truly a nostalgic and mystical place for triathletes. Going back for a second time brought this all home to me. There is something unforgettable about Ali'i Drive on race week watching the runners and cyclists going back and forth on the side of the road. It's a tri geek's version of people watching at the mall! Driving the course pre-race and seeing the lava fields and long rolling roads stretched out before me brought back a lot of memories and goals for the future. The prerace check-in and banquet were a bit less of a blur. Swimming in the bay left me feeling good about myself and in control. Then again, the heat and humidity when out for a few short runs had me wondering again what I had gotten myself into!

In the end, however, mother nature and my own psyche have a way of combining to become a powerful force.

I know nothing about trade winds and island weather other than the race is always hot and windy. But, the weather forecasters for days before the race were talking about "swells" and "tradewinds moving back in for the weekend". What the hell? I don't know what any of that means! All I did know was swimming the few days before the race felt more up and down than it did 2 years ago. Then again, I thought it might be all in my head and I just wasn't remembering things correctly. Ha! It was going to be a nasty day.

Pre-race all went as planned. I had to laugh. All racers were weighed after getting body marked and on our way to transition. When I was standing in the port-a-potty line afterward, the discussion focused on how all our weights were up 3 lbs. Really, who the f cares? We are all such self-absorbed geeks, it's hilarious! Myself included! I was able to meet my family by the fence line under a Banyan tree to chill out before getting in the water which was fabulous. I am so thankful to them for being there!

For the swim, I seeded myself smack dab in the middle. Really, the swim went well. The water was not clear at all. I couldn't see the bottom. Unlike 2 years ago when I remember entertaining myself with watching the fish and corral underneath. Afterward, talking with a local I heard that the water was choppier or swellier or whatever you want to call it more so than usual. I came out of the water with a 5 minute improvement. I was feeling good and satisfied with my effort and on the race went.

For the first 80 miles of the bike ride, I was in heaven. I was back on my own bike which I had been without for 2.5 weeks as I shipped it out to Kona. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling good. My power was on target. Not overriding, not underriding. I was keeping up with my fluids and taking in my electrolytes. There was wind a couple of times on the way up to Hawi and the turnaround. The 6 miles up to Hawi, with the climb and the wind, were tough but I was in control. At the turnaround, a descent follows for a few miles and this was an absolute joy. I love descending! (who doesn't?) It was drizzling a bit here so visibility was a tad sketchy. But still all good. And I can go down hill. I was passing and passing and passing. Fun! However, the fun came to a screeching halt the last 30 miles into town. It was like God turned on the wind tunnel and I was going straight into it and it never shut off. I tried to hang in there. I really did. I knew this too would come to an end as I often tell myself to get through hard times. But, it never did. The wind just kept on. Then the deluge of passing bikes started. One after the other, after the other. I became discouraged. I am saying this out loud (in print) and not proud. I gave up. Ugh! Gasp! Kick my ass! But, it is true. I remember vividly saying to myself, "I am sick of this shit! I am supposed to be on vacation!" See, I wasn't out to win my age group or even come close. I was looking for a solid performance and this wind had f'ed that all up! I was so discouraged with myself but couldn't muster up the guts to work harder. I limped it into Kona and tried to mentally switch gears. Now, I needed to realign my goals and in a hurry.

The run turned into an effort of mental stamina. I was dejected by my bike performance and just wanted to walk. But, I knew that would just piss me off more. So, I made a deal with myself. Truly, the run portion of any Ironman turns into me making deals with myself! I allowed myself to walk each aid station. Spread out over 26 miles that's about 25 minutes of walking. Well, that will slow down your marathon time, like it or not. I'm not complaining about my run. Nothing surprising at all happened. I drank, walked, ran, kept moving. Never did I feel like I was going to die or puke or tip over. Just the usual, familiar, pain and suffering! I just focused on going forward and finishing.

I had a goal of finishing in the daylight. That did not happen. I was coming out of the Energy Lab when the sun went down. That hurt....bad. It was the first time in my Ironman racing that I have put a goal out there and it didn't happen. I was dreading this. I've done 7 Ironman races and #7 was not my lucky number. I've had this feeling for a long time that my luck would run out eventually. It has too. Nothing always happens the way we want it to even though we care and try. Life doesn't work that way.

But this sounds all like a lot of bawling, crying, and carrying on. Not so. By the time I had finished the race, I was fine with it all. I was glad it was over and vowed to myself that my value was not based on the result of this race. I tell you, I went through more emotional upheaval during this race then I can ever recall in other races. Calm, happy, sad, pissed, dejected, apathetic, determined, and content. That is amazing to me that one day can be filled with so much drama!

A lot of these race reports are filled with numbers and data. So, here's a little of that. I finished 12:06 something. What will haunt me is that this was 21 seconds SLOWER than 2 years ago. That number I will remember. Yes, the conditions were worse, blah, blah, blah. But still, I wanted to be faster. I was 60 something out of 80 something in my age group. Also not where I wanted to be. What's done is done. I'm happy to be moving on.

Most importantly, my family. I saw my husband, mother, sister, and her IM virgin boyfriend throughout the course in town many times and they were truly a blessing. I thought about them and also other people in my life a lot throughout the race. That's really what kept me going. Thinking about others and not myself. I really appreciate all the sacrifices my family has had to deal with over the years to allow me to participate in Ironman racing. I love you all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pharmie's 13th Consecutive Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

Here's Sarah's report on her 13th consecutive(!) Twin Cities Marathon. Awesome!

Sunday was the running of the 31st Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. It also happened to be my 32nd birthday and the 13th year in a row that I've shown up at the start line of this race. As I mentioned in my last post, I was excited to be able to run this race with my coworkers Laura and Tzivia.

My coworker Jared asked me the Friday before the race if I was nervous or if this was "old hat" by now. I answered honestly that the distance doesn't really scare me anymore. At this point in my life, I'm not going for marathon PRs. My goal out there was going to be to have fun, and I was hoping to see Laura to her first marathon finish.

After some tasty pasta on Saturday night, our alarm went off at 6 AM on Sunday. One of the things I love about doing a close race is that my race morning alarm clock was actually set later than my normal work week alarm. Steve, my brother Matt, his girlfriend Angela (who was running her FIRST marathon), my cousin Ben, my Aunt Nancy, and Steve's parents all caravanned to the start. We stopped to snap a pic of the racers before heading our separate ways:

Angela, me, and Ben trying to stay warm!
Tzivia, Laura, and I had planned to meet at a specific gate at the Metrodome. It was one that Tzivia's friends were also meeting at. Unfortunately, it also happened to be THE MAIN GATE THAT 11,999 OTHER MARATHONERS WERE ENTERING AND EXITING. It was a terrible place to meet, and after 25 minutes of searching for Tzivia and/or Laura, I realized that there was a good chance I wouldn't find either of them. I made my way out to the starting line. A little bit of dread started to set in. I realized that the race I was planning to run with a couple of really fun girls was maybe going to be a solo race. I really don't mind running alone, especially since I have a gift for making race friends, but that wasn't what I'd been mentally preparing for. At the back of my corral, I spotted Tzivia! She told me that she had been with Laura but Laura had gone back to look for me one more time. The corral was filling up fast, and Tzivia decided that she needed to get in line. "I can't be behind the 5 hour runners," she said. "You don't want to see how big of a mess I'll be if I have to start back there."

I waited. I waited some more. Dread was setting deeper and deeper in the pit of my stomach, and then I spotted Laura! I was so relieved that I nearly cried. This was going to be a great race after all. Laura and I got in line. We positioned ourselves off to the side. I had been so busy looking for my ladies that I never got to make one last trip to the porta potties, and I hoped this wouldn't come back to haunt me (it didn't).

Laura and me just after the start

We were pretty excited to get started!
 The start of the race FLEW by. I pointed out some of my favorite traditions - whooping under a tunnel in downtown, running by the Basilica while its bells were ringing for all of the runners, and seeing the lakes. We laughed and shared fun signs were reading, we talked, and we ran. Literally before I knew it, we were closing on mile 6, then mile 8. I was feeling good. The weather was still chilly at just over 30 degrees, but I was glad I'd decided on shorts, mittens, an ear band, a sleeveless top, and my Evotri bike jersey. We saw Laura's husband Jared at mile 11. He was biking bits of the course, and we'd see him countless more times before we crossed the finish line. I knew to look for my family at mile 15. When I saw them, my jaw dropped. My mom was there with the rest of our cheering section! She was able to take a few hours off of work to come watch the race.  What a fun surprise!

My mom holding up some extra Gu. Let it be known that
Mint Chocolate Gu is nectar of the Gods

She gave me a big birthday hug, I shot a smile to the rest of my family, and we were off again. I was so excited to see them all that I forgot that I was going to leave my mittens with them!

Mile 16 is always the hardest mile for me at a marathon. The pain has started to set in at that point, and 10 miles to go seems like an awfully long way.  This year was no exception. The crowd was AMAZING out there, just like it is every year. People have huge speaker systems to blast fun music, bands come out to play, families make fun signs to come and cheer, and neighbors have fun block parties. I tried to focus on all of the fun and a little less on any pain that was creeping up on me. I was wearing my SI brace, and though my sacrum was starting to ache, I found that tightening the brace every once in a while brought it back to manageable.

Soon we were at mile 20. "Only a 10K left!" I chirped to Laura. She smiled and agreed that we were going to do this. We weren't talking much any more. We were just focusing on the hills coming up, soaking in the sunshine, and pushing forward.

By the time we hit Summit Avenue, I was feeling good. Laura was starting to suggest that I go on ahead, but I didn't want to hear it. We were going to finish this together. We spotted a few supportive coworkers who had come out to cheer along with other friends as we made our way toward the Capitol. Though our time started slipping, I was thankful that my training was good. That 22 miler a couple of weeks ago made a HUGE difference in my physical and mental endurance. I focused on keeping my stride smooth and even. My legs were starting to ache, so I told myself to put them on autopilot and focus outside myself. I offered Laura encouragement, high-fived the little kids, and thanked the spectators for coming out.  I laughed at the signs and one guy's T-shirt that said, "Free kittens at the finish." The race was flying by, and I was soaking it in.

I looked for my family at mile 25.5. Henry and my sister Annie had joined them:

Henry sporting his new "old man" sweater

I was still smiling like a lunatic after all of those miles!
We crested the hill and ran down to the finish line. It's always such a beautiful sight with a huge American flag waving over our heads and the Capitol in the background. We crossed the finish line, high-fived, and hugged. We finished in 4:23:52 - a pretty average time for me, and one that I'm proud of since I felt great and have been trying so hard to find balance between work, being a wife and mom, and endurance sport.

I made my way back up the hill to find my family - medal around my neck, chocolate milk in hand, and a smile on my face. Running a beautiful marathon in your city is a great way to celebrate a birthday. The icing on my cake? Getting a giant birthday hug from this guy:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sweet Does the Ironman - Twice!

Chris recently did the unthinkable and race not one, but two full distance races two weeks apart after a four-year break from the distance. Better yet, he did it on minimal training while raising two kids and painting his house.

Here's a snippet of his thoughts of making the decision to race his first race:

I was very surprised that a new Midwest Ironman race had somehow gotten under my radar.  As I poked around the website, I liked what I saw and started forming the seeds of a rather crazy idea.
It seemed ill-advised to do an Ironman crash course training block and then taper all within two months (not to mention a tough half two weeks before).  I talked it over with my wife and pointed out that all my IM training would be compressed into two months and would primarily consist of only six key long workouts: 3 long rides and 3 long runs.
And then thoughts on parlaying the effort into a second full race:
Racing two ironman races, two weeks apart, after a 4 year hiatus from long course racing was a huge gamble. This was not some haphazard, macho, lookee-what-I-can-do endeavor, though.  Instead, it was a series of carefully calculated risks. The first gamble was that I felt I was in far better shape than my performance at the Michigan Titanium showed. Cedar Point was a slightly easier course and race conditions would almost surely be better than the heat I had to deal with in Grand Rapids. If things went right I thought I could race faster than 2 weeks earlier and potentially set a lifetime best.

Read about how each race turned out: Michigan Titanium & Rev3 Cedar Point

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Evotri's JP interviews Conrad Stoltz

Our very own JP got a chance to interview Conrad Stoltz. He is a 4x World XTERRA world champion, 2x Olympian, and 2x off road ITU champ. As if that weren't enough, the "Caveman" has a slew of non-drafting road triathlon wins to his name including Boulder Peak and the Chicago Triathlon. Read on for the interview...

JP: Thanks so much for taking the time, Conrad. First off, where did the Caveman name come from?

CS: I can sleep anywhere*, eat anything, race on a borrowed bike and not be thrown off my stride. I'm bigger than your typical endurance athlete, maybe my knuckles drag a bit and on the bike I often take the straightest line, as opposed to the cutest line. I often finish bleeding. Some wow blogs under Story Time at

Once I was working in my dad’s workshop, when he came through the door I broke the tool I was busy with and he said: "you're such a Caveman- everything you touch breaks." I test my equipment to the max, which has been a great match with some of my sponsors, like Specialized-where we strive to make top performing equipment that can stand the punch.

*on my blog there’s a story under Story Time called "Life on the road."- I slept on my bike bag on the floor of a police station in France.

JP:  I understand your Caveman style of training has changed to some degree. What aspect of your training has changed most in the past few seasons?

CS: When I started training with Ian Rodger 3 years ago, he introduced power based training on the bike- which has made a huge difference in my training and especially my results. I train less than ever, but I go faster and I have more fun. Which is why at 38, there is no end in sight. I think scientific training has reached a new level across most sports the last couple of years. Or maybe I just had my head under a rock...

JP:  Going back a little bit, how did you get introduced to the sport?

CS: I ran track and XC at primary school and got burnt out at age 13. Sometimes we ran twice a day?! I was introduced to modern biathlon (track running and pool swimming) but it was terribly boring, so when I saw a pic of a triathlon in the local paper, I was really motivated to try this new adventurous sport. My 1st race was a short Iron Kids where I finished 16th. I got a flat and ran the last mile with the bike on my back because I didn’t want to 'damage the rim". My next race was a sprint which my dad and I raced together. We also trained together at times, which was usually a slug fest till someone drops.

JP: After your successful road career, how did you go about transitioning to Xterra racing?

CS: I got burnt out qualifying for the Sydney Olympics. I raced the Games just on the last fumes in the tank. Although that break away on the bike was a personal breakthrough for my cycling ability. [Note: Conrad rode away at the 2000 Sydney games with Olivier Marceau] After the Games my coach for 10 years, Libby Burrell said I could do anything I wanted. I was paging through a US Triathlete mag (rare in South Africa back then) and saw a full page photo of Steve Larsen running his mountain bike through a knee deep stream at XTERRA Richmond VA. I said THIS is what I want to do. I grew up racing BMX and riding dirt bikes on our farm, so I loved the sense of adventure, the adrenaline and the challenge. I knew I could make a "good" living from racing non drafting road tris. I won Mrs T’s Chicago, got 2nd in LA etc-so the road tris would be my income. I had no real financial sponsors then and XTERRA would be my "get the passion back" project. I loved XTERRA the first time I tried it and won the USA Series on a series of 3 borrowed bikes before Ned Overend, who was racing too, hooked me up with a new Specialized dual suspension M5, a brand new helmet, brand new shoes, (got my old ones from a used sports store) AND a Specialized cycling jersey his wife had cut the sleeves off.. That bike was amazing. Those days were amazing. I won by 10min (Macca was 30' down) got a $25k check- HUGE for a bum from South Africa back then and after 10 years living hand to mouth on the pro circuit, I was set with sponsorship.

JP: Your dominance in Xterra is unprecedented. Why do you feel this style of racing suits you so well?

CS: Yes, I love the balance between technical and physical, the lactic acid and adrenaline. Unlike road tri, except Emburn and Nice maybe, with the off road stuff you do get horses for courses.  I'm 6’2” and 185lbs, so I'm not crazy about the super long, tough climbs - but then I crush it on the flatter courses. Worlds and USA Champs have always been climbing races, which makes winning there harder for me. I excel at the more technical and rough the courses and I really enjoy the technical part of it. The training, the pre riding, setting your bike up for a certain course, the butterflies the night before about a technical section.

JP:  What would you say is your most meaningful performance in the sport and why?

CS:  XTERRA Worlds 2010. You should probably read my blog post about it. I'll just put a few thoughts down: My dad's colon cancer came back during the summer, I wanted to go home to be with them, but he told me to race and make him proud. I rode my dream bike: Specialized came out with their 1st race ready 29er. I LOVED it. The others doubted it, and I made a 7min lead on the bike.  Since I cut my foot and got those surgeries to clear the infections, I hadn’t been able to run much at all, not to mention quality, so having a 7min lead was great and my overall form was so good, I ran well anyway.

JP: Moving on to the lightning round... Looking for one word answers, so don't think too much!

Chocolate or vanilla? - Vanilla
Favorite race venue? - Venue: Maui / Course: Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama
Best place to run in the world? - My parents’ farm
Favorite candy or sweet? - Turkish Delight
Most recent book you've read? - I switch between Mastering Mountain Bike Skills (2nd time) and The 4 Hour Work Week.

JP: Thanks so much for taking the time. It’s been a pleasure.

Be sure to check out Conrad’s website:
Follow him at on twitter @ConradStolz
Like his page on facebook

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sarah's 2012 Waseca Sprint Race Report

Sarah (aka Pharmie) checks in with a recent race report and continuing her mission to introduce new triathletes into the sport. Read on for all the details:

I checked off Waseca Sprint Triathlon off of my list of "I've always wanted to do that one" races. The race itself was beautiful. It was a gorgeous course, and Final Stretch, one of our local race companies, always puts on well-run, fun races. I was extra extra excited to be doing this race with my brother Matt and his girlfriend, Angela. Steve and I got Matt to the start line of his first tri 3 seasons ago, and now he was passing what he'd learned onto her. Steve and I managed to peel ourselves away from Olympic coverage by 10 PM. Henry was up for a quick snack at 11:45, and our alarm went off at 4 AM. We finished packing the car, woke Henry, gave him a quick snack, and loaded him into his car seat still wearing his jammies. We were off by 5. Parking near the race site was plentiful; we found a spot only 2 blocks away and were in transition by 6:30. Steve was my sherpa and baby wrangler. He had help. His parents also came to cheer and my mom came, too. After 9 seasons, she was finally going to be able to see me race! We found Matt and Angela, I set up my transition, then gave Henry a little Mama time.

Matt, Angela, Me, and Henry the Future Triathlete
The Swim: We watched the 1/3 iron racers begin their swim. Then Angela and I hopped in the water for a quick pep talk and to warm up a little. Then we were off!
 I found clear water pretty quickly. The women's waves were small, and we spread out easily. I finished the 1/4 mile swim in 10:32, which included a lengthy run up to T1.
Out of the water. I LOVE the quick release on my wetsuit!
T1: I spent a few extra seconds getting out of my wetsuit before I was able to step my way out of it. I need to remember not to even bother to sit to take it off. I had a great spot by the bike out. I was out in 1:16.

The Bike: My CD.01 rides like a dream, and I felt great. I definitely need to get in a few more hills before my next race. I got passed several times on the uphills, but I always caught them back on the downhills. I hit the turn around with an 18.7 MPH average, and that was against a little wind. I jostled back and forth with several other bikers, joking with them and encouraging them each time. I was hammering, and I hoped that my marathon training would get me through the run. My Joule showed a 19 mph average just before I dismounted. After I ran up through the grass to transition, it dropped to an 18.2 mph average.
Just off the bike heading up to transition!
T2: I lost a second or two since I passed right past my spot and had to turn around. I was out in 1:08
The Run: I hit the run and was ready to GO! I've been really trying to push through my long, slow distance mentality this year, and for the first time this summer, I was hungry. I left transition with a woman right in front of me. I've been really struggling with endurance on the run this summer, and my pre-baby speed just hasn't come back. I was really hoping that the start of marathon training a month ago would help. I hit the first mile in 8:33. Perfect. I was still feeling good heading to mile 2 and hit my watch in 8:22. I was able to stick with the woman from transition, and we were passing people left and right. I looked at my watch and saw an 8:09 at mile 3. I was still pushing to mile 4 but was finally starting to feel it. I made it in 8:19. The last of the run was supposed to be 0.4 miles, but Steve had warned me ahead of time that it was more like 0.25. I was trying to pick off a few last people before I hit the finish line in 2:04. My total run time was 35:30 for a total of 1:34:35. It was good enough to place 2nd out of 9 in my AG and 7th of 59 women.

I made my way back to my cheering section so we could cheer Angela in to her first triathlon. She did great! Of course, Henry had to help me with my post-race banana:
Then he wanted to help me with a few potato chips:
A few final thoughts:
  • I saw Mark, the race director, after the race. He asked how it went, and I told him truthfully that I wondered at mile one of the run if EVERY one of his races is this beautiful. From what I've seen, it's the case. Plus, they are so beginner friendly. I really love Final Stretch races.
  • My run speed is FINALLY coming back! Well, speed for me anyway. I'm seeing low 8s again, and it makes me SO happy! Intervals and distance are paying off.
  • This race was on my bucket list because I'd heard great things about it, even though it's only a few years old. I would love to come back next year to do the 1/3 iron distance. It's a fun, unique distance.
  • Angela had a blast! She's already signed up for her next race in two weeks. Go Angela!

Monday, July 23, 2012

JP Guides Aaron Scheides at IM 70.3 Lake Stevens

JP hooked up with Aaron Scheides of C-Different again. This time, the race was IM 70.3 Lake Stevens. Let's take a look at some videos before and after the race:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sara's M.I.L.F.F.s

Here's how Sara (aka TriSaraTops) gives back to the triathlon community. Congrats to Sara and good luck to her 'training buddies'!

It's kind of like "Project Runway."

Except it's not.  No, not at all.  Unless, of course, you are under the delusion that spandex is fashionable.  In that case, I'll let you continue to live in your little dreamworld.

I keep trying to come up with a catchy name for us, but all I can think about because I'm ridiculous is the M.I.L.F.F.s, which would stand for "Mom's I'd Like to Follow Fast" but that *could* be misconstrued into something that's not what I call "school appropriate."

So for now, I'll just call them my new training buddies.

I wanted to do something this summer that would still fit the mission of Team Evotri but also fit into my chaotic life a little more.  I do still LOVE working with the high school girls, but the tough part about that is that 8am is early for them.  They really aren't into starting any earlier than that.  So I thought, what about trying to find some people like me?  Super busy moms who have to get stuff done, like, when the sun comes up, or it doesn't happen because they are chasing children around like crazy persons and don't stop until bedtime?

So that's what I decided to do!

I sent out some emails to local Early Childhood PTAs and got a few people interested in joining me to train for this Sunday's sprint triathlon.  It's a local, newbie-friendly race that I just love to do.  So over the past 6 weeks or so, I've been sending out weekly emails, training tips, and arranging some workouts for everyone that hopefully hit everyone's strengths and weaknesses equally and had something for everyone.  It's been so fun, and I'm so proud of all these girls!  They have come so far in such a short time, and I can just hear how excited they are for this Sunday's race.

I think I may have infected them with the tri-bug!  SCORE!

This morning was our last organized workout before the race, so I hoped to make it extra fun.  We met up at the Lake for an open-water swim and they all did a great job!  The lake was like glass this morning and we beat the storms that were headed our way.

Try not to be too jealous that this is pretty much in my backyard...this morning's swim, calm lake, sunrise
My awesome sponsors sent some FABULOUS schwag and I had enough to make some goody bags for all the girls.  They each got a seat cover, race belt, and some temporary tattoos compliments of Quintana Roo, some GU and CycleOps stickers, some shampoo/conditioner/Hoo Ha Ride Glide samples from Reflect Sports (who is not a team sponsor, but was just generous and cool like that--thanks, RS!), a Team Evotri visor compliments of Headsweats, and then courtesy of Stu I had some extra awesome prizes to give out to reward their hard work:  A helmet, some road glasses, some Yankz, some socket rocket goggles, AND a CycleOps t-shirt!  So the girls all headed home with a bag full of goodies and something pretty big, too!
Me, being ridiculous, as I explained how to do transitions

So here's to a great race for all these awesome chicks.  Cheers to:

Laura B: Mom of two girls and head XC coach where we teach, who is in NC now, but will be kicking butt and taking names when she gets back as she rides the MS150 Pedal to the Point. Laura's been working hard so that she can kill at the Rev3 Aquabike at Cedar Point!

Laura C:  Mom of two who did her first tri 20+ years ago when she lived in Florida and for that I called her the "O.G." of triathlons, to which she asked, "Old Girl?" and I had to explain how no, O.G. is a term of endearment I and many west-coast rappers like to use for ORIGINAL GANGSTA.  She is a smokin' fast runner (Boston-qualifier!) and I know she'll have a great race!

Ana: My partner in crime who I love talking into things, and who is a seriously fierce athlete (former collegiate soccer player)!  Ana has three adorable kids and I have a feeling she's going to have a solid debut in triathlon and I'd better watch out, because I could just be creating a monster with her like I did back in the day with my girl DaisyDuc!  This will be her first triathlon ever.

Tracy:  Mom of 2 (including one who is just 6 months old!) who has long been an Iron-Fan to her super awesome, MULTI-Ironman finisher hubby, Jeff, and is making due on her wedding promise to Jeff that if he took dance lessons with her for their first dance, then she'd do a triathlon. :)  She definitely wins the "most improved" award on her swimming!  Tracy went from having some slight panic issues on her first open water to swimming like a pro this morning!  So excited to see her race in her very first tri.

Christina:  Mom of 3 who is a seriously talented swimmer and already caught a bit of the tri-bug last year at Portage Lakes and at a tri near a family vacation in Wisconsin.  I see lots of tris in her future, and she is so upbeat and positive!  Her husband is racing, too, so this will be a true family affair for her.  Great work, Christina!

Tiffani: Who I have been playing some SERIOUS phone/email tag with and finally got to meet in person this morning!  Tiffani clearly a talented athlete and a great cyclist and runner who is a little worried about the swim, but she worked through those demons today in the open water and hopefully that will boost her confidence at the start line Sunday.  She's a mom to an 18 month old boy and her husband is also doing the race on Sunday!  Yahoo for racing families!  This will be her first triathlon ever!

I hope to expand this even more next year, as I had a few more girls that were interested but had a rough time making the workouts.  I tried to really tell everyone that, no, really I understand that completely, and that this is about joining the triathlon family and living the lifestyle and fitting it into OUR lives together.  And I do believe we've all done that pretty darn well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Michelle's Green Bay Triathlon Race Report

By: Michelle

Racing season officially kicked off for me 6/3/12 with the Green Bay Olympic Triathlon. As far as tri's go, this is not a huge event and is a nice way to move into the season. A few of the distances seem a little goofy in that the swim is advertised as 800 yds. (which I even doubt the length of that!), the bike is 28 miles, and the run is the typical 6.2 miles. But, it is typically well organized, and aside from the unpredictability of the temperature, is a nice family event.

The struggle for me tends to be the distance. Not that it's too long. It's too short. I would imagine this is all in my head (as most of my issues are!). With long course racing, which I prefer, I just sit in there and burn like a slow, low flame. Not too hot. Not too intense. Just steady. And maybe because I have typically experienced good success with long distance racing, I automatically associate that with my strength.

But, here's the thing....short course racing HURTS!!!! It really hurts. If it doesn't hurt, then I'm not doing it right. At times while I'm out there, I wonder, why am I making myself hurt so much? Is this really worth it? Which then leads me down the mental path of questioning if I'm getting old, losing speed, losing muscle mass, getting depressed, losing my drive....The list is endless.

Maybe I like long course more because it seems as if there is less pressure. All is not lost if I'm not out of the water with the lead pack. If my transitions are not perfectly executed, I still can make up the lost time. I can fix little nutritional glitches without too much turmoil if I stay plugged in mentally. 

It's not even that I don't perform fairly well at short course events. I finish typically in the same percentile in a short course race as I do in a long course race. So, what's the deal in my head? I don't have it figured out. I do know this. Ask me to choose between an Ironman distance race and an Olympic distance race for my A race of the season, and I'll choose the Ironman anytime!

That was quite a bit of rambling. As for the race itself, the sky was clear with temps in the 70's and moderate winds. The moderate wind part was a blessing. I swear, spring seems to be windier and windier every year. Once again, made up in my head? Not sure, but I was happy it was only 9-10 mph winds.

The swim is an absolute nightmare. Nothing that happens out there even resembles swimming. The course is so congested and shallow. Most people dolphin dive 1/4-1/3 of it. Really I just try to stay clear of everyone and, when I can, settle down and get into some sense of a swim stroke. The distance is totally inaccurate at 800 yds because there is NO WAY I can swim 800 yds. in 10:30 which is what the results show.

The bike was fabulous! Literally, MY BIKE  is fabulous! I am on a Quintana Roo CD0.1 this year and I absolutely love it. I feel very comfortable when aero and the ride is super smooth. I honestly don't think I've felt this comfortable in my set up with any other bike every in the past. The course was fairly flat to rolling. The biggest issue I had was the sticker covering my disc wheel coming loose and slapping against the frame with EVERY ROTATION! Irritating. After about 5 miles of this and not knowing what it was for sure, I figured it had to be the sticker because the bike was moving along just fine. I really enjoyed the bike part of the day and soaked up the feeling of how lucky I was to be racing.

The run was a downer for me. I really feel like I've been running well lately. But not this race day. I couldn't get anything going. Just NO fire in the legs. I did the nutrition without a glitch. Actually, I was better on the nutritional front then I ever have been. Maybe it was the heat. Honestly, 70's doesn't sound hot and it really isn't. But, I really haven't done anything yet this year at race pace in that temp range. Maybe I wasn't mentally plugged in. But, I don't think it was that. I just felt flat. In other words, not my best race performance and I'm not completely sure why.

What's done is done. I have learned over the years that I give myself the rest of race day to feel sorry for myself. Then it's OVER! Done. Move on to the next hurdle. Truly, as the years have gone by I have gotten quite good at this. Well, really, why not? Racing is supposed to be fun and thankfully, I still see it as fun. I can see a change in me (good or bad? I'm not sure) that is more about appreciating the experience and the ability to race rather than the final outcome or number on the clock. But, I WILL say, it's still a SMALL change!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Matt Gets Fit

Matt gives us the details on getting fit to his QuintanaRoo CD0.1. Many thanks to Andy at HUB Endurance for the hospitality and expert knowledge. Ed. Note: you may be interested in Matt's adventures getting to Chattanooga.

Wow, that was quite a long drive!  No stops, no food, sole focus was get to Andy’s quick!  And that I did, I managed to turn a 6hr 9min predicted drive into a 4hr 55min ludicrous speed adventure.  Not the most beautiful route, tons of the same view the whole way, and plenty of rain to drown a crocodile.  But I made it!  I think I strolled into Andy and Heathers just a hair after 11PM.  Just in time for some brews and storytelling.  What an interesting 30hrs!

Waking up Sunday morning to a nice downpour was less than ideal for a Mother’s day, but what can you do? Everybody woke up, was in cheery moods, and ready to celebrate!  Heather had picked out a nice restaurant for brunch, and so graciously extended the invite for me to join.  Brunch was off the charts, we had Applewood smoked bacon, donuts, some other things that were like donuts but had a fancy name and had lots of powdered sugar, it was a pre-diabetics sugar freaks dream!  Thanks again to Andy and Heather for allowing me to join them for their mothers day celebrations!

After brunch was the bike fit!  After all the donuts, bacon, and bloody mary's, I was pretty full and not looking forward to getting on a trainer to ride, but knowing that I was one step closer to racing on the CD0.1, I was able to suck it up.  Little did I know I was walking right into a buzz saw.  Andy didn't inform me that I was going to be doing a bunch of serious intervals in order to find a dialed in fit.  UH OH!

All anger aside, that Dynamic Fit Unit (DFU) is unreal!  This thing reminds me of the willy wonka elevator that goes every which way.  You can move the seat up and down, forward and back, angle it, adjust the headset up and down, as well as the angle.  And Andy, being the sly cat he is, felt like a funny guy, moving me around like I was remote controlled!  I did not see the humor in this.

I digress, and this time I mean all anger aside, that DFU is sick.  I was able to test quite a few positions and able to see the exact power and efficiency numbers across the board for 10+ positions.  After an hour and a half of tweaking the position we finally agreed.  We jumped off the DFU, and transferred that position onto the CD0.1.  We dialed the fit in on the CD0.1, and last up was cleat position.  As you would imagine, Andy has a crazy fancy electronic cleat positioner.  After another 5 minutes of testing with these special pedals, he was able to get enough information to dial my cleat position in. Fancy Pants Andy and I had done it!!  We were finally able to get the bike fit in!  After all the setbacks over the past month we came out victorious...only thing left to do is train :)

Mad Mad thanks to Andy and Heather for hosting me last weekend, allowing me to invade their Mother’s Day parade, and thanks to Hub for everything they have done with my bike.  Huge appreciation and gratitude to all who have helped out in the process.  I am very grateful!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

C Different with Aaron

If you've noticed in Team Evotri's schedule of races, there are several that include "Guide Aaron Scheidies." Aaron is a professional triathlete that competes at world-class levels with a hereditary eye condition that currently leaves him with 20% of normal vision. He's competed in over 200 races around the world and has held world records for the 70.3 and Olympic distances. He's even been nominated for an ESPY.

Team Evotri's Matt Inch and JP Severin were teammates of Aaron's at Michigan State and continue to compete with him. Between JP & Matt, Team Evotri will be racing with Aaron five times this season!

JP recently guided Aaron on the sprint distance course at the ITU San Diego this past weekend. See the video below for the highlights and check out Aaron at

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Zipp Introduces the Vuka Alumina Aero Cockpit

Zipp’s new Vuka Alumina aero-bar system provides triathletes and time trialists with a lightweight, highly adjustable aluminum aero cockpit at an affordable price. Created using data from top bike fitters, the Vuka Alumina aero-bar system is comprised of multiple pieces -- each designed to maximize aerodynamics and fit options with a whopping 596 mm of total adjustability. That’s almost two feet of tweaking to find your aero-sweet spot.

The aero-cockpit starts with the Vuka Alumina base bar(MSRP $80, €56). Crafted from 6066 series aluminum, it is modeled after Zipp’s revolutionary carbon VukaBull base bar to have superior aerodynamics and ergonomics. Clean internal cable routing allows for easy installation. Handgrips are angled upward by 5 degrees for a natural wrist position when climbing or sprinting. The bar’s mounting area is wide to allow an array of positions to accommodate many riding styles and body types.

The Vuka Alumina Clip (MSRP $120, €85), made from 2014 aluminum, provides the ultimate in fit, security and adjustability. The clip is available with either an above-bar or below-bar mounting system. The above-bar option is designed for use with Vuka Alumina Clip Risers, which come in 10, 25 or 50 mm heights (sold separately, cannot be stacked. MSRP $25, €18 per set) to dial in the perfect position for your fastest bike split or time trial. The clip also has a large armrest for increased comfort. The Vuka Alumina Clip has the industry standard 22.2 mm extension-clamp diameter for maximum versatility.

The clip serves as the key interface between the base bar and the aluminum Vuka Alumina Extensions (22.2) (MSRP $55, €39 per set), which are available in Ski-Tip or the new Vuka Race bend. The Ski-Tip bend is a popular choice among long-course triathletes and time-trialists alike. The Vuka Race bend -- designed using data compiled from thousands of bike fits on recreational and professional cyclists and triathletes – places the wrists at a more natural bend to help riders remain in their tuck to optimize aerodynamics.
In another new offering, Zipp’s new carbon Vuka Extensions (22.2) (MSRP $130, €92) provide more options for users of either the new Vuka Alumina base bar or the VukaBull base bar. The carbon extensions come in four styles: Straight, Ski-Tip, Vuka Race and Race Vuka Shift (compatible with SRAM 900 TT, 500 TT, R2C Aero Shifter and Zipp R2C shifters only). The Vuka Shift (MSPR: $200, €141) moves the shifter closer to the rider’s hand by almost an inch by mounting the shifter directly onto the extension, which helps allow riders to shift easily from their aerodynamic tuck.

Carbon Vuka Extensions and aluminum Vuka Alumina Extensions all have the industry standard 22.2 mm diameter. Both extension types are compatible with the new Vuka Alumina Clip, which is optimized for use with the new Vuka Alumina or previous generation VukaBull base bars but also is compatible with most base bars on the market.

“It’s a lightweight, super adjustable aerodynamic cockpit at a price point that works for a lot of people," Zipp Product Manager Nathan Schickel said of the Vuka Alumina aero cockpit. "It offers Zipp aerobar technology at a price that’s affordable for many people.”

BONUS! Listen in to our own Stu interviews Nathan about the new cockpit:

The Vuka Alumina base, clip and extensions as well as the carbon Vuka Extensions will be available in June. For more information visit or find a Zipp dealer near you.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Inch For The Win -- By a Mile!

The newest Evotri teammate Matt Inch takes us through his first race representing the Evotri colors. He has a great finish and even better ending. Congrats Matt!

Hearing your alarm go off at 6:15 on a Sunday morning is never the first thing you want to wake up to, but on race mornings its just something you have to deal with. I rolled out of bed and went to put in my contacts. “Man, I feel like a retired senior citizen this morning!” hobbling to the bathroom like a penguin, body aching from the culmination of the workouts throughout the week. Do I really have to race today?

Typically on race day I am giddy with excitement, really chomping at the bit to get things started, but this morning was different. I had a 10k road race in beautiful Alki Beach in Seattle. It was a crystal clear day, and in the middle of April in Seattle that is a rarity, so I started to feel like the stars were aligning for me. The course was a pancake flat bike trail that runs right along the Puget sound, and on a clear day (which it was) you could see the Olympic mountain range nearly 100 miles away. It was a picture perfect day for a race.

I decided to get in an extra long warm up in, nearly 5k, because I was so tight and sore from everything I had done throughout the week. Boy did that make me nervous. Shuffling along the outskirts of the course I thought to myself “I am in for a real treat here!” I felt as terrible as I did when I crawled out of bed. Near the end of the warm up things started to loosen up for me and I slowly became a little more optimistic with how things were going to play out. Got in a nice solid stretch session and put on my flats, and pulled out my brand new coveted Evotri jersey! I was so excited to put that thing on and get the first race in. My semi optimistic outlook on the race quickly skyrocketed off the charts when I pulled that thing out of my bag and put it on!

The starter ushered us into the starting chute and we were underway.

The last 10k I ran a month and change back didn't go so hot, I went in with the mentality that I was going to break everyone early and run away with the race. I went out in 5:10, cracked hard, and finished in a 36:35. I was disappointed, but for my first 10k ever it was a good starting benchmark. I came into today’s race with the mentality that I am going to take the first mile out very controlled, looking at about a 5:40 first mile and see how things go from there.

I came through the first mile in 5:36 feeling unbelievable. 1 mile down 5 and change to go, and I don't even feel like the race has started yet! I kept pressing on, trying to focus on keeping my form together and the cadence up, maintaining that pace as long as I could. I came through mile 2 in 11:06…BAM!!! I was feeling great and couldn't believe it! I was starting to breath heavier now, but didn't feel that the pace was too taxing, so I kept on ticking along.

(Grinding out the last mile and a half en route to a new PR in one BA jersey)
 The course was set up for a 5k, but the 10k runners were asked to do 2 loops of the course. So when I hit the turnaround I was sitting at 17:27, still feeling unbelievable. There were a couple 8 year old kids at the turnaround ushering me to the cones, and I gave them a few high 5s and a smile as I passed by…they loved it.

At this point in the race I was all alone, and had at least a 90 second to 2 min lead. I kept my eyes on the road in front of me and told myself, maintain this pace till the turnaround, and at that point give it everything you got! I came through mile 4 starting to feel heavy, but mentally strong, knowing I had a great race going. All of my miles up to this point had been between 5:35 and 5:50, a very consistent and well executed race. I couldn't let this one slip away!

When I hit that turnaround, I knew it was now or never. I made a quick glance at my watch and saw that breaking 35 was not out of the question, but it was going to take some serious work. I started to lengthen the stride a little bit, really using my upper body to pull me through this final stretch. Gutting out every stride, every deep breath, every pounding beat of my heart I made one last charge, with less than 400 meters to go I could see the finish line and knew that sub 35 was mine!

I crossed the line and immediately was congratulated by spectators and volunteers, as well as other athletes who had run the 5k. I walked around for a couple minutes to recover and get my hr back to normal, then changed out of my jersey and put on some dry clothes. At that point it started to hit me…I had snatched a convincing W in my first time racing in the Evotri jersey, and man was that satisfying! Not only was it a convincing W, but I set a new PR (34:47). An unbelievable beginning to my journey with Evotri, and I am stoked to see where it takes me next :)

(Conversing with the Volunteers post race)

As I was changing a few other racers came up to me congratulating me, and I shared the love back with them, asking them how their day went and if they were happy with it. Its humbling when you go to a local race like that, less than 100 people racing, and you are looked up to as a hero for being fast. It is very cool to see how excited they are to come up and talk to you and just have a normal conversation. Quite honestly though, at the end of the day, we are all the same. We all put in hours on top of hours of hard training, there is no external incentive for us. We do it because we love to. It is our passion. We share the same love for endurance sports. 99 times out of 100 the person who wins the race is going to be just like I am. An everyday individual just doing what he loves, and he would love to meet new people, hear exciting stories, peoples backgrounds etc. I challenge you to do that next time you are at a race. Whether you are in my shoes, or the person who wants to chat with the winner post-race. It's a very small world out there and you may just meet someone very interesting.

One of the athletes that came up to me after the race was a younger guy, 20 I think, and his parents came up with him. His mom started to talk to me at first and then I realized that he was deaf. His name was Taylor, and we chatted for awhile and I found out that he was an avid Xterra triathlete and wanted to get into road triathlons and half irons. We chatted for well over a half hour about past races we had done, how we got into the sport. A very interesting and intriguing conversation that honestly could have gone on for days. Near the end of the conversation he thanked me repeatedly for talking to him and giving him some of my time to just chat. Again, I was truly humbled. This kid is over the moon excited to talk with me (an average every day guy, who works 45 hrs a week and fits in training in the small cracks of free time) when in all reality he is the one who is the true hero. As most of you know I have a blind friend, Aaron Scheidies, that I have been training and racing with for the past 4 years, who has really taught me a lot about life lessons and how to hold yourself in society. I have been very blessed with the relationships I have formed in my life and I am very excited to continue to get to know Taylor over the next couple months I am here in Seattle, and continue to stay in touch over the years. When I found out that Taylor moved to the town next door to where I live I asked him if he would be interested in training with me, and the look on his face was priceless. He had one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen in my life.

That to me is far more rewarding than any trophy or medal I won at a race. To make a difference in a person’s life, and to show interest when the majority of others do not. To see the joy brought to their faces just from a short conversation. If I never won another race, but instead had the reputation of being the most friendly, motivating, inspirational athlete, local or nationwide, I would be a happy man!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Camp Evotri 2012 - Day 3

There's the plan. And then there's reality. The plan was wake up early, get a trail run in, and then a quick ride up another mountain and back to the house to pack up and go home. Again, that was the plan.

The trail run went well. Everyone woke up, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and ready for our HUB Endurance hosts, Andy, Anthony, and David to take us to the Cumberland Trail State Park. Up and down, in and out, over the hills and through the woods the trail wound. Everyone came home with rave reviews and a definite "must do again" attitude.

Team Evotri and HUB Endurance ready to run.
(L-R: Anthony, Chris, Michelle, Stu, JP, Matt, Andy, David)
After the run, everyone ravenously enjoyed fresh pancakes and eggs, with some left over burgers, ham and cheese mixed in. A quick change and dip in the river for some, and onto the bikes for a quick up and down, be-back-in-two-hours kind of ride.

Ready to ride
Stu and Rob stayed behind to clean up the place and make sure that everything was good to go when everyone returned. After taking a bag of garbage to the dumpster, Rob got quite an evil eye from a woman who appeared to be cleaning the adjacent house. He went into the house and asked, "Stu, what time were we supposed to be out of here?" Just then the phone rang.

"10 AM, apparently." (It was now 11:30.) "And the next people are going to be here at 3 PM."

So everyone's things got thrown into their bags and piled up out of the house while Rob and Stu waited. Two hours came and went. Nothing. Finally a phone call letting us know that Anthony spilled over a guard rail on the descent. The initial report was broken arm, clavicle, leg and possible internal bleeding. The cleaning staff understood our delay. (Kind of.)

Eventually everyone else made it home safe. (We later found out that Anthony got a clean bill of health and all those broken bones were not broken at all!) After some quick changes and resorting of bags and it was time to say good-bye -- but not before making promises to return in 2013.

Team Evotri extends a huge thanks to everyone that helped make the Camp Evotri 2012 a success:
  • Heather, Brad and everyone at Quintana Roo for showing us the place, the great lunch ride, photo session, and tech talk. We are excited, honored and proud to represent such an outstanding organization.
  • Andy & Jamie at HUB Endurance for the classy happy hour, bike support, and guiding the team along the rides, runs and hotspots all weekend. Everyone, please consider reaching out to HUB for anything you might need, they won't disappoint.
  • And finally, Chattanooga exceeded expectations from being Outside Magazine's Reader's Choice for Best Town. Consider it as a base for your next adventure.
See you again for Camp Evotri 2013!

    Camp Evotri 2012 - Day 2

    After a successful first day in Chattanooga, Team Evotri was ready to take on some serious terrain. Most of Friday's HUB Happy Hour and dinner conversation surrounded about the next day's climbs. Friend of HUB David convinced the adventurous to tackle Roberts Mill Road (1,086 foot gain @ 12.1%) and the rest of us would tackle something a bit more on the sane side of things.

    Chris with an all-knowing smile, "Does JP know what he's in for?"
    Once again, the Tennessee River did not disappoint in the morning. It's one thing to be on vacation, and see the sun rise over the steady pulses of waves pound the shore. But, it's a whole other experience to watch steam rise from a mighty and powerful working river that has cut a path deep into Earth, leaving great hills to climb on bikes.

    Off we went as a team. The hearty would challenge Roberts Mill Road, of which only two souls in the history of bike riding have made it to the top in the big chain ring. Matt, JP, and Chris followed David up -- straight up -- while the rest of the team joined Anthony and Andy and followed the brave marching into battle. We got as far as the bottom, where it tips up at an unfathomable pitch. We offered some feeble words of encouragement and continued on to our climb.

    Onward we rode, until one final rest stop when Andy said it would be a right then a left and then up. One by one, we peeled off at our own pace. Rob burnt some matches early and was off the front but was quickly reeled in by Michelle, who increased her pace as she climbed and pushed on ahead towards the top. Stu kept his wheels spinning, sometimes singing a tune. Sara discovered two additional gears and made it to the top in style.

    All smiles at the top
    The crew reconvened at the house and set off for some southern BBQ. Real honest-to-goodness BBQ, highly recommended by all the locals. You know it's good when from the outside it bears no resemblance to a restaurant whatsoever.

    But the R&R didn't last for very long. Trash talk between Team Michelle and Team Stu began early in the training camp preparation. With the river right out our back door, the afternoon swim was going to be a relay, a perfect venue for the Showdown. Four teammates crossed to the other side of the approximately 250m wide river while the other four stayed on the near shore. One length each for a nice workout. Michelle, JP, Sara, and Rob (Team Michelle) went up against Stu, Sarah, Chris, and Matt (Team Stu.) The battle was hot right from the get-go, with Stu setting the early pace and just out-distancing Michelle across the water. The river pulled Chris off course a bit, so JP made up the difference. The Sara(h)s matched paces and it was a dead heat between Matt & Rob on the final leg. Eager Inch took off like a shot, and wise-old Rob settled in behind for a draft. But the earlier hills did in the wise, but out-of-shape Rob and Matt prevailed to give Team Stu the inaugural victory.

    What weekend on the river wouldn't be complete without eating burgers from the grill, sipping on limoncello and other local drinks, and siting around a campfire and toasting S'Mores? We couldn't let the opportunity pass us by.  Plus, there's Sasquatch to communicate with. Alas, all good things must come to an end and most of us were in bed early, resting up for our final day.


    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Camp Evotri 2012 - Day 1

    It was a calm Friday morning along the Tennessee River just outside of Chattanooga, TN. There was a quiet excitement in the house. Team Evotri arrived the evening before, keeping a promise to get together and train, trade stories, and take part in some tomfoolery. Morning chatter was brief as JP and Matt, fresh in from the west coast weren't yet used to the three-hour time shift. Others were giddy to see what was in store for the team and the weekend.

    Walking out the front door treated the team to quite the sight. Steam rose gently off the water as it wound through the valley floor. The sun was just hitting the tops of the surrounding mountains and cast a warm glow on our gorgeous nook.

    Morning along the Tennessee River

    To keep things simple, our hosts from HUB Endurance led the team out to the road in front of the house, winding along the river, past farms, homes, and plenty of dogs. It was a great way to get the cobwebs out of the legs and prepare us for the rest of the weekend.

    Team Running

    Everyone regrouped after the hour-long jaunt and made our way to the home of Quintana Roo & Litespeed. Many thanks to our awesome hosts for the all-access factory tour following the cradle-to-delivery creation of a Litespeed titanium bike. The Team took some time for a photo op, and then saddled up for a ride with a few folks from QR and their Friday Lunch Ride. Though we didn't get to the big hills, the rollers were enough to wet the whistle for the day.

    Team Evotri, Ready to Ride

    Our next stop was at HUB Endurance for their Friday Happy Hour. We were pleased to see ZIPP and SRAM reps there, showing off the new RED components, raising money for the World Bicycle Relief. We wrapped up Friday night with dinner and drinks in downtown Chattanooga and a little bit of ice cream for the walk home. Plans were made for Saturday's ride and the stage was set for Team Michelle vs. Team Stu.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Team Evotri Meetup!

    Come meet up with Team Evotri! We are hosting a meet and greet & happy hour at HUB Endurance in downtown Chattanooga on Friday, April 13. Festivities will kick off around 5:30 PM and go for a few hours. Stop in; Say hello; Have a drink; and chat with some fellow tri geeks!

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Setting up 2012

    While Team Evotri prepares for their weekend in Chattanooga to kick off their 2012 season, several members have been declaring their own 2012 intentions:

    Michelle reviews the incarnations of how her blog titles reflected her specific objective. In her latest post, she shines light on what will guide her through her training in 2012:

    My A race this year is the Ironman World Championship in Kona. I've got some demons to stare down there this year! My first time around was in 2010. I was 8 weeks off Ironman Lake Placid. Admittedly and retrospectively, I was shell-shocked. That place, plain and simply, freaked me out. Self-doubt crept in. 'Did I really deserve to be there? Could I handle another Ironman in 8 weeks? Everyone looks stronger than me. I got a roll-down slot.' The list of things that were running through my head were endless. And the result of this self-doubt showed in my performance. I fell apart on the bike and tried to tell myself it was OK because it was my first time there. And, yes, that was partly true but, no, it was NOT OK! So, how do I remedy this? Go back to the scene of the crime and put a new twist on the story.

    Chris also uses his past to guide his future, reminiscing on what the title of his blog, "The Goal is the Journey," means to him and what he has in store for 2012:
    Focusing on the journey is one way to practice the Buddhist concept of mindfulness. In Buddhism mindfulness is part of the Noble Eightfold path that leads to enlightenment. The Roman poet, Horace, was also thinking along these same lines when he penned the Latin phrase: carpe diem. To swing the literary pendulum all the way to the other side, pulp western novelist Louis L'Amour once wrote: “The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.” 'Ols and Buddha, Horace and L'Amour- these guys are all on to something here.

    Sara has been on a training tear, balancing the home-work-life demands and enjoying the early spring and fruits of consistent workouts:
    Running down the street, dusk. Street lights on. Feet on the pavement, hand on the iPod, breath in and out. Colder; more realistically March, actually. 30 short minutes is all I get today, but it is 30 minutes I wouldn't trade for the world. Thirty minutes to run it out, to remind me who I am, to come home better. Better everything.

    My shadows follow me with every street light. They start behind me, inch up in front of me, and then swishswishswish of the ponytail they pull ahead of me, reminding me of where I'm going. Where I'm heading.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Stu chats with Professional Cyclist Levi Leipheimer

    Stu recently got to interviews American Professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer. Levi is a veteran to racing, but a newcomer to Team Omega Pharma® – Quick-Step®. With Stu, he discussed the dynamics of joining a new team and how to set the right tone for the season:

    "It’s a big team… I still need to get to know a lot of them. A guy like Tom Boonen, he’s very friendly. He’s easy going and I know a lot of the younger guys look up to him, and he sets a good example for them. I think guys like myself and Tony Martin, we set an example of hard work and attention to detail that we both bring. There’s a lot of different personalities on the team, and the goal is to try to get everyone to work together for the best possible result for the team."

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Team Evotri Pump Up Songs

    The team got to talking the other night about some songs they use to get themselves pumped up for a race, or challenging workouts. After a bit of back and forth, everyone agreed to submit their songs that pumps them up. Here's the responses. (Where possible, links are to the song's videos.)

    What are yours? Let us know on Facebook!

    Sara (aka Arcs Doggy Dogg)
    I'm a big fan of anything loud and vulgar with a beat, but "Til I Collapse" by Eminem. is probably my latest go-to song. I listened to it right before I PR'd in the 5K this past December.

    The other one that always gives me goosebumps is "Right Here, Right Now" by Fatboy Slim, because it will always remind me of the 3 minutes I spent treading water in Lake Monona before Ironman Wisconsin. It was the last song they played before the cannon went off. No matter what I'm doing, I pick up the pace when I hear this song. That includes folding laundry.

    Arcs Doggy Dogg (that was actually my secret rap-star name from back in the day when I used to spit mad rhymes...and I'm not even kidding)

    I always do tempo runs and speed work to Frankie Goes To Hollywood - "Welcome To The Pleasuredome". Very different type of music, but love the songs Two Tribes, and WAR. (This is not a political statement by me, you will know what I mean if you listen to the CD). Also love the song "Stagefright" by Def Leppard. The one song that I run the fastest to - "In Fate's Hands" by The Red Jumpsuit! A head-banging-song for sure!

    As to the pump-up I said, 'whatever happens to be on the radio at the time.' But obviously, not NPR. I'm not THAT bad!! Just remember, I'm a simple girl. I don't need anything all fancy-pants (like Stu) to get me going. Mental imagery works very well for me!!!

    When it comes to racing triathlons (as opposed to training for them) I'm going to suggest that the last thing you want is a traditional adrenaline-laden pump-up song. Even a sprint triathlon takes over an hour and any possible boost from adrenaline will only last for a few minutes, tops. I see more races derailed by starting out too fast than any other factor. My teammies were knocking Enya, but I think her music has been part of the loudspeaker pre-race music at every Ironman that I've done including Kona. For my pre-race songs I am looking for something that helps remind me of my deeper motivations for racing. I have two suggestions for the unenlightened triathlon masses! First, Van Halen's "Right Now.") If you don't know the song, your life thus far has been a meaningless and empty shell, kind of like Neo's before he took the red pill. These guys are modern day philosophers I tell you, check the lyrics. To appease JP's need for obscenity, the song comes from Van Halen's classic "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge." You, dear readers, can work out the acronym on your own!

    To delve even deeper into the philosophical side of pre-race song lyrics, I return year after year to a single phrase from the song "I Alone" by Live. The phrase is "It is easier not to be great." To me this embodies the athletic endeavor. It is easier to sleep in on a Saturday morning than go for a long run. It is easier to let that guy or girl go by you than it is to stick with them. Its easier to set reasonable goals for yourself than it is to dream big and live/race to your full potential. It is easier not to be great. Be great.

    My pump up song is "Waledance" by Wale. This song is ridiculous. Justice beat with the best rapper in the world. Also consider "Strange Clouds" by B.O.B.It's got a huge beat. It doesn't really matter what song it is as long as it's fast, loaded with obscenities, and arrogant.

    So my pre-race pump me up song is still "Zombie" by the Cranberries, despite my team's suggestion that I might as well be listening to Enya. A Zombie is usually what I am race morning, so I appreciate the slow start, but I I do like the guitar at the beginning. I usually blast the "IN YOUR HEAD, IN YOUR HE-AD!" part. It helps me wake up and helps me focus.

    If I need music to get me through a workout, it's usually just in the dead of winter with a -30 windchill through 6 inches of snow. Then I listen to Breaking Benjamin, the Killers, and Kings of Leon.

    I'm kinda like Michelle - don't really look to it for a source of motivation. I find that when I really need to focus, music is distracting. But when I don't have to pay attention like on long runs I like country or chillin' - Zac Brown, Jack Johnson, etc.

    My pump up songs take me back long long ago (about 6 years back in my college spring break days days) some techno, give you a short list:

    I don't listen to music to purposefully pump me. But, the first three songs from U2's The Joshua Tree will always get me revved up. It starts with the long crescendo as the intro to "Where the Streets Have No Name" builds, and carries across to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For". Then comes "With or Without You". By this time, I've got whatever stereo I'm listening to turned up way too high. If I'm in the car and it's nice out, all the windows down and my hands are beating the steering wheel and dashboard like it was my own drum set. And there's usually tears streaming down my face for reasons I won't get into here. By the time the long outro to With or Without You is underway, if I wasn't strapped down by a seat belt, I'd be hauling ass across some finish line somewhere.