Saturday, May 30, 2015

Man Card: Part I

After getting in a nice sprint tri this morning, I'm actually leaving the country for a few days later today. Since I'm not sure if I'll be able to post during the week, I figured I'd tee up a very popular 2-part series that originally posted in 2013. In terms of an update, I will most likely be going under the razor for Boise 70.3, our upcoming team race... the peer pressure will be too much to bear.

I’m not a hairy guy. I’m just not. As with most things, this comes with pros and cons. Some women like the "sasquatch" look, but thankfully my wife is not one of them. That’s a pro. On the other hand, girls used to comment that my arms were smoother than theirs, and past attempts at growing facial hair were met with ridicule and shame.

this just isn't me
While on the subject, I did a little research and learned that the modern practice of shaving among women began in the early 1900’s, at least in part due to a huge marketing campaign to increase razor sales. While it’s rare to come across a hairy female these days, as I was reminded at my last race, such is also the case regarding a species known as the male triathlete. Although I don’t have statistical proof, based on my observations it appears that more and more men are taking the plunge and shaving their legs. The trend is definitely up. Personally I’ve never had the desire, despite being more in the minority with each passing year. Maybe I need to do some more research, because I’ve never really understood it. I mean, how many milliseconds can it really save you?

Outside of triathlon, swimming, and a few other sports, shaving your legs just isn’t cool for guys. At least it didn’t used to be. In fact, despite its growth in popularity, many would argue that such an action requires a revocation of one’s “Man Card.” As a case study, I’m reminded of the following scene from Arrested Development:

Maeby (touching George Michael’s leg): “your legs are seriously smoother than mine... and I just shaved mine!”

George Michael Bluth (after an awkward pause): “so I’m thinkin’ bout getting a motorcycle.”
When accused of having smooth, feminine legs, George Michael feels the need to defend his manhood by countering in a “manly” way.

So I ask you, where is the line of acceptance drawn??
To be completely truthful, I have partially tested the smooth skin waters. Last year while out for an average run at an average pace, my right calf muscle realized that Ironman training had only begun and decided it couldn't take it anymore. For those of you with children, it's kind of like when your oldest child makes the devastating discovery that baby #2 is there to stay and freaks out on you. “You mean there’s no end to this madness?!?” To make a long story short, my run training was severely hampered for the rest of my training, and I took a friend’s recommendation to try KT tape the day before the race. This required shaving part of my leg in order to apply the tape, but I stopped short of going “all the way.” So I ask you… has my Man Card been snipped, or was that simply the nudge I need to shear these babies for my next race??

Monday, May 25, 2015

Top 10 Triathlon Race Week Tips

With a little extra time on her hands thanks to her taper for Ironman Texas, Kristen Lodge (Arizona) graciously gathered some Triple Threat Triathlon race week tips for this post. There's really no order to these, but in the spirit of recently retired David Letterman, I figured arranging them as a Top 10 list was more than appropriate.

10) “Develop a checklist over time so you don't have to re-invent the wheel (no pun intended) every race. This will reduce your stress on what to pack, how to prepare, and a nutrition plan for that distance.” Collin (Utah)

9) “Take a deep breath. For Ironman, the IM Village can be intimidating. Repeat to yourself. I belong here. I belong here.” Gina (Virginia)

don't let race week stress make you forget your goggles
8) “Don't do anything new race week. Your work, preparation and body isn't going to make any gains during race week. Keep it in tune and start to mentally prepare for race weekend.” - Chad (now repping North Carolina)

7) “Three things: 1) For race week, you can't build fitness. Trust in the fitness you built in your training and trust in your taper. 2) Get your bike ready the weekend beforehand. This means putting on your race wheels and finishing any last tweeks. By readying bike the weekend beforehand, you'll eliminate that stress from your race week and allow time to fix any last minute snafus. 3) You can save a decent chunk of watts by racing on a new chain. Still, remove the slow factory lube, apply your own (I like wax), and give it a few rides to break in.” Nick (Washington)

let's hope you've got bike/run clothes on under that wetsuit
6) “Do not eat anything crazy that can mess up your stomach for lunch or supper the week of the race. Do not wait until the night before to pack.” Mark (South Carolina)

5) “Create a list for the night before and day of, including the absolute latest time you can leave. Include e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g - Body numbered? Body Glide on? Sunscreen on? etc.. Make sure you double check that shuttle schedule so you aren't trying to find a cab at 4AM to get to the race start.” Sean (now repping New Jersey)

4) “I start by making a timeline of the entire race day starting with waking up and then writing down the time of every activity that will be done pre race and post race. I also write out my race plan and highlight what my goal pace/power is. Once that’s laid out I spend the week visualizing that and then execute it on race day!” Rob (Massachusetts)

you've prepared for this, now let it rip!

3) “I usually watch my nutrition closely, but especially during race week when I have more free time and may feel tempted to eat more to feel the void. Also, I'm a perfectionist/focused person, but contrary to many triathletes, I am laid back during race week. I know I've done the work, so I take advantage to relax, enjoy time with my wife, and to prepare myself mentally for race day.” David (Florida)

2) “As much as it's possible I like to plan to drive the course the day before to get a sense of road conditions, climate, landmarks, etc., even if I've been on the course before. Having that extra bit of familiarity is extra comfort on race day that keeps me focused on executing and not worried about unknowns.” Dave (Connecticut)

1) “My tip is to rest!” Jeff (Oregon)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Watts Up, Karin?? - Wattie Ink's Karin Langer

Karin Langer is a swimmer turned elite triathlete who has raced at both the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Karin represented Wattie Ink as part of our recent Rudy Project article, but we wanted to showcase her more with this separate interview. Thanks for the time, Karin, and best of luck to you and your team this season!

What’s your background, and how did you get into triathlon?

I‘m a marine mammal; I swam my entire life. I never did any field/ball/land sports for long, but in high school I met a couple friends who were getting into triathlon. I loved looking at their bikes and their cool gear. I bounced around, living in Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, then swam at Carleton College in MN. My coach there came from triathlon, and he painted tri as a logical step after jumping off the competitive sports cliff of college swimming. I didn’t take to triathlon right away when I graduated, but in the back of my head it was a fun sport I could do as an “adult.”

Collegiate swimming seems incredibly brutal to me. Did you enjoy it?

Swimming in college is basically the more hours the better, so 7-9 sessions a week and competing on weekends. Managing my time as a student athlete was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done (editor’s note: you may not have heard of it, but Carleton is not for dummies). Also, morning practices were pretty difficult in those Minnesota winters. I thought about quitting, but the camaraderie of the team made me stay around. I loved spending time with them and I stuck with it. I’m glad I did.

So that explains how you swim so well... I was going to ask after I saw your ~60 min split at Kona a couple years ago.

Swimming is a lot of hard work for marginal gains. It frustrates a lot of people. I spent hours and hours staring at that black line in the pool, so it seems perfectly fair to me that I have an "advantage!" Finding the right balance and prescription in training is such an individual process. For my part, I need to figure out how to put more time into running without injuring myself. Everyone has a strength and a weakness.

When did you finally take the triathlon plunge, and did you have success right away?

Following a several year period in which I wasn’t really doing anything active, I decided that wasn’t for me anymore and that I needed to challenge myself. I started competing, and was pretty flabbergasted at how I took to the 3 sports, not just swimming. I had never really ran or biked before. It’s not like I was on the podium right away, but to finish something like 22nd at my first small race, I was totally pleased. I didn’t need any accolades, I was just happy to be competing. The swimming engine has helped me out.

You're now living in CA, correct?

Yeah, I moved here from Chicago ~2 years ago. I moved here for a dude (and current boyfriend). We actually met through Wattie Ink, and I decided I was done with Chicago. I miss the city but for what we do as triathletes, it’s great being outside all year.

You recently met and rode with defending Ironman World Champion Sebastian Kienle... what was that like?

Kienle came to do a photoshoot with his sponsors for a Men’s Health type magazine in Germany. Pro triathlete Jordan Rapp put out a call saying if you want to spend the day with Kienle, this is your chance. It was a really cool afternoon. It’s funny because people can be intimidated by pro triathletes, but they’re just like us with their own fears, quirks, and personalities. Kienle was really nice, super goofy, and making jokes all day with a cute little accent.

What’s the history of the Wattie Ink team and brand?

So the name comes from Sean Watkins, who started Wattie Ink as a company in 2009 to basically be the Jerry McGuire of triathletes. He represented a number of up and coming pros, using connections to get them sponsors and to be successful. You can’t be great at this sport without great support. He’s really creative and a natural at marketing, and came up with the concept that he could help age group athletes get sponsorships and that they in turn would help sponsors and bolster his stable of pros. So we as amateurs got to know pros such as Heather Jackson and others who he repped, and we created a reputation around them by talking about them and building name recognition. It’s really a symbiotic relationship between pros and amateurs.

The Wattie Ink team began in 2012, and it’s grown from 50 in 2012 to ~150 now. Initially it was a national team with a heavy SoCal concentration, but as people moved, recommended friends, etc, we are now more geographically diverse as a team.

Sean always wanted to turn Wattie into an apparel brand as well, and that’s what he’s eventually done. He found partners and investors, bought a factory in San Diego County and started manufacturing gear. They're fantastic, high quality kits, all made in the US, so it's awesome to be a part of. Wattie casual gear is also really nice.

So this picture sums up my first exposure to the Wattie Ink team… is there some kind of requirement to be on the team?

That is funny. They had a bikini team in 2011 in Kona as a marketing campaign. Everyone was taking pics of the W, wondering what it was. It got some name recognition for the brand for sure. A month later team applications came out, but I was like “dude I don’t look like those girls, it’s a long shot, but let’s go for it.” The team is about family and fun relationships whereas that was marketing. It's mutually exclusive.

I love your site, wattsupkarin… how did that come to be?

I’ve had the blog since 2012 when I joined Wattie and when I was preparing to head to Kona. I qualified at Ironman Wisconsin in 2011 for 2012, so I had 13 months to prepare. I kinda wanted to document that process and have a forum for thanking Wattie and the people who supported me. Trying to make people laugh at me makes me happy, too.

How has the season gone so far?

My biggest race so far was Oceanside 70.3. I was really nervous for it, as it’s kind of the unofficial kick off race in North America. Big names are there, lots of brand ambassadors, the expo is huge, etc. In some ways it feels like a mini Kona. The race went way better than I expected, so that was great. I put my head down on the bike and powered through without any idea where stood. Ultimately I got nipped at the line for the AG win by 22 sec. There was a little heartache from that but overall I was stoked with the result.

What are your goals for this year and the future?

I’m going back to the full-Ironman distance and am hoping for the best. I would love to go back to Kona, repping Wattie and showing off my hard work since the last time I was there. That said it’s not easy to get there, and I’m not counting any chickens in advance. It’s getting harder and harder to qualify; it’s just a different game every year. I actually spectated the last 2 years, and it was a lot more fun to enjoy Hawaii and watch everyone else suffer. Every triathlete should experience Kona at some point whether racing or spectating. I’m doing 2 IMs this year, Lake Placid (in July) and Wisconsin (in Sep). I’m looking forward to both for different reasons. At IMLP there will be many teammates racing, whereas Wisconsin is where I KQ’d (Kona Qualified) in the past. It is an awesome venue.

Karin's hilarious blog: wattsupkarin

Wattie Ink

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ironman Texas Race Report - Kristen Lodge

My friend Mark picked me up from the Houston airport and we stayed one night in Houston. We had a great carbo loading dinner- chicken parm at Collina’s Italian Cafe. Delicious.

Triple Threat teammate Amy Fletcher
In the morning we headed up to The Woodlands to scope out the area and figure out a race day plan. We attended the Athlete Banquet with Mark's brother Pat and sat at the same table as Sister Madonna Buder, the 84 year-old nun who holds the current world record as the oldest person to ever finish an Ironman. The meal was fantastic and every year the inspirational video Ironman creates for this event makes me cry; so emotional.

Day Before Race Day

I met Triple Threat teammate Amy Fletcher, who had planned to race but her gall bladder had other plans. However, she came down to Texas from Indiana to cheer on friends who were racing.

I also met teammate Gina Shand (Virginia) at Gear Bag Drop Off where she was volunteering.

Iron Gina Shand
She brought a friend with her, a friend who enjoys her passion for racing triathlons all over the place. Everyone needs a friend like that. They were so excited to be volunteering at the race. Gina was also psyched to be able to volunteer again, the next day as a finisher catcher. What an amazing person!

Mark, Pat and I attended the Athlete Briefing and learned that the water was too warm for wetsuits. 

Athletes could wear wetsuits but they would be last to enter the water and wouldn’t be considered for a Kona spot. This forced me to change my race clothing considerably. My TTT top had too much drag to swim in it but it was perfect under a wetsuit. I decided to wear my swim suit on race day and completely change into different clothes in transition. It made me nervous since I’ve never changed like that before nor had I trained or raced in open water without a wetsuit. But sometimes you just have to adapt. So I did.

We drove to the park for a practice swim. The water temperature was perfect at about 81 degrees. We swam for a half hour then had to bring our bikes to transition. 
I picked my bike up from TriBike Transport in Ironman Village. I decided to pay the extra $40 for the valet service after the race so I didn’t have to worry about bringing my bike back to the Village from transition; it was worth the additional cost. 

Race Day

We relaxed before the swim start at the playground. Stretching, relaxing, taking pictures.

The age group race began at 6:40 am. Since it was a rolling start it was organized by swim finish times so we could line up and enter the water with similar abilities. Mark and I started at the 1:20 group. I like the “toughness” of the traditional Ironman mass start however, the rolling start was much less stressful. It was awesome swimming with triathletes at my level however I did get beat up a bit. But that is expected. Mark’s friends Amy and Paul told us no one here at The Woodlands swims in this water and I understand why. I couldn’t see a thing in the dark water but I got through it.

I felt good during the swim and felt somewhat fast despite no wetsuit. When a swimmer pulled me down, not on purpose, it was okay and I recovered. The main thing, I didn’t drown. It was my slowest 2.4 mile swim but I felt strong getting out of the water at the end.

Swim - 1:40

I swam fairly straight. Suunto Ambit3 data.

The muddiest transition ever. The periods of rain leading up to race day made the ground in bike transition smelly and muddy. I should have carried my bike the entire time through transition but walked in through some grassier areas. I paid for it because the first 50 miles of the bike I heard a rubbing noise, I think caused by the mud. After drinking my 2 bottles of Perpetuem I alternated drinking water and Gatorade at every aid station keeping only one water bottle at a time on the bike.

At Mile 50 I was on strange pavement and my back tire felt like a possible flat. I stopped. Felt the tire pressure and it was FLAT! My first flat at an Ironman race. I changed the flat and had troubles with my CO2 so it took much longer. Then I didn’t fill it up right and had to stop a few times to get it right. Once I had full pressure I was so nervous I was going to flat again. I only brought one replacement tube.

I continued the rest of the race in survival mode. I rode as fast and safely as I could. I prayed and prayed. I repeated the mantra “I’m going to make it today, I’m going to make it today.” I wasn’t really sure I was going to make it but I kept saying it out loud. The bike course was beautiful. It was hot and I was glad for the five minute rain shower about Mile 70 to cool off. The rolling hills were tough and I tried to stand during many of them.

From mile 80 on I also repeated “almost there, almost there” a hundred times. I used Endurolytes despite never used them in training. I know, this is a no-no, but since I don’t have a sensitive stomach and I only had 4 of them, I swallowed one every half hour until I ran out. I actually felt a surge of energy about 5 minutes after taking each one. Not sure if it was related but I felt strong on the bike. I wore my Rudy Project Wingspan helmet and just loved it. So comfortable and light.

When I saw the Mile 100 sign I fist pumped and got some cheers. Happy Happy Happy. It was going to be a miracle if I made it back to transition. I knew that once I got there, I would finish Ironman even if I had a slow marathon. I dismounted at the transition. The awesome volunteer took my bike. I ran through the mud and into the changing tent. I made it. I am going to make it today.

Bike - 6:42

On the run the temperature felt like it was in the high 80s with only a few clouds in the sky. Where were those dark clouds we saw the last two days? The humidity and sun exposure made the first mile a walk/run. It was tough to stay running the entire time. The run was 3 grueling loops around the waterway. The spectators and locals who sat outside their home and cheered were amazing. The aid stations that lined the canal made me smile. Since my flat on the bike I vowed to smile at everyone and be the happiest triathlete on the course. I felt fast while running with a strong pace but the walking at aid stations slowed my overall time.

My run plan was to a) alternate Gel, Gatorade, Water at each aid station b) put ice down my top and down my tri shorts to cool my quads c) when walking count to 200 then run if feeling good – 500 if I feel terrible d) smile e) not drink and eat too much to prevent over hydration which happened at Ironman Wisconsin. It all pretty much worked. 

My favorite spectator sign was the one with a woman holding up a sign that said “Single and Supportive”. Trying to pick up athletic men on race day. Smart. LOL

The Ironman Finish is the best thing about the race. The spectators cheered and I tried not to cry as I fist pumped over the finish line. I was caught by Gina, my Triple Threat Triathlon teammate. Down the line was Mark and his support crew cheering!

I’m proud of my effort. I feel thankful to be able to compete in this sport. So much can go wrong on the days leading up to the race and on the course. I am worse-case-scenario-girl in my head, but positive mantras, praying and being thankful got me to the end.

Run - 4:59 

Overall - 13:37

I promised myself when I finished the bike course that I would be happy with my time no matter what. My time wasn’t a PR even though I arrived at the start with the best training to date. Now, it’s time for me to work on speed. This is not my last Ironman.

I am so happy that I got to race with my friend Mark. It was fun to ride with him for a bit at the beginning. I was thrilled to see him at the end with his friends who came to cheer us on.

Race Weekend Highlights:

  • Being “caught” at the finish line by volunteer and Triple Threat team member Gina. 
  • My sister tracking me from Maine and getting me on video crossing the finish like she has done for most my finishes. 
  • Spending the days leading up to race day with Mark and Pat who came out from New York State to be a sherpa. 
  • Adapting to no wetsuit and getting through the swim without my ROKA wetsuit that I trained in.
  • Biking with my space aged-looking Rudy Project aero helmet. I am thankful that I got to feel fast on the bike and I'm thankful for the company’s sponsorship of Triple Threat Triathlon. 
  • I’ve never really believed in a product so much that I would wear a bike jersey advertising their product while using their race day nutrition. Hammer Nutrition is perfect for me. I love their Perpetuem, gels and bars. They made me strong on the bike and ready for the run. 
  • Best Way to Spend the Day After the Race: Brunch at Cyclone Anaya's on the Waterway with Mark, Paul, and Amy. Then watching the amazing pros win awards and age grouper get their Kona spots. And, to see my Pro Triathlete crush in person: Ben Hoffman.

Related Reading:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Race Shirts: An Investigative Report

The other day I was going through my drawer and realized that I have an abundance of t-shirts from races. I’ve thrown many away over the years, but with those currently in my possession I decided to do an investigative report. I went through them one by one, breaking them down into the following three categories: 1) Shirts that I like and wear. 2) Shirts that are wearable, but only for working out or mowing the lawn. 3) Shirts that are unwearable in public, no matter the circumstance.

Side note: Let me be clear that I’m not the type of guy who thinks much about clothes. I never buy clothes. Virtually everything in my possession I’ve either had for 15+ years and/or received as a gift. This test was done with my low levels of caring about what I wear. In hindsight, I think that makes the results even more significant!

My hypothesis going in was that the categories would be somewhat evenly split. As shirt after shirt fell into the “unwearable in public” pile, I realized my hypothesis was dead wrong. I discovered that entry into this category could be attributed to a variety of reasons:

Color: several of my race shirts had absolutely terrible color schemes. Yo race directors, don’t overthink it! You may think white is boring, but it’s much better than burnt orange, lime green, or neon anything to name a few. Also, there’s no need to re-create the Wonder bread look on a race shirt. It’s not a great look.

not my style
Wording: there were a few cases where I deemed a shirt unwearable due to something tacky on it. I’m not the type of person that needs/likes to “show off” that I’m a triathlete to the general public. In my mind, the more simple and classy the shirt, the better. Shirts that had sayings like “I Tri Harder” or TRIATHLETE in a huge font were tossed in the unwearable pile. Also, if you’re spelling triathlon as “triathalon,” I just can’t take you seriously… I’m sorry, but you’re cut. Also, we don’t need words covering the entire front of the shirt. Cover the back with sponsors, but keep the front simple.

Fit: a couple of shirts were decent looking, but simply didn’t fit at all. I’m not just talking size here… I literally could barely pull one of them over my head. Once it was on it felt like Hulk Hogan had me in a chokehold.

The Verdict: 24 out of 50. In other words, for me it’s virtually a coin flip if a race shirt will be wearable in any circumstance without enduring ridicule and shame.

The next category consisted of shirts that I classified as acceptable only for working out or for yard work. Many of them have been worn hundreds of times, and some are hanging by a thread. Most are slightly unpleasant to look at, but are comfortable as well as expendable… a great workout shirt.

The Verdict: 15 out of 50 (30%)

The last category to discuss consisted of shirts that I like. They’re wearable in public, either on a run or “out on the town.” They don’t scream “LOOK AT ME I’M A TRIATHLETE, DON’T YOU THINK I’M COOL?!?”, but are a little more subtle and dare I say stylish.

Unfortunately this category was the lowest of the three, at ~20%.

The Verdict
: 11 out of 50

In closing, I think I’ll be saying goodbye to the “unwearable” pile very soon. If you’re not a triathlete but want people to think you are, let me know… I’ve got an ugly race shirt with your name on it!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Triple Threat Profile: Leah Duby - Michigan

When she’s not swimming, biking, or running, this time of year you can usually find Leah Duby burning up the streets of Michigan on her motorcycle. This year is a bit different, as she’s currently exploring her new stomping grounds of Frankfurt, Germany. Among other things, here she reports on her adventures both working and training overseas.

What's your background and how did you get into triathlon?

I'm a lifelong runner. My last few years of college, I struggled with some injuries (editor's note: Leah ran collegiate track as runner & pole vaulter!) and I took some time off to let my body heal. A few years and a few added pounds later I realized that I missed the daily routine of training and the camaraderie of sport. I was worried that daily running would take its toll and looked toward multisport to fill the gap.

I know you dealt with a shoulder injury last season... how has the recovery process been?

The recovery has been slower than expected. I’m not exactly the best patient when it comes to rehab. I’ve had a few setbacks since I’m not a person to ask for help and wind up over doing it. Most recently lugging 3 large bags + a bike box thru the Frankfurt airport. However, I’ll say it’s amazing how much stuff can fit into a little Opel hatchback. I’ve been pretty diligent about doing my rehab since then and I’m getting much closer to 100%.

How has your experience been so far in Germany, and how long will you be there? What city are you based in?

Germany has been great. I’m here until the end of June, so about 2.5 months. I have an apartment in Rodelheim, a district of Frankfurt. Even speaking no German, I have yet to find a place where I haven’t been able to communicate. While this isn’t my first time here, it is my longest stay, which is why I brought my bike and wetsuit with me.

Due in part to reigning Ironman World Champion Sebastian Kienle, as well as many other famous pros (Jan Frodeno, Raelert brothers, etc.) I know triathlon is huge in Germany. Have you been able to meet/train with any locals? How is training there in general, have you found good places to swim, bike, run?

Triathlon and cycling are huge over here. There are millions of cycling commuters here so their infrastructure is very bike accommodating. Children ride to school in the morning and adults ride to work. There are bike lanes nearly everywhere and bike paths following several of the rivers and scenic routes in the area. Within 30 sec of leaving my apartment, I can be on the Nidda Route, which stretches nearly 84km. It is a multi-use path, but people are so used to cyclists that they stay to the right and are very aware of them.

Run training has been absolutely gorgeous. What a great way to get out and explore the area. Morning and night the river routes are beautiful. There are also several large tri teams in the area, the Eintracht team has nearly 800 members and on any given ride or run, you come across a few wearing their kits out on training runs or rides. There are several people at the office that are involved in the sport so we have some training sessions planned. But for the immediate, I’m still trying to settle into a day to day routine which has made group training a little difficult.

I haven’t been in the pool yet since I’ve been here, but I have been doing a lot of cord training as a substitute. There is an outdoor pool within a quarter mile of my apartment that should be opening in the next week or so. I have plans to get over there as soon as it does.

What are your goals for 2015? Will you be able to race while overseas?

My goals for 2015 are to maintain consistent training and aim for a late season half iron distance “A” race. I’m hoping to at least participate in a few 5ks and maybe even a tri or two while over here.

You used some derivation of the word "compete" 7 times in your application. Were you the kid who goes ballistic when losing birthday party games, or was your competitive nature cultivated over time through sports?

Yeah, about that, I am fiercely competitive, although in the last several years I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy the view. I grew up racing sailboats, and running track so pushing myself has been something I have done ever since I was young. I sometimes struggle with consistent training, but I love the rush of competition.

At the same time you mentioned your love of helping others and seeing people succeed, while also bringing some family members into the sport. In what ways do you try to be an ambassador of the sport in your state?

It's great watching someone smile as they come out of the water their first time with that big grin on their face making their way to up transition. Or helping a newcomer setup their transition area for the first time. Or even just talking shop with the guy on the treadmill wearing a shirt from one of the local tris. That’s the great thing about the tri community. Everyone is welcome regardless of their ability. I love bringing people into the sport. I brought my dad over to the dark side not long after I caught the tri bug. He’d recently retired and needed something to focus his extra time on.

I’ve convinced a few people at work to take up the sport and am always willing to setup a group run or ride if they’d like a training partner. We’ve got a pretty decent multisport base here in Michigan that regularly trains at one of the local state parks. I try to be the cheerleader of the group, making sure everyone is having a good time.

Tell us a bit about your day job, and what hobbies do you have outside of work and triathlon?

I am an engineering supervisor at Continental Automotive; we are responsible for Anti Lock Brake systems in my group. It keeps me pretty busy, but I love my job and love the company. They are really shifting their focus to wellness and work life balance. For the last several years we’ve entered 300+ runners at the Detroit Free Press Marathon via relay teams, standalone half or full marathoners.

Beside triathlons, I ride motorcycles, both on the street and on the track. Again fueling my competitive spirit, it’s an addiction for sure.

You're on the auto side, but from your point of view why does Continental make such popular bike tires as well?

Continental was initially founded as a German rubber manufacturer. Their original bread and butter was tires. They take constant feedback from the professionals and everyday warriors that use their product and put that back into their design. They also take pride in being able to say their tires are handmade in Germany.

What are the pros and cons of being a triathlete in the great state of Michigan?

Michigan is a great state for any type of outdoor sport, especially triathlon. The Great Lakes State has over 100 state parks and hundreds of county and city parks. This makes cycling, running, and swimming accessible nearly anywhere in the state. While some would say our winters are a con for training in Michigan, that can be a great time to get some cross training in. Bundle up and you can enjoy cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and even running.