Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hillary Biscay Ironman Lanzarote Race Report

To all my lovely sponsors,
Thank you so much for all of your support! I am back in ironman-a-month mode. Here is the report on last weekend's adventure at Ironman Lanzarote.

Thanks again for all you do,

On Saturday I recorded my 35th iron-distance finish, and in doing so, finally had my own experience of one of the most legendary ironman events: Lanzarote. It is often called the toughest ironman on the circuit; and with its long, mountainous climbs totaling more vertical feet than any other ironman bike course, Lanzarote’s is generally accepted to be the slowest and most challenging 180-kilometer ride in an ironman. Despite the fact that this sort of bike course doesn’t suit my strengths, I had heard way too much hype about Lanzarote not to have a crack myself one of these days…My pre-race course scouting seemed to confirm that this race was the real deal, and in some sick way, I was thrilled.

Race morning I was checking over course details in the program one last time while shoving down my peanut-butter baguette. It then occurred to me that it might be a good idea to see how long this infamous bike ride tends to take–understanding that conditions vary year to year, and that wind is a big factor on this course. I looked over the historical data with splits for the women’s podium finishers, and decided that my bike bottles needed some more calories! It was going to be a longer day than I had imagined. Epic. I couldn’t wait to have the experience–to really be able to understand what people meant when they told Lanzarote stories.

The Lanzarote swim is a beautiful two-loop ocean swim along the beach. The swim start, however, was to be a special version of my least favorite kind, which is age groupers and pros all together, starting on the beach. This time the pros would be standing in ankle-deep water a few meters ahead of the age groupers, who would be charging full speed at us from the beach behind–with everyone (1300 people) aiming for a left-turn buoy 150 meters off the beach. That sort of claustrophobia is pretty much my worst nightmare. So I took my friend Tara (Norton, an Ironman Lanzarote veteran)’s advice and took the long, but uncrowded, line to the right. I knew this meant giving up any chance of hopping on the feet of the top pro men, but I was willing to pay that price to have a stress-free swim start.

And that I did. I essentially had my own water all the way to the first swim turnaround, when I saw a group splitting off a few meters ahead of me. I sprinted to get on the back of this group, and then quickly made my way to the front. Looking around at the guys I was with, I knew this wasn’t the first swim group, but I also knew that the company was okay! So I sat back in for a free ride until the end of the first loop and then went to the front and tried to hit it on the second loop. I am not sure if I got rid of any passengers, but nobody came around me during this loop. It was all quite pleasant: I felt strong and my new ORCA 3.8 wetsuit was awesome. During what might be world’s longest run to and around T1, I heard the announcer say that I was the first woman out of the water, which made for a good start to the day.

I also thoroughly enjoyed my time at the front of the bike with a lead vehicle–it had been awhile since I’d had the pleasure. I knew it wouldn’t last forever, but it brightened my ride for the first 22 kilometers. The pro men also brought me lots of smiles during the first hour of the ride, as it seemed like every one who passed me gave a friendly yell as he went by. Although I think I temporarily lost concentration when Ain-Alar Juhanson (2x winner in Lanzarote and a very big unit) flew by into a gnarly headwind because I have never been passed by something so closely resembling a steam train. I couldn’t believe how fast he was moving.

At about kilometer 22, Rachel Joyce (who eventually finished second) was the first woman to pass me. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to these things on Saturday, as I was determined to do my own race and not let anyone else affect my mindset or performance. I needed to be especially focused on this plan, because I have learned the hard way that I am at my best when I am just enjoying the day and the experience of pushing myself, while just taking in everything positive from my environment. My aim in Lanzarote was to get back to this mindset; this particular event lent itself well to this mission because from what I had heard, it was to be a particularly long day in which anything could happen.

So I just appreciated as many aspects of the Lanzarote bike adventure as I could, such as the stretch from kilometer 22 to 65, which was the one part of the course I hadn’t sussed out beforehand. It was a pretty cool surprise, with a long stretch along a coastline that reminded me of the famous “17-mile drive” along the coast near Monterey, California, minus the mansions…I took it all in while trying not to smash myself before the halfway point, as directed by coach.

Kilometer 90 is halfway and on this course comes not long after the start of a stretch of about 40 kilometers which includes a whole lot of climbing. Once I passed that kilometer-marker, I knew I could dig in a bit more in the mountains. One of the many things I appreciated over the course of this ride was that my legs responded when I wanted to push, and that my quads did not feel like they were trapped in a vice grip; they had some spark, and that is always a nice bonus!

So I got rolling, feeling good, for a few kilometers until I heard a strange sound coming from my back tire. I didn’t feel like I had hit anything so I couldn’t imagine how I could have a flat–didn’t want to imagine, that is….I kept climbing and my back wheel started feeling quite bumpy. Still not eager to get off in the midst of the longest climb on the course–up to the Mirador de Haria–I looked around for approaching age group men to confirm that I needed to stop. Unfortunately, Dirk and Holger, etc. seemed to have no idea what I was asking while pointing at my back tire. I cursed myself for not learning German more quickly! Finally some spectators were able to tell me that my tire was flat; but given that I had never been able to successfully change a tubular in a race, I thought I would try to ride a bit more in the hope that a support wagon would come by and be able to oversee the tire-changing process. But no luck.

Well I really was in for an adventure today! No time like today, I thought, to conquer my fear of flatting in a race, just before conquering my fear of descending a long, mountain road of blind, hairpin turns . . . And while we are at it, I thought, why don’t we just conjure up the manifestation of my biggest cycling fear, which would be to do said descent on a dodgy tubular tire that I have just changed myself, and thus am not totally convinced is even going to stay on the rim of the wheel. Awesome! Well if that wasn’t an opportunity, I don’t know what is!

The good news was that I was able to change the tire myself; it certainly wasn’t quick, but I did it. And I got back on the bike on a mission to re-pass as many of the countless folks who had gone past while I was on the side of the road. It was nice to at least have the illusion of speed through the next section of the course, although my efforts were somewhat futile as most of the guys I would pass would just pass me right back on the descents. I had grand visions of being fearless on the descents during this race, but those went out the window after I started riding on a tire that was then stuck (or maybe not so stuck) on only with remnants of glue.

So I had a two steps forward, one step back sort of feeling up and over Mirador de Haria and Mirador del Rio. Then, with about 50 kilometers remaining in the ride, I knew it was time to go full speed ahead. This is the flattest stretch of the course, so it was time to get down in the bars and grind it out. To be honest, my legs were not as smashed as they should have been at this point; I knew this was probably because I wasn’t totally sure how to take this course, not having raced one like it before, and had probably held back too much early on. At this point the only thing I could do was try my best to push those legs for all they were worth over the last section of the course. I played Pac-Man and just tried to pass as many guys as possible.

In the meantime, I had no idea how many women had passed me while I was on the side of the road, and I was pretty convinced that I must be in last place. Again, this wasn’t something I could worry about, so I just set my mind on a mantra for the run: “3:20 or bust.” No matter how my legs felt when I came off the bike, they were going to feel great. Get it?! I jumped off the bike and oooh! Smiled. Legs feel great. 3:20. I just thought about all of the long tempo runs I had done in the past couple weeks at a much faster pace and told myself that this was easy.

On the first loop of the run I realized that I was in fact not in last place, but in eighth. That was a nice surprise, but I was all about 3:20; that was all I could control, and I knew that on this course my placing would take care of itself if I could execute that run split. (Before this year and Bella (Comerford)’s 3:04, Paula Newby Fraser’s record of 3:09 on this run course had stood for 15 years.) Soon enough I actually did feel like a running machine, just the way I had been feeling in training (Yes, I realize this is all relative: I don’t know what it feels like to be a real running machine, but this is a Hillary Biscay “I can run all day and feel like I am actually moving” run machine.).

The run was four loops of 10.55 kilometers, so while I don’t like to check my watch frequently, I could do so each lap to make sure I was on track. My first half marathon was just under 1:38, and that was encouraging. While you can never know when the proverbial piano might fall on your back during these runs, I felt strong and steady and like I’d be able to hold on. ”One more lap on pace and then a victory lap,” I told myself.

And that was what I did, while trying to dodge the chaos of the crowds, aid station-congestion, and walkers on these last couple laps. . . I was still on pace as I started the last lap, and in spite of tightening legs which made holding a pace close to lap one’s increasingly difficult, I smiled my way through the last 10km. I was running in for fifth place, but this was my victory lap on Saturday.

Yes I had some bad luck on the bike, but more important to me than placing or prize money on this day was earning back one much more valuable thing: my confidence. With some big changes in my professional and personal lives over the past few months, it has been a trying time, and I spent a lot of time struggling to be at my best, mentally and physically. In the weeks before Lanzarote, I finally had begun to feel like I had my game back, but I needed to show myself that I could perform when it counted in order to really be sure. For me, this meant feeling strong all day, digging in when it hurt, and enjoying the whole experience. Hence being able to push through that marathon and get my 3:20 run split comprised the last step in the day’s process of confirming for myself that ”I’m back.” (I must thank my K-Swiss K-onas for their assistance. Love these shoes.) The scoreboard said fifth place, 10:28.

The season is on a roll now: next up is Ironman Japan in four weeks!

Many thanks to all of my sponsors for their support: K-Swiss, PowerBar, ISM, Zipp, ORCA wetsuits, and Fuel Belt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All About Adamos

Here's a cool video a friend and dealer of ours did. Todd Kenyon is the owner of TT Bike Fit. Todd's the real deal and has worked with several world class athletes and champions. Check out his site and blog for cool articles about aerodynamics and fit. Todd did our seat set up video and here the latest video from him with some great info about our different products. Click the link and scroll down a little. Thanks Todd!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Race Updates

May 10, 2009 Multisport Mayhem Duathlon Illinois Stunner Guy Petruzzelli wins the pro divsion duathlon. Way to go Guy. Ladies don't mind his tough guy image. He's really a teddy bear!

May 17, 2009 Ironman 70.3 Florida Orlando, FL Jo Lawn exited the bike and had enough to outkick her competitors for 2nd place. Nina Kraft finished the day with a 5th place. Joanna uses her Adamo Racing saddle and Nina uses the Adamo Road. Great finish ladies!

May 17th, 2009 Memphis in May Triathlon Memphis, TN In his first race as a pro, ISM athlete Zach Winchester finishes 7th! Proud of you Zach.

May 23, 2009 Ironman Lanzarote Canary Islands Bella Bayliss wins!!! This is Bella’s 9th career Ironman victory. She entered T2 in 5th place and would eventually run her way into 1st and win by a 20 minute margin. In fact, she bested her last year’s winning time by over 7 ½ minutes! Best of luck while you prepare and target Kona, Bella. Also noteworthy was Hillary Biscay’s 5th place finish. Bella competes using an Adamo Racing saddle and Hillary on her long trusted Adamo Road.

May 24, 2009 Ironman 70.3 Austria St/ Poelten, Austria Team TBB and ISM athlete Lucie Zelenkova finished 2nd for the day. Lucie would exit the water first and maintain her lead throughout the 56 mile bike and enter T2 1st. She would eventually get run down, but held on to 2nd. Way to go. ISM rider Erika Csomor would hold on to 6th. Both ladies competed using their Adamo Racing saddles.

Wassner Twin Powers.............ACTIVATE!

Wassners 1 st and 3rd at Columbia Triathlon

The Wassner twins traveled to their home state of
Maryland for the 26th Annual Columbia Triathlon

on Sunday May 19. In drenching rain, Bec defended
her 2008 title with a three minute victory over
three-time Columbia Triathlon winner Margie Shapiro.
Laurel surprised the crowd with her 3rd place finish in
a strong field that included undefeated Iron man
champion Chrissie Wellington.

The twins swam side-by-side for the 1500m swim, exiting the water in I st and 2nd place.
On the bike, Bec pulled away and rode the very hilly 40k alone. "It started pouring rain halfway
through the bike, but I just put my head down and kept FIGHTing. With no competitors in sight
it was challenging to stay on pace, but that's what training is like most of the time." Once out on
the run course, Bec extended her lead and comfortably ran away from the rest of the field.
Meanwhile, Laurel was just a few minutes behind, bettering her bike time from last year by 3
minutes. "I've been working on improving my cycling, but the biggest difference was my new
bike, a Cervelo P3, my Rudy Project aero helmet, and also a brand new set of race wheels that
were a generous gift from Conte's bike shop in Bethesda, Maryland."
The twins were 2 of 52 competitors racing for Team Fight--the triathlon training team that
benefits the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. "Seeing so many teammates in yellow
along the race course was hugely motivating to us. Congratulations to all the finishers and
keep on FIGHTing!"
The Ulman Fund and the Livestrong Young Adult Alliance have
just announced a new triathlon for 20 I O. The "Half Full"
Triathlon is a 70 mile fight for young adult cancer support and
will take place on October 3, 20 I 0 world-wide LlVESTRONG Day.
Please see www.halffulltrLorg for more information.
For more photos from the race please see

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Seat, New Ads, and Michellie!

Hello everyone. This is a brief blog entry, but I wanted to keep you all posted with what's been going on today. Here's an action shot of ISM athlete Michellie Jones (taken by Paul "Pablo" Healing). She always looks good. Check out that tricked out paint job.

Here's an ad we've been working on this week. We are obviously tooting our own horn here, but we've got a lot to brag about! Check the tri mags in the coming month for this one.

This ad was completed today. We are introducing a new saddle this month, The Adamo Century. Lycra cover and ultra cush for your tush.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Andy Potts wins Avia Wildflower Triathlon!!

"It's too easy" to quote my friend Russ Walker. Pretty soon I'm going to have to hire someone full time to write race reports!! ISM is experiencing huge racing success. Please have a look at this past weekend's results in California and St. Croix.

May 2, 2009 Avia Wildflower Half Ironman Triathlon Lake San Antonio, CA Potts wins….AGAIN! Is this man stoppable? Andy Potts just won the St. Anthony’s Triathlon a week earlier in Florida and goes on to win Wildflower. Potts had a strong bike and entered T2 with a staked pack of racers. He would take the lead soon into the run and gain time on his competitors. Also noteworthy was Eneko Llanos’ 2nd place finish. Eneko contacted ISM about trying out a saddle the week before the event. Guess it worked for the Hawaii 2008 runner up. On the gal’s side, ISM athlete Erica Csomor would have to overcome a flat on the bike leg. She fixed it and would eventually finish 3rd! WOW! Best to all our athletes and thanks for riding ISM saddles. Andy Potts races using the Adamo Road saddle and Erica Csomor uses the Adamo Racing. Another mention is famed ex pro cyclist turned triathlete Saul Raisin competed with his new Adamo Racing saddle. Congrats Saul!!

May 3, 2009 St. Croix 70.3 Triathlon St Croix, US Virgin Islands St. Croix has always been an event I wanted to compete in. One day perhaps. The day was tough. Hot, windy, and with The Beast to climb! ISM would like to congratulate Nina Kraft for her 4th place finish and Jo Lawn on her 8th place finish. Both girls competed the week prior at St. Anthony’s. Nice job girls. Kraft uses an Adamo Road saddle and Lawn an Adamo Racing.

Wassner Twins / McLarty St.Anthony's Race Report

Here's a couple of race reports from ISM Pro women at St. Anthony's. Rebeccah won the event and Sara McLarty finished 3rd (ISM took top honors in the men's event a 1,2,3 in the female). Enjoy and keep the reports coming gang!

St. Anthony’s Triathlon – April 26th, 2009

After a great race, I seem to be more excited about writing a race report…which explains why this email is hitting your inbox today. St. Anthony’s was actually my third event of the 2009 season, but I finally posted results that I feel like sharing. It was finally a race where I felt confident to say “I’m Back!”
Living in Central Florida had its perks for this race…I drove over to St. Petersburg on Saturday morning after doing a morning training ride at home. I arrived with enough time to pick up a set of borrowed Zipp wheels, attend the pro meeting, and rack my bike in transition. Because I forgot about hotel arrangements until the last second, my reservation was down the road a few minutes…but it was nice to be away from the crowds.
Sunday morning started with a 4:15am alarm, breakfast in the hotel room, and a quick drive down to the event. I decided to try a bike warm-up on my trainer (since we can’t take our bikes out of the transition area) and really enjoyed being able to work up a sweat at 5:30am! While I was spinning next to the bike racks, the race announcers were continually updating the racers about the water conditions. The wind was whipping the bay into a frothy frenzy…before 6:00am they decided to cancel the swim for everyone except the professional men and women!
Of course, I had no complaints. I glanced out at the water and it looked like fun! As a result, the start beach was much less crowded than normal…just the timing crew, the announcers, and about 55 pro athletes. Among those was my brother Dustin…lining up for his debut race as a pro! No surprise to anyone, Dustin was the first male out of the water. A couple of minutes later, I made it a McLarty sweep by exiting :55 seconds in front of the next female.
As soon as I was on the bike, I knew it was going to be a good race. I felt amazing! My training over the past six weeks has been really strong and my coach has been pushing me hard. I had swum past a few of the male pros and I was surprised to be passing a few of them on the bike as well! The course has a few out-and-back sections so I could get a look at the next women…and check out how much I was closing on my brother!
The timing splits showed that I posted the fastest women’s bike split of the day by over one minute! And I had out-rode Dustin by four minutes! But during the race, I only knew that I had over two minutes of lead time going into the run…that information was provided by my coach, my father, and my trainer who were all screaming at me from the sidelines as I headed out for the final 6.2 miles.
At the turn around, I was able to see who was chasing me down…a handful of great runners led by Bec Wassner and Sarah Groff. The time check was down to one minute. I dug deep and kept the lead until mile 5 when Bec passed me. Then I started hearing time checks that Sarah was closing the gap. It was down to :15 seconds at mile 6, just one corner away from the finish. I didn’t bother looking behind me; I was on an empty tank and still a couple 100 meters from the finish. With 50 meters to go, in the finish shoot, with the crowd going crazy, with my eyes rolling back in my head, Sarah out-sprinted me for second place!
It was one of the closest finishes in St. A’s history…the first three women were separated by just :27 seconds. And, on a more personal and painful note, Dustin’s finish time was :33 seconds faster than me!
I’m very proud of my race result. It was a great confidence builder after a year away from racing and six months after surgery. My rest and recovery time is very short because I am already in South Korea for my next event. May 2nd, at 2:10pm, in Tongyeong, I will be competing in the first 2009 ITU World Championship Series event!
Later, Gators

Friday, May 1, 2009

ISM Wins Male and Female Pro at St. Anthony's Tri

ISM DOMINATES BOTH MALE AND FEMALE PRO DIVISIONS AT ST. ANTHONY'S TRIATHLON! We’ve done it before and we’ll likely do it again. Andy Potts and Rebeccah Wassner win! The day started with high winds cancelling the swim portion for amateurs. The pros would brave the water and hop on the bikes for a challenging course. Andy would enter T2 in the lead and never looked back. The women’s event played out till the last mile. Rebeccah Wassner would prevail in the end, but ISM athletes Sarah Groff and Sara McLarty would finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. Rounding in the top ten was long course pro, Nina Kraft finishing 9th on her Adamo Road saddle. ISM athletes Becky Lavelle and Jo Lawn would finish 12th and 13th respectively. Potts raced on his Adamo Road saddle and the top 3 females used Adamo Racing seats. More pictures can be found in the Gallery section of our site.

Rebeccah Wassner accepting her winnings!

Dave Bunce helping Sister Madonna with her ISM Racing Saddle fit.

Ironman Champion Jo Lawn hanging in the ISM booth with Kristi.

ISM owner Steve Toll with ISM athlete Laura Bennett signing her Olympic Adamo Racing seat.

Dave and Steve chatting with power couple Greg and Laura Bennett!

Becky Lavelle leaning into the last corner.

Winner Rebeccah Wassner on her Adamo Racing saddle.

Stud Andy Potts entering T2 with his Adamo Road saddle!

Andy Potts with his game face.