Tips for a Hilly Bike Ride

Learning efficient tips for riding the hills better is particularly important for triathletes since they need to be as efficient as possible in the bike portion of the race, in order to save energy for the running portion. In this blog, we will give you a couple of tips for a hilly bike ride to get through safely and efficiently during training and on race day. 

Equipment for a Riding the Hills

The bike itself is not the main concern here unless the bike course of your race is extremely hilly. In this case, a road bike would be more helpful than a triathlon bike. However, when talking about hills, your cassette and wheels are more important. Generally speaking, a cassette that has more teeth on the largest sprocket, will allow you to spin easier. Additionally, the type of wheels on your bike can be another element that can be helpful. It is better and to have wheels that are lighter and even if they are not the most aerodynamic ones.

Maintain Your Energy

tips for a hilly bike ride

Regardless of how long or steep a hill is, the key to conquer it is maintaining a steady amount of energy. Hammering parts of a hill, and then slowing down significantly, will only result in you spending a lot more energy. Instead of focusing on speed, you should try to maintain the same heart rate (or power, if you train with that) throughout your climb.

Watch Your Pedal Stroke

A simple way to be more efficient while riding the hills is by adjusting your revolutions per minute (rpm). A higher rpm, somewhere between 90 and 100, will help you save more energy. This might seem counterintuitive because you seem to be pedaling more, however, you are not wasting as much energy as you would with a slower and harder pedal stroke.

Focus on Your Form

You should also consider your position on the saddle. Seating further back, rather than forwards, can help you get more power from muscles like your glutes or hamstrings. Additionally, a more upright position can help you expand your lungs, making it easier to breathe. Something else to look out for is your heels. Make sure you are are not pedaling with your toes. Keep your foot flatter and drop your heel even more if you next extra push to get to the top of the hill.

Specific Workouts

Practice makes perfect, and that is also the case for riding hills. The more you practice these tips for riding the hills during your training, the easier they will be on race day. 

It can be helpful for you to incorporate hill-specific intervals into your training plan. Ideally, you should be doing high repetitions for intervals no longer than 2 minutes, rather than fewer repetitions for longer periods of time. Doing this can be beneficial if you’re trying to improve your climbing endurance. Additionally, if you are used to using a trainer, it is a good idea to add some single-leg pedaling drills to gain strength, fix imbalances, and improve your pedal stroke.

You’re Ready to Ride The Hills!

These tips are simple enough, but make a world of difference when hitting the hills for a bike ride. Keep these tips in mind before you get out for your next ride: Expert Cycling Tips for Riding the Hills

    • check your cassette
    • maintain your energy
    • adjust your bike pedal stroke
    • be aware of your form
    • practice regularly

With the help of these tips, you’ll be ready to conquer the hills on any ride!

Take a break and meet these adorable dogs of triathlon

Over the years, human spectators have brought their 4-legged counterparts to cheer on triathletes. These good boys and good girls bring a smile to everyone’s face, including their favorite triathlete! They’re also game for a good scratch from staff and others. Our triathlons are dog-friendly and we’ve met countless adorable pups over the years. We even asked y’all to share images of your spectating dogs at our events. Meet some of the most adorable dogs of triathlon that you’ll ever see!

Adorable Dogs at Rookie Tri

Want to bring your furry friend to the next triathlon? Review our dog-friendly triathlon tips below. We’d love to meet your pup and add them to our list!

Dog-Friendly Triathlon Tips

  • Bring snacks and water – Spectating is hard work, just like completing a triathlon. Bring hydration (and a bowl) and nutrition so your dog can refuel during the event.
  • Keep your dog on a leash – As much as we’d love to see pups roaming freely at our events, participant safety is vital. Keep your dog on a leash so participants aren’t tripped up and Fido doesn’t try to complete the swim portion of the triathlon!
  • Pick up after your dog – No explanation needed. Help us keep the race site in better condition than when we found it. Bring extra bags. You never know if you’ll run out or someone else runs out.
  • Follow park and/or city rules and regulations – If there are additional rules, follow them. We want to keep seeing more dogs of triathlon at our events, so follow any additional rules and regulations.

If you have a photo of your furry friend cheering you on at Rookie Tri, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Tina’s First Triathlon

My first tri was The Rookie Tri on May 5, 2013. Here is how I remember it, looking back at it seven years later. But let’s back up a bit. I forgot to introduce myself. 

Who I Am & Why That Matters a Little Bit

Tina's First Tri Rookie Tri Staff StoriesMy name is Tina, and I am the Marketing Manager for High Five Events, the company that owns and produces The Rookie Tri

I got really into cycling in my junior year at the University of Texas, around 2009. My car had bit the dust, so I decided to save the money and get a bike instead. I was instantly hooked; I LOVED IT! 

This love of bikes eventually lead to my working at Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in the summer of 2011. For those not familiar with Jack & Adam’s, now Jack & Adam’s Fredricksburg, it was THE triathlon store not only in Austin but in the US. We had a fantastic staff that was full of knowledge and loved introducing new people to the sport of triathlon and cycling. 

Why I Did My First Tri

I have never been very competitive, and while I dabbled in swimming and running, it took two years before the staff/customers at Jack & Adam’s actually convinced me to sign up for my first race. We had decided to have the entire staff at the time do the Rookie. Everyone was at different levels, with many having completed many races, including Ironmans.

Prepping for My First Triathlon

Prepping her tri gear for The Rookie TriI trained for about 6-8 weeks leading up the event, mainly focusing on swimming. I went to the pool twice a week with a friend and did I think three open water swims in what at the time was the Pure Austin Quarry. I think one of the most helpful things was sharing a lane with multiple people, as it gives you the feel of swimming around others on race morning. 

The night before I stayed at a friend’s house so that we could get up in the morning. I was so nervous I set up my transition area several times, double-checking I had everything. It was supposed to be a little colder than usual the next day, so I “panic packed” extra stuff to stay warm on the bike.

The Big Day

Swim

Tina is ready to go at the Rookie Tri in 2013

The morning of, we got there as early as we could to set up in transition. We went down to swim start, and talked with people while we waited for the start. It was definitely chilly, and the wind had made the water a little choppy. As we entered, I realized all the “waves” (from the wind and other people) were coming from the right, and I only knew how to breathe to my right. Uh oh! I had to work out what to do on the fly, so I switched to a simple breaststroke and grabbed on the kayak at the first turn to help get my bearings. The lifeguard asked if I was okay to continue, and I said yes and continued. I also stopped to apologize to every person I ran into during the swim, not that they were listening. After making the next turn buoy and facing the shore, I knew I had it in me to finish. My final swim time, according to the results that year, was 10:01. 

Bike

I rushed into transition, and I was so amped and excited by everyone cheering that I forgot all of the extra arm warmers and stuff I had packed and jumped on the bike. Thankfully, it was okay because I was plenty warm after a mile or two on the bike. I completed the bike in 43:07.

Run

The run is my least favorite of the three sports, so I was not looking forward to the run. I reluctantly slip into my running shoes and head out on course. Looking at the results now, it says I ran a 20:59. Probably true because I remember enjoying myself and taking my time during my first tri. At this point, I think everyone else had already finished, so my only time constraint was finishing with enough time to drive back and be at work when it opened. 

I remember being greeted at the finish line and everyone cheering, and I still have my finisher medal. Total time 01:19:28. Not bad for a true Rookie! 

Overall First Triathlon Experience

Tina crossing the Rookie Tri finish lineOver the years, I have convinced untold amounts of people to sign up for their first triathlon because I honestly believe that it is good for people. It is such a unique experience, and above all else, it is fun. The triathlon community is so supportive, and I am lucky to call so many of them friends. 

I hope my story has helped inspire you to go ahead and give triathlon a try. If you see me at the next High Five Events race, stop by and say Hi!

Revealing the Truth About Ice Baths and the Benefits They Offer

We’ve seen or heard of athletes regularly dipping themselves into a freezing ice bath after a hard workout. However, what do we really know about the benefits these ice-cold baths have to offer? Take a look at some common benefits ice baths can have to see if you should try out an ice bath as you get ready for Rookie Tri!

What’s The Fuss Over Ice Baths?

Just like you’d ice a twisted ankle or strained muscle, cold temperatures have been proven to speed up the healing process within our bodies while also relieving pain. Ice baths benefit and relieve aching, sore, and inflamed muscles. They also limit the inflammation response that would usually occur which helps aid in a quicker recovery.

Ice baths are also thought to help with circulation. When you’re in an ice bath, your body naturally exerts more effort in maintaining its internal temperatures to continue functioning properly. Once you’re out of the ice and your body is no longer in contact with the cold temperature, blood flow increases allowing the body to maintain its recycling process. Increasing blood flow will help you sleep and make you feel better, physically, and emotionally. 

The Top 10 Benefits of Taking an Ice Bath

Ice baths are believed to improve the recovery from strength, power, and flexibility workouts, as well as recovery from muscle damage and swelling.

It is said that decreasing the local temperature after exercise helps limit inflammatory response, decreasing the amount of inflammation, therefore helping you recover faster.

The effects of submerging your body in ice also have a positive impact on the central nervous system. It increases the production of endorphins that affect a person’s overall mood.

This release of endorphins can also help you achieve a better night’s rest so you’re ready to go for the next training session!

The Right Way to Take an Ice Bath

Ice baths are useful for quick recovery between training sessions. In order to see results from an ice bath, it must be done right. Here are a few tips:

  • If your goal is to combat soreness or prevent your muscles from further damage, the sooner you get into an ice bath after a tough workout, the better.
  • While you’re at it, add in some post-workout recovery foods/drinks to really speed up your recovery time! 
  • How cold is too cold? The temperature of the bath should actually be between 50 and 59º F. 
  • An ice bath should last between 10 and 15 minutes at most.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you submerge your entire body in the water to get the effect you’re looking for. 

Why Should You Give It a Try?!

Ice baths are good for triathletes because they help your body stay prepared for the next workout. From speeding up recovery time to alleviating pain that could prevent you from your training, ice baths have some real benefits. So how do you feel about dipping yourself into an ice bath?  Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Triathlon Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Give the Tri Dad in your life the perfect gift this Father’s day! From sleek, anti-fog goggles he can rock at Rookie Tri, to the tri tank he’s been talking about for years, our Father’s Day gift guide has it all. One-stop-shop: click these items to order them straight from our blog to your door.

Swim

For the dad that can’t seem to stay away from the water. He’ll love taking these gifts with him next time he goes for a swim!

Bike

You know how much he loves getting out for a training ride. Upgrade his ride for even more fun during his training with these sweet additions for his bike! If you know he could use some help fine-tuning his bike, a gift card to the Velofix bike shop would be an awesome choice! Set up an appointment, and their team of specialists will come directly to you to complete a full bike tune-up.

Run

Looks like someone’s training runs are about to get a lot more fun! He’ll love going to log some miles with these additions.

Take Your Pick!

This new gear will show dad you acknowledge all the hard work he does and hopefully gets him excited to get back in the tri game. Go the extra mile and offer to join dad for a training session for a Father’s Day experience he’ll never forget. If you have a friend who could use some help coming up with gift ideas, share this Father’s Day gift guide with them! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

No longer a Rookie! William’s First Tri

Year after year we produce one of Austin’s most-beloved triathlons, the Rookie Tri. But every once in awhile, we want to get in on the action, too! Keep reading to see William Dyson’s first-ever triathlon experience at yours truly, Rookie Tri.

Taking the Plunge

I committed to my first triathlon in 2018 for The Rookie Triathlon. What began as a small idea quickly turned into a side bet complete with trash talk and a race-day following that formally introduced triathlon to newbies. I was fortunate to have one of the best triathletes in the world (Paul “Barny” Matthews) as my coach. I spoke with countless triathletes, both Rookies and IRONMAN finishers. Basically, everything they said could happen did happen at some point. Based on my training and my mock Rookie Tri in February, I figured finishing in 75 minutes would be respectable. Remember, I finished my mock triathlon in 1:34:43. I completed my first triathlon in 1:06:55.

When I set out to do something I’m all in. But I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been as successful and felt as good during my first triathlon if it weren’t for Barny. His training plan made me #feelthebarn before race day so I knew what to expect on race day.

William’s First Tri – Sunday, May 6, 2018

My alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. Why so early? My wife and good friend were volunteering that morning and needed to be there to help with parking. The night before I went through the entire race and packed my bag. Stickers were placed on my bike and helmet. Everything was quadruple checked. Hydration was mixed and placed in the fridge. I wanted race morning to be smooth.

Well that didn’t go as planned. Part of getting up a bit earlier was to ensure my bodily functions worked the way I wanted them to work in my own home. That didn’t happen. Porta-potties here I come. I checked my bag one more time because why not?! We took off on time and headed to Decker Lake. We get about halfway through and sonofa… I left both bottles of hydration in the fridge. So many scenarios go through my head. I popped off 35 at the next exit and booked it back to the house. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY. We arrived around 5:30. Still early, but there were folks already parking! I parked and wanted to get my bike racked. I’d have plenty of time to get my bag and set up transition.

The Race

My wife and friend join me after their volunteer duties are complete (thanks for volunteering!). I chat with some more folks. Find my arch-nemisis and his crew and laugh my ass off. His morning was more horrible than mine was. The race begins and we watch the Open wave cut through the smooth water. They make it look so easy. Barny exited the water and I cheered for him. He eventually won his second Rookie Tri in a row. A week after finishing 13th overall in the IRONMAN North American Championships. It’s almost game-time.

As we’re waiting in line, Paras (my arch-nemisis) and I start quickly re-thinking what we’ve gotten ourselves into. But we’re both competitors. When nobody was looking and we didn’t have access to our phone, we quickly slapped hands, wished each other the best of luck, and agreed we couldn’t wait for the post-race booze. It’s time to swim.

The Swim

We were in line to be the last two of the Rookie male 30-39 to enter the water. Perfect. The next group would start a little after us and not as many would catch me. Wrong. We were the first to start with the 40-49 because Paras forgot his swim cap and his color matched theirs. Great. I enter the water in exactly what I’ll wear on the bike and run, minus shoes, plus goggles and nose plug. The first 50m are fantastic. Yes, this is all coming together as planned! Then someone hits my leg and it throws me off. Damn. Get it back together William. Get my stroke back and my leg is hit again, then my back. It’s clear folks are passing me.

My heart starts racing. My form goes to shit. I start kicking more. Welp, this isn’t good. Just keep moving forward. I breaststroke for a bit to get my breath back and return to my form. But the damage is done. My heart rate is high and my breathing is off. Just keep moving forward. I tried everything I could to get back under control, even swimming on my back a couple times. Nothing worked. I was already exhausted. I focused on making it to the next buoy. Then the next buoy. I’m in the home stretch and I can’t wait to feel solid earth beneath my feet. I finish the swim in a disappointing 9:52. Nearly three minutes more than my mock Rookie Tri swim. My first thought once I learned that Paras was ahead of me: makeup time on the bike.

The Bike

Transition went smooth. I used the run to transition to gather myself and catch my breath. Arrived at my bike and everything is ready to go. I step on my towel to dry my feet while I put on my sunglasses and helmet. Slip on the shoes I’ll run in and head towards bike out. I cross the line and hop on, ready to chase down Paras. I quickly grab some nuun because I know I’m about to push myself like never before on a bike. Riding the course beforehand was a tremendous boost. Familiarity is huge. I was passing folks and feeling good. Everything was working out better than I anticipated. At every hill I’m looking for Paras. Nowhere. Shit.

But I’m in a groove now. Smoking the downhills and pounding the uphills. I’m getting after it. I finally see Paras on the frontage road and get this insane jolt of energy. He started more than two minutes ahead of me. I’m going all out now (which got me later). I don’t catch him until we turn right into the home stretch. Turn the corner, pass him, blow a kiss, and keep going. I need to make up time. Paras had more in the tank than I thought. We went back and forth on Decker Lake Rd. and eventually made it to transition at the same time. We had folks Facetiming people who couldn’t be there and streaming our race on Facebook live. I finished the bike in 37:44. That’s 24 minutes faster than my mock Rookie Tri bike. The Wrecker at Decker was living up to the hype.

The Run

Transition went smoothly again. Pre-planning helped. I took one last swig of nuun, dropped my bike off, and grabbed my SPIbelt. I leave transition right behind Paras. It’s on. I know he’s a top-notch runner, but folks on-course told me he incurred a couple penalties. He is faster, but I still have a chance. The course was changed because of flash flooding, so my day-before run didn’t help much. I’m feeling good, folks are cheering, volunteers are awesome. I see Paras start to disappear, but I don’t worry about that. I focus on passing one person at a time, keeping my pace.

The new course weaved in and out for two miles. Every chance I got I poured water on my head. I turn the last leg and Barny is there cheering as loud as he can. Paras has penalties! You still have a chance! I catch my last boost of energy and head for the finish of my first triathlon. I’m asking my body to push itself beyond what’s it ever done. The finish is getting closer. I can hear Logan. Paras is at the edge of the finish chute and gives me a high five as I enter. He was three minutes ahead of me. I crossed the line of my first triathlon in 1:06:55. Eight minutes ahead of my 75-minute prediction. That’s a 28-minute improvement from my mock Rookie Tri in February.

I’m a Triathlete

William taking those finals steps across the finish line at The Rookie Tri!

I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon and immediately fell to the ground. Exhausted. No medical was needed, just had to gather myself for a minute. I didn’t beat Paras, but I became a triathlete. The post-race trash talk wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. We were both that tired. We took photos, hung out with friends, our coaches joined the fun, we drank a few beers, and enjoyed the energetic finish line festival.

The entire experience was something I’ll never forget. My wife supported me through yet another endurance event and training cycle. Megan is a beautiful soul for putting up with my shenanigans and ability to consume great quantities of her amazing cooking. I appreciate Barny and all of his efforts. He’s a huge reason for my improvement. That is undeniable. I strongly encourage contacting him if you’re looking for a coach for your first triathlon or your first IRONMAN. I’m grateful for my employer, High Five Events, allowed me to compete and not have to work the event. My co-workers provided a never-ending stream of insight and support.

Out with the Old, In with the New

You finally found the perfect pair of running shoes to get you from start to finish at Rookie Tri, but what about the laces that came with your purchase?? A lot of gear is needed for triathlons, but these laces are the most overlooked and under-appreciated piece of essential tri gear. There are many different types of elastic laces to choose from depending on your specific requirements and qualifications. In this blog, we’ll discuss the advantages of elastic laces and share a few of our favorites to help you find which ones you want to tri out this season.

Why switch to Elastic Laces?

Elastic laces are all the rage in the tri world, and with good reason. They save time, eliminate the possibility of accidents, and make for an easier transition during your tri. Elastic, or easy laces stretch to give you the ability to slide your foot into your running shoes easily quickly while holding your foot in the exact position you want them to be. Another benefit of these types of laces is that they are one size fits all, yet adjustable, so there are tons of options to choose from. Lastly, opposed to if you were using standard laces, using easy laces will reduce any possible stretching the shoe when you put them on.

Check Out Our Favorite Elastic Laces

 

Take advantage of these laces to eliminate any additional time that could be wasted tying your laces in transition. Some argue that elastic or lock laces can leave too much or too litter space for your foot within the shoe. In this case, make sure you adjust yours during training for the best fit and leave them be.

For the low price and high pay off, elastic laces are one of the most essential pieces of tri gear you could buy. Using this simple, yet effective tri-hack will help shave time off your bike to run transition on the morning of your tri.

The importance of setting goals to help you reach things you may think are unachievable

Highly successful individuals are big on setting goals for themselves. This is why it is important to apply goal setting to things you would like to accomplish in running or triathlon. Say what you are going to do and then do what you said you were going to do. Goal setting in running or triathlon does a few things. They can hold you accountable, be motivating, and build confidence. Here are some strategies in goal setting that can lead you to success.

The ABC’s of Goal Setting

Set an “A” Goal.

Setting Goals A GoalYour “A” goal is one that may seem beyond what you can achieve or highly unlikely unless things go perfectly. If you can stay focused on your longterm “A” goal, this can give you all the motivation you need to do all the small things along the way that ultimately leads you to achieve it. “A” goals can also be overwhelming and cause people to give up because they seem impossible at times. This is why “B”, and “C” goals are important. This is typically a private goal that only you or a few people know about.
Example: I want to come in first place this year at The Rookie Tri.

Setting B GoalsHave a couple of “B” Goals:

Your “B” goal is a goal that you would be happy to achieve and you are pretty certain if you put in the work, you will reach it. “B” goals are good to share with others to give you some outside accountability. Reaching “B” goals are also what you need to achieve to keep you working towards your “A” goal. The idea is for all your smaller achievements to build into larger achievements.
Example: I want to finish in the top 5 of my age group.
Example: I want to set a new PR.

Have a few “C” Goals.

Setting Goals C goals“C” goals are the lower hanging fruit that gives you your daily motivation, keeps you on task, and builds your confidence to reach higher goals. Your “C” goals are built into your daily routine and without accomplishing these, there is no way to achieve the others. These can be goals that cover your eating habits, sleeping habits, training mileage, social health, mental health, work-life balance, etc.

Example:

  • Get 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Hit my weekly training mileage goals.
  • Maintain a diet that gives me all the nutrition I need to stay strong and healthy.

Pro Tips to Setting Goals:

  • Set realistic goals: Be realistic about where you are currently at and start setting your goals from there.
  • Set goals that build on each other: Make sure you are thinking strategically about how achieving some of your lower goals will allow you to reach the higher ones.
  • Adjust your lower goals: Adjusting your lower goals are important because life throws you curveballs sometimes and it is key to experience success in your daily, weekly, and monthly routines. Without these successes, you will become frustrated and give up.
  • Reward: Last but not least, set up a little reward system for yourself. There is enough negative reinforcement tied to not reaching your goals, but in general you need positive reinforcement to make the process enjoyable. To reach goals you also have to sacrifice. It is OK to reward yourself with small amounts of things you are giving up to achieve your goals.

Example: If I hit my weekly diet, sleep, and training mileage goals, I get to have my favorite but not-so-healthy meal on Saturday night.

In summary, goals are very important to get where you want to go. Make sure your goals build on each other, be realistic about where you are starting, adjust for success as you go, and reward yourself along the way.

Healthy on-the-go Breakfast Smoothies Recipes

Are you more of a breakfast-on-the-go person? Perhaps you aren’t a huge breakfast eater in general. Whatever the case may be, this is just the breakfast solution for you! Try these smoothie recipes for a healthy and easy breakfast for a great way to get you energized and start your day. Pro tip: make it easier and plan ahead. Divide out your ingredients into containers for the week for a one-step breakfast, ready on the fly!

 

 

These breakfast smoothie recipes are perfect for a little something to get you going before heading out for a training session and can double as a recovery drink for your Rookie Tri training!

Celebrating Rookie Tri Moms for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating all the hard-working moms who stay dedicated to triathlon on top of everything else life throws their way. While appreciation for any parent should be every day of the year, we wanted to show our extra appreciation for all the moms on this special day. We love seeing you all show up and show out each year at Rookie Tri, so moms, this one’s for you!

Moms in action at The Rookie Tri

Moms can do it all. Balancing work-life, family, AND making the time to stay dedicated to tri! Take some time this Mother’s Day to celebrate the tri mom in your life and thank her for everything she does for you.