TriStarAthlete Coach's Blog
TriStarAthlete Coach's Blog

TriStar Athletes - Spring Training ride to Palomar

Early season training camp riding from San Diego to Palomar Mnt and back.  Great riding - pack your snickers bars....

Greenwich HS Ride - Coach C and Tom Stiez

5 min 313
10 min 307
15 min 289
20 min 285
30 min 279
40 min 268
60 min 268
90 min 255

ALL AMERICAN: TriStar Athlete Coaches receive All American status for 2009

Congratulations to Coach Brandon Del Campo and Coach Cliff for receiving All American honors from the USAT. .   Coach Brandon ranked 9th and Cliff 136th overall out of over 3000 ranked athletes M30-34

Iphone app: "TriStar Athlete app now available"

The TriStar Iphone app provides a great way to stay on top of current racing news and coaching tips. Download today 

Coach Brandon Del Campo: Half Iron World Championships: " I would like to say that I was very excited to earn a 30-34 age group title."

AND WE ARE TOO!  TALK ABOUT A SMOKING FAST TIME!!!!!!  1st AG 30-34, 72nd overall and total time of 4hr03min!!!!!!

Coach Brandon Del Camp: Report Boulder 5430 Half Iron, "I finished in 4:11:35"

Well I survived the dreaded fear that everyone around here seems to have about racing in Boulder. I never really understood the big deal. I mean, it's not like people don't just go online and stalk you when you race somewhere else! I actually enjoyed racing here and felt 5430 (The soon to be 70.3) was one of my favorite 1/2's to date.

The race was actually very eventful for me. I had more things come up than I would in an Full Ironman. I suppose that is a good thing considering I felt like I raced well. Handling adversity always leaves me feeling good. 

The fact that the race was just down the street from me threw me for a loop in the amount of time I would need before hand. I left with enough time to get ready but didn't realize that T1 would close at 6:30 on the DOT! I almost wasn't allowed to set up and then forgot to put my running shoes in. I had to use the force to convince them to let me back in! It almost didn't work...

After that rush I got the "call". You know, "the call"....I had to poop. And in a big way. Well 90% of the porta loo's were in T1 making them useless. The 4 or so that were available had a line around the parking lot. That was not going to fly. I found some TP (it was like a sign from god) and took matters into my own hands. Literally. Circling around like a dog looking for a spot to crap, I found one and then once done my hand fell into it. I know this is getting way too gross for the average reader but hey- Shit happens. I fell into it because as I was in mid poop a lady walked up on me. If you can't laugh at stuff like this you really need to check your outlook on life. Just my opinion....

Anyway, at this point I am now rushing to get my skin on ( I opted out of wearing a wetsuit as the water was just too hot) and head to the water. Don't worry, I got my hand cleaned Cicely was there and was no help as she was still laughing at the fact that I had gotten shit all over my hand.

Once down to the water I got in and did a flash warm up. I like to get the heart rate nice and high before I start and didn't have that much time to do it. Then I realized I forgot my pre swim Gel and also noticed that I seemed to have a "round two" of crap wanting out. SHIT!

I have never gone to the start of any race, any distance with the feeling of needing to take a crap. I have heard of this happening and knew, at this point that there was nothing I could do. I was going to have to hold er in. 

I had lined up next to Shane hoping that I would be able to use his feet. He has been swimming well and I figured it made sense. So I just looked at him and said "Go out hard. I want your feet." Why try and be slick about it??? I saw Drew Scott across the way and he seemed like he picked a better position to the far right but it was too late for us to change. We were dead center like a bunch of idiots.

When the gun went off I blasted and Shane did not go out hard enough. I was scrambling to try and figure out who was in front, but again, was having issues seeing. I was boxed in pretty bad but was remaining calm about it until I went to sight and got whacked in the back of the head pretty hard. It caused my ears to start ringing and then of course I panicked. Fuck!!! I have had issue with panicking in the water before so it wasn't anything new, but combine it with the altitude and the fact that I only had my skin on, I was being swamped and felt like I couldn't breathe. This is probably the worst way to start a race and I knew that I needed to recover from it or I was going to have problems. I had to slow down and try and find some open water. It took way longer than I wanted to get calmed down. Eventually I was able to find a rhythm and not be so freaked out. Although, I knew my swim was going to be a shit time even though I was back on some feet.

The whole rest of the way was spent climbing over AG swim wreckage. I was actually in a good mood about it because I felt accomplished that I survived the panic. It was the worst one I have had in the water and getting through it made me feel stronger. I wanted to quit at first. 

Exiting the water I was just glad to be done with it. I was in shock that Shane was out just behind me. I was in even more shock to find out later that Drew got our 90 seconds ahead of me. I swim circles around Drew in the pool and Shane has been swimming circles around me. We were all mixed up! 

In transition Shane and I had all our friends there heckling us. It was pretty funny as we were both trying to get out first and having issues with our stuff. I exited first but Shane came up on me and passed me pretty quickly on the bike.

Shane has been ridding very well so I thought I would use him as a gage. If I can keep him in sight and have my numbers not too high on the meter I think I will be fine. I passed him a few times on the downhill sections as I had more gears than he did, but for the most part he was off the front. We chatted quickly a few times during a pass just to see if we both felt okay. I made sure to keep twice the legal distance between us as much as I could. The fact is that we are both very similar in ride ability and started together. We were going to be near each other for the whole ride and I did not want to get pegged with a penalty. I could have rode in front but I think Shane gets a bit "antsy" in the back LOL.

The whole ride felt really easy except for the fact that I still had that major poop in me. I wasn't able to take much in on the bike. I got about 200 calories total but didn't have a choice. I guess I could have stopped but I wasn't willing to do it. I figured I would just have to when I got on the run.

Once I rolled up to T2, Shane was about 45 seconds up and I ran passed him right away. He dropped some encouraging words telling me to go smoke the run but I was a bit unsure as I had this poop issue to figure out. 

I was running at a good clip and things felt okay in the stomach so I thought I would just wait until it felt different. I was a bit dizzy in the head from lack of calories so I went right to the coke plan. I think I felt that if I went to the bathroom or took in anything major, that I was going to have problems. The coke seemed to help the dizzy head right away.

As I ran along I saw a guy running up the road that looked to be moving at a decent clip and thought I would try to catch him. As it turns out, it was David Thompson, who was in 4th overall. Catching up to him made me feel that I was probably running well. It is hard to tell with that run course because the gravel is so loose that you feel like you are going nowhere. 

When we got to the back side of the course, I was running a bit faster so he tucked in to avoid some of the wind that was out there but as we came closer to the finish he picked it up. I had another loop to do so I tucked in behind him. He is much taller than I am and makes for an excellent draft! It's funny that I was running with him as the same thing happened on my first loop at Lifetime. 

Starting the second loop, I wasn't sure how I felt but I just decided to keep plugging away, and if I crapped out at some point I would just have to accept that. I did roll up on Keri Wvlad who was on her first loop. She is a quick runner and went with me for a bit of the back side. I told her to tuck in but she fell off the pace after a min or two.

I finished in 4:11:35 ( I had said 4:10 but when looking at results I didn't follow the line across properly LOL! I guess I do need to get these glasses!) and was very happy with the effort. I ran straight across the line to the bathroom and FINALLY dropped the kids off at that pool. OMG what a relief that was haha! I can't believe I did that race with that much in me and taking in only 400 calories. Who knew???

Confidence is up a bit more and I think I have gained some fitness from the event. I was only 4 min down from the top AG'er who with no surprise was Tim Hola. I love having that guy out there. He is an excellent marker for top Age Group racers. I won't lie, I want to take him down once this year! All in good sport of course!

I have 2 Olympic distance races coming up. Not sure how they will go but I have to remember that this whole season is just about prepping the bod to be able to handle the Ironman run load. I really feel like I am getting there and am excited to put an Ironman on the calender. It may come sooner than we predicted....

Good job to everyone that raced and thanks for all the support from those spectating. It was a really fun and challenging day!

Ironman Hawaii - Coach Cliff

Due to a family emergency this year I have decided to pull out of the race and return home from Kona.  While it was hard to leave it was much easier to be here with my family whom i draw much strength from.  For those who know me racing would not even be possible without them.  I look forward to next year where I will return to the race.  Thanks for all of your support during this time.  



ITPman: Coach Cliff 1st overall..."Motorcycle escorts are fun....can you come along for my next long ride?!"

This was my third year racing the ITPman and I have to say it is still one of my favorite races I get to do.  The race held during the fall is usually crisp and for me relaxing as far as racing goes since I have had an enire season of racing to prepare.   When it comes to sprints you just put the throttle WIDE OPEN and go....  this day would be no different but would net me a first place win and a boost of confidence before heading off to the Hawaiian Ironman.

-Lining up on the beach my toes are warm and the air is cold.  I look around to find the fastest swimmer to see if I can hang on to his/her feet : )
-GO!  Launch into the water and jump up to the font with two other swimmers. 
-Take a draft and lots of long strokes breathing deeply the sea level air (Huh. THats funny not like the boulder air or lack there of!)
-Turning towards the shore I flank the lead swimmer and cruise up the beach with him.

-I ride up the first steep hill and my legs catch fire...
-The motorcycle escort in front of me means I am in the lead : )  Nice to have him clear the road for me... I wonder if he could come along for my next long ride?
-Lights flashing, sirens blaring, the officer and I; one motor powered and the oher pedal powered, fly through the back country roads of Darien CT. THIS IS FUN.
-Down the big hill on the way back I pass my escort at 40+mph!  ...over the unfinished construction bridge and a little dirt on the road heading back towards T2. 
-Feet out of the shoes and ready for my transition.
-Looks like no one still behind me yet.  Will i get run down? Hope not!

-Shoes on, can't feel my feet because the air has been so cold on them they are frozen to the soles.
-The first mile of this 5mi run is all uphill.... Up UP UP!
-As I run uphill the chase pack with bikers foaming at the mouth trying to catch me seem close behind....
-Turn the legs over fast and muster  smile at each corner greeting the volunteers.
-Still alone up front but not all alone as my motorcycle buddy is clearing the way AGAIN!   Do you think you could come along for my next long run?
-Completing a small loop of the run I start heading back towards the finish.  Could this be? No one to run me down?
-I feel good but someone is going to spoil the party, i know it.
-RUN FASTER i tell myself..  somene else heres me thinking out loud "YES RUN FASTER!"
-Down the final mile to the finish - im cruising, checking behind me, no gate crashers i  have this one  : )
-Cross the finish line first place!  Elated! 1hr 25min 23sec.
-Thanks DAD.

Congratulations to all TriStar Athlete finishers.  Marianella, Tim, Joan you guys did great out there!!!

See you in Darien next year,

Coach Cliff

Coach Cliff: 1st AG 30-34, 6th Overall at Tupper Lake Half Ironman

Greetings, salutations, and aloha from Tupper Lake.

Race: Tupper Lake is located upstate NY and is a beautiful rolling hills Half Ironman with 75-80 degree weather and on this day lots of rain : )

When:  6.27.09

Season Note: Race number three for me this season including a half marathon.  The warm up for the big dance Ironman Hawaii later this year.

Race Plan: Get a good draft on the swim, go hard on the bike, start easy on the run - finish STRONG.  

Nutrition-Diabetes Strategy:  As a type 1 diabetic for  over 20yrs I am constantly refining my strategy for racing, training and fueling for performance.  This is an area I would say I have a specialty and strategic advantage in based on the fact that I have to know how much to eat and drink to perform at the top level.  On this day I practiced a new strategy for the half Iron race distance that would prove very effective but stil need a slight refinement.   (For those interested in training or race day nutrition planning please contact me at

SWIM: (29:12) 1st in the AG and slow-er than I would have liked but still good.  (I must offer a hint of caution before reading my diabetes race notes as no diabetic should attempt what I am about to describe without consulting a physician or myself!  In order to race in this way pre planning must be done to prevent a low blood sugar during the swim.  

Nutrition-Diabetes Notes: -5,-4,-3....minutes to go before the swim start and i inject ~4units of Apidra insulin to start the race.  At the same time I also gulp down 400 calories of carbohydrate. (Not ideal for non diabetics but critical for high level performance in a diabetic half iron triathlete) My basal rate is turned off and for the remainder of the race.

-During the swim I continue a draft which feels very comfortable and easy.  
-We turn the first buoy and head back towards shore.  
-No sun today but normally it hits you right in the face on the way back. Always pack the sunny goggles for this event.
-Feeling pumped up I pass the lead swimmer in front of me to finisht the final 100M and 1st in my wave swim.

T1:  (1:50)  Oh man, why did i go so slow!.... must work on this!  I took my sweet old time here.  Perhaps stopping to smile for the cameras was a bad thing....


BIKE: (2:21:38) AVg  Power 280Watt.......  at least this was the strategy, i managed to race at 277Watt.  Not bad.  The bike always my strength allowed me to move up the ranks after a decent swim. 

-Start off a bit too heavy on the gas @ 290Watts...
-back it off a bit and bring the HR back down to reasonable levels.
-Ride with a few guys who want to hang on but probably shouldn't  : )
-At the turn around of the out and back I can see the first wave ahead of me by only 2min.  I have already shaved off 3 on the first  28miles.....  Too hot?  Maybe slow down?  No hold here.!
-Head wind on the way back, i grind it out and rely on the powermeter to tell me the work load.
-A flash of black goes by on two wheels.  Woah, who was that motoring past?  (The subsequent winner tearing up the bike course)
-Final 3miles into town, glad to be ready to run. 
-Legs are heavy for sure.

Nutrition-Diabetes Notes:  My nutrition strategy here was to take down a minimum of 400 calories per hour.  No problems here.. and no blood testing on the bike. On my way back into town and the final 15min of the bike i did feel my blood sugar drop a bit (pace slows a bit) and I had a little extra carb but then ran out needing a bit more..... 

RUN:  (1:36:28)  Sometimes you gamble with how hard to bike before getting off to run... on this day the gamble was not on the bike but on how much glucose I carried with me on the run. 

Nutrition-Diabetes Notes: Normally I run with my camel back pack which has super saturated endurance gatorade.  Very helpful for getting in quality calories and raising my bs when it drops.  I opted not to take it this time and instead rely on the aid stations each mile on the half marathon.  (Note I did carry 50g of carb in a flask on the run that I sipped for the first 6mi)  It has always been a fear of mine to rely on gatorade as the mix sometimes is strong and most of the time weak.  Since I need the carbohydrate the most and the water the least this puts me at risk on the course.  On this particular day i managed to run out of concentrated gatorade in my flask and drink "watery" gatorade for the final 6mi.  Miles 6-12 were a bit of walking/jogging waiting for my blood sugar to come around.  Fortunately, I did come back around towards the end to save the race and still place 1st in the AG and 6th overall.  Woooooohoooooooo!

-Off the bike and onto the run course feeling fairly good. 
-The first 4miles of the course have lots of hills and i struggle up each. 
-Having scoped out the course I knew the final 6 would be flattish and on packed dirt  which works for me!
-I run with a strong runner for several miles before he puts a 1/4 mi distance on me as i am unable to answer.
-The sun peeks out a bit and I grab some water and toss it on my head.
-Its lonely and quiet out here... where is everyone!
-I run through the woods on a dirt trail, hey this is fun!
-I look over my shoulder.... Nope still no one there, and I am running fairly slow at this point.
-Big hill... I have to walk.. blood sugar drops.  I sip more gatorade and keep going!
-1mi to go I can see town through the woods.
-Cruise across the field to the finish line where I cross at 4:31, 1st in the Age Group and 6th place overall.
-Smile and be happy!

TOTAL:  4:31:01

Coach Cliff: 2nd overall Ridgefield Triathlon

Last year was my first go at the Ridgfield Tri.  Taking 3rd place last year was great but now i wanted more.....  !  On a beautiful sunny May morning the race went a little something like this...

-No need to warm up, the gun goes and so do I !
-Draft for the first 200yrds and lose my line just long enough to lose the feet in front of me.
-This would prove to be a key move for this partcular swimmer as he had collegiate swim skills!
-Out of the water 5th place, not great but in the hunt.

-Quick in and quick out with the shoes on the pedals. 
-1min faster than last year where my wetsuit got stuck and I took a "nap" in transition!

BIKE -Excit T1 with 2nd place leader from last year.  Good.
-Pace off of him as he can run but I can bike perhaps a touch quicker.
-Crusiing at high speeds through turns we are both cranking it sucking for air and recovering on the down hills.
-4th place is right behind me and looking good
-1st place swimmer and stil first place biker is the guy to beat 30' ahead.
-Sip some water and gatorade.  Gurggling!!  So hard to drink at a Heart Rate of 170+bpm
-ease up on the bike after playing cat and mouse with #2

-Quick in and out in 35 sec

RUN-Up up up the first 1.5 mi.  I lose some serious ground as the hills slow my "larger" frame.
-Cant seem to find a rythem...
-legs start to stretch out at mile 1.5  just as we start to run downhill.
-I can see 2nd place past for first in front of me!
-Is there enough time for me to run down second from my third position?
-Gut check, here we go it hurts
-Really hurts! 
-I pass and take 2nd place in the final 1/4 mile!  WOoohooo

-2nd overall; 1hr 03min 10sec
-Smile : 
-Now I feel warmed up.......  man that was such a short blurr of a race!
-Thanks to my family and support crew.  CONGRATS TO ALL TRISTAR ATHLETES AT THE RACE!!!!