Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The race in Australia was supposed to be in celebration of a good year-end effort in Kona, so it was somewhat anticlimactic. Still, I had the majority of my flight paid for by USA Triathlon, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring and see what the legs had left two weeks post-Ironman. After arriving about 3 days before the race, I settled into some nice spring weather in Western Australia and tried to reset the sleep pattern. Perth is a nice, clean, modern city, close to the ocean and right on the Swan river. It was my first time to the world's biggest island, so everything had the appeal of a novelty. I did some short workouts, and went into race day feeling pretty relaxed.
The swim start came without much warning, and I immediately missed the group. Big swells kicked up by high winds in the river channel made navigation difficult, and I struggled through the swim alone. Onto the bike, I pushed as hard as the legs would allow, but they were still heavy with Kona and travel, and I felt sluggish. Finally, I arrived at the run, and already well out of contention, I pushed as hard as I could to maintain my position, and ended up picking off a couple runners when my laps got faster near the end. It wasn't anything special, but I came 22nd, and was glad I had completed another race against some of the fastest distance guys in the sport.
Afterwards, I spent a little time with some new friends in the Margaret River area, tasting some wines, spotting Kangaroos, and enjoying a sunset on the spectacular coastline near Yallingup. All said, the Australian trip was a great experience, and I look forward to my next visit...
I'm back in Durango now, getting settled in the new place and enjoying some incredible fall temps in the southwest. I have opted out of IMAZ, but plan to attend the race to support friends and volunteer for the athletes who will undertake the considerable challenge of Ironman. More to come from my offseason soon.
Friday, October 23, 2009
In 5 weeks of time in Kona we didn't have a single day that reached the heat on race day. Madame Pele was up early with the hundreds of triathletes, and looking east to the mountains on race morning while setting up my transition, it was clear and cloudless; a sure sign that a warm day was brewing. I got to the pier with plenty of time to get my body marked, set up nutrition, pump tires, check everything over, and practice the swim exit and subsequent run to my bike in my mind. Transition was a zoo, and with very little space on the racks, I tried to get in and out quickly. I was the lucky chap who got number 100 (right next to Chrissie Wellington and her paparazzi).
I got the new Blue Seventy PZ3 on around 6:15, jumped in the water for a warm-up, and let my thoughts settle. It's always nice to warm up in the water, beneath all the loud music, announcing, and crowd noise. It allows me to visualize my race start, and calm the nerves before the gun goes off. I think it was David Millar who said something like, "I used to get nervous. But then I realized that doesn't change anything." Physiologically, placing extra stress on the body before the race even starts isn't much help. Better to let it heighten your awareness, but not pull you over the edge.
Lining up with the pro field, everyone was executing the usual drift forward, ignore the announcer's pleas to back up ritual. Before I knew it, the cannon had fired, and we all fought for position. It's no secret that swimming fast is a big help in Hawaii, so nobody plays nice for the first 500m or so. I swam with Marino Vanhoenacker for the first sections, and managed to settle in with some good feet through the first half of the swim. At the second turn buoy just over halfway, I lost contact with the group I had been swimming with. I was definitely disappointed, and after swimming on my own for a long way on the return, I was pretty sure that it wouldn't be a good time when I exited. Turns out I managed a decent swim, in 54:27, so I stuck to the plan and rode hard through the first miles with a small group.
The first miles of the bike went by pretty effortlessly, and by the airport I had settled in with a group that had Matt Lieto, Michael Lovato, and about 3 others. We kept the pace solid, but at Kawaihae I rode my watts up the first hills and noticed that I had dropped my group. Not feeling like I was riding out of my comfort zone, I kept on riding solo to Hawi and back down to Kawaihae before finding another group of guys to latch on with. In retrospect, it may have been too long to ride alone, but it felt within reason at the time. Ultimately my undoing was that I didn't get the nutrition I needed during the ride, missing calories and especially salt during the 112 miles.
Rolling back into a significant headwind, I had some rough patches but came good near the end of the ride, and felt ready for the run. I headed out Alii maintaining something close to my goal pace, but the heat was simply too much for a fast marathon. Had I realized that it was that kind of day out there, I may have gone out more conservatively, but I didn't. By the time I climbed Palani around mile 10, my pace slowed considerably and I was feeling completely overheated. Arriving at the aid station at mile 11, I stopped, sat, and proceeded to spend over 20 minutes trying to cool myself with ice, sponges, and water. I really wanted to be done with the suffering at that point, but out of respect for the race, my family, friends, and volunteers, I got up and began the 15 mile trek to complete the race. There isn't much to tell after that, as it was simply survival mode, walking, jogging, running, and spending plenty of time at aid stations to cool down and refuel.
Looking back now, I'm glad I was able to finish the event, and raced like I wanted to for a good portion. Of course it doesn't matter unless you do it all the way through like you plan, but I learned a great deal in my second Ironman outing, and I am ready for the next one in 2010. First up though is ITU Long Course Worlds here in Perth, Australia, and then Ironman Arizona on November 22nd. Thanks to all my followers and support, it wouldn't be possible without your help. Check back for more posts soon from my adventures down under and race reports from my last two events.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I had some easier days during the middle of the week, still logging miles but not going too big or fast. It allowed me some time to explore new rides, including a good, hilly ride with the group from Bike Works down to Captain Cook. It was necessary rest after the biggest week of training all year, and I made some trips to local beaches (Kua bay was the highlight), put my feet up, did some body boarding, and even watched some junk T.V. Of course the active recovery was all in preparation for another big weekend, and it was a good thing I got it.
Saturday morning was my final long run, and I was able to round up Chris McCormack and Terenzo Bozzone to help with the sufferfest. We hit out early, but not early enough to avoid some warm conditions on the Queen K and Energy Lab. No surprise here, as it's been 88 degrees nearly every day I've been here. Some days are more cloudy with the vog, but not for our run. We threw in some very solid tempo efforts, and ended our session at Jamba Juice for some instant respite from the heat, and much needed calories. I topped the day off with a moderate, hilly ride on the upper highway (coffee road) and then a solid swim with Linsey at Kona Aquatic.
Sunday was another early morning, and with Chris, Terenzo, Marky V, and Mark, we rolled steady hard for 100 miles of the course, only turning back a few miles before Hawi due to rain. The ride back down was some of the most intense wind I have experienced out here, so it was perfect practice for that possibility on race day. We also managed a double headwind for a good portion, so another day of becoming one with the gales is locked away. After finishing the ride, it was a quick transition and 5 miles of tempo off the bike. I nailed it, so I feel like all the pieces are in place. Less than two weeks until the big showdown, and I'm getting more excited each day.
For a bit of recovery, I am planning to do a tour of the island tomorrow with a friend, making the full loop in a car and seeing some new sights. I have to scope out some new areas in anticipation of the family coming out in a little over a week. Time for a nap!
Monday, September 14, 2009
I had been doing some swim sets with the Masters group at Kona Aquatics, so I knew I would be good to hang near Bree Wee on the swim. We took it out chasing the swim leader Nick Garrett, coming in with a little gap on some of the other contenders. I felt comfortable and in control most of the way, with the exception being a slight miscalculation we made after rounding the boat halfway through. My trusty steed laid in waiting for me as I exited the water, and I got right to work powering up the steep 1.5 mile hill out of T1 on the S-Works Transition. On the fast descent I did my best to hold watts, and near the turnaround at the Energy Lab I was in the lead and building a good gap to the other racers. I stayed at my goal power the rest of the way in on Alii, had a bit of a junkshow in T2, and then fired out to the run with a comfortable cushion to second, riding 57 minutes for the 40k.
Out on the run, volunteers were scrambling to get to their positions, and I blew through the first turn area going the wrong way out on the golf course. After a couple minutes of running, I was turned around and set straight, thinking "this can't be happening again after Lake Stevens!" Fortunately I had built a strong enough lead on the bike leg to remain in first place, and after motoring for a few miles, I coasted in the last bit for a course record and a good win on the island.
Thanks to all the race staff, volunteers, and other athletes. Post race food was excellent, with rocking music and great awards, and the crowd support was truly amazing. It's nice to be an out of towner and still get the royal treatment at a race like this. It was a classy event that I will be sure to race again next time I am in Kona.
Next up are the hardest weeks of training so far to top off the Ironman build, and then it's mostly resting until the big day. Legs feel good and the mind is in a good space. Time to make it all happen.... after a little bit of surfing today. Aloha!
Monday, September 7, 2009
I arrived on Friday, stepping off the plane to a nice warm blanket of humid pacific sea air being wrapped around my body. First stop? The restroom to remove my compression socks and jeans, donning the shorts and flip flops that are requisite for island life. Next up was a stop at the Costco with Linsey Corbin and her mother, Betty. This was no ordinary stop, as we needed to get our shelves stocked for Ironman training. I won't give specifics on cost, but it was the most I have ever spent in one stop at a grocery.
After getting settled in my condo on Alii drive, I splashed around for a bit to stretch the body out, and crashed hard for a good night's rest. Next day was a full taste of Kona, with some open water swimming on the course from the pier. We were lucky to have a group of dolphins swim past, a sea turtle show itself briefly, and schools of tropical fish with every color under the sun drifting in the currents. This place is truly magical, an island paradise with phenomenal scenery. Did a moderate ride of about 53 miles to Waikoloa and back, and a short run on the early stages of the run course near town.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I got back from the trip to Seattle/Lake Stevens on Monday, spending the weekend staying at the home of ace blind triathlete Aaron Scheidies. If you haven't already seen this guy at the races or know his story, check out his site: http://www.cdifferentwithaaron.com/AaronScheidies/Home.html
Aaron was busy taking names in London, so I had nice accommodations just north of the city. I didn't feel great coming into the race after Calgary's result, but I figured I would be able to race fast on residual fitness and intelligence. At least half of that ended up being true...
Lake Stevens is a challenging race, with seemingly continuous rolling hills on the 58 mile bike course, and a couple good climbs on the run too. Race morning was standard, with a 6:30 start. I gave myself the usual hour to get set up and warm up in the water before the gun went off. Everything was on target as I started to the right hand side and settled into a solid group of swimmers immediately. I don't know if it was being at sea level or something else entirely, but I felt smooth and not strained in the least as I found good feet and traced the underwater buoy line. Our group consisted of Gambles, Tremonte, Symonds, Whyte, and Park leading a good chunk of the way. I stayed comfortable and came out with one of my better swims ever at the half-iron distance.
Transition wasn't stellar, but I got out okay and immediately began blasting the bike to stay with Gambles, who was setting a furious pace to chase down swim leaders Linkemann and Flanagan. I did my best to stay with him, managing to stay about 50 meters back and match his pace through 15 or 16 miles, at which point I decided that I couldn't sustain the effort and backed off to my normal wattage. The good thing was that we had already pulled out significant time on our chasers, and nobody could see us with the rolling and turning terrain. Onto the second loop I still felt surprisingly strong on the bike, and was pulling out more time on the following group, but losing a little more time to Gambles. I knew with a run like his, this race was going to be for 2nd, so I stayed focused on riding my ride and getting ready for the run.
Even though I had raced the same course the year before, and pre-rode some of the course the day before, when it came time to make the left hand turn on the beginning and finishing out and back section, I turned about a half mile early on a road that looked very similar. I didn't realize my mistake until I had ridden almost 3 1/2 miles up the road to another intersection where an officer directed me back to the course. Not sure how much time I had lost, I still raced the bike back in, but when I was on the run and got a feel for my position, I cashed it in and jogged the remainder with Kirk Nelson, who was suffering from foot pain.
I have gone off course one other time, but this was far more painful. Being 4 minutes clear of 3rd place, 2 minutes down from 1st, and ready to podium at my second consecutive 70.3 made this a tough pill to swallow. That said, I'm the only one to blame for the error, and it will add fuel to my fire as I train for the most important race of the year in Kona. Additionally, it's clear that my fitness is good, and the extra swim focus is paying dividends. With another hard block on the big island in September, I'll be ready to make my mark again at the Ironman distance against the best in the world.
Monday, August 3, 2009
After a couple weeks easy and back to back trips to the mountains for some space to clear my head, I got back into structured training. I still maintained some fitness, running and riding when I felt like it, and covering portions of the Iomgene pass run on a weekend trip to visit my family, but I dropped a little bit of the top end. Fortunately, it started coming back quickly, so I just put my head down and got through 3 fairly hard weeks before racing up north. It has been pleno verano in Durango, so getting out on the bike and running on the trails has been as natural as breathing.
Starting a week and a half ago, I hit the road for a trip to see friends in Montana for two separate weddings in one week, and the race immediately following the last wedding. It was an ambitious plan with an approach to race day that I had not executed in several years, but with my focus on the long-term with Hawai'i, I couldn't allow myself to be stressed.
Wedding round one was my good friend Jeff (my first swim coach) up in Ryegate, Montana. If you haven't heard of this place, it's because nobody has. In the middle of nowhere rolling wheatfields, with the Musselshell river flowing through town and a sandstone cliff band to break the monotony of the terrain. To be honest, I was quite charmed by the place, and after watching Jeff get hitched, dancing into the wee hours, and doing a naked slip and slide when the rains poured down that evening, I have nothing but good memories.
I did log a hard long run the day of the wedding, got very little sleep (awoken 30 min earlier than I wanted by a crowing rooster), and drove 2 hours at 6 am to Bozeman for a 70 mile road race with about 4,000 ft. of climbing. Despite back to back nights of less than 5 hours of sleep, I helped pull back the main break and stayed with the leaders until the final climb, finishing 4th. On the drive back to Missoula for a week of training with friends before the second wedding, I was reduced to pulling over and sleeping from exhaustion. Also of note, a SNOWstorm blew through 30 miles outside of Missoula, coating the ground and hillsides with a half-inch of the white stuff in late July. Love this place.
So, 4 more days of hard work in Missoula, including some good long sets at the 50m outdoor pool (Splash Montana), where change rooms are indicated by pictures of bucks and does. Catching up with friends, eating Taco del Sol burritos, and training hard were the order of business for my stay, and I came into the second wedding and Calgary feeling ready to race fast.
I had another early morning departure from Bozeman after attending friend Tyler's wedding ceremony on Friday night, and drove the 8 hours to Calgary to drop my bike off before 5 and see a little bit of the course. As I said, this was a unique approach to race day, but I felt relaxed in the chaos, and indicator workouts were spot on for a good performance.
Race Day: Early to rise for a 45 minute drive from town to the race site, set-up transition, get in an okay warm-up, and then full gas from the start in the waters of Ghost Lake. I felt pretty smooth and in control, knowing that Hackett and O'Donnell would probably go well clear. I stayed in the main chase pack and prepped for the bike in my mind.
I had a poor first transition, but immediately went to work on the bike and started passing the swimmers from my group. I bridged to a group that had Whyte, Hadley, and Cotter, and we rolled along for about 20 miles before I went up ahead with Whyte. We pushed the pace and almost caught up to Hackett, but still entered T2 almost 2 minutes down. I went out hard on the run, pulling back time right away, but didn't make the catch until almost halfway. After that, I put in one hard surge at 14k and dropped the closest pursuers for good. The last hill and loop of the run were pretty ugly, but I had time to enjoy my best finish yet at a 70.3, and even got to spray the champagne in celebration afterwards. Tim was far and away the strongest that day, but I raced my race and stayed focused. It was an excellent result for my first race in a month, and if the bike wasn't 59 miles, I would have split one of my faster times ever on a course with plenty of hills.
Now it's a little downtime in Calgary with plans to go tubing and sushi for dinner tonight. After that, about 1600 miles of driving back home to Durango, and then off to Lake Stevens on the 14th. Until then, try harder.
Also, check the link to an article in the local paper that covers our budding triathlete scene in Durango:
Monday, July 6, 2009
We made good time, covering the uphill seven miles into our camp at treeline in about 4 hours (including a bushwhacking section through thick willows, skunk cabbage, and about 6 stream crossings). Even though the weather forecast for the area included a 40% chance of rain for each of the 3 days, we had mostly clear skies the whole time. There was a surprising amount of snow left on the peaks, so the water was still pouring down the cliff faces and feeding the creeks.
On the descent from Windom, we even got a little 4th of July snow, but not enough to make things too treacherous. When we got back to the Twin Lakes basin, we decided that the weather looked good enough to try one more, so we headed towards the ridge between Eolus and North Eolus. Once we had gained the ridge line, things still looked good, so we climbed North Eolus, and then I came back down and did Eolus alone. All the mountains had considerable exposure, but it felt great to be back up high, even being able to see into New Mexico from atop the highest peaks.
With 3 big mountains climbed in a day, we headed back to camp, watched some local wildlife cruise by, ate dinner, and promptly passed out. Back down and out the same way Sunday, and now the batteries are recharged and ready for some quality training before Ironman Calgary 70.3 on August 2nd.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Although I have been hearing about the Buffalo Springs event since I began racing triathlon, this was my first trip to race in Lubbock, Texas. The race has a rich history, and it's conditions often mimic Kona's, so I thought it would be appropriate to give it a go. Lubbock is essentially flat as a pancake, but it does have a couple canyonesque features on the bike and run courses, so it ends up being a pretty challenging circuit.
Race morning was extremely windy, with a good amount of chop on the lake surface. This year the swim was more regulated (no beach running), and even though I got a good start to the extreme right side with Leon Griffin, I lost contact before the first turn buoy and had a poor swim. I never swim as well in the non-wetsuit events, but I shouldn't have lost as much time as I did. Still, I chased hard on the bike, and although I never felt like I found a good rythym, I was able to pass several pros and move into sixth off the bike. The winds and rain on the bike made the turns and downhills particularly challenging, and I dropped my gel flask about halfway through, but I kept the bike upright and focused on having a good run. Coming into T2, everything was soaked from the rain, and after making a quick attempt to put on a wet sock, I opted to run without them. This made for a painful run after about 6 miles, but I gutted through the blisters and bleeding sores that had formed, and ran solidly on a challenging course, holding off Cam Brown who had flatted about 3o miles into the bike. It's always tough to miss the selection out of the water and on the bike, as the group tends to gain an advantage even if they are riding "legal," so I would rate this race as less-than-stellar. The positive was that I kept my head in the race better than Florida 70.3, and still finished in the money. Mike and Marti Greer put on an excellent race, and I plan to return to Buffalo Springs in the future, hopefully with a little better swim.
Now it's time for a little break, and some refreshing in the San Juan mountains. I'm leaving for a 3 day backpacking trip in the Chicago Basin area, and I'll be trying to get in at least one fourteener. Enjoy your fourth of July weekend, whatever form it takes.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Fast forward to this past weekend in Durango. An easier week of training left me feeling pretty fresh and ready for a big weekend of intensity. The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is one of the oldest and most respected road races around, and I was riding for my local team, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The ride is a brutal test of climbing prowess, so I knew from the beginning it would be a game of limiting my losses. I worked early on to help chase a breakaway, got dropped on the first climb, regained contact before the first major pass of almost 11,000 ft., and then got dropped again. In the end, I was happy to best my goal time and finish with a strong group. We were lucky to have dry roads and good racing conditions, and it's always fun to be part of such a legendary event. My parents also rode in the tour, and finished in very respectable times.
The second event of the weekend was the Narrow Gauge ten miler, which is another challenging event with significant hills and plenty of altitude. I took out an early lead and ended up just short of my sub 1 hour goal, coming in first in 1:00:19. Since the last 1.5 miles are straight downhill to the finish on concrete, I was suffering the next morning when I woke up to finish off the Narrow Horse triathlon with the 1500 meter pool swim.
My plan was to just wrap up the overall with a cruisy swim before the afternoon time trial, but I ended up going decently fast. It felt smooth, and my 19:04 was good enough to set a new course record for the stage race triathlon. I ate a little food, put the race wheels on the TT bike, and headed out to do battle with the pro men in the 13.7 mile time trial on east animas. I could still feel the effects of the running race, but I gritted my teeth through the whole ride, trying to hold my watts and save a little for the punchy climb at the end of the ride. I caught my 1:30 man on the last climb and knew I had a good ride. I was a fair bit back from overall winner Ben Kneller, but my time slotted me into third overall, ahead of several pros. I really feel like my position is better after a little tweaking, and it showed during the all-out effort. There is no secret that time trialing is a fine balance between power and position.
The past two weeks have been a good reminder to listen to my body, and to know when to draw the line and get some rest. Sometimes it's more mental than physical, and I think the trip to Florida was an indicator that I needed a small break to clear my head. It's only late May, but I've already racked up over 11 events when I include my running races and cycling events. That said, recognizing that I needed some rest helped me to come into the weekend of races at home with a fresh outlook, allowing me to push my limits even further before the next big race in Boise. Life is good, and getting better.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I'm through with another solid week of training in preparation for Ironman Florida 70.3. The weather has turned to absolute perfection here in Durango recently, so I've been nailing the bike and getting out on the trails every day. It's the perfect time of year when temperatures aren't too hot, everything is green, the river is running high, and the scents of freshly mown grass and cookouts dominate the evening air.
Ironman Florida 70.3 wasn't originally on my schedule, as I had planned to return to Memphis in May and battle it out for the top spots at a shorter distance event (and eat some quality barbecue), but I changed the arrangements a couple weeks ago. My coach and I have been discussing the need to expose myself to demanding conditions that mimic Hawaii as much as possible, so the season campaign consists of several races that historically have hot and humid weather. So far I have done New Orleans, then I'll go down to Florida this weekend, race in Lubbock in late June, and possibly hit Cancun in September if I don't end up going out to Hawaii a little early. I'll be experimenting with nutrition, race strategy, and taking special notice of how my body reacts to the extra stressors. Based on my career results, I race better in heat than cold, but I'll need to make sure I get the nutrition right after my debut Ironman stomach issues.
I'm finally back to firing on all cylinders, fully recovered from the virus that knocked me out for a couple weeks, so I'm chomping at the bit to get out and race to my potential. Look for me to get in the mix at Ironman Florida. This week won't see a major reduction in either volume or intensity until Friday, but I'm feeling fit and ready to go. Keep your eye on www.ironman.com for the live race coverage and look for my race report following the event. Until then, get out and ride your bike!
Monday, May 4, 2009
I got in Thursday evening, did a short jog to stretch out the legs, and then went to bed early. Friday started out with perfect weather, and we rode a little over an hour, bricked a short run, and then went down to the expo to check out vendors, meet with sponsors, and do a short swim. By the time we wrapped up the swim, rain was falling steadily, and it didn't let up until some time early Saturday morning. At the pro meeting, race director Terry Davis noted that we would have to dismount our bikes around mile 42 to run across a metal bridge if the rain kept falling, so we all hoped for a change in the weather patterns.
Race morning showed perfect weather for a fast day, and I felt surprising good even though my build for the race was interrupted by a nasty virus. The field was absolutely STACKED, with something close to 60 pro men toeing the line for the 8 a.m. start. I started second row so I could "surf" everyone's wake for the first part of the swim, and by the time I hit the first turn buoy at 200 meters, I hadn't worked too hard and stayed near a lead group. Of course Andy Potts was going full gas off the front, but I could tell I was in a good spot and just kept fighting for good feet through the first half of the swim. I've been working hard on my closing 500m strength in these swims, so I knuckled down when things got strung out a little and stayed on the nearest feet. Arriving in T1, I saw the likes of Chris Lieto and some other good swimmers that I rarely see that early in a race, so I kept my transition smooth and rolled out in contact with some of the big hitters. At the top of the first big climb I was with Matt Lieto, Chris Lieto, Jordan Rapp, James Cotter, and several others. I knew it was going to be a bit of a gun show on the bike, so I just rode steady and watched to make sure my stagger was legal. By mile 25, things began to string out a bit more, and I decided that I didn't have the legs to follow Rapp and Lieto as they pulled ahead. Looking back now, I probably should have gone anyway, because they made contact with the leaders around mile 35, which included Terrenzo, Eneko, and Potts. I still felt like I was riding solid though, with Matt Lieto, Romaine Guillaume, and another athlete all rolling along for the last miles.
Into T2 we were down considerably on Bjorn Andersson, but I took off at a steady pace to reel in some of the men out front. By the first real climbs I had caught one, and been passed by Romain, who hung in front by about 100m. Around mile 6 or 7 we both caught and passed a fading Fraser Cartmell, and then I began to chase Romain down, finally catching him at the turnaround at mile 10. I hit the gas on the uphill, forming a small gap, and stayed on it through the top of the hill, gaining about a minute in those 2 miles. I let the legs go on the descent of Lynch hill, and crossed the line well clear in 9th, with a total time of 4:12:14.
Reflecting on my performance now, it's a little bittersweet. I came out to race against one of the most competitive fields I have seen in my short pro career, finishing 9th behind names like Potts, Llanos, Colucci, Bell, Bozzone, Gambles, Lieto, and bested a huge number of others. I swam faster than I have, maybe ever, and ran solidly on a very tough course. The one part that irks me is that I am easily fitter than any other year, and didn't have the bike legs to match my split last year (2:18:52) in good conditions. I lost close to 4:30 on the bike this year, and I can't say where it went, although I know my form could have been a little better without being sick for two weeks beforehand. I really wanted to go sub 4:10, and my final time was well above last year's effort of 4:10:52. In the end, I was in the money against a very competitive field, I learned a ton, and had a good time at one of my favorite races. Next up, Ironman Florida 70.3 in Orlando in two weeks. Look for me to remedy the bike and get in the mix once more against some top pros.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The swim was a bit chaotic, with 3 people circling in a lane, but I survived and led out with a small gap. As soon as I mounted the bike, I was pushing the lead out even further, coming into T2 after a bumpy, curvy ride with about 2:30 on the chasers. The run was a combination of trails and pavement around Fort Lewis, and I did my best to deal with the excess mucus and heavy legs. In the end, I won by a bit over 3 minutes, but the coughing spell that it brought on made me question whether the effort was in my best interest. I don't have an official time yet, but I think I came in just under 54 minutes, so I'm happy given the circumstances (we'll see if it qualifies for a new course record). The luxury of having my own bed pre-race isn't something I will experience again for quite a while, and I couldn't have asked for better spring weather. Race season is here in force!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Missoulian article: http://missoulian.com/articles/2009/04/12/sports/sports01.txt
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I took a good, long break after Ironman Arizona last fall, making sure to get a little skiing, hiking, and basic relaxation in my routine. I caught up on reading, wine tasting, and chased new sponsorship for 2009. Probably the three most important triathlon-related pieces of news are my committment to Sport Beans/NTTC triathlon team, a renewed relationship with Specialized for 2009, and my month-long trip in the warm American southwest during February.
I'm actually fresh back from a trip to Fairfield, California, for a team camp. It was a really good long weekend, with a tour of the Jelly Belly factory, a number of excellent dinners, and a trip to Napa for a couple of private wine tastings. I got to know the team during the various activities, and it looks like we are going to be a serious threat at some of the bigger events. Male pros include Daniel Bretscher, Brad Seng, Jeff Piland, and myself. Women pros are Jessica Jacobs, Leah Daugherty, Alexis Smith, and Lauren Jensen. For more on the team, check out websites at: www.nttcracing.com and www.sportbeans.com
I'm excited to be back with Specialized again, riding the Tarmac Pro as a training bike, and the S-Works Transition again for the TT bike. I'll be posting some photos of the new rig soon, as well as getting a Specialized Rider Profile up and running on the wesbsite.
The February trip was phenomenal training. I've never had the opportunity to take off during the winter for some quality riding, but I was able to secure some time off work this year. I hit the road with a local friend and professional cyclist, Ben Kneller, and we spent 2 weeks training in Tucson, Arizona. The riding was far better than I imagined, with plenty of variation in the terrain. We only had a couple of colder days during the two weeks, so it was bibs and jersey riding 90% of the time. I logged a ton of miles on the bike, got to ride Mt. Lemmon with Eneko Llanos, played a round of golf at Arizona National, got to swim at U of A (awesome outdoor pool), eat plenty of fresh citrus, and catch up on my vitamin D for the winter. Afterwards, we both raced Valley of the Sun cycling race (I went in tired and got waxed, he was second), and then headed out to Palm Springs, California. We spent a couple days riding around that area (check out the Palms to Pines highway), and then went further out to catch a couple stages of the Tour of California. We watched one road stage, and then spent the day in Solvang, watching the ProTour riders battle it out on a tough time trial course. It was super inspiring to watch some of the best riders in the world, and to be part of such a big crowd (see: Lance effect). From California, we inched our way through rush-hour traffic in L.A., and headed back to Arizona. I raced the Desert Classic Duathlon (again on tired legs) and got my early-season mistakes out of the way. Turns out I rode the course with my front wheel out of alignment and rubbing on the brake. Still, hats off to the competition, who crushed the runs and reminded me why I don't race ITU. We finished up the trip with a few more days north of Scottsdale, and then Flagstaff to reacclimate to altitude. I can say without a doubt that I will be entering this season with better fitness than ever before. I'm getting fired up to test the legs at New Orleans, where I'll be racing with my parents (first time they've attempted the distance).
I'll be checking back in with some more thoughts and pictures from the offseason soon. Until then, happy training.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Although I train on my own a lot, I owe a serious debt to those people who have pushed me to another level in my training and racing here in Durango.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
In other arenas, consistent training has started again for 2009, and although I'm not much for obeying the standard (and arbitrary) practice of feigning serious introspection because a new calendar year has arrived, I do have some reflections and future ideas. This past season was full of quality memories, ranging from my first race in Pucon last January, all the way to my first Ironman in Arizona. In my second season as a pro, I learned many lessons about race preparation, mental toughness, and execution. I also learned how to push my pain threshold to a new high, suffering through my key workouts and first marathon with considerable distress. It was a year of growing stronger, and more conscious of my own goals within the sport. A new direction was forged with my qualification for Kona, and I will be working even harder this season to accomplish the goals I have set, and to continue my improvement as an athlete. It's been a great ride so far, and I'm looking forward to my first races of 2009 with considerable drive.
Finally, look for me to appear at random in the American southwest (or Mexican northwest) during the month of February, possibly living vagabond warrior style in a late 70s 5th wheel trailer with shag carpet. Seriously.