It’s early in the season, but sometimes that motivation just wains. Coach Alison helps ‘Fire Up Your Motivation’
It’s early in the season, but sometimes that motivation just wains. Coach Alison helps ‘Fire Up Your Motivation’
LADIES: We’re excited to announce a free race clinic this June to help get you all prepared for the big day! Here’s all the details and a big thank you to Alison Lowry Freeman of D3 Multisport.com and Colorado Multisport for making this happen!
Date: Thursday June 14th, 2018
Location: Colorado Multisport at Village Shopping Center, 2480 Canyon Blvd M2, Boulder, CO 80302
Topics: Alison Freeman of D3 and our race director will be on hand to cover training tips, nutrition advice, and answer every race and event related question you may have!
Who should attend: Everyone, the more the merrier and we promise you’ll leave excited for race day and better prepared for the best possible experience on July 29th!
Event details here
You’ve thought about it, talked about it, hemmed and hawed about it, and you’re ready to dive in. Or maybe you’re still testing the waters, sticking a toe in and seeing how that feels before you make a decision. Either way, you might be wondering: How exactly do I get started on the road to my first triathlon?
1. Swim, bike, and run. Just get started – or continue – with each of these activities. You don’t need a plan or a goal or an agenda for any given workout, just do something. ANYTHING. That way when it’s time to think more formally about how much you need to swim, bike, and run to complete a tri you’re not starting from the couch.
2. Talk to people! Talk to anyone you know who’s ever done a triathlon. Ask them what they like(d) about it, what was hard about it, what they’d do again in a heartbeat, and what they wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Believe me, there’s nothing triathletes love more than talking about triathlon, and their experiences in particular, so that hard part won’t be getting them started – it’ll be getting them to stop.
While you’re at it, talk to a few people who’ve never done a triathlon. Tell them you’re thinking about doing one, and then enjoy the admiration they send in your direction. They’ll think you’re amazing, and you haven’t even done anything yet!
3. Read anything you can get your hands on related to triathlon. Websites (303Triathlon.com, duh), magazines (“Triathlete,” double-duh), books (“Your First Triathlon” by Joel Friel, need I even say it?), and any of the million and one blogs out there about triathlon. In fact, I bet you know someone who does triathlon and has a blog – one in every (insert very small number) of triathletes has one. Or at least publishes race reports. Hell, even I do. Read them all.
4. Brush up on the lingo. USAT and IRONMAN’s Time to Tri initiative has published a handy glossary which is a great place to start. That way, when you’re reading all those blogs you’ll understand what they’re talking about.
5. Once you’ve spent a little time talking and reading and doing, step back and consider what you may want your involvement in the sport to look like. Are you a one-and-done, bucket list triathlete? Totally fine, you’re in great company. Are you a five-races-a-year-till-I-croak triathlete? Also fine, you’re in great company. Somewhere in between? Guess what – you’re in great company.
No matter what level of involvement you’re currently considering (I use the word “currently” very deliberately – just like college majors, there’s a reasonably probability that your thinking will change over time), that thinking will inform how invested in the sport you want to be as you get started. I personally was all in from day one, as was evidenced by regular visits from the UPS man, bearing gifts of triathlon gear. But that’s how I roll. If you’re more in the one-and-done or the wait-and-see camp, then you’ll want to start backpedaling immediately when your triathlete friends launch into lists of gear you need in order to take part in the sport. YOU DON’T. But more on that next time …
If you, your friend, your sister, your neighbor, or your mom is thinking about doing their first triathlon, keep an eye on 303Triathlon.com for future beginner-focused columns. Also, join the 303 Beginner Facebook Group! The group is for those new to triathlon, and is a place to share encouragement, whining, setbacks, and accomplishments. Coach Alison Freeman of D3 Multisport will be providing training guidance for the races listed above and is available to answer questions and provide guidance along the way.
We’ve all been there: It’s Friday, you’ve just finished a tough bike ride, your legs feel like lead, and your coach / training plan has two more daunting workouts on your calendar before you get a recovery day. My prior solution to this problem was to stare longingly at TrainingPeaks, in hopes that if I blinked my eyes quickly enough the recovery day would magically move up and I could breathe a sigh of relief. Shockingly, despite dozens of attempts, it has never worked.
This is exactly the situation I found myself in when my favorite person ever – the UPS delivery lady – rang my doorbell to deliver my Footbeats. I had high hopes that some quality Footbeat time would help me survive until the long-awaited recovery day, and I’m happy to say that Footbeat did not disappoint.
WHAT IS IT?
Footbeat is a pair of moccasins that house insoles that house a little engine-driven bubble, which compresses your arch which then increases circulation and therefore removes metabolic waste – including lactate, which is also known as: the reason your legs feel like crap. Tiny little engine, big freakin’ deal.
Another way to think about Footbeat is that they’ve taken the recovery benefits associated with sequential compression devices (a.k.a., recovery boots) and stuffed those benefits into a smaller, more portable product. Cool, right?
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
If you’re like me – getting older but convinced you can get faster and beat the pants off your younger self – then you know how important recovery is to your training. Recovery is what allows you to execute your workouts day in and day out and to handle continued increases in weekly training volume and intensity.
As far as recovery products go, Footbeat is your best bet for a cost effective, easy to use, portable recovery solution. You can pop ‘em on for 30 minutes pre-workout, while you drink coffee and catch up on email. And then you can pop ‘em on for 30-60 minutes post-workout, while you download and review your workout details, drink a recovery shake, and answer some more emails. Even more exciting, you can pop ‘em on as soon as you board your flight for your “A” race, wear them the entire time (depending on how long the flight is), and minimize the fatiguing impact of air travel on your legs.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Let me tackle this question in three different ways …
First Question: How does the concept work? As in, how does a little engine-driven bubble in a moccasin promote recovery?
Start with the idea that your circulatory system drives your ability to rebound from tough training days because it delivers products to your muscles that promote repair and recovery. So: increase circulation, speed up recovery.
The question then is, how do you increase circulation? One option is walking – apparently there’s a pump in your foot that stimulates circulation in your legs as you walk. OR you can replicate this exact same foot pump and the corresponding circulatory increase by sitting around and wearing your Footbeats. Hence: sit around and eat bon bons (or maybe a kale salad), speed up recovery.
So, yeah, that’s how the concept works.
Second Question: How does the product work? As in, what buttons do you push to make it go?
It’s actually super simple. You pull out the insoles to charge them using the provided charging cord – a full charge takes about an hour, and you can just leave the insoles on the charger any time you’re not wearing them so they’re always ready to go. When you’re ready for a little Footbeat pre-workout warm up or post-workout recovery, slide the insoles into the moc’s, open up the Footbeat app, (yup, there’s an app for that), and hit “Start.” (You do need to pair the app to your Footbeat before your first use, but that’s just a matter of hitting “Pair” and waiting a few seconds.)
Once you’re going, the bubbles in your arches will inflate every 20 seconds, and all you gotta do is let it happen. They work best when seated, as there’s a little counter-pressure from the floor that helps really stimulate your foot pump. You can get up and walk around if you want to refill your water bottle or grab a snack, and your insoles will note the change in pressure and (usually) stop inflating until you sit back down. (I have noticed that sometimes one foot or the other will think I’m standing when I’m not, and removing all pressure from the bottom of that foot will get it going again.) I’ve even worn my Footbeat while driving to/from workouts, although I’m not sure if that’s totally above board or not.
So, yeah, that’s how the product works.
Final Question: How *well* does the product work?
Often assessing the benefits of a recovery product are tricky, especially if you don’t have sophisticated lab equipment or – even better – a time machine, so you can test your recovery from a given workout both with and without using the product. Footbeat actually has a pretty nifty protocol for testing their product, which both my uber-skeptical husband and I tried out during a 4-hour flight a few days after getting our Footbeats. We each put on only one Footbeat for 30 minutes, then got up and walked around. I’ll be darned if the Footbeat leg didn’t feel noticeably different for both of us – lighter and lacking the obvious fatigue in the non-Footbeat leg.
So, yeah, I’m going to say the product works pretty well.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
You can set yourself up with a pair of Footbeat direct from the company. They offer a 30-day risk-free purchase option, so what’s stopping you?
If you’re like most of us – getting older but convinced you can get faster and beat the pants off your younger self – then you know how important recovery is to your training. Meet Footbeat: a pair of moccasins that house an insole that houses a little engine-driven bubble, which compresses your arch which then increases circulation and therefore removes metabolic waste – including lactate, which is also known as: the reason your legs feel like crap. Tiny little engine, big freakin’ deal.
The best part about Footbeat is how darn convenient the moccasins are to use. Finish up a run or a bike, shower (optional), and pop those things on while you eat a recovery meal, answer emails, do a little work, or analyze the data file from your workout. Plus they’re easy to tuck into a backpack and bring on a plane or long road trips – keep your legs fresh while you’re sitting for hours, and ensure your legs are ready the next day for a major bike ride or the big race of the season.
By Alison Freeman (link to About Us)
When I first stepped into the world of triathlon on my entry-level road bike, I was somewhat taken aback by all the fancy, tri-specific equipment – time trial bikes and disc wheels and, in particular, those long-tailed aero helmets. I thought that normal bikes and normal wheels and normal helmets were for normal people like me, and all that fancy gear was for the fancy people winning the races.
Fast forward almost a decade, and my concept of “normal” has changed considerably. I still consider myself a normal person (as in, not one of the fancy people winning races) but I am now surrounded by lots and lots of fancy, tri-specific equipment. My one hold out has been my helmet – I just haven’t been able to get past the idea that I need to be really, really fast not too look like a massive poser in an aero helmet. My mind may have been changed, however, by the Rudy Project Boost 01 helmet.
WHAT IS IT?
The Boost 01 is Rudy Project’s first ever road aero helmet. Which begs the question, what exactly is a road aero helmet? Like a road helmet, the Boost 01 has a standard profile – no tail – and provides ventilation through 10 strategically placed vents. Like an aero helmet, the Boost 01 has a smooth, mostly solid surface and was crafted in a wind tunnel in order to achieve superior drag reduction. So: the Boost 01 is an aero helmet shaped like a road helmet, a.k.a. a road helmet with aerodynamic properties, a.k.a. an aero helmet that you can wear every day.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
To better understand the wearability and aero properties of the Boost 01, but not having access to or the budget for a wind tunnel, I conducted highly scientific field testing based solely on observation. Observation which is definitely not subject to perception bias, as evidenced by the fact that I definitely thought the Boost 01 was a little heavier than my WindMax when it is, in fact, almost 30 grams lighter.
So while we can acknowledge that my high school physics teacher would not have signed off on my experiment, I still did my best to be as scientific as possible. I rode a rectangular, rolling route on a gorgeous, 65 degree day with a slight breeze that (because: Boulder) was always either a crosswind or a headwind. I tested three different setups: Boost 01 with Optical Shield, Boost 01 with Sintryx sunglasses, and Boost 01 with Stratofly SX sunglasses, and made sure to experience both climbs and descents with each setup.
I started out my ride wearing the Boost 01 with Optical Shield. The shield itself can be popped in and removed easily, but feels snug once it’s in place, and has a hinge so you can flip it up and down (that’s so you can get the helmet on and off while the visor is installed, which I quickly discovered). Having sun protection without wearing glasses was a new experience for me, and I did initially have to resist the urge to push the visor up the bridge of my nose. I also fidgeted a bit with the fit of the helmet to get the proper shield position, but that may be the result of my head being slightly miniature.
I spent a lot of time throughout my ride popping back and forth from my basebars to my aerobars to get a sense of the aerodynamic benefit that I would (or wouldn’t) get from riding aero. With the Optical Shield, I noticed a distinct and sizable difference in wind noise each and every time I dropped into aero. (Holy cow it’s working!) I also noticed the center hinge on the shield disrupting my view each time I popped into aero, and couldn’t decide if this was a big deal or not.
After about 7 miles I swapped the Optical Shield out for the large profile Sintryx sunglasses, and I immediately noticed a smaller visual field relative to the shield – and decided that the minor annoyance of the hinge from the shield was a small price to pay for that wide angle view. I again popped back and forth from basebars to aerobars, this time noticing an occasional but not consistent difference in wind noise between the two positions. At higher speeds there was a lessening of wind noise – and in my mind, drag – in aero, but at lower speeds there seemed to be no difference.
For the final leg of my ride I swapped out the Sintryx for a pair of small profile Stratofly SX sunglasses. At this point I was really jonesing to put that Optical Shield back on, to return to the wide angle view and get the pressure of the sunglasses off my nose, but I stuck with the Stratoflys to complete my testing. I was a little tired of the back and forth between aero and basebars, and when I found no discernible difference between the two I decided to stay in my comfy position and just ride home.
Overall I really like the Boost 01. Based on the fact that cyclists in the opposite direction were waving in response to my wave (and sometimes waving first!), I concluded that I did not look like a giant bozo wearing the helmet. I also appreciated how forgiving the aero profile was – I didn’t notice any crosswind issues while riding or when turning my head to check for traffic, and didn’t feel that I had to hold a specific head position in aero to attain the aero benefits (yes, I did try several head positions!).
What I actually appreciate the most is the fact that I can get that race day pop in speed by saving the Optical Shield for racing only, and wearing my smaller profile sunglasses for every day training rides. So unlike my race wheels, the Boost 01 is an investment in free speed that you can use more than a handful of days each year.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The Boost 01 is available direct from Rudy Project in a variety of colors, and both with and without the Optical Shield. I highly recommend springing for the shield for race day speed as well as the uber cool vibe.
Fat, Drunk, and Out of Shape is No Way to Go Through Life
That’s the line that’s been going through my head almost daily for the past four weeks, ever since my off-season got extended well beyond what I’d intended. (And yes, it’s an Animal House reference.)
I’ll back up by saying that I am a strong believer in the importance of an off-season, on having some time when your focus isn’t on training: When fitting in your workout isn’t the driving force behind how you organize every day. When you have the option to go for a hike or take a yoga class instead of a swim/bike/run workout. When you ease back on the miles and give your muscles and your joints some time to recover.
And that’s why I extended my off-season from the originally planned four weeks to a solid, plenty-of-time-to-get-antsy, eight weeks. I was really enjoying the hiking and the yoga and totally blowing off masters swim and drinking margaritas at lunch. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much, I think, is because I knew (or rather believed, incorrectly) that it was pretty finite. And then on September 9th I developed a stress reaction in my foot. (How I managed to do that on reduced mileage is a story of total idiocy that I won’t include here. Just chalk it up to my being a moron.)
Suddenly my off-season was extended to … twelve weeks? sixteen? I thought I handled the news pretty well, but looking back on it I was hilariously, quietly, unknowingly, losing my marbles. I figured I was really taking things in stride because I wasn’t making a big deal of the stress reaction. Sure, I couldn’t run for 4-6 weeks, but I could swim and bike and I wasn’t training for anything so really it wasn’t a big deal. People would ask me what was new, and I wouldn’t even tell them about the stress reaction. I mean, when a triathlete doesn’t talk about an injury you know that shit has gotten weird.
So, I can’t run. I am just working out aimlessly, with no goals and no plan and no purpose. Fall is crazy, crazy quiet when you’re a triathlon coach because most of your athletes are in their off-season, so I don’t have much work to do. And since I don’t have a lot of work, and don’t have to be feeling good to tackle some tough workout the next day, I am consuming a glass (or two or three) of wine every night. But if I average out the whole year including my big training weeks where I didn’t drink at all, it’s really totally fine.
Fat, Drunk, and Out of Shape is No Way to Go Through Life.
Clearly it’s time to pull it together: I find a plan on TrainerRoad and start burying myself in some sweet spot bike workouts. I hatch plans for multiple projects: I’m going to write a blog! (Evidence of this effort is obvious.) I’m going to finally organize all my coaching systems and notes into a Filemaker database! (That’s what happens when you were once a management consultant.) I’m at least keeping myself occupied … but something’s still off.
It took me another week to put my finger on it, but then it hit me: I am filling my weeks with coffees and lunches and have absolutely nothing to say during any of them. I don’t even know who I am when I’m not training for something.
Does that statement make me sound totally unhinged? Or at least massively addicted to training? Sure, I’ll own that. But batshit crazy or not, this is where I am. So my off-season now has an official expiration date of Oct 31st. It’s time to pick an Ironman for 2018 and start setting some goals for next year. And then maybe I’ll start to feel normal again.
As soon as I heard that Wildflower was back for 2018 after a hiatus in 2017 due to drought conditions, I knew I wanted to race it. Except that I truly, honestly, knew nothing about the race. OK, maybe that’s an overstatement: I knew that it includes a challenging bike course, and I knew that it involves camping. But for real that’s all I knew.
Which kinda means that I have a lot in common with Terry Davis, the founder and race director of the Wildflower Festival (now called the Wildflower Experience). Yes, that sounds crazy – so let me explain. Back in ‘80s, Terry was working as the Marketing and Events Director of the Monterrey County Parks Department and they were looking for events that would utilize the Lake San Antonio venue outside of the summer months. Terry and his team were busy developing the Wildflower Bluegrass Festival, that would feature – you guessed it – wildflower exhibits and bluegrass music, when a friend suggested including a triathlon during the festival weekend. “OK, let’s do a triathlon,” said Terry. “What is it?”
So that’s how one of the most iconic races in the triathlon world was born – spearheaded by a wonderful fellow who didn’t know what a triathlon was, and who to this day has never participated in one. The race has grown from 82 participants in 1983 to 7,500 participants at its peak. But the Wildflower Experience is more than just a single race – the weekend includes triathlons on both Saturday and Sunday of various distances, live music, food trucks, wine tasting, retail vendors, and family events including a Friday night kids’ fun run.
While a two-day, multi-faceted weekend of activities already sets the Wildflower Experience apart from other race experiences, what makes Wildflower truly unique is the venue itself. Lake San Antonio is thirty-five miles from the nearest city. Thirty. Five. Miles. Thirty-five miles from the nearest Motel 6. Thirty-five miles from the nearest Target or Walmart or major grocery chain or anywhere that sells gel blocks. Which raises the question of how on earth does Wildflower host tens of thousands of participants and spectators for this incredible weekend?
Turns out, Terry and his crew spend months creating a temporary city at Lake San Antonio solely for the Wildflower Experience weekend. They build out infrastructure including restrooms, parking, medical facilities, and transportation to move bikes and people from camping and RV sites to the expo and race venue. They bring in water and massive tents for the pasta party and temporary housing for the 1000 students from nearby California Polytechnic State University who comprise the majority of their volunteer staff.
What Terry’s crew doesn’t build, however, are temporary four-star hotels. Instead, 80-85% of the participants, along with their friends and families, are camping or RV-ing it up in the area surrounding Lake San Antonio, creating a sprawling make-shift city comprised mostly of triathletes. This is why the Wildflower Experience is often referred to as the “Woodstock of Triathlon” or the “Burning Man of Triathlon” and this is why I am SO EXCITED to head to the Wildflower Experience this May.
Just picture it: thousands upon thousands of triathletes and their sherpa crews, hanging out and listening to music and discussing how much time they spend in zone 2 and whether they train by heart rate or pace or power or feel and the weekly workout that increased their FTP by 10% and the swim drill that instantly shaved five seconds off their 100m pace and the merits of living solely off of gel blocks versus a strict keto diet. I mean if this doesn’t sound like heaven to you (and sheer hell to my husband) then you have a much more balanced approach to triathlon than I do.
So, maybe this Triathlete City is heaven and maybe it’s more like an asylum for uber-fit individuals. Either way, it’s also temporary home to the pros who take part in the Wildflower Experience – pros like defending champs Jesse Thomas and Liz Lyles, who could conceivably be in the camping spot right next to yours. You could give Jesse some suggestions for new Picky Bars flavors, and ask Liz some advice on the best way to handle “Beach Hill” while you cook your pre-race breakfast over a shared campfire. I mean, if that’s not a unique racing experience, I don’t know what is.
Great Things To Know About the Wildflower Experience
Saturday, May 5th, 2018
• Long-course (70.3) triathlon
• Off-road sprint distance triathlon
Sunday, May 6th, 2018
• Olympic distance triathlon
• Sprint distance triathlon
THE LONG-COURSE RACE
• 1.2 mile swim; 56 mile bike; 13.1 mile run.
• The bike course has 3600 feet of elevation gain, including the climb up “Beach Hill” right out of the gate and “Nasty Grade” at mile 42.
• The run is partially on roads and partially on trails, including some nice, challenging hills.
THE OLYMPIC DISTANCE RACE
• 1.5k swim (0.9 miles); 40k bike (24.8 miles); 6.2 mile run.
• The bike course is challenging, including “Lynch Hill” and “Heartrate Hill.”
• Like the long-course route, the run is partially on roads and partially on trails. And, you know, hills.
THE OFF-ROAD RACE
• 0.25 mile swim; 8.5 mile bike; 2 mile run. And, you guessed it, hills.
THE SPRINT DISTANCE RACE
• 0.25 mile swim; 20k bike (12.4 miles); 3 mile run.
• The Sprint is new for 2018 and course details are not yet available. I’m assuming there are hills.
SPECIAL BRAGGING RIGHTS
• Wildflower Squared: Long-course on Saturday + Olympic distance on Sunday!
Keep your eyes out for a future 303 Triathlon article with a “How To Wildflower” primer. For now:
• If you want to book flights, the closest major airport is San Jose; San Francisco and Oakland are also decent options.
• Pro Bike Express is offering bike transport plus will bring your tent and sleeping bag for you. Sign up here to reserve your spot!
REGISTER FOR THE WILDFLOWER EXPERIENCE HERE!
As many of us triathletes approach the off-season, we tend to think about how we can improve for next year. The off-season is an awesome time to focus on one sport at the expense of the other two and make some big gains in that sport. And if you come away from your tri season post-mortem realizing that it’s time to step up your swim, I highly recommend booking time at the CU Sports Medicine & Performance Center (CUSMPC) for a round of physiological testing in the swim flume.
I did physio testing on the bike at CUSMPC last spring and found that to be incredibly useful. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about whether the swim physio testing was going to have the same impact. I love it when I’m proven wrong!
WHAT IS IT?
Similar to bike or run physio tests, the swim physio test measures your heart rate and blood lactate levels across a range of swim paces, with the goal of scientifically determining your individualized training paces. Beyond that, you also get the benefit of a swim stroke analysis, complete with before and after video of your technique.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
In swimming, there is a distinct intertwining of effort and technique: if your technique is flawed (and really, whose isn’t?), then you’re less efficient and it’s going to take more effort to swim – at any pace. The swim physio testing begins by identifying your swim training zones, which are cool to know but aren’t game changing. The stroke analysis is where the magic happens.
Jared Berg, CUSMPC’s testing specialist who’s also a certified strength and conditioning specialist as well as a former pro triathlete, focuses on stroke improvements that will reduce your effort level and/or improve your pace within your training zones. In other words, (cue lights and “aha” music) Jared looks for ways to help you swim faster while expending less effort – IMMEDIATELY. Not after four months of hitting the pool three to five times a week, but within just a few workouts.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Swim physio testing takes place in a swim flume, essentially a treadmill for swimming … which I translated to: bo-ring. I was so wrong. I hopped in, started warming up, noticed the mirrors on the bottom and sides of the flume, and was immediately fixated on WTF was my right hand doing and now I understand why my masters swim coach keeps telling me to straighten my wrist. Seeing yourself swim is about as eye opening as it gets.
The testing itself takes approximately 30-45 minutes and goes like this: after your warm up, Jared takes you through a series of four minute swim intervals at increasingly challenging paces. The first few are endurance to tempo pace, as in: no big deal. But by the third I was sucking wind and by the fourth I was desperately trying to just keep my feet off the back wall. The only reason I survived the testing is because in between each interval Jared has you pause swimming to check your heart rate and lactate levels. I used that time to gasp for air and beg for a countdown during the final interval so I knew how much longer I’d have to suffer.
After you complete the testing portion you move on to stroke analysis. Jared sets up two incredibly high end, super cool underwater video cameras in front and side view positions. You’ll swim for a minute to capture your baseline stroke, then Jared reviews the video with you and provides an overview of what looks good and what needs improvement. Next he’ll pick one element for you to concentrate on, have you swim a minute focusing on this particular improvement, and show you side-by-side before-and-after videos to see how you did. After that he’ll move onto a second point of focus and repeat the process. All in all you’ll walk away with three or four discrete form points that you will have practiced in the flume and can continue to work on after your session. More importantly, these form points are specifically selected to provide near-term results – as in, you’ll swim with less effort and/or faster almost immediately.
How did this shake out for me? Well, it turns out the alternate-side breathing that I thought made me super cool was in fact my undoing. Jared noticed during my physio testing that my lactate levels were unusually high during the initial rounds of testing. He had me change to a single-side breathing, galloping style stroke (a la Katie Ledecky – even cooler!) to improve my oxygen levels and reduce lactate levels, and then gave me some specific form points to concentrate on to maximize my stroke efficiency for this new style.
Think it all sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo? We put it to the test. I came back exactly two weeks later – after only three swim workouts – and re-did the physio testing. My lactate levels started lower and stayed lower during the initial testing intervals, and my heart rate stayed lower as well. My stroke rate was lower across all the intervals, and I was able to add a fifth, faster interval that had been impossible two weeks prior.
I still have work to do to get faster and refine my stroke, but now I know what to work on. And with Jared’s help I will come out of the water at my next tri feeling less tired, and therefore having more energy for the bike and run. #ForTheWin!
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Just pop on over to the CUSMPC website’s page on performance testing and select “Physiology.” Scroll down to “(SWIM) Lactate Profile,” click to pop up the scheduling tool, pick a time and you’re good to go.
While you’re at CUSMPC for your swim physio testing, be sure to check out their state-of-the-art facility. They offer everything from physio and metabolic testing to physical therapy to an alter-G (anti-gravity) treadmill. It’s all open to the public, and it’s right in our own back yard.
You know when you’ve been struggling with something over and over and over again, and you get so used to clunky and difficult and annoying that you never pick your head up to think about alternative solutions? That pretty much describes me, in my basement, swapping out trainer tire for outdoor tire for trainer tire for outdoor tire, getting chain grease all over the carpet, and just assuming that this is how it’s done. And then I learned about the Sprint Work Stand by Feedback Sports.
TAAAHHH-DAAAHHH!!! Light bulb does not even begin to describe it.
WHAT IS IT?
The Sprint Work Stand by Feedback Sports is a bike work and wash stand. Unlike the work stands that you often see at your local bike shop that use a seat post or top tube clamp to hold your bike, the Sprint Work Stand uses a fork mount to secure and stabilize your baby. I mean bike.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
For starters, I am now convinced that anyone who does any work on their own bike – tire changes included – should own a work stand. If my grease-on-the-carpet story didn’t resonate with you, how about the fact that my race wheels stayed on my bike for 8 weeks because there wasn’t a day warm enough to pop my bike on my car’s bike rack and swap out wheels. Does that sound familiar? Now just imagine changing wheels and mounting rear bottle cages, all in the comfort and warmth of your house – without getting grease everywhere. SOLD, right?
Glad that we’re on the same page. So, then, the reason that you want the Sprint Stand specifically is because, since it uses a fork mount, you don’t have to stress about the top tube shape of this bike and the seat post shape of that bike and is there any one stand that will work with all of my bikes? Yes! The Sprint Work Stand. DOUBLE SOLD!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Sprint Stand is a cinch to use. Even though I only glanced at the directions the first time I whipped it out to change my daughter’s tire, I had it set up in just a minute or two. The stand uses four clamps similar to the clamps on your bike’s seat post to manage the entire setup and breakdown process, which makes everything quick and easy.
You open one clamp to expand the tripod base, a few others to adjust the height of the stand, and then there’s a nifty clamp to lock the horizontal mounting bar in place. Just like that, the stand is set up. To mount your bike, you simply remove the front wheel and throw it on the fork mount using one of the three provided skewers and their accompanying spacers. The fork mount has a slide adjustment, so once your bike is mounted you can easily slip the fork mount forward or backward so that your bottom bracket rests on the rubber base.
Once you’ve got your bike mounted, you can rotate it 360 degrees to provide easy access to whichever part of your bike you’re working on. In just a few weeks, I’ve used it to change tires, swap out wheels, wash my bike and un-attach my rear bottle system. Previously I would’ve attempted this with my bike either on the car’s bike rack or leaning against the wall in my basement, neither of which provides the same access or stability as the Sprint Work Stand. My bike was super sturdy once cinched into the fork mount and, with the rotation and adjustable height, I could easily get to anything I wanted to work on. The only two drawbacks were that my hands still got greasy dealing with my chain (granted, that’s totally a user error thing) and that you can’t adjust the front brakes on the stand since the front wheel isn’t on your bike. It’s easy enough to adjust those brakes once you pop the wheel back on, though, so it’s really not a big deal.
Once you’re done working on your bike, the stand folds down more easily and quickly than it sets up, and collapses into a compact unit that you can easily tuck away in your garage or the corner of your pain cave. It’s only been a couple of weeks, I’ve already used it several times, and I really don’t know how or why I managed to go this long without scooping one up.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The Sprint Work Stand is available direct through Feedback Sports for $269.99 plus tax and shipping.