Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vineman 70.3 Race Report

IMG_1093 If you're from the Seattle area - my half marathon was run in 95 degree weather.  Given that it's 95-105 here today, you know that it sort of sucked. 

I had to do better than last year - I had to, but I didn't really. 

The day before was good - we spent the day warming up for a bit, spending some time with Chris Lieto (he's one of our Z-Team sponsors).  We compared calves and I think I won on looks, he wins on function.  Somehow mine put out about 100 fewer watts.  See photo and be impressed.  We talked a bit about his Boise 70.3 race where he lost the race in the final seconds of the race.  I also got to chat with a race friend (someone you see a few times a year at races and exchange emails with both before and after the race) Brian from Alcis.  This stuff is AWESOME and they've dropped the price by 50%.  They also sponsor a bunch of triathletes, races and can always be found a most bay area race expos.  (If you're a triathlete - support these guys. I've given their cream to my mom and nana - anyone else need some- I've got samples!). 

I met 2 blog readers - one was the guy who checks your ID and finds you in the long list of race participants.  He even quoted the title of my post from a year or more ago - he was like 'I read your blog because we did the same race'!  The other was Rory, a friend of Ben's but now he's more my friend.  Meeting Rory turned out to be awesome- more on that later....

We had a big dinner - 10 people including Lieto, Ian, Matt Dixon, Base Performance's new CFO Robert Larioza and a few other folks.  We unfortunately had a nice private room for dinner - which also happened to be the restaurant's wine cellar!  Not easy to NOT think a nice Pinot Noir when you're surrounded by it!

Then Ian, Matt (Dixon), his girlfriend Kelli and myself all checked into a cozy little chateau up in Healdsburg - Matt and Kelli stayed outside while I enjoyed what was at least my 20th night in a sofa sleeper (still haven't moved into our new home). 

My race didn't go off until 8:14 but Ian's race started at 6:37am and Dixon had a few athletes he was coaching go off at all hours but most notably Tyler Stewart.  About 10 mins before the race started - I remembered that I left my goggles in the car and went to go ask Matt for the keys - he was standing next to Tyler who just happened to have 4 extra pair.  So I was given one with the condition that I wouldn't say she was a bad swimmer.  She finished 2nd in the race for female pros - exiting the water 7.5 mins down on the lead woman.  She's really an awesome biker (rode 2:23). 

With that done -I only had to wait another 1.75 hours!  I got coffee and watched the pros and a few friends actually finish their swim and head out on the bike. 

IMG_1095 Then, despite the water temp being in the high 70's - they declared it 76 and a wetsuit swim.  It didn't bother me much and I began what was to be a very slow float up the river.  I like to think I swam as fast as last year - which included a lot of running in the shallow spots.  There were a few this year, but I tried to swim them instead. About 1/3 of the way into the swim I met up with a swimmer on the wrong side of the river in a head to head collision.  Ouch.  Amazing how tangled you can get even though your arms and legs are attached. 

I hit the halfway at 22 mins!  Eeek.  I finished up about 17 mins later - so I know I can swim faster, I just need to do that from the start.  At least I got to the end of the swim and thought 'is that it'.  I sort of struggled to get through transition, I forgot to set up to maximize for running as little as possible with a bike ARGH!  I had to run around a few people and then onto the course with the bike.  I got on and quickly got rolling. 

I got settled with a group that set a good pace - I kept my proper distance and we just powered.  The guy in front of me was riding at least 1 meter from the guy in front of him, so after a while I rode up next to him and said I'd punch him in the head if he didn't stop drafting.  About 4 miles later, he gets a 4 min drafting penalty.  Sort of glad, I really didn't want to punch him as he was about 6'3".  I did have to pee, which was better than having to go on the run - so I did that, but it's hard to pedal and pee so I just coasted and found myself trying to coast up a hill and pee.  Good times!  I got back on pace and started tearing through the masses in front.  Most of the hills were pretty congested, so I passed a lot of folks on the left side.  Turns out I forgot that is bad and even worse when there's a course marshal behind me. 

I had finished hour 1 of the ride at ~24 mph avg.   Pretty good.  But the second half would be a bit slower as I had a stop and go penalty, which had more stop than I wanted.  I had to wait for them to give one to someone else, then they mark everything -your number, your bike, and then their sheet.  Then you sign it.   Then you go.  I had a gel as I waited.  I also had water, because they put the penalty tents next to water stations. 

I finished the ride in an official 2:28 or so but think I was about 1:30 faster without the penalty - either way, I was faster than last year by 4-6 mins, depending upon how you want to look at things. 

Then it was the run.  I got socked up and felt pretty good, but a bit dry and it was getting pretty warm.  I think the avg. temp last year was 66 and this year it was 88. 

BTW - here's a photo from this year (left) and last year (right).

image vinemanbike

I was hoping to run about a 6:50 pace, something I had been training for pretty well and was capable of getting the first 10k knocked off in 42 mins - hopefully giving me some buffer to finish under 1:30.  Mile 1 was 7:05, not bad since I was taking a handful of pills and water and sort of fumbled a bit.  Then I grabbed water and knocked the 2nd mile off at 7:30 but thought it was ok, since I did slow for water through a busy station.  Then I felt the heat.  It was Africa hot for me and I knew that I should walk the water stations quickly and keep running.  Mile 3 was 8:30 and thus my pace for the rest of the 13.1 mile run.  I never once walked between aid stations and although I had a race plan and a goal HR, it wasn't going to happen.  My avg HR on every mile was from 180 to 205 - depending upon whether or not there was a hill.  Normally I'd run with a HR of 168 - so this wasn't going to be easy.  I felt 'ok' for the run - not bad but if I went too hard my core temp went up and the feeling of going into a tunnel started to creep in.  My feet were burning from about mile 2 until mile 13.  Not from blisters or anything like that - but from the pavement!  I did run in my Under Armour Spectre - which are a training shoe, but pretty light and with their 'footsleeve' they fit really nicely for race day.  This is the first race I've ever done where I was blister free. 

I passed a LOT of people but apparently the walking through each aid station was not going to get me to the end as fast as I wanted.  I saw my race time from last year 4:57 pass by and I finished a few mins after in 5:03.  With about 50 yards to go, some joker decided to sprint past me and I wasn't going to go all that way to get pipped by anyone - so I sprinted by him (thanks coach for the track workouts) - sure, it's sort of retarded sprinting for what must have been 187th place, but I wasn't going to be 188th (out of 1,517, sad but true. Really sad).  Then I saw my HR hit over 200 and I knew if I didn't keep walking and breathing I was going down.  The world got very dark and I remember some guy saying 'I need your timing chip, I need your timing chip'.  I made the poor guy get it off me while I walked.  I finally saw daylight and went to find water and a place to sit

I found Rory in the USAT Mobile Tour booth (you'll see from the link above that he had a nice chair for me, t-shirt, skins, 2 things of chocolate soy mile (the Silk booth was next door), at least 3 smoothies and somewhere around 3 dozen EFS chews.  From the time I sat until the time I got up, close to 2 hours had passed.  During that time, we saw the temp go up from 95 until 105 or something ridiculous like that.

Overall, the race was not a success - from a numbers standpoint.  Some takeaways:

  • I finished with nothing in the tank.  Nothing.  Could I have gone harder, maybe 1%.  Probably not.
  • I rode well and put 4-6 mins into my PR. 
  • I swam the 2nd half well, if I bring that effort and intensity into the first half, then I'm going to see a much better swim.
  • I suffered in the heat but mentally was rock solid. Never felt I had to 'push' - I just kept going.  Even used ice in a cup as a metronome to ensure I wasn't slowing down.  This SORT of backfired when I heart ice in a cup behind me going faster! 
  • I had a great nutrition plan.  Maybe more water, but not much more - probably focus on one more bottle BEFORE the race
  • Instead of walking the water stations, jog them - at 30 secs to 1 min per station, I was easily giving up 10 mins. 
  • Remember to pee on the downhill section of the bike.  Uphill is harder to do.
  • Passing over the yellow is a no-no.
  • Go faster.

That's all.  Timberman in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Running With Pre

I know I'm supposed to be writing a Vineman 70.3 race report - but I haven't downloaded my HR data - so I don't want to just yet. Instead I am covering something far more spectacular than my race - visiting the home of Nike and Pre.

Eugene is a college town, not much different than Durham, NH where I went to school.  But there is something different - it's the home of all things running in the US.  More awesomeness happened here in the running world than just about anywhere else in the US or World for that matter.

In order to better understand how awesome Hayward Field is, you should read Bowerman by Kenny Moore and then watch Without Limits (DVD).  Kenny Moore is a fantastic writer from Sports Illustrated - not to mention, he ran for Bill Bowerman and ran with Pre.  I knew OF Pre before I read and watched, but after spending a month or more immersed in it - I had to go visit the University of Oregon. 

Luckily I had my chance today!

After Vineman, I had to drive home with another car and knew Erich was in Eugene - so it was a great time to visit!  We got up about 7am, grabbed some breakfast and headed out to downtown Eugene - some 2 minutes down the road.  I got to see Hayward field where we walked on the nicely resurfaced track - recently updated for the Olympic trials held a short while ago.  After a magical lap, we headed up the short hill to Pre's Rock - the site where Steve Prefontaine was killed.  People (runners) leave stuff of all kind at the spot - there is a small memorial and then the painted on note that someone anonymously keeps re-painting. It was awesome and good to have someone local to show me around at that hour. 

It was awesome.  Even though it hurt to walk, I still mustered my magical wonders to pose for an early photo.  I hope you're able to look at the other pictures before you are transfixed and unable to take your eyes off of my calves.  It's ok if you just spend a few minutes.  I've probably spent a bit longer wondering why they don't make me go any faster. 

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Athlete #1955

Dolphin RidesMy last post before Vineman 70.3 - one of two 'A' races I have in the next month - the other is Timberman 70.3.  I'd ideally like to do the following:

Finish better than last year: 38th place and qualify for the 70.3 World Champs in Clearwater.  Some age groups have this a tick easier and some harder - I've got 400 people in my age group. 

Last year I swam 39, rode 2:32 and ran 1:39. 

I detonated and went from 7 min mile pace to 9 mins or slower for the final 5 miles, so with the running I did over the past few months I should have a much better run! 

I also started the race at 6:37am, the first wave behind the pros - it wasn't even sunny when I finished it was still almost breakfast time! This year I start at 8:14am - I won't sleep any more but hope I can get in a good 3-5k run before getting into my wetsuit and have a good breakfast.  

Over the past few months I've also done a lot of work on the bike and have raised my watts by about 30 since last year while also dropping my heart rate by about 10 beats - not to mention swimming with a master's group which has more than doubled the swimming I've done in the past. 

I've even listened to my coach a lot and trusted him with just about everything.  I provide feedback and he gives me my workouts. 

I've also done a lot of bike training with a heavy Power Tap wheelset - adding some flat protection to the inside of the tire or running 'Slime' tubes.  This makes the transition from going to the race wheelset a wonderful experience!  The training wheels are heavy and slow and then when I race at the same wattage - my wheels are disturbingly light. 

I also have a new race bike since last year, a new aero helmet and a new wheelset.  So that has to count for something.

I'm also NOT racing in flats, but rather my super comfy and awesome and race proven Under Armour Spectres. They have a nice 'footsleeve' that helps hold the foot in - great for when racing without socks and I put in Yanks - they seem to help keep my feet in the shoes without any weird pressure spots.  Macca wears these too you know, but not for races as he's testing out some new racing flats. 

After Vineman, I'm driving back to Seattle with another car and my bike and a few other items I left down in Tiburon.  On the way home, I'll be stopping in Eugene to go see Erich and to visit Pre's Rock.  Once home, I'll get back to commuting by bike - except I've got a new office in Bellevue and it's on the 22nd floor and I've got floor to ceiling windows - which will be awesome as I change for my ride home in the office.  I've also got a new home from which to commute from - it's about 30 mins from the office - but there are a few ways to add some miles to that.  I don't mind a 30 mile commute each way, but a shorter option would be nice.  I'll also try and get out for a few more crits on Thursday with Rhaw Shaw, Chris Tremonte and the Ben and Courtenay show. 

I think that's it.  Got to pack now. 

I did want to note a few more observations from Seattle:

  • People frown here a lot.  Not enough smiles.  I used to think that the people who ran or rode while smiling were crazy, now I realize they're just happy to be out. 
  • Outgoing is the last way I'd describe people here.  I must have said hi to 4 people while running the other day and none of them said anything.  They were also all slow. 
  • Bus drivers here have been super courteous to me.  I've had more drivers wait for me to pass, wave me in front of them or simply give me room.  There is hope!
  • Traffic is horrible.  I don't get it but riding a bike is almost always faster.  I drove in twice and it took 1.25 hours to get home or I travelled something less than 15 miles per hour - IN THE CAR ON THE HIGHWAY. I can ride in in 1:35 or about 19 something mph.
  • Sometimes I think the riding is almost better at this time of year than just about anywhere (country roads in New England I think still are the best).  The terrain has a lot of rollers, there's a decent network of bike trails with next to no exposure to cars and there are some great smelling roads out there!  I'm not sure if I like BBQ's or flowers more while I ride.  You get both here.  The roads are actually a bit rougher and more than once I've nearly had my hands knocked off the bars from bumps or hidden dips in the road.  Fewer stop signs and cops too.
  • Greta and the girls LOVE it here.  We have had a lot of fun on the weekends - spending the past 2 weekends over on the Olympic peninsula.  I didn't think they could be happier than they were in CA, but they are. 

PS: I think you'll be able to track me racing on Sunday here: http://ironman.com/events/ironman70.3/vineman70.3/?show=coverage 

Think good thoughts: Swim better than 39, bike better than 2:32 and run better than 1:39.  I think my transitions were all around 2:30 or so.  I'll go faster.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Weirdness of Seattle

I've lived here a while - from 1994 until 2008 and then from almost 2 weeks ago until now.  It's sort of nice have a fresh perspective on Seattle - I sort of hated it when we left but Ben constantly forces me to think about the good - that and Greta loves it here AND I try not to be negative. 

I don't have much of a theme, so it's sort of random - basically as I've spent time here I experience something and go 'that has to make it into the blog'.  So here.

I work at Microsoft and somehow there are a lot of people here who have actually read my blog.  Not just read it but read it and remember.  Like when I say I'll never wear compression socks a few months ago and then wear them.  I can only imagine what sort of feedback real writers get. 

I did my first crit last thursday at Seward park - a true highlight of every week for me.  Of course I haven't ridden with more than 2-3 people in probably 5 years - so it was weird being all around folks.  Luckily, between car racing and racing crits for years - I didn't get freaked out and even went into a few holes only sprinters dare go - the gaps between people where you have to actually move people with your arms to get through.   I hit over 1,100 watts in the race.

I'm swimming with a group at the pool with my old coach in a tri swim class. there's a 6am class that has 3-4 people in a lane or the 7am which has 1-2 people per lane.  It' isn't that competitive - so I hope more folks show, it's nice to have a good workout with people to push you.  I've yet to meet anyone who is a gung-ho racer.  I might audit the 6am from time to time - not that I'm not getting in a good workout, it's mentally more of a workout to keep pushing.  That and we get a lot of rest between sets.  I noticed that there was a girl, sort of not your typical looking triathlete.  She didn't even have goggles and didn't swim so well - but she never gave up and swam every set.  Turns out she's blind.  Pretty amazing I thought.

People in Seattle are so passive aggressive.  More aggressive than passive.  I've been yelled at by more cyclists and motorist in 2 weeks than I did in 2 years.  Cyclists here are pretty much the biggest wankers anywhere.  No one waves or says hi.  My friend Lilia calls this the Seattle Freeze.  In CA, you could ride with someone and exchange a story with them within a mile or two- so long as you both could hang, you were on the same team.  I did the crit last week and no one said a word.  Even if you say stuff to people, they get by with offering as little as possible.  I rode home yesterday with a guy from Ukraine and even he said folks were unfriendly. He of course was as chatty as could be.  It's the most liberal city anywhere but the least friendly of anywhere I've ever lived.  But the friends we have made here - we've had for years and years.  So maybe I'll give it more time. 

There are a lot of people here at work who 1) need sunshine 2) need to exercise 3) carpool

I've been asked by more than one person to see my calves.  Even more have mentioned them.  I don't blame them one bit. 

MaccaX is a lot of work - but lots of fun.  I started a Facebook group and it has over 300 people in it in about a week - some pretty impressive names in the Triathlon world.  The site, which hasn't even launched has got over 1,000 people registered.  We're giving away Macca's Specialized race helmet, his race kit, race numbers, bag - all autographed and likely his bike. We hope to have the full site launched at Kona before the Ironman starts- but will have other things up before that.  We're putting together team racing kits, bike kits, t-shirts and other stuff - Under Armour is helping with all of this.  They're basically awesome. 

I got a new Under Armour recharge suit - it's top and bottom compression gear.  Except, it's too big.  So now I'm a size M.  Hope to get a new one right after Vineman. 

I met ANOTHER blog reader after the crit last week.  Jennifer not only reads it - but she remembers it and forwards it on!  She's a triathlete too.

I'm getting more comfortable riding to and from work - but it makes for a long day.  Yesterday I rode in at 6am- 30 miles, then ran a 10k hard at lunch and then rode home- getting in around 7:15pm.  Below is the elevation from my ride last Thursday.  You see that I raced a crit with a hill every single lap. My Commute has a 1.8 mile decent at the start and about a 1 mile climb at the end.  Otherwise it's pretty flat.  Below you see a hill in the middle - that's the climb over our new home town of Mercer Island.

image

We did find an awesome house - exactly 50% of what our place cost in CA.  It's on the best riding route in the whole area - literally on the route!  We have a killer fenced in back yard for the kids and Jack (the dog) and it's perfect for entertaining and for spending time together. 

I rode 200 miles this week.  This is going to be pretty normal.  I do this in 3-4 days of riding. Generally 3.

Having Greta's family so close - I can go out with her a bit more and we're not so dependent on Soda (our only babysitter in CA) or a nanny to go out or squeeze in a workout. 

It's actually really nice weather here.

Last night I rode home and the cyclists (generally) aren't as strong as they are in Marin.  There are more people who commute - but it's on mtn bikes.  A few have road bikes.  Yesterday AM I rode in and a guy passed me (gasp).  I was going about 20mph - easy.  He went by and pulled in front and didn't go any faster.  So I just sat behind him.  He looked back about 50 times over the next mile and then started waving me by.  I showed him my wheel and a few hundred watts for the next few mins - he was gone.  I stopped for water and then got caught at the only light in 25 miles.  He caught me at the bottom of the climb up to the office and preceded to pass me and then sit there.  Then he started freaking out and waved me by again.  I also see the same 2 guys each day - one rides with a bandana over his face and the other rides with a full on neoprene head and face mask.  It's been mid to high 70's here!  So back to last night's commute.  We get to the ONLY light on the commute (mostly) and there are about 8 guys.  They take off and I slowly get going and latch on.  In Marin, it would be a hammer session and you would latch on for your dear life.  This wasn't as fast - but I thought it would be fun to go with the group and get home a bit faster. They were pulling like 20 - and of COURSE I can't stand it and have to take them up a notch.  Plus there's a nice headwind. So I just kept going to about 350 watts and just stayed there.  The group rotated through about twice.  At one point I dropped my water bottle and had to stop and go get it - then chase back on!  Ugh.  Then I went to the front again and kept at it.  So much for the easy spin home!  One guy said 'how long are you going to keep this pace up' and noting that it was about the pace I had to hold at Vineman I said 'until the end'.  Fast forward another 15 miles and there's one guy left.  It's this Ukranian kid who is on a commuter bike - a road bike but clearly not a 16lb bike.  He rides up next to me and with a thick accent says 'I am very sorry but I cannot go this pace much longer' - he lasted 25 miles at 21-24mph, through a headwind and despite my every attempt to blow his legs - he clung.  I told him he needs to race bikes and that he did an amazing job.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Stuff

I did some great stuff last week - some good riding - about 200 miles or so I think, 120 commuting, 20 racing and then 60 or so of training.  That was the bike. I'm also re-learning the bike commute tricks - like: bring underwear to work because if not you'll be wearing a wet pair of bike shorts for 11 hours, eat before riding 30 miles, know how long the commute is before you schedule a meeting in the AM, don't schedule meetings at 8am when you ride in and don't really know how long a ride it is, fix the bike when it shifts into the spokes instead of continually pulling the chain out of the wheel, don't get bothered by the people who at 6am insist on going 50mph on the highway in the LEFT LANE (bridge) when you know a cop can't possibly be ahead for the next mile because you can go 80mph and then then gesture to you that you're going 'too fast' (it's important to gesture back that you appreciate the feedback and that Jesus loves them too). 

imageFor the 4th we went up to the Port Townsend area of WA - way up there where you see the Border Patrol and Canadian Geese are basically home.  It was awesome.  The roads were wide and magic carpet-like.  The shoulders were good and the people were even better.  A women ran out of her coffee shop to wave at me, which was weird but I'm guessing someone warned her that I'd be rolling through with my calves on fire.  I was shocked by the awesomeness and my watts were on par with those guys sitting at the back of the peloton in the tour, maybe higher. 

It was great to hang out with the family and not spend TOO much time obsessing about training - though I did, I tried to hide it.

We went clamming and boating and ate about 3,000 jellybeans.  Piper ate 2,000 of them. 

I drank a Coors Light and wasn't sure what to think about that.

We also went to a restaurant that closes at 6:30pm and had some pretty slick burgers - see photo below. I only had the one with a single patty.  The double patty ones took 2 days to finish. 

Our dog got fixed.  I think he's still broken.  Now he has fleas. 

Swimming indoors after swimming outdoors is the exact same as flying first class for 10 years and then going back to row 27 in coach (the one next to the toilets).

In Port Townsend they have places with great names: J'eet Yet (small little seafood place) and The Tides Inn (motel).  My mom would love all of the stupid jokes that I'm sure circulate around those places. 

On the way home I stated that I thought ALL four legged animals could swim from birth.  I think this is true but didn't want to get into details.  I did have to answer a few specifics- like could horses or cows or hippos swim?  I said that some probably swim better than others.  I'd be happy to take my chances racing a cow over 1.2 miles - assuming there was a bike leg following the swim (just in case).

Piper stated without a doubt that "dogs could ride bicycles". 

IMG_0952

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Grand Fondo and Week 1

On Sunday I drove 15 hours pulling a Uhaul from Tiburon to Seattle.  It wasn't too bad and I sort of know how to back up with a trailer now. We're currently staying with my wife's family in Ballard - with a nice view of the ocean and surrounded by picturesque/magazine quality gardens.  Everyone has settled in as if they owned the place!  I also started working in the office now - which I found is about as far away from where I live now as I could possibly get.  I thought the office was just a 20 mile bike ride - but after 1 hour of riding on Tuesday (starting at 6am) I found it wasn't and that I had another 10 miles to go!  The ride in is pretty easy - it's all flat which means pedaling the WHOLE time as opposed to getting in a little climb,stretch the legs and enjoy a little twisty downhill.

It sort of feels like riding on a computrainer - but not nearly as boring and when carrying about 20lbs of stuff on my back - my bum hurts a lot more after an hour.  There are also about 2 cars I encounter which is nice.

The ride home is about the same - except I generally take a hillier route home across Mercer Island and the I90 bridge.  But there are a lot of cars who seem to be more aggressive than I think is necessary (only once this week did I have to skid through my rear tire in order to avoid flipping over a hood). 

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So now that I know my regular commute is 60 miles I'm prepared for it. I also found that not scheduling meetings at 8am and eating before I ride are good ideas.

I've also already seen people I know here out on rides - which is nice, Seattlites are truly creatures of habit - there are people I'd see doing the same work out nearly every day (of course I was doing the same workout - or at least on the same route).

I do the bike commute on Tues and Thurs and then swim/run on Weds and Friday.  I also hooked up with my old coach at the pool and am doing a triathlon specific swim class.  My only complaint is the huge amount of rest they take between sets. They basically did 15 seconds after the last person came in.  I didn't realize that the last person who was swimming without goggles was completely blind.  Maybe I'll just start taking off with about the level of rest we'd get at Master's swim - it's not like she'd know we left.  Well, maybe she'd figure it out quickly.  But still, less rest. I also pushed harder because of the naps we got in between.

My Garmin isn't tracking my pace well - so trying to get that sorted.  I was doing an interval the other day and was supposed to run about a 6:45 pace - but it was killing me - to the point where my HR was so high that I started choking/coughing and ready to chunder.  I'm back to running by HR and will see if the Garmin fixes itself. 

Yesterday I had the great idea of commuting by bike and then racing the crit at Seward park in the Cat 2/3/4 race (I'm a Cat 3 or whatever they call it now) and then riding home.  I got Chris Tremonte to ride with me - so it was fun to have some company and a little triathlete amongst cyclist competition.  By the time I got to the race I had ridden 45 miles already and the race would get us another 20 miles I think.  I haven't raced a crit in years - like 5 or more and also haven't ridden with more than a handful of people in at least that long - so some nerves were there!  Not to mention, going from long steady efforts to the violent high-wattage efforts of a crit - I had no idea how long I'd survive. 

The crit started out fine - it was a 25 lap race (I think) that goes around a closed course and up a long hill each lap.  It's pretty casual and if you get dropped you can rest and get back in easily.  I just planned to sit in and finish the race - getting in some efforts and maybe a few digs.  The race was pretty uneventful at the back 1/3 which Chris sat in the front 1/3.  At one point the pack slowed and I went from about 1/2 way up to the top 5 and then I just hit it.  I saw over 1,100 watts and then 4 other guys jumped with me as we went up the hill.  I didn't see the pack again for another lap - even though I had coasted over the top of the hill and back down again! I recovered and did it again 1 lap later - this time Tremonte came around me but I had no expectation of hammering up the hill to get the break going. It's a tough course for a small handful to get away on - the pack goes downhill so much faster than a few people, so you end up getting caught 99% of the time I think.  The crit was over - I had even found a few old teammates and had a few snippets of conversation during the race. 

Here's a snap of my HR - you can see where the race starts - around mile 48 in the day.  The highlight is where I attacked. 

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We rode home and by then time I got home I felt pretty good - though dehydrated (it has been about 80 all week) and could have even run a little if I needed to! 

Vineman is in 2 weeks from Sunday - so one more week of good training this week and then a recovery/taper week.  IN the past week I've set new power records on my harder rides and my runs have gone really well.  An hour of swimming seems short on some days and although I'd like a few more weeks before Vineman, I think it's all going in the right direction.

After the race I met a blog reader - which is always a hoot!