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What's In A Name?
March 27, 2008

Some big names are headed to the Ironman California 70.3 this weekend in Oceanside. Michellie Jones, Leanda Cave, Craig Alexander, Bjorn Andersson and Steve Larsen, to name a few. Local professionals Temujin Gold and Lewis Elliot, who took third at the event last year, also will be duking it out in this early season primer. Not to be left out are Camelback Coaching's Bill Wilson (who we happen to know also plans a visit with a certain SoCal mouse), the East Valley Tri Club's Jim Hardina, Jason Smith, Joe Courtney, Michael Williams and 101 other Arizonans. In fact, more people from Arizona will participate than any other state outside of California. Triathlon is booming here and everywhere, really.

Consider this: It, perhaps, sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke. Question: How do you know when triathlon is big? Answer: When JLo does one. This is no joke, folks. As reported in People magazine, actress, singer and now-mother of twins Jennifer Lopez is planning on taking part in a triathlon later this year to help drop weight gained during pregnancy. "I want my babies to be proud of me," she said. Maybe she'll join perennial participant David Duchovny in the Sept. 14 running of the Malibu Triathlon.

Another big name to take up triathlon is professional baseball player Jeff Conine. In his 17-year career, Conine batted 214 home runs and 1,071 RBIs. He's training for the Ironman Florida 70.3 in May in Orlando.

While some are coming to the sport, others are leaving it behind. Australian Craig Walton is hanging up his race belt after a long and successful career. "I have had a long career and certainly my fair share of highs and lows, but as a lot of retired sports people say, you instinctively know when it is time to retire and while I still enjoy training and staying fit and active, I have simply lost the desire to race," ho told a local Aussie newspaper. "I have always raced to win, and anything less, I am not happy with, and considering I am not 100 percent committed, it is best that I walk away and focus on a new chapter of my life."

Odds + Ends: Crash update, Havasu, Clinics
March 24, 2008

The closer we get to Ironman Arizona and the farther along we get in the 2008 triathlon season around here the more there is going on. Makes sense, right? Check out all these little tidbits that have found their way into our mailbox lately.

Update: Not long ago we told you about a crash involving Marc Rubin and Billy Dean Johnson of Tri-Scottsdale. Both are doing well. "Marc has moved on," Billy Dean said in a recent email. "He is very resilient. Both of us love the Giro company as they have given each of us ... another day."

Windy conditions were the rule for the Lake Havasu Triathlon. The National Weather Service clocked them at 20 mph, but we're guessing they felt more like hurricane strength to some of you guys out there. There were lots of people from Colorado out there, too. But making waves was one special Canadian, Lyndsey Clapperton, of Calgary, Alberta, a friend of Triple Sports and Canadian great in the triathlon and duathlon world. She just took second in the Desert Classic Duathlon, too. Not bad for a mother of three boys, huh?

Racelab, the local coaching company, is putting on a nutrition clinic with triathlon superstars Heather Gollnick and Michael Lovato. Gollnick won last year's IM AZ and Lovato, who won in 2006, came in third in 2007. So, these guys might just be people you want to listen to. Ah, what's cost? Amazingly enough, it is free of charge thanks to the folks at Racelab and the nutrition company 1st Endurance. The event is scheduled for 2-3 p.m. Friday, April 11 at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. To RSVP, email stephanie@racelab.com.

Confused about triathlon? Looking to do your first? signed up for Tri for the Cure or the SheROX triathlon? If you're looking for more depth than the free Triple Sports monthly tri 101 clinic or our online education area, local ray of sunshine Sage Grossi is hosting a clinic for beginners or those looking for some tips on select dates throughout 2008. Sorry, fellas. This one's for girls only.

Nutrition: Keeping It Fresh II
March 22, 2008

Ah, spring. Everything is fresh. The trees with their buds, the flowers their blooms. Triple Sports with new product. OK, that was totally lame. But we just wanted to talk about some new products in stock and making their way in.

  • Carb BOOM! Hydro Boom Sports Drink
    • Not satisified with what was out there, the makers of carb BOOM! energy gels came up with Hydro Boom, a sports drink with a 7 percent carbohydrate concentration as wel as five electrolytes: sodium, potassium, choride, magnesium and calcium. This drink comes in three flavors: lemon lime, orange mango and raspberry lemon.
  • PowerBar Endurance, Recovery + Electrolyte Sticks

    We've carried PowerBar products - gels, drinks and bars - for quite some time now. And it's not like PowerBar is a new kid on the block, either. But they continue to come up with new products and we continue to bring them in. The latest creations of this Nestle subsidiary are electrolyte sticks and smaller tubs of endurance and recovery drinks.

    • Electrolyte Sticks
      • Joining Nuun, Camelbak Elixr + Zym, PowerBar Electrolytes provide essential nutrients without all the calories. They work great for shorter training sessions or at the office when you don't need all the extra gunk usually found in a sports drink. Each individually wrapped pack contains 10 calories and 130 mg of sodium.

    Seeing The Future In Bicycling
    Mar. 17, 2008

    It's as though you know it's coming. It's as though you can see into the future or a movie or a dream where the faces are blurry but the scene is the same. There are flashing lights, gawkers. And there on the side of the road is another crudely damaged bicycle. And nearby are your friends, hurt in another senseless wreck. Perhaps up the road or on the shoulder is the driver who caused such chaos in an instant of hurry and carelessness. But this was no dream or fortune teller's vision. This was reality Saturday afternoon for two more of our friends, Marc Rubin and Billy Dean Johnson, of Tri-Scottsdale.

    Before we go further, they are safe and recovering. In fact, we leaned about the crash in an email from Marc, whose sheer toughness, excellent health and fortitude allowed him to send out messages from Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital just 15 hours after this mess occurred. "You have to love modern technology," he wrote. the facts as we know them are this: Both were riding on Campbell, near 29th street about 4 p.m. Saturday. A driver turned right, causing the crash. Marc suffered a severely separated shoulder. Billy Dean sustained some scratches, but was otherwise uninjured. Police cited the driver for making an illegal turn into the bike lane.

    It was only a few weeks ago that we all saw George and Jane Esahak-Gage at the Desert Classic Duathlon. Both were injured back in November 2006 when a driver plowed into them as they headed home from a training ride. George was nearly killed and underwent hours of surgery and has since endured countless rehabilitation sessions. What's more, they have taken their experience and answered the question: What can I do to help?

    We as riders can only be vigilant. We can follow the rules by stopping at stop signs or traffic signals. We can watch out for one another, but cannot grow eyes in the backs of our heads. We can only anticipate driver actions, but we cannot predict with positivity the eventual outcome. And, unfortunately, we can stare into the haziness of the future and see more of our friends on the side of the road.

    IM AZ Pros: Linsey Corbin
    Mar. 12, 2008

    With a cowboy hat and a quick-draw smile, Linsey Corbin appears more likely to sit atop a fiery steed than a sleek Scott Plasma. Learning that she is from Missoula, Montana only reinforces this notion, of course. But, as usual, don't let appearances fool you. Corbin, 27, is entering her third full year racing triathlons professionally. And she's off to an incredible start, finishing second just behind Heather Gollnick in January at the Cristal Ironman 70.3 Pucon in Chile. Next up is the California 70.3 and then Ironman Arizona. On the last day of a rest week, she was kind enough to offer some thoughts on her upcoming year.

    TS: Why are you racing IM AZ this April?
    Linsey: It's funny ... I wasn't even planning on racing IM AZ until about two weeks ago. In fact, the thought had never crossed my mind, even! I live in Montana and our winters are quite lengthy. I went to Maui to do a training camp with my coach, Lance Watson and a few other Lifesport elite athletes (Chris Lieto, Brent McMahon and Kim Loeffler). After about four days of training it became quite apparent that I was much more fit than we had anticipated. Coach sat me down after a 7 hour training day and told me I was headed to Arizona. Exciting stuff! The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Now, I couldn't be more excited to get to the starting line. I am excited to race an Ironman early in the season and then focus on the 70.3 series for the remainder of the summer before heading to Kona.

    TS: Are you doing anything to prepare for the dry and potentially hot or windy conditions?
    Linsey: First of all, since I have decided to race, I have made a vow to not make one negative comment (or even thought) about wind until race day. So far, mission accomplished! I spent nearly 3 weeks in Maui doing some awesome riding and getting in some incredible base training. I just returned home to Montana this week, where it proceeded to snow 8 inches my first day back. Perfect for a recovery week. On that note, I am headed down to Tempe and Tucson to finish my Ironman build. I will be down there for 3 weeks training on the course as well as in Tucson. I plan on coming home to Montana for my taper, then returning race week.

    TS: You have been overcoming an injury. Are you doing anything in particular to prevent further injury even with the greater requirements of Ironman training?
    Linsey: Yes, being injured for Kona last year was a big disappointment (and a first) for me. I have gone back to the basics of how I used to train. Since the New Year I have consistently been lifting weights, doing stability exercises and a strict core work regimen. I am seeing a massage therapist twice a week, taking weekly ice baths, taking my vitamins and omegas, as well as doing much more yoga and stretching sessions than I have in the past. After being sidelined with an injury I have decided it is better to skip a workout to get in stretching and physio than to be injured.

    TS: Do you have any training advice for us regular folks out there?
    Linsey: As far as training goes, I think it should be quality over quantity. It seems a lot of age groupers run short on time, so I am a big proponent of getting the best bang for your buck. Make every workout have a purpose. Also, get out of your comfort zone. If you don't go hard in training, how are you going to go hard on race day? Have fun! Oh yeah, the sky is the limit; whether your goal is to finish the race, break 10 hours, run a 3 hour marathon or win the race, you never know what is going to happen. Five years ago I never thought I would be where I am now.

    Changing Hands
    Mar. 7, 2008

    "Nothing endures but change," noted the Greek philosopher Diogenes Laertius. The saying endures to this very day, of course. The latest change in the triathlon world surrounds local business entities, Red Rock Co. and Bicycle Showcase.

    Red Rock Co, producers of popular local events such as the Soma Triathlon and Timex/Nathan Triathlon, has been sold - at least in part - to professional triathlete Tim DeBoom. Joining DeBoom, a two time Ironman world Champion, are Kimo Seymour, a Tempe developer, and local businessman Mike Melley. Founder Jeff Suffolk will retain an interest in the company. The company appears to be focusing on its five-race series of triathlons, the first of which is the May 3 Las Polamas Triathlon in Rocky Point.

    "I am very excited to be involved in my first race series, as I know how gratifying it is to participate in a well-produced and organized event," DeBoom said in a new release announcing the purchase. "Our mission is to put on challenging, unique and fun events aimed at people who want to test the limits of their own endurance."

    DeBoom, who won the Ironman World Championships in 2001 and 2002, finished fourth at the 2007 Ironman World Championships. He has been competing professionally since 1996. Other business ventures include an Iowa-based coaching service named the DeBoom Sports Mecca. His wife Nicole founded and operates the athletic clothing line skirtSports, which recently brought its SkirtChaser running event to Tempe.

    Also swirling is the probability of Scottsdale's Bicycle Showcase changing hands. Dan Barnes and his wife Shayna are apparently ready to sell their decade-old business to focus on their bike brand, Velo Vie. Velo Vie has been growing terrifically since coming on scene about two years ago with the financial backing of company CEO Homayoon Farsi. In February, they announced a partnership with Quality Bicycle Products, the largest bike parts supplier in the United States, allowing wider distribution for the upstart brand. Velo Vie also announced just days ago that it would be a sponsor of the Italian Amore & Vita McDonald's Pro Cycling Team.

    Stay tuned. Diogenes Laertius will ride again.

    Day Late, Dollar Short?
    Mar. 6, 2008

    The scene was usually the same: The hobbled and grim milling around a folding table, waiting. They were the die-hards, the people who after hours and hours of pounding the pavement just couldn't get enough of Ironman. There they were, registering for yet another event a year away after having just done an Ironman less than a day earlier. Something about it just seemed wrong to officials of North America Sports, the producer of Ironman Arizona, Ironman Canada, Ironman Lake Placid and other popular events.

    "We feel that it is unfair to ask athletes competing to stand in line the day after to register for the next year's event," North America Sports officials wrote in their March newsletter. "We want to give sore and tired athletes a break, as well as remove the stress associated with worry about getting up the following day to stand in line."

    Athletes and volunteers will now be able to register a day before their event rather than the morning after when getting out of bed is just about the toughest thing to accomplish. It is a change that is good for the go-getters - the people who can persuade themselves and their loved ones that signing up for another Ironman is a good idea. But it might not be terrific for those out-of-towners who want to register for the 2009 Ironman Arizona. While athletes can register a day before and people on site can register the day after both April and November events, online registration does not open until Nov. 24, "... if there are any spots still available," officials noted.

    Out of town Ironman Arizona hopefuls may very well find it cost effective to fly in to watch the race and register. even with the cost of a $250 plane ticket (or less), it still would be less expensive than the Community Fund. Bad news is, though, a airline ticket generally isn't deductible.

    Riding The Wetsuit Wave
    Mar. 3, 2008

    Of the many things that seem to confuse newcomers to triathlon, wetsuits rank near the top. In general, most people know what a wetsuit is. Body Glove, O'Neill and others have been around in the surfing world for some time. And then there are the diving wetsuits, the ones stealthy Navy Seals are seen wearing in the movies. But like many things surrounding our sport, triathlon wetsuits are highly evolved tools with specific features.

    Dan Empfield, the mastermind behind Quintana Roo, invented the first wetsuit back in the late 1980s. Surfing and diving wetsuits - rigid as they are - just didn't work very well for swimming. And they still do not. by comparison, triathlon wetsuits are flexible, hydrodynamic and designed to be used in the water rather than on the water, among other things. Now, that doesn't seem very confusing, right? Well, add to the mix the huge proliferation of companies hawking triathlon wetsuits and - voila - confusion.

    Domestic Wetsuit Brands

    * Blue Seventy * Zoot * Quintana Roo * Orca * Profile Design/Aquaman * Nineteen * Synergy * Desoto * Xterra * Aquasphere * Fit2Race * Rocket Science * Promotion * 2XU

    There are now 14 (perhaps more) triathlon wetsuits brands being sold in the United States. Synergy Sport is the latest to belly up to the triathlon bar. Until last year, Synergy was the U.S. distributor for Orca wetsuits, which are now being distributed by Orbea USA, the bike people. There are at least six more sold in Europe and Asia, including the growing brand Sailfish, which could make its way to North America in the not-too-distant future. What all this means is there are lots of choices, which is good and bad.

    International Wetsuit Brands

    * Camaro * sailfish * Green Turtle * Shiromoto * Terrapin * Foor

    In some cases, more choices mean more confusion and questions. Is there one wetsuit brand that is better than the others? It's a question we get a lot. The answer is, it depends. It depends on your body type. For example, big, barrel chested guys fit really well in Quintana Roo wetsuits. Orca, on the other hand, can offer the string bean triathlete a more comfortable fit. Zoot and Blue Seventy offer a good fit for the average person. Given all that, do a little research to determine what might work best for you. Also, consult our fit ruler to better determine brand sizing variations.

    Coming Soon: An Everyday GPS Watch
    Feb. 29, 2008

    Finally. We were thinking that it would be a few more years, but it's finally close to reality. After years of dealing with bulky wrist-top computers or multi-part systems, we all soon will be fortunate to have a GPS-enabled watch of normal size.

    Garmin is scheduled to release the Forerunner 405, a GPS-enabled watch small enough to wear as an everyday timepiece. Previous versions - even the current slimmed-down Forerunner 305 - have been huge. The new Forerunner makes them look like the original desktop computers - bulky and outdated.

    so, when might these arrive? Good question. We've been told to expect them "this quarter" - whatever that means. Stay tuned.

    IM AZ Pros: Brad Seng
    Feb. 27, 2008

    Perhaps it's the funny name. Or maybe there is too much association between jelly beans and kids. But Sport Beans from Jelly Belly - a company with nearly a decade of pro cycling sponsorship and three years of sponsoring a triathlon team - are considered by some out there to be for the not-so-serious competitor. Helping change that is Brad Seng, a professional triathlete with Team Sport Beans/NTTC (National Triathlon Training Camp).

    Seng, 38, is once again preparing for Ironman Arizona this April. He is coming off a terrific performance at the Ironman World Championships with a time of 9:21 and is expecting some good results. Seng, who lives in Boulder, has done well in the desert, finishing 3rd at the 2004 SOMA Half Ironman and 4th two years later. He also endured high temperatures at the 2006 Ironman Arizona, finishing 12th overall.

    TS: Is that you on the front of the Sport Beans homepage?
    Brad: Yes, that is me on the homepage for Sport Beans. Funny thing about that image - It was done during a photo shoot the day after I had my first DNF which was at 2007 California 70.3. I had taken great pride in having a clean track record with no DNF's. At the time I didn't know it, but I had a stress fracture at the top of my femur and could not run. I pretty much hobbled through the transitions. Needless to say the photo shoot was a bit painful.

    TS: How is your training going so far in 2008?
    Brad: Initially, my training was a bit sluggish at the start of the season as I had a strained glute in Kona which took a good six weeks to heal. I re-established my foundation through an extensive base phase and I have seen some encouraging gains within the last few training blocks.

    TS: Is there anything you are doing to prepare for the potential hot, dry or windy conditions Ironman Arizona has had to offer?
    Brad: Fortunately, our weather has been pretty decent this winter in Boulder. With the warmer temps we have been seeing some downright crazy Kona-like winds. I spent two weeks at the end of January/early February in Austin to put in some solid miles on the bike and run. I know race day has the potential for some extreme conditions and I will be better prepared in formulating my nutrition plan than I did two years ago. In 2006, I found myself dehydrated towards the later part of the bike and was basically in management mode on the run to avoid serious cramping.

    TS: Any expert training advice for age group athletes?
    Brad: In prepping for an early season Ironman race like IMAZ, I believe consistency is the key. While many athletes may be limited with volume due to winter weather, they would be best served to get in the key sessions with quality. Being resilient and committed to the training in less than ideal conditions can give a huge mental boost as well. Specific for IMAZ I encourage my athletes to complete their long rides and runs as loops, similar to the race. At the end of the day I firmly believe it is about having fun and keeping things balanced (training, family, work, etc.).

    TS: Now, there are no hidden insinuations here because you look great and perform excellently. But you are one of the older professionals to be racing at IM AZ in April. Has maintaining such a high level of fitness and training changed for you with age?
    Brad: Ah, the age factor. Well, it is interesting as just today I was explaining to a sponsor: While I am one of the older professionals, I continue to see progressions and gains. This is perhaps because I did not start racing until I was 30 and my body does not have the mileage/volume as some of the younger guys. I am very diligent with aspects of my training which include yoga, stretching, massage therapy, ice baths, rest and recovery.

    Over the past several years I have found increased gains with more attention on proper recovery. I believe the recovery process is often overlooked by athletes. For me, re-fueling and rest are just as important as getting in my intervals and longer sessions. Age is a state of mind, isn't it?!?

    Hot Stuff At Ironman Malaysia
    Feb. 24, 2008

    Local professional triathlete Patrick Bless earned a top 10 finish on Saturday at Ironman Malaysia, enduring 93-degree heat and humidity that topped 80 percent. Bless, 35, finished seventh overall with a time of 9:31:24. It was a quite impressive performance in challenging conditions for the Racelab athlete.

    Ruling the day on the men's side was 2005 Ironman Arizona winner Faris Al-Sultan. Al-Sultan finished with a 30-minute buffer after a 50-minute swim, 4:34 bike and 3:06 run. For the women, Belinda Granger pushed through the day, finishing just ahead of Bless in 9:29:11. Her 58-minute swim, 5:03 bike and 3:24 run carried her to victory.

    Another notable was Hillary Biscay, who now splits her home time between Tucson and southern California. The swim star surfed the water in a blistering 54:49 and ended up fourth on the day. Next up for Biscay, Ironman Arizona in April, where she finished 3rd in 2006, and a week later the Tri For The Cure in Chandler.

    Should You Get An Aero Helmet?
    Feb. 23, 2008

    Except for the pros, perhaps, everyone seems to have the same concern: Will I look silly wearing an aerodynamic cycling helmet as a mid-pack rider? We're getting a lot of these questions as Ironman Arizona approaches. Everyday athletes are looking for equipment advantages. And why not? Sure, training, when done properly, can lead you across the finish line. But lots of folks are preparing for a monumental life event - one in which they want to tackle at their best. Others are looking for any advantage possible to ace out that meddlesome competitor. The truth of it is, these things make a difference.

    Generally speaking, wind resistance accounts for 90 percent of the drag on a bicycle. The remainder includes rolling and bearing resistance on wheels. So, what is the wind fighting against? In a nutshell, you. In the book High-Tech Cycling, Edmund Burke wrote that 65 percent to 75 percent of drag can be attributed to a riders position. Drag on equipment as well as friction accounts for the rest. The bottom line is that staying in an aerodynamic position with your arms in and achieving as narrow a shadow as possible produces better gains than anything money can buy. That said, however, that's not as easy as it sounds.

    Even professionals are challenged to remain in aero positions for Ironman distance races. The more the position changes, the more drag produced. Equipment can accommodate for some of the added drag, which means you can buy less drag. And less drag means faster times and lower energy output. So, how much time can you save? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. Bill Wilson from Camelback Coaching ran a few of his own tests and wrote down his thoughts on that in our January newsletter. Wind tunnel tests also show that an aerodynamic helmet can reduce drag by 2 percent when compared with a non-aero helmet. Aero wheels can cut drag some 5 percent. But the big difference many people run into is the price. A decent set of wheels cost more than $1,000. A good aero helmet, such as the new Giro Advantage 2, costs about $150. That means, dollar for dollar, more benefit is derived from a helmet than wheels.

    You're still wondering whether it's worth it, huh? In the end, only you can make that decision. But we know you really want one.

    IM AZ Pros: Tara Norton
    Feb. 21, 2008

    Fresh from the Ironman 70.3 Geelong in Victoria, Australia, professional triathlete Tara Norton is already thinking about Ironman Arizona. Tara, 36, took fifth place in the Land Down Under with a time of 4:38:59. Bloodied by a stiff timing chip strap, She even endured attack flies while waiting for a massage after the race. Days later she took time to chat via email.

    TS: Why are you racing Ironman Arizona?
    Tara: I decided on Ironman Arizona because it is a great early season Ironman and easy for me to travel to (oh, and it is just far enough away for me to recover in time for my next scheduled Ironman: Ironman Lanzarote in May). I have done lots of training in Arizona in the winter months as training outdoors in Toronto at that time of year is impossible and as a result, I now have a great group of friends and training buddies there. I am an athlete who can handle the heat pretty well so that is not a deterrent for me (although I did this race the inaugural year when it was uncharacteristically cold), and I really like the course.

    TS: You raced IM AZ in its first year, finishing an impressive 8th. You faced terrible wind that year. Do you expect more of the same?
    Tara: I am very aware of the fact that anything can happen on race day. So while I expect that race day will most likely be hot with some wind, I will be prepared for anything. I try to travel to races early enough to acclimatize to the conditions that I will face on race day. I will have two separate nutrition plans prepared for race day: One for really hot conditions, and another plan, just in case it isn'’t as hot as I expect it to be.

    To prepare for the heat at home, I do some hot yoga (Moksha yoga) to help get my body used to being in the hot temperatures, although that is more of a humid heat. Like I mentioned above, I will arrive in Arizona at the end of March to acclimatize to the dry Arizona heat.

    TS: Do you have any advice for age-groupers out there?
    Tara: Don't try anything new on race day. I know this is advice that is mentioned a lot, but it is very important and I am amazed at how many people know this rule but don'’t obey it! Make sure you have a good nutrition plan to ensure you replenish the electrolytes you will be sweating out in the hot conditions, and stick to your plan! Race your own race, enjoy the day and keep moving forward when the going gets tough.

    Tara lives and works in Toronto with her husband Bruce. For a great blog, race results and reports, Visit her website at TaraNorton.Com.

    Doping: As The Wheel Turns
    Feb. 18, 2008

    With another bicycle race comes yet another controversy. And, yes, it has to do with drugs. Expulsion has been bought upon not only those with a questionable history, but also to those who have been clean - at least at present - as whistles.

    To get you up to speed:

    • July, 2007 Tour de France officials booted Alexandre Vinokourov after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Team Astana, which he helped found earlier in the year, withdrew after being asked to do so. Vinokourov was later fired.
    • July, 2007 Team Discovery Channel, the team that Lance Armstrong built, announces impending dissolution after failing to find a title sponsor.
    • October, 2007 Team Discovery Channel merges with Astana, taking along team manager Johan Bruyneel, TDF reigning champ Alberto Contador and third-place TDF finisher Levi Leipheimer.
    • December, 2007 Vinokourov retires from cycling after receiving one-year ban.
    • February, 2008 TDF organizers announce that Team Astana and its current members are not welcome at this year's event, among other races. Contador, Leipheimer, Andreas Kloeden and others barred unless they switch teams.

    Yes, a mess indeed. So, as the Tour of California gets going, cycling faces yet another struggle to save itself. And Levi Leipheimer - who has had no history of drug use - struggles to save his career.

    Rules Are Rules
    Feb. 16, 2008

    They have been among the great moments in sports history. In 1982, an exhausted Julie Moss crawled across the finish line in Kona, her legs left nearly inoperable after 140 miles of the Ironman world Championship. Fifteen years later, Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham fell to a similar fate in a finish line crawl that Rod Thompson of the Honolulu Star Bulletin wrote was "the kind of drama no triathlon could buy." They are moments in time that defined triathlon for millions of people who later watched this human suffering unfold on televisions across the country. It was drama, to be sure. But it also seemed unusual.

    Many of us realize that triathlon is a bit of an oddball in the world of sport. That is, of course, part of the allure. Your neighbor or your cousin or hair stylist might be able to pull an 8-pound bass out of the lake or sink a 25-foot putt, but they sure aren't going to be seen heading out on a 25-mile bike ride. Yet something seemed wrong when people - normal thinking, working people - put themselves through a process that reduced human function to that of a baby. In all that drama, the sweating and crying and crawling, there were, perhaps, serious concerns about the mental capacity of triathletes and the codependent race producers that facilitated this bizarre process.

    Being people, too, (people with front row seats to this display) USA Triathlon officials saw this developing and didn't necessarily like what they were witnessing or its consequences. After some discussion, they came up with this:

    "A participant who gains forward progress by crawling or otherwise violates this section shall be disqualified."

    Yes, the drama that created a name for triathlon was deemed inappropriate. It appears on Page 31 of USAT's Competitive Rules book, which gets us to the point of all of this. Knowing the rules of triathlon can mean the difference between placing in your age group or even whether all of that training is washed down the drain with a rule violation. That's why USA Triathlon has offered for free download the rules of triathlon. As a USAT Member, a 58-page rule booklet also is free for the asking once every year. Less drama, it may be. Less looney, definitely.

    Running Life List
    Feb. 14, 2008

    The New York City Marathon. The Chicago Marathon. The Boston Marathon. We’ve all heard of – and some of us have completed – these storied American running events. And by all accounts, they have landed on many a runner’s life list of events in which to take part. Thinking about these big ones, we started contemplating other running events that might not make the headlines or have VIP start and finish sections, but nevertheless are wildly popular, legendary, looney or just downright fun. Here are a few we’ve come up with so far.

    Part run, part thigh-pounding, heart-exploding pain fest, the Bisbee 1000 was devised nearly 20 years ago to preserve the crumbling stairs in this southern Arizona town. An odd bird of an event, the Bisbee 1000 seems like it would have been around since the 19th Century. About 800 participants usually turn out to climb more than 1,000 stairs. Not content with their obvious originality, event officials added the Ice Man Competition, which challenges participants to use antique tongs to carry an 8-pound block of ice up 153 stairs in a race against the clock. Now that sounds cool (cue uproarious laughter).

    Northern California’s Dipsea has been around for nearly 100 years. Traversing stairs and single track between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach, this is just more than 7 miles of heart-pounding running with world class views of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the hardcores do what they call the Double Dipsea, which is to say run down to Stinson Beach and then back up and over to Mill Valley. Ouch.

    Like climbing hills, huh? Check out the Jerome Hill Climb. This is a short run of 4.6 miles that takes you through this one-time boomtown en route to a mountaintop finish.

    One of our favorite towns, Telluride acts as finishline for the Imogene Pass Run. The 17.1-mile event is point to point, traversing 13,120-foot Imogene Pass between the Colorado towns of Telluride and Ouray. While you don't have to haul a boulder along with you or anything, this run to the heavens covers some of the most incredible terrain on the planet.

    Now, this is not the be-all, end-all list. There are plenty of other interesting events - triathlons, running, biking, adventure, etc. - out there to be discovered. Perhaps you know of some and want to share. If you do, send an email to info@triplesportsonline.com.

    Nutrition: Keeping It Fresh
    Feb. 12, 2008

    We've already told you about the new Zoot Shoes. They're flying off the shelves. In fact, Zoot has already run out of certain sizes and styles. Worse news is that they won't have any more of them until April. So, if you want 'em, come and get 'em now. But we're bringing in even more new stuff while continuing to deliver the same neccessities that we usually do. Take a peek at some of our new nutrition offerings.

    • Honey Stinger Energy Gel
      • As the name implies, Honey Stinger gels are honey based, providing natural energy solutions for your workout needs. That kind of sounded like they were pimping IT services or something. Perhaps they can say it better themselves. In any event, they have five great flavors and sell for $1.40 each packet.
    • Accel Gel
      • Accel Gel comes from the makers of Accelerade (owned by Cadbury Schweppes subsidiary and apple juice maker Mott's, incidently), the popular protein-containing drink many of you know and love. You might be saying to yourself: "Haven't Accel Gels and Honey Stinger been around for a while?" To which we reply: "Yes. You are a knowledgeable one? No wonder mom liked you most." These products are new to Triple Sports, smart aleck.

        Sticking with their formula, Accel Gel is the only major energy gel on the market today containing carbohydrates and protein. Some studies have indicated that a one-two punch of carbohydrates and protein elevate performance levels, in part by facilitating the glucose-generating, carbohydrate delivery process.

    • First Endurance: Ultragen, Optygen, EFS
      • As noted a couple of days ago, First Endurance has become the "official supplement supplier" of Ironman Events produced by North America Sports. So, if the folks at Ironman vouch for them, who are we to not carry their products? Interesting how this whole sponsorship/product pitching thing works, huh? But the products work as well. One customer who learned we were going to carry First Endurance offered this: "Those are the best I've ever used. Without a doubt." so, let there be no question about whether or not we listen to our customers. We do, for the record. If that were not enough, First Endurance also offers a satisfaction guarantee for their Ultragen recovery formula and Optygen.
    These join a stable of nutrition products that many have said come together to form the best selection in the Valley. Once again, who are we to argue with our customers? Just some of the nutrition brands we carry include:

    • Hammer Nutrition
    • Accelerade
    • Endurox
    • Gatorade
    • Powerbar
    • Clif
    • Gu
    • carb-BOOM
    • Nuun
    • CamelBak Elixr
    • Zym
    • Cytomax + More

    Flying With Avia
    Feb. 10, 2008

    Evolution is an interesting concept. It is about adapting to new and ever-changing conditions. Avia, the longtime footwear maker, undertsands evolution. After taming a wild and emerging athletic footwear market in the late 1980s and 90s, Avia (meaning "to fly" in Latin) slipped into obscurity. The brand seemed more in tune with the aerobics craze - y'all remember Jazzercise and leggings? - than endurance sports. In the past year or so, though, Avia has rekindled the smoldering fire.

    Once owned by Reebok and now Southern California's American Spoorting Goods, Avia has launched a full-on attack on the triathlon footwear market. The company has shipped out to Triple Sports an incredible series of lightweight and afforadable running shoes. With the help of longtime triathlete, duathlete, RAAM rider and endurance superathlete Kenny Souza, Avia is pushing three performance running shoes in their line: AVI-Lite, Bolt and Tuned Trainer. Avia also partnered with USA Triathlon as official running shoe provider in an effort to show its determination at becoming a serious name in triathlon. But it's not all marketing fluff.

    Over the past year or so, I (Brian) have tested the AVI-Lite in conditions ranging from short, interval sessions to Ironman Arizona. As the name implies, the shoe offers a lightweight feel, yet does so without sacrificing all the cushioning. As a heel-striker and sometimes heavy runner, I appreciated the Dura-Ryd and Dura-Stryk material in the rear. The roomy toebox is comfortable and provides an airy feel that was particularly enjoyable during our stifling summer months. I wasn't fond of the styling - the puffy white side panel made the shoe look stuck in the 1980s. But a redesign that is currently available (old style pictured) changed the appearance, making it look as fierce as it feels. I probably wouldn't recommend this shoe to most people as a long distance trainer. But at $95, this is a short- and mid-level mileage shoe that will keep some of your money in your pocket and your feet flying.

    Gatorade Endurance Lives
    Feb. 8, 2008

    I, Brian, blew it. A couple of weeks ago, I mistakenly wrote that Gatorade Endurance would not be on the Ironman Arizona course. As it turns out, I need to read my press releases a little closer. First Endurance, makers of Optygen, Ultragen and EFS nutrtitional products, is the official supplement supplier for North America Sports, the producers of Ironman Arizona. That's supplements - not energy drink. Thanks have to go out to Ben, one of our customers, for making me take another look at the press release. And to think, I used to be a newspaper reporter.

    With that said, we have plenty of Gatorade and First Endurance products in stock to meet your nutritional needs. Unfortunately, we can only get the Gatorade Endurance in lemon lime, not orange. Orange is what is generally used on the bike course in redy-to-drink bottles. But in the end, and especially after sipping this stuff for four or five or six hours, can anyone really tell the difference?

    Ironman China To Debut
    Feb. 7, 2008

    These days, it's all about China. Businesses salivate over the growing economic prospects of China's population. China will host the Olympics this summer. There, of course, was that whole unfortunate thing with the toys and lead paint. And this April, China will host its first Ironman event.

    After years of wrangling, Ironman China will wind its way through the streets of Haikou on the island of Hainan. Making this even more interesting is the addition of an Ironman 70.3, or half Ironman. Both will be run on the same day on the same course, a first, according to race officials. Organizers have space for 1,500 athletes for the two events. Sadly, only about 250 people have signed up, including what appears to be a fair number of Americans.

    Perhaps the date is keeping more of us away. It's on April 20, just one week after Ironman Arizona. Or maybe its the cost. A roundtrip airline ticket is running about $1,000 for economy class, not including any extra fees to ship a bike. Good news is, though, that the race fee is about the same as any of the other Ironman events.

    Zoot Shoes Have Arrived
    Feb. 5, 2008

    Well, we're not Paul Revere or the town crier or whatever, but ... the new Zoot shoes are here, the new Zoot shoes are here. We just received a supply of Zoot's new Ultra Race and Ultra TT running shoes - one of the first shops in the country to have them. Come in to take a look or try 'em on. Or check out our review back on Jan. 29.

    Another new addition to our shelves here at Triple Sports are watermelon and cherry Sport Beans. They call them Extreme Sport Beans becuase they have 50mg of caffeine - the same amount that's in a half cup of coffee. So, if you're like us and get sleepy while running, pick up a pack today.

    Super Bowl Run
    Feb. 3, 2008

    Super Bowl Sunday is a lot like Thanksgiving. We sit around and eat a ton with friends and family. Sure, the fare is a little less wholesome than turkey (a half bag of Lays with cream cheese-based dip is out of this world). But the fundamentals of eating and staring at a football game on the television are identical. Knowing this, I had to take some preemptive measures.

    A long run was in order. We've been working so much that runs on Sundays (my normal long run day) were cut short. I'm training for the Zane Grey 50K and needed to start logging some miles. So, on a cold, dark morning with the strong threat of rain I headed out for what was a very enjoyable run of just over 25 miles. I got a little far afield, though, and had to have Kara pick me up. My eyes were bigger than my legs, I suppose. Nevertheless, there was little guilt plowing down the pizza and chocolate chip ice cream accompanied by three chocolate chip cookies.

    Ironman Hot, Hot, Hot
    Feb. 2, 2008

    The rides are brutal. People think Arizona is warm. And it is. But that's in a few months. For the time being we get 30s and 40s for the start of morning rides. With the wind chill from forward motion, we're talking temperatures that feel like they've dipped into the 10s and 20s. And I left Minnesota for this so many years ago. In any event, there is a trick I learned while freezing my young buns off at a soccer practice in the northland a while back. My coach said to imagine that we were on a beach in Hawaii. Just the mental image was supposed to ward off the frigid feelings. Well, I don't recall it working. Try it if you like, but a better idea might be to follow the lead of Racelab's Patrick Bless and head to Malaysia.

    Bless, shown below, is one of 20 professional triathletes - including German ace Faris Al-Sultan - and 800 or so age groupers to take on Ironman Malaysia Feb. 23. And it's no wonder why. This race is hot. Really. In 2001, the temperature hovered around 110 degrees. Wetsuits? I don't think so. Good luck, Patrick.

    Ironman Hits the (trade)Mark
    Feb. 1, 2008

    In an entry a while back I made mention of the World Triathlon Corporation being the holder of the "M-dot" logo trademark. Little did I know how prolific the Tarpon Springs, Florida corporation was when it concerns trademarking stuff. As it turns out, WTC currently holds, used to hold or applied for 152 United States trademarks.

    Some are images:

    Others are words:

    Ironman, Ironwoman, Iron Mate, Fittest CEO, Kona Triathlon, Ironman Triathlon Cross Training, M, IM, Ironman Triathlon Nutrition, Irongrip, Iron Gear, 226, 113 and even Splash 'n' Dash.

    There are sayings, such as:

    "SWIM 2.4 MILES! RUN 26 1/4 MILES! BIKE 112 MILES! BRAG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!" and "Anything Is Possible."

    Some are amusing:

    Drafters Suck and Drafting Sucks.

    Some have nothing to do with triathlon and were given up by WTC. For instance, Ironman Guard Line is a company that produces safety and protection gear for workers.

    There also was a partnership with a woman from Hawaii to license the name for baby clothes. Diane Dana-Welles, it turns out, claims the fame of being the first mom to complete what would become the Ironman World Championship in Kona. She completed the contest in 14 hours back in 1982, she said on her website. While she survived, Iron Baby seems to have run off the tracks. Her clothing company's website, ironbaby.com, is parked for free by GoDaddy.com.

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