News: New Head Coach and the Trump of Triathlon

NEW HEAD COACH

I am and always will be the CEO of Palmer Tri, LLC but I am excited to announce I’ve hired a new HCO (Head Coaching Officer). The previous HCO was fired at the beginning of August for gross negligence, unforgivable incompetence and a severe scruple deficiency (that is to say, he was unscrupulous). Before and after this individual I myself served as HCO. With all my other duties for the company (training, sitting on the couch, eating) I am pretty busy and prefer to have someone else serve as HCO. Plenty of my fellow midwestern pros seem to operate well independently, my teammate David Thompson or Badger Thomas Gerlach for example, but I know I operate better with a coach in my corner.

In 2011 when I looked for a coach I was specifically on the market for an ‘elite’ coach. I wanted someone with experience bringing pros to the top of their game. There are not that many elite coaches out there. Most of the real elite coaches are too busy doing their job to have much of an online presence and unfortunately the internet was my main way of researching. There are some ‘elite’ coaches who have a big online presence but their work with pros is actually just a marketing tool. While I salute their good business practice, they are obviously not really going to be a legitimate option. This is the “Cabbagepatch Coaching Model”. (Any resemblance to actual tri coaching business is fully intended.) Good business, not sure about the coaching itself. You see these types of coaches / smart businessmen ride the fame of their main pro until they are high profile enough to write articles for magazines and develop their own brand name. Pro tip: a key thing to avoid is coaches / businessmen who invent their own weird language for everything. The language of training and racing is established, you don’t need to rewrite the dictionary.

In the end I found someone who had done some interviews I could review, had a website and overall seemed reasonable enough. He had results with a few prominent athletes both short and long. In retrospect, I knew nothing about him. I should have actually asked around with fellow pros as he already had a reputation for being sneaky. I started up with him and for 20 months did the training as assigned and paid an enormous monthly fee. I trained more and more and harder and harder and my results slid further and further in the wrong direction. In 2012 and 2013 I invested much more time and money into my racing only to earn FAR less than I did in 2010 and 2011. Not acceptable. Perhaps the most offensive thing was that this guy accepted no accountability for the results. He was dismissed. I did not look for an ‘elite’ coach this time around.

I selected my new HCO for a number of reasons. First, he has several years of experience but is not so far along in his career that his is totally set in his ways. Experience is good, complete inflexibility is not. He is a student of the sport. He has reached out to some of the best coaches in the game to pick their brains. He has gathered his knowledge from many interesting sources. He has coaching experience outside of triathlon and has worked with athletes in many different settings. He does not believe any of the tri training misinformation and has no tolerance for that malarky. He and I have a good rapport and we have multiple channels of communication available. I have seen how hard he works for his athletes, how much he cares about their success and how closely he keeps in touch. I trust his knowledge and believe we will be good partners.

I have already made it clear I am going to be high maintenance. I set the tone our first day, I did both assigned sessions differently and added a session and both texted and emailed him. In my experience, when someone tells me they are going to be low-maintenance, that is a 100% guarantee they are going to be high-maintennance. It is only fair to let this guy know up front that I plan to be a handful. Joking aside, I do plan to be much more active in this partnership by offering feedback, asking questions, and voicing my opinions. For my athletes, the ones who get the most out of working with me are those who offer feedback, ask questions, and keep me up to date. I will name this new HCO soon but I want to make sure he doesn’t fire me in the first week. Let the training begin!

THE TRUMP OF TRIATHLON

Switching gears, here is a little commentary on current events in our sport! I have been observing Brett Sutton (coach, criminal, egomaniac) since I first heard an interview with him on IMtalk in 2010. He got my attention by blasting all the typical tri training jibber-jabber. All of it. It was awesome. Since then he has been more and more vocal, seeking more attention all the time. I call Brett Sutton the Donald Trump of triathlon based on his enormous ego and the way he talks about himself. If you ask Brett, Brett is the smartest and most successful coach to ever walk the earth and he is also an expert on everything related to triathlon and we should all be so lucky as to hear what he has to say. Just listen to a few minutes of this and I dare you to disagree. And if you don’t know who Donald Trump is, consider yourself lucky. He is a blowhard who from New York who inherited money and a start in business from his wealthy and hard-working father. Trump is so desperate for attention I doubt anyone doesn’t know who he is. Actually, please leave a comment if you don’t know who he is!

Brett was half-owner of a pro team, Team TBB, but has made headlines by leaving the team to change the world all on his own. You can read about that here. Team TBB has been interesting to watch over the years, they’ve outlasted most other pro tri teams. I respect the way they innovate by partnering with regions and training locations, most recently Cozumel. Unfortunately the success of the team didn’t mean success for the original title sponsor, a high end chain of bike stores in Asia (The Bike Boutique) which has since folded. It is also worth noting the team has invested in social programs in different countries using triathlon as a tool to help the youth of the area. Good on them for that. Sadly it seems the team will probably be folding in the very near future. TBB just lost Cervelo as a sponsor, their original cash sponsor is no more, Brett is gone, and most of the team’s big names have just left. Maybe they can bounce back but it seems dubious at best. The fact that Sutton could not make his vision for change work with his own team is telling.

Sutton and Trump:

Both egomaniacs (love themselves, view themselves as the greatest, talk about themselves as if they were the greatest)

Both have notable successes and plenty of failures (I’d argue Brett is actually more successful in his field as he’s coached world and olympic champions, Trump is really just a joke but he does make money now putting his name on different products)

Both criminals (Brett’s crime is infinitely worse and an unforgivable stain whereas Trump is just a run-of-the-mills crook who breaks the law with regard to business practice and sexual harassment)

The tone these guys take when they talk about themselves is hilarious. They truly have world class egos. With no more Team TBB and no one around him to keep him stable and on his rocker I am guessing we will see Sutton slowly spiral from being our sport’s Trump to our sport’s Rob Ford. Maybe I’m wrong, we’ll know soon enough. I would definitely pay 100$ to hear a conversation between Brett and Donald.

STEVE STENZEL: WORST OF THE WORST UPDATE

Steve and I are super, super close to picking a date for our duel in the pool. Early December. We will be racing a sprint. Steve and his cadre of online bullies (talking about you, Veronica B. aka @ADK_Ironwoman aka FEELINGS HURTER) have been quite vocal recently with regards to my mother. I don’t get it. What did she ever do to you people? Steve, do you hate her or love her? Are you my biological father? The timeline of the affair you claim to have had with her is unclear. I am guessing you are not my biological father as I’m average height (for a human male, not for a Hobbit) and I do well at sports but who knows.

I have always been honest and clear with my comments regarding Steve and never deliberately negative. Maybe Steve’s anger towards me is driven by my exceedingly elegant ease with the English language while he can barely bring basic sentences together. Maybe Steve’s searing, sultry scorn stems simply from Alliteration Envy, a well known psychological condition. Whatever the reason, Steven, lets settle this in the pool like men. Or like one man and one hobbit.

If you have a different view of Sutton or Tump or Stenzel, please comment! Controversy! Drama! Have a nice week! Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a picture! From when it was warm! By Ali Engin!

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