Tuesday, May 29, 2007

World Champion Weekend

The Memorial Weekend was a great weekend of training - a mini camp I suppose. Two fantastic athletes made their way to our place: Katie Mactier (MACK-TEA-UR) and Ben "Boom Boom" Collins. Ben was up from a job interview in San Jose and Katie was in for the Mt Hood Stage race. The weekend started with a nice long swim where I probably had the worst swim of all time. I was tired and simply had to really focus in order to swim. I couldn't get a rhythm and couldn't site to save my life. I think Ben had more fun and definitely got more out of it - though I did get some good and specific feedback on my Total Immersion-based stroke. Long reach (like a bear), solid catch about 2:30, bent arm to grab the water and a natural recovery following the path the arm wants to travel. Lot's to work on before my next race on June 9.

We then saddled up with Katie (Olympian, World Champion and Current Australian Nation Road Race Champion), Lisa Hunt (her US team director and Cat 1) and my regular training partner: Ian Charles (just starting his taper for Honu). We did a 40 mile ride with a few climbs - funny thing is that when you take 40 miles and add in two pro women and nearly full-time roadies, it turns into 50+ miles. I haven't ridden 50 miles since January - so it was a tick rough. I don't think the ladies ever stopped talking (think: 2 women sitting down sipping cappacinos for 3 hours), gesticulating wildly while riding into some nasty headwind. Like a gentleman, I let the ladies go first for the first 2.7 hours. I took the front for the last .05 hours. Ben Collins just rocked the ride and took off gapping everyone - riding like a madman despite the fact I don't think he ever sees his HR over 150 nor do I think he gets mad. He did a few efforts and dropped everyone hard - Ian stayed on his game plan, rode easy peasy for his taper and then turned around at exactly 20 miles. The ride concluded with a long hot tub and a fun but short dinner out. Everyone from my 2 year old Piper to Katie were all tired and the entire house was asleep by 8:30pm.

Sunday was another rough day - starting with a 75 min run up and over Ring Mountain with Ben. We grabbed a quick breakfast and then left again with Lisa for a trip up Mt Tam. Ben and I broke off after 45 mins to return to our base so that we'd do something closer to our typical triathlon rides - 90 mins. I waited in the hot tub with 3 kids for Katie and Lisa to return while Ben took a nap. I found there isn't much in the way of rest when you've got 3 girls all under the age of 4 in your charge. Ben found this out when 2 or 3 of the girls ran naked into his room yelling something about Cinderella underpants. Katie left to head up a few hours north for the start of the stage race and a month of hard road racing.

Monday started wtih a slow moving morning and another climb up Mt Tam.

What I learned:

Katie Mactier is an amazing athlete and person. She wears her jammies a lot, eats like a normal person (cookies even!), smiles a ton, loves kids, calls me 'a legend', and chats with her partner - some cyclist named Greg. Despite her incredible racing resume she's an incredible lady to know and a fantastic role model for anyone. We hope to see her again soon when she's taking a break from her wind tunnel testing this fall.

Ben Collins only weakness is his inability to go "easy peasy" (Katie's term of choice). He swims like nobody I've ever seen, rides hard uphill, down hill and can pull forever on the flats, and after all that - he can run. He's going to be a superstar in triathlon on the big stage. Even bigger if he cuts his hair and shaves his legs. He's got more sponsorship offers than some pros and he's still an age grouper. One of my most favorite Podcasts is from my friend Stu. He covered the topic of going easy as well as the science as to WHY you go easy (peasy) here. It took me a long while to understand why my coach had me in Z1 for a number of months - but after listening to this, it made a lot of sense and has since shown itself in my racing.

My wife Greta is supportive beyond words for allowing me to bring in triathletes and cyclists from all over the world to stay with us for a long weekend. She tollerated lots of spandex, people spending hours poking through the fridge, lots of napping, laptops spewed all over the house, water bottles on the counters and a lot of showers.

That's all,

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