Monday, February 8, 2010

Nineteen Wetsuits Plunges Into UK Triathlon Market

Toronto, Ontario (February 8, 2010). Nineteen wetsuits is pleased to announce that they have formalized a deal for distribution of the Nineteen wetsuit line in the U.K, with Multisport Distribution. Multisport Distribution will handle all sales and marketing in the U.K, for the Toronto, Canada, based Nineteen. The distribution deal is effective immediately, and will kick-off in grand fashion this weekend (Feb. 13 & 14), at the annual TCR Show at Sandown Park, UK – the biggest triathlon and multisport show in England.

According to Nineteen’s Sales & Marketing Manager, Steve Fleck, working with Multisport Distribution is a great fit: “We are very keen to get things going in the U.K with the folks at Multisport Distribution. They are very professional; know the UK triathlon market well, and have a stable of high quality and well known brands that we are very happy to be part of”.

Fleck concludes, “It’s the perfect fit for us, and fit is everything for Nineteen”!

Multisport Distribution for their part but have made a name for themselves already, by being the exclusive and successful distributors in the U.K. for high profile t brands such as Blue Competition Cycles and Fusion Apparel.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring Nineteen Wetsuits to the UK. Nineteen share the same ethos as our other brands with their focus on using only the highest quality materials combined with an attention to design-detail that ensures a market leading product”, says Multisport Distribution principal, Vivion Cox.

Cox goes on to add, “We feel the products stand out due to their fit and functionality and by the fact that all wetsuits throughout the range come with the market’s only 5 year warranty. We are excited by the opportunity to replicate Nineteen's North American success here in the UK."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

20 Questions with . . . . Jordan Rapp

The RappStar in all his racoon stripped glory!

He's tall and thin. You would expect him to run like the wind, and he's not too bad on two legs, but it's on the saddle of a bike that Jordan Rapp has really set himself apart. Part of this is his meticulous attention to detail regarding the bike equipment he uses and the training that he does for the bike. You can see that in the way he rides - he's very dialed in on the bike. Comfortable looking, yet very aero and able to push out some impressive power numbers for a long time.

The other thing about Rapp is that he's patient. He's bided his time, trained hard and figured the whole long distance race game out before jumping up directly into the bigger races, like Ironman Hawaii. He has chosen not to take his qualifying spot to IMH for the past few years, preferring to hone his craft and carve out wins at IM Arizona and Ironman Canada - in both cases against very strong competition.

The former top ranked rower with the Ivy League rowing palmeres is, despite his strong bike leg, really a great all-rounder, swimming near the front of the race and then closing with a strong and steady run. This all-around tri-fitness and strength was no doubt developed with a nearly two year stint training alongside friend and Olympic Double Triathlon medalist, Simon Whitfield.

So here goes. 20 Question with, Jordan Rapp aka the RappStar!

1. What made you switch from rowing to Triathlon?
I got injured. I thought about bike racing, but everyone seemed fast and I did not understand drafting!

2. Of the three sports in Triathlon what is your favourite?
Cycling. But I am liking running more and more.

3. Clinchers or Tubulars?( You knew that was coming!!)
Depends. For Pro men tubulars, for everyone else, clinchers!

4. Compression socks - yes/no?
Training and recovery - yes. Four hour marathon - yes. Sub 3 marathon - no!

5. What is the most important leg in an Ironman triathlon?
The run, because that's what takes you over the finish line.

6. There is a good chance that you may be in the mix when Lance Armstrong makes his possible return to triathlon and races Ironman Hawaii in 2011 or 2012. What will you say to Lance when he rides by you, or you ride by him?
Nothing. Remember, Peter Reid and Tim DeBoom tried to talk at IMH one year in Hawaii - "Talking is for training", is what I think they said.

7. What is training with Simon Whitfield like?
You realize that hard work, day after day after day, is what creates extraordinary performances and wins races.

8. Will Whitfield ever make the jump to Ironman?
Maybe. I think he would get bored. He really loves to race, and Ironman isn't really a race.

9. You do all the back-end programming for the Slowtwitch web site. What really goes on behind the scenes there?
I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you!

10. You recently married a Canadian(former national team member Jill Savege). Any possibility of a passport change from US to Canada? We would love to claim you as a Canuck!
Not any time soon. Too much paperwork.

11. What is your favourite place to train?
Swim - Brewster, NY. Bike - Antelope Valley( near Slowtwitch HQ), CA. Run - Elk Lake, BC.

12. Do we really know what we are doing with Triathlon Training these days, or is it still throw it up against the wall and see what sticks?
Some people do know and some people don't - just like everything else in life. If you get injured or never improve - you know it isn't working.

13. What is so special about Specialized.[Rapp recently signed on with Specialized]
Everyone rides their bike everyday at lunch.

14. What's the deal with the bacon? I thought you were a health freak!
I eat good bacon(organic). Bacon is real food. A caveman could eat bacon!

15. What's right about triathlon these days?
Rudy Garcia-Tolson finishing Ironman Arizona last fall.

16. What's wrong with Triathlon these days.
Entitlement. Stuff like, people littering on race courses because they expect someone to pick it up!

17. I thought triathletes are supposed to be all buffed out. You are the classic ectomorph - tall and skinny with minimal muscle def. What's the secret to your success?

18. Is training/racing really all about charts, graphs and numbers?
It's about what works. Use your brain. If it means charts, graphs and numbers, that's fine. Results speak the loudest!

19. Any plans for life beyond Triathlon?
Not any time soon. I would like to work for Zipp one day.

20. The wine you nicked from the VIP area at IMC, was it any good?
They were empty. Wanted to get matching set from my first Ironman in '97.

Bonus: You have been training in Clermont, FL. Why there and not Maui with Whitfield and Co.?
Clermont was way less expensive and we needed to apply for Jill's Green Card.

Thanks, Jordan. Best wishes this year.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Great Lakes Multisport & Running Expo

Some Lurker in the Nineteen booth

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Great Lakes Multisport & Running Expo in Milwaukee, WI. Truth be told I had the choice of going to either San Diego this weekend or Milwaukee. I am glad that I chose Milwaukee - crazy as that choice seems.

Who knew that Milwaukee, WI, would be a hub of triathlon activity and enthusiasm on a cold January weekend in the middle of winter? Despite the chilly weather, thousands of triathletes showed up to check out new goods and great deals on a variety of triathlon and running gear from a wide range of manufacturers and retailers.

I was there working in partnership with The Endurance House, Nineteen's go-to dealer in Madison. Great people and a great shop. If you are a triathlete and you are ever in Madison stop by and see Jamie and Tara at the Endurance House. At the Expo Jamie brought their gait analysis system and people could get their gait tested and shoes recommended.

Running Away Multisport, our dealer in Chicago was also there promoting their series of running races and tris that they put on. They didn't bother with a booth - they just brought the truck! (see pic below)

There was lots to see and do at the Expo. They had this very cool team-time-trial with 6 members of team all hooked up to Computrainers and then they would all go all out for 20 minutes and the team that logged the most distance won. There was also an individual Time Trial on the Computrainers as well. There were runners running on Woodway treadmills, trying to "Run Around Wisconsin" over the weekend. I loath treadmills, but if I ever got one, I would break the bank and get a Woodway. They are the bomb! An amazing piece of machinary. So quiet. So smooth.

A wave of the ITT Competition

There was an Endless Pool to get swim stroke analysis or test a wetsuit in. Some shops were doing on-site bike fits as well. Essentially, everything for the triathlete was there.

What I found particularly encouraging was the number of new triathletes that I spoke to. People who had one year of triathlon under their belt with one or two races done or, this year is going to be their first year of doing a few races. The enthusiasm of these folks was infectious. Of course, they had all the newbie questions about wetsuits, but I made sure to emphasize the two absolutely key things - the zipper goes on the back, and make sure you get the best fitting wetsuit that you can( naturally this is where I put in the plug for Nineteen - as we are known for how well we fit people!) This bodes well for the triathlon business as we go forward. New triathletes need new shoes, bikes, wetsuits and races to go to. All good!

I spied Troy Jacobson of Spinerval fame walking the aisles, and we both had a laugh about having to choose Milwaukee over San Diego this weekend. It was good to catch up with Troy. However, Troy was honest that his amazing, and ever growing Spinerval series of indoor training DVD's sell better, the worse the winter is in a place. Makes sense. In that case, Wisconsin is a hot-spot for him! And he must kill-it in Canada!

If you live within two hours of Milwaukee and you are a triathlete, runner or cyclist - make sure you put this Expo on your list of things to do next year. It was a great event and not to be missed in the future.

I am back home for a week and then I am heading over to the UK to help with the launch of Nineteen wetsuits in the U.K. market at another Tri Expo over there.

The Running Away Multisport fun machine