Zone 3 Aspire Wetsuit Review

Zone 3 Aspire Wetsuit Review

by Elite Amateur Christian Toews

I have been wearing the Aspire by Zone 3 this year and have absolutely loved it. If you are looking for an amazingly comfortable and fast wetsuit without a high price tag, check this suit out!

What I love

The Look – This thing just looks good and fast. I have received several compliments on the suit at almost every race.

The one-piece shoulder panel with no seams - This feature makes your arms feel almost as free as a sleeveless suit. The range of motion is not limited in this suit and it makes it very comfortable during even the longest swim.

The overall feel – This wetsuit feels thinner than what I was used to before but that is a GOOD thing. The back (around the line of the zipper) is a little thicker so that you receive great buoyancy to help with body position but the rest of the suit is made for swimming fast and freely.

The “spring loaded” shoulder design – Zone 3 advertises this “spring loaded” effect in their design. I did notice that my arm turnover was much smoother/faster in the suit than my previous suit and that my arms didn’t fatigue as fast during long open water training swims. 

Bottom line

The Zone 3 Aspire is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable wetsuit that will keep up with the highest end wetsuits on the market. I would recommend this suit to anyone looking.

 Grab yours at Playtri today or head over to playtri.com and order it online!


Poolside with Coach Amari: Tackling Triathlon Specific Short Course Swim Workouts

Poolside with Coach Amari: Tackling Triathlon Specific Short Course Swim Workouts


 
There are three major problems I see with triathletes, at the pool, as they train through race season:

1- One Speed Wonders - Those with a lack of responsiveness and fitness specific to the demands of the course and other athletes.
2- Fooled by Swim “Equipment/Toys" - Swim toys are fun and build incredible strength when used properly throughout workouts. It is about the timing of the tools and why an athlete is using them. There is never a "bad workout” BUT there are better options.  Holding pace, finding new limits and fitness benchmarks should not be littered with the use of swim equipment.  In my experience, throughout the season, the athlete should be focusing more on holding pace and building tolerance to the "burn" without the use of external equipment that will not be used in the race.
3- Simply Chasing the Black Line - Many athletes lack technique and open water specific tools, in race pace. Yes they may be fast in the pool, but they can't maintain it in open water because they never practice the tools necessary for open water.  Many athletes work drills during their warm up, but forget that these drills will be demanded of them in open water, under intensity and speed. For example: Sighting, breath control with pace, drafting off other swimmers, and high turnover for chop and or to move through athlete pile ups efficiently without wasting energy or time.
 
Here is one my favorite short course workouts that tackle speed change, building tolerance to the swim speed desired without the use of equipment, and utilizing open water specific technique while maintaining high pace.
 
Swim Workout Notes:


1- The first set is done with a "Deep water start" - simply start on your belly head out of the water, small kick, keeping body on top of the water, simulating race day starts,

2- The second set demands the athlete to push off the wall as hard as possible with the pushing pace on the back half to simulate response and pace in open water.

3- Reminder, always include a cool down of at least 10% of the total workout time, when finished with the 45 min set. 
 
Dry land warm up for at least 10min and then immediately jump in and get started.
 

MAIN SET- REPEAT the whole set for 45min:
200: 15 sprint- no breath/ 35 moderate- rest 10sec
150: 25 sprint- focus on high arm turn over and looking down/ 25 moderate- rest 10sec
100: 35 sprint- sight at least 2x's forward/ 15 moderate- rest 10sec
50: SPRINT! - everyone rests 1min
 
200: 35 moderate/ 15 sprint- no breath- rest 10sec
150: 25 moderate/ 25 sprint- focus on high arm turnover and a strong kick- rest 10sec
100: 15 moderate/ 35 sprint- sight at least 2x's forward- rest 10sec
50: SPRINT!- everyone rests 1min
 
For more triathlon specific questions or comments, please email: Amari@playtri.com
HAPPY SWIMMING!


Look Pedals

look.jpg

 

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR UNMATCHED PERFORMANCE

First invented over 30 years ago LOOK’s pedal technology has significantly marked the cycling industry’s past and continues to be geared for the future of the sport.

LOOK’s first-generation pédales automatiques were originally created by French ski binding specialists in the early 80s who noticed that pro cycling racers were still using the same toe-clip and strap system developed at the turn of the 20th century.

LOOK’s clipless pedals were launched in 1984, offering cyclists a much easier and smoother way to engage and release their bike pedals as well as maximize their power transfer efficiency. At first, the cycling industry was dubious about the pedals’ performance—that is, until Bernard Hinault, who had helped to design them, won his fifth Tour de France using the pedals in 1985.

Thirty years later, LOOK’s pedals have won the cycling world over. Today, sixteen UCI teams, including Movistar, Astana and AG2R La Mondiale, ride with LOOK pedals. Andre Greipel, otherwise known as Rostock Gorilla and one of the most powerful sprinters in the world, is LOOK’s newest spokesperson. In fact, LOOK features a KÉO BLADE CARBON PEDAL – ANDRE GREIPEL—a testament to the sprinter’s long-standing appreciation for LOOK pedals.

There are two main core innovations to LOOK pedals: their blade and carbon technologies.

Click here to learn more about LOOK’s sophisticated pedal technology.

BLADE TECHNOLOGY

LOOK’s blade technology uses a blade, rather than a traditional spring, which offers a wide range of benefits to cyclists:

· Because the blade flexes, cyclists’ feet get a firm hold on the pedal once clipped in. What’s more: the clip-out process is much smoother, releasing feet in one quick and safe movement.

· Thanks to the blade system and surrounding pedal design, LOOK pedals are extremely lightweight and ensure better load distribution.

CARBON TECHNOLOGY

LOOK takes its innovation a step further, fitting its LOOK’s KÉO Blade Carbon CR 

pedals with a carbon body and blade. The reasons? Carbon fibers offer exceptional stretching resistance and stiffness, which enable better power transfer. In addition, carbon can greatly lighten the pedal weight.

 

KÉO Blade Carbon CR pedals feature a pedal spindle with a very low stack height of 13 mm. They also use a needle-bearing cartridge for better stress resistance while pedaling and two spaced ball bearings that distribute the load and increase the rigidity of the spindle, guaranteeing unprecedented rotational speed. The pedals’ wide platform surfaces, which are covered with a 64 mm rigid stainless steel plate, further maximize cyclists’ power transfer.

 

LOOK’s pedals have garnered a worldwide following, with a long list of road, triathlon, track, MTB and criterium pro racers. For more information on the LOOK product line-up, visit: http://www.lookcycle.com/en/

 

 


Find Your Hidden Speed By Coach Amari Holmes

So... everyone wants to continue to see progressions, reduce risk of injury, increase speed.... BUT GUESS WHAT... 

With all these goals and workouts, life happens and we forget to take care of our STUFF!!!

I wanted to create an easy go-to check list for you to reference, in regards to your equipment and care.

Again, this is simply a reference- but also it becomes very useful not just in maintenance but if you notice something begins to twinge or nag at you... maybe you have not changed your cleats in a year, ... use this to help you further dial in solutions and be proactive in your fitness and recovery goals.

If you are forgetting to take care of your equipment, you run the risk of injury, overuse, and/or breakdown= NOT HEALTHY, NOR SUSTAINABLE and definitely won’t make you FASTER.

PLAYTRI'S #1 GOAL IS ALWAYS HEALTH! 

Here is a quick guide to paying attention to the small details when it comes to the bike:

BIKE-

Every 10-12 weeks: Tune Up

3weeks out from 1st race of season & later season A race: Race Ready Tune Up

Every Week: Clean/ Lube your Chain

Every Ride: Clean the frame of all sweat and build up

If riding in rain, high humidity, or extreme elements (heat included): Clean the bike & Clean/ Lube your chain, every time

CHAIN REPLACEMENT-

If you can't remember the last time you did it, do it now!

If needed prior to a race- make sure you do it at least 4weeks prior.

This should be considered at least 1x/yr.

BIKE SHOES-

Road Shoes: 1pair at least every 2-2.5yrs

Tri Shoes: 1pair every 1yr-1.5yrs (WHY??? bc they are now modeled to be as light as possible, while as cool as possible= increased break down= decreased power transfer= you go slower and also your pedal stroke has to compensate= compensation= risk or injury= slower and risking injury= no good!)

Cleats: again just like the chain, if you can't remember the last time you did this, do it now- also ideally you are at least 4weeks out from race day.

This should be considered at least 1x/yr.

PEDALS- 

Depending upon make or model, in general consider replacing pedals every 2-3yr. 

SADDLE-

Only your lil' butt cheeks and sits bones know when or what feels right.  

That said, saddles do break down- even the most minimalist saddles will be worn down and can cause multiple compensating injuries, sores, or god forbid, bike mechanical issues.

The general rule- saddle lifespans are roughly 400-600hours (this depends upon riding style, care, weather, terrain, etc).

HELMET-

Have you crashed in it- replace it YESTERDAY!

Did you purchase it in the '90's- LET HER GO!

Overall the newest technology in the most recent designed helmets are saving lives and brains every day... don't skimp on protecting your goods upstairs- if you have not bought a helmet in the last 5yrs, its time, again, it's worth your life.

BIKE SHORTS-

I do not want to see your butt cheeks through your shorts :)

Shorts are also not meant to have holes- no extra ventilation is needed... And lastly, those short pads, ya, they break down= don't protect you= not comfortable= you end up compensating= you catch my drift!

Every 8-12mth, replace with at least 2pair. (if you prefer to train in Tri specific shorts- leave have even fewer months of survival due to the minimalist pad= 2pair every 6mth).

BIKE POWER METERS- 

Depending upon make or model, this will vary- please check with you local mechanic or specialist to determine your power meters lifetime.

The more important aspect of ensuring quality readings and accuracy= make sure you keep your equipment clean and check for any updates in your equipment/firmware. 

ELECTRONIC SHIFTING/ POWER METER BATTERIES-

Although they promise miles and miles before your electronic shifting goes out- who wants to be stuck on the side of the road with only 1gear to work with or on a long ride with no power???

Every 4-8weeks charge or change all batteries on your bike/ power meters.

WATER BOTTLES-

Yearly: pull out last year's and buy new ones (even washing them after every use, crap grows in them, are you really going to put last year's gunk in your body!?!)

HERE'S TO STAYING ON TOP OF OUR EQUIPMENT AND HAVING FUN YEAR ROUND!


Speed on the Bike by Coach Amari Holmes

I use the below Bike Speed Workout with my clients for the following reasons: 

  • It is a great benchmark of fitness for the early season.  
  • It will show how your heart rate and power correlate (how much effort it takes to the produce the same power through fatigue as the session repeats).
  • Last but not least it shows the clients cadence comfort zone (does the athlete mash or work the cadence to produce the same power through fatigue during the workout).

BIKE SPEED WORKOUT- 

*This workout can be done as shown below or within a long ride, dependent on the your goals or A race.

Warm Up:
5min warm up
5min: 15-20sec pick up pace through high cadence 100+rpm / 40-45sec easy recovery spin

MAIN SET- repeat 3x's:

4min @ 40k effort/ goal watts (mid RP watts)

1min @ IM or training pace effort/ watts

3min @ 40-20k effort/ goal watts (top RP watts)

2min @ IM or training pace effort/ watts

10min @ 20k effort/ goal watts (top RP-HARD watts)

5min recovery spin

Cool Down:
5min easy spin cool down

I like this workout for my clients because it tests the athlete Physically, Metabolically and Mentally.  

  • PHYSICALLY: can they sustain the race goal watts/effort, and at what point in the workout do they breakdown. If the athlete does breakdown that will give me as a coach a better understanding what workouts they need between the benchmark and the race.
  • METABOLICALLY: This workout allows the athlete to practice hydration, electrolyte, and fueling needed for race specific efforts as well as trying different fuel sources and timing of those sources.
  • MENTALLY: Can the client sustain the focus needed throughout the duration of the workout and their race goal

See you on the Bike!