I've taken a big break from posting, but my energy is back and I'll try to give an update more regularly now that the season is about to begin anew.
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.