Up The Road

September 29, 2011

My Ironman {Obsession} Journey

Trek Women Brand Manager Leslie Prevish recounts highlights from her journey to complete Ironman Wisconsin on September 11. The grueling 140.6-mile race includes 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running, as well as good dose of determination and maybe a touch of insanity.

At mile 20 of the marathon, the moon saved me. I was on a pretty dark section of the race that had few spectators. In the solitude, I wondered whether I was going to make it to the finish with my exhausted body and stomach cramps that had started with my first mile.

I hope that the highlights below from my training and race day experiences may inspire others to take on this journey, or any formidable goal, that requires committing to a plan and finding the resilience to overcome challenges along the way. “La vita e’ una sola” is one of my favorite Italian phrases, which means, “You have just one life to live.” So live it!

Training: 5 a.m. wake-ups and killer kaiserschmarren

  • I estimated that I put in 600 hours / 1700 miles of training over the past six months. Most of it was solo, but sometimes I rode or ran with friends, who kept asking me when this “Crazyman” was over so I could go out gallivanting again.
  • My circadian clock loves the night, so I detested the 5 a.m. alarm, which I had to change from a buzzer to a Christian rock station so I wouldn’t throw it across the room after interrupting my REM cycle.
  • Most of my weekends included long runs and several centuries getting acquainted with Alessandro, my gorgeous Project One Speed Concept. After I got him, I realized how much difference a great bike makes. Not only does it make you faster on the bike course, but your legs are fresher for the run.
  • I loved the long runs, except for one in Austria after scarfing down a delicious regional dessert, kaiserschmarren, which was made with eggs and buttermilk and tasted like a mix between pancakes and French toast. Unfortunately, the next day my gut was screaming for 14 of the 18 miles. But it was so darn good going down that I actually ate another later that day before departing for the airport. Seriously.


Kaiserschmarren: delicious, but definitely not training food.

Final Prep: Finger freeze and family support

  • Bike prep and practice was KEY. I had co-workers supervise my numerous flat-changing attempts, freezing my finger on a CO2 cartridge once after it slipped off the stem. You really have to manhandle those puppies.
  • In the race, I had enough CO2 cartridges on my bike and in my halfway bag to change half a dozen flats, or fill up a kiddie pool if I decided to take a break from the heat. Thankfully my Bontrager R4 Aero tires kept punctures away!
  • A few days before the race, I sent out emails to the folks on the prayers lists I had laminated and put on my bike and run bottle. I asked them to pray for “Crazy Les” and told them I’d be doing the same along the 140.6 miles. I enjoyed thinking about memories with them, and it helped to know that their prayers were giving me extra strength.
  • Anyone who’s done a race knows the importance of family and friend support, especially in the moments of self-doubt late in the race. My sister, her kids and my aunt came in, bearing signs and purple shirts with “Iron Woman Les” that helped spur me on throughout. My 4-year-old niece yelling “Go Aunt Les!” at the halfway point during the run brought tears to my eyes.

  Swim low

A sea of swimmers take off - survival of the swiftest!

Continue reading "My Ironman {Obsession} Journey" »

February 17, 2011

Trek/K-Swiss Training Camp Day 2 & 3

Team bike 

Day 2:
The second day of camp started with a 4 hour spin around the southwest corner of the Big Island through picture-perfect conditions. The group, made up of the team, select members of the triathlon media, and a few overzealous sponsors knocked out a little over 90 miles. Team members than decided that a 90 mile ride is the perfect thing to follow up with a run while everybody else decided it was the perfect time to sit in the hot tub and eat cookies. That’s the difference between human beings and professional triathletes.

After burning three days’ worth of food it was time to corral everybody for a technical presentation that included a reveal to the team of some new products we’ve been working on for them. And in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.

Bonty proto 
You totally didn't even see this photo.

The team was treated to a traditional Hawaiian luau complete with an impromptu performance by teammate, Matt Lieto. In a rare display of timing, grace, and rhythm, Matt’s performance will not soon be forgotten by anybody in attendance at the Mauna Kea resort that night.  Almost as cool as Matt’s hula was the guy who breathed fire, the guy who juggled fire, and the guy who ate fire. Armature hula is tough to top.

Matt Luau 

Day 3:
Triathletes are competitive people. Gotta be. Part of the business. So we encourage that every year in a mass relay to prove their superiority. No eggs on spoons. No wheelbarrow races. Swim, run, swim, run. We went down to the beach where we had planned as our relay location but were turned away as they were still removing a bomb that they had found on or near the beach. Bombs, volcanoes, sharks, popcorn shrimp. You’re pretty much surrounded by epic death in Hawaii. That’s why it’s so beautiful.

Bomb beach 

After the bomb was defused (not part of the relay), we were on the move. I forget who won but the new triathlon magazine 3/GO-anchored team finished second. Ben, the editor, reminded me at dinner to say that.  And clearly I did not forget.

Heather Interview 

The afternoon was opened up to the media to gain access and insight to the team members and for the sponsors to film all of the stuff that we make into really cool videos. More on that soon.

Joe Pretty 

Later that night, Trek/K•Swiss, announced the launch of our new athlete development program. The athlete chosen to kick off this program is Kaden Lieto, son of triathlon superstar Chris Lieto. The first thing every elite athlete needs is the right equipment, but since our future podium threat is seven years old, some slight modifications were necessary.


A Few of the last questions we promised to answer:
@John: I would be curious as to the calorie intake of top level triathlete during training...

Lesley Patterson: It depends on what you’re doing for a workout and how big you are. The bigger you are, the more food you’re going to need to keep the metabolism up and recovery consistent. Food should never be a reward for working out but don’t forget not to cheat yourself. When I’m in heavy training I’m taking in probably 3500 to 4000 calories daily. [Lesley is roughly 5’1” and around 105 pounds]

@Daren: During training, do you switch up road bike vs. TT bike riding? If so, what's the mix?

Joe Gambles: Yes, you have to. I ride the Madone a lot during training. The Speed Concept gets a lot of time but it’s not always necessary to train for a triathlon on a tri bike. And like Lesley said, keep training interesting and you'll keep it up.


February 15, 2011

Trek/K•Swiss Training Camp Day 1

This week, surrounded by retirees and honeymooners, we have quarantined some of the world’s best athletes in order to focus solely on that which is pure and athletic. We chose Kona, HI as the site of our 2011 Trek/K•Swiss training camp as it is the home of the Holy Grail of triathlon; the Ironman World Championships. We thought it would be great to corral everybody for a week of workouts and team building but to be honest; I’m not sure how anybody gets any work done around here. It’s far too nice for that sort of nonsense.


We started Monday with breakfast and then an hour run around the Mauna Lani resort followed by what can only be called “second breakfast”. Seriously, these people eat like teenage hobbits. There is no limit to their insatiable appetite. Pictured: Chris Lieto's second breakfast.


Second breakfast was followed by lunch and then a recap of the 2010 program. 23 wins last year alone! We’ve added XTERRA rockstar, Lesley Patterson to the 2011 squad and everybody’s fired up to see what she’s going to do this year.  Pictured L to R: Chris Lieto, Lesley Patterson, Heather Jackson, Julie Dibens, Fraser Cartmell, Paul Matthews, Joe Gambles, Matt Lieto.

After the presentations it was back to business and despite rumors of a shark siting, the team hit the lagoon for (as one elderly spectator put it) a “nice splash-around.” Remember the scene in Cadddyshack where all the caddies strip their clothes off and run roughshod over the nice country club pool? It was kind of like that only our caddies have mind blowing VO2 maxes.

We asked our Facebook fans what they would like to ask our athletes and found some time to dig up some answers. We’ll keep trying to catch the team members and get everybody’s questions answered as the week goes on. Keep them coming!

 @Jacob: Chris; when preparing for kona how many hours a week are you on your bike? Also have you been working on your run more this year like you were last year?
Chris Lieto: My biggest week before Kona I’m on the bike about 5 days a week and probably average between 15-17 hours of riding time. Truthfully, the run is the hardest part for me so I’m always working on it.

@James: Where do their minds wonder to as they pedal through long miles?
Chris Lieto: I think about new ideas, new workouts, my family. Everything, really. I’m a thinker.

@David: How do they avoid burnout, mental and physical with such a hectic schedule? How do they unwind?
Lesley Patterson: The best way to avoid burnout is to keep training interesting. Never become obsessed with other people’s expectations. My way to unwind is movies. I love action, war, period pieces. Braveheart, obviously [Lesley is Scottish].

@Cody: What's their favorite "fuel foods" before a long hard training session?
Chris Lieto: Pizza. There’s never a bad time for pizza.
Lesley Patterson: The night before, I go with asparagus and shrimp and tons of garlic. Nobody will want to ride next to you. When I’m riding though. I LOVE Gu Chomps. Blueberry/pomegranate.

@Spencer: What's your favorite brand for running shoes?
Chris Lieto: K-Swiss. They have an amazing collection for any kind of running you’re interested in.

@Tobi: Can I get this picture in high resoltion?
Trek: Yes. Send us the request to facebook@trekbikes.com

Did you know Koi fish go crazy when you stick your finger in their pond?

February 02, 2011

Choose your coach wisely

Runner’s World editor Christine Fennessy describes her experience of finding the right coach, and explains how much it has helped her improve her racing technique and times. Perhaps it will inspire you to take your fitness and skill to the next level? - Leslie Prevish, Trek Women

Choose wisely

A good coach will help you reach your goal faster and safer—whether you want to complete a century, land on the podium, or simply ride with more confidence. The trick is finding the right match.

By Christine Fennessy

    I pedaled slowly back to where Kim stood, stopwatch in hand. My heart was banging furiously and my quads felt stuffed with cement. I rolled up to the boards lining the homestretch of the velodrome’s infield and waited for the verdict.
    “Were you nervous?” Kim asked with that half smile I can never quite decipher (She’s impressed? She thinks I’m nuts?).
    “Nervous? No…why?”
    “You just rode your fastest 2K ever,” she said. “By a lot.”
    All the pain went away.

The eternal wonder
    It took me a year to make up my mind about hiring a coach. There were plenty of reasons not to get one: Cash is scarce. I’m a self-motivator. I ride with experienced cyclists who spout free advice. I’m not a genetic freak and I don’t have a glorious future.
    In fact, there was only one reason to get a coach—I hate regret. I like following through on the major wonders in my life, and I did wonder: Having recently had some good results in small, beginner-level, local races on the road and track, could I really get better—become a stronger, smarter, more confident rider—if I paid someone to care about me for a while?
    Really, who hasn’t wondered what they were capable of if they indulged in themselves a little?

Continue reading "Choose your coach wisely" »

January 30, 2011

Hong Kong, Australia and more.

Last time I left off I was leaving Mallorca to head down to Australia for the Tour Down Under.  On my way down to Adelaide I had a long layover in Hong Kong.  I would like to say that I have now officially been to Asia but I am not sure the Hong Kong airport is a true representation of the Asian culture.  My Asian experience amounted to having an interesting beer, check out the top, reminds me of an old can of juice.  I guess I will just have to go back.

Hong Kong Beer By the time I hit the ground in Adelaide the anticipation was high.  The Tour Down Under marked the beginning and the ending of an era for Trek.  LEOPARD-TREK debuted on top of the Trek Madone and Lance Armstrong said goodbye to international competition on top of the very same bike.  Needless to day, it was a Big Week!  Australia brought a lot of excitement.  It is amazing how well supported and loved the race is.  Check out the Santos building, definitely a proud sponsor!  Santos Building It was awesome to finally get out and start racing.  All the build up and preparation was well worth it, the week did not disappoint.  The LEOPARD-TREK team debut was a big success, both Team RadioShack and LEOPARD-TREK kicked off the season on the right foot and Lance's fair well race saw more spectators than the TDU has ever seen before.

Things remain as busy as ever.  After Australia I had a quick two days at home and now I am in Mallorca for Team RadioShack camp.  Tomorrow I head to northern France for some cobbles testing and then back to Mallorca for the end of camp and the begining of the Mallorca Challenge.  If January is any indication of how the year is going to go then it is going to be a great year.  Tons of amazing things going on with Trek, Team RadioShack, LEOPARD-TREK and Trek LiveStrong.  Stay tuned, getting better all the time.


Check out some of the photos from the week in Australia.

IMG_0560 Martin Mortensen, putting his game face on.

Big Crab They have the biggest seafood I have ever seen in Australia.
   O'Grady Stuart O'Grady taking a break following the last stage of the TDU

Lance Lance Armstrong poses for picture before the start of stage 2.




January 14, 2011

Catching up... January has been eventful!

It has been awhile since I have posted a blog so let's start fresh with a new year.  Blogging is not a New Year's resolution by the way, that way I am not destine to fail...

So far 2011 has been incredible and we are only 2 weeks in!  I kicked off the year by meeting some new friends in our new home town.  My wife and I picked up and moved to Luxembourg just before the first of the year and then rang in the New Year with Andy Schleck and some new friends.  Hesperange-20110101-00106
Yep, I spent New Year's with Andy Schleck, who does that?

After a quick recovery from a fun night out, I had work to do.  A bunch of people from Trek came to town to witness the launch of the new team.  Between having my boss in town, getting ready for the team's training camp, the team presentation, getting ready to go to Mallorca, the UCI and Australia and setting up our new house, the first week of the year was packed.

Joe showed up for the team presentation, I know he had fun because he actually wore a jacket (not the norm for a guy nicknamed "converse" for his typical shoe choice) and he was smiling.  IMG-20110106-00107 The whole week was crazy busy but the details are not that interesting, meetings, bike building, late dinners, etc etc.  Since the team presentation is all over the place and Joe already put a blog up about that, I will skip that too and head straight to camp.  It was very exciting though.


Training camp is a very cool time to be with a team.  The LEOPARD-TREK team was no different.  The atmostphere is serious but relaxed, everyone is together and everyone is excited for the upcoming year.  Here are some photos of the team camp in Mallorca.


Bike fits are a big part of camp.  I did 9 or 10 at the first camp and another 4 in Mallorca.  I love doing bikes fits.  Most of the guys don't need a lot of tweaking but it is great for them to feel good about their position and it is a great time for me to get to know them better.  This is Joost Posthuma and I talking about how the fit works.  Thanks for the photo Geoff Waugh!

IMG-20110111-00117 Frank is a great guy, he is some how equally light hearted and serious.  Here he is getting ready for a training ride wearing his Luxembourg National Champion get up.

IMG-20110111-00118 Not your local group ride, the guys getting ready for a 5 hour training ride....

IMG-20110112-00120 Camp is also a time for photo shoots, check out Fabian posing for a Shimano shoot.  It is funny to watch but the end product usually turns out well.  You can't tell from this picture but a bunch of the other guys are making fun of him in the background.  Luckily everyone gets their chance for a little ridicule...

I had to skip out on camp early to check in at the UCI.  Lots going on there involving the approval of frame design and controlling the rules.  That story on its own is a half day's conversation so I will just leave it to this one picture of a portable CMM, that thing is pretty freaking cool.


Now I am sitting in the airport getting ready for a really long flight down to Australia.  This will be Lance Armstrong's last professional race outside of the US.  I have had the unbeliveable job of working with Lance since a little before he decided to un-retire.  I cannot thank him enough for all that he does for cycling and for the cancer community.  I am sad to see him go but honored to have been a part of his comeback.  Here is a shot from the first time I worked with Lance, Leadville 2008.   DSC_0006 Thanks Dave Bolch for the photo!


This is only the first two weeks of the year...more to come!






September 27, 2010

No Excuses

"I'm too tired"

I've been thinking about this statement a lot lately.  Not really because of the coming winter (though the thought of hibernation is appealing); not because I've been looking for an excuse to hide behind for not writing in months.  Not even because of a recent 42 hour travel extravaganza that took me to 3 continents in 2 days.  Nope!  I've been thinking about this statement because i think it might be bull****.  At the very least I have a new found appreciation for what it might take to get there.  

I can't remember how many times I've skipped a workout, or passed on a night-ride, or a even skipped out on a beer amongst friends in favor of dropping that excuse.  But, what if those 3 words weren't part of my vocabulary?  What might I have achieved?  Experienced?  Seen?  And what if the greatest difference between those who "do," and those who "do not" rests in the use of that phrase?  What if the greatest moment of  life, or key to  success, or the difference between good and great is rooted in the moment before a decision to use or not use those 3 words?

Last week at Trek we were paid a visit by Car Racing legend Tony Kanaan.  Turns out he's an avid cyclist, and triathlete, in addition to being one the top Indy Car racers in the world.  After spending the day with Tony delivering him of the most bitchin' Speed Concepts you'll ever see, a couple of things became utterly clear. 

The first of these is that boundless energy barely describes Tony Kanaan.  He's like a walking can of Redbull moving from one thing to the next demanding enthusiasm to follow at his heals.  It's easy to see how he can drive at 200 miles per hour and make life-altering decisions in the time it takes the rest of us to blink.  It's a function of un-bounding energy and a commitment to never let it ebb.  And this level of energy is contagious.  One cannot spend any appreciable time with Tony Kanaan and not begin to feel energized themselves.  The second, is that the secret to Tony's success is not unique to him.  Rather its a theme that reappears in every athlete I've had the great pleasure to work with.  Chris Lieto, Julie Dibens, Lance Armstrong, you simply would never hear them drop an offhand excuse like, "I'm too tired."

This hit me during Tony's visit like 800 Horsepower at 16000 rpm.     

"Are you doing an Ironman this year?" Tony asked me.

"Well...uh....I've been travelling a lot, and it's made training really hard." my response

"No EXCUSE, I travel 270 days a year.  Everywhere you go you can bring your running shoes, or swimming gear, or rent a bike, so are you?"

Me again "Well...I work quite a lot....really long hours, tough to get the best out of the body.."

Tony:  "No Excuse.  If you want to, you can," and he means it, and the conversation is over.   

So, I now ask you, "how many times have you told yourself that you're too tired?"  That you "have too much to do," that "you're just working too hard?"  How many times in that moment of decision have you decided to use that phrase?  I for one have used it too often. 

Tony Kanaan, Race car driver, World traveller, Father, Superstar, Triathlete.  What allows him to be all these things?  Simple, NO EXCUSES.  Tony is an example for us that we can do it if we want to.  That's not to say we are all born with the same level of ability or that we could all be car racing superstars or world class athletes, but we do all have the capacity not to let, "I'm too tired" give us a reason not to try. 

What if the greatest moment of your life is rooted in the moment before a decision to use or not use a single phrase?

What if "no excuses" replaced "I'm too tired?"

Thanks for the visit Tony, and thanks for the motivation.  Perhaps I will have to consider an Ironman this year.  After all, I have no excuses.

April 01, 2010

Breaking News: Trek K•Swiss Triathlete Chris Lieto to Retire?

After an amazing triathlon career, Chris Lieto says goodbye to the sport he loves in exchange for his other passion. Anyone need a haircut?

January 25, 2010

The Next Level

Big things are happening in Triathlon in 2010.  This is an amazing group of athletes and we couldn't be more excited about what the season will bring.  Look out Kona, here we come. 

(Madison, WI) (Westlake Village, CA)—Iconic footwear and sportswear brand K•Swiss and Trek Bicycle, the world leader in bicycle technology and innovation, are proud to announce the formation of the 2010 Trek/K•Swiss Triathlon Team. The joint venture between Trek and K•Swiss will be seen as the world’s premier triathlon team, bringing together nine of the world’s top international Ironman and Ironman 70.3 athletes.


The launch of Trek/K•Swiss Triathlon Team underscores both brands’ continuing investment in the finest athletes in the world. With more than 30 years of experience, Trek has proven itself to be the industry’s most forward thinking and innovative manufacturer by continually striving to produce the most technologically advanced bicycles on the planet. K•Swiss has upheld a similar tradition of excellence and ingenuity, expanding from classic tennis footwear to running footwear and apparel designed to enhance the performances of the world-class triathletes they support.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership and what we believe it will bring not just to the athletes but to the entire sport of Triathlon,” said Trek Bicycle Road and Triathlon Brand Manager Nick Howe. “At Trek, we’ve long believed that working with the best athletes in the world is paramount in helping us to provide the absolute best bicycle products available. To have an opportunity to partner with a team of this caliber and to work with a company as committed and innovative as K-Swiss is extremely exciting.”

“Joining with Trek to put together this triathlon team is a very exciting venture for us,” said K•Swiss Sports Marketing Director Erik Vervloet. “Trek has consistently been an industry leader in design and innovation and is always looking to move the needle in delivering the fastest bike available, anywhere. We strive to provide that same relentless focus on innovation in our footwear. Combine this partnership with some of the top triathletes in the world and you have a fantastic team. With the help of our athletes, we want to continue to push the envelope in developing the best triathlon products on the planet. We look forward to working together with Trek and are very proud of the team that we've put together. We believe that the results will speak for themselves.”

The Trek/K•Swiss Team is comprised of two World Champions, a 2nd place finisher at the 2009 Ironman World Championships, and multiple 70.3 champions.

Elite Team


Fraser Cartmell        UK      3x Ironman 70.3 Champion

Julie Dibens             UK      2009 Ironman 70.3 World Champion & 3x XTERRA World  Champion

Joe Gambles            AUS    3x Ironman 70.3 Champion

Heather Jackson       USA    Top Ironman 70.3 athlete

Chris Lieto               USA    3x Ironman Champion & 2nd  Ironman World Championships (’09)

Matt Lieto                USA    Top 5 Ironman athlete

Paul Mathews           AUS    Ironman 70.3 Champion

Michael Raelert         GER    2009 Ironman 70.3 World Champion

Andrew Yoder          USA    2nd in the Colombia Triathlon in 2009



About Trek Bicycle:

Trek Bicycle Corporation is a global leader in the design and manufacture of bicycles and bicycling-related products and accessories. From Tour de France-winning road bikes to tricycles designed to introduce the next generation of riders to the possibilities of pedal-power, Trek has a bike for nearly every rider. More than a bike company, Trek is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from using bicycles more often for daily transportation, recreation, and inspiration, believing that the bicycle can be a simple solution to many of the world’s biggest problems, including obesity, traffic congestion, and climate change.

About K•Swiss:

K•Swiss is a publicly traded company founded more than forty years ago in Van Nuys, California. K•Swiss introduced the first all-leather tennis shoe, the K•Swiss "Classic" in 1966. Since its inception K•Swiss has rooted itself in California Sport with an aim to be the most inspiring and innovative sports brand in the market. Today the company offers performance and lifestyle footwear and apparel for several categories under its California Sports umbrella including Tennis Heritage, California Fit (Running, Triathlon and Fitness) and California Youth. For more information about K•Swiss, visit www.kswiss.com.

January 12, 2010

New Year's Revolution Resolution

Ah, the new year; that wonderful time when we take stock of the past season and look to find ways to offer more in the  year to come (or to find some new excuses to get us on our bikes more, and do other things less).  For the purpose of the little experiment that we call the “UpTheRoad blog” that means taking a good hard look inside, and asking ourselves if we gave it our all 2009.  As the impromptu author of this blog I think the answer is, “we can do better.”  So, after looking hard inside, I’ve decided that my New Year’s Resolution is to offer you more.  To scour the world of Trek Road and Triathlon and find things that might inspire you to ride, to think, to tri, or to do more.  Trek Athlete Chris Lieto recently tweeted that his New Year’s Resolution was to, “Beat Crowie.”  (as an expression of his desire to beat the current Ironman World Champion).  Our product department has resolved to "keep making bikes better," and our Road team has identified a little race in France that they will ride to win.  We are not all cut out to set World Championship goals, but whether your New Year’s resolution is to beat the world champion, to champion the world, or simply to ride more, I wish you all genuine success in 2010.  In my attempt to start the year off by championing my goal to offer more, I think this video is a great place to start.  After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words this thing has to be worth like a million words…..at leastJ. 

Here’s hoping that 2010 sees you spending more time on your bike smiling than you did in 2009.

Thanks for reading (and watching)