Anne (Zumbrun) Brasier will be traveling to Beijing, China, in September 2011 to compete in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) world spring championships as a member of Team USA. Brasier qualified by placing 5th in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships at Tuscaloosa, Ala., in September. She is the daughter of Churubusco residents, Bon and Arleen Zumbrun.
The sprint distance is a 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike, and 5K run, in that order. Brasier says, “Depending on my conditioning and health, the course and weather conditions, it normally takes me from 1:14 to 1:36 to finish.”
The top 18 finishers at nationals were invited to compete in Beijing. At present 147 men and women across all age groups are signed up to go in September.
Brasier ran her first individual Triathlon four years ago at the Lonestar in Galveston, Texas, where she lives. She says, “I finished, but it was pretty embarrassing and I have steadily improved with regular training.” Her workouts consist of biking 5–6 times per week, running 4-5 times per week, swimming 1-2 times per week.
This regimen takes about 10-15 hours a week, depending on the time of year. “Almost all my workouts are with other people or in group classes, so peer support keeps us going.” Brasier says.
Swimming has been a part of Brasier’s life long before she heard of Triathlons. During her Churubusco High School days, she swam with the Club O team in Fort Wayne and she competed with the Purdue Women’s Varsity team from 1972 – 1976. Her swimming background allows her to train less often in that segment.
Her swimming history makes the swim segment easiest for Brasier. The rules allow swimmers to wear wet suits when the water temperature is below 78 degrees but it takes two minutes to get out of the wet suit to get on the bike. Transition times are included in competitors’ race time so races can be won or lost in changing to a different segment. Brasier says, “I race in a trisuit, so I swim, bike and run in the same clothes. I change shoes for the bike and for the run, no socks because it takes precious seconds to put them on.”
Sometimes competitors must run several hundred yards to get to the place where the bikes are racked and equipment stored. The rules state that bike helmets must be on and fastened whenever bikers touch their bike or it is an automatic disqualification. Brasier says, “My bike shoes are female specific, have a stiff carbon sole and big Velcro straps. They clip onto my pedals with drain holes in the bottom for water and sweat to drip out.
Special tri-bikes can cost $4,000 and up. Wheel sets alone on these bikes run $1,500 to $6,000. Brasier says that a good Midwestern sense of value eliminated those bikes as a choice for her. Her bike is an upper-middle road bike that has a carbon frame and weighs 15 lbs. with wheels and seat.
In the national race at Tuscaloosa, Brasier’s bike lost a derailleur, leaving her with only the bottom seven gears. Since the race was hilly, those gears were essential, but top speed was 18 mph. Since then, Brasier has taken instruction in bike repair so she can handle mechanical problems in future races.
The running part of the race has been the biggest challenge for Brasier. In off-season, until competitions start in the spring, she will concentrate on building her strength in this event. Equipment is a factor in getting decent times in running also. Running shoes are made with sock liners, so they are smooth inside and have elastic laces so the runner can pull a little clip to snug up, no need to tie and untie shoes.
Brasier says in age group triathlons, they go off in waves of swimmers anywhere from 20 to 100 people and then it is a free-for- all after that, men, women, young, old, with places and times sorted out at the end. The participants have their race numbers on both arms and the front of both legs. “Your age is on your left calf for all the world to see,” says Brasier.
This helps the runner, she says because, “During the race you can see if the person passing you is in your age group and know whether to chase him down or ignore him. You are also reminded that you sure can’t judge how old someone is by how they look.”
How to get competitor’s bikes to Beijing hasn’t been determined yet. Team USA makes the arrangements. Athletes will either take them as luggage, with extra charges, in special bike travel cases or will ship them from a bike shop here to a bike shop in Beijing. If this method is used, Webster Cycle of Houston, Brasier’s first sponsor, will provide the shipping box.