Coaches’ Note to Supporters


Read this document ahead of time and make sure you understand it. Ask questions of your athlete ahead of time and come to our cheer meetings. Be self-sufficient and ready to rock on race day.

This document is our plan of attack, BUT, this is the first year that Team Z will be doing this race. This plan, and you, will need to be flexible. Although we have coordinated with the course directors at Ironman and have put a ton of research into all of this, race day is a bit like controlled chaos. Sometimes one little thing goes wrong (like a police officer not letting you go down a road you thought you were able to) and the whole plan changes. If we know of changes by the team dinner we will announce them then, but we may do some last minute improvising on race day.

Your athletes will not be focused on you during this weekend. Don’t be offended. They may say they are, but they aren’t. This is one of the biggest challenges they will face in their lives, and they are in their own world right now. On race morning their brains won’t work ”“ so lower your expectations of them. Give them lots of hugs and encouraging words. Then come hang out with the coaches and get crazy!! We cheer for everyone on the course. But we get REALLY rowdy for our Z’s.

Read on to learn just how Team Z rowdy works”¦


  • We enthusiastically cheer for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether a race participant is a member of Team Z or not. We’re equal opportunity cheerers. It’s who we are and it’s in our DNA. Believe it or not, cheering for everyone actually makes us stand out. It’s crazy I know, but it’s true. Having said this, it doesn’t hurt to actually know the athlete’s names and have everyone wear our colors. This allows the cheerers to “personalize” the cheering experience.
  • Team Z cheer squads purposely go to multiple remote locations on the race course. It allows us to have a greater presence and it makes Team Z stand out.
  • Team Z has many tools of the trade. This includes cowbells, stadium horns (vuvuzelas), clappers, any type of noise maker, and the hippest music around.
  • Our cheerers create handmade posters with clever motivational words and phrases to encourage and inspire the racers.

And we love to wear creative costumes!

Team Z cheerers are held in very high regard. It is so important that Z’s will take it upon themselves to create cheer squads! For Mont-Tremblant, Janet Chow ( and Lisa Folb ( and are spearheading the efforts. If you want to be a part of the Team Z costume squad, contact them ASAP.  Cheering is fun!

However, it’s also a sacrifice. For an Ironman race, some cheerers may be on the course for longer than Z’s are racing. When the race is over, you’ll be just as exhausted! In many cases, some of the last Ironman racers who cross the finish line are Z’s. That’s 17 hours of swimming, biking and running.

BUT”¦. your cheering can directly impact the outcome of a race, especially for a racer who’s struggling and having a bad day. Racers will feed off of your energy and enthusiasm. Knowing that they are not forgotten when they are at mile 20 of the run course, it’s 10:30 PM, and very, very dark outside can make an enormous difference.

The coaches are pumped that we have such a large contingency going to IM Mont-Tremblant.

If you’re on the fence about joining our cheer squad, that’s okay. You can cheer wherever you are for as much or as little as you want and the racers will be very grateful. But if you decide to join a cheer squad, there’s no better group to cheer with than Team Z!

Cheer Gear – Order support shirts, and costumes


ONLY $12.00!



What to say / What not to say to racers

What to Say

  • Keep going!
  • Your friend is up ahead and looking great!
  • Looking strong, keep pushing!
  • Have fun!
  • Go Team Z!
  • Good Work!
  • Way to go!
  • You are my hero!
  • You’re a ROCKSTAR!

and in French:

  • Allez Allez
  • Tres Bien
  • Bravo
  • Soit Fort (“swa for” meaning Be Strong)

What Not to Say

  • You look great (Especially at the end of the race when the person is hurting)
  • Push harder (The person is doing the best they can)
  • ALMOST THERE (Until the athlete is at the finish line ”“ never say this)
  • Only ___ left (Again the ___ distance seems forever away for the athlete. And they may not be on the loop you think they are)
  • ___ Time Until the Cut Off (No need to worry the athlete about things like this, they know

Checklist for Cheering

  • Chair (some cheer stations will have some as well)
  • Backpack (hydration pack is a good idea)
  • Sunglasses
  • Team Z Apparel/ Support Crew Shirt
  • Noisemakers (provided at Team Z cheering stations, please return them when you are finished cheering)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Cold weather clothes / rain gear / rain boots
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Lots of Water
  • Snacks
  • Toilet paper
  • Your ENERGY

Pace and Spectating

If you are tracking a particular athlete, have a conversation about their expected pace and goals for the race. You should know the racer will be at ___ by ___ time. Knowing expected pace, you can calculate where you should be by what time to see the athlete along the course. At a minimum, you can work with the athlete to calculate when they will be at the cheer stations you are planning to visit.

You should also know the racer’s best and worst case scenarios. It’s a long day and lots of things can happen ”“ good or bad. You may want to stake out a location earlier than you expect the racer. Or if you don’t see your racer at an expected time, it’s ok, don’t freak out! He/she may have a flat tire, or just need to slow down to recover.

Weather Conditions

You never know! That’s the theme of our cheer guide and suggestions for what to bring. You just never know what conditions you’re going to get. Weather conditions vary greatly and can change quickly this time of year. It can be a cold, rainy day or a hot, sunny day. We’ve seen 90 degree days for Ironman, we’ve seen 12 hour rain storms when it was close to freezing in the morning. Therefore it is important to be ready for anything. Ironman is a long day, so wear your shorts and Team Z t-shirt for throughout the day and pack a sweatshirt, pants, and rain jacket or umbrella in case the weather makes a sudden change. The Team Z headquarters is located on the map below and as friends and family of the individuals racing, please feel free to leave your bag at the tent (on our gear tarp) until you need it (note, though, it will not be guarded).



During the race, post your sightings, notes, and communications to the other spectators so they can keep track of where athletes are on the course.

After the race, post notes of congratulations.

(It’s important to the creator of this service, a HUGE guy whose name starts with an “E” and rhymes with Goo Bean, that he remains anonymous. Otherwise he’d be featured in the next paragraph with a special thanks. Even though he worked his tail off to make a custom product to meet the needs of Team Z spectators at Ironman, we respect his wishes to remain behind the scenes. So if you see “Goo Bean” around, THANK HIM!)

See the calendar & start today

Come to an information session and see what it's all about!


Growing up, I was never even remotely athletic, a distinct liability in a sports-mad country. Moreover, I grew to associate the idea of people being “sporty” with people who were generally obnoxious, who loved to lord their athletic prowess over others.

Triathlon, therefore, was a revelation for me: very ordinary people who were able to achieve extraordinary things. Team Z is the essence of triathlon in that regard, an amazing mix of experienced athletes (who turned out to be quite nice people) and absolute beginners, all sharing their different journeys. The team is full of people who push me when I need to be pushed and who push me when I don’t think I want to be pushed. Because the team pushes me, I’ve become something I never would have believed I could become: an athlete.

Mark Mullen


Never say never on Team Z! I never thought I would do a triathlon let alone a half Ironman. I told anyone who would listen that the only way I would ever run another marathon was if it was in an Ironman and since I was never going to do an Ironman I had nothing to worry about. Well, so much for my “never” list. With the support of Team Z, I have raced numerous short distance triathlons, several half Ironmans, raced my best injury free marathon (I beat Oprah’s time), and signed up for an Ironman.
Regardless of your experience, speed, motivation, and goals there is a place for you on Team Z. When I joined the Team in December 2011, I did not know what to expect. My old game plan was to go as fast and as hard as possible regardless of the consequences. I do not recommend this strategy. I somehow always fell to side with an injury and burned out long before I reached the start line. This all changed when I joined Team Z. With the help of the coaches and my teammates, I am learning everyday how to find balance physically, set reachable goals, listen to my body, and enjoy the experience. I have a good friend on the Team that says that all the training and hard work is the journey. Race day is the victory lap. Gotta Love Team Z!

Kathy Hsu


In 2009 I ran the Disney Marathon with my mom, accompanying her on her first 26.2 mile adventure. I remember standing at the start next to her and saying, “just think, those Ironman people have to do this after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112”¦..freaking lunatics!.” Two years later with a couple of sprint and Olympic triathlons under my belt, and after a couple of glasses of wine, I started to wonder, “Maybe I can do an Ironman too?” So I pulled the trigger, dropped the cash, and signed up for Ironman Cozumel. This followed by immediate panic. “Oh dear God, what have I done? I haven’t the slightest clue how to train for an Ironman.” A couple months later, by chance, I ran into a Z’er outside of my work and as we started talking Triathlon, she told me about Team Z. “Why not? It can’t hurt” I thought to myself. So I joined. It didn’t take me long to realize that this team had everything I wanted: knowledgeable and supportive coaches, structured training plans for all levels and abilities, fantastic teammates, and most importantly cold beers ready for you after every race!

Scott Leary