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Y I Tri?

Posted by [email protected] on May 24, 2016 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Memorial Day weekend is rapidly approaching and that means different things to different people: time for yard work, picnics & family time, parades and of-course remembering our Uniformed Services members who have passed on. Yet to another group of people it signals the start of something…The YMCA’s of Mid-Ohio Triathlon Series!!!

This weekend, the Bucyrus YMCA will kick off the series with their annual triathlon. I believe this is the 23rd year of the race, which makes it one of the longest running in Ohio! It’s always been a great event and I’m bummed that a work conflict will prevent me from defending my title there on Saturday.

After some time off, the series will resume in July with both Galion and Shelby hosting their races. The Galion Y will be offering a shorter swim and a completely redesigned bike course, both of which will make this race even better than last year. This is the first season Shelby will be joining the series and I’m looking forward to racing there after hearing good things about their previous races. August will close out the series in Marion. Last year they changed the bike course, which added a new challenge to the event. Unfortunately I was unable to “3-peat” win there, but am hoping to regain my title in 2016.

Some of my “Tri-Snob” friends ask why I “waste my time at those small Y races” and the answers come easily. (1) I grew up in the Y system and I believe in their mission statements, core values and standards. Each YMCA gives back to their communities through their programs & events and the race entry fees help with that. (2) These races are great for beginners and I LOVE helping new people in this sport. There are a lot of questions for a new triathlete and being able to answer them is worth it to me. (3) I’ve been fortunate to win a few times over the years, but these races bring out some great competition. Last year a great 3-way rivalry was formed between myself and two other guys and it’s awesome pushing each other to be better than the last time we raced.

The list goes on and on, but I’ll stop it there. I encourage everybody, regardless of skill level to come out and “TRI” any or all of these races. The dates and locations are as follows:

28 May – Bucyrus

2 July - Galion

23 July- Shelby

13 August- Marion

Sidelined with an Injury

Posted by [email protected] on April 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

As mentioned in a previous post, my training started much later than expected this year. The combination of an increased focus on the strength aspects of our sport and the desire to spend more time with the family stopped me from launching myself fully in the endurance field. I didn't really begin my training until the second week of February when I return home from a business trip but once I did, it felt good and I knew I wasn't too far behind. However about two weeks later disaster struck and an old injury flared up, completely derailing my training. After a couple weeks of taking it easy, the injury got worse and I knew it was time to seek medical attention.


For this injury I opted to see a new specialist after having gotten several referrals from friends that are both athletes and experts in the field. It was determined that I was in severe spinal compression and the spacing between my sacral and lumbar spine was practically nonexistent. The doctor said the only way to get better was to completely stop lifting, running and doing anything else that resulted in impact on my spine. As devastating as that was, I was still hopeful that my cycling and swimming training would stay on track. However in the pool my back was consistently sore and I couldn’t push myself hard enough for any gains.. I'm not sure if it was the flip turns or pushing off the wall or just maintaining a straight spine. All I could do was cycle.


Rather than following my prescribed workouts on the bike I switched to the Spinervals DVD series to fully capitalize on the exclusive cycling time. The workouts were right around an hour apiece (with the exception of the “Have Mercy’ workouts) and I was doing three to four of them per week. This was a great opportunity for me to really focus in on my cycling skills and technique while also allowing Coach Troy to strengthen my heart and lungs immensely. Despite the gains that were made on the bike, the setback with swimming running and strength really caused a devastating blow to my psyche.


Injuries of any level are incredibly damaging to an athletes mental state. We can endure hard workouts, tough losses and minor injuries but when we are completely sideline for a period of 3 to 5 weeks it's really tough to bounce back and this was no different.


Initially I began to question if this season would happen at all due to the pain and numbness in my legs and back. After a lot of traction and continued treatments with the chiropractor things began to get better I've got my head on straight. That being said, the training that was missed can never be regained. I can build from here and get faster and stronger in all three disciplines, however my fitness level will not be the same as it would have been had the injury not occurred at all.


Taking all things into account, it's time to readjust my schedule. Between the races I've signed up for and the timing between them, this was close to being my dream season as an amateur athlete. This injury has caused me to write off the early parts of the season and focus more on my goals in the late-summer, early-fall timeframe. I will still run a half marathon in May, but that will be nothing more than a competitive training day for me. I'll use that to gauge my running fitness, but will not allow my competitive nature to completely take over and potentially caused the injury to inflame.


By being smart and focusing on good technique at all times, while continuing to build up the core and seeking regular treatment, the season will not be a total loss. I have a great support network with my friends and family and I know they will be with me every step of the way.


Getting Back in the Saddle

Posted by [email protected] on February 15, 2016 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The offseason has come and gone. It’s time to dust off the goggles, tri-bike and running shoes. After Beach2Battleship I continued to swim, bike and run for two weeks…at low intensities and with greatly reduced volume. Even though I felt great in the hours and days after the race, I knew continuing movement in those three disciplines would promote healing and recovery; both mental and physical. After those two weeks, TJGribbleRacing went into full-blown R & R mode.

In years past, I’ve taken one to two weeks “off’ before beginning my official off-season training plan. Typically that plan primarily consisted of strength training, road & mountain biking, and trail running; with a declining emphasis on strength (i.e.-more strength training early on and it declines as the off-season closes). Not the case this year. I eased into the strength training around week four, but continued to steer clear of any SBR (Swim, bike, run) activities. There were moments when my heart wanted to ride, but when it came time, the motivation went right out the window. There was NO excitement for any of the triathlon elements…none, zilch, ZERO!!!

Fearing something was wrong, I contacted a very accomplished and educated local expert. Lauren Updyke is the owner and lead coach for Base Tri Fitness and a 10+ year veteran of the sport. Not being a client of hers (Hopefully one day), I felt bad asking for her advice and wasn’t sure if she’d reply. Within minutes of sending the message, she replied and set my mind at ease. She assured me this was normal and urged me to TAKE AS MUCH TIME AS NEEDED to recharge. Lauren is great and I didn’t doubt her sage advice for a second.

Now it’s February and time to get back in the saddle. The strength training has been great with PR’s in both deadlift and front squat (including my time as a football player), but the race season is just around the corner and it’s time to start TRIing again. I’m feeling mentally & physically refreshed and ready to rock!


A Dying Breed: Independent Triathlons

Posted by [email protected] on November 19, 2015 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (1)

It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog. On October 27th Ironman Press released a statement informing the world that they had acquired the iconic and longest running 140.6 tri in the lower 48; VINEMAN. That race had been around since 1990 and was a long-time fan favorite and bucket lister. Due to increasing demand for Ironman branded races and the quest for Kona, Vineman fell from favor and the numbers have dropped dramatically over the past five years. This has been an unfortunate trend for several races and the fall of Vineman just goes to show that no race is safe from being swallowed up (or rescued) by the M-Dot. A couple other races that fell victim to this fate are Silverman and the LEADMAN Epic 250K.

(Logos from LEADMAN Epic 250K, Silverman, and Vineman)

This past October I had the great pleasure of racing the PPD Beach2Battleship 140.6. This race has won several awards including “Best New Race,” “Top 5 U.S. Races,” and “Best Volunteers.” The event itself was comprised of both a half and full iron and 2000 athletes participate annually. The price is great, coming in around $400 for the full and you don’t have a 60 second window to register. The volunteers were great, the course was beautiful, the swag was unique and the total experience was perfect for my first full. Several other races like Wildflower and Savageman offer equally unique experiences, but get over looked because you don’t qualify for Kona by racing there.

I have nothing against the Ironman brand. This year I will be racing IM 70.3 Ohio and have several IM races on my bucket list. The brand has done great things for the sport of triathlon on a global scale and will continue to do so. My fear however, is that if all the independent races fall by the wayside, the quality of races will deteriorate; the more competition between the brands the better. Additionally, new athletes are turned off by the $700 price tag of the big events and won’t dabble in triathlon because they only know of the IM brand. We as athletes need to protect our heritage and secure our future by supporting independent races (Wildflower/Savageman/Beach2Battleship) and smaller brands (Rev3/HFP/Tri Cal) as well as the big boys (IM/Challenge Family).


P.R.R. PPD Beach2Battleship - 2015

Posted by [email protected] on October 23, 2015 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)


It was an early morning after a sleepless night. My alarm went off at 4:30am, but I didn’t really need it. While I didn’t feel overly anxious or nervous sleep escaped me and I was wide awake when my phone started chiming. I moved around the room as quietly as possible while trying to keep our baby asleep until the last possible second. I made breakfast the night before and started eating slowly while getting my race tattoos and sunscreen on. Realizing my stomach would handle anything extravagant I settled on a cup of cooked rice (half white/half brown) with olive oil and salt. It went down pretty easily, but I couldn’t finish the bowl.

We arrived at T1 around 5:15 and while not the first vehicle there, we were in the first 50 people. The point of this stop was to do a last minute check on my bike and wait in line for the transport bus which took us down to the beach (this race was a point to point). While on the bus I ate half a Cliff protein bar and drank another bottle of water. It was still pitch black and very chilly when we got to the beach. We had about an hour and fifteen minutes to wait. Even though there wasn’t a whole lot of talking, I wanted to go off by myself to get my mind right. After a couple of bathroom breaks, the sun finally came up and it was time to start walking to the shore. As we got there a man said a prayer and thanked us over the microphone and then the countdown began!


Swim (54mins)

Despite my swimming background this is my least favorite part of the race (read this ___ PRR from Mississippi to understand why). However, once in the water this one felt great. We swam in an intercostal waterway where boats pass through… so it was a saltwater swim but not in the ocean. The waterway was very wide and we spread out pretty quickly. From doing prerace recon I knew to keep left (in order to not waste time and effort swimming in zig-zags) for the first stretch and then use proper sighting after that. This was the most civil mass start I’ve ever been a part of. Aside from some light bumping, there were no physically harmful encounters. The swim was with the current and the incoming tide so it produces some very fast times. Perhaps it was the speed, maybe I was thinking about all the salt water I was drinking (I couldn’t keep it out of my mouth) or just the general atmosphere, but before I knew it the exit ladders were right there and it was time to get out.

T1 (5:11)

Pretty early in the swim my right google started leaking so it was nice to take those off as soon as we exited the water. Right off the deck were wetsuit strippers, but I passed them opting to do it on my own in the changing tent (having been a wetsuit stripper I can say they do great work, but sometimes in the excitement suits get ripped and I think using them takes more time than doing it myself). We had to run about 300 yards to get to the changing tent and other than the freshwater shower station it was all on concrete. Some people chose to leave shoes near the water exit, but again I was looking for speed and not comfort. That being said, I could feel the barefoot/concrete running in my back and knees and didn’t like it. Once in the tent, my suit came off easily (most likely from shaving the legs, which I haven’t done in 3 years) and I loaded up my jersey with nutrition and flat replacement stuff. Once out of the tent, my bike rack was easy enough to get to. [Prerace I forgot my bottle of electrolyte replacement and Kate went back and got it for me. Knowing that she couldn’t give it to me once the race started she dropped it in the transition area for me before the 0730 send off]. Kate reminded me to grab my bottle from the ground and off I went. Despite this being a 112mile ride, I still opted for the “flying mount” to get on the bike and even got some compliments for it. All-in-all, T1 went EXACTLY as planed!


Bike (5hrs, 24mins, 23secs)

About 500 yards into the bike we rode over a rubber mat of sorts. Ahead I saw a guy stopping to pick up his bottles and before I knew it, I lost my bottle that Kate worked so hard to get! The mat was jettisoning bottles left and right and towards the end bottles were apparently everywhere. My nutrition plan was to eat a Lara bar at miles 10,30,50,70, and 90; take a GU at miles 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, and drink Infinite (my electrolyte mix) every 5 miles. Water would be consumed immediately after eating/drinking the other stuff and as needed. When I lost the bottle I decided to eat a Lara bar right away to get those early calories in. I knew there would be an aide station with HEED about 20 miles in so I didn’t panic. My prescribed heart rate for the bike was supposed to be between 130-137bpm, including on hills and while in the wind. Pretty early on there was a nice little climb over and overpass and we were riding into the wind. I did allow my heart to jump up to 147 before reeling it back down on the decent. About five miles in I passed a guy who I met the on Friday before at bike check-in. He too was riding a Scott Plasma 20 and he pulled up beside me for a chat. I’ve always been against the rule that states a pass must be made in 20 seconds or less. These are long events and sometimes it’s nice to chat with other athletes. Not too long after he pulled up a motorcycle official pulled up and was watching. Even though I was on the right (technically in the position getting passed, I didn’t have to move and was safe) I dropped back to protect him from a drafting penalty. The official rode on and he and I continued chatting off and on for the next 10 miles.

Going into the 1st aide station I needed more water and their HEED. Both hand-off’s went smoothly and I didn’t slow down at all. Shortly after that station, several small pelotons were forming because of the wind and a general clustering of riders in the early miles. Some people were getting really upset when they were passed, but I don’t think a lot of the EARLY drafting was intentional. One of those groups did form around me. I would pass them and a few minutes later they’d be on my wheel, sucking my draft. After going back and forth with them for about 2o miles I dropped back and let them go (I didn’t want to get penalized and I had to spike my effort level to get around them). There were a few times when the course officials got right behind them and later on I learned two of the four were hit with penalties. Around this time (approximately mile 40) my back really started to hurt and I was praying for the headwind to break. It was as though the Almighty heard my prayer and as we hit the halfway point we were out of the headwind and into a crosswind. My original plan was to stop at the special needs tent and reload my nutrition, but because the HEED was working and my speed and HR were right where I wanted them I kept pressing on.

After dealing with the crosswind for a while the course turned and we had a wonderful tailwind for the last 20 or so miles. It was around this time I noticed all the 70.3 athletes I was passing and my confidence was rising like the morning sun. Unfortunately another rider cut me off going into the last aide station and I wasn’t able to snag one last bottle of HEED, so the last 12 miles were ridden without liquid electrolytes and calories.

T2 (4mins, 15secs)

It was an amazing feeling riding into the convention center and seeing/hearing/feeling the crowd. Their energy was great and we really ate it up. Just like the bike started, I ended with a flying dismount and got a few cheers for that one too. It was at this time I really felt my back and was worried it might lock up. The volunteers who grabbed my bike and handed my transition bag were great and very encouraging. In the changing tent I changed my socks and slapped on some anti-chafe butter in the under regions before taking off. Much to my surprise T2 was under 5mins

Run (4hrs, 50mins, 6secs)

Oh the run… it was much tougher than expected. The first 10miles went well with average paces between 8-9:15/mi splits with a target HR of 150bpm. Around mile 6 my left knee started hurting and my quads were beginning to feel like they were full of concrete. I went into the run with no solid nutrition plan and lacking calories from missing the last HEED bottle of the bike. In training I never was consistent with my run fueling and up until the last two weeks was still try to tweak things to get it right. Running through the aide stations I would drink half a cup of HEED and half a cup of water. Both helped, but I needed more. My saving grace came in the form of BASE salts. At the expo, I purchased BASE salts, but forgot to grab them in transition. They were on the course at mile three and hooked me up with a tube of salt and their electrolyte mix BASE Hydro. Going into that fuel station I was about to blow up. I instantly downed half the bottle and was licking the salt about every 15 feet trying to catch back up. Slowly I felt my legs coming back to life.

Around mile 10 I was moving pretty well, but fighting off the urge to walk. Throughout the run I was counting purple braclets to know my general placing and much to my surprise I was in the TOP 20 OVERALL! I was matching pace with a guy about 10 feet in front of me and it was working…until he stopped! The second he stopped, I stopped and walked. In that moment I knew my mind gave out before my body. I was so mad for allowing myself to walk. Leading up to that I kept telling myself, “You know it’s going to be harder to start running again if you walk. Just slow down but don’t walk. MAN UP AND KEEP RUNNING!!!” During these races we as athletes experience the whole range of emotions; happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, mindfulness and hit very high highs and the deepest of lows. It was then that I was at my lowest. No matter how badly my heart wanted me to run, my mind wouldn’t allow it. The goal then became to jog 5 mins and walk 5 mins. Fortunately Kate and Henry were at the 13.1 mile turn-around and they reenergized me. After kissing both and stopping for a quick picture I was on the move again.


Despite seeing them, my runners high only lasted about a mile and I was hitting the wall again. We had to run up a fairly steep hill to get into the downtown Wilmington stretch. That hill completely deflated me. Being in an Air Force kit I really didn’t want to walk in the downtown area and I tried my hardest to run to the aide stations, and then slowly walk through. Once away from that stretch I did a lot of walking. My goal was simply to get to the next light post or tree or whatever was closest. Around this time a very friendly woman took pity on me and decided we should walk/run together. After a few minutes we realized we had a lot in common and were both in the military. She was a God-send and really helped me get through. Unfortunately for her, she was on her first lap and I was on my second. After exchanging contact info we split up as we neared the finish. Before we did though she said, “Tim at this point your time doesn’t matter. You’re going to beat you 12hr goal by a lot. As you go through the finishers shoot, take the time to look people in the eyes, shake their hands and really enjoy the moment. Invest in them the way they are investing in you.” Hearing the music and feeding off of their energy made it was tough not to sprint to the finish line. As we rounded the last few turns I followed her instructions. However, once I was at the final 100 feet of the shoot I picked up the pace. Kate and Henry were waiting for me about 20 feet from the finish and once I got to them Kate handed me the baby and across the line we went!

It was a wonderful, magical feeling. Words cannot describe what I felt crossing the finish line of my first Full-Iron triathlon with baby in arms and Kate just on the other side of the barrier. It was a long day for me, but an even longer day for Kate. Being an ironman triathlete is selfish. We take a lot of time doing our thing and it always leaves somebody behind. There is no way I could have accomplished this without the love and support of all my family, but MOST ESPECIALLY Kate. I promised her to only to a Full every-other year, and it’s the least I can do to thank her.


P.R.R.-2015 Marion YMCA Sprint Triathlon

Posted by [email protected] on August 16, 2015 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

My build had gone well, race-week nutrition was on-par, and I was feeling good going into the weekend. It was time to go back to 645 Barks Road East and try to defend for a 3-peat victory. This was the Marion YMCA Sprint Triathlon, which also served as the finale for the YMCA’s of Mid-Ohio Triathlon Series. Having taken 2nd place at the Galion race three weeks ago, I was ready to rebound with a big win here. Last year it came down to a sprint finish and I was ready to do it again.


The swim start was delayed for twenty minutes which put all of us in the first heat a little on edge. In the weeks since Galion I’ve really been focusing on stroke efficiency in the water. My childhood swim coach, Mary Fuller gave me a list of corrections to work on and stroke efficiency was at the top. My start was good and my strokes were feeling smooth. Other than a phenomenal swimmer (who was participating in the relay) I was near the front for most the swim. Towards the end I backed off a little because I wanted to be calm, cool, & collected heading into T1.


In route to T1, I passed the two female swimmers who exited the water just before me (not including the relay swimmer). T1 went well and Kate was telling me I was the lead individual, but at least a minute behind the relay biker. Due to poor road conditions the bike route was different this year than in years past. It was an 11.9 mile out-and-back. Police and fire support was great and they restricted the first ½ mile down to one lane of traffic to give us (the athletes) the right-of-way. For this race I was riding a set of borrowed Flo 60 wheels because my Planet X’s are still out of commission. My plan was to ride hard and catch the relay bike (who was Stan Nicol, a good rider and previous event winner) all while keeping as much distance between Josh Berry and myself. I caught Stan just after the turn-around, but much to my dismay, Josh was close…too close for comfort. He caught and passed me last year at mile 9 and I managed to stick with him back to transition. This time he caught and BLEW PAST me at mile 10. I stomped on the pedals and thought to myself, “deja vu, no big deal!” Boy was I wrong! Even at 25mph he was pulling away and I knew if I tried to keep that pace the run would kill me, so I backed off to 23 mph and planned on a smooth T2.


T2 went better than at the previous two races and once the shoes were on, it was GO TIME! The plan here was to catch Josh (just like last year) and run stride-for-stride and sprint to the finish. I ran the first mile at 6:06 and gained no ground. As the course wove in and out of a subdivision I was losing ground fast. I realized by mile 2.5 that unless he pulled a muscle, there was no catching him. Despite repeating positive affirmations in my mind, I couldn’t will my body to sprint the last mile. My run split was 6:28, which was my fastest across the series, but still 14 seconds slower than his. Unlike last year’s epic sprint finale, Josh and I were separated by a minute and five seconds. Kate said he son exploded at the finish line when his Daddy (Josh) won, beating his “arch nemesis.” While I would have loved taking the victory for myself, I’m happy for him and his family. He’s having a banner year, winning The Cleveland Sprint Tri, Marion Sprint and taking second today at the MingoMan Sprint Tri in Delaware.


As always a big thanks goes out to my family (Kate, Henry, Kali, Mom, Dad, Tiff, Dan, Ella, and Anna Leigh…yes, it was a big showing from the crew) for supporting me. Also, thanks to Rudy Project for providing prizes for each race and sweet helmets to the overall male and female winners. Lastly, a big shout-out to Jason Izworski for loaning me the Flo wheels.


The series has been fun, but from here I focus exclusively on the Beach2Battleship 140.6 tri in October. Stay tuned I’ve got a few more blogs coming up before then though


P.R.R.-2015 Galion Y Sprint Triathlon

Posted by [email protected] on August 7, 2015 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The morning was cool and the sky was clear. The YMCA staff and volunteers were rolling in and the crew from All Sports Timing & Race Management were making the final preparations to their digital timing equipment. This was the first offering of the Galion YMCA Sprint Triathlon and also served as the second leg of the Mid-Ohio YMCA Triathlon Series.


Setting the Stage:

I went into the weekend hopeful for a second victory in the series and taking one at my old stomping grounds. Two weeks prior I had finished second in the Y 5K and was looking for a little redemption. The week before this race we had been traveling and drove to and from Manhattan (9hrs each way). Others had expressed concern about that much car time and lack of training, but hey, the professionals do it all the time and I’ll have to do it again for Beach2Battleship in October. The night before the race I spent the night at my parents’ house to eliminate race-day driving. Around 8pm I went to add a couple squirts of air into my tires when disaster struck. As soon as the pump head made contact with the rear valve extender it blew and was useless. Luckily my parents neighbor, Phil Shirley is a big cyclist and had an extra wheel that I could use for the race. It wasn’t an aero wheel and it was an 8 speed (my gearing was set for a 10 speed), but it was a wheel no less. Just like the traveling, adapt and overcome.


The Race:

Going into this race I knew the swim would pose a few additional stressors for me versus the other sprints in the series. It was longer (660yds), which definitely played to Kevin VanBuskirk’s strength. Additionally the stainless steel sides and bottom made it a little tougher to identify a good point to begin the flip-turn. The race started and the swimmers were sent off about 2-5 seconds apart (the timing system accounted for the difference). Some started in the water while others jumped/dove in (this will be corrected next year). Kevin started right before me and immediately began pulling away. My plan was to keep it close, but not kill myself trying to match his pace. About 250yd in, he lapped me with ease. He passed me again about 5 feet from the wall of his final lap…yes, he finished 100yds and 1:30 before me. Not only did he have a great swim, but this was probably my WORST pool swim ever. I only landed two of my turns properly and the zip just wasn’t there.


T1 went well, but I started slow because of my rear wheel issue which restricted me to two gears. The gears didn’t quite allow me to ramp up my cadence as early as I would have liked, but I got into rhythm pretty quickly. Due to being “city-locked” this course was somewhat technical and full of turns. Looking at it in hindsight, I should have raced on my road bike, not the tri-bike. As the ride rolled on I saw him at the turn-arounds and knew I was gaining ground. One of the last turns was past my in-laws house where Kate was yelling that I cut his lead down by half.

T2 also went well, but I’d still like to be quicker for Marion. In Bucyrus, Kevin swam one minute faster and ran 20 seconds faster, but my bike was five minutes faster than this. Despite being out-ran last time we squared off, I was really hoping to run him down here. The course was almost identical to the Pickle run 5K and I had trained here several times. The run had one long climb early on and then another, short but steep one at the end. Every time I’d start to gain a little ground it would be on the climbs and being in front he crested them first allowing him to gain the time right back. In the end we ran the same time and I finished 45 seconds after him. He did great and definitely earned this victory.

After Thoughts:


The Y staff and volunteers did a great job with this race, especially considering they had just operated the Pickle Run two weeks prior. Being the first offering of this race there were somethings to be worked out for next season, but the crew is already hard at work correcting the issues. Also, Oliver and his team at All Sports Timing & Race Management did a fantastic job and their digital time system is unmatched.


As always, I’m very grateful for the support of family and friends who were there. Both my parents worked the event, my in-laws watched from their house (which allowed them to see the bike and run) and Kate-with Henry in tow watched from her parents’ house and was at the finish line waiting for me. It really is a blessing being able to train and compete and I know I couldn’t do it without their support.


Redefining the perfect fit.

Posted by [email protected] on July 23, 2015 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

In late June of 2011 I entered a place that I had only recently discovered during packet pick-up for a race. This place was packed full of bikes, gear, food and everything and triathlon or cycling junkie could dream of. I was still pretty new to triathlon, but it was time to get a bike fit so I could try to excel at this new sport. The place was Tri-Tech MultiSport, located at 6155 Huntly Rd, in Columbus. Little did I know at the time how much that place would impact my future (that will be another blog).

Christ Charnas and I sat down and began the athletic background interview where we talked about injuries, background history (in sports) and future goals. After that there were some flexibility and tightness tests before I finally got on the SICI size cycle. I rode & stopped, rode & stopped and rode & stopped, all the while Christ was making adjustments to the bike. This went on for over an hour, but we dialed it in, made the adjustments to my road bike (which did have clip on bars) and I walked out feeling like a champ. Two weeks later I went back to Tri-Tech and bought my first tri bike, a Cervelo P2 and they fit the bike to my numbers.

Fast forward a year and a half and I’m working at Tri-Tech and thinking I know everything about bikes, triathlon and fits. I bought a Scott Plasma 20 (which I still have and LOVE) and changed all my numbers…based of off watching professional triathletes and cyclists with the thought, “I’m going pro with this one day so I should get used to being uncomfortable to gain speed and shed time.” I proceeded to ride my bike that way for the 2012 through early 2015 seasons and I was getting unbearably uncomfortable with every ride over an hour. I got to the point this season where I physically could not ride past 60 miles because my back hurt, crotch region went numb and feet were on fire. It was then that I went back through my notes and remembered how much I changed my fit numbers. Every professional, coach, and industry expert recommends getting a fit every 3-5 years because body composition changes, accidents happen, riders get better or worse and a variety of other reasons. I personally gave that advice to everyone…I just forgot to follow it. So I called Leanne Charnas (Christ’s wife) at the shop and scheduled a new fit.

Despite knowing each other pretty well, Christ still conducted the interview so he could better understand my predicament. After that he changed all my numbers back to my old fit and had me hop on my bike. I rode and he adjusted using time tested methods, new technology, and years of experience. He and Leanne are both Serotta and F.I.S.T. certified and have 20+ years of experience in racing and fitting. In the end he raised and separated my bars, raised and moved my saddle forward and switched to a new COBB Max saddle (which we settled on using their awesome demo program). The next day I rode a century and it was indescribably better. It actually felt good to ride again.

As I continue to improve in the triathlon world, I will not again forget the importance of a new fit every 3-5 years. I highly recommend Christ and Leanne and will stake my reputation on their excellence and ability. They are truly the foremost authority in bike fitting for road, triathlon, mountain, and casual riding and their saddle demo program is the most expansive in the state. Give them a call at 614-846-1516 to schedule your fit.


P.R.R-2015 Galion Y 5K/Pickle Run

Posted by [email protected] on July 18, 2015 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)


The temperature was perfect, the sky was clear and the atmosphere was fun; THE Pickle Run was back. On July 4th the Galion YMCA held their annual 5K road race as part of the Pickle Run festival. This is always a good hometown 5K and I try to make it back every couple of year. Between the adult and kid races there were over 155 participants which is a HUGE increase over the past couple of years.

As I continue to build towards Beach2Battleship I trained right through this race. The day before I swam 2 miles at the Delaware Y and then rode the 50miles to Galion on my bike with an average of 24mph (I must confess, the wind was at my back). Despite the previous activity, my legs felt good and my plan was to run hard but not kill myself. As soon as the gun went off a lead pack of about 10 took off pretty fast. It consisted of an older guy, myself and 8 high school aged boys. As is always the case the pack started to break up about half a mile in when the course went uphill. By the top of the hill only the older guy, myself and one kid remained. We stayed together for the rest of the race. With just under a mile to go the guy made a hard push and I waited for the kid to cover the move…and I waited…and I waited. After the guy got about 40 yards ahead I realized the kid couldn’t speed up so I buzzed around him and tried to close the gap. Unfortunately I waited too long and couldn’t reach the guy without pushing myself harder than I wanted (I still hard to ride 50 miles home). My time was 19:22 and I took second overall. The winner actually won the first Pickle Run 5K 30 years ago and I was happy for him. My favorite part of the race was seeing Kate, Kali, and Henry multiple times during the race. It is extra motivation for me to keep pushing every time I see them. My Dad, the Galion Y and all their volunteers (including my Mom) did a great job of planning, marking and running this race. It still blows my mind that there aren’t 200+ runners here every year.


#1 Terry Gribble

Posted by [email protected] on June 21, 2015 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Had I stayed on track with my writing this all would have been completed weeks ago, but this Father's Day week is a fitting day to finish this mini-series on my health and fitness icons. Who is this guy? While not an international superstar like the others, he has left a more profound impact on the local community and myself than any single person I know.

My Dad's official title is Chief Executive Officer of the Galion YMCA, but he's far more than that in the industry. He is what's know as a "turn-around specialist" and as that designation suggests, he is called in to save fledging YMCA's from going under. The Galion Y was in dire straights 26 years ago when he took over and now it is one of the most successful independent Y's in the U.S. Additionally he has saved the Bucyrus Y, prolonged operations at the Morrow County branch, and has served as an advisor for several other buildings throughout the state.

In addition to his Y duties he serves on the County Health Board and coaches the boys and girls high school tennis teams. In years past he also coached girls basketball, volunteered as a basketball referee and track line judge for the school system. At his Y he has coached all of the youth sports several times over and has trained several coaches and officials in youth relations.

Dad coached my first t-ball, basketball, and soccer teams and instilled true sportsmanship in all his athletes. Over the years he coached (head or assistant) many, but not all of my sports. He recognized it was important for me to have other coaches and stepped in and out at different intervals. Of his coaching successes he went on to coach the middle school girls to the two most successful seasons in Galion girls basketball history(__________)and he also went on to win the NCC League title four seasons in a row (______) with the girls high school tennis team.

He is a leaders leader. In the past he has served as president of the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Reserve Sheriffs Deputy Association, and has held positions with several other city, county and state organizations. We jokingly refer to him as the unofficial Mayor of Galion. Aside from his positions he has trained/mentored several other leaders. Under his tutelage three men were developed into solid professionals who then went on to be CEO's of the Shelby, Bucyrus(then Delaware, OH) and Bucyrus (then Seattle, WA) YMCA's. He is the epitome of a servant leader and has never asked those around him to do anything he wouldn't do.

Without his presence in my life I never would have developed into the man, athlete, leader, or father I am today. In my line of work I see a lot of children with no father-figures in their life and it makes me that much more grateful for my Dad. Terry Gribble is unquestionably the NUMBER 1 Heath, Fitness, and Life icon for me

*Photo above; Top left, Dad supporting me at a 70.3 tri. Top right, Dad at the high school tennis banquet. Bottom- Dad and his State Championship Y-Fit Challenge Team