Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Triathlon Coach is the 2010 Team USA Triathlon Coach!

I am going into my 3rd year of coaching with Kris Swarthout who is the co-owner of SCS Multisport ( He is done a great job coaching me. As one might assume since I am starting my 3rd year with him.
Kris has been selected by USAT to be the Team USA coach at the ITU World Championships in Budapest, Hungary (9/8 - 9/10)

Kris Swarthout Named USA Triathlon’s 2010 Team USA Coach
Minnesota coach to assist U.S. contingent at Budapest World Championships.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After guiding a number of his athletes to last year's Age Group National Championship, Minnesota-based triathlon coach Kris Swarthout has been selected to serve as USA Triathlon's Team USA coach at this year's ITU World Championship in Budapest, Hungary in September (9/8-10/2010).

Swarthout won the right to serve as Team USA coach due to his athlete’s showing at the 2009 Age Group National Championship. In order to become the Team USA coach, interested certified USAT coaches submitted the names of their athletes who were competing at the Age Group National Championship. The coach with the most athletes at the starting line of the Age Group National Championship won the honor of being the Team USA coach.
“I was blessed with the opportunity to represent the United States in 2005 as an athlete, and to be able to come back in 2010 as a coach is even more of an honor,” said Swarthout, who is the co-owner of SCS Multisport LLC in Eden Prairie, Minn. “I have found a greater sense of accomplishment helping people achieve their dreams than I ever felt living my own.”

“One of the things I look forward to the most will be handing out the American flags to the athletes as they come into the finish line. Thank you USAT for this great honor. I will not let you down.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Chicago Autoshow

Occasionally I don't write about triathlon related topics. This is one of those times. I would say that I have gone to the Chicago Autoshow 6 or 8 times over the last 10 years. I go with my dad, who has gone about 34 times in the last 36 years. That is impressive. He talks about how things have changed at the show over the last 30+ years. This year he mentioned that during the 70's each manufacturer would put on a show at thier display. A show with music, some times live music, dancing girls, very scantily clad women, etc. He said it was much different. He told me about how in the 80's, probably the lowest point for American quality, the cars at the show had bad build quality. Show cars with poor panel fit and orange peel paint.
In the decade that I have been going to the Chicago Autoshow I have seen some real changes. They still have beautiful women standing by the cars, not as scantily clad, but they do wear tight fitting clothes. They also have male models at the cars. Thankfully, not scantily clad. The quality of the cars is always good. What I have seen is the effect of the economy on all car companies.
The first few times I went, both sides of the convention hall were filled, packed, with cars. Now, not so much. There is more space between cars , within displays, and the entire hall is not packed with cars. This year there was no Pontiac, Saab, Hummer (good riddens to bad rubish), and Saturn. No Porsche last year. This year there was only a Porsche dealer with three cars. The car companies that are there put much fewer cars on display. BMW or Audi might have put out 20 cars for each, now only a dozen or less. Ford had probably the biggest display, in terms of cars and area, but still seemed like less than in years past.
A number of years back there were flashy displays. Jeep had a waterfall that would spell phrases out. Jeep setup an off-road like driving area. The off-road simulation driving area is still there, but smaller and with no scenery, just some ramps, etc. Dodge had a little indoor driving area, that is now gone. A lot of the flash is gone. It is understandable, with how much the industry has suffered. Mostly by thier own hand. After Dodge and GM get gov't money, and then go out and put on big flashy displays, we the public might wonder what the hell is going on. Even without them putting on big flashy displays we still wonder what the hell is going on.
Hopefully, someday, the autoshow goes back to more cars and a little more flash. It would be nice to see the auto industry turn around and have something to celebrate. As long as there is a Chicago Autoshow, I will continue to go every year. Even if there are less cars and less flash, it is still a day I get to spend with my dad and talk about cars, and that is the best part of the whole thing.
I put five pictures of my favorite cars. As always the Porsche 911 (Carrera 4S Cabriolet). 2010 Mustang GT500, BMW M3, Nissan GT-R, and the Lexus LFA.
Porsche 911- the car I have always wanted since I first saw one when I was in elementary school. The car is a piece of engineering art work and you can drive it everyday. (right around 125,000, for the 4S Cabrio)
Mustang GT500 - Ford does it right. The Mustang looks sweet and it is 100% America horsepower. Also, for what you get it is inexpensive (under 50,000)
BMW M3 - Not even sure what to say. Beautiful car, amazing engine, amazing everything (under 60,000)
Nissan GT-R - Japan finally sends a supercar to the US at reasonable price (under 90,000).
Lexus LFA - A true Japanese supercar, only 500 are going to be built. V-10, all carbon fiber, and each one optioned to the owners request. Price somewhere in the 100s of thousands of dollars. Amazing piece of technology.
Yes, I know they are all expensive, but you got to have dreams

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Product Review 15 and 16 - CycleOps Pro Series SuperMagneto Trainer and Kurt Kinetic Trainer

I have been using the same trainer for the last 8+ years and it is pretty junky. So, I welcomed the opportunity to try out a new trainer, especially the opportunity to try two trainers. There is one picture of the Kurt Kinetic trainer, from the Kurt Kinetic website, and three pictures of the CycleOps Pro Series SuperMagneto trainer with my bike on it.

As one might guess from the name of the CycleOps Pro Series SuperMagneto it utilizes magnets for the resistance. The magnets move outward a certain distance from the center of the flywheel depending upon one of four settings. Resistance increases the further out the magnets move. The trainer has four different settings, easy, road, interval, and mountain. As one might assume, each of the settings increases the resistance. The Kurt Kinetic trainer is a basic fluid resistance flywheel trainer. One nice thing about the CycleOps is that the magnets start at the center no matter what resistance setting you choose. So, when you start from stop it is easy to get going and resistance builds with speed. Basically, the Kurt Kinetic trainer has a constant resistance so it requires an initial hard effort to get the flywheel moving. Both trainers are fairly easy to setup. A quick look at the instructions for the CycleOps trainer and I figured it out. The bike locks securely and easily into both trainers. The CycleOps mechanism for locking the bike in at the rear is a little nicer that the Kurt Kinetic. One advantage of the CycleOps trainer is quick release on the roller. When taking the bike off the CycleOps and returning it to the trainer it does not require the user to screw the roller into position and determine the correct position of the roller each time. On the Kurt Kinetic the user needs to screw and unscrew the roller into position each time the bike is removed.

When riding the bike there was never any instability issues with either trainer. They are both very solid and sturdy. I have hardwood floors in my apartment and the floors are old and uneven. There were no issues with either trainer wobbling or slipping. I rode the trainers anywhere from about half an hour to an hour and a half at a time and there were no issues.

I tried all four settings on the CycleOps trainer. I used easy and road the most, interval and mountain the least. There is a difference between each setting. Easy is easy, barely any resistance, and road has a nice amount of resistance for just about any workout. Probably the only thing I don't like about the CycleOps trainer is that you have to stop and get off the bike to change the settings. It would be nice to be able to change the settings while still on the bike, even if you need to stop the motion of the trainer. I assume adding this capability would add quite a few dollars to the price tag.

The CycleOps trainer came with a DVD. I would not call it instructional or a workout DVD. I did not watch the entire DVD, I watched the first two parts and the final part. The first part is a "warm-up", the second part is a ride through of the course during a race, the third part is a race, and the fourth part is a cool-down.

There is a 60-80 dollar price difference between the two trainers, depending upon where you look up prices. I think the Kurt Kinetic trainer runs about $320 and the CycleOps about $400. I am going to purchase the CycleOps trainer. The biggest reason I am purchasing the CycleOps trainer is the adjustable resistance feature. I think this is a great feature and it works. I have an old Tacx with adjustable resistance and it never worked right. I also think the usability of the CycleOps, the ability to get the bike in and out of the trainer and the quick release on the roller, are added features that are not critical, but nice to have