Getting Around the New iPad App


The Rhapsody iOS team has just released v1 of our native iPad App.  Thanks for waiting!  Here’s why we think you are going to like it:

It’s fast:

The app is built around a new player engine – it holds the title of The Fastest Mobile App we’ve ever released; it supports the fastest playback possible and app loading times are extremely quick.  We’ve built in intelligent content caching to automatically save your most recent music to make it very easy to play it back when you’re offline as well as to help conserve your bandwidth.

It’s beautiful:

The Rhapsody iPad App is the most beautiful experience that we’ve built to-date.  The visual richness of the app is designed to showcase the artists and albums available, while fully taking advantage of the iPad’s real estate and high-resolution screen support.

The app is a wonderful tool for discovery:

You can tap and swipe your way through content curated by Rhapsody’s world-class editors.  Music discovery is effortless, thanks to  similar artists and genres, custom album, artist and genre editorial overviews, featured content and editorial essentials for genres.  You can also browse Rhapsody’s exclusive genres to dive into deep discovery of new, popular and editorially -curated music from your favorite genres.


  • Access to Rhapsody’s full Rhapsody catalog via searching and browsing
  • Access and updating member music libraries
  • Access to all of Rhapsody’s editorially programmed genre trees
  • Similar artists and albums
  • Essential content
  • Artist and album reviews
  • Full offline support for unlimited downloading of content and access while not connected to the Internet
  • Player features including a full screen player, integrated volume, AirPlay and Bluetooth support

What’s Next?

We are shooting to follow up with an update early in 2013, with some additional core features that did not make it for our v1 release:

  • Radio
  • Queue
  • Listening History

This is just the beginning.  More great things to come from the Rhapsody iOS team in 2013.


Brendan Walsh

Mobile Program Manager

Lifestylers: Gabby Reece on Volleyball, Fitness and Music

Volleyball star, model, fitness guru, actress, mother, and wife – Gabby Reece wears a lot of hats, and she wears them all with flair and style that have endeared her to many, including her husband, big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. We sat down with Gabby to talk about fitness, being a mom, and of course, music.

To listen to Gabby’s playlist, click here.

Q: Let’s start with the important stuff – are you really part of the “Malibu Mob” or guilty by location?

A: We are always all looking for an identification – so the boys loosely created a club that I have somehow been thrown into – lucky me.

Q: Any similarities between being an elite athlete and a mom?

A: You need a lot of endurance.

Q: We’re going to put you on that hot seat. You have to pick one partner to play with — Misty May Treanor or Keri Walsh Jennings. Who would you choose?

A: Misty because I am a tall player and she is probably the best person in the world to play behind a block. One would be fortunate to play with either.

Q: You have a new book coming out in 2013, anything you can share with us in advance?

A: The title is My Foot’s Too Big for the Glass Slipper and I basically give away all of Laird’s dirty secrets – No, seriously, it’s my observation of relationships, taking care of yourself, aging, sex, raising children…the basics.

Q: You grew up on the Virgin Islands. Curious what kind of music were you listening to?

A: Reggae, and occasionally Calypso

Q: What was the first album/ artist you connected with?

A: The BeeGees

Q: What was the first live show you attended? Favorite live show?

A: Van Morrison / U2 with Eddie Vedder

Q: Fitness and living an active lifestyle is obviously a huge part of your family. What role does music play in that?

A: Huge – it’s the motivation most days to get moving and it’s the sound track instead of my heavy breathing –the music I train to is very different then the music I listen to…

Q: Music can also be a family experience. If you were packing up the whole gang for a road trip, what would the soundtrack be?

A:  Almost Famous

We also had a chance to chat with Gabby’s Husband, Laird Hamilton, so stay tuned for that. For more, you can also check out their website

Lifestylers: Celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello on Food,Wine and Music

Blending culinary influences from the south of Italy with a distinctly Napa style, Michael Chiarello was named Chef of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine just three years after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America.  As a winemaker, Chiarello Vineyards has repeatedly received top marks, including 92 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate for the 2009 Eileen Cabernet Sauvignon. As a restaurateur, his Napa Valley Bottega restaurant has been named best newcomer by Zagat, top 10 by Forbes and top 20 by Esquire. As a Food Network star, and host of Easy Entertaining, he won an Emmy. Whatever Chef Chiarello does, he does it right.

We spoke with Chef Chiarello about appearing on Next Iron Chef, his passion for cycling, and of course, his love for music.

There’s a natural intersection between food and music. In the restaurant setting the pace of the kitchen doesn’t always allow for it, but when you’re at home preparing a meal for family and friends, what are some of your favorite artists/albums to cook to?

Prep – I go to my country roots; Gretchen Wilson or Latino rock, my good friends Los Lobos, something classic like “Wolf Tracks.

Cooking – One Republic, Bruno Mars, Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl is a friend and Bottega regular) and Cold Play.

Clean up – CCR! If you have to ask, you’re too young!

Define “NapaStyle,” what is it/ how do you live it? Does NapaStyle have a sound? 

NapaStyle is a relaxed elegance that has texture, a rich palette of colors with the wonderfully passionate backdrop of flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert. Words get in the way of the Napa music, let the vineyards sing.

Pair the Chiarello Vineyard wine with a song (each wine is named after a member of the Chiarello family).

2008 Eileen Cabernet Sauvignon – Lenny Kravitz “American Woman,” sexy song from a sexy man for my super sexy wife! She’s my American Woman.

2009 Bambino Cabernet Sauvignon – One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” reminds me of our son Aidan’s first concert performance (Bambino is his wine), he’s our Pop Prince.

2011 Chiara Bianco Ribolla Gialla – “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. This is the white wine poured at my daughter’s wedding this year and the song I chose as my first dance!

2010 Felicia Old Vine Zinfandel – Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” It brings out the art in my artist daughter, her go-to feel-good song.

2010 Giana Zinfandel – Band Perry, “Walk me down the middle.” Giana is my lil’ country girl living in a big city looking for the boy who will “walk her down the middle” of their life.

You’ve referred to the ‘living décor’ of your restaurants – what role does music play in the dining experience? 

Music provides the high-notes that move the dance along, making everyone feel good.

You recently threw your “toque in the ring,” competing on the Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef,” what’s that experience like? 

Like competing underwater in a cartoon: Sponge Bob Cooks. Seriously fun, intense, stressful and did I say fun?

You’re also an avid cyclist. Having travelled the world, what are some of your favorite rides? 

I have had three epic rides this year. Stage one of the Tour of California a couple of hours before the pros (with Chris Carmichael, Lance’s trainer). Stage 11 of Tour de France, in the French Alps, was the single hardest ride I’ve ever done. The Pinnarello Granfondo in Treviso, Italy, a classic giro loop of 100 miles in the Dolomites, a perfect day (until I crashed) but I finished strong.

How about your favorite songs to ride to?

Cycling in the mountains – Green Day.

Cycling on the flatta – (Believe it or not) Lady GaGa, she keeps my pace up.

Do you remember the first album you ever connected with? 

My brother is 12 years older than me and he used to play a Joan Biaz album all the time.

What kind of impression did it leave on you? 

That album taught me that you can have an inspired statement written into song lyrics.

What about live shows? Which was your first? 


Which was your favorite? 

Ray Charles.

Are there genres of music you absolutely can’t stand? 

Any music that takes advantage of another gender, race or religion.

If you could have dinner with any musician, living or dead, who would that be?

Johnny Cash.

What would you cook that musician, if given the chance?

I would cook him a medley of dishes inspired by his greatest hits.

What music have you discovered in the last year that excites you? 

One Republic.

For a full playlist of Chef Chiarello’s favorite songs, click here

Lifestylers: London Calling – 2012 Olympic Triathlete Gwen Jorgensen on Accounting, World Travel and Making a Splash

Editors note: this is the second in a two-part series interviewing US Olympic athletes on the eve of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London

When the starting gun goes off for the women’s Olympic Triathlon on August 8 in London’s Hyde Park, Gwen Jorgensen will be worlds away from her desk at Ernst & Young. An accountant by day, Jorgensen will be plying a different trade, representing the United States in what’s expected to be one of the London games’ most visible events.

The Wisconsin native was a relative unknown when she finished second at the World University Championships in 2010. Since then Jorgensen has been on quite a ride, ascending to the top of the triathlon world in two short years. We sat down with her on the eve of her first Olympic games to chat about her amazingly rapid rise, accounting and of course, music.

“Bursting onto the scene” is certainly a cliché in sports, but if anyone embodies that sentiment, it’s you. Describe what it’s like gearing up to compete in the Olympics only two years after your first major international competition.

It has been quite an experience.  I have been swimming and running since I was eight, so in that regard, I’ve been training my whole life.  Qualifying for the Olympics was a bit unexpected, and I wasn’t quite prepared for everything that came with qualifying.  You think all you have to do is race and train; however there is a lot more to competing.  I feel incredibly blessed to have support of family, friends and sponsors.  When you see a success story, you know that it is not just one person creating that success.  I have a God-given talent in running and have had incredible support in swimming and cycling. I could not have qualified without the support and help of my teammates, family, sponsors and friends.  They are the ones who made this possible!

What part of the Olympic experience are you most looking forward to?

I love competing and the Olympics are the highest level of our sport.  I am excited to race against the best in the world and look forward to giving back to all those who have helped me get here.

It’s certainly not uncommon for Olympic athletes to work professionally in other fields as they pursue amateur athletics, but we haven’t heard of many accountants! What was your boss at Ernst & Young’s reaction when you asked for time off to compete in the Olympics? Reactions from the co-workers?

Ernst & Young has been extremely supportive since day one.  I worked full-time for a year, and then asked to work part time to pursue my athletic career.  My boss, Mark Hellmer, was behind me from the beginning and encouraging me to pursue both.  After I qualified, the company gave me a leave of absence.  I feel fortunate to be employed by such an incredible company!  My coworkers were always supportive and flexible as they knew my competition and training schedule.  I miss them, however we are still in contact and talk frequently.

Accounting and triathlon would seem to be quite different, and yet you excel in both. Any connections between the two? 

Oh, yes! I think there are many connections.  In order to be successful in life there are a few things that you must embody – discipline, hard work, dedication and a bit of perfectionism (at least that’s what has helped me).  My parents have taught me to work hard in whatever I do and to always give everything whilst pursing my passions.  This lesson can take you far in life.

Triathlon has taken you all over the globe. What’s been your favorite stop so far?

I love to travel because I love meeting new people, experiencing a new culture and trying new foods.  I enjoyed Hungary because I loved the cheap, delicious food.

If my information is correct, you ran and swam collegiately for the University of Wisconsin, earning All-American honors in both track and cross-country. Pretty impressive stuff. Was triathlon a natural next step for you? 

I wasn’t going to get involved in triathlon until USAT came to me (through their college recruitment program) and gave me an offer I couldn’t turn down: try triathlon and if I don’t like it stop at any time….I fell in love and here I am today, extremely grateful for this opportunity.

Being a Badger, ‘Jump Around’ probably ranks high on your list of favorite jock jams. We have your playlist, but what song would most want to hear as you cross the finish line in London?

The National Anthem.  Being able to represent the USA at the Olympics is an incredible honor and I am both honored and excited to represent the United States of America in London.

We’re guessing music isn’t a part of your swim training but how about cycling and running?

Funny thing – I don’t own an iPod, so don’t list to music much while I work out–I find my training partners much too interesting! However, I do love music.  It can change a mood instantly, and the sort of creativity it takes to create is remarkable.  I started playing the violin at age five and it gave me an incredible appreciation for music/artistic creation. I don’t have TV or cable so I often use music as a way to relax when I’m at home.  My favorite thing is to chop vegetables and prep a meal while listening to my favorite tunes.

Thanks for taking the time.  There’ll definitely be a few Lienenkugels hoisted in your honor back home and we’ll be pulling for you as well!

Thank you for your time and your support.  I can’t thank my sponsors, family and friends enough.  If you would like to learn more about me, please follow me on twitter (@gwenjorgensen), facebook (fanpage: Gwen Jorgensen) or my website ( Thank you and God Bless.

To hear Gwen’s playlist, click here

Lifestylers: London Calling – 2012 US Olympic Marathoner Desiree Davila on Music, Whiskey and Motivation (Turns out They’re Not Mutually Exclusive)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series, interviewing US Olympic athletes on the eve of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Marathoner Desiree Davila will be representing the Stars and Stripes at this summer’s Olympic Games In London. Last year she was steps away from winning the Boston Marathon. Her runner-up time of 2:22:38 is an American record on the Boston course and made her the third fastest American marathoner in history.

We chatted with Desiree as she prepares to depart on her Olympic quest in a wide ranging conversation that touched on music, motivation and the Olympic experience. Follow this medal contender’s journey to London on Twitter at You can also check out her playlist here. We can’t promise that listening to it will make you an Olympian, but it’s worth a shot.

First off, congrats! We’re excited to cheer you on in London. What part of the Olympic experience are you most excited about? 

I’m most excited about the competition, being in one of the strongest female marathon fields ever, and testing myself against the best.

We hear you’re a whisky connoisseur, favorite flavor? Neat, rocks or with water?

‘Connoisseur’ is probably giving me too much credit but I’m definitely an enthusiast. I’m a big fan of bourbon but I’m venturing into ryes and scotch. Generally I prefer it neat or straight up, but it really depends on the whiskey.


(Courtesy of Garmin)

You recently threw out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game, what was that like? 

That was an incredible experience and a huge honor to be invited by the Tigers organization. Honestly, I was pretty nervous about the whole thing, that’s a lot of people watching you throw a ball. I could have afforded to warm my arm up a bit more, but it was an alright pitch.

In endurance sports there are no shortcuts, where do you draw the strength it takes to be where you are today?

I enjoy the process, it is a lot of work, but it’s fun and exciting for me to challenge myself and find out how far I can push myself. If you really want to know how good you can be you have to put in the work everyday, you can’t cheat yourself, and that’s what gets me out the door each day.

When did you realize that you had it in you to be one of the best in the world, what did that realization feel like?

I can’t say I’ve ever had a light bulb moment where I felt like I could reach a certain level. Even now I take it day by day and focus on the little steps that will help me improve. How far it takes me is still to be determined.

Fast forward to London: You’re getting ready on the morning of the race, what are you listening to?

Muddy Waters – I’m Ready


(Courtesy of Garmin)

You’re on the 26th mile, what are you thinking about?

The last mile I’m trying to stay as composed and relaxed as possible while digging deeper and hurting more than ever before.

If you could hear one song over the loudspeakers during that last mile and half, what would it be?

For the last 1.5 of a marathon I’d pick, Bush – MachineHead. The very centering lyric, “Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out,” with the aggressive opening riff – perfection!

What role does music play in your training? In your life? 

While I don’t listen to music during training, I do use it to set the tone before a workout or race, whether it’s getting fired up or playing something soothing to keep me relaxed. Outside of running I’ll put on some tunes before turning on the TV any day. I’m always looking for new bands and sounds.

What’s your favorite running route?

A Southern California route from my childhood – Torrey Pines Beach out to Swamis and back, you run on dirt roads along the coast the entire way; tough to beat.

What’s your routine like the night before a big race? Favorite pre-race meal?


(Courtesy of Garmin)

I keep it pretty simple: write out a race plan, set out everything I’ll need for race day, and kick my feet up and relax. I usually have some type of pasta before the race, the big thing is nothing new before race day.

Any advice for people just getting into the sport?

Be patient, results don’t come overnight. Keep putting in the work and enjoy the process.

To view/listen to Desiree’s playlist, click here

Lifestylers: Lacing ‘em up with long-distance runner Josh Cox

(Courtesy of PowerBar)

You’ve just completed a marathon, all 26.2 miles. If you’re most people, it’s time for a Gatorade, a pat on the back and a shower.

If you’re Josh Cox, you run another five miles.

Cox is probably the most accomplished American Track and Field Athlete you’ve never heard of because he’s always on the run. Josh holds the American record in the 50K (31 miles!) and last year finished an infinitesimally small seven seconds off the world record.

We sat down with Josh as he gears up for another run at the 50K world record later this year to find out what makes him lace up his shoes and head out the door for a few hours. With an insane training regimen that includes running 160 miles a week, Josh may well spend more time running than most any other person on the planet. Who better to curate the ultimate running playlist!

Most of us have to work up the motivation to workout for 30 minutes or, gasp, as long as an hour. But that’s barely your warmup — what drives you?

Each January I write down my goals for the year, some broad, some specific. I graduated school in May 1998, the following January I took to the pen and wrote “I will do everything in my power to maximize my gifts. Hard work. No Shortcuts. Believe in the dream.”

Making a commitment to pursue my dreams meant giving up the short term “good thing” for the long term “best thing” – I couldn’t always control the end result but I could control the process and my preparation. I didn’t have a paying shoe contract out of school. I got free shoes, clothes and PowerBars, but unfortunately bill collectors don’t take PowerGels and warm-up jackets as forms of payment. I worked full time and ran races to make ends meet. Today, I still remember the mantra that got me through the lean times, it’s served me well.

The reality is, the professional world is competitive, no matter your discipline. Doing something only when you “feel like it” is a guaranteed formula for failure. Passion isn’t enough, talent isn’t enough, you have to commit to putting in the work. Somewhere there’s someone just as passionate and talented as you that’s willing to hone their craft daily. They’ll beat you on game day. Pursue your passion and be willing to put in the painstaking work it takes to succeed. Lots of folks want success without sacrifice but life doesn’t work that way.

How many hours or miles is your ‘typical’ long run?

When I’m in full-blown marathon training I’ll run up to 160 miles in a week (I once did 188 but that was stupid). My long runs range anywhere from 18 miles to 36 miles if I’m getting ready for an ultra. Typically, they’re about 20-26 miles, which can be anywhere from 1:45 to 2:45.

When you’re 2 or 3 hours into a run, what are you thinking about?

It depends how bad I’m hurting! If my teammates and I are in a friendly battle I’m focusing on the rhythm of the run, making sure I’m getting my fluids and doing my best not to get dropped! If I’m alone I’m usually searching for my power playlist.

(Courtesy of Josh Cox)

You must work up an appetite burning all those carbs. What’s a typical meal for you?

I eat every 2.5 to 3 hours, I typically have some coffee in the morning, a light meal with some fats and carbs before the run. Lunch is my biggest meal, typically it’s a mixture of green veggies, complex carbohydrates and grilled fish. We try to buy local organic food whenever possible. When I’m trying to lean out and get to race weight I’ll eat more green veggies and consume about four liters of water a day.

What role does music play in your training?

One of my favorite quotes about music is from Ben Harper, he said, “Music is the last true voice of the human spirit. It can go beyond language, beyond age, and beyond color straight to the mind and heart of all people.” I’m a music junkie, I have a library of over 50,000 songs, I train in a group so I don’t listen to music when we’re together but before our hard sessions, when running alone or when the group breaks up I put in my Polk Ultrafit Sport Headphones and fire up the music (when you’re running twice a day everyday, having the right headphones is just as important as the tunes). The right mix can take me away to another place, keep my head in game, or give me the mental tenacity to access the reserves in the well. Different days call for different playlists.

What do you typically listen to before a race?

I’ve listened to U2’s “Where Streets Have No Name” before every race since 1989, the first line is my mantra. The Joshua Tree album is one of the best albums of all-time. My wife and I saw U2 perform in Dublin and it was insanely awesome. Other than that I have a slow playlist with some music like David Crowder Band’s How He Loves and Hillsong United’s Search My Heart (that song was playing when my son Asher Legend was born, it always reminds me how blessed I am). I use the slow tunes to gather my thoughts and prepare my heart for the battle ahead. I have a faster mix that gets my head in the right place before the start, a handful of those songs are in the playlist below.

Of all the places you could live, why the little mountain town of Mammoth? Favorite running route?

Mammoth Lakes offers so much as a training locale. From late spring through early winter we can run repeats as high as 9000 feet, 7100 feet and 4500 feet, all within 40 minutes of each other. There aren’t many places on the planet that provide those options or the hundreds of miles of trails we have access to. Our small mountain town plays host to many of the best runners on the planet, I’m fortunate to be a member of the Mammoth Track Club. Group training has paid huge dividends for us all, iron sharpens iron, success breeds success, the confidence builds, the momentum mounts; you see one guy do it, and you know you can do it too. My favorite route is running up and around Lake Mary for 15 miles then descending down 2,000 feet to finish off the run. After which I hop in the creek to ice the legs (the music plays a key distracting role here as well!).

You’ve appeared in several spots along side Kenny Powers of East Bound and Down fame. What do you think is on Kenny’s playlist?

(laughs) Danny, I mean Kenny, is a hilarious guy. We had so much fun on those shoots, even if I can’t send the links to my mom. I’d guess Kenny would have a good stash of AC/DC, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Megadeath, Slayer and Iron Maiden… but I have this image of him secretly listening to Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” on repeat.

(Courtesy of K-Swiss)

The toughest step is just that, getting off the couch and getting out the door. The first step is the best step, it’s where intent meets action. Don’t talk about it, be about it. First time runners shouldn’t worry about distance, rather, focus on the time spent on your feet with your heart rate elevated. If you have a 30-minute run, go out for 15 minutes, turn around and try to make it back to the start under 30 minutes. This is called a “negative split,” it’s the formula for good training and racing. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Life is about being the best YOU can be. “Fast” is a relative term, it’s not a podium position or race time. Running, and life, is about finding YOUR fast… and listening to good music along the way.

To check out Josh’s playlist, click here

Lifestylers: The (Ted) King of Rock

Ted King is in his seventh year as a professional cyclist, sporting bright green spandex as he trots around the globe racing for Italy’s powerhouse Liquigas-Cannondale team—akin to an Italian playing for the Boston Red Sox.

More than just a jock, King pens a popular blog, writes for Bicycling Magazine, and cultivates a tomato garden at his European home base in Lucca, Italy. On the eve of the Amgen Tour of California, we sat down with Ted to talk tunes, teammates and Italia.

Ciao Ted, what’s new?

Ciao Amici! Well, the Amgen Tour of California is right around the corner, and because my job is pretty integrally tied with my overall well-being in addition to being what I do for fun, what I do for work, and pretty much what I do, then the Tour of California is what’s new. I’ve been out here the North Bay and now Napa for about a week getting ready for the race to kick off Sunday in Santa Rosa.

What’s the coolest thing about living abroad in Italy?

The full cultural emersion is pretty awesome. A big part of that is being on an Italian team. Whereas a lot of Americans move to Europe because of the racing, they’re still on predominantly American teams. Being over in Italy AND being on an Italian team makes for a really unique experience. Plus it makes everyday interactions that much easier since I do it in Italian.

What’s the forecast of your tomato crop this year? What variety are you growing?

It pains me to say it, but weak to very weak. Last year was a bumper crop, assisted by an injury-plagued spring, so I could really hone my green thumb. But this year I’ve actually been racing well and not spending much time in the garden so my tomato crop is whatever I purchase at the market – which are never planted and promptly eaten.

After a long stay abroad, what’s the first thing you look forward to when arriving stateside?

A cup of coffee larger than a thimble. Italian coffee, albeit delicious, is comically small. I’m an American and I like my coffee American’ized. Litero coffee please!

What kind of music do your Italian teammates listen to?

Far more electronic stuff than I care for. Although Daniel Oss with a rockstar’s hairdo is actually something of a rockstar himself. And his fondness for 80s rock is something I highly appreciate.

Do you hear a lot of Andrea Bocelli on the team bus before/after races?

He doesn’t get a lot of playtime because the smooth, easy listening doesn’t exactly get you pumped up.  But American media is huge in Europe, so movies, TV shows, and obviously music are all high on their post-race to-do list.

Describe your music tastes in 5 words (or 10)

Eclectic, excellent, uninformed, easily influenced (which is actually one word in land), and incomplete.

Since you rock the party that rocks the piñata, what’s your #1 all-time party anthem?

I’d be remiss to not say Bicycle by Queen.

And submitted by fan on Twitter:

From ‪@techknowgn@Rhapsody @iamtedking @AmgenTourofCali – yes, please ask ted the perfect music for making fluff sandwiches to

Although not as old as Fluff itself, the artistic and sultry voice of Cat Stevens compliments the art of making a delicious Fluffernutter sandwich.

To check out Ted’s playlist on Rhapsody, click here

(photos courtesy of Michael Robertson –

Lifestylers: Rapping with professional triathlete Jordan Rapp | @rappstar

Three weeks after being born, professional triathlete Jordan Rapp went for his first open water swim (sort of) in the waters of Lost Lake in Brewster, NY. Fast-forward 18 years and he took the first strokes of a different kind–in a rowing shell–on Princeton University’s Lake Carnegie, marking the start of his endurance career.

In 2003 Rapp was injured training to make the U.S. National Rowing Team. But with the doggedness of an endurance junkie, he clipped a pair of aerobars to his road bike, used his first post-graduate tax return to buy a set of wheels, and never looked back–except to occasionally take a peek at the competition.

In late 2011 Rapp hit a career-defining moment by winning the ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championships.  He’s also three-time Ironman winner and demonstrated his range as an athlete by besting pro fields from short but intense sprint distances to the ultra-long Epicman 250. Sporting endeavors aside, Rapp holds a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University, became a father in 2011, and possesses unbridled passion for bacon.

 Swim, bike or run—which is your fav?

I would say running. If you asked me the one that I think I’ll do forever and which I would have the hardest time giving up, that’s the one. It’s not the one I’m best at – that’s cycling – but running is the one that I’ve come to love the most. A pair of sneakers, and you can run. Swimming is equally nice from a required equipment standpoint, but you need a pool. You can run anywhere.

Best thing about the sport?

Being outside every day. My office is, really, anywhere I want it to be. I can run to the ocean, and that’s work. But I think the best thing about the sport “in general” is the drive to excel and achieve. Everyone is there to prove something on the race course – to him/herself or to someone else – and to do it the hard way. There are no shortcuts, and I think that’s what draws people to races. And the vibe from everyone being there knowing that there aren’t shortcuts and being there because of that? It’s electric.

The athlete—not necessarily a triathlete—who was most inspirational to you?

Simon Whitfield, who is a triathlete, but more than that, he’s my closest friend. No other athlete has had as profound an impact on my life as he has. Most it was just was just the day to day of training with him, but his silver medal performance in Beijing was one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen in any sport.

Bigger accomplishment: winning a world championship or graduating from Princeton with a “super smart guy” degree?

When I got my diploma, I spent the rest of the day telling everyone I was invincible. But the World Championship took more years of preparation. I think maybe my degree, if only because that was (at least for now) the culmination of my academic career. While I might someday go back to graduate school, I wasn’t planning on it when I graduated. So in that sense, it really represented the end of the line. Winning a world championship was another step – albeit a big one – on what is hopefully a very long career path. There’s no real definitive conclusion to a career in any field, I don’t think. Certainly nothing like a graduation. So I’d say I certainly felt more of a sense of finality after leaving Princeton. Is that the same as accomplishment? I dunno.

A 112-mile Ironman bike leg takes you about 4.5 hours. What are you thinking about for all that time?

I’m not sure. If you added up all the Ironmans I’ve done – which is over 60 hours of racing – I probably have about 60 seconds of memories. Mostly I think about staying on my pace and remembering to eat and drink. I don’t actually remember doing that very often, but I know that I plan to do that and can remember thinking about it often enough, apparently, to win a few of them.

Speaking of meats, best bacon recipe:

I think you’d be pretty hard pressed to beat the classic bacon-and-eggs. Two rashers, which is a fantabulous word, and two eggs. Doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve had some of the crazy bacon food – chocolate covered bacon (with sea salt, which is delicious), bacon caramel popcorn, etc – but I still wouldn’t trade it for the “real” thing. I don’t really get the idea of “bacon-flavored” stuff. If I want something that tastes like bacon, I’ll just eat some bacon. It’s one of those things that doesn’t need anything added. Bacon and eggs is pretty much perfect. Two ingredients without any additional needed.

You’re a reigning world champion. Your wife is a former pro athlete, and now you have a very, very, very young member of the team. How do you fit it all together?

My wife is awesome… In all seriousness, we make a very good team. I think we share responsibilities well. Plus, having been a professional, she understands the physical and psychological demands of training and racing. And she gets that when I’m gone on my bike for five hours, that’s being at work. And, most thankfully, she gets that sometimes when I need to take a nap because I’m exhausted from being on my bike for five hours, that’s work too. For my part, I try to remember that the world won’t end if training doesn’t go well on the day. And I’m pretty good about being there to give our son a bath (almost) every night. That helps to keep me grounded and centered. So it’s an adventure, as I think it is for all new parents, but we are – I think – doing a pretty good job of finding some balance.

How would you describe your music tastes? 

Eclectic. By way of example, I have a mix that I used to train to that started with the Cypress Hill song, “Rock Superstar” and finished with the 48th Highlanders Pipes & Drums playing “Amazing Grace” on bagpipe.

Rocky had Eye of the Tiger as he beat up slabs of beef. What’s your theme song as you beat up (metaphorically speaking) competitors on the bike?

I’m not sure I have one. I suppose I could slot in one of my favorites, “Bring the Pain,” by Method Man. But I actually prefer to listen to Chopin before I race.

Check out Jordan’s Rhapsody playlist here.

Lifestylers: Rhapping with Cycling Legend George Hincapie

George was a rocker in his youth but now mostly rocks the bike.

George Hincapie is one of the most accomplished and revered US cyclists ever. He’s played an integral role as a support rider for a record nine Tour de France victories as well as amassing an impressive list of national championships. 2012 marks Hincapie’s 19th year as a professional cyclist and he’ll serve as a leader for the BMC Racing Team, one of the top ranked teams in the world.

Aside from a busy racing schedule, George, along with his brother Rich, have started Hincapie Sportswear, an apparel company specializing in premium cycling clothing and jeans designed for athletes. For 2012, George and Rich created the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team to foster cycling’s next generation of racers.

Q: Do you have a most memorable music moment, like a concert?

A: I started racing when I was young, and my lifestyle as an athlete never really allowed much time for concerts. When I wasn’t traveling, I was in bed pretty early.

Q:  Did you ever dream of being a rock star?

A: I used my race winnings as a teenager to buy an electric guitar and my friends and I would have jam sessions in my room.  But once I went pro, my guitar ended up staying home since I was always traveling with and riding my bike. I liked jamming but I loved riding. In the offseason I get to do both!

George Hincapie is one of the most noted and successful US pro bike racers ever

Q: How would you describe your music tastes? Favorite genre or artist?

A: Growing up I’d go through music phases. Sometimes it was rock and at others it was rap. As you can see from on my playlist, my tastes are fairly diverse.

Q: What are you listening to now?

A: I listen to all kinds of music. I like a good beat or hook and pick music based on how it makes me feel and I’m feeling.

Q: What’s playing on your headphones (or the team bus) before the start of Paris-Roubaix?

A: Well, Paris-Roubaix is 157 miles long and takes 6 hours, so we drink coffee on the bus until it’s time to race! But for something like a short, intense time trial, I’ll listen to all genres of music to help focus on the event and get pumped up.

Find George’s playlist here.