Posts

Learn about aero bars to see if they’re right for you

Aero bars are bike handlebar extensions with padded forearm rests that allow the rider to get into a more aerodynamic position. They are positioned near the center of the handlebar and the cantilever over the front wheel. On triathlon-specific bikes, the shifters are at the end of the aero bars since it is expected for the rider to spend most of their time in this position. Pro tip: when testing them out, make sure you follow these cycling tips if you’re riding hills.

What are “clip-on” aero bars?

They’re handlebar extensions that you can add on to a normal handlebar set. As the name suggests, you can clip it onto your handlebar to better your bike while racing or training. They’re positioned near the center of the handlebar and the cantilever over the front wheel. You can turn your road bike into a triathlon bike by adding aero bars. By clipping them on to your handlebar, you can increase your speed by 14% and reduce power output for the same speed by at least 12.5%.

Why you should add them to your road bike

In simple terms, aero bars help you achieve the aerodynamic position needed to gain speed. With these extensions adjusted to your standard road bike handlebar, you can get into an aerodynamic position. That represents the upper body hunched forward to be in alignment with the torso. You can also ride comfortably for longer periods of time because they have armrests and handgrips. Standard clip-on aero bars have a wide range of adjustments. Therefore, you can tune the height and the length of the aero bars as needed and get yourself into the most effective position.

Some aero bars you can try out

There are various types. Check with a bike shop to find out which style suits you best. Review the ones we have handpicked to get an idea of what to expect. Pro tip: if you add them to your bike you should give your ride a good cleaning before.

T3+ Carbon Aero Bar 

Designed ergonomically, these aero bars can add extra comfort to your riding experience. You can effectively adjust and angle the bars to any position according to your convenience. They come with forearm cups and a double-bend built so that your forearms and wrists don’t tire out easily. More importantly, they are easy to install and increase your speed dramatically.

Airstryke V2 Aluminum Clip-on Aerobars 

The patented Flip-Up brackets on this set keeps your arms elevated while you are resting on them, thus preventing your hands from getting numb. They come with a spring on the releasing pads, which makes them ideal for steep rides. The aero bars are easy to install. However, to make sure they adjust to your handlebar, compare the reach, width, and diameter with your current road bike first. You can also buy these in combination with a second saddle or a seat post.

Legacy II Clip-On Bar Aluminium Black 2018 

These may be cheaper in comparison to the above two options but are as good. They come with an ergonomic design, multiple hand positions, and an adjustable armrest. These sturdy aero bars provide rotational adjustment. After a few adjustments here and there, you will be all set to improve your riding experience significantly.

Indicators you need to tune up your bike and our recommendations 

It’s important to know when it’s time to tune up your bike. Take care of your bike so you can enjoy as many miles as possible! How often you need a tune-up for your bike can differ depending on several conditions. They include how often you ride, how you store your bike, and how often you perform your own maintenance checks. Most riders will get a tune-up once or twice a year and schedule them two to four weeks before an event. Pro tip: follow the cycling rules of the road after you tune up your bike and get back to riding.

Signs it’s time to tune-up your bike

  • Bike is squeaking
  • Brakes are loose feeling
  • It is crunchy when you pedal
  • Shifting is off
  • Your bike is dirty and there is build on the chain
  • You have not had a tune-up in the last year

Things that are checked during a tune-up

  • Wash & Degrease Drivetrain
  • Adjust Gears
  • Adjust Brakes
  • True Wheels
  • Hardware Safety Check
  • Bearing Adjustments
  • Chain re-lube

Different shops may have different levels of tunes ups. Make sure you check out all the details. If possible, see if you can drop off your bike beforehand. This way you can get a recommendation on what level of tune-up your bike needs. If your bike is in real bad shape you might need a full overhaul. This includes taking all the components off and rebuilding the bike. Pro tip: if it’s a simple derailleur issue, follow these simple steps to fix it yourself!

Why getting a tune-up is important

A tune-up is like cleaning the sheets on your bed, it feels so amazing after! If a bike is not taken care of it can cause damage to its components. In extreme cases, it could lead to costly repair and the frame beyond repair. Make sure your bike is ready to begin logging miles, especially if you’re following these 7 tips to begin triathlon training!

Bike tune-up recommendations

Velofix

James Balentine is our go-to man at Velofix, a mobile bike repair service. His service experience is built around a lifetime passion for all things cycling. He’s been a pro racer, a pro mechanic, and pro-level bike geek. Through it all, he brings a high level of professionalism and attention to detail. Now a world-class bike mechanic comes to your door so you can focus on what you love most – more saddle time.

Hill Country Bicycle Works

Hill Country Bicycle Works has been serving the Texas Hill Country in 2 locations since 1995. The owners, Adam and Lisa, rode their bicycles around the world for 3 years (30,000 miles, 17 countries on 4 continents from 1992- 1995). They found the beauty of the Hill Country a perfect place to open a bike shop! With more than 70 years of bike shop experience between them, they have a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of bicycle riding, touring, advocacy, trail building, event promotion, racing, and bicycle repair.

Jack & Adam’s Fredericksburg

Josh Allen started this Hill Country location of the famous Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in 2014. They specialize in carrying triathlon gear and have a full-service department to meet your needs. As a true cyclist destination, he even has a guest house where you can stay right behind the shop in downtown Fredericksburg. 

On your next ride, check for indicators that it’s time to tune up your bike. Whether you’re on the go or visiting the Texas Hill Country, our recommendations will make sure you and your bike are good to go. Remember, take care of your ride and it’ll take of you, whether you’re on a hilly training ride or it’s race day.

It’s critical to carry hydration with you during your training runs 

During training, you don’t have the luxury of aid stations like you do on race day. As if you needed another reason to love race day, hydration on course has always been a fan favorite. However, during training runs it is critical to stay properly hydrated. Make sure you carry hydration with you on your runs. If you’ve just started training make sure you follow these 7 tips to keep your training running smoothly. Try one of the options below to carry hydration on your next run. There are links below where you can order these items or you can visit our friends at Fleet Feet Austin!

Handheld Bottle 

Using a handheld bottle on the run is an easy start to carrying hydration with you on your run. There are options to have a hard bottle or soft flask handheld. The harder bottle retains its shape and usually has more insulation. The soft flask is lighter and has the option to fit in a pocket when empty. The main con to a handheld is that one of your hands will be occupied by physically holding onto the bottle as you run. 

Pro tip: It is a good idea to switch up which hand is holding the bottle during your run. 

Water Vest or Backpack 

Needing to carry more water than what can fit in a handheld, or would like your hands to be free? A water vest or backpack is a great option. The weight of the water vest/ pack is distributed more evenly through the torso, which allows for a more symmetrical weight distribution while running. These options also have extra storage to include nutrition or your phone during your run. 

When deciding between a vest or a backpack think of how you want it to fit and where you want your water storage at. 

  • Vest
    • A hugging fit. It keeps things close to your body for a tighter fit that reduces bounce. 
    • Bottles in the front pockets and option for hydration bladder in the back.
  • Backpack
    • Fit is more relaxed. 
    • Bigger hydration bladder capacity. Some have options for a bottle in the front

Pro tip:  Always be conscious of how a vest/pack rubs on the inside of your arms and neck/shoulder areas.  Any bit of uncomfortable chafing will be multiplied by sweat and miles, so choose wisely. Try Body Glide anti-chafing cream!

Water Bottle Waist Belt 

If you want your hands free and don’t like the idea of carrying more weight through your torso a waist belt is worth a try. We like SPIbelt’s Venture Series because it also holds important items like nutrition, keys, phone, etc. It will stay evenly distributed in the middle of your lower back. This option also includes extra storage options for personal items and allows you to access all pockets and storage areas without having to remove the belt.  

Everyone’s preference is personal to what feels best for them to carry hydration. Test out what works best for you. Pro tip: Stay hydrated and have some fun!

Build Zwift into your training program with our helpful guide

If you want to improve your cycling skills from the comfort of your home, then Zwift can take you on that journey. The cycling and training app gamifies elements to create an immersive and engaging virtual cycling experience. This is a great way for triathletes who just started training to improve their cycling.

What is it?

Zwift is a social platform that combines home workout and cycling with virtual reality. It’s a great resource designed for beginner cyclists, as well as more experienced riders. 

Once you’ve set up your account, you can cycle at home while enjoying virtual sceneries of your choice. There are also structured workouts prepared by professional bike coaches that help you maximize your cycling potential from home. Riders of all levels should read these cycling tips before any hilly workouts!

To use Zwift, you will need to make an account. It can be used on PC, MAC, Android, iPhones, and even Apple TV. Zwift is not free to use. You will get a 7-day free trial, but after that, it’ll cost $14.99 a month to use. You can opt to cancel your subscription at any time.

How do you set up Zwift?

To use Zwift, you will first need to arrange your basic gear. These include: 

  • Bike: Most people use whatever bike is available to them. However, to be compatible with Zwift, you should be able to mount your bike on a trainer.
  • ANT+USB: Zwift needs a way to have access to your exercise data. This is achieved by using an ANT+USB cable to link to your PC or TV. If you’re using your phone, then you can utilize the Bluetooth feature. By combining your Bluetooth with a speed or cadence detector, Zwift will have access to your data.
  • Trainer: Without a trainer, you can’t use Zwift. As long as you can properly mount your bike, you can use any trainer you like. Smart trainers are better, especially as they give you an advantage if you want to take part in the competitive events on Zwift. 

Once you’ve set up your bike on your trainer, and connected your smart device to Zwift, you can start using the feature. Learn about the importance of setting goals and set one or two once you get set up.

What are the benefits of using Zwift?

Zwift gives you the opportunity to make the most of the time you spend at home. Without having to go outside, you can get the same physical exercise, and make friends with other users as well.

  • Improve your cycling skills with structured workouts from professional coaches. 
  • Great for beginners as well as cycling enthusiasts. 
  • Various courses are available. You can cycle across mountains, over hills, and even visit exotic virtual locations. 
  • Make friends with other users and go on cycling adventures together. 
  • Participate in competitive races. 
  • Have fun, and level up your cycling game in a constructive way. 

What should you do once you’ve set up an account?

Once you’ve registered an account with Zwift, you can explore the app any way you like. One thing you can do early on is check for the upcoming rides. This gives you an idea of the different groups that will be cycling together. You can find this information by looking for upcoming rides on the top right-hand corner of your screen.

Once you’ve selected a group, simply ‘join’ to become a member of the riding group for the duration of the ride. You can also take part in racing across four different levels. Alternatively, you can also select a coach and learn lessons from them. Zwift has over 1000 hours of workout lessons for cycling. If you want to learn about cycling, or you want to improve your cycling skills, Zwift will help you achieve that in a gamified and entertaining way!

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.

Ever wondered which of your favorite celebs share the love of triathlon with you??

The world of triathlon knows no bounds. With an estimate of 4 million people participating every year, the sport is constantly growing and adding new athletes to the mix! We see every type of person enter triathlons, but have you ever thought about which of your favorite stars are triathletes too? See if your favorite star made the list with these celebs that TRI!

 

1. Shawn Colvin

Shawn Colvin, Triathlete

Image: Getty Images

Shawn Colvin is a Grammy award-winning artist that was bitten by the tri-bug back in 2001. “It’s true, once you do one of them you want to do more!” She regularly participates in triathlons all over the country and was even at the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon Festival where she sang the national anthem to kick-off Saturday and Sunday of race weekend! Colvin holds a special place in our hearts because she’s one of our very own and completed Rookie Tri in 2006!

 

 

James Marsden

Image: Noel Vasquez

2. James Marsden

James Marden, known for his role in The Loft, is an actor, singer, and a regular participant of triathlons all over the States. He is constantly keeping up with his training and participates in various triathlons every year to maintain his muscular physique. Marsden says triathlons are a great way to stay in shape year-round so he is camera-ready at all times.  He even missed the 2017 Emmy awards because it conflicted with one of his triathlons!

 

3. Jennie Finch

Image: Matt Peyton

Jennie Finch is one of the best softball players the sport has ever seen. After retiring from her 11-year career earning her 2 Olympic medals, she hung up her cleats and traded them in for running shoes. She began by entering marathons before she participated in the 2013 New York City Triathlon as a way to get back in shape after her third child was born. She crossed the finish line of the Olympic-distance (we see what she did there) with an impressive time of 2:51:15!

 

 

Triathlete Gordon Ramsay

Image: Clara Molden

4. Gordon Ramsay

Hell’s Kitchen’s overlord, Gordon Ramsay, took his skills out of the kitchen to participate in the 2013 Hawaii Ironman. Since then, Ramsay, 52,  has competed in several marathons, half ironmans, and other races throughout his journey. The competitive environment of the events is what keeps him coming back year after year. He trains throughout the year to keep up with his physical condition alongside his wife, Tana.

 

Jennifer Lopez Triathlete

Image: Jean Lacroix

 

5. Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez was inspired to begin her journey as a triathlete for a good cause. She participated in her first-ever triathlon at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in 2008 to raise money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. New to the sport, she had to spend most of her time training for the swim portion. On race morning, her training certainly paid off with her finishing time being 2 hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds!

 

Matthew McConaughey

Image: Gregg Deguire

6. Matthew McConaughey

Austin local, Matthew McConaughey, is no stranger to the sport, having completed several triathlons since his journey began. McConaughey started his journey in 2008 by completing an Olympic-distance tri. He showed off his athleticism by earning a time of 1:43:48. How would you like that for your first ever triathlon time? Although he’s completed several triathlons since then, he has yet to complete Rookie Tri! Maybe we should ask him!

 

7. Claire Holt

Claire Holt Triathlete

Image: Chris Polk

Best known for her role in the TV series The Vampire Diaries, Claire Holt was instantly hooked on triathlons. Like the other star triathletes, Claire Holt is a regular participant of the celebrity division at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Once she discovered her love for the sport, she found herself returning every year with the goal of improving her performance! She achieved her goal at the 2012 event by taking home first place with a time of one hour and 44 minutes.

 

Image: Noel Vasquez

8. Joel McHale

Joel McHale is the newest celeb to become a triathlete. He was especially impressed with his defeat of fellow triathlete and star, James Marsden, during the run portion of the race. He plans on returning to race triathlon again next year and plans on recruiting other celebs to join him!

 

9. Megyn Price

Megyn Price

Image: Chelsea Lauran

Rules of Engagement star, Megyn Price, started her triathlon career because she wanted to have a goal that would test her physical strength.  She finds it important for females to have goals that are based on something more than how you look. Her efforts paid off when she took home first place at a 2010 triathlon with a time of 2:10:23, just 3 years after her first tri! Way to go!

 

 

Brendan Hansen Triathlete

Image: Jamie Squire

10. Brendan Hansen

Brendan Hansen is best known for his professional swimming career. During all the chaos of winning 6 Olympic medals, breaking world records left and right, and starting a family, Hansen managed to find time to become a triathlete! Hansen competed alongside our Rookie Triathletes in 2010 and continues to participate in triathlons in and around Austin, Texas. When asked about his triathlon journey, Hansen told The Orange County Register, “Triathletes are great. They’ve got a screw loose, the way they train. But at the finish line, there is a beer tent. How great is that?” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

These folks may be superstars, but at the end of the day, their triathlon journey started just like everybody elses. With a Sprint Distance Tri and online training plans. If these stars can fit training into their schedules around all the craziness, you can too!

 

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. Usuou 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, 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.