There are some canyons that exist between people: language, culture, etc. We are all far more alike than we are different. Today, while the team went for their first swim I made my way back to the hotel to assemble bikes. There’s no ride scheduled today – just an AM Swim and PM Run but I wanted to make sure the bikes survived the travel and to act on any issues that may have arisen.
I set up on the patio of our small hotel and unzipped bag after bag (seven in all) and found that within our differences, professionals who travel with bikes pretty much do the break-down and pack-up the same the world over. All bikes were health and ready to ride.
The team landed at LAX on time; Friday at 1pm, they didn’t clear customs and emerge from the depths of the Tom Bradley International Terminal until nearly 2pm. Everyone has western names so it makes things easy on a ‘Merican to pronounce: the coach is French, Cyrille, the Physical Therapist is Chinese, Roy. The athletes are all Chinese and they include two women: Angel and Joyce and three men: Dixon, Tim and Fun Fun. More will join us but that’s our starting number. We loaded the bike bags and luggage into my van and while they rode a rental car shuttle to acquire their vans, I followed to the rental lot. We got two more minivans: one is driven by Roy and the other by Cyrille. By the time we pulled on to the streets of Los Angeles it was nearly half past 3 and LA on a Friday afternoon is a bear! The freeway was out of the question so I plotted a route on the surface streets and up PCH along the ocean. We had a caravan of three and negotiating the traffic lights was tricky at times. I pulled into a gas station to check fuel on the vans and see if anyone needed anything: water, food, bathroom, etc. Tanks were full and only the drivers were awake – so much for viewing the coast and a sunset tour.
We stopped for coffee so the drivers could stay awake and we pulled into the Meadowlark Inn in Solvang at 6:40pm. I placed all the bikes in a store room and we got the athletes to bed. Tomorrow – swim/run.
Hong Kong/Solvang Triathlon Camp Primer….
I received an email from USA Triathlon that the Hong Kong Triathlon Federation was looking to do a camp in Solvang, California and that they needed some coaching help. I started down the path of investigating, applying and negotiating to work this gig. After a lot of back-n-forth via email, I’m committed and I’m super excited to take on the challenge.
Since I’m the “local hire” it’s easier for me to arrange a few of the details here. I have a van reserved so that I can pick up 7 bike bags and luggage at LAX and get them to Solvang, I’ve planned our rides in the Santa Ynez Valley and a few other “big ticket” items.
I’m also trying to prepare for the little stuff, for example; bikes get damaged in travel with great frequency and I didn’t want anyone to loose even one day of training. I requested details on the cycling equipment that the athletes are bringing – there’s a mix of Shimano, SRAM and Campy and bike brands are across the board as well: two Cervelos, one Gitane, a Bianchi, a Scott, and a Cannondale. In some ways it’s so much easier to be the mechanic for a pro-road team: everyone is on the same bike, groupo, stems, bars, saddles, everything! You need fewer tools and parts. Non-draft, age group camps are the hardest to prepare for (well, that and century rides) because the bits and pieces run the gamut. This camp will be somewhere in between. I packed my tools and ordered rear derailleur hangers (a fragile and mandatory bit of the bike that often gets bent/broken in travel) for each bike.
It’s fall in a big way, even here in Southern California the mornings are crisp and some of the energy comes out of the triathlon community. It’s not a time for rest though…it’s a time for mastery!
Most TTS athletes are guided by their coaches to….
- Improve Their Limiter: the weakest link in the three sports gets an overhaul with specific instruction (usually with video analysis) and frequent, short workouts that result in dramatic improvement.
- Strength: this is the time to get into some resistance training to either a) solve those areas that triathlon ignores (hip stabilizers, rear delt, etc), b) improve strength in prime movers and core and c) support and fully recovery any areas that have been prone to injury.
- Set Goals and Plan Races: the 2012 season will be on us soon enough and setting goals now can allow the training program to back up to today for precise guidance.
Sadly, a triathlete died during the swim in a triathlon in Colorado this past weekend. It’s rare to learn of fatalities in while competing in triathlons. Like baseball, softball, 10k races or cycling, we don’t typically associate death with our sport. It’s never news we want to hear here at Triathlon Training Series. We send our sincerest condolences to the wife, daughters, family and friends of the deceased triathlete’s surviving family.
While racing, training and competing in triathlons is serious business, death is a much more serious business all together. Though we don’t pretend to be medical experts or cardiac specialists, we were reminded of a situation not too dissimilar to the unfortunate death of the triathlete in Colorado. It occurred at a well known triathlon in Southern California. A participant with a known heart condition registered for the race, but neglected to fully disclose all medical conditions. This person had recently recovered from a major heart condition. It wasn’t until the diligent lifeguards and EMS evacuated him from the ocean and to the hospital that any knew that the racer had any sort of heart condition. It wasn’t until the triathlete was dead and resuscitated, that race officials and EMS teams learned of his secret heart condition.
A series of questions come to mind when we consider these two situations:
Should triathletes compete in races when they know they have heart conditions?
Should triathletes inform race directors that they do, in fact, have a heart condition of some sort?
Should triathlon race directors have the option, based on their knowledge of heart / medical conditions, to decline race registration?
We’d be remiss if we weren’t clear: Triathlon Training Series is simply posing serious questions that serious triathletes, race directors and readers should at least ask themselves. It definitely does not appear to be a cut and dried situation. This deals with death, safety, human relationships, emotion, health, determination, passion and liability. That is a powerful cocktail of emotions and variables.
Ultimately, we urge you to think, train and race responsibly. It is your decision. As it is the same decision for folks that have heart conditions to race in marathons, 10k races, triathlons and other races without problem. Like we said, this is a complex issue. What do you think? What would prevent you from entering a triathlon?
It’s interesting in life when things come full circle. The triathlon and multisport community is small and is full of unique characters. Rip Esselstyn is one of those folks. While he’s not affiliated with Triathlon Training Series, he’s been around long enough for us to notice the impact he has had on swimming, triathlon and nutrition.
In 1997 I was a nooby and I snuck into the pro meeting at the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon pretending to be Scott Tinley’s caddy or some such Fletch-ian story. At the pro meeting some dude kept asking hard questions, grilling the RD about start rules, current direction, his choice to ignore the recommendations of the guys who swam the course on that day and take a “straighter shot” to the swim exit and on and on. After the meeting I asked ST “who was that guy?” and Scott said “Rip Esselstyn, he’s a really good swimmer”. That was one of Rip’s last races as a professional, he retired from triathlon later that year and got hired on the fire department in Austin, Texas.
Over the last few years I’ve been shopping at Whole Foods a lot – full disclosure, I own a whopping 30 shares of Whole Foods stock and as long at CEO, Joe Mackey can keep away from using aliases on the “interwebs” those 30 shares might be worth a set of Hed Jet 6s some day soon. When I’m in Whole Foods, I see Rip Esselstyn’s book, The Engine 2 Diet. I foolishly assumed it was just another diet book; trendy or perhaps clichéd touting the low carb/high protein story. I expected it to be somewhere more authentic than the grapefruit diet, possibly with an angle like macrobiotic or maybe having a caveman bent. I’ve spent more time in line judging that book by its cover than keeping up on Jennifer Aniston’s relationships.
Last night I went to the movies here in Santa Monica to see a documentary called Forks over Knives – it promotes a plant based diet over animal products. There are too many incredible revelations in this film to recount; one of the biggest might be that animal proteins turn on cancer and plant based diets turn cancer off. Another person featured in the film (two actually) were diabetics who gave up all animal products and took on this whole food/plant based way of eating and no longer needed insulin – they were no longer diabetic, their pancreas started working again. I didn’t know that diabetes was reversible but it is and while most doctors simply throw pills and needles at this issue, and others, this movie shows that changing the way we eat will solve them as well, cheaper, better, faster.
Much of the film follows Doctor Caldwell Esselstyn, a former surgeon who did a 20 year study that shows heart disease can be prevented and reversed though a plant based diet. I didn’t really connect the Esselstyn name until, boom, there on the screen was former pro triathlete and son of Caldwell, Rip Esselstyn. Rip spoke of a firehouse bet that sent all his guys to get their cholesterol tested. A few of the firefighters had crazy high cholesterol and that same day the entire crew agreed to commit to a vegan diet for several weeks. At the end of that time they all got retested and everyone’s numbers plummeted into healthier, safer zones.
I’ve never met Rip directly but following him at this great, sporadic distance has been a pleasure. There’s a nice interview that Herbert Krabel did on Slowtwitch http://www.slowtwitch.com/News/Plant-strong_Rip_Esselstyn_791.html and if you get a chance to see Forks over knives, do it!
Those of you triathletes that have been taking part in the Ocean Speed Circuit in Santa Monica know many things. You know that all levels of triathletes show up for this fun set-your-own-pace triathlon workout. You also know that that forgetting to pay your parking will bring the wrath of all that is holy and Santa Monica down upon thy car and pocket book. But finally, you know that that there are very few surf showers for rinsing off after the open water swim.
While you may see this as an illustration of how much the city of Santa Monica loves triathletes and surfers, the truth is that that they are doing it to make these facilities fully accessible to our friends with disabilities. That’s a winning combo: disabled, triathletes and surfers. The new facilities will be accessible in 8 locations across the Santa Monica beach front.
Let’s face it, fellow triathletes. The showers are key to getting the grime of the ocean off of your skin. The showers provide a great way to wash the salt and pollution from your skin, hair and eyes. Also it enables us to wash our wetsuits with the ease and facility only found in our showers at home. That’s a huge!
The number of triathletes that show up for this open water workout have increased by leaps and bounds over the last few years. That means congestion at the showers. The overall layout of this new facility is going to prove to help all of us. Maybe…just maybe…we’ll see more friends with disabilities out there using the beach. We sure hope so.
Ian Murray of Triathlon Training Series Completes Epic 100 Mile Mountain Bike Adventure in Santa Monica Mountains in LA
Ian Murray, the co-founder of Triathlon Training Series triathlon DVD set, is known for being a genuinely nice person with a wealth triathlon knowledge. Some call him a guru in the triathlon scene because he’s done so much and been so dedicated to the sport. We simply call him Coach Ian. One of the things that Ian is known for amongst his friends and loved ones is challenging himself with uniquely awesome personal goals. A great example is his 100 mountain bike ride this past weekend in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles.
First, let’s start with the dirty details of his epic mountain bike ride. The overall time it took to pedal his mountain bike for 100 miles (exactly 97.85 miles) was 10 hours and 30 minutes. That is a long time to be in the saddle, folks. That’s longer than his Ironman time. Wow. Next, take a look at the overall elevation gain. He was able to climb for a total elevation gain of 12, 848 feet. That’s more climbing that most triathletes do in a month. At least the weather was good to him. It was a pleasant 66F.
Note that the below info was from one of the other 10 finishers in the group. Take a peak:
Now it’s time for some sexy graphs from his Garmin system. You as curious as I was about the details related to his heart rate and elevation profile? Of course, you are! Here’s the long and short of it. He didn’t break 200 bpm, but he sure did get close; topping out at 191. That’s some serious effort.
He topped out his climbing at 2,400 feet. One thing to notice is the section between miles 35 and 40. That portion is one heck of a ascent. That’s the sort of ascent that would make a professional mountain biker pedaling squares. Also, notice the spike in the heart rate during miles 75-80. That was one serious effort at the end of a long mountain bike ride. Could that have been the notorious section in Malibu called Bulldog? It must have been Bulldog or one of its litter mates.
Coach Ian’s route
“7am at the top of the 4th street stairs. We go up Amalfi, across Sunset and up Westridge to dirt Mulholland. Then we head west through the Hub, to Trippet Ranch in Topanga for our first water stop. Then down into Topanga and up Old Topanga to Red Rock Road. We go up and over Red Rock Road and onto Stunt. Stunt to Mullhalland then to Malibu Creek State park for water stop #2. Then we go through the MASH site and up Bulldog (which is tough!). Then we get on Backbone Trail at the top of Corral Canyon and take that west across Latigo, to the tunnel at Kanan Dume. Then we go Backbone a bit farther to Encinal and that’s the turn around spot.”
He managed to pass through Malibu Creek State Park at the very time that the Xterra Trail Race was happening. Great timing!
Coach Ian Murray of the Best Triathlon Training DVD on Collegiate Nationals CBS Sports Broadcast for USA Triathlon
That’s right, friends. You read correctly. Ian Murray, of the best triathlon training DVD on the market, was featured on the CBS Broadcast of the USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals. It aired in the middle of the men’s race. If you missed it, you missed some very relevant points about nutrition relevant to training and living a healthy lifestyle.
The focus of Coach Ian’s segment was focused on macro nutrients, such as fat. Not the bad stuff, but the complete protein that is key for our bodies to run at the best rate possible. He also went on to discuss the differences between low and high glycemic carbohydrates. It was all good stuff aimed at all of us- age grouper triathletes that want to race safely and live long. Winning combo!
The USAT Collegiate Nationals will be televised this past week and were sponsored by our old friends at Saucony. Make sure you TiVo/DVR the show on one of the following days!
May 2: 7-9pm Eastern (10pm – midnight Pacific)
May 3: 3-5pm Eastern (6-8pm Pacific)
120+ universities and more than 1,500 college triathletes competed for individual and team national bragging rights. The race was held in Tuscaloosa, AL. Wow. Can you say “humid”? Poor racers. We won’t spoil it for you and list the results in this article, but let’s just say that the great state of Colorado and Uncle Sam dominated in the womens and mens team competitions.
You’ll be surprised to hear that Cal Poly Triathlon Team didn’t bring the insane pain at the team level. That was a bit of a surprise, but we still love our Cal Poly friends and know that they had a solid showing this weekend at Wildflower. They always do. All that said, they did a GREAT job of placing in the top 12 at the team level at the USAT Collegiate Nationals.
Ian Murray and Triathlon Training Series Quoted in Lava Magazine’s Article about Open Water Swimming for Triathletes
So happy that Triathlon Training Series‘ own Ian Murray was able to add value to Lava Magazine‘s most recent article about open water swimming for Triathletes. As most of us triathletes know, open water swimming can be one of the most daunting components of triathlon. This is especially true for beginner triathletes and those prepping for their first triathlon.
True to form, Ryan Schneider delivered a top-shelf article. After setting the stage, he began with a very powerful summation from Ian Murray, Andy Potts, Gerry Rodrigues, Julie Dibens and Tom “La” Bomba. They were all in agreement: No matter how strong or skilled one is, it all comes down to how one *thinks* about open water swimming. That’s right, folks. Like with your ex, it’s a mind game. Get ready to kick the oceans butt with a full-on triathlon open water swimming mind smack down!
Anybody that is an open water swimming in the Los Angeles area are very familiar with Ian Murray, head coach of Triathlon Training Series and head coach of LA Triathlon Club, and Tim Bomba. Tim “La” Bomba is the person with whom every 1st time triathlete should speak. His well-known Ocean 101 clinics are a staple in the LA triathlon and open water swimming scene. These two guys represent the evolution of your open water swimming. If your a novice, you’ll begin with a guy/group like Tim “La” Bomba and then once you’ve got confidence and races under your belt, you’ll pay a visit to Ian Murray and Triathlon Training Series. This is where you’ll learn the finer points on efficiency, race strategy and making that open water swim that much tighter.
All that aside, it still comes down to how one *thinks* about open water. It’s a lot like life. Like your boy Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you are or you aren’t…you’re right.” If you think the open water swim is doable, achievable, fun and full of adventure then that will catapult your swim training. If you think Jaws is driving a submarine under your bacon fat coated feet waiting to gorge himself, then your competition has a leg up on you.
The long and short of it, triathletes, is that you need to get your mind like an elite athlete or a successful business person. Believe you can own the open water swim and that you’ll be fine. Keep on doing that and you’re 1/2 way there. The other 1/2 can be gained by purchasing our insanely popular triathlon DVD for triathletes.