Speedy Days & the Slaybor Day Challenge – TriCoachGeorgia

As we end August, the team, both youth and grown ups, has a lot to celebrate. We have reaped what we sowed over the Winter and Spring. Training hard when many others take “offseason” always seems to pay off in spades. And now September begins the big time A races for many of our athletes.

This month includes Ironkids Alpharetta for the TriKidsGeorgia as well as Sugar Creek Youth Triathlon. The Go Race Productions Georgia Triathlon Series that we sponsor finishes up mid-month with the Hot Dam sprint and olympic triathlon weekend. We also will have Callaway Gardens Triathlon and Tugaloo Olympic races and Ironman Augusta 70.3 and Ironman Chattanooga later in the month.

The weekend started with a XC match West of Atlanta where the RedVenger aka Amy Gayer had a strong day. Then it was time for the Running For Rankin 5k at the Oconee Veterans Park. We had several racing and our friend and affiliate from Fleet Feet Athens, Dustin Shinhouser, won the overall race after crushing the #TriToBeatCancer on the relay with CoachBigBad! Team members young and old get special deals when shopping there. More importantly they get expert advice on comfortable running shoes and apparel. Likewise, they get great deals on gear and bike fits at other shops like Georgia Cycle Sports Concepts and All3sports.com.

On the male side at the Running for Rankin, Rolling Thunder aka Troy Garland and his younger counterpart David Andrew took home high podium slots. LongMan aka Karl Langenbach’s son Tai also performed well.

On the female side of the ledger, Caroline won her age group with a PR for the distance on her favorite course, and we welcomed back IronMouse who is rehabbing a knee issue, with a 6th in age group! All told, with all the training and racing, it was a great morning.

To finish up August, Speedy Gonzalez aka Lester Benitez traveled from his home in Virginia all the way to Austria on the European continent for the World 70.3 championship that we were all so stoked for him to qualify for at Augusta 70.3 in 2014. This is the 4th consecutive year our coached athletes have represented us in this amazing event.

SpeedyG did us proud after incurring a broken rib during the hellacious swim. This bothered him a lot on the run, but his bike was unaffected. He came out of the water 210th in the difficult 45-49 age group in the world, and moved up to 193rd after the bike, and still ran himself up to 173rd in the world in his age group at the end. This is no small feat and SpeedyG was quite the social media darling not just for his athletic prowess, but for his family life and friendships.

Time marches on for the Reapers. The training is getting more challenging. Ironman athletes are riding 100-112+ mile rides or more most weekends with brick runs. Half ironman are along the lines of 60-70+ mile rides with brick runs.

We are managing our niggles and trying to keep consistent as Slaybor Day rolls in.

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Coach Slayer’s Top Triathlon Truths: How You Get Better Quicker! – TriCoachGeorgia


Many years ago Coach Slayer wrote a list for the BeginnerTriathlete.com website Georgia Forum about what he viewed as his opinions that were fortified by both experience and data. He thought it applied to the vast majority of endurance triathletes. As he started re-doing the list a few years later for this blog, he found that many of the items were still his thoughts even after several years coaching and more improvement as an athlete himself.

You may not agree with him on these, and he is willing to hear why, but he hopes they are helpful for many triathletes out there. Some range from obvious, to misunderstood, to complicated. Some are substantiated with research and others are just subjective rants. Without further adieu, here is:

Some of what I learned from Triathlon since I started:

Top 80 List of Triathlon Truths: How You Get Better Quicker!

  • 1. Taking performance enhancing drugs makes you a twat and a cheat.
  • 2. Cutting the course, drafting on purpose, or doing stupid stuff like pretending you didn’t DNF when you did also does.
  • 3. Racing lighter is better (and drinking light beer is better but less tasty).
  • 4. Eating lean protein, healthy fats, and heavy veggies keeps you light.
  • 5. Training heavier makes you faster especially if your race weight goes down.
  • 6. Burn fat as much as possible as your fuel source in endurance sports.
  • 7. Unless you are “all in”, go easy on sugar and stuff that metabolizes as such and get your carbs from healthy sources.
  • 8. Generation Ucan is a game changer for race day nutrition but you can do well with sugar if you frequently dose.
  • 9. Listen to your coach unless you like being injured.
  • 10. Don’t listen to your coach on race day if you feel really good.
  • 11. Tackle your weaknesses.
  • 12. Make lots of friends in lots of places.
  • 13. Do fun races.
  • 14. Don’t take yourself too serious.
  • 15. Give back to others.
  • 16. Youth triathletes like @FTKTri are better than adult triathletes to watch especially if you are a parent of one or more.
  • 17. For most of us, flip turns are hard to do.
  • 18. Test yourself in training but not daily.
  • 19. Recovery is more important the older you get.
  • 20. It is ok to have rivals if it is healthy competition.
  • 21. Have the best race you can on the day.
  • 22. Try not to set a time goal. Focus on getting done, having fun, and doing your job to the best of your ability.
  • 23. Use Glide or other lubes from all3sports.com heavily in areas that chafe.
  • 24. Figure out what shoes feel best and run in them. Rotate if multiple ones feel good.
  • 25. Blisters suck, really suck. Buy good socks (ask Swim Bike Mom about that one).
  • 26. Train with people that help you remain centered.
  • 27. Get out of your comfort zone on occasion at least.
  • 28. Coaching is a lot like therapy.
  • 29. Indoor training is much better than people give it credit. Many pro’s are training nearly exclusively indoors.
  • 30. Try to have at least one big race per year.
  • 31. Try not to let your self-worth ride on that big race.
  • 32. Have strong opinions about training but be willing to listen to other ones.
  • 33. Affiliate with good shops, manufacturers, clubs, and teams.
  • 34. Fit over everything else when buying a bike.
  • 35. Aero = faster than even weight loss.
  • 36. Comfortable stiff bike shoes are very important too.
  • 37. Dig deep on race day! Very deep. It’s ironman not pussyman.
  • 38. Over train for the distance your racing except in the case of Ironman running.
  • 39. Ironman is not the promised land but its close to it for many triathletes.
  • 40. 70.3 is the best distance for me and most of us who have busy lives but it’s not quite the pizzazz of 140.6 sadly.
  • 41. Make sure your family is on board with things as noted in the blog by Taz aka Wes Hargrove (HERE).
  • 42. If it hurts, don’t keep doing whatever your doing until you get it checked.
  • 43. If you can afford it, have great support people on your team including pedicurist, PTs, masseuses, strength trainers, etc.
  • 44. Static stretching and rolling are stupid although Thai massage, dynamic stretching, and yoga seemed to help so maybe that’s not fully true.
  • 45. The mental game is more important than you think. Some say the sport is 90% mental and 50% physical.
  • 46. More miles works for me to go faster but not always for others.
  • 47. Less miles probably need to be harder miles.
  • 48. More swim yards does not mean you will go faster.
  • 49. In the water, quality trumps quantity.
  • 50. It’s never too cold to swim until its too cold to swim.
  • 51. Closer races are easier to do than further races.
  • 52. The best race directors are ones that get you out of there asap.
  • 53. Some of the local and regional independent races are way better than WTC races but you can’t qualify for Worlds 70.3 and Kona there.
  • 54. Local races like Go Race Productions Georgia Triathlon Series, Tri the Parks, Setup Events, Georgia Multisports are perfect for what they are.
  • 55. Family and friends present at races makes them more enjoyable.
  • 56. Yelling and cheering at someone during a race does in fact make them go faster.
  • 57. Racing a lot is tough due to the sleep disruptions and logistics.
  • 58. Triathlon can be expensive but it’s a worthy investment.
  • 59. Short course races are painful but fun and over quick.
  • 60. Find ways to have the quickest transitions of your AG.
  • 61. Always carry Benadryl just in case.
  • 62. Just because they are selling something doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
  • 63. Have answers to questions you will ask yourself when things get very tough. Be prepared ahead to answer or write it on your arm in sharpie.
  • 64. Environmental conditions like heat/humidity, cold, wind, etc are things you have to learn to tolerate.
  • 65. L.A. Woman by the Doors is the best triathlon song ever (MOJO RISIN!!!) Maybe not, but it sure helped me out after a particularly bad race.
  • 66. You are not faster if you have a cool nickname, but it can’t hurt.

Some others passed along to me from the Georgia Forum

  • 67. Adjust race strategy for environmental conditions.
  • 68. A strong core will help to make you faster in all 3 disciplines.
  • 69. There is no such thing as a good bike followed by a bad run.
  • 70. Don’t change ANYTHING on the bike, except a flat tire or frayed cable, within a week before the race.
  • 71. If a race doesn’t quite fit the training or recovery schedule but sounds like fun, don’t necessarily skip it. Sure you may be not quite at top peak performance and the next race may suffer marginally, but in the big picture, the memories may be worth it.
  • 72. No excuses.  Accept the challenges as opportunities to learn and improve on for next time.
  • 73. An aluminum Tri bike without Zipp Wheels can go just as fast as the bling bling carbon machines.
  • 74. It’s perfectly acceptable to be a triathlete and be a short-course racer with limited or no aspirations for a HIM or Full distance.  Do what is right for you, not others.
  • 75. If you hold back, you won’t know your potential. It’s ok to blow up, see No excuses.
  • 76. Have your priorities straight. Seeing your kids pursue their passion trumps any kind of goal/workout you have for yourself.
  • 77. Group training is important. You can feed off the group energy.
  • 78. Bike handling skills that you learn in a group are important too.
  • 79. Money won’t buy you better race times; however, if buying a nice bike makes you ride more, then go for it.
  • 80.  Running shoes should feel good in the store. If you think they only feel “okay,” they’re not going to get better later.

There are many here and many more to be written. Do you disagree with any of these? Do they resonate with you? We at would love to hear back from you. We all learn from constructive discussions. Thanks for reading (and contributing if you did back in the day!) and best wishes for the rest of your race season!

Athens, Georgia’s Own #TriToBeatCancer – TriCoachGeorgia

A Brilliant Event Occurs

Much planning goes into a huge event and amazing things happen when so many good people combine efforts to fight cancer. Our team, along with affiliates like Georgia Cycle Sports Concepts and Fleet Feet Athens and many more like the North Oconee High School Cross Country Team, and the UGA Swim Team paired up to help prepare and steer the throngs of participants through the local course of a sprint triathlon at Sandy Creek Park in Athens, Georgia.

Indeed the TriCoachGeorgia and TriKidsGeorgia teams gathered along with so many others for a quintessential active Athens event, the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia‘s Tri to Beat Cancer. In fact, the team was honored to be a sponsor.

The Weekend Started

The Race Expo on Saturday was a blast and Coach Slayer and Coach BigBad were there to give out free samples of Generation UCan hydration and Base Performance left over from their big #TCGAugustaCamp. They also offered a lot of racers tips to improve their times, rules information, and hydration/fueling strategies. The census for the race was huge like every year and participants registered from all over the State of Georgia and beyond.

Race Day

On Sunday, after an early night, so many Reapers were out on the course either racing, volunteering, or spectating, that it felt like we were swimming in a sea of Red and Black, the team’s colors. For the TriKidsGeorgia, there was representation from Jack H., Hatchet Jack aka Jack S. and Jr. TaxSlayer aka Ben W. Also the RedVenger aka Amy Gayer relayed with her Dad, Coach Slayer.

Going toe to toe with the best in the game, all these kids rocked it out with strong performances in a humid, hilly, foggy course. RedVenger raced in the front pack and held her own with a PR 5k, while her Dad and Coach BigBad, on their relay bikes, put up the two fastest bike splits on the course for the entire race!

On the grown up side, the Reapers had some stellar performances where athletes crushed prior year times, scored podium slots, and generally reaped what they had sowed. Lots of high fives and words of encouragement were exchanged beforehand, on course, and post-race.

Literally, huge gains were seen by Darth Vader aka Darsh Cook, Rolling Thunder aka Troy Garland, the Scalpel aka Brad Shepherd, TaxDr, aka Becky Waltman, and FC aka CJ O’Mara. Podium awards went to Virginia Brooks, Longman aka Karl Langenbach and Terminator aka Dr. Dick Thompson. A few narrowly missed the podium due to the high level of competition.

In addition to very strong relay bikes from Coach BigBad, whose team won the overall smoking fast relay with Dustin Shinhouser from Fleet Feet Athens as a runner, and Coach Slayer, Relayer Social D. aka Danielle Cheek had a great bike. There were many who noticed the tremendous growth of the team from their representation on course. Also, many were appreciative of the team’s moral support on the run course.

Volunteers were aplenty on the course and the race would not be as good as it is without them. Cheering for the team at the first turn on the run course were Doc Slay and Number 14, aka Julie and Jake Gayer, TaxSlayer and Jr. TaxDr. aka Seth and Allison Waltman, MyTime aka Myrna Powell, Judas Priest aka Judith Garrard, Lauren and McGritty from Greenville, SC. Many other friends and family members made appearances like Brooke Powell, Fran Stansell, Steve Hayes, Nicole O’Mara, the Goss father and son duo, the Chasmans, etc.. It is hard to capture all of the people who were there but suffice to say that everyone was noticed and appreciated.

Reaping Team Spirit – TriCoachGeorgia

Close Knit Team

The team spirit has been on fire lately and many of our athletes are leaning on each other to get through big challenges. There have been some big birthday events and there are more races and epic training days taking place. This blog tries to capture some of the #MackDaddy nature of what’s been going on lately with the TriKidsGeorgia and their adult counterparts at TriCoachGeorgia.

Birthday and more Birthdays

The Week got started with a birthday bang! For his birthday early week, young stud and USATriathlon Junior Elite Cullen, who is coaching Summer swim for the youth squad, started off with a killer 19 year old brick of 19’s. He crushed 1.9k open water, then rode 19 miles at 22mph in the hilly sections of Oconee County, ran 1.9k at 6 minutes pace off the bike and finished off with a 1.9k cool down in Slayer Lake.

Cross Country Season Gets Going

Over at Athens Christian Academy, on a challenging course in tough humid and hot conditions, a few of the TriKidsGeorgia, hit up their respective races and showed their year round free training to be very solid. High places and team victories were taken by the Malcolm Bridge Middle School teammates, Caroline and Ellie. Also, Amy won her 3k JV overall in helping her North Oconee High School squad.

Columbus, Georgia is Our South

Over in Columbus, Georgia, our team members and #TeamHargrove were at it again. Dirty Tom raced the 2015 Miles Perret Cancer Services Triathlon in Lafayette, Louisiana! He crushed the course and came in 2nd in age group, while his son Taz, aka Wes, dominated the Alliance Ride for Heroes century in Callaway Gardens. Meanwhile, Coach KimPossible and Hacksaw aka Trey Sawtelle dug deep in their peak Ironman building, for Ironman Maryland and Ironman Florida respectively.

The Horses Age Up

On the night before our team’s quintessential Athens, Georgia and sponsored event, the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia‘s Tri to Beat Cancer, (covered in a different blog found HERE) the team gathered at Chops and Hops in Watkinsville to surprise long time team members, Angela and Reuben Adams, aka Dark Horse and Iron Horse, who both recently celebrated their 50th birthdays. Folks like the Corleys and McGritty and Lauren drove in from far distances to join the party.

The surprise worked and brought a tear to the eye of each of the Adams, who also had special cakes made locally and snuck in by their daughter for the occasion. Thus, their daughter Delaney was there to see the surprise as well. A great time was had by all but the surprise didn’t end there!

#TeamTagg going to Disney World!

Later in the evening, two or the organizers of the Go Fund Me campaign for #TeamTagg presented the parents (Viper and IronMouse aka Steve and Amy Smith) of Tagg Smith with a check for close to 7700$ for the entire family, including their son Emery to be able to fulfill Tagg’s wish to go to Disney World before his next huge surgery in Mid September 2015. As you can imagine, the tears were flowing again!

Athens, Georgia’s Own #TriToBeatCancer

The Race Expo was on Saturday and was a blast. Like they did during their series of free clinics where free training plans for the event were given away, the coaches offered a lot of racers tips to improve their performances.

On Sunday, the race was a huge success. Volunteers were a plenty, as were supporting friends and family. Both the TriKidsGeorgia and their adult counterparts put on a huge showing described in a blog HERE.  The Reapers, young and old, had some stellar performances where athletes crushed prior year times, scored podium slots 0or just missed them in hotly contested age or category groups, and generally reaped what they had sowed. Lots of high fives and words of encouragement were exchanged beforehand, on course, and post-race.

The TriKids meet Hunter Kemper

A team video conference call with multiple USA Olympian, Hunter Kemper was arranged prior to race day. The video conference call was an absolute treat for the team. The team even Skyped in Keaton from up North where he’s visiting family for the call.

After a nice introduction about how he got into the sport and his progression, the team members one by one asked Hunter a lot of pertinent questions about what to eat before races, if he will ever do an Ironman, what his favorite and toughest races/competition was, etc. He then gave some race day suggestions, introduced us to the Pinky Swear Foundation as a charitable organization, and everyone thanked him for his generosity.

TriKidsGeorgia Crush Atlanta Kids Triathlon

While Ethan made the podium at a local 5k, Carter, Lindley, Simon, Luke, Addie, Nico, Molly, Issac, Callie Rose, Harry, David Andrew and Caroline headed to the 4th annual Atlanta Kids Triathlon, with athletes in regular and X-Class races.

Race day was pretty bad weather and a awful storm forced a cancellation of some of the races for the olders. This caused some disappointment but the youngers on the squad raced super strong with solid age group placings, podiums, and smiles. There was a 1st, a couple of 2nd overalls and 4th overalls as well as other great showings in tough age group classifications. More importantly, their sportsmanship shined through again!

Team TidBits

The team also sent a couple racers to half marathons where they performed admirably. Ingo knocked it out of the park at the Hotlanta Half Marathon on the way to Ironman Louisville and All3Sports.com employee and team member, All3Eedee aka Eedee also had a great race at the Area 13.1 Alien Half Marathon. However, this pales in comparison to her good news that she is now engaged to get married. Join us in wishing her congratulations.

Final Words

There is truly never enough time to write all that can be written. As you can see once again, the team is rocking it hard now with even more big events soon.

Come on over and learn about what makes us special. We would love to have you join us and see what sets us apart as a community.

10 Helpful Family Tips for Ironman Triathletes – TriCoachGeorgia

We are publishing a blog by one of our stellar athletes, Taz aka Wes Hargrove. Taz is the husband of Coach Kim Possible and the two of them are both doing Ironmen races this year. This has been a huge test of cooperation and planning skills.

#TeamHargrove has learned to make things work for their family despite demanding jobs and lives. They have two beautiful and active young daughters and extended family nearby.

Taz has been to the world championships at 70.3 in 2014 and was recently on the podium at Steelhead 70.3. He has competed 7 ironmans including Ironman Texas earlier this year and he is lined up for Ironman Augusta 70.3 and Ironman Florida later this year.

We think he makes great suggestions to help you navigate a truly challenging time period. Without further adieu, Taz will let you know some ways how to ensure less family strife, train to have a great race, and keep the peace at home.


Training for a full Ironman while my wife (Kim Possible) is training for one also, both working full time, and spending as much time with the family as possible can make for a bigger challenge than it sounds. Here are some tips to help ease the pain:

10 Helpful Family Tips for Ironman Triathletes

    • 1) Have a family meeting well before signing up for races and make sure that you are both committed to making it work. If there is disagreement, talk through it. Don’t force the issue.
    • 2) Always keep your family and career as top priorities. This means making time to spend with your wife and family that does not involve training like date nights and family vacations.
    • 3) Get a coach that can relate to the family life that you live; this will take all the thinking out of planning workouts and will help with racing as well.
    • 4) Plan out each week with morning and evening sessions and who has which each day (mix it up so one is not always up at 0400 to train). Offer your spot up when you feel fresher.
    • 5) Hold each other accountable and help eliminate excuses. Don’t be a drag or a downer, don’t hold grudges that can be quickly hashed out, and do be more of a cheerleader of sorts.
    • 6) Be the most supportive spouse that you can, and get your head right when you feel grumpy via smart choices like talking things over with close friends and your coach.
    • 7) Try to avoid doing long days on the same day (try one on Saturday and the other on Sunday) so the kids do not feel like they are getting left out.
    • 8) Make sure when you travel for races you try and make it as much as a vacation as possible especially if the family goes with.
    • 9) Smile at your family when you see them on the course, whether you are racing or cheering; they feed off your energy and recognize that being a sherpa is pretty challenging too!
    • 10) Take time right after you finish and hug the family and thank them for all the support no matter how the day goes! Maybe set them up with a symbolic gesture (e.g., handwritten card) or gift (e.g., framed family portrait with a nice message).


It is a constant juggling act for us but we seem to have a good handle on it and have formed a great support team.  Training with the Tri Coach Georgia team is wonderful because so many athletes have kids, jobs, and train hard.  There is no perfect way to balance life and training but we all do what we can to make sure our priorities stay in tune with our values.

Hope this was helpful. If you have any questions about specific strategies, Coach Kim Possible or I’d be glad to answer them. Best of luck!


August Keeps Cooking! – TriCoachGeorgia

The Reapers have turned the page on their huge successful #TCGAugustaCamp and focus squarely on their racing now. Many have their A races in September.

Some still have to face huge events this month like the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and the team sponsored event Tri to Beat Cancer in Athens, Ga. We will soon have the final races of the Go Race Productions, Georgia Endurance Series, including the Hot Dam Sprint and Olympic Triathlons.

TriKidsGeorgia are hard at work as well. Six of the top ranked 132 USA Triathlon 15 years and under are TriKidsGeorgia! All are a reflection of great parents too.

The TKGA are training for Atlanta Kids Triathlon and Ironkids in Alpharetta, Ga. The Reapers including Simon and Jim Casey and Number 14 aka Jake Gayer will race along with many others at the Sugar Creek Youth Triathlon in Greer, South Carolina and the Hot Dam as well.


Coach BigBad‘s third and final free transition clinic for the Tri to Beat Cancer sprint triathlon to benefit the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia was another huge success on Aug 16th. Nearly 40 turned out and it was also supported by Fleet Feet in Athens, Ga, our partner. The focus was similar to the last two clinics with time to bike and a course run with Fleet Feet shop owner Dustin Shinhouser after an open water swim at Sandy Creek Park in Athens, Georgia. Coach Slayer was there to get the party started as well.

The #TriToBeatCancer is on August 23rd and there is still time to register. We will be at the expo selling team gear and race belts for charity and offering tips. See the facebook pages for updates or for how you can volunteer. On race day, we will be located in our usual spot cheering you on from the first right turn on the run course.

This weekend, we got late notice that, due to the current resurfacing project on the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami to widen the bike lanes and add other safety features for cyclists, Multirace.com were forced to change venues from Crandon Park to Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. Nevertheless, despite a bike wreck, our athlete Coach Cube of tricoachflorida.com made it to the top of the podium in the final race of the Mack Cycles Triology Olympic Distance by four minutes in age group. He has steadily performed with numerous life challenges to manage.

Xena aka Gina Farrell had a pretty huge weekend too. Her training has been stellar. First, on tired legs, she crushed the Brooklet Peanut Festival 5k. Then, the next day after a long ride, she went swimming with the Savannah Triathlon Team at the Wet and Wyld 5k open water ocean swim.

Not to be outdone, Gruesome aka Lisa Harrigan took on the Arcadia Lake Sprint. This was an extended distance race for her and she came blasting through the finish line, crushing her fears and previous demons. Edmond, Oklahoma won’t be the same after she left her mark (literally) at the finish line!

Perpetual racer Rolling Thunder aka Troy Garland went down to Albany to take no prisoners. He came home with first place in age group for both the 5k and the 8k in the Miles for Missions. This was a charitable race and was part of the Blackbag, Cloverglove and GaRunner.org event series. Y’all should go check these series out as they are fun and very competitive for all ages and levels.

Finally, we had Rocket and Firecracker aka Chan and Erica Carter in the land of #TeamHargrove for the TriColumbus.com Olympic Distance event. Both racers had great showings at the Chattahoochie Challenge event. As noted on their website, Columbus, GA has quickly become a Triathlon Mecca. The down river swims, flat to rolling hills on the bike, and scenic run courses appeal to both the beginner and advanced athlete. They look forward to welcoming you to their community.

As you can see, many of the team is busy training (e.g., McGritty aka Rhonda McGinty doing her first bike century) for some big races, but there is still some quality racing and repping taking place. We would love to see you out at a TriKidsGeorgia or TriCoachGeorgia event or practice. The team grows tighter this time of year.

Inevitably there is some turnover but we have one of the longer tenured teams and foundations. See what you can do to join us!

Also, be sure to check out our blogs and team affiliates/sponsors if possible and show some #sponsor love. We have some great information and gift giveaways and webinars on tap.

Coach Slayer’s Weight Loss Maintenance Tips – TriCoachGeorgia

As a former lardass who fights the battle of the bulge, almost daily I get asked how I maintained the weight loss for over 12 years now. I probably get asked this a lot because of my before and after pictures on the internet that show up often paired with the fact that I went from a decent Clydesdale to a lean and mean world championship qualifier in 2014 with a PR of 4:26 at the 70.3 distance.

There is something curious to the vast majority of triathletes about not having to carry around an extra xx amount of lbs of race weight. For me, this meant all the difference for my race times.

So this is not a mini-blog on how I went from 300 to sub 200 lbs. That was done adopting a low carb lifestyle via Atkins.com. I maintained it too using the program by and large but as my training patterns increased so did my needs for carbs. Therefore, I used conventional wisdom with fast carb vs slow carb approaches and the weight gain returned despite 20+ hours of training per week. This weight gain was depressing so I had to find a way to manage fueling without gaining.

That is when, at a USA triathlon coaching education conference, I found nutritionist Bob Seebohar and his concept of Metabolic Efficiency which tailors the carb input to the training demands. I also learned about a revolutionary new product, Generation Ucan, The weight dropped off again and my performance gains were substantial.

This blog is being written to address my ways of keeping the weight off not how to lose it. In the context of proper training for the distance race you are doing, keeping lean often means going faster and getting done sooner!

Before I begin, I should mention I am a licensed psychologist at work and a certified triathlon coach; I am not a nutritionist. I am one of you that seems to have figured out my demons. You may not agree with these steps but these do it for me. Also, before trying any of these, you should consult with your doctor to make sure you do not have a metabolic condition that is part of your problem.

8 Ways to Lose Weight and Maintain Triathlon Fitness Shape

  • 1. As noted above, one should review and try slower carb approaches (like Generation Ucan) to fueling and go easy on recovery refueling and over celebrating race finishes. Some athletes go way overboard pre-, during, and post training and racing and don’t realize the body has 2-3 hours of glycogen stores at any point in time for moderate exercise.
  • 2. Weigh Daily so you can understand your own body’s fluctuations and modify accordingly. I have formal weigh-ins twice a week on critical days (Monday and Friday) too that get reported to my social support system discussed next.
  • 3 . Find a social support system that will help hold you accountable. Use the support system or get mental help if you go into a bad roll. I have a support group that I moderate and participate in called the Lardasses. No matter how hard it is to report increases, it forces us to all be honest so we can face down our eating demons.
  • 4. If you slip up, keep a marker which you won’t pass (maximum density). Most plans allow some cheats. The key is stopping the downward spiral before it gets too late. For me, if I ever get to 210 lbs. I jump on the induction phase of Atkins.
  • 5. Clean out the kitchen and refill it with healthier stuff. Avoid sugary products like sodas and junk food. People often have no idea what the net carbs are in these products and others that are sugary like fruits and fruit juices, brown breads, etc.
  • 6. Limit and avoid the gateway drugs like alcohol. These reduce your inhibitions or control over what you take in.
  • 7. Train more frequently. Extra volume will lean you out and help prepare you for races. For example, short runs at night really help the scale and reduce hunger and time in the kitchen where you can raid the pantry.
  • 8. Keep good snacks and water nearby. I love my protein bars, healthy nuts, cheese sticks and deli meats nearby.

There may be more things I do to keep weight off but it is my hope that these suggestions might help you lean up and continue to race well. This is the biggest bang for the buck for most people in terms of race times. In other words, weight loss translates well at minimal cost and often more rapid than training effects. Once it’s off, you have to figure out how to keep it off! Thanks for reading and get back to me with any questions.

Bring the Heat! – TriCoachGeorgia

August opened with a bang for the Reapers of TriCoachGeorgia and the TriKidsGeorgia. There were training camps, races, clinics, with lots of training taking place. The heat is still unbearable but nobody is stopping for it.

While the TriKidsGeorgia recovered then began to build again for the next races and snuck in a road race here and there, we began the month with the annual Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman training camp on August 7th, 8th & 9th. This camp of over 200 attendees and many volunteers included a Friday ride and swim, a Saturday of the Gatorfest swims of 1.2 and 3.4 miles in the Savannah River then a 7-13 mile run, and the Sunday Ride for a Reason on the actual race course. We had great sponsors like Generation Ucan, Infinit, Base Performance, and All3Sports. In addition to these sponsors, we couldn’t have had such a great camp without our local sponsors helping us make this first class. Element Funding, Augusta Metro Federal Credit Union, University Health Federal Credit Union, Nutrishop Evans, the Augusta Sports Council, and Peak Rehabilitation, Fitness and Performance

After the competitive swim, where team members like Terminator aka Dr. Dick Thompson and Judas Priest aka Judith Garrard won their Age Groups, and a brutally hot mid-day run on Saturday, some highly praised lectures were given about the course and racing the distance from Dr. Luke Heusel from Augusta’s Peak Performance Labs, our affiliate. We had some great moments at the social and then everyone went out together for some well-deserved downtime and recovery meals.

Sunday’s ride was over 300 riders in various pace groups and went without a significant hitch. The pictures and social and in person feedback has been nothing short of astounding and we are frankly overwhelmed with the success and popularity. We could not have done this without the help of TriAugusta Triathlon Club and we encourage you to join the club at a low rate and high value!

Ironman Steelman 70.3 was the first race on our agenda this week for #TeamHargrove, including both Taz and Coach KimPossible. According to Ironman.com, the 1.2-mile swim in the clear refreshing waters of Lake Michigan, began on the beach. The bike course wound through rolling wine country and orchards, and the shaded run was lined with enthusiastic volunteers. Athletes finished on the beach. Both Hargroves had stellar races on the way to full distance Ironman races later this year. Both had high age group rankings in competitive groups and Taz even took home a podium slot for 5th AG and 20th overall.

All3Eedee of our affiliate, all3sports.com, headed out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to race in the USATriathlon’s National Championships. She was part of one the largest fields ever in one of the most prized triathlons in the country and her results showed she belonged! She PR’d in two of her disciplines.

Lake Logan 70.3 Half Ironman was another race where we were represented. new athlete for Coach KimPossible, The Professor aka Wendy Metcalf overcame some physical ailments for a solid day there. This was a beautiful and scenic race and it is also very challenging but she didn’t let that stop her.

There was also the Richard B. Russell Olympic Distance triathlon for the TriThePark Series. EMANBOOM aka Esteven Price, Virginia Brooks, and BigBen aka Richard Nasser were there representing for the team. Like their recent strong performances, and in spite of various hurdles each faced, they did tremendously and all 3 achieved podium slots, with EMANBOOM even taking 3rd in Masters.

At the Jacksonville, Florida “Jax Tri #3“, Hoss aka Bradley Odom and TriKidGeorgia Keaton both hammered it for podium slots. Keaton finished up the series with a bang and claimed his 14 and under 1st place series award. He was so determined to complete the entire series that his family drove from St. Louis, where he was at math camp, all the way to Jacksonville to make it for this race.

As noted in prior blogs, we are also awaiting the World Championship 70.3 at the end of the month for Speedy Gonzalez aka Lester Benitez. September is also going to be huge with Augusta 70.3 and Ironman Chattanooga. October will be even bigger and November is no chump month either.

We are still adding awesome team members, producing great results, and enjoying ourselves. Come see what the fun is all about, either as a coached athlete or team member option. The team would welcome you with open arms.

The Texan’s report on TriCoachGeorgia Ironman 70.3 Augusta Training Camp

Full text taken from The Texan’s SwimBikeRunJourney Blog here: Tri Coach Georgia Augusta Camp aka 95 miles of training

Tri Coach Georgia Augusta Camp aka 95 miles of Training

I almost don’t even know where to begin to write about camp because there is so much to tell but, I want to start with thanking Tri Coach Georgia, Tri Augusta  & Savannah Riverkeeper for everything they did to make this camp a success. They worked hard to make sure we had great training and treated us to some classic southern hospitality 🙂 All the people in town and at the restaurants showed us the same hospitality. Augusta is a very gracious city to triathletes even though we clog their streets and sidewalks. Even if you do not race the IM Augusta 70.3, any triathlete would find this training very useful & you can’t find nicer people to train with! I left with such a grateful heart.

Travel Day:

Steve and & I flew into Atlanta then rented a car to drive to Augusta. We both forgot what a nightmare that airport is lol plus we had heavy rain getting to Augusta. We didn’t arrive in enough time to pick up our bikes from Outspokin but, that was not an issue as we had plenty of time to pick them up Friday before camp started at noon. We shipped my road bike and they put it together for me and they rented Steve a super nice Felt road bike. I was jealous of his high end gears on that Felt  while I was stuck with Tiagra  – more on that later but was missing my Ultegra gears on my TT bike!

Friday we picked up the bikes from Outspokin – great shop! Reminded me of our own Handlebar Cyclery here in Katy – great folks!

Camp Day One:  Bike & Swim

Camp kicked off at noon with a 31 mile bike ride on the back part of the 70.3 bike course. We rode with some really nice people and Tri Coach GA had a nice stop for us to refill our water bottles etc. In fact a little shower came down just as we pulled up ha. It didn’t last long though. By the time we refilled our bottles it has almost stopped. Bottom line, for this flat land girl these hills were no joke! Between the hills, the heat and the wind it was quite challenging but, happy to report I didn’t run out of gears lol. I was pretty relieved though when the coaches and some experienced cyclists of this course told us that was pretty much the worst the course had to offer. However, I had no illusions that Sunday’s ride of the full course would be any less challenging.

After the ride we went for a practice swim in the Savannah River, which was quite humorous as they had us swim upstream first then turn around and swim downstream. I swam upstream for 11 minutes and downstream for 2 minutes ha!! I was quite happy that Gatorfest the next day – 1.2 mile swim of the course would be all downstream.  I tested out my 2 piece Desoto wetsuit with add on neoprene sleeves. The water temperature was 69 degrees. This would be the coldest water I have swam in ever. But, once I was in the water after about 50 meters it felt rather refreshing. To my surprise this water was no more murky than anything we swim in here in Texas, in fact maybe nicer than some things we swim in here lol.

I was happy to have the practice swim under my belt as the end of day one of camp.

We also met a very nice couple Bev and Kevin and throughout the camp we were usually training close together as we were about the same paces. One of the nicest thing about camp was all the nice people we met & I could finally meet some Facebook friends in real life!

Camp Day Two:  Gatorfest swim & Run

Day two started out with Gatorfest – 1.2 mile swim of the Augusta 70.3 swim course.  This was a swim race for the real swimmers for me it was practice haha.  I can’t lie – I was very nervous. My before and after swim picture tells that tale almost better than I can write it up! I ran into a friend from Katy – Susan who is an accomplished triathlete and swimmer. She suggested that I pour water down my wetsuit before the start to help warm up. It worked like a charm.  By the way, she ended up winning  our AG. She’s amazing.

So my wave was called and I sat on the deck waiting for the gun to sound and when it did I slithered into the water. Didn’t hesitate as I figured it was like a band aid – just rip off !! Once I cleared the docks and started swimming straight to go under the bridges I had a pretty good rhythm going. It’s a point to point to swim so you swim straight until the turn buoy to the swim exit at the end of 1.2 miles. I was doing pretty well until I cleared both bridges and sighted too far ahead. I say that because it made me realize how far I had left to swim and I started to have some breathing issues. But, I took a deep breath and started counting my strokes to get my mind off it. For a while after I cleared the bridges I couldn’t see a buoy, a kayak or even a house on the shore plus I started swimming into the seaweed lol. At that point I just repeated keep swimming Dory just keep swimming. I never had to stop my free style stoke – just kept moving forward and my breathing settled.  There was a point where I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to make it but, I pulled it together and told myself you have done this distance in training a million times only you can stop you from getting to the finish. So I moved on with determination but, I can’t lie when saw the boathouse I knew I probably only had another 3 -4 minutes of swimming tops a sense of relief washed over me.  I was beyond thrilled when I exited the water. I honestly couldn’t believe I made it and I had only been in the water 30 minutes. I was expecting to be in the water 40 -45 minutes even with the downstream push as my last open water time trial it took me 55 minutes to swim it.

In retrospect I was swimming way too fast for my ability and that is why I had a bit of a struggle in the middle. I would have had a difficult time finishing if I needed to be in the water 50 minutes. I think the excitement and the fact I made the mistake of sighting way too far ahead too early gave me an adrenaline rush.That said, the water did not feel too cold in my wetsuit with the add on sleeves. That De Soto wetsuit is the Da Bomb and worth every dime I paid for it!

To my amazement I finished 13/24 in my AG , 56 /135  females & 106/221  overall with an official time of 30:40.  It was nice to feel like a real swimmer for the day. 🙂

The Ironman 70.3 swim will be far more crowded and more combative as the fast swimmers in the next waves catch up to me. Race day I will plan to slither in just behind everyone in my wave and try to stake out some ground. I suspect my time will be closer to 35 – 40 minutes race day due to those conditions and I will be beyond thrilled with that – hooray downstream swimming.

Next up the Augusta 70.3 run course.  I decided to do 7.5 miles, which was just a little more than one loop of the two looped course. Thus, technically I ran the entire course.  It was 11:30 am by the time we started the run so it was warm. But, I guess all my heat training is finally paying off, as I never left heart rate zone 2 – mostly stayed in heart rate zone 1. I could have run faster but the course was not closed so the sidewalk and roads were uneven in addition to crosswalks and parked cars. I decided to take it easy so the legs would be fresh for the 56 mile bike ride the next day which was a wise choice! The course race day other than one quiet section will be awesome as it is very spectator friendly and I know we will have a lot of people out there cheering us on plus an aid station every mile. For the practice run we had two aid stations, which was very helpful and appreciated! Race day I would like to finish this run in 2 hours 30 – 2 hours 40 but, anything under 3 hours I should be good as far as cut offs if the bike goes reasonably well.

Next up after a shower – clinics by the coaches:

The lectures were very useful and covered topics such as injury prevention and course tips.  We also received several good tips from table mates at the lecture.

Swim Course :

Higher turnover instead of full force pull. This hit the nail on the head for me because I truly felt I was using to too much energy pulling in a downstream swim.

Swimming in the center of river will yield the fastest time but, can be crowded (I will have to judge race day where to put myself as I will  have waves coming behind me swimming over me lol) Sight every 6-9 strokes. Buoys on the left shore to the right.

Bike Course:

T- 1 – Advised us to take it slow – mount the bike well past the mount line. Just settle in!

Bottom line the first 1/3 of the course is the “easiest” but, still challenging. This is the time to start settling into to the ride – get your nutrition in and don’t use too much power as you will need energy for later. This will indeed be my game plan. Best Bike Split has a cheat sheet on how much watts I should be pushing when and that will be taped to my bike.

The next 1/3 of the course there are some climbs and some very rough roads. (That vibration on he road bike did indeed make my hands very numb. Still feeling the effects in two of my fingers even today. )

There is one climb that lasts about 5 miles and it’s very deceiving as it almost looks flat but, it’s not.

The last 1/3 things start to get a little flatter after the last hill which I have named dead man’s curve  & it was where I dropped my chain on Sunday I shall be very careful there.

I found both days the back part of the course to be windy as well.

The coaches suggested taking the last few miles to spin the legs take care of nutrition needs and get mentally ready for the run.

Run Course:

It will be hot – that’s a given. They suggest to take the first mile very easy – run at a slower pace than you hope to end up with & start working on hydration and nutrition.  It is a two loop run so a mental challenge in places. The coaches suggested just take things mile by mile. The good news is the run course is very spectator friendly and they told us we will have a lot of people cheering us on as well as an aid station every mile. The best quote of the camp was in response to a question regarding training to run in the heat Coach Slayer said ” This is the Ironman, not the Pussyman.” Yes I realize some might find this offensive but, I loved it and it summed it up just perfect. Coach Slayer also suggested we have a mental mantra during the run and maybe write it on our arm.  Mine will be this quote for sure and I will write it on my arm! As he said it’s going to be hard that’s Ironman 70.3! But, as I have always said nothing easy is worth having though so – suck it up butter cup I say and let’s roll!

Last but, not least they encourage us to enjoy the finisher’s chute! That is truly my plan if I’m blessed enough to avoid mechanical and body failure and make it there.  No sprinting in for me unless I’m close to the cut off. Otherwise I plan to celebrate in the chute as I don’t know when I can realistically train at this level again anytime soon.

Day two of camp completed & it was a great day of  meeting new people and great training.

Camp Day Three:

Time to bike the entire 70.3 Course! As most of you know I train with power on a TT bike. But, I had the road bike at camp so I had to pace myself a bit differently. Luckily my heart rate zones are fairly close to my power zones & the person that tested my zones said my perceived exertion is pretty close to what is actually happening with my body. All pluses for pacing this ride.  However, my hands and feet did not take this ride very well on the road bike. My right foot became numb and painful after mile 30 and never let up. The hands were numb by mile 25 and that never let up either and my ring and pinky finger on the left are still a bit numb. It should pass though from what I read online about this. But, otherwise despite the challenge of this ride – trust me this course was no joke – I enjoyed it. The Tri Augusta group have 4 lovely stops for us to get water etc. What a great bunch to stand in the heat to serve us so we could ride the course.  Steve had a flat right at one of the stations and Alex helped him changed it so it went quicker! So nice and Alex also checked on us along the course to make sure we made it back ok. He came upon us when I dropped my chain on dead man’s curve and offered help but, Steve and I had it back on by then with no issues.

My goal was simply to learn the course and keep the heart rate around or just below tempo. Except on the steep climbs I managed that. I sure missed my TT bike with her good gears & power meter though so hope those things are functioning well race day!!

I learned a lot about pacing – when to push when to hold back and hopefully learned a lot about how to pace my nutrition on the bike. I also know I need to practice changing tires a lot before race day & learn how to put my chain back on!!

The computrainer was fairly accurate in terms of grade etc of the hills. However, you have to practice bike-handling skills outside. Steve gave me several tips on how to shift better etc. It is a bit scary coming downhill and I think race day it will be even harder as there will be so many people on the course. Steve is much better at gearing etc. so learned a lot from him on that. However, I am cautious and I don’t see that changing so I will focus on have a steady but, safe ride race day.

Bottom line – we stopped at all 4 aide stations, changed a flat, put back on a dropped chain and stopped one extra time for me to mix up UCAN (road bike can’t hold all my nutrition mixed up the way the TT bike can) and we still made it in 4 hours 19 minutes. Actual pedal time was 3 hours 37 minutes – ave of 15.34 mph for the entire course. Basically being a flat land girl that is cautious, anything under 4 hours for my bike split I would be happy with race day but, hope for 3:40< split.

There was a great after party when we came back from the ride – good food – good company. We sat with Bev & Kevin to eat and enjoyed discussing all things camp and look forward to seeing them back race week.  All and all a great ride on the bike course.

In summary, I enjoyed every minute of the 95 miles at camp this weekend. As the Tri Coach Georgia motto  says “ Chase Your Dreams – Slay Your Fears” – this camp helped me do just that!

Can’t wait for race day meanwhile, I have a lot of training left to do – game on!

FauxRunner’s report on TriCoachGeorgia Ironman 70.3 Augusta Training Camp

Full text taken from the FauxRunner’s Website here.

Ironman 70.3 Augusta Training Camp

The Ironman 70.3 Augusta Tri Coach Georgia Training Camp was one of the most anticipated events in my training calendar. Mr. FauxTriathlete had done it 2 years ago and I knew he’d benefited from it. There is more than one post that I want to write about this weekend (detailed tips and recon on the course, my personal experience on the course this time, other random topics that conversations over the weekend sparked).

Why attend a training camp? Why this one? Here are my 5 reasons to attend the TriCoachGeorgia Augusta 70.3 Training Camp.


1. You get to have a packed, intense, well organized and informative weekend

Remember the days long ago as a kid when you were excited for a sleepaway camp or even a sleepover, that was the excitement the days leading up to the camp. For the ridiculously low price of $100, the camp offered entries to two events – the Gator Fest swim (1.2 or 3.4 mile distance option), and Ride for a Reason (the 56 mile bike ride on the race course); along with seminars on injury prevention and race day strategies.

It’s all about the butt and gut. Strong glutes and core make all the difference in all three sports.

Increasing stroke rate on the downstream river helps you go faster. (I don’t know anything more about this since I’m such a bad swimmer anyway and I like my recovery stroke. If you have any questions on the how and why, I’m sure Ryan will be happy to answer questions)

If you take the first 10-15 miles of the bike course in blazing glory and excitement after the swim, the last 10-15 miles of the bike course will take you down.

Roads at Miles 17-25 are bad. You will find out how well your bottles are secure. Hugging the white line provides the relatively smoothest rides.


2. You realize that it is an Ironman 70.3, not P***yman 70.3

Yes, the word was said. Harvey is not one to mince words and the normally offensive word was appropriate as he drilled into us that this race was business and not a stroll in the park.

And I realized as much the last time I rode the course and at about mile 40, I told Mike that this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And it IS. There is a lot of marketing from Ironman that says “Nothing is impossible”. Very true. But only IF you put in all your effort and all your heart and even parts of your soul into it. Running 13.1 miles after biking 56 miles after swimming 1.2 miles is NO JOKE!

It will be hot, especially during the run – train to run in the heat of the day. It sucks, yes. But better now than on race day. 

It will be hilly on the bike course. But it gets flatter the more you ride hills. Prepare on hills, or simulate hills on the trainer if you are a flatlander. 


3. You come out of it feeling like the badass you are

(If you’ve been reading my journey and/or know me in real life, you’d know that I never use any out-of-dictionary words. So this one is special!)

My tryst with the Augusta bike course last month left mental scars that I’d worked hard to heal. I put that out of my mind as I started my ride and tried to focus on the fact that I had done the 56 miles once and I’d do it again. I had not only my determination backing me, but I also had the encouragement of course veterans who gave me cheers as I rode out. Chad who reminded me to tighten my core at the hills. And Brian who told me to leave the scars behind and ride. And Katie, who was the sweeper and rode with me until the first aid station. And Jeff, who stayed with/near me from the first water station until the end.

Even those riders who had a harder ride than they expected – you are a badass. You rode the miles fair and square. And now you know your strengths and weakness. Race day will bring back familiar roads and the memory of how to whoop the 56 miles.

The river swim is a source of nervousness for so many (me included who hates the cold water). But we all tackled it, we faced our fears. Even though Gator Fest 1.2 swim was my third dip in the river, I was still nervous and joked to Brian if he would yell at me again if I didn’t get into the river this time. I gave him no chance to. My wave was called. An extra breath of 1-2-3 and I slid in and started. That’s badass.


4. You make mental notes of the race course that mean something to YOU

When you do the camp and you do the course, there are some things that you pick up that are special to YOU. My notes might mean nothing to you and yours might not mean anything to me. But those are the little things that will get you through on race day. Maybe a memory of you toughing it out, or one that you rode next to a friend and shared a joke, or one that just gladdened your heart and made you smile.

The kelp and underwater plants in the river were actually beautiful and not creepy – with the sun shining through making patterns in the water and plants swaying smoothly along the flow of the river. 

Mile 32 is *my* hill, which is in the middle of the longest climb, where I had to stop the first time around. And funnily, there’s a farm next to it call “Laid-Back Farm”. When I passed that spot, I gave an internal cheer.

The road to the completion of the first run loop is one of the worst – going towards transition and I’m sure many athletes would be picking up their bikes by the time I’m running. But towards the end is *my* fire station where I fell last time and the firemen took care of me. 


5. You actually look forward to race day because you get to see your friends again!

Camp makes memories. There is nothing else to be said there.

I renewed friendships with people I’d met before and I made new ones. And I got to know people who I’d only known as a FaceBook name. And felt connected to other kindred spirits. I laughed, I blushed, I giggled. And for a brief moment, forgot that I had a real life to go back to. I reveled in the wonderful hospitality and organization of the TriAugusta Club and Mayor Awesome Jeff Spires.

Remembering that there is only 7 weeks minus 2 days left in the #LongRoadToAugusta brings me waves of nervousness but also excitement knowing that we are all together in this individual sport. We train hard and we play hard.


If you are planning to race Ironman 70.3 Augusta, I highly recommend this camp for recon and knowledge. If you have any questions about the race or the Augusta 70.3 training camp, please contact the coaches at TriCoachGeorgia and they will be more than happy to help you with your queries. Or join the TriAugusta club through the very active FaceBook group!

Kids and Families Come First! – TriCoachGeorgia

Conditions in the Southeast and specifically Georgia have gone from bad to worse. The heat and humidity have become even more unbearable. However, the Reapers of TriKidsGeorgia and TriCoachGeorgia just keep at it. They have goals in mind and nothing will get in the way.

With July in the books, the team can now focus on the big month of August where many will join together at the Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman training camp on August 7th to 9th. This will include the Gatorfest and the Ride for a Reason. Many are racing the Tri to Beat Cancer later in August and this will serve as another important team event.

Coach BigBad‘s second free transition clinic for the Tri to Beat Cancer sprint triathlon to benefit the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia was another huge success. Nearly 50 turned out and it was also supported by Georgia Cycle Sports Concepts, our partner. The focus was similar to the last clinic with time to bike and run after and contained an open water swim at Sandy Creek Park in Athens, Georgia. The next free clinic will be held at 7:30 am on August 16th at the same location. See the facebook pages for updates.

Crows Lake Sprint Triathlon was held locally in Jackson County, Georgia aka home of the Horses, Angela and Reuben Adams. Ty Chambers aka LoneRanger and Brad Shepherd aka the Scalpel hammered home more great results with a PR and top finish in AG respectively.

Along with the TriKidsGeorgia, namely the Hayes and Stansells, Troy Garland aka Rolling Thunder was back at it, crushing a couple of road races. These likely helped the TriKids later at Youth Nationals. Lots of smiles and podiums were also garnered.

Skidaway Sprint Triathlon at the Landings Club in the Georgia Endurance Series via our affiliate Go Race Productions is next on many of the team’s list. This outdoor pool fast flat bike and run triathlon is a wonderful beginner race. Several team members including Xena aka Gina Farrell, EMANBOOM aka Esteven Price, a relay of Coach Slayer and #14 aka Jake Gayer and the Waltmans aka TaxSlayers made their way to the Georgia coast to do their jobs. Huge days were achieved with Xena on the overall female podium, EMANBOOM just off the overall male podium and taking AG, Jr Tax Dr 1st AG, Jr TaxSlayer 3rd AG, and the Slayers as the RedReapers taking 2nd. Special shout out to TaxSlayer for a huge bike split and our friend Joe Triathlon representing www.all3sports.com, as he was up on the overall male podium as well.

While #TeamHargrove crushed an Alabama Youth Triathlon, several TriKidsGeorgia headed to Ohio for the National Youth and Junior Championships. The races were not draft legal but were still very exciting. Participants included the Keaton, Harry, Jack Stansell, the Hayes and Duncans. Race results were stellar and the team was all smiles before and after the event!

Also in Ohio, our young stud Cullen took on USA Triathlon Junior Elite Nationals. Lauren (see below) Benedict was to race the Youth Elite Nationals. These races required qualification and were both draft legal. Cullen really did us proud with a strong performance. Sadly, Lauren wasn’t able to compete.

Lauren and Taylor Benedict worked hard all spring attempting to qualify for the USAT Youth Elite Nationals. Lauren qualified with Cullen in the great state of Washington at the Tri Monroe June and put in 8 weeks of hard work when a Friday training ride resulted in a severe bike crash. Her injuries were bad enough to sideline her for the next four weeks. It was a huge let down for this highly competitive Youth Elite and a highly emotional day for the whole Benedict family and Coach Spartacus.

Taylor remained mentally strong and showed up race day ready to compete. She had a solid day in her event and we know it could’ve been better if she not had the stress of seeing her older sister broken down from the crash the previous day.

It should be noted that this sport is as much mental as it is physical and any added emotional stress usually negatively impacts the physical performance. These girls will come back healthy and hungry next year. The team now turns the page to the next set of races.

There is even more to look forward to in August. We begin with Lake Logan Half Ironman in Canton, North Carolina is next week. The Lake Logan Half debuted in 2014 to amazing reviews and a sold out field.  Ironman Steelman 70.3 is just around the corner for #TeamHargrove, including both Taz and Coach KimPossible. Richard B. Russell International Triathlon will have team representation.

Later this month, the World Championship 70.3 for Speedy Gonzalez aka Lester Benitez is approaching. Taz aka Wes Hargrove and Judas Priest aka Judith Garrard turned down their slots this year to focus on other races. There are many other big training and racing events for the team. We can’t wait to see what unfolds.

My First Ironman Experience – a detailed race report by Gator – TriCoachGeorgia

One of our original coached athletes, Chris Keysor, aka Gator, took a huge risk racing his first Ironman – Ironman UK. He did it abroad with his family in town in the United Kingdom at Bolton near Manchester. This required a great deal of logistical planning and pragmatic adjustments. He was supposed to race with Coach Slayer but that didn’t work out quite as hoped so he had to race alone. Fortunately, this allowed Coach to be on the course as sherpa and friend along with his wife Julie.

This is one of the hardest courses on the Ironman circuit. The weather on the day was horrible with winds gusting to 30mph and pouring rain for the early half of the day. His results were strong, his coach and he were satisfied with his day, and his family was all smiles. Gator wrote up a nice little summary that we thought might be of use to first timers and those racing difficult courses on tough days. Have a read and see what we mean:

My First Ironman Experience – a detailed race report by Chris Keysor aka Gator

Overall this is one of the tougher Ironman races due to the climbing and narrow roads; however, those factors are off-set by the cooler weather. In addition to the every day factors of the course, this day was specifically challenging because of the rain and wind.

I originally signed up for this race because Harvey was going and I thought I would be able to tackle the training and logistics better with him in attendance. Of course with his injury in early spring he was out of the race but was still there to guide me through the race. Oh and don’t forget having his lovely wife Julie there gave us someone that could get around the UK with ease.

Leading up to the race we arrived in Manchester on Thursday morning (3 days before the race). After little sleep on the flight over Thursday was really a wasted day, but we got to see the town and have a casual dinner. We did not sleep during the day so that we would get a good rest. Also, I assembled my bike in the hotel room. Luckily with the Scicon case there is very little re-assembly to be done. On Friday we took the train over to Bolton and started to get familiar with the town and get checked in.

Saturday Julie and Harvey drove up from London and we started to work through the logistics of racking the bike and my transition bags. Bolton has two separate transitions and a different finishing spot – making logistics particularly challenging. Luckily, Harvey suggested that I take a quick spin on my bike, which resulted in my first flat of the race. Interesting that the flat occurred with a latex tube with sealant in it. However, I made the change and decided to carry a 2nd spare tube on the race.

We had the pasta dinner at the hotel and made a fairly early night of it.

There were 2,157 people in the race and about 343 registered  in my age group. Of the 343 registered 266 finished (78%) and 27 started but did not finish (about 10%).

Swim Notes

• The swim was a time trial type of start where you lined up according to anticipated swim time and jumped into the water two or three at a time.
• The water temperature was 16 degrees Celsius (61 F) so as soon as I hit the water I started to hyperventilate and had to pull to the side to get used to the water.
• It was raining at the end of the first lap so we got pretty wet and made sighting of the buoys very challenging.
• The second lap of the swim (2-1.2 mile laps) was really enjoyable and I got into my rhythm.
• On the way to the water exit, I was able to see the lake grass on the bottom. It was so cool because it looked like golden hair waiving up and made me feel like I was going really fast. Sadly not true.
• I exited the water 88th in my age group.
• My goal was 1:20 and I was out in 1:18.
• It was still raining and quite muddy in T1

Bike Notes

• The bike is what makes this course. Over 5,400 feet of climbing you are usually either going up or down through the various villages and pastures around north England. Interesting that my Garmin recorded over 7,200 in gain but corrected out to 5,400.
• What made this race particularly notable was the rain on the first lap and the 20-30mph winds whipping you around on the wet roads and even once they dried out. I had a number of times that the wind moved me on the bike. As a result my down hill speed was very limited.
• It started out as a cold ride with a rain vest and arm warmers but finished with just my aero shirt.
• The crowds were incredible. They lined up through the villages and on the three main climbs. It was like the tour de france where the crowds leave you about 2′ to ride through. Not necessarily a good idea to get that close to someone that has lost most of his or her mental abilities. But never the less an incredible experience.
• On the second large climb I remember averaging 100% of FTP and wishing for another gear so I could cool it down a bit. I am a spinner up hills and really can’t pedal efficiently at 50 rpm. These big power efforts aided the 1.17 Variability Index. Burning lots of matches.
• Harvey and Julie drove my family out to the one of those hills to see us go by. A one hour drive resulted in a 3″ video of me, but I didn’t see them. Just too many people.
• The roads were really rough with people flatting and losing stuff off the bikes. I lost two gels and all my caffeine. By the end of the bike my mental fatigue was really high. I was experiencing joint strains and then my right eye started getting blurry as my brain was focusing on my dominant eye (very strange).
• The other thing about the roads is many of them were really skinny “2-lane” roads. I think 15′ wide total. Oh and did I mention that they drive on the wrong side of the street?
• I finished the first lap feeling pretty good and even made it up the 2nd climb in really good shape. There were not a lot of riders around me at that point making the roads more tolerable.
• After the second climb I started feeling fatigued. The wind continued to mess around with the bike and it was a struggle.
• The third big climb began a death march and my power really started to drop. (Mile 95ish)
• My family was at the transition of the bike, I heard them but couldn’t pick them out of the crowd.
• When I dis-mounted off the bike my feet were stinging on each step making me wonder if I was even going to be able to run. Turns out it was just from my feet being damp for 6 hours.
• I finished the bike in 61st place climbing 27 spots. I was 53rd fastest bike, not stellar versus other bikers.
• My goal time was 6 hours at 175 NP watts (73% FTP). I rode for about 6 ½ hours at 189 NP (79%). Also, Variability Index was at 1.17. I haven’t had a VI index that high since road racing, but suggest it was because of the hard climbs and coasting down hills (wind limiting speed).

Run Notes

• The run started with getting see Jolie and the kids. I hugged Aiden and he told me to go win. Zoe said she loved me and wanted me to finish but don’t dare hug her. I kissed Jolie and headed out.
• Harvey ran with me for 100 yards or so to give me some advice (it is going to hurt and try not to walk).
• My first ½ mile was around a 10 minute pace making me wonder how this was going to go.   By the end of the hill I was down to nine minutes and feeling really great.
• Interesting that the lack of caffeine did not hurt me on the run. My mental fatigue went away and my legs felt almost fresh.
• The run started out with a leg to get us in downtown Bolton and included a run along a gravel path down the canal.
• Once we got downtown we started a 3 loop course down one of the wide residential streets and ending at the finish line downtown. There were thousands of people along the route including church groups, bars, house parties and schools. At the finish line people were lined up 4-5 people deep with lot’s of cheering and music.
• The run course was just as hilly as the bike with two main climbs a lap, one lasting about a ½ mile. From the second lap on I walked the hills to preserve energy.
• When I ran by the finish line the first time I was at about 12 miles and really was devastated when I couldn’t go down the finish chute.
• Each time you went by the end of the loop you received a colored hair scrunchy that you put on your arm. Different color for each lap. All those macho men with hair scrunchies.
• The first lap ended around 13 miles and a pace of 8’50”.
• By the second lap I was down to around 9’03” .
• On the third lap I walked the hill and at the top started running again. I found a set of heels to follow and just hung on for the next 2 miles.
• At the turn-around, we both walked the sag stop and I introduced myself. We walked and talked to the end of the sag then he said see you at the finish. I let him go ahead not knowing whether I could start running again.
• About 50” later someone in my age group ran by so I started off again and by the end of the residential neighborhood I caught my new friend again and we ran into the crowd filled downtown.
• Jolie, the kids, Harvey and his wife Julie were on the last corner. Harvey had Zoe up on his shoulder and she was cheering, Aidan was next to the barricade and gave me a big smile and thumbs up.
• As we ran towards the line my new brit friend grabbed my hand and said we finish together mate.
• They announced Kyle and Chris you are Ironmen!
• I finished 42nd and had the 28th fastest run.
• I had the goal of 4:10:00 (9’30” pace) and I finished in 4:03:30 (9’18” pace).
• Who would have known my first marathon was my relative strength.

Transition Notes

• Normally I wouldn’t write anything about transitions but mine were horrible. 10:50 on the first and 6:45 on the second. Compared to the first place guy in my age group I had 10′ extra in the tents.

Big Thoughts:

From a data standpoint I was a little above target at 189 NP watts (.79 IF). That shows a good strong effort. However, what was real telling was the 1.17 VI. I don’t think I have ever run more than 1.1 VI. For instance Raleigh was 1.06. I am a much better pacer than that. But on this course on that day I could only heat it up going up the hills and much of the time down hill I was just coasting and holding on for dear life.

I think the other major finding was what happens without Caffeine. I think my neuro function was fatigued and shutting down causing my eye issue as well as pain in my right knee. Losing the Caffeine was a bigger deal than I would have thought.

Run – I know this Marathon won’t translate into anything else. However, it once again proves that pain is all in your head and you can get through anything if you want. I really need to get that mind set if I want to be under a 7’30” run on a half again.

Overall, I gave it my best shot. I had hoped for a 12 hour finish and made 12 hours 11 minutes. After an 8 month journey I will take the 11 minutes and declare a goal reached. So in the big picture, I am really pleased and think I will be in great form for my August half.

Really don’t know if I could ever finish another one of these. There was a certain fear of failure of a goal that drove me home.