Guest Blog - Mike Levine - Using TBT

Oct 7, 2017 4:23:26 AM

Aricle: Mike Levine.

Photo: Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune

During my days of more serious competing, racing involved traveling from coast to coast, and many international trips as well. Hope on and off a plan fresh enough to race is challenging enough, without the hassle of carting your bike as well.

Back in those days, there was no TriBike Transport to make travel hassle-free. Instead, I was left scrambling trying to digest the best method of getting my bike from one destination to the next. And I tried everything…

  • Bike cases are always an option, but they require varying levels of disassembly which potentially leads to misplacing (or breaking) parts

  • Bike boxes are also an option, but that means rummaging the back doors of a local shop to grab a cardboard bike box and then trying to fit my tri bike into the banged up box and holding it all together with duct tape

  • Thankfully things have changed since those days!

    Recently, my training partner, Kathleen McCartney, introduced me TriBike Transport. Now instead of going through the hassle of dismantling my bike before travel, I simply drop my full-assembled bike off at my local shop and meet it at my destination.

    Reduced stress is key to a successful Kona finish, and TriBike Transport has perfected this process to a science.

    Thank you so much TriBike Transport for making this terminal Cancer Patient’s journey to the World Championship simple, worry and hassle-free.

    Michael Levine

    2017 Ironman World Championship Ambassador Athlete

    Read more about Mike's journey in an article by The San Diego Tribune by
    clicking here.

    About Mike Levine:

    Mike is a:

  • 1982 and 1983 Ironman World Championship finisher

  • 1994 Tri Fed USA All American Triathlete

  • Current stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Patient on lifetime chemotherapy

  • Selected and competing at the 2017 Ironman World Championship Kona as the ‘Special Interest Story’ Ambassador Athlete by Ironman WTC and NBC

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    Team TBT Spotlight: Keish Doi

    Oct 4, 2017 2:06:19 AM

    The triathlon bug first bit Keish Doi in 2000. Over the next three years, he completed a number of smaller format races before moving up to an IRONMAN® race in Canada in 2003. Since then there has been no slowing him down. To date, Keish has completed 60 full distance races and 53 70.3s! Along the way, he joined Team TBT in 2009 and continues to be one of our most active racers (no kidding).

    In 2016, Keish started to plan his 2017 vacation. He thought, a month in Europe would be nice but wanted to take it a step further than the normal tourist type approach. So he decided to join his passion of traveling with his passion for triathlon and registered to race in four IRONMAN® events as he made his way across the continent.

    After registering to race IRONMAN® Switzerland, Maastricht-Limburg, Hamburg, and Copenhagen he began training and prepared for the adventure of a lifetime. Each race offered its own set of challenges that was only compounded by the demands of racing four full-distance races in a short amount of time.

    Previously competing in IRONMAN® France in 2012, Keish had some experience racing in Europe but was looking for more. The atmosphere in Europe is more focused on the race and less focused on the participation. In addition, the cites are older, and the roads are narrow and often rougher, which can make for a harder race experience in general.

    After its all said and done, IRONMAN® Copenhagen ranked as Keish’s favorite of the four. Aside from being his last race, and the fastest result, the culture of Denmark, the friendliness of the people, and the bike infrastructure of the city made it the most enjoyable.

    When it comes to the most challenging, that title belongs to IRONMAN® Switzerland. While beautiful, the bike course was incredibly challenging filled with many steep climbs, fast descents, and sharp turns.

    The biggest surprise of the trip was Keish’s ability to not only continue racing with no training in between but that he was also able to finish each race strong – with his last race providing the best result. Going into it, he was concerned his fitness would begin to decline making finishing each race harder and harder, but instead, the opposite was true.

    Now back home in Hawaii Keish is spending a little time recovering, a little time training, and no doubt a lot of time planning his next adventure.

    Keish, from all of us at TBT, congrats on conquering the challenge and thanks for continuing to be such a great ambassador for our company and our sport.

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    By Kathleen McCartney

    Some things never change on the road to the finish line in Kona - the wind, the heat, the fatigue, and the smile that works overtime in anticipation of running down Ali’i Drive, living your dream...and hearing ...“!” But fortunately, the road to getting your bike to the finish line in Kona has changed dramatically!

    For my first Ironman 35 years ago, there was nothing like TriBike Transport (and, no such thing as a tri bike). Instead of the hassle-free process of dropping my fully assembled bike off at my local shop, getting my bike to Kona was filled with stress, frustration and a whole lot of hope.

    Thanks to TriBike Transport, gone are the days of searching the back alleys of bike shops for cardboard bike boxes (yes, I really did that), dismantling your bike (removing the seat post, the handlebars, wheels, and pedals), and packing the tools required for reassembly. Also, gone is the stress of just hoping the bike didn’t get crushed, bent, wheels knocked out of true, spokes snapped or bike irreparably damaged when being tossed around by the baggage crew. TriBike Transport has also removed the stress (and expense) of transporting a huge bike box from the airport in Kona to my hotel. This often required upgrading my rental car or finding that one taxi that was big enough.

    Since 2004 TriBike Transport is the perfect solution to get your most crucial and valuable piece of equipment to Kona! Now all you have to do is go online, make a reservation and drop your race-ready bike off at your designated area bike shop. TriBike Transport takes care of the rest!

    Imagine arriving in Kona to the delight of a fully assembled race ready bike. Now all you have to do in Kona is enjoy all the benefits of your hard work and enjoy every minute of race week and race day!

    For a little extra charge, TriBike Transport will even pick up your bike and transition bags post race so you have more time to celebrate your finish! With all the countless hours we spend training, meticulously preparing for every race day possibility, the amount of money we invest in our race and our bike, TriBike Transport’s service is invaluable.

    When I came back to race in Kona in 2012 after a 9-year sabbatical from triathlon, I was thrilled to discover the services of TriBike Transport to transport my first ever real tri bike! I’ve used TriBike Transport for every Kona Ironman since my return to Kona (2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017)! All that I have to do is train and prepare for the most incredible race of my life and TriBike Transport takes care of my bike! The service TriBike Transport provides is as important and integral to my race plan as my training, nutrition, and equipment.

    I wouldn’t dream of going to Kona without TriBike Transport on my team!

    Thank you TriBike Transport in advance of my 11th World Championship and for all of the benefits of your essential service to our sport!

    Kathleen McCartney is the 1982 IRONMAN® World Champion and 10-time IRONMAN® World Championship Finisher.

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    By Paul Duncan of QT2 Systems

    One of the biggest questions coaches get is “how can I race better in the heat?” It’s a logical question with lots of races taking place in warm climates. Athletes are also getting used to the heat at warm weather training camps right now.

    This can be a super tough thing for many athletes to execute properly, especially if the athlete has a high sweat rate, or has extra unnecessary body fat.

    Some of the most important factors for racing well in the heat include the following:

    Fueling plan

    In my opinion, this is the single most important factor when it comes racing in the heat, but it’s often overlooked. On a hot race day, your gut must be trained to tolerate the amount of fluid, calories, and sodium required to keep you hydrated. Most people simply just get this wrong, which is why we see so many athletes under-perform on hot days.

    On average, athletes lose between 400 and 1000mg of sodium per 16 ounces of fluid sweat loss. An average 160 lb athlete will generally lose around 24+ ounces per hour in a race that is 80 degrees! That’s a lot needing to be replaced.The biggest thing to take away here is that you need to put together a logical fuelling plan that will ensure your sodium/fluid/caloric needs are met and balanced properly on race day.

    Acclimate for the event

    If you already live in a warm climate, this should be pretty simple. I recommend spending a lot of time in the sun/heat in the month building up to the race. The exception would be the week prior to the race — being burnt out from training in the heat the week of the race will probably not serve you well.

    If you don’t live in a hot climate but are racing in one, another option is arriving at the race two weeks early to get used to the climate. Instead of spending time sitting in saunas, I recommend focusing even more on the fluids in training by drinking much more than you will require on race day. Take advantage of what you have control over. Teach your body to tolerate more than it will need on race day.


    QT2 Systems always recommends sport drinks, not water. Drinking sport drinks instead of water will ensure you are meeting all of your needs (electrolyte, fluid, calories). Water is for dumping on your head, sport drinks are for drinking.

    Start drinking early. Drink enough to ensure that you pee during the bike ride (once for a half, twice for a full). Stop worrying about the athlete in front of you or getting passed early on, and focus on getting your body ready for the rest of the day. Trust me, if they aren’t managing their fluid and pace, you will pass them back later. If you get behind on drinking, it is going to be very hard to catch up on the hydration later. If you go into the run depleted, you are not going to run to your potential. Following these basic drinking tips will dramatically increase your chances of running to your potential, assuming you also paced the bike ride properly.

    Pacing plan

    If it’s hot, you will need to adjust your pacing plan. Slowing down is most likely the answer. In a hot race, you are usually much better off to start on the conservative side. If you go out too hard, you will accumulate too much heat, and not be able to recover from this, leading to a much slower finish time.

    Cool off before you get too hot:

    I tell all of my athletes the same thing. When you are on the bike, if you are not feeling cold, you should be dumping water all over yourself at every aid station on the bike. Don’t wait until you start to get hot, it may be too late at that point. Of course, be sure to grab your sport drink to consume first — that is priority.

    On the run, slow down at every aid station and grab sport drinks first. Then dump water on your head, ice down the shorts, etc. This will make a huge difference. Do not just blow through the aid stations thinking that you are going to save time. Give up the extra five seconds early on, to save minutes later.

    Overall, think logically. So many athletes let their ego drive them to just keep pushing the pace until the accumulated heat gets to a point of no return. Anyone can fake it at the beginning, but if you don’t take care of the little details early on I guarantee your race won’t go to plan.

    These are just a few of the basics. I recommend working with a coach on developing a pacing and fueling plan. If you would like help on these items, please feel free to reach out directly, or use one of the following links.

    Paul is a United States Army Veteran, USAT Certified Coach, QT2 Systems Level 1 Coach, and OutRival Racing Level 3 coach.

    Contact info:

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    October 14th, 2017 is the 35th anniversary of my 1982 Ironman debut. With less than 2 months to race day, the bulk of my training is over and baked, with just the final phase to go. The last time I raced Kona was 2012. While I trained hard for that visit, there is a big difference between then and today. I’ve NEVER trained this hard and felt this GOOD.

    The 35th Anniversary dream actually started five years ago in 2012, when Kathleen McCartney reached out to me to reconnect our friendship after a long hiatus. Kathleen is the woman who passed me in the final yards of the 1982 Ironman to be crowned champion, while I crawled to the finish line 29 seconds later to claim my unique place in Ironman history. Very quickly into our renewed friendship, Kathleen planted the seed for us to celebrate our 30th anniversary together in Kona and the concept for an Iron Icon team was born.

    We were thrilled to have TriBike Transport sponsor us for our autograph signing at the Ironman expo - TriBike Transport even had a special trucker hat made with the logo, “Transporting Legends.” TriBike Transport was giving a nod back to 1982 when I wore the trucker hat all the contestants received in their registration bags. Because of that connection to the past, my commemorative trucker hat has become one of my most prized mementos from all my years in the sport. Trucker hats are now back in fashion, and as much as I’d like to take credit for the revival of the trend, it was just a matter of time for the style to recycle.

    It was also just a matter of time before Ironman’s siren call recycled back into my life. Deep within, I still felt that I had one more standout Kona performance in me. Kona defined my life at an early age and continues to define and inform my life today.

    I started thinking about how I wanted to end my Kona career, to put a punctuation mark on my decades in Kona that felt right to me. But more importantly, I wanted to craft a love letter to Kona, and I was willing to invest the time required to let it unfold. From the start, my vision was clear. I wanted to combine all that I’d learned and experienced over the past 35 years and have it coalesce in a standout race. My goal would require training with passion and tenacity. I would be committing to months of long days, fueled by guts and gratitude.

    It's worth repeating, I’ve NEVER trained this hard, for this long, and had it feel this GOOD...knock on wood.

    My vision for Kona is simple, personal, and steeped in the rich history of Ironman. It’s my chance to revisit a pivotal moment in my life. My goal isn’t to rewrite my Ironman history but rather to celebrate it. It’s taken me decades to understand my unique place in the sport. I’ve learned to appreciate my moment and I’m always honored when someone tells me they were inspired to do their first Ironman after seeing the video of the 1982 Ironman. Just when you think your fifteen minutes of fame is up...along comes YouTube(ha ha)!

    So for these final months, I’m most concerned with getting the final key workouts done and not getting too obsessed with the numbers. Just because I’m strong enough to log big miles, doesn't’ mean I have to. At this stage in my training, less is more. My focus is to protect the investment that I’ve banked and take advantage of the time I’ve freed up to appreciate and enjoy the final steps of the journey. Take time to smell the roses and soak up love and support when it crosses my path. Now it’s time to book an extra massage, spend a little more for the highest grade of sushi, maybe cut a workout short to connect with friends over dinner and let my support team know how much I appreciate them.

    The training is banked and the hard work is paying dividends. There was a classic ad campaign for a hair color product that challenged women to purchase the very best because “you’re worth it”. That sentiment sums up my feeling of getting to this final phase of training for Kona. I’ve worked my butt off and “I’m worth it”.

    In April when I booked my travel with TriBike Transport to Houston for Ironman Texas, I opted only for the extra gear bag option... I didn’t feel I deserved to have valet service. After all, Ironman TX was just a mid season race and I wasn’t sure of what to expect. But after another 4 months, and hundreds of hours of training, I know I’m worth it.

    For Kona, I opted for not only the extra gear bag but the FINISH & FLY VALET SERVICE...I earned valet service. I get to leave my bike in transition and let TBT do the rest! They will collect my bike and bags (T1 and T2) from transition after my race. They'll pack my bags and pedals into a gorgeous TBT duffle and transport it, with my bike, back to Nytro Multisport (my local TBT partner shop). I don’t have to do a thing after the race. I deserve the very best because I’m worth it, and so are you.

    So, whether it’s your first Ironman or your 21st you’ve worked your butt off too. Trust me, you’re deserving of taking advantage of the perks along the way to help ensure your Ironman vision and create your own unique place in Ironman history as you celebrate the journey to the finish line.

    I hope to see you out on the road training, and if you’re in Kona, please come by TriBike Transport and say “hi”. I’ll be the one wearing the trucker hat.

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