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Rookie Triathlon Announces Ascension Seton as Official Medical Provider

Ascension Seton professionals to have an on-course presence

High Five Events announces Ascension Seton as the Official Medical Provider of the 16th annual Rookie Triathlon. Ascension Seton and their experienced team will have an on-course presence throughout the event and at the finish line medical tent. Rookie Triathlon will take place on Sunday, May 5th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

“Ascension Seton is excited to continue to partner with High Five Events and be the Official Medical Provider for the Rookie Triathlon,” said Adam Bauman, vice president of business development at Ascension Seton. “We look forward to supporting another beloved Austin sporting event, and offering the highest level of care and medical oversight from Ascension Seton medical providers.”

As the Official Medical Provider, Ascension Seton doctors and nurses will work together with Travis County EMS to focus on participant’s well-being. Ascension Seton is part of the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. They’ve expanded their Austin footprint, partnering with the Austin Marathon and Austin Bold FC.

“Rookie Tri participants can focus on completing the first triathlon of their life or first triathlon of their season knowing Ascension Seton doctors and nurses are on site should they be needed,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events.

16th annual Rookie Tri

Rookie Tri, an award-winning triathlon, consists of a 300m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a two-mile run through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Rookie Tri offers relay, aquabike, and virtual options. Relay teams can consist of two or three members. Aquabike completes the swim and the bike only. Participants who register for the virtual Rookie Tri have until Monday, May 27th, to complete the Rookie Tri at their preferred locations.

Participants will receive custom 2019 shirts and water bottles, swim caps, beer, a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, will make this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. Registration is currently open.

Make Your First Triathlon a Sprint Triathlon

5 reasons to make your first triathlon a sprint triathlon

Some people want to jump right into training for a full-distance triathlon. That’s 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running! We strongly discourage first-time triathletes from starting with this type of distance. It’s always best to test out the waters first before taking on such a huge endeavor. See the reasons below for why you should make your first triathlon a sprint triathlon. When you’re done, register for Rookie Triathlon and let the training begin!

There are many reasons that a sprint triathlon is the perfect distance for your first triathlon

There are many reasons that a sprint triathlon is the perfect distance for your first triathlon

There’s less training

Triathlon training takes up a lot of time. With three different sports to prepare for, you could triple the amount of training needed. Starting with a shorter distance triathlon allows you to understand how much time is needed for each discipline. Going for something longer in the beginning and not realizing the time it takes, could set you up for disappointment and failure.

Your body’s response

If you’re interested in triathlon, chances are you have a swimming, cycling, or running background. That’s great, but you’re about to request a lot more from your body when you train for a triathlon. You don’t know how you’ll respond to the different elements of training. Making a sprint triathlon your first triathlon will allow you and your body to adjust to the rigors of triathlon training. Chances are higher that your body will respond positively to the increase in training.

Quicker results

Signing up for a sprint triathlon means you’ll have a shorter training runway, which can reduce burnout and get you closer to race day. For a first-time triathlete, the mental aspect of training is just as vital as the physical. From a training standpoint, you’re asking less of your body. From a mental standpoint, the shorter training timeline allows you to reach your goal of the finish line sooner!

Less chance for injury

The more you train, the more you run the risk of injury. Training for anything can lead to injury, especially if done incorrectly. But when you extend your training timeline, the chances for injury greatly increase, especially from overuse. Training for a sprint triathlon is perfect, especially if your body isn’t completely ready to handle the load of full-distance triathlon. The Rookie Triathlon is perfect for first-time triathletes. You train for a 300m swim, 11.2-mile bike ride, and 2-mile run.

See if you like it

Compare triathlon training to shopping for a car. You wouldn’t walk into a dealership and pay for a vehicle without taking it for a test drive and checking it out, would you? Same thing for triathlon. See if you like it first! Don’t jump into a full-distance triathlon as your first triathlon. You should understand the training and financial commitment to triathlon training before diving in. That’s why a sprint triathlon is the perfect distance for your first triathlon!

Don Nolting – My First Triathlon

Don Nolting, an Austin Triathlon Club Ambassador, recalls his first triathlon

The 2016 Rookie Triathlon (300m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 2-mile run), was my attempt to help a friend, and myself, lose weight. I was 41 and 255 pounds at 6’1.5”. He thought a sprint triathlon would be a fun way to do it since he liked to swim. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem if, 1) we would have decided more than a month before the triathlon was to take place to sign up, 2) I hadn’t just undergone bilateral knee surgeries #4 and #5 six months prior, and 3) if I owned a bike.

Don Nolting, Austin Triathlon Club, Ambassador, after 2016 Rookie Triathlon.

Don Nolting, Austin Triathlon Club, Ambassador, after 2016 Rookie Triathlon.

I was still rehabbing from knee surgery, and given the short time to train, I focused on swimming and riding. While all my doctors discourage running with my knee issues, swimming and biking are highly suggested. The biggest thing for me was to not over train the month before the tri and be so sore and fatigued that I wouldn’t be able to race.

Training

Since I knew how to swim, I focused on that. The good news: the swim distance was only 300 meters. I started in the pool and then made sure to swim in a few different open water spots around Austin. Barton Springs became my really cold friend. I was having trouble freestyle swimming, so I focused on the breaststroke and worked on perfecting my form while training.

The biking was a whole different beast. I didn’t own a bike when I signed up for the tri. So I took advantage of all of the spring bike sales in Austin. I chose a hybrid bike as a starter bike and got in plenty of rides during the month. I even rode the bike course a few times and struggled some.

Since I planned to speed-walk the run, I only worked on increasing my overall fitness for that. In the end, I was pretty happy with where I was feeling after the bike rides, but I wasn’t confident about my swimming.

Race day

Race day showed up really fast! From a tip I had read on lots of tri websites, I laid out my transition and equipment the night before. I was sure I had everything, but 5:00 a.m. comes early. I was nervous, but the pre-race stretches helped calm my nerves. Waiting in line to get into the water was where the nerves sprung up again. Many of the guys in my age group were nervously chatting about how they hadn’t practiced swimming in open water. 

I was towards the back of the line going into the water, and I observed people grabbing the lifeguard canoes and the buoys. (* this is legal by USAT rules as long as you do not use the kayak to make forward progress).  Practicing breaststroke proved to be beneficial. I don’t think I could have freestyled in that water. I felt good after my swim and was proud I had completed it without taking any breaks or needing any assistance. The path to transition was an uphill path, so I took my time so I didn’t injure my knees at all.

Transition went pretty smoothly and I felt good getting onto my bike. The first 1.5 miles went well. However, once I turned into the headwind, it was like I put a sail on my back. I felt like I was going head-first into a wall and barely moving. I was happy to get back to transition, but wasn’t looking forward to the “run.” My legs were gassed, and I hadn’t really practiced going from cycling to a run or walk. Big mistake!

That two miles seemed like 20. In addition, it had recently rained, so the course was muddy and changed to include some hills that were rough on my knees. I wasn’t taking any chances with my knees so soon after surgery, so I walked the hills, but (against my doctor’s orders and my better judgment) slow-jogged the flatter sections. Finally coming around the last bend helped me pick up the pace and finish strong.

The Finish & Beyond

My goal was to finish my first Rookie Tri in 90 minutes, and I missed it by only three minutes. I was tired and sore, but proud that I had finished.

Unfortunately, because of knee rehab, it took me about a year to feel right again in order to train for another race. I got back into riding my bike and started swimming again in late 2017. I joined the Austin Tri Club in the spring of 2018 and have really started to push myself and my training thanks to the group. They support and motivate me as I safely train for aquabike challenges (*Aquabike participates complete the swim & bike portion of the triathlon, with their official timing stopping after entering transition after the bike.) and I enjoy cheering on my club-mates as they compete too.

Bike Safety Check

Get in the habit of completing this bike safety check

Failure to safety-check or maintain your bike can lead to accidents. Easily avoid some of these pitfalls with a simple bike safety check. Here are some refreshers on what to check and how often you should check your bike to ensure it’s safe for the road. Implement these safety checks before your next Rookie Triathlon training ride.

Things to check before every ride

  1. Tire pressure and road debris – keep pressure right at or near 5 to 10 lbs. below the recommended pressure. This will help prevent flats and by default extend the lifetime of your rim. Check for small thorns, staples, cuts, bald spots, or other problems with the outside of the tire.
  2. Bolts on the bike – make sure that the bolts on the stem, saddle, and seat post are nice and snug. Some bolts have a recommended torque due to the differences in the strength of the materials being used. If so, make sure bolts are tightened correctly. Most, if not all, bike stores carry torque wrenches.
  3. Tighten skewers – make sure both the front and rear skewers of the wheel are properly tightened and facing in the proper direction “back or up.”

Things to check every month

  1. Crank bolts – make sure that each crank bolt is nice and snug. These may work themselves out over time. An impact to the side of the bike is a common culprit to a loose crank.
  2. Headset – make sure that the headset is snug. A loose headset will lead to speed wobbles or a squirrelly bike.
  3. Trueness of wheels – make sure that your wheels are passing evenly through your brake calipers and frame. An untrue wheel could lead to broken spokes or uneven wear on your tires. If your tire is no longer true, follow this advice to true your wheel at home.
  4. General shifting of the bike – make sure that your chain is not dumping to the inside or out on the front set of rings. Make sure the rear derailleur is moving smoothly across your cassette and not rubbing on your rear wheel or frame. If this is occurring chances are your rear derailleur hanger has been slightly bent.
  5. Pedals – make sure both pedals are nice and snug. Remember the left pedal is reverse threaded. Pro tip: read our blog for a deeper dive into removing or replacing pedals.

Things to check every 2 to 3 months

  1. Inspection for cracks – clean the frame off with a damp rag or wash your bike. Inspect the entire frame, fork, seat post, and wheels for cracks, delaminating, or loosening of welds. If you find that any of these areas have been compromised in any way, “Do Not Ride The Bike.” Take it to your LBS “local bike shop” for inspection or have James Balentine with City Limit Cycles come to you. One more ride is not worth serious injury.

Note: Riders that race bikes, travel with their bikes, or know that they are tough on their equipment should run through this checklist before every ride.

My First Triathlon – Dead Last, Still a Winner

Experiences from your first triathlon

We put out a challenge on Rookie Tri Facebook for triathletes to submit a story about their first triathlon. The goal was to show individuals thinking about completing Rookie Triathlon as their first that they can make it happen! As with anything in life, the first time you do something doesn’t normally end of perfectly. Cindy Miller shared her story and all of its ups and downs. This won’t be your exact experience. With training and determination, you will complete your first triathlon too. Remember – whether you’re first or last, you’ll still be a triathlete when you cross the finish line on Sunday, May 5th.

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 16

by: Cindy Miller

I have completed five sprint triathlons. I am not an athlete but do like to push myself to try new things. This story is not meant to scare you, but to encourage you and give you a little chuckle. The triathlon I describe in this story is longer than the Rookie Triathlon. Anyone can do the Rookie Tri with a little effort and a lot of determination.

Preparation

My first triathlon was Spring Lake Sprint Triathlon at Aquarena Springs. I signed up and was doing it all by myself. My first bike was a hybrid road/mountain bike that I purchased from Walmart for $200 (mistake #1). I practiced my open water in Lake Austin. Most of my cycling was done on a stationary bike. I had already run several half marathons so the 5k was going to be a piece of cake. My sister was going to go with me for support and help me any way she could. I was extremely nervous and excited.

Here we go!

We arrived early to set up my transition station and I realized I could not wear my glasses in the water. I could not see to get from the transition point to the beginning of the swim. This was the first time my sister came in to save the day. She guided me to the swim start area and I was good to go. Again, excited and nervous I dove off the dock into the water and to my surprise there were several diver photographers there to startle me. I kept swimming and enjoying the fish and plant growth below me. The 500-meter swim was complete and I went to my transition point. I put on my glasses, dried off, put on my socks, shoes, my shirt, and walked my bike out of the transition.

The bike ride

Still full of excitement and a bit tired from the swim and transition, I started my 14-mile bike ride. It was lovely. Most of the other athletes were very kind as they passed me. Hearing things like, “on your left” or encouraging comments like  “keep it up!!” or “you got this!!” All was well until a police officer said, “Your back tire looks a little low.” He was correct. Being my first tri, I did not come prepared for a low tire (mistake #2) but that wasn’t going to stop me. I kept on going, dragging myself downhill. I watched a bus pass me and saw the volunteers get picked up right in front of me.

My sister was at the transition waiting for me to return with my bike and heard a volunteer say, “all the cyclists are back.” She went up to the volunteer and said, “wait, my sister is still out there.” She was nervous for me as they already started announcing the winners.

Not alone

I was still riding my bike and thought I was all alone, but I wasn’t. There were two SUVs behind me making sure I was safe. One came up to me and asked if I wanted to quit and I said “no” but I could use a pump. He hesitated because it was against the rules, but at this point, it was not about winning just about finishing. He pumped up my tire and I finished the ride.

I just had the run to go. The kind man that followed me in the SUV for the final three miles of my bike ride said that he needed to come with me for the run since there was no one else out there. He mentioned that he couldn’t run fast so we had a nice 3.1-mile jog.

Finale

My sister was now waiting for me to cross the finish line. Most of the triathletes were gone so the main volunteers asked my sister if the volunteers that were timing me could leave and she said it was fine. Knowing that my race time was not anyone’s concern at that point, just crossing the finish line.

I finally crossed the finish line with my jogging partner and my first triathlon was complete. My sister was there to congratulate me. If you haven’t guessed by now, I came in dead last. I was not defeated. My first triathlon was complete.  My sister and I laughed the whole ride home. I learned several things from that experience:

1)      My sister is wonderful

2)      No matter what I was safe

3)      Someone’s always going to be last (stick around to cheer that person on)

4)      Never give up!

An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.

Removing and Replacing Pedals

Learn about properly removing and replacing your pedals

This task sounds really easy (but isn’t always). Removing or replacing pedals is one of the bike maintenance projects that most will attempt at one time or another. Reasons for removing or replacing pedals include traveling for an event like Rookie Triathlon (in which your pedals need to be removed), buying new clip-in pedals, and just general bike care.

Tools and supplies needed:

Pedal wrench – a normal adjustable wrench will work, but a pedal wrench will help you protect the pedal and provide more leverage for stubborn pedals.

Grease – used to re-grease the pedal threads if dry.

Set of Allen wrenches – some pedals are not compatible with pedal wrenches and require the use of a 5, 6, or 8mm Allen wrench from the inside tip of the spindle.

TIPS

The first thing to know is that the left pedal is reverse threaded. This means that the right one is “righty tighty” and “lefty loosey.” The left one is the opposite. Viewing from atop the bike, both pedals thread in the direction the bike moves forward. This design is to prevent the pedals from coming off as you pedal forward.

The second thing to know is that pedals are right and left specific. They are usually marked with a small R or L.

Leave the wheels on the bike. This stabilizes the bike for stubborn pedals.

If you ever notice that the threads are dry, add a little grease. Do this once every six months and on every set of new pedals you buy.

STEPS

The best position for taking pedals off is to stand over the bike with the crank arm that has the pedal you are taking off facing straight forward. Attach the pedal wrench so that it is facing straight back. Hold on to the reverse side crank arm with your free hand and press down on the wrench. This is the easiest way to remove pedals.

When replacing pedals, always use your fingers to start the threading process to prevent stripping the pedal threads. When tightening, make sure that both pedals are snug. They do not need to be so tight that you may have trouble removing.

8 Security Tips for Your Bike

Protect your precious bike with these 8 security tips

The cycling/triathlon community is relatively small. You probably know someone whose bike was stolen. Maybe you’ve had your bike stolen. The offseason is the perfect time to re-evaluate your bike security. Protect your triathlon investment as you train for Rookie Triathlon, the first tri of your life or the first tri of your season! Here are a few security tips to keep your bike out of the arms of a thief.

Bike security tips

  • Verify the serial number that is etched on the bike. Typically it is underneath the bottom bracket or on one of the chainstays. Some bike shops record the serial number at the time of purchase; consider contacting the original bike shop to verify the number.
  • Let your insurance company know about your important investment. Provide your insurer with photos to verify ownership as well as an original sales receipt and serial number. This is helpful in the event your bike is stolen. The police and your insurance company need this information to expedite the process.
  • Register your bike with the National Bike Registry (NBR). The NBR is the only true national database where bikes can be identified by police and returned to the rightful owner. Register today!

Bike lock advice

  • Never leave your bike unlocked and unattended outside ANY building – this includes your local bike shop. Unfortunately, bike theft can happen even in your backyard. You just never know who might be passing through.
  • Avoid locking your bike outside for an extended period of time. If you ride your bike to work on a consistent basis, see if your employer will allow you to bring your bike inside. If not, lock it up in a secure place that is visible to more people.
  • Invest in a quality lock if locking your bike outside is unavoidable. Avoid the thinner cable locks. Look for the beefier U-Lock style lock. In addition to the U-Lock, commuters should consider carrying a heavier cable lock so you can lock your bike to almost anything.
  • If you leave your bike in your car consider covering it with a blanket and/or keep it out of plain view as much as possible.
  • If you need to leave your bike on your bike rack for an extended period, make sure to lock it on the rack. Some racks come with an existing lock which works great. The other option is to use a heavy cable lock.

New Swim Equipment, Now What?

See improvement in the water when you properly use your new swim equipment

Congrats! You just registered for Rookie Triathlon, the first triathlon of your life! Time to start training for the 300m swim. Purchasing swim equipment will help you improve in the water. Once you get all of your swim equipment, you probably have some questions about using it all. What’s a kickboard? Are you placing your buoy properly? What about your paddles? Here are some training tips that’ll help you get acclimated to your new swim equipment. We also provide some swim equipment recommendations!

Use our insight to get acclimated with your swim equipment!

Rookie Tri participant enters Decker Lake. Credit – Ed Sparks

PaddlesSwim paddles should fit within 1-2 inches of space around the edge of your fingers for maximum pulling power. Make sure to enter the water with your hand at a slight angle when swimming with paddles to reduce resistance against the paddle.

Buoy – Place the swim buoy between your thighs and try not to kick while you are pulling. The buoy will help stabilize your lower body. This allows you to rotate your hips and shoulders more effectively without the help of your kick. Pulling with just the buoy (no paddles) will help you focus on your “catch” in the water. Adding the paddles is a great way to increase your upper body strength.

FinsFins should fit snugly around your foot, but not tight. When kicking with fins, make sure to keep your legs fairly straight and use your hips to kick (without too much bend in the knee). The fins should help propel you through the water while keeping your upper body relaxed. Fins also help with ankle flexibility, which is very important in swimming.

Kickboard – The streamline kickboard helps beginner swimmers glide smoothly through the water as they develop the kick. Focus on keeping your lower body and the board on the surface of the water to reduce drag while you are kicking. Aim for small, quick kicks with your legs.

Mesh bag – Putting your swim gear in a mesh bag will help prevent lost or misplaced equipment. It will also allow your equipment to dry quickly after swim workouts.

Bicycle Helmets: The Breakdown

Bicycle helmets only work if you wear them correctly

That’s not breaking news, but anyone that’s new to triathlon might not think they’re necessary. Well, they are and you need to make sure the one you purchase is effective. Especially if you’ve started training for Rookie Triathlon, the first triathlon of your life! 

Your helmet could be the difference between life and death. Here's the lowdown on bicycle helmets, from choosing one that fits your head to avoiding common helmet mistakes. Click To Tweet

Why wear a bicycle helmet?

It’s simple: if you fall from your bike, the helmet will take the force of the blow instead of your head. Wearing a bicycle helmet when cycling is the most effective way to prevent a life-threatening head injury. Don’t assume that bicycle helmets are just for kids. Adults face the same risks as children. Even a low-speed fall from a bike can be dangerous.

Selecting a bicycle helmet

Bicycle helmets are cooler, more comfortable, and easier to adjust than ever before. There are plenty of inexpensive choices that will meet all these needs. Check out these recommendations from the staff at High Five Events.

Remember the ground rules:

Make sure the helmet is safe. Look for a seal of approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If it doesn’t have a seal of approval from them, don’t purchase it and most certainly don’t ride with it. Aerodynamic helmets should be held to the same standards as regular helmets. A few extra seconds are not worth risking serious injury.

Make sure it fits snugly

You shouldn’t be able to move the bicycle helmet more than one inch in any direction, front-to-back or side-to-side. The sizing pads included with every bicycle helmet can help make the fit more secure. If you have long hair, consider a helmet with a ponytail port. The rules for wearing a bicycle helmet are simple. Wear the helmet flat on the top of your head. The helmet should cover the top of your forehead without tilting forward or backward.

Think about visibility

If the bicycle helmet straps block your vision – even a little bit – choose another helmet. Likewise, make sure motorists and other cyclists can see you; choose a brightly colored helmet.

Fasten the chin strap just below your chin

If it’s not fastened, it won’t help you out much. If the bicycle helmet doesn’t feel snug, use the foam sizing pads that came with the helmet to get a better fit. The helmet shouldn’t rock from front to back or side to side. Some helmets are “one size fits all,” but others come in S-XL. Wear it before you buy it!

Bicycle helmets must be replaced after every crash

If a crack or any sort of puncture is spotted on the helmet, it should be replaced. No questions asked.

My First Real Bike: The One that Started it All

You won’t find many triathletes who can’t remember their first real bike

Some of the High Five Events staff were chatting about bikes the other day during lunch. Then the inevitable happened: we started reminiscing about our first real bike. For some, their first real bike experience took place many years ago. One staff member purchased their first real bike earlier this year. One thing remained constant: everyone remembered their first real bike vividly. Read about our first bikes and their corresponding stories. Let this blog take you down memory lane, conjuring memories of your first real bike. Then share that experience with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Emily

I got my first real bike (silver Felt ZW) in 2013, two weeks after I registered for my first triathlon, the Rookie Tri! I hadn’t ridden a bike in more than 20 years! Getting used to riding was both scary and exhilarating. I dinged it up pretty good when I fell over at a red light and hit a curb. I forgot my feet were clipped in! Three people got out of their cars to check on me and all I wanted them to do was go away. HA!

Emily's first real bike: silver Felt ZW road bike.

Emily’s silver Felt ZW.

Stacy

My first bike was a Bianchi Giro 105. I got it in 2001 and remember being able to ride in certain parts of Austin that I wouldn’t even consider riding today!

William

Late last year I decided to train for my first triathlon, Rookie Tri. Earlier this year I traveled to Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg and purchased my first bike, a black FeltZ 100. My first real ride took place on the Veloway. The entire time I kept thinking back to how often we rode bikes as kids. This bike was different that those of my childhood, but the feeling remained the same. Powering your bike, the wind in your face, leaning into turns, it all eventually came back. Now I love riding my bike to work to save on gas and help the environment.

William's first real bike: FeltZ 100.

Fresh off the rack with zero milage.

Tina

My first real bike was black with pink and purple stripes. I remember it came with a huge red bow! It was my first bike with gears and hand brakes. I crashed into a huge agave bush on my first ride and got all scratched up. I’m from Corpus Christi and my family and I would go on rides along the seawall.

Joey

Way back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth… I was just getting started in triathlon and ended up tearing my calf on the run at a race in North Carolina. Prior to that, I was riding a road bike when racing, but I really wanted a tri bike (like the cool). During my recovery I bought a Quintana Roo Kilo as motivation. I counted down the days until I could go out and ride my shiny new toy. 4 QR’s later I still have fond memories of that first race bike. Racing and training with friends led to hundreds of fun miles.

Do you have fond memories of your first real bike? Share your story with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.