Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Back Home After a Week in Boulder with Siri & Rinny

2015 Triathlon Research Camp Boulder

Wow was that an experience!!

There are words I could use to explain it.  I've used plenty in the 7 posts I've made so far.  However, they all fall quite short.  Five days learning and working with some of the best in the sport alongside over 50 other athletes and Tri Research staff who are just as passionate as you are.  I certainly remember summer camp as a kid quite fondly.  This camp is on a whole different level!

However, while the trip was an absolute blast, there is an important question looming over everyone's head.  Did camp serve it's purpose.

What did I learn from camp?
What did I take away and implement into my training?
Has my racing/training benefited from going to camp?

I will be the first to tell you that I am super excited to answer these questions.  I am a scientist by training, so the notebooks, spreadsheets, and the piles of notes in my head have come together in the week post-camp to make a few changes I think show some great potential.  Many items will take much longer to show benefits for, but I think there is plenty RIGHT NOW to say that Yes, my training and racing have benefited from the Triathlon Research Camp.

It might take days just to sort through everything I learned at camp, let alone the time sit down and digest it all so that I can portray it in an orderly fashion.  Instead, let me go over the things that I've already started using in my training and racing.  I'll start at the beginning of the race, the swim.


Going into camp, I had been frustrated with my lack of progress in the swim.  I'm an ex-competitive swimmer, so I know the time gains I make are going to be small, but not much had happened since starting back in the pool this past winter.  Eney gave me more to work on, namely catch form and my cadence as well as confirming my notion of how to adjust my swim training volume given my background.  Since camp, I have been very mindful of my stroke cadence in the pool - when it is low, when is it high, and how does it change my mechanics.

I also got some words of advice from Rafael Gonclaves and Mirinda Carfrae concerning keeping your mind focused while in open water.  I had my first open water swim recently.  I went in with a few cues in mind and the time went by incredibly quick!  I will absolutely be taking those with me on race day!  Thanks guys!


First and foremost, Ivan O'Gorman is brilliant!


Endearingly mad, but brilliant.

My bike fit has been great.  I admit that I am considering tilting the nose of my seat down a tad because I'm going numb, but otherwise, the fit feels great.  I have 1 more hour in the saddle before I make my first of two prescribed post-fit adjustments.  I am excited about how much the fit will help me gain both aerodynamics and power.

I raced the Ten Penny Ale Shamrock Duathlon recently and Ivan's suggestion for head position and a lower profile worked without a hitch.  I was comfortable and without a doubt less of an obstacle to the wind.

I had a trainer ride shortly after the race as well.  If you didn't know, I use a program called Trainer Road to give me power data.  I am finding that I am not only more comfortable in the aero position, but am cranking out greater power than when I'm upright.  And all it took was a slight change in position.

Ivan, you are the man!

Aside from the fit, I took a lot of notes on various aspects of the bike from Ivan, Frank of Power Cranks, and Seton from  I've since cleaned up my bike by removing some of the excess "baggage," am looking into a few new parts to increase the efficiency of the drivetrain, and am experimenting with a new tire and tire pressure.  I bet not a single one of you are at the proper tire pressure.  I sure wasn't!!  Not even close! 

Lastly, I walked away from camp with my head spinning from all the talk of swim, bike, and run cadence.  In my one-on-one with Siri, she explained how to test bike cadence and find which works best for me.  These were tests that she did with Rinny going into the 70.3 at Quassy and guess what my first A-race of the year is.  QUASSY!  I've repeated forms of the test three times already (two on the trainer and one on the Quassy course) and I was quite amazed with the results.  I discussed it with my coach and we are quite excited to see how my cycling changes in the next few months.

Such a small thing,
but it is making a HUGE impact!


I've got some well ingrained habits to change here!  Bobby gave me some pointers about my form and showed me how changing them will improve my speed and efficiency.  For a scientist, I LOVED how much he used physics and mechanics to show us WHY these changes would help.  I have three main focuses for my form and while it is hard to keep track of all three at a time while running, it not only gives me something to do on my training runs and races, but as soon as I alter them, my speed picks up without trying.  How can you argue with that??

Instant speed!

Bobby also gave us a number of warm up movements, drills, and exercises.  A couple are already in regular use in an attempt to even out the impact pressure in my feet as they hit the ground, which RPM2 was able to show me while at camp, as well as alter my cadence.  I get an odd look now and then, but who cares!  At the duathlon race, I got the compliment that made it all worth it.

Your run looks like Mirinda Carfrae!

Bobby, if you can make me run like Mirinda, I don't even know what I'll owe you!  I might look that way at the beginning of a race (I doubt even that), but there's no way I'm looking the same at mile 20 of Kona!  Haha


I took a lot of ideas and thoughts away from Charlotte's talk on nutrition.  Many of her points solidified the way I had thought of things, but some have given me a new way of thinking about my position on certain approaches.  There is also a lot more that I admit I have yet to implement.  One requires a stop to GNC that I haven't been able to make yet.  As someone who generally stands against supplements, that trip is going to break the mold.  I will soon though.  Promise!

I have, however, altered my pre-race nutrition plan and am excited to put it to use in leading into my next race.  The race day nutrition held up to her feedback, so there was no change there.  Nutrition had always been the discipline that I couldn't get my head wrapped around.  This year, I swear I'm going to at least get within striking distance thanks to Charlotte.


Rally Sport Boulder's owner, Erin Carson, gave us so much to think about that I haven't even processed it all yet.  She even gave us a handout on which I made plenty of notes.  Her and I could get along very well.  Organized!!

What I have done so far is alter the timing of my strength workouts so as to compliment my training as opposed to deter from it and I have felt better during my recovery, as she suggested it would.  I feel better post long-ride/run in a much shorter amount of time with the new structure.  The reasoning seemed counterintuitive at first, but she had great ways of explaining the parts you wouldn't think about.  At the end of the day, whether you know why or not, it's working.  That's all I need to know to stick with it.

I plan on purchasing the ECFit Boulder strength program as well, which will take over altering my strength workouts for me. 


And of course, I've put the camp swag through a lot of use already!

GU Bottles for hydration & Rally Sport mug for morning tea

Getting around with the New Balance 1500s

TYR bag organizing my swim gear!


I've already been in contact with California, Miami, Colorado, Arizona, and even the UK and Guatemala!  There's no doubt that I've got some new friends for life!

Green Squad!!


Looking Ahead...

We've still got videos and more pictures coming along with more of the material sinking in and taking root.  Many of us are just hitting the start to our season as well.  I don't doubt we will be seeing some big improvements this summer! 

If you have any question of whether the Triathlon Research camp can help you, the answer is yes!  You could be looking to do your first race or your 100th, competing as a back-of-the-pack age grouper or shooting for pro and they will give you the tools to move you forward. 

Best Vacation Ever!


1.  What has been your favorite vacation ever?

2.  Is there anything about your swim, bike, run, nutrition, or strength that you know you need to work on?
Plenty!  The more I realize I need to change, the more other potential issues come to light. 

3.  Have you made cross-country or international friends through Triathlon or any sport?
It's a great feeling knowing that through this sport, we are all interconnected. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Triathlon Research Boulder Camp Day #5

It is currently 1 pm on Sunday, May 10th and I am sad to say that all we have left is a flight home.  It has been an amazing week here learning from and training with the great athletes and coaches/professionals that are here.  This will be an experience to remember for many many many years.

But before I get all sappy, I've got Day #4 to recap.  Let's get to it!

I was up at even a later time in the morning thanks to my body shifting to the time zone and activity.  One great thing about this camp is the behind the scenes people and the reason we look so good in the pictures we're seeing is due to this amazing guy; Paul Phillips!  He has seen so many amazing races, the pros know him by name like they were drinking buddies, and he fit right in here in Boulder with us.

Paul Phillips & me
The green squad made a pit stop on our way to Rally Sport.  Some of us needed a boost. 

The weather called for rain most of the day, which was hindering our plans for outdoor activities, but it wasn't raining yet, so I took advantage of it to capture another 100 photos of the mountains.

Once we got to Rally Sport, we grabbed some squad photos and hung out with the camp staff and members.

Charlotte Saunders & me

Mirinda and the group

After photographic proof of our presence was established, we headed over to the bike storage area.  We had planned on heading out to do a race preparation talk, some transition work, and an open water swim.  Unfortunately, the weather was not going to cooperate (plus the water temp was 58 degrees), so we stayed in and made the most of what we had.  Honestly, you could have told us that this was what we had planned and it would have been fine!

Me & Mirinda

Siri and Rinny did a talk as well as Q&A about preparing for a race.  We got some great advice and some even better stories!  Remember that even the pros are just as much human as we are.  They have those "DUH!" moments too. 

Transition time!  We went over some basics on how to set up, go through, and think about your transitions, both T1 and T2.  Then we had four of the athletes go through their transitions for time, alter some things, and give it another try.  Not only was it informative, but it was just plain FUN!

The Transition Games with Siri & Rinny

Transition Run #1
After some discussion of each of our approaches, the benefits/downsides, and suggestions, we set things back up and went again!

At this point, it was around 9 am and due to the rain, we weren't getting out for our bike ride.  Therefore, we had two options.  Siri was going to write up a bike workout and have us workout in the spin studio.  Rinny was going to take people out for a run.  It was a hard choice, but I went for the run.

We also chatted about Bobby McGee's drills and warm ups.  We put some of them to use to get ready for our run.  There's no time like the present to put the information to use.

Rinny giving us general directions/instructions

Headed off on the beautiful and rainy bike trail

The rain had overflowed the streams and covered the bike trail. 

It got so bad eventually, that we bailed on the bike trail and took the roads.  

Rerouting our run away from overflowing streams

We did end up back on the trail down the road.

Along the way, I couldn't help but stop to take in the beauty!  I could never again go to the beach and be perfectly happy here with the mountains. 

Ben running around Boulder

My GOD this state is beautiful!!

Ben and I got back after getting only slightly lost and found that the group had taken a picture.  Maybe we can get photoshopped in.  Is anyone a photo editor?

We made up for it by heading back out with one of the Triathlon Research staff members for another run.  In total, we got 11 to 12 miles in.  The effort perception was off due to the difficulty breathing contrasted to how good my legs felt.  I couldn't tell which to follow.  I felt like we were doing 7:30s and up comes Rinny saying that she had to really push to catch us.  REALLY?!  And then Ben told me we were at just over 6/mile.  Haha 

Just go run.  Figure it out later.

For those who did not go for a run, they could relax or head to the spin studio and go through a workout thanks to Siri.  From what I heard, she kicked their BUTT!

And again, GU was EVERYWHERE!! 

Before we hit up lunch, we took part of the strength work from Erin Carson and put it to work by testing out how tight our frontal plane was and attempting to open it up. 

There were also some shenanigans!

Great friends were made by all!

Lunch was great because we (or at least I) was/were starving!  Unfortunately, lunch came right before we headed to the pool for our final workout.  We ate, took some more squad photos and a large group photo, and Eney Jones put us to work.  We had some help as well from some ladies you might know.  ...Wendy Ingram and Julie Dibens?  Do those names ring a bell? 

We did a set of 25s with quick sprints, settling into a strong speed.  Then we did a steady 1300, tested out a retention cable which was awesome, and finally worked on some drafting.

Swimming like a Flying V; on the hip to catch a draft

With that, the physical part of camp was over.  We headed back to the hotel pretty tired, rested up, cleaned up, and headed back out a few hours later for the celebration dinner at Spyder. 

In pure rockstar style, the Green Squad, also known as Sexy Squad, also known as Spreadsheet Squad got to ride in....

A School Bus!

It's like the first day of school!

The celebration was great!  All the athletes, the Triathlon Research staff, and most of the camp coaches came over to hang out, eat, and be merry one last evening before we headed home.   There were snacks and food while we hung out and caught up with everyone. 


Then we had a talk with Siri Lindley and Mirinda Carfrae which was broadcast live by Triathlon Research.  They talked about what happened at the camp, what Mirinda & Siri thought of the camp and the athletes, and the potential that camps like it offer to athletes.  I won't lie.  It was a bit emotional. 

Whenever Siri goes into one of her meaningful and empowering talks, it is quite hard to hold back a tear of agreement due to the emotional connection we all have with our goals and passion for the sport.

After the talk, they put up a slideshow of the photos from Paul Phillips up on the screen to watch.  This guy really knows how to take a photo! 

During that time, Mirinda was signing photos for athletes.  You can bet that I got one myself and had everyone sign it.  I'll show you what it looks like once I get it up on my wall.  There was also a bit of entertainment from various pros and coaches signing a few people's heads.  Hilarious!


Now the fun part of the evening.  The raffle!!  They gave away a pair of Normatec boots, three pairs of Oakleys, Yurbuds, GU packages, poster photos from Paul Phillips, and plenty of other things. 

After another hour or so of hanging out, it was time to head out.  As we walked out, it turned out that the weather forecast was correct.  She got SNOW!!

Snow in Colorado on May 9th, 2015
It felt like December had only just arrived!  Crazy weather.  All this coming week will be warm and sunny as well.  Of course!!

On the way back, contact info was exchanged, memories were shared, and life long friendships were solidified.  Just like summer camp when you were a kid, it felt like we had all just arrived yesterday, like we had only been there for a single day, but like we had known each other for years.  These people will remain friends for a LONG time and I am super excited to share in their future careers.


1.  Did you ever go to summer camp?

2.  Does thinking about your dreams make you shed a tear?

3.  Who wants to move to Colorado with me??