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

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2015 Tempe International Triathlon race report

May 17, 2015. Race weekend started on Saturday. I drove up to Tempe and picked up my packet. TriSports teammate Scott Perrine was gracious enough to allow me spend the night at his house. Scott prepared a great dinner and then relaxation was the focus of the night. Early to bed for an early morning.

Sunday began at 4am. After getting dressed and preparing my fluids I was off to Tempe Town Lake. I ate a bagel, banana and drank a bottle of Gatorade on the way.

Due to excessive rain on Friday night the probability of the swim was unknown. The city had to conduct a ecoli test, the results of which would be known at 5am…the race was scheduled to start at 6:30 (sprint)/7:00 (olympic). A backup plan (run) had been announced by the race director the previous day in case a swim was not allowed.

After parking in the designated parking garage it was a 1/2 mile walk across the Mill Ave. bridge to the transition area. As I was walking across the bridge I heard the race director announce that the swim was a go!

Transition was located under a bridge in the shade…a nice thing in the heat of Arizona. Race morning was cooler than usual but the shade was still appreciated. I racked my bike on my designated rack and sat up my gear, got body marked and hit the potra pottie before the lines got long. After a bit of socializing, it was time to start pulling on my wetsuit. after which I walked down to the lake and watched the sprint waves start. Waves were started 4 minutes apart. The first wave of the olympic distance race started at 7:00. The young guys started first and I was in the 3rd wave…men 45+. The 1500 meter swim was a single clockwise rectangle. I lined up in the front row on the left side. At the sound of the horn I quickly settled into a solid pace. I had clean water in front of me and was able to immediately get into a full stroke. As I approached the first turn buoy I ran into a large group from the previous wave. I made my way through them without any problems. Swimming down the back side was uneventful until I approached the bridge. The pylons blocked the view of the next turn buoy. I swam very slightly off course but quickly corrected once the buoy came into sight. I made the last turn and headed into the beach. I exited the water in 24:19 the 24th fastest swim overall.

The run to T1 was about 900 ft and up a flight of stairs. I used this time to get my wetsuit down to my waist and removed my cap and goggles. I quickly found my transition area, finished removing my wetsuit, put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line. In and out of T1 in 1:11.

I threw my leg over my bike and headed out on the 40k course. I slipped my shoes on and got up to speed. The course is a 2 lap course, mostly flat with a few small hills, 3 180 turns and about 16 turns per lap. The sun was starting to heat up the course and the wind started to blow. My legs felt good and I pushed through the wind. The bike went well and I passed numerous people. I slipped my shoes off as I approached T2. I jumped off the bike running at the dismount line. I was off the bike in 1:04:49. I averaged 22.9 mph and had the 13th fastest bike overall.

Into T2 I quickly racked my bike, removed my helmet, put on my socks and running shoes, grabbed my hat, glasses, and number belt then hit the run course. In and out of T2 in 1:06.

The 10k run was a 2 loop course around the lake. Flat and fast except for a couple flights of stairs each loop. My legs were feeling good. I went through the first mile in 7:02. I made sure to take water at all the aid stations with the building heat. One cup over the head and one to drink. the second mile came in 6:51. Mile 3 included the stairs and came went by in 7:22. Mile 4 was a 7:03. A 6:58 mile followed and then up the stairs again for a 7:34 6th mile. The last 630 ft of the run was up hill to the finish and I held a 8:04 pace. Total run time 43:51 (7:11 average pace) and 34th fastest run overall.

I crossed the line in 2:15:14, 18th overall (including 5 pros) and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup and a new olympic distance PR.

Next up is the Deuces Wild olympic distance triathlon in 2 weeks.


2015 TriZona at Sahuarita race report

May 2, 2015. After an early morning wake up I made the 45 minute drive south to Sahuarita. The manmade lake at Rancho Sahuarita was the location for the return of triathlon in Sahuarita. Haka Multisport put together a great Olympic distance race course. 1500 meter swim (measured a little short on my Garmin just over 1300) in Sahuarita lake, a one loop 40k bike that included some hills to break things up, and flat and fast 10k run. Race morning water temps were about 70 degrees and wetsuit legal, and over cast skies kept the morning temps nice. However the winds decided they wanted to stir things up a bit.

After the performance of a Haka (click here if you don’t know what a Haka is) is was race time.

I started in the 3rd wave which contained all men 45+. In the comfort of my BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit I entered the water and swam to the start line. The swim was one counter clockwise loop of the lake that hugged the contours of the shoreline. I lined up in the front row left side. At the sound of the horn I swam a straight line for the first buoy. as I rounded the first buoy I saw that I was leading the pack…a first for me. I settled into a hard but comfortable pace and continued to open the gap. I swam the straightest line possible through the buoys. I soon began catching stragglers from the second wave and by the time I reached the turn at the far end of the lake I began to swim through a large group of second wave athletes and 1st wave stragglers. I found a clean line through them and again had open water in front of me. Out of the water I took a look back and saw no one near. Swim time 20:22…fastest in my agegroup (50-54) and 6th fastest overall.

The run from the water was about 450 ft. and uphill. I pulled my wetsuit down to my waste and removed my cap and goggles during the run to T1. I got quickly out of my wetsuit and put my helmet on. Un-racked my bike and was out of T1 in 1:26.

At the mount line I jumped on my bike and got up to speed. I slipped on my shoes and began the slight climb that starts the bike. After the hill the road flattens out and the winds took over. I felt great on the bike and was passing people throughout the ride. At about the 6 mile mark the course turns and begins a long steady climb for about 4 miles and is followed by a few more miles of uphill rollers. The last 3-4 miles is a fast decent back to T2. Total climbing on the course was just over 1000 ft. Bike time 1:08:53…fastest in my agegroup and 3rd fastest overall.

After slipping out of my shoes on the bike, I jumped off my bike at the dismount line and ran into T2. Racked my bike, took of my helmet and then slipped into my running shoes. I grabbed my hat, glasses, and number belt and hit the run course. In and out of T2 in :50.

A slight hill took us up to the “adventure trail” which looped around the Rancho Sahuarita community. A mostly flat and fast loop followed by a loop around the lake. I felt good for the first 4 miles. Through mile 1 in 7:16, mile 2 in 7:13, mile 3 in 7:24 and mile 4 in 7:36. I then started to feel the lack of run fitness from lack of miles from my injured knee. Mile 5 slowed to an 8:01  then i decided to bear down and push through the final mile in 7:38 and the last .2 miles at 7:27 pace. Run time 45:46…fastest in my agegroup and 6th fastest overall.

Total time 2:17:18….1st in agegroup (by 19 minutes) and 3rd overall. I missed 2nd by 8 seconds. Unfortunately he started in the 1st wave so I had no idea how close I was to him.

This is a great race to put on your calendar for next year and the race director has even more in store for next year! Check it out.


First race of the season…2015 Life Time Tri Marquee

First race of the season is in the books. 2015 Life Time Tri Marquee in Tempe, Az. on Apr.12 was my  first olympic distance race in over 15 years. Leading into the race I have been dealing with a knee issue. My running has been cut from my usual 40+ miles per week to a painful 8-10. Run fitness was pretty much non existent. That said the plan going in was to have a solid swim, ride hard and hobble home.

Race morning alarm went off at 3:00. After a quick breakfast I met up with my coach, Brian Stover of Accelerate3. Brian was my ride for the day to Tempe. We had made arrangements with the race director to pick up our race packets on race morning. We arrived at Tempe Town Lake at 5:30, giving us 15 minutes to get our packets. After getting our packets I found my assigned rack spot and went about setting up my gear. For some reason the guy racked next to me decided to set  up his gear on the back side of his bike…not leaving me much room. I kindly suggested that there would be more room for everyone if he would set up on the proper side. The suggestion fell on deaf ears. So I set up in what space I had. With about 25 minutes until the first wave started, I made my way down near the lake and put my new BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit on. They then lined up the waves. I was in the 5th wave, mens 50+. There was 4 minutes between waves so my wave was set to go off at 6:50. After the singing of the National Anthem by friend and fellow 50-54 agegroup athlete Dan Cadriel, The pro athletes were off. 3 more waves and then it was our turn. As soon as the 4th wave was off we were allowed to jump into the water. I was among the first in and swam to the start line. The buoy line curved slightly to the right so I lined up in the front row on  the far  right side. The plan was to swim a straight line to the turn buoy. The horn sounded and off I went. From the start I had clear water. Most everyone else was hugging the buoy line. My plan worked well. My sighting was on and I felt good. The 69 degree water temps were perfect and the new wetsuit was working great. About 300 meters into the swim I started catching some of the green caps that started in the wave before me. As I got to the turn buoy I caught a large group of green caps but was able to navigate my way through them fairly smoothly with minimal contact. On the back stretch of the swim i swam the buoy line. I passed numerous other competitors from the earlier waves. I made the final turn and headed in to the exit stairs. The volunteers assisted me to my feet and the strippers did their job efficiently, quickly removing my wetsuit.

1500 meter swim time…25:43 (5th in my agegroup/78th overall), right about what I figured it would be.

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I made the run to the far end of transition and quickly found my bike spot (thank you person that marked the rack with a fluorescent green cloth strips). Dropped off my goggle, cap and wetsuit, put on mt helmet, grabbed my bike and ran for the mount line. T1 time…1:20 (5th in agegroup/75th overall)

Once on the bike I quickly got up  to speed and got my feet into my shoes. The course is a 2 loop flat, fast course with wide fast turns and a few 180 degree turn arounds each loop. Throughout the bike my legs felt good. the first loop went smooth. By the second loop the the sprint and slower competitors had made their way onto the course. I had to keep my head up looking out for traffic throughout the loop. Riders were all over the road, riding on the right, not holding lines through the turns and making conditions dangerous. On several occasions I had to slow my pace so that I could safely pass. But I made my way safely. As I made my way towards T2, I slipped my feet out of my shoes. I made the last turn and stepped off my bike at the dismount line running.

40k Bike time…1:03:48 (4th in agegroup/35th overall).

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Racked my bike, removed my helmet, put on my run shoes, and then as I ran out of T2 I put on my hat and glasses and sucked down a gel.

T2 time…1:17 (5th in agegroup/90th overall)

As expected, right from the start my knee began to hurt. The concrete run course was no help. However, once I got warmed up my knee bothered me less. The course was 2 loops around the lake. The sun was getting warmer and I made sure to hydrate well at every aid station. The first loop I was able to maintain around 7:30 pace. I was passing some of the slower people, but as expected the fast runners began to go by me. By mile 4 my knee began to hurt more and my lack of run fitness began to catch up with me as my pace slowed. With about half a mile to go my knee got very painful and I limped my way to the finish line.

10k Run time…51:49 (18th in agegroup/174th overall). I was hoping to go :50 or under…but I found out the course was a little long so I was right at my goal.

I crossed the line in 2:23:55, only about a minute off my best time 15+ years ago as a much younger person. I was 7th in the 50-54 agegroup and 71st overall (out of 550).

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After the race my knee was quite sore. Ibuprofen and ice helped alleviate the pain.

Next up is TriZona Sahuarita, Tempe International and Deuces Wild all in May. That will be followed by no running to allow the knee to properly heal. Then hopefully I will be able to squeeze in a few late season races.


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


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!


Racing, injuries and championships…2013 Tinfoilman Triathlon

My lead up to the 2013 Tinfoilman Triathlon, the 3rd and final race in the Tucson Triathlon series, was less than ideal. A foot injury had limited my running to deep water running for the previous 6 weeks…zero running on tera firma!
Race morning the alarm awoke me at 0400. After a quick breakfast of waffles I tossed my pre packed race gear in the Vehicross and made the 30 minute drive to the University of Arizonas Hildibrand pool. I racked my bike and set up my gear on a prime realestate end spot in the transition area. I now had plenty of time to hang out, catch up with friends, wait in line for the bathroom and sit back and relax. I would be the 184th person to start…1 hour 48 minutes after the first starter.
The race consists of a 750 meter swim…time trial starts swam in a serpintine fashion, a 3 loop 12 mile bike and a 2 loop 3 mile run through the U of A campus.
As start time approached I jumped in to the warm up pool for a good warm up. There would be no pre race run warm up since the foot was going to be iffy to get through the race.
With the command of the starter I was off. I quickly settled into a solid pace and clicked off the 7 and a half laps. I felt great throughout the swim. I exited the water in 12:57, 22nd fastest swim on the day.
As I started running to the transition area my foot immediately began to hurt. The familiar sharp pain in the heel.
T1 was fast and smooth. Goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike and run to the mount line. I threw my leg over the bike and quickly headed out on to the bike course.
I slipped my feet into my shoes and got up to speed. Each loop is slightly uphill for half and slightly downhill the other half, one pothole infested stretch and on this morning windy. The first time up the rough section my water bottle was jetisoned…no fluids on the bike today. My legs felt great. I was able to power through the uphill sections and fly on the downhills. I weaved my way through slower traffic and on the final lap the course had opened up a bit. As I neared T2 I slipped my feet out of my shoes and prepared to dismount. I rolled into T2, jumped off my bike at the dismount line and painfully ran to my transition spot. Helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed the rest of my gear and began my run.
T1, bike, T2 combined time 30:40, 4th fastest on the day.
As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, number belt and hat. My foot was in pain but I tried to focus on running as fast as I could and manage the pain. I was moving through the field, passing people who had sterted before me, but had no idea how I was doing compared to the front runners. I pressed on maintaining as fast a pace as the pain allowed and crossed the line with the 9th fastest run on the day…20:53.
Total race time 1:04:32. Far from my fastest but good enough for 6th overall and 2nd in my agegroup.
My time allowed me to hang on to the overall series lead and take home the Tucson Triathlon Series overall championship.
Thanks Accelerate3 for the coaching to make me go fast and TriSports.com for the gear to make me go fast!


Hot and humid day at the Firecracker

Sunday July 7 2013 0330…alarm clock awakes me. That could only mean one thing. It’s race day! The 2013 Firecracker Triathlon. A 750 meter (long course) serpentine swim in the Hildebrand pool, a 3 loop 12 mile bike and a 2 lap 3 mile run through the UofA campus.
After a quick breakfast, car was loaded and I made my way across town to the UofA campus. After arriving I racked my bike, set up my gear and got body marked…#300.
Up next was a bit of volunteering. The youth triathlon was first and I was a bike course marshal. Along with keeping an eye on the kids (bike course is on city streets around the university), it was an opprotunity to check the course for debris and new pot holes. Some of these kids are fast and a few had equipment that rivals the adults.
Next up was a short warm-up run followed by a solid swim warm-up.
0736 and it was my start time. “Ready, GO”! And I was off.
I quickly settled into my pace and was feeling good. As I exited the water, a quick glimpse of my watch showed I had swam a bit slower than usual and definitely slower than I felt I should have been able to do. 12:55…24th male overall out of the water.
T1 went smooth and fast. Ran the short distance from the pool to T1, goggles of, helmet on and run to the mount line. I threw my leg over the bike and missed my pedal. This caused me to swerve a little directly into a cone. Stayed rubber side down and got on my way. Not the smoothest mount but it could have been worse. Once up to pace I slipped into my shoes.
I quickly started catching people who had started before me. I was rolling fast. There was a light cloud cover and the winds were pretty calm…however the Arizona monsoon humidity was a factor. I maintained the same pace for all three laps. My legs felt great. As I was coming to the end of my last lap I slipped my feet out of my shoes in preparation for T2. My computer showed 28:47.
As I hit the dismount line I threw my leg over the bike and hit the ground running. Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on, run! Sunglasses, hat and number belt on on the run!
T1-bike-T2 30:24…5th fastest male.
On the run my legs felt good. I quickly got into a solid pace. I didn’t know what place I was in so I wanted to just go as hard as I could the whole way. The clouds had started breaking up, the sun was heating up and the humidity was high. The sweat was pouring off of me, but I maintained my pace. I crossed the line with nothing left. 19:19…10th fastest male.
I biked and ran my way up to 8th overall and 2nd 45-49 agegroup missing the AG win by 38 seconds.
I now stand in 2nd overall/1st 45-49 agegroup after 2 of 3 races in the Tucson Triathlon series.


Fun on the fort…2013 Steelhead Triathlon

After a 19 hour training week, including a hot, windy and hilly 4 hour ride on Friday, I was up early Saturday (6-22-2013) to make the drive to Sierra Vista, Arizona under the light of the supermoon. It was time for the 19th edition of the Ft. Huachuca Steelhead triathlon, consisting of an 800 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 5k run. I was greeted by a glorious sunrise as I rolled up to the bases front gate. A quick check in with the gate guard and then I was off to Irwin pool. I arrived with just enough time to pick up my packet, get body marked, set up my gear and get in a short run and swim warmup. Sporting #17 I was in the first wave. During my warmup I discovered one small annoyance. In my assigned swim lane, at the far end, was a climbing wall. The wall protruded into the water and extended about 2/3 of the way across my lane. When doing my flip turns, one foot would land on the climbing wall the other would barely hit the pool wall. Just something I will have to deal with! After the national anthem, we were back in the pool and ready for our 0630 start time. At the sound of the horn we were off. By the 4th lap of the swim my lane mate started to drop back a bit allowing me to move over at the climbing wall end of the pool just enough to get both feet on the wall during my turns. I was swimming strong and felt good. I watched as the girl in the next lane swam effortlessly while lapping me twice. I hate fast swimmers! I exited the pool in 10th place and hit the lap button on my Garmin…unfortunately, later I found that I had actually hit the stop button so no splits for the day. The run to T1 was about 200 meters. T1 went smooth…goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike, run to mount line. I got up to speed and then put my bike shoes on. The course starts off with a half mile slightly downhill to a sharp turn, then rolling hills for about 3 miles followed by a gradual 2.5 mile climb to the turn around. For the first 4 miles my legs felt like they were going to explode. The headwind out didn’t help. I was hurting but powered on passing 6 people by the time I hit the turn around. I held my position, gaining slightly on the top 3 guys, back to T2. As I approached T2 I saw the top 2 guys running down the road followed shortly after by the 3rd place guy. They had about 2 minutes on me. As I approached the dismount line I slipped out of my shoes and hit the ground running. Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on and then hit the run. Hat, glasses and number belt on on the go. The run is an out and back that starts with a slight downhill for half a mile and then flattens out to the turn around. By this time the sun had started heating things up. My leg turnover was good. I got into my stride quickly. A quarter mile into the run I was passed. I started to try to match his pace but realized quickly that that would not have been a good thing. I dropped back to my pace and watched him slowly pull ahead. At the turn around I saw the top 2 guys running strong together about 1:30 up on me. I saw 3rd and 4th had about 20 seconds on me. As I started the last half mile up the hill I could see the 4th place guy up ahead. I focused on my run form and turnover and closed the gap. By the top of the hill I had caught the 4th place guy, but as I looked at his calf, found he was part of a relay team. I then ran strong to the finish to make sure I didn’t get re-passed. I crossed the line in 1:04:58…a course PR, 2 minutes off the winning time. 1st place was Luis Morales (1:02:42), a member of the Mexican National team, 2nd was Brian Grasky (1:03:01) and 3rd was Brandon Nichols (1:03:52).
I was extremely happy with my race. In the past I have won this race with a 1:07 time. I was well under that time on a course that is now longer…the run was always about 800 meters short in the past. This year the course was changed to make the run a true 5k.

40-49 agegroup podium

40-49 agegroup podium


Deuceman ’13….Swim, Bike, Cramp, Bonk

Friday May 31 I packed my race and camping gear into the truck and made the drive to Show Low, Arizona along with my support crew (wife and dog). From 2600ft to 6400ft elevation. After arriving, I set up camp at Fool Hollow lake under the pines.

Race headquarters

Race headquarters


After a little relaxing I rode my bike down to the race venue (about 3/4 mile from camp) and picked up my race packet. After riding back to camp I enjoyed a pasta dinner with a view.
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Final prep on my gear and then a little more relaxing as the sun set over the lake.
Fool Hollow sunset

Fool Hollow sunset


Early to sleep, early to rise. Alarm woke me at 5. A quick breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel. I then grabbed my TriSports.com TYR gear bag and rode down to the transition area.
I racked my bike and set up my gear in my assigned spot. Body marked #345. After a little socializing it was time to squeeze into the wetsuit and head down to the boat ramp for the race start. On the way down I slurped down a gel. I had been told the day before that water tempature was a brisk 57 degrees. As I entered the water to warm up I was expecting the cold shock on my face. It never came. water felt like it was at least mid 60’s…perfect for a wetsuit swim. I did a short warmup and then found my spot on the start line. At 7am the start horn sounded and we were off for a 1.2 mile 2 lap triangle shaped swim. I quickly got into my pace and felt good during the swim. I swam straight along the buey line. The 2 loop swim made the swim seem to go by quicker. I had clean water for nearly the entire swim. You definately have to pace yourself at 6400 feet elevation. I hit land in 32:35. A solid time for me. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they yanked my wetsuit off in one swift yank. Then it was a run up the boat ramp into the transition. The run up the ramp is an anarobic venture! In and out of transition in 0:44…goggles,wetwuit and cap on the ground, helmet on, go. I ran to the mount line and threw my leg over the bike. The mount area is uphill! It took 2 attempts to get going with enough momentom to get my other foot on the shoe. Once under way I slipped my feet into my shoes and then got up to speed. The course is a single lap of 56 miles (my garmin shows it a bit over 57). The first 40 miles are big rollers and gusting side winds. I was feeling good and picking off some of the speedy swimmers. At mile 40 you turn into the town of Taylor and begin a 10 mile climb back to Show Low. The wind became tail wind and the sun began to heat up. The tail wind created a vacuum affect and made the heat feel even hotter. I was still feeling good and picked off a few more people. After getting back into town there are a few more rollers and then a nice downhill the final couple miles. As I approached the transition I slipped out of my bike shoes. I hit the ground running at the dismount line after a 2:35:10 split. During the bike I consumed a large bottle of gatorade, a bottle of water and my consentrated mix of Carbo-Pro. I racked my bike, helmet off, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and was out of transition in 1:15. I finished getting “dressed” on the go. The 13.1 mile 2 loop run is slightly rolling with a combination of groomed trail, cement road and dirt road. The first 1.5 miles of trail running I felt fairly good. As I exited the trail onto the cement in the campground a nasty little hill brought out the cramping in my legs. I backed off the pace to try and get the cramps under control. At the top of the hill I stopped and took a few seconds to try to strech out the legs. This relieved the craamps for a short period but then they returned. I took in water and gatorade at the aid stations and downed salt tablets. As I hit the out and back section, lovingly refered to as the “death road” due to its lack of shade, my pace was slow but I was still moving forward. After the death road you return along the lake, climb one more hill and then do it all over again. As I started out on the second loop my energy levels were low. In my focus on getting rid of my cramps I had neglected to take in any fuel other than the gatorade. As I hit the first hill aafter the trail I was slowed to a near walk. I took in a gel at the next aid station and continued to get liquids in me. The next aid station I took in another gel. Just as my energy levels started to return the fluids in my stomach began to slosh around…not a good feeling. I struggled through the second trip through the death road. The sun was much more intense this time. As I returned to the campground/lake area I just wanted to get to the finish line.
Suffering

Suffering


I had lost quiet a few places as i was being passed during my meltdown. Full on damage control. 1:58:23 and my “run” was over. I crossed the line in 5:08:44. I had held on for 14th overall and 3rd in my agegroup. It wasn’t my best day out there but I hung on to finish. A nice dip in the lake afterwards was refreshing although a bit chilling without a wetsuit.
45-49 podium

45-49 podium


On Sunday I backed up my race with volunteering at the Xterra race. On sore legs I spent the morning body marking and then kept everyone on the correct path on the run.


Intensity 11

After a winter of base training and a solid first race, last week was the first of “real” intensity in the training schedule. Coach Brian Stover dialed the intensity level up to 11! Interval workouts, track, V02 and tempo are the terms appearing on the schedule. First week completed…legs thrashed!


First run with Brooks PureDrift was a race.

I picked up a pair of the new Brooks PureDrifts from TriSports.com to use as my race day shoes for this season. I chose these since I train in the Brooks pureGrits and the Pure line up of shoes all have the same 4mm hill offset (with the insert removed the Drifts have 0 offset)so this would make for a smooth transition from one shoe to the other.
The Drift is a neutral shoe and as with all the Pure line are designed for a mid/fore foot strike. The Drifts are not a fly weight shoe, but at 5.6oz. they are a great light shoe for longer distance races. The soles have two grooves that allow for toe flex. The cushioning is firm and allows for good feel of the surface. The lacing uses 6 loops and your choice of 2 sets of holes at the top.
My first test of the Drift was the Tucson Triathlon. The run was 5k. I used stretch laces but in trying the shoes on prior to the race found that with the laces tied in a comfortable tightness the shoes were hard to put on in a fast manner So I added lace locks. The stretch lace/lace lock combo combined with the Drifts one piece wrap around tongue made for a fast transition from bike to run. The shoe has lots of room in the toe box and the heel cup cradled my heel nicely. I ran the race sockless and had no issues with friction, blisters or hotspots. My foot stayed planted in the shoe. The upper material breaths well and molds nicely around the foot.
If you are a user of the Pure line up of shoes this is a great choice for a race shoe.
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2013 Tucson Triathlon. Great start to the season.

Today I started my 2013 race season off with the Tucson Triathlon. Usually by this time of year I have a A distinctive sound of a tire popping was heard. I helped TriSports.com CEO Seton, who was spectating, replace the tube of this unknown competitor so that their race would not be over before it started.
Time had finally come to warm up. I had a brand new pair of race shoes and what better way to break them in than a little warm up run. Yea, yea, I know! No new equipment on race day. My Brooks Pure Drifts felt great during my warm up…light, great fit and comfortable. After my short run I got in the pool for 15 minutes of swim warm up.
It was now about 9:30 and time to rock! The final wave contains all the fastest men in the race. The horn sounded and we were off. 825 yard, 33 lengths or 16 laps. I swam steady and felt good. I was out of the water in 12:08, about normal for me. My time put me 44th overall out of the water.
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Transition was fast, 45 seconds. Goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike and run to mount line. An efficient “flying” mount and I was on my way.
The bike is a 3 loop course covering 12 miles. Slightly uphill on two sides and slightly downhill on the other two with one really rough section that is in severe need of a repave (are you listening city of Tucson). The temperature was starting to rise and a bit of a wind had started to kick up. After slipping my feet into my shoes I quickly got up to speed and began to pick off the speedy fish in front of me. My legs felt good as I powered through the course in 29:00 averaging 23mph. The first two laps had a lot of traffic from the earlier waves, by the third lap the traffic had thinned out. I avoided what could have been an ugly collision when a pedestrian stepped off the curb into our path, oblivious to her surroundings, despite the police officer yelling at her to stop! As I approached the final turn into the transition area I slipped my shoes off in preparation. As I hit the dismount line I swung my leg over the bike and hit the ground running.
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T2…rack bike, helmet off, running shoes on…20 seconds. Onto the run course with number belt, hat and sunglasses in hand. I finished “getting dressed” on the run.
The 5k run consisted of an out section, two loops of the UofA mall and then back to the finish. The course is flat and fast! I was feeling great and my new shoes were feeling awesome! My form and leg turnover felt great from the very first step. I continued to pick people off not knowing were I was in the placings. Lots of traffic, passing people from my wave and the previous waves. I hit mile 1 in 6:14, dropped to a 6:12 for the 2nd mile and then a 6:10 for the 3rd mile. As I took the final turn to the finishing straight I had one of the young, fast fish (a member of the Canadian Junior National team) that started in my wave in my sites. I kicked into a 5:47 pace for the final 10th of a mile and made the pass before crossing the finish line. Run time 19:10!
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My overall time…1:01:23, once again narrowly missing the magical 1 hour mark.
Good enough for 7th place overall and 1st place in my age group (thanks to Cam Hill being fast enough to finish in the top 3 overall).
Now it’s time to work on a little speed for the rest of the season. I am sure the coach already has that all worked out for me!
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Getting older does not mean easier

The official 2012 USAT rankings have finally been tallied. For all you young speedsters out there, moving up the age groups does not mean things get any easier. The 45-49 age group is one tough cookie. In 2012 I placed no lower than 7th OVERALL in any triathlon I completed. What does that net you in the 45-49 rankings? 260th place and an “Honorable Mention” designation.
Fortunately I showed a little stronger in Duathlon, ranking 6th and “All American” status.
One more season (’13) then I get to play in the 50-55 ranks!


Tucson training at it’s best and worst…the tale of two days.

When you think of winter training in Tucson images of riding, running and swimming under clear sunshine filled skies come to mind.
Sunday I enjoyed a great long ride. Sunny skies and temps nearing 80. Although the 20-30mph wind kept things interesting.
Sunny days
Monday brought more sunshine for another great ride through the giant Saguro’s. Temps in the mid 70’s
Today woke to cloudy sky’s. Weather alerts were calling for blizzard conditions at high elevations. Figured I would try and squeeze in a ride before the rain started but I took my rain jacket just in case. Mid way through my ride the light cold drizzle began to come down a little harder. My trusty rain jacket was dawned and doing it’s job keeping me dry. A big headwind on the way out became a huge tailwind going home. About 4 miles from home the wind picked up even more, from 20-25mph to 30-45mph, the temp dropped quickly and in a matter of minutes the rain became slush and then full-on snow. Conditions quickly became near whiteout. It was cold! Fortuneately 15 minutes later I rolled into my driveway.
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This was my front yard as I rolled up.
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I had survived the Great Tucson Blizzard of 2013!


Full steam ahead

Just a few thoughts and updates…
My 2013 season schedule is shaping up to include the following races:
The Tucson Triathlon series
USAT Duathlon National Championships
Deuceman triathlon
HITS Havasu Full Triathlon
and possibly a few more to be determined as the season goes on.

The weather has been great here in Tucson for training (with the exception of a few cold winter storms that blew through). I have been putting down 18-19 hour weeks and still building.

I am again very happy to be sponsored by TriSports.com and powered by Brian Stover at Accelerate3 coaching.
Get your gear at the best tri shop and save 15% by using code “BOLIVER”. If you want to become the fastest you can be, be sure to shoot Brian a message.


Dropping temps….the show must go on

Most people come to the “Winter Training Capital”, Tucson, to get away from the cold. This week probably threw a curve in a few of those peoples plans. Temps plummeted, with lows in the teens and highs struggling to reach 40. A rare accurance in the desert for sure. But the training must go on. A few extra layers of clothing, arm warmers, knee warmers and the luxurey of late starts helped to combat mother nature. Thankfully mother nature is returning us to normal…70’s by the end of the week!


Laying down the foundation

With the last race of the season in the rearview mirror, it’s the time of year to start laying down the foundation for the 2013 season. After a few weeks away from swimming, biking and running followed by a few weeks of unstructured workouts the mind and body are ready to reload for a great 2013. As of now the schedule will include the Tucson Triathlon series, Duathlon National Championships, the Deuceman Triathlon (1/2 Ironman distance) along with a few other races I enjoy. I am very happy to continue my association with Accelerate3 (coaching at the highest level) and TriSports.com (THE place to shop for your swim, bike and run needs).

The wheels are again rolling. Increasing duration and frequency weekly, by the new year it will be full steam ahead!


Going out in flames…SOMA race report

Sunday October 21 2012 Tempe Arizona 1.2 mile swim 56 mile bike 13.1 mile run…the SOMA triathlon.

Soma was to be my season finale and was one of my “A” races. Training leading into the race had went well. I was feeling good.

With all my gear packed I drove up to Tempe on Saturday afternoon. On the way up I swung by to pick my host for the weekend John, who along with his wife were kind enough to allow me to stay with them, and then headed to Tempe Town Lake for packet pick-up, the expo and the official grand opening of TriSports.com’s Tempe store. After finding a parking spot I, packet pick-up was a quick affair. No lines…in and  out. I then checked my bike in and placed it in my assigned spot on the racks. I scoped out the entrances and exits for the transition area to familiarize myself with the flow of traffic for race morning.  John and I then browsed the row of vendors at the expo. Timing chip pick-up was a short walk across the street at TriSports Tempe. I got my chip, said hello to TriSports CEO’s Seton and Debbie and got my first in-person look at the new shop. Was honored to see a rather large image of me gracing the shop window! For the grand opening TriSports had brought in some of their vendors to show off some of the new goods we will be seeing soon in the shop. Zipp was there with their new Super 9 clincher disc…the first public viewing outside of the trade shows (eurobike, interbike). Very nice wheel. Bucks the new standard…is completely flat from hub to tire mounting surface. No bumps, or bulges but it retains the dimples. Also on display was the new BH Aero TT/Tri bike. Very clean lines reminiscent of the newest super bikes. The big difference is the amount of adjustability (at the expense of a slightly “dirtier” front end…cable routing). A reversible stem, use of aftermarket stems and a seat post that is adjustable from 74-80 degree seat tube angle give lots of options.

During the expo the temperatures were very warm…it was going to be a hot race day!

After the expo it was back to Johns house where he whipped up a great dinner. A little T.V. and then it was time to get some sleep for my early morning wake up.

After a solid night of sleep I awoke at 3:50…10 minutes before my alarm. Breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel was washed down with a bottle of water. I then loaded up and drove to Tempe Town Lake. I arrived there at about 5:30…plenty of time to set up my gear, relax and prepare for the upcoming chaos. With all gear set up, and a last visit to the porta potties it was relax time. I found a spot near the water entrance were I sat and met Alan, a 65 year old competitor. We chatted until it was time to line up. I put my wetsuit on and found a spot near the front of my wave group. I was in wave 5 which included all male competitors from 45-55 years of age. The waves started in 4 minute intervals. Reported water temp was 73.4…wetsuit legal.  After watching the first waves go, it was finally time for my wave to hit the water. I jumped in amongst the first few people to allow for a short warm-up. I was able to get in a little over 5 minutes of warm-up and then found my way to the middle of the front row for the start. The waves were fairly small…in the 200 people range. I felt good and was relaxed.

The horn sounded and we were off. I quickly found clean water and found my stroke rhythm. The swim is a rectangle shaped course. About 500 meters into the swim I was at the front of the second pack. I then started catching people from the 4th wave. At the turn buoys I made my way through the traffic with little contact. I then started catching people from the 3rd wave on the return trip. I was feeling good. I made my way back under the Mill Ave. bridge and had the swim finish in site. I made the final turn and found my way through the congestion to the exit steps. As soon as I stood up on the steps my left calve cramped immediately…ouch! Not a good sign. I removed my wetsuit with the help of the “strippers” and ran in to transition.

A quick glance at my watch showed a 33:xx minute swim.

T1…helmet on, grab bike and run out to the mount line.

Flying mount and the bike had begun. I slipped into my bike shoes and quickly got up to speed. The course is mostly flat, 3 loops with 20+ turns on each loop. I was quickly moving through the field. Mid way through the first loop I started getting cramps in my vastus medialis just above my knee began to cramp. If I got out of the saddle…cramps, if I tried to apply more power…cramps! The remaining 2 1/2 laps I just tried to maintain an even effort in hopes the cramps would subside. Fluid intake was good, I took in all my carbs and plenty of electrolytes…the cramps continued. The air temp was still fairly cool and the heat didn’t start to build until late in the bike. I continued to make my way through traffic while only getting passed by a few on the bike. As I approached T2 I slipped out of my shoes and made my way to the dismount line. I threw my leg over the bike and jumped off running. I could feel the cramps in my legs and knew it was going to take a major effort to get through the run. I racked my bike, helmet off, run shoes on. I took a few moments to Stretch and massage my legs a little to help alleviate the cramps. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and put them on as I ran out of T2.

Bike time according to my bike computer was 2:38.

Within the first 1/2 mile my legs were already hating me. Run, cramp, walk…repeat. The temps now were nearing 90. At the aid stations I was taking in fluids in the form of water, Perform and coke. In addition I was taking in 2 salt tablets at each station in hopes that my cramping would go away. I continued this trudge through mile 5. That is when the wheels began to completely fall off. The cramping got even worse. A short time later I began to get nausea, then dizziness started to set in. As I approached the 6 mile mark I began to walk…staggering like a drunk person. A volunteer soon asked if I was alright…I was not. The volunteer called for medical and assisted me through the barriers to a tent. I sat down and my legs cramped severely and my breathing became labored. The volunteers gave me water, Perform and a coke. The EMT’s arrived quickly. Blood sugar was normal, paulse o2 was good but my blood pressure was very low. The EMT’s  continued to monitor me for about an hour. My bp slowly began to rebound. They asked me to stand…insant severe leg cramps and my bp dropped again. I was then given a ride to the medical tent for observation. While there I consumed chicken broth (salt), Perform and water. After another hour I finally felt good enough to make my way out of the tent on my own. I found the after race food and got a plate. I saw Alan, from the morning sitting by himself and joined him. he had a great race finishing 2nd in his agegroup. Afterwards I packed up my gear in transition and made my way to my car, loaded up and made the drive back home.

A DNF is not what I had envisioned for my end of season. Only the 2nd DNF in my 20+ years of racing. I will live to race another day. Now it is time to recover from the season and then plan out the next race season…it is now officially the off-season!