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ABG Rebranding its OCOEE Bike Line

Slowtwitch 2 months 3 weeks ago
The company was naïve to the historic event known as the Ocoee Massacre; it will rebadge this line of bikes.

Hessens großer Sporttag: Triathlon einmal anders

Tritime 2 months 3 weeks ago

Eigentlich wollten wir Euch an dieser Stelle in einem Video die frisch gekürten Ironman-Europmeister präsentieren. Eigentlich … Aufgrund der Verfügungen rund um die COVID-19-Pandemie mussten die Mainova Ironman European Championship nicht nur ausfallen, sondern wurden auch auf 2021 verschoben. Um den freigewordenen Sendeplatz „nicht verfallen“ zu lassen, überlegte sich der Hessische Rundfunk ein interessantes Alternativprogramm. […]

Der Beitrag Hessens großer Sporttag: Triathlon einmal anders erschien zuerst auf tritime - Leidenschaft verbindet.

The ultimate 7-minute pre-run activation series

Triathlon Magazine Canada 2 months 4 weeks ago

If you ask most runners who’ve managed to stay injury-free what their secret is, they’ll tell you it’s pre-run activation. This series of drills, which takes under 10 minutes, can save you hours of time and money spent rehabilitating your worn-down body. Life is busy, which means there won’t be time for pre-run drills everyday, but when your schedule allows, this seven-minute routine will certainly help your body and your pace.

Below is a video from The Runner’s Academy in Toronto to follow ahead of your run. While a little complicated at first, after a few days, these exercises will become routine. We’ve attached some tips and tricks for mastering the movements. Do each drill for 10-15 seconds, always on both sides.

RELATED: Hip mobility exercises for runners


This exercise is great first thing in the morning. It’s a gentle movement to wake you up and loosen your back. Focus on engaging your core and using your breath to control the motion.

Thoracic Rotation

Build on the cat-camel by adding a rotation. Maintain the position, but bend one arm to rotate your spine from side to side.

Bird dog

This exercise lengthens your body while engaging your glutes. On all fours, lift your opposite arm and leg at the same time. It’s all about control, so keep your movements slow and think about creating a straight line from your hands to your toes.

Bear Hold. Photo: Nike Bear hold

From the bird dog position, bend your toes and lift your knees so that they’re about an inch from the ground. Hold this position for several seconds. You should feel this exercise in your core.

Down dog

This classic yoga position gets a running-specific twist. Once in the down dog position, alternate between stretching out your left and right calves by bending your knees.

High plank

This exercise is the plank you know and love, but balancing with your hands instead of your elbows. With the high plank, the goal is the engage your core and keep your back level with your legs.

Side plank

With the side plank, you want to make sure that your arm is at a 45 degree angle from your body, and again, ensure it’s a straight line from your torso to your feet. The side plank will then go to a hip thrust, which means bending your legs, dropping your hips and then using your glutes to lift up and push forward.

Dead bug

The dead bug is one of the best full-body exercises going. Use this drill to activate your hips and core by keeping your lower-back pressed to the ground. If you can slip your hand between your body and the floor, you’re not doing it right.

Photo: Hanna Kim-Yoo Glute bridge

Bend your legs to 45 degrees while keeping your shoulders on the ground. Lift your torso by engaging your glutes and use your core and hips to lift your legs one at a time.

Bridge walk

Also known as hamstring walkouts, this exercise engages (you guessed it) your hamstrings. This is a pretty advanced drill, s0 feel free to work your way up to it. In the same position as the glute bridge, slowly walk your feet away from your body, while keeping your core engaged until your legs are nearly straight, then walk your heels back toward you.

Deep squat ankle mobilizer

This exercise took me months to do successfully. Spread your legs a little wider than your shoulders and sink into a deep squat. Ideally, your elbows are resting on the inside on your thighs and you’re able to rock back and forth to mobilize your ankles and settle into the stretch. If this movement is too challenging initially, deep squat while holding onto a pole or railing. This way you’ll feel the stretch without falling over.

The post The ultimate 7-minute pre-run activation series appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

WTS Montreal moved to October 3-4

Triathlon Magazine Canada 2 months 4 weeks ago

World Triathlon Montreal 2020 has a new date – originally scheduled to take place this weekend, the race has a new date at the beginning of October. Here’s a release that came from World Triathlon today:

The World Triathlon Executive Board has approved the new date for the 2020 Montreal event, that will now be hosted, if all conditions are met as of the end of July, on the weekend of October 3-4. The event will include the Montreal World Paratriathlon Series as well, on the same weekend.
Montreal WTS was originally planned to take place on June 28, but the organisers decided to postpone the event due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the conditions improving in most of the countries, the Montreal organizing Committee and World Triathlon are looking forward to welcoming all triathletes in the Canadian city on early October, always putting in place all the safety measures needed to limit the risk and securing the health and safety for all participants.

A few more World Cup events were also added to the calendar today, according to the release:

The World Triathlon Executive Board, on a meeting hosted virtually this Thursday, has also approved the dates for the Arzachena World Cup, originally scheduled for May and that now will take place in the magnificent beach of Sardinia on October 10.
The Board has also given the green light to a new event, Alhandra Paratriathlon World Cup, in Portugal, to take place on the weekend of October 10-11.
“We are delighted to have more events added to the calendar, which means that triathletes and paratriathletes are given opportunities to race after the summer, when the conditions for training and travelling are improving in most of the countries”, said World Triathlon President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado.

If you’re wondering what the water temperature is likely to be at that time, according to the website the average water temperature in October is a very cool 11.1 C – the lowest ever recorded temperatures in October are a frigid 3 degrees and the highest 18. (One would imagine the temperature will be closer to that higher end at the beginning of the month.)

Whether or not we’ll see international travel by October is likely a much more important question on whether or not we’ll see a WTS event take place here in Canada in 2020.

The post WTS Montreal moved to October 3-4 appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Summer-Talk: Raelert-Brothers

Tritime 2 months 4 weeks ago

Auf der Mittel- und Langdistanz sind Andreas und Michael Raelert die erfolgreichsten und bekanntesten Triathlon-Brüder der Welt, die nicht nur bei den Ironman und Ironman 70.3 World Championship, dem Challenge Roth und bei Olympia auf sich aufmerksam machten, sondern auch als Sympathieträger und Markenbotschafter abseits der Wettkämpfe. Der große Traum vom gemeinsamen „Hand-in-Hand-Finish“ auf Hawaii […]

Der Beitrag Summer-Talk: Raelert-Brothers erschien zuerst auf tritime - Leidenschaft verbindet.

The pros and cons of Vegan Diets for performance and the planet

Triathlon Magazine Canada 2 months 4 weeks ago

Reading the popular press, it seems as though veganism is the hot new ticket to ultimate sports performance. From the NFL, NBA, Premier League and across all professional sports, including triathlon, high performing athletes around the globe are crediting their plant-based diet for success citing improved recovery, optimal body composition, clarity of thought and better mood. The results speak for themselves, yet this growing movement appears to fly in the face of traditional sports nutrition dogma and the requirements for high quality protein, as well as other essential nutrients, found most easily in animal products. Add to this a rising awareness and concern for environmental issues and the impact that intensive meat and dairy industries have on both environment and animal welfare, and Vegan diets are certainly in the spotlight. Whether you choose to embrace veganism for performance or for ethical reasons, what exactly are the pros and cons as an athlete trying to reach your pinnacle of sports performance?

The pros:

  • Diet quality: A well planned vegan diet includes plenty of fresh plant foods – consumption of which are linked with positive health outcomes, largely through a reduction in inflammation, which may also help boost recovery. Sometimes a switch to a vegan diet can simply encourage a higher consumption of these quality foods and a greater focus on nutrition – this switch, in itself, leading to better performance (and health) outcomes rather than the elimination of animal products per se. On the flip side, most of us in the western world eat too much meat – especially processed meats, which are closely linked with rates of bowel cancer and other health concerns.
  • Protein should be adequate – often one of the concerns for athletes adopting veganism or even a vegetarian diet. However, protein needs are easily met and usually exceeded even by vegetarians, unless an extremely caloric restrictive diet is being followed. Vegans, though, may have more difficulty in meeting these levels without conscientious effort. Vegan protein sources include: tofu and tempeh; soy or wheat based protein foods; legumes, nuts and seeds. Beyond these, grains, cereals, breads, sports bars and protein drinks also provide significant amounts of protein. In order to obtain the full quota of all essential amino acids, vegans need to eat a variety of different types of vegetable proteins through the day.

The cons:

  • A vegan diet may require more planning for some nutrients: Animal products are rich in iron, calcium, zinc, riboflavin and Vitamin B12. While vitamin B12 needs to be supplemented in a Vegan diet with a daily tablet or injection, other nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc and iodine can be easily managed with careful meal planning. Omega 3 from foods like flax seeds, walnuts and algae supplements are also important essentials of a vegan diet. It must also be said that nutrition planning can also be seen as a pro – most people, including athletes could spend a little more time planning and considering what they eat
  • It can be hard to eat sufficient calories. When training loads are high (hello triathletes in full training), it can be hard (not impossible, just harder), to simply eat the volume of high fibre plant food required to meet energy needs. Meat inclusive diets tend to be higher in fat, making meals more calorie dense.

What about the environment?

Without a doubt, the industrial meat and dairy industries play a hugely destructive role in climate change and environmental damage. However, industrially grown soy, grains and maize are not the environmental answer either, with their reliance on fertilisers, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides, which, by their very nature, erode smaller animal habitats and lives including small mammals, insects, birds and reptiles. Research instead supports sustainable forms of farming and food production – both crops and livestock that helps to restore soils and biodiversity through seasonal rotations and diversity of crops, and reduce carbon footprints.

What can you do?

Athletes the world over are proving without a doubt that high level performance can be achieved on a Vegan diet – indeed many report improved performance. If you are considering going Vegan (or even if you’re not and just want to improve your nutrition), think about consulting with an experienced nutritionist or dietitian who can help you maximise your diet based on your goals and personal health status.

Consider carefully what you are eating – whatever that is. Educate yourself on the issues surrounding health, environment and animal welfare, and draw your own conclusions. Have respect for other’s choices, even if they don’t align with your own. Whatever your dietary preference – conscious intake, quality and variety are key, including plenty of fresh vegetables and other plant foods.

The post The pros and cons of Vegan Diets for performance and the planet appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Ironman 70.3 Lubbock “postponed”

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 months 3 hours ago

For weeks we’ve wondered if it was really going to happen. With race after race on the Ironman calendar being “postponed” or “rescheduled,” Ironman 70.3 Lubbock remained as the lone event slated to take place in June.

That all ended this morning when Ironman announced that the event would not be taking place this weekend after Texas governor Greg Abbott reported that the state is facing a “massive outbreak of COVID-19.”

Here’s the official statement from the update page:

We regret to announce that the 2020 Core Power IRONMAN 70.3 Lubbock triathlon cannot take place on June 28 due to the acceleration of COVID-19 infections in Texas. In accordance with our IRONMAN Safe Return to Racing protocol, the health and safety of our community is of utmost priority and in alignment with remarks made by Governor Abbott on Tuesday, June 23, it would not be responsible to host the event at this moment in time.

IRONMAN Group President and CEO Andrew Messick shared, “We are grateful to Mayor Pope of The City of Lubbock and his fine team of professionals, along with our long-time partners Mike and Marti Greer,  for their outstanding work to do everything possible to host this race. But ultimately the COVID-19 headwinds in Texas right now are just too strong for the race to happen. We look forward to when we can return to Lubbock.”

All registered athletes of the 2020 Core Power IRONMAN 70.3 Lubbock triathlon will be receiving an email with further information. If you have additional questions or do not receive the email with further information, please contact In what has been a continually evolving and challenging time globally, we recognize that the change at this late juncture will come as a disappointment but look forward to providing athletes with an exceptional race experience in the future.

Ironman 70.3 Lubbock was previously known as Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs and has been a mainstay on the Ironman 70.3 circuit for years. This would have been the 31st edition of the event. The race name was changed this year after a new finish was organized at the campus of Texas Tech University.

The post Ironman 70.3 Lubbock “postponed” appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

How Chrissie Wellington’s legs sold the Professional Triathletes Organisation

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 months 1 day ago

It came down to a picture during his third meeting with the group. Charles Adamo was presenting to billionaire Michael Moritz and some of his partners at his company, Crankstart Investments. Adamo was trying to sell the people in the room on the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) and the sport of triathlon.

“Why is your sport so special,” one of them asked.

“Our athletes are the best on the planet,” Adamo replied. “When the general sporting audience gets to see what these athletes are capable of, the sport will take off.”

Then, to prove his point, he put up a picture on the screen. It was a shot of four-time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington’s legs.

“These legs ran a 2:44 marathon after swimming 3.8 km and biking 180,” Adamo said.

One of the men in the room was an avid marathon runner. “That’s impossible,” he said.

“That’s the point,” Adamo replied.

“Do the paperwork and we’re in,” they said.


So what is it that Charles Adamo was pitching to one of the wealthiest men on the planet, anyway? When it came time to announce the partnership with Moritz and Crankstart, Adamo provided the following quote for the press release: “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community. We are very pleased to have teamed up with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz, who share our vision in the potential of the sport and the best means by which to see it grow and thrive.”

Which says it all, and doesn’t even come close at the same time. That statement doesn’t illustrate just how important Adamo has been in the process of creating a body that speaks on behalf of triathlon’s professionals. It doesn’t come close to showing how, when the world suddenly fell apart and many pro athletes had no idea how they were going to make ends meet as the world was turned upside down by the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Moritz and Crankstart came up an extra US$500,000 so they could hand out US$2.5 million to the top-100 pros in the world.

When I said to Adamo how impressed I was that the PTO was putting its money where its mouth is, he corrected me.

“We put our money where our heart is,” he said.

From left to right: Sarah Piampiano, Lionel Sanders, Holly Lawrence, Rachel Joyce, Michael Moritz (Crankstart Investments), Scott DeFelippis, Carrie Lester, Ben Hoffman and Heather Jackson.

If I am to be honest, I was amongst the leaders of the sceptics when it came to the PTO a few years ago. My first real introduction to the group was in Germany in 2017 at a press conference where it was announced that the first-ever Collins Cup would take place at Challenge Roth the following year. On hand were Canadians Lisa Bentley and Simon Whitfield, along with Wellington, Adamo, Challenge Roth CEO Felix Walschoefer and Challenge Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik.

At that press conference we were told that the Collins Cup, which was to be modelled after Golf’s Ryder Cup with three teams – Europe, the USA and Internationals – competing against each other in a long-distance triathlon. Each team would consist of six men and women and the race for the Collins Cup would consist of 12 races of three athletes facing off against each other. Bentley and Whitfield were two of the four captains of the International squad. Wellington and Normann Stadler would captain the European team, while Mark Allen and Karen Smyers would lead the Americans.

The press in the room were told that there would be network coverage of the race shown around the world, including the United States. That’s when many of us wrote both the Collins Cup and the PTO off. We all knew that Ironman paid almost US$1 million a year for the production and air-time of it’s Hawaii world championship on NBC. There weren’t going to be networks clamouring to pay the PTO for the chance to televise six-plus hours of triathlon.

And there weren’t. The PTO had jumped on the chance to host the Collins Cup in Roth because they’d been assured by their media partner, Wasserman Group, that if the PTO could come up with a spectacular venue, they could help them put on a major event.

“To their credit,” Adamo says, “they came back to us a few months later and told us that it was turning out to be harder than they thought.”

The Collins Cup didn’t happen in 2018. It didn’t happen in 2019, either. It was supposed to happen in 2020 at the X-Bionicsphere in Samorin, Slovakia, but the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic forced its postponement for another year. With Moritz backing the venture, though, even the most sceptical no longer doubt that the Collins Cup will happen.

We also no longer doubt that Adamo’s vision of the PTO is truly coming to fruition.


Getting Charles Adamo to admit that he’s been an integral part in the development of the PTO is more of a challenge than trying to take Jan Frodeno on in Kona. Before he’d even grant an interview I had to agree that there would be no pictures of him in the story. “The athletes are the story,” he says.

As much as he downplays his role in the creation of the PTO, those involved aren’t willing to do the same.

“Charles is a pretty modest guy,” says PTO board member Scott Defilippis. “This is 100 per cent philanthropic work for Charles. He’s constantly looking for ways to better the world.”

That bettering of the triathlon world started during Adamo’s self-admitted short triathlon career: “I don’t do triathlon,” he says, “I started, was very mediocre, got worse, then I quit.”

During his short time in the sport he met Lucy Gossage, a multiple Ironman champion from the United Kingdom. He was shocked to learn that an athlete who had finished in the top-10 in Kona and had garnered so many titles was struggling to make ends meet.

Seeing “kind of an injustice,” Adamo figured he might be able to help. After a successful career in hotel development with Kurzner International where he was involved with the company’s Atlantis hotels in The Bahamas and Dubai, Adamo “owns his own time,” which he puts into the PTO and helping to plan new churches and preaching.

“It’s a blessing to be able to help,” he says, “Hopefully by helping, others will be able to help, too.”

When he learned that a group of professionals had met at Challenge Bahrain in 2014 and created a group called the Professional Triathletes Union (PTU), he drafted a memo with some suggestions. It took him a while, but he finally managed to get that memo to PTU president Tim O’Donnell. Adamo encouraged the group to steer away from being a union.

“As a union, you’re one big grievance committee,” Adamo says. “You want to be more aspirational.”

Rachel Joyce on her way to a runner-up finish at the 2015 Ironman World Championship. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

The athletes bought in. Rachel Joyce, who along with O’Donnell is co-president of the PTO, credits Adamo with an ability to “think outside the box to breath some new perspective” into the athletes’ approach.

Joyce had been a key player in the 50 Women to Kona movement which tried to push Ironman into accepting the same number of professional women at the Ironman world champion as pro men.

“I thought it was the right thing to do,” Joyce, who worked as a lawyer in England before turning her sites to professional racing full time. “

After taking 2016 off to have her first child, Archie, Joyce noticed huge changes happening in the sport.

“When I came back to the sport in 2017, I saw that it was getting more and more difficult to be a professional triathlete,” she says. “It was harder to get sponsorship and prize money wasn’t increasing. I felt the future of long-course professional triathlon was at a cross road – it was either going to flourish, or fade away and become non-existant.”

“I met Charles – he was so tenacious,” she remembers. “I thought, if this guy can keep going, so can I.”

The athletes liked the idea of the Collins Cup, but once it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be the financial leg up the group needed, Adamo turned his sights on finding a partner. Last September the group hired former elite triathlete Sam Renouf as its CEO and the group sent out its first letter to Ironman expressing interest in acquiring the company’s triathlon assets.

“We spoke to lots of investors and almost all of them were interested,” Adamo says. “Then, when we talked about what we wanted to pay the athletes, almost all of them said ‘why are you paying the athletes so much? They would do it for half of that.’ It took a while, but when we met with Mike and his team, they didn’t blink an eye over athletes pay.”

And, of course, they were impressed by Chrissie Wellington’s legs.


Adamo’s selfless attitude pervades throughout the organization. The hardest question he has to answer when pitching the PTO is “what are you getting out of it?” He’s not paid and says he doesn’t have an answer when people push him on what’s in it for him.

Which is why Adamo jumped on the phone to express his displeasure over a story I wrote in which I questioned whether the PTO would use its leverage with pro athletes to boycott Ironman races to put pressure on the company.

“We’re not that kind of organization,” Adamo said.

“One of the reasons it took so long (to find a financial partner) is because Charles knew that the partnership had to see the athletes as a partners as opposed to pawns,” Joyce says. “There’s no them and us – the professional athletes, by being organized, can contribute to the sport in a meaningful way. If we create superstars in the sport that’s good for the sport in general.”

“I believe that the professionals are undervalued,” Defilippis continues. “If we can get a hand at the table, we can make this sport go through the roof. At the moment we don’t have a seat at the table. The values that we are showing in the PTO, if we can bring that to the business, that would be special.”

Both Joyce and Defilippis are quick to point out that the real benefits the PTO will generate won’t help them.

“This is not about anyone racing today,” Defilippis says. “Yes, there are 200 athletes who are getting money and help right now, but, for me, this movement is about where we are going to be in 10 years.”

“Why am I doing this, putting all this time in?” Joyce asks, “Because I care about it – part of it is giving back to the sport. It was never about me. I care about triathlon and there being professional triathlon in five years.”

Scott Defilippis at Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2019. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Defilippis and Joyce have a long list of goals they have for the PTO – support for retiring athletes, improved anti-doping measures, athlete development, to name just a few – but realize that those goals will take time.

Both see the recent payout to the top-100 men and women in the PTO rankings as both an important first step for the organization and incredibly satisfying all at once.

“One athlete reached out to me and told me she started crying when she read about the payments,” Joyce says. “Charles took it to a whole new level – this is where having good partners is so massive. They’ve had experience with hard times. (They realize) this is where you invest in your people. This is when people need it. Just from hearing back from athletes – the difference its going to make for people right now, it’s bringing such relief to athletes. I’ve always had belief in the PTO and this affirms to all the athletes that they do come first.”

The announcement of the Collins Cup and the infusion of cash has helped the pros rally around the organization. While the Collins Cup won’t happen in 2020 and Ironman has recently announced a new owner, the PTO is suddenly a big player in the world of triathlon. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, racing has been thrown into turmoil in 2020, but the organization has stepped up with support for the pro athletes. They’ve put their money where their mouths – and hearts – are.

During my first interview with Adamo, he said that he envisioned the PTO would operate similar to the associations that govern professional golf and tennis. In 2017 I didn’t see that as a reality. Thanks to Chrissie Wellington’s legs, I’m not the only one who’s been turned from a sceptic to a believer.

This story originally appeared in the May, 2020 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.

The post How Chrissie Wellington’s legs sold the Professional Triathletes Organisation appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Professional triathletes share how they are coping amidst the pandemic

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 months 1 day ago

On January 31st, Triathlon Canada first posted a travel advisory to all athletes and coaches to “avoid all essential travel” to China. By mid-March, all athletes were advised to travel home as much of the world went into lockdown, and race cancellations quickly followed. 

As more light was shed on COVID-19, the professional and recreational sports world was put on the back burner – and rightfully so. With the novel coronavirus’s unprecedented infection rate, healthcare systems and governments needed (and need) time and resources to manage the situation. However, that doesn’t mean this has made the circumstances we find ourselves in easy. It has been challenging for everyone. So much of the things we once enjoyed have either been put on hold or looks very different from normal. Nothing is ‘normal.’ And yet we find ways to keep moving forward. 

Ironman 70.3 Campeche was one of the last Ironman events to take place before the lockdown. One in which Jackson Laundry took second place in his first race since a devastating crash at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Championships. Photo: @trimexico

Related: Laundry overcomes the odds

Now at the end of June, countries across the world are implementing “reopening” programs and easing restrictions. Once “normal” rhythms are beginning to return. While much of the future remains blurry, we keep moving forward.

And that’s exactly what triathletes across the world have been doing. In particular, Angela Naeth and Jackson Laundry, who are just two of many talented long-distance professional triathletes from Canada. Both have had unique experiences during COVID-19, but also ones that many of us can relate to and draw encouragement from. Here’s how Naeth and Laundry have been coping amidst COVID-19.

Angela Neath out on her gravel bike. What coping mechanisms have you found beneficial for your training and mental health? 

Naeth: Having a few close people in my life – my coach is my boyfriend so that is the biggest help. My team, IRACELIKEAGIRL has grown so much through this time and it’s been a huge help for me personally to connect. I’ve been doing meetups with the team virtually and creating several challenges both for the team and the public with my sponsors. I also have ventured into Zwift racing, and I love it. 

Related: Zwift starts new professional tri race series

Laundry: Everyone copes with uncertainty in different ways, and I was not coping well in the beginning. I spent the first few weeks pretty frustrated and felt very negative about this year in general. Things improved as I focused on just finding a way to return to normal training, and I had a good distraction as we moved to a new house in May. Just keeping occupied with training and other productive things was a big help.

2020 has been the birth of e-racing in the world of cycling and triathlon.

Like Naeth, Jackson has found his competitive juices in virtual racing with the Zwift Pro Tri Series and the Super League E-Series. With a lack of racing, something Laundry thrives off of, he’s had to embrace a different mindset.

“I have never been one who is motivated by anything other than racing, but I have tried to embrace the training as being fun in itself, and have found enjoyment in planning long rides in new places outside.”

With that newfound mindset, Laundry has been using the weekends as a way to explore new routes and the weekdays to compete on the virtual racing circuit. 

Related: Laundry pips two-time gold medalist Alistair Brownlee to take Super League e-Sports race

So, while both have had to embrace new mindsets and challenges, they’ve been able to maintain some form of competition and enjoyment through it all.

With race cancellations and rescheduling how would you describe your training structure now compared to this time last year? 

Naeth: It’s much more open! I am provided guidance and a plan, but the structure is less. Instead of intensity, it’s “go roam around for 4 hours on your bike”, or “jump into a Zwift race,” or “swim 3K open water,” or “jog 25 minutes.” I have slowed down on any build of running as this beats me up, rather quickly. 

Laundry: My training structure now compared to last year is not incredibly different. The only real difference is that I am swimming a little bit less and cycling a little bit more. I’m taking advantage of some e-racing opportunities while the real races aren’t taking place, and using the current situation as a chance to have a cycling focus.

Both Naeth and Laundry have been fortunate to be able to swim during the lockdown and restrictions. Early on, Naeth was able to begin open water swims in a local pond. While Laundry has experimented with swimming in a friend’s backyard pool with a tether, a 14-metre pool in another friend’s backyard, and now in Ontario’s lakes as summer temperatures arrive. 

Related: No pool? No problem. Open water swim training.

What can be taken away from both Naeth and Laundry is the importance of perspective and a positive mindset. Whether it is working on a specific discipline or simply using the time to explore. With time, things will begin to return. But in the meantime, we keep moving forward.

The post Professional triathletes share how they are coping amidst the pandemic appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Marathon swim champion explains how to master open water swimming

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 months 2 days ago

It is hard to believe it was only a few short weeks ago that I stood on a beach in Guadeloupe, a bright-yellow inflatable buoy strapped to my waist. Seven of us huddled around Xavier Desharnais, soaking up his careful instructions.

The World Health Organization had not yet declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. For me, the immediate existential threat was on the horizon, where waves broke on a shoal just beyond the bay, foaming white before rolling more gently towards the shore.

Swimming has never come naturally to me. I am a prairie girl and didn’t dip a toe in the ocean until my teens. My mother, raised on a farm, had a horror of drowning. Even watching over pre-schoolers at the wading pool, the tension in her voice conveyed that fear. She signed me and my siblings up for lessons, determined that her children would at least learn to float. Still, I was 10 before I got my beginner badge. It was by sheer force of will that I kept plowing through the Red Cross and then Royal Lifesaving Society programs in the early 1970s: my friends were going on Girl Guide canoe trips and playing water polo, and I did not want to be left out.

I did eventually become a competent and confident swimmer. But even with the less rough-and-tumble staggered starts at most triathlons these days, I still feel a twinge of nausea before every race. I have come to accept that the first 400 metres will be unnerving, until I find my groove.

So I welcomed the chance to attend a week-long tri camp in the French Antilles that was to focus on open-water swimming. Jean-Luc Méjane, the founder of Montreal-based Tripleaction triathlon training, had invited Desharnais — the first Canadian in the history of the mythic Traversée internationale Lac Saint-Jean to win the 32-kilometre crossing of the lake two years in a row, in 2014 and 2015.

Photo courtesy Xavier Desharnais

Desharnais, 30, grew up in Sherbrooke, Que. He was a precocious swimmer from the start, following his big brother into competitive swimming at the age of seven. When he was 12 or 13, his club hired a new coach — a former marathon swimmer from Egypt, Mohamed Marouf, who saw in Desharnais a natural athlete who not only had that combination of speed and endurance, but the kind of singular determination it takes to be a long-distance swimmer.

By 14, Desharnais was already entering open water races, completing his first 34-km crossing of Lake Memphremagog at 18. For the next 10 years, Desharnais put in the miles that it takes to be among the world’s best open water swimmers: 80 to 100 km a week. He travelled the world, from Argentina to Serbia to Japan. He’s been stung by jellyfish, competed in Mexico with undiagnosed shingles that made each stroke agony, and been smacked down by every kind of wave. But to this day, nothing matches his first crossing of Lac St-Jean, 260 kilometres north of Quebec City.

Until it was conquered in 1955 by Quebecer Jacques Amyot, swimming across the choppy, glacier-fed lake was considered to be an impossible feat. These days, the race starts against the current, in the 13 C or 14 C waters of the Péribonka River, with the swimmers heading 500 m upstream before turning around.

“You jump in the water, and it feels like being pricked with knives, from head to toe. It’s hard to keep your head under water, it’s so cold,” says Desharnais. “You have to swim about an hour and a half in those conditions before you arrive at the lake. I remember thinking, I’ll never make it. It’s impossible. I was so cold, my lips were blue. I had to pee on my hands to warm them up.”

“Then when I reached the lake, the water was 60 or 65 degrees, which is really cold — but it was so much warmer, it felt like I had just swum into a hot bath.”

I could listen to Xavier’s tales for hours. It’s what makes him a much-sought-after motivational speaker. But the real joy comes with swimming alongside such a powerful and confident swimmer as he slows down to demonstrate how much less work it is to swim at someone’s hip. It is like learning kung fu at the hands of a master. This is what it means to feel one with the water.

I could share with you Desharnais’s tips for improving the triathlon leg of your swim: sight often, for starters. Get into the rhythm of it. Learn to lift your head just slightly and don’t breathe when you do it — head back down, turn to breathe. And practise, practise, practise. Find a buddy, find a lake, pick a tree on the horizon.

I could share with you his tips for swimming into shore: feel the wave as it lifts you forward and pick up your cadence. Relax the pace a little until the next wave. And always stretch, with every stroke, stretch as if you’re reaching for something just beyond your grasp.

But Desharnais’s main advice for triathletes is, just swim more often. He meets so many who debate the cost-benefit of spending more than the absolute minimum time in the water.

“In a triathlon, working so hard to cut one minute from an eight-hour race might seem ridiculous. But learning to swim and swim well is so fundamental,” he says. You may not immediately get faster, but you will become more efficient — and leave more energy for the next two legs.

He also thinks of it as a long-term investment.

“Swimming is going to give you back a lot more in your life than just finishing one triathlon,” he says. “At 65 or 70, when your knees are shot and you can no longer run, when you can’t take the chance of falling off your bike, there will still be swimming.”

“It both gives you energy and is calming. If you are mad, if you have a problem in your life, if you are stressed out, if you are sad about something, you can empty your mind completely. Or if you want, you can dwell on that problem and relax a bit, like the way your best ideas come to you when you’re sleeping. Swimming works the same way.”

Xavier Desharnais’s tips for triathletes:

  1. Swim more often. It’s better to do four shorter sessions in a week than one or two long ones. You have to practise constantly, until swimming feels like walking.
  2. Listen to your coach: It’s not easy to change your technique. Sometimes you need to go backwards in order to get further ahead. Accept advice.
  3. Consider hiring a private coach. For sure, when you have one coach for 10 or 15 swimmers, you can’t get the same level of specific feedback. In swimming, feedback is everything. You need someone to remind you often, ‘OK, do this like this, do this like that.’
  4. Learn to have fun in the water, not to fight it. Whether you are in the pool, in a lake or in the sea. There could be waves, you could choke, your stroke could be thrown off, but you need to keep reminding yourself, the water will always be more powerful than you, and all you can do is go with it. It’s a bit like a little kid playing with a big dog: they could be having a lot of fun, then the dog gets a bit rough, and it’s a bit scary. So — enjoy the water, but understand that it will always win. It’s the way of nature, of the planet and the way we interact with it. It’s fundamental to your way of being as a triathlete or a swimmer.

This story originally appeared in the May, 2020 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.

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