Athlete Guide

TriRiot 70.5 – The Race

After umteen months of training, race day finally arrived. In case you’re wondering umteen equals five in this context.

Originally, I was training for IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, but unfortunately, it was postponed to sometime in August. I’m not one to waste good training, so it became quite clear in mid March that the only proper thing to do was to continue training so that my race form would peak on May 23. The original race date was May 17, but after the cancellation announcement I agreed to family obligations so we moved the race to May 23 and called it,

The TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon

70.3 was already taken by some other organization, hence the 70.5.

Bike racked in T2 for TriRiot 70.5
The race number makes it official

How It Went Down

I’m not going to claim that this race was completely unsupported. There was quite a bit of help from Lori, Hunter and Sami. However, aid stations were scarce (none) and tech support was scarcer. Competition in the form of other athletes was also in short supply. It was just me swimming, biking and strolling through hell… I mean running.

Charles' name on my arm
I carried Charles with me

I did have the company of one friend whose name was written on my arm. Charles is not in very good health these days and I wanted to honor him because he loves this sport so much and has not been able to do it for so long. I talked a lot to Charles on the bike ride. Maybe that’s why my bike time was pretty good. Actually, I want to clarify that. I talked a lot to myself as though I was talking to Charles.

The Starting Line

Hunter, Lori and I arrived at Sami’s house exactly at 5:30AM. Her house is about 100 meters from the swim course exit and her driveway makes a nice swim to bike transition area. Unfortunately, lightning forced a one hour delay in the race start, so we just stood around in Sami’s carport for a while. Once the storm cleared, a beautiful morning came out and Hunter drove me and Lori and a kayak 1.5 miles to swim start.

The swim venue is under the jurisdiction of the town of Wrightsville Beach which passed an ordinance that limits parking as a measure of crowd control (COVID-19 precautions). To make matters worse, swim start was located on a private section of dock that belongs to the Hanover Seaside Club – No Trespassing! We’re not members.

I was nervous enough about starting the race, but having to quickly pull the car over, unload the kayak, and sneak into somebody else’s dock was quite unnerving, so I temporarily lost my mind. I didn’t notice the mossy wet ramp that leads to the water as Lori and I carried the kayak down. Wet moss is slippery. WHAM! I hit the concrete hard.

I helped Lori into the kayak and then swam out beyond the docks. The morning was starting to get beautiful with a mostly cloudy sky and rays of gold sun reflecting off some of the buildings in the distance. And as soon as I assessed the current, I started the watch and began the TriRiot 70.5.

TriRiot 70.5 swim
Swimming in Banks Channel during the TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon

There’s not much to say about the swim. There was a strong current and the water was calm. Boat traffic was minimal. Several times, I caught myself swimming in anything but a straight line. There were times when I was 30 meters from the docks and there was a time I almost hit a dock with my head. Sighting was tough because I used goggles that I had never before used in open water. I like the swede style goggles, because I can usually see very well through them. However, my only swedes were badly scratched so I used a pair of Roka goggles that are great in the pool, but I didn’t see so well with them in the channel.

Swimming in Banks channel
Almost done with the swim

After 41 minutes and 14 seconds, swim exit was right in front of me. It didn’t feel that long, and after a two month period of no swimming, I was happy to have just stayed afloat. The arms did get tired and my form fell apart near the end, but I was done and ready to move on to the bike.

Off The Island…

Forty four seconds is what it takes to run about 100 meters and mount a bike. Once on the bike it was just a matter of following the plan as had been practiced so many times. I did stop the timer when I had to walk over the metal drawbridge and whenever I had to stop at a traffic signal.

The nutrition plan was simple: consume 200 Calories per hour with Tailwind endurance drink. That came out to three bottles on the bike, each bottle fortified with Base Salt. I also had an aero bottle with 20 ounces of plain water. By the end of the bike ride, 500 Calories made their way into my gut which is 100 Calories shy of the plan. Sometimes, you just can’t fit enough nutrition in your stomach. I was on the verge of that sick feeling you get when you drink too much sweet stuff.

One big success is that I did not stop to urinate. That’s because I did it while on the bike… twice. Kinda gross, I know, but it saved time and I cleaned the saddle very well afterward.

One thing about me is that I don’t usually get bored on the bike. I have ridden by myself so many times that I enjoy the experience of just being out on the road. However, as I mentioned earlier, I did talk a lot to myself as though Charles were with me. I wish that I could help him through his pain as he deals with his current health crisis. Instead I behaved like a lunatic talking and arguing with myself.

The bike course ended in my driveway three hours, three minutes and one second after I left T1. That’s a pretty good time given where I was back in December.

…And Into The Frying Pan

By the end of the bike ride, the sun was out in full and the temperature was quickly approaching 30 degrees C (86F). You know how coaches and trainers will tell you that the bike is the longest segment of a triathlon?

There are exceptions to that rule.

I walked and ran through a humid 30C run course with very little shade. Thankfully, Lori rode her bike along to provide company and support. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. The heat is only a small part of the reason the 13.2 miles took longer than three hours and nine minutes. My half marathon best time is around 1:50:00, and based on my training for this race, I predicted 2:10:00. I wasn’t even close.

As soon as I ran away from the bike, I could feel that this was going to be a long half marathon. Right up to that point I felt great. My legs felt great. The pace for the first several miles was planned to be an easy 9:45 to 10:00 per mile. Instead it was a difficult 12:00 per mile.

That familiar feeling of doubt began to sink in at mile three. The feet were hurting. The hamstrings were hurting. I was afraid that if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start again, but as I approached Bear Garden Road (mile 3.5), I knew I should stop and assess my physical situation.

Running on shaw highway near bear garden road
Leaving my first stop at Bear Garden Road

The road is called Bear Garden for a good reason: bear live there. I’ve seen more than bear near this road. One time, on my way to work, I saw a huge alligator crossing the road near this spot. Did I mention that I live near a state owned game land? On this run, however, the only live wildlife we saw was a snake and a wild turkey.

Anyway, I stopped at Bear Garden Road and stretched a few muscles. Thankfully, I was able to start running again. The bad news is that I just couldn’t run by the time I hit mile four. The remainder of the race was a mix of running and walking.

I don’t know why I quit running. The pain was bad, but not so terrible. This seems to be a pattern with me. I do very well during training sessions and then when it comes time to race, the body and/or the mind forgets how to run. This is very difficult to describe.

Can I blame it on nutrition? Probably not. I should have had plenty of nutrition in me to at least have a good start on the run.

Can I blame the heat? Maybe, but not completely, because I can work outside in the middle of summer all day long. Also, I’ve trained by running several times in the middle of the day with long sleeves. I like the heat.

Can I blame my workouts? No. The physical workouts improved my running over the course of the training season. I should be able to run a half marathon in two hours or less.

Sow what can I blame? I believe I have a mental weakness that needs to be addressed. Whatever the reason for my poor run performance, Sami and I will get it worked out.

Final Thought

I was excited and nervous when we started the race and not once did I feel like this experience was second rate. Organized races with lots of people are fun and worth the expense to me, but this race took endurance sport to a whole new level.

I realize that I truly love the sport for the sake of the sport. I love the people and the rockstar fanfare, but without those, I still value the personal challenges that remain. One thing is for certain: I have a future in triathlon.

Next race: IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga on August 23, 2020

Until then…

Preparing to Race Alone

The inaugural, and hopefully only, TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon will be held this Saturday, May 23, 2020.

Since December 2019, I’ve been planning my training to culminate in peak fitness and form right about now. With the cancellation of races, I’ve decided to hold my own triathlon. Here’s the plan:

Pre Race Fueling

Tonight (Thursday) will be the first intentional race fueling. A slightly larger than normal dinner consisting of easy to digest carbs and protein will be on the menu. It might include sweet potatoes, chicken breast and a protein shake.

Because my body is pretty well carbohydrate adapted, Friday morning breakfast will be oatmeal, a protein source and (dare I say) pancakes. Pancakes haven’t crossed these lips in months. Maybe I’ll reconsider and just have pancake and not pancakes.

Race day morning 3:00AM EDT: oatmeal, peanut butter, honey.

Race day morning 4:30AM EDT: 100kcal Tailwind endurance drink.

The Swim

The swim begins at 6:00AM sharp. This means T1 needs to be setup by 5:40AM. Twenty minutes should be enough time to drive from T1 to swim start and unload the kayak. Lori is going to lead me in the water on a kayak.

If you’re not familiar with our area, the town that controls parking along the swim start (salt water channel) has restricted parking to only a few locations to enforce social distancing policies on the beach. Parking logistics may be a bit of a hassle but I think we can manage.

The swim will begin in Bank’s Channel near Hanover Seaside Club where a rising tide should hopefully make up for my lack of swim training over the past couple of months. Effort levels for the first 500 meters or so will be kept quite low, but once I pass the big water tower, I’ll actually try to swim.

Imagine the golden glow of a morning sunrise as it reflects off the surrounding buildings and the lightly rippling water. Beautiful. If clouds and rain don’t ruin it, this swim will be absolutely beautiful.

This swim course is longer than that of a standard half iron distance event. Normally, 1.2 miles is a standard distance, but this swim exit is about 1.4 miles from swim start. With a strong current, a wetsuit, and salt water buoyancy, this swim might last 35 minutes.

The Bike

The run to T1 isn’t too long: about 1/8 mile. If you’ve watched any of the TriRiot Speed Tips, you already know that doffing the wetsuit won’t be a problem. That comes off before getting out of the water.

The bike will be waiting for me and already outfitted with three nutrition bottles of 200kcal each. I’ve been training all season with Tailwind endurance drink so that’s the concoction for race day.

The first obstacle on the bike course is Wrightsville Beach traffic. Even at 6:45AM the traffic might be heavy. The key is to reduce the number of left turns and always be aware of vehicles and pedestrians. Even a parked vehicle can suddenly greet you with an open door.

The next obstacle on the course is the draw bridge that leads to the mainland. The slippery metal surface of that bridge has claimed many victims over the years, so Xena (the bike’s name) and I plan on walking across. Once Xena and I reach the mainland, we’ll have 5 miles of city traffic, then 4 miles of busy thoroughfare.

After that exercise in urban warfare, we’ll relax a bit and enjoy the country roads of New Hanover and Pender Counties. I use the word, relax, loosely here. After all, this is a race.

I’ve heard it said that these middle and long distance races are like long, catered training days. The TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon will not be catered. There will be no aid stations. There will be no sag wagons. There will be no tech support. This is a self supported race which I knew when I signed up so I have no right to complain about it. And because I’m the race director, I can DQ any athlete that does complain.

The bike course ends in my driveway after 56 miles of either fighting the wind or flying through the countryside. You can never tell which it will be around here.

The Run

Shaw Highway is a two lane county road in front of my property. It’s not dangerous, but it is exciting and it runs along the Western border of the Holly Shelter Game Land. I love this stretch of road, because at the right time of day you might not see another person for many minutes. That doesn’t sound like much, but I’ll take whatever peace and quiet I can get, even if for only 15 minutes. There’s also wildlife along that road. I’ve seen wild turkey, deer, possum, rabbit, snakes, fox, bear and alligator. 6.55 miles of that highway will be the TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon run course.

For run nutrition, I trained with Clif Bloks. But not just any Clif Bloks. Margarita flavored Clif Bloks. Margarita flavor makes all the difference in the world, because it is so damn tasty. In addition to the Clif Bloks, I’ll carry Base Salt for electrolyte supplement in case my head gets fuzzy or my muscles decide to cramp.

The aid station coordinator (that’s me) decided to offer water at three places along the run course. The day before the race, I’ll go out and drop off water bottles at miles 3.5 and 6.55. There may even be a cyclist leading the runner in first place. Lori has expressed interest so maybe I’ll have someone to talk with.

The Finish

By the time I get back to my driveway I’m sure I will be glad to see that cracked hunk of concrete.

Doing a race like this by myself is something that I’ve aspired to for a long time. I’ve always wanted to know if I could stay motivated through the training and successfully race against the clock without the excitement of a thousand competitors and all the fanfare. So far, I can.

The cool thing is that I am getting super excited about this race just like I would for a regular race.

My goal is to reach the driveway before 11:45AM. I’ll let you know if that happens.

Until then…

You’re Not A Triathlete!

I was going to talk about my race plan for the upcoming TriRiot 70.5 triathlon this weekend, but something distracted me and I just couldn’t resist adding my two cents.

Earlier today I was doing a light workout and listening to Triathlon Taren’s latest podcast. Apparently, someone once told Taren that, “… You’re not a real triathlete unless you’ve done an IRONMAN…”. That’s along the same lines as the other thing I’ve heard, “You’re not a real Ironman unless you’ve completed the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.”

First of all, neither of these statements have a direct impact on me other than my desire to point out undeserved arrogance. So let’s dissect each of these two statements.

You’re Not An Ironman Unless…

Notice my distinction between Ironman and IRONMAN. Ironman is the accolade and IRONMAN is the brand.

For lack of a better term, I’m going to call this group of individuals purists. They believe that the only real Ironman is that person who has qualified for and finished the big race in Kona. I have no argument with these purists. After all, John and Judy Collins, founders of the Ironman and IRONMAN, first gave the 140.6 mile challenge to a group that would race in Hawaii in 1978. Commander Collins declared that the finisher would be called an Ironman. I don’t know that they made the same declarations at Lake Placid or in Tempe, AZ. So I suppose the purists are saying that, in order to be an Ironman, you have to race the original IRONMAN course. There’s a problem with that.

A lot has changed since 1978. The race is held on a different island these days and athletes don’t have to be self supported any more. Today the race is a corporate event designed to make the participants feel like rock stars and generate attention in addition to the competitive aspects. When the event was conceived in 1977, it was simply a challenge to see if swimmers, cyclists or runners were the better, more fit athletes.

Another issue is that the Ironman accolade ideally (maybe not legally?) belongs to WTC who owns the IRONMAN brand. Therefore, WTC can confer upon whomever they wish the title of Ironman.

And no conversation like this would be complete without mentioning Mike Reilly who started the famous finish line call, “… YOU. ARE. AN IRONMAN!”

Now on to the other claim.

You Are Not A Real Triathlete Unless…

I do have an issue with anyone who claims the only real triathletes are those who have completed an IRONMAN. On what do they base this claim?

What if I race an IRONMAN that is only 140.2 miles long instead of the standard 140.6? That happens. Does that not make me a triathlete? I’m sure you can imagine a whole plethora of scenarios like this that would put into question our membership in the “triathlete” category.

Like I mentioned before, I think this claim has no effect on me. As far as I know, my membership in USA Triathlon is not based on a prerequisite of completing an IRONMAN event. However, it is quite insulting to suggest that ITU professionals and sprint age-groupers alike are not triathletes.

This is a point I will argue, because it is not as ambiguous as a branded title such as “Ironman.” Over 100 years ago, a triathlon was a completely different event of three different sports. However, today a triathlon is generally accepted as a timed event that combines swimming, biking and running. This is where USA Triathlon and ITU and other governing bodies have a role. They define what triathlon is and is not.

I might agree that the one-and-done athlete is just that: an athlete and not a triathlete. However, those professionals and age groupers who live the triathlon lifestyle and compete in sanctioned races, regardless of race brand or distance, are most definitely triathletes.

Conclusion

Taren Gesell, YOU. ARE. A TRIATHLETE. (and soon you’ll be an Ironman too).

Until next time…

My Race. My Way.

We are learning that a viral pandemic can put a damper on the triathlon season (says Captain Obvious).

The first A race of my season was moved from May 17 to August 23. Given the current state of viral pandemiology, I’d say it will either be cancelled or moved again. But the point of this post is to let you know that a cancelled race doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

As races were being cancelled and rescheduled in early March, I began preparing a contingency plan. At that point it was not a matter of “IF” Chattanooga 70.3 gets rescheduled, it was a matter of “WHEN.” The decision was made to continue with training as if the race were still being held. The moment IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga was rescheduled, Sami called to say that several other of her athletes were planning races of their own that would take place on the original race date. Even before that time I had already made plans for the inaugural TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon.

A race on my own may not seem like much of a race.

  • Fancy finish line? No
  • Aid stations? No.
  • Finisher’s medal? No
  • Massage tent? No
  • M&Ms on the run course? No
  • 80 year old dude who passes me on the run? Thankfully, No

I admit, it won’t be the same without all that, but it will be a good test of the training. Also, I have to keep my eye on the bigger goal: Kona qualification. This virus pandemic is just one of the many obstacles to stand in the way of that goal. With that goal in mind, it becomes no big deal to miss a season or two of racing. It’s the training that will matter.

The TriRiot 70.5 Triathlon is going to be a point-to-point race with a swim in Banks Channel along the town of Wrightsville Beach, NC. The bike ride extends from Wrightsville Beach up toward the little town of Maple Hill in Pender County. That’s close to my house, so T2 will be my driveway. From there, the run heads North on Shaw Highway 6.55 miles out and 6.55 miles back to a driveway finish line. My adoring fans (four dogs, several chickens and some barn cats along with my wife and daughter) will be cheering as I cross the finish line and collapse in the yard.

The date of the TriRiot 70.5 is May 23, 2020. That’s only three days way, so I’d better get crackin’. And if I’m going to collapse in the yard, I had better start picking up the dog poop soon.

By the way, today Lori and I celebrate 30 years together. Happy Anniversary, Dear.

Until next time…

The Mental Game of Triathlon

It’s been a little while since the last blog post, so there’s plenty of material to type out here. I’ll try to keep it short so as not to lose you to more interesting activities such as reading War and Peace for the fifth time.

A Brief History Of …

As you may recall, back in December of 2019 I began training for IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga which was supposed to be held on May 17, 2020 (yesterday). Training progressed nicely right up to the point the race was rescheduled to August 22, 2020 and training continues to progress nicely since. The command decision was made to have a long course race of my own on May 23, 2020 (five days from now). I don’t need to tell you that COVID-19 has limited our swimming opportunities in public areas like pools and beaches, but running and cycling continue as normal. My normal can be characterized as training by myself 90% of the time so nothing has changed for cycling and running.

The Current State Of Affairs

Training for endurance sport is such a mental game. The physical aspect is tough, but the mental aspect is perhaps tougher. I say this because performance in training is not perfectly correlated to performance on race day… and it shouldn’t be. The effect is that self doubt begins to creep into my thoughts when a 50 mile bike ride takes longer than I think it should or when I can’t maintain a 9:30/mile pace on an EZ run. The trick is to keep reminding myself that it is just training.

So often we hear that the key to a good training is consistency. I’ve questioned the meaning of consistency of training in other blog posts and I know what it means intuitively, but I don’t have a definition for it that relates to training or translates into a good mantra that can be said over and over again. My preferred words are discipline, trust and faith.

With discipline, we can do what needs to be done in order to achieve desired outcomes even if we may not feel like doing whatever it is that needs to be done. 
With trust, we will be confident that our training plans provide the best framework for achieving our desired outcomes.  If the outcomes aren't achieved we can make changes, but confidence in the process is key.  
With faith, we can rely on our training plans and our coaching teams to help us achieve the desired outcomes even when we don't understand how the training relates to the outcomes. 

So… with five days left to train before my big race, I need huge doses of discipline, trust and faith, because right now I feel like crap. That’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel given my current stage of training, but it’s difficult to believe that I will race well when I feel so bad this close to race day. Having an experienced coach who can guide me through these times of self-doubt is priceless right now. And Coach Sami has been priceless.

You want to know what else helps? Triathlon related media. I love the podcasts. My top three podcasts of choice are Babbitteville Radio, Triathlon Taren and That Triathlon Show. There are many others to choose from ( and soon there may be one more).

Still An Age-Grouper

Through all the training, however, I’m still an age-grouper and have been busy with age-grouper things.

  1. No TriRiot videos lately, but I am trying to get some put together.
  2. Working on starting a podcast. Three interviews have already been recorded with amazing people who’s stories you have got to hear.
  3. Work. We all have to bring home the bacon. In my case, that’s actually a bit more literal than you might think.
  4. Horses. If you ever want to go broke quickly, buy horses. Actually, I love the beasts. They are wonderful animals, but do take a lot of time.
Digging stumps out of a future horse arena

In an upcoming post, I’ll lay out my rational and plans for the TriRiot 70.5. That’s what I’m calling my race. Until then…

Russian Spies?

More comments.

The content of these comments ranges from mattresses to pornography: neither of which interest me. Some, however, are cryptic enough for me to think someone is passing secret codes. I’ve already posted about this before and I want to share the latest with you.

If you owned a restaurant, what kind of food would it serve?

JoyceHew (probably not the real author)

This is probably a serious question. It seems so fitting to ask on a triathlon blog about the kind of food I would serve at my restaurant… if I owned one (note the tone of sarcasm here).

Perhaps I should reply and engage in some friendly teasing with this person (or bot). Have you seen James Veitch’s conversations with spammers?

James Veitch knows how to handle spammers

To be grammatically picky, it (the restaurant) would not serve any food. I or my staff would serve the food, so obviously this question was written by someone with hardly any command of the English language. (Looking back at some of my posts, that could be me!). Russian spies maybe?

Until next time…

Blog Comments and Numerology

Lately the TriRiot blog site has been getting quite a few comments. Unfortunately, most seem to be written by bots.

The content of these comments ranges from mattresses to pornography: neither of which interest me. Some, however, are cryptic enough for me to think someone is passing secret codes. I’ve already posted about this before and I want to share the latest with you, because the internet is full of numerology experts who are deciphering the meaning of COVID-19. If they can do that, then I can decipher my latest “spam” comments.

These two comments are examples of complete genius with respect to secret codes. Both are single word comments and taken by themselves they mean nothing. But when we look at the details we can see the true meaning of this secret code.

The Analysis

Let’s first take a look at the one written by “Specialist.” The comment is, “pink”. This could be a reference to the singer of the same name, but if that were the case, the comment would probably have been capitalized.

I think it’s a bit deeper than that. Look under the authors pseudonym, “Specialist”. THX must be a reference to THX 1138, the movie about a dystopian future society directed by none other than George Lucas himself. As further evidence that THX refers to the movie, look at the IP address at the bottom of the image, 185.220.103.8. Take away the 85.220., the other 0 and the last dot = 1138.

The movie, THX 1138, itself means nothing here other than to suggest its director, Mr. Lucas who also directed the wildly successful film, Star Wars. But why the comment, “pink?”

If you’re a fan of Star Wars and Sci Fi conventions, you probably see where this is going. Yep, you guessed it: The Pink Shorts Boom Guy. It was so hot on the movie set in the Tunisian desert that the boom operator was wearing nothing but tight pink shorts, socks and boots. The boom operator is the person who holds the microphone at the end of a long pole to pickup the actors’ dialog. This particular boom operator, with the pink shorts, was a British fellow named Ken Nightingall.

According to ancestry.com, 12% of racehorse trainers had the surname of Nightingall in about 1932. Hold that thought and let’s move to the email address, chrissy877@aol.com.

The aol.com is complete rubbish in my analysis so we remove that and we are left with “chrissy877” which refers to none other than Chrissie Wellington. That’s right, the same Chrissie Wellington that broke Paula Newby-Fraser‘s course record at the IRONMAN World Championships. The same Chrissie Wellington that never lost an IRONMAN race. Nevermind that one is spelled “chrissy” and the other “Chrissie.”

How do we know that chrissy877 refers to Chrissie Wellington? It’s in the 877. Chrissie Wellington was born on 18/2/77 (European day/month/year). Take away the slashes and you get 18277. The first year after her dominance at Kona was 2012, so we get rid of the 1 and the 2… we are left with 877.

The Results

So we are left with two pieces of information from this analysis:

  1. Racehorse trainers
  2. Chrissie Wellington

Whoever posted this comment is trying to tell us that Chrissie Wellington is going to make an IRONMAN comeback and her coach is a former racehorse trainer! I hope she likes oats.

As for the other comment… complete garbage.

The Conclusion

I get a lot of spam comments.

But if Chrissie Wellington does make a comeback, just remember… you heard it here first.

Until next time…

A TriRiot Podcast?

Yes. I’m considering starting a podcast so I can spread my buttery smooth voice across the interwebs into your ears.

Buttery? Did I say buttery? Old margarine with toast crumbs would likely be a better description.

The podcast topic?

I’m glad you asked, because I can ramble on for hours about my opinions. And, believe me. I have some opinions:

  • Should age-groupers be drug tested?
  • Are race officials too lenient on drafting rules?
  • Is IRONMAN a big monster ruining the spirit of triathlon?
  • Is the PTO a good thing for age-groupers?
  • Best triathlon podcasts out there
  • Best tips and tricks for a fast transition
  • Race cancellations – should athletes be refunded?

I’m just warming up here. There are plenty of things to talk about, but in reality I don’t like to talk by myself so I’ll get others on the show. Maybe I can convince some of my friends to get on the show with me. You’d love their stories, like Marty versus the deer and Marty versus the car at the NYC triathlon. There’s also the time that Mike took the pedal off my bike when I wasn’t looking. Maybe Misty will join me and tell us about how she makes her homemade superwaffles.

This could be a load of fun. The main focus of TriRiot has been, and is, the age-grouper experience. I love the professionals and follow what they do, but I want to give a voice to the age-groupers who may never stand on a podium and may never qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship… or maybe they will. It doesn’t matter how good they are or how much weight they lost or the price tag on their bike. TriRiot is about the struggles, triumphs and concerns of the age-grouper.

Stayed tuned to this blog. I’ll let you know when the TriRiot podcast is going to happen.

Until then…

A Lockdown In Paradise Is Still a Lockdown!

Every athlete has an interesting story to tell. Actually, all people have interesting stories, but this is a blog about triathlon, so I’m going to stick to athletes for now.

I became aware of an athlete in my coaching group who was in a very strict lockdown for quite some time. Her conditions were far more restrictive than mine so I wanted to find out how she was coping. What resulted from the interview was not only a look at her life in the era of COVID-19, but an interesting story of how she became hooked on triathlon.

Since the interview, her restrictions have been eased, but not by much. If you have the time, I encourage you to listen to her story here and take a look at her pictures in the gallery below.

Jolinda Bokhorst Interview

In the months and years to come, we look forward to seeing Jolinda at many more races. Until then…

Challenge Roth: Race or Myth?

Challenge Roth is a popular race: a very popular race.

Registration for Challenge Roth opened today at 10:00am Europe Central Time which is the same as 4:00am Eastern Daylight Time. As I write this, I am sitting in Eastern Daylight Time at 4:14am. It has taken me about 12 minutes to realize what just happened, because it happened so fast.

Rejection from Challenge Roth

In less than 90 seconds the race sold out. 90 seconds? Come on! That’s the second time I’ve missed out on an entry to the famed Challenge Roth triathlon. I’m beginning to wonder if this race actually exists.

Or maybe it does exist and I’ve been thinking of it all wrong.

My watch below the screen.

What if Challenge Roth is not really a triathlon in Roth Germany? What if it is actually a game devised by psychologists just to see how many people will jam the internet with requests to enter a triathlon? The real challenge here is not an ultra distance triathlon. The real challenge is quickly entering your name, birthdate, email and nationality into a web form. Maybe no one gets in. Maybe the standard reply to the application is a rejection web page.

And what’s up with “nationality?” Why do we have to scroll through the list of every known country on the planet? If you’re from Afghanistan or Armenia, you don’t have to scroll very far. But what if you’re from some obscure little country that begins with a U… like United States? You get to waste precious time scrolling to the bottom of the list. And keyboard shortcuts didn’t help much, because as soon as I typed ‘U’, it scrolled to United Arab Emirates. My brain had to adjust to the cursor’s jump down the list. It warped right past United States and it took me a while to realize that the UAE is listed after the US, even though the country names were fully spelled out.

I hope my sense of humor is not offensive. I actually feel really good knowing that there are races that create this kind of demand. Although my main goal over the next several years (or decades) is to qualify for Kona, entering Challenge Roth is another goal I hope to achieve.

Good luck to everyone who successfully entered the 2021 edition of the Challenge Roth triathlon.

Until next time…