Jen has been doing triathlon for four years. She is a member of the TriEdge Triathlon Team and the GOALØ Ambassador Team. She's also a former bobsled pilot for America Samoa and has a passion for the outdoors. At home she is a wife to a cyclocross obsessed husband and mother of three girls, but here at TRIEDGE, she is an author, Managing Editor and token chick.
Review by Jen Hamilton
I love a good adventure, and from the moment I looked out the window on race morning, I knew the Women of Steel was going to provide a great day! It has only been six months since I awakened one morning to find that I couldn't move. Terrified, and in pain, the weeks and months that followed only stumped my doctors more with each visit. First opinions, then second and third and still no answers. The final conclusion was that I had acquired some unknown autoimmune disorder. Testing medications only led to weight gain and frustrating side effects and I have since been fortunate enough to find holistic treatments that seem to be working; slowly, but working. While movement is still painful for me, I wanted nothing more than to get back into a race; I wanted to feel like myself again. The Women of Steel felt like the perfect opportunity.
What I love most about the Women of Steel is the incredible sense of belonging, regardless of your fitness level. The 300m swim is self-seeded (meaning, you place yourself based on your own swim time) and we had so much fun chatting with the other ladies while we waited for our turn to start. Where else would you find so many positive, like-minded women willing to stand on a pool deck in their skivvies in the freezing cold?
The run to transition across the parking lot was covered with soft carpets and volunteers to make it easy for your waterlogged brain to find the way. The two loop, rectangle-shaped bike course is fantastic! It begins with a long gradual hill, turns onto a flat and then the best part of all... a wicked awesome downhill. There is nothing that brings a bigger smile to my face than barreling down the Alpine Highway on a sweet TT bike (thank you Kestrel), pushing 40 mph! The course was well marked and there were ample police and volunteers to keep things moving smoothly.
Despite the smile plastered on my face, by the time I came to the run, my body was finished and the realization that a sprint triathlon was about to defeat me sucked the wind right out of my sails. As I hobbled out of transition, one of the volunteers looked me right in the eye and said, "You can do this! It's all about YOU today!" I've never met this man, but I can't tell you how much that meant to me. As my 5k progressed, my muscles began cramping and tightening, making breathing difficult and slowing my progression to a walk. I ended up joining a few other very friendly walkers and lost in conversation with my new friends, was able to finish off the last mile at a reasonable jog. I was greeted with cheering spectators, a cute necklace and delicious post-race food- what more could a girl possibly need? There were also some great booths from sponsors to browse while you try to catch your breath. Finishing in 45th place isn't exactly impressive, but it's only another beginning for me and I'm grateful to TriUtah for the opportunity to remind myself why I do this. The opportunity to remember that you can do hard things is invaluable. Thankfully, this belief inevitably spills over into the rest of your life.
While my teammates from the TriEdge-Kestrel Team had finishes that were much more brag-worthy on Saturday, the beauty of this race is that it accommodates racers of all abilities. Whether you're looking for some good competition or a first taste of the triathlon addiction, you'll find it here. I was very impressed with TriUtah and their ability to run a quality race. I look forward to entering more of their races this season!
Review by Cherry Smith
Woman of Steel 2013… I wasn't sure what to expect as it was my 1st Women of Steel and under a new race director. I've got to say it was fun! fun! fun! and Love! Loved it!!!
I started the morning with everything ready go from the night before. I rolled out of bed with a bit of hesitation from the not so friendly rain- BOO! I know right? Nothing anyone can control so off I go to the American Fork Rec. Center to start my day. I have raced a TriUtah race before under the previous race director so I wanted to see if there were any changes and how this fair to the other races.
The packet pick-up and body marking were so quick and smooth the morning off the race that I had plenty of time to get my bike and gear to transition and go through my ritual of placing my gear with plenty of time to spare. The transition was very well marked with our own personal space with each athletes name and number on it so there was no need to wrestle anyone to get the perfect spot. It was also extra fun to see the ladies laughing as they watch some of their husbands running after the kids while they get ready to race with no distraction and at ease.
The pre-race announcement was short and sweet and off we go one by one. The swim was a 300 meter pool swim that was marked by time estimated to complete starting with 4 minutes from both side of the pool. It went very smooth and as the lines became shorter to the start I was super excited to finally get in since it was warmer in the water then standing on the pool side.
The bike course was a two loop course which had everything for a good sprint tri from hills, to rollers and flats also with of course your lovely head wind and a little drizzle of rain. What more can you ask for right? OK, maybe a little bit of sunshine. The volunteers, American Fork police and spectators were visual throughout the course which beats training by myself with no one yelling for support.
The run was a one loop course with the same hill we did on the bike and went into a quiet neighborhood and put on the last stretch of the bike course. The aid station were quick and simple with water at about every 1 mile which ended at the AF rec center and as we cross the finish line they quickly took off the timing chip and gave us a cold water bottle and a really cute Women of Steel finisher necklace. The post-race snacks and the awesome booths were a major plus and nice to browse after the race.
Overall, it was great race to start the season and a very well organized. I definitely want to do this race again next year. Thank you TriUtah and see you at your next event!
Five ProTour Teams from Giro d’Italia Announced for "America's Toughest Stage Race"
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (May 9, 2013) – Ten professional cycling teams have accepted invitations to compete at the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, August 6-11, 2013. Five of these squads are Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) ProTeams, which are all currently competing at the Giro d’Italia, one of the three Grand Tours of the UCI WorldTour. Two UCI Pro Continental and three Continental teams are part of the early announcement today by race organizers for more than half of the elite field of competition for “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM”.
Four of the ProTeams confirmed for the Tour of Utah are in the Top 10 of the UCI WorldTour rankings, including RadioShack-Leopard of Luxembourg, which won the team classification in Utah last year. Behind the fourth-ranked RadioShack-Leopard team are two U.S.-based teams, No. 5 Team Garmin-Sharp and No. 7 BMC Racing Team. Orica-GreenEDGE, the first ProTeam out of Australia, will be making its debut at the Tour of Utah. Other inaugural entrants include MTN-Qhubeka from South Africa, the top-rated team from the UCI Africa Tour, and Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos from Brazil, the top-rated team from the UCI America Tour.
There are seven countries represented to date for teams competing in the 2013 Larry H. Tour of Utah. Eight of these 10 teams will be racing next week at the Amgen Tour of California*, the second UCI stage race in North America this year. The final field of 16 professional teams at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will be confirmed at the end of May, and rosters will be released at the end of July.
UCI ProTeams Confirmed: (world rankings as of April 28, 2013)
- RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK* (Luxembourg), No. 4 on UCI WorldTour
- Team Garmin-Sharp* (USA), No. 5 on UCI WorldTour first
- BMC Racing Team* (USA), No.7 on UCI WorldTour
- Cannondale Pro Cyling* (Italy), No. 9 on UCI WorldTour
- Orica-GreenEDGE Cycling Team* (Australia), No. 13 on UCI WorldTour
UCI Pro Continental Team (UCI ranking as of April 28. NRC rankings as of May 6)
- MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa), No. 1 on UCI Africa Tour; No. 6 on UCI Asia Tour
- Champion System Pro Cycling Team* (China), No. 7 on USAC National Racing Calendar
UCI Continental Teams, America Tour Confirmed (UCI ranking as of April 28. NRC rankings as of May 6)
- Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos (Brazil), No.1 on UCI America Tour
- Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies* (USA), No. 2 on USAC National Racing Calendar
- BISSELL Cycling* (USA), No. 4 on USAC National Racing Calendar
*denotes team racing at Amgen Tour of California
“It’s very impressive to have such a strong, world-class field of professional cycling teams making Utah part of their race schedule each year,” said Steve Miller, chief operating officer of Miller Sports Properties which organizes the Tour of Utah. “Cycling fans should be excited to see a solid group of top-rated pro teams from around the globe, including tremendous new teams from Brazil, South Africa and Australia. We expect to complete the invitation process in the coming weeks with some of the top domestic teams, so the competition this year should be the best yet.”
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah was elevated in 2011 by the UCI, the international governing body of the sport of cycling, to a 2.1-rated stage race. It continues as one of the top UCI stage races in North America this year. The Tour of Utah will be the first weeklong UCI stage race for athletes in North America following the Tour de France, and will start for the first time in southern Utah. Stage One of the Tour of Utah will begin on Tuesday, August 6, from Brian Head to Cedar City. The overall finish for Stage Six will take place on Sunday, August 11, with start and finish hosted by Park City.
Based in Luxembourg, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK is currently one of the leading teams in the UCI World Tour rankings. It is the fourth appearance in Utah for a RadioShack team. In 2012, individual athletes took home three National titles, while the team clinched wins in the Tour de Luxembourg and Tour de France. Last year RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK was the top overall team at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and American Matthew Busche took second place overall in the General Classification.
Team Garmin-Sharp emerged 11 years ago as an American development squad and became a ProTour team in 2007. This season there are nine Americans on the Garmin-Sharp team including Tom Danielson, Tyler Farrar, Christian Vande Velde, Andrew Talansky and Utah native David Zabriskie. Last year at the Tour of Utah, Garmin-Sharp won the Team Time Trial at Miller Motorsports Park, and took second place overall in the teams classification. It is the third year a full team from Slipstream Sports has raced in Utah.
The BMC Racing Team was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif. The team, which has raced in the Tour of Utah for five years, heads into 2013 stacked with American talent – Brent Bookwalter, Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen, who finished fifth at the 2012 Tour de France and won the best young rider classification. In 2013 racing to date, van Garderen has been runner-up at the Tour de San Luis, finished third at Critérium International and fourth at Paris-Nice. Bookwalter won a stage at the Tour of Qatar and finished second overall.
Formerly known as Liquigas-Cannondale, this Italian squad returns to the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah for a third year. The Cannondale Pro Cycling includes a stellar international roster and American Ted King. In 2013, the team has taken stage victories at the Tour of Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico, and has taken the G.C. at Gent-Wevelgem (by Peter Sagan of Slovakia).
This Australian squad makes its inaugural appearance at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Orica- GreenEDGE Cycling Team raced its first season as a ProTeam in 2012 and wrapped up the year in sixth position overall on the UCI WorldTour rankings. Australian standouts include Simon Gerrans, Luke Durbridge, former Under 23 World Champion Michael Matthews, and former Tour de France sprint points winner Stuart O’Grady. In 2013 racing to date, Gerrans has taken third at Amstel Gold, while Durbridge won both road and individual time trial national titles in his native Australia. Orica-GreenEDGE is the first Aussie team to race in the Tour de France.
Established in 2012, the Champion System Pro Cycling Team is Asia’s first UCI Professional Continental team. The second-year squad is comprised of top riders from China and Asia, as well as experienced pros from a total of 14 countries. It is the second year the team has raced at the Tour of Utah. Five national champions ride for the Champion System team: Chinese Road Champion, Xu Gang; Korean Road Champion, Chanjea Jang; Canadian Road Champion, Ryan Roth; Irish Road Champion, Matt Brammeier and Japanese time trial Champion, Ryota Nishizono. Utah’s Burke Swindlehurst, who is a four-time Top 10 finisher of the Tour of Utah as a professional cyclist, serves as the sport director for the team.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is the first-ever UCI-registered Professional Continental cycling team from the continent of Africa. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, this pro team has athletes from five African countries (South Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Algeria and Rwanda), as well as Germany, Lithuania, Italy and Spain. The team name, Qhubeka, is an Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa) word that means to carry on or to move forward. This title sponsor alongside MTN, Africa’s largest telecommunications company, is a volunteer organization which looks to help rural communities move forward and progress by giving bicycles to children in return for work done to improve their environment and their community. This is the first time the team has raced in the United States.
Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos is a Continental squad that leads the UCI America Tour in 2013. The Brazilian team features 16 riders from South American countries Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos features several powerful Brazilian rider. In 2012, Magno Nazaret took the overall title at the Vuelta al Uruguay and the Tour of Brasil. In early 2013 racing, Chamorro captured the title at the Copa América de Ciclismo, and Alex Correia Diniz won a stage and finished third overall at the Tour de San Luis. The team is currently leading the UCI America Tour rankings. It is the team’s first trip to the Tour of Utah.
Last year, the Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies team captured 48 wins and 100 podiums across four continents. Based in Eden Prairie, Minn., the 2013 Optum squad currently sits in No. 2 spot in the team rankings for USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar. The team returns to the Tour of Utah for a fifth year featuring experienced riders from the U.S. and Canada. In 2011 Jesse Anthony (USA) won a stage at the Tour of Utah. In 2012, Tom Zirbel (USA) finished second in the individual rankings in the National Racing Calendar standings, with the team also taking the USPRO Criterium Championship.
BISSELL Cycling makes its sixth consecutive appearance in the Tour of Utah. The Michigan-based professional team has 13 riders this year, representing Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. At the 2012 Tour of Utah, BISSELL Cycling was the best Continental team, placing fourth, in the Team Time Trial at Miller Motorsports Park. Bissell features Americans Frank Pipp, who was second at the 2012 USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship, and Phil Gaimon, winner of the 2012 Redlands Bicycle Classic. Already this year Gaimon has won the G.C. at Merco Cycling Classic and placed second on G.C. at Tour of the Gila. The team also has Australian sprinter Tommy Nankervis, who is a resident of Park City, Utah.
For the first time in the nine-year history of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling event, the race will span almost the entire length of Utah from the red rock country near world-famous Bryce Canyon National Park in the south to the renowned ski resorts of the Wasatch Front in the north. In the coming weeks the Tour plans to announce the detailed routes and race mileage for all six stages.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. For more information about host cities and venues, visit the Tour’s web site, www.tourofutah.com. Additional Tour updates can be followed via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vimeo.
About the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Deemed “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM,” the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is a weeklong, professional stage race for the best cycling teams in the world. Now in its ninth year of racing, the 2013 Tour of Utah will include some of the state’s most beautiful and challenging terrain with lush forests and red rock spires in the south and the urban corridor and epic peaks along Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains in the north. In 2012 the race covered more than 500 miles and 38,000 vertical feet of climbing. The Tour of Utah is scheduled to take place August 6-11, 2013, as a UCI 2.1-rated stage race. A team presentation event will be held on August 5 in Cedar City. The event is owned and operated by the Utah Cycling Partnership. Larry H. Miller Group of Companies continues as the title sponsor. Official Partners of the 2013 event include the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the Utah Sports Commission. For more information about the event, visit www.tourofutah.com.
Louis Garneau Tri-300 Shoes
Nothing says "I love you" like a pair of top-of-the-line Garneau Tri-300 Shoes. These unisex, tri-specific cycling shoes are heat moldable and conform perfectly to the shape of the foot; getting them as close to 'custom' as you can get without the employ of a cobbler elf. While I was apprehensive at first to slip these ginger colored beauties in the oven, I was surprised at how simple the whole process was. The resulting feel when cycling raised the bar in my mind as to what constitutes a good fit. Slightly irritating, occasional foot pain that I've experienced with other brands, is completely gone. The large, vertical pull loop and stiff, rubberized closure strap make them easy to slip on in transition; even with my barely functioning, water-logged brain. They have a well designed mesh and drainage system for quick drying, but there's even more to be impressed with. Garneau has included silver fibers in the out-sole to reflect heat and keep your feet cool and comfy. Combining the weight (10.4 oz., size 42) and the Exo-Jet carbon out-sole, Louis Garneau struck the perfect balance between feeling substantial without weighing you down. The sole is their stiffest to date and I could feel a noticeable increase of power translating to my pedals with each stroke. While the price tag ($299.99) will deter some buyers, if it's the top of the line comfort and technology you're looking for, you'll have a hard time doing any better than the Tri-300 Shoes.
Wicked Audio Helix
If we're being honest, I will freely admit that at least 75% of my training has to do with releasing stress. A good solid workout is downright enjoyable with some sweet ear candy. This is where the Wicked Audio Helix comes into play. The comfortable, around the ear fit is made with soft plastic and kept the buds in place even when bouncing around on a trail run. When cycling, the 4 foot cord made it easy to keep my iPod in my rear pocket and still have plenty length left to prevent yanking while in motion. The gold plated plug and enhanced base combined with noise isolation buds made the whole experience complete for me; they have a great sound quality. The Helix comes in three colors and three sets of tips for optimum fit capability and at $19.99 it's a quality buy.
Athleta Queen K Short
The most consistent complaint I hear with any race story has to do with chaffing, blisters and painful rubbing from ill-fitted apparel. This is exactly why I decided to include the Athleta Queen K Short in our list of Mother's Day necessities. It's easy for me to say that these shorts are an absolute must-have in your training rotation. The soft, stretchable fabric feels supportive without creating 'sausage legs' or 'muffin top' issues and they've even thought to use black lycra spandex "for the no-shine effect when stretched". I've really put these shorts to the test in training and in races and they are one of the most consistently comfortable shorts I have. Although any tri shorts should see limited chlorine exposure, I have been wearing them twice weekly to the pool to see how they'd hold up. I'm happy to report that after months, there are still no signs of any wear and tear. The minimalist chamois is comparable to other tri chamois, but it's the extra features where the Queen K really stands out. There are two mesh side pockets as well as a rear zipper pocket for stashing nutrition and the occasional car key. There are also 360° of reflectivity accents and panels created to conform to the body in motion. The mid-rise, wide waist band lays flat and is slightly higher in the back to avoid the dreaded 'cyclists tramp stamp'. Combining all these features with the $69.00 price tag, the Queen K is certainly in the running for one of my favorite tri shorts ever.
Ryders VIA Photochromic
At 24g., these rimless photochromic sunglasses (the lens lightens and darkens in varying light conditions) are perfect for cycling and snug enough for running. If you haven't owned a pair of photochromic sunglasses in a while, you'll be surprised at how fast the technology has advanced. Made of durable polycarbonate and using an injection molded process to ensure they're optically correct, these sunglasses protect against 100% UVA, UVB, UVC and blue light to 400nm. They're shatter proof for safe cycling (and crashing) and the adjustable nose tips are covered with soft grip, to make sure they stay in place when the sweat starts dripping. The coverage on the VIA Photochromic lens is fantastic and kept out much of the wind while still allowing for ventilation. They especially shined as time trial glasses or for rides with fast descents. I love, (love!) the rimless frames for riding in aero position and thanks to Ryders, I now need them in at least two more of the nine available frame colors/options available in this same style. Retail on the VIA Photochromic is $89.99 and this particular model is a medium fit.
Zoot Women's Ultra TT 6.0
Aside from the fact that I get more compliments about the look of this shoe than any others I've tested this year, the Women's Ultra TT 6.0 is a well designed piece of gear. Zoot has combined six years of tweaking and upgrading to produce one of the most popular triathlon specific running shoes on the market today. This neutral runner features an asymmetrical elastic lacing system to get you in and out of transition fast and with minimal interruption to the anatomical shape of your foot. At 8oz., they are a lot lighter than they look. Walking the line of durability and light-weight race flat is a tricky one. The Women's Ultra TT 6.0 feels surprisingly more durable than other high-end race flats, in part, because of their Carbon Span feature. This tunable control creates a powerful toe off without causing fatigue and the "Z-Bound" mid-sole rebounds the runners energy leaving your feet with less fatigue. In addition, you can tell that a lot of thought was put into the interior of the shoe; they are super comfortable sockless with no rough edges or seams to cause blistering. My single and only complaint is that I had to superglue the ends of the laces into the plastic piece at the toe. That being said, it's not nearly enough to deter me from buying these shoes. While my job allows me the chance to test a good blend of race flats in training, when race day comes, the Women's Ultra TT 6.0 is the shoe I grab. They retail at $140.00 and come in two colors, full and half sizes 6-10 and for me, the sizes were comparable to other brands.