Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Salem Spring - Prelim Start List

Below is a preliminary look at the start list for the 16th and FINAL running of the legendary Salem Spring triathlon.

Saturday's forecast is looking like a gorgeous spring day with highs in the mid 60's.

Still another day or two if you want to join the party and give Salem a proper send off... register here!

the amazing Omar Bermejo will be there... will you?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the wo/man who points out how the strong wo/man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the wo/man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends her/himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if s/he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that her/his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Dan Aamodt is aat it Aagain!

For the past several years, Dan Aamodt was the head of TriUtah. But with Brogg Sterrett now at the reins, Dan has a little more time for his own racing. Dan recently toed the line at Oceanside 70.3, and we reached out to get his report!

Before we get there, make sure to check out TriUtah's new site... Women of Steel kicks things off May 12th, then East Canyon, Echo, Jordanelle, and Brineman (State Champs) ALL qualified - thanks to your participation last season - to be in the inaugural Utah Triathlon Championship Series. Should be fun!

It’s amazing to me how many people from Utah always attend the Oceanside 70.3 event. But, then again, who can argue with Southern California in April! 2018 was my first time participating in Oceanside. I have always used the “it’s too early in the year” excuse, so this was new for me.

Oceanside boasts amazing beach scenery with a beautiful swim in the Oceanside Harbor. Before race start, I noticed a handful of Sea Lions hanging out on the boat docs across from the starting line, oblivious to the over 2000 athletes who were about to enter the 62 degree Pacific Ocean. I was excited - race organizers had changed the swim to a beach start this year and I was looking forward to “dolphining” through the surf. However, with 6 feet surf forecasted for race day, the organizers decided to revert back to the original swim course inside the harbor. Many athletes were happy for the change; I was a little bummed out. The swim is a counter clockwise “J” shaped swim protected by the harbor barriers. I didn’t notice much swell in the harbor, and enjoyed the buoyancy of the salt water as we all cruised to the turn around. Once we hit the turn around, the sun was right in our eyes. So, rather than swimming outside of the pack, I settled in with a group near me and let them do the navigating, keeping myself parallel to the shore.

Dan nervously awaiting the swim start

One thing about Oceanside is the transition is long and narrow. Upon exiting the water, athletes run along the edge of transition for what seems like forever, to the far north corner of transition. Exiting transition on bikes, athletes can smell the artistic aroma of the dozens of porta-toilets nestled on the edges of the course.

The bike course is now one of my favorite 70.3 bike courses. Being a slower cyclist, I was intimidated by comments of how hard the hills were in Camp Pendleton. I found them refreshing, challenging, and fun to descend! Note to anyone new to Oceanside: The hills are tough, but not as bad as people say. The entire bike course is a thrill - mostly because of the hundreds of US Marines volunteering on the course. There’s nothing quite like riding past young soldiers with their automatic weapons over their shoulders, managing intersections for the athletes. OO-RAH! 

The two-loop run is relatively flat with a couple of small inclines and descents. I particularly enjoyed running along the boardwalk right next to the ocean. Hearing the waves crash on the shore and glancing at surfers doing their thing, with the neighbors blasting a variety music distracted me from the pains of running 13.1 miles after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles. On the run course, I noticed a lot of Utah participants and was greeted by Shane and Meagan Johnson, and Perry Hacker! Stephanie Shew passed me on the run saying “go get it”. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I’m supposed to get, and if I actually got it. Nonetheless, the finish-line emerged and was energetic and loud with Mike Reilly announcing the finishers. I’m proud to say I am once again a “Half-Ironman”!

Ironman always does a great job with finisher medals, post-race food, and amazing expo packed with sponsors. One thing I particularly liked was the finish-line bag Ironman gave to each athlete to use for personal items at the finish. It felt fantastic to take off my running shoes, throw on my flip flops and a clean smelling shirt, and hang out for a while.

In summary, Oceanside 70.3 is a fantastic event, with all three disciplines offering up great courses. 2018 offered up perfect weather conditions, amazing volunteers, and a fun, challenging course! I’ll be back next year for sure! If you haven’t yet raced Oceanside 70.3, and are considering it, I recommend you give it a shot!

Keep the rubber on the road -

Danny Aamodt

TriUtah lineup for 2018

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Course Preview: Utah Lake Olympic (THE ULO)!

The Utah Lake Olympic (aka the "ULO") is a new, OLYMPIC ONLY race for 2018 that will take place May 19th.

Last year the Toughman Utah Half took place at this venue, and local triathlete Tyson Alexander scoped it out with the course preview below. We thought we'd refresh your memory so you know what to expect come race day. The swim info is pretty much the same, it's one loop on the bike as opposed to 2, and simply a shorter out and back run. Thanks Tyson!

While it's fun to "PR" on a course you've done before, it's also fun to break in brand new terrain a la Lewis & Clark. In place of a fur hat will be your swim cap, instead of rifles you'll be armed with energy gels, etc, etc... but it will still be an epic adventure, we promise you that!

Sacagawea famously points over Lincoln Beach, home of the Utah Lake Olympic swim course

link to sign up! 

Utah Lake Olympic – Course Preview

For those of you who have looked forward or backward (or sideways maybe) to Kona with two eyes and a heart full of wanting year after year, and yearned for the day when you could test your meddle against the harsh elements; the charred landscape, the unforgiving heat, the swirling wind, and the mental challenge of seeing the course stretch on before your eyes.  For those of you who have spent countless hours on a treadmill (or the trainer) while watching Kona DVD’s and visualized yourselves grinding through the energy lab knowing full well the relentless physical and mental assault that eludes you - prepare yourselves for the 2018 ULO, a great course that will allow you to test your mind and body in a Kona like setting on (the west side of) West Mountain.  A place without a name – a no man’s land where you will be able to visualize the big island as you bike and run past the charred, fire burnt landscape of one of Utah County’s greatest, most hallowed, yet less travelled terrain.  Thank you RaceTri.  Having grown up in Payson, and having lived in Santaquin and Genola, this course is a perfect jaunt through some great parts of the county that many never get to see.     


The entire course is located in and around West Mountain, which happens to be the name of a town west of Payson, but also the name of the actual mountain that will be fixed in your mind for the rest of time.  Located at the south end of Utah Lake (the northern tip of West Mountain), the transition area and swim start are located at the Lincoln Beach Campground.

Transition Area:

At Lincoln Beach there is a grassy area with bathrooms and space to prepare yourselves – as you are able to gaze across the lake to see Utah County with the backdrop of Mt. Timpanogos.  A wonderful sight if you’ve never ventured to this part of the state.  This transition area is approximately 250 feet from the swim start (asphalt road) and is wide open.  



Much of the swim will be a long straightaway, providing a lot of room for spectators to watch. As the RaceTri site states, if you're nervous about open water swimming, be comforted that you're never far from shore. Also as a May race, water quality will be solid as opposed to how Utah Lake can get sketchy (and overly warm) in the late summer months. Below is a picture from the actual boat dock (swim exit) with the swim start being the dock on the left side of the image.  



The bike leg will take you in a clockwise direction for 1 lap around West Mountain (the actual mountain).

You will head south out of Lincoln beach, through some farming country, and then onto highway 147 south.  The elevation gain is approx. 842 ft. per loop (1680 total) with miles 4 through 14 being a mild climb.  Some of these roads have recently been refinished and you will enjoy the difference between those roads and the roads that have not been refinished.  Please note that in the course video below, I did encounter a goat running along side the road (2:10 in the video).  This may or may not be a normal occurrence on this course.  Be advised that there is a downhill portion (mile 3) coming out of the beach followed by a right turn.  It isn’t extremely tight, but you will likely still have more speed than normal following the downhill portion on this turn.  Many of these turns (90 degree turns) and winding roads from miles 3-10 may have gravel on the road, and possiblly hay, debris, etc. from the farms and wind.  Please be careful.  At mile 10, you will be on Hwy 147 heading south.  There are apple orchards and cherry orchards for which Payson and Santaquin are famous (well, as famous as Payson and Santaquin can be).  Mile 14 will bring you through the “Goshen gap” and down into Genola.  A hidden gem of farmland and homes where many will want to live following this race.  Enjoy this through mile 18 where you will encounter some more cherry orchards (and probably some cherries on the road).  At mile 19 you will be at the southwest corner of West Mountain and turn towards the North on Lincoln Beach Road.  This stretch (miles 19-25) is a dry, burnt, wasteland on the right and will remind you of Kona if you want it to.   Be on the lookout for the few trees that survived the fire, and are thriving in the burnt hillside, inspiring your mental image to grind it out!


The run portion is a classic out and back. If it's a particularly warm May day, mile 1-2 may give you a bit of shade, but after that you’ll be exposed. This is where you can imagine yourselves in Kona, running through the lava fields, with nothing but burnt dreams and wasted landscapes taunting you to give up or quit.  

This is where you can dig down into our psyche, and motivate yourselves with that inner voice, reminding you that all throughout your life, you’ve had charred hillsides or negative influences urging you to quit, giving you reasons to stop running - but you aren’t a quitter – you are a triathlete – and so you just keep moving.  You keep reminding yourself that a burned up mountain is no match for your awesome.  So you keep on moving forward to the next mile marker, knowing full well that just on the other side of this mountain, around the next turn – is the finish line – and that is where you belong.

link to sign up!        

Friday, April 6, 2018

Fast Family Man: Interview with Dan Cushman

Thanks for the time, Dan!

What’s your athletic background and how did you get started in triathlon?

I swam in high school, and was average at best. In college, I found out that I was a decent runner, and joined the triathlon team at the University of Arizona. I have been hooked ever since.

Are you from Utah originally, and if not, when did you move here? If you don’t mind saying, what do you do for work?

I have been all over the place. I'm originally from a small town in Southern Oregon, and after college in Tucson, I have lived in the Bay Area, Miami, and Chicago as well. I am a non-operative sports medicine physician at the University of Utah. I have a great job, and get to help people remain active. As I can't focus on just one thing (i.e. triathlon is 3 sports), my job is perfect because I do a lot of different things. I am the team doc for all of the endurance athletes at the University of Utah (cross-country, track & field, swim/dive), as well as doing a fair amount of sports medicine research, and seeing patients in a few settings. It is a great mix, and I am one of the few people who just loves my job. I worked for about five years as an engineer out of college, before going back to school, and I do not regret the road I took.

2006 IM 70.3 World Champs in Clearwater

Your wife races as well, correct? Do you often race together or is it too tough to get away at the same time?

She does. In fact, we met in San Francisco on a bike ride. She is currently training for the Boston Marathon, so we are on different schedules, but we do many races together. She tends to do longer races, while I tend to do shorter races. We definitely understand each other, and I couldn't ask for anybody better! Apart from being an amazing athlete, she is fun, laid back, intelligent, and an amazing mother as well. I could go on about her all day, so I'll spare you... We have three young kids, which makes training juggling challenging at times, but we always seem to make it work. We are about to have our 10-year anniversary, and we are going to go on a bike trip overseas for a week, which will be amazing. We have done several bike trips together, and this will be the first time we can afford someone else to transport our gear!

Dan & Laura at Rock Cliff

How would you summarize Ice Breaker? Be honest with us - how much did you pay that police officer before the race to lead [then-leader] Jacob Barnes the wrong direction on the bike course?

I hadn't done the race before, but I did cheer my wife on a couple years ago with the kids. It was a lot of fun. Yeah, Jacob Barnes would have easily beaten me. I have definitely been steered off course numerous times in the past, and know how frustrating it can be. In fact, I find it is rare that I have not got lost at least once per race! Jacob is a great guy, and really fast, just like everybody else who works at Salt Lake Running Company!

Brineman 2016 with Jacob Barnes (left) and Robert McConville

Where were you at relative to Jacob when he went off course… could you see him?

Honestly, I'm not sure. My guess is that he was a ways ahead of me.

What other races are on your schedule or are you considering for this season?

I'm planning on doing local sprint races this year. I usually only have about an hour per day that I can train, generally very early in the morning before work. I often have to be in by 7 a.m., and I always make sure that I can see my kids in the evenings, so it limits my ability to do longer races. I love the races around here, and the people are great.

Looking at some of your race results it looks like you’re very steady across the 3 disciplines.. how would you rank yourself from your personal weakness to greatest strength?

Thanks, but I feel like cycling is definitely my weakness. I think it's mostly a combination of limited time to train, and I just hate riding indoors. If it is a very hilly course, which is hard to find, I can usually do quite well, but I just do not have much power. Running is probably the easiest for me. Anyone who has seen me in person, knows that I have much more of a runner's build (I'm very skinny).

You finished 2017 as #2 in our M3539 rankings, with an overall win at Rockcliff (sprint), 7th overall at Echo (sprint) and 2nd overall at Brineman (sprint). Is it true you’ve moved up to “wreak even more havoc” on the M4044, or are you still hanging onto 39?

Ha! I am turning 40 at the end of the year, so technically they put me in the 40-44 age group. I'd be happy to stay in my thirties longer. Your number one racer, last year, Robert McConville, is a good friend of mine, but way too fast, so maybe I'm just trying to get away from him.

Having raced Brineman the last couple years, what are your thoughts about the venue as the 2018 State Champs race?

I love that race! I think that is my favorite swim around here. If I can get my butt in gear to train a little longer, I could conceivably do the Olympic (State Champs race).

Dan and Laura did a 5-day trip from Miami to Key West, FL with only bikes and a tent

Anything else you’d like to share?

If anybody is running the Salt Lake City Half Marathon or Marathon, I will be doing a research project at the Finish Line, where we will be testing the effects of dry needling on post-race soreness. Come say hi! 

And if any triathlete out there has an injury that I could help with, I never mind people contacting me by email, in case I can help!

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