Club Champion - Carissa Chambers

Club Champion - Carissa Chambers
USA club member Carissa is just beginning her triathlon season over in the USA. Hear about the USA big races, her upcoming races and the difference between USA and Australian Tri Scene. 

Overview of the USA Tri Season:

We are just getting our triathlon season started here in the USA! I live in Tennessee where we have pretty cold and snowy winters, so most of our winter training is done indoors. However when it starts to heat up, it heats up quickly! Many athletes here in the USA prefer to wait until June or July for their first race to get some outdoor riding, open water swimming, and heat training under their belt. I love indoor training though, so I don't mind jumping right in as soon as the weather is warm enough to race outside even if I haven't gotten an outdoor training session in!

There are a few triathlons across the country that happen in April, but much of our racing happens between late May and early October with a few races happening into December in the warmer places like Florida. Most people plan their season according to some big A races - like if they are shooting to qualify to race as an age-grouper on TeamUSA, our big 4-day Multisport National Championships in early June is where the majority of our qualifying spots are decided. There's also the flip side of athletes with long course goals, like qualifying for the Ironman World Championships, so many of my teammates usually choose Ironman Chattanooga in September or Ironman Florida in November as their target race of the season. I generally find I'm happiest to have a stacked early season of racing, a short 2-3 week break during the summer, another racing block in the later season, and a rest period once we get into winter in mid-December through mid-January.

With how spread out we are across the USA, our USA group won't be able to race in the same events this year like we've done in years past, but we're definitely hopeful to take advantage of any opportunity that comes up to race together in the future! 


Events you are racing in:

My triathlon season began on April 27th with a sprint triathlon at my local state park. The water temp was 58*F (14*C) which was a bit chilly, but air temp that day was around 45*F (7*C) so once out of the water it was perfect race weather! That race was perfect to dust off the cobwebs of racing to get me ready for my back-to-back weekend 70.3 races in May. 

We did a ton of driving in May! I finished Ironman Gulf Coast in Panama City Beach, FL on May 11th, came home for a full week of work, then drove to Chattanooga as soon as I finished up work on that Friday to check in for the Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 on May 19th! It was a fun and super rewarding challenge to attempt, and I'm thankful I was able to cross both finish lines healthy and happy! 

Next up, I'm switching my focus from 70.3 training to short course training through October. I'm going to be racing in the 4 day USAT Multisport Championships the first week of June. I'm signed up for 8 races (2 per day) starting with the Super Sprint Duathlon Time Trial and Super Sprint Triathlon Time Trial on Day 1. On day 2, I'll be racing the Standard Duathlon followed by the Aquathlon (definitely the hardest day!) On Day 3, I'll be racing the Draft Legal Sprint Triathlon and the Draft Legal Sprint Duathlon. Then on Day 4, it'll be like a party to race the Mixed Team Relay Duathlon and Mixed Team Relay Triathlon in the team format! After this packed week, I'll be taking about 2-3 weeks to relax and do some active recovery before dialing in training to race for age-group TeamUSA in the Multisport World Championships IN AUSTRALIA!!! I'll be racing the sprint and standard duathlon races and I'm so excited to see & race with some of the Australian friends I've made through this team! After racing in Townsville, my sights will be set on the Sprint Triathlon World Championships in Malaga, Spain (also as an age-group TeamUSA) in mid October! To round out my year, I'll be racing on the iconic Daytona International Speedway in Florida for CLASH Daytona long course triathlon (70.3 distance). 


USA events that are on your bucket list:

There are so many amazing races here in the USA! I've thankfully had a chance to do a ton of my bucket-list races, some of those being: Ironman Chattanooga 144.6 (the bike is 116 miles), Antelope Canyon Ultra 50 Miler trail run, and Ironman Musselman 70.3. I'm really excited to do CLASH Daytona this year which is at the top of my wish list! 


Differences you have seen from USA to Australia in the Tri Scene 

There are so many differences, but still so many things that are the same too! The biggest contrast is the popularity of relay teams at Ironman events. I was amazed at how popular teams were when I raced in Cairns last year, seeing hundreds of teams! For contrast, at Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 there were over 3,500 individual starters, and only 80 relay teams. This is a funny one, but in the USA, you can absolutely not bring a bike pump to transition and expect to get it back at the end of the race if you don't hand it off to someone you know not racing before the race. You either use the pumps Ironman brings and lines the edges along the transition zone, or bring a small electronic pump. In the USA Ironman events, the top 5 in each age group get awards whereas I noticed in Australia its top 3.

Also - Vegemite at aid stations!?!? That's a new one for me! Another surprise was getting a finish line towel instead of a finisher's hat - I have SO many hats so I liked getting a towel! I was really surprised they had race numbers pre-assigned - here in the USA your race number depends on what time you check in and you only get a lower bib number if you're an All World Athlete.

Also in the USA Ironman races, body marking no longer happens, but I noticed in Cairns that race numbers came in the packet! One final funny difference - the course markings were in kilometers, so I felt like I was making so much faster progress than the mile markers we use here in the USA!  


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