Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mt Lemmon

This week wrapped my first full week back training after my mid-season break. All in all, a great week. I am gradually falling into a nice routine and am refining some scheduling things that make training more convenient. Simple things like going to bed / waking up at the same time, dialing in pre-workout nutrition of the most important things here in the desert....finding a way to get workouts done early in the morning/day. Little things add up.

The highlights of the week were riding Mt Lemmon and achieving one of my bike power goals during a mid-week test. I love climbing on the road bike and Lemmon has roughly 26 miles and (6,600 ft of elevation gain) of it. My goal for the day was to maintain a high zone 2/low zone 3 the whole way up while pushing up past threshold towards the top. It was a hard earned 70 miles (in total). Mission accomplished. I can't wait to go back. On the bike power goal, unaware to me at the time, during a mid-week TT/test on the road bike, I exceeded my 30minute power goal. My coach let me know...glad to see he is keeping tabs on me and looking at my power files.

This week is a big one. Probably the biggest ones for the rest of the season (sounds weird to say). My run saw some good progress early in the season, but has since regressed back to '07 speed/plateaued a bit. So....time to hit the run hard. Actually I have a lot of work to do in all three sports. Being a triathlete is fun...never short of work to do, progress to make, races to get better at.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1/2 a Watt

With all the "free" time I had last week while not formally training, I was able to pick up a few new bike pieces and parts. Two of which were installed tonight. A new Selle Italia XP saddle (160g) and new Specialized Rib Cage MTB bottle cages (66g for the pair). These two changes netted a 108g reduction in my Cannondale Taurine's weight. After some late night math skills, these savings will spare me exactly 1/2 of 1 watt at my FTP (functional threshold power). Nice...right?

I love routine and I am getting back into a big way...well...I better be! After my swim test (3x300s) today, I have some work to do. I've lost a couple of seconds/100 over the past couple of months. I must say though that after the Temecula race in May, I did intentionally cut back my swimming to make room for more bikes and runs. I'm back to 4x swims/week one of which will be open water.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Test Time

Being back into training feels great. No kidding. Three weeks of racing plus one week off plus a clear vision of what needs to be done to take it to the next level equals a super happy camper. Pumped. I wish there was a way to bottle this feeling and pull it out at will. Maybe I can.

This week is filled with some pretty tough training and testing. In my head I was going to ease back into training...not so much. Yeah, nothing race-prep intensity, but still mucho volume and pretty tough stuff...including one tough test in each sport. I knocked out a 40min time trial on the road bike today, have a swim test tomorrow and a run test in two days. Testing will be a big part of my plan for this remainder of the season. Dial it in.

You will hear me talking about climbing on the bike a lot over the next couple of months. It's a must. Ogden, Tahoe and Maui all have a lot of it. So, I will be doing a lot of it. Starting this weekend I will join my coach, Brian Grasky, in Tucson for some suffering on Mt Lemmon. Speaking of Grasky, he just told me he will be doing an the Snow Valley Xterra and that he was running some serious run splits at a local race a week or so back. Awesome! I am so stoked for him to be back in the game. For those of you who don't know, Brian broke his leg badly about 14mths ago, had a bunch of complications, but has persevered and emerged a he always does. Training with him this weekend (and many more over the next couple of months) will be great.

I've got to recognize a pretty special moment. During the Xterra East Championships, my parents were able to see me win my very first, 1st place at a regional race. Super special....on Father's Day and all.'s to my Mom and Dad. Thanks for cheering like crazy!

Monday, June 23, 2008

1st Half Wrap

I just wrapped up the 1st half of my season and am officially back to structured training.

With many lessons learned and some decent results, I am super focused and very excited for the remainder of the season which culminates with the Xterra World Championships in Maui, HI on October 26.

2008 Results so far:
Arizona Xtreme Xterra:
1st AG, 5th Overall

Xterra West Championships:
3rd AG, 11th Overall

Deuces Wild Xterra:
1st AG, 1st Overall

Xterra Southeast Championships:
2nd AG, 6th Overall

Xterra East Championships:
1st AG, 7th Overall

*Qualified for Maui (had to get top-2 at an Xterra Championship race)
*Secured 1st place in the Southwest Xterra Points Series (had to accumulate 3 AG wins with one being a Championship race to get max points)

I just wrapped a transition week where I trained very little and at a lot (gained 5lbs!). My mind and body are rearing to go to say the least. Just where I need to be. Prior to this transition week I had three races in three weekends. With all the travel and a race prep training schedule, I am due for some solid and consistent volume. I am diving into some testing this week with a normal Base 3 workout mix. Pumped. 5 bikes, 4 swims and 3 runs. Focuses over the upcoming weeks will be force/climbing on the bike, race-paced/open water swimming on the swim and speed/track work on the run.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Deuces Wild Xterra

The Deuces Wild Xterra in Show Low, Arizona has become a standard stop on my race schedule. Show Low is about a 3hr drive from Phoenix, is usually a couple of degrees cooler, set among the pines and is at 6,500 feet elevation. What's not to love? A great break from the desert. The Xterra that was on Sunday was just one part of a triathlon weekend filled with a half ironman, olympic distance race and a huge raffle ($30,000 worth of schwag) that were all put on by Trisports.

The timing of this race couldn't have been better as it fit nicely into my peak/race phase of training, one week prior to the upcoming South East Championship in Birmingham, Alabama (where I am right now) and the East Championship in Richmond, Virginia the following week. More on training later.

We cruised up to Show Low on Saturday morning and headed straight for the race course for a pre-ride. I headed out for an hour spin and Mandy headed out for trail run. Finishers of the the road tri's were still coming in and the tri-atmosphere made for an exciting time (read this as "I think its' cool to ride around a road tri on a mountain bike...oh, the looks!). The big feature of the bike course was a 4.5 mile climb with the last portion being over some loose, baby-doll head sized rocks. I only pre-rode up to this section then turned around and headed for home. No need to do anything more. The weeks training was brutal and I wanted/needed to go easy.

Back at the parking lot, I caught up with my coach, Brian Grasky and talked over the course, how I was feeling and some race strategies. He still has the course record, so he knew what to say. After a quick swim in the 60 degree lake and registering, we headed back to the hotel for some R&R.

For dinner, we headed up to Pinetop, a short 15min drive away, for a sweet home cooked dinner with a Phoenix Xterra bud, Jonathan Sellwood (thanks Man!). It was hard to beat the killer grub and sitting on the back porch at a killer lakeside house. Perfect scenario the night before a race.

I've been riding for ~15min and swimming for ~10min as my warm-up this year. The short bike seems to help my legs get engaged when the bike leg hits. So, I road to the race course early in AM to set up transition and get ready for a 7AM start. I'll beat the heat any day, so earlier the better for me. I've feel I've finally figured out how to relax leading up to a race and am now really enjoying the entire triathlon race process, race morning being part of this. Familiar faces, good short conversations and the ability to focus on performance vs focus on the competition.

An 800m swim should be easy, right? Well, it kind of was, but it sure felt a lot harder at 6,500 ft with a cold wetsuit (cold = more stiff = more tired muscles). Not much else to say other than the swim went ok and I was glad when it was over. I came in out of the water in 12th but was able to leave transition in around 7th.

This race, and actually the past year, has been about the bike. It finally clicked. These things were pulsing through my mind, "ride the bike like a bike race", "make me legs shake" and "don't even think about the run, it will take care of itself." This is what I did and started to pick off riders one-by-one. I moved into the race lead at the top of the and never looked back. I knew I was doing the bike right and it felt good. Finally...all the hard training actually being used in the race. About time.

I came into T2 with 2nd place about 45 seconds behind me, but didn't stop to see who it was. I knew the run course was fast and that I was feeling ok. It took me a little while to get my legs going, but after a mile or so, I was on cruise control. The course had a couple of long stretches and an out-and-back that served as good places to see how the competition was one in site. I knew I was going to win. 1st overall win at an Xterra with an ok swim, a good bike and an ok run. I'll take it! I am not really sharing exactly how much of a breakthrough race this was for me, but let's just say, "HUGE!"

Now, on to the East Coast for some serious racing. Alabama and Virginia for Xterra Regionals. It's peak time, what I've been training for the past 6mths. Only one result will be acceptable.