Multi-Sport

Tips for Warming up for a Triathlon

August 8th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Brian Reynolds

Have you ever wondered how to warm up for a triathlon race?  I don’t know about you but when I first got into triathlons this is something I wondered about.  I come from a running background and warming up for a race was pretty straight forward. My warm up was usually a 10 to 15 minute run followed by some form drills (i.e., high knees or butt kicks) and pick ups (i.e., strides or fartleks).  However for a triathlon there are 3 sports. Do you run, bike, and swim for 10-15 min for each discipline? What order should you do the warm up? Should I bike first or should I run first?  I’ll share with you what warm up routines have worked for me.

One item to note is that no matter the triathlon distance you should do some type of warm up.  How you warm up will greatly depend on the event’s distance and weather conditions. In general the shorter the race distance the longer the warm up.  Thus the longer the race distance the shorter the warm up. Short distance races such as a sprint triathlon are very high intensity (aka your heart rate is going to be really high!).  Your body needs to be warmed up so you can go full throttle at the start. A proper warm up will elevate your heart rate and will dilate your veins to allow more blood flow (oxygen) to the working muscles.  Long distance races such as the Ironman distance is a low-moderate intensity which doesn’t require a long warm up to get your body ready to race comfortably at this intensity. Your working muscles will not require as much oxygen at a low-moderate intensity so you can get by with very little warm up.

Weather conditions will play a big role during your warm up.  If it’s cold outside it’s important to wear warm clothes to keep the muscles warm and it may be necessary to do a longer warm up.  If it’s hot outside it’s ok to warm up in just your racing outfit to help stay cool. It may be necessary to shorten the warm up if it’s really hot to help prevent your body from overheating.

Below are general guidelines on warming up for the different triathlon distances.

Sprint:

  1. 10 – 15 min run.  Include some race efforts last 5 mins.  After your run do some dynamic stretching.

  2. Running form drills and pick-ups which are faster than race pace.

  3. 10 – 15 min swim.  Second half of swim should include several strong efforts at race pace or faster.  Note: If you’re not able to get in the water before the race then warm up with stretch cords.

Olympic:

  1. 10 – 15 min run.  Include some race efforts last 5 mins.  After run do some dynamic stretching.

  2. Optional: Do some run form drills and pick-ups which are faster than race pace.

  3. 10 – 15 min swim.  Second half of swim should include several strong efforts at race pace or faster.  Note: If you’re not able to get in the water before the race then warm up with stretch cords.

Half Iron Distance:

  1. Optional: 5 min easy run

  2. 5 – 15 min swim.  Second half of swim should include several strong efforts at race pace or faster.  Note: If you’re not able to get in the water before the race then warm up with stretch cords.

Full Iron Distance:

  1. 5 – 10 min easy swim with a few strong efforts towards the end.  Note: If you’re not able to get in the water before the race then warm up with stretch cords.

You’ll notice that there is no bike warm up because it’s hard to get a ride in before the race.  In addition it’s dark early morning which is not safe to ride the bike around unless you have a stationary trainer.  Besides the run will help warm up your biking legs so don’t stress out by needing to get a ride in.

Another important thing to note is to make sure you do the swim warm up last.  The race starts with the swim so you want your arms warmed up shortly before the race.  Ideally you want to finish the swim warm up 5 – 10 mins before the race. Sometimes this is not possible so it’s ok if you need to finish your warm up early.

If you do not have to time to get in a complete warm up then skip or shorten the run.  At least do some dynamic stretches and form drills to wake up the legs. In my opinion the highest priority is the swim during the warm up because you want to be comfortable and loose in the water before the race.  This is beneficial if you are on the fence of wearing a thermal cap or not. You can at least try it out in the water during your warm up.

I hope these warm up tips help!


The Physical and Mental Struggles of Injuries

July 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Tammy Shuler

This spring has been a rough one! My training for the Boston Marathon was going great, my speed was up, heart rate down. Then in mid February I woke up with a terrible pain in my upper back. I couldn’t roll over or push myself up with my arms. I thought it was just from sleeping wrong, except it didn’t go away. Weird thing was it stopped hurting when I would run or work out, but then it would come back with worse pain about 45 minutes later.  An MRI showed a bulging disc at C7 and after a medrol dose pack (steroids) it was GONE! I was assured it wouldn’t come back. So far so good. 

Then the night before the Melting Mann bike ride I was very anxious, more than the usual race nerves. I had nightmares, felt like I couldn’t breath. I decided something wasn’t right and didn’t go to the race. An hour before my wave start, I got the chills, had this little nagging cough and then a high fever that lasted 5 days.  I didn’t do anything for 6 days, because I didn’t have any energy. This for an older athlete is devastating. I had pneumonia.

I missed two long runs in my training. Even after I could run my heart rate would shoot to the 180’s when I would get fatigued. My longest run for the month before The Boston Marathon was 8 miles. I did still run Boston, but it was my slowest marathon ever. A new PR right!

Later this Spring I was still having pain and the doctors discovered I now have two torn hamstring tendons as well as two torn glut tendons.  It’s so hard to not get discouraged. It’s the frustration that this body that has always performed for me is not cooperating. It’s one thing to allow my physical body to repair, but the other challenge is mentally being able to deal with not competing or exercising like normal.

How do I deal with my injuries, my pain, and the sadness of not being able to do what I want to do?  I think I need to give myself permission to feel sad and acknowledge that mentally I need to care for myself.  Just because I can’t run doesn’t mean I need to stop everything and isolate myself. I’m not giving up!

What else can I do to be a part of my running community? Well I didn’t run in the local Borgess run, but I volunteered. It was wonderful celebrating others victories of crossing the finish line and handing out those medals.

Am I just going to sit on the couch because I can’t run? NO, I can still do other activities. I competed in the Grand Rapids Tri doing the Aquabike Category. I could swim and I could bike! I finished first in my age group.

I’m finding other ways to stay active and fit. Maintaining a daily practice of some type of exercising is essential to my mental and physical health.  I am slowly digging myself out of this dark hole I’ve found myself in.  It’s very humbling and yet amazing what your body can overcome. I’m focusing on the big picture of enjoying this life and knowing that in time my body will heal. It will take patience and perseverance. I plan to listen to my body and adapt my goals for whatever the future will hold.


Balancing Life as an Athletic Teen

June 26th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Jacob Florey

Balancing life, school, and training is not an easy task as a teenage. You need to have a healthy mindset and also a good group of people that you are friends with. It helps to have something healthy that you really enjoy doing too.

Sports is a good outlet to help deal with the stress of school. School can stress you out by the pressure of keeping your grades up, peer pressure or just trying to measure up to others expectations.

If you get involved in sports, the exercise really helps. I am on a swim team and when we practice we all enjoy each others company. I also compete in triathlons in the summer so I’m doing a bunch of different activities.

There are good and bad “stresses”. The good stress is the pre-competition jitters you get before you start your event. But once you start the competition you are focused and having fun.

The bad stress is when it doesn’t go away. You know it’s bad stress by not being able to focus, you have stomachaches, you are tired and irritable and you don’t have Fun! You are always trying to measure up to something or someone but never feel satisfied. You need to ask for help if you feel this kind of stress.

You need a past-time other than training. Whether it’s a group of people that you hang out with, or even going for a nice relaxing walk, gaming, or something as simple as sitting on the couch and watching a funny movie or television show. For me it is just skating around town with some friends. I enjoy being outside rather than being inside and the fresh air is just good for the body.

Another important part is to eat healthy and get enough sleep. These both fuel my body to keep me going and helps me to focus in school and sports.

Trying to find the happy balance of life, school and training is a challenge for anyone, but I think since I’m young it’s really hard to know when I’m trying to do too much. You need to make sure you have set priorities, create a system that works for you to manage your time, and be able to recognize your limits.


Flat Fix Basics

June 26th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Flat Tire Basics

Written by Ros Difalco

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a flat tire while out enjoying time on their bicycle. In reality, if you are going to ride regularly, it’s really more a matter of “when” not “if” when it comes to flatting. So, when you do get a flat, you have a few options. First, you can annoy your friends and family and get a ride back to your house. Second, you can walk (from experience, probably not a great option!). Third is your best shot: FIX THE FLAT WHILE ON THE ROAD!

Let’s go over the things you should carry while riding to fix most flats. There are different ways people carry the necessities, but here are my recommendations.

First, carry a saddlebag. Many people like to stash their change kits in their jersey pockets, but I prefer the saddlebag. If I have to stock my back pockets each ride I am likely to forget something or leave something out due to laziness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In your saddlebag you should carry a

  1. spare tube (the correct specifications to match your tire width, wheel diameter, and rim depth). I like to keep the spare tube wrapped up in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting holes while rubbing against tools.
  2. 1-2 tire levers. Not being able to get a tire on or off is extremely frustrating.
  3. C02 inflator (2 of these, just in case the first doesn’t go to plan).
  4. Multi-tool (though you don’t need it for the tire fix)
  5. Optional: There’s a new thing I have been adding to my saddlebags the last few years. A few brands make stickers to patch holes in tubes. DISCLAIMER: these should be used as a last resort if your spare tube is punctured or if you get a double flat (two flat tires in one ride).

Now let’s get on to your flat tire! In our hypothetical situation, you are riding down the road when you feel the tell tale squirmy/squishy ride characteristics of a flat tire. Now you might be tempted to keep riding but please don’t! Pull over somewhere off the road and check the tire for air pressure. You don’t want to damage your rim by riding with a flat tire.

Fixing a flat tire requires that you remove your wheel from the bike. Most bikes have a quick release axle, but if your bike doesn’t, make sure to carry the tools to remove your wheel. You also need to know how to open up brake pads on many bikes to get the tire to fit but we won’t cover that topic here due to the various types of brakes.

Now that your wheel is removed, you need to make sure the tube is fully deflated. This is good time to explain that most bikes have both a tire and a tube. The tube is what holds the air in the tire. The tube is what we want to replace/patch. To get to the tube we must remove the tire. Tires may be stuck to the rim via the bead.

Using your hands, push the tire to the center of the rim bed. Do this all the way around the rim. Getting the tire to the center will give you the space to get the tire over the lip of the rim. Once the tire is moved to the center of the rim, get your tire levers. Pry the tire over the rim. Only pry one side of the tire off of the rim. Now you should be able to remove the tube from the rim.

Next, look at the tube and see if you can determine what punctured it. You also want to GENTLY run your fingers in the inside of the tire to make sure there aren’t any thorns or objects stuck in it. If you install your new tube with a thorn in your tire you will instantly get another flat. Now, unwrap your tube and put the valve through the valve hole on the rim and lay the tube around the diameter of the tire. We now have to get the tire back on without puncturing the tube. With your hands, work the tire back on the rim until can no longer go further. At this point, get your tire levers back out. You need to pry the tire the rest of the way on the rim. BE SUPER CARFUL NOT TO PINCH THE TUBE WHILE DOING THIS!

Now that the tire is back on the rim, it’s time to inflate it and get riding again. Tighten the C02 on the inflator to break the seal. Make sure the valve on the tube is open and press the inflator firmly against the valve and release the compressed air. It will feel very cold but do not let off until the C02 is empty. Your tire should now be full of air! Make sure to tighten the valve on the tube. At this point you can put your wheel back on your bike and tighten up your axle.

Before closing, here are a few pieces of advice I would give to avoid getting flats in the first place. Use a quality tire that is up to the riding you are planning. I have made this mistake and the right tire makes all the difference. It’s also worth noting that when a tire gets worn out its puncture resistance is greatly reduced. Cheap tubes can be the cause of flat tires when the valve stem becomes unbounded from the rubber so decent tubes are important. If your bike setup allows it, going tubeless with sealant can offer a more trouble free ride as well. Whatever you decide to use, get familiar with your bike and be prepared for any flats you may encounter.


Toeing The Line

June 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Chelsey Jones

“When you recognize that failing doesn’t make you a failure, you give yourself permission to try all sorts of things.” – Lauren Fleshmen

It was 4 days before my event. Months of training, discipline, adequate rest and recovery, and all that went through my head was “No, thank you, I’d rather not
run hard. Easy sounds good. Do I really have to do this?”.  Despite all the proper training leading up to my race a voice in my head was there filled with what ifs and doubts. It was almost as though someone was going to have to pull me to the start line while I was kicking and screaming.

I have a coach (Michelle Dalton) who is fantastic, awesome, and challenges me to grow in many different ways.  When I contacted her about concerns with racing the event she
pretty much said because you don’t want to race it, I think you should.  You see, I struggle with this thing called pressure. Pressure to perform at my very best,
pressure to beat everyone around me, and pressure to have better results than I have in years past.  Pressure so intense I pretty much want to crawl in a hole and hide, or at least not race.  Give me friends and easy runs any day, but to put it all out there and see what I got, hmmmm, I dunno that’s a little different.

It took me a few days of thought and deliberation to decide that if I did not race it I would walk away wondering what I could of done. We are always going to
have voices in our head. Some of all the great things we can do, reminders of all our strengths, of everything we’ve worked for.  But we’re also going to have voices of doubt, wondering if we really can do it, and what if we fail. 

Each race I have competed in has taught me a lesson. Lessons about pacing and the importance of not going out to hard. Lessons about nutrition, what to do, and what definitely NOT to do. Lessons about mental toughness and how to push even when it feels like you can’t go on, but none of these lessons share the same importance as the lessons I learn leading up to a race. I have learned that when I line up at a race, or even a hard workout, it is not my performance that defines me. Failing, or not doing as well as I hoped for does not make me a failure. Far from it. Putting myself out there and giving it my best is what helps me to become a better athlete. Setting aside the competition and focusing on the joys of challenging myself and pushing myself right to that edge, just to see what I’m made of, that’s where I find growth.

I have been told many times that running is 10% physical and 90% mental. I have always thought about this during a race, but what if it’s not just while we are running that we are in that mental battlefield. Perhaps it’s the lessons we learn while in preparation that help us to grow into better athletes. I made it to the start line that day, focused on having fun and doing the best I can. Reminding myself that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about going out there and giving it my all, whatever that may be.


Flashback to my 2018 Ironman Louisville Race

June 10th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Brian Reynolds

This past weekend I went out for my 2nd outdoor ride in prep for the Tri race of the season.  When I grabbed my aero helmet for the ride I still had my race sticker from Ironman Louisville. While removing the sticker it brought back so many memories.  Here is a flashback to that race.

The Swim – 13:38 – The weather on race day was far from ideal.  The temps were in the high 40s to low 50s and it was raining all day.  The 67 deg water temp was going to be the warmest part of the race (with wet suits of course).  At the start I even had a coat over my wet suit to stay as warm as possible. A few minutes before the swim start the race announcer said that the currents in the Ohio river were too strong which meant the swim course would have to change.  The modified course just had us swimming down current .9 miles. I was disappointed that they had to shorten the swim since this is one of my strengths, but it was the right call.

The swim was a rolling start so I seeded myself in the top 20.  One by one we jumped off the boating dock to begin our Ironman journey.  We were given little information on the new course which made it a little challenging finding the swim buoys.  I could tell the currents were strong since the buoys were almost floating away. The swim went by quick since it only took me a little over 13 mins to finish.  The leaders were probably no more than 30 seconds ahead of me. When I got out the water I felt very fresh and warm.

T1 – 6:53 – This was probably the longest T1 transition of my career.  It was still raining when I got out of the water. I had to take a lot of time to dry off and put on 4 layers of clothes.  In addition, I also placed hand warmers in my gloves and toe warmers in my shoes. There were other athletes putting on layers of clothing so I didn’t feel the need to rush to make up time.  After changing, I ran to my bike with my bike shoes to help keep my feet dry.

The Bike – 5:09:38 – My goal for the bike was to keep warm and ride steady.  My legs felt great starting out and I passed a few riders within the first 20 mins.  The light rain and 50 deg temps continued during the ride. The 4 layers of clothes I had on kept me warm for the first 30 mins before I became soaking wet.  After that I was getting cold especially on the downhills because of the windchill at the faster speeds. In fact, I actually looked forward to the uphills because I was able to stay a little warmer.

The bike course was a lollipop route.  The first and last 10 miles of the course were flat. The lollipop loops were the toughest part of the course due to the hilly terrain.  When I began the first loop I was already having thoughts of wanting to drop out. There was a little voice in the back of my head that kept whispering “drop out and call it a day”.  I’ve never had these thoughts this early in the race. I’ve never been this cold and uncomfortable in a race which was the reason why I wanted to call it quits and get to a warm place.  However, it made me feel better when the male pro who won the race said afterwards that he thought about dropping out during the bike leg!

I just tried to tough it out and keep moving forward.  When I finished the first loop my split was 2:32 which was on pace for a 5:04 bike time.  When I started the 2nd loop there were a lot more athletes on the course. At one point along the course it got so congested that I had to slow down going up a hill. I lost all my momentum up the hill and I had to walk my bike because the hill was so steep.

It did stop raining halfway through the ride and I did feel slightly warmer.  The hand warmers inside my gloves stopped generating heat after 2 hours so my hands got cold which made it hard to grab bottles.  During the last two hours of the ride I could hardly squeeze any liquids out of my bottles  That said, I was looking forward to getting off the bike.

T2 – 6:45 – When entering transition my hands were too cold to even unlace my shoes when I dismounted off my bike.  It felt good to get off the bike and not have to deal with the cold windchill anymore. My legs felt stiff and heavy as I ran through transition which is typical for me during an Ironman.  In the changing tent I changed to a dry pair of socks but kept the same clothes I had on during the bike. I wanted to err on the side of being too warm for the run because I could always remove layers.

The Run – 3:13:34 – Starting off on the run my biggest concern was my left hamstring cramping up.  I took it easy for the first mile and gradually worked into the pace. I started off at a 7:30 ish pace and by mile two I was just under 7 min pace.  I got stronger as the run progressed. I felt great from miles 3 to 10 as I was running between 6:40 to 6:50 miles. As I approached the halfway point my energy levels were starting to drop off a bit.

At mile 12 I found out that I was in 3rd place in my age group and only 2 mins down from 2nd place.  This news gave me motivation because if I could finish in the top 2 I would get a Kona slot. When I got to mile 14 I was given the news that I was in 2nd place!  I was laser focused at this point to hold my position and not give up any time. However sometimes good things must come to an end. At mile 18 my left hamstring began cramping up every few minutes and my energy levels continued to drop.

For the last 8 miles I was forced to slow down and I was taking in as much nutrition as I could stomach.  My only goal at this point was to keep running and not walk. I knew the longer I kept running the better my chases were of holding my Kona slot.  When I got to the finish line I didn’t have a clue on my placement. Fortunately, I only got passed by one athlete and I managed to finish 3rd. I would have to wait until the next day to find out if I qualified for Kona.

The next day were the award ceremonies and the Kona roll down allocation.  I would find out that the top 3 in my age group got Kona slots which meant that I needed to plan a trip to Hawaii in October next year:)  This made it extra rewarding to have kept running during the final miles of the marathon because 4th place was only 2:20 minutes behind me.  I was thankful to cap off my 2018 triathlon season by not giving up on myself.  Perserverance was taking me to Kona!


Start’Em Young

May 20th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Dawn Hintz

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Emil Zatopek.

Or as I translate it “Run like a child”. When I watch children run I see joy. I see pure satisfaction racing to the imaginary finish line. I see them run with an unbridled passion whether it’s chasing a friend or to the edge of a lake ready to plunge in.

When my eldest son, Jacob, was 9 years old he wanted to compete in his first triathlon. He completed that day with a smile that didn’t end and a passion for a sport that has the chance to keep him healthy and active for life. When he was 12 I signed him up for Athletic Mentors Youth Triathlon Program. A 6-week program that took him beyond the fundamentals of the 3 disciplines; swim, bike and running.

The same 6-week program prepared kids as young as 9 for their very first triathlon. Some of who had very little experience swimming in a lake. They were guided through a mass swim start, exiting the water and making the transition to the bike. When they returned from the 6 mile bike, they were coached through the transition to the run. And boy did they run! Every one of them ran joyously to that finish line where they triumphantly received their medal.

The Youth Triathlon Program has continued to grow. This year will be the first year of two youth groups. The first group will be for very beginner triathletes and the second group will develop teenagers who are ready to go beyond the basic triathlon introduction. While both groups will be ran side by side; each program will be tailored to that group’s needs.

The beginners will spend more time on the fundamentals of each disciple. Each training session will include a workout but more time will be spent giving a solid introduction to each of the disciplines and answering necessary questions. Swim technique will be reviewed in a pool before venturing to the lake. Then they will be taught safe road biking and transitioning to running. It will all be brought together with a miniature triathlon practice and a race course preview before the big day.

More experienced youth triathletes will follow a similar schedule with more emphasis on vigorous training. They will be guided to new levels of athleticism. These children already know how to swim, bike and run. Now they will fine tune their technique in each discipline and learn how to peak for race day.

Both groups will race the Shermanator Triathlon on August 3rd, 2019.

If your child has an interest in triathlon, this is the program to give them the best start and a joyous finish!

Athletic Mentors Youth Triathlon Program

Click this link to signup for Shermanator Triathlon


Electronic Groupsets Review

May 16th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By: Jacob Dolecki

I’ve had the pleasure to work with all of the available electronic group sets out there available including: Shimano DI2, Sram Etap 11 TT, and Campagnolo EPS V4. All of the groupsets that I have tried have been for TT and triathlons only so my experiences are limited to only the views from that perspective and not from road cyclists.

Shimano

Shimano DI2 – Shimano DI2 is the first thing that you think of when you think “electronic groupset”. It by far has dominated electronic shifting for triathletes. It is cheap, clean, and intuitive. There are multiple settings that you can use: standard, semi-synchro, and full synchronized shifting. They all work as intended and it is fully up to the user for their preference. However, Shimano makes it more difficult to install due to the excess wiring and programming involved. If you decide that Shimano is your best bet, it is highly recommended to take it to your local bike shop. Because Shimano’s DI2 groupset is fully cabled, the weight is far beyond the other two electronic groupsets out there.

Full synchronized shifting – This is by far my favorite type that Shimano has out there. It gives the user the simplicity of a 1x groupset with the gearing of a 2x. To put it basically, it gives the system full control of your front shifts based on the selected rear gearing that you have. When you shift up or down in the rear cassette, the system will decide if you should be in the big or little chain ring to avoid cross-chain and to provide the smoothest cadence.

Standard shifting – Standard shifting is what you think shifting should be: you push your left button and it will move the front derailleur up and down into your different chain rings. The right button will shift the rear derailleur up and down depending on how many times you push the button. It is by far the most simple of the three functions that Shimano supplies.

Semi-syncho shifting – It is similar to fully syncho where the system places you into gearing. However, the key difference is that semi-syncho involves the rear derailleur shifting depending on your front derailleur choice. This setting is mostly around keeping your same cadence to which you supply the system via the E-Tube project App.

Pros: Cons:
Pricing Installation
Availability Weight
Custom-Ability
Battery Life
Ease of Use

Sram

Sram E-tap – Sram revolutionized electronic group sets by making their system fully wireless (for road cyclists that is) with each component having their individual battery. Installation can take as little as 10 minutes because there are no wires to feed through the frame. The only downfalls to Sram Etap is the price and the battery limit.

TT E-tap – Sram’s TT/Triathlon group set incorporates the ease of using E-taps fully wireless front and rear derailleur, and only adding cables for your shifting on your aero bars and brakes. The cables from these components goes to Sram’s BlipBox. The BlipBox is an amazing tool that can be used wirelessly as a temporary shifter when tuning up or installing the groupset. In addition, Sram made it possible to micro-adjust every individual shifting while you ride to make the shifting as crisp as possible. Compared to Shimano DI2 groupset, the shifting is on par, if not a hair better than their flagship Dura Ace. Because it is fully wireless, Sram’s electronic groupset weighs significantly less than its cabled counterparts. With the wireless function, Sram’s battery life is less than Shimano’s or Campagnolo’s. Its charge lasts about 500-600 miles depending on how much you shift. If you are training for a longer race, i.e. ironman or half, you will have to charge the batteries about every other week.

The main shifting is a little different than Shimano’s in that it only uses one button per component. If you want to shift on the front derailleur, you press both buttons at once. It takes some time to get used to, but is super convenient once you are comfortable.

Pros: Cons:
Installation Battery
Weight Price
Ease of Use
Shifting

Campagnolo

Campagnolo EPS V4: Campagnolo is the unicorn of the electronic shifting community. It is rare and hard to come by – even harder for triathletes. Campagnolo is on their third iteration of their electronic groupset. It made vast improvements over its V3 versions. Most notably, its capability to charge via the Bar End interface, 12 gears, and its Bluetooth/Garmin compatibility. Because it has cables similar to Shimano, its weight is a little heavier than Sram Etap. However, Campagnolo uses titanium and carbon fibre for its flagship Super Record components so the weight and stiffness is far superior to Shimano. However, its price range and excludability leaves most users behind.

Installation is similar to Shimano but the tuning is a lot easier because of the Campagnolo Mycampy app and micro-adjustment on the shifting levers. The shifting itself is by far the most crisp and precise shifting. It has never once missed a shift even during hard loads. Campagnolo makes the shifts known with an audible click so you know once you shift.  

Pros: Cons:
Shifting Hard to Find
Weight Price
Ease of Use

I hope this information is of value when you are considering your options for electronic groupsets.


Yes UCAN Recipes

May 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Kathy Braginton

Two years ago, prior to my first half distance triathlon, I began to utilize UCAN as my workout and race day fuel. UCAN is the only energy food powered by SuperStarch®, a patented ingredient that delivers steady energy without sugar or stimulants. UCAN has quickly become my supplement of choice in my drink bottle. I also love to change things up when it comes to my diet, so I went in search of creative ways to utilize UCAN as more than just a drink. After a quick Google search, I found several recipes to try.

My favorite recipe from http://www.generationucan.com is the Chocolate Almond Fudge cookies. After making a few modifications from the original recipe, I have found the taste similar to a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. I have used these cookies for pre, during, or post workout nutrition. They even make a good healthy snack.

Chocolate Almond Fudge Cookies (Kathy’s version)                        

  • 2 scoops Chocolate UCAN with Protein
  • ½ Cup almond butter
  • ½ Cup peanut butter
  • ¼ Cup oats
  • ½ Cup coconut oil
  • ½ Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix it all up. Add more or less of each ingredient, depending on your taste. Roll the mixture into small balls. Put in the freezer and let chill for several hours. Or, put in a baking dish, freeze and cut into small squares. These cookies are best kept in the freezer. Just let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes prior to eating.

In an attempt to utilize these cookies during a workout or a race, I have experimented with different methods of transport. Placing several cookies in a snack size ziploc bag, I put them in the back pocket of my bike jersey. Mid-ride, the cookies turned to mush and I had to squeeze them out of the corner of the ziploc like a goo or gel. While it serviced its purpose, it was a bit messy. However, the next method worked a bit better. I purchased a liquid ice pack that was divided into 1” individual sections and cut the pack down to size to fit in the snack box on my tri bike. I placed the snack size ziploc in the snack box on top of the ice pack. While this did not keep the cookies frozen, it did keep them from turning to mush. This is now my go-to nutrition on the bike during a half distance race.

My second favorite recipe from http://www.generationucan.com is the Mexican Riviera Smoothie. This is a very refreshing smoothie on a hot summer day. The original recipe called for peaches. Not being a very big fan of peaches, I have tried raspberries and cherries. Both of these are tasty substitutes.

Mexican Riviera Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Lemonade UCAN
  • 1 Cup frozen raspberries or cherries
  • ¼ Cup frozen pineapple.
  • 4 oz of orange juice

Blend all together in a blender.

This last recipe, recently found on http://www.jessrunsblessed.com, is 4 Ingredient UCAN Brownies. This has quickly turned into my favorite early morning, pre-swim fuel. I use these in place of the UCAN Snack bars. These brownies offer similar nutrition to the snack bars at a cheaper price and the taste is not bad!

4 Ingredient UCAN Brownies

  • 2 scoops Chocolate UCAN with Protein
  • 2 medium bananas (mashed well)
  • ¼ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ Cup peanut butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray large rectangle pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine 4 ingredients with a spatula. Use a mixer to mix until well mixed. It will be very thick. Spread into pan and flatten with spatula. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Optional ingredients: unsweetened shredded coconut, oats, or chopped almonds.

Find additional recipes on Facebook at Generation UCAN. Fuel good. Feel Good. UCAN!


Lessons from a Rough Workout

April 30th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Brian Reynolds

Fred Devito once said “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”. This has never felt so true until I was running in Florida during the Holidays last year.

My plan was a 90 minute training run. I felt ok the first 15 minutes but as my body heated up more and more things gradually got tougher. I was starting to feel the effects of the 80 degree weather. However, I did not want to swallow my pride by slowing down so instead I just tried to tough it out and run the same pace just like I would back in Michigan.

When I was 30 mins into the run I realized that the pace I was running was not going to be sustainable unless I wanted to run at a heart rate of 180 bpm which is a 5K effort for me. So I backed off my pace so I could finish the run.

At the 45 minute mark I had to stop for a water break and recollect myself. I rarely stop for a drink break however, today was an exception. When I started running again I told myself to not worry about pace and just focus on keeping my heart rate at an aerobic threshold. Switching my focus from pace to heart rate gave me something tangible to target.

Unfortunately the run did not get any easier. After taking another water break at the hour mark I was able to finish the run. I still recall my legs and body feeling like dead weight after that run even though I was running a really easy pace. I was use to the 30 degree weather that I left in Michigan, the sun and heat sucked the energy right out of me.  

There were a lot of good lessons that I took away from this tough run. I had to accept the fact that I was not going to run at my usual pace due to the conditions. This run was a workout for my mental game because I had to change my expectations during the run and focus on perceived exertion and heart rate which I normal don’t pay attention to during training. This kind of workout is great preparation for a race with non-ideal weather conditions.

I now look at these tough training days as a opportunity to become a stronger competitor. Imagine never dealing with adversity in training and then you go into your next race having to face terrible weather conditions, a tough course, etc. By not having rough workouts you could be missing out on valuable experiences and lessons that could make you a better athlete.

As they say you will learn more from a bad workout than you will from a good workout. The key is to learn and apply those lessons in your training. My lessons that day were to practice patience and run to effort rather than pace.

 



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