We've had an action-packed start to the 2022 season!
April saw the triumphant return of Tri-Night, Wheelworks Multisport’s annual season kick-off, fundraiser, and new member welcome. The team was thrilled to once again partake in some of our favorite things: chatting about all things triathlon, winning prizes, drooling over the bike selection at Wheelworks, eating, and generally having a fantastic time together and getting hyped for upcoming summer activities and races. A huge shout out to our sponsors - Wheelworks Bike Shops for hosting us and providing some fantastic raffle items, and other sponsors Jack’s Abby, Fuel for Fire, Teddie Peanut Butter, Robar Massage, Tri-Hard Performance Coaching, WIN detergent, Garden and Roads, Max Performance, and Sun Multisport for their support.
Our second annual Teddie PB baking contest was a smashing success. There were a lot of tasty treats and voting was close, but Morgan’s Chocolate PB Cheesecake Bars emerged as this year’s victor, with Abby’s Chocolate PB Cupcakes and Mary’s Buckeyes coming in tied for a close second place! We have these and tons more team recipes available in our WWMS Recipe Doc, and teammates can contribute more anytime.
Finally, WWMS was proud to donate $225 of our raffle earnings to this year’s partner charity, the Mystic River Watershed Association. Our team enjoys swimming in the beautiful Upper Mystic Lake and biking and running along the watershed area, and we are immensely grateful for their protection and advocacy work.
May brought our annual training weekend, and this year we were thrilled to be back in our OG training weekend spot: The Franconia Inn in Franconia, New Hampshire. We kicked off the weekend Friday with hiking and biking options followed by delicious drinks and grub at Iron Furnace Brewing. Saturday had a scorcher on the forecast, so we got an early start with our 40, 64, and 90 mile ride options to beat the heat. As usual, this was a chance for many to do our longest ride thus far in 2022, and some teammates used this achieved their longest ride ever! Saturday afternoon post-biking saw folks enjoying cold dips in Echo Lake or sweaty run bricks, followed by dinner al fresco at the Franconia Inn and hot-tubbin time. The fun didn’t stop Sunday - teammates took advantage of every second in the beautiful White Mountains and enjoyed even more runs, swims, hikes, and tons of delicious food.
Although we certainly trained hard, the weekend is always about so much more than just working out, and the bonding, laughs, and time spent together felt extra-special after these past couple of tough years.
By Amy Rinaldo
In this new era where time ebbs and flows sporadically and it feels impossible to ever know what day it is, where reality can change at the drop of a hat while also carrying a mind-numbing monotony, where we have lived and continue to live through “unprecedented times” and grow increasingly tired of such overused phrases, all I can say is…thank goodness for this team! It’s March 2022 and I’m long overdue for our 2021 retrospective, but I hope you will join me down memory lane and look back at the ways we helped each other stay healthy and sane last year.
The start to the year found our team engaged in off-season training despite being in the depths of winter and facing an uncertain year ahead: weekly bike trainer rides led on Zoom by Richard, Sunday all-weather runs led by yours truly, and weekly Zoom strength sessions led by PT extraordinaire Malia. As the snow melted, vaccines for the-virus-which-shall-not-be-named became available and news of races returning promised a much different and more optimistic year than 2020. As Race Manager Anne began sharing news of race confirmations, many teammates excitedly began planning their triumphant return to the starting line. Returning to racing was exciting, but perhaps equally exciting was the June return of Sharman’s weekly race reports, highlighting all the teammates competing in a given week and providing equal parts kudos and hilarious commentary. We raced and volunteered all summer at team favorite triathlons like Harvest, Hyannis, Patriot, Mass State, Boston, Pilgrimman, and many more.
We worked hard to prep for those races; team training picked up in the spring with the popular Tuesday training tris led by Anne, Wednesday morning track workouts led by Morgan, Thursday swims in the Upper Mystic, the infamous twice monthly hill (read: hell) rides with Brendan, and tons of fun, impromptu activities like Harvard stadium runs with Keiko, scone-focused rides to the Harvard General Store with Richard, and hikes and rides with Kristi. And, Coach Will of Tri-Hard Coaching developed a useful training plan for our team based around our weekly training events.
Beyond training and racing, we had plenty of other fun last year. Teammates participated in a Mystic Lakes cleanup and breakfast social in May, we had our first Training Weekend since 2019 in June, an open water swim clinic at Walden Pond, our annual “No Sleep ‘Til P-Town” ride led by Jon, our annual Boston to Portland ride led by Anne, our annual DIY triathlon led by Sunny, and a fall cider donut ride led by Richard. At our Year-End-Party hosted in Mare’s beautiful backyard, we celebrated the year’s accomplishments and continued camaraderie, modeled our new team swim caps and gear bags, and did what triathletes do best: pigged out on delicious food. We thanked Amy Moody for all of her wonderful work as team president and welcomed a new presidential triumvirate of Brendan, Marina, and Morgan.
Last year we also created a diversity scholarship, designed to make our team and the sport of triathlon more welcoming and accessible to underrepresented groups.
So much going on in the world right now is far more important than triathlon, but I have been incredibly proud of how our team has united these past few years and worked hard to maintain a safe, supportive, and much needed community. Thank you everyone for being a part of WWMS and making our team so special!
by Amy Moody, President
As endurance athletes it’s ingrained in our inner psyche to push ourselves towards some future goal that we cannot accomplish today. Thus, when injury strikes we don’t hesitate to come up with a plan and begin the process of making ourselves better. The process might pale in comparison to our usual methods of bettering ourselves, and be a lot less fun, but we know we must continue because it will be worth it to get back to all those things we love.
However, there’s a dirty little secret no one likes to talk about or even acknowledge: not all bodies make it back. Not all bodies come back stronger than they were before. Not all bodies make it back to all of those favorite activities. Not all bodies make any progress at all. And worst of all, too often there is no way to know which category your body will fall into. Of course, these aren’t the stories you tend to hear about. Instead, they are buried behind a near impenetrable wall of scientific jargon in various publications of clinical studies with titles that rarely give any clues about what information may lie inside. Some of these stories made it into the light at the Olympics, hidden within larger stories of overcoming adversity and success. The bronze medalist diver who was a gymnast before a career ending sprained ankle. Can you imagine losing your favorite thing over an injury as innocuous as a sprained ankle?
I think the medical community does us a disservice by not acknowledging these stories, and instead constantly encouraging hope. Which I understand, because hope is certainly a required element as you enter week 10 of a low resistance repeat until you reach a number you can’t count to elastic band regimen. But hope is so often in competition with acceptance.
“50% of individuals experiencing pain 1 year after the onset of injury made no further improvement.” Neither this statement nor the half dozen other articles reporting some percentage of complete non-responders among patients with my knee injury have ever been acknowledged by a physical therapist or doctor.
So you continue on with the elastic band regimen ad nauseum because as athletes we have trained ourselves to continue until it is absolutely impossible to go on, until somebody else says stop. But at what cost? The endless hours of PT were a joy sponge and took away from the time I could have been spending outdoors doing the things I was still able to do. In what other aspect of my life would I continue with a process that was so miserable and came at such a high cost under the assumption it would pay off? (Pregnancy as it turns out, but that’s a story for another day).
Eventually, I circled a day on the calendar. I will keep giving it my best shot until this day, and then no more. No more doctors. No more elastic bands. No more comeback.
The day came and as expected, relief. I could take the dog for a walk in the woods without feeling guilty that it would mean no time for elasto-hell. But also, unexpected challenges. After so long of calling it an injury, who gets to decide when it’s no longer an injury and what to call it now? How do you put a stop to the well-intentioned encouragement, optimism, and inquiries about progress now that none of it is applicable?
I leave open the possibility that my knee will improve and a day will come when I might be able to bike to Walden or go for a run in the woods. But I’ll never make it back because my body has called it time-- maybe not in a way that can show anyone else the training and competing are over for good--but I know my body has told me it's over. I hope you will all join me, and those like me whose bodies have hit roadblocks before we were hoping, in celebrating my retirement from triathlon.
by Amy Rinaldo
Last month five members of WWMS joined the Making Waves podcast hosted by race director Tim Richmond of Max Performance. The panel discussion makes for a great listen, whether you’re a prospective teammate looking to learn more about the team or a longtime member excited to hear some familiar voices. Anne Traer, Katrina Ladd, Nancy Hays, Morgan Jamiel, and Jon Chesto discuss some of their favorite aspects of the team (spoiler: there’s truly something for everyone!), why they’re hooked on multisport, and how they balance life and training. The episode also recounts some favorite training events and races and shares a little about our new diversity scholarship. Did our panelists successfully convince Tim to join our annual No Sleep Til P-town ride up the Cape? Listen to find out!
You can stream directly through the Max Performance website, Spotify, Apple podcasts, or most podcast platforms.
Plenty has been said about what was lost in 2020. The tragedy, fear, and disappointment we all faced, combined with all of our favorite activities grinding to a halt, means that most of us are ready to forget last year like a bad dream. I do not wish to minimize the very real pain and loss caused by the-virus-which-shall-not-be-named. But in reflecting back on how our team dealt with the past year, I was reminded of how strong my teammates are, how much we achieved together, and how many memories we managed to make in the midst of all this chaos. Though they may have been few and far between, good things DID happen, and I want to take some time to celebrate those.
March & April
Everyone knows triathletes are good at transitions! As the early months of the pandemic unfolded:
In looking back at the past year, I mostly want to celebrate you, dear teammate. You are remarkable for WHATEVER you have achieved this past year. Did you complete a virtual race or challenge? Did the cancellation of life as we know it get you try something new? Did you change your perspective? Did you care for mini-teammates or other family members? Did you finally take time to slow down and recover and take care of yourself? Did you simply survive? Whatever it was, please remember: you are strong, you are a fighter, and we applaud you. Whatever uncertainties the future holds, I’m glad to say at least one thing with confidence: we will continue supporting each other and celebrating each other’s victories no matter what!
Fantastic swim shots taken by our talented team president/photographer extraordinaire!
Tuesday training tri workout included a fourth sport this summer - playing with puppies!
Lots of fun at September’s DIY tri
With training events and races getting cancelled left and right, it’s easy to feel unmotivated. But, now is the perfect time to reflect on your accomplishments and goals, build up your strength and endurance, give your body some TLC, and do all those PT exercises you were supposed to be doing all along. Plus, the living room is a great place to practice transitions! See below for some ideas and resources to keep you tri-ing.
Strength exercises & suggestions from Coach Will of Tri-Hard
Dry Land Swimming Exercises
Workouts for when you REALLY need a change of pace:
Some teammate-created Spotify playlists to pump up your workouts!
Wheelworks is still open, by appointment only. Drop your bike off for a tune-up or pick up some extra accessories.
Check out our new WWMS team recipe book here, and please feel free to contribute your own favorite recipes!
If you are able, now may be the perfect time to do a little online shopping and support our wonderful sponsors. Several of them are local businesses and may be especially struggling from the current closures. Discount codes are available for teammates via our website.
Isolation can feel very, well, isolating. Below are some ways you can stay connected with teammates from a distance.
Covid-19 has turned our world upside and is affecting people in many different ways. For most of us, triathlon is not at the top of our priority list at the moment. However, it is encouraging to see the support this community has shown for one another during this difficult time. I am proud of our team for doing our part to stay at home and flatten the curve, as difficult as it may be. I hope that this guide can provide a small respite from the worry we are all feeling and a reminder that you are not alone! Be well 💚
It’s no secret: triathletes love gear. The sheer volume of products out there can feel overwhelming, but not to fear! We asked our most trusted experts - the members of WWMS - to share their favorite products with you. Get ready for some serious wishlist inspiration!
Favorite race day essential: Blueseventy Transition Bag
Every triathlete needs a good transition bag, and teammate Jon Chesto sings the praises for this particular pack. “The Blueseventy transition bag is essential. Kind of amazing I lasted as long as I did in the sport without it. You can wear it like a backpack, for those annoying times you need to bike to the start. There are pockets for everything -- helmet, shoes of various sorts, ID cards, nutrition, even more pockets. The best feature though is the waterproof section at the bottom for your wetsuit and other smelly stuff.”
Favorite tech for data-driven training: Stryd Footpod
What exactly is a footpod? Teammate Shannon Little describes it for us: “Very lightweight, water resistant and clips to your shoelace. It measures everything about how you run, from cadence and pace to leg spring stiffness and time spent with your foot on the ground. It measures power and gives recommendations on power output based on all your previous data and current race distance - same as cycling with a power meter - so you can stay consistent on hills, long runs, etc. and you won’t burn out. It connects to most training watches too so you can get your data off your watch in real time, run with your phone, or if you’re a minimalist you can sync it offline when you’re finished. It also connects to Zwift so you can make the treadmill runs more fun. Highly recommend.”
Favorite bike accessory: “Bentobox” aka top tube bag: (check out Wheelworks’ selection here!)
Teammate Alyson Fletcher recommends adding one of these handy packs to your bike for easy access to fuel and extra room for other essentials. What to fill it with? That’s easy - Clif Bloks in every flavor! Her faves are tropical punch, ginger ale, salted watermelon, or cran razz. (Teammates, don’t forget about our Clif discount - we love our sponsors!)
Favorite cold weather biking gear: Bar Mitts
Many of our intrepid teammates cycle year-round; given that we live in New England, let’s pause for a moment to bestow the highest of kudos to those people. For winter riding, teammate Alyson Fletcher recommends Bar Mitts - they attach directly to handlebars and are weather-proof, toasty warm, reflective, and give you flexible access to brakes and shifting. A must-have!
Favorite swim training companion: Pyle Underwater MP3 player/headphones
Our team president Amy “Thurbs” Moody recommends an underwater MP3 player and headphones so you can jam out to tunes during your lap swim workouts. “These rely on a seal to prevent water from getting between the speaker and your inner ear...they don’t always work perfectly, but for the price ($40) and only sounding a little muffled if water does work its way in, I think they’re worth it! There is a catch: music has to be MP3 format, but with just a little internet searching you can easily convert songs from Spotify.” This calls for an official team playlist!
Favorite open-water goggles: Speedo MDR 2.4 Polarized
This recommendation comes from one of our experienced open water swimmers, teammate David Bentey. The polarized lenses help eliminate glare, even in strong sunlight, and the wide field of vision makes sighting a breeze with these bad boys.
Favorite running shoe: The Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro
Teammate Jon Chesto admits that these shoes are a splurge, but as some of the lightest and fastest shoes on the market he deems them well worth it. (And with his level of running experience, we believe him!) “They share the same kind of foam as the Nike Vaporflys, and I prefer them for short distance tris (5Ks and 10Ks). No need to wear lacelocks or other tomfoolery. I just leave one set of holes open at the top, and there's enough room for me to wriggle my feet in there during T2, super fast. I find them equally as comfortable as "tri specific" shoes, if not more comfortable.
Favorite body product: Anti-chafing glide: (we love Zealios’ Betwixt)
Let’s face it: chafing happens. That’s why teammate Alyson Fletcher recommends glide as an essential part of the tri kit. For biking-specific areas, think Zealios (another sponsor we love!). As a bonus, Alyson has found glide to be helpful for preventing blisters in your work shoes and snow boots too!
Happy shopping and happy holidays, athletes!
Aren’t the three sports and varying distances that make up triathlon enough? For most of us mere mortals, yes. But an intrepid few scream into the void: “is that all you’ve got?!” and seek out challenges beyond the norm. (Disclaimer: I’m not sure if they actually screamed, or faced any sort of void - just my artistic interpretation.) Some particularly interesting events on this year’s team race calendar piqued my curiosity and left me needing to know more. Join me on a deep dive into these unique multisport challenges and the stories of our kick-butt teammates who have completed them.
Sea to Summit featuring teammate Carole Harbison
What it is: a self supported 1.5 mile tidal river swim, ~92 mile point to point bike ride with 5000 ft of climbing (2000 net gain), and a 5.5 mile run/hike up Tuckerman Ravine (4400 ft climbing) to the summit of Mt Washington, the highest point in the NE.
Okay wow. What made you sign up for this? Carole says “I wanted an unusual challenge this year, something different than the matchy matchy spandex/bright lights glamour of the IM branded races (don't get me wrong, those are fun too). This is a mom and pop operation with very laissez faire execution-- a small field of <100 racers, no set bike course, no T2, no aid stations on the course, no finishing chute, basically no bells and whistles at all. Don't worry though, there's still a T shirt.”
Training and race details: She notes that her training for this was actually fairly similar to that for a regular IM race, with the exception of a lot more hiking/climbing instead of regular marathon run training. She did a lot of biking and hiking in the White Mountains, helping her prepare for all that elevation gain. Extra gear included a hiking backpack with some mandatory safety supplies and trail running shoes.
Any special challenges or surprises? Carole tells us she felt “hyper-prepared” for this race. “Having done two race rehearsals on the bike and hike course, fortunately I was able to have an ‘easy’ day executing what I'd trained for without too many surprises. The most challenging part was actually for my porter, who was responsible for handing off nutrition to me on the bike and a lot of other support activities. He had a heck of a time navigating the other 99 porters on the road and the other racers themselves, and may have actually had a harder day than I did. Having a great porter is key!”
Conclusion: Carole absolutely loved this race. “The scenery of NH and the white mountains is beautiful, and there's no better moment than ascending the last bit of the summit, looking all the way back toward the valley where you started that morning. The quirks are just part of the experience--the swim buoys were still being set up 5 minutes before the start, there were no timing chips so no way to measure transition times, it took a couple weeks to get results, etc. But honestly those things were a great reminder to not take the whole thing too seriously, and to just go out and have a fun day racing.”
She recommends this race for anyone who can qualify and who really likes biking on hills and hiking. She also offered to serve as training buddy, porter, or participate in a future WWMS relay team...so mark your calendars for July 25, 2020!
Congratulations to Carole for being the 4th overall woman finisher! You can read Carole’s full race report here.
SOS (Survival of the Shawangunks) featuring teammate Jon Chesto
What it is: The website describes this as an “eight stage wilderness adventure triathlon race,” but Jon paints us a much clearer and more vivid picture of his experience doing SOS New York:
“We start just as the sun was starting to rise over the Hudson Valley, at an empty fairground, all 200 of us assembling in the cool morning shadows. The stone Skytop Tower looms over us in the early-morning light, off in the distance, our final destination. We all know we have 50 miles of hard biking, running and swimming to get there.
The horn sounds, and we’re off, jockeying with other riders for position in our age group, while staying far enough away from each other to avoid a drafting penalty (in this race, the ref points at you and tells you to stop and unclip). We ride through a beautiful countryside: ravines, waterfalls, cliffs, sunflowers as tall as houses. The lead pack from my wave leaves me in the dust in the first major downhill. But the final climb is five miles long, uphill into the heart of the Gunks, and my lack of a tri-bike suddenly becomes an advantage, as I start passing competitors from my wave, as well as younger racers, one by one, before pulling into the first transition area.
The first trail run is 4.5 miles long, but this one feels much longer. The reason? It’s almost all uphill, including a mean bastard called Cardiac whose grade reaches 20 percent in parts. Rules require us to carry everything we need for the rest of the race, so I’ve got three gels in my shorts pockets, and a swim cap and goggles in my hands, as I climb. I see no runners, though I hear one gaining on me. Better pick it up after cresting Cardiac. I worry a bit that I’m not passing anyone. Then I find out I’m in 12th as I approached the first lake, and take it as a good sign.
The first swim is the toughest, 1.1 miles in frigid water (low 60s). We’re two hours in, so fatigue is already setting in a bit. I stuff my shoes into my green tri top, and hop into the water. I pass a few swimmers at the outset, but then, more loneliness. Getting back on land is hard - I foolishly take a well-meaning volunteer’s advice and sit on a bench-like rock to put on my shoes. Wrong move. The muscles along the back of my legs, hammies and calves, start to seize up at once. Painful and scary. Won’t be doing that again.
The next run, 5.5 miles mostly along a ridge line, is the most scenic. You can see for what seems like hundreds of miles. I get into a groove here. It helps I have someone to run with, finally. With my legs still sore from those cramps, I decide it makes more sense to run with him than to try to pass at this point.
The second lake is a half mile sprint. I think I pass two more people here but the rock-pile climb on the other side is tricky. Then it’s on to the longest run of the day, a grueling 8 mile stretch through some beautiful forestland and ledges teeming with rock climbers. The final two miles are all uphill — the infamous Godzilla Hill, far worse than Cardiac in length, if not grade. I catch up with someone who is walking for a bit. Turns out he is in fourth place. We offer each other some words of encouragement, then he hangs with me and beats me into the final lake — which, to my surprise, requires you to slide under a wooden fence to enter.
The final push is the most exciting: A swim through this glacial pool, past ancient rock formations and the majestic Mohonk House. It’s a hotel, but looks like a castle. The guy in fourth place keeps his shoes on, so I pass him with my shoeless feet and then clamber up another rock wall to get out for the final 0.7 mile climb to Skytop. (Had to cram my shoes back on, of course.) You feel like you are on top of the world when you cross that “survivor line” — it sure looks that way, too. The views are incredible. I instantly start shivering, but race CEO Evan Davis warms me up with a cup of soup. My dad surprises me by making the climb as well. Then it’s off to the massage tent to work out those cramps and reflect on five hours of joy and misery.”
How was your training for this race different than training for a regular triathlon? Did you need any extra gear? Jon says he did several OWS-trail run bricks to prepare, but thinks it would have helped to have done even more. He also highlights the importance of experimenting with footwear: finding a shoe that works (he opted for quick-drying Zoots) and trying out swimming with shoes versus without (he preferred swimming without shoes to keep his kick strong). Nutrition included Clif Bloks and Skratch hydration on the bike, and gels and sports drinks through the rest of the course.
What was the most challenging part of this race? “Dealing with those muscle cramps. You expect them, but you also hope you’ve done enough training to avoid them. Those cramps after the first swim were a bit frightening, with three hours left in the race, though the pain in the back of my legs receded as quad pain took over. The eight-mile run was particularly brutal — my quads felt like they do in the final stretch of the Boston Marathon. It did not help matters that the only paved part of the run is a screaming mile-plus descent after the swim.”
Sounds painful! What were the enjoyable aspects of this race? “Seeing those views from Castle Rock (the second run) is like nothing else in any other race I’ve done. I was in awe of the splendor. The swim-run combo at the end is pretty incredible too, the adrenaline really arrives here in anticipation of the finish.”
Who do you think would enjoy trying this type of race? “Anyone looking for a different challenge from the typical swim-bike-run thing. Just don’t expect it to be easy. This race is the toughest triathlon I’ve ever done — much more challenging than a typical 70.3. But so rewarding, too. One of a kind. It’s two weeks since I crossed the finish line, and I’m still kind of riding on that endorphin high.”
Congratulations to Jon for completing SOS Cape Cod in June and SOS New York in August, placing top 10 in both!
Spartan Obstacle Course Race featuring teammate Kristi Paradis
What exactly is an “obstacle course race?” Kristi explains: “OCRs consist of upper and lower body challenges and running or hiking between obstacles. Examples of obstacles include heavy carries (sand bags, buckets) over often difficult terrain, monkey bars, rings, 6-9 foot walls, tire flips, and mud. Distances vary from 3 miles to over 26.”
That seems really hard. Kristi sees it as a new way to challenge her body and mind. “This is a non Ironman year for me. I've been racing long distance triathlon for ten years now. A few years ago I burnt out of the sport and lost my love for it. I found it again, but don't want to fall out of love again. Doing a Trifecta this year is a different way to challenge and improve endurance... Additionally, my partner does OCR and this would give us a way to race together.”
The positives: There are several surprising benefits that Kristi has found in doing OCRs. Learning to get over a fear of heights was one. She also says she’s “been pleasantly surprised at how much my endurance has improved with the addition of regular trail runs and high intensity full body strength workouts.” Strength training with kettlebell workouts and rock climbing were placed into regular, in-season rotation as part of Kristi’s training. Another enjoyable aspect has been making improvements in various obstacles throughout the season. As Kristi says, improvements and success can provide boosts in self esteem and push us to do more. Finally, Kristi mentions teamwork: “Like triathlon, it's been a road to meet new friends too! I've enjoyed the team aspect of the sport as well. There are many obstacles that are difficult or impossible to do without help from others. Often I have someone racing with me but there have been many times where strangers have also helped boost me over a wall...There's something very empowering about helping someone through an obstacle.”
Any extra gear? Trail running shoes, gloves, and knee and elbow pads.
Conclusion: This was an enjoyable race and Kristi recommends it for anyone who is up for a new challenge! “An athlete looking for a sport that requires team building, but is also very solo may enjoy OCR!”
Congratulations to Kristi for completing not one, not two, but THREE of these races for a “Trifecta” this year (a 3 mile “sprint,” a 8-9 mile “super,” and a 13.1 mile “beast”).
Odyssey SwimRun featuring teammates Scott Kallgren and Mark Murakami
What is it? As the race name indicates, you swim, and then run...over and over and over again. The website explains it this way: "As a swimrun, The Odyssey is meant to be a different kind of multi-sport endurance competition: it challenges athletes to switch between disciplines over and over. Both running and swimming are inherently simple; body versus terrain. This event is meant to celebrate that simplicity, and give athletes a chance to test themselves against either 2 or 4 hours of this beautiful loop-style course."
That’s a lot of loops! Why did you decide to sign up for this race? Mark says “The Odyssey provided a novel opportunity to push my distance limits in the swim as well as to work on cross-discipline transitions, which I need for triathlon. I also seize any chance I have to spend a summer weekend in Bristol with friends.” And, inspired by his teammate/training buddy Mark, Scott signed up too!
Did you need any extra gear?
The short answer: yes.
The long answer:
How was your training for this race different than training for a regular triathlon? Scott says he made sure to train with all the gear he would be using for the race in the Upper Mystic Lake. He notes that onlookers were confused by all this back and forth swimming and running! Mark adds that these swim-run training loops in the Mystic was useful, but that it would have helped to better approximate the race distances to complete more laps.
Conclusion: Scott describes this race as “weird, but would definitely do it again!” He says that the constant cardio with recurring complete switch between upper and lower body was was really interesting, and the "only full loops count" aspect made him push really hard to finish a fifth lap in 1:59:30, just under the 2-hour mark. Mark adds: “Summer. Bristol. Start cannon (yes, a real one). Enough said.”
They recommend it for anyone who likes rugged shorelines, swimming, running, and trying something different! Scott has his eye on the Boston Harbor Islands next year - anyone interested?
Congratulations to Scott for 1st place overall in the 2-hour race, and congratulations to both Mark and Jon Chesto for strong finishes in the 4-hour race.
As the season rolls along, I’ve been thinking about what exactly makes a team. To state the obvious: triathlon is an individual sport. When I first started thinking about completing my first tri I had no intention of joining a team. It can be risky and vulnerable to put yourself in a new situation with people you don’t really know, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I would get out of it. But as a new teammate last year, I felt immediately welcomed and at home here, and I’ve been thinking a lot about why. Beyond our snazzy green uniforms and shared obsession for Teddie’s pb, I think our team is united by the following:
Celebrating your accomplishments. Whether it’s nailing a tough workout, participating in a new race distance, making the podium, or taking an especially artistic selfie, this team shows each other so much love and support! While our non-athlete friends and family certainly support us (read: tolerate us) and cheer us on, there’s nothing quite like a fellow triathlete’s genuine enthusiasm for their teammate’s accomplishment!
Supporting you through setbacks. We’ve all been there - missed out on a time goal, DNFed, cursed with an injury. I’ve witnessed many a candid conversation about the frustrating side of the sport. It’s great to have the opportunity to air these frustrations to sympathetic ears who can offer understanding, support, advice, and perhaps serve as a voice of reason when we get a little carried away.
People to work out with. Okay, this is obvious - we train together. However, while most of us are pretty self-motivated, don’t underestimate the power of a training buddy (or 10!) It seems that just about every group workout I attend includes someone doing just a *little bit more* just a *little bit faster* thanks to the encouragement of teammates! Personally, I have been especially grateful for the many opportunities to work on my biking in low-pressure, no-drop rides or in our easy-to-follow weekly Marauding and Training Tri Mystic loops. I’ve also met a lot of new (and veteran) teammates this way.
An experienced knowledge base.
Our email and facebook group are abuzz with questions and answers - gear, technique, PTs, routes, races, training plans - you name it, we collectively have several dollars worth of two cents about it. With the ridiculous amount of information and choices out there on the interwebs, this is an incredible resource to have. Plus, there’s no judgement for asking when you don’t know something, which is great for us newbies. Beyond the Q&A, several events put on by the team really put this principle into practice. In my relatively short time on the team we have had swim technique clinics, a bike pace line demo, a bike maintenance clinic, a transition clinic, a run technique workshop, not to mention weekly teammate-led workouts where I have learned about track sets, open water swim techniques, and so much more. I really appreciate the culture of teaching, learning, improving, and embracing all experience levels.
Like all athletes, we are competitive. We sometimes wake up at insanely early times to do insane things with our bodies. From the average person’s viewpoint, this might make us seem a little unwell. But we still wanna have fun! We go on cider-donut rides, hang out at socials, indulge in Jack’s Abby after our training, plan our bike routes around ice cream stops (oh wait, is that just me?), and let’s not forget our annual “anti-training weekend!” It’s nice to be surrounded by others who appreciate this balance and to feel included in both the training and the fun.
To new and returning teammates this season, I am glad to be a part of this with you! Now, sentimental blog post aside - let’s race!
Last April I walked into WWMS Tri Night with no idea what to expect. Although I knew I wanted to do my first triathlon that summer and had been invited to check out Wheelworks by some friends, I wasn’t totally sold on joining a team. The interior of Belmont Wheelworks was overwhelmingly stuffed with bike gadgets and paraphernalia - intimidating for someone whose cycling career up until that point consisted of learning how to ride a bike around age seven and not pursuing it much since then. I spent a few awkward minutes wandering around and trying to keep track of all the people I was meeting, but the night turned out great. I met a ton wonderful people and decided to join the team!
My most vivid memory from that night was the Caitlin Clavette Memorial Foundation Awards. Listening to the Clavettes speak about their daughter, I was touched by descriptions of Caitlin and the relationship between the team and the Clavette family forged in Caitlin's memory. The foundation sponsors race entries for Wheelworks Multisport teammates who support the foundation's vision of a community where all people live healthy lives, preserve and appreciate the arts, respect and protect all living things and live with passion.
In my mind, the sense of welcoming I experienced that night, and continue to experience as part of this team, is inseparable from Caitlin’s legacy. I would venture to say that Caitlin may not have totally realized what a huge impact she had on others. I don’t know any of us ever realize our impact on others. The way this team, and each of us as individuals, welcomes and inspires each other is so special and meaningful. We are so much more than athletes (even when it literally feels like training is all we do). Our team is about building a welcoming community and helping individuals embrace new challenges. The foundation is offering race sponsorship for Wheelworks Multisport teammates to apply for once again this year, and I'm looking forward to learning more about all those teammates who apply and align with Caitlin's vision.
Teammate and past recipient, Leah Reis-Dennis, adds “It's easy to focus single-mindedly on triathlon when we're hanging out with WWMS teammates. I love that the Caitlin Clavette Foundation is explicitly more holistic, committing itself (and committing us) to remembering Caitlin for the multifaceted person she was: an artist as well as an athlete, a teacher, daughter, and sister as well as a friend and teammate. WWMS can continue to support this vision by encouraging its members to get to know each other as people and as friends—not just as teammates to sweat it out with on early morning rides.”