Texas Triathlon Camp, Part I

author : tboepple
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Details on the first Texas Triathlon Camp with Tom Rodgers, Joe Friel, John cobb, Lauren Maule and Andre Rizo.

*Note, all material taken directly from notes taken, no material is reproduced.

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 master’s 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 John’s presentation are below.

After John’s 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 Triathlete’s Training Bible and were not completely certain what all of the terms meant or how to apply it’s 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 Joe’s presentations on bike physiology and periodization are below.

On Saturday, after Mr. Friel’s 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. Rizzo’s assisting coaches filmed each of the campers swimming – 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 tool.

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 governing transitions.

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 ‘bugs’ 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 don’t 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.


Aero Positioning on the Bike – John Cobb

 John’s 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!


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date: September 3, 2004