Women in Triathlon: WITSUP Brunch with Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Rachel “Joycey” Joyce

By Dana Willett

This morning Jen Findley and I were honored to attend a very special WITSUP Brunch in a foothills mansion high above the cacophony of the Kona Race Week activities at sea level.

An annual event celebrating women in triathlon, the sold out Witsup Kona Brunch featured triathlon legends Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Rachel “Joycey” Joyce, moderated by WITSUP “Chief,” Stef “Steffie” Hansen (who is quick to note, one may only address her by this moniker if you are an IRONMAN World Champion). This is the “fourth or fifth” year of the event (and one we will not miss in the future).

Sponsors Cervelo and Ceramic Speed were well represented with signage and prize drawing giveaways.

Our plates piled high with delicacies prepared by Stef’s “chef” husband Brett, we settled in to luxurious chairs as she opened the casual Q&A session by introducing “Two of the most wanted athletes in the world,” Rinny and Rachel.

Stef introduced Rachel, pointing out that the Boulder-based pro completed three IRONMAN races in just ten weeks (including winning IRONMAN Boulder!) after giving birth to her first child, Archie, just 13 months ago.

Rinny was next, asked about what it was like to be in Kona and not be racing: “Izzy is taking most of the focus – it’s very different being here without the anxiety of racing, and just supporting Tim (O’Donnell).”

It was then Rinny’s turn to ask Stef a question… In her trademark feisty and spirited way, Rinny asked Stef point blank if she plans to have kids. Once the room settled down after some barbs and an eruption of laughter, Stef admitted she’d “never been embarrassed on stage.”  She then turned serious: “I find the subject fascinating because it’s a dilemma for athletes – age groupers or pros – pregnancy affects sponsor relationships, requires a break from training and racing; it’s one of the biggest challenges in being a pro triathlete, and any working professional. It concerns me – what would happen with WITSUP? I’m not ready to compromise that. Not now. Eventually. But not until it can be my number one priority.”

There were many murmurs of agreement from the attentive audience, most of whom were women, some Kona athletes and some not, and a good smattering of supportive men.

“Moving on,” Stef commanded, slyly changing the subject. She asked Rinny what it has been like “getting back in shape after having a kid.”

Rinny responded that so far she’s had just two runs and two swims – and, she “pulled out sore” after 20 minutes on the run. “It’s gonna be tough,” she said, succinctly.

Rachel responded to the same question, saying, “It taught me patience. I remember my first swim – I was completely exhausted after just 1500 meters – it was so different from being so in shape before. I had to switch my mindset to looking forward, instead of back. I couldn’t rush it. I had to focus on,  ‘I’m better than I was last week.’

She continued, “It was hard work, especially the core strength. When I stood at the start line of my first race back I thought, ‘Wow, six months ago I was only walking around the block. You have to take baby steps. Don’t rush it.”

Stef then asked, “It’s similar to injury, then, taking it day by day, right?”

Rachel responded, saying it is similar to injury in that you need to look forward at your progress, and not wishing you were back to where you were before. Then she added, “You have all that, plus breastfeeding. Your body’s main function is to support another human. And the physical changes, like wondering, ‘when will my stomach stop jiggling?’ I felt like my legs weren’t attached to my top half – there was no ‘pop.’  It’s a foreign feeling. My body felt disconnected getting back into training. You have to be patient.”

Rinny was then asked if the past 6-7 weeks since Izzy was born have been similar to the rest she usually takes after Kona. Rinny replied dryly, “Well, this has been 6 or 7 weeks of doing nothing, and also I had a human come out of me.” The room erupted.

She continued, “My core is lost after having to make way for all the expansion. But I’m sitting here listening and trying to take lessons from what Rachel said. I’ll look ahead. Next year I want to be back here and be a contender.”

Stef paused dramatically, and commented, “The best contraception is talking with you two.”

The discussion then turned to race day strategies. Stef asked, “How do you switch off your usual ‘nice’ personalities  to “terminator” mode on race day?”
Rinny responded, saying, “When I started (as a pro) I struggled with my friendships with competitors, how to manage that. But I learned that when gun goes off it’s a war… you must be no one’s friend.”

Stef and Rachel joined in with some barbs, Stef saying, “The smack talk is starting now.” Rinny responded, “This year it’s ok because I’m just watching … but next year – looking at Rachel -all bets are off.”

Rachel commented, “You have to think of it that they’re just people I want to be ahead of – I’m very single-minded. It doesn’t matter whether you’re friends or not.”

Nodding agreement, Rinny added, “At that point in the race (during the run) we’re all suffering, so you feel bad. You want to say “sorry- but I’m going on ahead of you.”

The conversation went on to cover advice for the strong Queen K cross-winds (“Trust your bike – it was designed for the wind – try to relax into it”), descending from Hawi (Rinny: “Put it in the biggest ring and go for it!”), and Race Week nerves (Rinny: “I want that – it shows the race matters to you;” Rachel: “If I didn’t feel nervous I’d wonder what was wrong”).

And then the Hot Topic: For pro women after having a baby, they have to do so many races in order to get points for Kona… there is no current carry over or accommodation for maternity leave…

Rachel noted, “We want to have the best women and men racing in Kona. We need to work back from that. Despite fitness before giving birth, it just takes a long time (to get back in shape). We need to look at other sports and consider how to take maternity leave. It’s very complex – we need a statistician to sort rankings, and look at the possibility of carrying over points from the prior year.”

Rachel continues, “There isn’t an easy answer. Women need to not rush back and risk injury – we need to accommodate that.”

Agreeing, Rinny added, “We want the best athletes in their best form – whether it’s a point system or whatever. There are lots of different ideas, and we need to look seriously at the rules.”

Stef concluded the topic saying, “We need a better solution – there’s not a perfect solution, but there is a better way.”

After some talk about finding your “zone” on the Kona run (Rachel says, “The blanker and freer you can keep your mind the better… think about rhythm, nutrition, form”) and a possible 2-day race formula for Kona, like 70.3 worlds in Chattanooga (both women were in favor of it “to showcase the women’s race properly”), the discussion turned more philosophical.

 

If not triathlon, then what career would you want to pursue?
Rinny explained she studied physiology and kinesiology in college, and she would likely pursue those fields. Rachel, a former lawyer said, “I definitely like the law, but I’m not sure I’d go back to a law firm.”

And, finally, the most memorable moment over time on the Big Island?

“Winning in 2013 ,” Rinny answered without hesitation. “I had won in 2010 and then I had a couple of not-great years. Winning in 2013 validated that it wasn’t a fluke – the day flew by went perfectly. And it was also pretty special because Tim came in 5th. It was the most memorable.”
(Stef pointed out that they were engaged, noting the famous photo of Rinny jumping into Tim’s arms, laughing and saying “you needed the money for the wedding, right?”)

Rachel found her first time at Kona as the most memorable. “I didn’t yet identify as a pro triathlete – I felt out of depth.
I came 6th that year – I came in 4th off the bike, and I heard Greg Welch saying, ‘I think we’re going to see this one go backward…’ I thought, I’ll show you. It was so memorable. It was not my best race, but it ewas the start of a proper pro career.

Predictions for the pro field on Saturday? Rinny was quick to say, “I’ll answer that. I’d pick Rachel or Daniella for one and two, and then Heather (Jackson) or my dark horse pick – Lucy Charles. She’s my dark horse.”

 

Be sure to check out the WITSUP website for all the “Wahine Warrior” videos of Kona pro women!

Colorado Athletes in Kona: Here’s to Repeat Appearances

Eric Walker

My competitive career began at age 10 when my dad and I ran in my first 5K. I owe it all to my dad, he was really into running marathons and fostered my love of running. Fast forward, age 29; I had just graduated from Chiropractic school and suddenly had time train and run marathons. Shortly after getting into Spin classes to cross train, I completed my first triathlon.

My favorite triathlon distance is definitely the full 140.6, it is physically challenging but more importantly it is mentally challenging. I qualified for Kona for the first time in 2015 and had a good race, but there were definitely some learning moments during it too!

This year I am looking to put those learning moments to good use and have a more successful race. I draw a lot of inspiration and motivation from the older age group triathletes- I am watching YOU 70-85 year old’s! Thank you for inspiring me! It is inspiring to watch this group push the limits of athleticism- they are competitive and pretty darn quick! Good luck to all the other Colorado athletes, see you in Kona!

 


Briana Boehmer

 

How did I get involved in Triathlon? – I ran in college (Division I) and succumbed to a lot of injuries my Junior and Senior years . As part of my rehab I would have to cross train A LOT so upon graduation I got this crazy idea in my head that I might as well do a triathlon since I had basically been training for one. I was hooked. I didn’t take up Ironman racing until over 10 years later…until then I thought the distance was absolutely BONKERS! In 2013 after a long break from Triathlon I decided to start with Half Ironmans then a full in 2014.

 

I qualified for Kona this year at Ironman Frankfurt where I came in third overall and notched a new PR of 9:40. This will be my second time to the Big Island.

 

My WHY – I lost my mother when I was just a little over 1 year old. I have always had a sense of urgency with life because of this event. It is a sense that moments cannot be wasted because you never know when you may have reached your last one. That is why while racing is something I love, I devote my time to many other things. I’ve never defined myself by sport, rather it is a part of what helps me live life to the fullest. I currently am the COO of a local fitness start-up and am involved with the Leeds Business School at CU helping young entrepreneurs in their endeavors. I’ve been involved in start-ups/running business for almost 15 years now. Not squandering moments and challenging myself to reach – that is what I strive for each day. Kona will be no different – I will race knowing that the day and the moments within it are something I am lucky to have.

 

 

I am a part of Vixxen racing and will have teammate Liz West to share this years Kona with (pretty awesome!). My coach is Rachel Joyce and I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to be able to race “with” her at Kona. Hoping while I am on my way out on the Queen K,  I see her cruising into the finish in the lead 🙂 She is the absolute BEST 🙂

Weekend Preview: Harvest Moon

Triathlon Events

Saturday September 16th

 

Littlefoot Triathlon 

Lakewood


Q&A with Rachel Joyce: Women for Tri Fundraiser

Westminster


USAT Ultra Distance National Championships

Oklahoma City, OK


Sunday September 17th

 

5430 LC Triathlon (formerly Harvest Moon)

Boulder



Cycling Events

Thursday September 14th

 

USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships

Indianapolis, Ind


Friday September 15th

 

Pedal the Plains

Kersey, Keensburg, Brush


USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships

Indianapolis, Ind


Saturday September 16th

 

Blue Sky Cup CX

Longmont


Banana Belt MTB Race

Salida


Ride for Rhinos with Paul Sherwin

Denver


Trek Dirt Series Camp

Fruita


Tour de Vineyards

Palisade


Pedal the Plains

Kersey, Keensburg, Brush


USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships

Indianapolis, Ind


Sunday September 17th

 

Lucky Pie GP

Northglenn


Colorado League Race #2  – North Conference

Steamboat Springs


DUST2: Sunlight Camp Soaring

Pagosa Springs


Monarch Crest Crank

Salida


Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Race #4

Moab, Ut


Trek Dirt Series Camp

Fruita


Tour de Vineyards

Palidase


Pedal the Plains

Kersey, Keensburg, Brush

Q&A with Rachel Joyce/WFT Kona Silent Auction Fundraiser

Westminster

 

Silent Auction WFT Kona fundraiser hosted by Jamie along with special guest Rachel Joyce. Winner of Ironman Boulder 2017 and 2nd place finisher at Kona in 2013 & 2015. Rachel will do a speical Q&A at the start of the night.

As you most of you know Women for Tri blessed me with a unique opportunity to race Kona this year in memory of my hero and sister who lost her battle to Ovarian Cancer on April 9th.

I have lot’s of fun items to bid on and hope you can come join us for a night of fun to hopefully top off the last of my fundraising.

 

Event details here

IRONMAN Boulder 303Triathlon Recap

By Jen Findley

IRONMAN Boulder week is such a special week.  There are so many activities and events.  So much excitement and energy.  Hard to imagine that in the scope of life, it was over in the blink of an eye.

In case you didn’t have a chance to ‘see it all,’ 303Triathlon had you covered.  Here’s a recap of pre-race events, race-day coverage from predawn bag check and bus loading at Boulder High School to the last athlete crossing the finish line at about midnight Sunday night.

Shortly after the 2016 IRONMAN Boulder race was put to rest, we learned that the 2017 race would have a new Race Director.  We knew that Dave Christen would not let just anyone take over the event.  Tim Brosious was announced as the new race director.  I think we would all agree that Tim did an outstanding job.

So, here’s how the week went.

Thursday Events:

  • Paradox Sports in Eldorado Canyon
  • IRONMAN Staff loving their jobs
  • Team Colorado
  • Boulder Stroke & Stride
  • Pease Brothers at Big Ring Cycles
  • Storytime with Mike Reilly at Colorado Multi Sport

Read all about it HERE

 


Friday and Saturday Events:

Underpants Run
Opening Ceremonies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race day tips: athlete to athlete

 

 

Rachel Joyce on how she’s feeling going into race day HERE


Race Day Photos:

 

With our staff all over the course, we have so many photos!  Here are a few favorites and links to our Facebook albums.

 


No race would be complete with our a little controversy as several pro men were DQ’d, STORY HERE

 

New this year in our coverage was Rich Soares and 303Radio interviews with Pros, staff & officials and of course the fans.

Pro Interviews with TO, Matt Chrabot, Rachel Joyce and Heather Jackson HERE

 

 

Did you see our Facebook and Twitter Posts?  Great interviews with fans, families, athletes and staff.  From predawn bus load FB live to midnight last athlete across the finish line here.

Facebook videos HERE

Twitter Feed HERE


No event of any kind is successful with out volunteers

Jen Szabo, the best volunteer coordinator any RD could dream of!

Or a Recap video, this one by 303Tri’s Kenny Withrow:

We have such a great time on these big race days cheering for friends we know and friends in triathlon.  So proud of everyone who toed the line and crossed the finish to Mike Reilly’s voice bellowing ” Your Are An IRONMAN!”

Changes for the 2018 IRONMAN Boulder, including lower pricing, and ‘When Can I Register for Next Year?’ HERE

 

 

Rachel Joyce IM Boulder: “I feel fit; I feel healthy; I feel motivated”

From Rachel Joyce’s Blog

Pro Triathlete Rachel Joyce returns to racing this year after the birth of her first child. She writes about upcoming her feelings leading in to this weekend’s IRONMAN Boulder race:

Now I am 6 days out from Ironman Boulder. I’m nervous again. Training has been good but again my preparation is different to previous irons-distance preparations. I am drawing confidence from the fact that I can look back at some of my best races and know that my lead ins haven’t always been text book. . .

The key thing is that I believe in the process we have followed. I feel fit; I feel healthy; I feel motivated to race and if my experience of racing has taught me anything it’s that those three things alone are a good platform to be jumping into a race with. So here goes. I’ll report back on the other side of that 140.2 miles!