Will you be at the Niagara Falls Barrelman Triathlon?

david over the fallsThe inauguaral Niagara Falls Barrelman Triathlon is set to take place. Athletes will swim 1.2 miles (2 km) in the calm waters of the Welland Receational Canal, bike 56 miles (90 km) on a flat and fast route from Welland to Niagara Falls, then run 13.1 miles (21.1 km) on the soon to be iconic run course in downtown Niagara Falls which takes you past the American and Canadian Falls twice!

The event boasts a number of exciting features including a Beer and Wine Garden, Cool Finisher gear, and a Relay Challenge where you can put together a relay team to take down Lionel Sanders and Cody Beals.

Please consider joining us for what will be a spectacular day of racing. You can get the full details in our August Barrelman Update or visit the website for registration and race information.

Additionally, we have race discount information on our sponsors and discounts page. See Multi-spot Canada. Enjoy, and hope to see you there!


Custom BTC Gym Bag & Raffle – Courtesy of Todd Phelps

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 2.53.47 PMHello members! Fellow BTC member, Todd Phelps, has donated a beautiful custom-made and hand-stitched leather gym bag with the BTC name and logo’s prominently featured.  Todd came to the board with an idea to raise some extra funds for the club and we really appreciate his sentiment! What’s been decided is that we will purchase a number of Kiefer Swim Safe Buoys with the proceeds for our Wednesday evening and Sunday morning open water swims. As a club we recognize that it can be intimidating to head out on the lake in open water and these buoys are a great tool to help keep people safe. On top of that you get a chance to win what will obviously be the coolest gym bag in town!
Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 2.50.47 PM

Raffle Details

We will be selling raffle tickets at our BTC events (bricks, time trials, swims, etc) for $1 each, or $5 for 7 tickets. We will draw the winning ticket at our end-of-the season get-together at Dug’s Dive. Our end-of-season event is tentatively planned for September 24th. Stay tuned at our Facebook page as well as in your email inbox for more details on that!


The Accidental Qualifier – Anything is Possible

Written by: Kate Leary

IMLP1Many BTC club members are setting out next week to take on that wonderful, unpredictable, crazy triathlon: Ironman Lake Placid. It takes place on our “home course” in the Adirondacks, and scores of Buffalo folks make the trek there every year to cheer on the ever-increasing number of athletes from our area. I was just such an athlete last summer. You may have heard someone speak of “Kona Kate.” How did this aging triathlete take on that moniker? I am living proof that, as the Ironman motto says, “Anything is possible.”

Carpe Diem

Here is my belated, “sort of” race report. I won’t be using too many acronyms or initialisms. You won’t be reading about my power wattage on the bike or my heart rate on the run. I won’t tell you how many milligrams of sodium I took in, or calories per hour. As I have told Peter Cummings a number of times, I’m more of a poet than a mathematician, so you number geeks may choose to stop reading now.

My IMLP started as a lark. I had been doing Sprint and Oly triathlons since I retired from teaching middle school in 2008, and I had added the 70.3 distance for two races in the past couple of years. My younger tri friends (you know who you are!) kept asking when I would do a Full IM, and I always laughed and replied, “When I turn 60.” So, keeping to my word, I entered IMLP to celebrate this milestone. I remember standing in the registration line the day after IMLP in 2012 with Joe Grey, Joe Rosati, Aubrey Duquin, Jon Bottoms, and Jen Astalos, to name just a few. IMLP2David Welby was there, looking for a ride back to Buffalo, wishing he had the big bucks to fork over for the race. BTC folks were all abuzz about 2013, and I was a nervous wreck. What was I thinking, entering something this difficult?

Training for this endeavor took over my life during the year leading up to the race. Although I love winter sports, I didn’t ski or skate that year, worried that I might get injured. Instead, I spent my weekends on the trainer, or, if it was over 35 degrees, riding outside, trying not to freeze to death. BTC friends and great sports, Joe Grey, Karen Tierney, and Colleen Regan-Kreuz often froze along with me, and Barb O’Reilly, Maureen Kemeny, Marit Ogin, and Gary Randolph joined in the fun once it warmed up a bit.

Preparing for race execution was key. Everyone racing is fit at the starting line, but many of them have the wrong idea of how to approach the day. I spent my time during taper week planning my nutrition strategy, knowing how important it was to be taking in the calories, sodium, etc., that my body would need to make it through the day. I broke the race down into sections, and planned my approach. The bike became four sections: the ride out of town, the descent into Keene, the relative flats of Upper Jay and Jay, and the climb back into town, through Wilmington. I posted my goal watts for each type of terrain on my aero water bottle. I kept telling myself that the race was just another long training day, but it is catered and it has valet service. I decided to pretend I was in Downton Abbey, with servants to attend to my every whim.

IMLP3Keeping a relaxed attitude, I had a full seven hours’ sleep the night before the race, getting up at 4:00 and having some oatmeal, a banana, and coffee. I got to the transition area, body marking done, all bags ready to go. Uh oh! I had left my Garmin plugged in at the hotel! No watts! No run pace! Could I possibly do this “old school?” Thankfully, my daughter and son-in-law were there, with their bikes, which they jumped on, and raced several miles to the hotel to get the Garmin, delivering it to the volunteers in transition with instructions to put it into my bike gear bag.

Off to the swim start. My last rehearsal swim, sans wetsuit, had been 1:14 for 2.5 miles at the “Oasis,” so I seeded myself at the back of the 1:10 group, having been told by seasoned IMLP veteran Justin Adamek that I would surely go faster with the draft and a wetsuit. My mental training was key here. At first, I stayed wide, away from the masses, with Joe Grey by my side, but I felt that I wasn’t getting the benefit of the draft, so I went in to the cable, which runs underwater with the buoys attached. Following it is the shortest distance, and, since you can see it, you don’t have to sight. Cripes! I felt like I was entered in a Mixed Martial Arts event! I was grabbed by the ankle and yanked backwards, and I was literally punched in the foot by someone who was also grabbing my leg. Instant calf cramp! Grabbed by the shoulder! Dunked underwater! Dumb me didn’t give an inch, and I kept finding myself under the buoys. First loop went pretty well since I “stayed in my box” and kept telling myself I could not control anyone else’s behavior, just my reaction to it. Like the Brits said in WWII: “Keep calm and carry on.” The second loop was a challenge, since I caught up with some of the slower swimmers who were on loop one and who pretty much blocked my way. Lots of zig zagging needed. The swim was slower than expected at 1:15, and I came out of the water bleeding as a result of the melee!
Transition One: First task was to find my Garmin. Not in the bike gear bag. Not in the run bag. Not in the dry clothes bag. My personal servant, um, Volunteer, had all my bags dumped on the grass inside the tent, and we combed through it all. T1 was longer than planned.

I ran down the bike racks, yelling my bib number for the bike valets, but ended up having to find my bike myself. After mounting, then coasting around the hairpin turn behind the school, I spotted my daughter who told me to look in my Bento for the Garmin. Yay! I turned it on and waited in the rain in the mountains to catch a slow satellite while we chatted roadside. Hundreds of people passed me on the first loop of the bike leg. Maybe a thousand before the end, including my training partners, Joe and Gary, who I had beaten out of the water. But, undaunted, I kept my watts low on those hills. I also waited in line at port-a-potties (what the heck were those people doing in there so long?!) At bike special needs, I grabbed my treats from the bag – an almond butter and jelly sandwich and fig newtons, which I saved for an impromptu picnic at the riverside heading to Jay. I waited in another bathroom line. I know, you always hear about people peeing on the bike, but that’s not me. Being older, I needed to stretch anyway. I was out to enjoy the day, after all. So, a slooowww bike split, but feeling relaxed at the end.

Transition Two: Unbelievable, but a sweet young volunteer servant raced up to me, recognized my jersey, and said she had just joined the BTC. She told me her name was Julia Taylor and she was at my service as my own personal dresser. She was amazing, even drying my feet and putting on my shoes and socks while I struggled with my other clothing changes. I had done the same for Lisa Trapasso when she conquered IMLP the previous year, and I was grateful to see a friendly face. Perfect! And, there was no line at the outhouse.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.35.11 AMSo, off to the run. On the way out of town, I saw my best friend and training partner, Joe Grey, who was already heading in, completing his first loop, looking strong and confident. We stopped to share a moment of encouragement. I spotted Joe Rosati and Justin, both of whom were feeling sick, and Gary, who flashed a big grin and gave me a thumbs up. Jen Astalos was also on her way back in, looking amazing with her trademark smile and laugh. Things were going for me as planned: trot along until the aid stations, then walk a bit. Repeat. Repeat again. And again… Well, by mile something-teen, I was feeling the ill effects of the sandwich. I started drinking flat Coke. Didn’t work. My mind was going, as was my balance by mile 18. I was a bit scared, but did as planned: bring out your practiced arguments to tell your body to continue, and figure out what is needed. Sodium? The chicken broth was the answer! I convinced myself that my body was well-trained, and that I could surely finish this thing, regardless of what my brain told me. Preparing the argument with myself before race day of “that one thing” that made me want to do this was time well spent.

The Buffalo Triathlon Club was out in full force, as always, on “Rich Clark Hill.” That was a godsend. Lisa Trapasso and Kara Klassasz hiked out from there to greet me near the top of ski jump hill. They gave me a much-appreciated pep talk, expressing their confidence in me. Those of you who know those two can understand that I had to keep running after that! The cheering mob of BTC’ers lifted me up the final climb.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.33.55 AMAs I took my last turn onto Mirror Lake Drive, my daughter hopped the barricade, ran up alongside me, and announced, “No pressure, Mom, but the last computer update has you in the lead by less than a second!” What?! Someone had told me earlier that I was gaining on the leader of my age group, but it was all just a blur. I was going for the finish, not the win. As I ran down the hill by the Pub, I could hear Mike Reilly’s voice getting louder and louder. Goosebumps! As I raced into the Oval, I spotted training partners Barb and Maureen, tears streaming down their faces, yelling with excitement. Thousands of people thronged the finish area. Mike Reilly’s voice was saying, “60 years young and completing her first Ironman… Kate Leary from Buffalo, NY, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!” I was alone in the chute, and the crowd went wild. It was a moment I will never forget!

Many BTC’ers were at the finish line. Joe and Gary, having finished earlier, were waiting for me behind the scenes. Friends were at the fence, yelling, “You won!” I didn’t believe them, saying that it was a rolling swim start, and who knows where the other ladies had started. Sure, I was first to cross the finish line, but they may have started much later than me. So, off I went to get a massage. By the time that was done, the next few ladies had finished, and it was official: I was going to KONA for the World Championships!
I had learned many lessons. My 2011 epiphany of always going out for an enjoyable day, not a podium spot, put me in good stead when facing an incredible challenge like this one. Staying “in my box” for the swim, keeping my wits about me, helped immensely. Patience and self-discipline on a 112 mile mountainous bike leg was crucial. On the run leg, just trotting along trumps walking, and I could do that since I hadn’t burned up my legs by pushing too hard on the bike. Over the course of the marathon, I had caught a fellow athlete who was 40 minutes ahead of me, a seasoned IMLP veteran and four time Kona finisher, because she was walking while I, known for NOT being a strong runner, could still run. The greatest lesson, however, was to always be grateful that I am truly blessed to have so many friends in the BTC. I could never have done this without their amazing support.

You just never know what any given day will bring, so Carpe Diem! Enjoy every moment of your journey. I am living proof that “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

Note form the editor: Keith Burtis

We are ALL super proud of Kate and as she says in her IMLP wrap up she qualified for Kona! Here is a small video with  her crossing the finish line after her day on the Big Island! What a journey….


Quakerman Triathlon Announcement. Change of Venue for 2014

To all BTC members, this is an announcement from Eclipse Multi-Sport regarding a venue change for the Quakerman Triathlon. Please take note of the changes:

In order to produce the best race possible, we have had to make hard decisions. To maximize your experience and to ensure smooth roads and clean water for you, we have weighed all options and have had to change venues to preserve the quality of The QuakerMan Triathlon.

The QuakerMan Triathlon location has changed for THIS year.

  • Same date – Sunday June 15th
  • Same time – 8AM
  • Same packet pickup – Saturday at Bert’s Bikes in Orchard Park.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 4.08.54 PMNew Location: Only 20 min from Orchard Park!

10475 Harlow Rd.
Darien Center, NY 14040

Please visit the Darien Lake State Park  website to see the beauty that awaits you.

We will be swimming in The 12 acre Harlow Lake with crystal clear water, then enjoy the smooth roads of Cattaraugus County, and finish with a part road and part cross country run. There are 158 Campsites with heated comfort stations and showers, sandy beach, playgrounds, etc. Bring the family for a full weekend of fun! Inquiries for camping can be requested at http://www.nyparks.com. We have planned the same format that was expected. 1 loop sprint course (duathlon included) and 2 loop olympic course (aquabike included).The kids race will still go on as well. We will get them going as soon as the last adult has finished as always. Around 11 AM.If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to email: anne@eclipsemultisport.com

The King of Pain

Written by: Michael Blumenson

Joe Rosati is the King of Pain.  After listening to his story for a couple hours last February, this is the only logical conclusion I think a reasonable person could come to.  This is his story: joe rosati painJoe is three year BTC member who loves to ride Harley’s, hunting in the fall and has an athletic background that prepared him well for the stress and pain of triathlon training.  Already a varsity wrestler in seventh grade, Joe was pushed hard by competing with his 13 month older brother Tony.  With Tony being more experienced and roughly the same size as Joe (126 lbs), Joe had to get down to 119 lbs if he wanted to wrestle for the varsity team.  At the age of 12, Joe was already struggling with shedding 7-10 lbs on match weeks so that he could get down to his required weight.  He was learning hard lessons on balancing strength, agility, speed, pain tolerance and weight control.  Sound familiar?  Joe and Tony were both accomplished wrestlers having both placed in the state qualifier at the club level and they both went to the Eastern Regionals at Lafayette College in PA.  Many years later when Joe Jr. was ready,  Joe Sr. coached him and 5 other kids to qualify for the tournament of champions in Columbus Ohio. In his working life, Joe transitioned several years ago from welding and truck mechanic to become an Employee Assistance Representative at General Motors.  In a job he feels great about, he is helping people in crisis with many different problems including: Drug and alcohol abuse, eldercare, marital and end of life issues.  Multisport is also a means to help others.  He mentioned several family members, coworkers, neighbors and friends who have started endurance athletics by following his lead. On the family front he is a married to Nicole.  Rosati 2She can recently be seen with Joe at UB training swims.  A new runner Nicole has started to show some nice results at area races.  I don’t think anyone would be surprised if we see her at TRI events in the near future.   Joe and Nicole have three kids: Julia (11), Gabriella (14) and Joe Jr. (20).  Joe doesn’t let training get in the way of spending time with them.  His philosophy is that his training should not inconvenience the family and he tries to get the bulk of his training done in the afternoon when just home from work or early morning on the weekends before they wake up.  Joe says their support is to why he can do Multisport and long events.  “They really enjoy going to races and consider the travel races to be mini vacations.”  They can’t wait to get back Lake Placid this year…   We will get to that. Joe TransformationUntil about three years ago, Joe’s athletic thing was lifting weights.  He loved pumping iron and what it did for his fitness.  Never gave a thought to endurance athletics.  But by age 41 his joints started to hurt and he was gaining weight that made him bulkier then he wanted to be.  In pain and ready for a change, he came home one night in January ’11 and told his wife Nicole that “I’m done lifting.  I’m going to start running.”  Nicole laughed at the notion.  The next day he signed up for the Grand Island Half Marathon.  At 5’ 6” and 200 lbs at the time, Joe was quite a load on the treadmill as he explained: “bam, bam, bam…I was hammering it!”  Joe was determined though.  Started running one mile the first day and worked to three miles a day until his knees hurt and he felt beat up.  A wise friend at the gym told him to start losing some bulk to save his joints and to go to Fleet Feet and get fitted from some proper running shoes.  He did that although once there he wasn’t too keen on the flashy running shoes.  The salesperson at Fleet Feet told him to “get over it”.  He “got over it” and the next day he pounded out four miles on the tread mill and worked up to eight miles upping his mileage by a mile each day.  Bitten by the running bug, Joe starting checking out Runner’s World online and started reading articles, blogs and posting in discussion groups.  With three months to train for the GI Half, Joe was dialed in.  He set his goal:  finish the race in less than two hours. With three months to train, he worked up to a route from his house that was six miles out and back.  At packet pickup for the GI Half a woman at registration asked Joe “is this your first half?”  Joe said “yes”.  She replies…”much different than a 5K”.  Joe replies to her “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never done one”.  She was dumbfounded. Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.55.02 PMIn preparation for the GI Half, Joe trained on pace, listened to what he read about race pacing and turned out a nice 1:56 finish.  His wife and kids volunteered and they all had a blast cheering on dad.  Pumped by his success, Joe immediately signed up for the Buffalo Half Marathon 30 days later.  With hard work paying off, Joe’s Buffalo finish time was 1:49.  Excited by his success, he was running all the time and started to develop hip pain.  Researching some more he found out that he should be cross training to develop core strength and avoid injury.  So Joe jumped on his old mountain bike and started riding.  He did 62 miles on the mountain bike at the Ride for Roswell that June.  Enjoying the biking, Joe went to Bert’s and bought a Cannondale road bike.  Soon friends took notice of what Joe was doing and a co-worker of Nicole’s (Jeff Tracy) mentioned to her that Joe should be checking out Triathlon.  Joe liked the idea except he didn’t know how to swim: “I’m a rock in the pool” he says.  He worked around it and signed up for the Duathlon at Quakerman and placed a remarkable 3rd in his AG.  Is Joe happy with this result?  No.  He sees at the race that the Triathletes get medals three deep in Age Group and the Duathlon folks only get a medal for the AG winner.  He is pissed.  Joe wants a medal.  So he signs up for the Summer Sizzler about six weeks later and starts to swim.  But Joe doesn’t know how to swim.  Oblivious to the danger and outfitted in a used JetSki Wetsuit, Joe bounds into the water at the Sizzler and goes hard for 50 yards.  And then like lots of newbie open water swimmers (this writer included), he flips on his back, does breast and backstroke and gets out of the swim alive.  But this race has more newbie fun in store:  Shortly after Joe starts the bike, a bee flies down his shirt and stings him.  He manages to stay on his bike and gets back to transition only to find someone has racked their bike in his spot.  Panicking because he doesn’t know what to do, he finally decides it’s OK to rack his bike next to the bike in his spot and he moves on to the run.  Joe finishes with a respectable time but not on the podium. Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.04.30 PMJoe is a bit tweaked by his Summer Sizzler results.  He is aware that if he had a Tri bike he would have been faster.  About this time, Joe and Nicole went for a long bike ride and she tried out his Cannondale road bike.  Having never been on a quality road bike with clip-ins she can’t believe how great the bike feels.  She tells Joe “I’m keeping it.  You go buy another one. ” Well that’s all he needed to hear.  Off Joe went to TriSpot and bought his first Tri bike (a Cervelo) and he then signed up for his first Olympic distance race at Nickel City.  In his first Olympic distance race ever, Joe finishes in a very respectable 2:38 (8 of 17 in AG).

joe & Dan

Joe & Dan

The following race year (2012) Joe’s athletic ambition did not slow.  He finished middle of the pack in Olympic distance at Kueka and prepared for his first Half Ironman at the Musselman in Geneva, NY.  In his second season of Triathlon, Joe Rosati completes the Mussleman Half IM in 5:20.  And he does so without a coach or any specific formalized plan.  All his planning is acquired by reading the Slowtwitch forums, Beginner Triathlete websites and hanging out and training with BTC athletes.  Training with his peers?  Ummmm, no.  Joe has befriended some of BTC top male IM athletes: Charlie Watson, Joe Drees, Josh Hanley and Dan Szjata.  Dan is 20 years younger than Joe and the others are more than 10 years younger.  When Joe brings these guys home for bite to eat after a particularly long workout, Nicole tells him: “Joe, what are you doing hanging with these young kids!?  You can’t hang out with these kids!” Unfazed by Nicole’s understandable reaction, Joe lets Szjata talk him into a grueling Century bike race in Ellicotville, NY when they both win entries at the 2012 Summer Sizzler.  Joe: “Szjata has this thing with me.  I like the kid.” So in case you don’t know who Dan Szjata is, check out the results from Mt. Tremblant and Florida IM last year.  This guy is a world class (coached) Triathlete.  Through 2012 to the present, Szjata and Rosati have become good friends.  Dan has helped him reach new heights in Tri sport by alternatively pushing him and pulling him back on his training and giving him structured workouts to do.  They communicate regularly and a lot of Joe’s training is result of the high quality advice he is receiving from Szjata.

triple t

Joe Pautler, Charlie Watson, Wills DeMoulin, Joe Drees, Joe Rosati and Dan Szajta.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.11.34 PMIn 2013 Joe Rosati lifted his sights to the Holy Grail for New York Triathletes:  Ironman Lake Placid.  His early season lineup was the Grand Island Half Marathon, The BTC Spring Thing, the “TTT” in Kentucky and then IMLP.  Unfortunately the ’13 season begins with a painful run at the GI Half.  What Joe believes is shin splints is much later diagnosed as a fracture in his lower leg.  Ignoring the pain after the GI Half he did the “Spring Thing” long course the following day.  The long course is a 100 mile bike followed by a 12 mile run.  Badly limping afterward, he relents to the pain and goes to PT.  Despite PT Steve Gonser’s sage advice to rest and heal, Joe joins several BTC athletes at the Triple-T Ohio race the following week.  (Writers note: wasn’t this time for a friendly BTC intervention?) Not for the meek, the Triple-T is: a Sprint on Friday, two Olympics on Saturday and a Half IM on Sunday.  Joe packs his family up and heads to Ohio and the Shawnee National Forest for the race.  After a painful but successful Sprint on Friday night, Joe starts his Olympic race on Saturday.  All is well until he reaches a particularly treacherous part of the course where he crashes his bike at the bottom of a downhill just before it hits some switchbacks.  Dazed, bleeding and in great pain from the leg injury, Joe tries to get up and get back on his bike.  A volunteer stops him and makes him sit down while she tries to flag an ambulance.  Meanwhile, two more racers crash more spectacularly in the same spot and divert the volunteer’s attention.  While she is distracted, Joe mounts his damaged TT bike (bent bars and wheel) and he hobbles 12 miles back to transition.  Nicole greets Joe at transition “I told you to be careful!”  Adrenaline kicks in (I think he actually said “I was pissed”) from this spousal show of support and Joe is off on his run. Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.20.48 PM The TTT run is a forest fire road, up the side of a mountain and down and do it again a 2nd time.  Highly suffering and in lots of pain, Joe finishes the first Olympic.  Race volunteers identify Joe at the finish and make him go get his wounds cleaned up.  Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.23.51 PMAfterward Joe, Nicole and youngest daughter Julia head back to the hotel to rest.  All Joe wants to do is to sit in an ice bath and contemplate what to do.  Nicole and Julia are arguing: “That’s it, we are done!  We are going home!”.  “No way Mom, Dad doesn’t DNF!”  Joe got a bit tired of listening to them fight.  He jumps up out his ice bath and heads back for the afternoon race to do the second Olympic of the day.  When he gets back to the race, some BTC brothers have worked on his bike and made it rideable.  Somehow he finishes that second Olympic and comes back the next day and completes the Half.  The King of Pain indeed.  In addition to the bodily abuse, his bike had sustained $800 in damage. After returning home, Joe did finally get an MRI on his bad leg.  Sure enough he had a stress fracture.  Doctor tells him…”that’s it, the seasons over”.  Joe thanks him for his advice and goes home.  Joe’s thinking:  “Season is not over”.  He insists on going to IMLP for training a few weeks later.  First day there, Joe and Charlie Watson and other’s do two loops of the course or 112 miles.  The second day they bike 56 miles and then to top of Whiteface mountain.  As Joe describes it: “That was hard!  1 ½ hours of standing bike pedaling up the mountain but I had Kristina Marques on my back wheel pushing me”.  For those into numbers:  Whiteface has an elevation of 4,865’ making it the fifth highest peak in New York State. Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.31.43 PMJoe’s recount of IMLP:  “I came back and I did placid.  I knew it would be horrible.  I was thinking about taking a pain killer.  Steve Gonser said don’t do that.  I got into swim and I got beat up.  Felt like someone was punching me in the leg.  I almost threw up coming out of the swim.  I felt sick.  Pain is bad on the bike but bearable.  I get through the first leg and the pain is worse so I start taking Ibuprofen.  I’m eating Ibuprofen but it’s not taking pain away.  So I’m taking more.  At one point I chug the bottle.  I get on the run and I start puking.  I think the Ibuprofen made me sick.  Anytime I go to drink water…I puke.  I’m dehydrated so badly that when I try and go to the bathroom nothing would come out.  But it would burn.  Something was going on with my kidneys.  On the run my wife told me she was running backwards up a hill talking to me and I wasn’t responding to her.  Gary Randolph said that at one point he stopped because I was getting sick so he stopped to check on me and I grabbed his arm.  He said I had death in my eyes.  But I do remember going up a hill and that Kara Klaasesz had me by the arm and that Lisa Trapasso grabbed my hand and helped me around the corner and then released me and then I started puking again.  A woman spectator said “let’s get medical” and I said “no way, three miles to go and I need to finish”.  My family tells me that I came around the corner and through the finish chute and that I just ran by them looking into space…wife and kids with hands out cheering me and I had no reaction… and I have no memory of this.  They were wondering why didn’t dad high five us?  I was in rough shape.  I learned a lesson…you don’t take Ibuprofen when you race.” Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.35.31 PMAfter IMLP in 2013 Joe did slow down the remainder of the Summer to let his leg heal.  However he did race the Wineglass Marathon in October and he finished with an impressive 3:56.  He reports that “at no time during the race did my leg bother me.”  Apparently the King of Pain is not only a terrific athlete, he is also a fast healer. As our conversation was winding down there were a few more questions that I had for Joe that were stuck in my head:  “Why do you want to go long and how do you deal with the pain?”  His reply: “For me I want to see how hard I can push my body.  It’s like my Harley…I like to ride hard and fast.  I want to see how hard I can go and how hard I push before something gives.  I don’t know that I want to hurt myself.  I’m a believer that our bodies will go a lot further then we think they can.  I used to tell kids I was teaching wrestling – you are going to feel some pain in practice.  But your body can actually go further.  Pain is a safety mechanism that our body is telling us to hold up.  But if you want to win, you have to go past that point.  And sometimes when you pass that point, you will find out that it really wasn’t that bad.  I just needed to cross that hump.” I was also wondering about recovery.  Surely to be able to deal with all this pain and rapid succession of races, Joe must give himself time to recover.  He replied that “I can’t sleep.  I’m up every couple hours.  I’m always up by 5am.  So rather than lie awake, I get my workouts done.  Last year my legs hurt every day.  Every workout hurt.  I never recovered.  I needed to stop.  My thinking was I knew I was in a decline and I needed to stop but if I stop I’m going to lose fitness, so I can’t stop…the only way to go is to go harder… I didn’t realize it but I was getting worse.  From my weight lifting days I thought I had to go harder through pain.  That was wrong.” Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.39.15 PMAfter  the 2013 race season ended, slowing down was not a problem for Joe.  Once hunting season begins, that is where he is with every free moment he has.  His “up before the birds” routine works well during hunting season: “I would love to sleep on the weekends but I’m up.  I just get up and get my workouts done by 9am.  When everyone is getting up…I’m already done.  I like getting up before the suns comes up and seeing the day begin.  I like being in the woods at 5am in the dark and waiting for sun and hearing the sounds of the forest at daybreak.   It’s magical to me. For updates on Joe’s 2014 season, seek him out at BTC workouts this summer or racing and volunteering at most area TRI races.  He is a super approachable guy.  He is an active and supportive member of our club and clearly one of a kind.  Race on King of Pain!  You are one tough hombre.

About the Author
Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 11.02.42 PMMike Blumenson a WNY native from the village of Williamsville, is a three year member of the BTC.  He is interested in all things TRI related but is extremely curious about how Triathletes balance work, family, training and health issues.  It is his attempt to share the wisdom and expereinces of BTC club members with in depth profiles to be posted here.  This is the first of an intended series.  Let us know if you enjoy these posts and if you want to see more.

Score This!!! Update on Local Multisport Races

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 12.19.52 PMScore This!!! has been a loyal BTC sponsor for many years now and they run some really great races across all experience levels and distances. If you’re an experienced Score This!!! series racer then take note of some of the date changes. Here is this years triathlon, duathlon and aquabike schedule:

All races are part of the 2014 Score This!!! Multisport Series. More info can be found at the Score This website.

Spring Riding Tips

Hello members! It’s FINALLY that time of year where we all get excited to see some sustained sun (as I write this on a gloomy day) and the Triathlon season in the Northeast is about to come into full swing. After putting about 100 miles on my bike this past weekend I couldn’t help but think it would be a good time to remind folks of some simple spring safety items to be aware of. So, with one part humor and two parts serious,  lets go….

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Catching Anything? Just a few triathletes!


Watching Facebook I can honestly say that these treacherous road mines have twisted ankles, split tires and bent their share of rims only a couple weeks into the season. Be aware of these rim mangling holes, share pothole reports with fellow riders on Facebook, ride unknown routes in your car first and keep your damn head up! I hit one baby pothole on my way back Saturday that nearly knocked me off my bike because I was screwing around with my watch. Don’t do that!

Beware of Riding in Tight Groups (Peloton Style)

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 4.25.26 PMThis goes back a bit to the pothole situation but it’s not only potholes that will get you. I saw quite a bit of road debris, cobble in the bike lanes, glass and downed tree branches. This winter beat up on our area. If you’re riding tight to someones rim this early in the season you’ll be likely to miss these items because you won’t have the reaction time. As your lead rider spots and scoots around a road issue you’ll be likely to find it!

Lead Riders – Be the Point Man or Woman

Issues in the road, cars coming – whatever. If you’re in the lead position on the bike be gracious and point out issues likely to catch riders behind you off guard. Its just the nice thing to do.


Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.35.06 PMI’ve already seen some folks trying to break the Guinness World Record for most flats on a ride this year. Try Stan’s tire sealant, don’t bring your $50 latex tubes and maybe ride on the training wheels. I’m personally trying to use up what ever is left in last years tires and I’ll glue on some new tubulars when the roads wash out a bit. Don’t forget to bring tubes, CO2 and or pump and clean out your rim before putting a fresh tube on. So many times people will get debris caught in the bead of the rim – slap a new tube on and within 5 minutes they’re doing it again.

GPS Locate

If you’re riding alone there is a lot of technology that can help you stay safe on the roads out there. I am a personal fan of a smartphone app called Glympse. However, to avoid saying the same thing twice i’ll just refer you to the more extensive post I did on these really cool technologies to keep you safe in the saddle and on the run.

BTC Brick Workouts and Events Coming Soon</h2

Don't forget to start getting BTC bricks and events added to your schedule!!! We wan't to see all the new members at these events as well:

Lisa Trapasso and her EPIC journey to The Beast of Burden 2014

By: Lisa Trapasso

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.13.59 PMBack in August 2013 – I set out in hopes to I would get the Buckle – the almighty Buckle – the Buckle that screamed “I just did 100 miles at the Beast of Burden” … rather my journey then did not take me to that destination … instead … a very different destination – one which was heartbreaking, humbling and exhilarating … as I still felt I was healing from my “mental wounds” from the Beast … I again hit the submit button and registered for the Winter 100 – where I was determined to re-test the path to Hell & Back.

January 14, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.57.12 PM100 miles again beckoned me and the Beast of Burden was here again. The race was about to begin and the “what if’s” were lurking in the back of my mind. It was again going to be a test of the mind, body, ego and pride.  As the horn blared – and the feet started moving with 150 other racers (doing the 50 & 100)  my first thought, “what am I doing?”, then I looked over at Gary, My Running Half – and knew why.

The weather appeared to be on our side with the temps bearable and the sun shining. I had a plan for each loop and for the first 12.5 miles heading out to Middleport there was no wind. So far, the legs felt good, food was going down and I was hydrating well.  This is going to be okay…

Coming back from Middleport the game changed a bit. The wind picked up some but was bearable and I was still on pace for a 6:00 hour loop. I probably drove Gary crazy with my constant chirping of,  “are we on pace?”, ” How am I doing on time?” questions.

  • First loop in – right on time and only 3 more loops to go….
  • Back on the path, counting bridges and checking off the miles. Just 12.5 to Middleport….
  • Middleport – Woot Woot!! 37.5 miles in! 12.5 to 50 and only 62.5 to go to 100!
  • When we headed back out on the path, Gary started to have his own battle keeping his thoughts to himself, unlike me, silently suffering his own demons…

Mile 50

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.53.58 PMAhead of me will be some of the hardest 25 miles. It is now cold, dark, and my body & mind start to tire. This was the loop that defeated me in the summer. As I was starting to get ready to head out of the aid station, Gary stated he wanted to warm up a bit and would be back out shortly. I knew I had to leave as I was racing time – so I left with Rachel, who would pace me for the next 12.5 miles.

Heading out – I just kept telling Rachel, “tell me a story” to keep my mind from wandering and my feet moving. I was hoping to hold an 18 min pace although ended up slowing down quite a bit.  As Rachel encouraged & pushed me along – I began to have some serious meltdowns – mostly in my head – although a few spewed out with the F-Bomb flying. The main thought I had was, “Where is Gary?”, which I must have asked Rachel 9000 + times! Rachel you are a Saint – Thank You!

  • We made it to Gasport – 57 miles – still no Gary … keep on moving … Todd joined us in the run at Gasport … 2 pacers – more stories to keep me moving….
  • Middleport – 62.5 miles – 12.5 to go – the longest and hardest miles … I am tired – so tired … I know my feet are moving  but I am staggering and just trying to stay awake….
  • 67.5 – Mental collapse – crying in my goggles, no Gary – hitting my wall – and wondering if I was going to make it. 32.5 long miles to go and my hands were so cold. This is where I again saw Eva, my Savior and realist (pictured below) – again, she told me to stop the nonsense and start going – this was my race – I better start doing it…..

My feet kept moving. Those 7 miles were l-o-n-g. The bridges never seem to come. Todd stayed with me (he ended up running 17 miles total) and got me to Wide Waters. I am forever grateful for his (and Rachel’s) pacing, support & encouragementScreen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.54.40 PM

75 miles

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.52.27 PMOnly nine short hours to go before the 30 hour cut off. I left Wide Waters emotional thinking, “Just one more loop… just 25 miles”. At The first bridge – I saw Gary! (He had pulled a JFD at mile 50) Gary became my strength, my motivation and reason to keep going as he would meet me at every bridge along the way – making sure I kept moving, hydrated and eating.

Gasport – 5.5 to Middleport … Middleport – 12.5 to the Finish

The last 12.5 was the worst part with the wind picking up  (50-60 mph) and it was directly in my face. I could barely stay upright. This wind was mind boggling slowly wearing down my mental state. I felt like I was going no-where. The meltdowns came at rapidfire pace! My hands and face were so cold … I swore I had frostbite … the F Bomb was consistent and thoughts of pulling out where brewing. 4 miles to go! Pulling out was not an option as Gary was out there right beside me – running me in.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.51.23 PMAs I crossed my last bridge with less than a mile to go, I felt amazing. I could literally feel the energy of the finish line. I could feel all the doubts disappear. I knew I was almost there……

I crossed that finish line in 28:35!! I got that Buckle – that almighty Buckle – that Buckle that screamed, “I just did 100 miles at the Beast of Burden”
The finishers in the 50/100 mile race and those that were JFD each continue to have an extraordinary story of glory, guts, determination and tears. We all have miles of stories to tell filled with victory and defeat. I am just one story.

Yes, I want the Double Buckle … and yes, I hit the submit button for the Summer 100 Beast of Burden.

August – we meet on that path again … to Hell and Back …

Come join me!


Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.50.38 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.57.21 PM

Get Your BTC Banquet Tickets

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 1.16.35 PMHello BTC members! Its that time again to get your banquet tickets and there are only a couple days left to do so!

Date/Time – Be there for the fun!
The banquet will be held Friday January 24th, 6pm-11pm, at the Pearl Street Bar & Grille (Speak Easy Parlor).  The address is 76 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. Bring a family member, a loved one a friend or significant other. Guests do not need to be a BTC member.

Dinner Includes

  • Award winning chicken soup and old country minestrone with ciabatta bread,scallions and grated parmesan for garnish.
  • Grilled honey-basil chicken breast over 3-grain rice
  • Beer braised pot roast
  • 6 cheese bow-tie pasta, seasonal vegetable medley in herb butter & mashed potatoes.
  • Includes garden salad, fresh rolls & butter
Time Trial & Brick Awards
The program will include installation of our 2014 board of directors, brick and time trial awards, tons of great door prizes, a sound system, a photo slide show, and much, much more!

Year End Photo Wrap-Up Video

Every year we do a great photo montage of events throughout the year. Headed up by Keith Burtis you can send images to banquet@buffalotriathlonclub.com and get yourself and your event up on the big screen.


The cost for the banquet is $30 per person. For the board to give Pearl Street enough advance notice registrations must  received by January 12th. Click the button below to register! We look forward to seeing you there!
BTC Banquet Registration

Photo’s from Last Year

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Winter Swim Tips & Pool Swim Opportunities

This week the BTC Blog is Swim focused. We have some winter swim tips from Russ Scherwitz, information on BTC winter swims as well as some information on the USAT National Challenge Competition. Enjoy.

Swim Tips from Russ: Taking Your Swimming to the Next Level in the “Off-Season”

So winter is upon us and besides a polar bear swim, all of our efforts are contained to the pool. How do you make the most of this time and improve your swimming? Here are some easy concepts to consider:
russ scherwitz

  • Attend a swim clinic that focuses on rebuilding the stroke from the most basic concepts toward a full stroke
  • Try swimming more often versus more volume. Instead of 2 swims each week totaling 8000 yards, try 5 swims totaling 8000 yards. Increasing your exposure to the sport.
  • Make one swim each week a chance to play and explore how your body moves in the water. Add this into your workout plan and learn through experimentation and creativity. Possible concepts to learn – buoyancy, breath control, drills, speed play, sculling, and body alignment.
  • Hire a coach to work with you on your stroke – good coaches are worth this investment and can often make significant changes in a few hours
  • Enter a Masters swim meet! We have many opportunities to isolate the running discipline to gage our improvement, do the same for swimming and biking!
  • Add “drylands” to your swimming workout. Push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, pull-ups, and other body weight exercises right on the pool deck between swims.
  • Remember that the fastest vessels are all pushed, rather than pulled. Work on developing a powerful finish to your stroke and really develop the kick. Come race day when you “shut your legs off” and 50% of your kick effort is better than others at 100%, you’ll reap the rewards of having a good kick in training.
  • Work on ankle flexibility and shoulder flexibility to increase range of motion for better propulsion in the water.
  • Develop your kinesthetic awareness. Being able to control your movements to greater degrees of accuracy and awareness is an important self-coaching tool that everyone needs.

Winter Organized and Open Swim Opportunities

ECC and UB PoolJoin us for Sunday morning BTC swims at the ECC Flickenger Center (across from the Buffalo Bison’s baseball stadium), hosted by Brad Boyle. Complete swim details can be found here.
Many BTC members also use the UB pool to do their swim training.  Although the UB pool has a variety of daily “open swim” times, we have designated Wednesday evenings, from 7:00pm-9:30pm, during the indoor swimming months (October – April), as “BTC group swims at UB.”  We do not provide any specific workouts, or coaching services.  However, this is a good time to get tips from experienced members as well as meet people in the club.

UB Pool Discount and Rates Information

swimmersIn order to access the UB pool, you must have a UB recreation membership (or purchase a 1-day pass for $5), howeverBTC members can purchase a discounted membership for $15 per month to get access to all of the UB facilities. Complete UB swim details.

USAT National Challenge Competition – Log Your Workouts!

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 9.40.26 AMThe 2013-2014 National Competition Challenge (NCC) started on December 1st.  December is swim month!  This  FREE  3 month USAT club challenge  is where you log your own workout data into the USAT website and we (the BTC) compete as a team against other USAT registered triathlon clubs across the country.  Clubs are ranked each month, based on total training mileage.  We are also running our own contest within the BTC where members that reach certain monthly thresholds and are included in a raffle for prizes.  Did we mention that it is FREE!?  All you have to do is swim, bike, and run, and enter your workout data into a web form.  And, every mile helps!  Even if you only log 1 workout during the next 3 months that will still help to increase the total mileage for our club.

Our involvement in the NCC is being coordinated by Charlie Watson.  In order to participate you must send an email to Charlie, using the address ncc@buffalotriathlonclub.com, and include your name, your age, and your USAT number.  You must have a valid USAT number to participate.  Charlie will then register you, and you will receive an emai from USAT directly that will include your login credentials so that you can log your workout data.