Course Support

Neutral Support

change a flat tire

James Balentine with City Limit Cycles will be on site in the morning to help with any last minute bike mechanical issues you may  have. Once the race starts he will roam the course providing neutral support to all athletes. While James can help, it is best to be able to handle basic mechanics like tire change by yourself. You can follow these steps here.

Aid Stations

There is an aid station in transition that can be accessed before the swim and before the bike. There are no aid stations on the bike course so it is important to take any nutrition or liquids that you want with you before you exit transition.

The aid station will have water, nuun, and clif bar gels.

There is one aid station at mile 1 of the run course that will have water, nuun, and clif gels.

Nuun Packed with electrolytes and using clean ingredients, nuun is the perfect way to upgrade your sports drink for your active lifestyle. sodium, potassium (bicarbonate), magnesium (sulfate), calcium (carbonate), vitamin c (as ascorbic acid)

Finish Line Festival

Once you cross the line you will be handed a reusable water bottle filled with cold water. You can use the WaterMonsters located around the festival to refill your water bottle.

Participants can also visit the drink/ snack tent for ice cold sodas, fresh fruit, snacks and more. Visit the food tent to grab your post-race taco! Yum!

Those 21+ can visit the beer garden as well.

 

Pre-Race Tips

Pre-race tips to follow before you toe the start line

Three days before

Prepare for Rookie Tri with these pre-race tips!

Get started with these pre-race tips three days before Rookie Tri. Label all of your gear with an indelible marker. Write your name and phone number on the inside of your running and biking shoes, on the tag inside your wetsuit, inside your helmet, etc.

Make sure your toenails are clipped.

Put on the goggles and adjust them to fit. Do a test in the pool or sink to make sure they don’t leak.

Study the course so you know what to expect. Where are the turns, uphills, downhills or flats? How many aid stations? Where are they located?

Stay hydrated.

The night before

Organize your gear: Follow these pre-race tips the night before, lay everything out, and go through your checklist. Then put related items in separate bags for easier sorting. Attach the race number to the bike frame, helmet, and the clothing you’ll be wearing for the bike and/or run.

Tip: Use a race belt to attach race numbers. It’s quick to put on and good for both the bike and run (plus, no safety pins). Wear it so the number is visible in back for the bike, then rotate it to the front for the run.

Eat normally: Don’t eat new things; stick with the foods you usually eat. Try to have some protein (chicken, fish, turkey), a little healthy fat (avocados, nuts, olives) and a lot of carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans). Note: It’s best to eat this way for three days before your event.

Get some sleep: Go to bed early. If you’re nervous about waking up in the morning, set multiple alarms (alarm clock, watch, cell phone, wake-up call) for a more relaxed and peaceful sleep. Plan on waking up extra early so your body can adjust its “routine.”

Morning of

Get to transition early and get the spot you want.

Eating: Eat something. As with the previous night’s meal, eat the same foods your body is used to eating, and eat at least two hours before the race so the food can digest. A beverage high in carbohydrates is a good alternative if you have problems with eating and digesting foods before a race.

Clothing: It’ll probably be cool in the morning, so dress in layers. Swimsuit, compression clothing and/or tri suit, light shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants, and hat.

Timing Chip: Put the timing chip on your left leg—on the right leg it could catch on the bike gears.

Arrival: Get there about an hour before the race. This leaves time for a calm transition set up, going to the bathroom, and meeting others that are racked around you and in your swim waves.

Transition: Transition areas can get hectic during a race so make sure you know the flow of swim in, bike out, bike in and run out.

  • The early bird gets the end spot.
  • The end spots are coveted in an open rack triathlon since it is easy to see your bike.
  • Do not move someone else’s bike to get the spot you want.
  • Do not put tape on the racks. If you want to make your spot to where you will not forget it, the best thing is a bright colored towel. I suggest a kid’s beach towel folded in half.

Stay tuned for more blogs that will cover transition, swim, bike, and run strategies.

Change a Flat Tire with These Quick 10 Steps

If you’re out riding on the road, trail, or in a race, it’s essential to know how to change a flat tire. You can take all the precautionary measures there are to protect your tires. You can check the tread regularly, ensure the air pressure is correct, and avoid sections of the road or trail that could cause damage. The bottom line is, flats happen, especially when you least expect it. Here are 10 easy steps every cyclist should know, eventually you’ll have to change a flat tire.

What You Need:

  • tire levers
  • spare tube
  • pump (or CO2)

change a flat tire

10 Steps To Change Your Tire:

1.) Open quick release on break calipers
2.) Open quick release skewer on wheel & remove wheel
3.) Take one side of tire off the rim with your tire levers
4.) Pull out the punctured tube
5.) Check the inside of tire for road debris and cuts in tire
6.) Make sure the rim strip on wheel rim is in it’s proper place
7.) Insert new inner tube between wheel rim and tire
8.) Put side wall of tire back onto the rim
9.) Inflate the tube to recommended pressure
10.) Put the wheel back on the bicycle, insert skewer, and re-clamp break calipers

Remember to always be safe and practice precautionary measures by moving yourself and your bike as far off the road as possible when you change a flat tire. If this means into the grassy ditch, then move there. When positioning yourself to change a flat tire, make sure you face oncoming traffic so you can see what is coming your way. If you’re riding with a group, ask someone to stay back with you and help keep an eye on oncoming traffic. Take a few extra proactive measures when you change a flat tire so you can finish your ride!

How To Put on Your Swim Cap

The Rookie Tri beginner triathlon swim start swim cap colorsIn a triathlon like the Rookie Tri, swim caps are provided as part of the race and are required to be worn during the swim portion of the event. Different groups will wear different colors to help signal when waves are starting. Talk to those who have the same cap color, you may just make a friend in line.
If you’re not used to wearing a swim cap, putting one on can be tricky business, especially if you have long hair!
Here is a few tips that you help you put on your swim cap with ease.

Putting On The Swim Cap

First, it is best to have your hair and your cap wet. Then, the best way to do this is to hold the cap by the sides and open the cap as wide as possible. Then bring your head forward into the cap. Start by pulling the cap over your forehead then carry on working it down towards the back of your head.

If you have long hair you should put your hair in a mid to low loose ponytail. Leave your hair out to the back. Pull the cap on halfway. Then twist up the rest of your ponytail up into the cap. Try to put it in the cap as evenly as possible so that the cap still has a good seal. Tuck any flyaway hairs along your face up into the cap. These small hairs can get tangled in your goggles when you are swimming and it will be painful to unravel them when you are done.

What to Avoid

Swimmers that put their hair up in large buns or high ponytails create a point in their cap this lets in water because it is not sealed correctly around the face.

Be careful not you use your fingernails when putting on your cap. A small tear can quickly grow and you don’t want anything distracting you in the swim.

Putting the swim cap too low on your forehead. Make sure that your goggles are touching your face and not your swim cap.

Swim cap colors will be posted on the schedule page of the website before the event. You can see last year as an example.

     – Happy swimming!

Best Places in Austin for Introductory Bike Rides

Introductory bike rides will help you become one with your bike

Introductory bike rides can help if you’re experiencing one or two of the following. The sport of triathlon is brand new to you. Running is pounding your knees and you’ve begun cycling to cross-train. Triathlon injuries took their toll years ago and you’re returning to the sport, slowly but surely. Your friends tricked you into a weekly bike ride with the promise of beer, chips, and queso after.

Whatever your reasoning, you need to become familiar with your new bike. If operating gears is new to you, using them can be tricky on your first few rides. Your bike presents a new feel, leaning into the curves, becoming comfortable with the handling, drinking your hydration, eating your nutrition.

Master these concepts on introductory bikes rides at the following Austin locations

introductory bike rides

The Veloway.

Veloway

This 3-mile looped, one-way roadway is ideal for your introductory bikes rides. The Veloway is located in southwest Austin off LaCrosse Ave. and is closed to traffic. Parking is ample. Most noteworthy, this route is strictly for cyclists and rollerbladers, no runners or walkers (watch out for the wildlife!). The roadway is bisected with a continuous white line (slower cyclists keep to the right) and everyone moves in the same clockwise manner. You can relax a little knowing you don’t have to keep an eye out for non-wheeled individuals or riders coming in your direction. There are gorgeous views, a few tight turns, and some nice straightaways. Make sure you get into the right gear for a nice climb around Mile 2! Porta-potties are available.

introductory bike rides

Southern Walnut Creek Trail.

Southern Walnut Creek Trail

The Southern Walnut Creek Trail begins at Govalle Neighborhood Park off Bolm Rd. in east Austin. It features nearly 7.5 miles of 10-foot wide concrete paths and splendid views. Like the Veloway, there is plenty of parking. Be advised, runners and walkers are allowed on the trail and traffic flows both ways. On your introductory rides, ensure the other lane is clear and yell out “on your left” if you plan to pass others. There are a few road crossings along the trail to be aware of as well. Add 11 miles and some nice climbs to your bike ride when you preview the Rookie Tri bike course! The trail rides alongside Daffan Ln. and eventually hits Decker Ln.

introductory bike rides

Brushy Creek Regional Trail.

Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Representing north Austin, the Brushy Creek Regional Trail reaches Round Rock to the east and Cedar Park to the west. Check out Stone Canyon Pool if you park to the east. Park to the west at Twin Lakes Family YMCA if you use this route for your introductory bike rides. Be aware of runners and walkers on this 6.75-mile multi-use trail that connects neighborhoods and existing parks. Traffic flows in both directions and there are multiple restrooms along the trail. Make sure the other lane is clear and yell out “on your left” if you plan to pass others.

Rookie Triathlete: Part 4: Swimming

Swimming is coming along, slowly, but surely

Swimming has been more difficult than I imagined during my Rookie Tri training. I knew swimming would be difficult as it’s easily my weakest discipline. It feels like such a foreign concept to me, continuously inhaling above water and exhaling below water, all while trying to keep my hips/legs from sinking. As difficult as swimming has been, the progress I’ve made has been tremendous. I’ve dedicated more energy to the swim than I have the bike and the run and it shows.

When I first started I was doing everything I could to get from one end of the pool to the other, expending way too much energy. Barny, my coach, likened this to learning to run long distances using only speed workouts. There was no pacing, no patience. The improvement stems from using a pool buoy and kickboard. The pool buoy helps your hips stay elevated in the water so you can focus on using your upper body with minimal kick. The kickboard gives your upper body a rest so you can focus on tiny kicks and keeping your feet below the water’s surface. I also feel it working my core.

swimming

Incite Elite goggle set, with nose plug!

My first swim workout took place with a co-worker at the Townlake YMCA. Every swim workout after that has taken place at Big Stacy Pool. That place is a hidden gem and not many people use it during lunchtime (when I normally go). The facilities are nice, the water is cool, and you can take a quick shower after your swim before going back to work. Big Stacy Pool is 33.3m long. Each swim workout has gotten progressively longer for me, working on form, breathing, and endurance.

Full disclosure, my first swim was without a nose plug. I tried swimming without a nose plug, honest. No matter what I did, water would get in my nose. For Valentine’s Day, my wife got me this sweet Incite Elite goggle set that came with ear plugs and a nose plug (YAY!). The nose plug is a lifesaver. I’m not sure if this is normal for beginner swimmers or not. For me, the difference between using a nose plug and not using a nose plug is night and day. I have noticed that it slid a little bit during a few laps. It might still be in an adjustment to my nose process. I’ll keep an eye on leading up to race day.

I’m going home for Easter weekend and will attempt my first open water swim in Lake Mexia. I’m not sure what to expect or how far I’ll go, but it’ll be a nice gauge for me to see where I am outside of the pool.

What were your first swim experiences?

Bike Spring Cleaning

Taking time to wash your bike is just as important as checking all parts

Spring cleaning doesn’t just pertain to household duties. So brush the cobwebs off your bike, wash your bike, and get it in proper gear for the spring triathlon season. Ensure your bike is ready to go, especially if you’re racing Rookie Tri on Sunday, May 6th!

Whether your bike is aluminum, steel, titanium, or composite, an important aspect of any frame is keeping it clean. Steel rusts, aluminum corrodes, titanium and composite bikes just look cruddy.

The paint on a steel or aluminum frame is porous and penetrated easily by elements that will rust the tubes from underneath the paint. Grease and solvents can degrade the glued joints of some older composite bikes with aluminum lugs.

Check inside your frame for water. It’s more common than you think for water to seep in down between seat posts and seat tubes. Especially if you ride in the rain or carry your bike on top of the car in the rain. Water in a steel frame shortens its life significantly.

Remember that a clean, dry bike is a happy bike!

Stop by your local bike shop if you need help cleaning your bike or learning about your bike’s frame.

Swim, Bike, and Run for Austin Gives Miles

Take your Rookie Tri training to the next level

People race Rookie Tri for many reasons. Most race to prove to themselves they can complete a triathlon. Others race to beat their previous time. Some participate to stay in shape. Whatever your reason, you can make your Rookie Tri training and race day that much more meaningful when you participate in Austin Gives Miles!

Participating in Austin Gives Miles gives you the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit organization of your choice when you’re training for Rookie Tri and racing on Sunday, May 6th. Use your triathlon training to take your impact beyond race day! You can get your friends, family, and training groups/clubs involved too. Anyone can join Austin Gives Miles and make a difference for their preferred charity. Start fundraising today using the steps below!

Step 1: Register for the race and create a fundraiser

  • Click “Set Up Your Fundraiser” and choose your charity – a page will be created and you’ll be ready to start fundraising.

Step 2: Share with the world

  • Your fundraising page allows friends and family to donate directly to your cause and helps you share your story.

Step 3: See your impact

  • Your personal page collects your fundraising totals together in one place – your overall impact.

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram what charity you’ll support through Austin Gives Miles!

USAT: What is it and Why does it matter?

The Rookie Triathlon is a USAT-sanctioned event and includes many benefits for those that participate. Here is the low down of what USAT is, why sanctioning matters, and rules and benefits of being a USAT member.

Who/What is USAT?

USAT Why Membership and Sanctioning - The Rookie Tri

USA Triathlon (USAT) is the national governing body for the multi-sport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, and winter triathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon is a member federation of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Triathlon Union.

USAT Why Membership and Sanctioning - The Rookie Tri Team USAWhat sanctioning an event means?

1. Gives athletes peace-of-mind by guaranteeing industry-wide safety standards.
2. Ensures a fair race governed by standardized rules.
3. Provides the Gold Standard of insurance protection for the event, athlete, and venue.
4. Provide ranking points for regional and national rankings, including USAT All-American status.
5. Only sanctioned races provide the opportunity to qualify for National Championships and then qualify for World Championships as a member of Team USA.
6. Results are available for all sanctioned races.
7. Enables new programming, grows the sport, and funds initiatives including youth participation, the Olympic program, and paratriathlon.

USAT Why Membership and Sanctioning - The Rookie Tri

Types of Membership

Membership comes with tons of great benefits for members including exclusive discounts and resources for training. Check our Triathlon Gear Shopping list to see if any of these items can be purchased with your USA Triathlon membership discount. You must be a USAT member to participate in a sanctioned event.

If you plan on participating in four or more events in a calendar year then it is best to purchase an annual membership upfront.

Annual Membership
An annual membership allows an athlete to compete in USAT-sanctioned races while receiving many benefits which include: a subscription to the quarterly USA Triathlon magazine, be part of the USA Triathlon national ranking system, discounts from USA Triathlon sponsors, and the ability to qualify for Team USA member and compete at ITU World Championship events around the world. An annual membership also includes unlimited one-day licenses for races occurring within the membership period.

One-day license
A one-day license allows an athlete to compete in a USAT-sanctioned event without purchasing an annual membership. One-day licenses can be purchased at the time of registration or on-site at packet pick up.

USAT Rules

USAT has a set of rules that apply to all sanctioned races to provide for the orderly and consistent administration of rules and penalties.

Make sure to know these 11 commonly violated rules before you show up on race day.

There are an extended set of rules that apply for qualifying for national and world events. Read Full USAT Rules.

Rookie Triathlete: Part 3: Life Happens

Life happens.

It finally happened. LIFE. Yes, life happens. Life happened to me and my training for Rooke Tri. I built some nice momentum coming off my mock Rookie Tri championship and that came to a screeching halt.

Check presentation with Joey Whelan, 2018 Austin Marathon male champ.

My last blog post was on Feb. 3rd. During February, High Five Events produced the 27th Annual Austin Marathon. This year, 15,000 participants registered for four separate events over the course of race weekend. Training quickly took a back seat and eight hour days turned into 13-15 hour days. Endless emails, race weekend/expo planning, social media, interviews, local news requests, elite runners from across the country, RACE WEEKEND, shaking hands, kissing babies, it all comes with the territory. That’s the nature of the beast. I have the best job in the world, but even that won’t prevent life from interfering with your training. Remember: life happens.

You might be a Rookie yourself, preparing for your first tri like me. Life happens (personal, kids, work, travel, family, emergencies, etc.). You will miss a workout, or several. Don’t get down on yourself, don’t feel like you need to “make up” for that lost workout. Keep moving forward. Find other ways to remain active, stretch, roll, take care of your body. Control what you can control. In the weeks leading up to the race, I made sure to eat as best as I could, stay hydrated, roll and stretch, and walk/ride everywhere I could. I continued to utilize my stand up desk. I ran when I could sneak away. Barny (my coach) was well-aware of the situation (he ran the Austin Half Marathon) and told me to focus on work and get in workouts if I could. Reminder – we have 90 days until the Rookie Tri on May 6th; Barny’s Rookie-only offer still stands. Contact him today and tell him you want the Rookie rate!

life happens

When I arrived at Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg.

UPDATES

I bought my first bike! It’s a black Felt Z100 (name TBD). I traveled to Fredericksburg to visit Josh at Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg. As I mentioned in my first blog, research would play a role in my journey. I like to know what I’m getting myself into. But be careful, you can go down many rabbit holes. Fortunately, I’ve worked with Josh before and he’s knowledgeable about bikes and what folks need, especially first-timers. We emailed several times, I told him what I was looking for and my budget, and he went to work locating the perfect bike. He found it. I went to pick it up and was blown away by the customer service. When I arrived, I didn’t just pick up the bike and leave; I “tried on” the bike like I was getting fitted for new shoes. We actually switched bikes from what he originally picked out, size 58, to a slightly smaller one, size 56. It doesn’t sound like much, but I actually felt the size difference on the bike. If you’re out bike shopping, know that you don’t just get a bike. You need several other items as well: a helmet (!), good lock (if you commute), front and back lights (for safety), water bottles, flat kit (sounds like fun), and a pump (if you don’t have one). You can get other items if you want, gloves, bikes shorts, clothing, sunglasses, etc. I recommend getting what you absolutely need and going from there. You can always get more stuff down the road. Tomorrow (3/8), I’m taking my bike for a ride on the Veloway for an hour. Let’s see what this baby can do! Big thanks to Josh!

life happens

When I departed Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg.

Workouts (plan courtesy of Barny) –

2/26 (first workout post-Austin Marathon) – easy 4 miles (9:30 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

2/27 – 6-mile run with RAW Running – 1.5-mile warm up 8 min/mile, 3 miles worth of HAF fartleks around Town Lake (7:00 min/mile), 1.5-mile cool down 8:30 min/mile

2/28 – easy 4 miles (9:30 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

3/1 – 5x1000m (7:00 min/mile) hill repeats with Austin Runners Club

3/2 – easy 4 miles (9:30 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

3/6 – 650m swim (3x100m with pool buoy, rest every 25m; 3x100m with pol buoy and board, rest every 25m; 50m with pool buoy without rest after 25m)

3/6Cap City Relays with RAW Running. ~2 miles warmup at 8:00 min/mile, 2.62 miles of relays at 6:21/mi, cool down with ~2 miles at 8:00 min/mile

3/7 (on deck) – 60-minute ride on the Veloway

3/8 (on deck) – 45-minute bike ride in my neighborhood, 15-minute run immediately after (first brick workout!)

3/9 (on deck) – easy 4 miles (9:00 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

3/10 (on deck) – 3-mile bike ride downtown from my office, 4-mile run with Under Armour, 3-mile bike ride back to the office