Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Wear Cycling Clothing???

Cycling clothing is designed to fit on your body in a completely different way that everyday clothing does.  Cycling clothing moves with you in the ways that your body moves when you are cycling.  Cycling clothing supports your pelvis, and the tender tidbits that make-up your pelvic structure.  Cycling clothing also serves to wick moisture away from the body so that you experience less stress on the skin and less friction from the clothing on the surface of your skin.

Sex Specificity
Don’t get carried away, this has nothing to do with what happens in the bedroom, but it does have a great deal to do with the anatomy that’s involved!  We are light-hearted about this, but it can be a serious matter; did you know that excessive loss of blood-flow to the nether region of the pelvis can cause long-term and even permanent damage?!?  Well as we said before it DOES have everything and nothing to do with the bedroom-but in all seriousness!!! The correct short (sometimes anatomy specific chamois can be a world of difference) and the perfect saddle (some women’s saddles can significantly enhance the ride experience) can be the difference between hours of saddle-time bliss, or the nightmare that lasts far reaching beyond just the time in the saddle!  Be ‘pudendaly enlightened’…get a saddle pressure mapping done (ask a fit specialist what that means)!

Go commando!
While undies might feel more natural than the diaper feeling pad pressed between your legs, cycling shorts ARE NOT design to be worn with underwear.  The chamois (a fancy French word given to name the pad in the bike shorts) is a multi-density cushion that is biomechanically designed to work with your pelvic anatomy to reduce pressure on soft-tissue, minimize possible germs and growth of bacteria, and to wick moisture away from sweaty places.  How does this work?!?  The chamois is designed of multiple layers that support the pelvis.  A nicer (yes, often times more expensive) quality chamois will consist of more than one level of density.  A lesser quality chamois is often made of a simple padding material to give adequate cushion for the rider riding no greater than 45 minutes.
Another reason to go commando is so you can utilize chamois cream.  This is a product that is known by many names such as: Button Hole Chamois Cream, Chamois Butter, AssMagic, Go Slik, DZNutsBliss, Hoo-Haa Ride Glide, Petal Power Joy Ride, and Ballocks…the claims are as varied as the names are, and while these names could easily be stolen from K-Y’s personal lubricant division, they DO the trick!  Chamois cream, helps to mitigate bacterial growth and friction by providing anti-bacterial ingredients, and skin soothing chemicals to help reduce irritation in the perineal area.

Why so tight?
Non-cyclists might not understand why riders wear such snug duds; it would become very apparent on a long, hot, windy day on the bicycle!  Most cycling clothing is designed to be tight because of its moisture and heat transfer properties.  The human epidermis, your skin, does a phenomenal job of dissipating heat from the body, in the form of moisture…sweat!  This wet heat is excreted through sweat glands that cover the surface of your skin-this is very good…the trouble is that your skin is not completely covered with sweat glands-and while that sounds nifty, you’d probably wilt and fall over in dehydration.  Here’s where clothing selection comes in…many cycling garments are engineered to increase the virtual surface area of your skin, if you will; what this means is that if they fit snug to your skin, they will act as a second measure to dissipate that moisture and heat, thus lowering your surface, and ideally core body temperatures.  If you are working hard and getting hot, this is awesome!  One manufacturer boasts that it increases the virtual surface area of your skin by 4 times because of the bio-engineering of its fabrics.

Train Smart, Keep Balanced.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winter IS Coming!

With Winter just around the's time to start sorting the accomplishments from last year, and the aspirations for the Transition Season, and the goals for next Summer!  Here are some questions that will help you starting thinking about these things.  In the coming months I will be posting ideas for your Transition Season and ways to keep you healthy and active this Winter.

1) What was the most fun part of my season?

2) What was an area that I occasionally but consistently had some problems with?

3) What was my strongest discipline? Why might have that been?

4) What was my weakest discipline?  Why might have that been?

5) If training solo, was it enjoyable to train by myself, or would it have been more fun with someone else?

6) Was my family involved in my training and racing?  Did they seem to enjoy being part of the experience?

7) What would I like to get from my tranisition season this year?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mixes I Use to Keep Spin'n

Photo Credit: Trek Bicycle Corporation
It's cold outside.  Polar Vortex, Alberta Clipper, I don't care what you call it, it's been down-right chilly in metropolitan Minneapolis.  The cycle-classes I teach have been the superb answer to my cabin fever, and although they don't compare to a beautiful summer afternoon ride, they have served to keep me in the saddle.  I have done some pseudo-research on the music that keeps the cadence going for many spin instructors, and club goers alike, and have distilled some of my findings here for your education and some anecdotal insight. 

There is a science behind cycle-class music, that previous to this Winter I knew next to nothing about.  Music that is typically used for spin classes or cycle-classes is often referred to as dance music, club music or simply techno.  Although these are three terms used they don't really cover the breadth and depth of electronic music.  There are several genres of electronic music that are most popularly used for cycling classes, and they are most commonly used because of their beat.  I will touch on a couple of these genres, but for sure, try them all on for size and see which keeps you rolling best.

Hardcore is a genre that is characterized by its slightly higher rapidity and cadence.  Hardcore, a subset of the broader techno music was formed in the 1990's in the underground rave scene and features noticeable loud bass lines and often characteristic kicks (a term used to describe a loud drum line or beat).  Hardcore is a very popular genre and with a beat around 160-200 BPM, it's half beat makes for a good options for your cadences between around 80-100rpms.

Trance is another style of electronic music.  Unlike hardcore however, it has a beat that ranges from 125-160 BPM, so although it would be difficult to ride at a 150 cadence, you can half it and ride on the half beat when the BPM range is in the 150-160 rhythm range.  Trance has a sound quality that is soothing in nature which is where it gets its name.  Its hypnotic sound qualities allow it to be a form of music that has a good beat, but also doesn't leave your brain rattling for hours after you've stopped listening to it.  Armin van Buuren is a very popular artist that mixes a great trance mix.  Here is an example of his work:  

Another example of trance is found in a great deal of DJ Tiesto's music as seen here:

Trance is a good style if you are riding if you are doing hill work or are grinding at a lower cadence.

Another genre of electronic music popular in the cycling-class community is House.  House music is a style of music that is characteristically played at clothing retailers or on the catwalk.  House music is synonymous with fashion music.  House music has a slightly slower beat at about 115-130 BPM.  Even though house is a bit faster than a typically fast cadence for cycling, you'll find that much of the house music out there has several beat lines which makes it easy to crank along at about a 90 cadence to this cadence to push around 18-20mph when in the big chain-ring and mid-way up your cassette in back.

DJ's that I have recently enjoyed using in my mixes include the artists I've mentioned: DJ Tiesto,  Armin van Buuren, and also names like DJ Sammy, Skrillex, Andy Hunter, and ATB.

An example of my playlist for a Saturday morning "Weekend Warrior" class looks like this:
1. Tu Es Foutu (R&R Remix) Clubland Vol.3
2. Summer of 69,(Remixed), Bryan Adams
3. Don't Wake Me Up (Deluxe Remix), Chris Brown
4. Viva la Vida (Factory Dance Remix) Axel Force
5. Get Down Saturday Night (LMC Remix) Oliver Cheatham, Clubland Vol.3
6. Feel So Close (Extended Mix) Calvin Harris, Ultra Dance 13
7. To Life To Love, Life Album, Andy Hunter
8. Heaven, DJ Sammy
9. Fly On The Wings of Love, XTM & DJ Chucky Clubland Vol.3
10. Can't Live a Day, Avalon 02, Avalon Remixed
11. El Shaddai, Felicia Sorensen, Sonic Praise 2
12. Your Love is My Drug, Ke$ha, Now That's What I Call Club
13. Self Control, Clubland, Clubland Vol.3
14. Alive, Life Album, Andy Hunter
15. Sun Is Up (Play & Win Radio Edition, Inna, Ultra Dance 13
16. This Is Goodbye, Clubland, Clubland Vol.3
17. A Maze of Grace, Featuring the Katinas, Avalon 02, Avalon Remixed
18. The Best Thing (Euro Stack Mix), Avalon 02, Avalon Remixed
19. Eyes (Extended Mix), Kaskade, Ultra Dance 13
20. Get Outta My Way (SDP Extended Mix), Kylie Minogue, Now That's What I Call Club
21. Bubbly, Colbie Caillat, Coco [This song used to help cool down]

We all march to the beat of our own drum, as the saying goes...but when it comes to cycling on my trainer indoors, I need some groove'n music to keep me rolling.  Hopefully these tidbits will be helpful in helping you find your groove.

Train Smart, Keep Balanced.
Tri Coach K

Friday, January 31, 2014

New Year's reSolutions

Photo courtesy of  Trek Bicycle Corporation
Well here we are January 31st and we are about to turn the calendar page for the first time in 2014.  How are you doing?  Is 2014 everything you'd hoped it'd be?  Are you sticking with your annual admonitions or have things started to trail off?  As we are experiencing our third "Polar Vortex" here in Minnesota, I admit I have had moments of pessimism about if and when the vortex will lift its hold on us and allow a sneak peek-or two-of Spring.

I have been inspired by many of my friends who have recently posted photos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social apparatuses, of the fun times in warmer places on business trips and vacations.  This inspiration has been enough to allow me to put warm clothes on and ride my bicycle in the snow and imagine that I am enjoying a slightly warmer summer day.  All this as a preamble to exhort each one of us that this is ultimately the most crucial of training times in the year.  Sooner than you can say 'Jim-Dandy' the Spring will come through like the 'roaring lion' and Summer will be in our midst.

My exhortation is threefold...get some time in the saddle, get those chicken legs moving, and spend at least one of your training days each week, at the pool.

I have been teaching cycling endurance classes 4 days a week, so I know that my derriere is somewhat acclimated to the saddle, but many folks don't ride on their bicycle until the snow melts.  Whether you have been riding an exercise bicycle at the club or maybe you haven't been cycling at all, I encourage you to get the bicycle on the trainer and clock some hours now, before it's too late.  Trainer riding can be one of the best forms of early season training you can do.  The trainer allows you to get used to your bicycle again, and also allows you to make sure that your fit on the bicycle is still keeping you comfy for the miles you will endure when you get outside.  Several of the athletes I instruct have chosen to try out a new saddle during their indoor cycling training.  If your local bicycle shop has a comfort guarantee with their saddles, why not use this time to try something new.  Saddles can be as pricey as $300 or more, but the expensive ones are not always best.  Talk with a fit specialist about the position you ride in and how long you will be in the saddle for.  These and other questions can help a fit specialist make a proper recommendation to keep you safe.

In a recent education seminar I attended, Coach Bobby McGee, one of the preeminent physiologist and coaches for the US Olympic Triathlon Team, talked about the importance of consistency with running training.  He surmises that for improvements that can be made in a year of concentrated effort for cycling or swimming, it will take 4 years of similar concentrated training to acquire the same physiological benefits in running.  A misnomer that many athletes and coaches believe is that running is often the discipline that injures and athlete most...this is not the case.  Top physiologists and sports medicine practitioners believe it isn't so much running that causes problems, it is lack of consistency in running training coupled by poor technique in the other two disciplines.  Distilled, running simply identifies an athletes existing physiological weaknesses more acutely.  So, while you plan to get more consistency in your running training, also make sure that you have a good strength and conditioning routine that addresses the major muscle groups that facilitate most directly with the ranges of motion you plan to utilize in your exercise.  A personal trainer, or exercise physiologist can give recommendations of exercises that will benefit you in this regard.  You can often times consult a physical therapist or mulitsport coach who has exercise physiology in their academic background.

Lastly, I can't say it enough...swimming is almost 100% technique.  Some of the fittest athletes suffer miserably in the water due to lack of proper technique and body movement in the swim.  I am currently working with an athlete who experienced a HUGE breakthrough last summer in his swimming.  He may attribute his immense improvement to my coaching, but I would say that most of it was simply helping him become more aware of what he was already doing and not doing.  We worked together in the pool about every other week for several months from February to May, but what helped him most was the video analysis I provided him with.  Almost every session I would video him swimming, and then provide him with a detailed analysis of what he was doing in certain frame of the video clip...each identification of something done right or wrong was paired with a technique drill to either correct a poor movement pattern, or to reinforce a positive technique pattern.  These clips were the source of his technique library that he could go back to time and time again and become more self-aware of how he was swimming and how certain elements of his technique effected the overall stroke.  Much of the time coaching doesn't have to be rocket science, it's simply someone coming alongside to identify what's going on and recommend ways to change things.

The weather guy might call the "Polar Vortex" the conundrum that's afflicting us right now, but don't let it trounce your enthusiasm for all that's still possible for your 2014 racing season.  I am stoked about the progress I am seeing in my athletes and in my own training, and even if your New Year resolutions haven't been all that you'd hoped thus far no better time to hit the restart button than now!

Train Smart, Keep Balanced,
Tri Coach K    

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Treadmill vs. Road

Part of my job as a Fitness Consultant and Certified Endurance Coach is to design training programs that help my athletes get prepared for specific endurance events. Living in Minneapolis, MN I face the challenge of helping my athletes prepare for outdoor competitions when the heart of their training might occur during the chilliest of winter weather. One question I have been asked numerous times is the comparison of training on treadmill vs. road.

There are pros and cons to running on treadmill and running on the road. My athletes that train on treadmills do so for various reasons. One of the common reasons for running on a treadmill in the prep, base, and build phases of the training season is to help your body more safety adapt to the increase in volume and intensity. There are several reasons why treadmill running can decrease risk, but the most notable reasons for running on a treadmill are injury prevention, decreased time to recover, and decrease in risk of sickness. The treadmill is a great way to prevent injury for many reasons.

First and foremost, a treadmill will provide a more forgiving surface than the typical outdoor run. The only running done outside that would offer a more forgiving surface would be that of a dirt trail, wood-chip trail, or possibly aqua jogging. Decreasing surface hardness, the treadmill allows the athlete to run without putting such significant stress on the joints, connective tissue, and muscle tissue involved in running. Some of the most common injuries runners are afflicted by involve excessive myofascial scar tissue build-up and restriction of mobility resulting in overuse injuries. Similarly inflammation and degeneration of connective tissue, specifically around joints as the knees, hips, ankles, and feet tend to inhibit runners from running pain-free. I have seen significant reduction of all of these from my own training and training of the athletes I have worked with. Commonly athletes will feel the lingering of an ailment coming on during a training session, and will misread the warning signs of the impending injury until it is too late; running on a treadmill allows an athlete to stop a workout immediately, if they sense that continued running might lead to injury, whereas running outdoors typically means an out-and-back or a loop-leaving the problem of how to get home without further exacerbating the issue. Getting home is especially a problem for runners who are increasing their distance and acquire an injury from increase in distance proportionally too fast, and find themselves a long way out without a good way home! Although running on a treadmill is not a sure way to keep injury free, it is a measure of prevention.

The second reason choosing to run on a treadmill during the build phase of your season is it will speed up recovery. Running taxes the body aerobically, but it also taxes the body muscularly. One of the ways that your body super-compensates from intense running is through the building of capillaries through which your body transports blood-thus oxygen and other nutrients your body needs to keep going, but another significant way your body super-compensates is through the tearing and rebuilding of muscle fibers. This principle of super-compensation basically means that when you exercise you tear down existing muscle fiber to rebuild it stronger; it’s only when recovery takes place that your body amazingly rebuilds. This is why a good coach will always have his or her athlete get a very good recovery, especially between very intense bouts of exercise/training. When the strain and muscular taxation is great, the body has more difficulty recovering or properly rebuilding itself. In lessening or in some cases completely eliminating the excessiveness of muscular strain from running on the road, an athlete can speed their recovery and invest in injury prevention.

The third reason treadmill running is an important training staple for the triathlete is it can prevent sickness. Although this reason might pertain more to athletes that are training at the same latitude as I am in Minneapolis, it does apply to warmer climates too. The unique benefit of running in a climate controlled environment is that you can control the environment! High levels of training from intensity and volume can stress the body to the degree that your immune system is momentarily weakened. In this disposition the body is using vital nutrients to support and rebuild itself, thus taking them out of service for disease suppression and bacterial/viral resistance. When the body is “down” so to speak, it can get kicked in the gut by a common cold, or other prevalent sicknesses putting you on the sideline for days. Another benefit from using treadmill in the way of sickness prevention is that it will help you monitor your intensity level so that you don’t overtrain or overexert yourself beyond the intensity that’s prescribed for your training session.

Some added benefits of running on the treadmill also include pace setting practice, multi-tasking capabilities, and remedy to location restrictions. When running on a treadmill there are some things you can do to make the session more similar to road running without sacrificing the benefits; one thing you will want to do is run at a slight incline. I usually recommend a 1.0-1.5% incline. This helps to simulate road running more accurately since you have to lift the forefoot some when you run outside. Another suggestion I make is to have a fan blow on you when you run. This way you can take advantage of the cooling properties that running outside gives you. Make sure to have enough water as the added wind can also cause dehydration slightly faster. A helpful pacing chart can be found at Lifetime Fitness’s resource page: (link here).

My goal is to keep my athletes informed about training and racing trends and the science behind them to help them make educated decisions. This is all to help you Train Smart & Keep Balanced.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you have questions pertaining to this article or other articles at triathloncoachk(at)

-Coach K

Friday, November 29, 2013

Product Review: Giro Mele Triathlon Shoe

From Giro's website: Giro's Website Link.
Mele™ Tri Shoes

The Mele™ Tri offers a snug, supportive fit with breathability, power transfer and fast transition in mind. The upper features a wide throat opening with a stout upper strap for secure fit, as well as an integrated scuff guard at the heel. Our acclaimed SuperNatural Fit footbed with Aegis® anti-microbial treatment provides adjustable arch support to optimize fit and power transfer, creating a perfect complement to the best-in-class Easton® EC70™ composite outsole.
Manufacturer Video: Link here.

From Tri Coach K:
My initial aesthetic impression of these shoes is overall positive.  The shoes have a visually wide mouth to the upper, as stated by the manufacturers description; I can attest that the design of this part of the shoe definitely lends itself well to easy slip-on.  I really like the color options they make available as well.  I chose the Chrome/White style but it was a toss-up between those and the Obsidian/Highlight Yellow-the website pictures doesn't do justice to the Obsidian has a very nice shimmer/gloss finish that looks killer in the sun.  The Obsidian is actually more of a mocha/charcoal color in certain lighting. 

Giro has done us right by utilizing two straps instead of just one; some shoes I have used have had only one strap, to evidently speed up the transition and slip-on, which in most cases actually seems to diminish the quality of the shoe fit to the foot, by leaving the forefoot and toe-box somewhat roomy and not snug enough to reduce blisters.  Not the case with Giro...the two strap design allows for good fit without cutting off circulation in the forefoot.  The larger of the two straps, by the ankle, is reversed to allow for on-the-bike slip-on without the worry of getting the strap tangled in the chain.

The mesh on the front of the shoe could be easily covered by a forefoot style booty, for the cooler spring or autumn rides.  The ventilation is nice for indoor spinning on the trainer, or hot arid summer days. 

In the past I have ridden several brands of shoes including Carnac, Shimano, Bontrager, Sidi, Pearl Izumi, and Giro.  Giro's description is true to my testing.  They felt good, kept my feet well aired, and while either socked or barefoot, my feet were secure so as not to blister.  

One really cool feature in addition to the already mentioned features is the 3 different arch support inserts provided.  The Aegis anti-microbial insole has a small, medium, and large arch insert that is seamlessly integrated into the in-sole so as not to create points of irritation or chafe.  For riders with a very wide and high foot, with little to no arch or flat feet, the in-sole could be taken out, but a thinner in-sole would be recommended in its place.

The shoes retail on the Giro site for $200 which is very competitive to similar shoes of similar quality and intended use.  A comparable model would be Bontrager's Hilo RXL Triathlon shoe which retails for about $180.  I have been riding on Bontrager's RL Road shoe on the trainer for the last few weeks and I like these as well, so I can't say anything bad about Bontrager's Hilo RXL shoes.  Giro and Bontrager are using their composite technology honed from wheel building to make their shoe soles stiff and able to transfer power efficiently.

Giro utilizes top notch innovation from its composite sister company Easton, for the soles on this shoe.  The EC70 Carbon Composite is similar to the caliber and quality used in Easton's engineering of the famous racing wheels like their EC90's, a favorite among triathletes and time-trialists who are looking for something different from the standard issue Zipp wheel.

Maple Grove Cycling is a dealer of Giro, Bontrager and several other great cycling shoe brands.  Tri Coach K was not paid by any of the companies mentioned in this review and the review was done solely and autonomously from any outside input or guidance.  The italicized text at the intro to the review is from Giro's website, and the photo and video are produced by Giro and can be viewed on Giro's website.

I hope this review is helpful.  Please give me feedback and direct comments/questions in the comment box below!

Train Smart, Keep Balanced,
Tri Coach K   

Friday, November 22, 2013

Off-Season Training Essentials

1. Resistance Bands: With the off-season coming into full bloom, one area of training that many triathletes will want to work on is core and articulation strength.  Core strength would be the parts of the body pertaining to the trunk i.e. abdominals hipflexors, pectoralis, latissimus, rhomboids and lumbar groups.  The articulation strength that can be benefited is any muscle group that aids in joint articulation...this would include muscles surrounding the knee, shoulder, hips, and elbows.  As athletes increase volume and intensity through the winter months it is vitally important to have good strength built so that as these variables increase the body is able to withstand these added stresses without injury. 

2. Pool Tools: I would include in this grouping any products that help an athlete perform drills, technique, or general swimming training, in the pool.  Examples of equipment that I regularly use would be fins, paddles, kick-board, pull-buoy, and drag suit.  A pull-buoy goes between the legs and allows one to swim with proper body position by eliminating the need to kick whilst keeping the body in proper horizontal alignment on the top of the water.  A kick-board allows one to utilize just the kick for forward propulsion.  It should be noted that too much kicking specific drills, for a triathlete, can often be problematic due to the added stress it can put on the knees.  Fins can similarly add unnecessary stress if used too much and/or with too high of intensity.  A drag suit is simply a swimsuit that is designed to be slightly less hydrodynamic.  It might have added mesh or not fit quite as tight to the body the way a typical swimsuit would.  Many swimsuit manufacturers have fun with these types of suits and offer unique patterns and styles that can be kind of 'loud.'

3. Multi-Vitamin w/ Vitamin D: Although I am not a pharmacologist or dietitian, I have strong feelings and pseudo-evidences that the vitamin D deficiency that many mid-westerners experience in the winter months caused from decreased exposure to the sun, may have negative impact on seasonal mood disorders, and metabolic efficiency.  On numerous occasions family members, my spouse, or friends have shared with me about low vitamin D levels during the winter months as being evidenced from blood test results by a medical practitioner and/or laboratory blood tests.  The vitamin D deficiency paired with seasonal mood issues, and seasonal weight gain, often times associated with no changes in exercise is where my suspicion that the three are interrelated comes from.  There are some studies that suggest that there is likely more than just a positive correlation here. Similar studies reveled curious relations between suppressed immune functioning and vitamin D deficiencies.

4. Bicycle Trainer: Many athletes will already own one of these, but I mention it because it is important, and also important to have a good quality trainer if a rider is using it more than 3 days per week or is sharing it with a spouse or friend.  Trainers vary in price and are significantly different in feel and quality.  There are several types of trainers based on the type of resistance and the durability of the trainer.  CycleOps for instance, one of the larger brands on the market sells a magnetic resistence trainer for under $200 and has a magnetic/fluid resistance trainer for over $475.  It all depends on what kind of resistance; the style of flywheel (a large disk that allows the bike wheel to keep moving when the rider stops pedaling)-which enhances the ride quality to make it feel more like riding on the road. Features like electronic remotes are optional on some models, but can take the price well over $1500. 

Two trainers I work with on a regular basis and have had great success with are the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer which uses magnetic and fluid resistance and has a very adequate sized flywheel and costs around $315 and the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine which also uses a very similar fluid and magnetic resistance and costs around $380-(on Sale for $349 for Thanksgiving-New Year).  Both manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty, which I have seen utilized by customers and clients I have worked with; in both cases with each company, Kinetic and CycleOps were very supportive and replaced the defective units.

5. Studded Tyres: Can handle the cold?!? If you can handle cross-country skiing, then riding in the blistery winter cold won't be a too big of a deal.  No two studded tires are created equal.  Tires are designed for 26" wheels or 700c wheels, which can sometimes be interchanged with a 29er mountain bicycle.  There are a few studded tire companies that make a really phenomenal tire, and there are a couple that don't make such great tires.  I won't trash-talk any specific companies, but make sure to talk with your local bicycle dealer to see which ones they recommend and have had good luck with.  I have personally had really good success with Kenda, Suomi/Nokian, and Schwalbe studded tires.  Specific models of each that we have sold and have had great reviews from are the Kenda Klondike, which are made for 26-inch, 29ers, and 700c-cross versions; Suomi, who was formally known by the name Nokian, has a tire called the Hakkapeliita, which comes in several versons, the A10's are the ones I ride on my bicycle through the winter and are a 700x32c tire with 72 carbide tipped studs per tire.

6. Bicycle Fitting: I will only briefly mention this, but don't want to under emphasize the importance of a professional bike fit.  Many riders come to me looking for solutions to problems of various kinds that they're facing on the bike and I am stuck by how simple of fix various adjustments can be and are real world changers for my riders.  A good bicycle fit doesn't have to cost a fortune, and in most cases if adjustments or components are recommended, there will be a discount on those products.

7. Stroke Analysis: This is another area that I can't over emphasize.  Many of the injuries that triathletes and swimmers experience could have been easily avoided by corrections in their stroke.  Most triathlon or swimming coaches can offer a swim analysis that focuses on one stroke with a specific purpose.  For example, if you are a triathlete who primarily open-water swims, there will be slightly different technique focus that will help you swim more efficiently and effectively in open water as opposed to a normal lap-swimming or speed swimming stroke for pool usage.  It is good to do some research on any coach you might work with.  Get to know what their technique philosophy is and make sure that they have a good understanding of the bio-mechanical movement patterns that are necessary for good triathlon-specific swimming.  Also it is helpful to work with a coach that also has strength and condition expertise and can recommend dry-land training exercises to help your technique and swim-strength in the water.

In the off-season it is essential to have a good time so don't get too crazy, just yet.  Ponder your previous season; the successes, and the failure, the challenges and the breakthroughs.

Train Smart, Keep Balanced.
Tri Coach K