My coverage of Life Time Triathlon entered day two as I woke up and drove down to the course to meet some of the professionals that would be riding the course. I was not sure whether I would jus film, just drive or actually ride – but once I got there I decided that riding and brining my camera would be the best. On our ride we had Joanna Zeiger (had been trying to make USA Olympic team, even as she has won Ironman’s before), Joanna Lawn (winner of Ironman New Zealand this year, which has been her tradition for the past few years), Lawn’s husband and training partner Armandon, up and comer Chris Bagg. and Kris Swarthout (SCS Multisport.com coach).
We rode the whole course and it was great to talk to Joanna’s husband Armando since he has the experience of running around the world and training with one of the top Ironman females of the past decade. Frankly, and I’d have to check with the Life Time folks, I think that Joanna Lawn is the most decorated Ironman to ever race at Lifetime. I hope to grab an interview with her tomorrow and I’d love to ask her about how it feels to win in her home country time and time again. After this race they go on vacation to reset, and then the big training block for Kona begins with the training camp that they do with Cam Brown in France (xtri.com had some updates from Cam last year during that camp). So we rode the whole course and made sure to show them the bumpy parts of the road. Once we got back I got some video of Aaron Scheides and Luke McKenzie practicing the swimming portion and then running up toward transition. I am REALLY excited to see what they can do on this course and see if they can break that record. Can Aaron go 1:57? Yikes that is fast my friends.
On the way back to my car I ran into TJ Tollakson as he was riding right toward me. To be honest when I saw the big, recognizable Specialized helmet I thought that suddenly Terenzo Bozzone had showed up to race and I had missed it. But as he got closer I recognized TJ and man did his Specialized Transition look sweet. I remember reading in Triathlete Magazine that the new Transition would only fit specific rear wheels beacue of the flares on the back(Macca is sponsored by Shimano so he’d ride those instead of his old Hed’s that he use with his Kestrel) but TJ had a Zipp disc and 808s on the front. The wind had picked up but we did an interview and I hope the sound comes out ok – TJ is a hometown favorite for us here in Minneapolis since he’s based out of Des Moines (only 4 hours away).
Next up was going to the Expo to work for GW – I have to say it was really great to see so many new triathletes coming to ask questions and trying to get counseled for tomorrow’s race. It reminds me of my first triathlon at Life Time back in ’03 – and now I’m all triathloned out and helping others know what to use and what not to use! Ran into Cathy Yndestad (2 time amateur winner) and her sister - who is responsible for getting Cathy into our sport. Also ran into Frank Farrar who is the oldest Ironman finisher (I think 79 year old this year) who had just flown himself to MSP. He was telling me how MSP charges you $53 just to land - no parking included! Yes he is doing Life Time, so if you are too “old” think again.
Not much to report on apart from that – the goodie bag this year is better, with a full TYR transition bag, tech tshirt, and other stuff. As usual there were tons of nutrition booths (it seems to me like they are getting funkier and funkier with time), but it’s always great to see the Bakers Cookies people cause that is my favorite nutritional aid. The Orbea folks had the whole line up of road and triathlon bikes, while I wish someone would bring an Endless Pool some time since it’s always great to have people splashing in the water. Andy Potts, Hunter Kemper, and Sarah Haskins were asking each other questions at the Toyota experience, while I ran into Julie Dibens at Becky Lavelle’s foundation – Jenny’s Light. Last year at Chicago Julie told me she was going to try her hand versus Melanie McQaid and Jamie Whitmore – and try she did! She is the reigning XTERRA World Champion and she is now riding XPLANET bikes. She is doing more of the Life Time Series races, British National Champs, the London Triathlon (how does a 13,000+ person triathlon sound?), maybe one more 70.3 and then it’s back to Hawaii to defend. This lady can bike with the best of them so we’ll see what that translates into tomorrow.
Lastly, and yes, yes I am biased since I have been living here for a decade, but Life Time really does know how to put on a professional race. I heard it from the pros time and time again – how impressed they were with the amount of attention they were receiving in making their stay in Minneapolis great. So let me not be the first or the last to invite you to come out to our little town and race next year.
I left right around six and ran into Greg Bennett and Craig Alexander down at the Orbea booth so I gave them a ride back to their hotel. What ride was it? Yes, we are one car family so once in a while I ask to borrow my dad-in-laws car and it is as 1992 Buick Grandmaster (yes with wooden panels!). So I pull up to the Convention center and there are Mr. Bennett and Crowie (brand new zipp disc no less) to pick them up. First comment: “wow these big old American cars!” Well this has been a long day and tomorrow will be even longer. Wake up time for Life Time will be around 4:45am, and once I get on the ground it will be interviews galore.