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Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything
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Hey Slowtwitch! My last AMA after St. George went over very well, so I figured you might have some questions about this weekend. It unfolded in a much different way than expected, but I was thrilled to be able to take home the win.

Feel free to ask me about anything. My team and I will be releasing more info about how the race went down soon, but you guys can have the first crack.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Congrats on the win. Would you say that a canceled swim helped you, given the field on this day?
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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As a fellow Wildcat, Bear Down and congrats on the win!

-------------------------------------------------------------
Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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So I googled you, seems like you are kind of a big deal so maybe you can help me haha. I see you were a talented high school athlete and chose not to compete at the collegiate level. I'm currently a d1 cross country/track runner wanting to possibly branch off into the triathlon world. Do you have any regrets? Any recommendations? I have the potential to compete possibly on the national level if my progression is consistent and I stay healthy. I do love running but I feel like there's more I'm capable of. My first triathlon is this Sunday and although I have no prior training for it I am beyond excited; more excited than I have been about any track race in years. If I drop the collegiate career for triathlons is there anything you recommend? tips on finding a team or coach that can help me advance to an elite level? I want to go all in on this sport and compete with the best of them and I seriously think I have the potential to do so. Thanks
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Based on my extensive research, Alcatraz hasn't been an active penitentiary since 1963. What exactly were you escaping from?
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [nickwhite] [ In reply to ]
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nickwhite wrote:
Congrats on the win. Would you say that a canceled swim helped you, given the field on this day?

Thanks! I actually think it hurt my chances. I have always been known as a swim/biker, and even more so as a swimmer. Taking the swim out of the race helped a lot of guys who are more runners than anything.

Alcatraz is a unique race because the amount of swimming is comparable to the bike and run. It is roughly 25-30 min of swimming for about 45 min of biking and running each. If I could, I would lengthen the swim in most races...that would probably help me out a lot.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [TriSpencer] [ In reply to ]
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TriSpencer wrote:
As a fellow Wildcat, Bear Down and congrats on the win!

Thanks! Bear Down!!
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Congrats on your race..and congrats that you didn't make Dan's list of terrible positions on the tri bike!

Did the cancelled swim change your strategy much? Did you make any last minute gear changes b/c of it?
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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What were you in for?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Congratulations on a great race!

Travis Rassat
Vector Cycle Works
Noblesville, IN
BikeFit Instructor | FMS | F.I.S.T. | IBFI
Toughman Triathlon Series Ambassador
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [Kylek42] [ In reply to ]
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Kylek42 wrote:
So I googled you, seems like you are kind of a big deal so maybe you can help me haha. I see you were a talented high school athlete and chose not to compete at the collegiate level. I'm currently a d1 cross country/track runner wanting to possibly branch off into the triathlon world. Do you have any regrets? Any recommendations? I have the potential to compete possibly on the national level if my progression is consistent and I stay healthy. I do love running but I feel like there's more I'm capable of. My first triathlon is this Sunday and although I have no prior training for it I am beyond excited; more excited than I have been about any track race in years. If I drop the collegiate career for triathlons is there anything you recommend? tips on finding a team or coach that can help me advance to an elite level? I want to go all in on this sport and compete with the best of them and I seriously think I have the potential to do so. Thanks

I have absolutely no regrets about not doing a d1 sport in college. I knew that I wanted to focus more on triathlon. I had done cross and swim in his school, and I was tired of jumping around single sports. I was ready to go all in with triathlon. However, that is not to say my way is the best. I chose to do it in a non traditional way, and I encourage everyone going into college to do what they think will benefit them the most (whether this is d1 sports, tri or some other combo we haven't seen yet).

This is a pretty loaded question, so feel free to reach put to me for more in depth and well thought out answers. Good luck in your first tri!
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [dhr] [ In reply to ]
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dhr wrote:
Based on my extensive research, Alcatraz hasn't been an active penitentiary since 1963. What exactly were you escaping from?

Mediocrity
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [d00d] [ In reply to ]
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d00d wrote:
Congrats on your race..and congrats that you didn't make Dan's list of terrible positions on the tri bike!

Did the cancelled swim change your strategy much? Did you make any last minute gear changes b/c of it?

Thanks! I have cyclologic to thank for the position!

I did not have to adjust too much. No gear changes. Mostly had to make a mental jump and get excited despite not being able to swim.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [Travis R] [ In reply to ]
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Travis R wrote:
What were you in for?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Congratulations on a great race!

Pre meditated murder of the bike course
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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BenKanute wrote:
Travis R wrote:
What were you in for?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Congratulations on a great race!


Pre meditated murder of the bike course

Guilty as charged!

Travis Rassat
Vector Cycle Works
Noblesville, IN
BikeFit Instructor | FMS | F.I.S.T. | IBFI
Toughman Triathlon Series Ambassador
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Did you have to show your ID at packet pickup? Do you even bother with the t-shirt and string bag? Does it even make it past the first trash can?

And do you guys have a separate "mandatory pre-race meeting"?

I'm actually not really kidding asking this. I'm fascinated by the dichotomy of the sport that you don't see elsewhere. With the exception of separate transitions for the pros I've seen at some races (never done Alcatraz, so I have no idea if they do that or not. I'm presuming they do)....the pros are to a large degree lumped in with a lot of goof-offs like me. Same course. Same rules. Same space. Often times we're on the road together at it's not unusual for you to have to lap us on a looped course. I'm guessing all but a handful of the race staff/volunteers (when you add up everyone involved...packet volunteers, street corner standers, aid station people, lifeguards, etc) know you by name, let alone sight. I once saw Hunter Kemper get hassled trying to retrieve his bike after a race in which he won and for some reason didn't have his wristband. Those of us standing there vouched for him. The poor volunteer caved. We shouldn't have put that volunteer in that position. It's sort of like having a whiffle ball tournament in between every inning of a MLB game.

I guess, are we a royal PITA? Or really, just a non-existent entity that really doesn't cause to much grief or trouble? I would assume it can vary from race to race. Alcatraz I assume attracts generally a little more experienced crowd.

If I were kidding I would have asked how much Dungeness crab you ate and what was the cringiest thing you saw or heard from an age grouper over the weekend. Or the Reddit AMA question of whether you'd want to fight 100 chickens, or one chicken the size of 100 chickens.
Last edited by: aj```: Jun 13, 17 13:05
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Hi Ben! Great race!

On the run, how did you pace it? All out the entire time? Hold back a few miles then let loose?
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Did the high winds affect the bike much?

Hillary Trout
San Luis Obispo, CA

Born a swimmer, borrowed a bike, laced up some runners, and the rest just fell into place for a solid MOP life.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [aj```] [ In reply to ]
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aj``` wrote:
Did you have to show your ID at packet pickup? Do you even bother with the t-shirt and string bag? Does it even make it past the first trash can?

And do you guys have a separate "mandatory pre-race meeting"?

I'm actually not really kidding asking this. I'm fascinated by the dichotomy of the sport that you don't see elsewhere. With the exception of separate transitions for the pros I've seen at some races (never done Alcatraz, so I have no idea if they do that or not. I'm presuming they do)....the pros are to a large degree lumped in with a lot of goof-offs like me. Same course. Same rules. Same space. Often times we're on the road together at it's not unusual for you to have to lap us on a looped course. I'm guessing all but a handful of the race staff/volunteers (when you add up everyone involved...packet volunteers, street corner standers, aid station people, lifeguards, etc) know you by name, let alone sight. I once saw Hunter Kemper get hassled trying to retrieve his bike after a race in which he won and for some reason didn't have his wristband. Those of us standing there vouched for him. The poor volunteer caved. We shouldn't have put that volunteer in that position. It's sort of like having a whiffle ball tournament in between every inning of a MLB game.

I guess, are we a royal PITA? Or really, just a non-existent entity that really doesn't cause to much grief or trouble? I would assume it can vary from race to race. Alcatraz I assume attracts generally a little more experienced crowd.

If I were kidding I would have asked how much Dungeness crap you ate and what was the cringiest thing you saw or heard from an age grouper over the weekend. Or the Reddit AMA question of whether you'd want to fight 100 chickens, or one chicken the size of 100 chickens.

The packet pickup is different for each race (this races gear was pretty sick so I kept it). There is a pretty small number of pros for this race so the pro meeting was pretty relaxed and they handed us our packets there by calling out our names. We only get slightly different treatment because our rules can be a bit different. I enjoy having the age groupers at our races. I don't think any pros have too big of egos where they think they own the race because they are pro...for those that do feel that way all the other pros usually don't take them very seriously. I love the interaction with age groupers, and it is because they love the sport that there is even a possibility of us making it a career.

I had a crab roll post race...it was delicious. Would have to think about cringiest thing...

100 chickens is pretty terrifying, but a 100 sized chicken is a dinosaur...
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Did you have any close calls passing people coming the other way on the run? I ask because I nearly had a heart attack because I entered that concrete culvert a few years back to find Andy Potts, in the lead, coming at me through that narrow thing. I had a minor fear of crashing into him and ruining his race somehow.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [daswafford] [ In reply to ]
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daswafford wrote:
Hi Ben! Great race!

On the run, how did you pace it? All out the entire time? Hold back a few miles then let loose?

Thanks! I tried to keep the pace pretty honest the whole time. I have a stryd power file that tells the story a little better, but I was running stronger towards the end.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [JustinPB] [ In reply to ]
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JustinPB wrote:
Did you have any close calls passing people coming the other way on the run? I ask because I nearly had a heart attack because I entered that concrete culvert a few years back to find Andy Potts, in the lead, coming at me through that narrow thing. I had a minor fear of crashing into him and ruining his race somehow.

Not this year! It was pretty spread out. I do remember last year having some close calls. I made sure to be aware of it this year just in case.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [SLOgoing] [ In reply to ]
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SLOgoing wrote:
Did the high winds affect the bike much?

It is always a factor at Alcatraz. Some of the corners and descents can get pretty sketchy. I made sure to keep things under control and be aware of where the wind was coming from and where it might gust.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Ben - It looks like you would have set the course record for the bike.
(I assume it doesn't count without the swim).

Do you feel like the course suited you?
What might you have done differently in your preparation that made you faster here than other Pros (who have raced this course)?
How does this bike compare with St George?
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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I asked this in the other thread about the race. What wheels did you use for the event? Any particular reason why so many pros it seemed did not use a rear disc in this event? Or do they just don't race with discs period? Congrats on the win and look forward to Philly in a couple weeks.
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Re: Escape From Alcatraz Ask Me Anything [BenKanute] [ In reply to ]
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Staying with the Alcatraz theme: have you seen any evidence of Anglin brothers and Frank Morris? The home made raft? The paddles? Anything? Thanks.

-warden
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