Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So much to say – so little time :)

It’s not too often that I significantly overwhelm myself but the last 2 weeks seem to be a perfect example of how NOT to run your life. I keep added things to my plate until I am like the “large” man in Monte Python movie and the waiter says…”But sir…it’s a thin mint”.


Family, work, travel, training, racing, expo’s, email, bike fits, car dealers, blackberries that now only receive spam (you gotta love the IT department), work presentations and former cheerleaders turned customer service reps have led me to the point where I am JUST craving a night of zoning out in front of the TV – doing absolutely nothing. I have had a movie that I have wanted to watch for 2 weeks and can’t seem to find the time to do it - I know have Blockbuster's late fee policy tattooed on my forearm :)

But this - my BLOG ENTRY - this I something I really want to do - I WANTED to do last night – but I opted for much needed 6 hour of sleep as I was falling asleep typing.

Did I mention I am only doing 1 “real” coffee a day – no wonder I am not keeping up like I used to – Starbucks stock opened down 2 points this morning :)

Enough grumping – on with the show and WHAT A SHOW it was!!!

VMS is in DA HOUSE!!!!

The Patchouli boy Sean Crichton rocked the field in xTerra again as predicted – wins his AG and takes 5th in the overall. Also – as predicted, he took 4th in the MTB race the next day. He told me during the MTB race the lead pack kept together and they were calling him xTerra boy as they all could not believe he had raced the day before. 4th in the Overall on tired legs – dude – you’re fit!!!

The Lindner Capital Cyclists hit the start line at the Athens’s Twilight Crit Saturday night and judging by the files – OMG – that is NUTZ!!! The lowest speed I saw was 25mph and the most of it was at 32-35MPH. This is on a 1KM 4 corner course with over 100 guys. The power and speeds just to stay on are INSANE. 1000 watts in a corner per lap – I can hit 1000 once and then I hit the couch :) Congrats to Curtis, Jeff and Karel – you guys ROCK!!! Good luck with the rest of Speed week.

The tri geeks were in full on fantasy race mode this weekend at Saint Anthony’s Triathlon. First, the expo is a like a triathlon version of Target (my new favorite store) and you could check out all the latest go fast gear. If you didn’t want to spend money than you needed to leave your wallet at home – I did :).

There was come very cool new gear from Jaggad… www.jaggad.com – I have used their suits for a few years and they are great.

I also worked the RG Fizio booth with Steve Petitt and Billy Hart www.recovergear.com and we had some really good interest. Lots of AG er’s and also two more pros are “on-board”, Spencer Smith and Nina Kraft. We also just got some good press in the latest Triathlete Magazine (page 232 of June 2008 issue).


The RG booth was next to GenR8 - http://www.genr8speed.com/- and they had a lot of buzz – everyone was checking it out.

The pros in the transition area included Matt Reed (just qualified for the Olympic team), Greg Bennett (won 500K+ last year), Andy Potts (70.3 world champ), Faris Al Sultan (Ironman Hawaii Champ) and bunch more. It was cool to see so many big names in one place.

Mr. Vegas (Billy Hart) took my money in the tri-geek fantasy race – he had Matt Reed – I had Bennett - in my best Zoolander - Reed’s so hot right now :)


The race is a GREAT venue to go fast and test yourself a top notch field and we (VMS and friends) had some fantastic results. Billy, Steve, Susan W., Susan B, Aaron, Eric and the rest of the crew from JAX really stepped it up - lots of bling and PR’s.

Next up for the tri-geeks is the BFAS and Florida 70.3 in 3 weeks.

A couple of misc notes:

Check out Chris Lieto’s site and blog www.chrislieto.com and click the link for the Green Athlete – he is moving the sport in a great direction – Chris will be racing this weekend in Wildflower – predictions – he will dominate the dojo – 1st overall.

Hey Billy – where’s your wallet? :)

Check out Alan Couzen’s blog on Stotans http://alancouzens.blogspot.com/ - best reason I have read lately explaining why we do what we do.

And from my midget running coach without a license – best slam of the day:

Me: “My race was ok - I had trouble sleeping again the night before the race – I only got in two hours sleep.”

Midget: “Dude - I checked your splits and it looks like you took a nap on the bike - no wonder you felt good on the run”

Nice Friends!!!

Kia Kaha!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Greetings from St. Pete…

It is absolutely beautiful here tonight and the front porch of the Pier Hotel is about as relaxing an office as you can imagine :)

Most of the Iron buttz are still lingering in the recovery mode but for the seriously poor planners (err…me) - the race season presses on.

St. Anthony’s Triathlon is this weekend in St. Petersburg and this is a GREAT venue.

There are a LOT of athletes racing (someone said 4800?) and almost 45 from Jacksonville.

In attendance are the who’s who of the pro ranks including Greg Bennett, Macca, Craig Alexander, Matt Reed, Brian Fleischmann, Faris Al Sultan, and Andy Potts – it is a tri-geek fantasy race.

I am pulling for Fleisch, of course, but I think it is Bennett’s race to lose – the dude nuts it up when the cash is big.

The VMS crew is really strong with Eric Loveless, Billy Hart, Susan Wallis and a cast of characters ready to go on Sunday – good luck and be safe.

Also this weekend…

The patchouli crew is at Yargo this weekend for xTerra.

Predictions – Crichton takes top 5 in the overall and backs it up with a MTB race on Sunday – fitness wins…

The cyclists are not to be left out and all of these above events together are not even close to the drama that is The Athens Twilight Criterium and the Lindner boys are in the big dance Saturday.

If you have not heard of the Athens crit – imagine a HUGE crowd of college students drinking all day and the main event is held at night.


80KM – 80 Laps.

The field is one of the best in the US.

This is known as “THE” crit in the US. It is a big deal.

Is it hard? Is the competition tough?

I tried to think of how to explain this and I could only come up with one image.

Imagine a dark room and you’re alone in the middle.

A single light shines down from the ceiling only on you.

A single piano taps out A# G# F# over and over again.

Now - imagine you are surrounded by 40 Ninja’s lurking in the shadows…waiting to attack.

Imagine you.....are……………Jackie Chan :)

The gun goes off and the Ninja’s start to attack and you fend off one, then two, then they all rush you at once and do a flying back summersault out of the center of the room as they collapse around your shadow.

You land on your feet only to realize they have turned and are attacking again…and again…and again…that is lap one – only 79 more to go :)


That is the Athens crit.

You are getting you a$$ kicked by the best riders in the country and you might wonder does it hurt?

Maybe you have never seen the end of Jackie’s films – hell yeah – it hurts.

This isn’t any “snatch the pebble from my hand Grasshopper” BS…

This isn’t any “wax on – wax off” BS…

No “it’s ok Danial-san” in this race….

The boys are going to be on the bubble from the gun to the finish and if they make it around – just to finish – HUGE DEAL!!!

Anything more is what cyclists dreams are made of…

But these guys are ready – they are on great form and they have done the work – they will prevail.

Keizoku wa chikara nari.

Dominate the DoJo – Kia Kaha

Sushi got wheels :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ironman Arizona – 2008

The longest entry of the year – I promise :)

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It was really incredible to be a part of one of the most challenging days in IM history. This race had the 3rd highest DNF rate of all previous IM’s. The combination of the winds and the heat made it an incredibly tough day.



1st the results:

Kevin Neal dominated the dojo and took a 4th in the 45-49 age group and scored a Kona slot with a 9:56. He was 51st overall. His bike time of 5:08 was amazing (38th overall with thirty something male pros). The winds were between 20-25 MPH and pacing was almost impossible. On the outbound headwind leg – speeds were between 14-18 mph and downwind – 32-34…really incredible.

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1st time Ironman Tony Maniatis was a little disappointed with his 11:06 31st in AG finish. I thought – are you kidding? OK – you have to reset the scale - the guy had a 4.0 from Harvard so he sets his standards pretty high :)

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Paul Cantin from CA hit his 2nd IM finish with a 6 minute PR finishing in 12:37. He was happy with his finish but looking at the numbers closer he should be ecstatic. He jumped over 300 total finisher places from last June and 110 AG places – nice work Paul!!!

David Mariotti brought it home for his 2nd IM in 13:39. This also moved him up 218 places overall and 45 in his AG. Congrats David and enjoy the time with the family.

James Sweeny took the expression HTFU to a whole new level. He is a fantastic athlete and cyclist and was really set up for a fantastic day. Towards the end of the bike, James’ legs started to cramp and at mile 1 ½ his legs were literally LOCKED up on the side of the run course. I saw him and he was still trying to move forward with locked knees. I thought – oh man – there is no way he is going to be able to finish as he can’t even walk. I was wrong. The guy made it to the next aid station, took in some rehab and ran, walked and locked up over and over again until he finished. He showed INCREDIBLE physical toughness but the mental side of that performance will be in the rolodex for times when I am feeling sorry for myself – DUDE – you are hard like Chinese arithmetic :)

On the course for medical, technical, photographic and comedic support where the three amigo’s – Saswata Roy, Shawn Francis and Kendall White.

Hercules said he was tired after the day of spectating - it is hard work:)

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(All photos in this entry are copyrighted by Action Exposures and Kendall White – I promised him I would write that :))

Thanks for being out there and for all the support…you guys are great friends.

To the geeks behinds the scenes with the spreadsheets and phone calls - thanks very much - you made all the difference.

To all of our families who put up with us not being there even when we are - we are back :) (at least for the week :))

Now for the stories – BS, tall tales and exaggerations :)

I am Howard Hughes…I probably have undiagnosed OCD and I think through everything three, four, five hundred times :)

Hell – I brought two of everything to the race with me – yes – even race wheels 

And yes – this is my nutrition and supplements and NO - Hercules – none of these came from Balco.

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Having it all with me leaves less to chance – so there it all is…

Quick plug. Last week I emailed a number of people asking how to best handle the heat as it was supposed to be 97. (It only got to 94 – much better) I got responses from everyone – thank you very much.

I was really impressed to get an email back from Chris Lieto and how to best use his Base Performance product. He is really knowledgeable and his products absolutely ROCKS!!! Check out www.baseperformance.com or you can get some at ABC or Trek store of Jacksonville – this stuff works.

Ok – back to the story.

It’s amazing to me how so many of life’s outcomes are affected by the decisions that are made in only 5-10 seconds.

You take into consideration everything you know about the situation, plot your potential courses of action and then decide and execute.

The really crazy part is a week ago I visualized having to make this decision.

My coach asked me to do a pre-race plan and I sent it to him and it included this decision matrix.

I had no idea I would ever enact it.

The portion of the plan was what I was planning on doing if I was “racing” for a place and after 10 hours on the course - it played out exactly like that.

With 1 ½ miles to go I was shoulder to shoulder with a guy who kept pressing the pace.

I thought it was strange so I slid back to see his age…oh sh!t…he’s 43…this is going to hurt.

What I planned to do (last week when I was thinking straight) was allow the guy to pass me and then with 1/4 mile to go just hammer it – that was the plan.

At ½ mile to go, Saswata Roy screamed at me “Your on the bubble….hammer it now.”

I thought - oh crap – the guy next to me just heard that too…

I am not sure if I just got an acute case of “throw the ball syndrome” or I just wanted to get the inevitable started but I took off with ½ mile to go and hit it so hard I couldn’t believe it...we were under 6:00min/mile after 10+ hours of racing.

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There is a great quote about cycling that says something like “If you decide to break away, you commit 100%. You execute it without regard for the consequences.”

I went so hard that my only hope was that the guy couldn’t answer and luckily it worked.

Had he gone with me…I am not sure I could have answered back…

The verdict...there were 9 slots; I got 9th and the guy I was shoulder to shoulder with finished 19 seconds behind me in 10th.

It was cool to actually "race" an Ironman...finally – ALOHA :)

I emailed my coach to tell him how much I appreciated all of his planning and guidance. I have never been so well prepared. These guys have a great team and they are all really talented. Check out http://alancouzens.blogspot.com/ and www.gordoworld.com

This ends the longest blog entry of the year…here are some pix to give you a feel for the day… http://www.flickr.com/photos/24127889@N03/

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Remember – these are copyrighted property of – whatever dude – I paid for the hotel room and you ate most of the cookies from Anjna :)


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cycling Presentation

Here is the link from the Hammerhead Triathlon Meeting Cycling Presentation.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks - Shawn



Tuesday, April 1, 2008

T minus two weeks and counting...

…until Ironman Arizona.

The every 30 minute weather watch has race day temps with a high of 91 and a “real feel” of 95.

They call 91 “very warm” and they call 93 “hot”.

Please – be a little more creative.

91 – Feels like you are walking on a Caribbean Beach with the waves gently slapping against the shores. Someone offers you a Mojito with crushed ice and the glass is wet with sweat. A nice breeze rustles the palms tantalizing you with their intermittent shade.


That is 91.

93 – You are walking on the Sun in bare feet with sand in the crotch of your steel wool bathing suit…That is 93!!!

Any questions :)

OH yeah - “Real feel”?

Is that the “real feel” sitting on the park bench?

Is that “real feel” walking into Starbucks for an iced Latte?

Or…is that “real feel” on the gritty dirt path that is part of the run at 3:30 in the afternoon at mile 18…me stress – no never AAAARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! :)

(In case you were wondering – yes I did calculate it out and yes – I do hope to be at mile 18 at 3:30 – I know – I know – Bad Howard – Bad Howard – Bad Howard :)

OH yeah – and if anyone else tells me it’s a dry heat I am going to duct tape them quiet – cover them in honey and fire ants and leave them in the Sauna at Brooks YMCA overnight.

Under their new YMCA management – the chances of them being found is about as likely as not having to get dressed for work while someone uses the last towel (where there used to be 100’s) to do a flash dancer dental floss routine on their butt crack 6” from your face.


Maybe one of the 100 people trying to get ready for work at 7:40am in 8’ x 10’ locker room will break into song – just bust a little “Y” “M” “C” “A” - to help the offending – one foot on the bench - one of the floor - freak - to keep his beat.

TOO MANY PEOPLE and this place is going down hill QUICK!!!

So what does it feel like to taper?


This picture which was created by our IT department after I spent yet another 4 hours trying to establish a VPN connection to sync my Outlook. When I called to tell them my Outlook was not working the told me to email them a help desk request...they are the best…

OK – I digress – please hold me and tell me it is going to be ok as I go to my happy place :)

Enough grumping – the good news is…we got results and they are GOOD ONES!!!

XTerra Miami was this weekend and dominating the dojo was none other than Sean “Matrix” Crichton…he was 2nd in the OVERALL and won his AG by over 6 minutes. Why Matrix? The dude must have gone all Chris Lieto ala Keanu Reeves through the woods as he had the fastest bike split on the day and out split Casey Fannin by over 6 minutes. Casey had to do a big time Mr. Smith on the run to take back the lead…


BIG congrats to Sean…this should be good enough to qualify him for xTerra Championships in Tahoe…look out for him at Gulf Coast.

On the West Coast – Velocity Triathlete Brian Gilbert put in a strong performance in Oceanside 70.3 and set himself up for a good run into Ironman CDA – enjoy the easy week – next week starts the iron-grind :)

That’s all for now – I need to take my med’s and get my hair transformed from it’s current state which is a ridiculous “flock of seagulls” euro mullet to something more aerodynamic…maybe I’ll do the Nike Go Fro…


Kia Kaha –

The Shawning aka Howard :)