Sunday, June 28, 2009

SDIT, Barcelona and running again

I was out watching the San Diego International Triathlon, enjoying spectating for a change. Always interesting to be on the other side of the equation. Had many athletes of mine racing, as well as friends and people who attend many of my workouts, so a great opportunity to support others.

In a week Orlanda and I will head to Barcelona with our friends Jim and Nancy Walsh, to enjoy the incredible country of Spain, and I will get to fulfill one of my dreams of experiencing and seeing the Tour de France, as it comes through the city of Barcelona. Thursday of that week, Barcelona is the finish line of stage 6, and the start city for stage 7. Stage 6 will likely be a sprint finish, which should be awesome to see in person, while stage 7 is the first mountaintop finish of the tour, which will be exciting and probably the first major sorting out of the GC.

It's great to get to go to the Tour, because I was never able in the past. The month of July was always right in the middle of the season for me, and training and racing was always more important. Now it makes no difference, and it's great to have this opportunity.

I have even started running again, although it's so slow I would call it jogging. I'm not used to being passed when out for a run. I'm enjoying just getting out again, and trying to begin to get my weight back down to something I'm a little happier about.

I'm also realizing that the Ironman training was overkill in so many ways, I am much happier with the shorter sessions, and not feeling like my life is devoted to Ironman training. It makes me want to go back to short-course ITU racing.

All in all, things are good, and I am very excited about the upcoming trip. I hope to have more to report from the trip, complete with pics and Twitter updates.


Monday, June 22, 2009

FREE TriJuniors Open Water Swim Clinic - Sunday, June 28th

Please help me spread the word about this great event, for youth development in triathlon! TriJuniors is hosting a FREE open water clinic to any high school aged kids and their parents! The event is on Sunday afternoon, after the San Diego International Triathlon, at Ventura Cove.

If you know a parent of a high schooler who might be interested in TriJuniors, or who want to share the fun of triathlon with their kids, please share the linked flyer and/or following information:

Who: Parents and their teens, interested in triathlon and TriJuniors,

What: A FREE open-water swim clinic for parents and their high school aged kids, as well as Q&A with Coach Jim Vance about TriJuniors, to answer questions about the team, support, race and practice schedules, etc.

When: Sunday, June 28th, 1-2:30 PM

Where: Ventura Cove, Mission Bay Drive, (http://tinyurl. com/crm5vh) Map provided on flyer.

Flyer is available at this link:

Food and drinks will be provided to all attending. Please RSVP to Jim Vance at

Please help us promote and grow the sport among high school youth with this free and fun event, and pass this information on.


Coach Vance

Friday, June 12, 2009

Introducing, TriJuniors

On June 21st, 2009, TriJuniors will be born. TriJuniors is committed to promoting and developing the sport of triathlon among high school age youth, (13-18), in a team atmosphere, from beginner to elite ability levels, based in San Diego.

Athletes in the TriJuniors program will build skills and learn goal setting and pursuing goals. With hard work and fun, young triathletes will build a healthy lifestyle from their experiences in this positive environment for personal growth both in the sport, and in life.

TriJuniors will also support certain athletes displaying a desire and potential ability to compete at the highest level of the sport for their age, with a more focused and determined training regimen and development protocol toward ITU draft-legal triathlon.

Yesterday, I spoke about my desires and passions to grow the sport, and there are few ways better to help grow the sport than bringing it to our youth. San Diego is the birthplace and mecca of the sport of triathlon, but bolsters not a single youth team or program in its area. In my opinion, that’s embarrassing and a shame. I have decided to change that.

This team is not just going to be a team of young athletes which trains and races though. This team will set the standard and raise the bar when it comes to utilizing and leveraging social media to bring about sponsors, promote current sponsors, and promote the sport. After all, the team will be made of teenagers, and they always seem to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and social media.

I am happy and proud to lead this charge, but I won’t be able to do it alone. I’m asking for your help in getting this team going, and making it happen. Here are ways you can help:

• Tell people you know about us! If you want to expose youth in San Diego to our sport, then tell them about us! Tell their parents too!
• Follow our Twitter account, @TriJuniors or
• Promote our Twitter account, especially on Follow Fridays
• Become a fan our Facebook page:
• Promote our Facebook page to others

So why the big social media push? Because this team will be directed at youth, giving them amazing experiences in the sport, and the more presence we have, the better the benefits and experiences we can deliver the kids involved in our program.

Our website development is a little behind schedule, (not surprising), but by next week you can see and follow us at You can always follow us at the above mentioned social media pages. Registration for the team will be available on the website by next week, but in the meantime, parents interested in registering their kids will be able to do so by contacting me directly, at

Why does the season for the team only last 3 months? This is because the team is just getting started, and the summer months coincide with kids having the free time available to participate in the sport. It also helps to grow the team without as many conflicts with school sports programs. Eventually, I would like to see the team grow to a year-round program, but at this point I must start small. Also, there is no model for me to follow. I am creating the model for youth programs here in Southern California.

I also have no idea how well received this will be. I could have no kids at all, or just one. But if I have one, I will make it a great experience for that one! I could have 20. I am hopeful to get 10 kids for the season, but however many we get, we get.

Our race schedule will try to expose the kids to many different events, distances, and styles of racing, from non-drafting to draft-legal, Aquathlons to triathlons.

TriJuniors 2009 Race Schedule (Subject to change)

- Strawberry Fields Triathlon, July 19th, 2009 (Junior Elite Cup)
- TCSD Monthly Club Races
- TCSD Monthly Aquathlons
- Solana Beach Triathlon, July 26th, 2009
- Imperial Beach Triathlon, August 23rd, 2009
- Nautica Malibu Triathlon, September 19th & 20th, 2009

Membership for the season is $600. The season runs from June 21st to September 20th.

What do young triathletes get for $600?
- Coached workouts (minimum 2 per week, 4 max, depending on race schedule)
- FREE account, for training log and training plan
- Training plans built specific to their needs and race goals
- T-Shirts, apparel, and other TriJuniors specific items, (based on availability)
- Triathlon Club of San Diego Membership
- Potential sponsor products, (based on availability,)
- Sponsor discounts for young triathlete and their families
- Team environment for growing socially and physically
- Discounted race entry fees, (based on negotiated amounts)
- More to be announced as sponsorship deals are finalized

Due to the athlete numbers not being known at this point, sponsorships and the depth of sponsorships are still being negotiated. Stay tuned for more, because they will be announced as they get finalized.

So that’s the big announcement. More to come on this topic, and I am happy to answer questions here, or via Twitter and Facebook. So please help me spread the word!

Thanks for your support with this endeavor!

Coach Vance

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leadership and announcement tomorrow

When I left racing after last season and decided to concentrate on coaching, I did it for a number of reasons. Some were:

  • Competition getting tougher
  • Travel expenses rising
  • Sponsorships becoming tougher to get
  • Prize money staying the same, or in some cases going down, (XTERRA)
Basically, everything pointed to negative. All of this contributed, but there were other things, like wondering if I had the mental commitment required to continue to race at such a high level. After all, these factors certainly upped the mental ante.

I was starting to look more at the opportunities triathlon was costing me, and not what it was giving me. I left teaching to race professionally, because I loved the sport, not because of money. Somewhere along the line that changed, and I wanted to go back to loving the sport.

I saw so many things the sport needed, which I had a desire to chase and make happen. I came to realize triathlon didn't need another pro-triathlete. What triathlon needed was leadership. Leadership in coaching, teaching, journalism, development, and growing the sport.

Since this realization, I've forged ahead with the same effort and intensity that I brought to my training and racing, near it's peak. Some of these things have been:
  • Coaching a weekly track workout, on Tuesday nights, trying to grow the event, and make it a learning experience for the athletes, not just a hard workout
  • Coaching an open-water swim workout every other Wednesday, because it was clear the community of athletes were lacking race-specific skills
  • Running my first training camp in Tucson, in March
  • Clinics on a variety of skills
  • Giving monthly talks on training topics, at B+L Bikes, on heat training, using GPS and power meters to monitor and track training, swimming, and much more
  • Expanding into other regions of the country to do the same things, (Chicago, Orange County, and soon New Orleans)
  • Coaching and working with elites, like Renata Bucher, to help her make the jump to the top step of the podium this season, (hopefully)
  • Working with celebrities, (Parvati Shallow and Matt Hoover), to bring more attention and new exposure to the sport
This has all been great, and I am happy about the decision I have made, and I think the sport is better for it. I hope to return to racing at some point, but right now, this is what the sport needs from me, and needs me to continue doing.

Last night, at the open-water swim workout, two people from USA Triathlon happen to be walking by, in town for a collegiate conference, and saw what I was doing. They came up and talked with me for bit, and seemed impressed with what I was doing. It was assurance that I am doing the right things, which the sport needs.

So tomorrow, I will announce the next step in this personal mission to be a leader in triathlon, and help raise the profile of the sport. I'm excited, and I think you will be too.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Google Alert Entertainment

I subscribe to Google Alerts, for my name. As a coach and athlete, it helps me recognize when my name is published, and what the general sentiment is of me. And then there are other times when I am just entertained by what comes thru the alert.

There is a black gentleman, also named Jim Vance, who is a news anchor in Washington DC. He is rather popular and well respected, (according to the majority of alerts I've gotten). That's always entertaining to read.

Then I get something like this today....

McCreary County Record - Whitley CIty,KY,USA
Jim Vance purchased the motel/RV park/restaurant in 2002 with his wife Donna. Three years later the couple obtained a winery license from the Kentucky ...

Tell me what I'm supposed to think when I get something like this! And no, I do not have any relatives in Kentucky!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cool interview with Tri Club of San Diego

I did an interview with the Tri Club of San Diego, and it's available for reading in their June newsletter. Check it out, and let me know your thoughts...I thought it was pretty cool.


Friday, June 5, 2009

One of those days

It's been one of those days, where things seem to go great. It's also been one of those days where you want to pull your hair out. I've looked back and been amazed that everything that happened today could be a single day event in itself. Amazing.

I am so frustrated, angry, relieved and content all at the same time. Orlanda just hugged me and said it's been a big day, with a lot to deal with. She's quite right.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I used to belong to an online group of local athletes in San Diego, and some former San Diegans, who had a private message board. I left that group in April, because it became clear that I became a target of this group. My perspective was very different, my opinions sometimes extreme. I have a quite diverse and non-traditional background, so this shouldn't really surprise me or anyone.

It was funny to me how I was criticized rather consistently by the group as being self-promotional, and yet envied at the same time for chasing what I loved and dreamed, taking a risk and trying to make my dreams happen. When I did well I was praised, and when things went bad, or I had a different perspective, I was criticized relentlessly.

I guess it goes to show you can't please everyone. If you're too successful, people will hate that, and if you're a failure they'll rub it in your face.

One person mentioned that if I expected people to support me in my highest moments, then I had to expect people will kick me when I'm down in my lowest. I was at first offended by what he said, but he was right. And then I felt really sorry for those who feel that way. I realized I am better off focusing on what those people closest to me think and feel. Those who support me when I'm injured or sick, and DNFing, not just when I'm finishing on the podium, or have my name in the headlines.

I left that group, and I am today happier and more reassured about that decision. I'm not perfect. I've done things and said things which have upset people, but I've always laid myself out there. I've always been a person who wasn't afraid to make his lofty goals public, despite what others thought of the reality of me reaching them.

I recently saw the movie Tin Cup, (old movie, I know), and a reporter asked Kevin Costner in the movie if he considered how unlikely the chances were of a poor shot choice he made, when he went for the win. He responded with something to the effect of, "Look at me! Look at my weak sponsorships! Do you think I even stood a chance being here? Do you think I really give a damn about odds or chances? Chances are against me no matter what. If I paid attention to chances or odds, I wouldn't even be here."

I think that sums me up very well. I love the fact people have underestimated me. In fact, they would do me a favor by keeping it coming. Hell, in my last post I talked about racing one of the greatest cyclists in American history! I toed the line against him, and was competitive. Trust me, there are plenty of people who have known or met me in my lifetime and would not have believed that could even happen.

I guess that's what is great about life, and sad about those who don't have the same approach.