Tag Archives: Tempe

Competing In An Ironman Triathlon Through Pam Kallio’s Eyes

The Ironman triathlon is no joke. The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike course and a complete marathon (26.2 miles) to be completed within 17 hours in order to finish the event. It is, indeed, a very long journey and it takes a dedicated individual to train day in and day out. But in the end, Ironman triathletes know it’s worth the sacrifice.

Pam Kallio

Pam Kallio

I wanted to find out more about this highly competitive and super-charged sport, so I spoke with Pam Kallio, a veteran triathlete, who will be competing in her 13th Ironman race this month in Tempe, Arizona. The Ironman Arizona has been in Arizona since 2005 and is a qualifier for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

Ironman Arizona

Ironman Arizona

The triathlon starts with the swim in Tempe Town Lake. The bicycle portion of the triathlon takes competitors on a three-loop course that starts in Tempe and zig-zags out to the Beeline Highway, which gradually climbs approximately 10 miles through the Sonoran Desert to the turnaround just before Shea Boulevard, ending up back at Tempe Beach Park. Then the competitors run a course set up around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park. This year Ironman Arizona race is being held on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.

Now that you know what these athletes are up against, let’s get down to business and see what it’s like to prepare for the ultimate race, the Ironman.

Pam’s Occupations: Triathlete, Triathlon and Cycling Coach, Customer Service /Distribution Manager at TriSports.com

 

What sparked your interest in triathlons? How long have you been competing?

Pam: I always wanted to run a marathon and in the past I trained on and off for years, but I was really busy with my day job and it got in the way of training. I finally ran one in 2000. It was the Hops Marathon in Tampa, Florida. This marathon was on an Air Force Base, and it was just a straight path with no shade or spectators. It was the most boring thing in the world. I had it built up to be this glorious event and it was so boring. On the way home, I stopped at a bike shop and picked up a cycling magazine and started to get into swimming as well, with a girlfriend of mine who swam competitively, I was 47 and never really swam much before and I wouldn’t put my face in the water, but I wanted to do this.

The marathon was in December 2000, and my first sprint triathlon was in May 2001, after that I was hooked.

Now, I’ve competed in over 100 triathlons and have 12 Ironman finishes and I’ve also competed in each of the sports individually- cycling, running, mountain biking and swimming.

I used to be intimidated by people just wearing the Ironman logo, but now it’s my favorite race.

Ironman Triathlon

How many months/years of training did it take to prepare for an Ironman Triathlon?

Pam: A year from when I picked up the magazine. I did my first triathlon in May 2001, and my first Ironman in June 2002.

Why do most people compete in triathlons?

Pam: Oh it’s for a variety of reasons. The sport has grown tremendously popular in the last five years. It’s the Ironman. Maybe it’s on your bucket list, some people do it for their health, others in honor of relative, or for the journey you take. You find out a lot about yourself, will you quit, how far will you go? Some people get really hooked, like me. They love the competitive aspect of the sport.

“When you cross the finish line it’s like nothing else, the most tremendous feeling in the world. You know what it’s cost to get there.”

The crowd is like no other, and it’s amazing to watch the finishers cross the line. The last people to finish are the cancer survivors, the people in their 70s, the stories are just really touching. It’s hard not to tear up or get goose bumps when the announcers tell you to cheer on so and so, and the crowd goes wild for these competitors.

You’ve competed in Ironman races in St. Croix, New Orleans, Arizona, Florida and most likely others. Which location has been your favorite and why?

Pam: I don’t have a favorite; each race has its own personality. I really like competing in Lubbock, Texas, it’s called the IRONMAN 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake and I love it because of the people who host the race. Marty and Mike Greer are tremendous hosts who put on the race. They invite you into their community, into their home, if you forgot something, you are completely taken care of.

There’s also an ocean swim in Florida that is pretty amazing and the weather is always perfect in Panama City. I loved being a part of the Inaugural Arizona race in 2005 and I loved racing in St. Croix, it’s just so beautiful racing on an island. Every place you go you get the personality of the town and the people.

Pam Kallio in St. Croix

Pam Kallio in St. Croix

How beneficial is it to the athlete to train in the same weather conditions as the race?

Pam: Very, very, very beneficial, if possible, and with similar terrain. When I lived in Florida, everything is flat so training could be better. Now I live in Tucson and it has lots of hills and it’s really great for training. The hardest issues to deal with are extremely hot and dry climates and places with higher elevation.

There are usually training camps where athletes can go to train in the appropriate weather conditions and terrain before the race.

Training for an Ironman

Training for an Ironman

Do you think the Arizona climate is good for the Ironman Triathlon? Are some IM locations more desirable than others?

Pam: Yes, I live here I think it’s perfect. Depending on the time of year, it’s perfect, in May or June it’s getting hot, but spring and fall is perfect for racing here.

Certainly there are preferable locations, based on weather variants.

The Ironman races are usually scheduled for the time of year that weather is stable in that particular city. Some are more desirable because of the venue.

I understand that people travel from all over the world for the Ironman Arizona. Why do you think it has such a strong following?

Pam: Tempe is one of the most spectator-friendly venues, they get to see their athlete on the course many times because the course loops. At some Ironman locations, your family may only get to see you during the transitions. It’s really important to have support from your family during the race, the longer the distance the more you need family support.

Ironman World Championship Kona

The Ironman Arizona is also an early qualifier for the Hawaii Kona World Championship in October. So athletes strategically pick the races for best chance for a slot in their age group.

Also in Arizona, the weather is perfect for family vacations; some places already have snow where they may live, so racers usually bring their families along for a minivacation. This is also a fast course, it’s much preferred over very hilly or technical course.

It’s a week before your race. Walk me through your mental state and how you prepare leading up to the big day. What goes through your mind during the race? Do you have a mantra or repeat a phrase- what tactics help you power through the distance?

Pam: Well the race can last from 9 to 17 hours and that’s a long time. Everything conceivable will go through your mind, there will be moments where you just keep going like your flying on a cloud, it’s phenomenal, but throughout the race you will have aches and pains. If something is hurting, it’s best not to focus on it because 5 minutes later something else will hurt and a few minutes later something else will feel good.

You have to get through that moment, catch your breath and then there’s another challenge to face.

I try not to think ahead, not look back, just live in that moment in time, keeping your mind clear and when you finally get there, it’s a phenomenal feeling.

I tell my athletes, have a mantra, and when you’re in a bad place mentally that’s what the mantra is for. The brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Distract it from the pain for that moment.

Staying positive is really the most important thing, just focus on what your doing and don’t allow any negative thoughts while you’re in this zone.

You always have more physically in the tank than your mind thinks you have.

What is the first thing you want to do when you finish the Ironman race?

Pam: I always look around for my husband at the finish line. I want a hug and also sit down and take my shoes off. I recover for a few minutes, and then I’m ravenous. I want greasy pizza and everything unhealthy! I’m soooo hungry after the race. I also like to watch others cross the finish line and hear their stories.

What is your best time or PR- Personal Record?

Pam: For a Half Ironman 5:55 and a full Ironman 12:07.

What advice do you give to your clients before their first race?

Pam: For their first Ironman, just to relax and enjoy the experience. You have to do one before you can race one. It’s a journey, the training, the people you meet, what you learn from others and about yourself. Enjoy the entire experience. If you’re too tense you’re not going to race well anyways. Make a memory out of it.

The Ironman motto is, “As long as your moving forward you’re doing ok.”

Some people like to workout to relax, but it seems as though working out would also be a big part of your career. How do you like to spend your downtime?

Pam: In this part of training (three weeks out), there really is no downtime.

I watch TV for about two or three hours a week. I’ll read for 15 minutes before bed and go to sleep. I love training. I’m a morning person. I like to be out there early in the morning it’s peaceful and it’s a nice break from the hubbub of life.

Three weeks out: The last six weeks have really been intense. This weekend is my last hard weekend, and then I’ll taper down with a shorter distance, but just as intense. I need to recuperate and soak in the training, like a race horse, work hard before race and then stay super healthy leading up to race day.

I’ve already peaked for the race, and the taper is part of the training process.

Do you have any advice for someone training for a race of their own that may not be as intense as the Ironman, but I am- I mean they are having trouble staying motivated, what would you tell someone in my sit- or their situation?

Pam: Get a coach. There’s no reason not to have one. I’m a level two triathlon and cycling coach and I went to my boss for coaching to give me the edge for Kona. Also it’s smart to get a good training partner.

If you have a coach or a partner, you have a purpose. I didn’t want to ride my bike in the cold this morning, but I knew my boss would ask me about it and I didn’t want to let him down.

If you need an amazing coach for your next triathlon, get in touch with Pam Kallio! www.trik2kalliokoaching.com

Kallio Koaching

Ironman Results: Top Ten

Congrats to all of the Ironman Arizona finishers! After a 2.4 mile swim in Tempe Town Lake, 112 mile bike ride on the roads of Tempe and Phoenix and then a 26.2 mile run to complete an IRONMAN, you should all be very proud. Thanks for visiting Tempe and showing all of us what truly great athletes look like.

Here are the top ten men and women of November 18, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona:

Nils Frommhold, the 2012 IRONMAN Arizona Champion

TOP TEN PRO MEN
FROMMHOLD, Nils: 08:03:16
MATTHEWS, Paul: 08:05:01
TOLLAKSON, Tj: 08:07:39
BUTTERFIELD, Tyler: 08:14:44
HAST, Jarmo: 08:16:12
MIKELSON, Ian: 08:19:41
STARYKOWICZ, Andrew: 08:20:39
RUSSELL, Matthew: 08:30:53
RITTER, Christian: 08:35:11
GERLACH, Thomas: 08:36:08

Linsey Corbin, the 2012 IRONMAN Arizona Champion

TOP TEN PRO WOMEN
CORBIN, Linsey: 09:01:44
KESSLER, Meredith: 09:06:44
ABRAHAM, Corinne: 09:15:13
GROSS, Sara: 09:18:07
WEERD, Mirjam: 09:24:30
CAVE, Leanda: 09:24:54 (2011 winner)
CHURA, Haley: 09:28:25
HOMO, Malaika: 09:28:43
WERNICK, Charisa: 09:30:30
SCHWABENBAUER, Kim: 09:30:57

Click here for results.

That Bike On Campus

I couldn’t walk by this bike on the ASU campus without snapping a photo. I’m usually drawn to unique bikes and this one certainly caught my eye when I was locking up my bike in front of the Computer Commons.

Lots of students ride bikes to campus and this was no exception. Do you ride a bike to school? I sure do!

20121113-135826.jpg

How to Survive Tour de Fat

New Belgium’s Tour de Fat is coming to Tempe this weekend and it’s a bike event you don’t want to miss! The event shines awareness on the environment and riding your bike instead of driving a car, and of course fun costumes and BEER! This will be my third Tour de Fat and I wanted to share some tips so you can have the best time ever this year!

Tour de Fat has arrived in Tempe!

When: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, Event starts at 9 a.m., Bike ride is at 10 a.m. and the event lasts until 3 p.m.

Where: Tempe Beach Park: 80 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281

Dress up for Tour de Fat!

These robots went all out for Tour de Fat!

The Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Bring your bike! Don’t forget a bike lock.
  • Get there early. It will be crowded because look how much fun you’ll have!
  • Dress up! If you don’t wear a costume, you are more likely to stand out. Most people wear a fun costume of their choosing- there’s no rhyme or reason. Get creative! Think of Tour de Fat, as early Halloween!
  • Bring your ID, some cash and sunscreen. These items will be important if you want to drink New Belgium beer and avoid getting a sun burn- yes even in October it’s still hot and sunny in Tempe.
  • Drink water and bring some with you.
  • Eat breakfast! You will be better off having eaten something than if you were to start drinking beer in the heat on an empty stomach.
  • Check out your bike the day before. You don’t want a flat tire or busted chain during the bike ride.
  • Call all your cyclist friends and invite them! The more the merrier!

Avoid the hassle. Don’t drive your car.

Don’t:

  • Drive: This is a biking event that encourages you to “trade in your car for a bike”. So ride your bike or take the light rail there. The parking lot will be pretty full, especially the later you arrive.
  • Ride your bike like you’re in a race. There will be many people in the bike ride and it’s best to ride to a leisurely speed to avoid injuries.
  • Bring pets, unless you have a bike basket for them to ride in. They could get hurt being in a crowd of cyclists.

Check out the New Belgium website for more information! See ya there!

Thank you New Belgium!

 

Biking On Campus

Two weeks of the fall semester is underway and I’ve seen tons of students commuting by bike around the Tempe campus. It just warms my heart! Or maybe it’s the fact the temperature is still lingering in the three digit temperatures and probably will be for quite awhile still to come.

But anyways, it’s good to see lots of students on bikes. So many actually- I sometimes can’t find a bike rack with an empty spot on the Tempe campus. Maybe it’s when I’m on campus that is just really busy or possibly more and more people are making the choice to ride a bike for transportation.

One morning last week, I rode around for awhile looking for a spot to park my ride. I finally found an open spot and locked it up with two locks: a thick cable woven through my tires and a Kryptonite U-lock to seal the deal. It’s important to secure your bike with two locks in order to discourage bike thieves from tampering with it. Many other students have a method that works for them, but because I have been a victim of theft in the past, I now take these precautions. I even saw some bikes leaning on their kickstand and locked with a U-lock through a tire to prevent the bike from moving. As this technique can probably work, it does leave many other parts susceptible to be broken off or stolen. I am no expert, but just stating an unintended possibility of locking a bike this way- especially in a town that is known for bike theft.

My bike suffered a minor issue today, as when I unlocked the bike I noticed my chain had popped off. I normally don’t like to get very dirty, but I knew my bike was an important element in getting me from place to place for the remainder of the day. So I manned up and stretched out the greasy chain until I thought it was back in place. Hooray! I actually fixed something! Or so I thought….until I began to ride. The chain was moving alright, but it was making all kinds of clinking sounds that continued even after switching gears back and forth. At least I made it to my next class. I guess I’ll deal with it later.

So as soon as class let out, I unlocked my bike and rode it clink-clinking my way to the other end of campus and paid the guys at the Bike Co-op a visit. They were pretty busy today, so I guess others were having bike issues, also.

Luckily the chain was an easy fix for the bike experts on campus. They saved the day and sent me on my way to my next class. Thanks a bunch!

Register Your Bike With ASU!

If you ride your bike to campus, you have probably seen many other students cycling to class, as well. Because ASU is a haven for students on bikes, unfortunately it’s also a bike thieves’ playground.

In other blog posts, I have recommended ways to protect your bike from theft, but a simple way to document that your bike belongs to you – is to register it with ASU. It only takes a few minutes to enter your bike’s information and ensures you have proof that your bike is yours!

To register your bike with ASU:

  1. Visit https://cfo.asu.edu/bike-regform
  2. Enter your information and bike’s serial number
  3. Upload a photo of your bike
  4. Add any distinguishing features of your bike
  • EXAMPLE: My bike has a pink bell, white basket and a zebra striped seat.

If for some reason you need to report your bike stolen, this information will be very helpful in trying to locate it and get it returned to you. Trying to recall exactly what your bike looked like or the serial number could be difficult after the fact. Help yourself out and register your bike! Good luck cyclists!

It’s a Hard Bike Life for Me

It always amazes me how the mind of a bike thief works. My bike means so much more to me than it will to the thief for the part they stole. For the last three months, I have used my bike to get everywhere- to work, the store, to meet a friend for a drink- simply because I can’t afford to fix my car. I actually am starting to enjoy commuting by bike- I save lots of money on gas, get some exercise and don’t add more pollutants to the air. Luckily, most places I need to go aren’t too far away. The reason I purchased a bike a few years ago was to make getting around Tempe much easier and it’s been wonderful! But nothing seems to stop a bike thief. They are out looking for an opportunity. As much as I think I take precautions to avoid this, I’m not as careful as I should be. I guess I thought it wasn’t really fair to spend extra time whenever I need to lock it up to make sure all parts are secure and double locked. But even so, my bike has been the victim of theft many times on the Tempe campus or light rail stations, but also now in front of my own apartment. This time it was my seat that went missing, which makes a bike ride very uncomfortable. I also noticed that my cup holder was cut, not missing, but only tampered with. It just gets so very discouraging! I don’t really want to buy anything cute or expensive for my bike to make it stand out to a thief or anyone else walking by my bike.

But I guess when parking my bike at home, I should just carry the bike up to my third floor apartment to minimize theft risk to almost zero. I can handle a little more exercise! Plus it’s worth the feeling of insurance that my bike will be there when I need to get to work or school in the morning.

I sort of wish there were bike theft detectives to help with this problem because police really are too busy to worry about this and have a very low recovery rate for stolen bikes and probably also for parts. Tempe is one of the worst cities for bike theft. I don’t even have to look it up! (See my video interview with the Sgt. Stewart, Tempe police officer.)

So I’m back at the tireless circle of what prompted me to start this blog- theft. Ugggh! What’s a cyclist to do? It’s sad to say but nothing more than vent and take more action against bike theft in the future.

Too Busy Riding Around On My Bike

I know that I haven’t produced a particularly entertaining blog in some time. I’m really sorry about that! It’s a shame because there have been so many bike events going on in Tempe in April! After all we’ve had the most lovely weather that one could dream of for a bike ride! (I highly recommend Tempe Town Lake for a breezy ride during sunset- beautiful!) If you have attended any bike events recently please feel free to drop me a line about your experience at the event or even a photo. Whatever you want to share!

So here’s my excuse, I’ve been super busy with classes, a PR internship and even hiking when I really need to get out, but the important thing for my readers to know is that, where ever I may be, I most likely rode my bike there! Throughout the last few semesters at school, my car has been unreliable and I mostly use my bike on the daily! Think of all the gas money I have saved! (Although I’m still paying car insurance!?) I’ve taken my bike on the light rail many times and that is always an adventure. It’s difficult because my bike is about medium weight, which is too heavy for Lizzle to lift onto the little rack on the train. Sad face :(

Anyways, I usually upload photos to Twitter and sometimes to this blog, when my iPhone app is working correctly! If you want to keep up with me and my travels on bike, make sure to follow @twowheelintempe and @lizzlemynizzle. I also made up the hashtag is #GoRideABike and it’d be cool with me if you borrow that from time to time!

Happy Biking!

New Twitter Account

Two-Wheelin’ Tempe has been borrowing my Twitter handle for far too long and finally I decided to reach out in the Twitter world through a separate, but also wonderful, Twitter account. If you enjoy stories from cyclists, biking tips, information about gear, bike rides and events in Tempe- make sure to follow @TwoWheelinTempe! Thank you for stopping by!

 

#GoRideABike :)

Second Saturday Bike Rides

If you have been wanting to join in on local group bike rides and enjoy activities that usually stop or end near a bar, you will have more chances each month on Second Saturdays, all year!

Thanks to Tempe Bicycle Action Group, also known as TBAG, for scheduling these rides, making them fun and open to anyone! You don’t have to be an experienced cyclist like Lance Armstrong to participate. But remember to be safe. Bring a bike light, reflective gear and your U-lock!

ALL RIDES BEGIN at the Tempe Town Lake entrance on the NW corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway.

Here is the bike ride schedule for:

TBAG SECOND SATURDAYS 2012

March 10- Mustache Ride: Whether you have a mustache or not, buy one, grow one or draw one on for this fun ride! Here are some fabulous ‘staches to aspire to!

April 14- Hotel Bar Ride: How often do you frequent the hotel bars in this area? Give them a chance tonight! Actual hotel bar locations to be announced.

May 12- Prom Ride: If you can still fit into your Prom getup from high school, wear it! If not check out a local thrift store or your parent’s closet for your evenings attire.

June 9- ‘Steers and Beers’ Cowboy Ride: The perfect excuse to wear cowboy boots and saddle up on your bike for a fun night!

July 14- Second Saturday Ride

Aug. 11- Trailer Park Ride: Did someone say jorts? Find a outfit that Kid Rock would appreciate.

Sept. 8- Second Saturday Ride

Oct. 13- Zombie Ride: Prepare for Halloween with the Zombie Ride.

Nov. 10- Harvest Ride: Enjoy a bike ride in the crisp fall weather. Celebrate the season in any way you see fit!

Dec. 8- Eggnog Ride: The annual holiday lights viewing ride. Wear an ugly, holiday sweater and bring a thermos of eggnog!