The Kona Surge

The Kona Surge

Countdown to the Ironman World Championships. Photo: Rob Holden Photography

With 22 days and counting – it’s about this time every year that the Kona surge starts to take hold.

An affliction that doesn’t just occur with pros, but one that infects many hard working age group athletes who have qualified to go to the big show.

And let’s clarify ‘hard worker.’

These are not pros, but people who have full-time jobs. Given the Ironman demographic we find that these tend to be high-powered, stressful jobs at that. It may not be physical labour, but it is the kind of work that requires a lot of time and mental attention.

What you’ll find in the ‘Surge’ is that these qualifiers are now cramming every bit of training in they can do. Every minute is filled with extra training as they feel guilty about their jobs robbing them of valuable time in preparation for a good race at Kona.

Within my pro team I’ve been addressing this issue nearly every second day. Assuring all that the training is on track and repeating the word ‘No’ quite a lot.

I need to do more! No, you don’t.

This is too slow! No, it isn’t.

I’m not able to push hard enough! No, you’re pushing the exact right amount.

Can I do an extra session of … No!

I don’t feel I need the rest day, can I … NO!

These conversations mirror the ones I’m having with our working age groupers – hyper motivated individuals who have had to miss a few sessions because of work and as such are in meltdown mode when coach advises to take a step back and readjust the program accordingly.

‘But Coach you don’t understand… I haven’t had much time…’

Yes, I do understand. You see most of these AG athletes are university educated people who in some form of their old lives have had to cram for exams to maintain high grades while maintaining a busy outside life.

Many of the same people then move into the business community where they’re governed by strict work deadlines in a culture that seems think that setting unreasonable time tasks will enhance the work value out of those white-knuckling 15-hour days.

The head down and don’t lift it up, don’t shower, drink some more coffee way of getting things done is a common theme when discussing people’s work / training arrangements.

So of course it’s natural that the habits and rituals we see in the workplace are now carried over to one’s new hobby – Ironman.

Just a few days ago I heard this: “What do you mean easy swim and 20 minute jog? I’ve done nothing for 3-days except meetings so that I could get here to train my arse off.” For context they had just hopped off the plane after an 11-hour across the dateline flight.

Does this ring a bell to some of our qualifiers out there as the nerves start to jangle as we think that Kona is only 22 days away?

Swim_Triathlon2Training in the build up to Kona.

If so, have no fear as Coach is here to help.

Firstly, the ‘add more training’ approach is not applicable. Physical sport is not the same as when you used to cram for a week and pass with flying colours. It’s not the same as pulling an all nighter on a Powerpoint and then nailing it the next morning. The phenomenon of ‘cramming’ with a few weeks out will have a huge negative  impact on your performance.

If the Kona surge has got you in its grip then the ‘do more, do it faster, take less rest’ approach will ensure that you will be making this statement after finishing your race: ‘Next year will be better as I’ll have more time.’

So I’ll pass on what I’m telling my own coaches on a daily basis now. Hold the line. Stick to what you have been doing, even if it wasn’t enough. Athletes a little underdone will perform a hell of a lot better than athletes that are overdone.

Courage is shown at this time by not joining in the Kona surge people, but resisting it!

You want my honest feelings about Kona?

It’s just another race. To prepare for it like it’s just another race will prove much more fruitful for your performance. Enjoy the experience. The journey is the real adventure, the doing is just the icing on the cake.

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton at one of his remaining training camps in 2017 in SurseeCyprus or Gran Canaria.

High Performance and Pregnancy

High Performance and Pregnancy

Nicola Spirig top 15 in the world just 15 weeks after birth of her second child.

This year has seen an unusually high amount of top professional triathletes taking the opportunity to start families. It’s a subject that’s close to us at Trisutto with no fewer than 6 of my former athletes currently pregnant or who have just given birth.

Over my career I’ve seen many athletes both struggle and triumph with what should be a very happy change in life circumstance.

I understand people’s interest in the performance aspect, so I’ll start with what should be a rather obvious point:

Everyone is individual and will be impacted physically and emotionally post birth in different ways. The reality is some athletes will come back and be just as strong (if not stronger) than before, some will be back but having lost some top end speed, and some won’t return at all.

Athletes making the decision to start families tend to fall into three categories.

  • Those who are very firm that if and when they have a baby, that will be the end of their sporting careers.
  • Athletes who want to see how they cope with motherhood before making any decisive decision on their sport careers.
  • A third group who are very positive and in no doubt about coming back to their sport.

Returning to racing after giving birth really has very little to do with training, but about time and expectations.

I have been taken aback with some criticisms levelled at the female athlete who decide to continue their sport at the top level. While being a top athlete does sometimes mean a level of selfishness in one’s lifestyle choices, starting a family is not a selfish decision. Every athlete I have worked with that had children spent much more time with their children than the average working mum.

Unfortunately that is a stigma that still needs to be broken down.

Trisutto coach Lisbeth Kristensen.

High Performance Post Pregnancy

The positives:

Many athletes after birth tend to be physically stronger. I have been surprised that with no extra weight training, on return, many are at strength levels similar or above what they were prior to the birth. Similarly short course athletes may have the bonus of discovering a natural endurance they previously never had. It is of course anecdotal, but one sees across sport athletes returning after birth mentally tougher and resolute than before.

Another positive is how new mothers will also tend to become much more organised in their training behaviour and habits! Once training is done, they switch totally to being ‘mum’. This is a huge benefit, as instead of fixating on past workouts and thinking 24/7 about triathlon, the ability to focus on what’s really important in one’s life and training becomes much sharper.

Bella Bayliss (16x Ironman winner) after the birth of her child tended even to drop the warm up and down out of the workouts with a ‘I don’t have time to fluff about now’ attitude! This attitude didn’t have any harm on her performance.

If I’m to list the negatives;

Guilt. I’ve seen athletes suffer huge guilt returning to training hard, one suspects because of societal pressure that is also seen across women in the workplace. Being an athlete and mum can also be a huge stress on the partner, which in turn can make for an unsustainable balance in one’s training and parenting.

Another negative, at least perceived from a female perspective, is that there will be a little gain in weight! This, especially in Ironman should not be seen as a negative and is greatly linked to strength and endurance improvement. Not necessarily just for long course, but we saw Nicola Spirig at the Olympics compete competitively over the short distance. Similarly, I personally think Gwen will be every bit as formidable and perhaps stronger after a season return.

For those returning to Ironman I would caution on two points:

Training for Ironman becomes super difficult from a time perspective.

For short course triathletes, as well as specialist swimmers, cyclists and runners we see it’s not so much an issue – as training times are not as long and with proper time organisation can be overcome. Ironman is tougher. To be at your best there is no getting around the fact one needs to spend long periods of time on the road.

Not that it can’t be done. Rachel Joyce showed great character returning and qualifying for Kona. With time she has built back to have a terrific season and in Ironman winning form.


Rachel Joyce after winning Ironman Boulder. Photo: Jay Prasuhn

Which brings me to the final point:

If you are contemplating a comeback to racing after giving birth, please don’t rush it! Yes, I saw what Nicola did just 15 weeks after birth. It’s not an example I’d suggest others follow! Very few have the level of talent, mindset and support to get back so quickly.

If you take your time, organise oneself, it is my opinion child birth does not harm performance. Over the long term and by it’s very nature has the ability to unleash hidden potential that some athletes just can’t access.

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton at one of his remaining training camps in 2017 in SurseeCyprus or Gran Canaria.

Winning Ways continue in Weymouth!

Winning Ways continue in Weymouth!

James Cunnama breaks the tape at 70.3 Weymouth bringing home yet another win in his superb season!

Big weekend of racing !


Great to see Nicola racing at the WTS Grand Final in Rotterdam. Photo Credit: Swiss Triathlon

Rotterdam
This weekend was a special weekend as it saw the return to racing of Nicola Spirig just 4 months after the birth of her daughter Malea. While most will be amazed at her effort to finish in 13th place at the WTS Grand Final race, unfortunately a ridiculous choice of race course, and a bike accident that unfolded in front of her on the first lap curtailed a possible higher finish for the Swiss mum. It is still quite an extraordinary performance, however for those who may have forgotten, we are dealing with a great champion who sent out a little reminder to all, that 2020 will see the Swiss flag near the front of the Olympic field again.


Congratulations Julie on a fantastic race – 5th at the World Champs! Photo Credit: Swiss Triathlon

Following in the footsteps of the master was her own apprentice. Julie Derron came into mind blowing conditions, and had the race of her life so far. Taking a great 5th in the U23 World Champs. This too was a stunning technical display and one could do worse than put her name in the little black book to make the step up to World Series level racing.


What a great day for Mariana, proudly representing her native Mexico in Rotterdam, and finishing with a Top 10.

Mariana Solorzano had a harrowing week of food poisoning, however decided to follow the courageous effort of her two squad partners, and blasted a top 10 with her best ever performance. Always a great effort to do that at the biggest of races.


Podium Celebrations for James in Weymouth.

Weymouth, England
We then moved on to Sunday which saw James Cunnama rounding off his Kona race preparations with another scintillating bike ride to set up and take out the 70.3 Weymouth title. I’m really pleased to see James progress in this area, great work.

Corinne Abraham was also having her final hit out at Weymouth, but coming from Lanzarote got a large dose of frost bite which culminated in her crashing into a hedge! However after bravely re-mounting within just a few seconds, The wizard realized stinging nettles also come in a hedge. Soldiering on scratching and freezing at the same time, Corinne, still managed to do coach proud with a big run, and still gain the training needed for Kona. While no prize money for Corinne, plenty of km in the legs for Kona for the Welsh Wizard.
Jane Hansom was however not so lucky, as Jane too flew in from an exotic location for one last race and was hit by the freeze. She to hit the pavement in a not too nice a fashion, and had to pull out. Hopefully a hot bath to ease the aches and pains will see Jane bounce back, and take her place at Kona.


Nini on her way to 2nd place overall finish in Pattana.

Thailand
Nini Ruttanaporn avoided any such awful weather, racing at the Pattana Triathlon Festival Olympic distance in Thailand. Nini has made good progress, however we are still working on the need to quieten her mind, that will allow her to unleash her potential in races that is currently held back by expectation and a focus on the things that do not matter.

Race Recap from Coach Mary Beth Ellis:


Lisa getting in some suitable training prior to Challenge Davos!

Lisa Roberts battled the elements as much as the competition finishing in 3rd at Challenge Davos this weekend. Snow and frigid temps turned the race into a unique format. First a 10k bike race up Fluela pass followed by a neutralized downhill and finishing with a 21k run. Lisa, a native of desert in AZ, is not a fan of frigid temps but showed her mental and physical strength with a second fastest bike and run on the day. She is heading to race Challenge Madrid in what will be far more appealing weather conditions this weekend.

Race Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:


Melanie’s best race ever!

Melanie Baumann raced the 70.3 Weymouth. Melanie had quite a terrible swim and T1, but then she dropped the hammer on the bike with the 2nd fastest bike split of the day (incl. Pros) and finished with a run PB and also one of the fastest overall runs! 2nd age grouper overall and 1st in her age group, 9th incl. Pros! Only 17 mins down on Pro winner and 3rd fastest overall from bike mount line to finish.


Building back – well done Fran.

I also had Fran Bungay racing in Weymouth. Fran has been struggling with some ankle issues and she’s not at her very best yet but she was cleared to race! Fran toughed it out which she’s very good at and ended up being 2nd in her age group (40-44).


AG win and 3rd overall, great work Gerda 🙂

In Romania, Gerda Maria raced on home soil! Gerda is Romanian but she lives and work in Doha which can make it a bit of a challenge to train well due to the crazy heat and humidity! Gerda raced the ETU olympic distance in Mamaia. The swim was very rough but Gerda likes this as she’s a great swimmer! She was 2nd female out of the water. Then she had a solid bike and run. Gerda won her age group (35-39), in a time of 2:31 and she was 3rd fastest female overall.

Congratulations to all these strong women! Very proud of you all!

Race Recap from Coach Jo Spindler:


On route to a great win in Weymouth – Congratulations Jen 🙂

Jen Wood had a fantastic race at Ironman 70.3 Weymouth, winning her age group! When we started working together, Jen was still recovering from injury. We put a lot of thinking and discipline into her training, to get her back to health and keep her injury free. Not only did we achieve that, but Jen did some fantastic racing during this time. From doing her first 70.3 ever to her first AG-win in less than 4 months. We had a very detailed race plan. As we knew, that the race in Weymouth would be a challenging cold and rainy one, a very important part of Jen’s success was preparing the right equipment for that conditions. We decided that she will not hurry her transition after the swim, but take the time to dress up for a chilly ride. Winter underwear, gloves, arm warmers, plastic bag, everything was ready and proved to be very helpful. Jen executed to perfection, struggled a bit on the swim, made her way through the ranks on the bike already and put out a fantastic fast run to win her age group with almost a 10 minute margin to 2nd. Congrats again Jen! Very well done!

Race Recap from Coach Mateo Mercur:


Lolo, emotional after an inspiring breakthrough race.

When Lauren “Lolo” Vallee came on 2.5 months ago, her goals were to get faster on the run, have a great Ironman, and to rediscover motivation and joy in her training and racing. By the time Lolo raced the Harvest Moon half-IM distance race in her home town of Boulder, Colorado this weekend, she was stronger, faster, happier, and more motivated than ever in the sport. Lolo raced with a fire from the start. She set a personal best for the distance by over 19 minutes and smashed the five hour barrier in a time of 4:50:30. Most importantly, in this race, Lolo got a sense of what is possible. We’re both looking forward to Lolo’s race at Ironman Los Cabos in eight weeks. Go get it Lolo!


Bex, fifth place for never giving up!

Bex Fink, raced the Malibu Triathlon Olympic on Saturday, and anchored a relay in their weekend event with a four mile run on Sunday. Bex also went a personal best for the distance on Saturday despite being on the side of the road with a puncture for over 11 minutes. After the race, Bex became a minor celebrity with friends and strangers alike when she recounted the details of how she fixed the gash in her tire with a “boot”. This is a trick that I explained to Bex over the phone, just in case, in the days before IM Whistler earlier this summer. Getting back to a more grass-roots kind of racing, as Bex wrote; “outside the crazy hyper-focused IM world” was a perfect way for Bex to wrap up the 2017 triathlon season. Next big goal for Bex is California International Marathon in December.


Ollie, basking in the sunset after an outstanding effort.

Ollie Saxon was the third athlete this weekend to set a massive personal best. He raced the Sundowner Triathlon half-IM distance in East Yorkshire in the cold and rain of Northern England. This year’s event proved just as soggy as last. Like a true Yorkshireman, Ollie suited up in fluro pink kitchen gloves for the bike and got on with it. Ollie has made huge gains this year. Consistency and grit have made the difference. Ollie went a 10 minute personal best on the course, and a seven minute personal best for the distance. It was a triumphant way to finish his triathlon season, and like Bex, Ollie’s got a marathon on schedule in early December. We’re already looking ahead to 2018, and it’s gonna be a cracker.

Race Recap from Coach Rafal Medak:


Great job David! 

“This race threw up a few new challenges and some old ones, so it meant there was lots to talk about on the way home with my number one supporter!” 
These were first words David Nicholson used in his race report. While following the David progress on the tracker and getting very timely updated from David’s ‘Number One Supporter’ – his wife Clare (Thank you Clare!), I could tell the day was a challenging endeavour testing athletes mental and physical preparation. Low temperatures of water and air required warm clothing too! David was prepared and ready. He managed the swim very well. It was a very solid effort considering the conditions.  On the bike leg David got a puncture but he stayed focused and after the repair carried on as normal riding strong toward T2. When he set onto the run the enjoyment of running his target pace and feeling under control was definitely there. Clare also noticed a running form improvements following a week at Lanzarote Trisutto camp. David got stronger and faster as the run went on and finished as happy as always.
“Not my finest race, but actually one of the most enjoyable!” – was David’s comment in the report. It was not the race for a PB or other records. I’m very happy to see how well David managed adversity during the race, stayed focused to get the job done. This is a very valuable experience for David as we build toward a full Ironman later this year. Great job David! I’m very proud of your day!

Race Recap from Coach Perry Agass:


Podium for Claire in Weymouth.

This weekend Claire Weller took on Weymouth 70.3 and only her 3rd ever middle distance race. Weymouth isn’t the easiest of course’s so when the UK weather decides to play life can be tough and I think all athletes struggled this w/e because of that. Claire had a solid race and gave a very good account of herself and where she is at the moment crossing the line 16th overall and 3rd in her AG. Continuing to show good progress this athletes had a great First season in the sport, well done

Rob Osborne took on the World Champs this w/e like many other Age Groupers. He was in the sprint draft legal race that gave up some different challenges for Rob, also in his wave and AG was former World Aquathlon Champ British elite Richard Stannard so stiff competition. Rob had a good race but was up against great performances on the day, finishing outside the top 10 wasn’t what he wanted but he gave it all he had , and to wear your nations badge and with pride you done well and never gave up, so much respect.

Race Recap from Coach Vassilis Krommidas:


Top 10 for Wendy at the World Champs!

With the ITU World Championship in Rotterdam, Wendy closed a difficult period of preparation after her injury problems she had in past year. She competes for first time in a World Championship in Sprint dst. representing team GB finished 8th in F35-39. After this race we are optimistic for even better results in the future!


Yiannos (top) and Michalis (bottom) both landed themselves on the top step of the podium.

In Cyprus we have another cup series race, this was an uphill race. The Victories continued for my athletes for third consecutive weekend, Michalis Theocharous was the winner of the K30-39 and Yiannos Savva in the K50+

I am so proud for everyone for all effort they do!

Race Recap from Coach Christian Nitschke:

The European race season has almost come to an end now and many of my athletes enjoy their break to recover for the next season.
Borris Jung did the Alzenau sprint triathlon as his first training after a two week vacation and break from triathlon training. He was as fast as last year, just with the difference that he did the race last year before his season break. So definitely a good start into the training for the next season! Borris finished the race in 2nd place in his agegroup.

Martin Kasten ran the 10km Greifensee Lauf as a good training run. His finishing time of 39:41 was just 1min slower than his personal best over that distance and a great training for the last races of his season in Phuket in November where Martins season will end.

Race Recap from Coach Carson Christen:

Sean Laude finished his multisport season with the Toughman NY Championship. After slowly coming back from some nagging run injuries and short coure races this summer, Sean ended his year with a solid 3rd Place AG and 16th Overall. After a good year, and making some solid improvements in the swim and bike disciplines, I am looking forward to next year, and seeing how much stronger Sean can get over the winter!

Juergen Braun ran his first ever open half-marathon his weekend in Germany. After having run a half-marathon at the end of a middle distance race this summer, we were looking forward to seeing how fast he could run on fresh legs! Juergen didn’t disappoint and produced an extremely steady and strong race, finishing in 1:45 for a 16min overall personal-best! With another solid winter of training, and some time at camp next Spring, I’m looking forward to seeing even more improvements across the board! Congrats Juergen!

Jan Pascal Tschudy completed in the Challenge Davos Fluela Pass Hill Climb this past weekend. With a bit off a naggy heel issue coming off the Inferno Triathlon, we decided against he half-distance race, choosing to only ride. It turned out to be straight winter in Davos, and Jan toughed out the race to place 3rd Overall and 3rd in his AG! Way to take lemons you were given and turn them into lemonade, Jan!

Race Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:

Yannis Theodoropoulos has a habit of finding some of the toughest, not to mention coldest races to enter! This weekend didn’t disappoint with the Ring of Steall Mountain ‘Sky Race’ in Scotland. consisting of uncompromising mountain running, scrambling along mountain ridges with steep ascents, traverses and descents on technical and challenging terrain! It was quite an adventure including typical Scottish mountain weather of rain, and snow up the mountain summits. In Yannis own words,
The course didn’t have a relaxed moment at least for a city boy, with not much sky running experience. The course could be split in 4 parts two uphills followed by two descents. The descents were so much more technical and tough than the ascents. Mud till about the middle of the calf and hidden rocks under grass. Whichever way you choose was at your own peril. Had about 4-5 falls at the first descent. The ridge running was the most spectacular part of the course. Running among the clouds literally.

Magic Yannis, and living proof that there is more adventure out there than the M-dot.

Congratulations to all athletes competing this weekend.

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Against all Odds!

Against all Odds!

Danni reclaims the Ironman 70.3 World Championship Title in Chattanooga! Photo: @DonaldMiralle

Now that a few days have passed since Daniela Ryf, aka Angry Bird won her 5th Ironman branded World Championship title, we want to share with all of the Trisutto family how this success was achieved. Also when things don’t go right that we don’t hide from telling our readers what happens and why, so they don’t fall into the same mistakes.

Why the heading – ‘Against all Odds’? 
It is public knowledge that the Angry Bird has spent 6 months of this year as the injured bird.

While people look at her results in awe, one could be forgiven for thinking her injury can’t be too bad. Most athletes would love to have results like Ironman Africa Champion, Challenge Roth Champion, and winning a number of other races in between! However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Danni’s back problem was dire, as she has alluded to in her social media. If she had her way, and medical opinion had its way, there would have been no Chattanooga, no upcoming Kona, and definitely no Roth!  It was that bad. However we discussed the situation, and decided on following the coaches plan. The same plan that has seen Corinne Abraham have a great season culminating in qualifying for Kona. A plan that is used for injured horses that can’t do the normal training volumes and routines.

We used races to hold condition till the injury (that was continually worked on) recovered.

This is mentally taxing for an athlete who can’t work as much or as fast as normal. The only time they are allowed to push is the second phase of each discipline in races. Now that the 70.3 World Championship has been run and won, we can share the reason for the slower first part of swims in races during the early part of the race season. Also why the power house bird bike was not there, and the reason for the steady runs at the start of races. They are all planned, and I must say have been executed by the bird magnificently!

That is what I applaud and appreciate. Danni didn’t win the race in Chattanooga – she won it at these other events, and at training months before. All the time having to go against her natural instincts of harder is better. This takes incredible strength of character, and is a masterful display of belief in and patience of the coaches plan. Simultaneously carrying the weight of her own team manager questioning her longevity and speed while every day fighting for season survival. It was and is the character of a true champion.


Many reasons to smile after Zurich 5150 .

We let our hair down a bit at the 5150 in Zurich to show any doubters that the Bird is coming not to race, but to regain her title of Queen of non drafting triathlon. Injured or not, will be ready to go to war. While some might not have understood that message, I can assure you all the men that raced pro in Zurich did. Once we took care of that, we started to build the work back into her training. The 70.3 World Title was the World Championship she wanted to win back this year!

So only now do we think of Kona, and go to work on that goal. Yes, Danni had not done any of her Kona workouts from the last 2 years because of the back injury. However scary it might be, she is at not at top fitness but I’ll make it very clear, she went to Chattanooga 100% in war mode!

There will only be one certainty in Kona – if you want to take the title off the injured bird then you are going to have to be prepared to fight to the death for it!  It is her way. It is the Trisutto way! I was humbled by her attitude and performance at Chattanooga, that when the starting gun fired, she was intent on giving it her all! That made me a very proud coach.


The challenging hilly course at Allgäu proved to be perfect preparation for Chattanooga.  Photo Credit: Michael Rauschendorfer

Lastly I want to thank good friend and team mate Philippe Blatter, who helped the bird when she needed a confidence building race last month, in order to get her head in the right place for the attack on the World Championship. Phil personally ensured she got the race she needed. The Allgäu Triathlon in Germany had Danni believing she could do it. Until then she was merely hoping coach was right. Once back from Germany the Angry Bird was her old self.  Thank you so much from both of us!

 

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton at one of his remaining training camps in 2017 in SurseeCyprus or Gran Canaria.

Which Wheel is Right for Me?

Which Wheel is Right for Me?

Corinne Abraham and Ritchie Nicholls at camp in Gran Canaria. Photo Rob Holden Photography.

Our approach to training extends to the selection of equipment, where we do our best to incorporate common sense principles with proven results. With that, I’m often asked about which wheels and tyres are best for which athlete and why I’m so ‘anti’ disc?

I’ll respond to the question on tyres first as this is the least complicated. My opinion is that for Iron distance racing the choice between tubulars or clinchers shouldn’t be based on which one is faster.

Instead it should be on:

1. Which one you can change with confidence.
2. Which one you can ride with confidence after you have changed it.

Unlike ITU short course races, our day is not over if we have some tyre trouble, which every athlete inevitably does. So with such small differences in actual speed advantage, the major time consideration is if we have a technical problem on the ride, then what is the preferred option to complete (and still compete) in the race? Tyre choice becomes critical.

In the past I have had most of my non-technical riders stick with clinchers, the reasons are threefold:

  • They worry about if a tubular is glued on properly.
  • They find getting a properly glued tubular tyre off very, very difficult.
  • If they do have to change it, they then ride so carefully that they lose masses of time worrying about whether it will come off in a fast corner.

I have also seen very experienced riders have accidents after they have changed a tubular and then hit the pavement.

To me being one second faster over 10km means little if we lose 10 minutes over 40km because we are not confident riding on a non-glued replacement. So if you’re a rider who worries about the downhills or sharp corners in normal circumstances, then I think clinchers would be the best selection without doubt.

If however you’re a confident rider capable of down hilling and cornering well on a tyre that you replaced yourself, I would say go for tubular. Similarly, if you are one of these athletes who are going to give up after any technical problem on the bike regardless, tubular will be your best option.

Stormin’ Normann having trouble with the tubulars: “Too much gluuuue!”

Now to the lovers of gadgets and all things theory:

THE WHEELS

Unlike what is common perception I am not anti-disc. I also acknowledge that the disc IS faster in the wind tunnel.

So why don’t your hear me singing their praises and having all my guys ride on discs?

1. You have to be a confident and technical rider to use discs effectively. If wind gusts scare you and throw you off your rhythm, then it’s prudent to avoid using them.

2. A disc needs to be up to around 40km an hour to be of a real true speed advantage. The men have only just been able to achieve this in Ironman over the last couple of seasons. A 4hr 30 ride give or take. So for the age-groupers and pro women, it’s not really going to work for you.

3. In a crosswind (particularly when it’s gusty), more energy is used and thus will come back to hurt you on the run.

I would also add the clinching argument that Hawaii doesn’t allow discs. So why practice with one when you should be focused on preparing your race setup for the World Champs?

Chrissie_KonaChrissie won first year on HED Jet 6’s (60mm deep) – front and back.

So discs out, what do we go with?

For men I tend to be a tri spoke fan more than the deep (808), or ridiculously deep (1080) wheel rims. You don’t get the speed of the disc but you still catch the cross wind and it tires your legs for the run.

In cases where Hawaii is not on the calendar, if you fancy yourself a good bike handler and prefer discs I am not going to tell you otherwise. If your dream is Hawaii then stick to the shallower depth of aero wheels available. Aero is not as important if you can hop on board the bike train. If you are strong and fit, shallow are all you need.  If you insist on getting a bit of airtime by leading the race on the bike then be my guest, ride the big boys and run 3hr 10min.

One note for the boys to remember is that Hawaii is a different animal to the tougher Iron distance races, where to qualify you’ll have to be able to ride well and not in a big group. So having the wheel to take advantage of the course can be crucial.

For female riders the best advice I can give is a good pair of shallower depth aero wheels that are light. If you want to mix, then match a shallower front wheel and a deeper rear wheel, as cross winds affect the front more than the rear. If you’re unsteady on a bike in the wind, then use shallower wheels on the front and the back. If you’re OK then the shallower front, semi deep back combination will work for you. And if you think you handle as good as the guys then back yourself and go the semi deep front and back.

Hope this will help in your selection, Chrissie won her first Hawaii on none of the big end toys, just semi deep aero wheels, which she used at training.

Remember that in Iron distance we need reliability first, confidence second and you take your pick for third. All the hype about speed won’t help you change a tyre on the day you really need to. Just ask Normann.

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton at one of his remaining training camps in 2017 in SurseeCyprus or Gran Canaria.