Ironman Champion...Inventor...Business Owner

TJ Tollakson is the Swiss Army Knife of People...A true Renaissance Man. He is an Ironman Champion, Mad Scientist Inventor, and Owner of Rüster Sports and Dimond Bikes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stroking it with a Rubber?

Stroking it with a Rubber?

I’m a big fan of practicing safe sex and find the condom the most effective (behind abstinence of course) prophylactic for practicing safe sex. The condom is easy to use, affordable, and readily available at your corner Walgreens. With a little practice just about anyone can feel comfortable wearing a condom. Well maybe not as comfortable as going au naturale but with the inherent risk of an unwanted pregnancy or chance of a sexually transmitted disease the comfort is really in the mind. The lack of use of a condom should only be done by those individuals committed and experienced enough to minimize the risk of unwanted pregnancies and STDs. There is one category of condom users I just despise…those little punks who use a condom solely for the purpose of extending their stamina. Now maybe they don’t have enough experience to perform like Dirk Diggler or Ron Jeremy, but never give up on a dream without first giving it your all and thrusting forward towards that dream with all your vigor. Not there yet? Just keep thrusting at your dream until you come to the conclusion you will or will not be a stud. On that note, stop comparing yourself to others anyway, and just give all you’ve got. Now is not the time to hold back. While a person who is using a condom to prolong the activity will never actually be as good as the person who is “naturally” stellar, it can narrow the margin and give a false pretense of ability. Dangers of this false pretense of performance include creating a false sense of hope or belief in the actual ability level only to knock the individual down a few notches on the old leather belt when the deed is performed for something worthwhile (like a momentus occasion or pregnancy attempt). One of the best things about graduating from the ranks of horny experimental college kids is the ability to safely and appropriately judge the use of condoms (instead of just defaulting to wearing one all the time). Most men would agree having sex while wearing  a condom is like taking a shower while wearing a raincoat.

I’m equally a fan of practicing safe swimming and find wearing a wetsuit in unusually cold situations to be the best prophylactic for preventing hypothermia and thermal shock. The wetsuit is easy to use, affordable, and readily available at .  With a little practice anyone can feel comfortable swimming in a wetsuit.  Well maybe not as comfortable as going au naturale, but with the inherent risk of hypothermia and thermal shock from swimming in cold water, the comfort is really in the mind. The lack of wetsuit use in colder water should really be left to the professionals committed and experienced enough to avoid hypothermia and thermal shock. There is one category of professional triathletes I just despise…those punks who love to race in a wetsuit regardless of the temperature  because it helps them compensate for poor swimming ability.  Now maybe they don’t have enough experience to perform like Andy Potts or Benji Sanson, but never give up on a dream without first giving it your all and thrusting forward towards that dream with all your vigor. Seriously, stop comparing yourself to Benji Sanson…he has way more experience than you and will slay the water with the ease of a hedgehog burrowing in a hole. While a person who is using a wetsuit solely to improve his or her swim time will never actually be as good as the swimmer who is “naturally” stellar, it can narrow the margin and give a false pretense of ability. Dangers of this false pretense of performance include creating a false sense of hope or belief in the actual ability level only to knock the individual down a few notches on the old championship belt when the deed is performed for something worthwhile (like a major or championship race). One of the best things about graduating from the age group to the professional ranks is the ability to safely and appropriately race in warm water without a rubber. Most swimmers would agree wearing a wetsuit in warm water is like having sex in the jungle with an Eskimo Parka and three condoms. It is hot, uncomfortable, very restricting, and downright dangerous (some guys just love how this levels the playing field).

Risks of swimming in warm water with a wetsuit include:
1.       Death
2.       Heat stroke
3.       Heat exhaustion
4.       Dehydration
5.       Overall Discomfort
6.       Lack of performance

I have four recommendations:

11)      WTC should follow suit with the ITU and USA Triathlon and amend the professional water temperature rule to the following: wetsuit maximum temperature for elites at 68 degrees for swim distances less than 3,000 meters and 71.6 degrees for distances of 3,000 meters or greater.
22)      WTC should also distribute condoms to all athletes opposed to this proposition and require they wear them 90% of the time (even when trying to get pregnant and when the situation seems overly safe).
33)      My advice to anyone who disagrees with this resolution…practice, practice, practice and maybe one day you can build enough stamina to perform like a stud (without your rubber). Great lovers, like great swimmers, are made and not born. You don’t need a rubber in either instance to perform like a stud, just some more practice.
44)      If it has been a while since you upgraded your “rubber” I would recommend Trojan Ecstasy (in the gold wrapper) for your intimate moments and the TYR Freak of Nature (in the silver suitcase) to bring out your same inner freak when swimming in cold water.

In closing, wearing a condom during sex is safe and often necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancies and/or STDs. Wearing a wetsuit in cold water is safe and often necessary to prevent hypothermia and/or thermal shock. Having sex without a condom is what you do when all the stakes are on the line and the end result is as important as the process. Swimming in warm water without a wetsuit is what you do when all the stakes are on the line and the end result is as important as the process each individual took to prepare for the race. Practice safe swimming; wear a rubber only when necessary (when the water temp is 68 or less).

Work Hard,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Gift List

My Top 5 Holiday Gifts for 2012

The holidays are upon us and if you are like me and like to do your shopping last minute and online then I have some gifts for you.

1) TYR Carbon VLO Cycling Jersey ($109.99) and Cycling Bibs ($119.99):
Absolute Gourmet Cycling Apparel: Jersey is HERE: Bibs are HERE

2) TYR Red Line Warmup: On Sale for $69.99 and get Free Shipping over $75: Warmup is HERE

3) Sports Supplements:
     A) Omega 3 Athlete, High Potency Omega3 Fish Oil 800mg EPA, 400mg DHA  $35                            Omega3 Athlete Here
     B) HMB 1,000mg Capsules from Optimum Nutrition: Anti Catabolic and Huge Recovery Tool            HMB HERE only $26.96

4) Ruster Sports Armored Hen House: Each one custom built with armored plastic, rolling wheels and pull handle...bags clip together for easy transportation in the airport $625: Armored Hen House HERE

5) For the Triathlete who has everything...except the fastest bike in the world: Dimond Bikes, Black Dimond: Pure Aerodynamics, Comfort, and Speed! The ultimate triathlon bike $5,500 frame/fork: Black Dimond HERE

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thrice as Nice Ironman Arizona Race Report

Thrice as Nice…Ironman Arizona Race Report
November 18, 2012

After sitting on the sidelines for Kona this year, I made Ironman Arizona my goal race for the end of the year and I was there to win. This was my third time racing in Arizona, and my previous two finishes I was second. This year I was entering the race a bit fresher, a lot more experienced, and I would be wearing bib number 3. I was hoping the third time was the charm, but as it turned out, the third time was just thrice as nice as I wore bib #3, in my third attempt at the event,  I finished third. It was not quite the result I was hoping for, but it was still a solid race.

I spent the two months before the race in Tucson, Arizona so I was able to make a short drive to Tempe on Friday morning with Ashley. It is always a nice change to be able to drive to a race. We stayed at the Aloft hotel just over a mile from the race start. The logistics in Tempe are some of the easiest of any Ironman event on the circuit.
It was chilly in the morning with temperatures in the low 50’s but the water was actually warmer in the low 60’s. I chose to wear the full sleeve TYR Freak of Nature wetsuit and Racetech Metalized goggles. The goggle choice was very important on the day as we started out swimming in the dark, but soon were headed straight into the sunrise. The metalized goggles were the best choice for high visibility swimming into the sun, and the Racetech model made sure the fit was second to none.  I started the swim out hard and made sure to have a tactical swim after having a poor swim at Austin three weeks ago.  I was quickly in the lead on the swim, but there was a very large group of about 15 guys and there was very little separation.  I quickly dropped back to take advantage of the draft and conserve as much energy as possible.  I had to keep an eye on the front of the pack to make sure there wasn’t any separation in the lead group, but it was a very tame and calm swim. I exited in the front pack and quickly hopped on the Black Dimond bike and within minutes was in the front of the race. Several miles into the first lap, Andrew Starykowicz passed me for the lead. I was fine with Starky taking the lead because I would feel comfortable spotting him up to 10 minutes on the marathon, and I knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere near 10 minutes on me, but I also knew my best race would be to race my power and pace on the bike. The unfortunate part of riding my pace and power is that a large group of pros out of the water with me all maintained my pace (not power), by riding legally 10m (and often illegally closer) behind me. Some athletes have honor and respect for the rules, some don’t. I’m not writing this to complain or whine, it is part of racing and I have to deal with it. I do wish there was a better way to enforce drafting on the bike, but in the meantime, I will just continue to race with honor and hope others choose to do the same.  I made sure to maintain a constant intake of 1 PowerBar Energy Gel every 20 minutes, and I had three flavors with me, Green Apple, Kona Punch, and Vanilla (the finest of the flavors). I had one packet of PowerBar Gel Blasts at 56 miles then another at 93 miles. I also had 12 salt capsules on the bike. The Dimond was fast and very aerodynamic. I was able to break the old bike course record, but unfortunately, Andrew Starykowicz was bit faster than me on the day. I rode 4:19:03 on the day, 25.93 mph average.  My average power was 281, norm power was 290.

I got off the bike and was 1:50 down on Starky, and it only took me just over 2 miles to catch him. I ran that first mile a bit fast in just under 6 minutes, and I was really trying to hold back. I settled in a better pace after the first mile, but about 5 miles into the run, I was having some GI distress and just was not feeling great. I knew it was time to hit the coke and settle down the stomach. For some reason the coke always seems to help calm my stomach. I really miss having the PowerBar Energy Gel available on the run course and feel most of my stomach distress was caused by using a different gel than what I train with. I know I shouldn’t have tried it, but sometimes during a race, you just start grabbing whatever you can. I’ll make sure I bring my own PowerBar Energy Gel next time. I was passed for the lead around mile 10. I took my special needs bag at mile 12 then started sipping on my Red Bull and that really turned some things around for short while, but soon after Paul Mathews (Barney) passed me on the run. I kept him close for about 5 more miles before I started struggling again, and he put about 2 minutes on me. I made a big come back push at mile 19. I thought I was going to have a go at catching Paul, but he was a bit too far in front and running well.  I ran hard until mile 26 when I realized I wasn’t going to catch Paul. I could hear him crossing the finish line, so I let up just a little that last little bit. I ended up running a 2:56:01 marathon, so maybe I should have pushed about 30 seconds hard that last mile just to run a 2:55, but there really wasn’t much point. I was third and happy with my effort on the day. So much of an Ironman race is managing highs and lows; knowing not to push too hard when you feel great and knowing not to let up too much when you feel like hell. I definitely had some highs and lows in Tempe, but overall it was a great race and new PR on a very fast day. I went 8:07:36. I wanted to run a 2:50 marathon, and that would have won the race. I still feel capable of running a sub 2:50 marathon, but just need to put it into action and make it happen.  I’ll keep practicing until I can’t get it wrong. I want to thank all my family and friends who watched the race and cheered for me. Thank you to Coach Cliff English for being out on the course and providing splits and encouragement. It was awesome to have so much support out on the course. I also need to thank my sponsors, without their support I wouldn’t be able to race as a professional. Thank you to TYR Sport, Mizuno Running, PowerBar, Yurbuds, Maxxis Tires, Profile Design Aerobars,, Zipp Wheels, SRAM components, SRM Power Meters, HMB, Dimond Bikes, and Ruster Sports.


Work Hard,


Monday, October 29, 2012

If you ain't first, you're last...Ironman Austin 70.3 Race Report

We all know the popular line from Will Ferrell’s movie, Talladega Night’s, “If you ain’t first you’re last.” While there is some truth to this statement in that society loves winners and forgets second place soon after the race, there are other places besides first (and last). Let’s face it second place sucks. Finishing second is very tough because you are so close to the top yet just didn’t quite make it. Close but no cigar. So close, yet so far away. To the victor go the spoils. It pays to be a winner. These are all some of my favorite lines. I hate to lose, but I definitely love to win more. If I HAD to lose to somebody then I am glad it was Andy Potts. Andy Potts is a class act, a true professional, and man of principle and integrity.
When I saw Andy was racing this weekend. I knew he would be hard to beat, because Andy only toes the start line if he believes he has a chance to win. Although he just finished 7th (and top American) 15 days ago at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Andy brought his “A” game to Austin, just like he always does. The other tough competitor of the day was 2x Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack who was coming off a disappointing DNF at the Ironman World Championship. Chris has won more triathlons than most pros have raced. There were plenty of competitors on the start line who I was concerned about, but Macca and Potts are both World Champions.

Race morning was quite chilly with temperatures in the 40’s, but the water temperature was 71 degrees. I still believe Ironman needs to modify the wetsuit temperature rules to fall in line with the ITU and WTC, but that is an issue for another blog. There was no swim warm-up allowed for most, but they let the pros in the water 5 minutes before the start. I smashed a Red Bull and cola flavored PowerBar Gel Blasts on the way to the swim start. I wore my TYR Freak of Nature wetsuit for the swim and my TYR Special Ops Custom goggles. The cold air temp wreaked havoc on my goggles as soon as I lifted my head out of the water the goggles fogged and I spent the first part of the swim, just trying to figure out where I was going. The official sunrise wasn’t until 7:40 AM and we started at 7:30 AM. This didn’t help my poor visibility. I did a lot of pulling in a small group that was actually second pack (third back from Andy), until we came closer to shore and I couldn’t make out where I was supposed to be swimming so I dropped back and let someone else be my eyes and just followed the bubbles. I came out of the water with Macca, Bryan Rhodes, and Tim Marr, but it was not a good swim. I was close to 2:30 down on Potts, so I had my work cut out for me. I lost more time in T1 putting on arm warmers and gloves, in retrospect, I should have done without the arm warmers and just put the gloves on while riding, oh well. I ended up losing :50 seconds  to Rhodesy and Macca in T1, but I caught them soon enough and was in hot pursuit of Potts. I pulled behind Potts at mile 30, and passed him shortly after. He kept a legal distance behind me for a bit, then I made a few attempts to stretch the elastic and break him, it took a couple tries but it worked, and I was clear with a small lead around mile 40. The bike course was one loop with very rough roads, but the course itself was beautiful with undulating and winding roads lined with trees and real Texas ranch land. I enjoy a one loop bike course, and I enjoy undulating hills to play to my strengths on the bike. I fueled the bike leg with Green Apple PowerBar Energy Gel, hey it’s apple season, what goes better in the fall than some apple cider? I biked into T2 with a good, but not good enough lead on Potts (maybe 40 seconds). My 2:08 bike split was the fastest on the day by a couple of minutes. The new Black Dimond bike was simply amazing at both absorbing the road vibrations and making me incredibly aerodynamic.  I was running very well and had a goal to run 1:15 (based off my current Ironman focused training). I was right on track through the first lap, and Andy finally caught me right after the first of 3 laps on the run. I chose to wear the lighter weight Mizuno Wave Ronin shoes, but will wear the more supportive Wave Elixir at IM AZ.  The run course was cool. It was hilly, but not huge hills (not the 119 ft advertised, more like 931 vertical feet of climbing).  There was a bit of off road gravel and some hard packed dirt with mostly straight running, but a few twists, and NO dead turn-around points. Both ends of the loop contained lollipop sweeps to turn you around to comfortably maintain your pace and rhythm. I fueled the run with Coke and water. I didn’t start the Coke right away, but still did most of the run off of Coke. Once Potts caught me, I stayed with him for a bit, but he dropped me on a downhill. I was putting time back into him on the up hills, but it wasn’t quite enough. I maintained the gap at 12 seconds through mile 9, but Andy pulled the throttle back just a little bit at mile 10 to make sure to give himself a comfortable lead and not get stuck in a sprint finish with me. (Quick flashback to a 2009 TYR photo shoot in New Hampshire where Tim Taber took a cool photo of Andy and I doing a sprint finish on a gravel road, I’ll let Andy tell you who won!). I was digging deep to try and close from mile 11, but just as I started to dig I was having a few muscle cramps and just wasn’t really able to open it up like I wanted. I ended up finishing just over 30 seconds behind Andy (who ran a 1:14:06). I was pissed for losing this race that I really wanted to win, but also proud of my effort on the day. I had a great day, I just came a bit short at the end. Chris McCormack rounded out the podium after serving a 2 minute penalty for drafting on the bike, and he had a slightly faster 1:15:02 run split to my 1:15:27. The podium was great company. 

Recovery starts now as I have Ironman Arizona in exactly 3 weeks. I still have some key hard training sessions to complete but the bulk of the work is done, there is just some fine tuning left. After finishing second twice at Ironman Arizona (2008 and fall of 2009), I look forward to fighting for a victory (hoping the third time’s a charm). Arizona is a course I know well, and doing all my preparation in Tucson, just 100 miles away, is a huge advantage.  Let’s face it second sucks…here’s to not finishing last (preferably first) in Tempe on November 18. 

Work Hard,


For those interested in power data: Below is a copy of my SRM file: 323 avg power, 329 normalized power, pedal time of 2:07:20



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eagles Flying Like Crowies

June 10, 2012

Eagles flying like Crowies…

Eagleman Ironman 70.3 Race Report

Eagleman is one of my favorite races. As the defending champion I was toeing the line wearing number one but I was definitely not the odds on favorite to win the race as Craig “Crowie” Alexander, three time Ironman World Champion, was on the start list. Craig is a good friend and old training partner. I was fortunate enough to live with Craig and his family in 2008 as we did our Kona prep together. There is only one Craig Alexander, he is a champion’s champion. I have never beaten Craig in a race, but I wanted nothing more than to kick his ass at Eagleman.

The temperature in Cambridge, Maryland had been cool all week, but the forecast was calling for 92 degrees on race day with high humidity. The water temperature in the Choptank River was very close to the limit of being wetsuit or non-wetsuit legal. Since I have a short but intense history of overheating in these borderline swim situations, I opted to wear a TYR Torque Pro swimskin. Perhaps a sleeveless wetsuit would have been a better option, but better safe than sorry. After an overheat DNF in Galveston in April, I would rather take my chances in a swimskin than overheat and DNF. This way I still had a fighting chance, and my swim training was going well.

As soon as the gun went off, I was getting dusted by everyone. The tide was pushing a strong current out, and those in wetsuits were riding the tidal current like a wave and I just couldn’t keep up. It ended up costing me about 90s when it was all said and done, but I did not overheat and I was on the bike with a comfortable core temp and heart rate. I started passing guys quickly on the bike, but it was taking me some time to reel in the big dogs. I couldn’t see Greg Bennett or Craig Alexander for most of the race. Once I caught up to them, I took a small breather and sat a good legal distance behind them. It is amazing how much the power drops when sitting legally 10m behind two other riders. This rule really should be changed for the pros to about 20m, but I won’t complain, just obey the rules that are currently in place. The evidence is shown in the power file where you can see two big drops in power, but not much drop in speed. After a couple of short breathers, I took the lead and started hammering again. I looked back and noticed I wasn’t pulling away, so I backed off the throttle to throw in another punch then I finally made a short gap stick. I really hate having to play these games when I should be time trialing but it is part of racing within the rules. I was diligently focused on staying hydrated and properly fueled. I consumed 3 bottles of water and took a shot of PowerBar gel every 20 minutes. I biked into T2 with a 30 second lead on Craig (most of which he erased in T2 by not wearing socks), and 90+ seconds on Greg Bennett. I threw on the Mizuno Ronin racing flats (and some non-compression socks since all compression gear was banned from this event) and took off in the lead. Craig caught me pretty quickly then I ran 2 miles with him shoulder to shoulder or in his draft, then he put in a small surge and dropped me. I stayed within one minute of Craig until the turn around, when the heat really started to get to me and my heart rate climbed to 181 at which point I was forced to back off a little and let it fall a good 10 beats or so. Greg Bennett caught me just before the turn around, and I was pretty spent at that point, I tried to hang close to Greg, but needed to keep an eye on my HR so I didn’t totally blow up. I had a 7 minute lead on Richie Cunningham in 4th place, so while I was trying to race for second, I definitely was NOT going to finish 4th again. Greg was comfortably ahead of me and kept checking over his shoulder to see how far back I was, and Craig was in front doing the same thing to Greg. I faded a bit the last few miles, mostly from the heat and dehydration, but I was trying to hold everything together as best I could. I finished with a 1:19:17 run, not my best, but it was fine on the day after a tough solo swim and bike. I took a moment after the race to chat with Craig, Greg, and Richie, and congratulate them on their performances, then Craig and Greg were taken to drug testing and Richie and I stood in the river for a bit to cool off (amazing how 76 degree water helps you cool down when it is 92 outside). I had a quick post race massage then went back to get some food.

Eagleman has amazing giant eagle trophies for the winners and while I didn’t come away with the grand daddy of trophies like Craig and Meredith Kessler, I was still happy with a good but not great race that netted a medium size eagle trophy. My form and fitness are solid right now, and I can’t race to again in Syracuse in two weeks.

My power file is listed below, but as I mentioned in a tweet:

320 watts, 157 avg hr, 161 max hr, 2:02 bike split, 160 TSS (IF 0.9)

Alexander, Craig AUS 00:23:17 02:03:57 01:15:07 03:44:57 1 1
Bennett, Greg USA 00:23:15 02:04:58 01:16:23 03:47:14 2 2
Tollakson, Tj USA 00:24:25 02:02:29 01:19:17 03:48:52 3 3
Cunningham, Richie USA 00:23:16 02:10:08 01:20:39 03:56:29 4 4
Bowstead, James NZL 00:24:30 02:08:42 01:24:26 04:00:29 5 5
Kahn, David USA 00:22:47 02:14:02 01:23:43 04:03:24 6 6

Work Hard,