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.
So...how'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? BUT...today 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:
http://redrockco.com/files/MBAA%208%20Results.pdf

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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

San Diego a blast; Looking toward Deuces Wild and Idaho

For the last week I've been in San Diego.  Got in some great training with James Walsh and Trevor Glavin.  With James, I got in a nice hilly 1:40 trail run and a sweet road bike ride with 7,000ft of climbing.  The route had some Tour of California climbs like Palomar and Cole Grade.  Nothing like hitting some of the epic climbs.  Palomar took a little over an hour and lived up to it's reputation having over 4,000ft of climbing.  The grade was steeper than Mt Lemmon in Tucson, but is was much shorter.  Not that a 12 mile climb is short, but Lemmon takes over 2hrs and is 26 miles long.  My power meter is man down, but working backwards from James' power stats, I am pretty sure I surpassed all prior sustained power readings.  For reference, on Palomar I held an avg wattage for over an hour that was higher than my 20min max from last season.  Nice!  Trevor hit a couple Mission Bay open water swims with me.  He is a better swimmer than me and always teaches me a lot.  We worked on swimming on the hip.  Feet suck.  I'll say it again.  Feet suck.  Practice swimming on the hip and it'll change your life....or just your swim time.  I did some other solo workouts while in San Diego.  Nice place.  Not as convenient to train as my little slice of training paradise in Mesa, but not bad.
 
Now back in Phoenix, I have a couple of workouts tonight (swim) and tomorrow (3hr zone 2 ride) prior to heading up to Show Low in the afternoon.  I will get a short swim at the race venue (6,500ft elevation) and then head to a buddy's cabin just up the road from the race course.  Sunday is the race.  Super looking forward to it.  Then on Wednesday, I head of to Idaho for the Xterra Northwest Championship race where I have some Vegas make-up to take care of.  I checked out the course profile today (http://www.adventuresportsweek.com/userfiles//XTERRA%20Bike%20Profile(1).jpg) and I have to say I am a bit disappointed.  I was hoping for a lot more climbing...like 2x-3x as much.  I know climbs do exist there, but for whatever reason the route just doesn't hit them.  I am certain the course will have plenty of challenges, but there's big time to be had on big climbs!  The run looks like it might have some steep stuff on it, so that's good.  I'll be pre-riding etc in a couple of days, so the truth will be known. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photos from 2009 Xterra West Championship

If you are looking for all the race photos go here: http://www.brightroom.com/view_event.asp?EVENTID=50424 and enter your last name or bib number.


And we're off - nice crisp water

Zoot Zenith 2.0 in effect
Cranking on in the 29/little ring??? No wonder no win. Welcome to the Moon part I - bikers are the little specs


Out on the run trying to actually run at race pace


Welcome to the Moon part II - run course with gnarly climbs


Looking strong - finally


That's that - the guy getting his ankle chip removed was 1st by ~:30


Moon escapade + little ring + learning how to run = 2nd place

MTB Race in Flagstaff this Weekend Plus a Whole Lot More

The next couple of weeks will be real busy and fun.
 
This weekend I will be racing in the local AZ MTB series up in Flagstaff.  I hope there is a bunch of climbing.  My goal is to move up to Cat 1 after this race. 
 
Then for Memorial Day weekend and the following week we will be over in San Diego taking a half play/half working vacation.  I am excited to get some training in with James Walsh and Trevor Glavin.
 
Sunday after San Diego, we will hit the local Deuces Wild Xterra TriathlonCoach Grasky has the course record and I will gun to take it.
 
...and last but not least, Wednesday after Deuces I am heading to Idaho for the Xterra Northwest Championship.
 
I also found a training jewel this morning, the Monday morning group ride.  I usually hit the Wednesday and Friday 5am group ride that rolls through NE Mesa and was under the impression that Wednesday was the toughest option.  Not so much.  I was told to try Monday, so I did this morning.  Yee-Ouch!  1hr 40min. 275w norm power.  It's on the sched now.  I can't tell you how valuable this type of training is for me come Xterra race day. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Final 2008 USAT Rankings

Find the comprehensive list here

I was honored with All-American in the off-road, 25-29 age group. Wow, road tri is crazy big compared to off-road. 90, 25-29 All-Americans for road and only 4 for off-road.

I've never heard an off-road guy talk about points or honors from USAT....maybe the roadies do.

Monday, May 04, 2009

2009 Xterra West Cup Results

2nd place age group. 4th place overall amateur. Results are posted here.

>>the following was written prior to seeing my splits<<

I am mostly satisfied, but there is still lots of work to do. I needed ~:30 to win my age group and ~1:00 to win the overall.

Without seeing my time yet, I think the swim was ok. The water was crisp at the start, but was an ideal wetsuit swimming temp. My Zoot Zenith 2.0 wetsuit was great and flowed effortlessly with my stroke. There were four waves which is untraditional for Xterra. Pros went first. My group went second 3min back. I am not sure which I prefer; mass or waves. I did the entire point to point swim solo / no group or drafting which is my preference although potentially not the fastest or easiest. After about 200m and leaving the little beach cove at the Lowes Lake Las Vegas hotel, the start melee was over and it was smooth sailing. We had a nice tailwind which kicked up some small waves for the longest straight stretch. It felt real fast and kind of like riding a wave into shore while at the beach, sometimes. Following the fast section we doubled back and had to fight the waves for a couple 100m. I switched up my stroke a little to get over the waves and stuck to breathing from my right side as the waves were coming slightly from the left (about 11 o'clock). Nearing the end of the swim I started getting my mind right for the bike. T1 was real slow for whatever reason. I need to practice. Again, look back to the top of this post...I only needed 60 seconds or so.

I got into the bike quickly and started passing people right away. I didn't know where I was in relation to the comp, but I wanted to be first, so I had to pass everyone. The first half of the course had most of the longer steeper climbing and felt slow going at parts (had to hike-a-bike twice). After cresting the high point of the course there were a couple of flat/loose/big ring sections and steep descents. The 2nd half of the first lap was more flat with some loose/sand areas and a number of short hills that were ideal for standing and jamming (that's how I ride at least). My Cannondale Scalpel was a good choice for the course. I had the rear nearly locked out/on its stiffest setting and locked out my front fork on-and-off throughout the race. Due to some pre-race crank issues, I swapped from a triple to a double (thanks Focus Cyclery) and the gearing seemed to be fine even for the steep stuff. I got passed on one of the flat sections on the first lap by a guy in my age group. I wasn't prepared to battle with him...bummer....at he road away. After rolling through a twisting/beach-ish section along the lake's shoreline one more guy in my age group caught up to me. I didn't let him go though. We completed lap 1 of the bike together and tackled much of lap 2 together. We climbed mostly together. I think I took too much comfort in riding with him and should have gone a little harder. It's a fine line though. Once back onto the 2nd half of the lap again, he road away from me on the same flat section as the other guy. No excuse. Totally mental. Can't and won't happen again...if I want to win. Talking to a number of guys at the end of the race, they all commented on how the back/flat/easy section was tough mentally. Going into T2 I knew I was in at least 3rd and had no idea how the guys ahead could run. T2 was a bit quicker/not bad.

I felt ok/fine going into the run, but knew I was dehydrated and low on calories as I only drank about 25oz of First Endurance EFS and two servings of First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot. Right as I started the run Conrad and Josiah were coming by starting there second lap (yeah, they were a whole lap ahead of me) battling it out shoulder to shoulder. I hopped on their heels and settled into their pace for a little. They were hitting the climbs faster than I was and I couldn't hang. About 1/2 way through each lap of the run course there was a section that doubled-back where you could see the comp.....crap.....there were more age groupers ahead of me than I thought. I felt bad for myself for a second then decided to see what I could do....one problem....I was starting to crack. I knew I was hurting when I couldn't run downhill or the on the flat fast...a strength. Cruising the long downhill into the start/finish to start my second lap, Lesley Paterson came flying by me (and Shonny) and I though my day was done. Little did I know that she thought the run was only one lap. I ran with Shonny and Lesley for a while....and then ....poof...I started feeling good. I put my head down and decided to stop feeling bad for myself. I saw my comp ahead of me and knew I could catch them...although I didn't spot the guy who won my age group by :30. I only got a drop of water at the 3/4 point due to water station backlog, but knew what was ahead and figured I would be fine. Between the water and the last climb I picked up it quite a bit...enough to catch who I thought was 1st. Looking back I should have let if fly 110% there. Once I caught who I thought was 1st place at the top of the last climb it was all downhill and I blasted it. I saw a couple more people a ways ahead and caught them just in case for good measure. As soon as I crossed the line I saw a guy with age group number on his calf being congratulated by his wife....crap!! I didn't win. Come to find out a 40yr old that started a wave behind us beat us both by a little.

I will dig into my splits once they are posted, but here is where I need to work before the next race:

1. Keep making incremental improvements on the swim. Endurance and speed were ok/fine, but everyone will be getting faster as the season moves on and so must I.

2. Transitions have to be faster. I need to simply work on them. Not rocket science here. Seconds count.

3. Keep pushing the bike. I raced aggressively mostly, but showed signs of passiveness on a couple of occasions. I need to keep focusing on increasing sustained climbing power while working on that "race" mindset by continuing to do mountain bike race series and lots of group rides on the road. The Colorado competition has barely come out of hibernation and will come on strong as the season wears on. I have to keep pushing. The bike is still the area of most potential for me.

4. Not quite sure what to do on the run. My speed and power seemed good, but the time to enlist these things took too long. Not sure what is mental and what is physical. Endurance was fine, so probably do more of the same mileage. I did lots of race-paced bricks after tough bikes in training too. Perhaps I need more...or something slightly different. Something that teases my brain to engage / beat the potential mental hump of getting the run going. The run is clearly my strength, but I can't wait until the last 30% of the run to charge it. I need to go for it from the start.

I have a local Xterra in Arizona next followed by the Northwest Championships in Idaho. I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Zoot Zenith 2.0 Triathlon Wetsuit

Today I tested my new Zoot Zenith 2.0 wetsuit at the pool. I wore the suit for the main set of 3x1,000m and boy, was it sweet. As I've become accustomed to, the week prior to a wetsuit race, I'll break out the suit and get adapted to it. As was true with both of my last two suits (a Zoot Zenith 1.0 and a Blue Seventy), I had to modify my stroke a bit and had to get adjusted to the increased power needed to "muscle" the suit through the stroke. Totally and pleasantly surprised how great the new 2.0 is. I am of course glad that I am "pre-swimming" the suit, but I would have been fine come race day had I not....stroke was totally normal and no noticeable fatigue to speak of. Sweet!

Zoot made some noticeable changes with the 2.0 vs the 1.0. First, the used a much thinner and perforated neoprene on the tops of the shoulders that also wraps around the upper back. This significantly improves range of motion. Second, the collar has been made of a thinner material and is cut a bit lower thus making it much more comfortable and makes breathing easier. Third, the "catch" pads on the forearms are made of a similar perforated materials as on the shoulders. I can't say if my catch is any better 2.0 vs 1.0, but it seems to grab water. Fourth, the materials around both the wrists and ankles was thinned out similar to the neck material. In my prelim trials this made getting the suit off quickly much easier. Fifth, they've molded the pieces together differently and integrated the flotation pads differently. I can't quite nail down exactly what they did, but the suit fits better, moves better and feels less bulky. And....finally....it is fast. I love the feeling doing a set with a wetsuit on, then taking it off for some additional swimming....you really notice the benefit the wetsuit provided in both speed and buoyancy.

I will train in the suit a couple more times before Saturday's race.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gearing Up for Xterra West Championships, Lake Las Vegas

This weekend is the first Xterra Cup Series race at Lake Las Vegas.  I'm pumped and ready to race.  I've been doing a whole mixed bag of different training this season and I feel the mix will produce a big smile.  We will be driving up to Vegas from Phoenix on Thursday to get in some pre-riding and to preview the venue.  The course looks to have plenty of climbing on the bike and the run.  That's what I've been training, so it will be fun.  I am not doing a full taper for this race, but am changing up the typical training plan a bit to ensure a solid performance.  I am making final prep to gear tonight which includes breaking out my new Zoot Zenith wetsuit and putting some new Specialized SWorks Fasttrack tires (which I'm finding extremely difficult to get onto my Stan's Notubes ZTR Race wheels).  See you in the desert.       

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grasky Endurance Triathlon Camps - The Best

Grasky Endurance puts on the best triathlon training camps around.  I tagged along during one of their recent camps down in Tucson and it was great.  Excellent locations with epic swims/bikes/runs.  Of course the camp had plenty of strategically staged volume as most do, but the details are where this camp and other Grasky Endurance camps excel.  If you have never considered a camp or are out searching for a camp I recommend thinking through these things.  Personal attention - How much will you get from the top/headlining coach?  Will this personal attention include getting to know you personally, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, listening to your race ambitions and actually formulating a plan to immediately improve your success during the camp?  Added value sessions - In addition to just training, what additional events are part of the camp's itinerary?  It is common to have a nutrition talk and maybe a race strategy talk, but what about bike fits, stroke analysis, gait analysis, physiological testing and in-session, real-time discussion and commentary?  Support - Having a SAG vehicle might not seem like a big deal to you...until one day you need it.  You are never alone at a Grasky Endurance camp.  Through a committed and thoughtful staff and great product supplier partners your needs as an athlete are taken care of so you can focus on training.  Need a gel or tube?  Covered.  How about an entire tire or PowerTap loaner?  Yeah, covered too.  What about a ride back to the hotel when your legs give out on a ride after a 30hr training week.  Of course Grasky Endurance has your back!  Also, don't underestimate the value of camaraderie amongst campers.  Grasky Endurance camps builds social events into the camp schedule to foster an exceptional atmosphere and experience  You will not only meet great people, but you will make great friends.  
 
So, if you missed the Tucson camp don't worry.  You have a couple of Grasky Endurance camp options on the horizon that will be sure to be awesome.  First is the Grasky Endurance High Altitude camp in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Starting May 17 the 7,000ft elevation camp will boost your fitness to the next level.  Plus, the scenery is hard to beat...ever seen the Grand Canyon?  Well, you will get to ride there and check it out.  Get more details here:  http://graskyendurance.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23&Itemid=14.  Another exciting camp to check out is the Grasky Endurance Wine Country camp in Santa Rosa, California.  This camp is the week after Vineman and starts July 20.  Start the second half of your season off right with an unbeatable mixture of training, resort accommodations and vineyard tours and wine tastings.  Learn more about this one here:  http://graskyendurance.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=16
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 06, 2009

Prescott Punisher Result - NO DNF!

3rd time's a charm. I finally finished my first MTB race of the season. My goal was to be Cat 1 by this race, but that didn't quite work out. I did end up winning the Cat 2 race though. I'll take it.

The Prescott Punisher took about 1.5hrs and had, maybe, 2k worth of climbing. The temp was cool in the high-40s, but fresh at 6k ft elevation in the pines. I heard plenty of details about the course beforehand, but nothing beats a pre-ride. Fortunately, I did squeeze in one lap prior to the race. Great move! The course had a couple of medium-ish climbs and lots of little pops. I'd say it was an exercise in cadence and shifting. As in, high cadence and lots of proper shifting. The course was loose and dry.

I got to the trail head in 3rd position, waited for the first 3min, then surged to the lead. I got a pretty good gap going into the first downhill section...then took a crappy line and had a super subtle crash. Fortunately no injuries or bike issues! 2nd place passed me, but I was right on his wheel. Coming up to some traffic from other waves of racers, I took advantage and surged again. That was that. I road the second lap faster than the first, but had some mechanical issues on the third lap. Coming through the feed zone prior to the final lap, I noticed my front fork air was getting low. Typically if this happens it goes dead flat. I decided to go for it anyway. Charge the climbs and keep it upright on the descents. Fortunately, the shock held enough air & firmness to finish off the race. Phew. I would have been mucho pissed with another DNF.

video


I am really loving the bike right now. Road. Mountain. Whichever. Let's race. I want to move up to Cat 1 on the MTB to test my luck, but the next race is on the same weekend as the first big Xterra of the year. Vegas....which is what I am training for after all. So, yeehaw. Let's do some Vegas off road triathlon. I hear there is some serious climbing on the bike and the run. Uphill is my friend


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recovery is So Nice

Last week was a recovery week. Phew! This week I am back at and my body is ready to roll. I use to get freaked out during recovery weeks because I was afraid of loosing fitness. Not anymore! Even last season, I remember thinking I appreciated recovery to its fullest. Not like I do now. All I have to say is fresh legs are nice. My mind has been sharp and motivated. This early in the season, that usually isn't a problem.

Went out on the group ride this morning and had a good showing. Not that there is a prize or anything, but I do monitor my power and how I stack up to track progress. Thank you recovery week. Blasting away in the morning made my lunchtime 3750 swim tough, but I got it down. I can't keep enough food or water in me these days. Such is life.

I picked up a new desktop computer today. I've been working from a laptop exclusively at work and home for 5yrs. Boy is this big honking HD monitor nice. Not like blogger pumps out 1080i or anything.

Going to stuff in some more nutrition before bed and get some much needed sleep. Big'ol gnarly brick tomorrow. But...just one workout/day is a piece of cake.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lake Havasu Triathlon Results; 1st AG, 2nd OA

Should be posted here shortly: http://www.tucsonracing.com/LHTinf.htm

I did the olympic distance today and finished #1 in my age group and #2 overall. I haven't seen my splits yet, so I can't quantitatively tell how I did. But, here is what I do know.

Swim - water was a cool 62 degrees and made for perfect wetsuit open water racing temp. This past week I did all my swims in my Zoot Zenith wetsuit (THANKS ZOOT!) while at the pool so I felt accustomed to my suit. I started off pretty fast, but smooth. I have also been working at relaxing and finding easy speed while going hard. Worked pretty good. I "let" three leaders get away at the first buoy. Good lesson and something I've forgotten. How important it is to stay focused at critical moments of the race. Just a little discomfort pays back dividends later. Point taken. After that I hopped on a guys feet for about 200 then went around him and set my own pace. This is training after all. Myself and two other guys formed the chase. I have not been doing a lot of swimming, but I felt totally fine/strong enough and held a reasonable pace. We'll see when the splits come in, but the time will be fair.

T1 - SUCKED! Another reminder that practice is critical when every second counts. I didn't run out of the water hard/fast enough, fumbled around with my zipper etc etc. I got my wetsuit all hung up on the timing chip around my ankle. Tick tock. Next calamity was with my shoes. I am not a roadie, but an Xterra guy...and I've never played around with leaving my shoes clipped in...but today I tried. What a mess. I probably lost at least 30sec screwing around trying to get my feet into my shoes. I even went off the road twice. So, don't try new stuff on race day. Again, point taken.

Once on the bike I felt good and was ready to fly on my new Kuota Kween K (THANKS TRISPORTS.COM!) I had a nice set of 56mm, Easton EC90 Aero tubular wheels compliments of Focus Cyclery (THANKS FOCUS!). The course had some fairly long stretches of flat road a couple of 1:30min climbs, tons of corners, rollers and 2 or 3 really really steep, little ring, stand up style short climbs. I road ok, but three things would make for a much better performance next time.

  1. Get accustomed to my bike. Riding aero fast is much different that riding hard on my road bike or mtb. Duh. I had only done one ride with any effort on the bike ever prior to the race.
  2. Get accustomed to road tri biking. Honestly, the bikes at road tris I've done are boring. I mean c'mon, how could they ever compare to racing flat out on twisty single track on a mtb in Ogden or blasting along the flume trail above Lake Tahoe? But, if I want to actually do well at a road tri, I ought to consider modifying my training to get use to the mindless ahead.
  3. Get my shifting working correctly. Not sure what the deal was today, but I was only solidly in a gear a couple of times throughout the race. Major bummer as this race required tons of shifting to do it right.

The last final stretch of ~4 miles was pretty straight and flat for the most part, but into a pretty dead on headwind of about 15-20mph. Some guy who I passed at the start of the section decided to jump on my wheel and draft. It took a while to drop him particularly since the only gears that weren't skipping were my two biggest. No horsepower for those. After the race while talking about the drafting incident, I was enlightened about how drafting at some races has been a big problem. It makes me not want to race on the road. Period.

My plan on the run was to go until I pucked. That didn't happen, but I ran fair. I focused on high turnover right from the start and before long I was in run mode. The course was basically flat out and back road the whole way except for a 1/5 mile of sand and a ~40 step staircase. I pushed, but not too hard like I had wanted, but I was starting getting way dehydrated and felt on the verge of multi-muscle cramping although nothing that hampered my pace.

On the bike there were many places to spot the competition and the same held true on the run. I didn't see the guy ahead of me at any point. Not saying I could have caught him, but had I seen him, I can guarantee I would have buried myself trying to chase him down on the run.

There you have it. I lost ~1:15 on the swim, another :30 in T1, ~:30 messing with my shoes and, most likely, the majority of the rest on the bike. I lost the overall by 3min.

Considering the last three races this season I DNF'd, I'll take today's race as a success.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Great Time Trial Intervals

Today was a solid day of quality on the run and on the bike.


During my lunch time run the main set was 4x6min @ zone 4. My legs have been sluggish for a while and were again today. I don't go by HR as much as go by both pace (Garmin Forerunner 305) and perceived effort.

This evening I hit a great set that I know will pay dividends as it builds. It went like this:
-warm up
-5x5min intervals at 105% of FTP power w/2min rest between each
-1omin spin
-5x1min intervals at at 160% of FTP power w/4min rest between each


This set will certainly grow. Longer. Less rest. More power. Not all at once though.

I also debuted my new road shoe/pedal set up. Not quite dialed in, but close.

Pedals: Speedplay Zero Titanium (in yellow)


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Solid Week and NO RACING

After last weekend's race debacle, I was looking forward to a nice week of simply training. This week didn't disappoint one bit. Due to my lip stitches I didn't get into the water until Friday. This made room for lots'o riding. All road bike. 4x group rides and 1x quality solo session.

I hit the M/W/F 5am group rides and a 70 mile group ride on Saturday. More and more people have been coming out of the woodwork as the race season is upon us....plus the weather is killer. It actually felt hot this week with temps creeping into the upper 80s. Not that group ride power numbers are what I am after, but I did set some all-time high marks this week. By time Saturday's ride came around I was pretty tired and I had to earn every pedal stroke. By the end of the ride I was bonking pretty good. Then...to add insult to injury I bonked again on my run later in the day. Nice day! In hindsight it was 90% poor nutrition. I can't believe I still make poor food decisions, but it happens.

Tonight I just wrapped up a nice 3500y swim. Pretty basic main set of 8x300 at a "moderate" pace with :20 rest in between each. By the end of the set I was going :07/100 faster than when I had started. Swimming is such a form thing it's sick. Plus, I am learning that I need quite a warm-up...particularly after a long week.

Also today I was supposed to do another 10k race. Well I didn't do it. I just wasn't feeling up to the whole race-day thing. It's long and tiring and in this case not that big of a pay-off. I did however go to the job on one of my favorite trails. I did a 10min warm-up with 1 moderate and 1 race-pace acceleration. Again, back to the warm-up thing, not quite enough. I need like 20min with 3-4 accels. Whatever, I did the thing hard. Not fast, but hard. The course is 95% on trails and has 1,000ft of climbing.

I am kind of moving from a run phase to more of a bike/swim phase. Will be fun. At the end of this week I will be down in Tucson helping out with a Grasky Endurance Camp and with Trifest.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Weekend of Records

Not good ones though.

After Saturday's MTB race and getting stitched up, I had a bunch of work to do to get my TT bike ready for today's Desert Duathlon. I had some shifter issues, some tire pressure issues, some new wheel issues etc etc....oh yeah, and of course, I had to run by Focus Cyclery and pick up some new cleats & 3-hole cleat adapters for my Crank Brothers pedals (if you haven't read my last post, my cleats broke, again).

Finally, I got to bed...sort of. After a fast and hard MTB crash your body will be wrecked in all sorts of ways. Mine was/is no different. Getting up at 5am for today's race came way too quickly.

I'll cut to the chase. The race. I mustered the needed energy at the start line. Within the first 1/2 mile I was in the front with a couple of followers (30-39 age group started together...yes, I am 30 now). Sweet. Once the false flat hit, I picked it up. Less noise behind me. After about 1 mile I was solo catching all the 20-29 yr olds. I felt great.

Into transition I came totally pumped to hop on the bike and crush it. I really wanted to see how I faired against the elites. Well, that feeling faded within about 3 pedal strokes on my bike.

BROKEN CLEAT AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN (3x now). No, this wasn't an Xterra. No, this wasn't a MTB race. The race was on the road. I don't know what the deal is. I put on all NEW hardware last night. It's not me. Needless to say....new shoes and pedals are in my VERY NEAR future.

Two of my early season goals were to 1) get upgraded to Cat 1 on the MTB by now and 2) win my Age Group at today's Desert Duathlon. Both, failed due to broken cleats. I am realistic though. Yeah anything can happen and you don't win until you win, but I know where my fitness is, how I felt during the races, my position and know that I would have achieved both of these goals.

Next. PLEASE!

MBAA Hedghog Hustle Results - I CRASHED

Check the results here.

Argh. Got the hole-shot, traded off 1st once, then regained the lead for the back, technical half of the first lap and kept it until the technical half of the second and final lap.

Then I decided to go over my bars and face plant. Aside from a smashed lip that required couple of stitches and a bruised and scratched cheek, I was totally hopping back on to finish what I had started....then....I realized I rip the cleat off my shoe again! AGAIN!

If any one's wondering what my peddle set-up is, I ride Crank Brothers. BUT, this has not been a Crank Brothers thing at all! I love their peddles. Have then on the MTB and road bikes. It's a ME thing. I've been racing in road shoes. I like the way they feel and they work just fine for Xterra. But, I've learned twice now that they just aren't cut out for legit MTB racing. No Duh, right?

I'm in the market for some new MTB shoes. I don't like the ones I have, obviously.

We're off to the Desert Duathlon now. The bike is pretty much dialed (never know with TT bikes I've found) and I am pretty confident about being able to go fast.

Payback for yesterday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

MBAA Hedgehog Hustle & Desert Duathlon

I have two races coming up this weekend. I am VERY excited and pumped to do both.

Saturday is the MBAA Hedgehog Hustle MTB race. This is the 3rd race of the series. The 1st race I DNS’d due to some family stuff. The 2nd race I DNF’d due to clipping a rock and ripping the cleat off my shoe. My goal for this race is to a) show up on the start line, b) finish the race and c) go really fast.

Sunday is the Desert Classic Duathlon. This will be my 3rd time doing this race and it’s a blast. 3.5mile trail run / 40k road bike TT / 2mile trail run. Trisports is hooking me up with a pair of Zipp wheels. Zipp 404 on the front and a Zipp Sub-9 Disc w/PowerTap on the rear. My goal is to do 1:30...or better.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morning Group Rides in Mesa

Yet another reason I love where I live are the morning group rides.  6 days a week, year round there is a group that goes out on the road bikes at 5am.  So far this year I have been doing the Wednesday and Friday rides.  The routes vary a little and the W/F rides are typically the faster rides with the most climbing.  They offer a lot of intensity, more Wednesdays than Fridays, so I have to be "careful" how they impact my overall training plan, but the motivation is great.  On a day like today, with two races coming up this weekend, I opted for the 1:20 version of the ride vs. the 1:50 version of the ride that I typically do.  Today I missed out on an additional 8min/350w climb and two 1.5min/500w climbs.  Trust me, I got enough intensity.  The 1:20 version has 2x1.5min/500w effort climbs and a 4mile/15min/300w effort climb  In between the short and long climbs is a fairly flat stretch of road that typically has some wind and ends up being strung-out after everyone having been softened up by the short climbs. 
 
Yeah it's cold and dark, but LONG LIVE THE MORNING RIDE!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lost Dutchman 10k Results

36:00 according to my Garmin. 5:45 avg pace. Good enough for 2nd overall. The course was pretty much flat with a couple of rollers. It was about 38 degrees at the start. I am not a hardcore road racer, so I didn't rock the singlet top and shorts. I wore a beanie hat, two shirts, fleece-lined pants and gloves. The first place guy led the entire time and I was in second the entire time. In hindsight, I should have jumped on his shoulder right away. I forget that running races are not like bike races. Gaps are tough to close. Little by little, he got away. Who knows if I could have stayed with him or not. I love trail running/racing, but road races do teach pacing and mind control due to the long, boring stretches of road. Results posted here. Will be hitting the pool for 3500m later today.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

5.5% Improvement in 20 Days

Just got back from a 4hr, 70mile road ride with 5,500ft of climbing. I rolled the whole time with Travis who consistently crushes me. Part of the ride we were accompanied by a couple of pros from Four Unity Racing. The regularly get on the pro podium irrespective of discipline, MTB, cross, road.

Prior to the turnaround there is a ~20min climb. My avg power today was 5.5% better than 20 days ago up the same climb (where I felt super strong). Then, unlike 20 days ago, we turned around after descending from the climb and hit it again. Avg power once again bested the results from 20 days ago. Not quite as fast, but good regardless.

My hips/butt are really baked. I've been doing hard runs and hitting the strength training with quality and today's ride was the icing on the cake....legs are DONE!

Tomorrow should be interesting. I am doing a road race 10k.

Recovery drink - check.
Recovery tights - check.
Recovery meal - check.
Recovery nap - check.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

1st Hard Run and New Easton Bars

Today was one of those days you want to bottle up and save for a rainy day. At lunch I did an 1:20 run in 70 degree, perfectly sunny weather. 90% of it was on this extensive greenbelt system near my office in Scottsdale. Sweet. I hat paved anything. At home, I run exclusively on the trails. At work, the greenbelt.

The end of the run kind of took some of the fun out of the day, but it was good training nonetheless. I did 1hr mellow / easy with the final 20min at LT/race pace. Seemed easy enough before the set, but it was hard. I hadn't gone that hard running since....well....Maui/October.
I crashed my MTB a couple of weeks back, as I do on occasion, and scored my carbon handlebars. Not bad or anything and probably ok to ride, but I am totally not even close to wanting to test it. So, having wanted to try some riser bars for some time now, I got the Easton Monkeylite SL Riser Bars. I slapped on a new pair of my favorite grips, green ESI grips and did one ride thus far. Pretty nice. It opens up my grip quite a bit which might help with breathing and the position is more relaxed / not as aggressive as the bars sweep and rise up.
I am pre-riding McDowell this weekend and doing a double-bypass in the middle. I will get a good feel for the new setup on next weekend's race course along with on some good, long climbs and steep, techie descents.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What I Learned This Week

Very insightful stuff...

I ride better when I don't run a ton of miles.

I swim better when I don't eat a Taco Bell bean burrito right before a workout (hey...less than once a year kind of splurge).

Good weekend overall. I got in 6.5hrs of riding, an hour run and 3k of swimming. As I mentioned above, I ride better when I don't run too much. Unlike prior weeks, I had only run 2x prior to Saturday's group ride. Maybe it was the beautiful, 70 degree day or fresh legs, but I climbed very well. Part of the fun was seeing nice power numbers, but the main thing was how I felt while climbing....really great. I know, it's January...so who cares??

If you recall, I mentioned a couple of days ago that I've been doing quite a bit of bike intensity via lots of group rides and not that I don't want to be getting faster, but there is a strategic growth and balance of fitness that must occur over the course of a season. Just as I was getting "worried" about too much too soon...I looked at my plan for the upcoming week. Balance has been restored. Less bikes with the only intensity coming on the weekend. Plenty of rest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Xterra Triathlon Northwest Cup

I've refined my race schedule and now have Idaho on my mind. My tentative schedule is over on the right hand side a little ways down. As you will see, there are two Idaho races in June. #1 is the Xterra Northwest Cup in Farragut, ID. The following week is the Idaho 70.3. I want to do both. We've never been to Idaho, so it warrants a decent trip and of course some racing. I am pretty excited with Xterra's new expanded "Cup" series. Lots of new courses with plenty of exploring to do. Until these venue etc changes I was disenchanted with possibility of going back to the same old places, again...

Although the course for the Xterra Northwest Cup hasn't been posted, Idid a little research and will make a guess that it is at/around Lake Pend Orielle. Check out this map with pics and route of what the bike course could entail. 20 miles and 5,000ft of climbing. Sounds about right for Xterra. As you can see from this pic, the area has two classic Xterra elements....a sweet alpine-ish lake and elevation. Nice.





Another thing to discuss a little bit more in detail is my venturing into the 70.3 world. We'll see if this trip materializes, but I hope it does. To support the longer events, I really need to alter my training very little...I think. I certainly swim and ride enough in frequency, duration and intensity. My running right now is probably pretty close, but I will likely need to change a few things up to ensure I can race 13.1 miles. I regularly go close to this far at least once a week as is. You'll also notice that to support my road-tri itch, I have built in two additional, semi-local Olympic distance road tris to help me get the feel for road. I've done them before and typically don't like them, particularly the run, but I am looking to branch out, so let the branching proceed.


Now all I need is a road tri bike. Hmmm....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New 2009 Triathlon Sponsors

Quite a lot of support. Wow. Here are the first two (more to follow...check the pics/links on the left hand side >>)

Headlining is Trisports. They have it all. Best products. Best service. The true one-stop-shop. Go online, shop using this code BBAR-S and save 10% on your order. Last time I was at Trisports incredible shop in Tucson, they spent 2hrs fitting me to the perfect wetsuit using their expertise and their endless pool.

Next is Zoot. I've already boasted about their Zenith wetsuit (that I raced in during '08) and now I will get to race in their newest Zenith, race clothing and their new 2009 Ultra Race 2.0 Running Shoes. (HINT: follow the link to Trisports.com, use the code above and get these sweet shoes before anyone else at 10% off) I will be reviewing all of this new, sweet gear soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Triathlon is a Process

Thank goodness! If Triathlon were a point-in-time sort of thing, it wouldn't be nearly as appealing....and....life would probably get in the way. What am I talking about? Well, life outside of triathlon has been very consuming over the past couple of weeks. I know I've argued that my life and triathlon are interconnected, and they are, but at different times of the year there are different levels of importance placed on things. Just as in my training right now I am emphasizing my run and bike training, in life, I am emphasizing family and work over tri.

The interesting thing on the tri-front is that I am still able to get in my prescribed workouts and manage stress quite well. I think it has to do with me having gained experience. I still have a long way to go, but I am moving into my 4th full season of active racing and have focused on learning and retaining knowledge along the way. One thing that I have been not able to avoid is the drain that non-tri related stress puts on training. This stress is real, impactful and flat-out detrimental to performance. But, I know what it is, how it feels and how to manage it...even it if means re-shuffling the training plan deck etc.

So what have I been doing training wise? Well, I am not focusing on the swim. I am only swimming 2x/week, 3000m each time. One day is a mellow drill day with two longer sets at the end. One day has a mix of middle distance stuff with increased intensity, but still fairly easy. I was starting to get fairly fast towards the end of last season and it sucks not ramping right back to where I left off, but I know that my time in the pool will come. No worries....and....not to bask in my current state, but even if I didn't get any faster, I would still be fine competing in the amateur ranks. Who wants to stay put though? Not me. Mental gymnastics are in effect though.

I've been riding with groups more frequently. I've deemed my solo, zone 2 rides my hardest rides. After group rides with a constant incentive to ride hard, fast, long or all of the above, riding "slow" without motivation beyond an ipod is tough. I set out to hit all the Arizona MTB race series this year, but had to miss the first one (last weekend) due to some out of town family stuff. No worries, my "race" intensity is being trained into my system and my MTB mind gets freshened with regular rides with people who are all faster than me. This year I am putting a lot of intensity early-on into my bike. Part of this is to do well at the MTB races, par is to have fun and another part is basically because my body seems to handle it ok. But...."don't try this at home".....my coach prescribed this after working for years with me and this bike intensity is orchestrated within the context of easy, low volume swimming and the right run balance.

Lots of running these days. It leads to tired legs when biking, but the increased volume is something I haven't done before, so the change should lead to something good. My cardio engine is responding well through monitoring my HR at various paces...basically, I can go a lot faster at a lot lower heart rate week-over-week-over-week. I've got some run-specific races coming up which will be fun. I've almost doubled my volume over previous years.

All in all, I feel I'm becoming more efficient with how I spend my time which is great. I am not stuck on volume for the sake of volume. I'll do my time where applicable for sure though. I can't really take all the credit. Coach Grasky has something to do with it too.

BB

Friday, January 02, 2009

Kicking Off '09 Right - Triple Bypass

What a day 1/1/09 was here in AZ. Backtracking a bit, we had a simple New Year's Eve by grabbing some dinner and hitting a moving. We didn't bother staying up late to ring in the new year which was totally fine by me! In the morning of 1/1/09 we went to IHOP and had way too big of a breakfast, but boy was it good. Just the kind of calories I needed for the day ahead.

At 11am, I met with Dan and Travis (both on the Focus Cyclery MTB team) in North Scottsdale on the west side base of the McDowell mountains. Tough MTB climbing was on tap. The weather was sunny and 70....even though the Phoenix air quality was crappy as usual.

We set out for a triple-bypass, which meant, up-and-over the mountains 3x.....or 27 miles and 5,500ft of vertical ascent...over 4hrs...yeah, its slow going. Riding in the McDowells presents some of the most taxing riding I've ever done. The climbs are steep and long, but the rocks....oh the rocks....make it very hard. It is a total body workout and requires total concentration. I was on my Cannondale Taurine (hardtail) the last time I did this ride and was pretty beat up afterwards. This time I was on my Cannondale Scalpel (full suspension) and was not nearly as "rocked." I usually ride the Scalpel with the rear shock in its most locked out position. However, for this ride, I had the rear shock fully open for about 2/3s of the ride. It made a huge difference by improving my descending and by softening the blows of the constant rocky terrain.

Great way to welcome 2009.

I am really digging First Endurance's products more and more. I put three scoops of First Endurance EFS into my 100oz Camelbak and carried an EFS Liquid Shot flask for my other nutritional needs. Worked perfectly.

I forgot to mention that I found a new trail while running out at Hawes. I had heard there was a new trail, but I haven't been able to find it on my MTB...even though I've been trying. But, thanks to a mellow, long trail run, I found it! As a kid, I played a lot of Nintendo / Super Mario Bros and the like. The feeling I got when finding this new trail, was similar the excitement I use to get when finding a hidden room or moving onto a new level in a video game. What fun! I can't wait to integrate the new trail into my training. Sweet.