Another new race series, TriStars reformed!

This is pretty big news, not because they've signed up Fabian Cancellara, but Georg Hochegger. Georg is an IRONMAN Hall of Fame recipient.  He was the original IRONMAN Klagenfurt organizer until he sold out in 2009. After that he was one of the founders of the Tristar series. They are restarting the series with ‘new partners, a new concept, in Rorschach, where Switzerland, Germany and Austria meet, the weekend of 2-3 September 2017.

The races will be over the 55.5 and 111 km distance ITU recognized distances.

Add Tristars to Super League Series as well as the Collins Cup and things are diving up nicely along geographic boundaries. Sadly this ignores, at least currently, all the new and emerging opportunities. Maybe the Tristar races will break the mould?
  • Current Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Current Mood: Competitive
  • Current Music: The Americans

Miami Man to Host First-Ever USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships in November 2018

Pretty interesting news. Both that USAT is holding a multisport championships, but also that it's at Miami man. Long time readers will remember it's one of my few DNF races.

I'd arrived in Miami from New York late the night before the race, and rather than stay up and unpack and build my bike, I went to bed and decided to take it to the race and unpack before checking it into transition. Sadly, I set the saddle to the wrong height, by the time I got off the bike I was done. Halfway around the run course through the zoo, I bailed.

So going back in November 2018 might be well worth the effort.
  • Current Location: Boulder Colorado
  • Current Mood: good good
  • Current Music: The Americans

Louisville's Pearl Izumi picked to outfit USA Triathlon

this is great news, we can see the technology center from the house. Pearl have some great cycling gear and i was disappointd to see them exit the running shoe market, we have a few pairs of their shoe.

I was howevee delighted to get a free pair from their demo pool at the last wednesday night fun run from Por wine on mainstreet.

Hopefully the USAT gear will have a more discrete design than some of the more "bold" flag centric ones from the past, and be a quality, breathable material, rather than cheap lightweight.

Who knows, in a few years I might even get a chance to wear red, white and blue.

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The Pragmatic Triathlete, or variously, Mark on Monday

I've started rehashing some of my old material and it's getting published on a semi-regular basis over on 303 Triathlon. The first was a timely topic, Flying with Bikes. I'm mid way through planning for us to go do Sierra to the Sea bike tour again this year.

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
Wishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off
Painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than it's worth
But trust me on the sunscreen
  • Current Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Current Mood: The Good Life
  • Current Music: JAZZ RADIO (Lyon, France)

Winter Six Pack #6 Westminster 10k

Kate signed up for the whole winter series early this year, or was it last year? I really wasn't ready, and am still not. So I decided to sign-up for the 10k in the last race of the series, surely I'd be ready by then?

However, we both arrived on Saturdays start line having never run the distance this year, and in conditions more like January. My only objective was to not be slower than what I remembered my slowest race 10k had been, 62-minutes in 2001. The course uses exactly the same first 1.5 mile out and back as the 5k series, I've run that a couple of times while Kate was racing, and is all offroad, although a lot of it on concrete path. My 5k training runs were 30:43, and 30:35 and so a long way from my best.

I hit the turn around slightly ahead of my 5k training run turnaround times, which was optimistic, and was delighted I managed to run/jog the whole 10k. My Heart rate was 150bpm average, which despite the slow pace and altitude is pretty representative of my current fitness. I finished in race recorded time of1:07:13.5. That time got me 3rd place in the 50-59 category, if I'd have been racing in triathlon based, end of year age, groups, I'd also have been 3rd. In the picture below, you can see #325 of passed me for 2nd place. D'oh.

Initially I was disappointed with my time, if not my finish place, but when I checked athlinks later and found that at the 2007 IBM Uptown 10k I ran 1:09:05. I wonder what a 10-year younger me would think of being beaten? I have a lot to do though if I want to step up from Sprint distance triathlons again this year.

Overall an excellent race, well run, instant results online, and free photos taken at the turnaround and finish line. A free pint glass to all finishers. See below for two of my pictures. I may do some of the 5k summer series races.

Official Race Results for the 10k
Garmin Connect Data for the race

  • Current Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Current Mood: Good
  • Current Music: Goldfrapp - Silver Eye (album)

Changing narrative - More Holly Balogh

The Jackson Hole News & Guide (JHNG) has published a somewhat detailed article and interview on their local athlete and citizen, Holly Balogh, who has been banned by Ironman and thus from any WADA affiliated sport for the next 4-years.

As per my journal update the other day, Balogh was still in denial, and attempting to race in ultra races. After reading the JH New and Guide article, it seems she is still confused about what she did wrong, and why it was wrong. Although I can't imagine why she'd ever read this blog post, but just in case others in a similar situation do, I though a quick analogy might be useful to help you see why taking any form of banned substance is not acceptable.

“My understanding was that if you were taking a drug within your body’s normal level — what would be considered normal for your body — as long as you didn’t exceed those normal levels, you were not taking it at a banned level.”

So, lets be clear, normals are established by measuring a sample of similar people. The outliers, or extremes are removed from the sample, and the range of those left are considered normal. There is nothing in this "normal" which is Baloghs. She was tested, and her level didn't come within the normal range. So, if she was part of the tested sample, she would have been an outlier.

So, did that entitle her to take a testosterone? No.

Anyone who has been following my blog for any time will know I have one leg a full 2-inches shorter than the other following a 1978 motorcycle crash. Even though I now have a specially adapted cleat for my bike shoes and running shoes, I still have serious problems with my knees and hips. My right leg stride length is some 6-inches shorter than my left, and overall, my running always slow in my age group. I'm unable to train as much or at the same intensity as my age group peers.

So, you take a sample of my age group stride length, and I'd come in as an outlier, my stride would be short. Does this mean I can cut the run course to make up for my stride length? No.

I've been tempted, at the Republic of Texas Triathlon (half-ironman distance) I was in the lead by 12-minutes as the run started, I knew is was a 2-loop out and back, how would see if at the far end of the course I cut the course? But I didn't on either loop. But I can't deny thinking about it. After all if I had two normal legs I'd be able to run faster and would win more than I do! I lost a 12-monute lead and cane 2nd.

The JHNG article goes on to say:

"Balogh said she was prescribed testosterone as part of hormone replacement therapy treatment from her doctor, but did not know the substance was banned."

"The Jackson real estate associate said she didn’t apply for a therapeutic use exemption — which those in the sport abbreviate to TUE — because she said she didn’t know what a TUE was. “I didn’t think that I was doping,” she said. “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.”

USADA will not grant Women a TUE for testosterone. This is clearly stated here.

“It allowed me to stay healthy and train, and not be recovering from injury,” she said. “I don’t believe it helped me in the sense that I substantially improved my time or gave me some sort of advantage of being better and faster.”

AND THATS THE MILLION DOLLAR POINT. Everyone else suffers through their injuries, takes time off, and then works hard to try to get back to their normal fitness, many do not make it. In the Age Group ranks, unlike the pro category, some never come back at all after a serious injury as they are unable to spend the time and money to regain their former fitness.

"Balogh has had to change her Twitter handle on more than one occasion after online strangers demanded answers from the woman they didn’t know."

Likely Tim Heming, Tim is an excellent journalist who writes for News International, The Times Sports section, and 220 Triathlon Magazine.

Hollys story is common, especially with women in the mid-life phase, plenty do suffer from bone density problems; the menopause affects women differently and is life-changing. That doesn't give anyone the right to take banned drugs, there is no normal. Statistical samples do not apply when it comes to racing.

Should you be deprived of the chance to participate in the sport you love just because you have a medical condition that requires treatment. No, but YOU are responsible for your actions. Don't win, don't place, and most importantly, don't accept slots in discretionary races like Ironman Hawaii when you taken substances that give you an advantage over an identically aged woman with the same diagnosis who decided not to take supplements.

  • Current Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Current Mood: Keep on trucking
  • Current Music: The Moth Podcast

Triathlon Business International 2017 - that Lance Interview

Just as another catch-up/follow-up, I attended the annual TBI Conference. It felt much more subdued than normal, the group workouts were sparsely attended, but the actual conference was up to it's normal cadence and quality. Thanks to for hosting.

As predicted, Dana Willett from 303 Triathlon did a good write-up from each day, here is her writeup. If you are interested in what was actualy said, you can listen to the session, here on soundcloud. You can also watch the session in this Youtube video. We sat in the front row, just across from Lance and Dan, so the sound is pretty good. It actually starts 15-minutes in after a number of conference remarks.

While drugs in cycling did come up in the Attendee Q&A towards the end of the session, it was pretty high level. As predicted Dan never really asked, and Lance only really answered the questions he was asked. Lance was, as always, pretty engaging. The session  as Dana covers, was mostly about Lance new podcast, the Forward, and his other new venture, WEDU Sport.

The podcast is a perfect example of the downstream benefit of cheating. Many argue that Lance should be allowed to compeat in triathlon and Ironman again, and that we should forget/forgive his past doping. I don't. Lance never did me any harm, personally or indirectly as far as I'm aware. I went to his pre-Oprah confession house, rode a few times with him, he doesn't know me though I'm sure.

So how does his podcast benefit from his cheating. Easy, lets assume that without the drugs and cheating, Lance would have been a sometime winner of pro cycling races, maybe he'd have been on a team that won the Tour de France, but he'd be just another retired pro cyclist now with a great bike shop and some other outside interests. Would he be able to garner the same great people to interview for his podcast? No.

Having said that, the podcats is great, Lance as he said at TBI is able to be non-threatening when he interviews as he has nothing to prove to the audience, and more importantly, the person or people being interviewed.

I drafted a question I would have liked to ask Lance, as a famous Texan. I sat in the front holding my hand aloft, but was never called. My questions "You have a lot of interactions with Nationa and International politicians, obviously Governor Perry here in Texas, now in the Trump Administration. Where do you stand on TEXAS SB6, aka the bathroom bill? Would you consider speaking out against it, and do you eve imagine a future in politics?"

I'm hoping to start writing a regular column for 303 Triathlon soon, I'll post a link here to the first entry.

  • Current Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Current Mood: Getting there
  • Current Music: The American Life #611

Ultra-distance running - the last refuge for the cheat?

Just a quick follow-up on my prior post. After a few emails, I managed to get an "exclusive" lined up for local 303 Triathlon, the follow-up on Holly Balogh, 46, a Kona qualifier and Ironman All World Athlete champion in 2014 and 2015, who tested positive for exogenous testosterone after winning her age-group at North American Ironman championships at Texas last year.

Some great investigative reporting by Tim Heming revealed that Holly was racing in ultra races and winter endurance events under her maiden name. The article was written for 220 Triathlon in the UK, but 303 Triathlon published it first after approval from Tim. Sadly, it was later picked up by Triathlon Magazine Canada picked it up and in their hasty rewrite, introduced a couple fo errors.

Interestingly, ultra distance events seems to be the last refuge of the cheat. Julie Miller, who was last year banned after repeated course cutting, is reported by Triathlon Magazine Canada, to also be racing ultra-distance running.  While as we learned from Lance Armstrong, you can't stop people exercising and woring out, Ultra-running surely does want the reputation as the home of the cheat?

Tim and I are now working on another article about performance enhancing drugs in triathlon, hopefully we'll make enough progress to publish something within a month.
  • Current Location: Luckys Market, CO
  • Current Mood: still here after all these years
  • Current Music: headphones in but nothing plaing