Think Downhill in the Swim, Bike & Run

You may be wondering what this article is about with the above title. It is my hope that this article will shift your focus away from the stop watch and the heart rate monitor and on to how you “feel” when you swim, bike and run.  What am I talking about when I say think downhill?  This means that when you are in your best form in the pool and run and best position on the bike you should“feel” as though you are on a slight downhill.

The feeling of going downhill is achieved by activating the correct muscles and putting yourself in the optimal position. In each discipline of swimming, biking and running there is a balancing point, like a teeter totter on a playground. When you are at your optimal position, you have moved just slightly to the downhill side of the fulcrum.  From my perspective, the key to achieving this downhill feel is engagement of the lower abdominals and even the pelvic floor muscles.  All athletes I coach have lower abdominal core strengthening as part of their regular training program. If the lower abdominals are not engaged, it is very hard to obtain and maintain the body position to go downhill.  Let's take a look at how to set your self up to go “downhill” in each discipline of swimming, biking and running.  READ FULL BLOG 




American Score Big at ParaTri World Champs!

With paratriathlon set to debut at the Paralympics September 10-11 just days before the Grand Final, the world’s fastest paratriathletes competed at a stand-alone World Championships on Sunday in Rotterdam.Americans Allysa Seely, Kendall Gretsch and Aaron Scheidies headlined the day as they repeated consecutive World Championship wins, while the likes of Martin Schulz and Alison Patrick regained their titles as the world’s fastest paratriathletes. However, it was a day of firsts for everyone else, with Jetze Plat, Andrew Lewis, Denis Kungurtcev, Manon Genest, and Grace Norman all scoring world gold for the first time.

In a resounding day for the Netherlands, the crowd was delighted to cheer on its own Jetze Plat and Geert Schipper to podium performances in the men’s PT1 sport class. While Krige Schabort (USA) was hoping to regain his claim as the fastest man in the field after winning the World Championship sin 2014, it was Plat who put together the best performance of the day, out racing Schabort for gold. The American took silver, sandwiched between the two Dutch men as Schipper was the third fastest man of the day.

“It was great, the weather was perfect, there were a lot of fans for me, so it was great,” Plat said. “The bike was really technical, I went a little bit slow to check all the corners and the last part was really fast.

In a continuation of her undefeated streak, Kendall Gretsch (USA) crushed the women’s PT2 sport class, clutching her 10th consecutive win in two years and a third World title by more than five minutes. Lizzie Tench(GBR) was next to cross over, followed by Spain’s Eva María Moral Pedrero.

“There were tons of people out on the course, so it made it really fun, an exciting atmosphere,” Gretsch said. “The swim was good, I think we were a little nervous for the bike with all the turns, but it was great. Then the roads at the end were wonderful, really beautiful.” 

In a massive performance, Great Britain’s Andrew Lewis scored his first World Championship title, improving from his ninth place finish last year to win the men’s PT2 sport class by more than two minutes. Mark Barr (USA), who just missed the podium in 2015, jumped two places for silver in Rotterdam, while Stephane Bahier (FRA) remained on the podium with bronze.

“I can’t believe it, I had a really bad race last year in Chicago - I did an extra lap - but this one we absolutely nailed it,” Lewis said. “I’ve been focusing really hard on my swimming and biking, and haven’t really even being doing that much running, so I was surprised.”

Allysa Seely (USA) kept her stranglehold on the women’s PT2 sport class world titles strong when she secured her second consecutive title in the women’s PT2 sport class by nearly a minute, setting her up well for a podium performance in Rio in September. Behind her, Liisa Lilja (FIN) out raced Seely’s compatriot Hailey Danisewicz for silver.

Despite having competed in paratriathlon races since 2013, Denis Kungurtcev (RUS) raced in his first World Championship paratriathlon event on Sunday. The World Champs rookie made his first race one to remember, as he captured the win by more than a minute over Spain’s Alejandro Sánchez Palomero and Daniel Molina.

For the first time in three years, the women’s PT3 sport class had a new winner in France’s Manon Genest when she beat out two-time World Champion Sally Pilbeam (AUS). Pilbeam was joined by compatriot Kerryn Harveyon the podium, which they raced to silver and bronze.

In a line to line dominant performance, Martin Schulz (GER) reclaimed the World Championship title that he lost in 2015 to Stefan Daniel by scorching to this year’s PT4 sport class win by more than half a minute. Although he was challenged by George Peasgood on the bike, Schulz took off on the run to win his third World Championship crown. Suggesting he’s back in peak form just in time for Rio, Yannick Bourseaux (FRA) returned to the podium with silver, while Spain’s Jairo Ruiz Lopez took home his first World Championship podium with bronze.

“It’s amazing in the Paralympic year to win the World Championships,” Schulz said. “It was very good preparation for Rio, it was hot today. This wasn’t the main focus for the year, so it’s great.”

Although reigning World Champion Lauren Steadman enjoyed a lead out of the swim, a crash on the first lap of the bike took the undefeated Brit out of the race. Second out of the water, American Grace Norman capitalized on Steadman’s absence to punch her first world title by more than four minutes. Gwladys Lemoussu (FRA) was next to cross over, followed by Anna Bychkova (RUS), both scoring World Championship medals for the first time.

“It’s amazing, I’m behind excited, I’ve never won before,” Norman said. “To take one for America, I’m so honored to represent my country. The crowd was great, very encouraging and every time you went by you thought ‘ya, ok, I can do this’.”

Aaron Scheidies (USA) dominated the men’s PT5 sport class for an incredible fourth title. Behind him, a mad dash for silver was taking place between Vasyl Zakrevskyi (UKR) and Hector Catala Laparra (ESP), but it was Zakrevskyi that would take silver for the second consecutive time.

“This course is unlike any other that ITU has created,” Scheidies said. “It’s a great bike course, you cant see any of your competitors, all you are thinking about is getting to the guys in front of you.”

After losing her title as the world’s fastest woman in the PT5 sport class last year, Alison Patrick (GBR) put together a perfect plan to reclaim her place at the top of the podium on Sunday. The Netherland’s own Joleen Hakker (NED) impressed on the day for silver, while Melissa Reid (GBR) scored bronze despite leading on the swim.



2015 CIM Blind/VI National Championship Sure to Be An Exciting Race

The USA Blind Athletes National Championships return to the California International Marathon this year with its largest field and a growing reputation as a destination event for visually impaired athletes.

A field of 51 is expected for the seventh annual USABA National Marathon Championships, part of the 33rd annual CIM on Dec. 6. 

The CIM, a 26.2-mile test from Folsom to the state Capitol, is put on by the Sacramento Running Association.

This year’s field includes combat-blinded veterans, U.S. Paralympic athletes, world champions, a three-time USABA National Marathon champion and five international athletes.

“The California International Marathon has a great reputation across the country and internationally as a premier destination for visually impaired runners to come run a marathon,” said Folsom’s Richard Hunter, a visually impaired runner who helps coordinate the USABA event for the CIM. 

“The Sacramento Running Association has done everything it possibly can to make it a VIP experience.”

The CIM features a heated tent near the start and a tent in the finish area for visually impaired runners to gather.  The event will also offer a prize purse for the visually impaired division, a first for a marathon run in the United States.

The total prize purse for the visually impaired division is $3,500 with $1,000 going to both the top men and women’s finishers.

“The Sacramento Running Association continues to lead its peers by becoming the first marathon in the United States to offer prize money for a visually impaired division, which has added additional incentive for visually impaired runners to push it to the next level,” said Hunter.

Aaron Scheidies, three-time winner of the USABA National Marathon Championships, is back in 2015 competing in the marathon after taking part in the CIM Relay Challenge in 2014. The Seattle resident currently holds the fastest marathon time for an active visually impaired athlete in the United States. He ran a 2:44 in Boston in 2013 and holds the CIM visually impaired division record with a 2:48. In addition to his exploits on the roads, Aaron is a nine-time world champion triathlete and will represent the United States on the Paralympic Cycling Team in 2016 in Rio.

"I am excited to be back for my fourth USABA Blind/Visually Impaired National Championship at CIM.  This year is different than past years as I am preparing for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Para-Cycling and have done very little run training,” said Scheidies. “There are some very fast blind runners coming and to be honest, I am considering myself a dark horse this year.” 

Donald Balcom of Hollywood, Md., the 2015 Boston Marathon Blind/Visually Impaired Division Champion, and Jason Romero from Denver, the 2014 USABA Marathon Champion, should challenge Scheidies for the men’s title.

Amy Kelley of Columbia, Sc., overall women’s winner of the 2011 Flying Pig Marathon and a 2:49-marathoner (CIM, 2011) heads the women’s visually impaired field. Amelia Dickerson from Boulder, Co., a 3:21-marathoner, hopes to challenge Kelley for the title. READ FULL ARTICLE



Team USA named for 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS , Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced its roster of 24 athletes today, including two tandem pilots, who will represent Team USA at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, from July 28-Aug. 2.

Team USA was victorious at the 2014 edition of the championships as the American’s topped the medal count with 18 medals (nine gold, six silver and three bronze). Every medal winner from the 2014 championships will return to defend their podium positions.

“Our team for the world championships has a perfect combination of experienced veterans and fresh faces,” said Ian Lawless, high performance director U.S. Paralympics cycling. “All of these athletes are eager to represent Team USA and ascend the podium."

The U.S. roster boasts seven reigning world champions, including Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Jamie Whitmore (Mount Aukum, California) who swept the C2 and C3 events, respectively.

Other reigning champions include: Aaron Keith (Woodinville, Washington) C2 time trial, Will Groulx (Portland, Oregon) H2 time trial, Alicia Dana (Putney, Vermont) H3 road race, Megan Fisher (Missoula, Montana) C4 time trial and Shawn Morelli (Leavenworth, Kansas) C4 road race.

The U.S. team also features 11 athletes who finished just shy of the podium with fourth place finishes at the 2014 championships.

Eight of the U.S. athletes have also represented their country in the military. Four athletes are from the Navy, three are from the Army and one from the Marine Corps.

U.S. Roster f



The Irony of a Paralympic Athlete

Published in the Players Tribune on June 2, 2015

It was like I’d vanished. Like I had slept through my alarm clock and missed the starting gun.

Photo by Marcy Browe Photgraphy

Photo by Marcy Browe Photgraphy

I ran the fastest time in the 2008 Malibu Triathlon, but after the race, someone told me that my name didn’t appear on the leaderboard. Like I had never swum, biked or run the race.

I’d never won and lost at the same time before.

There’s no doubt our society has made enormous strides in better accommodating and understanding the disabled community, but as a blind triathlete who competes at the highest levels of the sport, I’m afraid that our society does not yet fully embrace disabled athletes competing in traditionally able-bodied events.

There is something ironic about Americans’ understanding of disability. If you are an athlete with a disability competing at the level of an average American, you will be praised and applauded. (This is a good thing.) But if you are an athlete with a disability competing at an elite able-bodied level, like I have done for years, you might be questioned by spectators, interrogated by race officials, kicked out of competitions, and even called a cheater. (Not so great.) This has been my experience.

Read the Full Story HERE



My Road | The Players Tribune

 It was like I’d vanished. Like I had slept through my alarm clock and missed the starting gun.

I ran the fastest time in the 2008 Malibu Triathlon, but after the race, someone told me that my name didn’t appear on the leaderboard. Like I had never swum, biked or run the race.

I’d never won and lost at the same time before. Read the Full Article.



The Power of the Boston Marathon Transcends


Imagine running down a road lined by over a million people in a major city where the entire town shuts down to focus on you.  Now, imagine running down this same road being blind.  All those smiling faces and motivating signs turn into deafening cheers and a constant flow of energy that brings goosebumps and chills throughout your body.    The pounding feet on pavement and the rhythmic sound of close to 40,000 of the world’s best runners expiring air at differing volumes overwhelms your senses. This is my Boston Marathon experience.

My name is Aaron Scheidies and I am an elite blind athlete that chose to run the Boston Marathon for more than just to experience its history and prestige, I chose Boston to become a part of a community.  I run for Team With A Vision, a community within the larger Boston community empowering those with visual impairments to conquer their dreams.   Team With A Vision also gives fully sighted individuals the opportunity to guide a blind or visually impaired individual, a very valuable educational experience.  The bonds formed with other blind and visually impaired individuals and guides on Team With a Vision represent the aspect of community and camaraderie that separates the Boston Marathon from any other endurance event in the world. Read Full Article from JH Boston Marathon Site  HERE 



ParaTriathletes to Watch in 2015


This year’s World Paratriathlon Event (WPE) circuit is more important than ever as qualification for the sport’s debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games ramps up. A total of 10 events are on the circuit, starting on 1 March in Buffalo City, South Africa, and touching down on every continent before concluding in Chicago, USA, with the World Championships.

In addition to racking up points to punch a ticket to the Windy City in September, para-triathletes will begin securing points for Rio qualification at the Iseo – Franciacorta ITU World Paratriathlon Event. All of the WPE races from then until 30 June 2016 will serve as critical races to synch up one of the 60 available spots. While six sport classes will debut in Rio, WPE races will feature all 10 sport classes. Here is who to watch this para-triathlon season.

Women’s PT5

Great Britain’s Alison Patrick announced her intent in the women’s PT5 when she beat out pre-race favourites Susana Rodriguez of Spain and Great Britain’s Melissa Reid for her inaugural world title. With women’s PT4 and PT5 sport classes both destined for Rio, Great Britain’s team is looking well primed to punch a few tickets for the sunny destination.

Men’s PT5

After relinquishing his world title last year, the USA’s Aaron Scheidies reclaimed the crown taking his World Championship medal haul to three in dominating fashion. While Brits Dave Ellis and Chris Goodwin enjoyed success in the sport class in years past, there was a changing of the guards on the medal stands last season with Vasyl Zakrevskyi and Alen Kobilica gaining ground, so look for new fresh talent to populate the podium.




USA Triathlon Names 2014 Elite Triathletes of the Year


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — ITU World Champion Gwen Jorgensen headlines the 13 honorees selected as the 2014 Elite Triathletes of the Year, announced today by USA Triathlon and selected by the National Governing Body’s Athlete Advisory Council (AAC).

“2014 was a year full of great performances by U.S. elite athletes. It seems that each year our athletes turn in better and better performances. From rookies to the top-ranked athletes, there were so many strong performances that selecting winners from the list of nominees was a difficult task,” said Joel Rosinbum, chair of the USA Triathlon AAC. “In the end we selected a group of athletes whose incredible performances make them stand out as the very best our country has to offer. The AAC would like to congratulate all the 2014 Athletes of the Year and wish them and all athletes continued success in 2015.”

Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.) is a repeat winner of the Olympic/ITU Athlete of the Year award, making history in 2014 as the only woman in the world to win eight career ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) events. Jorgensen logged five consecutive wins in WTS events in 2014, including the series Grand Final in Edmonton, Alberta, to clinch the world title — the first for the U.S. in 10 years.

Kendall Gretsch (PT1, Madison, Wis.) and Aaron Scheidies (PT5, Seattle, Wash.) earned recognition as the Paratriathletes of the Year. The two athletes excelled in events in the U.S. and abroad, with Gretsch winning her sport class in four events and Scheidies winning five events. Wins for both athletes include the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, PATCO Championships and USA Paratriathlon Nationals