Alaska Bob – Mixing it up in Kona!

Alaska Bob, mixing it up at Kona!

If you have been to one of our March camps from 2010 onwards, you will no doubt have met Alaska Bob (Bob Smith).

Bob, who spent many years living and working in Valdez, Alaska, before retiring to Colorado, is known for letting his bike legs do most of his talking at camp. We all knew it would be just a matter of time before the Kona finishing line would see his name. This summer, he got serious, put his skateboarding hobby on hold:) and arrived in Kona fit and raring to go!
Alaska Bob’s 5 best moments of racing at the Ironman World Championships:
5. Kona Coffee at Lava Java
4. Swimming in the pier
3. All the energy from athletes from all the world
2. Seeing Alaska friends and my wife Sue cheering me on
1. Coming down from Alli Drive and entering the finishing chute. With Mike Riley telling me I’m an Ironman. (Also first Long Board beer after the finish).
STC – Awesome job Bob. Enjoy your off-season, we hope to see you in March at camp!

“It ain’t over, until it is over” by Joseph Ong

STC – We had the pleasure of meeting the ever jovial Joseph Ong in Solvang in March earlier this year. He arrived at camp with a clear goal for his season, to race 70.3 Astana in Kazakhstan. Below he shares his story of how his summer panned out and the repeated mantra that has got him to the start line of the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Joseph – thank you for sharing, we are rooting for you!!

Written by Joseph Ong – Solvang Camp Athlete 2018, 70.3 Ironman World Championship Competitor!

Joseph training in Solvang last March

I remember Peter, in a short talk at the Solvang Camp, saying “It ain’t over, until it is over”.

Three-time World Ironman Champion, Peter Reid, must certainly know a thing or two how to win.

I raised my eyes up from an aerobar crouch and, too late, slammed into the back of a truck that should never have been there. Recovering from the painful shock and a quick feel about the body concluded that I was alive, but the left shoulder hurt like mad.  A broken collarbone again, damned.

Some helpful cyclists behind me stopped to examine the carnage.  One offered to call the ambulance or an Uber taxi. I instinctively knew a trip in an ambulance to the hospital would put a stop to plans for Kazakhstan IM. 

No ambulance then, but what at S$17/- for an Uber ride? I would rather cycle back 20 km, and that’s what I did.

Arriving home, I pretended that it was a minor incident – no need to alarm the wife! From previous experience if could raise the right arm however painfully and slowly very likely I broke no collar bones – that’s the good news. After the adrenaline wore off, two Panadols masked the pain.

Strangely my Dimond triathlon bike was unscathed.

So next morning resumed biking on the Wahoo trainer – what else – any further shirking would have the wife suggest a stop to Kazakhstan IM.

Had to give up that evening swim training – did not want to specialize on one arm stroke work.

Luckily it rained on Tuesday so had a decent excuse not to run in Botanic Gardens. Detuned all further training as the body had to rid the cortisol before feeling ready to be up to any kind of effort.

Start a limp walk and jog in the following weeks and however I disliked it, it was a one-handed swim heading into week 4. The bruising was as ugly as hell and did not want to swim in trunks – a trisuit with sleeves covered up the scars of my misadventure.

Hey it is not that bad if you don’t think about it too much. IM 70.3 Astana Kazakhstan I have not given up yet.

More limp, walk, jog and finally a slow two arms swim was finding its rhythm. Not fast but being a bit dogged about it saw some progress.

Trump and Kim had just finished their tete-a-tete in Singapore and with the uncertainty  over traffic conditions we arrived four hours early in Changi Airport for a quick hop to Bangkok and an overnight sojourn  before an unearthly 4 am morning flight to Astana.

After 8 exhausting hours we land in Astana.

The airport is clean and modern – the taxis were another matter! Luckily IM Astana had a booth at the airport and they bargained our taxi fare and sent us on our way – bike box and all.

Alana Hotel had a retro-chic Russian style. Not spanking modern but good enough. Astana is a city built over the last twenty years.

The Kazakhstan National Museum

A restaurant that serves traditional Horse meat sausages and steaks. Tasted pretty good if you convince yourself it helps in speeding the healing process of my injuries!

The race is an Inaugural IM 70.3 in the Central Asia states, so you can expect the organizer to pull out all the stops to make sure it was going to be a great event. And it was. They made sure that even little Singapore, was not forgotten – I was the only competitor from there!

The swim was in 19 degrees water so wetsuit legal, but I swear there were Polar bears there who swam in swimming trunks for a quick transition. The rolling start was formed but it seems every competitor did not know their times, so slow swimmer mixed with the fast in an untidy melee. There were no waves and only a slight current so the fastest emerged in 26 minutes. It took me 45 minutes in comparison – the fragile left arm held up and was I glad!   

Transition 1 proved troublesome as my lack of left arm mobility made changing a bit laborious and it took me all of 10 minutes – even my granddaughter changes faster than that and she is only a year and a half old.

The bike course was flat – pancake flat – and absolutely traffic free but the winds played tricks with your pacing. I was passed by just about everybody for which my lack of fitness was the excuse. Hey, but I am in ironman and I will run you down – later. Plod, plod , plod , pedal, pedal, pedal – it ain’t over until the finish line I repeated this mantra.

Off the bike and a simple change to running shoes saw me off running.  This is my weakest segment – a persistent right knee pain saw me start cautiously. But the pace was off – I do this kind of speeds only on my recovery runs and this is race day.  Carefully nurse the pain in case the knee packed up completely. Then there was the finish line almost after three hours. I will finish with a flourish since “It ain’t over until it is over”.  And it was over, I finished.

But as the triathlon gods would have it, in the luck of the draw I won and took a slot for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in South Africa in September. With two more months training I will be back – minus the crash, I hope.

My third world Championship in a decade.  Thanks Lil for believing that I can race and enjoy it. I did.

The ticket for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships 2018 in South Africa, Port Elizabeth.

The old uncle strikes again!!!

Peter Reid pushes the reset button in prep for camp!

Written by Peter Reid, 3 X Hawaii Ironman Winner and Solvang Coach.

Yup – oops! It’s the first word that came out of my mouth when I jumped on the scale October 1st. I put on a bit too much weight during the summer. I didn’t prepare for any races in 2017 and spent most of my weekends learning a new sport, kiteboarding, which has pretty much zero cardio to it and a bit too much beer consumption.

I had to do something about the lack of fitness and shedding the few extra pounds. It was time for a mini training camp. My ‘mini training camp’ would be a commitment of 3 weeks of exercising 6 days a week at a very low heart rate to get my fat burning system going again and to create a regular workout routine.

Those first few runs and bike rides were a huge struggle. I hooked up with one of my old training buddies for some rides and he was having a blast dropping me on hills. I stuck with my plan and let him consistently ride away. I also walked up a lot of hills on training runs to keep my heart rate low. Toward the end of the third week I was finally able to run slowly up hills and I decided to avoid my training partners.

After completing the training camp I was back into a groove. I also had a few goals to help motivate me. The first goal was to get fit for the Junior Mountain Bike spin class which I lead from December to March on Thursdays. The kids are the best in the regionand two of them are currently the best Juniors in the country. I needed high end fitness to lead the class so it was back on ZWIFT to force me to dig deep during workouts.

Goal number two was to persuade Charlie (Solvang Tri Camp’s Camp Director) to have me back as assistant Coach at the Solvang Camp. She agreed and now I’m on to goal 2:

Continue reading “Peter Reid pushes the reset button in prep for camp!”

Top 5 reasons to include a camp in your spring training

By Coach Mike Ricci

As we head into the coldest part of winter, and our time on the bike trainer gets old and the ‘dreadmill’ gets worse each week, give thought to a training camp where the sun is shining and you get the fresh, outdoor air into your lungs. Give thought to a destination where there are real hills and the riding is endless in all directions. Oh, that does sound nice. A spring camp will give your training and mental energy the boost you need at just the right time.

Here’s a short list of why you should think about a training camp in 2018:

1. A camp will get you out of your comfort zone. I have been to many training camps over the last two decades and I still get that warm fuzzy anxious feeling in my stomach the first day of camp. Who are the fast riders? Will I keep up on the climbs? How will I feel by day 3? All these wonderful questions pop into my head and confirm I made the right decision to get out of my comfort zone with my training.

2. At camp, you will meet new people. Yes, you may already have training partners, but meeting new athletes who you may recognize from various races is an important part of the community of triathlon. As you meet these new athletes, you’ll gain a better understanding of how faster athletes train, and this will help you with your own training. There’s no single way to do anything, especially training. Meeting new people and learning what they do to maintain their edge is a definite benefit.

3. Attending camp in a new location will afford you the opportunity to ride routes you’ve never ridden before or run on trails you’ve never been on. There’s a huge benefit for getting out of your local hood and learning the roads and trails of another town.

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2017 Camp Athletes Share ‘Best Moments of the Year’

With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s always fun to look back at that one best moment that made all the training hours, the early mornings, and the digging deep worth it during the previous 12 months.

And so it gives us great pleasure to share some of the best sporting moments of the 2017 Solvang athletes, who accomplished some amazing feats. Thanks to everyone who shared their best moment of 2017 and many congratulations to all; what a huge array of accomplishments and range of events. Inspiring stuff as we roll into 2018!!

Sean Carlson at the finish line of Ironman Santa Rosa! One very special best moment.

Sean Carlson, Santa Barbara, CA: I completed my first Ironman in July 2017 at Ironman Santa Rosa…this was my major accomplishment and camp was one of the things that really helped me understand what I needed to do to accomplish my goal. I had a great swim and bike, but had a terrible run but completed my goal.

Jenna post race 70.3 Lake Placid

Jenna Hannigan, Bethesda, MD: This year’s accomplishment that I will look back on and smile… “my first Ironman 70.3 at the first Ironman 70.3 at Lake Placid with my friend and fellow camper, Trish, Coincidentally, I wore my camp jersey for this race!



Dan hitting 6:31’s this year on the run

Dan Wheeler, San Francisco, CA: 2017 was a year of making progress on the run, which included a 6:31 / mile pace in a 5K, running the Double Dipsea in 2:43 as part of the Dolphin Club Escape from Alcatraz and placing 6th in my age group in the North Face Challenge half marathon.



Mike finishing Hawaii Ironman!

Mike Pierson, Neenah, WI: Best day was finally being able to run in mid August and finishing Iron-man Hawaii in October with my wife as a competitor too. Saw Mike Ricci there as well at finish.




Mike qualifying for the 70.3 Ironman World Champs

Mike Davis, Boulder, CO: At Ironman 70.3 North Carolina this year I PR’d by about 15 min for a 4:34 finishing time and also landed a qualifying spot to 70.3 Worlds in South Africa in 2018.




Trish all smiles post race at Ironman Santa Rosa!

Trish McDonough, Washington, DC: The highlight of my 2017 season was IM Santa Rosa  – I finished with a smile on my face, and had a fantastic day all around.  The rest of my season was great too, ending with Lake Placid 70.3, which was a great day.




Molly winning her first Ironman outright!!! WHAT?! Fab!

Molly Smith, Denver, CO: My best moment of the 2017 season was winning Ironman Maryland. 🙂





Continue reading “2017 Camp Athletes Share ‘Best Moments of the Year’”