Firm Racing News
April 2009
 

Table of Contents
Message from Bill and Wendy: 2009 FIRM Grand Prix Race Series

Vasa and FIRM Racing Sweepstakes: Grand Prize--Vasa Swim Ergometer

Tri Living: Racing for a Robyn

Vescio MPS Open Water Swim Clinic

Coach’s Corner—Power Meters, Part Two

Going Greener with Green Tags!

Tri This: PickupPal

Become a Danskin Mentor 

Gee Whiz: Matching Aero Wheel Design to Wind Conditions 

Tri-2-Excel Sports Videography 

Upcoming FIRM Events—Half Iron Distance Events

Special Offers from Our Sponsors

 
 

Message from Bill and Wendy: 2009 FIRM Grand Prix Race Series

Each year FIRM hosts the Northeast’s only multisport team competition—the FIRM Grand Prix Series. Now in its fifteenth year, this series continues to be an exciting way for members of multisport teams to compete for cash awards and really cool age group prizes.

The FIRM Grand Prix series consists of 10 FIRM multisport events. The races in this year’s series are: Wrentham Duathlon on April 19, U. S. Coast Guard Duathlon on May 23, Ludlow Boys & Girls Club Triathlon on May 31, FirmMan Massachusetts Triathlon on June 7, Webster Lake Triathlon on June 21, Old Colony YMCA Triathlon on July 12, Lowell Triathlon & Wildcat Triathlon on August 9, Bayside YMCA Triathlon on August 15, TDD Triathlon on September 19, and FirmMan Rhode Island on September 13.

Individuals earn points for themselves and their teams by placing in the top five in their category at these grand prix events. First place earns eight points, second place earns five points, third place earns three points, fourth place earns two points, and fifth place earns one point. At least three members of a team must compete in at least five of the 2009 Grand Prix events for the team to be eligible for cash awards. Individuals from teams that do not meet this minimum requirement are still eligible for FIRM Grand Prix age group awards.

The amount of money for the cash awards depends upon the number of overall participants and the number of participants from the multisport teams that compete in these ten events. FIRM places money from entry fees from the ten events into the grand prix fund--the more participants that register for the events, the more money goes into the fund. At the end of the season, money from the grand prix fund is awarded to the top three teams based upon the number of points earned during the season. Typically the cash award for the first place team is about fifteen hundred dollars.  The 2009 Grand Prix team winners of cash awards were Cyclonauts in first place, Comprehensive Racing in second place, and Blackstone Valley in third place.

Teams that are interested in competing in the 2009 Grand Prix Series must register with FIRM by April 15, 2009. Once registered, all team members must use RacesOnline.com to add their name to their team roster for the Grand Prix Series. There is no charge for a person to add his or her name to a team roster on RacesOnline.com. Click here to add your name to your team’s roster.

If you are not on a team, you may want to consider joining one this year so that you can compete for grand prix awards. Below is a list of teams that are registered to participate in the FIRM Grand Prix Series. They offer members benefits such as camaraderie, training assistance, and sponsor discounts. Contact a team directly to learn more about becoming a member of that team.

·         Bay State Triathlon Club http://www.baystatetriteam.com/

·         Boston Triathlon Team http://www.bostontriathlonteam.com/

·         Comprehensive Racing Team http://www.comprehensive-racing.com/

·         AIMTRITEAM http://www.aimtriteam.org/

·         Blackstone Valley http://bvhponline.com/home/

·         Boston Triathlon Team http://www.bostontriathlonteam.com/

·         Cyclonauts http://www.cyclonautmultisport.org/

·         Force 5

·         Heat http://www.ctheat.org

·         Landry’s http://www.landrys.com/cyclingclub/LandrysTriathlonClub/default.aspx

·         MRC http://www.minutemanroadclub.com/

·         NCC http://www.nohobikeclub.org/

·         New England Track and Trail

·         North Medford Triathlon Club http://www.northmedfordclub.org/

·         North Shore Triathlon Club http://www.bnsfitness.com/adventures_NSTriathlon.htm

·         Tri Fury http://www.trifury.com/

·         Westboro Triathlon and Swim Club

·         Wheelworks http://www.wheelworks.com/tri_team.htm

The 2009 Grand Prix Series is sure to offer great racing, team camaraderie, and plenty of fun. Make sure you are a part of it. Click here to check out the 2009 FIRM race schedule. Contact us at billf@firm-racing.com with any questions.  

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Vasa and FIRM Racing Sweepstakes: Grand Prize--Vasa Swim Ergometer

 

 

Vasa and FIRM Racing are pleased to announce the Vasa and FIRM Racing Sweepstakes with the grand prize - a Vasa Swim Ergometer (Retail value $1899).

Earning entries for this sweepstakes is fun. You earn entries by competing in FIRM’s multisport races in 2009. The more you race, the better your chance of winning.

  • Earn one entry each time you participate in a FIRM multisport race.
  • Earn additional entries by placing in the top five of your race category in FIRM multisport races. Categories include: elite, age-grouper, Clydesdale, Athena, and relay team. First place earns eight entries, second place earns five entries, third place earns three entries, fourth place earns two entries, and fifth place earns one entry.
  • Earn double entries for Grand Prix events and triple entries for FirmMan MA and FirmMan RI

The winner’s name will be drawn at the FIRM Grand Prix awards banquet at the end of the race season. The person whose name is drawn must be present at the awards banquet to win the bicycle frame. No exceptions. The date and location of the awards banquet will be announced next month. So update your race calendar and start earning entries to win a Vasa Swim Ergometer.

 

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Tri Living: Racing for a Robyn

Like many triathletes, Heidi Hack competes in triathlons because she loves the challenge of the sport, and the variety of the three disciplines. Well actually, those were her motivators for her first four years in the sport.  This year is different.  This year, Heidi is racing for Robyn.

 

Robyn Nelson was the daughter of a close friend. She was an amazing young girl who made everyone smile--a member of the field hockey team at Dedham Middle school, and a talented photographer and artist. She even made her own jewelry. In July 2007, Robyn was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She died one year later, a month shy of her thirteenth birthday.

Watching young Robyn face such a dire situation with strength and dignity changed many people’s lives including Heidi. And Heidi knew she had to do something in return.  This year Heidi chose to pay tribute to Robyn by fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts, an organization that brought joy to Robyn and her family during her illness by sending them on a much needed vacation to Florida.

On August 30, 2009, Heidi will compete in Ironman Louisville in Kentucky as part of the Janus Charity Challenge. Janus will donate

 

 

 

 

 

$10,000 to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation of Massachusetts if Heidi is the top fundraiser in the Janus Charity Challenge this year.

Heidi is determined to be the top fundraiser in the Janus Charity Challenge.  Her biggest fundraising effort is a concert called, “Rocking for Robyn”. The concert, with a fun line up of bands, is scheduled for April 19 at Fat Boys Bar and Grill in Milford, MA—on the same date and not far from the Wrentham Duathlon.  The concert is from 2:00 PM to midnight. Festivities will include raffles for fun prizes such as signed swag from pro-triathletes Hillary Biscay, Michelle Jones and Jessie Stensland, a free tune-up from Milford Bicycles, a doggie gift basket filled with organic dog treats from Ironpups, a Dropkick Murphy's signed CD, and paintings and photographs from local artists.

If you want to have some extra fun after the Wrentham Duathlon and support an important cause, join Heidi and her supporters at the “Rocking for Robyn” concert in Milford. The proceeds will allow the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts to bring lots more smiles to children like Robyn and their families. Contact Heidi Hack for additional information.

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Vescio MPS Open Water Swim Clinic
Improve Your Triathlon Swim
 

The Vescio MPS Open Water Swim Clinic is designed to help beginner and intermediate triathletes become more confident and effective during the swim segment of a triathlon. 
 
2009 Swim Clinic Dates:
Friday June 5 from 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM
Friday August 14 from 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM 
 
The swim clinic is held at Lake Chauncey in Westborough, MA. The fee is $30 for one session or $50 for both. Click here for more information or to register. Class size is limited. 


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Coach’s Corner—Power Meters, Part Two
By Don Vescio, Vescio Multisport Performance Services 


So you have a power meter and have begun collecting data--now, you wonder what you are supposed to do with it.  In a lot of ways, power data is not the same as data collected by a cycling speedometer, or even a heart rate monitor; while you can track power data as you race (many riders will do so to help with their pacing), the real value of power data is tracking changes over time.  A power meter will help you determine whether you are getting stronger and fitter as a result of your training.  It also will help you optimize your aerodynamics, though this is a bit more complicated.

 

The very first step for anyone interested in power-based cycling training is to purchase a copy of Hunter and Coggan's Training with Power (I tend to discount their views on HR/PE) and pay close attention on what normalized power is all about.  Normalize power is related to, but not the same, as average power.  For instance, in events that have little variability like coasting and drafting (such as a time trial), then normalize power and average power are pretty much the same.  In events in which there is a good amount of variability (such as in a criterium), it is not unusual to see huge, but short in duration, spikes in power as riders jump out of corners or sprint for primes.  Apart from these bursts, a clever rider might spend much of the race pedaling lightly in the draft of other riders (I know about this!).  While the average power of a sprinter in such races might be relatively low, it does not accurately reflect the actual load placed on the rider during the course of the event.

Normalized power attempts to equate all efforts as a comparison to a one hour, full time trial effort.  There are lots of algorithms that enable a ride to calculate actual work load, the easiest method is to purchase a copy of Cycling Peaks software that automatically calculates normalized power.  The normalized power value, then, can be used to compare efforts of very different types of events, independent of the variability of average power.

A power meter really is an investment in time.  What I generally recommend is that you track normalized power for lots of training sessions, paying special attention to HR/PE and how it correlates to the normalized power data.  Once you get a sense of your normalized power for events of different durations, you can use these values to help you pace during the course of a specific race.  For instance, you will use your power meter to track efforts on the climb and monitor output on the down hills, so you don't go too hard downhill, or too easy up.  On top of all of this, you'll be paying very careful attention to your HR/PE as your final determiner of effort.

What's interesting is how you can use a power meter to manage your efforts on courses of different terrains.  For instance, if the course is fairly flat, then you can ride at your normalized power value (which in this case will be similar average power) and be assured that that you should finish the big leg relatively strong; if the course is really hilly, then you would use your power data in a very different way.  Here why: when riding downhill, the biggest factor that you face is aerodynamic drag.  Drag increases as a cube of speed; what this means is that pushing 30-40 more watts going downhill will get you only a slight advantage over your competition, because drag at speed is so high.  If you are climbing, a 30-40 watt increase makes significant gain over your competition, as aero drag is minimal.

Example:  If  you're doing an Ironman on a hilly course and you calculate that your normalized power  for this distance is approximately 175 watts,  consider going a little harder when riding uphill, and a little easier down hills. Because everyone pretty much goes fast downhill, use the uphills (within reason) to put time on your competitors, while recovering on the downhills.

Power-based training can be incredibly complex, but the time invested in tracking data over time can yield significant results. Training by power is not necessarily for everyone, and it is possible to get extremely positive results by tracking heart rate, too--in fact, I still tend to do this for most of my workouts, using my power meter for testing and to track long-term changes in performance.  For more information on power-based training, check out Hunter and Coggan's Power 411: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/power411.aspx

 

Don Vescio, a cycling coach with Vescio Multisport Performance Services, has set numerous cycling course records in the United States and Canada, and is currently training for a Masters World hour record. You can reach Don at dvescio@mpstraining.com. 

 

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Going Greener with Green Tags! 

 

 

This year, FIRM is working with Athletes for a Fit Planet to make all our races a little bit greener. One aspect of this endeavor is encouraging athletes to consider ride sharing to reduce the carbon footprint of our races. (See the Tri This article in this issue of FIRM Racing).

Every mile you drive produces about 1 pound of CO2. Ride sharing cuts that in half or more – that’s huge, especially for the larger races. If you must travel solo, though, please consider buying a race-day Green Tag sticker from FitPlanet. For $2.50 you can offset 300 lbs of CO2. That’s the equivalent of about 300 miles of driving. Click here to purchase your Green Tags. We’ll have your Green Tags waiting for you at the registration table!

 

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Tri This: PickupPal

 

Interested in ride sharing to FIRM’s races? Sign up here for a PickupPal account and become a member of a growing and dynamic community. It is free to join and to use. PickupPals can track the number of rides they have given or taken and the number of miles they have traveled via ride sharing and FIRM can keep track of the amount of carbon emissions we have collectively reduced as a result!

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Become a Danskin Mentor 


 

Danskin is looking for enthusiastic women who have completed at least two triathlons to provide ongoing support and encouragement to participants in the Danskin New England Triathlon. Becoming a Danskin mentor is fun way to give back to the sport and help more women experience the thrill and satisfaction of competing in triathlons. For more information, contact Elaine Vescio at: evescio@mpstraining.com

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Gee Whiz: Matching Aero Wheel Design to Wind Conditions 

It used to be that a rider would simply purchase a set of wheels with a relatively low spoke count for time trials and triathlons. Today, wheel technology has advanced significantly, and it's possible to match an aero wheel design to the wind conditions on the course to achieve optimal performance. 

There are two terms that you need to know: wind direction; and apparent wind direction, which also is known as yaw.  Wind direction is pretty simple: it's the direction from which the wind originates, which also is the same direction that the wind is felt by a rider when standing still.  When a rider is in motion, however, the direction from which the wind appears to originate will vary, depending on his or her speed.  In simplest terms, faster riders experience smaller yaw angles than slower riders. 

You don't have to be a meteorologist of expert in mathematics to determine the likely apparent wind angle for race day, which can factor into your wheel selection.  Steve Hed, one of the pioneers of bicycle aerodynamics, has an easy to use online calculator that you can use to make sure that you've taken into account environmental variables as you prepare for your important race.  Just visit:

http://www.hedcycling.com/aerodynamics_technology/yaw_calculator.asp 

Examples: 

Let's take an average, middle of the pack rider who anticipates that he will ride at an average speed of 15 miles per hour.  Looking carefully at the weather records of the race venue, the rider anticipates that the likely wind during race day will be from the west at 15 miles per hour--it's a very windy course.  Plugging these values into Hed's apparent wind calculator yields the following results:

 

The wind angle on the rider in the example above is 45 degrees headwind. 

Now, take a second rider who tends to win her age group  on a regular basis; she anticipates that her average speed will be 30 miles per hour.  Entering her values yields the following results:

 

For this rider, the apparent wind angle while she is powering north will be approximately 27 degrees, which will feel much more like a head wind for her than the strong crosswind experience by the rider in the first example.

What's important is that the anticipated apparent wind angle can be used to help each rider select the best wheels for the event.  For the rider in example one, a wheel that performs in high apparent wind angles would be a good choice; for the second rider, a wheel that performs better in low yaw angles might be a better choice. 

What wheel, then, should each rider use?  Steve Hed also makes this determination easy through the use of his wheel drag calculator: 

http://www.hedcycling.com/aerodynamics_technology/

The wheel drag calculator enables a direct comparison of wheels in varying yaw angles.  In the example below, three wheels are compared: a traditional spoked wheel; a Hed trispoke wheel; and a Zipp disk wheel.

 

The traditional spoked wheel is represented by the top line.  As compared to a modern aerodynamic wheel, it isn't very effective at any wind speed and it represents at least twice the potential aerodynamic drag as the other two wheels in this example. 

The green line represents a Zipp disk; at an apparent wind angle of 5 degrees, there is no difference between it and the Hed trispoke in terms of aerodynamic drag; the same holds true for a yaw angle of approximately 17 degreed.  In between 5 and 17 degrees, a Zipp disk will out perform a Hed wheel.  But in yaw angles greater than 17 degrees, the performance of the Hed trispoke continues to improves, and even surpassed that of the Zipp disk.  Similarly, at very low yaw angles (0 to 5 degrees--that experienced by extremely fast riders) a Hed Trispoke might proved to be the best choice.

 What does all of this mean?  Slower riders most often experience high apparent wind angles, which means that they should select a wheel that performs well in high yaw angles, such as a Hed trispoke; very fast riders tend to experience very low yaw angles, which means that pretty much any modern aerodynamic wheel will yield excellent performance.  Using Steve Hed's two simple tools enables riders of any ability to select wheels that will be the best match for them and the wind conditions that they face.


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Tri-2-Excel Sports Videography 
Personalized Tri Video

 

The Personalized Tri Video (PTV) is a video of just your triathlon/duathlon experience.  Sure you've seen other video coverage of sporting events but this one is tailored specifically to you! You will see yourself as you come through the swim transition, biking out on the course, and running through the finish. The PTV helps you remember your race experience forever.

Click here for sample videos and a list of other available merchandise.

 

 

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Upcoming FIRM Events—Half Iron Distance Events

Are you a sprint or Olympic distance triathlete that is thinking about doing a longer race this season?  Or maybe, you have an ironman on your race calendar and are looking for a nice half iron distance event to top off your training. Then check out FirmMan Massachusetts and FirmMan Rhode Island. These two half iron distance events are challenging, competitive, and local. Unlike many other events in this category, the entry fee for these events won’t break the bank. And participants in each of the FirmMan half iron distance events earn triple entries into the Vasa and FIRM Racing Sweepstakes with the grand prize of a Vasa Swim Ergometer.

FirmMan Massachusetts on June 7, 2009

Set in pretty Camp Lowe in scenic Lancaster, MA, FirmMan MA offers a swim in placid Fort Pond, a bicycle ride through Lancaster and surrounding towns that include a few decent climbs, and a run on rolling terrain. It’s a nice challenging course for any triathlete and is a good match course-wise and timing-wise for those who have Ironman Lake Placid on their schedule this year. Click here to register for FirmMan Massachusetts.

FirmMan Rhode Island on September 13, 2009

A perennial favorite, FirmMan Rhode Island, starts with a swim in Narragansett Bay, moves on to a surprisingly hilly bicycle ride mainly on highways, and finishes with a run over a rolling course with a final “dash” along the sandy beach to the giant FIRM finish line. Click here to register for FirmMan Rhode Island.

 

Remember to check out all twenty-five multisport events on the 2009 FIRM Race Calendar. We offer a variety of fun and competitive events to keep you racing from April through October.  Click here for the complete listing of 2009 FIRM events.  

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Special Offers from Our Sponsors

Vescio Multisport Performance Services

 


Vescio Multisport Performance Services is thrilled to once again be the official coaching organization for the FIRM Race Series, and we look forward to helping FIRM athletes achieve their athletic goals in 2009.  

Sign up for any Vescio MPS Platinum or Gold Level Program by May 31, 2009 and get 20% off the first month’s coaching fee. To receive the discount, enter “FIRM20” in the appropriate space on the client sign-up form. This offer may not be combined with other offers.

www.mpstraining.com  

 


QuadMultisport

 

 


Bring the following coupon to Quadmultisport by May 31, 2009 and receive a 20% discount on any Quintana Roo bicycle and/or Quintana Roo wetsuit.  This coupon is good for in-shop purchases only and is not applicable for online purchases.

www.quadmultisport.com

 

 

 Tri-Sports.com

 

 TriSports.com is excited to help all FIRM series racers start their 2009 season the right way! We would like to offer you 10% off and free shipping on all orders over $150. Just use promotional code FIRM9-R. All shipping costs will be adjusted manually after you have placed your order with TriSports.com. Offer valid until 5/31/09 and is for UPS ground shipping in continental United States only.

www.tri-sports.com

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