Sitting down with Lisa Ribes

Lisa Ribes Roberts has been accepted into the Timex squad this year and quickly rewarded the trust of this long running team with a fine runner-up spot at Ironman Los Cabos.

Slowtwitch: How are you Lisa?

Lisa Ribes: I’m doing really well! Busy as usual, but it’s a good kind of busy.

ST: Did you get much training in over the weekend?

Lisa: This weekend I took it really easy. The week after Ironman races is the only time I call what I do exercising instead of training. So this weekend I ran a little bit, swam a little bit, and rode a little bit; nothing hard and all of it social. It helped that I went to a cousin’s wedding and got to catch up with family I haven’t seen in years; I had no interest in training hard when I had family to hang out with!

ST: As a member of the Timex squad how do you juggle getting your workout sessions in and following your friends and team mates in races around the globe?

Lisa: Luckily, I don’t think of it as a juggling act or a task at all! It is simply what I do. It’s a passion for me to keep track of what my friends, Timex and Powerbar Elite teammates are up to because what they do is so incredible, positive and awe-inspiring. I’d much rather follow them rather than the general world news that tends to focus on so much negativity and hatred.

ST: I hear what you are saying but I think you misunderstood. How do you get workouts in on race weekends with so many friends and teammates competing?

Lisa: Ah, ok I understand now. I typically will wish my friends and teammates luck in the days leading up to the race, checking in to see how they’re feeling and if they’re ready to go. I then follow along on my computer or if I’m working out, say on a long ride, I’ll have my phone with me to check in from time to time. Once they’re finished, its congratulations all around!!

ST: You are actually a new addition to the team. How did you get connected?

Lisa: It has been a goal of mine to become a member of the Timex Team for several years now. They are a close-knit group of superior athletes and ambassadors, so I made it a point to get to know them at races. I also followed what many of them did throughout the year. I figured to become one of the family, I had to really understand who the family members were and what they were about. I am also a new addition to the Powerbar Elite Team this year, so I have two families! Timex and Powerbar are already connected, so it makes it easy for me.

ST: So you stalked them, but what and who got you in?

Lisa: Ha Ha! I stalked them - guilty. I would attribute it to 4 things. I applied via their normal process online year after year. I had several current Timex team members, whom I stalked, um….met talking me up to Tristan over the years, partly because I hadn’t successfully stalked Tristan myself. I had the help of Endurance Agency Sports Marketing. I had my best season so far in 2013, which I believe made me more recognizable. But despite all that, I feel I got onto the team because I embody their core values for dedication to our sport, commitment to community, ambassadorship, and I think they realize I have great potential to excel with their support.

ST: What was that team camp experience in Florida like?

Lisa: I had a great time at camp in Florida! I was coming from Tucson, so I didn’t have the oppressing need to get out of the cold, snowy weather that many of my teammates did. I had expectations of what camp would be like and I was not disappointed. To clarify, this is not a training camp even though we get time to train while we are there, but more of a team-building opportunity. We learn all about the Timex brand, our incredible sponsors, new products and technology in the works and in general learn how to become the best ambassadors of our sport and our sponsors. Okay, okay…we also have a fair bit of fun too! Our 5k race theme this year was ‘Florida tourists’ and I saw costumes ranging from strips of bacon to superman. Random, isn’t it? Personally, I ran the 5k with a swim mask and snorkel on. Have you ever tried to run by breathing through a snorkel? Not easy. And that swim mask? It gets really sweaty after 2 minutes.

ST: That camp has taken place in NY at the NY Giants facility until this year. Weather wise Florida was a wiser choice for sure, but are you sorry you missed out on the Big Apple experience?

Lisa: My teammates from the cold climates will probably hate me for saying this but honestly, I would’ve loved to go to the NY Giants facility for camp. However, the IMG Academy was really an incredible venue. It was inspiring each day to see the students at the Academy so dedicated to their sport.

ST: Did you travel straight from the camp to Mexico to race Ironman Los Cabos?

Lisa: No, I came back from camp to my home in Tucson before I went to Los Cabos. Hey, it’s on the way, right?

ST: Were you able to get all your new Team gear for that race beyond the Timex casual and racing kits?

Lisa: Not quite yet. I understand IM Los Cabos is one of the earlier races of the season, and the fact that we have some new sponsors this year makes for a lot of coordination and work to get everyone what they need in time. I am grateful for their support, so I am patient and understanding!

ST: No bike instant gratification needs?

Lisa: What triathlete does not have instant bike gratification needs? Of course I’m drooling over my Trek Speed Concept! It’s a rocket ship of a bike and I look forward to showing it off at my next race. But for IM Los Cabos, I was still quite comfortable riding my previous bike for the time being. No sense in getting bent out of shape not having a new bike to ride; I had work to do at the race and business is business!

ST: Obviously when you step to the start of any race you want to do well, but is there now additional pressure representing a Team and having all these additional eyes watching you?

Lisa: That’s one of the great aspects of being on a team like Timex – I know my teammates are watching how I do, but I don’t feel pressured by it. It is actually quite uplifting! I am also so proud to wear the Timex kit and I like to see how others respond to seeing that brand – when they see me in it, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that anyone who wears that kit does so for a very good reason. I find that empowering; it gives me a great boost in confidence. Plus, I love the fact that I have spectators at random cheering for me, Go Timex!!

ST: Talk about your race there.

Lisa: I felt very strong and ready to race IM Los Cabos this year. Having raced it last year and being the only returning pro female from the podium from last year, I knew the race course and conditions. That is a great advantage. All my training leading up to the race was ahead of schedule compared to last year and I was excited about that. As the race drew nearer and the predictions showed temperatures rising, I got even more excited. I knew it has been a rough winter for most of the country and one of the warmest winters on record in Tucson for me!

So, I went into that race completely prepared and basically ready to execute my race plan. I had no doubts or questions in my mind about what my body was trained and capable of doing, and that is the best place to be leading into an Ironman. It makes race day really simple – just do what you’ve trained to do, and if you feel really good, take a chance! Now, it’s no secret that I spend most of my races chasing – I’m still not the greatest swimmer, but I’m working on it. And this race was no exception. I hit the bike course hard to start making up my deficit and get the leaders in running range. My first lap of the bike was hard, smooth and steady, but I was not able to eat much for some reason. This affected me on the second lap and I lost the few minutes I made on the leaders and even a couple more. By the third lap my nutrition had come around and I felt better, so I was feeling really good by the time I got to the run. And run I did! I normally monitor my running pace when I race, but this time I didn’t look down once. I ran by feel, which I believe is the only way to race. I train with all the appropriate data and ingrain what that effort feels like, but race day is so much about feel and momentum and being present to seize an opportunity! I save the data analysis for after the race, when I’m sitting with my feet up on the couch.

ST: At what point of the run did you catch Carrie Lester?

Lisa: I caught Carrie with about 3-4 miles to go. She worked really hard out there all day.

ST: But Linsey Corbin did not crack up front?

Lisa: We all start to get a little anxious and on the edge in the last 10k. I knew I was continuing to make time on her, but would likely run out of real estate. I simply gave up too much time on the swim and the bike to get myself in an appropriate running range of Linsey. Linsey is a tough chica and no joke on a race course – don’t be fooled by how sweet she is! She, like so many of us, will turn ourselves inside out before we completely crack. However, I think it would’ve been really interesting had I been a little closer to her toward the end. On the last out-and-back with about a mile to go, we saw each other and yelled, ‘See you in a few minutes!’

ST: How did you celebrate that fine effort in Los Cabos?

Lisa: At about 9:00pm, I walked down to the Oxxo [convenience store] and bought myself a Magnum chocolate - caramel ice cream bar. Have you ever had one of those? To die for. It’s the closest thing to chocolate heaven on a stick, apart from my beloved New Zealand Cadbury chocolate. Then the next day I went ATV’ing with my husband outside of Todo Santos.

ST: Who was more skilled and faster on the ATV?

Lisa: Jon is definitely more skilled on the ATV, but I think I’m more skilled. I’m not sure which is more dangerous!

ST: What is your next race?

Lisa: 70.3 St. George, just up the road from me. Looking forward to more hills!

ST: Will you still race in road cycling events?

Lisa: Absolutely. I love racing my bike! It keeps me in great cycling shape and I like the strategy and team tactics within the race.

ST: Any goals and aspirations there?

Lisa: I recently upgraded to a Category 1 and that was always a goal for me. Next year I’d like to guest race for some of our domestic pro teams while I’m doing my early season tri training and racing. So, if any of you are reading this, hit me up! I’m a great workhorse and love to strategize.

ST: You are a Landscape Architect in your spare time?

Lisa: Hmmm, spare time? What’s that? I consider neither my triathlon training nor my managing a landscape architecture company as being done in spare time. Each takes full commitment and attention. I am truly and completely both a triathlete and landscape architect. To consider either one as being done in my spare time would be a great disservice to the profession! It takes an inordinate amount of organization, drive and willingness to do each of them at a professional level. I sacrifice most of my downtime because it is filled with very important work and training. Gee, I sound really exciting, don’t I? I’m really not that intense all the time. I do make time to hang out, laugh, and have a good time. My close friends see to it that I do.

ST: Anything else we should know?

Lisa: I feel like my 10+ years competing in triathlon is finally starting to come together. I have a great feeling about my upcoming season and really look forward to seeing how much further I can push myself! Let me just put this out there - I’ll look forward to talking with you again after I get my first Ironman victory!