Open Water Swim Class – Intro


It’s racing season here in Madison! That means it’s time to dust off the wetsuits and start to become comfortable in the open water. Whether you are new to triathlon and open water swimming, or a seasoned veteran, there are always skills to be gained and techniques to be honed. We have a great group of athletes coming out to work with Coach Andrew Keily this season at BB Clarke Beach from 6:00am-6:50am on Tuesday and Thursday, starting June 2nd. We still have some openings available, so feel free to drop in to check us out or sign up HERE.

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We meet each Tuesday and Thursday morning at BB Clarke Beach, at 825 Spaight St. Madison, WI. Drop in fee is $20. First class is free!

Swim Coach, Andrew Keily, has swimming in his blood. A life long swimmer, he is also an Ohio State Alum, Distance Freestyle specialist with a list of swimming accolades that could consume this entire blog. His skills as a swimmer have transferred over to open water swimming and triathlon, and he has quickly become a top finisher across many distances. Now Andrew is combining his skills within the sport with his passion to educate and help YOU become a faster, more confident, and smart swimmer. Below, Andrew describes the approach for the first few sessions, and some other OWS thoughts to consider.

Notes from Coach AK

One of the best things you can do for your open water swimming is to become at ease, or comfortable, in the water. In class, I will teach you many different techniques to let go of “the fear” of open water and group swimming. Once you master comfort in the water, we can begin to work on the technical side of your stroke, sighting, and more. One swim tool that will play a large role in your open water comfort is a wetsuit. Please make sure you have a well fitted wetsuit for class.

Wetsuit Basics:

A wetsuit will do many things to improve your swimming. First, it will keep you warm. This is crucial in the early season when water temps are in the high 50’s or low 60’s, and for this reason we require a wetsuit at class. Second, it helps you float. Wetsuits are extremely buoyant. This should give you some peace of mind, knowing that at any moment during a swim you can roll over to your back to float and relax if needed. The floating also benefits your body position in the water, lifting your hips, and reducing drag which increases speed. And finally, the neoprene of a wetsuit is more hydrodynamic than other fabrics, or even your skin! So all in all, it is always faster to wear a wetsuit when a race allows. During the first few classes we will do a quick tutorial on “How To Put On A Wetsuit,” to make sure you have a good fit, don’t damage the suit, and have unrestricted shoulder motion.  

OWS Basics: What We Will Cover In The Water, Phase 1

Breathing Technique– Just like in biking and running, we need to breathe! Swimming presents the challenge of timing your breathing to coincide with your stroke. Even seasoned swimmers can fall victim to allowing their breathing to dictate their stroke rhythm, rather than working their breath into the proper stroke technique. We will spend a fair amount of time on this, and it will be an ongoing skill to master. 

Full Body Swimming, Driving from the Hips– That’s right, swimming with your hips! The arms create the most propulsion in a freestyle stroke, but you can’t just fight the water. Swimming is a technical skill and shoulder strength will only take you so far. Learning to “drive the hips” will make swimming feel easier and you’ll go faster. Win, win. Say goodbye to shoulder fatigue!

Sighting, Swimming a Straight Line– Why do you swim x:xx per 100yd in the pool but x:xx+30sec per 100yd in open water? Well, one of the first things to assure is that you are swimming straight! A few zig zags between buoys in a 1.2 mile swim can quickly add up to an extra 300 yards or more. Any extra distance is going to cost you time. 300 yards of extra time is significant. Swimming straight will not only ensure you are swimming the minimum distance, but also help to balance your body rotation in order to accomplish this. I will teach you the most effective way to sight, how to reduce your “drift” by balancing your stroke, and other tips and tricks to master this skill. 

This is plenty to focus on for now. I look forward to working with you this season to help you have your fastest, most comfortable, and most confident OWS of your life. 

Coach AK

Andrew and I have worked hard to bring you more than just a group of people who meet to swim around buoys without purpose or direction. Expect each class to have a focus, expect some 1-1 instruction, expect some GoPro video analysis as needed, and expect to have fun and become a better athlete. We both look forward to seeing you June 2 at 6am, BB Clarke Beach. For any questions or comments please contact us at:


2016 Texas 70.3 Race Recap


2016 is in full swing! 12 days ago I traveled with PBC athlete  and friend, Andrew Keily, to Texas to start the season at Texas 70.3 in Galveston. His parents were kind enough to welcome me into their home and make everything easy for us in the days leading up to the race. They even accommodated my newly discovered lactose intolerance! (Thanks, Mrs K.!) Everything went smoothly as we adjusted to the Texas heat, got in some outdoor swims, and some final little taper workouts to stay sharp.


Race Day:

I’m going to skip the minor details of the day before and morning of the race and just get straight into it. There was a big Pro field this year with 58 guys originally on the start list. We woke up to the predicted strong cross wind off the coast, but the water was relatively calm considering.


Despite our efforts to get in the open water before the race, it never happened. So this would be my first OWS (and race for that matter) in 7 months and my first time in my ROKA Elite wetsuit. Last season I had some struggles with the early part of the swim where I would essentially have a minor panic attack and feel as if I couldn’t breathe. In my 5 years of triathlon this had never been an issue, but for many reasons my anxiety about the swim, and my swim ability, grew. After a hefty off season of swimming I was confident that I not only improved, but that the anxiety about the swim was in my past. But to be honest it was still in the back of my mind as we lined up. For that reason and under advice from my coach, Will, I decided to swim my own swim and not sprint the first 400m. So when the gun went off I was on my own. I could see other caps around me, but we didn’t hold it together as a group. My stroke felt OK but not great. After I settled into a rhythm, and the thought of losing my breath went away, things were ok and I just kept it steady. Expecting to swim a 28, I was a bit disappointed when I came out in 31:xx (once I crossed the time mat) but I could see others around me, so that was a bit encouraging. I felt like I had just done a nice steady effort, unlike last season when I would feel as if I was anaerobic for 30+ minutes. Time- 31:07, 49th Pro out of the water.


Being confident I would swim 28-29min the plan Will and I came up with was to work my way up to the next group and legally space to save my legs for the run. We haven’t been doing very much focused cycling since my trip to LA in January, so although I knew I was in decent bike fitness we weren’t going to really press things on a pancake flat course as a 147lb climber type. A hard bike effort would hurt my run, which is at an all-time high fitness point right now. But, although the plan had good intentions, I decided to completely throw it out the window because of where my swim had put me. So I got aero on my Trek Speed Concept 9.9 and immediately was on the gas into the cross/headwind to the out and back turn around point. I passed a few guys pretty early and each time I would look back after about a minute to see that they were not even close, so I figured I was going well. There was a long point where I didn’t see anyone and wondered if I was losing ground, but then a could see a few tiny specs in the distance and that motivated me to work harder. The best part of an out and back course is you know exactly where you are as you approach the turn. Starykowitcz was way out front, followed by Sanders, Weiss, and Drietz. By my estimation those guys were a good 10-11min ahead of me at that point, which I actually took positively because I figured I started the ride about 8min down. So losing only 3min on the bike near the halfway point to 4 of the best cyclists in our sport was not bad. The next few guys were Limkemann and Richie and a couple others, all around 8min ahead. Following them was a large spaced group with Gerlach, Big Sexy, Metzler, to name a few. These guys were about 4-5min up the road. All in all I counted 37 guys in front of me when I made the U turn for home. So between drops and passes I had moved up 11 spots, averaging 25.4mph on the way out. Knowing that there were some guys within range to catch and expecting a few to pop off the larger group, 4min up the road, I continued to ride hard on the way home. I did something I usually don’t do and put it into a bigger gear at a lower cadence and just churned it over as I rocked back and forth. For some reason, that just felt comfortable to me on the day. I made 6 more passes on the way back in, including some guys who looked pretty shelled, and caught on to the back of a small group as we rode into T2. I closed the final 28 miles in 1:01:49, 27.37mph for a total of 2:07:29, 26.36mph, and the 10th fastest bike split of the day, starting the run in 32nd.

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Photo Cred @scottflathousephoto

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^Seems like good company on this list


I had some major issues in t2 with the sole of my shoe and my laces being too tight. I lost about a minute here, which was frustrating as I watched the entire group I rode in with exit about a minute ahead of me. This was a result of poor preparation on my part.


My run fitness is in a great spot right now. A sub 6′ pace is a realistic expectation off the bike, coming from my training feedback and where I’ve been in the past. So I expected at least a 1:17-1:18 on this flat course. And although the first 5 miles were run controlled and steady at 6:00 flat pace, when it came time to pick it up I just didn’t have it. In fact, it became a task to try and maintain 6’s. Through mile 9 my average pace had creeped to 6:06 when suddenly the heat of the day just sort of hit me and I drastically dropped to run the last 4 miles in the 6:30’s. I was able to pass a few more and also hold off a couple charging from behind to work my way up to 26th overall on the day, with a run time of 1:21:59, 6:15/mile.


Photo cred Mike Alexander

Finish time: 4:03:59

Overall it was a decent race for me coming out of a long winter in Wisconsin. To be honest after I crossed the line my initial feeling was disappointment because I had swam poorly and I thought I’d break 4 hours on the day. In a way that sort of drive to always be better and want more is what motivates me to continue to work hard in the sport. Yet on the other hand sometimes I need to pause and remember to focus on the process and and enjoy the moments of each race and each step along the way. 4:04 is a good time. It’s not great at the pro level, but it’s decent. If I had swam 3min faster and biked 3min slower and finished in the exact same time, I would likely feel much better about it. But that’s sport. You go out there and line up to race and give what you can on the day. And when you cross the line the result is the result. It’s over. Learn from it, enjoy it, take motivation from it, and move on. And if you want to improve upon it, then wake up each day with a fire in your belly and get to work.

About an hour after the race my coach and I decided that I would stay down south for an additional week to continue to OWS and have a more aggressive swim approach in NOLA 70.3 the following Sunday. I met some great people and was connected with an amazing home stay and local tri club. More about that in a future post…

A special thanks to all of my sponsors and supporters, Trek Bikes, Bontrager, PowerTap, Roka, First Endurance, Great Dane Velo Club, and Champion Systems. Without you this sport is not possible for me. I’m on the best equipment in the industry and that allows me to focus on the small things, like whether or not it’s faster to smile when I ride because #dimplesarefaster. (stole that one)

Special thank you to the Keily family for everything they did for me this past weekend. You are truly amazing people and I very much enjoyed getting to know you better. Andrew is a lucky guy. Speaking of Andrew, a shout out to his FIRST AMATEUR OVERALL performance at Texas 70.3 with a 4:07:09. I’m very proud this guy’s hard work and progress in such short time. Bright future ahead! You can read about his race at his new blog – here.



Thanks for reading,


Spring Round Up

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April 4, 2016. Madison, WI. It’s 34* at 11:00am and when I look at the forecast I see two days of rain cloud icons followed by two days of snowflake icons. We’ve had two weeks of “spring” but it sure feels like winter still. Mother Nature and our 2016 race calendar clearly need to get on the same page.

We’ve put in hours of suffering on the trainer and endless laps breathing dry, dusty air at the indoor track this winter. They know us by name at the indoor pool and we’re sick of our hair freezing after workouts. But alas, that all comes to an end this week as Coach PB and Andrew Keily head down to Galveston, TX for the triathlon season opener Ironman Texas 70.3. WE MADE IT!

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This season we have some great sponsors on board for Team PBC including Trek Bicycle, Bontrager, Roka, and Champion Systems. We were fortunate to have a very talented Trek designer, Zak Seifkes, create our kit. He drew it all by hand and we think it’s pretty badass.

Coach PB additionally has Powertap, First Endurance, and the Great Dave Velo Club as sponsors.

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I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of our sponsors. Our contacts at each company have been so helpful and great to work with. We are blessed to have companies that believe in us and support us in our efforts. We absolutely could not do this without them.

Next week look for Dana Kalina at NOLA 70.3. He has been training hard and making some big improvements. This race will kick off a big season for him as he heads towards IMWI. Stay tuned for more athlete and race updates as the season progresses.

In the meantime, Texas here we come.

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Coach PB
Cycling and Triathlon Coach, Madison, WI

PBC Partners with ROKA

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We are excited to announce ROKA as a team sponsor for 2016! ROKA, is “dedicated to empowering athletes with products that make them faster — faster than they were yesterday, faster than they were last season, faster than their competition.” We at PBC are always striving for that faster, and having ROKA to support us in that mission is a great honor. Looking for a way to join the #FindFaster mission? Take a look at our OWS Program starting in June, and visit 

Follow ROKA: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Coach PB
Cycling and Triathlon Coach, Madison, WI

Winter Training Camp: RV in LA

Last January I was introduced to the great cycling in the Santa Monica Mountains by friend and athlete, Revere Greist. The riding there is absolutely incredible, with coastal views, great canyon climbing, and some excellent weather, especially when compared to January in Wisconsin. Revere and I had a great time riding, and he enjoyed being able to show me around a place he lived and rode for 3+ years. It was later in 2015 that we decided to head back again to break up the winter routine and enjoy the LA sun once again. This time I would be going for 2 weeks, the first 9 days solo, and meeting Revere and the rest of the Great Dane Velo Club P12 team for the final 5 days. Here is a little recap with photos of the trip:


My arrival at LAX was wet. The previous day LA had experienced some long overdue rain, only maybe a little too much this time. Some flooding closed certain parts of the highway and threatened my riding in the early part of the trip. Fortunately for me, the rain slowed after the first day and the weather was manageable. With my carry on and my bike bag I called an Uber and made my way to my AirBnb, which was the cheapest AirBnb you will ever find in Brentwood, CA… a 1979 RV parked one block from where OJ Simpson “didn’t” kill Nicole Brown Simpson. Very classy.


Yeah, this thing was awesome mainly because of how bad it was. The slant made it impossible to stand in with cycling shoes. Peeing in the bathroom required aiming far right and letting gravity do the work. Sleeping was always a decision of whether to elevate  my legs or my head, as well as trying my best to convince myself that a plywood mattress is good for my back. It became clear that this RV was strictly for sleeping. The rest of the trip would be spent either training or working in a cafe.


After settling into the RV, building my bike, and learning my surroundings, I was in full training mode. Because cooking in the RV was nearly impossible I was going to need to find a way to eat, and eat a lot, on a budget. That isn’t easy in LA. I was able to find an IHOP a mile away that became my morning hang out for the next 8 days. For $6.99 I was able to get 2 eggs, 2 bacon, hash browns, and all you can eat pancakes. Such a deal. Especially compared to the closer cafe that was $15 for 2 pancakes and $6 for a latte. Every morning I woke up, rolled out of the RV, made my way to IHOP, sat in the same booth, and ate as many pancakes as I could to fuel the day. By day 3 they knew my name. Potential sponsor?


After my IHOP breaky it was back to the RV to jump on the bike. I ended up doing a lot of riding, especially for this time of year. It was hard not to ride that much when you know back home its 50 degrees colder and the trainer is calling your name. I was fairly smart about how much intensity I would do each day in order to not overtrain and get sick or injured. It can be easy to over do it and end up sick halfway through the trip. Also, I wasn’t just riding. I did a fair amount of trail running no San Vicente Blvd and swam every evening. The PALI pool in Pacific Palisades was my end of the day routine because I needed to keep up the swim volume AND the RV shower was not an enjoyable experience… so I finished with a swim every day. Oh and now I know why some people shave in the pool locker room… Maybe they live in an RV too.


My home each night. Awesome to be swimming outdoors in January.


The coast after a nice mid January ride. So great to soak up some sun.


The Trek Emonda SLR did the job on some big days of climbing. 8ooo feet of elevation on this sunny day.


Post ride coastal bike shot on a cloudy day. Always taking some time to look around and take it all in.

Without getting into the gritty day to day details, that’s about it for the first 9 days. I woke up, ate pancakes, rode my bike, ate more, ran on San Vicente Blvd, ate Whole Foods hot bar, swam at PALI, ate Chipotle, and fell asleep around 8-9pm on a plywood bed in an old RV. It was awesome. Training was going very well and I was able to maintain a pretty high volume, especially on the bike. Then, the GDVC guys arrived. Ready to go!


One of the best parts about being out here again was that I could compare fitness from this January to last January. It was very motivating to see PR’s across the board on every climb I had done in 2015. Including an 8min PR up Full Latigo Canyon Climb, going 38:11 on day 10 of the trip, and my 3rd time up Latigo that week. That was one of the highlights for me. On a coaching note, PBC athlete Revere Greist came out flying on day 1 with a great climb up Latigo in 36:45. That’s 20th on the Strava leaderboard… out of like 6000… without a pull or a group… behind the likes of Levi Leipheimer and many other pros. Sorry, but this was a proud coach moment for me. Any local Strava users know how strong Revere is. He practically owns this area in terms of KOMs and he is still getting better at age 42. Revere has been an athlete I’ve worked with for just over a year and it’s been great to see the gains and the way his cycling continues to evolve. He’s a great example of what hard work, dedication to the plan, and strong coach-athlete communication will do for your fitness and reaching goals.


Unfortunately on day 2 of the camp Revere had a low speed slip on a slippery descent during a large group ride and left some skin on the road. After lightly tweaking his hip flexor and some road rash he still was able to stay with us and ride strong the rest of the camp. John K in the background proving that when the sun’s out, the tongue’s out.


The rest of the lads, John, Julian, and Dave all rode really well. We all took turns throwing punches up climbs as one by one we all dropped off, in different orders each time, really going at each other to ride hard to each summit. “Young Julian” really gave Revere and I a taste of punishment on the Fernwood to Saddle Peak climb, forcing us to ride upwards of 360w for 15mins or so (on day 4 tired legs!). Thank God we called a truce before the false flats!


Here’s a shot up the backside of Stundt as we rode through a foggy mist up in the clouds, about 10mins after Young Julian had me keeled over my handlebars gasping for air.


By day 5 (my day 14), we had enough of the punishment and road pretty easy-moderate up the PCH to Big Rock. Revere survived the crash, John was fighting a cold, Dave was heading home, Young Julian handled the verbal punishment that comes with being the baby of the group, and I was pretty toast. 75 fairly flat miles doing some pace line work was exactly what I needed. We ran into Caitlyn Jenner at Starbucks in Trancas (what an athletic specimen), that’s my 1 celebrity sighting. After the coffee break we had a serious conversation about a 25 mile Uber ride home. Instead we just relaxed for an hour or so and soft pedaled back. Good decision.


Trek Emonda SLR DA9000 Di2 Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3 TLR. Seriously, if you want an awesome ride, check out Trek Bicycle Store of Madison now.

Our group met up with another couple Madison area cyclist, Narayan Mahon and Rod Duncan, who were out there for their 2nd January trip to LA. Revere cooked a nice dinner, we had some laughs, and talked about our riding. Good times!

And that about does it. I caught a flight back to MSN after 14 days, 720 bike miles, 55,000 feet of elevation, 67 miles of running, 36,000yd swimming, 20+ pancakes, some good friends, great memories, and an awesome start to 2016. IMG_5055

Thanks for reading. Happy training!

Coach PB
Cycling and Triathlon Coach, Madison, WI




Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering

The streets of Madison have been sprinkled with happy cyclists logging unexpected and welcomed winter miles. We have had a number unseasonably warm days so far this season and our science friends are calling 2015 the warmest year on record.

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That all ends today, as we are being hit with our largest snow storm of the season to date. Fortunately, we are able to move training operations indoors. I coach a number of athletes who work at Trek Bicycle HQ in Waterloo, WI. It’s about a 30 minute drive through the country and the only traffic jam you’ll encounter en route is the occasional tractor. I’ve been lucky enough to coach cycling classes for Trek twice per week this winter again. Not only do they know about bikes, but they know how to ride them. Even indoors. I must apologize to the Train Dirty class, which follows my cycling class, as they are routinely left to work out in a hot, stinky room full of puddles of sweat (we clean up, I promise).

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halls of trek

My non-Trek coached athletes have had the pleasure of enjoying 2-hour indoor cycling sessions at Paceline Indoor Cycling in Madison on Sunday mornings at 9:00am. One of these athletes recently posted his ride to Strava and titled it “Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering”. Sounds about right. They are a tough group.

We’ve been putting the miles in at the pool and taking some off-season time to really focus on technique and drills. Swimming in groups has been beneficial and we’ve pushed each other to finish sets when it just sounded better to go home and eat more Christmas cookies. I recently invested in an underwater GoPro camera, which I’ve used to film athletes and evaluate stroke technique. It’s been well worth the investment.


Lastly, PBC water bottles are in! Get your hydration situation in order for the 2016 season. Email to purchase. They are $5 each.


Happy New Year to all. 2016 promises to be the best season yet.


Coach PB
Cycling and Triathlon Coach, Madison, WI

Introducing OWS Coaching

FullSizeRenderYou can’t win the race in the swim, but you can definitely lose it.

If open water swimming is your weakness or if you simply wish to have an open water group to train with next summer, join me for the inaugural year of PBC Open Water Swim Coaching.

Coaching sessions will be instructed by PBC athlete, distance freestyle specialist, and Ohio State Swim Team Captain & Alumni, Andrew Keily. Take this opportunity to work with an experienced NCAA swimmer to improve your open water swimming. Learn how to swim the shortest distance. Practice drafting to save energy and gain speed. Experience the open water in various conditions. Overcome your fears and anxieties about racing in a mass start swim.

There are so many benefits to this program. Andrew is an incredibly qualified swimmer and coach. He has the insight of a trained distance freestyle swimmer, not just a triathlete. So often we wetsuit up and swim around a few buoys without any structured plan when open water swimming. Having a workout for open water swimming is just as important as it is in the pool, but you should focus on different things.

Coaching Sessions will include:

  • full SUP support
  • structured group workouts
  • OWS training and race tactics
  • stroke technique and sighting instruction
  • video analysis
  • 1:1 instruction
  • triathlon entry and exits

Hour long coached sessions will be held in Lake Monona every Tuesday/Thursday at 6am starting June 2 and will run right up to Ironman Wisconsin with the last session being September 6. There will be twenty eight sessions in total. All ability levels are welcome.

For information on pricing structure and to sign up, click through to the OWS tab on my website.

**I am so confident in the value of OWS Coaching that the program will be included for free as an additional benefit for all non-remote coached athletes with a 9 mo+ contract.**

About the instructor: Andrew Keily is an All-American HS, 4 year Ohio State University Varsity distance freestyle swimmer and served as Captain his Senior year. In the pool, he has a personal best of 15:58 for the 1500 Meter Freestyle. In his first year of triathlon, Andrew had numerous overall wins, first overall swim splits, and swam a 25:05 in Galveston, beating all but 7 Professionals. On the coaching side, Andrew brings 20 years of swimming instruction experience. He combines a hands-on approach with video analysis to assist athletes in their specific needs as a swimmer. Andrew has led swim camps and taught 1-1 lessons for experienced swimmers and beginners.

andrewAndrew Keily exiting the water in first place at the 2015 Olympic Distance Capitol View Triathlon in Madison, WI, with a swim time of 17:28 for 1500m (1:04/100yd).


Coach PB
Cycling and Triathlon Coach, Madison, WI