The 5th Annual Tri Boulder Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlon is coming up and you don’t want to miss this race! This is a perfect tune-up race for the Boulder 70.3 which takes place in the same area 2 weeks later.
Compete in one of the fastest growing triathlons in Boulder. Swim in the beautiful Boulder Rez which is in the mid-70s right now, I swam in it with no wetsuit last weekend and it was perfect! Bike some of the smoothest (yay) and fastest (double yay) roads in Boulder. And run on the scenic dam trail which is a mostly flat and all packed dirt road. BBSC is a tri-friendly, professional race company that offers gender specific t-shirts, finisher medals, age group awards, Clydesdale and Athena categories, relays, race day child care, free entry into the reservoir, post-race food, and more.
This year I am doing the Olympic distance race and have already spent time on both courses and wanted to share with you what you are in for when you decide to do either of the races this year on July 23rd. I’m using the Olympic as a training race for USAT Age Group Nationals on August 12th. Either distance would be great for that or as mentioned above a tune-up race for Boulder 70.3 on August 6th.
SWIM: Currently the water in the reservoir is about 74 degrees. This is a great temperature that is warm enough for you to swim without a wetsuit if you don’t have one, but isn’t too warm to legally allow wetsuits if you are relying on that to help your swim time. The sprint course is a 750 meter clock-wise rectangle and the Olympic just doubles the distance out and back from the shore. There will be large buoys at each turn and small buoys for sighting. The swim is a wave start for safety and ease for beginner swimmers. Typically there are less than 100 people per wave.
BIKE: The bike course for the sprint is typically called the “Neva loop” and is basically a large loop around the NW part of Boulder. The sprint course is 17 miles, a little longer than the usual sprint distance, so if you are a cyclist, this race is for you! After leaving Reservoir Road, there is a very gradual climb for about 3 miles and then a fast rolling downhill for the next 10 miles. Once you are back on the Diagonal, it is another very slight incline for about 2 miles and then basically downhill (other than 2 short hills on the road back to the res) to the finish. The Olympic starts and ends the same way with a couple extra miles of slight incline rewarding us with several additional miles of declines! YAHOO!
RUN: The run for the sprint is primarily on dirt road and is a simple out and back around the res along the dam. There is a hill immediately when you leave transition, just remember it will be downhill on the way back when you need it the most. The Olympic is also an out and back, it just passes the sprint turn-around and goes an additional 1.55 miles slightly inclining to the 10K turn-around which will be fast for the return home to the finish line.
A great way to practice the swim and run is the Boulder Stroke & Stride which is a swim/run series held at the res every Thursday night. This will get you used to open water swimming, running up the beach, and that first hill on the run.
If you get to the Stroke & Stride, stop by and say “HI” to me at the “chip handout” table!!
303Radio hosts Rich Soares and Bill Plock had the opportunity to interview legendary pro triathlete and coach Siri Lindley yesterday and talk about her passion for the Boulder Peak race. Siri calls the Boulder Peak Tri the “best of the best” compared to all other races – worldwide.
“Truly, of all the iconic races that I’ve been to around the world, like Escape from Alcatraz, Wildflower, Lake Geneva in Switzerland… I seriously think the Boulder Peak triathlon is the best of the best as far as the energy, the atmosphere, the passion that people have in this area for the sport, and for getting out there and pushing their limits…”
Take a listen to this teaser!
And be sure to tune in tomorrow when the full hour interview with Siri Lindley is being released – she discusses her Colorado roots, her days as a pro triathlete, coaching Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae, her Sirius Athletes, and her new Believe Ranch & Rescue charity.
Also, don’t miss hearing Siri speak at the “Get Psyched for the Peak” party at Colorado Multisport Wednesday night, along with 5430 founder Barry Siff, pro triathlete Cameron Dye, Skirt Sports owner Nicole Deboom, and Mental Skills coach Will Murray.
With the race season well underway, and hopefully a few more races ahead this year, you’ll have gained a lot more experience. No doubt you’ll have had a chance to put to the test some of the tips you’ve heard from other triathletes, and read here on 303 Triathlon.
In this month’s Pragmatic triathlete, I’ll pass on five less well traveled tips aimed at making the remaining races of this season, and your training a little easier.
MAKE IT EASIER… on your head
No more chaffing! After a couple of months of sweating your helmet straps will start to get stiff. The best and easiest way to clean your straps is simply to get a bowl or dish that is narrower than the width of your helmet. Fill the bowl with hot (not boiling) water and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Sit your helmet on the bowl, allowing the straps to hang in the water. Leave it there overnight; capillary action will draw the water up the straps. Next morning throw the water away, rinse the straps under the cold tap, dry the straps with a towel and leave to dry. Then give a light coating with olive oil or similar, making sure you include the plastic retainers etc. which will aid in stopping them from cracking.
MAKE IT EASIER… on your feet
Clean shoes, clean mind! Many people regularly throw their running shoes in the washing machine with a load of towels to get them clean(1). You probably shouldn’t do the same with cycling shoes; even though these days few cycling shoes are leather, they have lots of other components and screws for cleats that you wouldn’t want to submerge in water and soak with soap.
You can overhaul them in a more traditional way with shoe cleaners and polish, but this can be tricky. One of the simpler ways to protect and clean cycling shoes is to get them a wipe down with a wet cloth, then a light spray with WD40. Once you’ve sprayed them, give them a wipe down with a soft dry cloth (old non-tech race t-shirt?)
This will both revive fading and grubby leather/pleather; it will also polish up and help protect any synthetic pieces and give the shoes a coating that will help protect them.
MAKE IT EASY… on your back
Core strength! Now your cycling and running are up to speed, doesn’t your lower back feel stiff from time to time? Try some specific stretches for your hamstrings, shoulders and lower back. The lower and upper halves of your body and anchored in your lower back and the more flexible and strong it is, the more fluid you will be.
MAKE IT EASIER… on the bike
Less rattle, more roll! You don’t need any special mechanic skills to keep your bike chain clean and lubricated. Even if you only use your race bike in the summer, when it’s dry, your chain will still pickup dirt and dust from the road which will make you less efficient. You should probably give your chain a quick clean weekly, and definitely after any ride where there was a lot of dry dust.
Serious cyclists will recommend buying expensive chain specific tools and brushes, and even removing the chain. You can do a basic job with it still on the bike. Use an old toothbrush or other stiff brush; use an old rag doused with some white spirit to remove old oil and dirt. I use bleach wipes for simplicity and speed; change the rag, drip oil around the chain and then gently remove any excess oil. The real trick is NOT to oil a dirty chain, it will make things worse, any dirt will just stick to the oil.
Don’t use WD40! Specialist oils are best, but if you don’t have any, you can use almost anything, baby oil, cooking oil, olive oil, just don’t over apply, wipe off the excess, and make sure you clean it thoroughly next time.
MAKE IT EASIER… in transition
Less stuff, more speed! Over recent years there has been a huge increase in the amount of “stuff” people take into transition. Athletes regularly tote huge plastic boxes into transition full of stuff, most of which they won’t need. To me this just says, “Novice: lacks confidence in race plan.” Take only the minimal stuff you actually need and will use during the race(2). Arrive early, set-up transition, and take everything else back to the car. With less mess, you’ll be faster in transition, no matter how orderly your stuff is, it will become a mess, it takes up valuable space and will slow down decisions.
Enjoy your upcoming races, next time I’ll take a look at some challenges to change things up.
1) Both cycling and running shoes will benefit from having their insoles removed and washed, especially running shoes, which will potentially have grit and talc after races. Pay attention to wear and tear of insoles, you can replace them, but they are also a good indication of the overall condition of the shoes themselves.
2) When you are out on the bike, the only things left in transition are swim googles, wetsuit and cap; and the equipment you’ll use on the run.
Mark Cathcart took up triathlon in the late 90’s to get fit for adventure racing, which to this day he has never done, and has since taken part in 170+ events. His pragmatic approach to training, racing, and life have lead in from being the Chairman of one of the bigger UK Triathlon clubs 15-years ago; British Triathlon volunteer of the year; a sometime race organizer; The organizer and ride leader for Austin Texas award winning Jack and Adams triathlon shop; doing sometime Sports Management for development and professional triathletes; he has attended all the Triathlon Business International, and Triathlon America conferences, where he usually asks the questions others won’t; moved to Colorado in 2016 and is a co-owner of Boulder Bodyworker
Craig Towler, the Boulder man who lost both of his legs after being crushed between two SUVs a year ago, is celebrating his “Alive Day” by helping with a Fourth of July run in his honor.
He said he learned about the idea of celebrating the anniversary of his close escape from death while recovering in the hospital.
“I really took that to heart,” he said. “We choose how we want to remember that day. Every year that we’re still here, that’s a good thing that needs to be celebrated.”
The company where he works, BBSC Endurance Sports in Boulder, decided to rename its annual Fourth of July 5K and 10K run as the “Craig Towler Freedom Run.” There’s also a virtual race option for those who won’t be in town for the event.
“We can move forward together,” Towler said.
He said he considers the Fourth of July the day he became a survivor.
That day, he spent the morning working BBSC’s Star Spangled Splash event at the Boulder Reservoir, timing his first race by himself.
As he was unloading his car in the 3300 block of Aurora Avenue after the event, Dylan Gottschling, who was 19 at the time, crashed his car into a parked black SUV at about 40 mph, pushing it about 12 feet into another parked SUV.
Towler was pinned between the two SUVs. He instructed his roommate and neighbor to lay him on the ground and create tourniquets out of their belts until paramedics arrived. Doctors told him the tourniquets saved his life.
Gottschling pleaded guilty to Class 5 felony vehicular assault operating or driving in a reckless manner and an added count of driving while ability impaired.
Police said Gottschling admitted to using heroin and then taking Xanax before the crash, along with admitting to looking down at his phone while trying to select music when the crash happened…
“I want to shake the way competitiveness creeps under my skin and into my soul, taking over expectations and suffocating my enjoyment”
By Lisa Ingarfield
The Joy of Participation
One of my friends recently hashtagged #OhSummerHowIveMissedYou. And this one hashtag encapsulated exactly how I am feeling. June is here! I love June because with June comes the Colorado triathlon season, long summer days, and lots and lots of outdoor time. Last year, I vowed that when I looked back on 2017, I would be able to show a fuller life than just swimming, biking, and running. And while that is still a goal I will approach with intention, I am excited to get back in the game. Marathon training is behind me and I am looking forward to one triathlon a month ’til November. Open water swimming is abundant and I get to see the sun rise while quietly slipping through the calm waters of a local lake before work.
My goal for this season is to decouple my participation in triathlon races from stress and nervousness and recouple it with a “whatever happens, happens” attitude. I don’t know that I will ever shake the nerves of preparing to swim in open water but what I more precisely want to shake is the way competitiveness creeps under my skin and into my soul, taking over expectations and suffocating my enjoyment. I think many of us have been there, when participating in a race causes more stress than laughter. It ceases to be enjoyable because we have somehow lost sight of the awesomeness that is our ability to participate in such an event. I want to bounce with joy at the fact I get to participate all summer in swimming, and biking, and running.
While I am eager to challenge myself through racing this season, I can’t help but think racing is a funny thing. It is predicated on winning, competing, and beating others. And while this isn’t necessarily always a negative, it can be. One’s worth is often defined by their place on the results list. Or at least this is what it is for many. And even when scores of people say it’s not about where you land, but the process that gets you there, for many of us, the landing still somehow matters more. I often get sucked into this mentality. This season, however, I am going to actively resist this mindset. I want to disentangle myself from the stress and elitism of competition. When it weaves its way around our brains, we can completely abandon enjoyment as we get so focused on winning and losing, succeeding and failing. And this is not what I want from my season.
Let’s keep it simple this year, 303Triathlon readers. For those of you who have this down already, good for you. Share with your friends how you do it. And for those of us who oscillate back and forth between competitiveness and the joy of participation (I realize these are not necessarily mutually exclusive), let’s work on it. While nerves and competition are not universally bad, and in some cases can be motivating, let’s keep them in check. How great is it that we can swim, bike, and run our way through summer and beyond? And when you feel the insidious creep of putting your time above your enjoyment or someone else’s experience, stop and pause. Be kind. A race is just a race; one moment in time. It is our treatment of others that will be remembered. Go after that goal instead.
Lisa Ingarfield, PhD is a runner, triathlete, USAT and RRCA certified coach. She owns Tri to Defi Coaching and Consulting and provides organizational communication evaluation and consulting services. She is a freelance writer specializing in issues affecting women, particularly in sport and is a member of Vixxen Racing’s 2017 women’s triathlon team.
We wanted to make you aware of some exciting changes to the registration process for 2018 IRONMAN Boulder. IRONMAN athletes are known for their dedication to and passion for the sport, we have heard your requests and are happy to announce the following programs based on that feedback.
General registration for 2018 IRONMAN Boulder will open on Monday, June 26, 2017, at noon, Eastern time. We have made several changes to the registration options for 2018 that we wanted you to be aware of prior to the registration open date. Additional enhancements for the 2018 race include:
Introduction of a Deferral Program
Introduction of a Payment Plan Option
Deferral Program: We want you to commit early to your 2018 race and we’ll commit right along with you. Athletes who register within the first 90 days of general entries becoming available are eligible to defer their entry into the next year’s event at no cost. We know that training can be tough and life happens, that’s why we’re offering the deferral option to athletes who register early. All requests will be honored until 45 days out from the original event date regardless of the reason for deferral.
Payment Plan Option: This is something athletes have been asking for and we’re responding. Athletes who register within the first 90 days of general entries becoming available will have the option to pay via a three-part payment plan. Athletes opting for the payment plan may also utilize the deferral option listed above once all three payments have been completed.
Inventory-based Pricing: IRONMAN is offering inventory-based pricing for 2018 events with selected quantities of slots being offered at prices significantly lower than prior years.
In last month’s column, “Triathlon on a budget” I included a picture of myself at my first triathlon, waiting for the all clear to go out on the bike. I was wearing a tennis shirt, run shorts, and gloves, all very non-PC.
I remember my 3rd triathlon in the fall of 1999 more. It was a pool based race, with age group wave starts. That meant everyone in the age group started within a couple of minutes of each other, 8-lanes, 6-people per lane, 400m swim. I’d worked really hard in training since my first race, learned not to change clothes in T1, and there I was sitting in T2 putting on socks for the 5k run, I was in 3rd place.
Then it happened. A guy in my age group came into T2, racked his bike, removed his helmet, jammed his feet in his shoes and was off. A few seconds later I got up and started running. No matter how fast I tried to run, I couldn’t catch him. There went my first podium, I can’t remember if I finished 4th or 6th, I can remember I didn’t finish 3rd because I was putting socks on.
By the summer of 2001, at the ITU Age Group World Championships, I’d honed my transition skills to the point where I had a top-10 T1 time. To this day, while I rarely win my age group, I always strive to be the fastest in T1 and T2. At last year’s Boulder Sunrise race, I was over a minute faster in T1 and T2 than anyone in my age group, and just a few seconds off the overall winner.
How to do transitions somehow is one of the most controversial subjects in triathlon, usually because no one actually teaches transitions, people just develop their own ad-hoc, sometimes shambolic, other times dangerous, ways of doing it.
WHY BE FAST IN TRANSITION?
If I told you that you could save 90-seconds in your swim for an hour practice you’d be out doing it this afternoon. You just need to apply the same to transition practice. You can save anything from 30-seconds to 2-minutes by having an organized, practiced transition.
WHERE TO START
I’ve always avoided giving coaching advice, mainly because I’m not a coach. My series here is based on pragmatic, practical advice. I’ve demonstrated transition techniques going as far back as 2004 and the two key things I tell people about fast transitions are 1. Always be in control, and, 2. Always be looking up.
No matter how good you get, there will always be other triathletes who make mistakes, didn’t prep their equipment etc. You can find plenty of videos on YouTube with people making fun of bad transitions and transition mistakes, that’s not the point here, it is to give advice and demonstrate some good ways to achieve fast transitions.
Even the best Triathletes could do things better. See “flying leap” to the left – in this picture the guy has almost everything right until he leaves the ground with both feet, this is either going to work well, or take the wind out of him, or worse still, he’ll wobble and a potential crash.
In “over stretched” to the right, he has it almost right, except again, there is that momentary loss of control as both feet are off the ground. In both these examples it was no problem since they were the first out of transition, but it could have been.
RUN WITH THE BIKE
First, learn to run with the bike by holding the saddle. This takes practice. The secret is to find a field or Astroturf area where you can practice. If you are lucky enough to have access to a Football field marked out with 10-yard lines, each 10-yard line to have to change sides, this will teach you how to steer your bike.
Running with the saddle put’s you behind the front wheel and the pedals. You have control of two thirds of the bike, and generally the front will follow the direction and lean of the bike. Compared to running by holding the handlebars, where you only have control of the front wheel. Holding the saddle allows you to stand up straight, aids breathing, and most importantly allows you to see ahead. Running using the handlebars almost always requires being hunched over, and if the bike or back wheel hit something, you have every chance of the pedal hitting the back of your leg.
I absolutely prefer pre-mounting shoes on pedals. This picture to the right is me back in 2004 at a sprint race, perfectly executing the running mount. I like to pre-mount because:
I use Look cleats.
I use a 2-inch block on the bottom of my right shoe to even up my legs.
If you pre-mount, and your transition run includes muddy run, you won’t get your cleats clogged up and not be able to clip-in.
The downside is you can pick up dirt and gravel, but this will mostly come off before you put feet in shoes.
When you run out of transition, cross the mount line and run 10-20ft beyond it, especially in an Ironman, where at least here in the USA pre-mounted shoes are not allowed. Carry your shoes in one hand, run out holding the bike by the saddle in the other; away from the carnage that can be the actual mount line, stop on one side and take time to put your shoes on and then mount.
For a fully-fledged running mount with pre-mounted shoes, follow these steps, and practice them. Picture Mount 2 and Mount 3
In transition, Put bike in easy gear
Mount the shoes in the pedals
Make sure the pedals/shoes are parallel to the ground, left food forward
Loop a small elastic band through the rear heel tab on your shoes. If you don’t have a rear heel tab you can either buy longer bands and hook them under Look cleats or find some other place to connect the band to the shoe
Fasten the other end of the band for the left shoe around the downtube, probably on the front gear mech.
Fasten the right shoe to the rear gear mech. (or around the lug on the rear stays etc.)
When you race into T1, helmet on, number belt on, grab the bike and run on the left side of the bike holding the saddle with your right hand – to make this easier I always rack my bike by the bars and NOT the saddle when I can
When you are past the mount line get your stride ready and in one swift move place your left hand on the bars and your left foot on the front pedal
A fraction of a second later swing your right leg around the back wheel and saddle and onto the right pedal, releasing your right hand from the saddle and grasp the bars (see the pictures, my right hand is still on the saddle for control when the right leg is already on its way around to the pedal)
Once your foot is on the right pedal start pedaling…. the bands will snap – you need to do this fast enough so you don’t wobble and fall off!
Pedal down the road until you get to at least 16MPH, at a safe point reach down put your left foot in the shoe
Pedal again to regain momentum
When safe reach down and put your right foot in and you are done.
If you are racing out to Boulder Reservoir, you don’t have to complete this until you are past the gate and before the hill. Don’t try to get your feet in the shoes before the first turn after transition.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
It really does. Don’t think you are going to show up on race day and do a running mount without practicing it a dozen or so times.
For the practice, you just need your bike, helmet, shoes and 20-24 1-inch elastic bands and a bucket. The bucket is needed as a transition stand; a chair could also be used. You attach the bands to the shoes either by the small heal loop, or if your shoes don’t have one, the small heel raise on most shoes. Then attach the band to somewhere that will hold the shoes parallel while you run with the bike.
You then rest the bike against the bucket, walk back 50yds, sprint to the bike, helmet on, grab the bike run forward at least 50yds and then step on in a controlled fashion, don’t leap. Cycle for a short distance; get off; walk back; reset your equipment; go back and do it again and again and again until you can make a faultless smooth transition from running to cycling, not stops. It’s important to have a decent run either side of the bike to simulate race conditions.
Once you can do this, you can then go out on the street somewhere quiet and practice getting your feet in your shoes and doing them up. This has to be done at a reasonable speed 14-18mph, no 8-10mph wobbles please!
Again, even if you decide not to do a flying dismount, and prefer to stop, unclip, and run with your shoes on, run holding the bike by the saddle.
Coming back in is basically the opposite….
Well before the dismount line, remove your right foot from the shoe, keep pedaling
Remove your left foot from the shoe
Pedal to the dismount line and just before getting there swing your right foot over the crossbar
Standing on your left foot and gliding in with your right foot tucked behind your left…
When you get to the dismount line, drop your right foot, then your left
Let go of the bars with your right hand, grab the saddle
Let go with your left hand and run holding the saddle…
Again, practice this until it becomes one single, fluid and smooth transition.
Whatever you do, don’t do what my friend Carlton did, having spent a couple of hundred bucks on an aero helmet, he crossed the finish line and came to a complete standstill as he pressed the lap button on his Garmin, negating the benefit of the aero-helmet.
We both got 2nd in our age group, my transition times were 1:18/1:37, Carltons 2:20/2:58. If Carlton had my transition times he would have won his age group.
Yeah, almost never ever wear them now. Lesson learned. Look at the numerous videos of Lance Armstrong at the 2012 IM 70.3 Texas. If socks are good for Lance….
I do use socks for the longer races. Well I can’t make up my mind about socks for half-distance, and for full-distance sitting in the changing tent and putting socks on isn’t a big deal.
So, if for a race you are not sure about socks, either because of distance, new shoes, etc. put your socks together with your running shoes in transition. Off the bike, into your shoes and out of transition with your socks in your hands.
Even if you want to do this in an Olympic distance race you’ll be better off sat on a curb 100yds from transition than you will be trying to get them on in transition, especially busy, packed ones.
For half-distance, I tend to treat transitions just like sprints, fast out, fast in, fast out, no socks. The first sign of any foot pain, sit on a curb and put my socks on. Looks odd, but assuming you have elastic laces it really doesn’t cost you much time. And anyone I’ve taught this trick too and timed in and out of transition is always able to put the socks on quicker sat on the side of the road than stumbling around in transition!
GETTING IT DONE
No matter how many times you race, eventually something will go wrong.
This was me back in 2009, I came into the dismount line in the lead, looked down and my bike computer said 24MPH, even I can’t run that fast, I was standing on one shoe ready to dismount, pulled on the brakes and this was the result.
Don’t be like Mark! Slow down before dismounting.
Finally, transition fast!
Mark Cathcart took up triathlon in the late 90’s to get fit for adventure racing, which to this day he has never done, and has since taken part in 170+ events. His pragmatic approach to training, racing, and life have lead in from being the Chairman of one of the bigger UK Triathlon clubs 15-years ago; British Triathlon volunteer of the year; a sometime race organizer; The organizer and ride leader for Austin Texas award winning Jack and Adams triathlon shop; doing sometime Sports Management for development and professional triathletes; he has attended all the Triathlon Business International, and Triathlon America conferences, where he usually asks the questions others won’t; moved to Colorado in 2016 and is a co-owner of Boulder Bodyworker.