Meet the 2016 Mentoring Crew, and suggest ideas for the new season!

AMA LogoHello St Louis Tri Club! We are excited to launch our 2016 Mentoring Program! In this article we’d like to introduce the 2016 Coordinators and get your feedback for this season. Please use the comments box at the bottom.

The Mentoring Program started a few years ago with the goal of bringing new triathletes into the culture and sport of triathlon. This program is open to anyone, whether you are fresh-out-of-the-box, movin-on-up to a new distance, a single-sport-specialist looking to expand, or a seasoned veteran.

Anyone can join. Really. All we ask is that you are ready to learn, share, challenge yourself, and bring a smile 🙂

The popularity of this program is due to Club participation, from the program coordinators to the Club members who join each week. Thanks to Peter Gonzalez and Sherry D’Amico, the 2015 Mentoring group, we have great ideas for this year and plan to add more to accommodate the growing size and range of the Club.  This year we have three coordinators that we’ll introduce here soon enough. But first, let’s define the program.

Our goal in Mentoring is to provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for all triathletes to ask any questions related to the sport. With three sports to work on there’s plenty to learn! Sure you can ask Google how to clip and out of your pedals, but wouldn’t it be more fun to learn in a training ride or clinic?

This is not a coaching program and we won’t have training plans. We can’t tell you exactly how many carbs to eat, which bike to buy, or what your heart rate training zones are. Rather our goal is to connect you with experienced Club members who can help you figure those things out by sharing how they did for themselves.

We plan to begin the year with clinics to get you ready: clothing, nutrition, gear and equipment. As soon as the weather lets us, we’ll get outdoors to work topics like group ride etiquette, road safety, open water swimming, the scoop on good races, and more.

To supplement learning, we’re going to start AMA discussions in the Club’s forums: Ask Mentoring Anything. For example, we’ll have a nutrition AMA in February. Get your nutrition questions ready for discussion!  For this issue, we’re asking YOU what topics and questions you’d like to see this year?

And now to introduce our program coordinators. And we want you to Ask Me Anything so you can get to know us!

Ryan Metcalf — TJ calls me the Pit-Tater.  You can ask us why.  I’ve been in the club since 2009.  I’ve done all triathlon distances and enjoy all of them for different reasons (be sure to ask me why).  This year my training will be focused on the olympic and half distances.  I enjoy challenging myself and actively seek out tough training.  My opening piece of mentoring advice is “show up”.  If you do, the rest will fall into place.  I look forward to meeting, training, and racing with all of you this season.

tj pasieka — aka the IronBee for my predilection for all things bee. I’ll throw out a softball AMA for ya: Ask me where my love for Bee comes from. I joined the Tri Club in 2005, 10 years ago! I’ve done all triathlon distances but my favorite is the 70.3. I’m also an ultrarunner, and ran my first 100 miler this past June. So I think it’s safe to say I enjoy running questions. I also love biking — the hills, the wind, the sun, and the social. Swimming…not so much! I like to think I just swim so I can get to my bike 🙂  

My initial advice to all Club members — if we say we’re not going to drop you on a run or ride, we won’t. Bee-lieve me! My first interactions with the Club were the Saturday morning group rides, and to this day I remember how they didn’t drop me, were always patient and helpful, and encouraged me to always come back next week. I’d enjoy doing the same for the Club this year!

Carrie Tillott — Just six years ago, I was a morbidly obese couch potato.  I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and decided to make some lifestyle changes.  At first, I couldn’t do much, but I kept doing my thing and before long I was jogging.  The first time I ran a mile, I cried with joy!  Soon I wanted to challenge myself in ways I never had before, so I signed up for an indoor triathlon at the West County YMCA.  I’ve been hooked ever since.   I joined the club in 2011, and thanks to the support and guidance of our wonderful members, coaches, and sponsors, I’ve now completed every distance from super sprint to 140.6.  This year, I’ll be focusing on some shorter races in the spring, leading up to Ohio 70.3 in August.  I believe this sport is for anyone and everyone, no matter your background, experience, or pace.  This year, I’m looking forward to paying it forward by helping YOU reach your goals.



  1. Thank you so much for asking members for ideas! Here is what is at the top of my head:

    * I loved the time a year or two ago when we split the meeting into male and female sides of the room and then talked about “sensitive issues” — I was just starting triathlons at the time and learned so much!

    * I would love to know more about my (new!) Garmin 920 — I know there are plans for technology help and I would vote for that option for sure!

    * What are some cost effective ways of participating in this sport?

    • Dianna, thanks for your questions and ideas.

      Great idea to have a “sensitive issues” discussion. We’ll try to work that in to a meeting or mentoring session.

      As for your Garmin, we’re planning a mentoring session on Gadgets later in January, featuring our own Bill Sanders. We’re still working on securing a space for this session, but it’s tentatively planned for 1/24. You’ll want to join us for that one!

      This sport can be really expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Many of our sponsors offer discounts on everything from gear to bikes to shoes to races (THANK YOU, SPONSORS!). Be sure to check out the “current discounts” page for a list of active discounts. We also have a “Classifieds” section on our website where members sell (or sometimes even give away) stuff like bikes, wetsuits, shoes, etc. Previous club meetings have featured “garage sales” or gear swaps, and we can look into that again this year.

  2. Nutrition Question/Help – I’m trying to switch from burning sugar as fuel to burning fat. I’ve done a lot of reading but would like to hear other’s real life experiences.

    • We are planning a nutrition clinic in February, hope you can join us. I have adapted to fat burning and would like to share what I learned.

  3. You did say anything…

    1. What swim/bike/run or triathlon skill or ability did you last or most recently learn by watching a YouTube video?
    2. What triathlon skill (advanced or otherwise) do you find most difficult to master?
    3. Favorite/least favorite swim drill?
    4. Is there one piece of race gear/equipment from your very first race that you still use to this day?

    • Love your questions, had me thinking 🙂
      1. I watch a lot of YouTube swimming videos. YouTube is usually warmer than the pool! But did I learn anything…hmmm…
      2. Swimming!
      3. All of them, haha!
      4. Yes — my road bike, The Bird aka Billy. He is a 2004 cranberry-colored Trek Pilot WSD. Nicknamed Billy because he has a “triple” and can climb any hill. (This is in contrast to The Filly, my tri race bike). (Yes, my bikes have names! And genders, LOL).


    • Love these questions, Irwin – thanks for posting.

      1. I most recently YouTubed yoga for runners. I’m terrible about stretching after workouts, and start walking around like Lurch if I don’t loosen up my hips.
      2. Running! This is definitely not my forte. I’m always REALLY glad to see familiar faces during the run to keep me smiling.
      3. Tying my legs together and pulling only. Hate seeing that one on the ol’ swim workout.
      4. My racebelt and Road ID. I used the same transition towel for 5 years. I loved that transition towel, which was hideously colorful, and could be easily found in T1. It came back from one race moldy and nasty, and no amount of washing could save it.

    • 1. Yoga and stretching routines. I’ve built up a little library of them.
      2. Not walking during the run, even when my legs are screaming.
      3. The catch up drill.
      4. I still have my first pair of cycling shorts.

  4. Some topics that would be helpful to me:

    Biking – So many options for pedals, what do you all use? What happens during a race if I get a flat? What tools do you all carry? Where do you ride?
    Nutrition – How many calories should I be taking in per hour for an Olympic/Half/Full? Water?
    Swim – Do I need a wetsuit and are there different kinds?
    Clothing – What items constitute a kit? Are bike and tri kits the same? Should I be training in a kit?
    Race Day – What are some unexpected issues that you’ve encountered on race day?

    • Hello CT, you have a lot of great questions here!

      Pedals – I used the same Shimano SPD pedals and shoes for my first four years of riding. They worked great for me until I started riding really long, at which point they became uncomfortable after a few hours on the bike, so I switched to Speedplay. I still use those old Shimano shoes for spin class though!

      Flat tires/tools – some races (but not all) have SAG support to assist with flat tires or other mechanical issues; however, there is no guarantee that SAG will be near you when you need it. For that reason, I always carry two tubes, a patch kit, two or three CO2 cartridges, tire levers, and a bike tool with screwdrivers and allen wrenches. I also never leave home without a few bucks and my cell phone. I might recommend Big Shark’s bike maintenance classes on 1/24 and 2/7. They are $15 per person (a special for tri club members) and you’ll learn the basics of maintaining your bike. I took this class a few years ago and liked it so much that I’ll likely take it again. Be sure to sign up on our website.

      Where to ride -the St. Louis area has no shortage of great places to ride. I like New Town in St. Charles County if I need to train in the wind; Columbia, IL if I need work on the hills; Creve Coeur Park for a quick weekday ride; and the Madison County Trail System in IL for longer stuff where I need access to bathrooms and water. Your mentoring crew is hoping to feature rides at each of these locations later this year.

      Nutrition – We’ll be offering a nutrition clinic later this year to discuss the basics of nutrition; however, nutrition varies by individual, so we won’t be able to tell you exactly what works for you. I would recommend you work with a coach or nutritionist for specific details.

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