Sunday, August 02, 2009

NEW Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

The Cannondale Scalpel is on its way out the door.

Say "hello" to my new Gary Fisher Superfly 29er. YES, I am still training...hard. Ogden/Xterra USA Championships is my single focus. Mixed bag of "results" this year shall be resolved come the end of September.'s the bike? I picked it up Friday night. Thanks to Focus Cyclery for super quick turn. Ordered it Wednesday from Fisher and picked it up from Focus Friday. How 'bout that?? This is a "fun" experiment, so I am limiting how much upgrading I do right now. I will probably put on some race wheels, but that's it for now. I was toying with crank upgrades, but I will wait for the new SRAM XX double. I don't know how much it weighs.
I did 42 miles / 5k ft of climbing on it yesterday. Easyish zone 2 stuff. I was timid on it for sure. A 29er hardtail w/a standard fork felt WAY different than my 26" full suspension lefty scalpel. No duh huh? was fun. I did some long brickervals (35min bike/1.5mile sets). The thing goes fast of bumpy rocky stuff and gets up steep stuff with easy. My upper body got worked though. It required quite a bit a man-handling as it turns out . The bontrager race x lite wheels that come with it are respectably light compared to what's out there, but the bike is spec'd with tubed tires which SUCK on the terrain out here compared to what I use to running . These XDXs made certain sections WAY sketchy. I also got two flats today. I NEVER get flats. I ride pretty conservatively, try to be smooth...and weigh 150lbs. I ended up finishing my last running interval running my bike back to a semi-smooth part of trail that I could ride the rear flat home on. Suck...and can't wait to get the tubeless conversion and good tires rolling SOON!
Check this slick puppy out! I am toying with getting their new Cronus road bike too. Man, it's been a while since I updated everyone out there, but I also picked up a Scott Addict road bike w/SRAM Force. Not a bad machine. Sick handling and extremely comfortable. It climbs ok too, btw. The addict is the R3 from '08. I wanted the all black w/yellow and a non-integrated seatpost. So that's what I got. Easily in the 15lb range with ok wheels like Ksyriums.
Super quick training update so you know where I'm out.
Swim - doing 4x/week with longer stuff like 500-1000 sets paired with some short hard stuff represented by this main set from two days ago 2x {400ez, 2x200med (15"), 4x100fast (15"), 2x50all out (30:)}
Bike - wednesday's workout was: 10min at FTP, 7x3min at FTP+, 10min at FTP
Run - kicking my butt....30x30sec sub-5k pace stuff last week, this week was 5x1,000 sub-5k pace

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Base 3 Xterra Triathlon Run Workouts

After taking a mid-season transition week 1.5 weeks ago, I hit a pretty big week last week with 6 days of riding and 20% more swimming than normal. I was definitely sluggish and it took some time to really get into the swing again. By the end of the week I felt pretty good. Since then "life" has been kicking my butt. Work stress and hours galore. I've been playing it by ear as the type of fatigue caused by stress is real bugger. It debilitates me. As such, this week has been tough.

Here is Tuesday's run. Graphed is my HR. 6x1:30 intervals at 5:00min mile pace.

Here is today's run. Mellow for the first 2/3 then 6:00 miles for the last three. Again HR is graphed. The last 3 miles had 500ft of climbing and my NGP (normal graded pace) was 6:02, so I hit my target.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

MBAA #8 Flagstaff Finale Results & Transition Week

MBAA #8 Flagstaff Finale Results here:

Sure the St Championship up in Flag was a blast. Too bad I had to miss it.

I've been in mid-year transition week mode all week. This means no scheduled workouts. Two full days off. Workout however I'd like, whenever I'd like for the most part. Today I did, get ready, a whopping 17 mile road bike spin and an 800m swim. Sunday mornings in NE Mesa are nice. No traffic. No one at the pool. Perfect. Layer on top a gorgeous, warm sunny day. Great.

I have about 15 weeks to get ready for Ogden - Xterra Nationals. My training thus far has been on point, but I will be putting in a big, hard, diverse run-up to this years' show. No Worlds in Maui for me this year, so Ogden will be it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Xterra Four Corners Results and Deuces Wild Xterra Pictures

Xterra Four Corners results posted here. A number of friends did this race. Maybe I will do this next year. Sounds fun.

If you are looking for race pictures from Deuces Wild Xterra in Show Low, AZ last weekend, go here and enter your info.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Xterra Northwest Cup Race Report

Bad day.  4th AG. 9th OA.  Way off the comparative times of my comp.

Swim: Two laps with a short beach run inbetween.  Not sure how long the laps were, but they felt long.  The water was cold, but wasn't a factor for me after a couple 100 warmup.  The water on the lake was rough.  Fortunately the longest stretch of each lap was with the strong current.  The final stretch of each lap was a battle with the water as the angle brought us back slighty against the current.  Fortunately the water tasted good because I drank a lot.  We started in waves 1min back from the pros.  I had what felt like a great start.  I focused on fast turnover and quick strong hips to the first buoy before looking where I was.  Half of the long middle section I was on a guys hip and the went around him up to the next guy.  I felt like I was swimming good.  Just before the second buoy before heading for the beach/lap 1, a guy from the wave behind me went by.  I hopped on his hip, but didn't like that at all.  This hip swimming thing is new and I need to get use to the variations.  This guy knew what he was doing and took me dead on into the buoy.  - could see his plan is his eyes, but wasn't sure what I could do.  I should have pushed back.  Once we rounded the buoy we were onto the toughest roughest stretch where he got away.  Coming up to the beach I felt pretty worked, but not fatigued.  Out for the second lap I was solo the entire time.  Looking at my time which was 6min off of the top pros who I am usually 3min behind and 2min behind pros who I am typically with or slightly ahead, I guess my swim wasn't so good.  Damn, I thought it would be one good thing for the day.  I guess not.  One thing is for sure is that in tough water the better swimmers swim that much better.  Also I bet I lost time on the second lap not having a group or someone to push me.  Good lesson.  I felt fine in the rough stuff, so I don't think I need to work on that.  My start was good, so more of the same there....but something was lacking, maybe figuring out what to do when there's no one around...which equates to a) not letting people push me off their hip and b) focus. 

After a kinda tough steep run up to transition I was on the bike chasing Zyrski who was my target (beat me in the overall by 1min in vegas) and was about :30 ahead.  I need to understand that chasing and catching a world champ doesn't come easy.  Realistically it could have taken the entire bike to bridge just :30.  I was I no way prepared at the time for that type of pursuit....mentally that is.  Had not thought through that scenario.  Hind-sight is great.  "Are you mentally prepared to ride all out for 1:30 with only a :30 gap being closed as a reward??". I felt fine on the first flat section then some slight uphills hit and my legs didn't do what the have been doing...which is going uphill fast.  I think I must have not realized that it takes some time sometimes to get warmed up/into the bike....which is not ideal, but totally ok.  I am a student of the stats and know everyone's relative strengths and where everyone stacks up.  I was expecting to race at least as good as Vegas if not way better.  When some pros passed me on the bike early at a seemingly speedy pace, I had no response and had an "it's ok" attitude.  What the heck man!!  a little less than 1/2 way through the first lap a guy in my AG came flying by.  Yee-haw, I stuck with him.  Miraculous, my legs didn't fall off...of course they didn't!!  Rising behind this guy was great.  He showed me how fast and hard the course could / should be ridden.  Realistically, I would never had ridden that course that fast solo.  Onlookers would probably say we were out of control skidding around corners, fishtailing, stand up and cranking hard all over the place.  It was fun.  After a while we chatted.  There were two age groupers ahead.  He asked me to share work.  I lost focus and on the next seried of descents followed by a long flat, he dropped me.  He was faster on the descents, but I was always able to pull him back.  Crap.  Just as the gap opened another guy in my AG passed me on the flat.  No repsonse.  They Xterra gods threw me a line and I didn't take it.  I road most of the second lap with Danielle Kabush.  I knew it wasn't the pace I needed to go, but it wasn't a bad pace / I still worked hard and wrote off the bike and geared up for the run.

Game on.  I knew the run was the only way to salvage my race.  The single loop 6.5 mile course was sweet.  Up, down, flat with some tech (which I never point out but others seem to have trouble navigating, so I guess I'll give it some cred).  I set off just as I had hoped.  Fast turnover, solid pace, cruising hard.  I was concerned about my nutrition, but knew I was down the hole already and would crack if my body wanted to crack, so I didn't worry about it.  I was looking for people ahead but there weren't many.  Again, I need to get use to not getting instant gratification.  I started running out of juice or focus, not sure which.  I think my sights were set on catching people vs just going as fast as possible for the entire run.  After a tough climb the course flattened out and had some downhill.  Out of no where the jostelling on a downhill caused my stomach/abs cramped bad.  I had to stop and then walk.  I kept trying to get rolling again, but no dice.  I knew my bike sucked and that I needed every second....this wasn't helping.  Finally I figuered out a way to breath and to shuffle/speed walk to minimize the cramping and get moving.  Typically, I belly breath which has kept my inside-muscles happy and stretched, but that didn't work at all.  I did this hunched over, chest deep only breathing.  The course was so sweet and the second half had my name written all over it, but to no avail.  I ended up catching back one guy via my turbo shuffle. 

If I had put together a killer run I might have been ok age group wise, but the guy who was 1min ahead at Vegas beat me by 16min.  Wow. 

So....where from here.  Back to base for a while, have some fun and regroup for Ogden.  Training plans are intricately woven things and with the travel over the past coupke of weeks, I didn't follow my plan.  Not massive errors, but nonetheless.  This coupled with what I think amounts to the need for a midseason break.  I've been hiting it for 6mths.  I noticed a decrease in performance and desire over the past couple of weeks that I figure I could push through.....but maybe not.  Not a good combo with travel and not following the training plan. 

Friday, June 05, 2009

Up In Bayview Idaho for Xterra Northwest

I've been up in Bayview / Farragut Park Idaho since Wednesday afternoon. Nice, quiet place. It reminds me of Flagstaff from a look and climate perspective. Lots of pine trees and fairly dry. Cody, Jason and I hit the MTB course yesterday. Just cruising it took 1hr24min. So, it will be super fast come race day. It is basically flat. There is one ~1:30min hill and that's about it. Flat doesn't mean easy though. There are tons of areas to loose time. Not jamming through the single track, not stomping it on the flat stuff etc. Happy with my Scalpel full suspension. Much of the course is hardtail friendly, but there are some long, bumpy, fire road stretches that the Scalpel just eats up. I typically ride the Fox RP23 on its stiffest propedal setting, but flip it open/more suspension for the choppy sections. NICE! I was able to comfortably stay seated and pedal my big ring hard. It will hurt...different than a climbing race, but power is power.

The run course is over trails similar to the bike. Really great and true trail running. Twisty single track. It will be fast. There is some uphill to, but its fairly isolated. Focus, jam, up you go, back to stretching out the fast cadence on the flat stuff. With a flatter course, although it's hard to tell, time gaps will be a premium without big climbs, so for me the run becomes more important.

After biking yesterday I hit the water. Chilly! Its hard to say if its colder than Tahoe, but certainly equal at least. I double capped it, but still got a pretty massive could headache! Ouch. My hands and feet both got really cold, stiff and nearly numb. After a while I felt better and was able to enjoy the crisp, fresh lake. Dan Hugo was in the water and invited me to do some 20 stroke on 20 stroke off pickups. Fun, hard and fast. I need to step up my race swimming. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Don't think, just GO!

Jumping back in the water today and maybe doing one of the bike loops real easy too.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Deuces Wild Xterra Triathlon Results

A great sloppy weekend up in the pines of Show Low, AZ for Deuces Wild Xterra.  I was able to repeat as the overall winner! 
This was our 4th time doing this event and we have made it a habit of doing a short, 24hr trip.  As I always seem to do just before a race, I had bike dilemmas Saturday morning prior to leaving Phoenix.  I was out getting in 3 easy hours on the MTB and decided to crash.  No real harm to the body, but I did end up busting my rear der hanger.  Bummer!  Fortunately, as they always do, Focus Cyclery hooked me up big time, had an extra Cannondale Scalpel hanger in stock and made the swap immediately.  Thanks Focus! 
After a very scenic 3hr drive up to 6,300ft elevation race venue, we were greeted with cool temps and thunderstorms.  Hadn't really considered rain in my race planning.  More specifically, I've never raced with any sort of MTB tire other than a low-knob, desert, hard-pack friendly design (Maxxis Larsens & Crossmarks or Specialized SWorks Fasttrack LKs).  Well...whatever...I had no other options, so bring on the mud!  After some of the storms passed, I hopped in the water for two laps of the 800m course.  Man, I love my Zoot Zenith 2.0 wetsuit. 
The swim was short and sweet.  My goal was to execute my newly acquired "sit on the hip" strategy, but I need to practice and/or focus a bit more.  I did do well with the one guy who I knew was a faster swimmer than me, but I lost him going around a buoy.  All in all a good swim at altitude....where I have traditionally had near "blow-up" experiences in the past. 
T1 was ok.  I've been trying to only think about the thing I am supposed to be doing.  For example, when getting off my wetsuit it's not important to think about how dizzy I am.  Or when I'm putting on my MTB shoes it's not important to think about where my sunglasses are.  So from this perspective I did much better. 
On the bike, I started in my big ring and charged it.  Garrett Ford and I moved into 1st and 2nd and stayed together for quite a while.  I crashed once I hit the first muddy section.  Not hard, just kind of made me a bit more cautious.  After some sloppy fire service roads, we hit the main climb of the course, which is pretty rocky kinda like Maui at places, the mud really piled on.  It was kind of comical.  We went from totally loosing all traction and spinning out to not even being able to move.  Crazy mud.  We'd ride, slip, stop, de-gunk and then repeat.  Eventually, knowing the climb only got steeper, I just decided to run up the hill.  By this point Steven Beeler, a cool Swiss racer living in Tucson, had caught up to us and started to play in the mess.  The three of us rolled along the ridge of the climb where our bikes de-mudded themselves and then on the descent I let a small gap open.  Bad move!  I quickly headed off course and plowed into another mud pie.  I tracked back carrying my bike as it wouldn't roll but couldn't find the trail.  Crap.  Then I spotted 4th place rolling through the scrubby, low growth forest and re-found the trail.  After de-mud my bike again, I went as hard and as risky as I could the rest of the course.  I finally moved back into 3rd then 2nd by T2, but wasn't able to catch Steven.  I did however see him starting the run as I was coming in on my bike.  My deficit was around 2min.  Kind of a lot over a flat-ish 5 mile course. 
T2 was good enough for the fastest of the day and I was off on the hunt.  Heading out of T2, Grasky Endurance Coach Bill Daniell was passing our water and gave me a big boost of confidence.  Before the race I had committed to going fast no matter what from the get go.  At Vegas and and other races I've had trouble getting into a groove during the first half of the run.  Knowing the course, the first mile had the majority of the challenge with a couple of steep hills then it flattened out.  So, I focused on nothing but cadence (actually "cadence with a push" is what I call it) for the first mile.  "Cadence with a push" is 1) ensuring a quick turnover and 2) employing effort on top of the quick turnover - an anti-sandbagging technique I've learned.  It's not good enough to move your feet quickly.  You have to move them quickly and forcefully.  This was this first time during the race that I really felt the altitude, but so it goes.  After about 1.5 miles I still hadn't made eye contact with 1st place and was starting to get worried.  There was a long straight stretch of trail where I knew I needed to see him...I did....still a ways ahead, but eye contact was magical for motivation.  At the turnaround, mile 2.5, I caught up and took over 1st place and then committed to charging hard to the finish.  On the way back on an out-and-back section I spotted another guy, Benjamin DeWitt, running really fast.  He actually had the fastest run of the day, beating me by :03/mile.  I don't know what I look like coming down the trail, but he looked fast and I knew if I didn't push that he would catch me.  Two water crossings and a couple of miles later, the finish line was in site.  I did it.  
Heading to Idaho for the Xterra Northwest Championships Wednesday.  Excited to race some more.