Life as a triathlete, Vehicross's and off-roading

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2014 HITS Lake Havasu….140.6 miles to finish off the season.

On Nov 7 2014 I jumped in my loaded vehicle and made the 5.5 hour drive from Tucson to Lake Havasu. Upon arrival I hit the race venue and picked up my race packet, made a grocery stop to pick up dinner and breakfast supplies and then seeked refuge from the heat in my hotel room. I put the finishing touches on my equipment, watched a little television to unwind and then got an early start on sleep. I think I woke up about every hour and a half throughout the night but felt rested when my alarm went off at 4:30am. I consumed a banana, 2 berry bagels and a yogurt for breakfast, got dressed and loaded my race equipment and made the 10 minute drive to the venue. Transition spaces were assigned, each spot held your bikes front wheel and had a stool plus plenty of space to place your gear (one of the nicest transition setups I have seen). Large lights lit up the entire area to make early morning (pre-sun) set up easy. I made a quick trip to the porta-potties before the crowds arrived and then relaxed a bit. Before I knew it, it was time to get into my wetsuit and head down to the water. Water temp was in the mid 70s. I got in and warmed up for about 200 yards before they called all athletes out of the water for a pre-race meeting and the playing of the national anthem.

The start was a shore line start followed by two 1.2 mile laps . The start horn sounded and we were off. Sighting was near impossible with the sun low in the sky and in our eyes. The lack of buoys in between the turn buoys and the small size of the buoys only added to the difficulty. Fortunately I was not at the front and had the lead group to follow. At the end pf the first loop the half athletes headed off to T1 while those of us doing the full headed out for lap 2. I was suddenly on my own. luckily I could see the lead groups splashes and was able to follow until the buoys were in sight. I swam consistently through the entire swim. As I exited the water I was told I was in the top 10 (was 7th out of the water). Swim time…58:21.

A short uphill run from the water to T1…wetsuit, swim cap and goggles off…helmet on. Mounted my bike at the line, got up to speed and slipped into my bike shoes. T1 time…1:35.

I entered the bike course blind…I had not previewed the course but knew it was hilly from previously talking to friends. The course was 4 loops…112 miles. The plan was to take the first 2 laps relatively easy to save for the last 2 laps. I was quickly passing people trying to keep track of which race they were in (3300 numbers were the full). The first half of each lap was slightly rolling uphill. The far end of the course at the turn around area was where the fun begins…3 hills, each about 1/4 mile in length and 20+% grade followed by 30% grade downhills on the opposite sides. As I rode up the first time there were people from the half walking their bikes up! I powered up them. Only 3 more times to go! At about the 20 mile mark I was passed by another full distance athlete. I let him go and stuck to my pace. At mile 25 I had caught him again and made the pass. As I passed him I asked him if he knew how far ahead the leaders were. His response…you’re it! That motivated me a bit, but I still wasn’t 100% sure that there was no one else ahead. So I got back to business. Lap 2 was uneventful…those hills on the far end hurt just a little more. By now the heat had began to climb. What had started out in the morning as 60 degrees had now climbed into the upper 70s/low 80s and still climbing. Laps 3 and 4 dished  out more of the same but now the wind decided to join the game. The far end of the course was blowing about 25-30 mph. By the 4th lap I was starting to feel some minor cramps in my legs. I had been getting in all my calories (a concentrated bottle of CarboPro and 3 root beer Gu’s) and fluids switching between the on course drink (HEED) and water but, the effort and heat were starting to get the best of me. So for the second half of the last lap I eased off the effort a bit, stretched my legs a little and massaged the cramping muscles. As I neared T2 I slipped my feet out of my shoes. I dismounted at the line and ran into transition. Bike time…5:38:46, the fastest of the day by 10 minutes.

As I entered T2 it was confirmed that I was the leader. I racked my bike, removed my helmet and put my running shoes on. I took a little extra time to stretch and massage my legs a little. T2…2:18.

The temps were now hitting 90. The run was 2 horseshoe shaped out and backs, 13.1 miles each (26.2 miles) of slight rolling terrain with a couple of short climbs. I knew this was going to be a tough run. I ran down through the park to the water front, under the London Bridge and then decided it would be a good idea to walk up the ramp that took us from the bottom of the bridge to the street level. By the time I hit the first aid station my legs were cramping. I started my fueling…coke and water. And more water over the head to try and cool down. I shuffled through the lakefront campground and up the uphill back to the main road. The cramps began to get more intense. By mile 3 I was shuffling and walking but continued to lead. When walking I told myself if I was going to walk, I was going to walk as fast as I could. Just past mile 6 at the turn around I was caught and passed. still in second I was determined to keep moving forward as fast as I could. By the end of the first lap I was still hanging on to 4th place. The 2nd lap started off with more walking than running. My legs would cramp up every time I began to run. At about mile 14 I caught up with another athlete who was on his 1st lap. He was having the same issues I was. We started working together. We would pick a spot up ahead and run to it…by then my cramps were usually in ouch mode, we would walk to another point and then repeat. We did this until about mile 18. I started cramping really bad then and he pull ahead of me up the road. By mile 19 the sun was setting and it had started to cool down. I then devised a plan. I started out small…run 30 steps, walk 20 steps. I was feeling okay doing this so I decided to up it…run 40 steps, walk 20. By mile 21 I had caught up to my old partner but he had been reduced to walking only. I was feeling okay so I decided that I was going to run until I couldn’t run any longer.To my surprise, with the cooler temps I was feeling pretty good. I maintained a steady run pace the last 4 miles all the way to the finish line…where I immediately cramped up. one of my worst ironman runs ever…5:28:01.

The day done, I was able to hold on for 10th place overall, 8th male and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup. 12:09:03.

One of the hardest ironman distance race I have done. Tough course and tough conditions…heat, hills, and wind!

2014 season done!

Thank you to my sponsors…

Accelerate3 for making me fast

TriSports.com for having all the equipment to help me go fast

And a big thanks to my wife who tolerates this madness!

Brian-9108-TiBill-3355-Ti Bill-4436-Ti  Bri-3103-Ti Brian-5833-Ti Bill-5188-Ti

My last big week and a half marathon (A Mountain half marathon race report)

The week of Oct.13-19 Was my last big training week before my Ironman taper. My week started with a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool. Tuesday brought a 2 hour 45 minute trail run with lots of hills followed by 2 hours on the bike. Wensday started with a 30 minute run, followed by 2 hours on the bike with threshold intervals and then 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool. Thursday started on the track with 2×4000, an easy hour on the bike and 1 hour 7 minutes in the pool. Friday was 130 miles on the bike. Saturday was a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool.

To cap the week off I decided to test my legs with the A Mountain half marathon. 13.1 miles that begins flat in downtown Tucson. After which at mile 6.5 you begin the 275 ft accent of A Mountain (over about 1 mile) followed by equal downhill. That is followed by an out and back on the Santa Cruz River path before making your way back to the finish downtown.

Prior to the race I thought that a 1:40 would be a really good day with the training week I had put in. I planned on going out at a comfortable pace until A Mountain and then pick the pace up.

At the sound of the gun we were off. The first 3 miles I was averaging about 7-7:05 pace. My legs were feeling good and I was comfortable. I was just off the back of the lead group, with a few really fast guys off the front. The next 3 miles I was at 6:55 mile pace and still feeling good. As the climb started I began to pass all those that went out to hard. I probably passed a dozen people. he downhill saw several more people picked off as they descended on heavy legs. I made an effort to catch one more guy in front of me and then settled into his pace as we passed several more people. With about 2 miles to go my calves started to tighten up. I could no longer hold that pace and I let my “pacer” start to slip away. I slowed into a manageable pace and continued back into downtown. I was passed by one runner. I turned the last corner and saw the 13 mile sign…1/10 of a mile to go! I crossed the line finishing in 1:34:01 as the 21st male overall (26th overall) and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup. Far exceeding my pre-race expectations.

My totals for the week came in at 13000 yards in the pool, 305 miles on the bike and 50 miles running. Now it’s time to enjoy 3 weeks of taper before towing the line at HITS Lake Havasu for the full distance (ironman).

Celebrating 50 at the 20th Annual Steelhead Triathlon

How does one celebrate their 50th birthday? If you’re me you wake up at 0300, aet a quick breakfast, throw your gear in the car and head to Sierra Vista, Az. for the 20th Annual Steelhead Triathlon on Ft. Huachuca. The race consists of an 800 yard pool swim, 12 mile hilly bike and a 3.1 mile hilly run.
After arriving I racked my bike, set up my gear and picked up my packet.

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I was in the 4th wave so had a little extra time to warm up with a short run and make one last potty pitstop. I then waited for my lane to clear and got a short swim warm up in.
The horn sounded and we were off. I settled into a good solid pace. The swimmer in the next lane was a member of the Mexican National Triathlon team. I watched as he lapped me 4 times during the swim. But I seemed to be doing well against everyone else. I was out of the pool in 13:09. A quick glance at the pool saw most people were still swimming.
There was a short run to T1. T1 was quick. Goggles off, helmet on, go! 2:19.
Once on the bike I slipped my shoes on and got up to speed. The out and back bike course starts with a short rolling downhill into a sharp turn. The course continues to roll until the 2 mile mark then climbs 325 feet to the turn around. I passed a couple people in the first 2 miles. As I approached the turn around I saw the leader…the Mexican National team kid. I had closed the gap down from 3 minutes to about 2 minutes. I was off the bike in 30:00 (average speed 23mph) and had closed the gap down to about 1:30.
I was in and out of T2 in 1:02. Shoes off on the bike, helmet off, running shoes on. I put my hat and race belt on on the go.
The out and back run course is pretty much downhill to the turn around dropping 87 feet to the turn around. Then climb back to the finish. My legs were tired but I managed to average 6:39 mile pace. The first mile came in 6:12, followed by a 6:31 mile and slowed to a 7:15 uphill mile. I lost time to the leader but gained time on everyone else with a 20:16.
Total time 1:06:59. 4:42 off the first place time of the 18 year old and 4:57 ahead of the 17 year old 3rd place finisher. I won my agegroup by over 20 minutes.
Not a bad 50th!

Fort Report Steelhead Triathlon 14 from U.S. Army Fort Huachuca on Vimeo.

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Rescent goings on…

I have been neglecting my blog lately so here is an update of what has been going on…
During my time away I have been training and did one race.
I kept putting off my race report for the Toughman Arizona (formerly Deuceman) in Show Low, Az. while I thought about what I wanted to write. My race execution was average. I finished 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup and managed a 14th place overall. I had a good swim which was shortened due to the lakes extreme low level. My bike went very good. Then I wilted away in the heat on the run but soldiered on finishing in 5:08:02.
Now the race directors perfornance…not so good. I sent a lenghthly note to the RD explaining my displeasure with a list of problems that needed to be fixed. Lack of porta potties, running out of water, running out of cups, lack of mile markers, the worst awards ever, and many other problems. Some of these have already been addressed by the RD (They sent out new and improved awards). I am hoping the others will be corrected for next year to bring this once great race back up to the high standards that were set by TriSports Racing.
Since the race, I have taken a few weeks of recovery time and have now started my build up for my Ironman. Last month (July) saw me log 30.3 miles in the pool, 830.01 miles on the bike and 152.36 miles of running. The fun continues!

’14 2-10-2 Duathlon

3 May 2014 the alarm rang at 4am. Early wakeup could only mean one thing…race day! After a quick breakfast I made the 1.5 hour drive to Ft. Huachuca. Upon arrival I picked up my race packet and set up my transition area.

Ready to roll

Ready to roll


After catching up with old friends I went for a quick run to warm up.
After the National Anthem I made my way to the start line. I positioned myself at the front. At promptly 7am the horn sounded and we were off.
The opening run was 2 miles…1 mile downhill to the turnaround and then 1 mile back up the hill. A steady 134 feet of elevation. The lead group went out fast. I ran my pace and was about 45 seconds behind the leaders as I ran in to T1 in 12:20. I was in about 9th place however several in the lead group were relay teams.
T1 was shoes off, helmet on, grab bike and go…:48.
The bike course was 10 miles of constant up and down…no flat! 1000 feet of ascending. I quickly got up to pace and began passing riders. I had one rider that would pass me on the climbs only to get repassed on the descents. I made up a lot of ground on the descents…some people just don’t like going fast! The turn around was at the bottom of a fast descent. I came in a little to fast and ended up locking up the back wheel but made the turn upright. As we neared the end of the ride I was trying to catch the rider in front of me. I was paying attention to him and followed him the wrong way. We made a little loop through the back roads and found our way back to the transition area…adding about a half mile to the bike. That set me back a few places. Bike time was 31:03. I averaged under 20mph! Top speed on the downhills was 40mph!
T2 was Helmet off, rack bike, running shoes on…1:21.
Run 2 was a repeat of run 1 with the addition of tired legs. I ran 13:23 and worked my way back to the last spot on the overall podium crossing the finish line in 58:55.
Crossing the finish

Crossing the finish

The podium…1st Brandon Nichols, 2nd Brian Hayes, and me in 3rd.

Mens overall podium

Mens overall podium

Thank you TriSports.com for your continued support and Accelerate3 for the go fast coaching.

Miles and miles of miles

3 months into the year and the miles are adding up.
The month of January consisted of 76.41 miles of running, 682.95 miles on the bike and 28.52 miles in the pool.
February the mileage bumped up to 93.74 miles of running, 713.63 miles on the bike and 26.14 miles of running.
March continued the climb. 129.75 miles running, 725.83 miles riding and 25.23 miles of swimming.
That makes 299.89 miles running, 2122.42 miles riding and 79.89 miles swimming.
A total of 2502.19 miles covered in 3 months.
The journey continues…

A day of firsts…2014 Tucson Triathlon

March 23, 2014 was a day of firsts. It was my first race of the season. It was my first race in the 50-54 agegroup. It was my first race post injury. It was the Tucson Triathlon.
The Tucson Triathlon is the first race of the 3 race Tucson Triathlon series. The race takes place on and around the University of Arizona campus. The sprint distance race consists of a 750 meter serpentine swim, a 12 mile 3 loop bike, and a 2 loop 3 mile run.
My day started at 0400 with the sound of the alarm. A quick breakfast of waffles, got dressed and jumped in to my prepacked vehicle. I arrived at the race site at 0500. I racked my bike on an end spot and set up my transition area. After getting body marked I returned to my vehicle and took an hour nap since I was not to start until 4th from the last. Next on the agenda was a quick stop in the restroom. With about 45 minutes until start time I headed out with my coach, Brian Stover (Accelerate3), for a warm up run followed by some swimming.
It was now go time!
On the start command I was off. We started in 15 second intervals. Seven an a half laps of the 50 meter pool. I quickly settled into my pace and was feeling good. I caught my 15 second person at the 650 meter mark. I then enjoyed the draft. Out of the water in 12:25…about average for me. 12th fastest swim of the day and fastest in agegroup. On the short run to T1 I passed 4 people.
T1 was fast and uneventful. Goggles off, helmet on, run to mount line and jump on bike.
Once on the bike I put my shoes on and quickly got up to speed. I felt great on the bike and was passing many of the slower people who started ahead of me. On Euclid, the rough section of road, I stayed out of the aerobars to absorb the shock and keep the power going. As I came around on the third lap I slipped out of my shoes and turned into the transition area. As I hit the dismount line I jumped from my bike and hit the ground running.
I racked my bike, removed my helmet, running shoes on, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number…run.
T1, bike, T2 time 31:27. 6th fastest for the day and fastest in agegroup.
On the run I put on my glasses, race number and hat. Prior to the race I had told my coach I would be happy to run under 19 minutes, I had taken 15 weeks off of running with a heel stress fracture during the second half of last season. As I went into the first loop of the run, coach Brian was starting his second loop (he started ahead of me). Perfect timing…a rabbit! I stayed with him till the first turn around then dropped back about 10 yards and tried to hang on. The second loop I maintained my pace and pushed hard to the finish line. I crossed the finish with a run split of 18:57…goal met! 7th fastest run of the day and fastest in agegroup.
My overall time, 1:04:49, put me in 5th place overall and 1st in the 50-54 agegroup.

photo courtesy of Torsten Abel

Shoulder to shoulder with coach Brian

Photo courtesy of Torsten Abel

Hanging with coach

Photo courtesy of Torsten Abel

Closing in on the finish

Spectating at the 2014 Old Pueblo Grand Prix

On March 8, 2014 downtown Tucson played host to the Old Pueblo Grand Prix. The OPGP is a criterium consisting of multiple high speed laps of a .67 mile course with 6 turns per lap.
The pro/1/2 womens race was very tactical. A group broke away that had multiple girls from the same teams. Their teammates controled the main field allowing them to extend their lead. One girl then jumped from the group and lapped the main field where she sat until the finish.
The pro/1/2 mens race was high speed from the gun. A 9 man group broke away and continued to put distance on the main field. The breakaway group had a few aggressors that kept jumping off the front but would get reeled back in. The break caught the main field. They stayed in the field until the final lap, ending in a sprint for the line.
Results can be found HERE.
Womens pro/1/2 race in pictures…
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The break forming
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The gap opening
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Sun setting
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Pace splitting the main field
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Soloing off the front
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Sprint for the line
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The mens pro/1/2 race…
Lining up for the start
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The sound of whirling wheels and high speeds!
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Under the lights
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Blur!
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The break working hard
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Soloing off the front
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Winding up the sprint
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Looking forward to 2014

2013 came to a close with USAT All American honors in my final year in the 45-49 age group.
The first race of 2014 is just around the corner. This year my schedule will include the Tucson Triathlon series (Tucson, Firecracker and Tinfoilman), the 5430 TriZona, Toughman Arizona, HITS Havasu Full, and a bucket list Rim to Rim to Rim run at the Grand Canyon for the big five-o!
Again this year I will be representing TriSports.com. Triathlon super shop! If you need it they have it…Brooks, Newton, Asics, Zoot, Kestrel, QR, Orbea, Zipp, HED, TYR, Speedo, 2XU, Orca, Blueseventy….just to name a few.
If you are looking to save a little of your hard earned dollars send me a message and I will send you a one time use code for 20% off your purchase (see website for exempt items).
Coaching duties will once again be handled by Accelerate3 coaching. If you want to step up to the next level, podium or win the big races Brian is the one to get you there!
See you at the races!

Southern Arizona cycling…a gear guide.

If you enjoy netflix and indoor trainers read no further. If you have more than a few years riding experience read no further. If this is your first winter riding and you live in southern Arizona (or a similar climate) read on.
With winter comes morning temps hovering in the 30s which can climb into the mid 60s-mid 70s by rides end. Not enough clothing can make for a frigid start, too much clothing will leave overheated by rides finish.
So, here is a list of gear to get you through our winter months.
Winter means the sun comes up later and sets earlier. If you ride before or after work safety should be a concern. A good headlight/tail light will increase your visibility and allow you to see and be seen. Cycling lights range from basic lights to “light up a football field bright” with prices ranging from $20 to $400+. Choose one that is appropriate for your needs.
Along with your favorite jersey and bike shorts/bibs…
Arm and knee warmers will keep your arms toasty and then are easily removed and stored in your jersey pocket as the sun warms you up.
A cycling vest will protect you from the chill and wind.
Toe/shoe covers will keep your feet warm. Toe warmers are usually all that is needed however on colder days full covers may be needed
Gloves are a must to keep your fingers from freezing. On milder mornings I use an inexpensive pair of knit “runners” gloves. For colder days a full fingered winter cycling glove is a must. I like my Garneau convertible gloves.
A light to mid weight cycling jacket that is waterproof and breathable is good for colder morning rides or that descent of Mt Lemmon.
A skullcap or thin beanie will keep your head/ears warm. At a minumum a ear band is needed.
And finally a base layer will help to pull moisture away from your body to keep you warmer.
Many of these items can be used to keep you warm during your runs also!
So, get out there and enjoy outdoor riding during our mild winter months!

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