Friday, January 30, 2015

Never too late....Thailand & Challenge Phuket

The original purpose of this blog was for me. Just for me. A chronicle of healing from a running injury and starting to train for triathlons. My blog has changed from just for me, to a little bit for the people who I know read (this could be "read" in past or present tense ;) as well as sponsors.
But no matter what, all along, it's been about documenting my journeys and the blog has taken me from age 27 to nearly 35. I don't think I've missed documenting a trip or race in some fashion (not always a race report) and I'm not about to start now.
So, even though Pucòn 70.3 is SOOOOO last month and our trip to Thailand was SOOOOOOO last year, I wanted to throw up a couple thoughts and memories. For me. (Pucòn coming in the next couple days, but today, THAILAND!)

So, back in November, we went to Thailand for Luke to race Challenge Phuket (Can you say bucket list race?). We flew San Diego to San Francisco to Hong Kong. We stayed overnight at the Hong Kong airport and flew to Phuket, Thailand the next morning. Not the easiest trip with a six month old, but there are worse things. We made it work. Including an airport-hotel workout with Wynne. We were  those crazy people.

We finally arrived in Laguna Phuket (the resort area) and all I can say is that place is dreamy! Our little family is happy when we're in the hot and steamy tropics and Phuket did not disappoint. We stayed at The Banyon Tree resort thanks to the resort and the race organization and it was most definitely the most unreal and luxe place I have ever stayed. We had an amazing villa with our own private pool and were treated to the world's most unreal buffet every day (can you say MANGO STICKY RICE?). The grounds also have a 40 meter lap pool- perfect for training, and easy access to the bike and run courses for the race where I did my training.
pool just for us! 
I was secretly cursing my decision to race Ironman Western Australia the following week because all I wanted to do was lounge by the pool, drink fresh young coconuts, eat green curry, and relax. Truth be told, I gained a few pounds that week, but Luke actually thought it ended up being a good thing as the combination of breastfeeding Wynne + heavy Ironman training lead to skinny Beth. I thought I was at a good race weight (we always think we're never too skinny, right?), but alas, never got to test it out at super skinny raceweight (as after gaining a few I ended up racing at my previous ideal race weight which for me is about 114/115lbs).

Wynne met her first elephant- Candy! 

Wynne got plenty of life advice from the wise Belinda Granger

She also learned how to chop fresh coconuts

Luke demonstrates motor-pacing Thai Style

Luke's race at Challenge Phuket (half-ironman distance) went pretty well considering the training he had done after Kona (not very much). He had a good swim and the strongest bike, but was unable to drop a couple of fast runners and came in 3rd in the end. If you're wondering about the course- the swim is a warm ocean swim followed by a quick beach run into a freshwater pond. The bike is HILLY and TECHNICAL. I rode it in my training rides and was thankful to not wipe out around some of the steep descending corners. The run is pretty flat but STINKING HOT. The race of attrition is fun to watch and Challenge Phuket is definitely a race that is fun for the competitors as well as the spectators who get to watch the spectacle and experience Thailand. If someone invites you to Thailand, all I can say is GO! I think this is, thus far, my favorite place to visit in the world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015- New Directions

I was waiting for photos. That’s my excuse. In the space between old sponsors and new ones and past years and present, it’s hard to define a perfect day (or way) to say that you’ve moved on in the sponsorship world. Often, there is the blank space of opportunity as the new year unfolds, with some winter hibernation time to write and think. Usually, races are only Sharpied in on the Men of Triathlon calendar later in Spring, giving ample time to lay out the new directions and give thanks for past support. 

But when you race on January 11th, this space disappears! All of a sudden, (if you’re lucky and your sponsors are ridiculously on top of it) I'm racing on a new bike and new wheels in a brand new race kit and never explained a switch, thanked my old sponsors, or properly conveyed my excitement about the new beginnings. 
I told you, I was waiting for photos. I wanted to have that perfect photo where I was in all of my new gear, cruising by some amazing backdrop looking happy and super aero on my bike etcetera etcetera. But there hasn’t been time for that yet. And then I raced! And then it was pretty obvious that things had changed in my corner, so without further ado..

For 2015 and beyond, Luke & I really wanted to team up and streamline our sponsorships. We love being partners to each other both in training and as parents, and it really seemed to make the most sense for us (simplification!) but also, the people we work with, to represent companies together. We think that by branding ourselves together, we can help the companies we work with even more…Let’s be honest, having won a bunch of Ironmans, Luke is the powerhouse of this relationship. He’s that guy that sells Scott bikes because he rides them faster than most anyone else. That might not be me just yet (though I was in the top tier of the bike splits in Pucòn last weekend for the first time ever!), but in a small way, I can complement Luke by continuing to reach out and hopefully at some point or another, maybe inspire girls, women, and now moms in a way that Luke alone cannot. So, we have paired up our major sponsors moving forward. 

(This is where I’d love to insert a really cool photo of Luke & I in our new kits with our new matchy matchy bikes but I don’t have one yet..) 

Luke & I have a new title sponsor, Endura, a cycling apparel company out of the UK that’s a leader in aerodynamic textiles (i.e. we will have very very fast suits). Endura is also breaking into the American market and I’m excited to help them launch into some new demographics in the US.  I'm already loving some women-specific features on the cycling apparel that I’ve never seen before- like these genius bib shorts just for ladies. 
Easy access! 

See that white upside-down “U” piping from the thigh over the butt? That’s actually a zipper for easy access potty stops while riding. No more complete undressing in a gas station bathroom to get bibs off for me! I am super excited also about our custom wear. Aerodynamics genius (or would the word be aerodynamicist?) Simon Smart (The man who makes Luke super fast in the Wind Tunnel w/ Drag2Zero and an engineer of ENVE wheels & the new Scott Plasma 5) has also been working with Endura to make some very innovative aero speedsuit products and I’m so fortunate to be an athlete that gets to put them into use. 
Luke & I crossing paths on a hill at Pucòn 70.3 in our matching Endura speedsuits . Thanks Ivan Figueredo for the pic!

I’m also really excited about working with Endura because I feel like in the world of aerodynamics and cutting edge textile engineering, it’s always the guys who are at the forefront. As women increase our presence (and speed!) in triathlon, I’m excited to show that it’s important for women to go as fast as possible too (and dammit my kit actually looks really good too, so it’s fast AND flattering - a deadly combo I think!) 

Riding into 2015 & beyond, I’m please to announce that I’ll be aboard Scott bicycles. I’ll be racing a Scott Plasma 5, the latest superbike from Scott, that Luke has been riding since last summer. I can’t wait to be a part of the Scott team, as I already look up to the women they sponsor including Jodie Swallow, Annabel Luxford, Alicia Kaye and Leslie Paterson- four athletes I respect and admire. Clearly Scott likes the fiery and feisty women, which makes it a great match for me. I’ll be sharing much more about the Plasma 5 and the other Scotts I’ll get to ride, but first impressions after one race: HOLY S&%T that bike is fast! Everything is integrated and sleek and screams aero. 

Speaking of Aero, we’re working with ENVE wheels and could not be more excited. Again, with Simon Smart behind the wheel technology, everything at ENVE is cutting edge and the wheels are what I consider wheel “couture”. For us, the partnership is very valuable because Luke really wants to be a part of the research & design of the products he works with and he/we have that opportunity at ENVE. Whether it’s testing wheel combos in the wind or giving feedback on design elements, at ENVE we are able to make the connection between athlete and designer and truly have an impact on the future, something we feel is very important. 

Testing out some new gear the day before the race. Vroom Vroom! #bikelove

Our last new sponsor is The Island House, a 30-room boutique hotel in Nassau, Bahamas, set to open in Spring 2015 & we're excited to do some training camps there in the amazing facilities. The Island House is a new venture of longtime endurance sports supporter, Mark Holowesko, and this year he is sponsoring tri

athletes under the hotel title. I feel very lucky to be included as an Island House athlete, as the other athletes TIH is sponsoring are much more “decorated” than I. However, Mark has always been one to support not only the top dogs, but the underdogs too, and I hope this year I can make the Island House proud!

With all the new, there is absolute comfort in the tried and true and I’m happy to be continuing with some companies I don’t think I’d live without. SRAM has supported me since I started racing pro, and I’m happy to continue with the amazing component company, along with Quarq powermeters. I truly love the products, but even more, I love being a part of the SRAM/quarq family. The tech support at big races is absolutely incomparable and the people behind the parts make the relationship even more special. I’m also continuing racing with ISM saddles (this is non-negotiable for the last parts! Even if they stopped sponsoring me, I’d still my ISM), and Smith Optics. Locally, I have the longtime support of businesses & friends including by bike shop Nytro Multisport, my ART man Dan Selstad, and Beaker Concepts. Back this year, I’ll be swim training in Betty Designs swimwear- because every girl needs a good reason to hop in the pool . Lastly, my good friend, Jessica Cerra, started a bar company - Harmony Bar- and I’m getting in on this one at the ground floor. They're made from real food and are gluten free (two flavors are also vegan/dairy free). The bars are that good that they don’t taste like bars, but unfortunately this means the supply in our house gets depleted much faster than energy bars that would be purely used as “fuel”… 

Before I take off, a THANK YOU. First and foremost to Zoot, my very first sponsor and a relationship that began almost 8 years ago when I wore my first pair of Zoot shoes and got my first Zoot wetsuit An amazing, local California company that I grew up with in the triathlon world. THANK YOU. Although no longer my apparel sponsor, I will continue to race in Zoot shoes and wetsuits because I love them, so that’s not changing and they’ve offered to continue to support me in that, a gesture which means a lot. Thank you also to Cannondale bicycles for helping me start my professional career on great bikes. It was great to join the Cannondale team when women’s marketing was a big initiative and I really felt I was able to make an impact in helping to make cycling -for fitness or competition- more accessible for women. Along with Cannondale, I was lucky to ride Zipp wheels for 3 years and feel so lucky to have been supported by the Zipp products, and even moreso, the people behind them. Thanks also to Bonk Breaker and MRM nutrition, two Southern California companies that I’ll always love. 

So, if you’ve gotten this far, I owe you a Harmony Bar because you are likely bonking by now… Ask me for one the next time I see you. 

On we go to 2015! 
my team, 2015!