Solana Shoe Review

June 16th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

Ben Hoffman Racing in the Solana, St. George 70.3

Ben Hoffman, 4-time Ironman winner and Pro Zoot triathlete, shares his experience with testing the new Zoot Solana running shoes.

As a Zoot Sports sponsored professional triathlete for the last 3 years, I have been fortunate to bear witness to some awesome changes in the company’s product line. Some of the most exciting progress has come in footwear, and it has been part of my job to wear new prototypes and help in the development of new technologies, offering input from my constant training and racing. The latest and greatest in the lineup is the Solana, and it scores big on many levels.

I’ve been running in the Solana now for almost two months, and as with virtually every new shoe on offer from Zoot, the first thing I noticed in the Solana is the glove-like fit. The shoe wraps around the foot with incredible comfort, offering ample support while simultaneously allowing it to be where it wants to be naturally. Secure while comfortable. There is no unwarranted restrictive aspect, or excessively overbuilt components.  The seamless bonds and stitching add to the sleeve feeling which is now distinctive in the Zoot lineup. Despite adequate support and comfort, it’s not at a weight penalty: these are lightweight shoes with a very responsive and stable ride providing immediate feedback to the athlete.

Finally, the new Solana ranks high on my shoe choices because of its versatility. Just over a month ago I opted to race in the Solana at Ironman St. George 70.3 for the US Championships, after testing it in a shorter sprint distance event in April.  With such a hilly and demanding run course, I needed the perfect blend of cushioned comfort, lightweight performance, and responsive ride to carry me through the ups and downs of one of the hardest courses around. The new blown outsole and seamless upper delivered, carrying me to a strong 1:13 half-marathon split and 7th place finish against the best athletes in the world.  For my training runs before the race and after?  The Solana, naturally.

To learn more about the Zoot’s newest running shoe, the Solana, click here.

Next up, Ben will defend his title and course record at Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 29th.

 

 

Ben Hoffman Shares His Training Essentials

February 20th, 2014 - Posted by zoot

Today we have a guest blog from Zoot Pro triathlete, Ben Hoffman. In 2013, Ben won Ironman Coeur d’Alene and set the course record with a time of 8:17:31 – now that’s fast! He followed that race up with a win at Branson Rev3 and a 15th place finish at the Ironman World Championships. Today, Ben shares what gets him through those other 360 days a year – his training days.

Zoot Training Essentials

Although Zoot may be known best for their race day equipment, I am outfitted in their training gear head to toe virtually every day in preparation for my events (Like we say, “Train as you race!” – Ed.). The hundreds of hours that go into preparing for an Ironman require equipment that is durable, comfortable and provides an extremely high level of performance for each of the three disciplines. An average training week, while building into a full-distance race, includes roughly 35 hours of training. Broken down that is approximately 18 hours on the bike, 8 to 9 hours running, 6 hours in the pool and 2 hours of strength training. Here is a rundown of some of the gear I use for my preparation.

On My Feet

Running is one of man’s most primal forms of exercise, but it’s not all about going barefoot and naked. My go-to training shorts, when the weather is nice, are the Ultra Run Icefil 8”. Not only does the spandex Icefil liner ventilate well, but it also provides a little extra support on long runs and completely eliminates chaffing. I seriously can’t believe how long I put up with the irritation that other liners create – these are a true epiphany. Finally, the Ultra short has side pockets, and for days when I need a little company in the form of music, I can slide the iPhone or iPod in the pocket for bounce-free carrying. They serve well for car keys or gels. too.

The most comfortable and versatile shoes I have worn for training purposes are the Ultra TT Trainer WR. They have additional cushioning, are still relatively lightweight, and are the perfect compliment to my Ironman race shoe, the Ultra TT 7.0,

For up top, I’m a fan of the Ultra Run Icefil Mesh Tee in warmer weather, and the Performance Run Microlite ½ zip when temps get colder. And when it’s really cold I wear the Ultra Run Biowrap Thermo Tights to keep my legs warm.

Finally, for race day, it’s all about the Zoot custom one-piece kit, visor and Ultra TT 7.0 shoe. I switch out the Ultra TT 7.0 for the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 for half-ironman races.

In the Saddle

My longest hours come in the saddle, and here it’s all about the custom Ultra Cycle bibs and jersey. When it gets cold, I throw on the thermo top, thermo leg warmers and Megaheat jacket.  Fortunately, there is ample pocket space for food, phone, etc., and the fabric wicks moisture like a sponge.

For racing, I rely on my custom Zoot kit for superior comfort and aerodynamic fit.

In the Water

It’s been a long haul learning how to swim with the front pack, but I couldn’t have done it without countless hours in the Ultra swim brief, chasing the black line and playing wall tag. When it comes time to hit the open water, I can be found in my Prophet 2.0 Wetzoot, or the Speedzoot for warmer days. The Prophet provides unmatched range of motion, incredible buoyancy, and is easy to peel off for quick transitions. Finally, it’s Zoot’s Swimfit cap that covers my dome.

The Rest of the Time

Not every hour of every day is spent training, but triathlon is definitely a lifestyle, and I have some other pieces of gear that fill in the gaps between workouts. Recovery is priority number one when I’ve finished my harder sessions, so I love to toss on the Recovery 2.0 CRx sock after long runs and rides, or during long travel days. As the Californians have taught us, a hoodie is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing made, and fortunately Zoot’s looks great, too. One last staple in my Zoot arsenal are the Recovery Slides, which are on my feet before and after every swim.

So there you have it! Zoot has me covered head to toe for my longest training days and the time between. No matter whether you live in a cold or warm climate, Zoot has your back with their comprehensive lineup of comfortable and high performance products.

Zoot 2014 Teams

January 31st, 2014 - Posted by zoot

At Zoot we believe that you should train as you race and race as you train. Our commitment to this idea has led us to making some of the best (and most comfortable) tri and running gear that the world has seen.
Of course, we would be nowhere without our committed team of testers, or as they are known to the world, the Zoot Teams. They are constantly pushing our gear to the limits, be it a hard training session or sprinting for the finish at Kona.
With that in mind, we are proud to announce our 2014 teams. We are especially excited to note that all of our members of our 2013 Marque and Elite Pro Teams are returning this year! Without further ado here are the Zoot 2014 Teams:


Marquee Pro:
Ben Hoffman
Kelly Williamson


Elite Pro:
Jozsef Major
Ian Mikelson
Sergio Marques (Portugal)
Anja Beranek (Germany)
Charisa Wernick
Uli Bromme
Bree Wee
Mandy Mclane
Heather Leiggi
Lesley Smith
Janelle Morrison (Canada)
Balazs Csoke
Sara Gross (Canada)
Rachel Jastrebsky
Beth Walsh
Sierra Snyder
Gregory Farrell (Australia)


Team Zoot (formerly called Zoot Ultra Team)
SoCal: Team Captain – Diana Noble
NorCal: Team Captain – Jim Atkinson
North West: Team Captain – Sam Piccici
Arizona: Team Captain – Bryan Dunn
Texas: Team Captain – Christian Wendenburg
Mountain: Team Captain – Shane Neimeyer
Central Plains: Team Captains – Chuck and Jen Sloan
Great Lakes: Team Captains – Rick Lapinski, Matt Ancona
Mid-Atlantic: Team Captain – Brian Jastrebsky
North East: Team Captains – Shane Arters, Hana Sykorova
South East: Team Captain – Kerry Mowlam


Wishing everyone a great racing season!

4 Tips for Sticking With Your Fitness Resolutions in 2014

January 3rd, 2014 - Posted by zoot

Happy 2014! With a new year also comes a fresh start, an opportunity to evaluate 2013 and establish new fitness, professional and personal goals. These goals (resolutions) are often set with the best intentions, but still nearly 75% of them last only one week. Here at Zoot, we want to change that. We want 2014 to be your best year of health and happiness, so we are here to share our tips for sticking with your fitness resolution.

1. Be realistic: Of course we encourage you to dream big – just not unattainably big. Make sure whatever resolution you strive to achieve is something you are actually capable of. If you feel overwhelmed, you are much more likely to ditch it and move on.

2. Write down your goals: People who write down goals are actually more likely to achieve them. Write yours somewhere accessible where you can easily check in on your progress. It may also help to share them with someone you trust: a workout buddy, spouse, best friend – anyone you feel can be supportive, encouraging and help keep you accountable.

3. Be specific: When you write down your resolution, define who, what, when, where, how and why. Making your goal as specific as possible helps with planning and sets you up for success.

4. Make it measurable: When you decide on your resolution, ensure that you are able to measure the results. For instance, “run better” is not measurable. Define better – does that mean faster? Farther? Maybe it’s “I will cut one minute off of my mile time” or “I will PR in my half marathon this year.” Set benchmarks so you know whether you’re successful.

Jackpot!

September 10th, 2013 - Posted by zoot

Heather Jackson hits the Jackpot in Vegas!

What a day for Zoot athletes at Ironman 70.3 World Championships! Huge congratulations to Heather Jackson – 2nd place and Tim Reed – 4th place! Also coming in top 10, a strong performance from Kelly Williamson. While the typical heat and sunshine didn’t show up, our athletes did!

Pro’s:
Heather Jackson, 2nd place
Kelly Williamson, 9th place
Mandy Mclane, 18th place
Bree Wee, 19th place
Uli Bromme, 20th place
Amber Ferriera, 22nd place

Tim Reed, 5th place

Age Groupers:
Mark Harms – 4:12 – 3rd M35-39
Chuck Sloan – 4:23 – 7th M35-39
Hana Sykorova – 4:57 – 9th AG
Kerry Mowlam – 4:48
Shane Niemeyer – 4:40
Caroline Smith – 5:18
Megumi Masuda – 5:51
Christine Mackrides – 5:54
Kendra Goffredo – Swim: 34 & Bike: 2:42…stress fracture didn’t allow her to run
Brian Dunn – Swim: 33 and unfortunately a bike crash knocked him out for the day…luckily he’s alright

 

Other key performances this weekend include Beth Walsh’s 4th place finish and Romain Guillaume’s 5th place finish at Ironman Wisconsin.

Vegas, Baby!

September 3rd, 2013 - Posted by zoot

It’s that time of year again…World Championship season!

2012 70.3 World Championship proved to be an incredibly successful year for Zoot athletes with Kelly Williamson taking 2nd and Heather Jackson placing 3rd. With the stacked field, scorching heat and unforgiving terrain, it’s sure to be another tough year!

Kelly Williamson working hard on the bike

Toeing the starting line for Zoot at the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship race:

MEN -

Tim Reed

Joseph Major

Chuck Sloan

Bryan Dunn

Kerry Mowlam

Mark Harms

 

WOMEN

Kelly Williamson

Heather Jackson

Uli Bromme

Bree Wee

Mandy McLane

Amber Ferreira

Kendra Goeffredo

Caroline Smith

Hana Sykorova

Christine Mackrides

Megumi Masuda

 

Best of luck to all those who qualified for World Championships! We’ll be out there cheering for you!

Heather Jackson, 3rd 70.3 World Championships

Ben Hoffman Wins Ironman Coeur d’Alene

July 3rd, 2013 - Posted by zoot

Ben Hoffman embraces his girlfriend after winning Ironman CDA
*Photo credit: Nils Nilsen

Zoot athletes had a fantastic weekend of racing! Ben Hoffman crushed a competitive field at Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday and took the WIN. Not only did he win, he also set the overall course record! The conditions made for some fast racing. Ben came out of the water with a pack of 3 and then soon took the lead on the bike. He was passed about half way through the bike but he then later re-passed the leader to gain the lead and put a decent gap to finish the 112 mile bike in first place. He then ran a 2:52 marathon and held off the rest of the field behind him all the way until the end. Ben Hoffman raced an amazing Ironman triathlon from start to finish! Ben raced in his Prophet Wetzoot, his Zoot custom race kit and the TT 6.0 running shoes. Watch his post-race interview, click here.

Kelly Williamson on her way to winning Rev3 Williamsburg
*Photo credit: Larry Rosa

Kelly Williamson also had an incredible performance at Rev3 Williamsburg. Kelly ran down the field after being more than 9 minutes down to get her first win of the season. Combine that win with a great vacation and Kelly is happy! She recaps her race on her blog, click here to read more about her win.

Congratulations to all the athletes who raced last weekend! Be sure to share your pictures with us on our Facebook page

You Asked, They Answered!

March 13th, 2013 - Posted by zoot

 

Last week we asked you to submit any racing and training questions that you wanted our pros to answer. Javier Gomez, Jordan Rapp, Ben Hoffman, Kelly Williamson and Heather Jackson all took some time to help you start your season strong by answering your burning questions.

Here are the questions we chose with the Zoot Pros personal tips:

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Question – NUTRITION:

I was wondering what your morning nutrition would be before an Olympic
  race and how long before the race do you eat, and also how do you
 warm up before the race. 
- RM

Javier Gomez’s response:

If the race is not too early I would eat rice with aumelette (2 eggs) and one banana 3 hours before the race . In terms of warm-up,  depending on the swim facilities, I would swim 20-30 min in the pool or at the race venue itself, personally I prefer to swim at the pool.

Ideally after the swim I would ride 30 min and finally 15 min soft running, adding some 1-2 min of progressive  race pace. However if  this routine is not possible, I would swim at the race course and I would eat some toast/sandwich trying to fill up with as much carbohydrate as  possible. hope it helps.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Question – TRACK WORKOUT:

What’s your favorite track or tempo workout that you do leading up to races?
 – Jenny

Ben Hoffman’s response:

Here’s a quality session to get that last bit of speed work in, without tapping too deep into your reserves. Of course it depends a lot on what you have done leading in, and what distance you are racing, but I would do this kind of session on a Wednesday before a 70.3 race:

w/u 2-3 miles jog (20min.)
4x100m stride
4x800m @ 5k pace w/90sec. jog recovery
10 min. jog c/d

I like feeling the speed and knowing my mile pace is dialed in without doing the whole mile. You should feel fairly relaxed holding 5k pace for 800m.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Question – TRI VS ROAD BIKE TRAINING:

When bike training how often do you ride on a Tri vs road bike? Why? 
- Jaclyn E.

Read the rest of this entry »

Javier Gomez and Heather Jackson Escape from Alcatraz Victorious!

March 4th, 2013 - Posted by zoot

Congratulations to Javier Gomez and Heather Jackson on the impressive wins on Sunday at the historical Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon! Known for attracting World Champions, Olympic Medalists, and top amateurs from all over the world, Escape from Alcatraz kicked off unofficial start of the 2013 triathlon season.

This incredibly tough race has been going on since 1981 and top pro triathletes including Scott Tinley, Paula Newby Frasier, Greg Welch, Michellie Jones, Chris McCormack, Simon Lessing, Andy Potts and more have all notched a win at the historical race. On Sunday, history was made special for Zoot when Javier Gomez and Heather Jackson took the male and female overall wins.

Javier Gomez was second out of the water and went to the lead of the bike and then crushed the run to capture the overall victory going down in true history. Javier raced in the Prophet Wetzoot and ran in a prototype “Road to 2016” race flat.

Heather Jackson of Bend, OR surpassed top US Olympian Sara Groff by crushing the bike and running past her to take the lead near the end of the race, claiming the overall female win. Heather raced in the Prophet Wetzoot, her new Zoot Custom kit and the Ultra Kiawe racing flat.

Also with solid performances for Zoot were Francesco Godoy of Spain and Charisa Wernick of Carlsbad, CA who both placed 6th and were on the podium.

 

Jordan Rapp: Triathlete of the Year!

February 12th, 2013 - Posted by zoot

Jordan Rapp, Ron Smith Triathlete of the Year

Congratulations to Jordan Rapp who was just named one of Ron Smith Triathletes of the Year by Triathlon Business International.  ”The award, named after Ron Smith, one of triathlon’s earliest pioneers, recognizes a male and female triathlete who best demonstrate a combination of strong moral character, athletic performance and professionalism in the sport of triathlon. The award acknowledges triathletes who are not only strong competitors, but also are a role model to all; and who help promote the sport and pave the way for future triathletes.” – TBI

2012 was quite a year for Jordan both professionally and personally. Wins included: Ironman Texas, Ironman US Championships, and Leadman Epic 250 Bend.  Equally impressive, Jordan has raised $160,000 for World Bicycle Relief, providing 1,200 bicycles to people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Inside Triathlon recently posted this article: American Ironman champion Jordan Rapp by the numbers. (Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine)

“In 2010, just a few months after Jordan “Rappstar” Rapp’s second Ironman victory (2009 Ironman Arizona), Rapp was hit by a car while on a training ride in Oxnard, Calif. He was left for dead on the side of the road with several fractures and two jugular veins severed. He made one of the most impressive comebacks the sport has ever seen, getting back to the start line of Ironman Arizona that same year and finishing fourth. He has since seen growing success in long course: winning Ironman Canada and the ITU Long Distance World Championship in 2011, and Ironman Texas and Ironman U.S. Championship in New York City in 2012.”

32: Age

6’3”: Height

7: Pro seasons

243: Number of days between the crash and his first Ironman back

293 watts: Highest average power for 112 miles (at 2012 Ironman Texas)

20K time trial: Hardest bike workout

3:03 a.m.: The time he woke up for Ironman New York

FIVE: Number of Ironman wins

2:55:32 (or 6:42 min/mile): Fastest marathon before the crash (2009 Ironman Canada)

2:46:55 (or 6:22 min/mile): Fastest marathon after the crash (2012 Ironman Texas)

5,220 yards: Distance he swam in one hour to win the 30-34 age group at the USMS Long Distance National Championships (aka “The Postal Swim”)

Congratulations Jordan, Ron Smith Triathlete of the Year!