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

swim

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!


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.
Blizzard ride
This was my front yard as I rolled up.
Tucson snow
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!