Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tiburon Triathlon

This is the beginning of a string of about 10 races in 12 weeks:

July 29 - Tiburon Triathlon - Sprint: .5/9/2
Aug 4 – Tri for Fun- Sprint: .5/18/3
Aug 12 - Folsom International - Olympic: 1/25/6
Aug 25 - Santa Barbara Triathlon - Long: 1/34/10
Sept 1 – Tiburon Mile (swim): 1 mile
Sept 15 - Mt Tam Hill Climb (bike)
Sept 23 - The Sentinel Triathlon - Olympic: 1/25/6
Sept 29 - Tinley’s - Olympic: 1/25/6
Oct 7 – Napa Valley Men’s Tri - Sprint: .5/15/4
Oct 21 - Sacramento Tri - Olympic (draft legal): 1/25/6

I was pretty tired this weekend but since the TibTri was 4 miles from my home, I had to do it. I wanted to go back to sleep after a long week of 'poor' sleep instead of riding to the start at 6:15am. I entered the 1st wave for strong swimmers but my reason was that although I wasn't going to break any records in the water - having 300 cyclists in front of me on the 9 mile bike would be a problem.

The water was cold - maybe 60. The cold disappeared from my body as soon as the race started. We swam out of the San Francisco Yacht Club - though the marina and out into the ocean. The swim was fine until I got around the sea wall and suddenly felt waves. Not once this season had I swam in a body of water with waves! It made for a few difficult breaths - I made it to the buoy and headed back into shore without any further issues.

T1 was a few block run - I had staged some shoes for the short run but opted to barefoot it thinking about how Andy Potts did it at Alcatraz! I left on to the bike and was still tired as I struggled to get my shoes fastened - it was my slowest T1 ever. I got on the road and never found a rhythm - though I was hitting 26mph on the way out! The course was slightly hilly with many false flats- it was a tough course to get moving on but I just kept focusing on getting my legs turned over to power throught the corners!

The ride was over quickly and I hit T2 in my usually 20+mph until I hit the dismount line. I leapt off the bike, got into my shoes and again.... struggled. It was my worst T2 of the season as well. I got my shoes on finally, tightened the laces and ripped out onto the course. My legs felt surprisingly light and fast. I ran and pushed. I saw Ian Charles who I train with ahead by a minute or more and knew that he would have put 3-4 mins on me in the swim - so I was encouraged by my bike time and what lay ahead of me. I focused on catching every person I saw and reeled them in 1 by 1. Eventually I caught Ian, about 1 mile in. I pushed hard and wanted to at least get something out of this race - so I focused on going hard in the run. I hit the line at 55:01 and had ran a few miles at 6:27 - about 40 seconds faster than any race this season. Encouraging!

It was also great to have my wife's dad Larry and Ben Collins out on the course cheering for me. I forget how great it feels to have someone encourage you by name - it definitely helps with digging a few inches deeper. I ended up 18th overall and had they scored age groups - 2nd. My swim was terrible at 179 out of about 350 but my bike was #4 and my run was 18th best on the day. Not bad for a guy who was tired, had never swam (in a decade or more) in waves and who started only a year ago.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Upper Management and Huli Chicken

Right now I'm on a lull in my training after a hard 10 day block or so. I blew completely last weekend on a long climb up Mt. Tam with Mr. Collins who as always put me to shame but I don't take it personally - he's 24, has a nice job (triathlete) and has the mental ability to break out the hurt stick day after day. He officially goes by Huli Chicken now too. I've been going on 3 weeks now of my new bike training zones and it's definitely working- in addtion to putting some focus on eating during my workouts with the goal of 300 cals an hour. It's definitely made a difference and I raid the cupboards less if I keep on pace with that intake.

We got up to Vineman for the 70.3 race last weekend (I'll have to blog about that or at least update with photos). Great race and almost fun to watch - got to meet Sam McGlone and had a chat with Chris Lieto. The finish chute was empty of fans and we just walked around with some superstars of the sport: Crowie, McGlone, Bell and Jones. They're all just fit, thin and fast.

When I'm not training, working or hanging out with the best group of girls in the world - I'm helping Ben out with getting some sponsorship for 2007 and 2008. I'm getting a lot of great input from Scott Fairchild in the form of tactics, wisdom and contract terms - it's fun but challenging. Ben is an easy sell to anyone who meets him. I brought him over the Endurance Performance Training Center for a few tests that should have taken a few hours at 8am and he comes back to Tiburon with the CEO of the company and I find out he's been with Dr. Max Testa all day and surprisingly enough has won a gift certificate at a talk they did that evening. He returned the following day for another round of tests and a consult with Dr. Testa and Matt Dixon. I've been super impressed with this group of people - they all love their jobs (who wouldn't!)and are just solid professionals. I'm lucky to have found these guys.

In the meantime we're reaching out or responding to companies all over the triathlon map looking to get Ben some much needed product support and money to help him travel in 07 and 08. Right now the list of companies who have expressed interest are:

Endurance Performance Training Center
Blue (Bicycles)
Power Bar
Beyond Fabrications
Northwave (cycling)

It's very exciting to be supporting such talent and also a lot of fun to get into the nuts and bolts of the triathlon industry to make something great happen for Ben.

This weekend I race in a local sprint tri - the Tiburon Triathlon and then will push into a hard 10 day block again 3 hard, 3 easy, 4 hard, 3 easy before my next race at the Folsom International where I'll race alongside of Ben and Ian. I'm trying to get our nanny to cover the morning shift on Aug 4 so I can squeeze in a race up in Sacramento - but that is still TBD.

I'm back into the lab tomorrow AM for my running LT tests. Both a report on that and Vineman will be on my radar for this site.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Race Recap - Tri for Fun (aka - the sprint triathlon I did last weekend)

Not much fun in the Tri for Fun. It was .5 swim/16 bike and 3 run. It was supposed to be in the mid-90s but I don't think it got over 85. This was the same course I raced a few weeks ago when my powersticks failed miserably. This time I knew where the course was (see this post, got there on time (see previous post), ate before I raced (see this post), and brought my bike (so far I've remembered it every time).

The morning started off great - perfect weather and I found a bike rack towards the front that wasn't reserved for a tri-club (I really hate that). Got all of my stuff laid out, walked through both my T1 and T2 race plans 2x (how many people do you see get lost in the transitions?). Got suited up and hit the water for a short warm up.

Started in the 3rd wave and as always, I started way off to the side. I swam a comfy pace - slowly picking people off who started too hard. I managed to stay 30-40 yards off the tail of the main pack around the 1st buoy. I ended up about 100 yards back of the main pack at the swim end but still not last. I cut 2 mins off my swim time thanks to some work that I've been doing with my reguarly training partner Ian Charles.

I raced into T1 and quickly got onto the bike. The rollout on to the course was through a park that had lots of speed bumps. I now find out that the Profile Aero Drinking system has a major flaw: no top. By the time I reached the 3rd of 5 speed bumps the spongey thing that holds the water in - goes flying out. So does 90% of my water. I sip what is left quickly. No real plan B, I did swallow a little water in the swim - so I hoped that was going to help. I did really focus on being hydrated the day before - so that I suppose was my plan B.

I grabbed a gel quickly (I've got this nifty tape job so that I can rip off my gels ready to eat without having to use 2 hands or tear off the top with my mouth). Gel down - no water to wash it down with though. The bike felt good - I just started riding hard hard. I was passing people a few MPH faster than they were going - so that felt great. The powersticks were back. I hit the turn around pretty quickly (the course is mostly downhill on the way out) and was able to ride in my 55x15 or so for most of it. Turned around, grabbed another gel and headed back home. My mouth felt a bit cakey at this point. A dog with a mouthful of peanut butter would be enjoying himself more than I was.

Since the course was open there were cars and trucks on the course. I was lucky enough to have a doubled up fuel tanker barelling down the road behind me. He wasn't going fast because he was a double-tank fuel truck going uphill in the middle of a triathlon bike course - but he was big and steady, going 20+. Not getting run over was basically my insiration - so I went hard. I also wasn't going to let some truck pass me and force me to slow down and lose my tempo.

I rolled back into the park, ahead of the truck and within 10 feet of every speedbump are 2-3 sponges from Profile Aero drink systems, water bottles and misc things that weren't bolted down. I got into the dismount zone and with the grace of mary lou retton, dismounted my bike and legally lept into the transition area. I grabbed my shoes (a spare water bottle I had put out - I had forgotten plan B) and hauled out on a scenic dirt road along and empty dirt field in the middle of nowhere also known as Herald, CA.

I ran, blistered and finished. I took 3.5 mins off my previous race time, cut my overall placing from 55 to 22 and found myself yet again in 5th place in my age group. I was happy that I beat my previous time but know I have additonal work on my run, swim and bike (I think in that order). I've got a few weeks of much harder training to tackle as I approach the last bit of the season and some key races.

This week I'm training with Ben Collins, 2007 US National Champion, and will get my butt handed to me for the next 7 days. We'll be doing a long swim on Friday AM, a ride up Mt. Tam on Saturday and a long run on the Vineman race course on Sunday. Here are my upcoming races where I expect to improve and break my 5th place age group curse:

Upcoming Races:
July 29 - Tiburon Triathlon - Sprint: .5/9/2
Aug 18 - Folsom International - Olympic: 1/25/6
Aug 25 - Santa Barbara Triathlon - Long: 1/34/10
Sept 23 - The Sentinel Triathlon - Olympic: 1/25/6
Sept 29 - Tinley’s - Olympic: 1/25/6
Oct 7 – Napa Valley Men’s Tri - Sprint: .5/15/4
Oct 21 - Sacramento Tri - Olympic: 1/25/6

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Testing Testing

Last Friday I went in to Endurance PTC for my bike LT testing. I last tested back around March and the results from this test were great! Matt Dixon ran my test and was a treat to work with - he's an ex-pro who has won a bunch of the big races but more importantly is his background in the exercise physio field. Smart guy to work with.

Below is a chart of where things turned out:
Power at LT: 235 Watts
HR at LT: 151 bpm
Power at L2: 262 Watts
HR at L2: 158 bpm
Power at L3: 275 Watts
HR at L3: 163 bpm
Power at L4: 288 Watts
HRate at L4: 168 bpm
Power at OBLA: 285 Watts
HRate at OBLA: 166 bpm

I ended up with my Zone 1 numbers moving up 10 beats and I believe my watts at threshold moved up about 100. I'm now doing more work in the higher zones which have caused a few sore muscles but I'm already noticing some minor adaptations to these new zones.

I race Saturday the 14th on the same course where my power sticks failed me a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to going back with a few more weeks of training in my legs and a few days of workouts in the new zones. My last race was 1:26 and I finished 5th - I'm looking to improve my time by a few mins and my placing as well. No predictions except that I should have a much better race.

Stuff I'm focusing on: eating 300+ calories an hour during exercise, not throwing up after eating this much, getting good rest.

What's in my iPod
I do this to mostly make my friend Tracy angry.
Pat Benetar (Greatest Hits)
Doobie Brothers (Greatest Hits)
Some Random Alt stuff: Crossfade, Anberlin, The Appearance, Saosin and Fair to Mayfield

Blogs: Ben Collins, Macca, and Chris Tremonte
Joe Friel's blog

Books: Breaking the Chain by Willy Voet (it's about the Festina Affair)

Podcasts: Simply Stu and The Competitor's Radio Show

Thursday, July 5, 2007

2nd Half of the Season....

I'm back and I think rested from a week off from nearly all forms of training - I think I did 100 miles of commuting by bike and about 5 miles of walking at Disney. I got to catch up on lots of sleep rather than getting up at 5am for a swim or run and my commute to work was supplemented by the Tiburon Ferry. I'm now hitting the pavement hard - doing a Z2-4 ride home Tuesday, a 1 mile swim in the lagoon
yesterday AM, a climb up Mtn. Tam yesterday and a run this morning. Tomorrow (Friday) I head over to the Endurance Performance Training Center for my mid-season bike lactate threshold testing at 8am and then again on July 20 for my run. Looking forward to some new numbers since my last test was done while I had bronchitis and strep (back in March).

The next few races on my schedule are:

Tri for Fun Triathlon (Sprint), July 14
Tiburon Triathlon (Sprint), July 29
Folsom International Triathlon, (Olympic), August 12
Santa Barbara Triathlon, (Long), August 25

Now that the 1st half of the season is over - I'll be doing a lot more running and swimming - with focus on developing speed for the races in Aug, Sept and Oct.