Saturday, September 22, 2012

Travels and Training... Our favorite places!

Ever have a funny experience of traveling and training?  Vacations sometimes seem like a past time when you have to train all the time.  But fitting a little vacation in with your main squeeze, turning it onto a "train-cation", or planning an exotic cycling adventure can be just as much of a break. We shared some of our favorite places to travel to, and some funny experiences of trying to fit training in while on vacation.  Feel free to share yours with us in the comments below!

Michelle Mitchell
I worked on a mine site in Nhulunbuy Northern Territory, Australia. There was a massive pool in the town that no one used much and because my work hours were 6-6 there wasn't much time for training at "normal" hours. I managed to acquire a key and sneak into the pool regularly before anyone was around, only to be too scared one morning to hop out of the pool because a pack of dingoes/camp dogs had gotten into the pool area (not sure how) I had to stay in the pool (3hrs) until it officially opened and was rescued and then had to explain how I was in the pool.. I managed to keep my key though :).

Kebby Holden
I signed up for a bike tour in the Dominican Republic. I wasn’t able to bring my bike shoes on the trip, so thought I could at least get some pedal strokes in this way. Turns out it was just me and the guide. He was leading and I stayed glued to his wheel. I think it kind of pissed him off so he kept speeding up and I stayed with him. 10 minutes in, he is no longer telling me about what we are seeing but rather we are on a full TT through some pretty dodgy sections of town. That was the last time I did a TT in flip flops! At the end, my guide/new training partner said: "You're not so bad...for a girl."

Karleen Dirmantas
I go to San Diego every summer for a "Train-cation". It’s about 105 degrees plus at home in AZ, so it’s a great break from the heat.  I was lucky to get a few “map my ride” routes from Steph so I could get in some good bike training for my upcoming Ironman.  On a Saturday I left for my 120 miles bike ride with no real idea of where I was going, but a small piece of paper with turn-by-turn instructions of where I was to go.  Somewhere, about half way through, I ran into some other cyclists who seemed to be going the same route. I rode along with them until I got left behind with a flat.  I continued on this beautiful ride through lush farms and mountains.  I was still following my written instructions until at about 75 miles I hit an “End of Pavement” road sign.  I continued on, downhill, as it was kind of paved but kind of dirt.  And then it ENDED!!  I hit a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.  I had missed a turn somewhere, probably at the top of this 2 mile steep downhill.   I tried calling Steph and was cut out because there was no cell service.  Then, out of nowhere came a car down the dirt road and they asked if I needed help. Almost in tears, looking at my little piece of written notes, this guy comes out of the back of the car and says, “I’m a cyclist, you’re not supposed to be here, where are you supposed to be?” I seriously think he was my guardian angel. He guided me to where I needed to go, which still took me down another 1 miles of dirt road to the Palo Casino. Who rides their bikes in Palo? No one!! I took a Redbull and Pop Tart break at the gas station and continued on the highway back to Oceanside.  I got in 102 miles that day and  a heck of a sunburn from my 8 hour long experience.

Andrea Astudillo
My husband and I try to take one big trip a year. We usually do this in November, so it doesn't really impact any serious training. Summer of 2011 was the exception to our November travels when we went to France to view the tour and do some of the climbs in the Alps. We had read that it would be really warm (high 80s and 90s). We didn't check the weather when we left and when we got there they had one of their mid summer cool fronts that brought snow. It was so cold and we were completely unprepared. I had to borrow warm gear from others in our group (who I had just met!) and we had to go into ski shops to get warm stuff that included ski masks and ski gloves. I wore my arm warmers under my clothes at night to go to dinner. I washed them first, of course. So ridiculous! Fortunately, it warmed up over the next couple of days.
Other than that, my favorite trip that I have gone on was in 2009 when we visited three countries in Africa. It was a great combination of all the things I love in a trip: outdoors, animals, wine, interesting people, beautiful beaches, adventure and culture.

Alana Kennedy-Nasser
My favorite place (thus far) to vacation is Costa Rica. Something about rolling blackouts, in a jungle overlooking the Pacific, with howling monkeys keeping you awake and scared for your life, just adds to the excitement of a trip. I hear the Rev3 series there is great. Might give that a try!
Funniest training story was a bit tragic (it's funny now!) During a training ride,
my husband, who is a critical care doc, went down in a crack. A rider rushed over to him and she said, "Don't worry, I'm a doctor." To which he replied, "What type?!" He was dismayed to learn she was an OB/Gyn because "that wasn't going to be very helpful!" He is perfectly fine now.

Hailey Manning
Belgium 2010 we went and rode the entire Tour of Flanders course the day before the pros did…all 156 miles. Funniest thing about that trip was the “open” port o pots for the guys, one big trough with “privacy” dividers so that 8 guys could pee at the same time. Like a guy pee pie.
Aid station food? Not your ordinary PB&J, there were DELICIOUS sugar filled soft waffles at every aid station…I certainly had no problems keeping the kcals a comin’!
Usually my vacations are around a race or in the UK with family…the training gets a bit relaxed there…too much TopShop shopping to do!
Fave person to travel with: Mark…close second would be my girlfriends.
I want to go to Southeast Asia, and all of the south pacific islands, like bali and Fiji….any place warm with a beach is my dream

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Heat is ON!

It’s hot out there! After a treacherous couple weekends of racing in the heat, including IM 70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas and IM Louisville, I think everyone is ready for a change in the weather.  Even the San Diegans are complaining!!
I’m from Arizona, born and raised in the Valley of the Sun, and guess what??  I’m used to it! Yep, I’m a Sun Bunny and I’ve learned my way around the heat and what is has to offer me.  But I also know my limits of how much I can take in training day after day.  It’s about every summer that I take a Train-cation to San Diego and enjoy the beach and the brisk 70 degrees.   Everyone at home is in a suffer-fest of 110 plus. The nice thing about Phoenix is that 2-3 hours north of the valley you can be in the cool pines, and it’s at least 20 degrees cooler.  The past 3 years I participated in 3 fall Ironman races.  That meant that all summer long I was training in the heat.  It can be brutal!  But there are ways around it, by training the smart way.  In my experience, here are some tips for doing it right…
Take a Sweat Test: Weigh yourself naked, run or bike for 1 hour in the type of conditions and intensity you think you will be racing. Record how much you drink during that hour. Weigh yourself naked after the training.  For every pound you lose, equals 16-20 oz of fluid needed/hour plus how much you drank during that hour. Do this as often as you feel in needed.  
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!!:  Before, during and after your bikes an runs, it is so important to get your fluids in.  I would always start my morning with a 16oz glass of water with my breakfast, then drink my needed fluids during the rides. For me, this was always one 24oz bottle of water and one 24oz bottle of my sports drink per hour.  Then I always make sure to hydrate well all day after that so my body is ready to go for the next day.  Coconut water is also a good way of adding fluid and much need potassium to your post ride hydration plan. 
Know your Route:  It’s important to know where the next hydration fueling station is.  You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without water.  My bike holds 4 bottles, so I know that every 35-40 miles, I’m going to need to fuel up. 
Sunscreen: You should protect yourself with 10spf for every hour you are out.  That means if you are out for a 5 hour ride, you should have at least 50spf on.  They even make small tubes and sticks that can fit in your bento box or back of your bike jersey, so you can re-apply during your ride.  Protect you precious skin! There are also some hair products with SPF barriers. I have used a product by Biomega that helps protect my color treated hair in the sun. It contains a UV protectant.  I have also put a simple, cheap conditioner on the ends to protect my strands from fraying in the wind. 
Salt: I like to take salt tabs, or eat salty boiled potatoes on my ride.  Of course, everybody is different, but don’t underestimate the amount of sodium you may need when you’re riding through a life sized blow dryer and your sweat is drying as fast as your body is creating it.  Iodine is an essential electrolyte.
Clothing: Wear your SOAS tri kit!  It’s light, wicks away moisture, and makes you look sexy even when you feel like a hot mess. 
Lube it up: Use a chamois cream. Heat causes sweat. Sweat causes moisture. Moisture, cycling and a little black saddle for hours on end causes problems. Enough said! My pic? Beljum Budder in the white tube. In the summer you need more than body glide.
Get outta Here!:  Plan a road trip with your friends an get out of town to somewhere nice and cool, just for a change.  Pack up the bikes and go! A cooler training weekend can do amazing things for your body and your mind. 
Enjoy Yourself: Don’t forget that through all the training, heat, sweat dripping in the eyes, and saddle sores you are doing what you love. Right?  Think of the end product here and it’ll all be worth it.
Now get out there and finish up the season!
Karleen Dirmantas
SOAS Ambassador

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SOAS hearts Wine!

We had some fun putting this together.  We know SOAS was conceived over a bottle of good Cabernet. While we are serious about our racing and training, life is also about good friends, good balance and good conversation. Often, we find this balance over a good glass of grapes. Here is a compilation of some of our SOAS gals’ stories of the vino.  We’ve added some of our favorites. Enjoy!

Lisa Ransom
Whine or Wine??
In 2010, I raced IM Lake Placid. Three weeks later I raced a 70.3 in NH...Timberman. This race is a home state favorite and it is a kick ass race in a beautiful part of the world, so we race it every year. It is in our backyard so we train on the course & to race it is a real treat! However, three weeks after Placid I was feeling the hurt when I got off the bike to run. At mile three of the run, my coach, and best friend, Sean passed me like I was paint on a fence.  Before he could say a word I started in, "I don't know coach, I've got NOTHING in my legs...not sure I can..." He shouted out as he passed by "HEY! YOU CAN WHINE ALL YOU WANT.....TONIGHT!"
I was mortified. He was right, I was being a big, fat, baby and I was whining! I didn't want to disappoint him and told myself to suck it up and get my head back in the game! At a turn around point at mile 7 or so, I saw him again and showed him big smiles and said "I'm all good!! You're right!!" he looked at me, like "Um, ok." He was psyched I was in a better place and we high-fived and went our ways.
Later that afternoon, as a group of us were hanging out post race I told the story of how mortified I was that he called me out on my whining. He looked at me in utter confusion and then burst into laughter, "I didn't say THAT!!!!"
"YES YOU DID!! You said 'You can whine all you want tonight!'" and it kicked me in the butt enough to get it together and finish the race strong!"
He said, " I SAID 'You can have ALL THE WINE YOU WANT, tonight!"
Karleen's Favorite
Funny, we hear what we need to hear in the moment, don't cha think???!!!

Karleen Dirmantas
Wine is good!  As a triathlete I’ve found many benefits to drinking wine.
1)A little wine treat is good motivation to get the workout done for the day.
2)“Takes the edge off” after a hard day of work and training.
3)It opens my mind to some great ideas! It sometimes gives me the force to take on mammoth physical challenges.  Amazing!!
4)I always drink more water when I drink wine, keeping myself fully hydrated for the next day of training.
5)Keeps the blood flowing, or something like that.   I’ve heard there’s some studies.
6)It’s Gluten Free, Paleo Safe, and low in calories.

My favorite wine these days is Bogle Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon.  The total bang-for-your-buck wine.  At less than $10 per bottle it will blow your mind. 

Laura's French Wine
Laura Sopheia
As I sit on the plane to Las Vegas, I found this picture from our trip to France this past summer and it brought back wonderful memories.
As I recall this was a mighty fine bottle of vino! A luscious French Rose.  You might wonder how it came to be on Kevin’s bike and here is how the story unfolded and ended up on his bike...
Kevin and I began our ride in Allemont, France at the base of the mountains. It was clear, sunny and cool for July just a truly beautiful day to be alive and on a bike! We rode up and over mountain passes such as the Col D Croix Fer, Col D Telegraph  Col D’ Galibier and finished up on top of Alpe D’Huez.  It was an epic day on the bike with over 20,000 ft of climbing and I was total mess by the end of the ride. Kevin was wonderful and waited for me up each climb and my reward at the top of the Allpe D’ Huez  was this beautiful bottle of wine on Kevin’s bike.  I was ready to open it right then and there. Alas, he had other plans, and in his jersey pocket was a small loaf of French bread and a hunk of cheese.
We rode back down and stopped off in a field with a few cows, opened the bottle, bread and cheese and ended our day under the fading sunshine and the taste of Cuvée du Golfe des St Tropez and each other.

Kebby Holden
My current favorite wine is Hoopes Vineyard Cabernet from Napa. Wine and Dogs: two of my favorite things in the world! It’s delicious! Reg & I received a bottle as a raffle win at one of our favorite charity events in San Diego: The San Diego Humane Society FURBALL. Best black tie event name ever. I am usually pooped from a long run to stand in high-heels for long, but this event makes it totally worth it. Did I mention the great wine?....
Kebby's Wine and Dogs

Andrea's Buttery Chardonnay
Andrea Astudillo
Wine- Yum!
I have quite a few "favorites" but since it's still pretty warm, I’ll go with a Trefethen Chardonnay. I like oaky, buttery chardonnay and this is a good one for that. Also, my husband proposed to me on our way from San Francisco to Napa. Trefethen was the first winery we stopped in, once we made it to Napa, so it's a special place for me.

For reds, I love big cabs and have been getting into Pinot Noirs. Siduri is a great Pinot. We found out about it in a strange way. My husband is a huge Pearl Jam fan and we have noticed at the last few concerts we had gone to Eddie Vedder was drinking wine straight from the bottle with no label. We did a little research and found out it was Siduri. If you like Pinots, it’s worth a try. Costco usually has it. For Cabs, I love Far Niente and its sister winery Nikel and Nikel.

Sooo, SOAS friends: go grab a workout, a few friends and a good bottle of vino and enjoy the good life!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Laura tells us why she keeps on racing...after 27 years!

27 Years and Still Loving Triathlons

I am pretty sure if you would of told me in 1985 that I was still going to be racing triathlons I would have said No Way!  I could not fathom racing for that many years, heck I have been racing before most of my teammates were born and almost as long as I was a teacher!  I continue to love triathlons and the sporting life it provides for me.  In fact, I really hope to be racing well into my 80’s! 

Here is why I am still involved.  First of all have I mentioned that I LOVE the sport of triathlons for the friends I have met along the way.  It has been an incredible journey meeting and getting to know so many unique people . I go back and race some of my first races I even participated in while living in Michigan, and see the same friends year after year.  That is so amazing to me.  I so enjoy meeting new friends along the way, just like my SOAS teammates! 

Secondly, I love being fit and healthy especially as I am aging at the same time. Going in for my annual physical I love to hear the doctor say, “I wish more of my patients were active”…of course she still thinks I am a little on the extreme end of active! 

Lastly, it was so very important for me to be a role model for my girls.  All three of my girls were active athletes as they grew up and as adults they continue to participate in healthy lifestyles. 

 At the end of the day, your health is almost as important as family and happiness.  Guard your health like you would you family and you too will be in this sport for 27 years and counting!!

Laura Sophiea
Team SOAS Ambassador