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2009: New Year, New Stuff
Feb. 1, 2008

The 2009 triathlon season is coming quick. Here it is February and we've barely taken down the foam snowflakes and our China-born Christmas tree. Boxes of new triathlon clothes from Louis Garneau, De Soto and others are beginning to trickle through the door and stack up as we try to find room to put all of this stuff. But with new stuff and a new year also comes new changes to Triple Sports.

Tri-Family Racing

For starters, Triple Sports has become the official triathlon store sponsor of Tri-Family Racing. We're very excited about our partnership with Mark Konietzka, Tri-Family's owner and race director. TF Racing's first event of the year is the JCC Triathlon in Scottsdale on Feb. 15. Learn more about this event at the Tri-Family Racing website. And stay tuned this year for great race entry give-aways.

Triple Sports also is relauching our popular Triathlon Starter Package, featuring a Scott Speedster Road Bike. Through a partnership with Bike Haus, we've been able to put together three excellent bike packages that provide even more choice than before. There is a package that includes cycling shoes and pedals and one that includes a wetsuit, too. The basic package starts at $950. Check it out here for more information.

Many of you already know that Triple Sports is an excellent place to get nutrition products and information. we are proud of our nutrition wall and the products we offer. We are even prouder this year withthe expansion of our nutrition section. We've climbed even further up the wall, offering everything from Accel Gel to Honey Stinger and Hammer products. We'll even help you figure out how to use all of this stuff.

Stay tuned for more changes in the coming weeks and months. And, be it a little late, Happy New Year.

Haus Triathlon
Dec. 1, 2008

As is expected, we get a lot of questions about triathlon at Triple Sports. What's a tri short? Do I need a race belt? Are those elastic shoelaces really necessary? Among the questions, one pops up with regularity and really has nothing to do with anything we sell in the store: What groups can I train with? The answer includes a surprising number of options. What's more, that number is growing.

The good folks at Bicycle Haus in downtown Scottsdale and Triple Sports have teamed up with a great bunch of local triathletes to form Haus Triathlon. Led by Mike and Erin Scheidt, the club offers group rides and workouts, race day gatherings, special discounts and most of all camaraderie. Plus, the uniforms are pretty cool. Check it out by clicking the image above.

For more links to clubs, check out the links page in our Tri 101 section.

IM AZ Pros: Leanda Cave
Nov. 22, 2008

Leanda Cave is looking for another chance. The 30-year-old Welsh triathlete did not finish the World Championships last month and wants redemption in a season that she has logged several tape-breaking performances. She was first at the legendary Escape From Alcatraz, first at the Florida 70.3 and first at the Nautica Triathlon in Miami. We tracked down the former ITU World Champion for her thoughts on Ironman Arizona.

TS: Why did you decide to race Ironman Arizona?
Leanda: Unfortunately I ended up with a bad cold in Kona and had to retire from the competition after the bike. However, I was extremely fit, and still am. So I wanted to use this fitness while I have it and do another Ironman. Arizona gives me this opportunity as well as the potential to qualify for Kona next year.

TS: Did you do anything special to prepare for our dry, dusty, hot or windy conditions?
Leanda: I have been training a lot in Tucson over the last few months and, in fact, my boyfriend/coach, Torsten Abel, and I are moving there this week. So I am very familiar with the weather conditions in Arizona.

TS: What's next after Ironman Arizona?
Leanda: I haven't looked at a race schedule for 2009 at this point. I know I will be racing in Roth, Germany. Then I am looking at IM UK.

TS: You had a bit of a tough go of it at Kona this year. Did you pick up any bit of information from that experience that might help you race in Arizona?
Leanda: Kona is always a learning experience. In fact, I have so much to learn. Its kind of like swimming. Some people are natural swimmers or runners, and others have to plug away at it for a long time to see progress. I feel I will be plugging away for a while before I get it right.

TS: As a professional, do you have any advice for age groupers out there?
Leanda: There are many points in the race when your head is knocking on the door and wants you to give up. Don't answer the door!

IM AZ Pros: Paul Ambrose
Nov. 20, 2008

At 23, Australian Paul Ambrose is already making waves. He's been tearing up the 70.3 circuit this year, finishing third in Rhode Island with a smoking time of 3:57:48. Ambrose also nipped at the heels of German great Faris Al-Sultan in St. Croix and battled it out with a 4:03:35 finish at the California 70.3 earlier this year. He's decided to step it up a notch with Ironman Arizona, the first Ironman-distance event for this up-and-comer. We caught up with him this week ...

TS: You're young and have been at the top of a lot of lists of people to keep a eye on down the road. Does that pressure to perform motivate you?
Paul: To be honest, I don't really get caught up with what people expect or think of what I could do or how I'm going to perform for that particular race. I just go into every race the same, to try and perform my best and to possibly learn something that I can take from each and every event and the competitors that I may race against.

TS: Why race Ironman Arizona?
Paul: Well, I've wanted to race an Ironman for quite some time now, but being one of the younger competitors I just didn't believe that I had the aerobic engine to handle such a grueling event. Arizona worked out perfectly for a testing ground for my Ironman debut, as it will be my last race for the 2008 season, so I won't have to worry about upcoming races and how long I will recover from this type of event. And IM Arizona has such a prestigious history and showcases some of the best athletes from around the world.

TS: Did you do anything special to prepare for our dry, dusty, hot or windy conditions?
Paul: Yes, I went down to Boca Raton, Florida for six weeks to train for the Clearwater 70.3 world champs, which was a perfect lead up race for IM Arizona. This was ideal, with constant windy days, quite hot and humid at times, which I believe will be an ideal training prep for Arizona outside of training actually in Arizona itself.

TS: What's next after Ironman Arizona?
Paul: Well, I have to get through this IM first. So, I don't want to think that far ahead. I don't know how racing the IM will effect me both physically and mentally. I just want to go out there and enjoy myself as best I can. Though spit balling, I've always wanted to race IM Australia as my family and close friends could come an watch.

IM AZ Pros: Frederik Van Lierde
Nov. 17, 2008

Having placed second at Ironman New Zealand earlier this year, Frederik Van Lierde, 29, was primed for a good season of racing. He got part of that on Saturday - at the Splash + Dash in Tempe. Van Lierde, who has spent more of his career on the short course, was in town and looking for a tune-up in Tempe Town Lake before Sunday's running of Ironman Arizona. He found it at this local event, winning it in 32:40.7. So, with the taste of victory still lingering, could Van Lierde do a repeat on Sunday? We caught up with him this week.

TS: Why race Ironman Arizona?
Frederik: I decided to do IM AZ after a disappointing performance in Hawaii. I DNF'd there because of cramps in my right calf. Although my race was very good till then. Came out with the first group after the swim. Did a solid bike ride (4h40') and came in 15th in T2. So every chance to make the top 10 ...

TS: Any special preparations for our dry, dusty, hot and windy conditions?
Frederik: I try to come early to the place where the event is. Like now, for Arizona, I'm here since Tuesday, the 11th of November, so I can train in those conditions, see what the circuit is like, time change ...

TS: After IM AZ, what's next?
Frederik: After IM AZ I'll take a short break and will then prepare for IM NZ where I got second this year. In between I'll do 70.3 IM South Africa on the 18th of January.

TS: You are married and have two sons. How do you find the time to train and still see your family?
Frederik: If there's a possibility, (holiday) my family comes with me. We just spent six weeks in Hawaii together. But of course this isn't always possible. I'm a pro, so when I'm home I can spend more time with my kids than a dad with a 'normal" job.

TS: One last (annoying) question ...
Frederik: No, I'm not related to Luc Van Lierde. Everybody asks me this question. He's one of the best guys ever in triathlon and I'm running around with the same name. He lives like 30 miles from where I live.

Rental Wetsuit Sale
Nov. 13, 2008

Ever borrow a wetsuit that didn't fit? Have your eyes on that $50 water ski wetsuit at the local warehouse club? Don't want to shell out the bucks for a new wetsuit? Our once-in-a-while rental wetsuit sale may be just the event for you.

We're selling off our fleet of rental wetsuits to make room for a brand new run of rubber-wear in 2009. Blue Seventy and Zoot wetsuits can be had for $125 or less - sleeveless or full sleeve, men's and women's wetsuits are all available. We get lots of requests throughout the year for deals on these wetsuits. That means they won't last long. Making matters more competitive, we're selling these on a first-come, first-served basis and will not hold or otherwise reserve any in advance of the sale. For the best selection, arrive early, which begins at 10 a.m. on Sat. Nov. 29.

Ironman: A Classic Footrace
Oct. 13, 2008

So, maybe it's not about the bike after all. The World Championship in Hawaii returned to its roots as a footrace on Saturday when Craig Alexander pounded out a 2:45 marathon to take home top honors. Even with light winds, those who went out strong, gaining big leads on the bike, did so at their peril. In fact, just four of the top 10 overall professional men finishers had a top 10 bike split.

The most striking of the fizzlers was Torbjorn Sindballe. He led off the bike with a segment time of 4:27:40, having averaged 25.11 mph. Yet he finished 46th, 8 minutes and 20 seconds behind women's winner Chrissie Wellington. It was a classic blow-up. Alexander, on the other hand, was 11th off the bike - more than9 minutes back from the leader. But his 6:17 per mile pace steadily took him past the big guns. It was a similar yet not as striking phenomenon for the women.

Winner Chrissie Wellington had a 7 minute lead over Belinda Granger - even after an 11 minute setback from a flat tire - when she came in from the bike. Wellington, of course, held on to her lead, winning with about 15 minutes to spare. Like Wellington, second-place finisher Yvonne Van Vlerken bucked the fast-bike-blown-run bunch. She moved up one spot on the run from her third place bike finish. Granger wasn't so lucky. She sunk on the run, finishing in 17th position. In all, six of the top 10 women finishers had a top 10 bike split.

Will this be an end to the fairings, dimpled aero helmets and slick, super-fast bikes? No. But might some folks be thinking more about their run training in a year's time? After the race on Saturday, the answer almost certainly is yes.

Legalized Cheating?
Oct. 12, 2008

Has equipment evolution in the name of speed gone too far? TJ Tolakson turned plenty of heads at the World Championship last week with what many believed to be a carbon fairing on the front of his aerobars. That designation would make it illegal under the rules. Yet there he was plugging along the course. At the end of the day, his bike split was less than speedy, relatively speaking of course. Joining Tolakson on front-end improvements was Faris Al Sultan with his Xentis Aero X1 aerobars. Very slick, but over the top? And it appears that swimskins have reached critical mass. Most, if not all, of the participants climbed out of the Pacific wearing these suits. So, some have started to wonder about the purity of a sport that so values equipment evolution to gain speed.

Paul Huddle, Bob Babbitt and Michellie Jones had a discussion about all of these inventions only to determine that enough was enough. Swimskins and fairings and aero water bottle holders are damaging the purity of the sport, they more or less concluded. But is it cheating when everyone has access to the products? Or is it cheating when even with all of these aids finish times are still - at best - about seven minutes off Luc Van Lierde's 1996 course record of 8:04:08? Perhaps we'll find out in the year's to come. But for now, nearly anything goes.

Men, Women + Ironman
Oct. 3, 2008

Women have shone brightly in the news and society of late. A lot, as it were. There is, of course, government and the meteoric rise in attention surrounding politicians in skirts and pantsuits. Retailers - especially bike shops - are trying to figure out how to better serve women. Men are stealing the girly infatuation with color by actually wearing pink in public. Jennifer Lopez got things rolling in media circles by doing the Malibu Triathlon. Though, that's not necessarily a focus on women specifically. But it does bring around the point that men and women have long performed differently in sport. (Or maybe that's a stretch for a segue). In any event, that's probably not going to change much even as science advances in the field of sports medicine, a researcher wrote in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

In analyzing two decades of results from Ironman events, Romuald Lepers, of the University of Burgundy in Dijon, determined that finish times of all athletes have plateaued. Lepers found that times decreased dramatically from 1981 through the late 1980s. But from 1988 through 2007, performance increased only 1.4 percent overall. Women made stronger advances than men in the run portion of Ironman, decreasing times by 3.8 percent in the last decade. But the data also show, Lepers wrote in this month's Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, that there is nothing in the information he analyzed to indicate any changes in performance between genders in the future.

Interbike 2008
Sept. 23, 2008

Interbike and its sister whoop-it-up event Outdoor Demo open this week in Las Vegas. This could just as easily be called "Boys and Their Toys" as the crowd of mostly men swoop down on the Sands Convention Center and Bootleg Canyon to froth over the latest and greatest the bike industry has to offer. There are always a couple of things to expect every year.

  • Move Interbike: Interbike has a contract with the Sands through the 2009 show. But there is growing interest in packing up the truck and hauling the carnival to Anaheim, Salt Lake City or, more possibly, Denver. Las Vegas simply does not represent the culture of modern cycling, critics contend. But looking around "The Show," as it is known, one could get the idea that boozy nights (free beer from vendors jump starts most nights) on The Strip is more in line than Micky Mouse or mountain highs.
  • New Products + Vendors: One major point of the show is to reveal new products to a mass audience. A dizzying array of vendors sets up every year, so much so that it's easy to get lost. At the end of the day, it's tough to leave with little more than a glazed-over appearance.
  • Education: Believe it or not, some learning does happen in Vegas. Interbike always includes plenty of seminars that are actually helpful and informative to store owners and managers and down the road customers. Store mechanics sign up for technical demonstrations and instruction while owners and managers try to figure out smoother ways to operate.
  • Italian Stallion: Ciclismo Italiano (i.e. the Italian manufacturers section) will have the best dressed, most sophisticated area of the show. Dark suits, bright pink and orange neckties and sleek black cocktail dresses provide the highest standard at The Show.
  • Down + Dirty: Its' the same thing every year. Day 1: Going ga-ga for new stuff. Day 2: Getting down and dirty with vendor meetings and preseason orders. This is the year's beginning and the end for most bicycle retailers.

If you just can't get enough, check out Interbike or Twitter: Interbike 2008.

JLO Does It!
Sept. 17, 2008

Wake up, America. The end hasn't come. Pigs have not taken flight. Snowballs have not become sturdier in southern hemispheres. Instead, as advertised, actress Jennifer Lopez completed the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on Sunday, crossing the finish line in 2 hours 23 minutes and 28 seconds. She didn't break any records in the celebrity division, but the competition was stiff from the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, John Hamm, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Jon Cryer, Monique Coleman, Scott Foley and Anna Kournikova.

So, how did this new mother of twins whip herself into shape enough to swim a half mile, ride 18 miles and run 4 miles? With a personal trainer, to be sure, and probably chef and time away from work and without the worry about paying the bills ... we hear ya. But she still had to do it herself. All the money in the world can't magically transport a gal over that distance with the same satisfaction of doing it under her own power. This is how she did it.

Though it was on a different day, our own Taos Poole was in on the action in the Olympic distance event. His speedy time of 2:19:07.6 put him 8th in his age group and 58th overall. He was the fourth Arizonan to finish. If all that were not enough, Taos even had a picture snapped with Olympian and perennial nice guy professional triathlete Hunter Kemper. Congratulations, Taos.

Top Arizona Men
    1. Tom Rozint; Phoenix
    2. Carlos Nunez; Tempe
    3. Trapper Steinle; Scottsdale
    4. Taos Poole; Scottsdale
Top Arizona Women
    1. Elizabeth Adams; Phoenix
    2. Tami Rollins, Glendale
    3. Renee Crawford; Phoenix

With any luck, these folks will be too tired out to race the Nathan's Triathlon in Tempe on Sunday.

Free Bike Fitting
Sept. 12, 2008

Lately, it seems, we've been getting more questions about bike fit. To be sure, the questions relate to pain while riding the bike, which generally lead to fitting questions. Knee pain, back pain, neck pain, wrist pain top the list with many folks looking for a silver bullet cure to what ails them. Unfortunately, there isn't one when it comes to bike fitting. But there are a few tricks of the trade. And you have little more to do than poke at your keyboard to discover how to find he perfect DIY bike fit.

Amid the wasteful expanse of the Internet exists real information on all sorts of topics. Bike fitting is just one of them. For one of the most in-depth explanations, head over to Slowtwitch to learn a little bit more about the bike fitting method we employ at Triple Sports. We spent a few days with Dan Empfield – the inventor of the triathlon bike and big brand Quintana Roo – to learn not just about fitting, but the theory behind it. Sounds exciting, huh? Well, if that isn't how you want to spend your weekend, most of what we are taught can be found on Empfield's website – free. Yet, Empfield isn't the only man with a horse in the race.

Excellent resources can be found on a couple of other websites. The best part about them is that you can learn about fitting issues using a specific pain to point you in the right direction. For example, Sheldon Brown explains a whole host of problems from ankles to thighs and beyond. Another place to look is BikeFitting.com. Under the FAQ tree there is more information than you will need as a home fitter to fix yourself. And, if you look around, you'll find plenty more. But remember that if it's an expert hand you want, we're always here to help. Most of our bike fits are just $50.

Best of Valley: Triple Sports
Aug. 27, 2008

When you work in retail, you get a lot of phone calls. Where are you located? What are your hours? How much worth is in a baseball glove signed by Whitey Ford? Yes, we get those questions. But we also get a ton - an absolute ton - of sales calls. So, we were a little leery when Kelly Carr, a local business reporter, called a couple of weeks back about a write-up she was doing for the "Best of the Valley" issue of Phoenix Magazine. We had been awarded top honors as the best place to buy workout clothes, she said. As it turns out, it was no sales call.

Phoenix Magazine began hitting newsstands this week and Triple Sports, in deed, has been named the "Best Athletic Apparel Shop." Here's what she had to say:

"Former newspaper reporters Brian and Kara Anderson traded in their notebooks in 2005 to build a business around their hobby - triathlons. Now inside Triple Sports, the couple's ironman numbers drape from a water cooler. The shop carries everything a triathlete craves, from a variety of sneakers and bathing suits to coolmesh socks and lightweight gear fro running, walking, biking or swimming. One wall is covered in supplements, the other in several brands of wetsuits. Packed with hundreds of items to accessorize a workout regimen, the shop prides itself on its welcoming vibe, allowing novice athletes to browse for gear and ask questions without feeling intimidated. Once you've loaded up on the essentials, grab one of the cute tanks that boast messages like "Running Diva" from the front table. Guys will have a hard time passing up the shop's "Art of Tri" lifestyle shirt."

Needless to say, but we were pleased as punch. We even got invited to a "Best of ..." launch party at the swanky Mondrian. It truly is an honor.

Triathlon: XXL Needs in a XXS World
Aug. 19, 2008

It's no secret that triathlon is a growing sport. Eight years after it debuted at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, USA Triathlon annual membership has grown about 400 percent to include 100,000 people. And that's just one measure. At Triple Sports, we see new people coming to the sport everyday. They represent both genders, of course, and all shapes and sizes. This last notion came into play last week as we had two special requests.

The first came from a regular customer. He started in triathlon only about a year ago a little while after running a marathon. Like many people, he was looking for the next challenge. Concerned about triathlon's reputation as an activity only for hard bodies, he was leery of the sport and, in particular, the clothing. He wondered aloud whether clothes even were made for bigger guys. The short answer was yes, sort of.

Traditionally, triathlon apparel makers have been building their lines around the Southern California physique. Do little more than try on a pair of Zoot shorts and you'll get the message. Nevertheless, boxier options offered some relief on top. De Soto also came to the rescue with a XXL tri short that was pretty much good for folks weighing 235 pounds or more. Other manufacturers have since followed suit. But the sport's apparel suppliers still seem to lag behind mass market clothing makers, who have eagerly changed their size charts over the years. To better understand these shifts, consider that I - 6-feet, 1-inch tall, weighing 177 pounds - am most properly sized in a small shirt from Old Navy. Or that blue jean giant Levi's sells pants up to size 44. In triathlon, more work needs to be done. For example, Tyr and Speedo - the world's two largest swimwear manufacturers - sell swim jammers only up to a waist size of 38. Ironically, it is Zoot that was able to offer some help to our customer with a XXL jammer for waist sizes of 38-40. The good news is that work creating additional size options seems to continue every year, with the latest example coming in the wetsuit category.

For years, Quintana Roo had a lock on wetsuit sizing. They had more sizes than just about any other swimming or triathlon wetsuit manufacturer. As the creator of swim-specific suits, it is expected that the company takes the lead. But even their largest size was not enough to accommodate a new customer who came calling last week, at least on paper. The upper end of QR's size chart offers a fit for folks weighing up to 253 pounds. The challenge was that our customer is 300 pounds and, as he put it, gives new meaning to the word Clydesdale. He was frustrated in trying to locate a wetsuit large enough for his frame. But we might have found it in QR's Superfull, with a very stretchy 40-cell Yamamoto rubber that could extend the top range of the XXL enough to do the trick. We'll know more later this week. In this effort, though, we learned again that their is a market for outfitting larger triathletes. Zoot continues to get the message and plans on offering a XXL wetsuit in 2009 that extends their largest size by 10 pounds or so. Yet, the 300-pound triathlete - admittedly a small number of folks - will still have to figure out other options. It is encouraging, though.

The world of triathlon is changing. Triathlon equipment suppliers are changing, too. But that change may be coming a bit too slow for some.

A Woman Named Armstrong
Aug. 15, 2008

If you haven't heard, someone named Armstrong has once again risen to the top of the podium. No, 7-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong didn't kick the celebrity habit and return to cycling. Rather it was Kristin Armstrong, a 35-year-old from Boise, Idaho, who pounded her way to the top of the heap in the Olympic women's cycling time trial. But before we get ahead of ourselves talking about how Armstrong is the new face of women's cycling and representative of an emerging movement, it must be noted that she has been around the block a few times.

A former triathlete, Armstrong ditched the pool and pavement pounding for cycling a few years ago. She's a time trial specialist, winning the Pan American Championship in 2005 and taking first at the World Time Trial Championship in 2006. Four years ago at the Olympics in Athens, Armstrong placed 8th in the road racing event. She came in a disappointing 25th in Beijing on what was a challenging, rain-soaked day of riding. When not riding for the stars and stripes, Armstrong is a member of Team Cervιlo-Lifeforce. So, that leaves us with a 35-year-old from Boise who wins gold in one of the most challenging Olympic endurance events.

Yes, now let's talk about how she is an inspiration to girls and women and all of us. Let's talk about how she should be a role model or the spark that ignites women's cycling in our country. Let's point out that she along with Christine Thorburn, who placed fifth in the women's time trial, and the terrifically named Sarah Hammer, who will race the individual pursuit prelims today at the Laoshan Velodrome, are free of the ego and arrogance that often mar professional cycling. Let's talk about how much we would rather see posters of these women than of Britney or Paris on the walls of the rooms of our daughters. Let's hope that these games and these events and these women will become as known and respected and honored as that other Armstrong of cycling.

Sissies in Tight Pants
Aug. 11, 2008

We were just talking about the subject the other day at the store. What is it, exactly, about a bicycle that makes people in cars and trucks lose their minds? They yell or spit or obscenely gesture, these aggressive drivers. In some cases, they swerve in mock rundown. Nice. To be sure, many drivers are considerate, giving enough room to cyclists or at least slowing down a tad when passing by. And there are cyclists who ignore laws and invite confrontation. But establishing a culture of fear only takes a few knuckleheads who enjoy making sport out of possible death sentences for those of us who enjoy riding on American roadways. Close the car door along with your mind, perhaps. Tom Vanderbilt, author of "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do", said as much in an interview with Amazon.com.

The world "is filled with people who think that roads belong only to them - it's "MySpace" -that being inside the car absolves them from any obligation to anyone else," Vanderbilt was quoted as saying.

People who study such things point out that modern America is in hyperdrive, New York Times reporter Jan Hoffman wrote in a story published Sunday. We try to cram 30 hours of work, fun and life into 24 hour days with disastrous results. Drivers try to make up time on the road, a mostly unsuccessful prospect if you really stop to think about the method. Beyond that, obvious meatheads see cyclists - especially men in tight-fitting clothes - as sissies. Never mind the fact that they love watching 300 pound behemoths in snappy and snug white pants wrestle with one another and pat each other's behinds every Sunday in autumn. Along those lines, a researcher from England discovered that drivers will actually give properly outfitted cyclists less leeway on the roads.

"We know from research that many drivers see cyclists as a separate subculture, to which they don't belong," said the University of Bath's Ian Walker. "As a result they hold stereotyped ideas about cyclists, often judging all riders by the yardstick of the Lycra-clad street-warrior."

Globalized Triathlon
Aug. 4, 2008

Of the words zipping through our world these days, globalization is one that seems to come up with some regularity. Increasingly, we are a more global society. That is, our outlook and our make-up in the United States is more worldly than ever before. Many of the things we buy are produced overseas - largely in Asia. Critics contend that this leads to American job loss as manufacturers look oversea for cheap labor. Proponents say globalization is little more than free-market economics that drives lower prices for the seemingly ever-squeezed consumer. But for retail stores such as Triple Sports, globalization (in part) seems to have actually harmed inventory supplies.

This year has certainly been challenging on the supply side of retailing. Manufacturers are running out of product quicker and restocking more slowly. We can blame a couple of things. Demand, for one, has pummeled store supply. More people getting into triathlon and cycling means more people need the equipment to participate. We prepare for such things, but have continued to watch as we run out of certain items time and again. Secondly, manufacturers are resupplying more slowly than in the past. Additionally, $4 a gallon gas has made triathletes and cyclists compete for bikes with folks who would rather ride than drive to save a few bucks. Wayne Gray, of Southern California distributor KHS, told the industry magazine Bicycle Retailer that hybrids and low-end road bikes are in short supply. But commuters aren't the only ones in a pinch over high fuel prices.

A story printed in the New York Times stated that shipping companies have slowed the top speed of container ships by 20 percent to save fuel. That means supplies produced in Asia take longer to get to North America and down and down the line it goes. That means the wetsuit or bike you've been eyeballing might not be available when you head out to finally take the plunge. All of this is leading to more talk of producing products closer to home. Interesting, isn't it?

Mystery: Triathlon Swim Deaths
July 31, 2008

The swim portion of triathlon often stirs the most emotion in beginners and veterans alike. So much of it exists in the unknown. Will I be kicked? Will I swim straight? Will I drown or otherwise not come out under my own power? The unfortunate answer this year is yes for many people, including eight who have died in triathlons around the country. So, what's going on? Reporter Christie Aschwandena explored that question in a New York Times story published today.

As with most explanations, it could be a lot of things. There are more people doing triathlons. USA Triathlon, the sports governing body, has seen an 89 percent growth in membership since 2004. More people mean greater possibility that someone will be injured. The Law of Averages also means there are more people in the bunch who may have undiagnosed conditions that are exacerbated when tossed into the cauldron of triathlon competition. But there also is the possibility that swimming itself triggers a deadly phenomena, Aschwandena reported.

Names of Those Who Died

  • Donald Morehouse, 60, Spudman Triathlon (Burley, Idaho)
  • John Hobgood Jr., 52, New Jersey State Triathlon
  • Esteban Neira, 32, New York City Triathlon
  • Jim Goodman, 46, Hy-Vee Triathlon (Des Moines, Iowa)
  • Patrick Findlay, 45, Pacific Crest Triathlon (Sunriver, Oregon)
  • Randolph Parnell, 51, CB&I TRI (The Woodlands, Texas)
  • Patrick C. Kane, 37, Gulf Coast Triathlon (Panama City, Florida)

Dr. Michael Ackerman, a cardiologist and the director of the Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told the Times that some participants have hearts that are slow to recharge between beats. That can cause fainting. Fainting in water can lead to drowning. What's more, the sudden rush of adrenaline produced during a swim start may spark the condition. But it was unclear whether that occurred at the Spudman Triathlon over the weekend in Burley, Idaho.

At that event, Donald Morehouse, 60, of Provo, Utah signaled in the swim that he needed help. He sunk to the bottom before anyone could get to him. A Triple Sports customer at the event said the drowning created a confused situation that led to an unusual vote on shore by the participants waiting to start their wave. Apparently, race officials noted the trouble and asked racers if they wanted to even start their wave of the event. Some wanted to continue others did not.

The $2 Triathlon
July 28, 2008

$60. $70. $95. Price of entry to even the smallest triathlons seems to be just about as high as a barrel of oil. And like crude, entry fees seem to go up and up and up. Why? Lots of reasons. Sky high permit fees, police protection of the course, stratospheric insurance premiums, event producer profit all come in to play when entry fees are tabulated. Such is the triathlon life. But in conversation with a customer the other day, we wondered why that has to be. There must be some kind of alternative. In short, there is.

The answer? The unofficial triathlon. Consider that on any given day people run and ride on area streets. The cost? Free. We swim at the local pool, too, without having to pay more than a couple of bucks to get in. Why not put those things together on any given day, creating one of the world's cheapest triathlons? This might make sense, folks. You could have a transition area, but instead of bike racks, trees and picnic tables would have to suffice. Instead of crowd control fencing, a trusted soul could just watch over the stuff when racers were away. There would be no medals or T-shirts or hats or prizes or support of any kind. It would be the $2 Triathlon. But could it be that simple and easy?

Sure, there would be some things to consider. The people at the pool, for one, might take exception with a dozen or so triathletes blasting out of the pool, into the locker room and out the front door. No running on the pool deck, please. Perhaps brisk walking while in the pool area would be an official rule of the unofficial triathlon. On the bike course, standard rules of the road would have to be followed. Another official rule of the unofficial triathlon would have to be obeying traffic control devices. But to help minimize delays, we could have a course of right turns. What about liability? Some joker shows up to the unofficial triathlon, gets hurt and sues the unofficial organizers. This one is a little trickier. Signing a waiver would automatically classify the unofficial triathlon as official. Perhaps everyone who participated would have to agree equally on the terms of the triathlon, making everyone an organizer. You can sue plenty of people in the world, but it still doesn't seem like you are allowed to sue yourself. Maybe some of the lawyer triathletes out there can answer that question.

Without a doubt, there are plenty of things to consider. But the reigning tenet of such an undertaking must be KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid. We've got at least two people: Brian and Greg. If anyone else is interested in being a part of triathlon history (unofficially, that is), let us know and we can start thinking about dates.

Blue Seventy's Nero
July 23, 2008

You've heard all the hype about Speedo's new swimskin, the LZR. But lost in the noise has been the Blue Seventy Nero series of swimskins. As Speedo and Tyr battle on the pool deck and in court, Blue Seventy has been waging a quiet strike on the competitive swim market with their own superfast suits. And what's more, they're generating tremendous results.

  • Gill Stoval made the USA Olympic team in the 200m butterfly wearing the blueseventy nero comp. He was the second fastest man ever in the event & he dropped his PR by 3 seconds at the Olympic Trials in June in Omaha. Gill also was third in the 100m fly in the Nero.
  • Lara Jackson broke an American record in the 50m free in the Nero. Overall, she ended up third by .06 seconds.
  • While wearing the Nero, Ben Hesen broke an American record in the 50m backstroke during time trials - twice.

Playing off the huge success of the pointzero3, Blue Seventy developed and began earlier this year limited distribution of the Nero. Four models - the Nero 10K Long Leg, Nero 10K Knee, Nero Comp Long Leg and the Nero Comp Knee - were designed with the competitive swimmer in mind. They fit very tight (see sizing information below) and were engineered to make a diference in a sport where hundredths and thousandths of seconds make all the difference in the world. So, what's the difference between the Nero and the pointzero3?

  • No logos: Logos were removed to meet FINA guidelines.
  • No zipper leash: Of no use in swim competition.
  • More sizing: Metric sizing allows for customized fitting.
  • Limestone based Biorubber Swim-SCS fabric is durable + chlorine resistant.

The real beauty, perhaps, in the Nero is that it costs considerably less than the LZR and lasts longer in chlorine-treated pools. The comp specifically is designed to last for about 25 swim meets. The LZR might last only for five. With all that extra cash, you might just be able to check-in one more bag on your flight to your next competition.

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