The Road to the ITU Triathlon Chicago: Alex Libin’s first reactions to Chicago

Yesterday, Alex gave us a little more insight on his reactions to: the sheer busyness of Chicago, the logistics of racing in a WTS event, the women triathlon race, and staying loose before a major race. Please cheer on Alex today at 4:30pm for the men race. Stream here:

Yesterday morning started out with a little bit of a wild bike shake out. Decided to try my luck riding the Lake Shore bike trail rather than deal with the stop lights on the city streets. Not sure which would have been the better choice, the bike path was packed with joggers, other cyclist, dogs and anything else you can imagine. So I gave up on that idea and found a nice deserted stretch of road on Navy Pier to open up the legs. After throwing the ride onto Strava (a running and cycling GPS), turns out I got the KOM (king of the mountain) to boost!

After a breakfast very similar to yesterdays, I packed up my room and got ready to move down the hall into a new room. This was all part of the logistics I have to juggle, however it gave my breakfast a chance to settle so that I could go do my dynamic run drills. The great thing about Chicago is all the parks; it was easy to find an open grassy field to get my drills done. Even better because I got to watch a pick up cricket game going on, still can’t tell you what was going on, but it was fun to watch.

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The Road to ITU World Triathlon Chicago: A day with Alex Libin

With just two days to go until the ITU World Triathlon Series in Chicago, Z3 athlete and coach Alex Libin was kind enough to give us a first-hand look at race familiarization day for the Elite Men!

imageI woke up this morning to another cool and foggy day in Chicago; it feels more like Seattle at this point. I went for a little jog and a quick look at the course set up. I couldn’t really see too much, but I did get a chance to look at the narrow two-person-wide exit ramp that we will be using for the swim. There’s going to be a log of congestion there!

I ran around the Shed Aquarium and finished up back at the hotel where I was lucky enough to grab some breakfast with the USAT mechanic, “Sherpa,” who has a suite on the 24th floor of the hotel. The suite allows him to fit all the bikes in his room, but even more importantly, it comes with free breakfast! Read more

The Road to the ITU Triathlon Chicago: Q&A with the Libin

We were lucky enough to catch up with Z3 athlete and coach Alex Libin in the midst of his preparation for the ITU World Triathlon Series in Chicago to get his thoughts on all things WTS!

Libin2Z3: When did you hear that you would compete in WTS Chicago and how were you chosen to compete?

Alex Libin: I found out I was doing WTS Chicago a week before the race. I nominated myself for the race, knowing it would it be a bit of a long shot for me to get in. But somehow it worked out and now I’m going!

How did the short notice affect your training?

It basically meant that I would immediately go into a taper week. My training for this race probably isn’t ideal because it hasn’t been something that I’ve been working towards or focusing on for the last several weeks. But that’s the way ITU racing is sometimes and when you get the call you just have to step up and be ready to compete with the best that you can bring.

What will be your biggest challenge in this race?

The logistics of the race are a bit tricky. I also have no USAT funding for this race so while most of the athletes will be at hotels right on the race venue, I will be at a homestay 30 minutes outside of the city, so there will be a lot of driving to and from the race site in the days leading up to the event. Really, I just don’t want to miss a meeting or get my homestay’s car towed for not parking correctly in downtown Chicago!

Hopefully you’ll remain ticket-free! Do you have any personal goals with regards to placing or goal times?

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The Road to the ITU Triathlon Chicago: About the Race

An estimated 75,000 spectators are expected to attend the fifth of eight 2014 World Triathlon Series (WTS) races this weekend in Chicago, Illinois. The series showcases 130 of the world’s best elite triathletes (65 elite men and 65 elite women) competing against each other in a draft-legal, Olympic-distance (1,500-meter swim, 40-km bike, and 10-km run) race hosted by the International Triathlon Union (ITU).

wts chicago Entering its fifth year, the 2014 ITU WTS has already held races this year in Auckland, NZL; Cape Town, RSA; Yokohama, JPN; and London, ENG. The series will hold the remainder of the races in Chicago, IL; Hamburg, GER (July 12-13); Stockholm, SWE; and wrap the series up with the WTS Grand Finale in Edmonton, CAN. Chicago is the third US city to host an ITU WTS race (San Diego, 2012 and 2013, and Washington D.C., 2009). Furthermore, Chicago is also scheduled to be next year’s host for the 2015 ITU WTS Grand Finale race; the first ever US city to do so.

Gwen Jorgensen, the 2012 Olympian and No. 1 women triathlete this year on the WTS circuit spoke on Chicago hosting these races in the ITU article, “Chicago to Host 2014 ITU WTS race and 2015 Grand Finale.” Jorgensen said, “Competing at a WTS race in the USA is like having a home-court advantage – all the fans are cheering for you. It’s an amazing experience, and something that pushes all of the U.S. athletes further than we think possible”.

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The Road to ITU World Triathlon Chicago: Meet Alex Libin

LibinAs Alex Libin dove into the cool waters of Pleasant Creek Lake, he never imagined that he was beginning a race that would continue far beyond the finish line of the small Pigman Sprint Triathlon. A race that would push him mentally and physically further than he ever thought possible; providing him with his highest highs and his lowest lows.

Seven years later, he can begin to see the finish line.

Libin is less than a week out from the biggest race of his young life, the ITU World Triathlon in Chicago, the only US stop on the eight-city World Triathlon circuit. “That is the end-all dream,” Libin said in a 2013 interview. “Do all the major races and train in Europe, it’s the center of the draft-legal world. That would be incredible.”

Libin began his racing career in 2007, doing mostly XTERRA offroad triathlons. In 2008, after graduating from Valley High School in West Des Moines, IA, he attended the University of Iowa, where his short-lived triathlon career seemed to end as quickly as it had begun. “I took a bit of a hiatus when I started college and steadily got back into the sport starting in 2010,” Libin said.

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