Friday, May 22, 2009

The Juice and the squeeze...

Last week I knew we would need some extra room for the results and pictures and I was right!!!

What a race weekend!!!

1st to the shaved leg tough guys - The State Crit was this weekend and we had some really strong showings

Congrats to Curtis, Karel, Jeff, Michael, Will and Rad – way to go guys!!!

For the tri-geeks – the BFAS #1 was Saturday.

Congrats to James, JC, Marni, Jim W and Billy Hart and the rest of the crew – awesome job!!!

Ironman Florida 70.3 was Sunday in Disney and the Ironbutz were in attendance.

Great races by all – Congrats to Kerry, Juan, Peter, Will, Kelley and Michael.

Also congrats to Greg, Danny and Carl – Greg won his age group and was 25th in the overall ahead of a BUNCH of Pro’s – Way to go!!!

With the spring season done – it’s time to relax and unwind for a bunch of the crew. With all the miles logged you earned a few weeks of whatever you want…enjoy…then back to the grind.

Rich, Susan and I are very proud to have the chance to work with you all – it’s cool to be a small part of your success!!!

If you have anything better to do – stop here – you have been warned…
Your time might be better spent cleaning your shower curtain

I read somewhere a saying that asks “Is the Juice worth the squeeze?”

For me, last Sunday, it was not – more on that in a minute.

While I am not unhappy in my training, my fitness, my equipment or my goals – (Alan got me to a perfect place and Bianca was firing on race day) - I am really unhappy with my execution.

There is another saying that an Ironman is not won in the swim but it can be lost and I never really understood it but now I do…and that saying also applies to a half ironman.

What happened?

I swam my usual pace – not too hard – just cruise it and save energy for the rest of the day. I watched the lead pack go away and thought to myself – I am going to race my own race and I will be fine. I finished the swim in 14th position which is actually a little behind where I would have thought but I figured the course was long and I would make it up.

I started the ride and really felt incredible. My new bike and fresh legs from a perfect taper let me fly through the field and I was at 28 miles in 1:09 and on track for a 2:18 split. It wasn’t quite a “no-chain” day but I was feeling really good. I was lucky to have a 28 year old age grouper that was flying to pace off of and I stayed 3-4 bike lengths on purpose. I went through the aid station at 30 miles and I lost contact and I started to chase. I chased HARD for 30 seconds and decided he was too far up the road and “I would be fine” by myself. I was WRONG!!! At mile 40 I turned into a BIG headwind and I was in no man’s land. No one to pace off of – no one around at all. It sucked. I did my usual – rode steady power and settled in but my speed was falling off big time.

At the time I didn’t know it but the swim pack from my age group that I let go was up the road and all together (legally) and working less than I was.

I ended up with a 2:22 ride time – 2:24 on the race clock split after the run from mount / dismount but my 2:18 turned into 2:22 and that 4 minutes would come back to haunt me.

On the run I felt great. 1st 2 miles in 14:03 and I was not worried about the pace but I knew the heat would be a BIG factor as it was getting close to 95. I used all the tricks straight from the start to keep cool – bunches of sponges and ice in the hat and I even froze “my boys” again with ice shoved down my shorts. I settled into a slightly slower pace and still was handling it pretty well telling myself I do well in the heat – lap one was low Zone 4 HR and I felt good.

Through the 6 mile mark I was comfortable and then I decided I need to “press” to bridge the gap to the lead. I “pressed” a little to a 7:00 pace and it hurt and I eased up worrying about how the heat would smack me hard if I went redline too early – I decided to wait until mile 7.

At mile 7, I “pressed” again and again I started to hurt a lot and decided to wait until the last lap. I was now at the high end of Zone 4 and it was probably getting too high for too long. Zone 5 is reserved for the last 2 miles.

On the course which is really a Goat trail with no wind and no shade, I was hard to find a “steady” pace. I was able to get splits off of Kerry Mowlam at the turn arounds. He is really a great athlete that I work with and I knew he was ready to have a fast day. It was cool to have someone on the course to mark and I was focused on Kerry thinking that if I stayed on track for him – I would be in a good spot in the overall. I got the gap down to 10 seconds but Kerry has MAD GAME and bore down for the last lap and he pushed the finish and left me behind by 13 seconds.

All the while this was happening - the conversation I was having with myself was absolutely classic:

“You said medals or medical!!! Go man – now!!!”
“Yeah – but a DNF is neither – I need to hold back”
“If you hold back you’re not going to close”
“If I go now I am not going to finish – I’ll decide what I will do later…”
“The more you wait – the harder you will have to go”
“Yeah – I know – I’ll be ok – they will fade”

Man – I wish I would have known how close it would end up.

It’s not that I didn’t go hard – I did – just not hard enough – not soon enough to make a difference.

When I talked to Alan, my coach, he pointed to the swim as the 1st domino in my missing my goal and I agree.

At the pointy end of the arrow – the tactics and marking your guys becomes much more important and I was not paying attention – I failed to execute. By the time I knew I had to go – I was in a hole and managing an implosion – too little to late – I was asleep at the wheel.

The really bad part - I believe in numbers.

My effort was a 99.27% of what I needed. That’s not bad but not good either.

The juice (10th place in my age group- I wanted podium) was 2:00 minutes off of my goal of Top 5 THAT was not worth the squeeze…

323 hours of training…123,199 yards in the pool, 2,882 miles of cycling, 531 miles of running all to be 2:00 minutes from my goal…

Definitely NOT worth the squeeze – NOT HAPPENING AGAIN!!!

Next time – execute!!!

So - What’s next…?

Overall – get back to balance. Play and hang with the kids a LOT more. I try to train a lot in the morning before anyone gets up but even still I feel like I miss things. Not for the next 6 weeks – I am the “YES” man :)

Slow down a little and watch others speed along…

Last weekend, Shane turned 17 and I said to his Mom – “Oh my god – where did all the years go?”

It actually makes me get choked up when I think about it. I used to have him on my hip on Saturday afternoons strolling around Huntington Beach and now he is grown. It was a BIG wake up call. The years go way too quick – time to slow down a little.

Work is busy again now and that is good. Two new products and I have a good focus again which I enjoy. Traveling to Germany for a quick trip in a few weeks and then settle in to a surfing summer with the boyz.

As for my training – I am “off plan” for the next 6 weeks – it is a mental and physical break that I need.

Two off seasons (one summer and one winter) has allowed me to continue for a string of years without getting hurt – knock wood.
I do plan on addressing a few weaknesses:

Swim - need to get faster with less effort – Shane is coaching at Selva so I may have him work with me.

Bike – I enjoy riding and Josh is starting to ride so it will be a good thing to do together.

Run – maybe that can wait a few weeks but Bone will keep me company when I do :)

Equipment – can’t buy anything faster or sweeter – Bianca and Marisol are AWESOME – thanks Jeff!!! Shameless plug :)

Orthopedic / Strength – I am going Gym Jones!!! More on this later but I am going to go caveman this summer – Marjorie (my massage therapist – really knowledgeable and incredibly strong – she is tiny but can bring the pain) said I have Pillsbury Dough Boy transverse abs and that is causing my back to hurt. Core it is.

Drew said that she liked Cross fit so I may try that or MMA - she does like to fight :)

Other than that – I plan on sleeping, eating, playing and laughing with more and more of all.

Life is short, kids grow up too quick, it all can end unexpectedly and without warning so I plan on making the most of everyday…

I may even take my Mom’s advice – she said she rides her bike slow enough that she can not only stop to see the flowers – she can smell them too…I liked that…

This was worth the squeeze :)

So Kia Kaha if you race and if your relaxing like me – Enjoy…“The wanna be” Tao of Pooh and Zen Master Yogurt :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

La Tigre

NEVER read pre-race advice from someone who needs med’s and drinks too much coffee – err that’s me :)

If you continue after that opening – you’re brave – bored – silly or tapering :)

I am pretty sure I have written this before but with so many people racing this weekend I figured I would pen it again with maybe a little update.

I sleep GREAT.

I actually slept GREAT in the 10 minute cab ride from the Conference Center to the Airport this afternoon (just before this blog was started) – I snored, I drooled and I even dreamt a little…apparently I was talking in my sleep as Ahmed, my driver, just gave me my receipt and asked me with a grin –

“who es des Bianca and ver she sister?” :)

The night before a “bigger race” I can’t sleep at all. It has become a self full filling prophesy – I worry about not sleeping and then I don’t fall asleep then I make myself REALLY upset that I am not sleeping and think about all the training I have done prepping for the race being ruined by not sleeping and so on and so on and so on…

It’s crazy – I know…but I have not been able to cure it. I can treat it…Xanax works – a little...

Ambien works a LOT but that stuff is scary…I wish I didn’t need anything as the ½ life is not so helpful with racing.

The point of this blog is not to tell you I have pre-race anxiety issues and need medication – most of you who know this blog even exists or knows me at all already understands that… :)

My point is actually pretty simple…we all face pre-race stress and deal with differently…some effective…some not so effective…

So - if you think your alone – your NOT :)

Other than my own personal issues – which I have a well thought out (prescribed) and practiced plan to deal with…pre-race stress can come from anywhere and everywhere.

The bigger the race, the more the demons stack up against you.

Why is it that exactly 4 days prior to your ‘A’ race you will be in unexplainably sequestered in close quarters with someone hacking and sneezing and your pretty sure you smell bacon :)

You reach for the only door to make a quick escape and pulling the handle you feel a cold clammy wetness which you are pretty sure is Fong’s last sneeze.

Quickly reference the Wikipedia medical site...

H2N1 incubation – 72 hours…perrrrrfect – that mean’s I get it on Saturday and my race is Sunday :)

Can someone please call CDC?

You can ABSOLUTELY count on while doing your last “easy” run making sure to stay ONLY in zone 1…some little old lady in a walker will pass you and drop her keys. Of course, when you bend down to pick them up, your always supple hamstrings LOCK UP tighter than a violin string. The only good news is you are now sitting third chair for the Jacksonville Symphony and you can own play one note and it isn’t really a good one. :)

What are you going to do? For sore tired or pulled muscles, stretching and massage is always on my menu. I especially try to mix this in for taper and recovery weeks. ART can help as well and you should try it. Being a little tight from my earlier Boy Scout duties with Grammies keys – I let Jean Pierre work on me for a few minutes. I’m not sure it was such a good call…

In order to pass all the extra time you might have by not swimming, not biking and not running I decided to mix in a little core training. I even got a membership at the local Globo gym. They set me up with Shaun Clump, a fitness consigliore for a little “tune-up” – Do you think doing all these flies will help my swim this weekend?

Shaun recommended a few supplements and I like supplements so I went and talked to a salesperson from Pro Legume Power Endurance Max HP. They convinced me to throw away my rehearsed nutrition plan for their “all-natural” single chain malto-dextro-suplo-opty-oxy-morpho-genzene which is easily digestible, taken ONCE for the whole race and mixed with anything you want, whenever you want and of course – will guarantee to let you win your age group. works great for Torschten Spitzga and he just won the Snitzleman Uberbiker in Ulm. They have a picture of Torshten on the bottle and he all is logo’d up…saying “yah yah ist gut, yah yah…” – I bought 4 bottles at $39.95 a bottle.

These guys also make this stuff and it seems to work…for him (?)

I am so ripped and amped up that I super glued my thumbs together!!!

(Is it just me of does he look a little like Ollie North? :))

Even the best maintained bikes will develop a creak, tweak, squeak that it has never had before indicating to you an eminent mechanical failure prompting a last minute streak to the expo to see if you can actually melt the Platinum American Express Card with your new ride purchase complete with wheel set and bike fit the day before the race (errr Ironman:) - ok – this one is true and as a Disclaimer, this was a previous less responsible former life and I was being a good friend and errrr enabler and might have actually drove this person to the expo and helped him pick out the color…yeah – I know – not smart…but it was John Cobb fitting him :) I am REALLY glad he finished or I would feel guilty…16:57 baby – ouch – it was close :))

Finally, no prerace/taper week is complete with the obligatory search for the latest in speed suit technology…Speedo, Nike, Blue Seventy, LGE, Orca, Jaggad, and Zoot are all great.

But after reading all of the marketing materials and trying on a few – I had to go with the latest from QR-BAIT. Their marketing was really exceptional…the suit is called “OUT” and the description is...

“When you’re all shaved down and ready to roll, we have a little compressive latex to get you off the bottom and back on top – The La Tigre”

I wonder if they have this in white to match Bianca?

Good luck to all of you who are racing this weekend – Kia Kaha!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Results, Raves, Marisol and Bianca :)

I always get to write these in cool places or doing cool things and this entry is no exception.

Just got home from awesome dinner at Sundogs – sat outside and it was PERFECT!!!

The boys, Drew and I rode bikes there and Bone was so tired that Shane had to go get a car as he fell asleep at the table…

Shane pulled up and Drew said “Are we getting in?”

I quickly shut the door to Shane’s car and said – “Hell no – free baby sitting:)”

I got to do something I have not gotten to do in a while – go out and “play” with no agenda, no plan, no purpose and no requirements for what is “next”…

It was really fun…a beautiful night in AB – out on bikes cruising around checking out the TPC drunks and night crawlers heading out to “feed”. I guess we are getting old – instead of hitting the Lemon bar or Rag times – we opted for One Hot Cookie and soft pedaled home stopping to meet Danielle’s new puppy a Pomeranian named “BO”…

WAIT – are you kidding? He is a Pomeranian – his name is BO?

He is a Serge or Sven or Lord Byron even but BO? Dude - I can drop kick him like 30 yards…BO is a name for hunting dogs – try this…Fetch BO go get the duck…hell the duck would kick this little yippers a$$ all up and down the lagoon :) He is cute as hell but BO – no way…I’m 100% sure her or her mom did not share my sense of humor or fascination with the name but I laughed my a$$ off :)

I digress…

Now I am drinking a cup of coffee and I am watching the GIRO while getting my a$ kicked in scrabble…(I am seriously out of practice as I am good at very few things – Bread pudding and Scrabble and I am getting schooled tonight…I need to concentrate but this is fun…)

Oh yeah and Comcast…show up anytime you want from now on - SERIOUSLY – don’t feel limited to those totally reasonable 4 hour blocks AND you can also raise my rates – YOU GUYS NOW ROCK!!! The NEW Universal Sports Channel (200) is incredible and it’s shows triathlon, track and field and tonight it has the team time trial start to this years Giro – 2 hours of coverage- yes – in America – we have cycling coverage.

This is great - the boys are happy - Drew is happy – I am happy (I would be happier if I wasn’t losing so badly) - it really doesn’t get much better than this :)

OK - enough rambling...


What a week + (9 days) for results!!!

1st let’s rewind to last weekend…

Congrats to the shaved legged tough guys in all the Speedweek races. Karel and Curtis toed the line again last weekend with the crew from Rock Racing and the rest of the biggest domestic pro teams and they did fantastic. Karel actually made Velonewsok – his butt did :) – it was a slug fest every race and these guys did great.

Curtis’ team was actually mentioned as well as one of the Athens Twilight possible sprint winners. This is domestic pro cycling at its pinnacle and these guys were there…wait until next weekend and the State Crit – look for some HUGE results from the whole crew!!!

On the tri side…in south Florida, Blain Peerson showed up and used an incredible swim to jump start his race and went on to win his AG – congrats Blain – way to start off the season.

Down in the Caribbean James Sweeney had a great race at the 70.3 St. Croix. The course is one of the hardest in the world and James was up against the best in the world. Why is all this talent in one spot? Kona spots…a bunch of them. It brings out the best of the best and it was game on. James had a great swim, great bike and was running his way to a top three and the heat took its toll.

He ended up in 8th place in AG and sixty something overall…great race on a tough course against the best in the world…that’s impressive – Ironman CDA is next and he will be ready!!!

In the 2nd biggest kid’s race in America, 501 local kids put down there Xbox’s and Playstations long enough to race the YMCA Kids Triathlon last Sunday.

Freddie does the honors of Coen's 1st bodymark...

The event was awesome. For it’s 1st year – incredible organization.

Bone's brothers where on hand to help him stretch before the race...

The distances varied by age but the youngest ones did 100 yard swim, 3 mile bike and ½ run…it was a pretty long race considering their ages.

Of course - everyone takes this is VERY seriously!!!

Out of the swim and on to the bike...

OK - outside assistance is allowed when you can't tie your own shoes :)

I have to admit – I was pretty geeked for the Bone’s first race.

He had a smile for the entire thing and was really happy to finish.

Cody Kopp blazed through the bike (wonder where he got that from?:)) and went on to win the AG.

One of the other highlights for me was getting to meet and watch Tim Houston race. He is really cool and I am stoked to have been able to meet him – he is inspiring.

Bone finished and celebrated in style...

Post race ice cream is a HUGE hit!!!

Fast forward to this weekend and JC does it again at Gulf Coast Triathlon. An AG win and 6th place in the overall female ranks in a 5:03. She would be a great pro if she wanted to be (hint hint hint). The day had a rough swim but JC’s swim has gotten so much stronger and she did great. On to the bike she picked up a bunch of spots and brought it home with a tough run on a really HOT course. I have no doubt she will be in Kona and Clearwater this year – congrats JC and Louisville is next.

That’s all for results – coming up next weekend is the State Criterium Championship, the BFAS, and the Florida 70.3 and we have a BUNCH of the crew on the course – I think we will need more blog space.

That’s it…Stop reading here if you have anything better to do…you have been warned :)

So – what else is new…well - not too much…

Oh except…the two best looking bikes I have seen lately are in my bike room – yup!!!

Marisol and Bianca are home!!!

It is really cool to get new equipment and for me buying a new bike is a real undertaking. I research all of the models, sizes, components, features, reviews, referrals – you name it – I read it. This year I knew I needed to upgrade both my play (road) and work (tri) bikes and I wanted to get something with a unique advantage. I looked at the Scott’s, Felt’s, Orbea’s, Ridley, BMC and the Look and I thought I had it narrowed down.

I guess I just kept trying to picture myself on these and I just couldn’t.

It was getting pretty frustrating and I asked Rich (the best bike geek I now) and he said, “Dude – I like my ride…if I were going to get another – I would get the same bike again.”

With that – another brand was in the mix – Trek. I looked at the TTX and even at Levi’s dancing bear and I kept saying “man – I just don’t like the look”. I really dug Chris Lieto’s bike – it looks super cool but that is not available.

I have coached and worked with Jeff Kopp for 2 years and I always joked with him that I just didn’t like the TTX’s – they looked – well – not my style…not from a functional standpoint – the best rider in the world has been on them for like 9 years?

It was just the colors that I didn’t like…nothing against orange – it was just not for me.

Jeff laughed as only a salesman can when the hook is fully set…

”Dude, have you heard about the NEW Project One…”

I drove over at lunch and we sat down for 20-30 minutes looking at options on the website – he explained the new “End of No” concept…basically if you want it and it can be done…they will try.

I asked him if I could get something not shown anywhere in the catalog and he called the head of Project One and the conversation went a little like this – Jeff says…

“You know that Lance guy…well my friend wants something that will look like his bike only a little different…you did it for Lance - can you do that for him?”

The Trek Project One manager said “Yeah man – we can do that and I think it will look cool.”

We finished the spec’s – SRAM RED – Zipp Bar’s – Quarq Power Meter and Aeolus wheels (these are SICK fast wheels) and Bianca was conceived.

I asked Jeff to have them email me a rendering photo of what we discussed and I was stoked…so stoked I decided to do the same thing with my road bike.

The process is SUPER cool…you can pick everything from frame color to bar tape…all of this is custom – you design your own bike.

The came in 1st – the stealthy girl I named Marisol – all black - no paint just nude carbon – no gloss – SRAM Red and Aeolus 9.0 clincher wheels – she rides like a dream.

The TTX was next – all white – no gloss – SRAM red and Aeolus wheels.

Jeff called and said Bianca would be in on Friday morning and Karel would build her for me…I took the afternoon off – picked up some Native Sun wraps for the crew and headed to the shop just in time to see the UPS man rolling her off the truck.

I love creating things…I think a lot of creativity stops when we put down the crayons and people think too much in “real” terms. I do this daily at work but it was amazing to be able to do this with a bike. I had closed my eyes and picked what I wanted…sketched it out in my head and now they are both “real”.

I am so stoked about these rides…they are smooth, fast and VERY VERY FLY :)

BIG PROPS to the TREK Project One guys…they really created something cool – digital crayons for bike geeks.

Thanks to Jeff for “talking me into it” – I did this myself I think - and for Karel for all the attention to detail in putting her together - she is sweet Bro – thanks!!!

Welcome home Bianca...

She spent her 1st night in the pain cave alone...maybe I should have slept on the floor with her :)

So…that’s all for now…

1 week until Ironman Florida 70.3 and I have no doubt I will be having fun…Bianca gets to roll out – 2 weeks later at World Toughest ½ in Auburn – it’s Marisol’s turn…

Oh yeah and I almost forgot - best thing of all…

Both of these bikes match ALL of my kit’s PERFECTLY!!!

Saswata you are SO jealous :)