Sunday, February 24, 2008

Two Lefts don't make a right :)

“3:45am wake up call – what the hell was I thinking?”

The only thing that made this bearable is the Emeril’s in room coffee – this rocks!!!

How do you close out a fantastic week of weather, training, friendship and great food in Tucson?…………..MORE FOOD!!!

OK – it is official – we are in Ironman Training – “YES – the left side of the menu looks really good to me :)”

As I am writing this I have just set a new Delta record for the most Biscotti cookies consumed during 1 flight – 8 packs – no kidding – I thought they were serving breakfast – I was wrong :)

Saswata and I have been laughing all morning about this…last night at dinner the waiter asks us if we want to see a dessert menu – of course we do - we say…

Tony – says “No – can you just bring me another mixed green salad?”

The waiter, Saswata and I start laughing as we are sure he is joking.

The funniest part – he is serious.

We are eating bread pudding and drinking coffee and Tony is chowing down his 2nd mixed green salad…the dude kills me.

As for our training on our last day – the ride was fantastic…Gates Pass and Saguaro National Park – awesome views – great scenery and a climb that is 15% for ½ mile at the end.

In what can only be called the WORST CASE of navigational disassociation I have ever witnessed – Tony got lost twice yesterday on a circular loop with only 4 left turns.

If you trying to figure out how…so are we…there are 4 lefts and he missed 2 of them.

They are clearly marked – big brown road signs on 3 out of 4 of them you can’t miss or apparently…you can.

Once he blows through the turn (of course – he is way in front) – we start yelling and chasing HARD. He is SUCH a hammer on the bike that we seriously couldn’t catch him even working together. We are screaming – TONY – TONY – 3 miles later he stops to pee and we finally catch him or he would have ended up in Mexico – NOT DOUBT!!!

The second time he was about 1-2 minutes behind us descending – Tony loves to climb but to descend – not so much…(Jeff – he needs new brake pads:)). Saswata and I think he really does climb faster than he descends…

So we are waiting at the bottom – standing in the turn so he doesn’t miss us and he blows right by us and we start yelling and screaming…again we are chasing him down – 2 miles this time until he finally answers his cell phone with “where are you guys?”

Later he explains – “I was in the zone man”

Both times we had to climb into a head wind to get back on course.



LEEEEEFFFFFFTTTT” sounds different at his speeds.

Grand totals for the week – 21.5 for me…25+ for Tony…20 something for Saswata with 35 miles of running, 12000 yards in the pool and 215 on the bike with around 60% of that climbing at 4-6% grade and one totally trashed mini-van - It was a BIG WEEK!!!

Next year we are looking at San Diego for the same week…Tucson is fantastic but San Diego is the home of all tri-geeks.

On a different note - A lot of racing going on this weekend with the Lindner Capital Team – updates on those guys once the results are in.

That’s all for now – I think it’s lunch time :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tiger, Rides and the Rodeo

If you didn’t see the golf news yesterday; Tiger came back from a HUGE deficit, down by 3 holes with 5 to play, to win his round at the Shootout. His win is all over the news here in Tucson. After digging a HUGE hole he went birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle, and birdie to win; the focus he has is scary.

Speaking of digging holes; we are about chest deep right now with 3 days to go. We should definitely be over our heads by the time we get on the plane to come home. The plan is to keep digging until the end of next week and then recover for a week – speed for 2 weeks and taper for 2 weeks. I am constantly reminded of Cecil’s advice – “When you find yourself in a hole – stop digging :)”

Since last Wednesday we have gotten in close to 26 hours of training; 16 hours of cycling, 6 hours of running and 4 hours swimming; only 12 more to go this week - OUCH!!!

Our 2nd annual Tucson training camp is going great with AWESOME weather and fantastic training opportunities. We got here on Monday and did an easy swim just to loosen up.

Tuesday we tackled Mount Lemmon which consisted of a 5h 45m ride followed by a one hour run. I passed on the run as my legs were not up for it; I have been milking the marathon excuse and I think it has run dry with my training partners; time to run today :).

Mount Lemmon is a 26 mile dead end road that climbs from 2000’ to over 8000’ with very little traffic. There is a ski resort and lot of snow at the top but is actually very comfortable to climb. At the end of the road is a town of Summerhaven which has a population of 62. The pie shop is worth the last 4 miles. The climb took 2h 48m and the decent was around 40 minutes but that included a two mile turn around to climb back up for a flat. The descent has really safe, wide, well marked turns where you could easily average over 30 with 0 watts. The steady climb, somewhere between 5-7% grades, really replicates TT efforts and there are a lot of triathletes on the road.

Yesterday was a day of 3’s; 3 hour ride, 3 mile run (Saswata and Tony did 8; again I was milking it :)) and 3000K in the pool.

Today is a lighter day with a one hour tempo run, two hour bike and one hour swim.

This town is REALLY conducive to training and a number of companies hold camps here. The roads are very cyclist friendly and the runs are scenic and numerous. The pool is open for 9 hours a day and costs a $1.50 per person to get in.

The best part, other than the riding, is the food!!! We have been completely spoiled by the fantastic grub.

Tiger, Rides and the Rodeo; so you guessed it, the Rodeo is here and starts this morning. It is a REALLY big deal here and the kids actually get off from school for Rodeo week. I think Tony is going to try it as “cross training”; I know I have issues but hanging around with him makes me feel much better about myself. This guy is SICK and should absolutely crush his 1st IM race in AZ. He put it out there so I am putting it in print per Chris Lieto; “sub 10 baby”:) Unfortunately he is also responsible for the only casualty of the trip. Some poor 11 year old girl at the pool ran to the lifeguard screaming – MY EYES – MY EYES…Tony’s blue Speedo was apparently too much for her…he replied – “WHAT – I am GREEK – this is ethnic profiling!!!” We decided to take him to Tri-sports later today :)

One quick addition to the last blog entry; congrats to David Mariotti and Shawn “Hercules” Francis who also did the ½ last Sunday. David is training for IM AZ and Shawn was scheduled to attend this trip but his brother in law was involved in a very serious motorcycle crash; Gary is doing much better and we wish him a speedy recover.

Shameless plug time; Chris’s nutrition product is going to be available in a week or so at American Bicycle Company and the Trek Store of Jacksonville. Check it out; this looks really promising. My recover gear shorts made the trip and I have been using them daily; they really help.

That’s all for now! Off to work to pay the bills and buy more speed – I think I heard Jeff say “cha-ching” :).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Going the extra mile(s) :)

Congrats to all of those who raced the National Breast Cancer Marathon and ½ Marathon! It was awesome to see so many people out on the course racing, training, volunteering or cheering.

I always try very hard to do what my coach tells me. I figure he is putting a specific training schedule out there for a reason and that is what I am paying for.

So my plan was to run with Kellie Smirnoff, one of our clients, for the first 18-20 miles as my weekly long run. Kellie is an INCREDIBLY talented runner and had a great train up going into the race. Her goal was to beat her previous PR of 3:20 and shoot for a 3:12 as a stretch goal. I was nervous but with luck I figured I could hold that pace.

Race day brought the hottest weather we have had in months. It was really warm at the start (65-70 degrees) and the announcers were warning against going too hard as the conditions were not conducive for fast times. Add in a strong 10-15mph headwind from miles 17-23 and it was going to be a tough day to reach your anticipated goals.

We started at the front which is a place I normally don’t start in a running race. A big security guard eyed me (I think I stood out :)) and knew immediately that I was not supposed to be there and had me take a few giant steps back. I was completely fine with that as I definitely did NOT belong alongside the Kenyans :)

After a good luck handshake from Tim Deegan, Donna’s husband, we were off. The course was FANTASTIC and running over JTB was amazing (ok, not so much the 2nd time :)). We were lead through familiar streets and miles that we have run 100’s of times before.

Running a major race in your own home town was really cool. It was awesome to hear numerous friends shouting encouraging words. The 1st few miles were a bit too fast (“throw the ball syndrome”) then we settled into a pace, cruised along and took in as much fluids as possible. I think I actually ate and drank more during this race than I ever have. The cyclists call it grazing and I was going to get my fill of this all you can eat catered training run.

At mile 20 Kellie said thanks and she would finish it out strong.

I am not sure what exactly made me decide to continue but I knew I couldn’t short this. This race is about Breast Cancer and a quest for a cure and we recently had this touch our family in a very personal way; so on to 26.2.

Kellie finished as strong as she started and hit her stretch goal with a 3:12:34 (7th woman and 26th finisher overall) despite the winds and the heat. CONGRATS!!! I was really happy to have completed my 1st ever marathon (without a swim and bike prior) in 3:12:40. YES I got beat by a girl, actually a few of them, and I am fine with that :)

Unfortunately I am still waiting to be included in the results. Hopefully they will correct it and if I ever decide to run a marathon again, it will be in Boston :)

Congrats to the Velocity and Hammerhead team members that raced in the full and half marathon. Especially Eric, JC (3:04 and the 6th woman overall), Susan, and Pete whose longest run this year, prior to the marathon, was 3 miles and he rode 60 miles the day before. Dude, what where you thinking?

Speaking of what are you thinking, James Sweeney smacked the ½ with a time of 1:30 and change. The crazy part is he rode 112 the day before. This guy is going to surprise a BUNCH of people in Arizona. Congrats man!!

I used Recover Gear ( shorts after the race and I am AMAZED at the difference. I put them on and walked down to the beach with C-bone to build sand castles. No Francis, I did not go all body builder style! I had surf shorts on over them :)

Today I am still walking a little funny but not nearly as sore as I usually am. This stuff really works.

Saswata, Tony and I are off to Tucson to train for a week in the hills and get used to riding in the desert. Look for more on the Tucson trip as well as the Lindner Capital results in another entry.

In conclusion, the entire day including the volunteers, the crowds and the course was all truly inspiring. It was great to see so many people and friends turn out for a great cause. It was absolutely worth going the extra mile(s) :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

IMG Triathlon Camp Option

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wow – our 1st Blog post :)

This blog is a new addition for us and thanks to some great work by our resident computer geek – this looks really cool – no that’s not me :)

I know that we have an RSS feed – whatever that is :)

So – were do we begin…let’s catch up with some results…

The cycling season started again and the guys are doing really well.

VMS is helping to sponsor Lindner Capital Racing Team and we are really stoked to be associated with them.

The Space Coast TT was last weekend and Jeff Kopp took 3rd in the Pro 1,2 and Curtis Long took 4th. Jeff and Curtis both had power PR’s for that distance and the off season work is REALLY showing.

Sean Crichton smacked the TT on a road bike taking 6th in the CAT IV – this is after a full week of riding, running and swimming. Sean is a top level mountain biking who will be shooting for xTerra Nationals and some longer distance tri’s this year. Most mountain biker’s smell like patchouli and bong water but this guys not your standard Len Tuckwilla driftwood sculptor – he has got a great engine for whatever he decides to focus on.

The Team Florida Time Trial was held on Saturday 2/8/08 and Lindner Capital guys rolled in for a 9th, 10th and 11th in the Pro 1,2. Below Jeff is warming up to set another power PR...

James Sweeney showed that that running and swimming doesn’t hold him back as he outpaced Curtis and Jeff for the local bragging rights. Sweeney is prepping for Ironman Arizona in April and will definitely surprise a bunch of people with his speed. Check out his blog at

(late correction - the race results have been updated and Curtis Long moved to 9th and is the local champ for the next week.)

Travis Gibbon picked up a 5th in the CAT III and was 11 seconds from 3rd place on a borrowed bike and borrowed wheels. Imagine if he owned his own gear :)
Dude - stay out of Pete’s and you get your 11 seconds :)

Sunday was the Team Florida Crit and Jeff Kopp sat on the front and just crushed it for the team. Curtis finished in 11th for the Lindner squad. Travis was in 2nd going into the final turn but got swallowed up in a field sprint and finish 12th.

Overall – the cyclists are firing and all their hard work from the winter is showing.

Chris Lieto

I’ll close this with a quick take on Chris Lieto’s presentation at Trek Store Jacksonville last week. Chris spoke to a packed house and I think everyone in attendance felt like they learned something from him and enjoyed the food – Native Sun Rocks!!! Chris is completely approachable and I am sure I challenged his patience with my Curious George geek questions.

For me, the coolest moment was when he asked us all to tell the person standing next to us our goal. I turned to Rich and said “I want to run 3:20 off the bike in Arizona”…then I realized - holy sh!t – I just said it outload. It was cool and intimidating all at once. If I was really committed to this and failed and no one knows – I don’t have any explaining to do…now that it’s out there – I am held accountable…I really dig this concept…telling someone your goal – there is no hiding.

So – there it is – 3:20 (ok 3:20 something :)) off the bike in IM Arizona in 8 weeks.

I am now focused and I put it out there and I am resolved…

If I start to fade during my training runs – all I have to do is visualize the finish line and the 3:20 split and kicking the guys a$$ who is trying to beat me…

This guy actually thought he had me – I own the chute :)

Good Luck to all those doing Donna (ok -that sounds bad) or the half this weekend...Kellie, Eric, Saswata, Tony, Billy et al...

If you are by the expo this weekend - Check out the Recover Gear at 1st place sports. This is a really cool product invented by a VERY fast local triathlete, Steve Petitt. He was looking for a better way to recover from racing and training and he found it. Combining compression and ice which are a mainstay recommendation for healing - this product definitely helps with recovery. The product is being endorsed by Brian Fleischmann and Heather Golnick - - more to come on that in another post.

Kia Kaha - Shawn