Iceman Cometh - Not for the faint-hearted

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Iceman Cometh - Not for the faint-hearted

BOOM! Nutrition met over 5,000 crazy mountain-bikers and their just-as-crazy supporters at The 25th Iceman Cometh in Traverse City, MI on Nov. 7-8.  The expo (packet pickup) vibrated with palpable pre-race jitters and excited trail cyclists preparing for a journey from Kalkaska to Traverse City on sand, mud and dirt trails. 

The weather in northern Michigan lived up to the Iceman's namesake with snow, wind, rain, sleet and ice. Fans and supporters stood outside, shivering shoulder to shoulder throughout Timber Ridge Recreation Resort for a glimpse of their favorite athletes whipping by, which were almost impossible to discern since they were coated with mud and dirt.

Check out this photo summary of The 25th Iceman Cometh race. 

 

 

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Retailer Profile: Bike Authority, Broadview Heights, Ohio

Bike Authority is recognized as a Top 100 Bike Store by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, who recently named Bike Authority as one of “America's Best Bike Shops for 2014”. They specialize in professional fitting and sales of Road, Triathlon, Mountain Bikes and accessories.  The also feature fully certified and warranted repair services, bike shipping, high performance bike rental, race support and internet equipment sales.

Bike Authority and its associates have several professional certifications that provide service to endurance athletes.  These certifications include:  the only USAT Certified Retailer in the state of Ohio, F.I.S.T Triathlon Bike Fitting, Dartfish Video fit analysis, Wobblenaught Dynamic Fit Analysis, Trek Fit Process, and Cyclops Certified Power Test Center.  They also employ USCF and USAT certified coaches and are a Shimano Shifting Systems Certified Store. They will fit your bike to your specific needs, whether you’re preparing for a race or you’re seeking additional comfort on your rides.

Bike Authority is a USAT certified Multisport retailer

Bike Authority is a USAT certified Multisport retailer

They are well versed in the needs of athletes on race day as well.  Every season, Bike Authority store associates are physically at over 20 racing events.  They’ll bring products and mechanics to assist in race day needs.  They have been long time race supporters of Cleveland Triathlon, Greater Cleveland Triathlon, Rev 3 Triathlon, NCN and Champ racing series.  They also assist with events conducted by charities such charities as; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Scleroses Society, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Are you flying in from out of town for a road race or triathlon? Bike Authority is the authorized bike transportation coordinator for Tri Bike Transport.  In addition, they are an authorized shipping representative for Fed Ex, UPS and the US Postal Service.  They’ll receive, assemble and get your bike race-ready. After your event is over, they’ll repack and return the bike to you insured via UPS or Fed Ex.  Read more about these services at: http://www.bikeauthority.com/product/bike-authority-national-sr.-games-shipping-1311.htm

If you are visiting the area or if your bike is in for extended service, Bike Authority provides high performance bike rentals.  It's a great option if your own bike isn’t available to ride.  Read more at:  http://www.bikeauthority.com/articles/bike-rental-pg117.htm

If you have any questions about your equipment or simply need some advice from one of their knowledgeable associates, don’t hesitate to give them a call at 440.546.9966. www.BikeAuthority.com

Contact:

Sherman McKee
Owner, Bike Authority
BikePro@BikeAuthority.com

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Jason McFaul Kona Training Camp

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It was time to run 13.4 miles, which included the Natural Energy Lab. The Natural Energy Lab is . . . HOT. 

One thing I learned from Keish is there's no dilly-dallying.  He parked his car on Palani, and before I'd activated my Garmin, he was already running up Palani toward the Queen K.  Perhaps it was the days of compounded training, or just the fairly oppressive heat, but I wasn't in the mood to run. 

Herein lies one of the benefits of a training partner. Keish was already halfway up the hill. I needed to catch him. 

The Queen K is essentially a highway bordered by black lava rocks. It is desolate. It is solitary. And if you dare look at the faces of the motorists driving past you, they have a look like "Why would anybody run right now?  It's hot. It's humid. It's windy". 

And therein lies the answer. August is the hottest, windiest month of the year. We are preparing for the Ironman World Championship. There is no better place, and no better time, than right here . . . and right now. 

It's about 5 miles from Palani -- along the Queen K -- to the Natural Energy Lab. These 5 miles are lonely, with long climbs and slow descents. It doesn't help to look forward, as progress doesn't reveal itself. And while there is a tailwind, the lava rocks refuse to lean forward like flowers and trees. So you feel something on your back -- it could be a push forward, or it could be a warning. 

I turn on my music. Try to find a rhythm. Work on the things I can control:  my breathing, my stride, foot strike, and cadence. 

I began with a full water bottle. I have half a bottle left with 3 miles to the Natural Energy Lab. 


I know there is a water fountain at the Visitors Center. I dig deep, but I also do so sparingly, as the Natural Energy Lab has a reputation for compelling people to dig deeper. 

My pace is reasonable. 7-7:30/mile as I make a left turn into the Natural Energy Lab. This place is legendary for zapping what strength remains from even the toughest competitors. A few years ago on the NBC Broadcast of the Hawaii Ironman, Andreas Raelert was featured in this section, described as "a hydration science project". Sweat didn't drop from his face. It flowed. Like a waterfall. 

I fill my bottle at the Visitors Center, knowing that I need to run approximately 1.5 miles (1 mile down to the ocean with a headwind, and then .5 mile along the beach until I reach the turnaround).  

 

I run on the edge of the asphalt, which is reputedly releasing heat in excess of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Cars drive toward me, moving to their left in order to afford me extra space. A few give me the Shaka (hang-loose sign). I interpret this to mean I've been accepted as a temporary resident on the Big Island. Or that my shoulders are tense and I need to loosen up a bit. 

I get to the turnaround and prepare to do some real work. I squeeze an Apple Cinnamon carb-BOOM! into my mouth, chase it with a hearty blast of lukewarm water, and run toward the hottest one mile of the course. There is a crosswind coming from the ocean, but once I make the left turn into the heart of the Natural Energy Lab, it's one hot uphill mile. 

I look to the solar panels atop the Visitors Center. They do not appear to get any closer. So I count steps, try to find a rhythm, and compel myself forward with the promise of water when I complete this climb. 

The water finally comes, and after I fill my bottle, I turn right onto the Queen K for 5 miles. There is a fierce headwind, but it feels so good. My shirt is soaked. My shorts are soaked. The hot wind cools my body. 

The closer I get to Palani, the more emotional I become. I see Mark Allen and Dave Scott gutting it out during the 1989 Iron War. I see Rick and Dick Hoyt. I see Paula, Chrissie, Rinny. I see suffering and triumph.  

I'm almost to Palani when Keish pulls his car onto the shoulder. I know this is the right way to end today's run. I haven't earned the right to make that turn into town, where dreams are finally realized along Ali'i Drive.  

I'm hoping, though, that on October 11, I will make that turn.  And experience what many consider the greatest quarter mile in triathlon. 

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Go All Out At the Gay Games 9 Cleveland Triathlon

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Go All Out At the Gay Games 9 Cleveland Triathlon

CarbBoom! Energy Gels are proud to be a part of the Gay Games 9 in Cleveland Ohio. There must be something special in the water just north of Greater Cleveland.  The Gay Games 9 (GG9) arrived in the cities of Akron and Cleveland with a Boom! The energy and excitement of an estimated 9,000 participants and 20,000 spectators from 45 countries covered our hometown of Cleveland in every color of the rainbow.

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3100 Thoroughbred Athletes Compete at USAT Age Group Nationals

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3100 Thoroughbred Athletes Compete at USAT Age Group Nationals

Just a few observations from the 2014 Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee last weekend.  I qualified for the Olympic distance last summer so I had an entire year to prepare (read worry) for this event.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect as this would be my first really “national stage” event but I was pretty confident that I would be over matched.  I was not disappointed.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is very cool inside and out.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is very cool inside and out.

The City

USAT and the city of Milwaukee did a fantastic job.  Blue bird weekend, great venue and really pretty course and city.  For those of you who have not been to Milwaukee recently it is a great place to visit during the summer.  We stayed downtown, parked the car and walked everywhere.  I was very impressed.  Fantastic lake front with the Art Museum and Discovery World, great downtown with River Walk with lots of restaurants and bars.  It was fun seeing the town literally invaded by mobs of highly fit athletes with blue and red wrist bands and body markings.  My brother and I had a great prerace dinner at The Smoke Shack bbq restaurant.  Consider it recommended.

The Event

This steed finished in 2:02:27! BOOM!

This steed finished in 2:02:27! BOOM!

"Unbelievable" is the only word that comes to mind.  The buzz at the expo was that due to this being the qualifier for the 2015 ITU Age Group World Championships in Chicago, that the field was larger and more competitive than ever.  To my eyes, the difference between this event and the local and regional events that I had previously participated in was huge.  First was the size. Over 3100 athletes started the Olympic triathlon.  Transition on Saturday morning with 3100 bikes and athletes getting set up was quite the sight.  Second was confidence.  In most other events I have been in there are quite a number of newbies, first timers and other nervous people about.  Not here.  These were 3100 “pointy-end-of-the-stick” athletes who were highly confident, highly calm and very relaxed.  I am a body language watcher and there were none of the dazed “what am I doing here” looks that you see so often before a start.  They were also incredibly fit.  If there was an extra pound of body fat anywhere I did not see it.  As expected, the equipment in transition was incredible.  As these are the fastest of the “go-fast” guys, the fast bikes were out in force.  For those of you who have done this and can relate, the impression was the same as walking through the barns prior to the Kentucky Derby and feeling and seeing the pent-up horsepower just waiting to be let loose. 

The Race

Wonderful swim with only one-way traffic under the bridge this year.

Wonderful swim with only one-way traffic under the bridge this year.

Great Fun.  Best and most fun triathlon I have done.  Excellent swim venue and the most relaxed, fun swim I have had to date.  A personal PR (powered by Carb Boom! Energy Gels) of over 10 minutes and I finished exactly where I belonged in my age group.  Just missed qualifying for Worlds (by 60-70 places!) but very happy with my results.  The overall event was won with an incredible time of 1:50:58, my age group (55-59) had 136 finishers and was won with a time of 2:05:06 and the first 30 were under 2:20:00.   Just incredible!  I now have to qualify so I can do it again!

Just missed qualifying for Worlds (by 60-70 places!) but very happy with my results.

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Adventure Atmosphere at Burning River 100 Endurance Run

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Adventure Atmosphere at Burning River 100 Endurance Run

Even though there was a race clock was ticking, the atmosphere at the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance run was more of an adventure than a race. The attitude of the athletes, their crews, volunteers and spectators alike was friendly, supportive, energetic and fun. The whole event had a festival atmosphere to it. Make no mistake, these ultra-marathoners are serious and attempting a challenge few people dare to start, and even fewer complete. But they do it with grace and a smile. There was a real sense of camaraderie among the runners and an absence of the uber-competitiveness or elitism that can sometimes be present at endurance races.

Boom Nutrition had the privilege of being able to support this year's event at the Shadow Lake aid station at mile 24.4. Spirits were high this early in the event and it was a joy to watch the athletes come through. The "go-fast" crowd came through with barely a sweat and barely out of breath, grabbed a quick snack and a sip and were off with a smile and a "thank-you." It was like they were out for a simple morning walk in the woods (~7:30 pace!).

As the morning progressed, athletes grabbed their drop-bags, aided by the youth volunteers from Lake Ridge Academy, and changed their socks or shoes or applied sunscreen or anti-chaffe creams. Some volunteers filled water-bottles for the athletes while others kept the smorgasbord filled with PB&Js, fresh fruit, chips, pretzels, salt tablets, and Carb Boom! Energy Gels. It really was a picnic in the park. Complete with a rockin' playlist on a sound system powered by a portable generator. The enthusiasm of the volunteers was only matched by the cheers of the crowd and the outfits of the athletes, fans and crew. I have never felt more valued as a volunteer.

The only real chore was the timekeeping. Each aid station served as a check point and volunteers checked each athlete's bib number as they came into the station along with their time. Not always an easy task when large groups of runners come through at the same time. Once recorded, athlete bib numbers and times were entered one at a time into a smart-phone app allowing LIVE tracking of individual athlete's progress on the Western Reserve Racing website. Tony Lammers, CEO of Boom Nutrition and Chief Shadow Lake Timekeeper, said "This is remarkably stressful!"

The hardest part of the day, and maybe one of the hardest thing I've had to do in my many years of endurance racing and volunteering, was having to stop an athlete from continuing after she missed the cutoff time. It was very emotional for her, her friends and family and even for me. It was her first ultra and she had come from Arizona to race in the beauty of the Cuyahoga River Valley Corridor (Cleveland MetroparksCuyahoga Valley National Park, and Metro Parks Serving Summit County). She trained for a year to get ready, was in good spirits and felt that she could continue both physically and mentally. Her safety was the most important consideration, however, especially with a storm looming. I couldn't allow her to continue knowing there would not be aid stations available and that race officials wouldn't know she was still on course. She could have been mad. She could have yelled. She didn't. We talked for a while. A few tears fell. We hugged. I made a new friend. She said she would be back to reach her BR100 goal. She embodies the spirit of the ultra-endurance athlete.

Thank you BR100 athletes for letting us be part of your journey!

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ITU World Triathlon Chicago

Pictures and Videos from the boom! crew at the 2014 ITU World Chicago Triathlon.

 

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Challenge Atlantic City

 

Boom Nutrition is at the races! Carb Boom Energy Gels™ were the Official Energy Gel at the inaugural USA Challenge Family Triathlon in Atlantic City. Ocean Swim, Highway Bike and Tourist Dodge Marathon. An amazing experience on the Boardwalk. [Music by Billy Morris Band]

Race Day:

Swim start was set to begin at 6:00 am.  The morning was around 68 degrees and the sun was beginning to peak out over the water.  As we walked near the course you could hear the excitement coming from the well known announcer Whit Raymond who was on the microphone getting the crowd pumped up and ready to go!  The excitement was high and the energy was stirring. 

Swim:

We arrived at Bader Field where the swim start and transitions were located and being on an old runway was very cool.  We looked over to the athletes and noticed that the race was no longer wet suit legal.  The athletes were in their designated waves, waiting to start.  We looked to our right and noticed a man leaning over the fencing with his hands folded and his head hanging down most likely questioning why he thought signing up for a full iron distance triathlon was possibly a good idea.  The women to his right was standing with her arms close to her chest and her hands gripped together in prayer position.  Her eyes wandered over the water and she jumped up and down as if she was trying to stay warm or maybe just trying to shake off the anxiety. 

Within a matter of minutes the horn blew and the first wave of professional men went out for the 2.4-mile swim, followed by the professional women, and then each wave took off every few minutes. After the last wave of athletes entered the water we waited for the leaders to exit.  There was an athlete that had a very large lead over the rest of the group.  As he began to exit we realized it was 4x Challenge winner Dylan McNeice exiting the water with a 6-minute lead over the rest of the pack!  The professional ladies had a similar experience with Laurel Wassner coming out 7 minutes ahead of the others! 

 Although the professionals are super fun to watch we were really inspired by all of the athletes.  We at Boom are all endurance athletes and we understand the level of commitment it takes to train for triathlons while balancing work, family, and friends. It was so super cool to watch the diversity among the athletes:  all shapes, sizes, and abilities. We saw parathletes competing with the use of one arm, blind athletes, and even a 17-year-old boy doing his first iron distance triathlon with his dad! Now that is INSPIRING! 

 

Many of the athletes reported that what looked like an easy day in the water turned out to be quite challenging at the end.  They said the current took a turn and was extremely difficult for the last part of the swim.  We can’t even imagine what that would be like for the men swimming with the use of only one arm.  AMAZING!

Bike:

We drove away from Bader Field to meet up with the cyclists in Hammonton (aka “the blueberry capitol of the world”) where the bike turn around was set up and where the crowds were cheering on the athletes.  We were able to see the professional men fly through the town with all of the age groupers coming in right behind them.  What we loved about Hammonton was hearing all of the Boom! horns being blown that we had passed out to the crowd. It was so exciting to watch so many fast athletes crushing the bike course.  At this point everyone still looked strong and somewhat fresh.  We decided to head back towards the boardwalk where the run course and finish line were located. 

 

As we entered the highway to head back we noticed the athletes riding on the highway against traffic. WOW!  We all agreed that we would not want to be riding our bikes on the Atlantic Expressway against traffic with only one lane closed down.  When we asked the athletes many of them said it wasn’t that bad, but what was bad was the horrible headwind that they caught for the last 20 miles of the bike.  Many reported that their pace drastically went down due to the wind.

 Run:

This was by far the most interesting run scene that we have experienced.  The majority of the run took place on the busy Atlantic City Boardwalk. When we think of marathon runs we often think of long roads, cheering crowds, and plenty of space for runners to move around.  This run, not so much!  There were so many people on the boardwalk; however, many of them had NO idea of the magnitude of the race that was happening right in front of them! 

The race vehicles and volunteers did a great job of trying to clear the area for the runners but due to the number of people on the boardwalk it appeared to be challenging at times. At times, we saw runners dodging pedestrians and just trying to find a clear path to run.  There was a volunteer on the course from a local running club, (we really wish we got her name) who was PHENOMENAL!!  She positioned herself in a very busy area with pedestrians and no race volunteers.  She was ringing her bell and yelling for people to clear the way when the runners were coming through!  She was so awesome!!

 

 The boardwalk was hot and there was no shade but the runners were just trudging through.  Some looked really strong and fast while some were walking and you could see the looks of pain and misery. The long course is filled with unexpected challenges and difficulties.  It's amazing how within the matter of minutes it can turn on you: one minute feeling amazing running a 7 minute mile and then within seconds feeling horrible and dropping down to a 10:30 mile.  The course does not discriminate.  We did however see Friend of Boom, Jason McFaul looking strong and fast on the run course.  Jason, way to CRUSH IT!!

Final thoughts:

By doing a race of this length there is an opportunity to discover so much about our potential.  There is something so powerful about digging deep into our being and seeing just what we are capable of accomplishing.  The race itself is so much more than race day.  It is about the journey, the training, the commitment, and the daily perseverance.  Whether we are young or as we age, being able to train for something such as this is an opportunity to challenge ourselves, feel alive, and ignite our potential.  Thanks again athletes for inspiring us!  You were amazing!

Kudos to the Challenge Family for putting on a GREAT race.  The whole weekend was very well thought out and organized not only for the athletes but for family and friends as well.  We look forward to the rest of the Challenge USA Family Series and we will see you soon in New Albany!

 

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