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Donate triathlon gear to CAF

The Empire Tri Club will be donating a box of swimming, biking, running and triathlon gear that was collected at the gear swap party to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Thank you for your generous donations! If you didn’t get a chance to attend the gear swap, and would like to donate any new or lightly used triathlon gear and apparel to CAF, please email for details and directions regarding where to drop it off.

Alison will be meeting with a CAF representative on Monday afternoon, so please gather your gear and make arrangements to drop it off on the UWS before then! (email Alison for directions)

The Challenged Athletes Foundation recognizes the athletic greatness inherent in all people with physical challenges and supports their athletic endeavors by providing unparalleled sports opportunities that lead to success in sports — and in life. The Challenged Athletes Foundation will do its best to find a great home for your gear amongst our community of local athletes!

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Countdown to the Marathon: Optimizing the Last Month and Race Day

Marathon Training Webinars NOW available on demand!

Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), an Orthopedic Consultant to NYRR for the ING New York City Marathon, hosted this New York Road Runners Learning Series to provide tips on creating a tapering plan, race day nutrition and managing aches and pains. Led by physicians, an exercise physiologist and a sports nutritionist, the program guides both first-time and experienced marathoners through their crucial last month of marathon training.

Click here to watch on demand now

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FREE race entry for you and a friend!


Join us on Sunday, November 13 for a 5K & 10K run and a DUATHLON in Prospect Park.  Run through Brooklyn’s only forest, past water falls, over bridges, and under tunnels in what is considered one of the best parks in the nation.  All proceeds will benefit the Prospect Park Alliance. Make a difference for this great Park and for yourself and register today!!!!

When:          Sunday, November 13th

Where:         Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Run:          5k or 10k

Duathlon:    Classic: 3.1MR/14MB/3.1MR
Sprint: 2 MR/10 MB/2 MR
Int’l: 6.2 MR/27MB/3.1MR distance

One lucky winner will receive a FREE entry to the Prospect Park Duathlon, PLUS one FREE entry to the 10K Run for a friend.

Follow these 2 simple steps to be eligible to win:

1. Like CityTri Racing on Facebook.

2. Copy & paste the following text on the Empire wall: ”I would like to Run and Du for Prospect Park. Join Citytri’s fundraiser for the Prospect Park Alliance”


Follow these steps and you will automatically be entered into the raffle.  Winner will be selected on Tuesday 11/1 at 11am, and announced on Empire Tri Club’s Facebook Page.  We will be posting a discount code along with the winner, so you can still race (and save!) even if you don’t win!  Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook to get notified if you won!


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NYRR Insider’s Guide

Can you identify which Empire Ambassador is sporting the Santa Suit?

Dave Mendelsohn!  Gear up this season for the Jingle Bell Jog!

Click here to learn about upcoming NYRR races.  While triathlon season is coming to an end in the Northeast, we are right in the thick of marathon season.  Not up for 26.2?  There are lots of shorter races to keep you fit through the winter.

Let us know what races are on your schedule by posting on our Forum!


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My First Half Ironman – One Athletes Story on her Road to 70.3

My first Half Ironman (without the swim)
written by Linda Martello (Empire Member since 2011)

First, I want it to be known that I would NEVER have made it to the finish line if it weren’t for Empire Tri’s coaches, Alison Cooper and my wonderful Teammates– Megan and Yael—Paula and Paul — who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

It was my first Half Ironman and I was freaking out!  When we were informed that the swim portion of the race was cancelled, 90% of me was happy, but the other 10% thought about all the swim-training that I went through and I was disappointed. Let’s face it–I was beyond being scared of being in the open water, but found that the open-water swimming coaching with Coach Alison, helped me to relax and gain strength (endurance) because she was extremely patient, understanding, and supportive during these open-water swims.  But, that part of the race was out–now came another hurdle–I had to face the bike portion of the race.

When I heard of the technical turns we would be facing out there and with the wet roads, this was not looking good for someone who had problems with turns.  During the bus ride to T2, I made a big mistake by sitting in front of two men who decided to discuss the bike route.  (Comments like:  “It’s a dangerous course; there are extremely difficult turns, hills that are dangerous”).  I swallowed hard as panic and doubt set in.  In my mind I screamed at myself:  “Why are you doing this?  Why didn’t you drop out like your friends did?  You have nothing to prove”.  Yet, I found myself in T2 setting up for the first leg of the race.  I ran into my Teammate Jay, and told him that I was thinking of dropping out.  His advised me to, “just treat it like a long training ride; don’t drop out.”

Before I knew it, they were calling waves.   My heart started to beat faster and as the wave in front of mine was called. My heart went into overdrive and a wave of panic hit me.  Next thing, I was running out, hoped on my bike and “bam!” my chain dropped.  I managed not to fall; unclipped and fixed the problem; got back on my bike, made a left turn and off I went!

I was riding for awhile during this period and calmed myself down by saying:  “You can do this!   That’s when I encountered my first technical turn…I unclipped my right shoe just in case…I made it and thought to myself, “Alison would be so proud of me.”  Before I knew it, the miles were passing me by. I made turns I thought I would not be able to.  Then, I hit a hill (please note that, to me, these hills looked like mountains!)  I felt myself slowing down and I knew I was going down.  I managed to unclip and somehow prevent a really bad fall.  This caused a chip in my confidence somewhat, but I found myself getting right back on the bike.  I encountered another very big hill promptly, unclipped and walked up.   (Don’t tell Coach Alison!)  [LOL]  When I looked behind me, there were others walking up behind me.  Ok, so I’m not the only one that had to walk.

Then there they were familiar faces calling my name and cheering me on–Coach Alison, Megan, Yael, and Sascha.  They have no clue how much I needed that boost! It had me ride faster and, once again, built up my confidence.  Then there it was–the technical hill and most difficult turn I faced during the course of the race.  I felt myself slowing down and I heard myself yelling for help.  But, no one was there to stop me from falling.  I went down in a ditch filled with rocks.  I stayed there a moment then unclipped, sat up and assessed the damage.  They called the EMT and they informed me I either broken or fractured my hand/or thumb.  I was advised that I would not be able to ride because my hand was too swollen, that shifting and breaking would be extremely hard and very painful.  The pain was so bad I felt as if I was going to faint and had to lay down for a bit.  As I laid there, I had to make a decision–quit or go for it.  I heard myself tell the EMT “Wrap it!  I’m going for it!  I walked the rest of the way up the hill and mounted my bike.  I was off once again.

Every time i breaked or shifted of my gears, it hurt so badly that I wanted to give up, but something inside of me just would not quit.  The last 20- something miles consisted of more technical turns, which I was determined to make and I did.  I also managed to get up over the more challenging hills.  Yes, another challenging hill came up where I slowed down and I started to pray, “don’t fall, you can make it”, and I did.  And, there, just in front of me, was the finish line for the bike race.  I pretty much threw myself on the ground–I was so happy to be off my bike.

As I racked my bike and started to get ready for the run portion, I looked around and saw all those bikes.  I lost my composure for just a second and bent over and just started to cry, and said, “I can’t do this”.  A guy walked up to me, patted me on the back and said. “just 13.1 miles to go–we can do this”.  I went to the medical tent where they checked me out a second time and was told that I couldn’t run like this.  Once again, I started to cry and said, “just bandage it so I can run”. They did as I asked; they also give me a painkiller and had me sign a form stating that I chose to disregard their advice.  As I exited T2 to start the run, there they were again–Coach Alison, Megan, Yael and Sascha , screaming my name–another boost!  For 13.1 miles I ran, walked, and fought the urge to quit.  Mile after mile was nothing more than pain on top of pain.  Then, there it was–the turn- around point, right there I knew I was going to make the cut off–just 6.1 miles to go.  Then mile 8, then mile 9 and so on and there it was–the mile I was looking for–mile 12.  “Okay,” I told myself.   ”You have people who are waiting for you; waiting to cheer you on those last couple of steps”.  As I was running that last mile, I rounded a corner and there was Paula and Paul screaming my name, telling me “you are almost there!”  Then there was Jay, my teammate, I screamed his name and we ran the last scratch together, crying, cheering, in pain, sweaty, but most of all proud of ourselves for not giving up even when that little voice in the back of our minds kept screaming “STOP!!!”

As I crossed the finish line, I was so proud of myself.  I am now a Half Ironwoman.  Right there still screaming my name: Awesome Teammates and Friends.  I could not have crossed that finish line without my teammates, coaches from Empire Tri and friends.  Thank you all!


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Bobby Leong sets NY State Cycling Record, Qualifies for RAAM

This weekend, Bobby Leong proved an extreme test of mental and physical endurance.… he set a never-before attempted endurance cycling record… and did it with just minutes to spare!  Bobby and his support crew traveled across the entire state of New York from East – West, setting a new Ultra Marathon Cycling Association record, which earned him a qualifying spot for one of the toughest cycling races on the planet – Race Across America. 

Two support teams accompanied him on the journey including Erica Aldin, Dave Mendelsohn, Alison Cooper and Gwen Radsch.  Brad Gansberg and Carl Morrishow served as official course marshalls, documenting Bobby’s pace, mileage, and ensuring he followed all the rules and regulations of the UMCA.

The journey began at 4am on Saturday morning, when Bob and his 1st support crew headed for the Eastern NY / Massachusetts state border at Lebanon Springs.  After 12 hours of riding, we tagged off with his 2nd support crew and race marshall, who accompanied Bob through the night.  In the morning, after only sleeping for 1 hour, he continued on his journey to the Western border.  The Course primarily followed NY cycling route 5, despite a few detours including bridges closed due to the recent hurricane and flooding.  We meandered through towns including Albany, Herkimer, Montezuma, Rochester, and Niagara Falls.  Finally, 33 hours 56 minutes and 365.7 miles later, Bob and his crew reached the Western NY / Canadian border at Niagara Falls.  According to RAAM qualification rules, the ride must exceed 350 miles, at an average pace above 10.9mph (including all breaks & rest stops)… Bob finished at 6:31pm, with only 4 minutes to spare!

We’re proud of you Bobby!

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1st Annual Tremblant Ironman – Aug 19th, 2012

The inaugural 2012 Ironman Mont-Tremblant is a new addition to the prestigious Ironman global series. Athletes will start the 2.4-mile (3.8 km) swim on the golden sands of the Beach & Tennis club located next to the charming village of Tremblant Resort. The two-loop, 112-mile (180 km) bike course runs largely through Mont-Tremblant’s forests and mountains. Athletes will then embark on the two-loop, 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run course is known for its scenic beauty and finish in heart of the pedestrian village of Tremblant Resort.

The inaugural Ironman Mont-Tremblant is slated for August 19, 2012 and will offer 50 Age Group qualifying slots for the 2012 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i with more than 2,000 participants from Canada and around the world.

If you plan to compete, please see below for information about lodging.


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It’s Time to Tri Handout – Transitions & Bricks



Triathlon is a unique sport because it’s comprised of 3 different disciplines.  Not only do triathletes have to practice swimming, biking and running – they have to learn how to put all three together in a race.  The most successful triathletes are not necessarily the best swimmers, best bikers, or best runners.  They are the people who can put all three sports together the most efficiently.

What is a brick?

A brick workout is any combination of 2 or more disciplines practiced immediately after one another with very little rest time in between.

What is the purpose for doing a brick workout?

The purpose of a brick is to get you used to transitioning between different muscle groups, which are used in each of the three sports.  In a race, you will be swimming, biking and running right after one another without resting in between, so it’s a good idea to simulate these types of workouts in practice.  The first time you do this you may feel sluggish, experience cramps, a tingling in your feet or “jello legs.’  By doing frequent brick workouts, these symptoms will subside, and the more quickly you will be able to get up to a comfortable ‘race pace’.

How to implement brick workouts for beginners / advanced triatheltes?

For beginners, try to incorporate 1-2 brick workouts a week.  Start by going for a 10min jog after your bike workout, or a 15 min bike ride right after you swim.  Gradually increase the amount of time, and intensity.

For advanced triathletes, practice doing longer brick workouts, as well as doing bricks at a faster pace & higher intensity.  Also, practice transitioning between disciplines multiple times. (ie. Run, bike, run, bike, run, bike).

At first it may take a little while for your body to adjust to the new demands put on it, but the more you practice the sooner you can get into a comfortable stride.  You can do this outdoors or indoors going from a trainer or spin class to a treadmill.



Transitioning is a skill that must be learned and practiced.  Unlike swimming, biking and running, this does not relate to strength, endurance or athletic ability.  It’s all about being organized, planning ahead and being efficient.  You can shave seconds or even minutes off your time by being quick and efficient.  Many people neglect to do is practice their transitions, and end up bringing too much, forgetting things, losing time or getting flustered.  For more competitive athletes, the amount of time you save in transition can mean the difference between placing or qualifying.  Whether you are a beginner or seasoned triathlete, plan to do at least one transition practice before your next race.  Lay out your gear, and do a complete run through.  Everyone can learn new tricks to shave time in transition!

Every triathlon has 2 transitions.  They are commonly referred to as T1 (swim to bike) and T2 (bike to run).  Here I will explain:

  • How to set up your transition area
  • What equipment you will need
  • Walk through of T1
  • Walk through of T2
  • Time saving tips and strategies


Click here for a free triathlon checklist.


  1. Find where to rack your bike (usually marked by a range of #’s that correlate to your bib #)
  2. Rack your bike from the seat, handlebars, or wheel in some cases.  (it depends on the race and the type of transition set up used).  Rack it in an easy gear, so that its easy to pedal when you jump on your bike.
  3. Place your helmet upside down on your handlebars with the straps already adjusted to your head and folded open.
  4. Place your sunglasses open inside of your helmet.  (When you run into transition, you will not forget either of these items because they are laid out in the perfect place and you can’t miss them.  You will not waste time trying to open your sunglasses or adjusting your helmet straps)
  5. Place your cycling shoes on the mat with the straps open
  6. Place your running shoes open right next to your cycling shoes.
  7. If you plan to wear socks, place 1 sock folded open inside each shoe of the pair you intend to wear first.  (I don’t wear socks cycling, so I put them in my running shoes).
  8. On top of your running shoes, lay out your race number belt (unclipped and number facing down), or shirt with your race number pre-pinned to it.
  9. Place any gels you plan to take on the run next to your shoes (not in them).  You may forget they’re in there and end up smooshing one in the toe of your shoe by accident!

**  Important**  Before you head down to the water, be sure to make note of where you are set up in relation to the entire transition area.  Find out where you enter transition from the swim, as well as the bike, as these may be 2 different locations.  Use visual cues to help you navigate (are you near a fence?  Or on the aisle?  Up 2 rows and to the left?  Some people tie a balloon to their spot to spot it easily from a distance).  This may seem like common sense, but remember that there may be hundreds or thousands or bikes, and you can get disoriented.


  • As you exit the water, promptly remove your goggles and swim cap
  • Unzip your wetsuit, pulling it off half way as you run to transition (take your arms out and pull your wetsuit down to your waist)
  • As you run into transition, look for visual cues to help you find your bike
  • When you reach your bike, pull your wetsuit completely off and leave it next to your stuff.  Put on your socks, shoes, sunglasses and helmet (nutrition should already be on your bike) and head for the transition exit
  • Remember to clip your helmet before leaving transition or you could face disqualification.  Usually there is a line that you must pass before mounting your bike.  The volunteers will help you by pointing this out.


  • Dismount your bike (usually there is a line that you must dismount before crossing.  There will be volunteers directing you where to go and when to dismount)
  • Run with your bike to your transition set up (again, look for visual cues to remember where your stuff is (a sign, balloon, or simply by counting the racks, keeping in mind that you may be entering transition from a different location than you did in T1)
  • Re-rack your bike
  • Unclip & remove your helmet
  • Remove your cycling shoes & put on your running shoes.
  • Put on your race number belt or shirt with your number pinned to it.
  • Grab any gels or nutrition if you need for the run.
  • Head for the transition exit.



  1. Plan ahead (know what you’re going to need in your transition area, and don’t bring anything else).  You don’t want to have to make decisions mid-race about what you want to take with you on the bike or run.  Unnecessary gear will only clutter your space (you’ll soon realize that you don’t have as much space as you would hope).  Often bikes are racked really close to one another without much space for bags, shoes, and other gear.  Do everyone a favor and keep it concise!
  2. Lay things out in the most efficient manner, to help speed up the process
  3. Use a race number belt to avoid pinning your bib to your shirt mid-race or put on additional clothing.
  4. Bike nutrition should already be on your bike – carry nutrition in a bento box or tape gels to your top tube.  Fill water bottles before the race and have them on your bike before the start.
  5. Use body glide or another lubricant on your ankles, wrists and neck so that your wetsuit slides off easily
  6. Rack your bike in an easy gear – this way when you jump on your bike and start riding, it will be easier to start pedaling, especially if there is any sort of hill at the start of the ride.
  7. Replace your shoe laces with speed laces.  Don’t fumble with tying your shoes – simple slide your feet in, pull the cord to tighten and go!
  8. Wear a tri top and tri short (or 1 piece tri suit) to avoid having to change mid race.  You wear this under your wetsuit, and leave it on for the entire race.
  9. Have visual clues to remember where your gear is racked.  You can waste a lot of time and get stressed out if you’re running around transition looking for your gear.
  10. Remember that you may not enter T1 and T2 from the same location.  So know how to get to your transition area from both entrances!  Walk through it race morning.

Just remember that whatever happens, just keep going the best you can!  It’s easy to be 100% prepared going into your race and get flustered and disoriented on race day.   Remember “it’s ok!”  Practice, Practice, Practice!

– Alison Cooper, Empire Tri Club Founder & Coach





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Jackrabbit Jerseyman Video

The Empire Tri Club started the season strong at the Jackrabbit Jerseyman sprint triathlon this year.  The weather was perfect, despite predictions of rain earlier in the week.  A calm lake swim started the day, followed by a 17 mile bike on beautiful rolling hills.  The course concluded with a 3.1 mile run through scenic trails and a marina.  Empire’s Alison Cooper finished 3rd Overall Female.  Click here to view the 2011 Jackrabbit Jerseyman race highlight video. See how many Empire appearances you can find!

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Rev 3 Quassy Video

2011 marked the 3rd annual Rev 3 Triathlon in Middlebury, CT.  Quassy was the first race, of what has now become a growing triathlon series, with races coast-to-coast.  Empire Tri Club athletes competed in both the OlyRev on Saturday and the HalfRev on Sunday, with spectacular results and 2 podium finishes.  Mauricio Sanchez and Dave Hollely both finished 3rd in their respective age groups.  Sabrian Juran completed her first ever triathlon, and Gwen Radsch was all smiles finishing her first half.

Click here to view the Rev 3 Quassy 2011 Age Group Highlight Video. Check out Empire Ambassador Dave Mendelsohn at 1:41!