Texas Triathlon Camp, Part I
A six-part series on the first ever Texas Tri Camp.
*Note, all material taken directly from notes taken, no material is
The first Texas Triathlon
Camp was held from March 5-7 at the KISD Natatorium in Keller, Texas. The
camp was presented by Endurathon Coaching (endurathon.com). Tom Rodgers, a
certified USAT and Ultrafit coach was the principal instructor for the
session. Tom is a top-ranked masterís triathlete and a veteran of Ironman
Hawaii and Ultraman world championships. Also presenting were Joe Friel (Ultrafit.com,
Trainingbible.com), author and preeminent authority in multi-sport and
cycling training; John Cobb (bicyclesports.com), considered by many to be
the authority in bike fitting for triathlon and time trials; Lauren Maule,
professional triathlete, perennial top Ironman finisher, 2003 National
Long-Course Triathlon champion; and Andre Rizo, nationally renowned swim
coach and aquatics director for the American Red Cross.
The camp opened at noon
on Friday with the first presentation by John Cobb. John presented on the
subject of Bicycle Aero Positioning. John is a 23-year veteran of
triathlons. He has fitted many triathletes and world-class cyclists,
including Lance Armstrong, on their bikes. Notes from Johnís presentation
presentation, he and Tom Rodgers spent some time fitting each of the campers
on their bikes. Many of the adjustments were minor, but it was a treat to
watch John Cobb work; he used all kinds of interesting, hands on techniques
to analyze a body in order to get it to fit properly on a bike, including
watching your gait, looking at how symmetrical your musculature is to
determine if leg length is the same and to see if a normal position is
full-facing or turned slightly away.
Once the bike fitting was
completed (mostly, some remained to be fitted the next day) Joe Friel
presented on physiology on the bike. If you have read the Triathleteís
Training Bible and were not completely certain what all of the terms meant
or how to apply itís wisdom, after a session with Mr. Friel, all of those
questions were gone. Joe Friel is a fantastic presenter. He has the
ability to take complex subjects and explain them in a way that makes
sense. When he is done, you really feel like what he gives you, you
understand it and can apply it to your training. Mr. Friel gave the last
presentation on Friday and the first presentation on Saturday. Notes from
Joeís presentations on bike physiology and periodization are below.
On Saturday, after Mr.
Frielís presentation, the campers had a chance to get into the pool. Andre
Rizzo and his associates took the campers through a variety of drills to
work on swimming technique. Andre covered balance in the water and learning
to control that from your core instead of with your limbs. He also talked
about lengthening your stroke, body rotation, body alignment and kick. Mr.
Rizzoís assisting coaches filmed each of the campers swimming Ė above water
and below water. The film was put on a DVD where one of the coaches broke
down the footage and pointed out all of the techniques which needed to be
improved. The campers were able to take their own DVD home with them to
continue to work on their technique. This was really a useful learning
When the swimming portion
of the camp concluded, Lauren Maule and Tom Rodgers presented a session on
women, masters, elites, iron-distance and special needs athletes. Pre-race
prep and tapering were also discussed. Diane Proud, a running coach at the
Cooper Fitness Center and a 20+year veteran of road racing also joined the
presentation. Because it covered so much, it was really as much a question
and answer session about training and race day issues as a formal
presentation. Notes from that presentation are below.
The final presentation on
Saturday was a demonstration and practice of transition drills. Proper
placement of helmet, gloves, glasses, putting your cleats on the pedals and
steering the bicycle by the seat instead of the handle-bars were covered.
Tom Rodgers presented this information and also covered the USAT rules
Saturday concluded with
45-minute group run. Sunday began with an hour-long group bicycle ride.
After a shower, presentations continued on Heart Rate Training. Tom Rodgers
discussed both theory and practical use of heart rate monitors to improve
your fitness. The notes from this presentation are below.
The final presentation of
the session was on running form, emphasizing the pose method. Some of the
drills presented to build good technique using the pose method were then
practiced by the campers. After these drills, the camp concluded.
This was the first Texas
Tri-camp. Being the first year, there were some Ďbugsí in the facilities,
timing of presentations, etc, that caused things not to flow as well as they
could have. That said, the quality of the presenters, the swimming video
and the bike fitting made it all worth while. I do believe that next year,
the camp will be handled logistically a little better and that will make for
a better camp. As it was, the camp was a good value and a good place to get
some excellent insights on how to improve your triathlon and fitness. I
donít know that I would recommend it to true beginners, however. I have
been doing triathlon for less than a year and was somewhat overwhelmed,
especially by the bicycles the other campers brought in. All of the bikes
were tri-specific or were good quality road bikes. None of them were
inexpensive. A lot of the tips and presentations were built around
squeezing every second out of your race, not just how-to sessions, so it
seemed to be geared more to the really competitive athlete. It was still a
good experience with lots of friendly people.
INSTALLMENT - PART II - CHECK BACK!
Aero Positioning on
the Bike Ė John Cobb
Johnís session touched
on a number of topics dealing with aero positioning and the need to be
comfortable on your bike. You should not dread getting on the bike or be
relieved when you get off the bike. Comfort is critical in distance
racing....MORE NEXT MONTH!