New Addition to G.W Tri Development Team: Meet Ross Weinzierl

After many years of multisport racing, Ross Weinzierl emerged on the Gear West Bike radar after placing 3rd at Oakdale Duathlon this spring. At Oakdale, Ross cut off a 25.3mph bike average and kept both run segments well under 5:50 / min pace. Needless to say, he is a contender, and a great addition to the Gear West Bike and Tri Development Team.

After a couple of brief conversations, it is easy to conclude that Ross is a super nice guy who loves to compete, race around with his high energy Huskies, and will serve the Gear West name well at any race he attends. Ross grew up in Waconia, MN and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2008 as a mechanical engineer. He currently works for Cummins Power Generation as a Compliance Engineer and is an active member of their wellness committee in his spare time. Ross broke into the triathlon scene in 2007, racing at Waconia and Chaska. The balance of all three disciplines really hooked him into the sport and proved to be a new challenge beyond collegiate soccer.

Currently he lives in Highland Park (St. Paul) with his two huskies, Moose and Ole. Both are extemely active, making for great running partners during the winter. Ten below zero is no problem with those two. Family is huge for Ross and they continue to offer support at all of his races. Aside from multisports, Ross enjoys chocolate, icecream, riding his motorcycle, standing on one leg, and microbrewed beer.

Read more about Ross in the interview below:

1. Besides us asking, what made you decide to race for Gear West Bike & Triathlon?

GW is the premier tri shop in the state and associates itself with the best races/directors and standout athletes (both on and off the course).  It was not so much a decision; it was an honor to even be asked to race under the GW colors …so of course I said yes! 

2. I know you come from an athletic background, playing soccer for the University of St. Thomas, but what made you decide to get into triathlon?

My initial interest stemmed from watching my uncle compete at the Waconia triathlon in the late ‘90s.  I decided I was going to train for Waconia 2007 and give this triathlon thing a shot.  The idea of an endurance event was quite intriguing to me, but just running seemed kinda boring…  But combining three different sports in one race!  That’s got to be the thing for me and I was determined to find out how it all worked .

3. Did you have a previous background in swimming, running or cycling?

I almost joined cross country in high school….but then they opened the soccer program and I had to be a part of that.

4. Do you have a coach? Without going into too much detail, what does a typical week of training look like for you?

I do not have a formal coach, but rather a great mentor. My schedule has been anything but regular this year, so I end up moving stuff around quite often but try not to miss any key workouts. I have also incorporated more rest and recovery into my weeks due to the increased level of training intensity.

A typical week will contain:  1 hard bike and run to work on increasing my pace, 1 long ride/run to incorporate endurance at a higher and higher paces, a recovery run and easy ride typically in the same day. My swimming has been anything but consistent until recently.   8-10k in the pool is pretty standard at various paces/distances etc. Core work, recovery, foam rolling and stretching are in the AM and PM depending on the day.

5. If you don’t mind, can we get your official weight and height? You lay down some pretty fast splits for a relatively “big dude” in the multisport realm. Give us some insight on how you run so fast.

Weight:  199.2 according to the scale in my bathroom.  Plus or minus a pound or two.

Height:  6’3”

I’ll make a quick wise crack and say I’m running from the people behind me and trying to catch the guys in front of me!  So falling somewhere in between seems pretty reasonable.

In all seriousness, I put on a lot of miles this winter with my huskies. We would run through the snow in the woods by the river in St.Paul.  No pace or distance requirements, just get out there, go as fast as you can for a while and then break it down. Since they have a ton of energy, you can imagine the breakneck speeds we would travel.  We would run right after snow storms, while it was snowing and in below zero temps.  I actually think they run better when its below zero…me, not so much.

Most of my runs have been less than 50 minutes or so and include short bursts of speed followed by solid recovery as well as lots of hill repeats.  Other than that, I have worked on  improving my biomechanics and turnover rate not only while running, but walking as well.  Its amazing how difficult it is to concentrate on how you walk rather than just placing one foot in front of the other.

Additionally,  I found an interesting workout on Triathlete Europe and have since adopted it to my needs.   It includes “as hard as possible” intervals for short (building up to 3 minute) periods of time with double recovery.  Not a direct impact on running times, but I think it made me more mentally prepared for running all out.

My next challenge is to figure out how to run better off the bike with greater frequency.

6. I know you have been competing in triathlon for a few years now, but do you have any learning moments or past race-day errors that will make our readers laugh?

I believe it was the Alexandria Chain of Lakes sprint where I had a big “ah ha!” moment in racing.  Coming up on the final 400m+ of the run, Micha Turman and I were neck and neck and I decided to take a shot at putting him behind me.   A bit of a stretch..but I figured it was possible. Well that day I learned what kind of adrenaline rush one gets from a wife screaming at you to go faster….needless to say it was not my wife…but Micha’s.  He took me in that finish and I will never forget what it is like to come so close to edging someone out but not having the extra bit left to take it.  So now I finish all of my runs with an all out blast to the finish.  Thanks Abby!

7. What races are you planning on doing this year? Do you have a couple of goals that you wouldn’t mind sharing?

Cannon Falls Duathlon 4/30
Cinco Du Mayo 5/7
Lake Elmo Du 5/14
Gear West Du 5/22
Buffalo Oly 6/4
Rochesterfest Oly 6/19
Waconia 6/26
Heart of the Lakes 7/17
Lumberjack days 10 miler 7/24
Turtleman Du 8/13
St.Paul Sprint 8/21
Mosquito Man 9/3
Square Lake Half Iron 9/11
Big Woods 1/2 Marathon 10/17

My big goal this year was to go out and have a great time racing and to cheer for everyone else race.  I know that racing well each time may not be in the cards, but going out and having a great time is a definite. 

Unlike most years, I didn’t sit down and write out a bunch of goals and expectations for myself.  I have a drive to get better each year, but did not want to be overburdened by metrics. 

I think closing out the season with Square lake half will satisfy me quite well.  I will be racing my mentor and will hopefully have learned enough by that point to give him a solid challenge.

8. So I read that you also enjoy micro brewed beer. Can we expect you to clock out a pretty fast beer mile at the end of the race season?

You Betcha!

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