Meet The Team: 2011 Wisconsin

It’s gonna be a rocking weekend in ol’ Madison, Wisconsin!  TeamEN has 40 racers descending on the Mad City ready to show 2,100+ other tri-geeks how Ironman® racing is supposed to be done.  No, it’s not all about the bike . . . . it’s about the run.  If a racer in an EN tri kit runs past you counting you know you  are now officially Road Kill.   Nothing personal.  Rabbits are just great motivation.

Meet a few of our rock stars below.


Rich Strauss

Endurance Nation Coach

43yo, Monrovia, CA

Rich is the co-founder and co-head coach of Endurance Nation. He lives in Monrovia, CA, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains on the north side of Los Angeles, with his wife Joanne and their two fuzzy kids, Sonny and Riley. He has taken 3yrs off from triathlons, instead focusing on starting EN and coaching the team vs his own training and racing. Ironman® Wisconsin will be Rich’s third time racing Madison, with a PR and Kona qualifying time of 10:05 in 2002 and he’s looking forward to leading the other 39 TeamEN athletes racing on September 11th. Rich’s goal for Wisconsin is to use the race execution and tools that TeamEN has developed over the years to execute the best race he knows how, especially on the run.

Brian Kelly

2011 Ironman® Wisconsin Race Captain

I am Brian Kelly, 55 yrs old, married with 4 grown children, and 1 grandaughter, 6 weeks old.  Have been competing in sports all my life.  Played 9 years in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimo’s (1979-1987).  Won 5 Grey Cups, and I was youngest player to be inducted into the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame.  This is my 4th IMOO.  I have learned it is never the fastest, biggest, fittest, or most talented that wins the prize, but it is always the one who executes properly on game day.  I have the EN plan, and am looking so forward to race day to have the opportunity to execute it!

Davis Tallo

David Tallo resides in the blunt part of the pointy end in Ironman® Age group racing.  Wisconsin will be his 14th Ironman® and his 13th attempt at reaching the EN Varsity ranks.  As a teenager he smoked a pack of cigarettes daily, which he intends to regret from miles 16 through 26.2 of the run.  He has nine or ten “One Things,” including a top-100 finish, a 9:56 or faster overall, and a KQ in Men’s 40-44.

Venkatesh Krishnamurthi

Native of Northeast Ohio-born, raised and lived for all but 5 years in Cleveland Ohio area. Married for 13 years to wife, Smitha, and 2 boys ages 10 and almost 9. Day job is a physician (surgeon) at the Cleveland Clinic. Triathlon “career” started in 2008 with Cleveland Triathlon (Olympic) and last year did 1st full IM (IM Wisconsin) so hoping to do a little better this year.

Jon Bergman

Jon Bergmann is a technology facilitator for a school district in the Chicago area and does educational consulting for schools around the world.  He also co-authored a book this year on the Flipped Classroom.  Training for Wisconsin has been quite a journey and a quite a puzzle to fit in all of the workouts.   He has trained in twelve states this year, moved his family from the mountains of Colorado to Illinois, and has written a book.  He is indebted to his amazing family for bending and accommodating his passion for triathlons  He is a  has been doing triathlons for eleven years. Wisconsin will be his second ironman. His first was ten years ago and was poorly executed. He is looking forward to a great race.

Tim and Jen Jardeleza

This is our first season with EN and Wisconsin will be our first ironman race.  Tim is an anesthesia/critical care medicine doctor in the Army and I am a nurse working in the emergency room/cath lab area.  We have two great boys, and our oldest just did his first triathlon this summer. We did a few triathlons when we first met, and took a hiatus from them when we moved out to Maryland. We started getting back into triathlons slowly in 2008, and started doing half ironmans last year. We have enjoyed PRs on a lot of the races this season in comparison to last year.  We had a great time at the EN rally in July.   We are looking forward to racing with EN at Wisconsin!

Brian Bird

I am a 40 year old  native Texan who relocated to Hinsdale, IL after meeting my amazing wife, Kim, in graduate school in 2002.  We are the proud parents of two wonderful and energetic boys, Hayden (3) & Carter (10 months) – I’m still trying to find a way to channel some of their endless energy for race day (ANY IDEAS?).  I am attempting my first IM this weekend and could not have gotten this far without the incredible support of my entire family.  Thanks to all of you for putting up with the long weekend rides and early morning workouts that I tried to sneak out of the house to do….only to find out that the kids woke up as the door closed behind me.

Andy Fenton

40 years old, married to my long suffering partner Kate for the last 6 years. We have two wonderful boys – Harrison aged 3 & Jake 8 months.

I’m a Brit, originally from Manchester in the North West of England, but I’ve been living in the Madison area for the last 6 years. I work as an IT Director for a Global Genetics company.

Growing up, I always participated in sports – mostly football (sorry, sorry….’Soccer’) and cricket (you know, that funny British game a bit like baseball!), but switched to endurance sports when I moved to the US – originally marathons, but incorporated some swimming & biking into my run training, so thought I might as well switch to triathlon.

This will be my first IM after having completed 3 HIM & numerous Olympics in the last couple of years.

Love the EN training style – fits perfectly with my training style & commitments of my young family. Although, I think I might have overdone the training ……every time I go ANYWHERE, my 3 year old says ‘Daddy, you going on your Bike?’ …’No Harry…’ ….’Oh …You going running then Daddy?’….’No Harry….’ Too funny 🙂

Brian Quarton

43, Litchfield IL, number 2051.

This is my second ironman after Louisville in 2008. I joined EN on the last day of 2007. My wife, Lori and I have been married 22 years. We have 4 kids, ages 17 to 5. My claim to fame is a brief appearance on the Four Keys DVD. My bio pic was taken at Hopkinton High in 2010. On raceday I can also be followed on www.myathletelive.com. “Let’s roll” on 9/11.

Brian Comiskey

Orland Park, IL
I have two sons, Scott (9) and Dylan (12) that also like to swim, bike, and run. I am very lucky to have a very supportive and patient wife, Michaela.
I finished IMOO in 2009 as my first Ironman® with a time of 13:24.  Last year, I did Lake Placid (12:51) and Florida (11:17).  My goal for Wisconsin this time around is to get a Wisconsin PR of at least 2 hours.  I joined EN just before Lake Placid last year and have made some great new friends and have gotten way smarter about training/racing.
I am definitely faster on the bike this year after going through the Out Season training and went 2/2 with the top AG bike splits in two sprint races.  On the bike this weekend, my mantra is ”chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self” (Source:Ice Cube’s Guide to Racing With A Power Meter).

Robert Towler

Hi I’m Robert Towler, from London England, but these days I live in the Oak Park suburb of Chicago.  I’m fortunate enough to live 100 yards from Matt Sullivan, so we do a lot of the long bikes / bricks together. I’ve been doing triathlons for the last 5 years, 2 years ago I did my first IM at Wisconsin and I’m really looking forward to going back this year having done 2 years under the EN banner.  Last year I had a 1 hour PR @ the 1/2 IM thanks to EN training, even though I had Achilles issues for the 1st half of the year.  I’m married to to fellow triathlete Annette who I somehow talked into doing Door county with me last year, her 1st 1/2 IM, and an incredible race for her.  This year she will there as a catcher on the finish line.  I have some trepidation this year as ’08 Wisconsin was the best race I’ve ever had in terms of execution, I’m just a little worried that it’ll be difficult to execute that well again.

Sue Chapman

IMOO will be my first Ironman® distance triathlon – after getting into this crazy sport just three years ago.  It all started one July up in Door County, WI – watching my younger brother do his first 1/2.  The energy, spirit, dedication, and just plain fun got me thinking that I could and should try something like this.  I’ve lost 30 pounds during this long journey, started exercising (could hardly run around the block when I started), and have since done 3 1/2s, 2 marathons, several Horribly Hilly Hundreds rides, and numerous shorter-distance tris and runs (including the one and only Cow Chip Classic)!  I live in Madison with my DH Scott and two cats – he’s so supportive … but the cats could care less – as long as I don’t miss their dinner!  I am the Director of Member Services for a 10,000+members scientific society and everyone is really encouraging and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive CEO.  It will be great to be racing my first IM in Madison and have my family and friends on the course and to see so many people in both the local triathlon community that I’ve trained with over the years and all of my EN peeps – I’m so glad I’m in the Haus.  Most importantly, I’ll be doing this race with my sister, ENer Mary Larson and my brother, Bob (not an ENer … yet).

Rick Shea

My name is Rick Shea, I’m 48, and I live in Indianapolis with my wife, 2 kids and 2 dogs. I work as a cardiologist.  I have been in the sport since about 1993, and caught the Ironman® bug in 1995 when I lotteried into Kona (raced 2 weeks after my daughter was born -still negative in the SAUs for that one).  I’ve completed 6 Ironmans, including Wisconsin twice.  I think IMWI is the greatest race – it’s hard, the time of year and weather are perfect, and the fan support is outstanding.  I believe Ironman® racing is a simple extension of what I’m about – no need to think up some funny reason why I’m out there pounding the course.  I think I’m there because I belong with people like you, doing something extraordinary.  I plan to race for life.

Matt "Huggy Bear " Sullivan

I am 46 years old and live in Oak Park, IL with my wife of 17 years, Karin, and 11 year old daughter, Clare. Huge thanks go out to them for their support and encouragement throughout my training. I wouldn’t be able to do this without their support! This is my 6th year of triathlon, 3rd year with EN and will be my 2nd Ironman. I did Wisconsin in 2008. I didn’t train with EN but I used the Four Keys execution guidance and had a great day. My training this year has gone extremely well and I am ready to race!

Brant Luebbe

My name is Brant Luebbe.  This will be my first Ironman® distance race and I am excited to see how it will go.  I did Kansas 70.3® in June and didn’t have a very good run due to some knee problems.  I have since tried to change my running form and am running pain free now.  It may not have been the smartest idea to completely revamp my running form in 10 weeks before an Ironman® race but this is likely my one shot at an Ironman® race for many years to come due to work and family obligations.  So, we’ll see how it goes.
I attended part of the Wisconsin camp in the end of July.  Riding the bike course was invaluable.  I am looking forward to putting the EN training and advice into practice on race day.  I am looking to do the best that I can with the fitness that I have built this summer.  Two years ago, I didn’t own a bike, didn’t swim, and hated to run.  I am 30 pounds lighter and feel much better so that alone has made this journey a success for me.
My wife and kids have been great support and I thank them for allowing me the time to train for this race.  I can’t wait to all the EN jerseys on the course.  I hope to represent the team well on race day.

Dave Barr

I live in Central Illinois, about an hour from St Louis.  I’m married with three daughters, all who have done triathlons in the last few years.  I was introduced to triathlons by my former manager who had done a few sprint triathlons.  This will be my third time doing Wisconsin and this is the healthiest I have been coming into the race.  Two years ago I did the race with a stress fracture of my shin and that made for a long day.  This year’s goal is to have fun and try to better my course PR.  I won’t be racing in an EN kit but will be looking for the on-course enthusiasm from the team.  If you see a guy in a Big Shark kit say “hi”, it’ll probably be me.  I couldn’t do events like this if I didn’t have the support of my family.  It is easier having a runner for a wife who also likes to do triathlons.

Beth Pfohl

My name is Beth Pfohl and my husband, Chad, and I are “racing” Wisconsin this year.  I competed in the 2009 IMWI, and Chad was my biggest cheerleader.  Immediately after the 2009 IMWI, Chad knew he wanted to become an Ironman® too.  This time around I’m also competing, but my biggest goal is to support Chad as he becomes an Ironman!  The last five months have been challenging with both of us juggling jobs, our two kids (ages 5 and 2), and injuries.  I can honestly say that most of the time it was awesome having my husband and best friend as my training partner.  I am so proud of him, and I am looking forward to being out there together on September 11!

Mary Larson

I am a 45 year old RN working on clinical trials in cancer treatments which requires travel almost every week, but I know where almost every YMCA with a pool is.   I have a 14 year old daughter and live in Madison, WI.  I grew up on an ice rink and was a competitive figure skater for many years.  I later took up running and trained for several marathons.  I really did not know exactly what triathlon was until I went to watch my sister, Sue Chapman and her husband race at a local Tri.   Looked like fun, so I did my first sprint in Aug. of 2009, another sprint in June of 2010, a half in July 2010 and another half in Nov. 2010.  I joined EN in Feb. 2011.  IM WI will be my first IM and look forward to having a LONG, fun day.

Lauren (Parello) McDonald

My name is Lauren (Parello) McDonald. I live with my husband, Mike, in Westmont, IL.  I have been teaching elementary school for the past 5 years (1st and 3rd grades).  This is my first year training EN style.  This will be my 6th Ironman® distance event (3 x IMWI, 2 x IMKY), and I am hoping for a PR this year. Ironman® has become my lifestyle, and I am genuinely looking forward to being on the course with so many other EN athletes.  This year, my “one thing” is a sub-13 (Current PR-13:00:41, set in Madison, 2008).

Wes Hepker and Daniela Williams

Wes is in his third year of triathlons, and Daniela is in her sixth year. Together they shack up near Iowa City, Iowa…go Hawks!. Both are doing their first (and probably last…how do people train like this year after year?) Ironman® race. We picked IMMOO because of the awesome support our friends and family would be able to deliver. The triathlon career for Daniela started with a guy from the gym saying “I’ll do one if you do one”. When Wes met Daniela, he had already thought of getting into the action, and this pushed him over the edge. After this season, Wes is going back to being the best sherpa ever, with just a few random races to maintain his clydesdale domination.

Adam Weeks

Born in Canada, grew up in Cincinnati, moved to Denmark in Oct. 2008.  Married to my college sweetie (Amber; met at Clemson University), and we have had an incredible past few months since having our first child on May 12 of this year.  Wisconsin will be almost exactly 4 years since my first tri.  I’ve come a long way since then and am looking forward to having a big support crew from family at the race.  Like many of us, I dream of a Kona slot.  Perhaps this will be the yea, thanks in large part to EN.

William "WSM" Jenks

I’m your standard 40-something working-dude with a wife, kids and a busy life.  By day, I’m chair of the chemistry department at Iowa State University, and in the evenings I can often be caught doing things like schlepping or helping coach one of my three kids at soccer.  All three enjoy triathlon – two 10 year olds and a 16 year old, and I’ve had the great pleasure of racing with my oldest boy Chris several times.  I started running in graduate school, and eventually improved to the point of qualifying for Boston and ran my PR of 3:16:40 at Boston in in 2010.  I only started biking about 5 years ago when I picked up triathlon along with Chris; I’m a competent but pretty average swimmer.  An advantage of all this is that I can still set PRs even at this stage of life!  I’ve done several HIM races and one round of IM MOO.  This is my second season with EN.

Jason Zilles

My name is Jason Zilles and live in Perrysburg, Ohio.  I head up the food ingredient division for a midwest grain company.  I started triathlons in 2010.  I was a “quasi” runner, but had never competitively biked or swam before.  I completed a few Oly tris and a Half-iron distance REV3 race at Cedar Point last year.  This year I completed another half-iron and IM Wisconsin will be my first Ironman® race.

I want to thank my loving and understanding wife, Cindy, of 7 years and my two boys, Jacob (7) and Brady (5), for allowing me the time to complete this journey.  I started doing triathlons after seeing some of the Biggest Loser contestants complete the Ironman® in Kona on TV and I said to myself, “I could do that”.  So I began my journey in January 2010 and haven’t stopped yet.  My ultimate goal is to make it to Kona somehow, someday.  But first, let’s get through Wisconsin!

Gene Pish

My name is Gene Pish from Bloomington, IL.  I am 44 years old and have been married to Brenda for 20 years and we have two wonderful children Melissa (11) and Kyle (9).  This is my third year doing triathlon and my first IM distance.  I started 3 years ago by signing up for a local sprint triathlon and then taught myself to swim the next day!!  3 years ago I couldn’t even imagine 140.6….. it seemed so out of reach.  I did IM Branson 70.3® in 2010 and did all of the training “on my own”…. and then ended up with the expected consequences……what I thought was a “great” bike, and a “great” first 10 miles of the run, then the wheels fell off, due to poor execution.  I am so excited to do Wisconsin with my EN team “knowledge”!!  My goal is to have fun, and definitely be a “11-minute rock star”.  I am so thankful to have a family that is so supportive of me and that has put up with a year of 4:00am alarms.

Christian Rabbat

Chris competes in triathlons as a means to incorporate fitness into a busy life. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario with his wife Jennifer and three daughters Lauren, 8, Gabrielle, 6, and Sophie, 3.  He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare.  He is a Nephrologist, specializing in the treatment of medical kidney diseases and high blood pressure. The desire to inspire his children, and to display a fraction of the courage that his patients do is the main motivations to train and achieve. Chris is relatively new tolong course triathlons, with two 5:15 half-iron distances races in the books and a 13 hour IM Lake Placid in 2009.  With all the knowledge and fitness gained in his first year training with Endurance Nation, he hopes to better this time in Wisconsin 2011.

Carl Noftsger

Carl Noftsger, 38 YO living in the midwest (Altoona, IA).  Please note this was to be my 1st Ironman® and was well prepared for it.  All the training and race rehearsal’s had me nailing this baby around 10:45-11:00 hours.  All the hard work was done and all I had left to do was lay it on the line come 9/11/11.  On August 27 at 0645 in the morning 20 minutes from being done we were pace riding in a line when the person behind be hit my tire and down I went at ~ 30 mph.  I tried correcting the bike and bounced off my right hip/leg then my head slammed into the concrete and cracked my helmet in 3 places (Thanks to the Lazer Tardiz-aero) made the loudest noise eva!!!  Then the person behind me whom weighs in ~ 240 pounds note traveling around the same landed on top of me.  My right knee was compressed against the bike frame, concrete, and his mass and velocity and decided enough was enough and blew out.  Nice C-collar, Long back board, and a ride to a local trauma center.  MRI confirmed my worst night mare…..Grade 3 MCL tear and a partial ACL tear.  After going through the stages of dying-Denial, Anger, bargaining, depression and finally accepting that I will not be racing my wife-Alison, Son-Keegan, and daughter-Olivia, and I will be joining you on Sunday 9/11/11 to cheer as loud as we can.  Please remember as you are running and start to suffer the 343 firefighters and others that lost their lives at the World Trade Center on this 10 year anniversary.  This race meant a lot to me, so to my TEAM MATES AND EN WISC GANG MEMBERS AT MILE 18 LOOK FOR ME AND PLEASE GIVE IT HELL FROM HERE ON IN!!!!!!

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Coach P

All stories by: Coach P
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