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Todd & Amy Balog

Todd & Amy Balog

Amy at Ironman Lake Placid, 2018.
Todd at Ironman Lake Placid, 2018.

Where do you live, what do you do for a living, and how old are you?

We live in Saratoga Springs (downtown). Amy is a nurse practitioner and Todd is an officer in the Army. We are both 42 years young.

What kind of bike(s) do you ride? What are the features you like about it?

We both have Trek Speed Concept triathlon bikes. The best feature is the electronic gears. It allows for easy shifting and finding that “sweet spot” on long rides. Both of us find that our bikes are designed to climb hills well and maintain speed on the flats.

How long have you been riding, and how did you get into cycling?

Amy has been riding for 5 years and Todd for 4 years. Amy decided one day to check off “Do a triathlon” from her bucket list. Her first race was the Musselman sprint in Geneva, N.Y. After completing that, she recruited Todd to be her training partner. Todd had never done a race, nor was it on his bucket list, nor did he know how to swim or even have a bike! He bought a bike, learned how to swim and was transformed into a training partner. His first race was the Musselman the following year.

How do you typically put the miles on your bike(s)? Do you keep track of your miles?

We typically put miles on our bikes by training for various triathlons. Our mileage depends on the type of race we are training for (sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman or Ironman distance). At the beginning of each training season we start with short distances and then progress to our long rides. Our rides vary from 30 to 110 miles (2-3 times per week) based on our training plan. We keep track of our miles using a web-based program called “Training Peaks” and on our new Garmin Edge 520 +’s.

You’ve done Ironman Lake Placid a couple of times now. Can you tell us what it’s like to train for and race an Ironman? How big a part of the preparation and race is the bike portion?

Training for an Ironman has its highs and lows and requires a lot of time! It helps that we train together to support and motivate each other. Based on the length of the race, we have found that we have to be strategic in our training and fueling plan. The race is not only physical, but psychological in dealing with all of the expected and unexpected variables throughout training and race day. For example, riding in a race on a sunny day compared to a rainstorm with 50 mph winds will affect your speed, fueling plan, and morale. You have to learn to adjust and adapt to the unexpected. The bike is a major portion of any triathlon and impacts the success of the race. Most Saturdays during our training season feature long rides (8-10 hours) somewhere in New York.

Do you have some favorite routes?

Anywhere we are least likely to be hit by a car

What are your long-term cycling goals?

Our long-term cycling goals are to do 6 Ironman and 6 Half Ironman races before the age of 50.

What are your proudest moments as a cyclist?

The proudest moment for us was when we completed our first long distance training ride (112 miles) on the Lake Placid Ironman course two years ago. We realized we had the ability to complete long distance triathlons.

What tips would you offer to less experienced riders?

You have to prepare with the right gear (not necessarily the best gear) and you need to be comfortable while you ride, especially when you are riding long distances. For short triathlon races, speed is important. For long triathlons, comfort is important.

What’s your favorite cycling product/accessory?

My Garmin Edge 520+, electronic gears and hydration system (Torpedo Versa) that doesn’t splatter in my face!

How do you fuel and hydrate when you’re in the saddle?

We typically fuel with Endurance formula Gatorade and Power Gels, Power Bars and bananas. The goal is to fuel properly to decrease or prevent stomach/GI issues when transitioning to the run.

Any funny or unusual experiences during your riding/racing career?

Amy claims that riding with Todd requires a “GoPro.” Todd is entertainment on each ride – from learning how to clip in to dealing with wildlife and battling the elements. Amy thinks Todd should have his own YouTube channel.

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