It’s finally summer and the good people of WWMS are bursting with excitement for the 2023 triathlon season. With plenty of teammates preparing to kick off their racing season in the next couple of weekends (and some early season warriors already having raced Max Performance Tri’s Season Opener), now seemed a good time to share racing tips via the classic “what not to do” format. I asked the team for past race mistakes they’d be willing to share, and boy howdy did you all deliver. I appreciate this team for many things, one of which is our ability to laugh at ourselves!
An interesting observation: while some of these stories happened at someone’s very first triathlon, MANY of them did not - a good reminder that it never hurts to brush up on strategy no matter how long you’ve been at it!
Lesson 1: Nothing new on race day
For my first tri, I used lace locks but didn't try them out ahead of time and the laces on both shoes came undone right away, with super long shoelaces flapping in the breeze. I somehow managed to place third in my AG at the time, even with my racing flats about to come off my feet for the entire 5k. I was hooked on the sport, but so traumatized, I haven't raced with lace locks since!
I decided to give Kombucha a try the day before a race…My body does not take this drink well and had a tough time fighting the stomach issues while running! Moral of the story (and I should have known better), nothing new on race day or the days before!
If you’ve never worn a wetsuit, be sure to try it on first. And practice putting it on…. putting a wetsuit on for the first time on race morning, while sweaty and wet because it’s raining, is not the best idea. Pretty sure it took me an hour.
Race with what you train with - a half ironman is not the time to find out the chamois pad in your new tri-suit doesn't fit right.
Lesson 2: Stay grounded through the race day excitement… and practice your transitions!
Last year at Sharon Tri, I was so pumped up for the swim start that I forgot to put my goggles on my face before I ran into the water. They were just chilling around my neck. Such a noob move. I’ve never done that before and it was my 10th+ triathlon. I realized after I took my first stroke and then had to stand up, clear out the water, and put them on my face. Oops!! Lost me a whole 5 seconds on my swim time.
My first time at Nationals, although I wasn't a rookie, I made the ultimate rookie mistake: I neglected to make sure I knew where my bike was relative to the swim out. Good grief!
Don't take your timing chip off after transition, you won't remember to put it back on. And remember, the swim hat (British for “swim cap”) comes off before the helmet goes on.
Team lore: a past teammate reportedly came into T2 and thought someone stole his shoes, so he ran the 10k in bare feet, then after the finish realized that he just racked his bike one row over and his shoes were still sitting there waiting for him!
Lesson 3: Pack carefully and TRIPLE check everything
Forgot my cycling shoes. Enough said!
Amy Rinaldo (yours truly):
I carefully prepared a container of overnight oats and freshly cut fruit the night before my first triathlon to eat on the early morning long drive to get there. When I opened the container in the car en route, I found half a raw onion staring out at me - I had grabbed the wrong container from the fridge! Thankfully I had some extra snacks in my bag to eat, but let me tell you, raw onion is not the car scent you want at 5am (or ever).
Team lore: a past teammate forgot her bike shoes & helmet so she borrowed someone's sweaty helmet who was finishing the ride right when she was starting and used her running shoes on the bike. (She still beat everyone in her wave by a lot, so remember, mistakes don’t mean you can’t still do well!)
Lesson 4: Know the course and practice the course
My first triathlon was the Gloucester Sprint on 8/9/2009. I didn't have a road bike so I brought my reliable Trek 7300 hybrid. After spending years in spin classes, I wasn't familiar with the concept of "hills." I found out that in the outdoor world, hills exist and bike weight matters. By the second loop of the course almost everyone passed me and I realized that also having wheel guards, rear cargo rack and a security cable(!) looked like a weird flex.
Team lore: a teammate did an extra bike lap in Boston tri to get to 40km, not knowing that the race was actually supposed to only be 32km. They unfortunately do not award extra credit points for extra laps.
Lesson 5: Carpool if you’d like to enjoy a post-race beverage(s) to celebrate your accomplishments!
Never fill the winner's pitcher with beer assuming your friends will help you drink it.
Happy 2023 season everyone!
Training weekend 2023!
/ ˈtreɪ nɪŋ ˈwikˌɛnd /
Last weekend Wheelworks Multisport held our annual Training Weekend in Franconia, New Hampshire at the lovely Franconia Inn. The air was filled with the smell of flowers and bike lube, the sound of birdsong and chatter about upcoming races and summer plans, and the beautiful view of green on green.
To everyone who challenged themselves to complete their longest ever bike ride, to everyone who encouraged and cheered on their teammates, to everyone who did a run brick off of an extremely hilly bike ride, to everyone who leaned into the more relaxing aspects of the weekend (though I hear the “Uno” games got a little intense so I’m not sure how relaxing that actually was), to Alyson and the members of the board who put a lot of work into planning: KUDOS to you all and thanks for making this training weekend such a special one!
Let's Go Green Team!
Tri Can Show You the World
Last November Wheelworks Multisport cheered on two teammates at the Triathlon World Championships! Scott Kallgren and Brendan Mueller traveled to Abu Dhabi to represent USA and Wheelworks at the highest level. Scott competed in the Olympic distance full triathlon, finishing in a whopping 2:16. Brendan competed in the Olympic aquabike, coming in in 1:26 and first in his age group.
Brendan shared the following about the experience: “This was my first WC’s and it was a great experience. The paratriathletes were inspiring, the professionals were fast, and the Team USA atmosphere was really inclusive. It’s not a bad way to see the world, and bringing home hardware is merely icing on the cake!”
We see the hard work and heart these two athletes put in all year long, and we are incredibly proud of them for this huge accomplishment. Congratulations Scott and Brendan!!
Springing into 2022
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.
2021 Year in Review
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!
When your body retires before you do
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.
Making Waves Podcast
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.
WWMS’s 2020 Year in Review
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
Pandemic Survival Kit for TriathleteS
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 💚
Wheelworks' Holiday Wishlist
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!