Articles by Clay Gasway

The 2016 Olympics triathlon race will be remembered for Alistair Brownlee’s 2nd Gold Medal and a Brownlee Brothers 1,2 finish.  Major injuries to Richard Murray (collarbone) and Javier Gomez Noya (elbow) will be quickly forgotten along with the fact that this course was a perfect setup for another Brownlee romp.  Anyone who watches ITU racing will tell you that one thing the Brownlee brothers do better than most is suffer.  Eight laps of that hilly Rio bike course was going to require lots of suffering.  Not to mention a run completely out in the midday sun with no shade in sight.  One look at Alistair’s blue lips at Thursday’s finish line tells the story of an athlete that can coax every last molecule of oxygen from his system.  Strolling across the line 6 seconds ahead of his younger brother Jonathan, we got to witness an Olympic distance machine at home in his preferred environment.  It was an amazing sight.

     Now the future calls.  Alistair (28) and Jonny (26) have some big decisions to make.  Nothing is stopping them from sticking around the ITU circuit and prepping for another medal run in Tokyo 2020.  However, a switch to long course could be very tempting for the lads from Leeds.  In fact, several short course stars could be making the switch in the very near future.  Geez could you imagine Murray or Mola running guys down on the marathon course?  The one thing they have most certainly noticed during the last two Olympic cycles?  That would be Jan Frodeno tearing up the 70.3 and 140.6 world championships and Javi Gomez snatching the 2014 70.3 world championship weeks after picking up another ITU crown.  Endorsement dollars and celebrity don’t really seem to drive these two.  Nope, these boys race with a chip on their shoulders and there has been plenty of press questioning whether the two brothers, especially Alistair with his tip toe running style, could make the transition to long course supremacy. 

So, what do you opinionated TRS readers think?  Would Alistair be a formidable long course athlete?  Could Jonny slip out of his older brothers shadow to dominate Kona?  Maybe they should stick with what they do best?  So vote in the poll and argue in the forum!!!  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!

 

Articles by Clay Gasway

This is starting to become too routine.  Just part of our sport.  You go out for a ride, either a race or in training, and you run the risk of being run over.  We have seen several posts on the forum talking about giving up road riding for training all together.  100% indoor training year round?  Seems a bit excessive to me, but the stakes couldn’t be higher, so extreme risk leads to extreme caution.  What about races?  Only closed courses from now on?  Do we as triathletes start insisting on more protection from our race directors?  Any activity can lead to injury or death.  So, what we are talking about is our appetite for risk.  Some activities are naturally more risky than others.  So what percentage of risk are we willing to accept, can it even be quantified?  I’m not sure.  I mean some people willingly jump out of perfectly functioning airplanes, for fun!  Their appetite for risk and mine are not the same.

If you are new to road cycling, or if you need a refresher, check out this video that gives some great tips for sharing the road.

So head on over to the forum and vote in the poll!!!  Are you considering indoor cycling training because of all these accidents and fatalities?  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!

 

 

Articles by Clay Gasway

I type this weeks missive while nursing freshly mangled feet.  So keep in mind that usually I am a proponent for going barefoot whenever possible, however, I may need to rethink my stance on sockless Olympic races.  Last Sunday’s Oly race had gone pretty much according to plan.  My normal average swim, followed by a solid bike, and finished off with a miserable run.  It may not sound like a winning strategy, but it’s my normal, and I’ve learned to embrace it!  The one big problem?  My feet.  They look like I’ve undergone a round of torture. That’s right, torture, from the Latin tortus, “twisted”.  Ugly, beat up, scabbed, and blistered.  Horrifying when viewed in daylight.  I even wear socks to bed, so as not to scare my dogs. 

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I wish my feet looked this good.

The Olympic distance seems to be the biggest culprit.  Also, the bike seems innocent in all of this mangling.  Running is the problem.  Sprints are just short enough, usually 3 or 4 miles, that I don’t get more than maybe one small blister.  Long course doesn’t usually cause a problem because I wear socks.  So what is a guy to do?  Probably bite the bullet and take the time to put on socks, but what about you?  Any tips or tricks to prevent this carnage?  Maybe I’m overlooking a potential solution.  Perhaps socks aren’t the only cure available.

Check out this video by Jimmy Riccitello, Ironman’s Head Referee.  He makes it look really easy.  Of course, he didn’t just finish a 1500 meter swim in a canal filled with broken beer bottles and goose shit, but hey it would be hard to concentrate with his kids trying to help.

So, stop by the forum, vote on the poll and help me out!  Let me know any way I can possibly avoid this horrible pain while still preserving my stunning 2:33 Olympic distance speed.  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!

Also, Mr. Webstey, commenting that you could put on socks and still have enough time to bake a frozen pizza in 2:33 is not a helpful answer.  Love, KOAP.

 

Articles by Clay Gasway

Greetings fellow triathletes!  This weeks poll is being used for my own personal selfish purpose.  With Ben Hobbs busy pulling a camper and Aaron Webstey super busy fulfilling his CEO duties (and apparently teaching gray hairs how to swim), there just isn’t anyone around TRS headquarters to supervise me.  This is a very dangerous thing.  Mr. Webstey has personally talked me out of several misguided poll questions.  These include, but are not limited to, anal cavity search vs. sockless marathon, bestiality vs. aquabike, and a really messed up game of Marry/Screw/Kill where Paulo Sousa was the correct answer for all 3.  What can I say, our CEO is a wise man and is very kind, almost stepfather like, to his employees.

So, what is this selfish poll question?  Pretty simple.  I am considering signing up for a destination race next season and I am using our readership to point me in the right direction.  Please keep in mind that I am not a seasoned traveler and I do have Boo Boo (my love) to keep happy.  I’m going to try to squeeze it down to just a few poll options, but if you have an argument for another location that I have forgotten, please speak up on the forum.  Also, yes I like to race long course, but if there is an Olympic or sprint race that you want to recommend, have at it!

Some Options:

Continental USA

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Let’s face it.  I am only a 10 hour drive or a very short plane trip to just about every fun triathlon destination race in the good ‘ol USA.  Also, these options would be the cheapest, travel wise, and would allow for more time spent at the destination and less time getting there.  Another bonus, not much in the way of time change.  Oh, and keep in mind that I only speak English and some really basic Spanish.

Canada/Hawaii/Mexico/Caribbean

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These may sound like completely different choices, but when it comes to travel, there really isn’t much difference.  More than likely it’s a 2 to 6 hour flight, similar time zones, and not much in the way of language barriers.  Plus, my favorite Tri trip of all time (so far) was Mont Tremblant in Quebec.  Beautiful scenery, great food, and fantastic race!

South America

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You are really going to have to do some convincing to talk me into this.  Maybe it’s just all the negative publicity leading into Rio, but as much as I am intrigued by the cultures/food/scenery, I just keep picturing myself swimming in a toilet bowl.  #sworry

Europe/Mediterranean

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I’ve done some travelling in England/Scotland, but have never been to any other countries.  Definitely interested in Spain/Portugal and the Spanish Island races like Mallorca or Lanzarote.  Also, Germany is very intriguing because, you know, they actually give a shit about triathlon.  Which would be a unique experience.  Plus I have a strong love of sauerkraut and spicy mustard.  This is probably the area I am leaning towards the most, so try to talk me out of it! 

 

Articles by Clay Gasway

     Last weekend I did something I have never done before.   I attended an Ironman Race as a fan.  No racing for me this time, though the Racine, Wisconsin venue will certainly get a long look for next years schedule.  Still it was tons of fun.  Besides eating way too much Wisconsin cheese, I was also treated to some amazing racing.  The women were flying and Lauren Barnett pulled out the win with a 1:22:40 half marathon.  Just edging out Sarah Piampiano and Sarah Haskins.  I’m not going to hide that I am an unabashed Lionel Sanders fan boy.  The hope was to see Lionel win his 10th 70.3 race in a row.  That’s right, since his 3rd place finish at the 2015 Oceanside race (behind Jan Frodeno and Andy Potts), he has been unstoppable at this distance.  Well it was not meant to be.  Even after downright nasty weather turned the event into a 31 mile bike and 13.1 mile run duathlon, a format that should have favored the best run/biker on the pro circuit.  Mr. Sanders struggled with stomach issues during the half marathon and was overtaken by a hard charging Matt “shark robot” Chrabot and ended up finishing a close 2nd.  This is a problem that he has dealt with in the past (2015 Ironman Arizona) and I’m sure hopes to remedy in the future.  (Just a tip Lionel, don’t eat Olive Garden the night before a race)

Me showing Lionel the proper form when plugging a spastic colon.

Me showing Lionel the proper form when plugging a spastic colon.

     Now, here comes my query.  Since this was a shortened event and not a true 70.3, is Lionel’s streak still alive?  So jump on the forum and vote on the poll!!!  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!! 

Bonus Content

(From Left, Becky Sanders, Becky Kerr) Big Props to Becky Sanders, Lionels Mom, who qualified for 70.3 Worlds with her 2nd place AG finish

(From Left, Becky Sanders, Becky Kerr)
Big Props to Becky Sanders, Lionel’s Mom, who qualified for 70.3 Worlds with her 2nd place AG finish

Tim Don's Shiv was blown off the Transition Rack during the storm.

Tim Don’s Shiv was blown off the Transition Rack during the storm.

Starky made an appearance and told all the other pros, welcome to the Midwest!

Starky made an appearance and told all the other pros, welcome to the Midwest!

Starky, Alex Vanderlinden, and Taylor Reid checking the radar on their phones.

Starky, Alex Vanderlinden, and Taylor Reid checking the radar on their phones.

Interesting tidbit: Winner Matt Chrabot eats white rice with jelly for his race day breakfast.

TRS Racing’s own Mitch Brekke finished 56th overall. (Plus a smoking fast 26.2 mph avg on the bike.) 

Articles by Clay Gasway

Feeling special are we?  I know I do.  After all, I exercise all the time, I’m taking care of myself and my body.  Doing special things in a special sport, surrounded by special people.  I have special equipment.  I use special nutrition and special clothing.  Lemmings says I.  Fucking lemmings.

Seriously watch the video above.  If you have heard the story of lemmings diving off cliffs into the sea, then brace yourself for the truth.  These lemmings weren’t marching into the Arctic Sea in droves.  They were being dumped out of a truck and down a cliff.  Why?  Because the filmmakers wanted to perpetuate a myth and they didn’t care how many little furry animals they hurt in the process.  The video takes on a different tone after knowing the truth, doesn’t it?  Triathlon, trail running, marathons, obstacle races, ultras.  Pay the fee, do the race, get the t-shirt and the medal.  Immediately post to Facebook and Twitter.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

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It’s a weird age we live in.  For most of us, life is way too easy.  We’ve tamed all the wild beasts.  Our homes have air conditioning and indoor plumbing.  Refrigerators and freezers keep massive amounts of food at our disposal, ready to be consumed at our leisure.  Our life expectancy is ridiculously long.  Maybe that’s why we are drawn to these “challenges”.  Maybe it’s a need to belong to a subculture.  Maybe it’s just a primordial itch that we have to scratch.  Now, i’m not so sure why we also have to scratch that itch while wearing compression socks, but hey I’m still all for the scratching.  So where am I going with all of this? 

It’s a simple idea and one that I hope other TRS Triathlon peeps will embrace.  If you do it, love it.  If you don’t love it, then don’t do it.  I know this is going to sound weird, but if you don’t want to do an Ironman, then don’t.  If you would rather sign up for Duathlons because you hate swimming, then for the love of Ben Hobbs, do the DU!  Don’t like to run, do the Aquabike.  Hate running on pavement, head for the trails.  Don’t really get any enjoyment out of exercising, then STOP!  Time is too precious to waste.  Don’t sign up for something that you don’t want to do.  Don’t feel forced into a situation that you don’t want to be in. 

So what do you think?  Vote in the poll and chat on the forum.  What is the most “lemming” thing we do in Triathlon?  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!

 

 

photo credit: Dare Devil Diving via photopin (license)

Articles by Clay Gasway

I’m curious.  How did you get here?  One day you are a normal person treating your body like you have a spare and then suddenly here you are, reading a Triathlon website when you should be working on those darn TPS reports.  You suddenly care about your FTP and Lactate Threshold.  You may be wearing compression socks under your work clothes.  What has this journey been like?  What was your trigger?  What brought you to triathlon’s doorstep? 

Hemingway wrote, “I suppose if a man has something once, always something of it remains.”  It’s a phrase of lament.  What used to be.  A prior polish rubbed off over time.  Mr. Hemingway used it in reference to lost bravery.  Still it is hopeful.  After all, somewhere, deep down, that shiny heroism remains.  Just waiting for an opportunity to push through to the surface.  To be what once was, again. 

This weeks little article isn’t necessarily aimed at you young pups.  It’s probably going to hit home more for our older readership.  You probably need to be over 30 to really have felt this decay.  It happens to us all.  One day we are young and vibrant and invincible.  Before we know it that polish has rubbed off.  We are more seasoned.  Not quite as quick and that feeling of invincibility has eroded.  But don’t let the wrinkles and swollen tummy fool ya, we are still brave, still capable.  Our fast may not be the same as it was when we were a teenager, but the feeling that going fast produces is even more sweet.  More rewarding.

Life is a funny muddled mess.  Personally, I was never an elite at anything.  My fast was never FAST.  Still, I enjoyed sports as a younger man and even had varying levels of success.  High School was full of blue ribbons and gold medals, but strictly on a local level.  I enjoyed being a big (ok medium) sized fish in a small pond.  My hero’s were Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Bob Kennedy, and Carl Lewis.  I dreamt of the Olympics and Kona.  They both seemed equally magnificent and equally unattainable to me.  Still I tried my best.  Challenged myself.  Improved.  Earned a scholarship.  Then I went to college (a small NAIA school in Indiana) and witnessed a Kenyan run for the first time.  Impossibly thin legs, high calves.  Arms held high swinging back and forth with the rhythm of a metronome.  Effortless.  My dreams were crushed.  Even though I could never properly put what I had just witnessed into words, I came to one immediate and crushing realization.  I would never be that good at anything in my life. So those dreams of athletic glory were replaced with more earthly, attainable goals.  I graduated, got a job, got married, had kids, got divorced, drank too much, got married again, drank more, and got divorced again.  To be honest, the drinking was the only thing I really excelled at during this time.  Life was woefully incomplete.  Something was missing.  I was 36 years old and out of shape.  I would get out of breath walking up stairs.  Then a thought came to me out of nowhere.  I’m tired of this life.  It’s not what I want.  It’s never what I wanted.  So began my second life as an athlete.  Much slower than before.  My running weight was 135-140 lbs. when I was younger.  At 36 I weighed over 220 lbs.  Now I am 42 and that “something” that once was has definitely remained. 

So enough about me, what about you?  What brought you back to athletics?  Did you ever leave?  Did you have prior Triathlon experience or is this your first time in the sport?  Has this sport helped you overcome something bad in your life?  Vote in the poll and discuss in the forum!!!  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!

 

photo credit: Berlin via photopin (license)

Articles by Clay Gasway

This last weekend brought an end to my finishers streak at almost 2 years.  The last time I was unable to finish the required distance was at a Choc-O-Holic Frolic 10k race.  (No Dark Mark, this does not count the swim workout at tri camp, I had a calf cramp)  Unfortunately, I just melted in the heat and started getting sick about 2 miles into the run at the Cutting Edge Classic 70.3.  Not a shocking development, after all almost 40% of the events competitors took the dreaded DNF.  Still, it has left a bad taste in my mouth because I was already a little annoyed with the event.  It’s not their fault.  The organizers put on a fine day of racing and of course they can’t help it that the heat index was 102.  You know what really annoyed me about this race.  Everything was 2 loops!!!  I mean EVERYTHING!!!  All three disciplines!!!  Now to some of you this isn’t a big deal, maybe it’s even preferred, but for me nothing bums me out like getting super close to transition only to head back out for one more trip around a loop that I really didn’t enjoy that much the first time. 

So here is my question for you, my loyal TRS Triathlon reader, what kind of course do you look for before deciding to sign up for a race?

One more loop, YAY!!!!

One more loop, YAY!!!!

 

Last Sunday after swimming the first loop and then running down the beach screaming my number at some dude with a clipboard, I spent the second swim loop thinking about why I sign up for certain races.  I only have so many free weekends a year and I shouldn’t mess around with signing up for a race if it doesn’t really inspire me to race.

Up until now, I really hadn’t put much thought into this.  Usually I choose a race based on how many of my friends are competing.  I mean it’s just more fun when you have a bigger group hanging out at a race venue.  I’ve also been guilty of choosing a race because of it’s location, like Louisville this October.  I wanted to do another 140.6 this year and didn’t want to travel very far.  Well Louisville fits the bill at just under 2 hours away.  I’ve chosen races because of currency considerations.  Seriously, Mont Tremblant was super cheap last year because of the US/Canadian currency exchange rate.  I’ve chosen races because of friends recommendations.  However, I officially will warn you that if your friend says a course is “flat and fast” please for the love of Webstey, please don’t sign up for that race.  The only thing that will be flat for a “flat and fast” race will be the swim.  It’s a trick, RUN AWAY!!!

Flat and Fast huh?

Flat and Fast huh?

From now on, I really plan on putting more time into researching a race courses pro’s and con’s.  Some reasonable considerations for me are probably a one loop swim.  I also like bike courses that are one loop.  Preferably with decent scenery and closed to local vehicle traffic.  Not every road can be perfect asphalt, but I would like to stay away from chip n seal or tons of potholes.  After all, I don’t like changing flats.  I’m not sure why I even carry a flat kit, I certainly don’t want to use it.  How about the run course, maybe two loops is ok, but I once again prefer a closed course.  Paths or trail system races always seem to make me happy.  Wow, way to go Clay, way to follow up Ian King’s article about off road tri with this whine fest!  Gosh I’m a delicate little flower aren’t I?  Seriously, vote on the poll and go to the forum!  Rant and rave about certain races you love, or ones you hate.  Tell me to HTFU and sign up for an Xterra race.  Tell me which race you think I should sign up for.  Hell tell me a recipe for your favorite cookies, just make some posts and make me feel better for being a quitter.  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!! 

When signing up for a race, i’m looking for this kind of course.

 

Articles by Clay Gasway

I’m a little too excited about this weeks topic.  That’s right!  We are talking about one of the most liberating experiences in all of triathlon.  Getting to piss yourself while riding a bike!  Woo Hoo!  Sure urinating on oneself can occur during any portion of a triathlon.  In fact, I would argue it’s almost a requirement prior to the swim start. (Or during the swim if it’s longer than 500 meters)   A well timed thunderstorm (IMTX) can make it a little less embarrassing during the run.  I don’t know, maybe you even like to piss yourself in T1 or T2.  Now if you like golden showers in T3, you’ve come to the wrong place.  We aren’t that kind of website!  (completely kidding, just email Webstey for your “special” forum password)

Who's gonna pee on themselves today?

Who’s gonna pee on themselves today?

A little background on why this subject is on my mind this week.  This coming weekend, I will be taking part in the Cutting Edge Classic, in Effingham Illinois.  Now, don’t get worked up, I won’t be on the podium, nor will I do anything during the race remotely interesting.  However, two of my best friends are stepping up and competing in their first 70.3 mile race!  We were out on a training ride last week and suddenly out of the blue the big question popped into my mind.  Hey, guys, have either of you ever pissed on the bike during a tri? 

Both answers came back to me instantly! NO!  The laughter and tears were plentiful! (from me) The rest of the ride I fought uncontrollable giggle fits picturing both of them coming to terms with a decision that all long course racers eventually have to make.  To piss or not to piss? 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are probably plenty of athletes that have completed long course races using nothing but the provided facilities.  There are also probably tons of athletes that have urinated on themselves in sprint races.  But there is something special about half and full distance races when it comes to pissing during the bike portion of the event, whether you are super competitive or not, no one wants to waste precious minutes stopping at a port-a-potty.  So there it is, plain as day, the bladder is full, it’s 6 miles to the next bathroom, and you are presented with an unusual choice.  Hold it for 6 miles and be in agony with every pedal stroke, or let it go and feel the immediate relief you know you want.

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Now, this weeks poll is an easy question.  Have you ever pissed yourself during the bike portion of a triathlon?  Hopefully, the forum will be bursting with stories of your first time, or that one time this jerk was sucking your wheel and your revenge was swift, wet, and deserved.  How about tips and tricks for cleaning your bike after the big day or maybe mistakes you have made cleaning your shoes/kit/self.  Don’t hold back!  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!

 

Articles by Clay Gasway

Now that USA Triathlon has pulled its head out of its proverbial ass and named Katie Zaferes to the Olympic team we can start talking about other “what ifs” for the Rio games.  So, how about, what will be the big triathlon story of the 2016 Rio Olympics?  Now, since this is a poll question, I will provide a few obvious answers, but i’m going to leave a “something else” option available for you wanna be oracles that want to explain your seer ability on the forum.  The usual suspects:

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Zika Virus: A cousin to Dengue Fever, Zika isn’t really dangerous to a healthy adult.  However, it is highly probable that pregnant women, infected with Zika, could give birth to children with microcephaly or other severe brain problems.  Men can spread the virus through sexual intercourse but its main form of transmission is through mosquito bites.  This is already a developing global story and let’s face it, most media outlets love to spread fear.  People gobble that shit up like mandioca frita’s. (Fried yucca sticks, yum!)

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Dirty Water:  Mention Copacabana to someone and they likely will picture a sun worshippers paradise.  Unfortunately, the waters off Copacabana beach are also a paradise for bacteria and raw sewage.  So athletes may want to skip the practice swim.  Oh, and brushing up on their Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines may be wise.

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Politics:  It’s unlikely that Olympic television producers will focus on much of the bureaucratic and sometimes downright criminal shenanigans that Olympic athletes have to tolerate just for the honor of representing their countries.  The online and printed press will hopefully be more critical and shine some light into the dark corners of this sports national organizations and governing bodies.

Surprise Winner:  Let’s face it, the favorite doesn’t always win these things.  You just have to be the best triathlete on August 18th for men and August 20th for women.  Resumes or reputations don’t matter.  Triathlon is a sport were a million little things can affect a races outcome.  So, don’t be shocked if a favorite suffers a mechanical and some no-name ends up on the podium.

Something else:  Go ahead, get creative.  Call it out now and then you can say, “I told ya so” come September.

So, let’s hear it! What will be the biggest triathlon story of the Olympics?  TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!