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

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2015 Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival

It has been 3 weeks since the 2015 Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival took place in the thin air, cool temps (it was 20-25 degrees cooler than the 105 in Tucson) and pine trees of Show Low, Arizona which sits at 6500 feet elevation. I planned to write this race report long ago but got busy with training which included logging 960 miles on my bike over the 3 weeks after the race. I have also been taking time off from running to allow the complete healing of the tendonitis in my knee that I have been battling with this season. So here it is, my race report.

First off it was fantastic news that the race was back under the direction  of TriSports Racing. The last two years had seen a drastic decline in the quality of the race. But with the race back to its old ownership I had great expectations that the race would be back to its old high standards. TriSports Racing and new race director Carolyn Audilet did not disappoint.

The festival includes 3 races over the weekend. On Saturday the schedule included the Dueceman 1/2 ironman distance and the Dueces Wild olympic distance races. And those are followed up on Sunday by th Dueces Wild xterra race. Initially I had signed  up for the 1/2 but with the lack of running i was able to do leading into the race I switched to the olympic. The change of races was an easy affair with a simple email to the race organizers.

My weekend started on Friday. I made the 4 hour drive from Tucson to Show Low. Upon arriving I checked in to my pre-reserved campsite and set up camp. One of the thing I love about this race is camping at the lake (hotels are also available close by). The Fools Hollow Lake campground is a very nice camp area on the lake and only about 1 mile from the start/finish area. After camp setup I went down to the race venue and picked up my race packet. The local high school kids cooked up a convenient pasta dinner at the venue. I then returned to my camp and relaxed the rest of the evening before crawling into my sleeping bag for an early night.

Saturday morning I awoke 15 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. No problem, a little extra time to eat and prep. After a bagel and banana for breakfast, I got dressed and visited the campground restroom. I then jumped on my bike and made the mile downhill ride to the race venue. I set up my transition area, picked up my timing chip and got body marked by the great volunteers. I then had lots of time to relax, talk to old and new friends and then watch the start of the 1/2 ironman race. As my start time grew near I downed an energy gel and then got in to my wetsuit. With about 20 minutes left before my start I got into the 64 degree water for a little warm up. The national anthem and a few last minute race instructions were given and then it was go time. The 1500 meter swim starts and finishes in a small cove and is a counter clockwise single loop. I lined up in the front row on the far left side. This made for a fairly straight line swim out of the cove and to the first buoy. The horn sounded and we were off. My line had a little bit of a crowd but I managed to avoid most contact and was able to quickly get into my stride. My strategy worked well and put me in a good position going to the first turn. My lungs were feeling the altitude. I made the first turn, settled in and was feeling good. I stayed on course down the long back stretch and  made the next turn. I was able to jump on the feet of a couple of guys on the way back in until I noticed they were taking a less direct line. I corrected my line and although they were faster swimmers I exited the water just behind them. I ran up the boat ramp, bypassing the wetsuit strippers, into T1.

Swim time 26:30 (aprox…did not get an official split)

In T1 i quickly removed my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap. I put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line.

T1 was just over 1 minute (again, no official split)

Once on my bike i slipped my shoes on and quickly got up to speed. The 40k bike route is a single loop consisting of rolling hills and a 2-3 mile climb back into town before entering back into the lake area. My legs felt strong during the ride dispite the altitude. The temperature began to climb into the low 80s by the end of the bike. I made up a few places on the bike. I got out of my shoes as I approached the bike finish. At the dismount line I hit the ground running. I had to double back quickly when one of my shoes decided to pop off my pedal.

Bike time 1:02:15 (official). The 6th fastest bike split of the day.

Entering T2 I found my spot, racked my bike, took off the helmet, put on my socks and shoes, grabbed everything else and hit the run course.

T2 time1:55 (official)

Once on the run I put on my hat, sunglasses and race belt/number. The 10k run is a “C” shaped single loop with an out and back section in the middle. The run takes you on a dirt path along the lake and through the campgrounds with a few hills along the way. I started off with 7:08 mile, mile 2 I settled into a 7:37 pace then dropped 7:29 3rd mile. A slightly uphill 7:39 4th mile was followed up with a 6:56 slightly downhill 5th mile. The 6th mile throws a nice little hill at you just before the finish area. I went through the 6th mile in 7:36. And then kicked it up a bit for the finish.

Run time 44:12

I crossed the finish line in 2:15:26. 7th overall (6th amateur) and 1st in the 50-54 agegroup. At the finish line finishers were greeted by volunteers with popsicles! Plenty of other post race food was also available. After a little time cooling down, including a dip in the lake and packing up my gear in transition I ventured over to get my post race meal that was included with the race. A teriyaki chicken rice bowl that hit the spot.

The awards were held at the race site and included a raffle that benefits local charities. My luck was good as I won a cycling video and a Torhans aero drink system. Th award were nice and doubled as a holder for the finishers medal.

After returning to camp and cleaning up I had the pleasure of enjoying a nice mexican food dinner with the race crew and my sponsors from TriSports.com.

After a good nights sleep in my tent I awoke early on Sunday. I ate breakfast and packed up my camp. I again headed down to the race venue (by car this time) for my turn on the other side, working the bike aid station for the xterra triathlon. Had lots of fun cheering on the off road athletes and helping to keep them hydrated. After packing up the aid station we headed back to the finish area and were given another nice lunch for volunteering. Afterwards it was time to head back down to the heat of the desert. From 80s in the pines to 105 in the desert.


2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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!


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!


Making lemonade out of lemons

With the exception of deep water running (plus one 3 miler during the Tinfoilman Triathlon) I did not run for the final 12 weeks of my season. A slow healing, painful stress fracture in my heel caused me to cancel the end of my season…two of my major races of the year, USAT Duathlon National Championships and the Full HITS Havasu.
I took this 12 week “opportunity” to gain fitness in the other two areas…biking and swimming. Make lemonade out of lemons. I upped my swimming from 4 days a week to 5, from 12,000 yards to 15,000 yards a week. But the biggest jump was with my cycling. I cycled 7 days a week. My previous big weeks were 230-250 miles. During the 12 week period my shortest week was 250 miles, my long weeks increased to 340-360 mile and included a couple of 130 mile days.
Now I am beginning my 2 week “off” time. Mental and physical recovery. A few weeks of unstructured training will follow.
I will be rested raring to go for next season.


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!


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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Speedplay X2 rebuild…”new” pedals, less $$$$

Keeping your Speedplay pedals well lubed will result in them lasting for many happy miles of pedaling enjoyment. However, eventually the internal moving parts will wear. An alternate to buying a new pair of pedals is to rebuild your current set.
A Speedplay rebuild kit can be purchased from several online retailers or you can have your local bike shop special order it (if they don’t carry it). The kit replaces everything except the “bowties” and the spindle. The kit will cost you about $70, much cheaper than a new pair of pedals.

Kit parts

Kit parts


Speedplay x2 rebuild
You will need the following tools…
T20 and T15 torx key, phillips head screwdriver, adjustable or 15mm open end wrench
Tools

Tools


Using the 15mm or adjustable wrench remove the pedal (remember, the left pedal is reverse threaded)
Remove

Remove


Using the T15 remove the 2 bowtie screws and the bowties…set aside for reuse
bowtie removal

bowtie removal


bowties removed

bowties removed


Remove the dust cap by backing out the grease port screw enough to grip with pliers and pulling off.
Then use the T20 to remove the spindle end screw.
Speedplay x2 rebuild
Next pull the spindle out of the body.
spindle

spindle


Clean the spindle.
cleaned spindle

cleaned spindle


Slide new “o” ring onto spindle.
new "o" ring

new “o” ring


Grease the new bodies spindle bearings using a high quality waterproof grease and then slide the new body onto the spindle.
new pedal body

new pedal body


Tighten new T20 spindle screw to 32in lbs.
Place bowties in place, apply blue loctite to T15 screws and then tighten them to 40in lbs.
bowties on new body

bowties on new body


Align and tap in new dust cap.
Grease threads and reattach pedals to crank arms.
Repeat for other side.
This job took about 45 minutes to complete.
Pedals are now as smooth as they were out of the box new.


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!


2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


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!


Deuceman in pics

Pictures from Deuceman compliments of Zazoosh photography and TriSports.com

Swim start (that’s me top left blue sleeves)

Swim finish

Biking through the pines

Running along the lake

 

 

The finish!


High altitude “fun”…Deuceman 2012 race report

On Thursday Sep. 6 I celebrated my 48th year in this world. The following morning I packed my truck and headed up to the pines and high altitude of Show Low, Az. It was time for the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival weekend put on by TriSports.com. The weekend includes an olympic distance triathlon and half ironman distance triathlon on Saturday followed by an xterra off-road triathlon on Sunday. I would be racing the half ironman on Saturday.

I arrived at Fools Hollow lake in the afternoon after a scenic 4 hour drive. I set up my camp site amongst the pines and within view of the lake. I then went to packet pick-up and then enjoyed a nice pasta dinner cooked up and served by the local school. I returned to camp and put the finishing touches on my race gear. As the sun set I relaxed a bit and then slipped into my sleeping bag for an early night of sleep. I slept intermittently throughout the night. I seemed to wake up every hour or two. My alarm was set for 4:30 however I awoke on my own at 4:15. I decided to get an early start on my morning. I ate a blueberry bagel, a banana and a “salty nut bar” for breakfast. I got dressed then through my gear backpack on and rode the 2 miles to the transition area by the light of my flashlight. The cloudy night kept the temperatures warmer than usual and the ride was a nice warm-up. I found a nice end spot on the racks and set up my gear. I got body marked then payed a final visit to the porta-potty. After a little socializing I slipped into my wetsuit and headed to the water. The water was a much warmer than usual 72ish. I jumped in and got a good 15 minute warm-up in. It was about GO time. As the national anthem was about to play there was some technical difficulties…no sound. As if planned the athletes bobbing in the water began to sing an impromptu version of the Star Spangled Banner…and a pretty good one at that!

The horn blew and off we went. I quickly found clear water and began my journey to the first turn buoy. The swim course is a 1.2 mile uneven triangle. The warm water and cooler air decided to wreak havoc on my goggles…they fogged.  I was swimming blind. I had to stop 5-6 times to clear my goggles. Each time I would have clear goggles for about 10 stroke then swim as far as I could with diminished view, clear, repeat. I felt comfortable throughout the swim. I made the final turn into the cove and headed straight to the boat ramp. A quick stop at the “strippers” and a run into T1. The thin air made that short run one of the hardest parts of the race…totally anarobic!

Swim split…36:15 (ouch 4 minutes slower than usual), 20th fastest

T1…short and sweet. Goggles and cap off, helmet on. Grab bike and go.

I mounted my bike and slipped into my shoes.

T1…1:15 

The bike is a 56 mile hilly affair. The first 15 miles is big rollers, followed by 25 miles of downhill rollers, an 8 mile gradual climb and then more rollers into the bike finish…2567 feet of climbing (Garmin). I was having issues with my rear derailuer throughout the ride. It would periodically “jump”. It was more of an annoyance than anything. I was continually looking for a “sweet spot” to prevent the jumping. I maintained a strong pace throughout the ride and felt strong. I consumed my nutrition like clockwork…a small bottle of gatorade with 1 scoop of Carbo-Pro for the first hour, a large bottle of gatorade with 7 scoops of Carbo-Pro and half  a bottle of gatorade from the aid station over the remainder of the ride. Coming into the final stretch I began to prep for T2. I slipped my feet out of the pedals, eased up a little and stretched out the legs. As I hit the dismount line I threw my leg over the bike and hit the ground running.

Bike split…2:37:59 (21.3mph average), 5th fastest

Into T2 I racked my bike, removed my helmet, put on my running shoes, grabbed my number belt, hat and glasses and hit the run.

T2…1:46

13.1 miles and 633ft of climbing separated me from the finish line. My legs felt great. The run is a 2 loop course. It begins by following a trail along the lake, then kicks up a steep little hill through the camp grounds, a rolling out and back on a dirt road and then road back to the 2nd loop/finish. The first loop went pretty easily. I was averaging around 7:40 pace and taking in gatorade and water at every aid station. The second loop the sun made an appearance and warmed things up a bit. The 5600ft elevation also began to take its toll. The pace dropped into the low 8 minute, mid 8’s then high 8’s. With three miles to go I decided to walk through the aid station, took a gel, two cups of gatorade and a cup of water to try to revive myself for the finish. I was then off maintaining mid 8 minute pace to the finish.

Run time…1:48:37 (8:18 average pace), 8th fastest

Total time…5:05:53 7th place overall and 2nd place agegroup

Crossing the finish line I was handed an ice-cold popsicle! Awesome!

Great race, scenic and challenging course and a great $40,000 raffle at the awards!

On Sunday I was again up bright and early. After packing up my camp gear it was time to volunteer in the transition area for the Xterra triathlon. There was obviously a bit of mud on the bike course but they got to clean up before the finish with a run that included a waist deep  water crossing in view from my spot!