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ANZAC Day at Sonoma County, California Ironman 70.3 Vineman

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Vineman 70.3 resembled an annual Aussie / Kiwi picnic with 13 in the top 25 combined places. The race was officially won by Ozzie Greg Bennett and USA’s Meredith Kessler. Kessler was only just ahead though of Melissa Hauschildt (Rollison) who is coming back from a long layoff from running.

Joe Gambles had a solid crack at reeling in Bennett with a race fast 1:11:27 run over two minutes quicker than Bennett. This was no mean feat as Bennett is one of the quicker runners around.

The Aussie men’s podium clean sweep was rounded out by Paul Matthews who always seems to be there. Maybe the St George Illawarra Dragons should get him down to training to have a chat about consistency (and yes they did win this weekend).

Possibly the most pleasing performance from a self assessment perspective was Chris Kemp’s race. Kempy is one of the best over the three disciplines but has struggled in recent times with putting one of his trademark fast runs on to the back of his solid and often race leading swim / bike combo.

It is good to see Terenzo Bozzone back racing strongly after 2011 was a write off.

Brandon Marsh had a crack at spoiling the informal ANZAC day and managed to hold out Kiwi Graham O’Grady, Luke McKenzie and Ollie Whistler. Whistler once again had a slower than normal bike leg. For McKenzie this was his first race in the US and his lack of running over recent months showed when off the bike he saw Joe Gambles disappear in to the distance soon followed by Bozzone, and after a battle with Chris Kemp for a bit he was eventually passed by Brandon Marsh and Graham O’Grady. Kona is McKenzie’s focus with an improvement on last year’s 9th place firmly in his sights.

Meredith Kessler had over three minutes head start on the bike over Mel Hauschildt and then put another 20seconds on her on the bike. This was just enough to hold out a very fast finishing Hauschildt. Speaking with Mel last week she was very nervous about this run as she had not run more than 25mins at a time and not for more than three days in a row. Can’t wait for her to get her run back although the rest of the women will be hoping it takes longer.

Rebekah Keat was back racing again after she had to pull out of Ironman Cairns 4kms in to the run while leading. She had injured her calf and was devastated at the time. As a pro she watched a large payday disappear.

Jo Lawn is just getting the next phase of this year started. She has recently moved from NZ to Boulder to kick start her Vegas and Kona campaigns. Good to see that she managed to hold out ‘Mr Lawn’ Armando Galarraga by 22 seconds.

Rounding out the Aussie / Kiwi fields were Clayton Fettell and New Zealand’s Julia Grant. Fettell is fully focused on Las Vegas 70.3 World Champs and raced on the back of a big 6 week block and just didn’t have anything left in the tank.

 

Name Country Swim Bike Run Finish Div. Rank Overall
Bennett, Greg US 0:21:58 2:06:57 1:13:40 3:45:49 1 1
Gambles, Joe AU 0:22:33 2:09:10 1:11:27 3:46:14 2 2
Matthews, Paul AU 0:21:54 2:07:09 1:15:54 3:47:55 3 3
Kemp, Christian AU 0:22:00 2:09:44 1:15:54 3:50:46 4 4
Bozzone, Terenzo NZ 0:21:57 2:09:40 1:16:18 3:51:03 5 5
Marsh, Brandon US 0:21:59 2:09:48 1:16:02 3:51:09 6 6
O’Grady, Graham NZ 0:21:59 2:09:52 1:18:25 3:53:33 7 7
McKenzie, Luke AU 0:21:58 2:09:32 1:18:55 3:53:41 8 8
Whistler, Ollie AU 0:23:27 2:14:08 1:22:12 4:03:19 9 9
Bovee, Grant US 0:27:46 2:17:16 1:16:22 4:05:39 1 10
Cavanha, Mauro BR 0:23:33 2:18:40 1:19:51 4:05:42 10 11
Shearon, Jonathan US 0:25:56 2:15:26 1:20:22 4:05:46 11 12
Sturla, Eduardo AR 0:25:18 2:16:29 1:20:31 4:06:20 12 13
Fettell, Clayton AU 0:21:50 2:15:15 1:25:53 4:06:39 13 14
Name Country Swim Bike Run Finish Div. Rank Overall
Kessler, Meredith US 0:24:01 2:21:07 1:20:58 4:10:15 1 17
Rollison, Melissa AU 0:26:59 2:21:27 1:18:47 4:11:05 2 20
Marsh, Amy US 0:24:06 2:21:22 1:23:44 4:13:21 3 23
Jackson, Heather US 0:27:39 2:24:41 1:18:58 4:15:07 4 26
Cave, Leanda US 0:24:00 2:24:50 1:24:59 4:17:42 5 30
Keat, Rebekah AU 0:24:48 2:29:35 1:21:36 4:20:23 6 36
Lawn, Joanna NZ 0:26:19 2:26:30 1:25:55 4:23:16 7 38
Challis, Rachel US 0:27:38 2:25:16 1:28:04 4:25:01 8 43
Carvallo, Valentina CL 0:27:01 2:26:06 1:29:24 4:26:40 9 51
Tetrick, Jennifer US 0:27:59 2:24:39 1:30:53 4:27:29 10 56
Smith, Jessica US 0:26:20 2:26:23 1:34:22 4:31:35 11 63
Grant, Julia NZ 0:27:38 2:25:30 1:35:13 4:32:29 12 67

 

 

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

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Training

3 Key Cycling Stretches for Triathletes

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Humans did not evolve in the aero position. As such, the long periods triathletes spend on their bikes can cause myriad of muscular problems. Here are some of the stretches that should be employed to stay supple and injury-free on the bike.

It comes as no surprise that as triathletes the majority of our training time is spent on the bike chewing up kilometre after kilometre. Sure, the impact of riding is less than that of running, but due to the sheer amount of time that triathletes spend on the bike, this is often the biggest cause of muscular tightness.

What makes the issue worse is the time spent trying to hold an aerodynamic position while riding. This immediately places huge stress on the lower back, ITBs and hamstrings, which are all areas that require attention in your pre- and post-ride stretching routine. Here are a few stretches I employ to alleviate tightness.

ITB foam roller trigger

Most athletes have a foam roller, however, a rolled up towel can also be used. ITB injuries are very common in triathletes and cyclists, so this simple trigger release can do wonders pre and post ride. Roll up and down along the side of each leg to help release tightness and be sure to spend some extra time with any particularly sore spots. Feel free to spend as much or as little time repeating on each side both pre and post ride.

Quad stretch

The quad stretch is another simple yet effective stretch that can be done post ride to release tension and muscular tightness. Place a towel under your knee and one foot out in front with the other foot behind you. Use two hands to bring your back foot to your bum and you should get a great quad stretch. For an even greater stretch, move your hips forward.

Foam roller back stretch and release

Just like with the ITB trigger, a tightly rolled-up towel can also be used instead of a foam roller. Place your arms across your chest and slowly roll back and forth along the roller. Once you feel comfortable, raise your arms behind you to increase the stretch. It is common to hear a few pops or cracking from your back as it releases under the pressure of the foam roller. This stretch is a must for those with a tight back from spending time in the aero position.

Glute stretch and release

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your buttocks and becomes very tight under load when you are riding. The glutes, as they are otherwise known, are responsible for a lot of our stability and posture while riding and therefore become tight after hours spent in the saddle. Many people do this stretch lying on their backs; however, I find a seated version is more effective as it is easier to maintain your posture. While seated, lift one leg up and place your ankle on the opposite knee. Slowly push downwards on the knee and you should feel the glute muscle slowly release. Make sure to repeat on both legs.

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Training

Beginner’s Guide to the Bike Leg

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New to triathlon? Check out the beginner’s guide to the bike leg.

If you’re thinking about getting into triathlon, then you need to get on your bike. For most of us, that’s not a problem since bike-training sessions are generally deemed the most enjoyable, and often the most sociable, sessions to undertake.

A few hours on the weekend winding through the hills on your bike with your mates can be great fun. So, the problem with bike training usually isn’t getting it done, it’s more likely that it’s a disproportional amount of time spent completing kilometres that are not as effective as they could be, in terms of the training effect.

Like any other aspect of preparing for your first triathlon, training for the bike leg involves training effectively and recognising that the bike leg involves a special set of considerations that are unique to the sport – and involve more than just knocking out kilometres. An essential part of performing well on the bike leg, and ultimately on the run, is to incorporate the interrelated aspects of the race into your training.

The basic skill set

Before we go further, there is an essential set of riding competency skills that you need to progress safely in your training. For example, you are going to need to be confident at riding in a bunch – and that means knowing how to ride straight, signal hazards, corner, brake, descend and understand a group’s rules. These skills are best taught and explained by a coach, or the head of your riding group. Once you have mastered the basic skill set, it’s time to progress your performance.

Develop the engine first and then work on the chassis

I have seen a lot of age group athletes on bikes geared up with the works – deep dish carbon wheels, aero helmets, power meters, aero bottle cages, electronic shifters, complex hydration systems and the like. The allure of the bike leg can be to invest in equipment – to effectively ‘buy’ speed – and there’s plenty of equipment to think about. For me, though, it comes down to this: invest in developing the engine (you) first then invest in the chassis (the other bits) later. For new triathletes, this means investing in the essential minimum set of training tools; a road bike (alloy is fine) that fits you, clip-in pedals, an indoor trainer, and a GPS bike computer. Aside from the gear you’ll train in, that’s all you’ll need. This set of training tools, with the correct training structure, will be enough for you to prepare for and race well at your next event. There will be plenty of time to invest in fast gear when you’re up to speed. To set a correct structure we need to have a closer look at the demands of the bike leg.

Understanding the demands of the bike leg

When training for the bike leg, athletes often forgo the structured training they employ in their run and swim training and instead focus on parameters like average speed, distance covered (irrespective of how), and duration (again, irrespective of how). I have heard plenty of talented triathletes explain how they have a solid 120 kilometres to knock out, with no other objective, and then complete that in two or three segments with coffee stops between. In other words, they’re counting the kilometres between coffee stops.

The bike leg doesn’t involve coffee stops.

The bike leg starts on the mount line and ends on the dismount line. Between those lines there is at least one acceleration component, a straight-line constant speed component, one or more cornering/turning components and a deceleration component. In addition to these, there are also external factors such as road surface and weather considerations, all of which need to be prepared for. Some races also involve additional considerations such as hill elements, traffic issues, and congestion/drafting issues.

The four ‘als’

Just like training for every other leg, structured, objective-orientated training on the bike is more likely to deliver increased performance gains. As a starting point, adopt a training approach that exceeds the demands you are likely to encounter on race day. These demands will vary according to the type of event (sprint distance, Olympic distance, etc), the course, and the conditions. Each of these demands are key input considerations and ultimately the four ‘als’ that will govern your race day performance – technical, physiological, nutritional and mental.

Getting technical

There are a number of technical aspects that can provide significant performance improvements, and shave time off our race result, with little training investment. Most notably these are: mastering mounting the bike, pedalling efficiency, acceleration skills, and cornering skills. Surprisingly, in a sprint distance event at an average speed of 35km p/h, taking 30 seconds to mount your bike means a loss of about 200 metres over an athlete who takes 10 seconds. This equates to an average speed differential of about 0.5kmph that you’ll need to make up on your quick-mounting mate. Improving mounting skills so that the transition onto the bike is seamless and does not involve stopping is the easiest way to gain an immediate front-end performance improvement. Have a coach show you how to mount on the bike or head down to your local footy oval and practise jumping on your bike on a grass surface.

Keep going round in circles

In terms of pedalling efficiency, the principle underlying straight-line speed on a bike is pretty straightforward. It involves the simultaneous and continuous application of opposing forces to each pedal spindle throughout the entire pedal cycle. The mechanism for applying these opposing forces is your legs and your core, via the linkages provided by your shoes, cleats and pedals.

Working on improving pedalling efficiency and other technical aspects (such as cornering, accelerating) is often overlooked, even though time savings are there for the taking. Single-leg drills on an indoor trainer are a great way to develop an improved pedalling action. As a starting point, try incorporating up and down reps of 30 seconds left leg only, 30 seconds both legs, 30 seconds right leg after an eight-minute warm-up holding a cadence in the range of 90rpm to 100rpm. Start with three x four-minute single leg drills with each rep followed by two minutes with both legs best work. Focus on commencing the up cycle by pulling your knee towards your chest, pushing the toes forward across the top of the cycle, commencing the downstroke with the ankle, and pulling your heel towards the rear wheel across the bottom of the stroke.

Firing up the engine

I like to keep things pretty simple when it comes to preparing an athlete for the physiological demands of a race. A typical preparatory phase would involve six-to-seven week blocks of hill riding incorporating gradual progression in total elevation and/or duration (for strength development), a speed endurance development block including rides that combine hill work, and faster rides on the flats (say, 50 percent hills and 50 percent fast flats), and a block of pure speed work. This might involve criterium/velodrome-type sets and race simulation sets. So, preparing for a sprint or Olympic-distance event might involve a structure of about 22-to-24 weeks. To give you an idea, a general framework for a 22-week preparatory phase for an Olympic distance event might look like this:

Weeks 1-to-4: Transition to training

  • Two rides per week, incorporating a long ride building to 70 kilometres per week
  • One skills session per week (e.g. mounting bike, cornering and turning skills, bunch riding skills)

Weeks 5-to-8: Hill progression

  • Two rides per week in the hills building to 70-to-80 kilometres per ride, adding 10 percent total elevation per week
  • One indoor interval set per week

Weeks 9-to-12: Speed, endurance and mental toughness

  • One ride per week in the hills – 50 kilometres plus per ride
  • One ride per week ‘50:50’ starting with 50 percent hard hills and 50 percent time trial type effort in weeks 9 and 10 building to race distance, then reverse in weeks 16-to-18
  • One combined ergo and track run per fortnight (e.g. 3 x 6m00 on the ergo with 1200m to 1600m runoffs)

Weeks 13-to-16: Speed

  • One 50-kilometre tempo ride per week
  • One speed set per week
  • One race simulation set with a run off the bike

Race preparation sets – mental toughness and confidence

Race preparation sets are an essential part of preparing for your event. They allow you to rehearse a nutrition strategy, devise a pacing strategy, develop an understanding of the interrelationship between bike effort and run performance and develop confidence in your skill execution. With my squad, I like to conduct race simulation sessions about five weeks out from the event on a course that replicates aspects of the racecourse. This includes a run off the bike element. These sets give us the opportunity to experiment with nutrition and pacing strategies, introduce a competitive element through the use of handicap starts, and experiment with different pacing strategies for run off the bike. We do this in full race set-up, on a course that replicates the characteristics of the one we will race on. The great thing about some of the online mapping tools is that we can easily analyse the characteristics of any course anywhere in the world, and then plan routes that replicate it to the maximum extent possible.

Race day

Adopting a training approach that involves training for, and rehearsing, all aspects of bike performance will mean that, come race day, there should be no surprises. Not only that, your investment in building your engine and skill development means you won’t have a lot of time to admire some very flash looking bikes as you rip past them – but you’re entitled to have a chuckle to yourself.

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News & Racing

Who’s Who on the 2018 Challenge Roth Start list?

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Challenge Roth is one of more popular full Ironman distance triathlons of the year, and the men’s and women’s pro races are coming up on Sunday in Germany’s time zone (UTC+2).

Will this be a boring triathlon with expected winners leading by more than five minutes?

Anything Can Happen on Full-Distance Courses

The great thing about Ironman distance, and Challenge Roth used to be an Ironman race, is that anything can happen on a course with a 3.86km swim, 180.25km bike (or slightly less in this case), and a marathon-length run. Your favorite star may blow a tire, discover a new stress injury in the foot, catch a cold, or overheat under the 25 degree Celsius sun.

To make serious predictions, you have to rule out the above possibilities. Then it comes down to records on various courses, especially Challenge Roths, if they even have have a record there. Other factors include recent progress in swim, bike, or run times, whether they made second-place a couple times in a row and vow to get revenge, whether all their training and passion is aimed at some other triathlon this year, and the list goes on.

Past Winners & Losers

The past few years of Challenge Roth winners and start lists look similar to a Who’s Who of Ironman’s World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. That’s no surprise, because both events attract full-distance pro athletes.

Germany’s Jan Frodeno holds the course record and bike split record. He’s the 2016 Challenge Roth winner and the 2015 and 2016 Ironman World Champion. German Sebastian Kienle, who was the Kona runner-up behind Frodeno in 2016, has a couple Challenge Roth runner-up titles in 2010-2011.

Swiss triathlete Daniela Ryf won the past two years plus the past three Ironman World Championships. The wins were all by large margins. Her runners-up in Roth were Australia’s Carrie Lester and Britain’s Laura Siddall and Australia’s Carrie Lester. Lester trailed her by more than 20 minutes. Siddall lost by 11.5 minutes the following year.

USA’s Lisa Roberts was behind Siddall by more than five minutes and got disqualified for not following the paperwork rules for doping. This handed third-place to Netherlander Yvonne van Klerken, who was a few minutes behind Roberts.

2017 Kona runner-up Lucy Charles, who amazed the triathlon world during her first Ironman pro year, will be debuting on the Roth start line this weekend.

Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae and the UK’s Rachel Joyce did well in 2014 with first and second-place finishes.

Who Won’t Be at Challenge Roth?

Ryf won’t be around this year. Neither will Frodeno. Others who are out are Lester, Carfrae, Joyce, and Roberts. Last year’s men’s champion, Belgium’s Bart Aernouts, won’t be a defending champion this time.

Serious female competitors for the podium this year are Charles, Siddall, Van Klerken, and Finland’s Kaisa Sali.

Serious male competitors include Joe Skipper, who placed second for the past two years behind Aernouts and Frodeno. Other likely podium finishers are Kienle, Germany’s Andreas Dreitz, and Australia’s Cameron Wurf.

Who Will Win?

With Ryf out of the race, Lucy Charles may take over as champion. Her amazing performance in Kona last year surprised many. She’s the faster swimmer of Ironman. Her run has been making remarkable progress this year, so her improvement didn’t stop in Kona. This year’s credits include first-place in Ironman South Africa and Challenge Samorin.

Trizone also got to know Charles’ training strategies, both for physical conditioning and mental prep. She knows just how to challenge herself to propel toward victories with no problems.

For the men, either Kienle or Skipper is the likely winner, or maybe they’ll get thrown from their bikes when their tires blow out, handing the victory to Wurf to the delight of Australia. We used to win this race, a lot. Even without considering uncontrollable misfortunes, it’s a tough call this year.

What do YOU think?

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Training

Managing Cycling Injuries

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Cycling can be a major factor in triathlete injury, and though many athletes attribute their muscle soreness and injuries to their running or swimming, it’s important to understand that poor cycling technique or bike set-up is often a key contributing factor in triathlete injuries. Cycling is a relatively unnatural position and action. While it’s true that cycling is low impact when compared to running, it’s also safe to say that the human body did not evolve to allow us to ride bikes.

Cycling places the muscles of the trunk, neck and hips in positions that are generally considered suboptimal for maintaining good musculoskeletal health for sustained periods of time. Even small imperfections in cycling technique and positioning can become exaggerated over the thousands of pedal strokes taken while riding. Fortunately, correct cycling technique should work basically every muscle in the lower body, which limits the chances of muscle imbalances developing. Combined with effective body management practices, it is possible to virtually eliminate the risk of cycling injuries – well, those that don’t involve hitting the tarmac at speed, at least.

The keys to injury prevention and management

Cycling is naturally low impact, so assuming that set-up is done correctly, your body is generally able to deal with the loads that cycling generates. Additionally, the cycling action is extremely effective at strengthening all of the muscles of the lower body, and avoiding muscle imbalances. Nonetheless, there are a couple of great ways to minimise the risk of injury and manage muscle soreness related to cycling:

  1. Core strength to minimise unwanted movement of the trunk and pelvis and provide a stable platform for efficient pedal stroke.
  2. Stretching and flexibility training to counteract the repetitive and sustained use of muscles in suboptimal position during cycling.

Core/Trunk Strength

Surprisingly, many amateur athletes often overlook the contribution that core strength makes to the cycling motion. A bike is inherently unstable, so naturally it takes a degree of trunk strength to simply maintain your balance on the bike. On top of this, for the human body to exert any force through an object (for example, the pedals and bars), we always require a stable platform to drive off.

A simple example of this might be to think of your rectus femoris (rec fem), the long muscle in your quadriceps that attaches at the front of the pelvis and inserts into the shinbone (tibia). When the rec fem pulls on one side of your body, it exerts a force that flexes the hip and extends the knee. Due to its unilateral action during cycling, the rec fem is also exerting a downward pull on one side of the pelvis at a time. If the pelvis is not stabilised by other muscles around the trunk, we could expect that the force generated by the rec fem would result not only in extension of the knee (which we do want), but also in a forward tilt and sideways drop on that side of the pelvis (which is definitely not what we want). The fact that this doesn’t happen for most cyclists is a great example of your core in action, stabilising the pelvis so that the force of the rec fem muscle can be translated entirely through extension of your knee and into the pedal stroke. Now consider the fact that just about every muscle in your legs, and many in your arms, are working during the pedal stroke, exerting force around your spine and pelvis. This explains why we need a strong core to not only ride efficiently, but also prevent unwanted movement that can result in injury.

Stretching

As previously mentioned, cycling places the body in a sustained forward position and requires a number of muscles to change their resting length while riding. When done effectively, the cycling motion is also highly repetitive, which is often a recipe for tight muscles. To counteract this, start with a stretching program focusing on the following key areas:

Neck – the lower your body position, the more your neck is required to extend to allow you to see in front. This results in tightness of the neck extensor muscles. Neck position also tends to be very static, so it’s important to maintain range of motion to avoid stiffness in the neck. Some easy neck stretches include using your hands to pull the head to the side and front, and slowly rolling and turning the head from side to side. Spend a few minutes after each ride performing these actions, and remember to always move gently when stretching the neck.

Lower back – due to the sustained flexed position of the lower back, it’s important to maintain range of motion in the spine before and after cycling. Start with a basic cobra stretch to improve extension, and a lumbar rotation stretch or rolling your legs side to side to improve rotation. A common source of lower back pain in cycling is the quadratus lumborum (QL). To stretch the QL, sit with your legs outstretched and apart, and reach toward one foot with your hand. Once your body is stretched down as far as possible, hold your toes with your hand on the same side and start to rotate your body in the opposite direction, reaching your arm back behind your head. You should feel a stretch down the side of your lower back. This stretch is best performed with a partner.

Legs – for triathletes, probably the most important muscles to stretch are the psoas or hip flexors, which can easily become shortened when cycling. Starting in a lunge position, lower your back knee to the floor, then push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in front of the hip on your back leg. It also helps to stretch any muscles that cross two joints, as these tend to require greater extensibility. This includes the hamstrings, quadriceps (rectus femoris) and gastrocnemius. Depending on the amount of ankling utilised in the pedal stroke, you may also need to stretch the muscle on the front of your shin (tibialis anterior), which can easily be done by kneeling with your toes pointed, then sitting on your heels.

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Gear & Tech

Review: Suunto 3 Fitness. A Fitness Watch for Beginners

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The Suunto 3 Fitness is the latest release from Suunto, a brand well known to triathletes. Straight away you can tell by its sleek looks that Suunto wants you to be wearing this watch 24×7, in direct competition with the Apple watch and the latest Garmin. Its looks belay its price, and you will seriously struggle to tell that its a fitness watch at all once on.

To that end, I would say the Suunto 3 Fitness is more of a fitness companion for the fitness and wellness crowd (you know those people in activewear taking up valuable coffee shop spots) instead of a dedicated triathlon watch, and in this area, it does a reasonable job.  However, this is a triathlon specific website and content, so I’m going to review the watch from a triathletes perspective.

Suunto 3 Fitness is a cool looking watch for everyday use.

 

Top end features

First off the positives. The Suunto has a few surprising top-end features, given the price. The first is it has an integrated heart rate monitor, which for me when compared to my Garmin Fenix 5, was very accurate. During my runs, it seemed to capture my heart rate accurately, within a few beats of my Garmin heart rate strap.  It’s a pleasing feature, which means you can go strapInbuiltt of the time.

Inbuilt heart rate monitor with high-end features

Battery Life

This is where the Suunto shines. Suunto officially says that the watch will last 30 hours when connected to the phone for GPS and five days with standard health tracking and Bluetooth notifications etc.

My testing showed far better numbers with the watch lasting a good two weeks, packed full of full distance Ironman training. For those that hate charging this watch is a godsend.

Movescount is gone, tell your mates, when you can connect

Suunto took the opportunity to update their rather sparse Movescount platform with a new updated Suunto App. It’s indeed a huge step up and in my opinion visually better than Garmin Connect.

It measures the usual suspects, heart rate, calories etc., but also EPOC – which measures post-exercise oxygen consumption. An interesting stat that is based on the fact that your body uses more oxygen post-exercise than during (for a period of ~48 hours), therefore burns more calories than during the event. I can see this reasonably handy for exercise-induced asthmatics, to help regulate their use of medication.

One feature that I quite enjoyed was the ability to track pace and effort on the Google map of your run, which helps to explain to your coach why your pace dropped up the hills.

Track your performance using Google maps

Also, you have the option of posting your run’s Strava style within the app. Its a bit kitschy given we all use Strava, but it can help if you’re looking for local running buddies.

Ability to post publicly is a cool, albeit scary proposition

One major problem is that I struggled to connect the watch to the App, most of the time. It is an arduous process that I found would only work if I deleted and re-paired the watch – a fiddly workaround for sure.  To be fair though, the product is new, and I recall early Garmins having the same problem, so I’m sure it will sort itself out over time.

Peripheral connectivity

I’ve always struggled with Suunto’s decisions around limiting connectivity in their watches, and this is no different.  To use an external heart rate monitor or monitor cadence or speed on your bike, you need to buy yourself one of the Suunto Pods.

Now, this is in a similar vein to traditional fitness watches such as Apple or Samsung, however, as a triathlete, this closed system doesn’t cut it.  Personally, I have an ANT+ power meter, Bluetooth smart trainer, ANT+ and Bluetooth heart rate monitors, ANT+ bike head units, the list goes on, and I cannot connect any of these peripherals that I use day to day.

Now one can say that most triathletes tend to go overboard on gear, to which I can personally attest, however, all my equipment actually gives me an idea as to how to race and train, and not being able to talk to it is a big no-no to me.

Now the big hairy no-no. No inbuilt GPS

The watch pairs to your phone to leverage the inbuilt GPS of the phone and contains only an accelerometer in the watch. This, in my opinion, is a critical oversight, particularly for triathletes.

The first thing that I noticed was the huge discrepancy between the accelerometer and the GPS. The accelerometer was almost, 1min/km quicker, which had me on an easy run running 4min/km pace. While this is great for my ego, it’s terrible when trying to prepare for a race.

Pairing the watch to my phone didn’t give much better results with a 30-second difference. Given the watch uses my phone’s GPS, you’re always going to get vastly different results when compared to both Suunto’s and Garmin’s higher grade watches.

Secondly, as triathletes, for the most part, were not allowed to race with a phone, which effectively means you need to get a watch for training and one for racing. Inconceivable!

Overall

As I mentioned at the start of this review, the new Suunto 3 Fitness polarised me somewhat. On the one hand, its a pretty solid fitness watch packed full of top end features at an entry-level price.

But as a triathlete, its lack of GPS and dependency on the phone effectively eliminates it use during race day. So, unfortunately, it’s a big thumbs down from me. Save your pennies and get a Suunto Spartan, or even better choice a Garmin 935XT.

  • Price
  • Features
  • Applicability

Summary

Lack of GPS makes this a triathlon deal breaker

Pros
- Well priced
- Top end features given the price
- Better app

Cons
- Why no GPS?
- Suunto connectivity
- Connection drop outs

3.3
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News & Racing

Major League Triathlon Adds 3rd International Team

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Major League Triathlon, the first and only professional triathlon league in North America, has announced a 9th team (3rd International franchise) for the 2018 season. For the first time in the league’s history, a National team from Mexico will participate in MLT.

The new franchise, dubbed, Guardianes de Guadalajara (Guadalajara Guardians), will consist of many of the top Mexican National Team athletes. The team will include:

Pro Men

  • Crisanto Grajales
  • Irving Perez
  • Abraham Rodriguez
  • Aram Peñaflor
  • Leonardo Saucedo

Pro Women

  • Cecilia Perez
  • Vanesa de La Torre
  • Adriana Carreño
  • Andrea Gutierrez
  • Lizeth Rueda

“We are thrilled to welcome this team to Major League Triathlon.” Said Daniel Cassidy, CEO of Major League Triathlon. “Triathlon Mexico and their athletes have established themselves as one of the world’s top federations leading up to Tokyo 2020. We are extremely excited to continue to increase the level of competition and give our athletes the opportunity to race Mixed Team Relay at the highest level possible. “

Major League Triathlon will host nine professional teams and will host many of the World’s best elite triathletes including international teams from Australia, Canada, and Mexico. MLT will host four events, making stops in: Atlantic City, Vail Valley, Tempe and Charlotte. The third year league specializes in the Mixed Team Relay format of racing, which will make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. At every event, each athlete will swim 300 meters, bike four miles and run one mile, one at a time, before tagging their next teammate. The first team to have all four athletes cross the finish line will win.

Guardianes de Guadalajara

Guardianes de Guadalajara is the only Mexican/Latin-American Team competing in Major League Triathlon. They represent the City of Guadalajara. The Guardianes de Guadalajara will feature experienced triathletes like Olympians: Crisanto Grajales (London 2012 and Rio 2016), Irving Pérez (Río 2016), Cecilia Pérez (Río 2016) and the future of the extremely strong Mexican National Team including: Junior and U23 triathletes like Vanesa de la Torre, Abraham Rodriguez and Aram Peñaflor.

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