PTO Announces Collins Cup, $2,000,000 Purse for Pro Triathletes, Same Weekend as Challenge Championship, Add to Bucket List?

LONDON, ENGLAND–BOULDER, USA, Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that the inaugural Collins Cup will be held on 29–30th May 2020 at the extraordinary x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Western Slovakia and will have a prize purse of over $2,000,000. It will bring together the greatest professional triathletes in the world in a team competition to do battle to see who dominates the sport. This is the home of Challenge Family’s The Championship event, which will be held the next day on 31 May. 

The Professional Triathletes Organisation partnered with Crankstart Investments, an investment vehicle for Michael Moritz, in establishing a platform for professional triathletes to begin to realize their goal of athlete self-determination.

Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented “This day has been long in coming and we are grateful to the great professional triathletes who have, through all their blood and sweat over many years, paved the way for this opportunity to materialise. The Collins Cup will be a true celebration of both the history and the future of the sport we love so much, and we look forward to hosting the event and engaging the entire triathlon community.”

Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community. We are very pleased to have teamed up with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz, who share our vision in the potential of the sport and the best means by which to see it grow and thrive.”

Modelled after golf’s Ryder Cup, The Collins Cup is a competition among USA, Europe and the Internationals. Each team will consist of 12 professional triathletes, six men and six women. Eight athletes, four men and four women, will earn a place on their respective teams by way of the PTO World Rankings™ System and the remaining four athletes, two men and two women, will be selected by the non-athlete PTO Board Members with advice from Team Captains.

The Team Captains for The Collins Cup 2020 are:

Collins Cup Captains' 2020

An athlete from each team will battle against one another in an individual race of three, so there will be 12 separate race matches, each staggered 10 minutes apart. Athletes will be awarded points for their team based on performances in their respective race match and the team with the most overall points from the 12 race matches will claim the spoils of The Collins Cup and bragging rights as the most dominant force in the sport. The team that finishes last will receive The Broke Spoke Trophy. Click here to view “How It Works”

Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, commented, “The format of USA vs Europe vs Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement for triathlon. By adopting a proven format like the Ryder Cup with its nationalistic intensity, and having a points system that creates drama throughout the race, The Collins Cup is designed to be a compelling live TV event that appeals not only to the fans of endurance sports, but also to the general sports enthusiast.”

Tim O’Donnell, Co-President of the PTO, commented, “We could not be more thrilled with the first Collins Cup being hosted at x-bionic® sphere in Samorin. The primary mission of the PTO is to celebrate the sport of triathlon. The Collins Cup, by bringing together legendary team captains to lead today’s top triathletes in a battle to see which region dominates the sport of triathlon, will not only be a riveting competition, but will serve as a platform for professionals and fans alike to celebrate our sport.”

Zibi Szlufcik, Chairman of CHALLENGEFAMILY, commented, “We are delighted to be working with the PTO to host the inaugural Collins Cup at the extraordinary x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Western Slovakia. The spectacular venue could not be more perfect for the PTO’s inaugural event and the weekend promises to be a triathlon celebration unlike any other.”

Mario Hoffman, owner of x-bionic® sphere stated “It is a great honour for Slovakia, Šamorín and x-bionic® sphere to host such a magnificent event. I can say for the whole team that we are thrilled to be a part of history and we are ready to help with our knowledge and vast experience in organizing huge international sports events.” Click here to view x-bionic® sphere.

Karen Hornbostel Time Trial Series; Special Deal for Triathletes

USA Triathlon and USA Cycling have been partnering more and more and now, partnering with the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC), triathletes holding a current USAT membership are being offered a significant incentive to try the Karen Hornbostel Time Trial series (KHMTT). There is hardly a better way to prepare for the upcoming triathlon season then participating in these early season time trial races.

Says Larry Potter of COBRAS cycling club who administers the series, “competitive bike racing really helps with that strength and speed training critical for triathlons.”

To attract triathletes to the series, Larry and his team worked hard with USAT, USAC and BRAC to offer the entire series, licenses included, for $199 for seven races. This is normally $280 but with a valid USAT license you can save almost 30%.

You will need to register by February 29th and the first race will be March 18th and Cherry Creek State Park. The rest of the races are: March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – Weather Make-up Date: May 6.

Click HERE to get all the details and to register.

Listen here for a full with interview on 303Radio with Larry Potter and Rich Soares: https://soundcloud.com/user-378274346/larry-potter-khmtt-2020-for-triathletes

Friends DO Let Friends Race Draft-Legal Tri–What a Blast!!

By Rich Soares

A couple of months ago some friends encouraged me to try our first draft-legal triathlon. I’ve been doing non-draft triathlons for nearly 15 years, and thought it was time to try something new. “First” experiences at my age are rare!

Tom, Todd and Rich

This wasn’t just any draft-legal race, this was the Sun Devil USA Triathlon Draft National Championship for age-groupers and collegiate athletes. As a veteran of IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, I was familiar with the area, except this transition area was on the opposite shore.

On my pre-race shakeout ride, I knew this was going to be a different experience. Packs of riders pre-riding the course passed me on my aluminum Cannondale (the same bike I did my first triathlon with) like I was standing still.

Khem Suthiwan and Rich

Later, in the practice swim, other swimmers passed me at rates leaving no doubt about the high competition level. This was Nationals after all!

On race morning, USAT officials screened every athlete for draft legal rule adherence before allowing entry. For instance, those with sleeved tops or aero bars were stopped. Officials encouraged a clean transition area by asking athletes to locate tri bags to a corner of the transition area, otherwise the transition was just like any other race, aside from the fact that the transition area was under a highway overpass.

As a beach start, the only thing that I noticed being different was the presence of a blue carpet spread across the beach, freshly swept to display numbered start positions which would be used by the NCAA teams later that day.

When the horn blew I felt like I was in a new, unfamiliar type of race. The best swimmers sprinted to the water and dove in with these graceful, arching dives that propelled them forward fast. Stroking and sighting in the 65 degree water, the remainder of the swim played out like any other open water swim.

Once on the bike, the differences of draft-legal racing quickly became apparent. The first pack passed me at dizzying speeds as I was still tightening my bike shoes. Just two minutes out of transition and I was by myself watching the pack speed away.

Before I processed what happened, someone else came upon me pulling half dozen riders behind him. I tried to jump on the last wheel, but within 30 seconds I fell off and enjoyed most of the first of three laps by myself.

On the second lap, I heard a new rider on my wheel. After clearing a couple of corners, he passed me. I jumped on his wheel and noted his Team USA kit with the name “Hefflefinger” on the backside. I soon realized there was another rider on my wheel.

After 30 seconds or so, Hefflefinger called me up for a pull. I was stoked to work with someone on this race! Here I am on the same aluminum road bike I rode in triathlons 14 years ago, riding in a draft-legal pack! I eagerly take the lead and am careful to not let adrenaline get the bettor of me. I don’t want to drop my new alliances!

We took turns pulling and near the Mill Avenue bridge, I heard a train of guys approaching from behind. As they passed, I made a knee jerk decision to go with them and jumped on the last wheel. As we turn the corner on College and over the hill, I maxed my effort trying to hold on to this new train of guys. We crested the hill, made the turn back over the hill and the caboose (that’s me) came off the back of the train.

Great – I’m starting the third lap the way I started the first – alone!

I abandoned Hefflefinger and the train left me to fend for myself. On the final crossing of the Mill Avenue bridge, I heard another group approach from behind. It was my new buddy Hefflefinger and a couple of other guys. Heff shouted, “jump on”! Relieved to be back with a group, I followed them for the last time and headed to transition.

I hit my lap button running out of T2 in :52 seconds. I saw a few Team USA kits ahead of me, but no Heff. I assessed how I felt about this pace while thinking about a nagging calf injury that kept me from running for a month. My only run; one mile at rest stop driving to this race from Denver!

I had no idea how this was going to go. I tried to catch an older guy in a Team USA kit, but can’t seem to close any distance. We ran through Tempe Town Lake park and onto the Ironman run course again with an out and back on the opposite side of the river from the finish line. I continued at a measured 5K pace until I hit the pedestrian bridge at just past two miles into the race. I increased the pace to the edge of what I think I can hold for the remaining half mile to the finish.

I heard foot steps behind me. I don’t want to get passed! I up the effort to squeeze whatever I have left to propel me to the finish!

I’m wiped! I almost throw up! THAT meant I probably raced beyond my fitness. This race tapped the adrenaline and allowed me to find a new level of effort.

I regrouped with my friends Tom and Todd to share our stories of the race, when Hefflefinger came by. We had a good chuckle about the race and working together. It took experiencing it to fully appreciated the magnitude of working with a group on a draft-legal race. The competition at the Nationals level is high in non-draft, but in draft-legal, it’s another level.

This is fast racing that is so stinking fun! The whole experience of being with friends and seeing familiar faces. I actually gave USAT President, Rocky Harris, a hug while still in my sweaty tri suit – sorry Rocky!

I had a decent race, placing 16th in my male 50-54 AG. I didn’t even come close to the top 10 to qualify for Team USA, but that’s not the point. I had an absolute blast and feel proud of the accomplishment and experience. I’m proud of getting outside of my comfort zone and trying something new for sure. But there’s more. I tapped into a rush of adrenaline yesterday that almost made vomit at the finish line! That’s cool!! Not the vomit part, but the tapping into that much human drive. I want more of it and I’ll be back for it next year!

Jeannete Sörensen Hickok

1. What are you most excited about in competing in Kona?

I started racing Ironman in 2011. I have chased my dream to qualify for Kona for over 10 years and it finally happened. I’m excited to just be there to breathe in the atmosphere, and compete with the best in the world.

2. What is your favorite career IRONMAN memory so far?

My 10th Ironman for sure. I had worked so hard with mental mindfulness that I was going to win my age group. I came out of swim almost last, not sure what I did,
but I was 18 min slower than I normally do an Ironman swim. I was so angry at myself, but I quickly changed my mood and reminded myself that anything can happen in an Ironman.
The race was not over. I biked in my time and got 1st place on the bike. it wasn’t until around mile 9 I was told by friends I was first, but that has happened before on my ironman races.
They all catch up with me and pass me. But this time I kept telling myself, I was number 1, and no one was going to take it from me.

When I was a mile away I could relax, although, I kept looking over my shoulder, I knew I had won and was going to KONA!!
What an incredible feeling, I will never forget!! 🌺

3. Is this your first time competing in Kona and if no how many other times have you done so?

Oh Yes, first time!!!!

4. If someone were watching that is new to the sport, what would you tell them is the coolest thing about being a triathlete and competing in this venue?

I would tell them triathlon becomes a lifestyle. Age doesn’t matter. Triathlon is not only about racing, it’s the journey and the camaraderie you find within the triathlon community.  Your confidence will grow and you start to look for more to challenge yourself. The ability to achieve something bigger than you could ever dream to accomplish is powerful. There is no limits.

5. What do you think is the hardest thing about doing an IRONMAN?

Commitment, never give up!!  Family support (although, I never had a problem, but I know many that do)  Positive Mindset; “Believe in yourself.”

Age Groupers Doping, Why? Social Media?

By Bill Plock

Yesterday, September 25, 2019, IRONMAN released a story (Article HERE) announcing the four year ban of four athletes who tested positive for doping. All age group athletes. Why?

Why does anyone use performance enhancing drugs? To win, do better, go faster of course, or maybe pressured by sponsors or teammates. Who knows. Pros or age groupers it’s against the rules, not moral or ethical and clearly not welcome in sports. At least with pros the ulterior motive of money and keeping sponsor contracts resonates. But age groupers? There is no prize money to age groupers in Kona–maybe some small sums in bike races. So what’s the deal?

Clearly egos, ultra competitive people and narcissists are driven so intensely by winning and maybe those things alone drive people with no money motivation to dope. But is there more?

Age groupers who win, who have social media skills, who are engaging, who know how to review products, who want to proclaim competency to perhaps coach might find some irrational, misplaced justification of doping to win at all cost. But really?

Is social media driving this? Is Strava and KOM’s and QOM’s and kudos’ driving some ego machine it’s worth doping? Or maybe the motivation is what comes with winning; social media followers, subscribers and dialog that captures the attention of advertisers and product managers trying to get free advertising by giving away a lot free products to influencers. Is that the game?

Look what’s happened to sponsorships of pro endurance athletes, particularly triathletes. The pie is getting pretty small. Why would a company pay a mediocre pro who isn’t so great at social media when they can give some free swag to a pop star like age grouper who is on the podium all the time and gladly willing to try to sell product?

More and more age groupers are failing drug tests. The blame of bad CBD quality control or extra poppy seeded bread is ridiculous. They know what they are doing.

Is the rise of drug use in the amateur ranks correlating with the rise of social media impact on the make up of marketing strategies?

It doesn’t excuse the unethical behavior but maybe it explains it? Or is it simply the cultural shifts due to social media, hyper connectivity and ultimately greater loneliness causing amateurs to win at all cost so they feel better about themselves? Who knows. I would love someone to tell us why they did it.

At the IRONMAN World Championships coming up in a couple of weeks, don’t be surprised if you get asked to give a sample at packet pickup.

Harvest Moon Celebrates 20 Years Yesterday!

By Bill Plock

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon Long Course held at the Boulder Reservoir. Aaron Calhoun, Brandon Wallace and Conrad Rodas were the top three male finishers. Kimberly Goodell, Kiki Silver and Susan Brooker stood on the podium for the women. All the results can be found HERE

The race was started by Racing Underground and held at Aurora reservoir for many years and moved to Boulder in 2016. Says Lance Panigutti, owner of Without Limits and race director of Harvest Moon, “If races could tell stories, the memories the Harvest Moon Long Course could share since the year 2000 would fill a book. Yesterday we celebrated our 20th birthday, and what a day it was. So many first timers completing their very first long course triathlon, and so many veterans enjoying what the Harvest Moon has become over the years. In 2009 Racing Underground sold us this event, and while more nervous than you could imagine, our goal was to carry on what they started – a locally focused, affordable, and friendly long course experience. We hope we’ve made them proud, and most importantly the Colorado community proud. We couldn’t have achieved this goal without the help of so many volunteers, the love of the local community, and many passionate staff members on the Without Limits A-Team. To each and everyone of them we we say “Thank you and we can’t wait for the next 20!”

About 450 athletes started the race featuring a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and a 13.1 mile run. Amy Miller, a first time participant at a distance longer than an Olympic said, “It’s a great venue, great race with lots of spectator support, but hard as hell!”

11th Annual Outdoor Divas All Women Triathlon

Longmont Aug 18, 2019—Union Reservoir hosted the 11th Annual Outdoor Divas All Women Triathlon by Without Limits and sponsored by Coeur Sports.

Casey Fleming took first place honors with Toni Brenzikofer finishing second and Nicole Overeem taking third.

Cracking the top ten and finishing 6th overall was 13 year old Jade Allen complete with an impressive, 2nd fastest run of the day, 19:35 5k run.

All in all almost 600 women started this race started 11 years ago by Outdoor Divas as a way to promote triathlon in a fun, inviting way encouraging women to try the sport.

Boulder’s Ryan Smith wins 2019 Leadville 100 with consistent second-half pacing

By Daniel Petty, courtesy of the Denver Post

Boulder’s Ryan Smith won the Leadville 100 trail run on Saturday night thanks to consistent second-half pacing that left his rivals unable to respond. It was the biggest win of his ultrarunning career.

a person standing next to a tree: Ryan Smith #931 races with Clare Gallagher, his pacesetter, during the Leadville trail 100 run on August 17, 2019, in Leadville.

© Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Ryan Smith #931 races with Clare Gallagher, his pacesetter, during the Leadville trail 100 run on August 17, 2019, in Leadville.

The Boulder-based runner, who came to the United States from the United Kingdom and works full-time a software engineer, was greeted at the finish by his wife and almost 2-year-old daughter. He turned 40 years old this year.Bath To Shower Conversions – See MoreDiscover & Browse Bath To Shower Conversions Now on ConsumerSearch!Sponsored by consumersearch.com

“There’s just a lot of running in the race,” Smith said, referring to the long flat sections along much of the course. “It really favors a flat runner rather than a mountain runner, and I typically do a lot of mountain stuff.”

His win — in 16 hours, 33 minutes, 25 seconds — was far from expected. Smith was not among the pre-race favorites to win, and he wasn’t feeling well leading into the Twin Lakes aid station near the 40-mile mark. But at the turnaround at Winfield, he held his pace steady, averaging around 10 minutes per mile for the rest of the race.

Read the rest HERE

Catching Up With ParaTriathlete, Kyle Coon

By Kyle Coon (July 1)

“Who wants it more? You or Brad?!” Derick yelled. My brain was foggy, sweat poured off me like I was my own personal rain cloud. I could feel the sweat pooling in my shoes and the shoe inserts beginning to bunch up at my toes. But Derick had said the magic words. I was already running at a sub 6 minute per mile pace but I knew that if I wanted there to be no doubt that I belonged on the Team that USA Triathlon selected for Tokyo next year I needed to push even harder. So with my heart thundering in my ears, my muscles screaming and my lungs burning, I cranked the treadmill speed up again. 5:30/mi, 5:15/mi, 5:00/mi, 4:52/mi…

“The Elite Paratriathlon Selection Committee can not decide who the better athlete is at this time and so they’ve elected to go with the athlete who’s points allow easier access into the top 12 in the world.”

“Bull shit!” I wanted to scream, but couldn’t since I was sitting on a bus riding back from Denver to Colorado Springs after having run a successful BolderBoulder 10K. I’d literally sat down in my seat and opened up my email and had gone from an immediate high to a crushing low.

Currently there are three of us in the American Male Visually Impaired Ranks who are battling it out for the opportunity to represent the United States in Tokyo 2020. Our top Male VI athlete—Aaron Scheidies–is recovering from injury and therefore it’s up to myself and Brad Snyder to pick up as many points as possible and get as highly ranked as possible in the world to ensure multiple slots at the world championship and multiple slots in the top 9 of the Paralympic Rankings. Given my performance at the CAMTRI American Championship where I’d taken 2nd to Aaron Scheidies by just 1 min 37 seconds, and where I finished 2 minutes and 34 seconds ahead of Brad it was decided that I would get the first World Paratriathlon Series start in Milan, Italy. I went to Italy and raced to a 3rd place finish—it turns out much to the surprise of everyone except myself and my coach. The only two guys to finish ahead of me were the guys who’d taken 1st and 3rd at the 2018 World Championship. So the only people to beat me in the 2019 season was the podium from 2018 Worlds—Dave Ellis, Aaron Scheidies, Hector Catala Laparra… I was feeling pretty good.

Brad was given the opportunity to race at the next World Paratriathlon Series Event in Yokohama, Japan. Brad was able to race to a 3rd place finish as well against a field that lacked anyone from the 2018 World Championship Podium. So I felt that I’d raced better against a stronger field so was confident I’d get the call to toe the start line in Montreal for the third installment of the World Paratriathlon Series. Not only that but I was on a very steep trajectory and if everything played out right I could improve on my 3rd place finish and begin collecting points for the Paralympic rankings which would open up on June 28, the same day as Montreal. Those hopes were crushed when USA Triathlon decided to send Brad Snyder to Montreal instead.

I was frustrated and bewildered. How could USA Triathlon say they didn’t know who the better athlete was? I’d decisively beaten Brad in consecutive races and had made the 2018 World Championship Podium finishers work their butts off to catch me thereby making them really earn their places ahead of me. After 48 hours of stewing over the “decision” and meeting with my coach and a USA Triathlon official who explained the decision further, I decided to just put my head down and train even harder. It wasn’t the first time I’d been doubted and it won’t be the last.

The Decision Explained

To the best of my knowledge here’s how to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the sport of Paratriathlon. Beginning on June 28, 2019, races will begin counting toward a separate Paralympic Ranking. The races that are eligible to be used as points collectors are the World Championship (valued at 700 points for 1st place), the World Paratriathlon Series Events (valued at 550 points for 1st place), the Continental Championships (valued at 500 points for 1st place) and the Paratriathlon World Cups (valued at 450 points for 1st place). How you get into each of these races is based on your World Ranking. The Paralympic Rankings will close on June 28, 2020. In the span of that 12 months we have the chance to race at these various races. Our top three races will be added together to get our Paralympic Ranking. The top 9 in the Paralympic Rankings will qualify slots for their country but no country can receive more than two qualifying slots. So even if the United States had three athletes ranked in the top 9 of the Paralympic Rankings, the US would only be allotted two slots. The USA can then decide to whom those two slots go.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has decided to have a 12 man field at the World Championships this year for the Visually Impaired category. Since World Championships are worth the most points in the Paralympic Rankings, USA Triathlon decided to try and get either Brad or myself into the top 12 in the world so we’d be assured two slots at Worlds and therefore have a good chance at finishing the 2019 season with two athletes ranked in the top 9 of the Paralympic Rankings. Then in early 2020 USA Triathlon will ensure that the best Visually Impaired Triathletes face off in a race and at that point it will be mano-e-mano and the top two athletes at that point will get the full support of USAT to ensure we both go to the games.

So how do I make sure I’m one of those two that goes to the games? Train hard, race harder, and rise to the occasion.

Six Months into this journey of being a full time ITU Paratriathlete, living and training at the Olympic/Paralympic Training Center, I’ve experienced some extreme highs (including two podium finishes and some truly unbelievable workouts where I pushed myself to new levels) and crushing lows (being left off the team that traveled to Montreal for the first opportunity to collect points toward Tokyo Qualification as well as some truly horrific workouts that left me broken and questioning why I’m doing this to myself).

It has been a learning experience managing the load and stress of training, knowing when to push hard and when to throttle back. When I need a break and when I need to just suck it up.

It was barely two weeks after USAT had made their decision regarding Montreal that I needed a mental break. I’d been hammering away for five months doing nothing but eat, sleep and train. I’d done little else but think about triathlon, run calculations on what it would take for me to get into the top 12 in the World Ranking; what paces I’d need to hold to ensure I finish ahead of the best triathletes in the world… And that stress was beginning to catch up with me. I struggled and fought through every workout trying to complete them perfectly only to fall short. My swimming in particular seemed to be reverting back to beginner level. Immediately after racing in Milan I was effortlessly gliding through the water at speeds I would’ve considered impossible a year before, now I struggled to hold the paces I’d held when I first moved to the training center in January.

I needed to get away and not think about triathlon for a couple of days, even just 24 hours would be a big relief. Fortunately the opportunity presented itself. A friend invited me for a weekend camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Having heard that the dunes were an amazing experience and not having camped in about six years I leaped at the chance. And I got my wish. While triathlon lingered at the back of my mind for about 36 hours I blissfully focused on running barefoot through hot sand, splashing in icy cold river water and enjoying a camp stove cup of coffee early in the morning. Tension that had gathered seemed to slowly melt away as I finally realized that my 2020 hopes weren’t over. I knew in my soul that I’m one of the two best triathletes in the country and when given the opportunity I’ll prove that I’m one of the best in the world.

Granted it’s not just me on this journey. I’ve received nothing but support from my friends and family as I pursue what really amounts to a very selfish pursuit. In particular I have to give my guide, Zack Goodman, some mad props for being so incredibly patient with me as I struggle with the highs and lows of this profession. Zack has been at times motivator, voice of reason, frustration sounding board, and ultimately a friend. Whereas I’ve just primarily been a premadonna pain in the ass ITU triathlete 

Between Zack and my coach, Derick Williamson, I’ve reached heights in the triathlon world I’d only fantasized about before now. And as they both continually remind me, the hard work is just getting started. I may be six months into this journey, but we have a long way to go on this road to Tokyo. So stay tuned because if there have been highs and lows in these first six months I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring!

2019 Six Month Statistics

Swim: 369762 yards (338100 meters)

Bike: 2250 miles (3620 kilometers)

Run: 526 miles (846.5 kilometers)

Races: 2

Podiums: 2 (2nd Place at American Continental Championships; 3rd at World Paratriathlon Series Milan)

Next Race: July 13, 2019 Magog Paratriathlon World Cup, Magog, Canada

Kirstens Race Tips for Boulder Peak

By Kirsten Smith (303 ambassador)

Here are some of my tips for a fun, successful race at the Boulder Peak Triathlon, especially if you are new to triathlon, new to Olympic distance or maybe just need a few reminders.

BEFORE RACE DAY: After picking up your race packet, read all the last minute race details, gather ALL your equipment, put your race numbers on and study the swim, bike, and run course—and sleep and relax as much as possible.

DAY BEFORE RACE DAY: Pack all your equipment into your car so you don’t forget it race morning, stay off your feet as much as possible, drink lots of water and if it’s hot add electrolytes, eat only foods your body is familiar with, eat dinner early, settle down early, set your alarm, and try to go to sleep early.

RACE MORNING: Wake up with plenty of time for something to take longer than expected, eat a breakfast you have practiced on racing/training mornings or something you eat every day, remember to grab anything not packed in the car (I put these things on a sticky note on the back of my phone), and leave with plenty of time for extra traffic into Boulder and a line into the parking lots at the Res.

WHEN YOU GET TO THE RACE: Rack your bike and lay out all your equipment and go through your race in your mind to make sure you have everything you need for each portion of the race, sip water or electrolytes throughout the morning, check your tire pressure, breathe, make sure you know your wave start time so you have plenty of time to get to the swim start, and do your planned warm up whether it’s in the water, on dryland, or just visualizing your race in your head.

SWIM: Each swim wave will have about 50 swimmers so seed yourself where you think you will finish within your wave. If you are a newbie to swimming/triathlon/open water, or are nervous about the swim at all, start off to the side or toward the back of the pack. And you don’t even HAVE to start with the pack! You can wait for the rest of the group to go and then you can get started so you don’t have to worry about being crowded by other swimmers at all. My best tip for the swim is to know that the first 3-5 minutes you will be out of breath and perhaps a little panicked, so when it happens it will be no big deal because you were expecting it!

T1: During the last few minutes of the swim, go over your list in your head of everything you need to do when you get to transition. Remember that your transition time counts toward your overall time, so if you have a time or age group place goal, make sure you hustle through transition. My best tip for T1 is to start taking your wetsuit off while running to your rack so that when you get there all you need to do is slip your feet out and while your sitting, throw on your bike shoes and helmet, and go!! 

BIKE: I made a video about how to ride the bike course on my facebook page www.facebook.com/foodfitnessfinancefunif you are unfamiliar with the bike course. Since the course is a gradual incline leading up to Lee Hill and then a big hill to the top of Olde Stage, I would just relax and spin in a lower gear at a higher cadence for the first few miles of the course. Don’t be afraid to get out of breath or push your legs up the hill as it is short, and once you are at the top, you have essentially 18 miles of downhill. My best tip for the bike is to stay hydrated with electrolytes EVEN IF IT’S COOLER AND YOU DON’T FEEL THIRSTY. This will affect you later in your race when it does get hot. If you have ever heard the term “stay ahead of your nutrition” that is what it means. Drink/eat for how you want to perform an hour later. 

T2: Again, a few minutes before your bike finish, go over in your head what you will be doing in T2. I start thinking about it about 2 miles out and repeat it in my head over and over and over until I get there. Rack your bike, switch shoes, put on a hat/sunglasses, grab your race belt/drink, chapstick, anything else you need for the run and GO! Get out of there! My best T2 tip for a good finishing time is to practice these transitions as a race/goal can be achieved by minimizing transition times!

RUN: It is almost a guarantee the run will be HOT! And the course is very exposed meaning NO SHADE! Do not skip aid stations! My best tip for the run: At every aid station drink an electrolyte drink and pour water over your head. Keep yourself wet as much as you can. If there is ice, put it in your top AND bottoms and hold ice in your hands until the next aid station and then repeat! The other thing I do during a hot run is come up with mantras I repeat over and over to myself like “I am solar powered and I run better with the sun”, “the heat makes me stronger and faster”, and “I’m so glad it’s hot out, I run way better in the heat!” You will be surprised how much power your thoughts have over your body!

Overall, the best advice I can give you for any race is to prepare for the worst but expect the best. To do this I go over any scenario during the swim, bike, run, and transitions that can go wrong and what I would do about it. Mechanicals, nutrition fails, cramps, thoughts of quitting, pains, weather, and any other problems that could arise. Figure out what you would do in any situation, and then don’t think or worry about it again. After that, as many times as you can throughout your days leading up to the race, visualize your perfect race. What it will be like and feel like when executed perfectly. This is what you will focus on for the rest of your time before race day!!

Oh and of course HAVE FUN!!!