This was the second time I had been to St. George. It is a beautifully stunning location and the local city really embraces the race. I arrived a few days before the race and stayed with the owners of IBB Cycle. I was able to check out the course and ride some of the harder parts of the bike course to prepare for bike and run.
I went into the race this year much more prepared than last year. The year before, St. George was one week after my graduation. Having a full year of only focusing on training is very helpful.
On race morning it was windy, cool and threatening to rain. After a good warm up and listening to my tunes I was ready to race. The swim turned out well as I was able to find the chase group and settle in. I exited right around where I did the year before and knowing what kind of bike ride I was in for really helped.
On the first hill things really started to heat up with Sebastian Kienle going past the group. I was not able to stick with the strong group of riders that included Sebastian Kienle, Tyler Butterfield and Trevor Wurtele. I settled into my own pace and prepared for a long hunt to pick off people in the later part of the bike ride. I was able to minimize the amount of time I lost to the leaders. As we rode along, about two thirds of the way through I could see a big storm rolling in and we were heading right for it. As the world got darker and colder the rain came pouring down. Entering into the last 20km of the bike there was an out and back, I was able to see where I was and who was following me. I had been pulling a group of 4 people along. We then started the hardest part of the bike course riding up Snow Canyon- a 20 min climb before the last 10km descent into town. On the climb Cody Beals and a few others over took me. I held my own on the cold descent but did lose a little time as we went into the run.
As I entered into transition I was frozen and had a hard time getting into my shoes. For the first 3km I could not feel my legs or feet as I started to run down a few people. Finally as I went up the first hill my legs warmed up but my feet were just bricks. I fought with Ben Hoffman for the first 6miles but in the end he took off and I settled in to finish the race in a strong 15th place. It truly was not the result I was looking for but I improved from last year.
I will now be in Caledon for some time training for my next race on June 5 in Raleigh.
by Kristen Marchant
I am perhaps one of the least qualified people to be writing about this because as a pro it is far easier to fit in training and other life obligations than those with families and other jobs as well- I have the utmost respect for those who are able to juggle triathlon/family/job and stay sane. However, I sadly saw posted on social media the other day someone who skipped an Easter family dinner just to do a four-hour bike ride on their trainer. There is a lot wrong with that sentence, the biggest of all is that the message being sent is that their training is a higher priority than their family.
This is not to say that training shouldn’t be a priority in life (of course it should!), but here are some ways to better balance training and family obligations:
1. Short and hard is always good- if you’re time-crunched and still want to get in a workout, doing a short, hard session is extremely beneficial. Think something along the lines of Sufferfest- their Revolver video has left me lying on the ground after and is only 45 minutes.
2. Split it up- if you really want to get four hours in on the trainer (I question the logic of such a long ride in March, but nevertheless), you can split it up into two 2-hour sessions so that you still get to see your family. The benefit of time in the saddle is still there even if it’s not done all at once.
3. Take some perspective- is your bike (or swimming or running) really more important than seeing your family once in a while? There are 365 days in a year (366 this year)- moving training around, or (gasp), missing a training session to see your Grandma, is not going to derail your triathlon training- it’ll probably do you some good.
I have done all of the above at some point in order to fit in other life obligations, and nothing bad has come of it. Triathlon is time consuming, but it doesn’t have to push other important parts of your life out of the picture. Longevity in the sport will only come if you can keep a happy balance :)
by Taylor Reid
A lot of us love coffee and we must have it in the morning. But did you know that the caffeine in coffee could give you a performance boost? At the right levels, caffeine can improve your training and races. There are three proven advantages that caffeine has:
-Improving focus & mental performance
-Increasing physical endurance
-Reducing rate of perceived exertion
But there have also been studies done that show caffeine can help you recover. I will get into that later on.
To have these effects on your body the caffeine levels must be correct and taken at the right time. The right amount of caffeine is different for every person. However, studies have shown that 2-3mg per kilogram of body weight is optimal for sports performance. Having too little caffeine won’t impact your training at all, but most of us are familiar with the side effects of having too much. For this reason it is important to track the amount of caffeine you are taking in.
I personally like to use caffeine pills before a race because I know the exact level. I will be trying a new kind of coffee called TrueStart coffee that gives you the caffeine levels in your coffee. It is very hard to know how much caffeine you are getting in a cup of coffee- there are just so many variables like the type of bean, the roast, altitude, the weather, and more. It gets even more complicated when it comes to roast and ground coffee.
Caffeine takes about 45 minutes to fully be absorbed and has a half-life of 5.7 hours. I personally like to take my caffeine about 1 hour before a workout or race to make sure it has settled in.
There are two tips of Caffeine.
Type 1 – Synthetic Caffeine
-Found in traditional energy drinks, gels and pills
-The great thing about synthetic caffeine is it is regulated, so you know how much you are taking in
-Synthetic caffeine gets absorbed through the digestive system much faster than naturally occurring plant caffeine .
-Synthetic caffeine options also tend to come hand-in-hand with extra sugar
Type 2 – Natural Caffeine
-Caffeine is naturally found in coffee, tea, cocoa and approximately 60 other plant species
-The great thing about natural caffeine is it gets slowly released into the bloodstream, providing more sustained energy
-Natural caffeine is it is unregulated, so you don’t know how much you’re getting. A single cup of coffee can vary from less than 20mg to over 300mg caffeine.
Caffeine has also been shown to help with recovery. One study conducted on seven high-level endurance cyclists who partook in four sessions revealed the following:
‘Glycogen, the muscle’s primary fuel source during exercise, is replenished more rapidly when athletes ingest both carbohydrate and caffeine following exhaustive exercise, new research from the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology shows. Athletes who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had 66% more glycogen in their muscles four hours after finishing intense, glycogen-depleting exercise, compared to when they consumed carbohydrate alone, according to the study, published by The American Physiological Society.’ (Hawley, 2008)
The study used very high levels of caffeine to get these effects, 8 mg per kilogram of body weight. That is about 5-6 cups of strong coffee. Further research is needed to see if lower levels of caffeine have similar effects. But any reason to have another cup of coffee right?
Sources: Hawley, John A. (2008). The American Physiological Society. http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/audiences/public-press/archive/08/24.html
(2016). TureStart. http://www.truestartcoffee.com/learn/train-harder-for-longer
(2016). TureStart. http://www.truestartcoffee.com/learn/caffeine-uncovered
by Kristen Marchant
So this past week I picked up my new bike from Neworld Cycle in Burlington. A little back story that some may know- I had a Cervelo P3 for a couple years and took it down to Tucson in a hard case bike box for reading week last year. Coming back the TSA opened it to inspect it and did not shut it properly. Given that hard case bike boxes are used as the base for stacking other people’s luggage, this was not a good thing as the wheels shifted in the box, and then with the weight on top of it the frame cracked and was not repairable. I will definitely never use a hard-case ever again. Thankfully, my dad had put the P3 on the home insurance policy and therefore the insurance company would reimburse the cost of the original P3 towards the purchase of a new bike. So if you haven’t insured your bike- I highly recommend it!
I loved my P3 so there wasn’t much debate as to what I wanted to get. With finances still being a constraint, the P3 has numerous factors that I like that fit in the budget. (just to dispel a common myth- many age-group athletes seem to think that as soon as you are a pro you can get a bike sponsorship- it is in fact very hard to get a bike sponsorship and the majority of pros who are not the top of the top are not sponsored on their bikes).
Many bikes these days come with hidden brakes- brakes that are within the frame and therefore extremely close to the wheels and require an allan-key to adjust them. This is designed to be more aerodynamic, which of course it is, but half a second (or less) in 90km is not something I am going to look for given all the grief they gave me on the Louis Garneau bike I was riding. 80% of the time the brakes would rub my wheels, which I am sure costed me time in the race (instead of saving me time as they are intended to). The P3 has the traditional brakes that are easy to deal with. The Cervelo frame is extremely light (like extremely light), and the most important factor of all- I feel comfortable on it. I have only ridden it once and it is now on its way to Tucson, but immediately I felt comfortable on it and will only make a slight adjustment to the aero bars. Sadly, I have given up the electronic shifting (which would cost another $1000 to get), but I think that I will survive. Neworld Cycle assisted with the remaining dollars owed to get the bike so huge thanks to them and I am really looking forward to putting some fast miles in on my new steed. :)
by Taylor Reid
I thought I would give a little insight into what a Professional Triathlete does on a daily basis, beyond their training. There is a lot more to a professional triathlete’s day than training, eating and sleeping. A usual day of mine consists of three workouts, or about 4-6 hours of actual training, but in reality my workday is 8-10 hours long. The day mainly revolves around swim times, since these are fixed. All the other workouts and things I have to do are built around that.
I wake up and have breakfast. While I am doing that I check my e-mails and social media to see if anything has come up over night that I need to address right away. Then it is off to the first workout (usually a swim or a run). When I am home in Ontario the pool is about 20 minutes away, so not a bad drive.
The first thing I do when I return from the swim is eat some food. Then it is back on the computer to work on a sponsorship proposal, write a blog post or look for a possible sponsor I can contact. In the early and late part of the year a lot of my time is spent going back and forth with sponsors and ironing out contracts. This can be a drawn-out process, and the athlete must find the right balance of not asking for too much but also not selling out. Some of the top pro’s will have agents to do this work. I am not at that level yet and I also enjoy this part of the sport.
Then it is off for the mid-day workout. After eating lunch I usually see if I can come up with a good social media post. Most of them come to me while I am in a workout or just spontaneously, but I need to put some time aside to make it look good, to check that everything is spelt correctly and to make sure it is appealing to my audience. With contractual obligations revolving around my social media I also need sure I cover all the bases. Next, I spend a little more time working on sponsorship proposals, sponsor phone calls or writing articles. If I am lucky I may sneak in a little nap.
Then I am off to do my last workout of the day. My evenings are usually spent doing some foam-rolling. If I have a video on the go I will usually work on that or anything that has not been completed. I also like to keep the evening a little more free to socialize with family and friends.
Sometimes I get the opportunity to give back to the community by giving a talk, running a workout or volunteering at a race. These are very enjoyable and a nice change of pace. It is very important to me that I give back to the people who support me and that I help nurture the next generation of the sport.