We love a lot about each of our Dimond athletes, but Rafe Armstrong ranks up with the best of them because of 3 things. He sent beer as a Christmas gift for the Dimond boys, he gave a Dimond to his wife (much better than a diamond) and he has been competing in triathlons for over 20 years.
Rafe got his start in sports with competitive water skiing. He was quite successful and even dabbled as a pro for a while. Rafe used biking as a means to build up leg strength. When he met Kathy, his wife and collegiate runner, he added running to his bag of tricks. After watching Kona on TV for a few years, he decided he wanted to join the ranks of triathletes, and the rest is history.
Rafe chose Dimond for the same reason many of our other riders chose the brand: the made in the USA mentality. But, a few other factors went into his equipment decision:
“Dimond is a company that is on the cutting edge of technology, but also provides tremendous support to all of it’s customers. If I have a question or a problem, I can just pick up the phone and I am talking to the guys that designed and built my bike; not just another bike shop guy on commission. Also, it is the coolest looking, best riding, and all around fastest bike out there!”
Rafe is on his second Dimond after deciding to size up to a large. He gifted his very lucky wife with his first Dimond, a size medium that fits Kathy perfectly. Rafe built his new bike up with all the bells and whistles, including the new Dimond Superfork, which Rafe refers to as “the bomb.”
“I love the Shimano Di2 so I stuck with that. I had the Zipp Vuka aerobar previously and found it to be very aero and very comfortable and extremely adjustable so I just needed to move to a small stem size with the larger frame. The Rotor Flow crank and chain rings are beautiful, aero and stiff. I had those on the bike I gave to Kathy and wanted to keep the same on this new bike.”
He also treated himself to new Zipp NSW 808 Wheels. Besides the sleek new integrated graphics, Rafe loves how quiet, fast and smooth they feel.
“I would be lying if I said I could tell they are faster than the Firecrest 808’s, but recent testing seem to indicate that to be the case, and this old fart needs all the help he can get. And they match the frame color perfectly!”
Rafe learned some hard-taught lessons from his season in 2015. After racking up a few Ironman podium finishes at the end of 2014 and getting PR’s in shorter distance events, he pushed hard with his long events in 2015.
“I think with all that success, I pushed it a little too hard…it’s always a work in progress trying to get it all right.”
With that takeaway from last year, his race plans this year include trail runs, the Boston Marathon, Gulf Coast Half Ironman and Chattanooga 70.3. He’ll finish with the full Chattanooga Ironman in September.
Did we mention Rafe is also a doctor? He fits in his training schedule between his busy work schedule by training in the morning before work. He also has one of the best training partners, his wife, to keep him in stride.
To anyone looking for a new tri bike, take Rafe’s advice to heart, After all, he is a seasoned triathlete:
“Don’t get me wrong, there are many many great bikes, and a lot about a bike is personal preference. But for comfort and speed you just can’t do better than a Dimond, especially if you want to do some longer races. And one of the greatest perks about getting a Dimond is you become part of the Dimond family. That includes all the great guys at the company who will do anything to help you out, but also all the great athletes who ride Dimond bikes as well.”