Category Archives: Cycling

Mountain Biking in Florida?

By Pete Williams

You might not think of Florida as a hotbed of mountain biking. But there are plenty of places to enjoy riding off-road, even if the terrain is fairly flat. We explore mountain biking in Florida in this segment for ABC Action News.

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Filed under ABC 28 TV Fitness Tips, Cycling, Training

Cyclist Killed in DeLand Crash

By Pete Williams

Sara and Brent McLarty

Very sad news today from Central Florida. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Brent McLarty, father of pro triathlete Sara McLarty, died while riding his bicycle near DeLand when he was struck by a car.

McLarty, 62, was riding his bike north on the paved shoulder of State Road 11, at Lake Diaz Park Road, about 7:30 a.m. when he was hit by a van that was also northbound, state troopers told The Sentinel.

Troopers said Cody Haynes, 23, drifted on the shoulder of the road and hit McLarty, who died at the scene.

No charges have been filed, but the crash remains under investigation.

Sara McLarty, 28, is a Central Florida native who lives and trains in Clermont. An All-American swimmer at the University of Florida, she is regarded as one of, if not the fastest, swimmers in triathlon.

She posted the above photo on her Facebook page, where condolences quickly poured in from the endurance sports community.

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Chipotle Comes to Citrus Park

By Pete Williams

Open in Citrus Park

Good to see Chipotle Mexican Grill open a new location in the Tampa Bay area today near the Citrus Park Mall by the on-ramp to the Veterans Expressway.

Chipotle does an incredible job scouting locations. They like high-traffic spots in upscale areas. The company has an endurance sports heritage, at least in supporting cycling and the occasional triathlon, and seems to have a knack for placing restaurants in areas frequented by the endurance sports crowd. (Good bike routes and proximity to the Suncoast Parkway in the case of the newest Chipotle.)

We’re big fans of Chipotle  here at Endurance Sports Florida. Steve Ells’ vision of food with integrity served in a fast casual style is especially appealing to endurance athletes.

The concept is brilliant on so many levels. When Mark Verstegen introduced us to Chipotle in October of 2002 in Phoenix, Chipotle was virtually non-existent on the East Coast. Now it continues to grow…and grow…and grow.

Even as Wall Street traders scurried about in the last week in a semi-panic along the lines of 2008, the Chipotle around the corner from trading floor continued to attract a line out the door. Incredible, healthy food at an affordable price.

Simple yet amazing formula.

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Tour de Chipotle

By Pete Williams

Coming to Paris

Even if you’re not a Wall Street analyst, it’s tough not to be bullish on Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has been among the market’s hottest stocks over the last two years.

As someone who began eating at Chipotle frequently years before the 2006 IPO, I try not to think about why I kept my hands in my pockets all of these years.

There are two areas Chipotle only has begun to tap into: the European market and the endurance sports crowd. Those worlds collided this week at the Tour de France, as today’s Wall Street Journal reported. On Monday, the Garmin-Cervelo team – sponsored in part by Chipotle – held a lunch at Chateau de la Nerthe, a “sweeping vineyard north of Avignon.” The meal consisted of chicken burritos paired with pricey Domaine de Nalys white wine.

The WSJ characterized it as an “odd moment,” as if you’d never pair an expensive wine with a burrito. I say it’s a perfect match. Granted, it can be a challenge to pair a wine with a spicy Chipotle burrito. I’d recommend a dry white and though Domaine is out of my budget, I’m guessing it went over quite well.

Development Team Kit

Not only that, Chipotle stock is trading at $335 a share, having risen about 900 percent since it sold for $39 in November of 2008. At $335 a share, Chipotle’s products don’t have to apologize for accompanying any upscale French wine.

Not that Chipotle food is expensive. In fact, a Chipotle burrito is a phenomenal value at $8. The company’s “food with integrity” concept has driven its meteoric success. It’s the perfect fast-casual, high-performance fuel that many endurance athletes only now are discovering.

I was very envious three years ago when Chipotle signed on to sponsor the team then known as Garmin-Chipotle. Riders received a metal card good for one free Chipotle burrito a day – the ultimate perk.

At the time, Chipotle had no plans to expand beyond North America, so buying sponsorship for a team in the Tour de France seemed odd. But now Chipotle has a store in London and next year is planning to open one in Paris.

Chipotle has begun to sponsor an occasional triathlon, if only by providing 2-for-1 cards for race goody bags, which is a terrific thing to find when you pick up your packet. My triathlon training team meets at Chipotle for lunch on Tuesdays.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Damon Biggins, Chipotle’s lead restaurateur, as saying the company plans to host the Garmin lunch next year in Paris, presumably at the new Chipotle.

Better get the pricey wine ready.

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Awesome Side Effects

By Pete Williams

Ready for The Tour

For the last four days I’ve been taking steroids and I feel incredible.

Though I haven’t done any strength training for three weeks due to injury and vacation, I walked into the gym yesterday and had one of the best workouts of my life. I came home and worked in the yard for a couple of hours.

Yet I don’t feel sore at all today. This morning I spent 90 minutes on my stand-up paddleboard and ran a couple miles. I feel like I could go pump iron again right now. I’m going to race in a Fourth of July midnight 5K tonight and hit another one tomorrow morning.

Recovery? Who needs recovery when I have my ‘roids?

Unfortunately, my supply runs out on Tuesday. My doctor prescribed Prednisone for a nasty case of poison ivy I acquired two weeks ago while competing in The Spartan Race. Prednisone is clearing up the poison ivy quickly, though I seem to have a bit of a swollen chipmunk face at the moment (common side effect).

Who cares? I feel ready to don a red cape and loincloth and march with King Leonidas. Bring on the Persians!

It seems only appropriate that I started my cycle the same day Sports Illustrated ran a story quoting Charlie Sheen about his steroid use during the filming of the movie “Major League.” Yep, it seems even actors playing baseball players were juicing in the late ’80s and ’90s.

And, of course, I’m enjoying the training benefits of ‘roids just as the Tour de France gets underway. I think I’ll grab my son Lance and go for a bike ride.

This is the second time I’ve juiced. I had a nasty case of poison ivy about 15 years ago and had the same side effect from the ‘roids — incredible workouts.

We’re long past the point of steroid fatigue when it comes to talking about professional sports. The great Roger Bannister, who after becoming the first man to break the 4-minute mile barrier went on to become the head of the British Sports Council and oversaw the development of the first urine test for steroids, is quoted in this week’s Sports Illustrated saying, “The subject of drugs now in a sense bores me. I just would hope that the international bodies pursue random testing to the point that athletes become clean.”

Amen to that. I’m tired of talking about steroids. At this point, I don’t care. You’ll never convince me that athletes aren’t taking HGH or whatever designer stuff is now available. Cycling always will be filthy.

But what I’ll never believe is the athlete who says steroids don’t make a difference. You cannot be serious.

I feel ready to tackle The Death Race right now.

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Escaping from Fort DeSoto

By Pete Williams

ST. PETERSBURG – For all of the growth in triathlon over the last decade, there are a number of races that have been around for more than two decades – and not just a little October gathering in Kona.

Here in the Tampa Bay area, the Escape from Fort DeSoto Triathlon marked its 25th running this morning with more than 1,000 athletes competing. Most opted to forgo the wetsuits. Water temperatures were 74.5 degrees but seemed warmer. They also were surprisingly choppy, at least by our standards. We filed this report:

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Filed under Cycling, Races, Running, Swimming, Triathlon

Muddy Buddy Season Preview

By Pete Williams

Williams, Babbitt

Bob Babbitt wasn’t the first to come up with an adventure mud run, though his 12-year-old Muddy Buddy series is largely responsible for inspiring so many mud-themed races that they’re now considered a separate category in the world of endurance sports.

Muddy Buddy might be one of the easier races to complete and that’s just the point. It takes two-athlete teams only an hour or so to navigate a six-mile course via bike and foot, often in costume.

The race has expanded from its origins in 1999 and now includes 18 events in 2011, three of which will take place in Florida. Like NASCAR, Muddy Buddy will begin and end its season in the Sunshine State, moving its ESPN Wide World of Sports event in Lake Buena Vista from Mother’s Day weekend to the season-opening April 9 date. Muddy Buddy returns to Zoo Miami on Nov. 20 for the second straight year, only this time it won’t be the season finale. That’s because there’s a new championship race at the Redneck Yacht Club in Punta Gorda on Dec. 4.

Babbitt (right) is one of the good guys in the endurance sports world, co-founder of Competitor magazine and the Challenged Athlete Foundation. He’s an Ironman Hall of Famer, host of the terrific Competitors radio show and creator of the Muddy Buddy. These days, he’s perhaps best known for donning a frog suit and emceeing the Muddy Buddy events. He spoke with us Monday on The Fitness Buff Radio Show.

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Filed under Cycling, Fitness Buff Show Radio, Races, Running