3:30am - wake up. Eat bagel, drink cup of coffee and mix energy drink. 4:00am - get in the car, drive 80 miles. 5:17am - arrive at VTA Ohlone-Chynoweth light rail station to catch train to race venue 5:27am: - walk 30m to train platform with transition bag and bike 5:45am - after re-reading race info, continue to wait for train Participants who park at the VTA Ohlone-Chynoweth light rail station: will be required to take a 2 minute tram ride to Lake Almaden. Bikes will accompany your short ride. VTA has confirmed that there will be extra trains running to offer adequate and timely transportation to and from Lake Almaden. 5:55am - 20 other triathletes looking at each other on the platform, all waiting for train to Lake Almaden. 6:00am - 1 train comes, all triathletes and bike on board for the 2 min ride! I'm thinking that I have 60 mins to still get my race numbers and settle my transition area. 6:10am - hit the end of the line, people looking around - no water in sight. The driver steps out and looks at everyone - says 'we leave again in 10 mins'. Someone thoughtfully says: 'where's the lake' and the driver says - 'it's about a 1/2 mile from the parking lot you got in at'. I think, "#&*^%*(@*&^$(@#*$)@U#" 6:20am - plan B (basically, plan A but much faster), I open my transition bag and start to get my stuff ready. Powder my shoes, put on the body glide, etc... train starts moving. 6:30am - train back where we started. The driver comes out and tells us how to get to the lake. "take a right and then a left" - point in a direction. Everyone acknowledges and agrees to ride to the park. 6:40am - um, took a right and a left, rode about 2 - 3 miles. No lake. Stop and ask directions. Panic ensues. 6:40:15am - find man who says he knows where race venue is. Half the group bolts and goes back. I choose to go with the group who listened to directions. I didn't hear them because I took a nature break while they were getting directions. 6:45:16am - riding hard to follow directions. We get to a stop light and people look around. Apparently there is some disagreement, did he say 'Right on Coleman or Whitman?". Stress hitting high level. Plan C engaged (a very very fast Plan A essentially) 6:45:18am - group splits again, I follow a girl named Becky, riding in flip-flops. I ride with Becky because I figure that in a stressful situation where people are panicing that a woman is going to listen to directions. She was also the only woman in the group. It was her idea to ask directions too. 6:45:19am - now sprinting and following Becky 6:50am - no lake 6:55am - registration closes in 5 mins. Don't even see lake. Begin to think of jokes and how to make something positive out of the situation. Nothing. 6:57am - I see it - WATER AHEAD! and an 'Event Parking' sign! Turn into parking lot. Find out it's a pond and parking for a christian high school graduation. 6:58am - stop at gas station, get directions to lake. It's about 3 miles away. 7:05am - pass Starbucks, miss race start and close of registration. Enjoy ride now with Becky who has now done 12 miles on the bike in flip flops. Give up. Rode 15 miles in running shoes on my clipless pedals. 7:24am - find lake, see first guys hitting the bike. feel terrible. Get my registration moves to the Folsom Lake Tri in a few weeks. Feel terrible. 7:30am - leave lake, ride to parking lot where the car is exactly 1/2 mile away. A simple right and left turn - the exact opposite of what the train driver told us. 9:00am - home, go to park with Sada and Piper and start my 1 week - mid season break.
I should thank everyone who either calls, e-mails, texts or asks me how my race has gone. It helps keep the pressure on and keeps me focused on getting a good result.
There really isn't much to say with this post. The triathlete below can whoop me but at least there isn't a picture this bad of me anywhere. And yes, unfortunately, the hair is real.
I also realized there are 4 kinds of people I know (this post is truly without direction). 1) people who make fun of my swim stroke and then help 2) people who just feel bad for my swim stroke and help me 3) people who call me daddy (note: neither 1 nor 2 fall into this category) 4) people who have never seen my swim stroke and think I'm pretty ok but don't call me daddy
It was a dark and stormy night.... ok, it really wasn't stormy but it was nightime (technically) when I left the house at 4am in order to make it by 7am to the 24th annual 'Tri for Fun' sprint triathlon just a few dozen miles outside of Sacramento in a town called Herald. There is nothing of note in Herald except for miles of vinyards, a lot of dirt and a sweet lake.
It was about 70 degrees at the race start - with some 600 people ready to race. I was excited to be in one of the first two waves until I found out that they moved two other waves in front - putting me in the 4th or 5th wave. The water was crystal clear. As I did my swim warm up I noticed a few pair of socks, a grey t-shirt but luckily no dead bodies or sharks (I'm slowly getting over my fear of there being one or the other in ever body of water I'm in). The swim was easy and I hung mid-pack for much swim - crashing into a few people and for fun, kicking a few others. My HR was nice and low and I swam along thinking about my stroke, whether or not I was going straight and wondering if I'm supposed to be thinking so much.
I got out of the swim toward the front of the last third (I'm just guessing as there was no chip timing - it was a real basic race using the same race timing for the past 24 years). You'll see in the HR adjacent chart when I got out of the water.
That is when my power sticks failed.
I hopped on my bike complete with deep dish carbon wheels, my carbon soled shoes, and donned my wickedly fast TT helmet that my kids think is cooler to wear backwards (because I look like a bird). I had everything I needed to set a blazly fast bike but nothing happened. I had 16 miles to make up some lost ground and no matter what I did my power sticks would not turn the pedals. I still passed a bunch of people but I think they were out touring the vinyards looking for a picnic spot. I knew that everyone has a bad patch and that they don't last long - so I kept pushing. I saw the 5 mile marker and then I saw a guy with mountain bike shoes pass me. I had spent thousands on all of my training, bike and equipment and here I was getting spanked on the bike (my strongest leg).
I dug deep.
Like digging a hole to China deep.
It worked and the turn around was just ahead. I hit the turn around and the power of the gods had returned to my power sticks (these of course being my legs). I suddenly had tons of power and began to ride like I had a 20 mph tailwind. I was passing people like I've never passed anything. Uphill I was pulling as strong as I've ever ridden - I was taking on groups, 2 people at once and even a car stuck behind some slower riders. I don't know what had happened but my race was back on track.
I flew into T2, dropped the bike and slapped on my 16oz racing shoes (they're green Nikes that are lighter than anything else I own except for my blue Gap flip-flops).
I got out onto the run course which was a dirt road, with lots of ankle bending rocks that circumnavigated the lake. It was pretty hot at this point. Africa hot. I was glad I was wearing a black tri-suit and that my visor was really black. It's slimming - so if I wasn't going fast, I was looking lean. I suppose the run went ok - I got passed by 1 guy who I referred to as grandpa.
I chased grandpa (he was 41) through the turn around and back and up and down and up and down to the race start. Grandpa beat me - but he was the only one who passed me.
I ended up 5th in my age group but due to my massive leg failure - I probably lost 4 mins and a podium finish (which is what I thought I was capable of this weekend).
There's another race in 12 days. I'll pack a new pair of power sticks for that one.
This was not a good race and I'm pretty disappointed.
As of today, I've been training for 1 year exactly. When I started I was 220lbs and about 30% body fat. Today I'm 175 and sub-20% - not exactly race ready - but getting closer to being 155 and 8% - something I think I can hit by the end of the season. Here are some training numbers over the past year:
October 2006: Rode: 333, Riding Time 21:04, Total Time 33:38, Total Calories 21,997
November 2006: Rode: 200, Riding Time 13:45, Total Time 26:00, Total Calories 16,590 (broke nose)
April 2007: Rode: 415, Riding Time 26:37, Total Time 38:30, Total Calories 26,944
May 2007 Rode: 622, Riding Time: 39.05, Total Time 53.27, Total Calories 45,099
Over the past year I have had: 1 broken nose, 1 sprained thumb, 3 bike crashes, 1 case of bronchitis, 1 sinus infection and 1 case of strep throat (that was combined with the bronchitis)and 1 stress fracture in my shin.
May is essentially a standard month for me moving forward. With a bit less weight - I can take on more work without as much a beating on my legs and cardio system. I've got 2 races this month - a sprint on June 9 in Sacramento and an olympic in San Jose. I'll be taking a week off at the end of June and will take my family down to Disneyland. I'm hoping that it's a nice restful time off.
Lastly, I've met and trained with some great people over the past year:
My Coach: Michael Covey Bike Fit: Erik Moen Physio: Darcy Norman Doc: Dr. Bob Adams Training: Ian Charles (pictured above at Wildflower), Ben Collins and Chris Tremonte Others:Scott Fairchild and Chris McCormack