IRONMAN 70.3 Buenos Aires is IRONMAN’s answer to the surging popularity of triathlon in South America, and is a hugely popular, well-run event. Set in the somewhat fancy suburb of Tigre, this event is flat, fun and full of spectators lining the streets.
This swim is known for being very straight forward as it’s a simple one lap out-and-back swim in calm waters of the protected lake of Puerto Canoas. The lake is set in a private suburban development, so the lake is extremely protected and clean.
Ben Collins who raced last year said the temperature does vary a lot due to the differing depths throughout the lake. “When we arrived a few days before the race an official on site told us the water was 29 degrees (about 83 farenheit), yet race morning, after a cold night, the officials made the call for a wetsuit swim for pros (the cutoff is around 22 degrees, depending on the air/water combination of temperatures) due to borderline water temps and cold morning air temperatures.”
Tip: Make sure you check the water temperature on race day as these huge variations completely change what you’ll need to wear.
Get your elbows sharpened! The three-loop, 90km bike course can be very busy for age groupers throughout the race, and for pros on their second lap as the course is often just a single narrow lane. This traffic, plus the many roundabouts (40 over 90 kilometres) means you won’t be able to put your head down too much, as Ben Collins said the course requires constant attention.
The good news is, the course is fairly flat (only 13 metres of elevation throughout) and the pavement is smooth thanks to the area being new. The course isn’t overly technical which is leaves you able to focus your attention on the other obstacles like traffic and roundabouts!
Ben Collins said “It wasn’t really a “technical course”, meaning there were no points in the race where being better at handling a bike was a significant advantage.”
Set in a private neighbourhood, this 21km one lap course is a simple, straight-forward course on fairly flat ground. While Ben Collins said the course isn’t very interesting or exciting, it’s a good opportunity to dig deep and surge forwards while the field is less congested than the bike.
Luckily too, this run is jam-packed full of spectators which really keeps you going when you’re exhausted.
Tip: This course is fairly open and lacking in shade, so ensure you have plenty of sun protection.
Strava QOM & KOM
QOM – Laurel Wassner 2:27:13
KOM – Benjamin Collins 2:03:23
Who’s tipped to win
This race, despite being a fair way from Boulder where many triathletes are based, is full of fierce pros and is set to be a fast race this year. Canadian Lionel Sanders is tipped to win, and is a very clear favourite. American Rodolphe Von Berg is tipped to make the podium, and fellow American Ben Hoffman is predicted to take out one of the top spots.
- Lionel Sanders: 70% (1-1)
- Rodolphe Von Berg: 19% (4-1)
- Ben Hoffman: 5% (20-1)
- Eneko Llanos: 4% (27-1)
The women’s race may be dominated by a Canadian too. Kirsty Jahn is set to take out the top spot, but the winner doesn’t seem as clear as in the men’s field. Britain’s Kimberley Morrison, last year’s winner, also has a good chance of taking out the top spot again. American women Ruth Brennan Morrey and Hayley Chura could both make the podium.
- Kirsty Jahn: 43% (1-1)
- Kimberley Morrison: 36% (2-1)\
- Ariane Monticeli: 9% (10-1)
- Ruth Brennan Morrey: 7% (13-1)
- Haley Chura: 4% (24-1)
Who won last year?
Last year countless pros made it to the race despite the long journey from their home training grounds. Unstoppable Aussie Sam Appleton took out the top spot in 3:45:33. Ben Hoffman, who is returning to race in 2017, finished an excruciatingly close second in 03:45:39, and fellow American Ben Collins finished in third in 3:47:13.
The women’s race last year was also exceptionally close, with Great Britain’s Kimberley Morrison finishing in 4:20:43, just ahead of American Dede Griesbauer with 4:20:52. Brazil’s Ariane Monticeli, who is also back to race in 2017, took out a very close third in 4:21:28.
Who holds the records?
This event is only in its second year, so all the records were set at the 2016 inaugural race. Sam Appleton’s time of 3:45:33 is the current men’s course record, while Kimberly Morrison’s time of 4:20:43 set the first course record for the women. Last year Fabio Carvalho set impressive records for the swim and bike legs, but he won’t be returning this year in 2017.
– Data sourced with permission from trirating.com
Review: Suunto 3 Fitness. A Fitness Watch for Beginners
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Lack of GPS makes this a triathlon deal breaker
- Well priced
- Top end features given the price
- Better app
- Why no GPS?
- Suunto connectivity
- Connection drop outs
Major League Triathlon Adds 3rd International Team
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:
- Crisanto Grajales
- Irving Perez
- Abraham Rodriguez
- Aram Peñaflor
- Leonardo Saucedo
- 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.
How to Build Strength on the Bike
Taking a break from triathlon over the winter months? Put this time to good use and learn how to build strength and power on the bike.
How do I build strength on the bike? This is probably the question I get asked the most as a coach, and it’s the toughest to answer – especially when dealing with time-poor athletes, as biking is so time-consuming and few of us have the time to tap out two-to-three hour rides in the hills each day to gain the necessary strength needed to improve our ironman or half-ironman bike time.
As a pro athlete, it’s quite easy to lay down a strength-specific bike block to top things up if needed, which generally takes four-to-five weeks of specific work, provided the athlete has a good five-year base behind them. As an age grouper though, a 600-kilometre strength-focused week is not realistic. So, how do you build strength from a 200-kilometre bike week?
This is a tough proposition, but here are a few tips to increase your strength and hopefully improve your bike time. I am not saying that you will be pushing a 58-tooth chainring and riding at 45km/ph, but even if we’re just squeezing a small amount of juice from the orange, we are still getting somewhere.
This is probably the best way to increase strength. It is the most used and the most uncomfortable – but generally, the sessions that you find the most uncomfortable are the most beneficial. I see hill reps as the paddles/band session you do in swimming converted to cycling. Both sessions add specific stress on certain muscle groups of the body that are critical to the areas that need to be worked.
Much like this swim session will add stress to the shoulders/back/core, strength sessions on the bike will increase the work on the glutes and hamstrings, which is where the main power on the bike comes from. In saying this, when doing strength efforts it’s important to stay seated and place the chain ring in a large gear (one that is hard to pedal). If you have a cadence meter on your bike computer you will want to see around 60-to-70 RPMs on it while you are in the saddle. A gradual climb of around two-to-three kilometres is perfect for this session and should be completed two-to-three times with a submaximal heart rate of around 70 percent of your maximum. This effort should not be a lung-busting torture test, as it’s not designed to stress the cardio system but to build the muscular and central nervous system.
Hit the gym for an extended period of time during a break in racing and focus on specific muscle groups like the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. Not only will this assist with the increase in power development but also, perhaps, more importantly, it will help in the prevention of injury through strengthening the associated tendons and connective tissue around the muscle groups. This type of program should only be attempted after a consultation with a qualified coach or PT who can guide you through these exercises and ensure they are done correctly. I am a big believer in the benefits of a well-constructed and consistent weights program periodised with a structured program within the training phases.
Most people refer to these as the Devil. They are widely detested, particularly by athletes with sadistic coaches who program two-to-three hour solo sessions on the machine. As for strength benefit, these sessions are great as strength endurance sessions and can be added in if you find it hard to get to the hills. Just drop the gear down, stay in the saddle, and get the heart rate into the zone that you need.
Generally, trainer sets are a strength session in and of themselves as there is no freewheeling, no traffic lights and no downhills so you are constantly placing power down in a consistent manner. So, if you are time poor, increase your trainer sets during the week for a short block of time to increase strength. Double bike days are a good way of increasing your kilometres without having to utilise a three-to-four hour block of time. If you are crazy enough to double down and do two sessions in a day, then go for it as the benefits will show in your riding.
Block it up
Talk to your coach if you have one, or if not, plan a bike-specific block into your schedule. The only downside to this is that you might have to drop a few swim and run sessions. This is fine as long as they don’t drop off completely as the fitness will still be there from the increased bike mileage. This type of block should be done in the offseason for a few months. Don’t go overboard as a small increase in training of a particular discipline will have other effects on the other two disciplines – so plan it well and do it smart.
Use a power meter
This relatively new tool is great for monitoring power in training and providing a realistic target to attain and race to in a long-distance competition. It can be used in training for gradual goal setting and to set targets that are attainable and realistic for the athlete. By setting incremental power targets over a longer period of time, you should be able to hit an increased and ‘visible’ goal.
How to Stay safe, Warm and Motivated During the Winter Months
It’s always important to think about your safety on the road and now that daylight savings has come to an end, it’s important to ‘light up’ your bike.
With winter fast approaching, your early morning and/or evening rides will be done in the dark or with very little daylight, so you need to get some lights on your bike. My motto is that you can’t overdo it, and so as a minimum, you should always have a front light and back light. I also clip a red flashing light to the back of my helmet to help vehicles see me.
Find yourself some bike lights
There is a vast array of lights to choose from so head down to your local bike shop and see what you can find. If you are riding in complete darkness, you will need a front light that transmits a strong beam of light well ahead of your bike. You don’t want to put yourself in danger by not being able to see very far in front of you, especially if you are riding at high speed. Your reaction time will be somewhat reduced by the darkness, so ensure you have a light that allows you to see well up the road. Some lights will have rechargeable batteries that require recharging after each ride. Other lights will be fitted with either AA or AAA batteries, depending on the size of your lights. As a helpful tip, it’s cheaper to buy batteries in bulk and this way, you will always have some on hand if a battery runs dry.
I like to get extra flashing lights and secure these to the front forks and rear chain to help vehicles from side streets see me. There are tiny frog lights that come with a rubber band and simply stretch around any part of your bike. I always leave two of these clipped to my bike, so if I get caught out at dusk, I have some lighting to help vehicles see me on the road.
Choose your clothing wisely
Not only do you want to train in warm, lightweight, sweat wicking lycra, but by choosing a brighter or lighter colour for your winter training, you will increase your chances of being easily seen on the road. Try not to train in dark plain colours as you will more easily blend into the black tarmac and be difficult to see. A lot of cycling clothing, such as wind vests, rain jackets and arm warmers, are made with reflective fabric or reflective taping, which are great for night-time rides.
Your local bike shop will have a good selection of clothing to help you dress properly for winter training. Remember that for cycling, it is better to wear layers of clothing. After your warm up, you can remove some external clothing to do your training session, without overheating. Most cycling jerseys have back pockets to carry excess clothing and food. If the weather changes or you are cooling down, it’s easy to rug up again and not get cold.
How to get motivated
The triathlon season is coming to a close and it’s time to think about your winter training. This is a good time to plan some new goals. Write down your goals and keep them somewhere visible so you can read them. Remember to set realistic goals – there is no point hoping to become an elite level world champion if you work a 40-hour week, have a mortgage, three kids and you can only train eight hours per week. Perhaps a more realistic goal is to progress from finishing in the top 30 to finishing in the top 20. Maybe you would like to improve your bike time from last season.
By setting goals, you will have given yourself a purpose for training. For many people, getting fit or losing weight is their primary goal. Sometimes it helps to add to this goal by setting yourself targets in each discipline of the triathlon over the winter. For example – measure out a five-kilometre run course and time yourself. See if you can improve on this time each month. As your time improves, you will realise you’re getting fitter and stronger.
People find inspiration in many forms. Some watch Tour de France videos and get so inspired they could run out and ride in rain, hail or snow, as they try to emulate their hero. Other athletes imagine the person they want to beat next season, and this inspires them to train hard in all weather conditions. The trick is to find something, a poster of your favourite athlete, uplifting music or something else, that motivates you to train during winter.
Whatever inspires you to train over winter, you will benefit from enjoyment and better health and fitness through exercise.
The Sufferfest Releases a New Range of Indoor and Outdoor Plans to Cover Just About Anyone
The Sufferfest, a comprehensive training app for cyclists and triathletes, announced the release of 67 new training plans on TrainingPeaks, creating a library of over 100 free plans for a novice, intermediate, and advanced endurance athletes. The plans incorporate indoor sessions from The Sufferfest’s catalogue of structured workouts, technique drills, and outdoor weekend sessions to better accommodate year-round structured training. Integration with TrainingPeaks—the industry leader in digital training solutions—allows athletes to take advantage of advanced data analysis and performance management features.
Designed by elite coaches Mac Cassin and Neal Henderson at APEX Coaching, the new collection of training plans from The Sufferfest includes plans designed to prepare athletes for specific events like triathlons, time trials, metric centuries, full centuries, mountainous gran fondos, and sportives. The outdoor workouts are built using TrainingPeaks’ Workout Builder, allowing them to be easily exported to compatible cycling computers or fitness devices. Optional yoga and mental toughness sessions can be added to any plan, further cementing The Sufferfest as the only training platform to provide comprehensive training for an athlete’s body and mind. To access all 102 plans, all users need is a subscription to The Sufferfest and a free account with TrainingPeaks.
“Many athletes lose focus and structure when they transition to riding outside in the warmer months,” said Cassin. “The new event preparation and outdoor/indoor plans are perfect for athletes who don’t want the quality of their training to go out the window when they head out the door. And because the plans are designed around an athlete’s Four-Dimensional Power profile, they are much more effective than generic plans that don’t take a rider’s unique strengths and weaknesses into account. Once an athlete completes the Full Frontal fitness test in The Sufferfest app and gets their comprehensive power profile, they can choose a plan that is tailored to develop their overall fitness while driving improvements in the area they need it most—whether it’s sprinting, sustained efforts, VO2 efforts, or repeated efforts.
“A training plan is only as good as the coach who designed it,” said David McQuillen, CEO of The Sufferfest. “Our partnership with APEX Coaching gives every athlete with a subscription to The Sufferfest access to the same coaches who train the best cyclists and triathletes in the world. By adding these new training plans we’ve expanded the ability for endurance athletes to take advantage of the most innovative, cutting-edge sports science available, no matter what the weather or time of year.”
Rudy Project Launches Project Podium for Age Group Athletes
Rudy Project North America, the exclusive distributor of Italian-made endurance sports gear, and the most worn helmet at Kona 7 times in a row is launching Project Podium, an initiative that rewards North America’s fastest age group triathletes with award-winning performance Rudy Project eyewear and helmets. All age group racers that win their age group in any sanctioned long distance triathlon in the United States and Canada are eligible to receive a free, top-of-the-line Rudy Project Boost 01 road aero helmet and a pair of Tralyx sunglasses. Winners will also be featured on Rudy Project’s website and lauded on social media as the top long-distance age group triathletes on the continent.
“A full-distance, 140 miles plus race is nothing to sneeze at, and attempting one is a feat in of itself,” said Paul Craig, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “To win your age group, to come out on top, is something exceptional, and we want to reward the best, with the best.”
The program is open to all age group triathletes that compete in a sanctioned long distance triathlon race, in Canada or the United States, that is included in Project Podium’s list of eligible races. Athletes must be legal residents of either Canada or the United States in order to be eligible to win. The prize pack being offered is worth up to $625 USD, and triathletes that win their age group can submit their results online for verification at www.rudyprojectna.com/pages/project-podium in order to redeem. Athletes will be able to choose from the entire Boost 01 road aero colour line up, which includes Stealth Black and eye-popping Pink Fluo. Rudy Project’s new road aero helmet is quickly becoming an athlete favourite, following wind tunnel testing by ProCycling Magazine that demonstrated the Boost 01 was faster than any competitor helmet tested. To complement their helmet, athletes can also select a frame from the entire award-winning Tralyx family, including the regular Tralyx, Tralyx XL for additional coverage, or the new Tralyx SLIM, designed specifically for athletes with narrower faces. That, coupled with customer-forward warranties like Rudy Project’s 6 Year Crash Replacement Guarantee and Lifetime Replacement Lens Guarantee, make this an unbeatable prize package for the age grouper at the top of their game.
“Rudy Project is simply the best,” said Paul Craig. “We’re choosing to celebrate athletes who power the sport – the age group athlete and rewarding those that get to the top, the pinnacle of success. It may seem too good to be true, but we’re serious. If you win your age group in one of our listed races, we want to give you a helmet and sunglasses. If that extra push is all it takes to motivate someone to train a little harder, run a little faster down the chute toward the finish line, then we’ve done our job.”
Winning athletes can submit their information and race results for verification online. Athletes that won their age group in any 2018 full distance triathlon prior to the announcement of the program are also eligible to redeem retroactively. Full terms and conditions of the initiative can be found online, as well as a full list of eligible races. The program will run until December 2018.
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