Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PRO-File: Michael & Amanda Lovato

I'll never forget the first time I met Michael and Amanda Lovato. When I began my triathlon career I tried to familiarize myself with all the big names and big races that the sport was known for: Kona, St. George, Coeur D'Alene, Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington, and Mirinda Carfrae were some of them. Working at the shop and being from Austin, it wasn't long before I had heard of a dynamic multi-sport duo, The Lovatos. My first experience meeting them left me a bit starstruck. I half-expected them to have the intense and focused look that professional triathletes maintain before a big race, but my expectation was way off. The whole shop seemed to welcome their arrival. They wheeled both of their bikes back to the service bay and returned to the floor to strike up conversation with everyone around them, including me. I learned quite a bit about them during that first conversation; and the more I learn the more fascinated I become with their story.

Michael Lovato was born in North Carolina and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a young man he played every sport from water polo to soccer. Eventually he found his calling in swimming and track. In 1992, while attending the University of Texas at Austin, he entered the UT Intramural sprint triathlon. It was a tough experience for him but he was hooked. He raced as an amateur for 7 years and ended up at the World Championships in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1999. He turned pro shortly after that. In 2003 Michael won the inaugural Ironman Coeur D'Alene in Idaho, and was crowned the men's champion at Ironman Arizona in 2006. Add to that 3 top-10 finishes at Kona and there is no doubt that Michael has established himself as one of the best male triathletes in the U.S.

Amanda Gillam, later known as the better half of the Lovato duo, was raised on a farm in Southern Maryland. Growing up, her passion for running arose from the need to outrun her sister Diana. Amanda and Diana pushed each other to win numerous titles within their high school's district. Amanda received a full scholarship to Old Dominion University in Virginia and was named MVP after excelling in the 1500 and 3000 meter races. After two years in Virginia Beach, Amanda transferred to the University of Tennessee. She maintained her prowess in running as the captain of the cross country and track teams. After graduating in 1995 she returned to her childhood passion of horseback riding back in Maryland. It would not be long until Amanda found a new way to out run her competitors, the sport of triathlon. She quickly took to the sport as a way to maintain a healthy and athletic lifestyle. She then joined Team USA as an age grouper after only 12 short months of training. She reached her second Age Group World Championship in 1999 and took home high honors in the event as well as a handsome and lightning-fast triathlete, a young man named Michael Lovato. In 2002, Amanda won nearly every event she raced. She turned pro a year later after being name Duathlon National Champion and USAT All-American. Since then she has won numerous Half-Ironman races, including her favorite in Pucon, Chile, in 2010. She's also snagged 4 top-10 Ironman finishes. This year she plans on reaching the podium at Ironman, 70.3 and REV3 series races. Amanda has earned a reputation for making winning look good by always sporting color coded race kits and smiling throughout all her races.

The speed-producing duo have lived in Boulder, CO since 2001 but return to Austin & Jack & Adam's when the Rocky Mountain weather gets too cold to train. Team Lovato stays active by working out together and playing with their dogs, Luna and Blue, and cat, Frisco Burrito. With million-dollar smiles and personalities to match, it's no surprise that their autograph table is always busy when they make an appearance before one of their races. I've loved getting to know them and look forward to seeing what these two will continue to accomplish both in the sport and in their own lives. Thank you very much, Mr. and Mrs. Lovato!

by Mike Thompson of Jack & Adam's Bicycles


Monday, November 21, 2011

Best of Competitor 2011

The BEST of Competitor 2011 voting deadline is fast approaching.  Don't miss out on the opportunity to be heard on everything Austin!  To be heard vote here.

If you are not sure who to vote for here are some great hints or ideas on who in your neighborhood is doing their best to be the BEST of 2011:

Best Bike Shop: Jack & Adam's Bicycles
Best Women's Event: Skeese Greets Women's Triathlon
Best Cycling Event: The Round Rock Express Ride
Best Race Swag: The Austin Triathlon
Best Swim Shop: Jack & Adam's Bicycles
Best Swimming/Watersports Event: Pure Austin Splash & Dash
Best Triathlon: The Austin Triathlon
Best Triathlon Shop: Jack & Adam's Bicycles
Best Gym: Pure Austin
Best 5k10k: The Texas Round Up

Hurry!  Voting closes Wednesday, November 30th.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shop ride Sunday: Getting dirty

Just a quick reminder that we've only scheduled a no-drop ride for this weekend. As always, there will be some folks who show up to ride anyway and so there is always a chance for an informal pick-up ride.

Otherwise a couple of other things are keeping us away this week. First up most of the shop folks will be down at Rocky Hill Ranch for the High Five Events Dirty Du. It's a fun w/e full of action, if you have a mountain bike you can chose between two distances, if not, why not rope a friend in who has and take part in the relay. Next up this weekend is the final US Ironman race of the 2011 series, IMAZ in Tempe, AZ. There are around 20-athletes from Austin taking part and many more going along to support and cheer. Good luck to everyone!

So, this week it's no-drop only, the ride leaves as always at 8:30 a.m. After the ride we will have a guest appearance by Kip, owner of Kip Running Sports Massage. He will be out with his massage table and also available for Q&A.

Next week, Sunday after Thanksgiving, it's back to the Steiner Ranch steakhouse. Be there to work off the turkey.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shop ride Sundays: Plans, Schedules and Rides

So, like the past two years we are going to make things a little less formal over the colder months. Tammy, Hugo and I met Tuesday and sketched out the plan through January 1st, with email input from James, Zac and Kelly who couldn't make it.

There are a few points to note.

  • For those that have been making steady progress on the No-drop 20-mile rides, we are going to add an extended No-drop on 12/4. There will be the normal No-drop South to Buda and we will provide ride leader coverage to take those that want to on to the Walgreens in Buda, making a 28-mile roundtrip.
  • All rides are subject to the standard, money back rain warranty. If it is raining at ride start time, 8:30 a.m. We cancel and you get an immediate return of all money paid, in the currency you paid in. You are of course welcome to go ride, but we won't be with you. Until we've had some constant hard rain, the roads will be extra slippery "when wet".
  • Pick-up rides are just that. We don't have a planned ride, there will be no cue sheets. Meet at the shop based on who shows up and how many, we'll decide where to ride.
  • Please take care when riding, call out road defects, and traffic; no aero bars unless on the front of the group, no overlapping wheels in a group, no more than 2-wide, and finally NO MP3, Phone or other earphones. Maybe your wife is pregnant, maybe your Mom is sick, maybe you are on call, whatever the reason, please don't ride with them in your ears. A group ride is a group experience, that sadly extends to crashes. We have a great track record on safety and have never had a group pile-up and would like to keep it that way.
  • As always, except for the Steiner Ranch Steakhouse rides, there will be Taco deli breakfast taco's on the deck after the shop ride.

Remember, shop rides are free, and we always start on time at 8:30 a.m. ++Mark.

13th Ride: north west and shoal creek
Other Events: Wurst Ride, Tour das Hugel

20th Ride: No-drop only (+ pickup for any others)
Other Events Dirty Duathlon

27th Ride: Steiner Steakhouse Ride
Other Events: w/e after Thanksgiving

4th Ride: Advanced/Intermediate do Creedmore; plus extended No-drop to Walgreens, Buda
Other Events:

11th Ride: No-drop Hills out to 360; Intermediate/Advanced pick-up ride.
Other events: Decker Challenge

18th Ride: Steiner Steakhouse Ride
Other Events:


1st Ride: Pick up ride
Other Events: New Years day Underwear Run


Friday, November 4, 2011

PAC Expands to Downtown Location

PAC or Pure Austin Coaching is expanding its practice schedule. PAC currently offers a range of practices at its Pure Austin north, which is situated at on Braker Ln. between Mopac and 183. With the expanded practice schedule, they’ll now be offering 3 additional practices at the downtown Pure Austin location. The downtown gym is located at the intersection of 5th st. and Lamar.

PAC offers maximum affordability, with group multisport coaching priced at $55/month for members of Pure Austin and $65/month for non-members of Pure Austin. Try out the practice schedule for a week absolutely free. For additional questions visit www.pureaustincoaching.com or for practice information, click HERE.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shop ride Sundays: We have no plan...

We've all been so busy since Austin 70.3 we've not had time to plan a ride for this coming w/e, so the default ride is south for all levels. Ride starts 8:30 a.m. prompt, current weather has a low of 66f so plenty warm enough for a ride, but currently showing a 33% chance of showers.

We'll get a plan through the end of the year next week, what are your favorite rides? What other rides would you like us to do? What events have you got coming up before the end of the year we should know about? ++Mark.