Page 1


mirinda

ran in the k-ruuz

dirk

ran in the k-ruuz

great luke

andreas ran in the k-ruuz

ran in the k-Ona


leanda

ran in the kwicky Blade-light

run way to kill it in kona!

get yOurs at kswiss.com


MAHALO

TO ALL OF OUR FANS AND ATHLETES, INCLUDING... Steffen, Caroline Van Lierde, Frederik Thuerig, Karin Csoke, Balazs Nishiuchi, Hiroyuki Joyce, Rachel Ellis, Mary Beth Lawn, Joanna Nishiuchi, Maki Zelenkova, Lucie Van Vlerken Yvonne Vernay, Patrick Morrison, Catriona Alldritt, Miranda Ogden, Courtney Inkinen, Sami Gardner, Andy Ferreira Da Silva Neto, A Brunold, Thomas Coppock, Xavier Schnur, Sean Bosl, Michael Veenstra, Jacob Sander, Elias Cordovez, Pedro Schabort, Jeddie Winkler, Shaun Forlani, Simone Hauth, Chris Williams, Benjamin Gionet, Brad Mercier, Bruno Hotz, Marcel Eagan, Joseph Martin, Owen Williams, Brad Colpaert, Bart Johnston, Chad Shypitka, Robert Muldoon, Martin Vohmann, Adam Corredor Panadero, David Shebest, Bob Danish, Michael Riley, Todd Schoelen, Henning Bradford, Nathan Coffen, Jonathan Leon, Pedro Canham, Roger Constans, Arnaud Schubnell, Andre O Gorman, Ivan Nugent, Terry Pinket, Philip Zrnic, Dalibor Chaney, C. Scott Bonsell, Shawn Veldhuis, Bert Auger, Emmanuel Morgenfeld, Todd Lobato, Cesar Schweighofer, Georg Piampiano, Sarah Croft, Sheila Breadsell, Peter Hanson, Matthew Yapp, Peter Verk, Philip Doi, Keish Brikovskis, Atis Briquez, StÈphane Sovierzoski, Eduardo Picard, Raynard Evett, Francis Sikkema, Harry Miller, Brett Wormald, Robert Blanco, Richard Neto, Brasilio Walder, Michael Richdale, Scott Pfeifer, Jeff Frohli, Reto Breuer, Rainer Stauble, Beat Martin Egea, Ramon Schaaf, Constantin Kaminski, Brian Bos, Eric Nocera, M. Chris Coady, Kevin Sheehan, Greg Hallsten, Fredrik Paul, Carlo Sosa, Arthur Burdett, Jim Lopez, Gustavo Kallfelz, Andrew Sakurai, Ryuta McCarty, Erin Miranda, Rodrigo Maves, Steve Chalencon, Dominique Capobianco, Jeffrey Ford, Mark Charbeneau, Greg Morreau, Philip Eriksen, Jens Puetz, Thorsten Koschier, Marco Cormann, Bernd Erat, Pablo White, Paul Baillet, Olivier Keenan, Mike Yoshimura, Naoto Whitby, Brandon McLean, Ben Adell Reverter, Antonio J Potter, John Discher, Dean Earley, Travis Wacker, Roger Hill, Rob Hidber, Reto Flint, Glen Kriege, Markus Jorda Nogales, Eduard Kristensen, Allan Angelastri, Sandro Shutt, Beth Yvars, Eric Garnitschnig, Reinhold Niemeyer, Shane Beauregard, Alan Piesanen, Tapio Picicci, Sam Anderson, Morgan Buchanan, Trevor Fletcher, Andrew Stephenson, Nell Herman, Rafal Norberg, Olof Donley, Shannon Pak, Minsok Robertson, Marc Balabuck, Jonathan Barker, John Karcher, Mario Cardoso Jr, Cid Nykvist, Johan Ribeiro, Bernardo Lawson, Jessica Beck, Curt Walton, Luke Waterstraat, Elizabeth Fortin, Yves Cocusse, Dominique Friedman, Josh Suess, Eric Almendro Enrique, Ruben Van Biervliet, Sophie Moats, Kevin Keith, Lowell Bursell, John Hern, Blake Araki, Takeshi Thrower, Mitch Bancroft, Angela Gries, Susanne Safstrom, Nicklas Toriggino, Christopher Clark, Peter Milot, Michelle Hallett, Kristy Joly, Christophe Krabbe, Bryan Smith, Reilly McCluskey, Dan Wenzel, Peter Utsumi, Yoshitomo Sarries, Sebastian Rodgers, Tom Hand, Justin BÈolet, CÈdric Thomas, Kathryn Ishida, Tsutomu Boschker, Grada Berry, Chip Winkler, Kathy Enslin, Michelle Medak, Rafal Tiner, Chelsea Bliss, Neilia Salvat, Gerald Cauffope, Genevieve Estrada, Humberto Vargas, Christopher Eveleigh, Rebecca Olney, Tobias Miller, Brian Kanayama, Yoshihisa Heep, Reimond Stewart, Brett Birner, Anja Bakk, Britni Mori, Masaki Lorz, Felix Meissner, Niels Flynn, Elizabeth Sophiea, Laura Fowler, Paul Tesch, Pedro Azambuja, Alex Gerber, Stephanus McClurg, Erica Renshaw, Kerri Patterson, Stephen Hart, Ellen Jackel, Rick O’Malley, Russell Graham, Doug Obsitos, Monica Spear-Burrows, Gina Dimichele, Leslie Kukta, Stephen Bruce, Andrew


Germann, DÈsirÈe Holst, Tine Knutson, Cathleen Inch, Matt Jackson, Tana Kachinsky, Christine Ponette-Maldonado, Karen Thijs, Erik Quittot, Sylvie McEwan, Ross Kehoe, Danielle Turner, Jamie Stueckle, Wolfgang Canale, Carlos Sieber, Bryan Clarke, Angela Hollinger, Warren Spencer, Rhys Simmons, Michelle Valena, Tomas Pritchard, Michael Malmkvist, Helene Glynn, Tom Adams, Jason Zucker, David Ramirez, Madian Vaillancourt, Jennifer Takahashi, Hidekazu Scott, David Zavala, Leslie Lass, Barry Fix, Sara Wien, Mike Gaulin, Myles Grosse, Carmen Medak, Alicja Cantwell, Dane Paradis, Lilia Matherly, Gail Antl, Jˆrg Montgomery, Michael Simpson, Rick Anderson, Donna Schmidt, Angie Disch, Martina Paige, Becky Tindale Fox, Carmel Messina, Luca Thilges, Anne Wenster, Alison Charles, Lee Taylor, Marty Fox, Thomas Brayman, Andrea Hines, Fred Brown, Sarah Southwood, Taunton DeBonis, Jeanne Truskett, Merryn Bingham, Stephen Naelon, Ashley Fisher, Frank Baker, Mark Decker, James Haywood, Robin Olsson, Jan Frank, Jill Tobiason, Mary Mijwaart, Gerrit Tout, Richard Jakobljevich, Andrea Bramann, Jennifer Dagasso, Jane McIntosh, Peter Carpo, Amanda Micoleau, Sandrine Asbury, Robin Kelly, Richard Kostic, Milos Min, Jami Braun, Susanne Akenhead, Susan Gaspari, Alberto Irby, Della Hall, Thomas Siemelink, Catherine McDonald, Candice Mertens, Ann Mertens, Marc Stevenson, Anne Shane, Ray Pak, Joseph Van Skaik, Michael Smith, Donald Fry, Jill Jeukendrup, Asker Valverde, Alex Hogan, Jenny Reed, Pam Daggett, David Beermann, Ludger Butterworth, Simon Scheiner, Rachel Rosenman, Andrew Barlow, Amanda Reese, Colin Kirker, Jill Cook, William Bess, Andrea Hibbert, Amy Lavin, Kristine Herd, Eddie Baulderstone, James Clendenin, Gary McNamara, Kevin Nauck, Richard Hinterberger, Elke Bryden, Grant Tibbetts, Cathy Munemasa, Yoshihito Shinners, Thomas Musselman, Joey-Lynn Araujo, Katie Morrison, Marilyn Kelly, Colm Lindahl, Helena Smith, Steven Fish, Kenneth Kern, Steven O’Brien, Peter Ransom, Lisa Poonsaengsathit, Ronald Edwards, Kelly Sato, Ryoko Flanagan, Will Jones, Carter Klepinger, Kathryn Olacke, Becky Pistana, Tommy Molthen, Dave Martyn, Craig Kuwaye, Scot Isabelle, Rob Ybarra, Steve Branch, Christopher Blakie, Eric Baumgartner, Kimberly Batiste, Corey Ayoub, Arlene Clancy, Sean Hickman, Lynda Bell, Sarah M ertens, Tom Osborne, Wendy Maes, Kristel Johnson, Tony Greentree, William Werd, Matt Fransson, Par Woo, Wily Honeychurch, Denis Swaneveld, Tony Gleason, Scott Roohi, Molly Vargas, Luis Reithmeier, Dieter Rose, Cherryl McCaig, Thomas Pluscec, Davor Johnson, Clarence Lakamp, Jay Mertens, Anton Hollander, Lew Abbene, Mike Burgess, Gail Picardo, Robert Ackermann, Louis Molloy, Matt Goodman, Nicholas Suarez, Luis Simpson, Rick Ankele Jr, William P Schoch, Willy O’Connor,Ryan Robles, David Kaulmann, Karin Tesar, Bernd Fry, James Leatherbury, Bishop Gil, Daniel….and all the ones we may have missed.

Thanks for making Cervélo the number one bike brand in Kona* for the sixth year in a row. *2011 Kona Bike Count Cervélo Cycles Inc has made an effort to compile an accurate list of these participants however there is no guarantee that the list is without error. Cervélo and Vroomen-White-Design are trademarks owned or used under license by Cervélo Cycles Inc.

Phil White

Photos by: David McColm


CANNONDALE CONGRATULATES

4X WORLD CHAMPION, CHRISSIE WELLINGTON. Chrissie Wellington wins her fourth Ironman® World Championship aboard her Cannondale Slice. With its slippery aerodynamics, stable geometry and energy-efficient SAVE anti-vibration technology, it’s no wonder that Chrissie calls it her “secret weapon”.

createtheperfectride.com


Julie Dibens* upgraded.** So can you.***

* 2011 Kona Ironman速 World Championships fastest bike leg: 4:44:14 ** Aeolus 9 D3 rear, Aeolus 5 D3 front *** bontrager.com/aeolus


At Trek we’re obsessed with time. We’re driven to beat it. To hide from it. To steal it. And to help the best athletes in the world ride away from it. At Trek, we’re driven by time so you have more of it. Find out how at www.trekbikes.com/speedconcept

Julie Dibens – 2011 Ironman Coeur D’Alene Champion and 2X World 70.3 Champion


010 : LINEUP

LAVA publisher JOHN DUKE heathergordon@ironman.com

:

jayprasuhn@ironman.com

johnduke@ironman.com

editor BRAD CULP

:

:

:

KIRK BAUSCH

bradculp@ironman.com

ericakrystek@ironman.com

:

:

senior editor JAY PRASUHN

jenniferward@ironman.com

:

:

sammytillery@ironman.com

: online editor

senior account executive LISA BILOTTI

account executive SEAN WATKINS kirkbausch@ironman.com

susanlegacki@ironman.com

senior photographer DONALD MIRALLE

photo editor SAMMY TILLERY

JENNIFER WARD BARBER lisabilotti@ironman.com

associate publisher HEATHER GORDON

features editor SUSAN GRANT-LEGACKI

art director ERICA KRYSTEK donald@donaldmiralle.com

:

seanwatkins@ironman.com

:

account executive LAURA AGCAOILI

office manager KAYLA NEWBY-FRASER

account executive lauraagcaoili@ironman.com

kayla@ironman.com

Phone 858.366.4444 : Fax 858.504.7062 : Subscriptions & Customer Service 800.839.4537; lavamag@pcspublink.com Circulation Inquiries heathergordon@ironman.com : Editorial Inquiries bradculp@ironman.com : Web Site www.lavamagazine.com

LAVA. (ISSN 2155-1081), World Triathlon Corporation, 514 Via de la Valle, Suite 300, Solana Beach, CA 92075-2718, is published nine times per year (Feb/Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct/Nov, Dec/Jan). The entire contents of LAVA are copywrited and may not be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without written consent. LAVA速 and Serious Triathlon速 are trademarks of World Triathlon Corporation. Basic subscription rate is $29.95, Canadian remit $56.50 in US funds (includes GST), other international mail $76.30 in US funds only. Postmaster: Send address changes to LAVA, PO Box 469023, Escondido, CA 92046. Printed in the U.S.A. Subscribe, renew, give a gift, report missing issues, pay your bill and change your address at lavamagazine.com lavamagazine.com


CONGRATS CONGRATS CROWIE

Distance S

Congratulations Craig “Crowie” Alexander. 2011 Ironman champion. Five-time World Champion. And new Ironman course record holder at 8:03:56. We’re honored to be a part of your team. NEWTONRUNNING.COM


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Photo credit: Eric Wynn

ANDY POTTS Kestrel thanks Andy Potts for a great Kona performance.


First American to the Finish First out of the water with two minutes ahead of the competition, Andy Potts and his Kestrel 4000 had all eyes fixed on them as they, together, became first to hit the Kona bike course. Andy was the first American to cross the finish line at the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship Saturday, storming across the line 17th after conquering the day’s grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run through the island’s scorching lava fields. We’re proud to have been with Andy during his strong Kona showing.

THE KONA PROVEN KESTREL 4000 LTD

THE FIRST NAME

IN CARBON FIBER

For more on Andy’s Kona experience join us at kestrelbicycles.com and facebook.com/kestrelbicycles.


HOLY SHIV!

13:14

AFTER FOUR YEARS OF CONSISTENT BIKE LEGS AT KONA (4:37:19 TO 4:39:35), CRAIG “CROWIE” ALEXANDER CLIMBED IN THE NEW SPECIALIZED SHIV AND STOMPED OUT A 4:24:05 EN ROUTE TO A COURSE RECORD OF 8:03:56 AND A 2011 FORD IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE. “IT’S A TOTAL ROCKETSHIP THAT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.” IN ROAD CYCLING, IT IS, BUT THIS IS TRIATHLON. LEARN THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SPEED AT SPECIALIZED.COM/SHIV


022 : LAVA FLOW

DECEMBER : JANUARY, 2012

ISSUE 09 THE IRONMAN ISSUE

features

welcome

TRAINING T

024 : LAVA ONLINE

086 : THE BREAKING GAME

124 : TRAINING FEATURE

026 : EDITOR’S NOTE

How Craig Alexander broke a 15-year-old course record and became a triple Ironman world champion.

2012 jump start: Advice for a successful off season

028 : CONTRIBUTORS

By Brad Culp

By Cliff English

030 : THE BUZZ

104 : THE GOOD YEAR Chrissie Wellington had to wait a year to win back her Kona crown, but she wasn’t the only one out there with something to prove.

032 : iTRI Money manager and father of four Mark Holowesko

By Susan Grant-Legacki

By Jay Prasuhn

132 : COACH’S COUNSEL Positive gains: Resistance train the right way in the off season By Troy Jacobson

136 : SIDELINED Leg spin: Find your optimal cadence

034 : SEEN & HEARD

086

036 : OFF THE FRONT

By Matt Kraemer, PT, ATC, CSCS & Nathan Koch, PT, ATC

140 : THE FULL SPECTRUM

Jordan Waxman vs. The Wall Street Journal

The fast exec: The right training recipe for the busiest athlete

By Jim Gourley

By Matt Dixon, MSc

148 : TO YOUR HEALTH Unconventional and fast: Sometimes atypical training is just what you need to meet your goals

GEAR G 044 : THE YEAR IN GEAR

By Ben Greenfield

Our top picks for 2012 By Jay Prasuhn

154 : THE HYPE

068 : KONA PRODUCT COUNT

Heat hacking part II: The verdict is in on the heat-hacking experiment

The results from Hawaii are in

By Ben Greenfield

070 : RAPP REPORT

158 : COMPETITIVE EDGE

On the opacity of “white paper”: Wind tunnel data is all the rage, but what does it really tell us?

104

By Jordan Rapp

Unplug and tune in: Want to improve your performance? Lay off the GPS for a while By Mark Allen

078 : WORKBENCH Forefoot varus: The key to proper biomechanics and comfort

RACING R

By Mark Deterline

166 : IN FOCUS Ironman 70.3 Worlds, Hy-Vee Triathlon, XTERRA USA Championship and XTERRA World Championship

176 : BOARDING PASS

ON THE COVER: A school of fish checks out the Hawaii Ironman swim start in Kailua Bay. PHOTO DONALD MIRALLE

lavamagazine.com

donald miralle

Triathlon’s scandinavian awakening: Challenge Copenhagen delivers By Susan Grant-Legacki

192 : THE LAST WORD Andy Potts vs. T.J. Tollakson


CHRISSIE WELLINGTON, CRAIG ALEXANDER and MIRINDA CARFRAE:

CRAIG ALEXANDER

MIRINDA CARFRAE

3x Ford Ironman World Champion 2011 Ford Ironman World Champion

1x Ford Ironman World Champion 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship 2ND PLACE

Photo: John Segesta

CHRISSIE WELLINGTON

4x Ford Ironman World Champion 2011 Ford Ironman World Champion

Chrissie, Craig and Mirinda’s 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship performances went beyond the limits of COMMITMENT. We are proud, honored and we thank you. Special thanks to all committed fi’zi:k triathletes who raced in Kona, making us the number one chosen saddle brand for the 4th consecutive year. From Italy, grazie.


024 : LAVAMAGAZINE.COM

KAYENNE™

DECEMBER : JANUARY, 2012

LAVA ONLINE

long lasting comfort

Scan with a QR app to watch the interview

Scan with a QR app to read the article

Web exclusive: Read Crowie’s reflections on his first week wearing the Kona crown once again, and watch our post-race video with Chrissie by scanning the codes above.

EXTRAS ➊ Catch up on all the coverage you might have missed on our website at lavamagazine.com/kona. There you can read Dustin Brady’s race report from a hard-wrought promise to his late fiancée (that took him 16 hours and 40 minutes), discover four out-of-the-way Kona gems for next year, and see all our photo galleries from the day.

congratulations! …to our Oakley caption contest winner, Nicholas Hardrath of Wisconsin. His caption for this photo won him a custommade pair of Oakley’s. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay abreast of upcoming giveaways and contests.

SCAN TO LEARN MORE

www.aquasphereswim.com lavamagazine.com

“It’s been wind tunnel tested that holding a bib number in your mouth through T2 provides faster split times.”

featured columnist MARNI SUMBAL is a RD (Registered Dietician) who can also put the initials IM behind her name. She has completed five Ironmans, and is a two-time Ironman World Championship finisher, including clocking an impressive 11:02:14 this year in the lava fields. Each month in “Plates Not Pills,” Marni offers a fully researched look at a vitamin, nutrient, or mineral that the average triathlete might not be paying enough attention to in his or her diet. But she doesn’t stop there. By providing an innovative, healthy recipe to accompany her article, she makes it easier for all of us to achieve better nutrition in our daily lives. Visit lavamagazine.com/author/MarniSumbal for all of her columns so far (calcium, fiber, and vitamin C). Visit her blog www.trimarni.blogspot.com for a full recap of her tough-as-nails day in Kona this year.


NEW

WTC APPROVED

ENERGIZE SPEEDSUIT

Wearing Kayenne goggles and Energize SpeedSuit

TERENZO BOZZONE Ironman World Champion 70.3

featuring

The Energize compression SpeedSuit was

designed to protect the core muscles and improve performance. Utilizing Aqua Sphere’s Dynamix compression textile, the Energize SpeedSuit streamlines the body and reduces muscle vibrations during the swim, keeping the muscles fresh for the bike and run.

www.aquasphereswim.com


026 : EDITOR’S NOTE

Before it’s too late

“I

f you want to do something, do it before it’s too late.” Hawaii Ironman competitor number 1556 had those words painted on the top tube of his bike, and it was a very appropriate mantra for his day. For 33-year-old Dustin Brady from San Clemente, Calif., there was no specific time goal. His race in Kona was all about getting to the finish before midnight—before it was too late to call himself an Ironman. He knew well before the race started that he’d be cutting it very close. The words he had emblazoned on his frame came from his late fiancée, Michelle Weiser, who was entirely responsible for Brady’s remarkable Ironman finish. Were it not for Weiser losing her fight with metastatic breast cancer last year, there’s simply no chance Brady would’ve been there. Thanks to Weiser, he didn’t have a choice. Upon learning from her doctors that her cancer was terminal in early June of 2010, Weiser’s immediate concern was for her loved ones and most especially Brady. “What are you going to do when I’m gone?” she asked him while they sat in her doctor’s office and let the news sink in. “I’m going to do an Ironman,” Brady responded. “You promise?” Weiser asked. A few months earlier, while the two sat and watched the final finishers in Kona, Brady had joked that he would do the race one day. Now she wanted a commitment. She wouldn’t be around to keep him in check on this one. They shook hands. No going back. Weiser wanted her fiancé to get healthy again. Brady is very overworked, a little overweight, and diabetic. As Shimano’s marketing brass for all things triathlon, cycling and mountain biking, his downtime has been pretty slim for the past few years. He often makes multiple trips to Asia in a single month. It’s not the ideal lifestyle for training for Ironman, but Brady would have to make do. Weiser passed away on July 5, 2010, just a week after her 42nd birthday. Brady immediately got to work setting up a charity in her memory— appropriately called “F&CK CANCER”—in honor of Michelle’s “sass and lust for life,” as Brady puts it. For Weiser, saying “F you” to cancer was about taking control of her life and turning the negativity associated with the disease into a positive for

those around her. I had the pleasure of meeting Weiser twice while she was battling cancer. To say that she had a positive attitude would be a huge understatement. As Brady got busy with the F&CK CANCER movement, he also got busy training, or at least as busy training as his ridiculous travel schedule would allow. He was awarded an entry into this year’s Hawaii Ironman, squeezed in a small fraction of the recommended training for such an event, and found himself wading into Kailua Bay alongside 1,800 of the world’s fittest people on the morning of October 8. It was a long day for Brady, to say the least. He had a lot of trouble swimming in a straight line. He had to stop and check his blood sugar half a dozen times on the bike. His feet were covered with blisters only 10 miles into the run. It didn’t matter; Michelle was with him the entire way—literally. On the bike and run Brady carried a small urn containing Weiser’s ashes with “I promise 10-8-11” (the race date) engraved on the lid. Brady was slightly delirious when he made it to the finish at 11:40 p.m.—just 20 minutes before the cutoff. Sensing he needed some help, a group of volunteers did their best to steer him straight into the medical tent, but Brady had one last order of business. He stumbled down to Dig Me Beach, where his day had begun 16 hours and 40 minutes earlier, and emptied Weiser’s ashes into the Pacific. Promise kept. At just about any race around the world you’ll meet people with incredible stories of what got them to the start, but year after year, the best stories in this sport come from the Hawaii Ironman. It is truly an event unlike any other, pushing people from all walks of life to places they never thought they could go. There was no shortage of good stories at this year’s race—from Craig Alexander becoming the fastest person ever to compete in Hawaii (see Page 86) to Chrissie Wellington digging deeper than we’ve ever seen her dig before (see Page 104). There’s always plenty of drama at the front of the race, but sometimes the best stories are happening a little farther back—or a lot farther back in Brady’s case. LAVA

To learn more about F&CK CANCER, visit Fcancerup.com.

Aloha,

Brad Culp To read Brady’s entire race report, visit www.lavamagazine.com/brady lavamagazine.com


Photo: Nick Salazar

ON FIRECREST! Legacies are forged in demanding places. The most-chosen wheel in Kona helped Switzerland’s Karin Thürig smash her own bike-course record at the Ford Ironman® World Championship. She maximized the speed and stability of her 404 Firecrest front and 808 Firecrest rear wheels to scorch the 112-mile cycling leg through Kona’s wind-swept lava fields. Thürig’s time of 4:44:20 broke her previous mark, also set on Zipp wheels. This advantage is not just for the pros. With almost 60 percent of all aero wheels in triathlon’s greatest race, Zipp again was the clear favorite in the Kona Bike Count. More are choosing Firecrest, with its revolutionary wide profile, for improved speed and handling to achieve their own personal bests.

Experience FirecrestTM technology for yourself with 303, 404 and 808 wheelsets in Tubular or Carbon Clincher.


028 : CONTRIBUTORS

An internationally recognized lensman, Larry Rosa specializes in capturing the emotion and action of the event and its athletes. Focusing on triathlon, marathon and cycling, his photos appear everywhere from fitness magazines around the world to a recent Wheaties box. Rosa’s work can be found throughout the Gear and Training sections of LAVA. See more of his stuff at Larryrosa.com.

LARRY ROSA

MARK DETERLINE

jordan rapp

Eva van emden

Jordan Rapp (“Rapp Report,” Page 70) graduated with a BSE in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 2002. After an interminable year behind a desk, he returned to his roots turning wrenches on vintage race cars as he pursued his newfound love of triathlon, turning pro in 2005. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking bacon, eating bacon and reading Wikipedia.

lavamagazine.com

A bike industry veteran of almost 20 years, Mark Deterline (“Workbench,” Page 78) is a product tester and writer for U.S. and Italian cycling publications. He has managed and raced for elite Northern California cycling teams since 2006, founding the Fremont Bank Team. He is a ski instructor, marathoner, cycling coach and mountain biker. Find out more about Mark and his coaching services at Plan7coaching.com.

Eva van Emden has been copy editing LAVA from the start. She’s a freelance editor who, when she’s not working on LAVA, can be found editing books, magazines, and scientific and technical writing. Eva started doing tris in 2005 and ended up a two-time Ironman Canada finisher. She lives in rainy but beautiful Vancouver, B.C., a pretty good place to train, and can be found online at Vancouvereditor.com.


Introducing the new timemachine TM 01

Andreas Raelert testing the TM01, with the BMC Formula for maximum speed. Vmax = p2p x subA p2p: best individual fit to your performance position. SubA: optimized aerodynamic concept. Result: World Record2 in Roth, Germany - Ironman distance 7:41:33 hrs - Bike split 4:11:43 hrs. Maximum speed - Find out more on www.bmc-racing.com

Andreas Raelert, wind tunnel Instituto Polytecnico di Milano. Photo: Stephan Bรถgli


030 : THE BUZZ

Vertical compliance

I

just read Jordan Rapp’s “Vertical Compliance 101” (June/July 2011, Page 48). He clearly describes the tradeoffs that every frame manufacturer faces: rider comfort (vertical compliance), stiffness and aerodynamic effects are three mistresses that tug at the frame builder’s heart. As Rapp explains, engineering teams are challenged to optimize all three demands in one design. The UCI is yet another party to the romance—the chaperone that can ruin aero’s allure. I’m only disappointed that Jordan didn’t mention a design that has managed to maximize vertical compliance without compromising lateral stiffness or aerodynamics. It does so by simply separating the “rider comfort” task from the “torsional stiffness” task of the bike. The parts of the frame through which power is transmitted are aluminum (an element renowned for its stiffness, light weight and durability), while the part of the frame that bears most of the rider’s weight is titanium (an element known for its elasticity and durability). And because this design is not affected by market forces requiring UCI compliance, it is able to ignore the chaperone and optimize aerodynamics to boot! I’m surprised that Jordan didn’t mention the patented TitanFlex design in his otherwise informative report. It has been produced in the USA for more than 15 years. —Tom Piszkin, TitanFlex Founder USAT Certified Coach University of California, San Diego

My iron team

I

n the quest for an iron finish that would bring out the best in me, I relied heavily on my family, the people that helped train me and LAVA Magazine. This is the only triathlon magazine I subscribe to and I must say, your tips and inspiration are invaluable. Through the highs and lows of my preparation you were all there for me. My pockets are not deep, but the knowledge, experience and “guts” you share with your readers gets us to the starting line more pre-

pared; from the pros on down to hardworking age-groupers like me. There is a saying within Ironman that I believe holds true, “Behind every Ironman, there is an iron team.” Thank you LAVA for being a part of my iron team. As you can see, a picture is worth a thousand words. —Amy Kentner Wapakoneta, Ohio

spected the philosophy behind PRP by letting the platelet rich plasma do its miracle work and not doing anything that would inhibit the body’s natural healing process. It worked! —Amy Javens Hermitage, Penn.

To read more of Amy Javens’ story of how platelet rich plasma therapy helped heal her Achilles injury, visit lavamagazine.com/amyj

Success with platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy

I

have been a subscriber to your magazine since its birth. I very much enjoy reading your articles, viewing your beautiful photography and welcoming the great information to aid me in my triathlon training. Your “PRP Therapy” article (June/July 2011, Page 120) rung a bell with me because I had the procedure done with my Achilles tendons this past December for chronic Achilles tendinitis, micro tears, and flare-ups. I am a 39-year-old age-grouper who has battled this injury since my college days as a hurdler, jumper and sprinter. The frustration I had after multiple flare-ups before and during Ironman Syracuse 70.3 and the Hawaii Ironman last season motivated me to try this last-ditch effort to help me in my recovery. So with the advice of my sport physical therapist (in my case, my husband—how lucky am I?), my sport orthopedic doctor from UPMC Center for Sports Medicine (Pittsburgh) and my coach, I decided to do three series of multiple injections two weeks apart. Although the Achilles injections were some of the most painful things I’ve ever had to endure (they rank right up there with childbirth), I love my sport too much to let it stop me from pursuing future competition and training. Well, I am very happy to share with you my tremendous success with the PRP. Although there is not much research out there on postPRP physical therapy, my husband, Chad Javens, devised a wonderful PT plan for me that involved the right sequencing at the right time in the healing process. At the same time, we re-

Thank you Ironman

D

ear LAVA, many of your readers only deal with World Triathlon Corporation (WTC, owners of Ironman) as a corporate entity when they write checks to enter a sponsored race. I’d like to relate a personal story that may reveal a different aspect of WTC. On October 6 I was accompanying my wife, Gail Lohman, while she practiced a swim prior to the Ironman World Championship in Kona. As I exited the water, I suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed. Fortunately, there was a physician triathlete on the scene who saved my life with CPR before an ambulance arrived. I was eventually medevaced to Oahu for an operation. I want to cite the incredible efforts of Shelby Tuttle and her team in our hour of need. A team went to our hotel room, packed our clothing and transported it to the waiting airplane for evacuation. Further, they had Gail’s bicycle professionally packed and shipped back to St. Petersburg at their own expense. They put us in touch with the Aloha Society to help us with other issues like rearranging our flight schedule and finding a hotel when I was released from the hospital. Finally, they granted Gail an entry into the 2012 Ironman World Championships. I could not possibly imagine a more compassionate and professional response from WTC, even though they were simultaneously running the premier triathlon event of the year. They have my eternal thanks. —Chuck Lohman St Petersburg, Fla.

It has been scientifically proven that having your name appear in LAVA makes you faster. Send something clever to bradculp@ironman.com and it could be you.

lavamagazine.com


Jay Prasuhn – Lava Magazine

UNMATCHED IN IRONMAN HISTORY OAKLEY CONGRATULATES CHRISSIE WELLINGTON ON HER FOURTH IRONMAN WIN

©2011 Oakley, Inc.


032 : iTRI

Mark Holowesko Age: 51 | Resides: Nassau, Bahamas | Profession: Money Manager, Holowesko Partners | Personal: Married with four children | Accomplishments: Ironman PR: 10:41 at Ironman Florida, 2010; 70.3 PR: 4:49 at Eagleman, 2004; Olympian, 1996 Bahamanian Sailing Team By Jay Prasuhn

I did the old Coca-Cola Series in Florida when I got out of school, and then I put on a lot of weight—on purpose—as I was doing a lot of sailboat racing. After the Atlanta Olympics I wanted to lose weight quickly, and found triathlon again. I needed a race to focus me on the process.

because of traffic. It’s just a big, flat 15-mile circuit. But the ocean and running are just phenomenal. Of the 15 people in my office, five have done Ironman, so I’ve got a great group of guys I ride with at home. The nice thing is I’m only a half-mile from work. If there’s traffic, I can take a golf cart to work. There’s no way for me to do what I do anywhere else.

I met Paula Newby-Fraser in Lake Placid and she was telling me these horror stories about how athletes couldn’t afford to fly to races. We started the VMG Triathlon Team (members included Luke McKenzie, Matt Lieto, Jan Strangmuller, Hillary Biscay, Donna Phelan, Katya Meyers and Amanda Lovato).

I believe triathletes and events will continue to grow and equal cycling in exposure and earnings—with some changes. Tris do a much better job including the fan base. This was almost perfectly done at Hy-Vee. If triathlon organizations would do a better job expanding the management and organization outside of just former triathletes, I think it would help broaden the appeal and thought process. It may also help to expand the sponsorship base as well, which is too narrowly focused in terms of companies.

I qualified for Kona a couple times, but have never gone. Three years ago I tore my Achilles tendon, then I tore my hip this year and couldn’t make it. It’s frustrating, but still, I’d love to get there. Training in the Bahamas is awesome—except for the bike. In order to get it in, you’ve gotta get up at 4:30 a.m. and ride ‘till 6:30 lavamagazine.com

Courtesy Mark Holowesko

The triathlon team morphed into sponsorship with the U.S. National Under-23 cycling team. That introduced us to the guys at Slipstream, which led to the sponsorship with the Garmin-Cervélo Pro Cycling Team. I met the Hincapie family through that and became a shareholder in Hincapie Apparel. I’m now trying to bring it back to sponsorship in triathlon.

I’m happy to have had a very small and minor role in helping young athletes in the triathlon and cycling community get started. I have always felt it is important to help young athletes get to races where they can gain exposure and experience. It’s been fun to see some of them go on to have successful careers. I have a soft spot in my heart for those who struggle and I’m blessed to be in a position to help. LAVA


Champions never rest, but they do reCover.

Congratulations to Chrissie Wellington on her 4th Ironman® World Championship.

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Andy Potts made it his mission to have fun at the Hawaii Ironman, even taking a minute to show photographer Larry Rosa his own form of “aero� hydration.

034 : SEEN

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HEARD : 035

4:43/mile: The pace held by Kenyan Patrick Makau en route to setting a new marathon world record of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon on September 25. Source: Bmw-berlin-marathon.com

three hundred seventy the Average watts put out by Austrian überbiker Michael Weiss over the challenging, 56-mile bike course at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Henderson, Nev. on September 11. Weiss recorded the second-fastest bike ride of the day (2:12:57) behind American Chris Lieto. Source: Srm.de

19: The number of gold medals won by Team USA at the ITU Age-Group World Championships held in Beijing on September 10-11, leading all nations. Great Britain earned the most total medals (50), including 15 gold. Source: Triathlon.org

25.99 mILES PER HOUR

American Chris Lieto’s average bike speed at the Hawaii Ironman. His 4:18:31 split was only eight seconds shy of Normann Stadler’s bike course record. Lieto was first off the bike but struggled on the run and finished 29th among the pro men. Source: Ironman.com

The number of USA Triathlon national titles won by Hunter Kemper. The threetime Olympian won his record seventh title in Buffalo, N.Y. on September 24. Laura Bennett won the women’s national title for the third time in her career. Source: Usatriathlon.org

he nu m . T b ar

du

o f issues

ce s p er y e

The number of Ironman world titles won by Australian men in the first 30 editions of the Hawaii Ironman (Greg Welch in 1994). Source: Ironman.com

er

J

ONE

The number of Ironman world titles won by Australian men in the five most recent editions of the Hawaii Ironman (three by Craig Alexander and two by Chris McCormack). Source: Ironman.com

05 lavamagazine.com

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036 : OFF THE FRONT

family matters After being featured in an article, Jordan Waxman was condemned by many for abandoning his family in pursuit of a Kona slot. Nothing could be further from the truth. By Jim Gourley

__

___________________________ t was the sensational human interest story heard ’round the triathlon world: Jordan Waxman, a high-profile asset manager at Merrill Lynch, had become so determined to qualify for the Hawaiian Ironman that he split his waking hours between work and training, leaving nothing for his family. The article titled, “My workout ate my marriage,” which appeared on the The Wall Street Journal’s website in February, portrayed Waxman as an unrepentantly obsessed man, quoting him as saying “It’s selfish,” about his regimen. The story later described that pleas from his wife and even his parents to spend more time with his family fell on deaf, uncaring ears. Waxman routinely left the house before anyone in his family was awake and didn’t return home until well after dinner. He would go to bed before his children. “I’m out of gas by 9 o’clock,” he told the WSJ. The consequences of his decisions seemed illustrated by his wife Caren’s exasperated remark: “A lot of wives in my position would have left.” The story generated a response significant in both its volume and tone. Dozens of the 240 comments on the WSJ’s article rebuked Waxman’s selfishness and neglect of his family. The triathlon community, already familiar with the terms “triathlon widow” and “divorce by triathlon,” quickly picked up on it. Responses on web forums ran the full gamut of emotions. Yet after the arguments subsided, the case itself remained open. More than half a year later, has Jordan finally come to his senses, or has his wife ultimately made good on her implied threat of divorce? The answer is neither, because Jordan Waxman doesn’t exist. Not the one described in the WSJ, anyway. Kevin Helliker, the journalist who wrote the article, twisted the truth and cherry-picked the quotes from his interview with the Waxmans to create a provocative caricature. When LAVA first contacted the Waxmans to follow up on the story, they were not immediately available for an interview. Jordan was only two weeks out from Ironman St. George and very busy preparing—by taking his family on vacation to Mexico. “I went for my last long run this morning,” Waxman said. “I got back right as Caren and the kids were finishing breakfast, then I had to turn around to go swim with the dolphins. Caren and I are scheduled for a massage later at the gym this evening.” On the trip home, the Waxmans’ oldest son Jacob remarked to Caren: “I’m worried about Dad’s Ironman. He’s hardly trained for it at all.” The 11-year-old based his observation on Jordan’s training for a swim around Manhattan in 2006 and a crossing of the English Channel in 2010. Jacob has special knowledge of his father’s training for those events. He dreams of someday being a filmmaker, and was so inspired by Jordan’s crossing that he took on his own challenge, compiling all the video footage of the swim into a 20-minute documentary. In many ways it is the Channel crossing, not Kona, that embodies the truth and the heart and soul of the Waxmans’ struggle to maintain a balanced and happy

I

LAVAMAGAZINE.COM


Jay Prasuhn – Lava Magazine

HE PUT THE WORLD BEHIND HIM. AGAIN. OAKLEY CONGRATULATES CRAIG ALEXANDER ON HIS RECORD-BREAKING IRONMAN WIN

©2011 Oakley, Inc.


038 : OFF THE FRONT life together. What was an inspiration to Jacob was a jealous mistress to Caren, and while it produced hours of quality time for father and son, it also robbed them of months together. Jordan has been driven by athletic pursuits his entire life. The captain of his college swim team, he did his first triathlon in 1985. His other achievements include speaking fluent French and Italian, and in addition to working in the financial sector, he holds two law degrees and an MBA. When he cooks dinner for the family, it’s a three-course gourmet meal. So it was no surprise to Caren, who’s known him for 16 years, when he announced his intention to swim the English Channel in 2006. “It never ends with him,” she says. “He just has so much energy, he has to be doing something.”

Jordan Waxman doesn't exist, not the one described in the WSJ, anyway. What did surprise Jordan and Caren both was his failure to complete the crossing. In 2007, bad weather prevented the attempt. Jordan stewed over all the training he’d put into the effort without reaching success. Then, in 2009, the unthinkable happened—Jordan failed in his attempt. The mental blow was perhaps worse than the physical one. For a man who’d lived his entire life according to a mantra of success through determination, the shoreline of France represented more than unfinished business; it was a break with everything he stood for. He trained even harder and longer, leaving himself exhausted and his relationship with his family strained. Yet he could not be at peace until his final reckoning with the 24-mile expanse of water. No one knew this better than Caren, and contrary to what WSJ wrote about her, she stood by him through the dark times. More than anything, she worried for his safety. “The Journal article only told half the story,” she says. “We were all worried about his health. Combined with getting the lottery spot for Hawaii, he was gone 30 out of every 90 days [for] training, and he was just exhausted. But he’s always been the kind of person who can’t stop until he’s accomplished what he’s set out to do. Of course we wanted him home more, but that wasn’t the biggest concern. What I was most afraid of was that he would die trying, because he’s such a determined person.” Still, the emotional pleas of his family could not restore Jordan’s sense of balance. For that, he needed a coach. He found one in the form of Terry Kerrigan, founder and owner of Aperion fitness consultants. The pair swam at the same pool and after learning of Kerrigan’s Ironman experience, Jordan asked him for help. Kerrigan quickly identified the elements of Jordan’s approach to endurance sports that were wrecking his performance and his family life. Having seen them in so many high-profile executives turned athletes, it wasn’t difficult. “People in New York City live large in many different ways,” Kerrigan explains. “They work a lot, they spend a lot, they buy a lot. The mentality that you get more by doing more is huge here. For many of them, the lavamagazine.com

stress of having such a busy life is the juice. In that regard, 80 to 90 percent of people I work with commit self-sabotage.” Triathletes are all too familiar with this principle, but Kerrigan explains that the self-confidence an athlete gains from previous successes is in many cases the poison pill. “I see so many people that just don’t want to believe what I tell them. They don’t follow the plan, and they self-destruct before they even get to their race. That’s what made Jordan so unique from the get-go. He listened.” Kerrigan began working with Jordan in 2007 in preparation for the Ironman World Championships. He ran a series of tests and found that Jordan’s determination was probably the only part of him still intact. “His overall health was bad. His adrenal system was shot and he couldn’t recover from his workouts. He’d set too many goals too high too fast. So we decided to take a year off from the Channel and come at it healthy. We put him on a plan and decided to cut his hours, but the real reason for his success was that he was humble enough to admit that he was doing things wrong and embrace the plan.” Caren wasn’t left out of the new team. In many ways, she was even more determined to see it through to the end. “When he was getting ready for his third try, I told him ‘go out there and get it done. Finish it and let this be the end of it,’” she remembers. After three years of waiting and 14 hours in the water, on September 28, 2010, Jordan stood up out of the water on the coast of France, victorious at last. But had it changed anything? Jordan had caught the Ironman bug in 2007 when he won his lottery spot to Kona. In the intervening years, in addition to his Channel swim training he’d also competed in Ironman UK in 2008, Arizona in 2009 and St. George in 2011. Despite Caren’s admonition that the Channel “be the end of it,” the Journal made it look like Jordan’s avarice for achievement was as bad as ever. Therein lies the matter of the truth—and how it was distorted. The truth is that nothing has changed between the Waxmans. They’re as committed to and understanding of each other today as they’ve been for the last 16 years. “My comment was taken completely out of context,” says Caren of the divorce remark. “I didn’t say anything until he asked me specifically how other people react to our situation. I said that some wives would be gone by now, but that others admire our relationship.” “Now” was also a loosely interpreted term. Caren and Jordan spoke frankly to the WSJ’s Helliker, stating that things had been strained in 2007 when their three children were younger, but the passage of four years had alleviated many of the child care and household chore issues. “We spoke at length with him about that aspect of things,” Caren says. “And then he made everything sound as if we were still having problems today.” Also misleading were two photos accompanying the article showing Caren watching the three children in their home while Jordan pedaled away on a stationary trainer, ostensibly in a gym. “They took dozens of photos of us together, doing all kinds of activities,” Jordan explains. “I was on the bike in the other room at one point, but we made that adjustment to my training specifically so I could be available for the kids. They didn’t show any of those photos.” Still, that’s not the most galling omission. The real reason none of the Waxman’s friends believed the article for an instant was a detail about Jordan’s own childhood that was left out. “I haven’t seen my biological father in 43 years,” he reveals. “My mother raised my brother, my sister and me in my grandparents’ two-bedroom house on the other side of the tracks in Montreal. Next to God, my family is the most important thing in the world.”


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040 : OFF THE FRONT This is the real Jordan Waxman—a man not obsessed with money or medals, rather possessed of a love for life that inspires him to live every moment to the fullest. The movie Jacob made of his English Channel swim was edited in Adobe Premiere, a sophisticated program used by major film studios. Jordan worked together with him to learn how to use it. “I tell my kids that anything is possible, that they can accomplish anything they want to if they just go out there and try their hardest. You’ve got to do what you love, and you can’t let yourself be afraid to try. When Jacob said he wanted to make that movie, I jumped right into it with him. I want them to be inspired by my example.” That example includes a creative incorporation of his personal interests with family time, such as learning guitar in Mexico by playing for his kids at bedtime. It makes for a family that is equally supportive of everyone, and Caren and the children remain Jordan’s biggest source of inspiration. “I know about his transition times, what his weaknesses are, all that triathlon stuff,” says Caren. “We want to be involved.” That doesn’t mean Jordan is her entire life. “You have to learn how to navigate a relationship and maintain a sense of your own individualism. I go to the gym every day, and I volunteer with several charities when I’m not busy with the kids.” Ironically, Caren found herself taking on a new volunteer role after the article appeared. Other women began to find her through social media and ask her for help with their own situations. “I got all kinds of questions,” Caren says of the 20 or so women who reached out to her. “People asked me everything from what alarm clock we use so he doesn’t wake me up in the morning to how to save their relationship.” While she’s not eager to take on the role of coach, she can certainly lay claim to the bona fides. Having navigated their marriage through its own stormy seas, it’s

smooth sailing in the Waxman house today. “Things run like a well-oiled machine now,” she says. “The kids are older and Jordan has more time and energy with a better training plan. I make him go see a doctor for a full diagnostic before every race, and he does more indoor biking so we don’t worry about him being on the road.” The WSJ also left out important context information about a remark Caren made about Jordan missing Mother’s Day. While he did miss the day to attend Ironman St. George, the Mexico vacation was meant to make up for it and Caren still received flowers. LAVA contacted the editors of The Wall Street Journal to make them aware that the Waxmans disagree with Helliker’s account. The Journal provided this official response: “We take the fairness and accuracy of our stories very seriously—the reporting in Kevin Helliker’s piece is solid, and we stand by it. Furthermore, the Waxmans have never contacted the Journal to inform us of any issues or inaccuracies.” Jordan and Caren contacted the WSJ directly and filed a formal complaint. Asked if they were willing to change their stance, they replied that they would not. For all the outrage in the triathlon community over the portrayal of its athletes, none are as disappointed as the Waxmans. Yet, as with their passions for hobbies and each other, they maintain a healthy perspective by remembering what’s important. “I was disappointed,” Jordan says. “But all my friends and clients immediately knew that isn’t who I am. I could pursue it, but what’s the point? I don’t need to put myself through that to redeem myself. I know who I am.” LAVA

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workbench

“If you want the big picture, wind tunnel graphs are great for showing just how far we’ve come. The wellengineered bikes and larry rosa

wheels of today truly do give the rider an advantage, but how much of an advantage?” —Jordan Rapp, (Rapp Report, P. 70). lavamagazine.com


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2012

044 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

THE YEAR

IN GEAR

From PressCamp in Utah to Eurobike in Germany to Interbike in Vegas, we traversed the planet to find out what’s worth lusting for in 2012, and what was worthy of one of our five editors’ picks for best product of the year. By Jay Prasuhn : Photography by Sammy Tillery

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[

QUINtaNa roo IllICIto $3,200 frameset Knowing the drive side of the bike is fouled by the crankset, QR created this bike’s hallmark: a seat stay-free monochain stay.When coupled with shifting the down tube toward the drive side, QR claims it moves 86 percent of the air to a cleaner path along the non-drive side.

Quintanarootri.com

[

argoN 18 e-118 $4,400 frameset One of the first to create a seamlessly integrated front end, the Montreal-based Argon 18 improved on the E-114 with a frame they claim is 200 g lighter and 14 percent faster. It’s also highly adjustable with a reversible base bar and stem clamp center, allowing for an effective stem length of between 65 mm and 95 mm.

Argon18bike.com.com


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CeePo StINger $3,200 (with Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheelset) Give Ceepo founder Joe Tanaka credit; he built a brand with designs that y in the face of the UCI. His 2012 Stinger aero road bike is in the same vein: deep tubes with a glaring cowling that is largely aesthetic—but good-looking nonetheless.

Ceepo.com

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046 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

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Cervelo S5 Team $6,000 (with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Fulcrum Racing T wheels) Aero testing data is just part of the advantage of Cervelo’s new S5. Geometry and steering balance—whether riding on the bar tops or farther forward on clip-on aerobars—complete one of the best dual-duty aero road bikes available today.

Cervelo.com

lavamagazine.com


“ I’ve been involved in the sport of triathlon since 1989 and Craig's performance this year was the best off-the-front racing I have ever seen. Setting a course record is a significant milestone in the sport, but the way Craig did it will be talked about for years.” - Ralph Dunning Congratulations Craig!

www.dunningsportswear.com


048 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

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On Running Cloudsurfer $149 Codeveloped by former pro duathlete Olivier Berhard, On has a completely unique CloudTec 3D cushioning system, featuring hollow rubber lugs that interlock under load, transferring horizontal as well as vertical impact.

On-running.com

[

Zoot Ultra TT 5.0 $140 The already popular TT got reworked with a lowered heel collar and a new molded sockliner, as well as a ZWrap midsole to help center the foot on the platform for stability.

Zootsports.com

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[

Saucony Progrid Mirage $100

For Saucony Kinvara fans requiring just a bit of arch support, the 8.9 oz Mirage delivers the same minimalist design and ride, with a touch of medial posting for the mild pronator.

Saucony.com

[

Newton MV2 $125

The featherweight 5.8 oz MV2 is one of the newbreed of “zero drop” shoes with no change in height from heel to forefoot, and also features Newton’s unique forefoot lugs to encourage striking on the midfoot and forefoot.

Newtonrunning.com

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[

eLoad Gel $32 (32 oz. serving bottle) Light flavors that are easy on the stomach have long been the hallmark of eLoad, and that concept continues with its new gel, available in three mild offerings—apple, tangerine and lemon.

[

CarboPro Hydra C5 $10 Expanding on the popular CarboPro brand, the high-calorie blend has been supplemented with sodium, potassium, electrolytes and flavor (berry or lemon-lime) to create a 650-calorie serving of long-course fuel. Three servings per packet.

Medioncorp.com

[

Cytomax Energy Drops $2 CytoSport enters the chewable gel market with easyintake drops using their unique multi-source carbohydrate blend. Available in tropical fruit/pomegranate, blueberry and orange/tangerine.

Carbopro.com

Cytosport.com

LAVA

First Endurance PreRace Capsules $40 ( 90-capsule bottle) Focusing on ease of use, former tub powders (Ultragen and EFS) are offered for the first time in single-serve packets, and PreRace, the intensely caffeinated race booster is presented in an ultra-convenient capsule—great for a mid- to late-race kick in the you-know-what.

Firstendurance.com

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Gu Peanut Butter $1 A roasted peanut flavor with a hint of saltiness, GU’s new flavor is a nice reprieve from all the syrupy-sweet gels out there.

GUenergy.com

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[

garmin vector $1,499 A long-awaited solution promising new dimensions of power data analysis with bike interchangeablity and weight savings, the Vector derives data at the pedal spindle of Garmin’s Look-compatible pedals and relays metrics (including left/right leg power) to your ANT+ head unit. 12 gear 20 LAVA

EDITOR’S

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Garmin.com

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[

Campagnolo Carbon Bar End Controls $450 & and Carbon Brake Levers $210 Beyond a new sponsorship of TeamTBB, Campy cements its renewed commitment to triathlon with its 10- or 11-speed, 155 g carbon bar-end shifter and a pursuit bar brake lever with a quick release tab, allowing for brakecable release and easier removal of wider rims and bikes with integrated brakes.

Campagnolo.com

[

Finis swimsense $200 Using accelerometers, magnetometers and proprietary algorithms, the Swimsense provides more info about your swim workout than you ever thought possible. Track your total laps, average pace, distance-per-stroke, stroke rate and calories burned as you swim, then upload the data to Finis’ online training log to track your proress.

Finisinc.com

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$2,700/pair with tires The 80 mm-deep tubulars that Tim O’Donnell and the Garmin-Cervelo Pro Cycling Team ran as prototypes hit the market in 2012. The 2,330 g wheelset was tunnel-designed to be aerodynamically optimized with the included set of dualcompound Mavic SSC tubular tires.

Mavic.com

Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher $2,700/pair Beyond its comfort and pinch flat resistance, Zipp engineers claim the 1,498 g Firecrest 303’s 27.5 mm width, when paired with 23 or 25 mm tires, has a better aero profile than many narrower, deeper wheels. Now available in two colors: Beyond Black and Falcon Grey.

Zipp.com

lavamagazine.com

Bontrager Aeolus 9 $2,299/pair (bottom, center)

Debuted in Kona, the Aeolus 9 uses a thick, 27 mm wide rim and a new shape with a blunted rim apex for optimization across a wide range of wind angles. It’s finished with a gorgeous DT Swiss hubset. 1,695 g per pair, Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo-compatible and available in 10 decal color options.

Bontrager.com

[

[ [

Mavic Cosmic Carbone 80

[

052 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

Gray CX7 Carbon Clincher

$1,995/pair

Featuring a cleverly designed ovalized carbon spoke (inserting into a T-shelf slot at the hub), the exceptionally light CX7 is built onto a 35 mm carbon clincher rim for total ease of use in racing and training.

Synergysport.com


CONGRATULATIONS

TO ALL IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

PHOTO : JOHN SEGESTA

PARTICIPANTS WEARING GARNEAU


054 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

[

Nineteen Wetsuits Rogue $650 Nineteen’s resident pro triathlete Wolfgang Guembel has brought real design advances to the Canadian company’s new flagship model with a reverse zip and forearm catch panels. But the highlight of the suit is the new torso panel that minimizes stretch for greater core stability and more efficient swimming.

Nineteenwetsuits.com

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IRONMAN® and M-DOT® are registered trademarks of World Triathlon Corporation used herein by premission.

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056 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

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Giro Mele $199

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Sidi T3 Vent Carbon $359 One of three new tri models for 2012, the Vent has a toe box vent with an adjustable cover that can be opened for cooling and drainage, or closed for coldweather heat retention.

Sidiamerica.com

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Giro.com

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Pearl Izumi Octane T1 $350 A remarkable (and insanely light) breathable upper is mated to Pearl Izumi’s narrow, European last for a quick, feathery 185 g shoe ideal for hot conditions.

Pearlizumi.com

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EDITOR’S

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After a successful footwear debut a year ago, Giro brings its first tri shoe in the Mele (and the female-specific Facet), built on an Easton EC70 carbon sole with Giro’s neutral SuperNatural footbed.

the yea


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058 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

[

Castelli Body Paint Tri singlet $90 & tri short $90 The legendary Italian cycling apparel company’s triathlon debut integrates its popular minimal-seam, maximum mobility Body Paint technology with its new dual-density chamois, optimized for riding in an aero position.

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060 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

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062 : THE YEAR IN GEAR : G

[

TorHans 20 $35 & Aero Tray $15 Tunnel-designed right down to the aero straw, Chrissie Wellington’s choice features a new splash guard and an optional clip-on Aero Tray computer mount.

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SpeedFil A2 $20 Between-extension aero bottles have become the new aero standard, and the A2 expands on the market with a bottle that allows for onthe-fly refilling. It’s finished with a splash-free cover that’s actually splash-free.

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EDITOR’S

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SADDLE: FI’ZI:K ARIONE TRI 2, TITANIUM RAILS SADDLE FORE/AFT: 2.2CM IN FRONT OF BOTTOM BRACKET

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WHEELSET: SHIMANO DURA-ACE C75 TUBULAR PROTOTYPE TUBULAR REAR, SHIMANO DURA-ACE C50 PROTOTYPE TUBULAR FRONT

HEIGHT: 5’11” (180 cm) WEIGHT: 150 lbs. (68 kg) RESIDENCE: Boulder, Colo. / Cronulla, NSW, Australia WEAPON: Specialized Shiv, size small LAST SEEN: 4:24:05 bike split, 1st place overall, 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship

CASSETTE: SHIMANO DURA-ACE CS-7900, 11-23

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068 : KONA PRODUCT COUNT : G

2011 Hawaii Ironman Product Count A collection of industry volunteers sat in the sun with clipboards and pens to document the gear athletes were using for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. Here’s how the leading brands stacked up:

JAY PRASUHN

Watch this year’s bike count unfold by scanning this code with a QR reader app.

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Bikes

Saddles

Aero Helmets

B Cervelo: 488 C Trek: 185 D Felt: 124 E Specialized: 122 F Scott: 96 G Cannondale: 79 H Quintana Roo: 61 I Argon 18: 57 J Kuota: 55 K Orbea: 53 L Kestrel: 48 M Giant: 40 N LOOK: 34 N Ceepo: 34 P Blue: 21 P Ridley: 21

B Fi’zi:k: 485 C ISM: 328 D Selle Italia: 241 E Specialized: 192 F Cobb Cycling: 136

B Rudy Project: 211 C Louis Garneau: 191 D Giro: 70 E Specialized: 52 F Spiuk: 16

Powermeters

Groupsets

B CycleOps PowerTap: 191 C SRM: 166 D Quarq: 119 E Power2Max: 8 F Ergomo: 3

B Shimano: 1335 C SRAM: 475 D Campagnolo: 43

Wheels B Zipp: 1907 C Hed: 267 D Mavic: 146 E Bontrager: 128 F Reynolds: 108 G Easton: 90 H Xentis: 79 I Shimano/PRO: 73 J ENVE: 41 K SRAM: 35

Pedals B LOOK: 770 C Shimano: 554 D Speedplay: 395 E Time: 94 F Other: 41

Hydration Systems B Profile Design: 967 C XLAB: 605 D Traditional cages: 198 E Zip-tied (to aerobar) 128 F Speedfil: 102

Running shoes B Asics 337 C Saucony: 247 D K-Swiss: 209 E Newton: 187 F Brooks: 143

Speedsuits B Tyr: 411 C Blue Seventy: 316 D Xterra: 96 E Aquasphere: 51 F Zoot: 42 LAVA


070 : RAPP REPORT : G

the opacity of “white paper” How wind tunnel data both draws and blurs the line between engineering and marketing.

JAY PRASUHN

By Jordan Rapp

Cervelo founders Phil White (left) and Gerard Vroomen were the first to connect engineering with marketing in the triathlon realm.

T

he author Malcolm Gladwell has said that he is interested in collecting both interesting stories and interesting research. While he writes mostly about social science, I nevertheless aim to tell equally interesting stories based on equally interesting research about technical matters here. Gladwell’s most recent book, “What The Dog Saw”, is a collection of his writings from The New Yorker. It is broken up into three parts, the first of which is an examination of what Gladwell calls “minor geniuses.” These are people who excel within a very small niche, the Einsteins of non-Einstein-

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esque fields. The first story, which opens the book, is called “The Pitchman,” and it chronicles Ron Popeil, he of Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ fame. Gladwell claims the Showtime “may be, dollar for dollar, the finest kitchen appliance ever made.” But it is not just the quality of the Showtime Rotisserie that makes it such an iconic product. It is also Popeil’s genius as a pitchman that put the product into so many homes. Gladwell goes into great depth about what, exactly, a pitchman is. A pitchman is fundamentally different from a salesman. The pitchman is truly connected to the product he

is pitching. Gladwell has one quote, about Popeil and his family, that is of particular importance. “[The Popeils] believed it was a mistake to separate product development from marketing, as most of their contemporaries did, because to them the two were indistinguishable: the object that sold best was the one that sold itself.” Ron Popeil typifies this mentality and as a result is a minor genius and one of the most successful pitchmen ever. Triathlon has had its share of successful pitchmen, but none has so changed the way that products are both developed and marketed as the Ron Popeil of our


072 : RAPP REPORT : G

JAY PRASUHN

While white papers were a maleable starting point, today’ s engineers are moving past them to an amorphous point that requires greater engineering knowledge.

sport, Cervélo’s Gerard Vroomen. Vroomen is one-half of the brains behind Cervélo’s success (the other being Phil White), but having met both, it’s immediately clear who the pitchman is. I chose not to interview Vroomen for this piece, because, unlike Gladwell, who sought to share in the remarkable picture of Popeil the man, my goal in this article is to examine the results of such a minor genius on the landscape. And while Gladwell’s piece was mostly a celebration of Popeil, what I write is more critical, though not directly of Vroomen, but rather of the landscape that, in my opinion, he largely created. Before Cervélo, there was one, and only one, practically objective measure of a bike: its weight. Stiffness was an ethereal quantity, with no substantive definition. One bike might be anecdotally known to be stiffer than another, but nothing was quantified. Carbon most often sold for the sake of being carbon and being “new,” with nebulous qualities such as “vibration damping” being touted as clear reasons to lavamagazine.com

upgrade. Cervélo came along with two bikes that were, like the Showtime Rotisserie, dollar for dollar, the finest products in their class— the original aluminum P3 and the Soloist. These two bikes revolutionized the industry. Put under the behinds of the newly formed CSC Pro Cycling Team, these bikes used a supposedly outdated material (aluminum) to reach success on the biggest stages in the world of cycling. And with a compelling and heretofore unseen marketing campaign focused on the engineering features of the bikes, they ushered in an era where objectivity regarding all facets of a bike’s performance suddenly became not only the norm, but the expectation. As with the Popeils, Cervélo’s engineering and product development was inseparable from its marketing. The uniquely recognizable bikes didn’t quite sell themselves, but suddenly terms that used to be the province of the geeks who hoarded back issues of Cycling Science became needto-know characteristics. There was CdA (drag

coefficient) for measuring the aerodynamic drag of a frame, yaw angle, which describes the angle at which a headwind hits the rider, as well as quantitative measures for bottombracket and torsional stiffness. Engineering became not just part of the sales pitch; it became the entire sales pitch. The minor geniuses at Cervélo even dedicated a section of their website to specific parts of minor genius, all of which weighed eight grams or less, called, unsurprisingly, “8 Grams of Engineering.” The rest of the industry was caught unaware. As other companies raced to publish their own data sets and develop their own pitches to compete with Cervélo, Vroomen rightly quipped that he was happy to come in second in everyone else’s wind tunnel tests. By getting there first, Cervélo was able to define the rules of the game; they set up the board, and the rest of the industry had to adapt. With more Cervélo bikes, in each of the past few years, at the Kona bike count than


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074 : RAPP REPORT : G second, third, and fourth place put together, you might say the industry is still struggling to catch up. But what is most interesting about the data and engineering presented in marketing by Vroomen and White, two master’s engineering students from Canada’s McGill University, is that none of it would earn have earned a passing grade if presented in their course work. The data is presented without acknowledgement of limitations, without an in-depth discussion of methodology, and—most critically—without any discussion of potential sources of error. It is, simply put, a pitch. And, I suspect largely because of the enormous success that Cervélo has reaped, the rest of the industry has followed suit. No longer are glossy brochures touting the latest wins the pièce de résistance of a marketing campaign; now, it is the “white paper,” and the most crucial element of such a document is a graph depicting plots on an X-Y axis, with X showing the apparent yaw angle and Y showing

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grams of drag. This graph, in which your company’s latest bike ideally is shown definitively trouncing your competitors’ latest bikes, is what consumers clamor for when a new triathlon or time trial bike is announced. No sooner had Specialized announced their new Shiv than folks on the Slowtwitch Forum (admittedly an obsessive group within an already obsessive group) started asking for data on how it compared to the rest. Ultimately, the man who is responsible for those graphs at Specialized is Mark Cote. I decided to put him on the spot. I wanted to know how it is that his data got spun into something that passes through the marketing department even as it would never pass any of his professors’ watchful eyes. Cote’s official title is Road Product Manager/Aerodynamicist, but I prefer his in-house nickname, “The Aero Pharaoh.” In addition to Cote, I sought the input of the other engineer with whom I work most closely, Zipp Technical Director Josh Poertner, the ringleader of Zipp’s engineering department. Josh

Just as consumers were getting comfortable with the idea of a bicycle’s drag coefficient, the technology left them behind.

maintains strong contact with the “outside” engineering world, so the disparity between how data is presented in technical marketing presentations and technical engineering presentations is something he is acutely aware of. Zipp recently published several papers with the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) on the advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) work that they used in developing their recently-released


G : RAPP REPORT : 075 Firecrest rims, which solved, via CFD, the previously unsolvable rotational-translational movement (a spinning wheel that is also moving forward through space) problem. What’s significant about these papers, aside from the obviously momentous achievement of solving something that had never been solved before, is that while they are publicly available (Acusim.com/papers), they are hardly publicly consumable. Cote stated early on, “Low speed aerodynamics is really complicated.” And that’s speaking for engineers. Therein lies one of the major problems that both the industry and the consumers face. The engineering expertise in the cycling industry—at the high end—has evolved from something that could plausibly be expressed in slightly more complex than lay terms into something beyond the grasp of consumers without a scientific background. Just as consumers were getting comfortable with the idea of a bicycle’s drag coefficient and understanding how a headwind is rarely just a headwind, the AthLounge_ad4_LAVA_2011:AL

technology left them behind. Both Cote and Poertner emphasized the difficulties of the current situation, which Cote described as a “quagmire” and Poertner as a “conundrum.” Cote focused mostly on the challenge of explaining how the engineering provided a real-world benefit without causing too many glazed-over consumer eyeballs, while Poertner emphasized the challenge of making things understandable to your customers without giving your competitors some “really expensive lessons for free.” While both agreed that the quality of product available to consumers is vastly better than it was, it wasn’t so clear that all this technical data actually made consumers more informed. So how do we make sense of it all? Cote broke the evolution of information in the industry down into a three-step process. The first step was convincing decision makers within the industry that things that were unseen and largely unfelt could matter, and matter a lot. Getting people to conceptually understand the massive role that aerodynamic

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12:16 PM

drag plays—even on hilly rides—was a critical step. It was this step—turning aero from “black magic,” as Cote called it, into something that the industry cared about, that Vroomen and White really and truly conquered, and for that, they should be universally applauded. Aerodynamic drag makes a much bigger difference on how fast you go than how much your bike—or even your body—weighs. The second step in the process is coming up with a way to quantify drag. Not in the strict sense of resistive force, achieved by multiplying Cd (the coefficient of drag) by frontal area (A), but more in the understandable-toconsumers equivalent of something like “miles per gallon.” This step still leaves much to be desired. In his first nine months at Specialized, this was a project of Cote’s. He took two bikes, the Specialized Transition he helped design and a Cervélo P3C, to every wind tunnel in the United States that offered bicycle testing services. He tested these two bikes in the exact same configuration at every tunnel, running a

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complete test (meaning installing the bike in the tunnel and then testing it from 0 degrees of yaw (straight headwind) out to approximately 30 degrees; the maximum allowed by the tunnel. The goal was to establish a standard measurement protocol—an “open source testing” process—that everyone in the industry could use and abide by, or to determine at least whether such a standard was even feasible. The short answer is that it is not. Cote learned that because of nuances in tunnel design, “noise” in the testing process, and a host of other factors, results from various wind tunnels were not comparable. The engineering side of this conundrum explains, to a large degree, the shift within the industry to CFD, which uses computers to run virtual wind tunnel tests—which are obviously incredibly repeatable since they are virtual—on bikes, wheels, etc. This, of course, has opened its own can of worms, as the fascinating multicolored pictures generated by CFD are a marketer’s dream. Furthermore, CFD is incredibly reliant on the quality of the model. While wind-tunnel testing is also dependent on the quality of the tunnel, no cycling company can afford to build its own tunnel (unlike Formula 1), and so there is at least some check on the quality of the data a tunnel produces. But with CFD, Poertner emphasized that the quality of the data is massively dependent on the initial assumptions that you make about the model. If you start with a bad assumption, CFD can very often reinforce that notion. As with most computer programs, garbage in gets you garbage out, but it doesn’t always flag it as garbage. Thankfully, the wind tunnel will tell you if you put garbage in, but as Cote saw, sometimes the tunnel itself adds a fair bit of garbage to the process, meaning you might get garbage out even if you put good stuff in. None of this is particularly problematic to engineers; in fact, some might argue that this is fundamentally what science and engineering are all about. But it does present problems for marketers, who want to sell the products that are getting built in order to actually fund the aforementioned science and engineering. And it presents problems to consumers who, at the end of the day, really only want to know what will make them faster. In science and engineering, explaining what you do not know is generally the most important part of a technical document. But explaining what you don’t know doesn’t sell a product. And, ultimately, sales are necessary. Which brings up yet another conundrum: cost. I’ve never seen cost discussed as a factor on any white paper. Cost is a very real factor, but often goes unmentioned because it’s even harder to pin a dollar figure on the benefit of a given feature than it is to pin an aerodynamic benefit on that feature. In addition to the dollar cost associated with development of new technology, there is also the time cost, which has to be divided between new product development and explaining those new products internally as well as abroad. All the time that Cote or Poertner spend answering questions is time that is not spent elsewhere. It’s further complicated by the fact that marketing departments often want to take advantage of the engineering advances, but lack the true understanding to explain the advantages to consumers. Cote said it’s not fair to use the graphs without explanation, but the graphs are the easy takeaway, and the explanation often gets left behind. Poertner emphasized that there are vastly more


 : RAPP REPORT : 077 ways to make a bad product than a good one, and vastly more ways to mislead people than to show them the truth. Fortunately, in addition to being the right thing morally, good engineering also produces the best products. Cote and Poertner believe, and their respective employers prove, that the companies that have what Cote calls “authentic” engineering programs also have found the most success. Cote summed it up by saying, “True engineering provides a true benefit.” And that brings us to the last step in the process of this evolution, what Cote says is “making something resonate with consumers.” According to Cote, “Everyone wants a blanket statement, but you can’t do that and give accurate answers.” He described how this concept of “mostest” has affected the industry’s pursuit of stiffness, which has become one of the de facto metrics for road bikes. A stiffer bike tends to handle better and more predictably, but that doesn’t mean the stiffest bike handles best and most predictably. Stiffness differs from aerodynamics in this regard in that it’s much clearer what the benefit of less drag is, but the same is rarely true about more stiffness. Cote said that he believes that many road bikes today are actually too stiff in unhelpful ways, because “stiffer is better” has incorrectly been extrapolated to “stiffest is best,” and that some companies make bikes that are stiffer laterally (a good thing) but also much stiffer vertically (a bad thing). Adding to the challenge of superlatives is that very often one category comes at the expense of another. Poertner describes how Zipp has had to accept not being the best in every category. Weight was the first that the engineering department was willing to concede, though the marketing department decried that decision as well. But learning about the details shows you that some details are more important than others. Poertner calls this “the burden of knowledge”: learning new things forces you to change your old way of thinking. You learn which things do matter, but just as often, you learn that something you thought might have mattered a great deal (like weight) actually matters very little. Or, rather, it matters very little most of the time. It was on this subject that Cote made the most astute observation I’ve heard on the subject: “Technology, especially aerodynamics, is like a case study. You can say things like, ‘this works better for eight out of 10 people.’” And that’s ultimately the direction that both Cote and Poertner hope that the use of technical data and “white papers” will go. Cote went on to say, “We’re hitting a ‘reset’ button in terms of validation and testing. We are no longer going to compare bikes; we’re just going to look at small things and compare details. And we’re going to explain to consumers how those details make a difference that matters.” If you want the big picture, wind tunnel graphs are great for showing just how far we’ve come. The well-engineered bikes and wheels of today truly do give the rider an advantage, but how much of an advantage? To answer that, let’s look back at the well-standardized metric for fuel economy. When Toyota released the hybrid gasoline-electric Prius with an SAE certified 50+mpg rating, ecologically minded and cost-conscious consumers were overjoyed. At least until they started driving a car with an approximately 250-pound electric-drive system up and down hills. All of sudden, they saw that, despite what the sticker on the window claimed about gas mileage, the real answer was, “it depends.” LAVAMAGAZINE.COM


078 : WORKBENCH : G

Forefoot varus Though approaches and solutions vary, forefoot cant in cycling shoes can be key for proper biomechanics and comfort.

LARRY ROSA

By Mark Deterline

T

he customization curve. Our recent article on cycling shoes raised the specific issue of forefoot varus—a hot topic in both shoe design and bike fitting. Forefoot varus refers to supination of the foot within the shoe (i.e., the little toe is slightly lower than the big toe), which can lead to a number of lower leg issues, especially in the knee and ankle). As we pointed out, a big advantage for today’s cycling consumers is that they no longer need to resign themselves to one of two extremes: either a flimsy insole footbed without much support, or an expensive orthotic.

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Manufacturers are offering customizable options, including premade footbed choices (emphasizing varying levels of arch support and, increasingly, a metatarsal button feature), semicustom footbeds and heat moldability of the shoes themselves. In addition, with the growing demand for professional bike fitting, adding wedges either in the shoe or between the sole and pedal cleat is increasingly common.

Starting point. The foundation on which you begin—shoes, bike and components—will largely determine your options and best cours-

es of action. How tied to a certain product are you? And will you do it yourself or invest in the services of a qualified professional? One of the industry’s foremost biomechanics experts—Center for Sports Medicine founder and director Andy Pruitt—stresses that customization comes in many forms. Just because something is “prescribed” or personalized doesn’t mean it’s better than what is now available at professional bike shops or through the help of a competent bike fitter. One of Pruitt’s tasks when working with a client is determining whether or not a fully cus-


080 : WORKBENCH : G beds, are internally installed wedges, which go between the insole and the bottom of the shoe. What is often not explained about the two options is that external wedges cant the entire shoe, while internal wedges cant the foot within the shoe, which gives a fitter the option of canting only the forefoot. One isn’t necessarily better, and of course, which wedge to use all depends on the specific biomechanical issue being addressed. Pruitt gives an example using a recent client whose shoes featured a small toe box. Pruitt ideally would have canted only the forefoot, but since the shoe didn’t allow an internal wedge, he installed an external wedge as a step in the right direction. If the client is eventually willing to opt for a model with a bigger toe box, Pruitt will have the freedom to dial in the client’s biomechanics that much better.

LARRY ROSA

Multiple paths lead to better biomechanics.

tomized solution, such as orthotics, is necessary and even desirable. He has provided thousands of custom orthotics to clients over four decades, although he is doing fewer and fewer each year. “Unless the entire process is supervised, an orthotic often loses something between mold and finished product,” explains Pruitt. “For cycling, the goal is a rigid shoe with a footbed that absolutely mirrors the contour of the foot, distributing pressure over as broad an area of the foot as possible. But in fabrication things can get lost—too much correction, not enough, etc. The materials used to take the mold and those used to make the product, as well as the process itself, leave room for error. And, finally, it simply does not always provide the best, tailored solution for the specific needs of an individual.”

Built-in vs built-up. In our previous article we discussed improved standard footbeds, optional aftermarket models and those with the potential for customization via heat molding or modifiable components, such as Pearl Izumi’s PRO Series, which has multiple arch support and forefoot varus and metatarsal inserts. Obviously, when designing a product for the general market—or in this case for the majorlavamagazine.com

ity of consumer athletes—a manufacturer seeks to provide the best overall option in order to satisfy the broadest customer base. Since the overwhelming majority of people have some sort of forefoot cant, manifested most commonly as varus (as opposed to valgus, where the foot is pitched inward), Pruitt worked with Specialized to address the issue in the very structure of their Body Geometry shoes. Explains Pruitt: “Research shows that approximately 80–90 percent of all humans have measurable forefoot varus and therefore can benefit from a shoe that has varus built into its outsole.”

Wedges: the often misunderstood differences. For individuals who require additional or completely personalized foot or forefoot cant, there are two basic types of wedges: outside or inside of shoe (i.e., external or internal). The most popular outside wedges have been known over the years under different primary or licensing brands, such as Big Meat, LeMond’s LeWedge, BikeFit or Specialized BG. They are installed between the pedal cleat and shoe sole. Growing in popularity and availability, especially as standard components of shoe manufacturers’ modular foot-

As always, approaches and resources vary, from solutions that are readily available at a good bike or tri shop, to working directly with a professional like Andy Pruitt or LAVA contributor and biomechanics expert Ben Greenfield. “Varus or valgus pedaling mechanics can often be related to leg length discrepancies that are not anatomical but simply a consequence of a functional problem, such as immobile hips,” Greenfield says. “Often, by adjusting a stuck sacroiliac joint, the need for such shoe and cleat adjustments is eliminated. If shoe adjustment is necessary, I am a bigger fan of first addressing the issue via orthotics, which align the foot more naturally, and then adding wedges if more tilt is needed.” Although Pruitt is naturally a proponent of Specialized’s built-in varus and the company’s plug-and-play customizable options at the retail level, he is also surprisingly agnostic. He believes that a good bike shop or fit studio with professional competence can tackle the most common comfort and alignment issues. He also works at the sports medicine level with private clients every day. “I can customize a solution with any product a client brings to an appointment. Sometimes I am compelled to at least suggest what could be a better product or model for the individual. But once I know what we’re working with, I implement whatever pieces of the biomechanics puzzle will work best, from wedges to insoles and in some cases even orthotics. This includes the important issue of forefoot cant.” LAVA


082 : WORKBENCH : 

CANT? YES YOU CAN

Aftermarket pedaling alignment tools, from customizable insoles to cleat wedges, can cant your feet in your shoes to ride like fully-customized kicks. By Jay Prasuhn

Giro SuperNatural Fit Kit $50 Co-developed by the fitters at Retul, Giro’s three arch options (small, medium and large) are supplied and easily swapped via Velcro attachments for perfectly dialed arch support. The soles are infused with anti-microbial X-Static silver ion strands to help knock down odor as well. Giro.com

Specialized BG Shim Kit $37 Includes two pairs of varus (orange) and one pair of valgus (yellow) shims, which slide directly into the shoe under the insole to provide mild canting. Specialized.com

BikeFit Cleat Wedges $25 For those preferring to angle the entire shoe, BikeFit created cleat wedges that are installed between the cleat and sole, with each wedge providing one degree of medial or lateral shoe canting. Available for Speedplay (shown), LOOK and Shimano cleats. Bikefit.com

SAMMY TILLERY

Pearl Izumi F.I.T. PRO 1:1 Insole System $40 Three separate varus forefoot canting options (neutral, +1.5 and +3 millimeter) and three arch supports (low, medium and high) slot into respective forefoot and arch “pockets” for fully independent insole customization. Pearlizumi.com

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084 084 : KONA : KONA OPENER

breaking dawn

DONALD MIRALLE Donald Miralle

As the sun rose over Hualalai on October 8, months of nerves gave way as nearly 1,800 athletes kicked off the 35th edition of the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua Bay.

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but he didn’t need to in order to find out that countryman Chris “Macca” McCormack had called his cycling ability into question during a prerace interview. “Everybody knows Craig’s Achilles’ heel: of the top 15 guys, he’s definitely the weakest on the bike,” Macca told NBC. “If [the ride] is easy, Craig’s the guy with the foot-speed to win this race. If the bike ride is tough, he’s out of the picture.” Crowie received plenty of phone calls in the hours and days after the show aired asking for his opinion on the matter. In his typical calm and collected manner, he chose not to respond. He’s never been one to get involved in smack talk, and it wouldn’t have done him much good anyway. McCormack won last year’s race and Alexander finished fourth. It was pretty hard to argue that Macca’s strategy hadn’t lavamagazine.com

worked. Shortly after winning last year’s Hawaii Ironman, the 38-yearold McCormack announced his intention to pursue a spot on the 2012 Australian Olympic Team instead of a third Kona title. There would be no rematch between the two most successful Aussies ever to compete in Hawaii. While McCormack’s focus shifted away from the Big Island, Alexander’s never strayed. Two titles weren’t enough. A third win in Hawaii would put Alexander alongside Peter Reid, Mark Allen and Dave Scott as the only men to win more than twice. It would also make Alexander the only Aussie ever to win this race on three occasions. There was plenty to keep Crowie motivated through the off-season. “To be honest, being beaten last year hurt me a lot,” Alexander said after this year’s race. “Not because I got beat, but because I had a good race and got beat up.”


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Crowie was honest with himself about his 2010 performance in Hawaii. He came into the race with the same plan of attack that had put him at the starting line as the race’s two-time defending champion: Stay close to the rest of the contenders on the swim, don’t let the gap get too big once the bikers take off, and then reel them all in once they break on the run. It was a proven Kona strategy. But last year the gap on the bike got too big. Macca’s prerace banter turned to prophecy come race day. Joined by South Africa’s Raynard Tissink, Germany’s Andreas Raelert and Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker, McCormack slowly pulled away from Alexander on the second half of the ride, and before he knew it, the two-time defending champ found himself at the second transition eight minutes behind some very fast runners. Even his best marathon ever in Kona (2:41:59) wasn’t enough to earn a spot on the podium. If Crowie was going to win this race again, he needed to get better.

“After last year’s race I sat down with the people around me and said, ‘I have to improve,’” Alexander said. “Chris [McCormack], Andi [Raelert] and Marino [Vanhoenacker] really raised the bar last year.” Alexander spent the time between Kona and New Year’s recovering at home in Australia before beginning his prep for April’s Ironman Australia in January. As part of Ironman’s new qualification system, even previous world champions now need to validate their Kona slot by completing one full Ironman during the season. Australia was an easy pick for Alexander. It was close to home, and since it offered professionals looking to bolster their Kona pro ranking relatively few points, it should have been an easy win—and it would have been, were it not for a virus that struck Alexander as he began his taper for the race. What started as a cold turned into something much more severe, with one coughing fit becoming so violent that Alexander cracked a rib. Training sick was lavamagazine.com


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one thing; training for Ironman with a broken rib was impossible. Australia was out of the question. Now Crowie needed to find a new race to validate his spot for Hawaii. Others with less experience would have hit the panic switch. Crowie had carefully constructed a seasonlong plan toward his third Hawaii crown and now his schedule was off before the season had even started. He tried to remain positive. It was only April. Maybe a little time off wouldn’t be such a bad thing. “I think things happen for a reason,” Alexander said of his early-season illness. “The start of my season was very slow. I hadn’t had any forced time off like that in nearly a decade. I think the big thing is just not to panic. That’s something you learn when you get a little older. I never though I was unfit, just unhealthy.” After two months of fighting off the virus, Alexander was healthy and had his sights on Ironman Coeur d’Alene in Idaho in late June. This time the build-up was smooth and free of setbacks, culminating with a relatively easy win. Alexander gave up nine minutes to German über-biker Maik Twelsiek on the bike, but had no problem pulling back the gap on the marathon to win by five minutes. He set new run and course records and looked relatively unscathed at the finish. The season was back on track. Alexander’s bike time at Coeur d’Alene was a modest 4:38:44, similar to his bike splits in Kona for the past three seasons. It was a respectable time, but it gave little

indication that his middle leg had improved all that much since last season. And then came Vegas. to this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships, held in mid-September just outside Las Vegas. After five years on a flat and fast course in Clearwater Beach, Fla., the race would finally be contested on a course worthy of being deemed a “world championship.” Clearwater was inevitably left to the guy with the best half-marathon. The new course in Henderson, Nev., would demand a more complete race to take the win. The hills on the bike and run would be relentless. Like Kona, it was guaranteed to be hot. The general consensus among the media and those who follow the sport closely was that Vegas would be a bikers’ race. A quick glance down the start list seemed to confirm this notion—Chris Lieto, Joe Gambles, Paul Matthews, Michael Weiss, Raynard Tissink— these were guys who liked to let it rip on the bike. And then there was Alexander, the runner in the bunch—or so we thought. Crowie’s confidence in the days leading up to the 70.3 World Championship on September 11 was impossible to ignore. He may not have been pegged as a race favorite a few weeks before the race, but once everyone got a look at him during race week, he became a popular pick. It wasn’t just because at 38 years old he looked fitter than ever before. It wasn’t because he was one of the few athletes who had made a midsummer reconnaissance trip to Henderson to check out the course. Simply put, Crowie had his swagger back. He spoke with certainty during his prerace interviews. His focus was palpable. He was carrying himself like a world champion again. “I’ve always said this is my best distance,” Alexander said at the pre-race press conference. “I think this is a distance that’s been in need of a true world championship. I do have fond memories of Clearwater, but this is Vegas—everybody’s all in.” What could have been overconfidence or prerace mental games proved to be anything but come race day. Like the days when he dominated short-course, nondrafting events throughout

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FEATURES : 093 the U.S., Crowie was back to his place at the pointy end of the race on the bike. American Chris Lieto, generally regarded as the strongest cyclist in the sport, was the only athlete able to put significant time into Alexander on the hilly and hot tour of the Nevada desert, but it came at a significant cost. Alexander was four minutes down on Lieto at the start of the run, but as soon as his feet hit the pavement, it seemed he was leading from behind. The grueling pace on the bike—forced, in large part, by Alexander himself—had taken its toll on everyone except Alexander. On a course where most assumed no one would be able to break four hours, Crowie won the inaugural Vegas title in 3:54:48. In Clearwater the podium was often separated by only a handful of seconds, but this year Alexander had to wait more than three minutes to welcome Lieto to the finish as the runner-up. There

Raelert blazed through the Challenge Roth course in 7:41:33 to set a new iron-distance world record. And both had paid their dues in Hawaii. In 2010 Raelert and Vanhoenacker finished second and third, respectively, in one of the tightest Kona podiums ever. What’s more, their respective times—8:12 for Raelert and 8:13 for Vanhoenacker—were faster than Alexander had ever gone in Hawaii. The smart money was on the pair of 35-year-old Europeans, but Crowie’s race in Vegas raised a lot of questions. Just how fit was he? Was he ready to ride with the group that rode away from him a year before? It didn’t take very long for Alexander to answer those questions come race day. He exited the water only two minutes behind early race leader Andy Potts and alongside Raelert, Vanhoenacker and the rest of the men he needed to keep tabs on for the next 112 miles. From the start of the bike ride, it was clear that Crowie was deter-

were only four weeks to go until Kona and all indications were that Crowie was in the best shape of his career, especially on the bike. This could throw a wrench into a lot of athletes’ plans.

mined not to make the same mistake as last year—he couldn’t let the race ride away from him again. Alexander found himself in good company for the first 56 miles, and while the pace was noticeably faster than in years past, the lack of wind on the way up to the turnaround at Hawi meant any sudden breakaways were easy to cover. Lieto assumed the lead from Potts shortly after the 20-mile marker and worked in tandem with countryman T.J. Tollakson to stretch the gap on the chase pack as much as possible. Shortly after starting the long, gradual climb from Kawaihae to Hawi, Tollakson was forced to the side of the road with stomach issues, and

and reduced racing schedule helped him shun the spotlight all season long, but after his flawless performance in Vegas, continuing to do so was impossible once he arrived on the Big Island. For most of the summer Vanhoenacker and Raelert garnered most of the Kona hype, and with good reason: In early July Vanhoenacker finished Ironman Austria in 7:45:58, the fastest time ever at an Ironman-branded race. Seven days later

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According to Jacobs, things “didn’t go well on the bike. I just didn’t feel myself out there.” Nonetheless, the Aussie shaved 16 minutes off of his bike split from a year ago, which was key to his runner-up finish.

Lieto was left to his own devices up front. His lead was barely two minutes, and in the group of 10 men behind him, there were at least five who had proven they could run 15 minutes faster than the American. If Lieto was going to have a chance, he needed the wind to seriously pick up, and as he came to the turnaround at 56 miles it appeared for a moment that he might get his wish. Lieto flashed a smile as he glanced to the north to see that the Hawi Wind Farm—a collection of 16 turbine windmills—was in full operation. It seemed that the second half of the ride would be much more interesting than the first. As violent as the wind was on the northern end of the Island, it wasn’t the typical trade wind moving from east to west, but rather a Maui wind coming from the Big Island’s neighbor to the north and blowing directly south. It made for a challenging final couple of miles up to the turnaround, but after making the turn, Lieto and his pursuers got a big boost for the return trip to Kailua-Kona. Lieto pointed the nose of his bike south and hit the gas. His superb descending skills helped give him another minute on the way back down to Kawaihae, but the gap wasn’t opening up nearly as fast as in years past. The boys behind were riding harder this year. Like last year, they all wanted to get away from Crowie—pushing the pace upwards of 26 miles per hour at times to do so. Unlike last year, Crowie wasn’t going lavamagazine.com

to give an inch. In fact, it was Alexander and countryman Luke McKenzie forcing the others out of their comfort zone. Raelert was the first to break. In 2010 a bike split of 4:32 had earned him a gap of seven minutes on Alexander at T2. This time around he was on pace to ride five minutes faster, but shortly after the 80-mile mark, Alexander began disappearing up the road, along with Vanhoenacker, McKenzie, Luxembourg’s Dirk Bockel and Germany’s Timo Bracht. Raelert simply could not ask any more of his legs on the bike, and was forced to face the grim prospect of trying to catch Crowie during the marathon. “I didn’t know how far ahead [Alexander] was until I got to transition and found out I was almost three minutes behind,” Raelert said. “I knew that if I was going to have any chance to win I had to take a big risk and go after him right away, so that’s what I did.” Raelert certainly didn’t expect another seven-minute T2 advantage over Alexander, but he hadn’t planned to arrive at transition three minutes back either. That Crowie had ridden faster than in 2010 was no real surprise, but that he shaved 15 minutes off his bike split in one year was cause for panic among the men still in contention at T2. As was the case four weeks earlier in Vegas, Lieto had a massive advantage over Alexander at the start of the run, but their early paces on the run made a pass inevitable before they finished up the eight-


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The second-fastest ride in the history of the race took its toll on Lieto’s body, humbling him to a walk only a few miles into the run. Determined not to quit, Lieto finished as the 29th professional male in 9:10:26.

mile out-and-back stretch along famed Ali’i Drive. That pass came even sooner than expected, as Lieto paid the price for his mammoth effort on the bike. His 4:18:31 ride was his best ever in Hawaii—and only eight seconds shy of Normann Stadler’s bike course record—but less than four miles into the run he was humbled to a walk, as Alexander gave chase at a 5:40-per-mile pace. The pass came and went without much drama, with Lieto unable to muster an attempt at running with the new leader. Alexander made the switch from hunter to hunted, and as he passed back through town and made the right turn up Palani Road, talk of a new course record began to spread. Mike Reilly hinted that it was a possibility over the loudspeaker at the finish line—Crowie had ridden six minutes better than Luc Van Lierde had on his record-setting day in 1996. At the pace he was running, Alexander would come in well ahead of the 8:04:08 mark set 15 years before. But at the rate he was running, he was also losing ground to a pair of men behind him. “The race got really tough once Andi [Raelert] put some pressure on me at the start of the run,” Alexander said. “I was averaging about 5:45 per mile at that point, but I was still losing about 10 seconds per mile at every check.” lavamagazine.com

While Alexander continued to monitor Raelert’s progress on the mobile leaderboard that zoomed by on a motorcycle every couple of miles, he didn’t notice the progress of his 29-year-old countryman, Pete Jacobs, who had come into transition 11th and was now flying through the field. The fact that Jacobs had the fastest legs was no real surprise—he posted the day’s best run split in 2010 en route to finishing 8th—but the fact that Jacobs was only a handful of minutes down at T2 was bad news for anyone with hopes of a podium finish. Like Alexander, Jacobs made a huge improvement in his bike leg this season, knocking 16 minutes off his 2010 ride in Hawaii. Ten miles into the run, the young Aussie headed back out onto the Queen K Highway in third position, flying past a fading Vanhoenacker, who would eventually drop out of the race. The only man now separating the two Aussies was Raelert, who had been a model of poise and control up until that point of the run, but once again was showing signs of breaking. Kona’s notorious Natural Energy Lab has long been heralded as the most difficult section of the marathon in Hawaii. It’s little more than a two-mile out-and-back stretch of asphalt, with a couple of tiny ocean research laboratories at the end of the blacktop. The road actually dips below sea level just before the turnaround, making for some of the most


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Alexander stormed out of T2 running faster than 5:40 per mile. After starting the run six minutes down on Lieto, he took the lead for the first and final time shortly after the four-mile marker.

stagnant and humid air anywhere on the Island. No cars or cameramen are allowed on this portion of the course. It’s a very lonely place—unless you happen to be leading the race and receive the honor of an NBC chopper escort through the lab. If you were to ask Raelert, the Natural Energy Lab has lived up to its reputation as the toughest section of the course at his previous two races in Kona. Both times Raelert has been closing in on the lead as he’s made the left turn into the lab near mile 18, and both times he’s made the right turn back out of the lab hanging on for dear life. This year was déjà vu for the German. What was a three-minute deficit to Crowie at mile 18 became more than five minutes at mile 20. Alexander got a look at his rival as he headed back toward the Queen K for the final six miles of the day—Raelert was spent; now it was time to start thinking about a record. “From about mile four through mile 19 I was uncomfortable,” Alexander said. “Andi [Raelert] really took me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to race like an athlete who has won here before. In the past I feel like I’ve been a bit timid at this race, and I didn’t want to race like that anymore.” Even as Jacobs passed Raelert for second and continued to make up a few seconds per mile on Alexander, the result was never really in doubt during the final six miles. The only question that remained was whether or not Crowie would make it back to the pier in Kailua-Kona before the clock read “8:04:08.” It seemed settled that he would do so until he started the last downhill into town on Palani Road and suddenly lavamagazine.com

grabbed his hamstring and slowed to a walk. There was a collective gasp among those following the race on the big screen at the finish just around the corner. Even the ho’opa’a—the ceremonial Hawaiian drummers charged with welcoming the top finishers to the line—sat still for a moment to see what would happen next. Crowie had overdone it. A close enough look and one could see the muscles in the backs of his legs seizing up. The always-stoic Alexander couldn’t hide the pain on his face any longer. He doused himself with ice water at the final aid station, grabbed one last drink and tried to regain control of his legs. “The wheels really came off on that last downhill,” Alexander said. “My lead was six minutes at that point and there was less than two miles to go, so I was never really worried about giving up the lead, but I wasn’t thinking about the record at that point either. I just had to get moving again.” After 20 seconds of struggling to run, Crowie regained his stride and was flying toward the final right turn onto Ali’i Drive with a comfortable lead for the third time in his career. He grabbed an Australian flag from a spectator eager to give it away—time to celebrate. With little more than 200 meters left to run, Crowie knew he was close to the record, but he had no idea just how close. “To be honest I had stopped thinking about how close it was until I heard Mike [Reilly] screaming that I had less than a minute,” Alexander said. “So I put in a bit of a sprint there at the end—I’m glad a saved a little something.”


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1. Craig Alexander : AUS : 8:03:56 2. Pete Jacobs : AUS : 8:09:11 3. Andreas Raelert : GER : 8:11:07 4. Dirk Bockel : LUX : 8:12:58 5. Timo Bracht : GER : 8:20:12 6. Mike Aigroz : SUI : 8:21:07 7. Raynard Tissink : RSA : 8:22:15 8. Andi Boecherer : GER : 8:23:19 9. Luke McKenzie : AUS : 8:25:42 10. Faris Al-Sultan : GER : 8:27:18

There was a lot going through Alexander’s mind as he sprinted up the finishing chute: He was about to become only the fourth man to win Kona more than twice. He was about to become the oldest man ever to win in Hawaii, and he had done it faster than every previous winner. There was a lot he could’ve been thinking about at that moment, but Crowie, always one to pay respect to the greats who have come before him, was thinking about his friend and mentor Greg Welch. In 1994, when Crowie was just 21 years old, he watched “Welchy” become the first Australian to win Hawaii, jumping across the line with his tongue out and arms and legs splayed. Crowie did his best impression of his hero, leaping across the line with a lack of grace that was no doubt the result of what he had just put his body through. Eight hours, three minutes and 56 seconds. After 140.6 miles of racing, Crowie had completed the course just 12 seconds faster than Van Lierde had in 1996. There was no doubt that it was an atypically fast year as far as conditions go. Kailua Bay was calmer than it could have been. The only significant wind on the bike course worked in the athletes’ favor. There was a little cloud cover during the run. But it was also one of the most humid races in recent memory. It was not a good day to run fast, and yet Alexander finished the marathon in 2:44:02, his second-fastest run ever in Hawaii. It would be hard to call Crowie’s performance anything other lavamagazine.com

than the greatest single race ever turned in on the Big Island. For the second year in a row it was Jacobs who clocked the best run of the day (2:42:29), which put him at the line just over five minutes behind Alexander and two minutes ahead of Raelert. Jacobs’ final time of 8:09:11 would have been good enough to win every previous Hawaii Ironman save for 1992 (when Mark Allen won in 8:09:08), 1993 (when Allen won in 8:07:45) and 1996 (when Van Lierde set the previous record of 8:04:08). “For the past year it’s been all about Andreas [Raelert] and Craig [Alexander],” Jacobs said. “So to finish right between the two of them is unreal. I’m incredibly motivated for next year.” The third-place result wasn’t what Raelert had hoped for heading into the race, but his 8:11:07 finish was still the seventh-fastest time ever recorded in Kona and was more than a minute faster than his runner-up finish from a year ago. “I had a great day today, I just got beat by two better athletes,” Raelert said. “For me it was just an honor to be in the race with Crowie. He was on his own level. Sure, I had my issues, but everyone has issues here. Even Crowie struggled at the end. This is Hawaii—everybody suffers.” LAVA

To watch Crowie fly to the finish and break the world record, visit lavamagazine.com/crowie-finish


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Chrissie Wellington had to wait a year to win back her Kona crown, but she wasn’t the only contender out there with something to prove. One thing is for certain: Kona is no longer a onewoman show.

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n the end, Chrissie Wellington’s fourth Ironman world title was clocked at a speedy 8:55:08, but these numbers are deceptive. Without a closer look, they paint a picture that we’ve all seen before: Wellington gets out of the water in the lead pack, rides off to catch up with the professional men and then rips the remaining feathers out of the elite women’s caps by gaining even more time on the run. Being the good Pavlovian triathlon fans that we all are, of course we expected such a day out there in the lava fields. But in the days before the race, when Wellington uncharacteristically spoke in indefinite terms about her ability to overcome the pain a recent bike crash would cause her on race day, it was as if a chink in her armor began to open up. None of her competitors were able to tear that hole open, but simply know-

ing it was there was enough to set the stage for some of the best podium-worthy female performances in recent memory, and the most triumphant victory in Wellington’s career. In truth, this race really began on the morning of October 10, 2010. That morning, an extremely ill Wellington awoke knowing two things: she was no longer world champion, and everyone in the triathlon universe thought they had the inside scoop about why she had pulled out before the race even started. “There were rumors and accusations,” remembered Wellington. “Some of them were laughable, like I was pregnant or had my period. And some of them were libelous, for example that I didn’t want to be drug tested or I had some sort of nervous breakdown.” A devastated Wellington headed back to Boulder, Colo., to get treatment for her illness and

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pick up the pieces of her psyche. “I worked with someone just to immunize myself against the negativity from others, and I guess the self-criticism I was experiencing as well, and we worked really hard to build up that confidence within me again,” she said.Within six weeks,Wellington had recovered both mentally and physically, and crushed the Ironman Arizona course record that November. But she wasn’t at peace. “There’s been this hunger, this burning, burning desire in my stomach all year,” said Wellington. “It’s so much more to me than just a race; I want this position and the opportunities that come with it so badly and I felt last year like I had lost all of that and someone else was the head of the sport.” On that same morning in October 2010, Australian Mirinda Carfrae awoke for the first time as the Ironman world champion. She had raced flawlessly—breaking the marathon record along the way—and her life was about to change forever.“I really wanted to celebrate my victory, and I really did,” remembered Carfrae. “But

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I think I paid for it for the first six or seven months of this year.” Sponsor obligations, interviews and an extended stay in the U.S. meant she opted out of going back to Australia for the off-season, and by July 2011 Carfrae found herself battling virus after virus, and doubts about Hawaii went from distant cries in the back of her mind to serious discussions with her coach, Siri Lindley. “I wasn’t about to go to Hawaii for 20th place,” said Carfrae. “I got healthy, got in some consistent weeks of training and finally got to the point where I knew I could race the way I wanted to race.” Exactly a year later, Carfrae and Wellington entered the waters at Dig Me Beach in Kailua-Kona with their eyes firmly set on the win. But they weren’t the only ones with injuries to overcome or demons to put to rest. And, more importantly, they weren’t the only two with very specific strategies to play. Some of these plans would fall short, some would be executed beautifully, and some would even put their own lives in jeopardy.


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“THERE’S BEEN THIS HUNGER, THIS BURNING, BURNING DESIRE IN MY STOMACH ALL YEAR,” SAYS WELLINGTON. “IT’S SO MUCH MORE TO ME THAN JUST A RACE; I WANT THIS POSITION AND THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT COME WITH IT SO BADLY AND I FELT LAST YEAR LIKE I HAD LOST ALL OF THAT AND SOMEONE ELSE WAS THE HEAD OF THE SPORT.”

DONALD MIRALLE

Within the first few miles of the bike course in Kona, it was clear that something entirely different was going on in the women’s race. Last year’s third-place finisher Julie Dibens of Great Britain had exited the water with the pro men and just behind American superswimmer Amanda Stevens, and was already charging way ahead of the other women. Averaging 23 miles per hour down the Queen K, Dibens looked strong and relaxed, and while the last leg of the race remained somewhat of a question mark for her, she had no plans to call it a day before crossing the finish line. “I knew that if I was going to have any chance of getting on the podium, I had to get as much of a lead on the bike as possible,” she said. Last year, Dibens had dominated the bike course and was more than 11 minutes ahead of the competition before heading into T2. Despite never having run a marathon before, and suffer-

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ing from severe dehydration and cramping, Dibens had staggered across the line and onto the podium. This year, a nagging foot injury caused her to pull out of September’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, and she admits her run training was less than ideal. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts about finishing the run,” Dibens said. “My longest run up to that point had been 90 minutes, and that was two weeks before Vegas, so I knew I was setting myself up for a challenge.” By mile 20 of the bike, Dibens had more than five minutes on her nearest challengers, fellow Brits Leanda Cave and Rachel Joyce. But where was their most notable countrywoman? While Dibens, Joyce and Cave were slapping on helmets and hitting the tarmac, Wellington was still in the water, pushing through the lung-prickling pain of pulled intercostal and pectoral muscles. These were the least visible of


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British super-biker Dibens spent the majority of the bike ride so far out in front, it was as if the rest of the field didn’t exist. Had she finished the race, her 4:44:14 bike split would have been the course record, but the much-deserved credit instead went to Swiss Karin Thuerig’s 4:44:20 split for the day.

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Caroline Steffen was the only woman able to stay within 10 minutes of Julie Dibens on the bike. But the hard work she put into her bike split, coupled with a nagging foot injury, left her struggling on the run.

the injuries sustained during her September 24 crash, but were severe enough to have sent her to the hospital less than a week before the race after an attempt to swim laps in a pool had left her in agony. She would eventually exit the water in 1:01:03—six and a half minutes slower than her 2009 swim split and a full four minutes behind defending champion Carfrae and 2010 runner-up Caroline Steffen of Switzerland. Much like Wellington, Carfrae and Dibens, Steffen’s year leading up to Hawaii had been less than ideal. Plantar fasciitis had plagued her entire season—at one point she was unable to run more than 800 meters at a time. Still, Steffen had won every single race she had entered in 2011, save for two where she came in second, and as soon as she hopped on her bike it was clear that she had the same strategy in mind that Dibens was playing out—ride like her life depended on it. “Caroline [Steffen] lavamagazine.com

just absolutely went for it,” said Carfrae. “I got out of the water with her, but she had ridden away from me within the first few miles. I was redlining to try and stay with her but I just couldn’t keep up.” By the time the women made the turnaround in Hawi, Steffen had sliced her way up to second and past Joyce and Cave, who continued to hold strong despite the ever-changing races in front and behind them. She was now barely six minutes back of Dibens and holding. Nearly 12 minutes behind the leader sat Carfrae, well aware of the fact that at not even halfway through the bike, the gap between her and Dibens was already larger than it had ever been in 2010. “People seem to assume that I knew Julie would pull out, but you know, she didn’t even know it would happen,” said Carfrae. “And while I knew she hadn’t done the run work, last year she hadn’t either and ended up third. When someone has a


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Carfrae managed to hold off Wellington until the turnaround at Hawi, but she was several minutes back of Wellington headng into T2. Carfrae pushed right out of the gate with a 6:30 per mile pace, knowing full well that Wellington was moving equally as fast.

swim and bike combo like her, you just can’t ever count them out.” Carfrae knew she had even bigger problems chasing her. Exactly two minutes behind her was Wellington, inching her way toward the defending champion with every stroke of her pedal. Wellington was stoic. There was no waving for the spectators and no tell-tale grin as she ground along the highway—the woman with the Twitter handle “@chrissiesmiles” was not living up to her online persona. But this was a race full of unrelenting strategy, and even Wellington’s facial expression was in on it. “My coach, Dave Scott, was very clear in his advice to me,” said Wellington. “He said ‘Chrissie, you need every single ounce of energy that you have to overcome the physical challenges you will face in that race. I know you want to smile, I know you want to wave, but you have to focus and you can’t give anything away.’” lavamagazine.com

By the time Carfrae hit the turnaround at Hawi, the gap had been all but closed. “I had been trying so hard to keep Chrissie behind me, but I hit a rough patch, and that was when she passed me,” said Carfrae. After that, all Carfrae could do was try to hold on, and remember that her strength would come as soon as her feet hit the ground. This would not be the case for Dibens. With a jaw-dropping 21-minute lead on Wellington and almost 25 minutes on Carfrae heading into T2, Dibens had clearly accomplished her goal of getting as far ahead on the bike as possible. But as soon as she got off her bike, she knew something was wrong. “As soon as I went through the transition area, my foot hurt worse than it ever had,” says Dibens. She soldiered on, feeling fairly confident that she had stuck to her nutrition plan well enough to make it through to the finish line better than in 2010. At mile seven, the


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114 : FEATURES

pain in Dibens’ foot reached a point where she knew she was at a crossroads. “People always ask how you know whether a pain is something you can push through, or when it becomes something more. I think you just sense it. This just became something I knew I wouldn’t be able to come back from,” she said. The minute Dibens pulled over to the sidewalk, things took a rapid turn for the worse. Her hands and arms began to tingle, and then to seize up. Suddenly, wrenching cramps ran throughout her body, her breathing became labored and an ambulance was called. “They thought I was going into cardiac arrest,” says Dibens. “Once at the hospital, they discovered my potassium levels had dropped to critical levels, and they hooked me up to an EKG which showed that my heart was beating irregularly.” Dibens would spend the

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next 24 hours in a hospital bed, and while her competitors would not learn why her day ended until much later, her exceptional ride off the front—to the tune of 4:44:14—was undoubtedly the downfall of many of them. Steffen was one such competitor. While the rest of the field couldn’t come within 15 minutes of Dibens, Steffen tried her hardest to stay within 10 minutes of her for the majority of the ride. Heading back into town past the airport, it was clear that Steffen was working hard for it too. Her hips shifted with each stroke of the pedal; her head down and lips pursed. Once back in T2 she seemed to have rejuvenated herself a bit, hitting Ali’i Drive with a 7:00 minute per mile pace. But a 7:00 minute mile wasn’t going to cut it on this day, and the two steadfast Brits of


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116 : FEATURES

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Despite being more than 20 minutes behind Dibens heading into T2, by the halfway mark of the run Wellington was already secure in second place. She would eventually gain the lead at mile 16, just before entering the Natural Energy Lab.

the race—Cave and Joyce—were each less than four minutes behind her and gaining time. While they wouldn’t be able to hold off Wellington and Carfrae, the strong speed they maintained throughout the day meant they would cross the finish line in third and fourth place—their best Kona performances to date. While Joyce and Cave’s strategies to stay consistent during the day ended up being successful, Steffen had gone out on a limb. “Caroline took a really huge risk out there to try and win, and unfortunately she paid for it on the run,” said Carfrae. “She was hurting out there. When I passed her she was undoing a two-liter bottle of water and pouring the entire thing over her head, but I mean she didn’t come here for another second place.” Caroline would end the day in fifth after managing to lead the race for the first 16 miles of the run. “I got a lot of TV cameras on me for a lot of the day, so that was cool,” joked Steffen. lavamagazine.com

“Wearing the number of the defending champion means you can’t walk the marathon. I knew I just couldn’t take my foot off the gas like that.“ “You know I tried to win today, and I will get back here next year and try again.” Even with the massive lead Steffen had on her competition, it’s likely the Wellington and Carfrae bullet trains would have caught her eventually. Not knowing Dibens’ ultimate fate, the two champions knew they each had more than 20 minutes to make up, and they weren’t about to waste a second. Wellington hit the ground roughly three minutes ahead of Carfrae,


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Defending champion Carfrae was able to dial down the gap between her and Wellington to under three minutes during the run, but even though her marathon time would break the run record, it wasn’t quite enough for first place.

clocking 6:00-minute miles straight off the bat. “I went out really, really hard,” said Wellington. “But knowing Rinny was there spurned me on. And while it was discouraging to hear that I was 21 minutes down because that’s not something I’m used to, I was in sixth place and Ironman is a long day.” When Carfrae exited T2, she also found herself in an unusual position—for the first time in her Ironman career she couldn’t seem to find her running legs. “I was actually concerned I might have to start walking,” says Carfrae. While her 6:30-minute per mile pace might indicate otherwise, her rhythm felt off, and she felt the win slipping through her fingers. “On Ali’i Drive I almost shook my head at some friends, to let them know it was over, but I just couldn’t let myself do that,” said Carfrae. “Wearing the number of the defending champion means you can’t lavamagazine.com

walk the marathon. I just have too much pride at the end of the day; I realized I just couldn’t take my foot off the gas like that.” Wellington wouldn’t lead the race until she passed Steffen heading into the Natural Energy Lab, and after emerging back onto the Queen K heading back toward town, Carfrae hovered just three minutes behind. The tiny Aussie had found her legs, and her pace picked up slightly. “I felt like if I could just see her, that would make all the difference,” said Carfrae. “But I couldn’t. And with only 10K to go, three minutes is a lot of time to make up.” She started doing the math, and tried to wrap her fatigued mind around the 5:40-per-mile pace she would need in order to defend her title. “I just kept on thinking, ‘she could falter at the end, we’ve seen champions crumble at the end, so it’s possible.’”


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120 : FEATURES WOMEN’S TOP FINISHERS

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1. Chrissie Wellington : GBR : 8:55:08 2. Mirinda Carfrae : AUS : 8:57:57 3. Leanda Cave : GBR : 9:03:29 4. Rachel Joyce : GBR : 9:06:57 5. Caroline Steffen : SUI : 9:07:32 6. Karin Thuerig : SUI : 9:15:00 7. Sonja Tajsich : GER : 9:15:17 8. Heather Wurtele : CAN : 9:17:56 9. Caitlin Snow : USA : 9:18:11 10. Virginia Berasategui : ESP : 9:19:52

While Wellington will be the first to tell you that the thought crossed her mind throughout the race, there would be no faltering this day. And while a smiling Chrissie was seen crossing the finish line, she had been nearly broken, and it showed. Less than three minutes later came Carfrae, along with a new marathon course record of 2:52:09, just 30 seconds faster than Wellington’s marathon time for the day. Carfrae didn’t hide her disappointment or exhaustion either as she choked up after crossing the finish line. “It’s clear that this race took more out of those two girls than they expected,” said Dibens. “And I think Caroline [Steffen], Rachel [Joyce] and Leanda [Cave] performed well above what was expected of them too. But the mental strength Chrissie showed was amazing, and that’s what makes you a true champion.” lavamagazine.com

And so exactly a year after forfeiting her crown, it was once again placed upon Wellington’s head. With the burning in her stomach doused with celebration, her mind filled with thoughts about all the goals and opportunities waiting for her in the year ahead. “I think my bike crash was a blessing for me. It meant that I could have the race that I wanted, and I could show that not only can I win from the front, but I can also win from behind,” says Wellington. “Everyone could see that I’m human, but also that I’m prepared to go to the absolute depths of my soul to get what I want.” LAVA

Watch Chrissie finish strong and capture the Ford Ironman World Championship title, go to lavamagazine.com/chrissie-finish


TRAINING T

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124

training feature 132

coach’s counsel 136

sidelined 140

the full spectrum 148

to your health 154

the hype 158

competitive edge

“Put the gadgets to bed for the next month or two and just go out for your workouts to get exercise, not to train.

DONALD MIRALLE

There is a big difference

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here. Exercise is moving because it feels good.” —Mark Allen, (Competitive Edge, P. 158)


T : TRAINING : 123

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124 : TRAINING FEATURE : 

start

2012

jump secure your edge next season

by examining past mistakes and training

smart in the by new year. cliff english

LAVAMAGAZINE.COM


JANOS SCHMIDT, TRIATHLON.ORG

 : TRAINING FEATURE : 125

i

f you were to pick the brain of any successful professional triathlete today, chances are you would discover they put just as much attention, effort and analysis into planning their off-season as they do into executing their race season. Right about now most professional triathletes around the globe are involved in lengthy conversations with their coaches and support networks. By phone, in person and by email they are examining and reexamining the inevitable mix of success and failure that makes up every athlete’s race season. Together they are planning their assault on 2012, and that journey to success begins right now with lying on the beach, drinking a few beers and doing absolutely nothing.

Rest. You read about it every year at this time. It’s in every triathlon magazine you pick up. They tell you now is the time to put your feet up, sit on the couch, watch reruns of Family Guy, eat whatever you want, spend time with your family and maybe try a new sport—but does anyone actually do it? Without a doubt, taking the time to mentally and physically recharge after a long season of racing is one of the most important things athletes can do to set themselves up for an effective off-season, and consequently, a successful next year. Taking two to four weeks now to recharge acts as a springboard from which everything else can follow. For the sake of this article let’s say your first week of rest begins some time in November. It should consist of basically nothing. Zero. Go by feel, and if you don’t feel like doing anything, don’t. In weeks two and three the athletes I coach are usually given a very light activity schedule with little structure that often includes sports such as hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing, depending on their preferences and location. This is not an exact science, however, and you may find yourself at the end of week one still completely uninspired at the thought of doing any kind of activity. Listen to that little voice telling you LAVAMAGAZINE.COM


126 : TRAINING FEATURE : 

JANOS SCHMIDT, TRIATHLON.ORG

Unstructured activity means letting go of a training plan and listening to what your body feels like doing.

not to move. While I’ve found that it’s usually beneficial to introduce light activity during this second week, perhaps you need 10 days of complete rest—or more. This is the one time in your entire year where you have carte blanche to do absolutely nothing and feel good about it. Have fun, take a vacation and spend time with your friends and family! Now, more than ever, is the time to listen to your body. Naturally, volume is reduced during this time. If you normally train 20 hours per week in-season, you might train somewhere around five to 10 hours per week during these light activity weeks. If you’re like most triathletes, you are bound to be concerned about losing all the fitness you worked so hard to gain over the summer. Relax. It always comes back. Trust me. In fact, seasoned professionals learn to become quite comfortable losing a bit of fitness during this time—many even look forward to it. They realize it’s not only beneficial for short-term recovery, but also for longevity and continued success in the sport.

Seek medical advice. This first phase of the off-season is also the perfect time to set up a few appointments with sports medicine professionals. I highly recommend regular blood work at least two to four times per year. Collecting this sort of information at several points during the year allows you to quickly catch any blips in the data as you begin to get a sense of your own personal norms. Blood work during the off-season is particularly important as you need to be certain your body is ready to begin training for the upcoming season. The start of the off-season is also a great time to look into regular physical therapy, massage therapy, ART or other types of bodywork. If you’ve been carefully managing a chronic injury during the season you now have some freedom to really address the issue. While the goal during the season may have been injury maintenance, the goal off-season is total repair. Deeper, more intense bodywork is something you can consider now without fear of being too sore the next day to complete a key session.

December training. If November was your first month of the offseason, December is the time to start introducing a little more strucLAVAMAGAZINE.COM

ture and focus to your training. This is not the time, however, to jump back into high-intensity workouts. Be sure to keep your volume at no more than 50 percent of your maximum in-season volume. If you can, add in sports such as cross-country skiing, cyclocross or trail running. Aerobic fitness is aerobic fitness, no matter how you achieve it. You will have plenty of time to focus on swimming, biking and running in the months ahead. I would strongly suggest maintaining at least one or two sessions per week of each discipline in order to preserve your “feel” for each sport. December is largely about doing what you can when you can. The holidays can make it a challenging month for everyone. Try to keep the stress low, enjoy yourself and go with the flow.

New year, new plan. As we move into January most athletes have already selected their major goal races for the year and the planning process is well underway. At this point the schedule for the year may be nothing more than a rough mental plan, and it doesn’t need to be, at least not at this point. In my opinion, planning may very well be one of the most vital and labor-intensive tasks that any athlete or coach will undertake. You start with a blank page and about a thousand questions. Where to begin? What to begin with? How much time do we have? What can we safely and realistically accomplish in that time? What are the athlete’s greatest limiters? What are his or her other commitments? After all is said and done it’s important to remember that your annual plan and multi-year plan is not set in stone. You must revisit and revise it consistently throughout the year. In fact, it’s not uncommon for my athletes to have “A”, “B” and “C” plans at the ready as results and qualification criteria can create many different scenarios. With this in mind, planning is one of the key reasons to work with a coach, or at the very least, to consult one. With years of experience comes a well-developed sense for what works and what doesn’t, and a fresh perspective can make for an excellent sounding board. If you’re not fortunate enough to work with a coach it can be a great idea to discuss your plan with a fellow triathlete. Another option is to sign up for a spring training camp and use that environment to help figure out


128 : TRAINING FEATURE : T the nuts and bolts of your season. You may not be able to afford a yearround coach but you can certainly use one effectively in a week-long training camp. It can also provide a much-needed mental and physical boost for those dealing with harsh winter conditions. Spend some time now researching your options online as every year there are more and more to camps to choose from. Be mindful of what your preferences are, be it location, low athlete-to-coach ratio or camp focus.

Goal-setting. Planning and goal-setting are closely intertwined and happen simultaneously. The selection of races naturally begins to generate specific objectives. You want to finish your first Ironman 70.3 in June? Then certain mileage targets need to be laid out. You want an age-group podium at Kona in October? Then a progression of race simulation test sets at specific paces are required. Your goals can be as simple or as complex as you want, but if you don’t feel fired up and motivated thinking about them, you might be looking in the wrong direction. Regardless, effective goal setting must ultimately lead you back to the present moment—the place from which you begin. An end goal of competing in an Ironman will have many process goals to get you there, whether it be pacing benchmarks, or a certain number of miles you want to hit by a certain date. So what is it you want to accomplish this season, and how are you going to get there? Could you write it down, or explain it to a friend? As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.

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January training. This is the time of year when anything seems possible and a brand new year lies before you with a fresh, clean slate. Athletes are dreaming of everything from Kona slots to their first XTERRA finish. With a period of rest and recovery under your belt, you should also have energy to spare. Depending on when you plan to start your race season, however, it may still be wise to control the reins somewhat. Be sure to keep your volume at no more than 70–85 percent of your maximum in-season volume. Return to consistent swim, bike and run training, while still keeping a session or two per week of something fun and non-triathlon-specific. Training intensity should be at the lower end of your aerobic threshold and sessions in each sport should be focused on technique and building sport-specific strength. Sets with the pull buoy and paddles in the pool, big gear work on the bike and hill repeats on the run are all great workouts to introduce during this time. You should also begin your core, flexibility and strength training programs around the start of the new year. If you haven’t tried yoga or Pilates, this period of reduced training volume is an ideal time to try something new that can (and should) become a staple in your training regimen. Additionally, I encourage my athletes to return to their regular recovery routine in January, which may include ice baths, compression boots and tights, and regular massage. If you plan to race in late March or early April—perhaps the Oceanside 70.3—then now is a good time to begin your swim-bike-run focus (see February/March Training below). Be careful though—if your goal is to race consistently throughout the entire summer and into fall, you need to

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130 : TRAINING FEATURE : T manage your schedule wisely. In fact, an athlete looking to race into October may want to consider a mid-season break of one to two weeks. The main thing to remember in January is this: It’s still January! Your body responds to the training stimulus over the course of an entire year (even multiple years) through the careful administration of training load, intensity and recovery. Don’t get greedy and believe you can stay motivated and make exponential gains from January right through November. It doesn’t happen that way. A well-designed plan can be your greatest ally should motivation dwindle later in the season.

February/March training. Finally, some real training! By the time February rolls around you should be highly motivated and ready to sink your teeth into some significant training blocks. At this point the serious triathlete will be focused almost solely on swimming, biking and running as mileage moves steadily toward maximum volume. As the race season approaches there are fewer unstructured workouts, more running off the bike (your TT bike, not your road bike!), and intensity is gradually introduced into key sessions as you work towards sustaining your goal race pace. Essentially, your training becomes more specific to your goal race paces. Coaches and sports scientists like to term this the “Principle of Specificity.” Call it what you like, but let’s face it, if you hope to run a three-hour marathon you’d better make sure you accumulate a substantial amount of run volume at or quicker than seven minutes per mile, and a good portion of that should be done off the bike. February is actually an excellent time to concentrate on your weakest

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sport. If this is your first attempt at a single-sport focus, I recommend a block of no more than four to six weeks. It’s important to determine how your body adapts to this new load before getting too carried away. If all goes well and you get a big boost in your weakest sport, consider adding an additional block of “weak link” training later in the season, or lengthening the block in subsequent years. I worked with world champion triathlete Tim O’Donnell on a run focus for two successive winters with invaluable results. As a swim/bike specialist, O’Donnell consistently found himself vulnerable on the run, struggling to maintain any lead he may have built up during the race. After two winters of run-focused training (nine weeks in 2009 and 12 weeks in 2010), O’Donnell went from consistently running in the 1:20 range at Ironman 70.3 races to setting a run PR of 1:11:57 at Ironman 70.3 Texas earlier this year. It is important to note, however, that in order for us to make gains in the run it was crucial to reduce the volume and intensity of his swim and bike training loads. Trying to do it all puts the athlete at risk of injury, illness, overtraining and burnout. A successful single-sport focus requires confidence in your plan and a clear vision of the big picture. Yes, it’s distressing to see your swim and bike suffer in the short term, but the speed always comes back, just as it did for O’Donnell. Be patient—it takes a long time to create an overnight success! LAVA

Cliff English has more than 15 years of experience coaching amateurs, Olympians and Ironman champions. For more on his coaching services and 2012 training camps, visit cliffenglishcoaching.com.


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132 : COACH’S COUNSEL : T

Positive gains How to resistance train the right way during your off-season. By Troy Jacobson

Q:

Dear COACH,

I finished my last race of the season in late August and managed to set a half-iron PB, and now I’m looking forward to a little downtime before I start base training for next season. I don’t have any competitions scheduled until early June of 2012, mostly because it’s tough to get in any solid outdoor training in the spring in Vancouver. I typically do a lot of swimming and weight training in the winter to give my joints a rest and help build some extra strength for the next year. Last year I think I worked out a little too much like a bodybuilder and put on about 12–15 pounds of muscle during the winter. I couldn’t really help hitting the weights hard—I was craving something that felt like a real workout.

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My question to you is: I want to hit the gym hard so I feel like I’m getting a workout, but I want the goal of any weight workout to be building endurance for triathlon (not muscles for Mr. Olympia!). What are your favorite workouts to target overall endurance? I mean, sure I feel stronger after going hard on the bench press, but I don’t feel like I’m becoming a better triathlete! Help me out! —Charlie Côté Richmond, B.C.

A:

dear charlie,

Great to hear about your PB! It’s always fun to end the race season with a great result to give you some momentum going into the new year. My

only concern is that your post-season strengthtraining regimen might be hurting your pursuit of personal triathlon excellence more than helping it. I am a strong advocate of strength training year-round for competitive triathletes, but only when it targets the specific performance needs of the triathlete. Let’s consider a few facts. First, stronger athletes, relatively speaking, are usually better athletes who perform at higher levels in competition. Next, stronger athletes tend to be more resistant to certain types of injury due to increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength. Lastly, while swimming is not, cycling and running are two sports directly affected by the forces of gravity, so therefore, the power to weight ratio of the athlete is an important consideration.


134 : COACH’S COUNSEL : T This power to weight ratio is where things get dicey for athletes who are “easy gainers,” and invest a lot of time in doing resistance training. In strength training circles, an easy gainer is someone who packs on muscle weight just by smelling the weight room, and for the competitive triathlete, this can actually be a hindrance to seeing race-day performance gains. It sounds like you might be an easy gainer if you are seeing increases in lean mass of 12–15 pounds during the post-season. The problem with heavy, hypertrophy-focused strength routines, typically defined as using heavy weights and performing 3–5 sets of 3–8 reps, is that the training is usually not specific to swimming, cycling and running. Furthermore, the extra mass, whether it’s in the form of muscle or fat, needs additional metabolic support during steady-state endurance exercise (i.e., more energy) and negatively affects the power to weight ratio. If you’ve watched any stage of the Tour de France or a world-class marathon, you’ll notice quickly that the athletes display incredible musculature in the legs but tend to have disproportionately small upper bodies. This is because through proper training their bodies have adapted to the specific demands of their sports. Big biceps aren’t needed to ride a bike or run faster. My suggestion is that you strength train year-round according to a periodized schedule, similar to that of your sport-specific training program. Offseason training can be designed to increase strength and power, but focus on using weights you can lift 10–15 times per set. For many exercises, such as the walking lunge, one-leg box steps and pull-ups, no weight is necessary and your body weight alone will suffice. Also, shorten the rest interval between sets so as not to allow for full recovery. During the post-season, three days a week of full-body training, in addition to base building and technique development work in your swim, bike and run training, tends to work well. When the training volumes ramp up pre-season and in-season, cut the strength work back to two shorter workouts per week (a maintenance program) in order to maintain most of your strength gains while allowing adequate time and energy to recover properly from your sport-specific training. My favorite workouts include high-intensity sessions with your body weight, light dumbbells, elastic bands and a physio ball. In 30–40 minutes, you can accomplish significant gains by using these simple tools. Here’s a sample workout session (below), done as a circuit. Move quickly from one exercise to the next with minimal rest in between each set. Perform this set anywhere from three to five times, depending on your fitness and repeat it for six weeks before changing the routine. Add additional weight as your strength improves. Push-ups: Do as many reps as you can, with good form, in 30 seconds. Physio-ball crunches: 30 seconds or 15 reps “Prisoner” (body weight) Squats: 30 seconds or 15 reps Swimmer’s Pull with Stretch Cordz (both hands together): 30 seconds or 20 reps V-Sits (pikes): 30 seconds or 15 reps Walking Lunge: 30 seconds *Rest for 1-2 minutes between sets and repeat. For best results, use the substantial benefits of strength training year-round to aid your triathlon racing performance, not to detract from it. Good luck! LAVA

Troy Jacobson is the official coach of Ironman, the head triathlon coach for Life Time Fitness and the creator of the Spinervals Cycling Workout series. For more information and videos on strength training, visit Coachtroy.com. lavamagazine.com


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Athletes of all ages and from all sports have long sought ways to improve their performance through nutritional supplements and creative training strategies. Some athletes have gone as far as using synthetic drugs and blood doping to gain an advantage. A new supplement developed for competitive athletes that claims to give athletes an edge is generating controversy.

by over 90% compared to the group taking the placebo.1 The supplement group also showed dramatic improvements in athletic performance (as measured by VO2max and running economy).

While the controversy over the advantage athletes using EPO BOOST are obtaining is unlikely to go away anytime soon, one thing is for sure; blood doping and synthetic drugs are a thing of the past now that amateurs and professionals alike can tap into a natural product that generates Olympian-like strength and endurance.

The product that has been producing so much debate is EPO BOOST - an all natural supplement developed by U.S. based Biomedical Research Laboratories. EPO is industry shorthand for erythropoietin, a hormone produced by the kidneys that regulates red blood cell (RBC) production. Increasing red blood cell production has long been the focus of competitive athletes due to the impact that RBC levels have on oxygen intake and utilization. The greater the red blood cell production, the greater the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, which in turn gives an athlete more strength and endurance. Strength and endurance are precious resources to any athlete. Thus competitive athletes have tried various techniques to gain an advantage by increasing EPO and RBC levels. Traditional techniques for boosting RBC levels include synthetic drugs and blood doping. These practices are both dangerous and banned by organized sports associations. The makers of EPO BOOST claim that their patent-pending formula is all-natural and is clinically shown to safely increase erythropoietin levels, resulting in greater strength and endurance. The scientific evidence behind EPO BOOST does seem to be compelling. A 28-day double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, performed by Dr. Whitehead from the Department of Health and Human Performance at Northwestern State University, showed that the ingredients found in EPO BOOST increased EPO production

record, admitted that the product doesn’t work overnight and that most athletes won’t see the extreme performance enhancements for a few weeks. In a world infatuated with instant success, that kind of realistic admission might cost some sales but is likely to keep customers happy.

Since its release last year, competitive athletes have raved about this new supplement, which offers all the benefits of greater EPO levels with none of the dangerous side effects or legal trouble. John Hatchitt, a masters cyclist for CA Pools/Dewalt claimed an increased tolerance to fatigue after taking EPO BOOST. John stated, “I have been able to push a bigger gear for longer durations with EPO BOOST!.” Mr. Hatchitt is not alone in his praise of the product. Craig Howie, a triathlon coach from Colorado stated, “In my 15 years of coaching and racing in triathlon I have tried countless products to improve performance, but EPO BOOST is by far the best. I can hold my high end race speeds for longer periods of time!” Not everyone is so endeared to the product. Several athletes have said the supplement gives some athletes an unfair advantage. They describe the performance improvements as “unnatural” and pointed to athletes from cycling and long distance running as evidence that people are catching onto the supplement and using it for a competitive advantage. A company spokesman, speaking off the

Any athlete can use EPO BOOST without a prescription and without changing a diet or exercise regimen. The company offers an unparalleled guarantee. Athletes can use the product for a full 90 days and if not completely satisfied, send back whatever product is remaining - even an empty bottle - and get a ‘no questions asked’ refund. Biomedical Research Laboratories accepts orders from its website at www. EPOBOOST.com. A company spokesman confirmed a special offer: if you order this month, you’ll receive free enrollment into the company’s Elite Athlete Club where you’ll qualify to receive a full 25% discount on all your bottles of EPO BOOST. And so you don’t go a day without EPO BOOST in your system – increasing your endurance, you’ll automatically receive a fresh bottle every 30days and your credit card will be billed the Elite Athlete Club Member Price of $44.95 plus S/H – not the $59.95 fee non-members have to pay. There are no minimum amounts of bottles to buy and you can cancel at any time. Visit our website at www.EPOBOOST.com or call is 1-800-590-6545 to order today.

1

Whitehead et al. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 17 (2007): 378-9.


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Leg spin How changes in cycling and running cadence affect muscle firing and injury.

DONALD MIRALLE

By Matt Kraemer PT, ATC, CSCS and Nathan Koch, PT, ATC

T

here are many different variables in the world of cycling and running performance, from position on the bike to ideal foot-strike position while running. One specific variable at the forefront of performance conversation is running and cycling cadence. Cadence can be simply defined as rhythm. Some of us are born with rhythm, some have the ability to learn rhythm and, well, others seem to continue to flop around like fish out of water. Depending on who you ask or what you read, there are different opinions on the optimal lavamagazine.com

cadence to strive for in cycling and running. Understanding what’s happening within the athlete’s body and how it functions at different cadences is critical to determining what is best for a specific athlete. In cycling, adjusting cadence to maximize power and minimize fatigue has been commonplace for years. Certain variables such as road gradient, ride or race distance, crank length and power output can determine an athlete’s freely chosen cadence. Cadence variation can have a significant effect on muscle

activation throughout the different phases of the pedal stroke. These changes in muscle recruitment can affect performance and lead to injuries. The pedal stroke can be split up into two phases: the power phase (0–180 degrees) and the recovery phase (180–360 degrees). During the power phase (just after top dead center) the gluteal muscles, quadriceps and calves are predominantly engaged. Once the foot has reached the bottom of the pedal stroke (bottom dead center) the rider begins the recovery portion of the pedal stroke. During this phase the


138 : SIDELINED :  hamstrings, hip flexors and anterior tibialis are recruited to maintain a smooth pedal stroke and return the foot back to the top position. When pedaling cadence is increased at a given power output, the amount of torque required from the musculature is reduced. It is generally accepted that pedaling at a higher cadence puts less strain on joints and soft tissue and may make it easier to maintain a smooth and even pedal stroke for longer periods of time. The majority of the muscle groups mentioned previously will be recruited for shorter periods of time in the power and the recovery phases. However, gastrocnemius (calf) and biceps femoris (hamstring) muscle firing tends to increase with increased cadence. Tendon injuries such as tendinitis or tendinopathy, an inflammation or degeneration of the tendon, commonly occur within the two aforementioned muscles when the athlete reaches a cadence they can’t maintain. It isn’t usual to exhibit “bouncing on the saddle” at this breaking point, which may also be related

to a neuromuscular training issue, a bike fit issue (i.e., seat too high) or a strength imbalance. Due to the increase in repetition, hip impingement syndrome (femoral acetabular impingement) may also occur as a result of bony contact or friction between the femur and pelvis at the top of the pedal stroke. When pedaling cadence is decreased at a given power output, there is greater demand on the musculature, leading to a larger amount of torque and increased strain on the joints and soft tissue. The muscles (quads/gluteals/ calves) are activated for a greater period of time because the time required for phase completion is increased. Tendon injuries of the quadriceps tendon and joint injuries to the patellofemoral joint can result from this increase in torque and muscle activity. If there is abnormal lower extremity alignment on the bike that does not allow the patella (kneecap) to sit in the patellar groove of the femur, lowcadence cycling may lead to irritation and inflammation of the underside of the patella.

Do you want to hire the coach with the most clients and assistant coaches—the bulk approach? Or do you want individual attention from a top coach with more quality time devoted to your racing goals? When it comes to coaching and training you have a choice: quantity or quality?

And by the way, the coach still races, still qualifies for Kona every year he attempts (eight finishes in 2000-2011), had a 9:30 Ironman® PR at age 49, and has been ranked seventh in the world for his age group and second overall for all ages in his region--at age 51. Before becoming a full-time coach, he worked on astronaut physiology experiments at NASA, including long-range endurance during spaceflights aboard the International Space Station.

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So what’s the right cadence in cycling? It is generally accepted that somewhere between 80 and 100 rpm is a good goal. But in reality an athlete’s optimal cadence will change based on years of experience, training plan and goals, bike fit, injury history, degree of core strength, etc. Finding the balance between optimal musculoskeletal performance and aerobic performance usually takes trial and error. In running, a change in cadence or step rate does not just affect muscle activation, it can actually remove elements of the gait cycle completely. This cadence variation will reduce and eliminate some muscle activity, while increasing demand on others, leading to changes in performance and possibly even injuries. There are a number of different methods used to describe the phases of running gait. Running is a total body activity and incorporates a large number of muscle groups. In an effort to maintain some sanity, it’s helpful to simplify the phases. Running can be broken

 99% of our beginner clients success-

fully complete their first full Ironman® (7-10% higher than average).

 25% qualify for Kona (over seven

times higher than average). Some have won age-group in Kona or gone on to pro careers.

 10% qualify for the Ironman® 70.3

World Championship and use the best-selling book on 70.3 racing, The Perfect Distance: Training for Long Course Triathlon (Velo Press:2006)

 Short-course athletes have won gold and silver medals in their national championship race (triathlon and/or cycling).


 : SIDELINED : 139 down into four basic phases: initial contact, single-limb support, push-off and swing. Muscle activation during the initial contact (when the foot hits the ground) phase is the most reliant on cadence. A slower cadence allows for more time to contact the ground and typically begins with the heel striking the ground first. This requires the anterior tibialis and quadriceps to eccentrically control the leg as the runner’s weight is transferred to the limb. The ground reaction forces during this phase are greater when the cadence is lower, secondary to increased ground contact time. Common injuries as a result of slower cadence at this phase are plantar fasciitis and calcaneal (heel) stress fracture. An increase in cadence usually leads to bypassing the heel contact and striking instead with the midfoot or forefoot. A more forward foot strike subsequently reduces the muscle firing of the anterior tibialis. However, forward motion of the lower leg is increased and therefore requires a greater recruitment of the gas-

trocnemius/soleus (calf) to control this motion. Common injuries related to higher cadence at this phase are Achilles tendinitis/tendinosis, metatarsalgia (stone bruise) and calf strain. During single-limb support, a slower cadence leads to increased muscle demand in an effort to maintain proper mechanics and alignment. The increased time spent in this position requires longer activation and increased stabilization of the hips and pelvis. As gravity pushes the weight of the body down on the limb, a pronation or unlocked moment is achieved, and pelvic stabilizers such as the gluteus medius and minimus are needed to maintain appropriate position and mechanics. Common injuries of slower cadence at this phase are piriformis syndrome, IT band syndrome and posterior tibialis tendinosis (shin splint). Muscle recruitment during the later parts of the push-off and swing phase are significantly influenced by cadence. The iliopsoas is active at the end of the push phase and throughout the swing phase of running regardless of ca-

dence. Hip flexion and knee flexion have to be achieved faster at higher cadences and therefore require a greater contraction from the hamstrings. Common injuries resulting from a higher cadence are hip flexor strains or tendinitis/tendinosis, whereas a slower cadence at these phases can produce strains and inflammation in the hamstring from over-striding So what is the best cadence or step frequency for running? It is generally accepted that approximately 180 steps per minute is ideal. Again, we find that an athletes’ ideal cadence may change based on years of experience, training plan and goals, running surface, injury history, degree of core strength, etc. Fast, efficient and injury-free running appears related to finding a step rate that can be maintained and does not contain a heel strike. Whether cycling or running, cadence can be manipulated to improve performance or avoid injury. It takes an understanding of how the body works and some trial and error to dial in the optimal rhythm for each individual athlete. LAVA

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THE FAST EXEC Finding the right training recipe for even the busiest athlete. By Matt Dixon, MSc

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O

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ur sport is, by its nature, incredibly demanding for any athlete looking to improve a certain time or move completely to another level of performance. Swimming, biking and running in races that last for several hours demands a high level of cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance in order to see results and success. For most elite athletes who are not restricted by time and life constraints, it’s relatively easy to log the optimal amount of hours of training. But for the bulk of participants—those who are restricted by other obligations—building a training plan becomes a delicate game of balancing necessary training stress, or load, to elicit performance gains, while allowing adequate time to lead a full life and be successful in other commitments. Sami Inkinen is one of the most interesting and inspiring athletes I coach because he has not only managed to succeed in the sport and continually evolve as an athlete, but also founded and grew a highly successful technology company in the process. While running a 300-plus employee company, he has still managed to turn himself into an Ironman 70.3 agegroup world champion and sub-9-hour Hawaii Ironman finisher—all on a 12-hour training budget. How does he do it? Who is Sami Inkinen? Inkinen is not a normal person. He was born and raised in Finland and moved to the United States to study at the Stanford Business School, becoming one of a special breed of highly intelligent and driven entrepreneurs prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a few years in large technology companies, Inkinen founded Trulia (Trulia. com), one of the largest U.S. online real estate companies. The company grew rapidly over the last few years, and he now leads more than 380 employees as Trulia continues to spread across the country. Inkinen has always been a fitness enthusiast, but without any formal competitive sports background. He took up triath-



142 : THE FULL SPECTRUM : T come without sacrifice, and he did not arrive by accident, but rather through a consistently diligent journey to find out what works for him, and to solve many of the puzzles and roadblocks that this sport inevitably throws at every athlete. Hopefully you can take the story as a source of inspiration, and perhaps apply some of the lessons to your own training approach, even if you have all the time in the world to train. It would be a mistake not to highlight a couple of points about Inkinen and his training for you to bear in mind as you review his training approach and his results: He is an incredibly naturally talented athlete, with a wonderful set of physiological parameters that help him set up solid performances. There is no doubt that genetics play a role in his ability to race at the level he does, although that can be said of many athletes who often place behind him at races too. Also, I am not convinced that his plan is the magic and optimal training plan for an Ironman athlete. What he does do is employ an optimal training plan for his life situation, squeezing great results from a limited budget. Could he go faster with more hours? Maybe, but not while keeping his work and life commitments the same.

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foundation of an approach.

lon as a means of balancing his studies and workload. In the last few years he has blossomed into one of the leading amateur triathletes in the world, with victories at Wildflower, Alcatraz, Ironman Arizona, Ironman 70.3 World Championships and other key events. He recently broke 9 hours at the Hawaii Ironman World Championship, all on a training budget of 12 hours a week. Yes, 12 hours a week is lavamagazine.com

the time available to train, while he manages to be successful as a business owner and a husband, as well as a balanced and healthy man.

Framing the message. This is not a story about shortcuts, nor advice to cut back your training load or hours, but rather an outline of how to organize your life situation to maximize your own success. Inkinen’s journey has not

I have been working with Inkinen for the last four years, during which I have been challenged to work with a weekly budget of 12 hours per week. Throughout this time his goals have been to perform at Ironman and Ironman 70.3 distance events, with a yearly excursion to Kona to have some fun in the heat. Immediately, I noticed a couple of obstacles in his way when it came to performing in Hawaii, including a sub-par swim and a muscular frame of well over 180 pounds that wasn’t designed to operate well in heat and humidity. Despite strong biking and running ability, I saw that he would have to do plenty of work on hydration, cooling and nutrition to perform well in the Hawaii Ironman marathon. Another aspect we would have to consider was how to set up a season of racing and training with so few hours available for training. Unlike my professional athletes, who would maintain a much higher workload (in terms of volume), Inkinen’s available hours wouldn’t allow him to overload and go through an extensive rest process. Ultimately, in this challenge, we saw an opportunity. Assuming we could maintain a progressive training focus and be very consistent in training, we believed that he


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KEY POINTS TO Inkinen’s SUCCESS › Consistent, effective training: You will improve if you can consistently train for multiple seasons, uninterrupted by injury or deep fatigue. Don’t just log the hours, make sure you are training with effective sessions for you. › Supporting the training: We have a saying: Any training plan is only effective with proper recovery and nutrition. Sami focuses as much on maintaining nutrition and sleep as he does on getting the training in. › Monitoring state of health: Make sure you make smart decisions when the rest of your life gets in the way. Training tired is OK and necessary, but training hard when you have accumulated consistent fatigue will not provide any gains. › It takes trial and error: This is a process that needs consistent attention and refining. Make sure you remain a student of your own sport or training, or get involved with a coach who monitors how you respond, not how they think everyone should respond. › Work on the limiters: Whether it is nutrition, cooling or bike fit, it takes plenty of effort and energy to truly solve the limiters to your own performance. › Take the breaks: Consistency can only come about if you program some downtime. Most amateur athletes should have blocks of 2–3 weeks each year to remain active, but with less structure, to keep the passion for the process. › It is not easy: Don’t mistake this for an easy training plan. Inkinen’s plan is hard, with lots of intensity, and consistency is not an easy thing to accomplish. There is no shortcut to success, but you can find the best plan for your life situation.

would be able to have multiple focus events in any given season. It would take a certain artistic approach with calculated drops in training load and shifts in training strain to allow continual adaptation, but his overall lower hours would mean that he would only need a little rest to prepare for events. Long tapers would not work for a guy in Inkinen’s situation. Finally, as he carried a lot of mass for an endurance athlete, I felt he would likely respond positively to a great focus on intensity in the plan. For any coach or athlete, much of the challenge is to find out what type of training load the athlete responds best to. Many smaller athletes, especially women, respond very well to consistent high volume with only small doses of high-intensity work. In fact, adding too much intensity often results in this type of athlete breaking down. Conversely, loading larger athletes with high volume and ignoring higher intensity often results in breakdown and fatigue. After a few months it was clear that Inkinen responded well to intensity with enough added volume to allow muscular endurance gains, cementing the lavamagazine.com

opportunity for his success. It did not take too long for us to understand his training recipe, and now it was a matter of simple execution.

Balancing life with sport. While Inkinen was making continued gains in most areas of his performance, we both knew that success would only come with consistent, effective training. I did a tremendous amount of education on the role life stressors have on the ability to maximize training stress. To assist us in monitoring his overall state of fatigue, and hence, readiness to train, he began using Restwise (Restwise.com), a clever tool that monitors fatigue through a combination of subjective and objective markers and a learning algorithm. This allowed us to enhance our understanding of how he responded to training load, how quickly he recovered from major sessions, and the interaction of life and training of his overall state of health or balance. Information is only useful if used, so we committed to changing his training plan if we noticed worrying trends of fatigue. Sometimes training tired is a good and

normal thing—you need to train hard when tired occasionally—but if you begin to become non-responsive to rest, it is far better to take a step back and recuperate than to simply drive on into deeper fatigue. These guidelines allowed Sami to be incredibly consistent, not over weeks or months, but over years. It is these layers of years that have delivered success.

Consistent, effective training. Sami’s story is not one of overnight success. He has been at the sport for six years, with serious focus for the last four seasons. Practically every parameter has evolved over the last four years, but it has had as much to do with the layering of consistent work as with that year’s efforts. Twelve hours is 12 hours, but consistently applied over multiple seasons, this amount of training time has produced continuous gains. Throughout these years he also supported this training time with a few other key ingredients, including a commitment to enough sleep, proper fueling and excellent nutrition to support life and training. Often ignored by the time-starved athlete, these factors were fundamental to his success. I could have pushed Inkinen into additional sessions in the pursuit of more volume, but it would have come at the expense of sleep, the ultimate recovery tool. I sure as heck would not have persuaded him to add volume at the expense of his company! We built a plan to facilitate time for proper eating and plenty of sleep. This meant a very limited number of days with more than one workout, if any—which meant getting creative in combining disciplines within a session to get enough swimming, biking and running in within a week. A typical training week for Sami would look something like this: › Monday: rest (or easy swim for 30–45 min) › Tuesday: bike intervals on trainer (60–90 min) ›W  ednesday: run intervals on trails or treadmill (60–70 min) ›T  hursday: bike intervals on trainer (60–90 min) with potential short run off the bike ›F  riday: rest/swim (40–60 min)/easy run with some neuromuscular speed work (legs recover) ›S  aturday: bike long (4–5 hours with no intervals, or endurance-specific intervals) ›S  unday: run long (80–110 min with intervals)/ swim if time

Restrictions of the plan. This plan would not work for every time-starved athlete, as


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if you begin to become nonresponsive to rest, it is far better to take a step back and recuperate than to simply drive on into deeper fatigue.

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ACHES AND PAINS

the level of relative intensity in his mid-week sessions may not elicit gains in all athletes. It also had a couple of restrictions on his maximum potential as an athlete. The key area was swimming, which is certainly Sami’s weakest discipline. He improved from a 35-minute to a 29-minute Ironman 70.3 distance swimmer over four years—a solid six minutes, but nowhere near his ultimate potential. Unfortunately, to truly develop swimming ability, I have yet to see an athlete succeed without dedicating multiple seasons to relatively high volume and frequency, and that simply does not fit into Inkinen’s life schedule. To mitigate this limitation, we decided to try to optimize his technique, and with the help of Gerry Rodrigues at Tower 26 (Tower26.com) we increased his specific skills and knowledge within an open-water environment. Luckily, Inkinen has been savvy enough to take advantage of group swimming and minimize the impact of his weakness. This is the type of smart approach that helped him

with his other previously mentioned obstacles of heat and nutrition performance.

Overcoming natural obstacles. The training plan has produced positive results in key fitness variables, but Inkinen still had the challenge of performing over a long distance, in the heat, as a large man. In Kona, specifically, he faces the same challenges as any larger athlete with high power potential does, namely, controlling core temperature, hydration status and fueling the journey for around nine hours. For Inkinen to ride anywhere close to his potential on the bike, he has to put out more power than a smaller athlete (close to 300 watts for the 4.5 to 5 hours of the ride or close to 330 watts for a halfIronman distance). This is absolute work, and it creates a tremendous amount of heat and expends plenty of calories. Rising core temperature is catastrophic for any athlete, and for the reasons above, larger athletes are most


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For the cost of a four-star tab you can own a Halo™ swim training system that will improve: susceptible. Inkinen had to put a tremendous amount of mental work and planning into his cooling and nutrition approach. For the first years, he would do everything possible to maintain core temperature and nutrition/hydration status, but still overheat on the run. With a blend of research, trial and error, and support from resources such as Stacy Sims, an exercise physiologist from Stanford, we finally found a balance that worked. The goals were to finish the bike with a proper hydration status, and to take in and absorb more than 400 calories per hour. This required practice and various cooling techniques to keep the core temperature controlled. Over several seasons, with several stumbles, we finally achieved a positive result. This dedication to the details is indicative of what has allowed the plan to succeed. Rather than simply deciding he “wasn’t good in heat,” Inkinen remained solution-oriented: “not enjoying heat, but being able to perform well in it.”

The lessons in his journey. Before you cut back your training hours or ramp up your intensity, realize that this is not designed as a call for 12-hour training weeks for all of us. Inkinen has been successful because of a journey to find his perfect recipe for training, considered as a part of his overall life. So many athletes simply train, pursuing more and more volume, while ignoring the massive effect that accumulating fatigue, lack of sleep and recovery, or poor nutrition has on performance. In a dream world, you could train and recover like a top professional, but you likely don’t have that chance, and you might be best served but making a commitment to maximizing the true time you do have and finding out how your body responds to different training loads before you simply follow the Scan this code to read Sami herd into mindless volume Inkinen’s blog post on unconventional wisdom for clocking a sub-9 Kona finish. and fatigue. LAVA

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Unconventional and fast Sometimes a little atypical training is just what you need to reach your goal— even if that goal is a 9:30 Kona finish.

FINISHERPIX.COM

By Ben Greenfield

I

n the last issue of LAVA, I explained that for the Hawaii Ironman, I planned on “heathacking” the race by using a lightweight body-cooling vest, arm-cooling sleeves, a palm-cooling grip, colostrum and electrolyte supplementation, ice slushies, and a combination of a sauna and steam room for heat acclimation. At lavamagazine.com you can see a video that shows you how I packed this gear to Kona and on Page 154 you can see the results of this heat-hacking experiment. But that article didn’t disclose my entire plan for the Hawaii Ironman. In addition to es-

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tablishing how effective cooling devices are at controlling body temperature in a hot and humid race like Kona, I also set out to determine whether unconventional training protocols for triathlon are actually effective for achieving peak Ironman fitness—and here’s what I found out.

What kind of “unconventional” training? Ironman is an aerobic sport. This means that while your body can perform short bursts of non-aerobic activity by using purely fast-twitch muscle fiber, blood sugar and cre-

atine, you simply cannot engage in physical activity for extended periods of time without relying on the addition of aerobic oxygen, slowtwitch muscle fibers, and stored carbohydrate and fat to the fuel mix. Based on this physiological concept, traditional Ironman (and Ironman 70.3) training is primarily comprised of long aerobic efforts and training with intervals that exceed two minutes, which is approximately when aerobic energy systems kick into gear. However, there has been some buzz in recent years that short energy bursts, high-intensity interval training, heavy weight training


150 : TO YOUR HEALTH : T SWIM

BIKE

MONDAY

TUESDAY

30 min. form & balance drills.

WEIGHTS

SPORTS

30 min. Elliptigo commute to gym as run substitute with 30–90 second intervals.

40 min. intense upper body circuit: bench press, shoulder press, pull-ups, pull-downs, rows & planks.

90 min. tennis practice.

60 min. full court basketball. Post-game: compression gear with ice.

40 min. intense lower body circuit: squat, lunge, dead lift, leg extension, leg curl & planks.

Speed work via 60–90second sprints during 30 min. commute.

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

RUN

30 min. 25–200 m intense intervals.

90 min. tennis practice.

FRIDAY

60 min. easy recovery spin during commute.

45 min. yoga with 30–45 min. massage

SATURDAY

90–180 min. hilly bike or indoor training session with 10–20 min. intervals. Post-bike ice bath or electrostimulation session.

90–120 min tennis match. Post-game compression gear with ice & topical magnesium.

60 min. pool or open water with 2–5 min. intervals.

SUNDAY

and significantly fewer hours spent swimming, cycling and running may accomplish similar aerobic training effects with less time spent training, while still allowing a triathlete to stay injury-free and go relatively fast in Ironman. How could this style of relatively short training actually induce an aerobic fitness response? Several adaptations to high-intensity interval training have been observed in studies, such as enhanced activity of fat-burning enzymes, higher post-exercise metabolic rate, significant increases in power and oxygen consumption, and most importantly, increased mitochondrial density, indicating that the body’s cells are more highly equipped for using oxygen to produce energy during aerobic activity. In addition, heavy weight training has been shown to enhance endurance sports economy, most likely by the large amounts of force produced during weight lifting actually increasing the amount of muscle that is recruited at relatively lower intensities (i.e., at typical cycling and running speeds). Weight training can also improve the ability of the body to withstand or absorb impact, which can reduce risk of injury lavamagazine.com

90–120 min run with 5–10 min intervals. Post-run ice bath or electrostimulation session.

and lower the probability of inconsistent training due to missed days or weeks. While such short, unconventional training is probably not capable of building a sufficiently large aerobic engine for a professional Ironman competitor, I set out to discover whether this type of training would at least allow for a successful, injury-free Ironman preparation, a sub-10-hour finish in Kona, and a hell of a lot more free time.

A sample unconventional triathlon training week. Probably the most popular example of an unconventional, lower-volume triathlon training protocol is CrossFit Endurance, but this may not necessarily fit your schedule or your body, and I certainly couldn’t arrange it to fit mine. So instead, for a 20-week buildup to Ironman Hawaii, I developed my own protocol based on four goals: No. 1: swim, bike and run 10 hours or less each week; No. 2: run only 1–2 times per week; No. 3: play a variety of other sports; and No. 4: maintain a muscular figure by lifting weights. Above, you will see what a typical unconventional training week looked like leading up

to Kona. It is important to emphasize that these are not haphazard or randomly chosen sessions, but were instead selected for their ability to target each of the body’s speed zones and physiological intensities throughout the training week. You will also notice that for planning purposes, I consider recovery to be a part of the actual training session or week, and recommend this approach for enhancing workout effectiveness. In addition to the training protocol outlined above, I also injected doses of half-Ironman racing for longer speed work sessions, performing five races in the four months leading into Kona. To avoid any fitness loss, each of these races involved short five- to seven-day tapers and a return to normal training intensities within three to four days post-race.

The result.

From a training perspective, the most significant results noted were far fewer aches and pains—all of which can develop into chronic repetitive motion injuries. This was likely due to the majority of running occurring during tennis and basketball, which resulted in any pounding or impact being distributed


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among a large number of muscles and joints, and also due to the incorporation of consistent weight training. Also significant was the large number of free hours that became available for sports such as tennis and basketball, in addition to more time available for my children, writing, business, strumming the guitar, and a solid eight hours of sleep each night. From a racing perspective, aside from the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, I podiumed or won every half-Ironman event I competed in, and noticed no decrease in swimming, cycling or running split times. Compared to previous years, I experienced no increase in muscular fatigue or lavamagazine.com

rating of perceived exertion during these races. Most importantly, by swimming, cycling and running less than 10 hours per week, running only one to two times per week, playing a variety of sports, and lifting weights, I completed Hawaii Ironman with a 1:01 swim, a 4:58 bike and a 3:28 marathon for a 9:36 overall time. Within 48 hours, most of the soreness had subsided, and the extent of body damage or injury was limited to two crushed toenails from tight bike shoes.

Caveat.

If you are considering using unconventional training in your Ironman preparation, you should be aware that in the past

four years I have completed over a dozen half-Ironman and seven Ironman triathlons. Although I am known as a “quality-overquantity� coach, and have never personally averaged more than 13 hours in a training week, this does mean that I began my unconventional training for Ironman Hawaii with a large pre-existing level of fitness. So if you are a couch potato, or just getting started in triathlon, I would recommend at least one to two years of slightly higher volume training (more than 10 hours per week) before switching to an unconventional training protocol for a halfIronman or Ironman. Next, high-intensity interval training carries a higher risk of acute injury. For example, if an all-out treadmill sprint is performed with poor biomechanics or on tired legs, there is a high probability of a muscle strain. While accumulated stress injuries from overtraining are a more typical problem for a triathlete, a switch to higher-intensity training must be accompanied by well-planned recovery and proper form. The forms of recovery I personally used were extra sleep, massage, yoga, compression, ice, topical magnesium, electrostimulation and proteolytic enzymes. In addition, depending on how much you play other sports, you may be exercising less and burning fewer calories if you use unconventional triathlon training, so dietary modifications and calorie control are important things to consider. I personally achieved this by switching to a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Nutrition supplements are also important for recovery, and my daily supplement protocol included fish oil, vitamin D, amino acids, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and greens. Ultimately, if you have developed a base level of fitness, and want to free up time, reduce your risk of chronic repetitive motion injury, or enjoy other sports, you can still be very competitive at half-Ironman or Ironman races with less swimming, cycling and Scan this code with a QR app running, and more highto let Ben get you on your way to a stronger season. intensity interval training and weight training. LAVA

In 2012, Ben Greenfield plans to switch to a 20–30 hour training week to compare results to unconventional training, and will report on lavamagazine.com.


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Hacking heat: part II One writer tried anything and everything to stay cool at the two biggest (and hottest) events of the year. Here’s what did and didn’t work.

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By Ben Greenfield

I

n the last issue of LAVA, I explained that for the Ironman 70.3 Championships and Ironman World Championships I planned on “heat-hacking” each race by using a lightweight body cooling vest, arm-cooling sleeves, a palm-cooling grip, colostrum and electrolyte supplementation, ice slushies, and a sauna and steam room heat acclimation protocol. With both those races on the books, the results are in. lavamagazine.com

Arm-cooling sleeves and cooling hat ➠ Purpose: To cool skin surface upon sweat or moisture exposure. ➠ Results: I rolled up the arm-cooling sleeves like doughnuts, placed them in the swim-tobike transition bag, and rolled them up my arms while running to the bike. Each time I grabbed a water bottle at an aid station, I would douse each arm with it, and this signifi-

cantly enhanced cooling, especially in a headwind or crosswind. On the run, I added a hat, and this achieved the same effect on my head. Both of these items were Zoot brand.

Electrolytes ➠ Purpose: To reduce muscle cramping. ➠ Results: Although in my buildup to Kona I successfully raced four half-Ironman events with no electrolyte intake, I opted to use a


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156 : THE HYPE : T the half-marathon. However, despite being frozen and placed in a foldable cooler, the 5 p.m. Friday bag check-in time at Kona meant that when I pulled them out at 1 p.m. on Saturday to start the marathon, they were only slightly cool, offering no advantage over dousing myself with ice water at the aid stations, so I opted to leave them in transition. If you plan on using these types of heat hacks during a race, make sure you can get access to your run bag on race morning, and also pack a cooler with ice.

Sauna and steam room ➠ Purpose: To enhance heat acclimation during colder climate training. ➠ Results: For three weeks before the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, I supplemented my relatively cool training in Spokane, Wash., with sitting in a dry heat sauna for 20–40 minutes three to four times per week. I repeated this protocol for three weeks before Kona, but primarily used a steam room instead, to simulate the more humid environment. Compared to previous races without sauna or steam room preparation, my mental and physical heat tolerance was significantly higher.

Ice slushies

➠ Purpose: To cool the body during the first 90 minutes of the run. ➠ Results: At the hot Ironman 70.3 World Championships event in Vegas, I successfully used both the Arctic Heat body-cooling vest and BEX palm-cooling grip to keep my body temperature feeling significantly lower during

Ben Greenfield will continue to test heat-hacking devices during winter races in Jamaica, Las Vegas and Thailand, and we’ll report any significant developments in LAVA. Watch a video of how he hacked the Kona heat at lavamagazine.com/heat-hacks

delly carr

Palm-cooling grip and body-cooling vest

➠ Purpose: To enhance core cooling. ➠ Results: In T2 I chewed through two entire cups of ice before leaving the transition tent, and continued to chew up to a full cup of ice every two miles during the marathon. I felt significantly cooler for at least 60–90 seconds with each dose. Although that period of time may seem short, twelve separate 60–90 second periods of enhanced core cooling during the marathon is actually quite significant. While no single heat-hack listed above produced any shocking or magical surges in performance, their combined effect surely influenced my ability to complete two high-temperature races with relatively low heat discomfort. Using these devices may seem like a logistical annoyance, but especially for cold climate athletes with limited ability to prepare their bodies for hot conditions, I would consider the use of heat-hacks a crucial addition to the triathlon toolbox.

brand called “Athlytes” during Kona—if for nothing else, the placebo effect. I took four capsules per hour and experienced no cramping at any time during the race. It’s important to note that I also did not experience any cramping in my previous races without supplementing electrolytes.

Colostrum ➠ Purpose: To reduce gastric permeability and stomach distress in hot weather. ➠ Results: I used a brand called CapraColostrum for three days before the race, with two capsules in the morning, two capsules in the evening, and two capsules thirty minutes before the swim start. I experienced no gastric distress during the race, and this is a welcome change from slight stomach cramps on the run during my previous three races in Kona. lavamagazine.com

Porous sunscreen ➠ Purpose: To allow the skin to breathe. ➠ Results: The “Scape” brand that I used left no feeling of clammy skin and no significant sunburn marks post-race. If you plan to use your own sunscreen for Ironman, be sure to apply it before the swim, and then keep a bottle in your swim-to-bike and bike-to-run bags for touching up during the race.

LAVA


158 : COMPETITIVE EDGE : T

Unplug and tune in Want to improve your performance? Lay off the GPS for a while. By Mark Allen

T

here has been a lot of debate about why the top Ironman times have not dropped significantly over the past 20 years. You could argue that with all the advances in technology available now, records should be tumbling in gigantic chunks. But they’re not. It took 15 years of racing for Craig Alexander to lower the Ironman World Championship record time, and even then, the margin dropped by a mere 12 seconds. And Alexander is a super athlete, as are all of the champions, both men and lavamagazine.com

women, who have topped the field. So what’s going on? I have two theories, both of which are things you can try personally to better your own times and performances in an Ironman. One is that in past eras of racing, all athletes were expected to race fast at all distances, both short and long. That meant you trained tons of endurance workouts to get ready for, say, an Ironman, and you trained short and fast (very fast) for Olympic-distance races that you had

as well in the same season. Both physiologies were primed and peaked at one point or another every year. Specialization has taken over now, and very few triathletes, if any, are truly fit for both shortand long-distance racing in the same year. The axiom in running was that you were likely to have your best marathon when you were also in great 10K shape. Could it be that our Ironman champions today are sacrificing some of the speed focus that we saw in the past? Try


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160 : COMPETITIVE EDGE : T

it yourself next season. Take a part of the year where you focus specifically on hitting your best performance in an Olympic-distance event, and part of the year where you do the same for an Ironman. The two focuses back-to-back might give you a pleasant surprise in both! Now for the second reason: we are gadgetequipped to the max. Most triathletes have enough electronics to put Radio Shack to shame, but tracking and logging every second of a training session may cause you to lose some of the intuitive sensing of your body necessary to go into athletic realms where you have never been before. You no longer have to sense if you are going too hard or too easy because your heart rate monitor, power meter, GPS pace device and pedometer will tell you everything you need to know about life. Certainly there is a time to plug in and get really exact feedback from equipment without it being about your ego’s need to fill a log book with loads of impressive data. However, we are not just numbers. Our bodies are more complex than can be successfully measured and quantified, and a great performance is never fully predictable based on your last lactate test. Guts and grit can’t be lavamagazine.com

quantified. Calm in the midst of chaos has no measurement. But the results are very real. Our sport’s early generations had at most a stopwatch and a speedometer on the bike. That was it. Beyond that they would train, listen to their bodies, see what happened and develop that intuitive sense of self that is essential to surpassing logical expectations on race day. If you are heading into your off-season, you are at the best point of your year to gain this edge for yourself.

Unplugged for your body. Put the gadgets to bed for the next month or two and just go out for your workouts to get exercise, not to train. There is a big difference here. Exercise is moving because it feels good, because it reduces your stress and because it balances out a style of work and life that for many in the modern world is very sedentary. Training is something that has a goal beyond all those great benefits of doing something specific with that exercise. It might be a race placement, a time standard or just bragging rights with your friends after a key workout. The unplugged workout is a call to nonmeasured exercise. You are not distracted by a number popping up in front of you, and are not

concerned with the number that will go in the log book or get downloaded to some piece of software. Unplugged exercise affords you the chance to look around while you’re out there, so unplug the ear buds and check out the rose buds. You get to sense your stride, slow down enough in the pool to work on your stroke, and experiment with the actual feeling of different pedaling speeds, positions on your bike seat and the use of muscles other than your quads to generate power on the bike. Unplug and tune in. See what happens when you are left all alone with your thoughts and your body’s very unique language speaking to you. In the off-season especially, you may find that a general buildup of fatigue has set in and that when you unplug, many of the times you go out for a workout end up being shorter than expected simply because you are listening to what your body is calling for rather than what your gadgets are pushing you to do. You might find that a 40-minute run you had planned feels complete after 20. You may come home and see that you were out for an hour. But either way it was unregulated, unmeasured, and likely unbelievably regenerative.


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Unplugged for your brain.

No one really talks much about regenerating your brain in the off-season, but just like a muscle, it needs down time to replenish its chemistry. It takes energy to think, to drive yourself and to continually monitor your devices and analyze later what all the numbers mean. This is especially true if you follow a very complicated training protocol with lots of specific output targets for very specific amounts of time in every workout. Unplugged for the brain gives you a chance to float mindlessly through some easy training. Pointless? Not really. Without having to think and focus on time, speed, output or any other effort or intensity marker, you can do all the things just mentioned that are good for learning how to tune into your body’s actual movement. In addition, your brain is able to idle. It’s the mental equivalent to active recovery for your muscles. In fact, recent research has started to show that just as sleep is important for regenerating your body and your mind, it is also necessary to have awake time where you are not really thinking but just daydreaming. You may know people who seem to have this specific skill down to an art. But if you are like most of us, your waking

lavamagazine.com

hours are usually spent with the brain working in high gear. Your off-season workouts can help correct this imbalance—if you unplug. Moving and exercising without measurement could be akin to going shopping and parking your car at a meter with a sign on it saying “free parking today.” What happens to your experience? Instead of part of your brain thinking about whether there is time left on the meter, you can just absorb yourself in getting your errands done stressfree. The same can be true with a workout. Without having to pay the meter, your brain is free to just be absorbed in the joy of your workout, no change required! For all you type-A personalities, there is another benefit to letting your mind float or daydream, which is very easy to do when you work out unplugged. Research has shown that when you are in that state of not really thinking about things—daydreaming if you will—the problemsolving part of your brain is actually engaged at a very high level, often more so than when you’re actively focused on solving a problem. Einstein often commented that some of his greatest insights came while riding his bike. So all you geniuses, go for a ride but leave the

power meter in the off position and see what comes to you. Training unplugged will feel different at first, sort of like forgetting to pack something very important for a big trip. But after a couple of sessions, you’ll get the hang of it. I am a scientific kind of person at heart, and feel it is essential for optimizing your fitness to have all the measurements at your fingertips as feedback during the bulk of your year. But especially now in the off-season, unplug for a while and see how soothing it really is. Remember when MTV started their Unplugged series of concerts? Hard driving electrified rock was softened when the musicians played their classics on traditional instruments and acoustic guitars. Your workouts will take on that soothing, regenerative quality when you unplug as well. Then later, when you need to pump up the volume as you head into 2012, plug it all back in. You will be fresher, and most of all you will have learned volumes about your body that you can Plug in to watch Mark help use when it counts most: you unplug by watching this video. (Scan with a QR app to in your races. link directly to our website.) LAVA


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164 : RACING : R

166

in focus 176

boarding pass 192

the last word

Olympian Laura Bennett takes off for the second loop of the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship swim in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 4. Bennett and her husband, Greg, netted a huge pay day, with her GARY GEIGER

fifth-place finish and his first-place finish earning them a combined $176,650 in prize money. lavamagazine.com


R : RACING : 165

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PHOTOS LARRY ROSA

166 : IN FOCUS : R 167

marines ironman

world CHAMPIONSHIP 70.3 SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 : HENDERSON, NEV. 1.2 mi. swim : 56 mi. bike : 13.1 mi. run MEN’S TOP FINISHERS

With a new venue and a early place-

but Alexander was barely three min-

ment before the Hawaii Ironman, the

utes behind entering T2, and he quickly

Ironman 70.3 World Championship in

pulled ahead for the lead, crossing the

Lake Las Vegas had a lot to prove­—and

tape in 3:54:48.

by all accounts it delivered with the

Fellow Australian Melissa Rollison

hot, hilly course worthy of a champion-

entered the race a dark horse but

ship race.

walked away world champion. Rol-

The men’s race started with Andy

lison dusted the field on the run after

1. Craig Alexander : AUS : 3:54:48 2. Chris Lieto : USA : 3:58:03 3. Jeff Symonds : CAN : 3:58:42

Potts exiting the water in first as ex-

entering T2 only three minutes behind

pected, with race favorites Chris Lieto,

lead biker Julie Dibens. Rollison ran a

WOMEN’S TOP FINISHERS

Craig Alexander and Joe Gambles less

smoking 1:21:14 run split, finishing six

than a minute behind. Lieto pulled

minutes ahead of second-place finisher

ahead within the first half of the bike,

Karin Thuerig of Switzerland.

1. Melissa Rollison : AUS : 4:20:55 2. Karin Thürig : SUI : 4:26:52 3. Linsey Corbin : USA : 4:29:25

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R : IN FOCUS : 167

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168 : IN FOCUS : R 169 hy-vee triathlon

5150 u.s. championship SEPTEMBER 4, 2011 : DES MOINES, IOWA 1.5K swim : 40K bike : 10K run

MEN’S TOP FINISHERS 1. Greg Bennett : USA : 1:49:42 2. Hunter Kemper : USA : 1:50:12 3. Stuart Hayes : GBR : 1:50:30

WOMEN’S TOP FINISHERS 1. Lisa Norden : SWE : 1:59:12 2. Mirinda Carfrae : AUS : 1:59:20 3. Sarah Haskins : USA : 1:59:29

With a total prize purse of more than $1 million on the line, the competition was fierce at this year’s Hy-Vee Elite Cup and 5150 U.S. Championship. In the men’s race, American Benjamin Collins managed to hold his lead for the entire bike course and part of the run while American Greg Bennett slowly climbed to second place before taking off with the lead and snagging the $151,500 grand prize. The payday continued for the Bennetts in the women’s race where Laura Bennett finished a respectable fifth place for a $20,000 payout. Lisa Norden of Sweden was able to pull off the GARY GEIGER

big win of the day after surging ahead

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of American Sarah Haskins in the final mile, breaking the tape in 1:59:12.


R : IN FOCUS : 169

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xterra usa championship

Undoubtedly the biggest story of this

Quaid. Lebrun started his day a bit back

race was the all-star line-up, which in-

on the swim, but had climbed up the

cluded Lance Armstrong and two-time

ranks (and past Armstrong) by the end

Ironman world champion Tim DeBoom.

of the grueling mountain bike course. He

SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 : OGDEN, UTAH 1.5K swim : 28K MTB bike : 10K run

Indeed, the entire bike and run course

polished off his win with an impressive

in the Wasatch Mountains was filled with

run to pass day-long leader Dan Hugo

spectators waiting to catch a glimpse of

of South Africa with only two miles to go.

the seven-time Tour de France winner in

McQuaid caught swim leader Christine

his first foray back into multisport since

Jeffrey of Canada early on, and held her

his teenage years.

lead throughout the day, crossing the tape

MEN’S TOP FINISHERS 1. Nicolas Lebrun : FRA : 2:24:26 2. Dan Hugo : RSA : 2:24:50 3. Josiah Middaugh : USA : 2:25:37

WOMEN’S TOP FINISHERS

PHOTOS JAY PRASUHN

1. Melanie McQuaid : CAN : 2:43:00 2. Leslie Paterson : SCO : 2:45:59 3. Danelle Kabush : CAN : 2:47:43

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But the day really belonged to France’s Nico Lebrun and Canada’s Melanie Mc-

three minutes ahead of runner-up Leslie Paterson of Scotland in 2:43 flat.


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XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OCTOBER 23, 2011 : KAPALUA, MAUI, HAWAII 1.5K swim : 30K bike : 10K run MEN’S TOP FINISHERS 1. Michael Weiss : AUT : 2:27:00 2. Dan Hugo : RSA : 2:27:33 3. Eneko Llanos : ESP : 2:28:26

WOMEN’S TOP FINISHERS 1. Lesley Paterson : GBR : 2:45:59 2. Marion Lorblanchet : FRA : 2:48:08 3. Helena Erbenova : CZE : 2:51:51

Lance Armstrong didn’t disappoint in his second big race back in multisport with a solid swim-bike combo that had him in T2 in second place behind Austria’s Michael Weiss. But a late crash on the bike left Armstrong struggling to a 23rd-place finish (and breathing problems forced defending champ Conrad Stoltz to DNF), as Weiss held off the late charge of South Africa’s Dan Hugo to take his first XTERRA world title. The women’s race saw favorite Melanie McQuaid lead through the bike and most of the run before she succumbed to the heat, collapsing just yards from the finish. With McQuaid carried off course for medical attention, fleet-footed Lesley Paterson flew through the run

COURTESY XTERRA

to claim world championship honors.

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R : IN FOCUS : 173

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Scandinavian The KMD Challenge Copenhagen puts triathlon on the map in Denmark. By Susan Grant-Legacki

Awakening

Triathlon’s

176 : BOARDING PASS : 

Pedaling furiously down Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard in Copenhagen, my mind could not pry itself away from one thought: tacos. There are roughly a half dozen Mexican restaurants in the greater Copenhagen area, but I had been sent on the most particular of Hispanic culinary pilgrimages. Inside my backpack and carefully wrapped in bubble wrap rested two bottles of authentic Mexican hot sauce. I had been ordered by a friend back in San Diego to deliver these to Taco Shop #1 on Nyelandsvej (not to be confused with taco shops #2 and #3). Apparently authentic taco sauce is hard to come by in Denmark, and I had been promised a taco for my trouble. Since I had a fantastic loaner bike at my disposal and I was in a country where commuting by bike was, as Danish Ironman legend Torbjørn Sindballe put it, “as natural as breathing,” I saddled up and hit the streets of Copenhagen. An hour into what was supposed to have been no more than a five-mile delivery, I found myself staring blankly at a road sign. A kind passerby had advised me earlier that I needed to make a left over a bridge when I saw the tall circle spire of a church. Well, castle-like circle spires, churches and bridges are about as common in Scandinavia as pizza joints in New York City, and I found myself sinking further and further into that weepy, juvenile state I fall into when I’m hungry or lost. I really, really needed a taco. I pulled out my map and looked for Rådhuspladsen, which is the city center and town square of Copenhagen. If I could make it there, I reasoned, I could probably at the very least get some more exact directions. I climbed up and over a bridge, but as I approached the town square I quickly noticed a familiar sign hanging off one of a dozen large white tents: “SPECIALIZED BICYCLES.” I pedaled closer and saw more and more of them: “SCOTT,” “BLUESEVENTY,” “SRAM.” I had stumbled upon KMD Challenge Copenhagen’s triathlon expo right there in the busiest part of the city.

LAVAMAGAZINE.COM


PHOTO BY PAOLA

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178 : BOARDING PASS : R

When I was told that there was a large triathlon expo in downtown Copenhagen, I have to admit I figured “downtown” meant “off to the side and out of the way, so as not to annoy locals or tourists.” But here it was, in the absolute center of everything, not unlike setting up an expo in Times Square. “We asked the city for everything with this race: to pass by the Little Mermaid statue on the bike course, to have our expo at the city center and even to have our finish line at the city’s beautiful Christiansborg Palace,” says Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshöfer. “We thought we would maybe get one of those things, but after we were done with our presentation to the city officials they were like, ‘Yeah, that all sounds good.’” The placement of the expo is highly symbolic of the popularity of triathlon in Denmark, which over the last five years has seen astonishing growth in their age-group participation numbers. The reasons for this come down to the culture’s natural affinity for outdoor activity, a strong national triathlon federation and a signature event in the iron-distance Challenge Copenhagen that has been just as warmly embraced by city oflavamagazine.com

ficials as it has been with spectators and competitors. The inaugural event in 2010 managed to be the largest sporting event of the year for the nation’s capital, with 1,600 participants and more than 125,000 spectators. This year more than 2,000 people started the race, and the same crowd numbers flooded the run leg’s four-loop course through downtown. With more than 64 triathlon clubs nationwide—not too shabby for a country with only 5.5 million people—and more triathlons on the country’s calendar every year, it’s clear that this Viking land is indeed having a triathlon awakening. Denmark has long been known for its triathlon “über-bikers,” including Sindballe and ITU standout turned Ironman contender Rasmus Henning. These sport ambassadors, coupled with triathlon’s emergence as an Olympic sport and its incredible popularity in neighboring countries like Germany, put multisport on the map in Denmark over the last decade. The very recent surge in age-group participation is something else altogether, however. “Everyone here in Denmark is getting into triathlon; it’s the hot new thing,” says Casper

Barfoed, an executive at the Danish biotech company Novozymes. Barfoed entered his first triathlon in 2010 as part of a company-wide team-building exercise led by the Denmarkbased performance coaching company Running26, which includes Sindballe as one of its head coaches. Now, almost two years into his triathlon addiction, Barfoed came out to cheer on some friends at Challenge Copenhagen, and he’s busy planning a destination race sometime in the early spring with his coworkers. “This sport just really fits in here, I mean obviously it must since the entire city shuts down for this race and honestly no one minds at all.” Even a few years ago, this might not have been the case. Back in 2007, when current Danish Triathlon Federation president Anna Karin Klærke was elected member of the executive board, triathlon had not quite found its footing. “We looked at many of the big triathlon nations like Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and asked ourselves why they had the success they had and why Danes still weren’t so keen on the sport,” says Klærke. By the time Klærke was elected federation president in 2008, her


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180 : BOARDING PASS : 

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team was hard at work hiring more personnel to focus on age-group recruitment, marketing plans and youth development programs like Tri4fun, which introduces triathlon to Danish children in school. Next year, the federation is considering rolling out a national team of age-group athletes that will travel and compete internationally, simultaneously promoting their country and the sport. Even Klærke admits that what really put the sport on the map in Denmark was Challenge Copenhagen. “After that first race last year, we immediately noticed an expanded interest in triathlon; we had an increase in memberships and several new triathlon clubs popped up,” she says. “We were quite surprised that it was in fact a longdistance race that attracted so many rookies to the sport, but it really kick-started our success among all other race distances.” The uptick of triathletes was also noticed by one of the more esteemed bike shops in Copenhagen, Byman Cykler, whose owners Mark Johnsen and Dan Gissel leased out the store next door in 2007 and turned it into one of

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F. GERNYX 2011

182 : BOARDING PASS :  the city’s only triathlon stores, Byman Sport. “It’s really been in the past couple of years that I’ve noticed more and more triathletes coming in the store, and just more triathlon bikes around the city too,” says Kenneth Groendahl, who has worked at Byman Sport since 2008. “Marathons have been huge here for a long time, and I think this race came around at a time when a lot of athletes here were ready to take on a new challenge.” While it was probably only a matter of time before triathlon fever struck in Denmark, says Henning, who started out in Olympic-style racing but has since ventured over to long-distance events, the Challenge brand brings along with it a caliber of event people stood up and took notice of. “Challenge was the catalyst for triathlon in Denmark,” Henning says. “A lot of people came out there and did this distance last year and realized it was doable, and others who watched them do it are now trying it for themselves this year.” The Challenge course was such that anyone in the Copenhagen area would be hard-pressed not to notice that something big was going on. The morning started with a chilly swim at the popular Amager Beach, a bike course that took athletes through the city and along miles and miles of rolling country roads, complete with grass-thatched roofs, lavender fields and windmills, and finished with a multi-lap run past a hundred thousand spectators and every major tourist sight in the downtown area. One family living on the outskirts of the bike course set up a long wooden dining table on the side of the road and laid out

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F. Gernyx 2011

184 : BOARDING PASS : R

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an elaborate spread of scones, cupcakes and tea sandwiches for any hungry athletes looking for a break. “Making triathlon such a commercial event is what broke the barrier for it here,” says Sindballe. While many sport programs in Denmark have relied on non-profit organizations for support and event management, Sindballe says his home country has been seeing a new branch of sports that combine corporate sponsorship with volunteers. “Challenge is a really successful example of that. There are now so many more options for people who want to sign up for a race or get a training plan, so many more so than there were even five years ago.” There’s a reason such a small country has produced so many toptier cyclists: This place was built to ride a bike. Whether you’re looking to just cruise through the city or venture a little farther out to rolling country roads, you’ll notice one thing right away—bike lanes that aren’t just white lines separating you from a semitrailer, but actual divided lanes that sit between the road and the sidewalk, complete with their own traffic light system. As a result, more than 35 percent of people living in the greater Copenhagen area commute to work by bike, and that number rises to 55 percent inside the city proper. You’ll see anything and everything on two wheels while in Denmark: dogs carried in front baskets, groceries and small pieces of furniture strapped on bike panniers—and of course the “Copenhagen Minivan,” a large basket with seats inside placed on the front of bikes where children sit while their parents pedal them around.


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F. GERNYX 2011

186 : BOARDING PASS :  Even with the city’s less than ideal winter weather, people still choose bikes over cars. “When it snows, they clear out the bike lanes right away. I mean, it’s cold and dark but it’s also such a beautiful city in the winter that people still love to enjoy the outdoors,” says Angus Edmond, a New Zealand native who moved to Copenhagen for the riding and now owns a bike shop. Edmond agreed to take me out on one of the area’s more popular road routes—known simply as “The Bull.” There aren’t really any serious climbs in Denmark. Local riders will tell you that if you want hill work you’ll have to ride to Sweden, but the bull route offers enough heart-bursting rollers and windy back country roads to satisfy any serious rider. We rode past lush forest, golden wheat fields and villages cut straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen storybook. After returning to Edmond’s shop and grabbing my backpack, I decided to give the hot sauce delivery I had abandoned the day before another try—this time I was successful. I handed over the goods, procured my payment in the form of two chicken tacos, and plopped down on the outside patio to enjoy the fruits of my labor. A man who looked to be in his early 40s pulled up at the shop on a fancy tri-rig, and took a moment to check out my ride. “Is that your Specialized?” he asked. “Well, sort of,” I replied. “I’m borrowing it for a little while.” He started to go in but then paused and turned back to me. “Are you here for the race this weekend?” he asked. I nodded. “Yeah, I’m doing it,” he said, puffing out his chest a little. “It’s gonna be coooool.” LAVA

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Set in one of the world’s most iconic tropical locations, the 2012 Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns will take place on 3 June 2012. The course features a memorable 3.8km swim in the warm waters off Cairns and Great Barrier Reef, a 180km bike leg that travels up arguably the most scenic coastal roads in Australia towards Port Douglas and a 42.2km run that includes the Cairns Esplanade before finishing in the heart of Cairns.

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POTTS vs. TOLLAKSON Kona didn’t go according to plan for T.J. Tollakson and Andy Potts. A few gulps of salt water in Kailua Bay forced Tollakson to leave his stomach on the side of the Queen K Highway and eventually drop out, while Potts, the race’s early leader, was relegated to 17th place by the end of the run. But the pair of always-positive Americans was back on form the day after the race. you go through to reach your goals. You’re constantly building on what you did yesterday and there aren’t really any shortcuts. As long as you’re smart about it you can continue to improve well into your 30s. We both grew up as swimmers. That doesn’t happen in swimming. AP: Absolutely not. I think that’s why I found triathlon so refreshing once I started racing in my mid-20s. For almost a decade I had made it my goal to make the Olympics in swimming. When I was 19 I came really close, but by 23 that dream was over. Then I found triathlon and I realized I could have a new career as an athlete and that there was so much room for improvement. And it allowed me to finally get to the Olympics. TT: You know, I’ll never forget seeing you at the finish in Madeira (at the 2004 ITU World Championships in Portugal, where Tollakson was competing as an age grouper). You had just found out that you made the Olympic Team and you were crying, but you just wanted to be by yourself. It was just a really genuine reaction and I could tell what that moment meant to you. AP: It was huge. It was a lifelong dream. And for a while it was all I wanted to achieve in triathlon, but then I started racing a little more and seeing what else was out there and it brought about new motivations. I saw guys who were still getting faster at 36, 37 and 38 years old. It made me realize that the best years were still ahead. I still feel that way. TT: Oh I agree. I think the best is still to come from both of us.

Andy Potts: You rode up on me way earlier than I’ve ever seen you at this race. I saw Chris [Lieto] come by about an hour into the ride and then I was kind of surprised to see you right behind him—and you guys had a gap! Chris seemed to be looking back at you too. What was going on there?

T.J. Tollakson: Chris came to me before the race and said he really wanted to work the downhill sections and he knew I really liked to push the uphill parts. So we decided to sort of work together—not draft; we stayed legal the whole time—but we paced off one another and shared the lead a little to put the pressure on early. Chris knew the best way to beat the runners was to either pull way ahead on the bike or break them down by making them push the ride from the start. AP: I don’t think you, me or Chris are happy with our races, but the cool part for me was that we all looked like we were having a lot of fun while we were out there in front. I’ve never had

TT: Well, think about it, when was the last time three Americans led this race at that point in the ride? It was before we were racing. AP: Way before. It definitely brought out this sense of camaraderie. I felt it. I wanted to make that last as long as possible. Maybe next year. TT: But you have to be pumped. You had a huge year. How many races did you win? AP: I won six races and then won the Life Time Fitness Series title, so it was definitely a good year for me. From start to finish it was the best complete year I’ve had in my career. You have to be able to say the same about your season, right? How many Ironman races had you done before getting that first win at Lake Placid? lavamagazine.com

JAY PRASUHN

that much fun at this race.

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TT: Placid was my tenth Ironman. So it was a long time coming, but I think the coolest thing about this sport is the process

These two had a lot to say. Watch the whole interview at lavamagazine.com/last-word-9


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INITIATE FON PROTOCOLS - 9.2 > > > > > > >

100% YAMAMOTO 40 C ELEVATION PANELS 360 STABILIZATION SYSTEM 7X STATIC STRETCH ROM ZONE GOLd LINING V-GCP 7 COMMANd(S) ENTEREd

EXE EXE EXE EXE EXE EXE EXE

7987 12300 86 6759 6456 23493 5066

.... .... .... .... .... .... ....

Engaged Engaged Engaged Engaged Engaged Engaged Engaged

> RUN Field test..... ERRCOdE=0000 OBFCNT=0000

PRESS <F5> TO CONTINUE

> Run Hydrodynamic Results - Andy Potts, TJ Tollakson Chrissie Wellington, Mirinda Carfrae, Julie dibens . . . . .

CLASSIFIEd dATABASE . . . . .

PRESS <F5> TO CONTINUE > Run Imaging Process . . . . .

CLASSIFIEd dATABASE . . . . .

. . . . .

ILLEGAL ACCESS . . . . .

SYSTEM BREACH PROTOCOLS ENGAGEd C:/FON/ C:/FON/

.... SYSTEM LOCK .... FILE(S) dELETION

REMOTE LIMITEd ACCESS ONLY . . . . .

> > >

HTTP://TYR.COM/LIMITSWILLFALL

LIMITS WILL FALL

. . . . .

COMING SPRING 2012

. . . . .

. . . . .


ŠAmerican Sporting Goods Corporation 2011

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