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


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

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 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.


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.



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 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 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.