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

Posts tagged “race

Spectating at the 2014 Old Pueblo Grand Prix

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


First race 2012

A little late but here it is…

3-10-12 I raced the TriSports.com Desert Classic Duathlon at Fountain Hills, Az.’s McDowell Mt. Park. This has been a traditional first race for several years. The course is a lung buster…especially this early in the season. The race consists of a 3.65 mile opening trail run, 30 mile bike and 3.75 mile closing trail run.

I arrived at the race site early (I don’t like to be in a rush). I racked my bike and then proceeded to packet pick-up. Afterwards I set up my transition area. I then caught up with a few old friends. About 20 minutes prior to start time I went out for a 10 minute warm up run. The legs felt pretty good.

I was to start in the 4th wave (men 35 and over). Pro men were off first followed by pro women and men 35 and under/relays.

I toed the line up front and on the inside. The horn sounded and we were off. The lead group went out hard in attempt to get good position before the road turned to trail. I was just off the back of the front group of about 8-10 as we entered the trail section. The opening run trail is rolling with plenty of twists and turns. I was running hard and maintained a strong pace.

Entered transition with a run time of 23:11 (6:22/mile pace).

T1 went smooth. Shoes off, helmet on and away I went 48 seconds later.

The 30 mile bike is a mixture of large and small rollers with a few longer climbs thrown in. I quickly got into a solid pace and onto my aero bars. My bike legs came to me quickly and I found myself zipping through the slower athletes from the earlier waves. At the first turn around I got a look at the leaders positions and did a quick check of the watch. The wind was whipping up a bit but I felt good. At the second turn around I saw that I was closing the gap on some of the leaders. Entering back into the park the road turns a little rough. On the park loop I closed the gap and passed a few of the guys that were ahead of me. I then enjoyed the last 3-4 miles of the bike…slight downhill and fast!

Bike split 1:24:44 (21.2mph avg.)

A quick dismount and into transition. Helmet off, shoes on and I was gone 35 seconds later.

The second trail run is several degrees harder than the first. Short, steep up and down hills, rocky sections and one really evil hill at mile 2 (1/4 mile at 20% grade). Lots of technical twists and turns (which caused a few of the leaders to get lost). I enjoy these type of runs since I train on similar trails. My legs were screaming but I maintained a strong pace. I picked off a few more athletes while only surrendering one spot to a fellow Team TriSports athlete. After scrambling up the hill at mile 2 it was mostly all downhill from there. I finished strong with a 29:15 (7:39/mile pace) second run.

I crossed the finish line in 2:17:57! 10th amatuer overall and 3rd in the 45-49 agegroup.

As a reward for a strong season opener I enjoyed an awesome burger from Joe’s Farm Grill on the way home!


Firecracker Triathlon race report.

Sunday was the second race in the Tucson Triathlon Series…the Firecracker Triathlon.

The alarm awoke me at 4am. A quick check of the tempature showed 83 degrees! With the desert monsoon season in full swing the air was also thick and sticky. After a quick breakfast of 3 Eggo’s I got dressed and jumped into my pre-packed Vehicross and made the 30 minute drive to the University of Arizona’s Hilibrand pool. Even though I arrived early there were quite a few bikes already racked. I found a good spot and set up my equipment. I then had a bit of time to waste so I caught up with a few old friends.

A kids race was held prior to the adault event. I volunteered to ride the bike course with the kids. A great way to get in an easy warm up and recon the course. The 11 year old kid I rode with was a blast. While averaging about 16mph he took the time to wave to everybody along the course…police, spectators, people at the bus stops! He was having a great time!

After that I went for a 10 minute warm up run and then got in the warm up pool for a bit. I was feeling pretty good.

By now the temp was well into the 90’s and the humidity was well above the single digits we are used to here.

 The swim was a serpentine swim with swimmers starting time trial style every 15 seconds. I had the “honor” of starting in the very last position. Lucky me!

It was now time to race. The swim distance was 750 meters (long course). The starter gave me a 5 second warning and then GO! I quickly got into a smooth stroke. A few quick peeks into the lanes of those that started earlier let me know I was keeping a good pace. I focused on my stroke and counted down the laps. As the last to start I was the last to exit which would give me a lot of “rabbits” to catch. I exited the pool in 12:05…an 8 second improvement over last year and 32nd best of the day. I was off to a good start.

Last to start...last to exit.

Leaving T1

Out of transition I quickly got my feet into my shoes and settled into my aero bars. The course is a 3 loop 12 mile course. The first 2 miles of each loop are slightly down hill followed by 2 miles of a slight climb 1 mile of which is full of bumps and pot holes. I was going strong and quickly began to catch and pass people. The first loop was a bit congested and I found myself calling out “left” a lot to get around the slower riders. By the second loop the traffic had thinned and i was able to focus on just going fast. My legs felt good the entire time. As I came down the final section I slippped my feet out off my shoes and prepared for T2. T1/bike/T2 combined time was 29:52…20 seconds faster than last year and 7th fastest of the day.

Flying down the bike course

T2 was again a fast one. Rack bike, remove helmet, slip on the Fasttwitch’s, grab race belt, hat and glasses…run!

Racking

 

Getting dressed on the go

 

 I imediately felt the heat and humidity but my legs were feeling good. The run course is a short out section, 2 loops and then a short section back to the finish totaling 3 miles. As I turned onto the loop section the front runners had just passed through to start their 2nd loop…rabbits to chace. TriSports.com CEO Seton Claggett was 2 steps ahead of me starting his 2nd lap. I jumped on his heels since he was setting a good pace. He slowly pulled away from me but i was able to keep him close. We were closing the gap to the leaders. At the end of the loop they turned of for the finish line and I headed out for loop 2. With no more rabbits it was time to focus and maintain my pace. I continued to catch and pass the slower runners that had started before me. I tried to keep the pace high but the heat and humidity was trying it hardest to slow me. I still finished with a strong second loop though. Run split was 19:32…3 seconds slower than last year and 7th fastest of the day.

Chasing the rabbits

The 2nd loop

Stopping the clock

Final time was 1:01:30…a 25 second improvement over last year and 7th place overall/1st place 45-49.

Collecting the hardware


Deuceman…wind, wind and did I say wind?

This weekend was the Deuces Wild Triathlon weekend in Show Low, Arizona. Saturday’s festivities included the olympic distance and half ironman distance triathlons and today was the xterra triathlon. My weekend included the half ironman followed by volunteer duty for the xterra.

I arrived in Show Low on Friday afternoon. Show Low is in the White Mountains of Arizona and sets at just under 6500 ft elevation. In the near distance a large plume of smoke was visible from one  of Arizona’s largest wild fires in the state’s history (as of today the 3rd largest and still 0% contained). The winds were blowing hard and were forecast to continue through the race on Saturday…oh joy! After arriving at the race venue, Fools Hollow lake, I picked up my race packet and then proceeded to find my camp site. My camp site was less than 2 miles from the race, nice and convenient! I set up my tent and then relaxed in the shade. I made a quick trip into town to do a bit of race meal shopping. My camp “neighbors” were quite entertaining…think of the old Honeymooners t.v. show. Unfortunately they were also quite loud! But, my ipod cured that. I put the finishing touch’s on all of my gear and double checked that I had everything. I then went and visited with some friends that were camped nearby. Back at camp early, I turned out the lantern, crawled into my sleeping bag and was sleeping by 9.

Race morning my alarm went off at 4:15. I crawled out of my sleeping bag to find that it was pretty cold. I quickly found a blanket and wrapped up in it while I ate breakfast…yoguart, a banana and a wheat bagel. I threw on my TriSports.com/Accelerate3 race kit and topped it with a warm up suit. I topped off the air in my tires. I then threw my gear backpack on my bike and took the chilly ride down to the transition area. This year rack positions were assigned by race number. I found my spot on the 2nd rack and set up my gear. I talked to a few friends who were racing and then relaxed for a bit. About 6 I started to get in to my wetsuit. I walked down to the swim start to get a short warm up in. Water temp was low 60’s. A bit of a shock when entering the water. I was able to get in about 200 yards before they started getting everyone back to the start.

After a  short swim course talk the start horn sounded…no warning! Caught most of us by surprise but no one got an early start. We were off for the 1.2 mile swim. The first section of  the swim curved to the right out  of a small cove and went about 500 yards to the first turn buoy. The altitude, cold water and surprise start caused me to have breathing difficulties, a first in my 19 years of multisport racing. My chest felt constricted. I rolled over on my back and attempted to adjust my wetsuit to no avail. I rolled back over and focused on relaxing. After rounding the turn buoy I began to feel good again and focused on my stroke. My sighting was good and I swam straight along the buoy line to the 2nd turn buoy. This was the long leg of the swim and the buoy came quicker than I expected. I made the turn and began to head back to the cove. I rounded the corner and could see the boat ramp. As I exited I took a glance at my watch…the first 500 yards had cost me about 3-4 minutes! I stripped my wetsuit down to my waist as I ran up the ramp, plopped down and the “strippers” smoothly yanked my wetsuit the rest of the way off.

Swim time…35:14, good enough for 4th fastest in the 45-49 agegroup.

Transition 1 was quick and smooth…helmet on, grab bike, go! T1 time…1:40, fastest of my agegroup.

I mounted my bike at the mount line  got up to speed and got my feet into my shoes. I was off for the 56 mile bike. The bike course was rolling hills for the first 45ish miles then has an 8 mile grinding climb. It’s not steep but just keeps on going followed by a short rolling downhill. The wind was blowing at 40+ mph. It was a head or side wind the whole day until the final few miles. I felt strong the whole ride. I took in all my carb drink…2 large bottles with 6 scoops of carbo pro in each. At a couple of aid stations I grabbed water wash down the carbs. A few riders who passed me early in the ride made their way back to me before the long climb. About mid way up the climb the olympic distance race bike course ties into the half iron course. I began using them as targets to motivate me, picking them off along the climb. I made the turn back towards the transition and was rewarded with what seemed like the only tail wind during the day. About 100 yards from the dismount line I slid my feet out of my shoes, made the last 2 chicane like turns, and as I hit the dismount line hopped from my bike running. I made my way through the chute and into the transition area. Bike time…2:43:57, fastest in my agegroup.

Once again transition went smoothly. Hung the bike on the rack, helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and off I went on my 13.1 mile, 2 loop tour of the lake and campground areas. As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, hat and belt. The first loop of the run I planned on going easy so that I’d have some fuel in the tanks for the second loop. The first couple of miles along the lake was windless and hot. The late morning sun had warmed to the mid 80’s. I maintained a strong but comfortable pace. As we climbed out of the lake area into the campgrounds the wind came back and helped to cool me along with the shade of the tall pines. I wound my way through the campground and then began the out and back section of the loop. I was able to see the competition and saw no one that looked to be in my agegroup. After the out and back there is a short downhill followed by an uphill that took me back near the finish line. At that point the olympic distance guys turn for the finish and us half iron guys veer off for another short out and back. I asked the volunteers how many had gone through the out and back and was told 10 to 15. Not to bad. We then ran by the transition area and began the 2nd loop (a repeat of the first minus the short out and back section). My legs were feeling good so I picked up my pace a bit. Once again there was no wind and lots of heat around the lake area and wind on the high section. I made my way through the campground, the out and back and then up the final hill…this time to make the turn into the finishing shoot. I crossed the finish line and received the best thing ever….a nice, icy cold popcicle!My legs were jello! My T2/run time…1:49:11, 3rd fastest in my agegroup.

Overall time…5:10:04, 1st place 45-49, 15th place overall male and 17th place overall (yea, I got chicked x2).

Today (Sunday) I was again at the race site early after breaking down my camp and packing everything in my car. Began the day feeling pretty good. I directed transition traffic for the xterra race. As the morning progressed the muscles began to tighten though. However, still had a great time volunteering! Some quick fuel, mexican food compliments of the race and then drove 4 hours back to Tucson.

Next race is the Firecracker Tri at the UofA.


On tap for this weekend…

…Deuceman half ironman at the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival in Show Low, Arizona! 6500ft. elevation, hills and if it is like last year….95 degrees! Can’t wait.


2011 Tucson Triathlon race report

After a week of no training (was able to get 2 runs in while there) while I was in Moab, I awoke having no idea how the race would go. The 4am alarm startled me awake. Ate a quick breakfast and then I was off to the University of Arizona’s Hillibrand pool , the venue for the race. The race consisted of a 825 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. After arriving, I set up my transition area and then headed back to my car to take an hour and a half nap since I was in the 10th wave (the fast men) which would start in 4 hours later. After I woke from my nap I sat and watched some of the early waves then got in a short warmup…a mile and a half run and 300 yards of swimming. After not swimming for a week I felt sluggish in the pool. It was now time for my wave to start. I found my lane and jumped in….1 minute ’til start. The start horn went off and we were on our way. The swim felt sluggish still. I watched as the competition on both sides of me lapped me,  not once, not twice, but three times. In my mind I felt I was swimming what would be a slow swim by my normal standards. I was in for a sweet surprise when I exited the pool and looked at my watch….one of my best swims! 11:33, good enough for the 25th best swim on the day.  My transition went smooth…tossed the goggles, strapped my helmet on, grabbed my bike and ran for the mount line. As I hit the mount line I conducted a near perfect flying mount and was on my way. I slipped my feet into my shoes and fastened the straps…ready to rock! The Tucson heat was starting to rise as was the wind. I immediately began to pick off a few of the faster swimmers. The bike consisted of a 3 lap course…each lap had a slight down hill, a pothole filled slight uphill, a false flat and then a slight downhill. The downhills I was cruising at 30+ mph, the uphills around 22mph. I had to weave my way through lapped traffic from earlier waves. As I came down the final downhill stretch to transition I slipped my feet out of my shoes in preperation for transition number 2. I rounded the final corner and as I hit the dismount line I threw my leg over the bike and jumped off running. I hung my bike on the rack and removed my helmet. I then slipped on my screaming yellow Fastwitch running shoes, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and headed out for the run. Total time for T1, bike and T2…30:03, 1oth fastest on the day. As I ran out of transition I put on my number belt, hat and sunglasses. I quickly settled in to a solid pace. Legs and lungs were screaming but I felt smooth and focused on maintaining my form. As I hit the UofA mall I began to pick off a few more of the faster guys and also lapped traffic from earlier waves. The sun was bright and it was warming up. I saw the lead men running the other way about 5 minutes up on me. I was feeling smooth and the pace was hard. I focused on maintaining my pace to the end. On the second lap I again saw the leaders and they hadn’t gained much time on me…I was holding strong and continued to pick off/lap others. I rounded the final corner and headed for the finish. I heard the announcer call my name, hit the line and was spent! 3 miles…19:20…11th fastest on the day. Overall time…1:00:57, narrowly missing the magic hour mark (next time!) but one of my fastest times on this course! I finished 12th overall and 1st in the 45-49 agegroup, 11 minutes faster than the 2nd place person in my agegroup!

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2011 USAT Duathlon National Championships…Race report!

Awoke to the alarm clock early today. It was race time once again. The race…USAT Duathlon National Championships. The venue…Oro Valley, Arizona. Being able to sleep in my own bed before a big race is nice…unfortunately, although an outskirt of Tucson, it is about as far away in Tucson as it could be. Me on the furthest southwest side…race on the furthest north westside.

So, after making the hour drive to the race site, I unloaded my gear, walked the 1/4 mile to the transition area and set up my gear. Having plenty of time I was able to relax, talk to friends and competitors, visit with the coach (who was also racing), make one last visit to the porta potties and get in a short warm up run.

I was in the 3rd wave which included all males in the 40-49 agegroup. So after watching the first waves I made my way into the starting shoot. I lined up near the front. The wait always seems to be twice as long when waiting for the starters horn…1 minute till start was announced and 5 minutes later the 30 second warning was given. With the sounding of the horn we began the opening 5k run. The course starts off uphill, then a short downhill to a turnaround, back up the short hill then downhill to another turnaround and then finishes with another uphill…no flat sections on the course. I went out at a comfortable pace and floated around the back of the main group. My legs were feeling good so after the first turn around I picked the pace up a little. In doing so I began to pass a few people. On the downhill I upped my pace a little more, but kept it comfortable knowing there was still a nice little uphill to tackle before the transition. I hit the 2nd turnaround and counted about  10 people from my wave in front of me. I then started the uphill section. I kept a strong, steady pace. At the top of the hill I took the turn and entered the 1st transition feeling good. Run time 18:58. First transition 0:48…in and out fast.

The bike consisted of two loops, rolling hills and again no flat areas. The distance was 35k. After mounting my bike I settled into a comfortable pace so that I could finish the ride strong. This worked well for me…nearly everyone that passed me early ended up coming back to me and dropping behind. The wind began to kick up by the second lap and the course became a bit more congested. From what I saw, everyone appeared to be riding clean (no drafting). Only real problem was people not staying to the right when not passing or drifting left when I was passing. On the second loop I was feeling good. Coming down the last downhill section I was hitting 35mph and getting pushed around a little by the crosswinds. I made the final turn and began preparing for transition 2. Feet out of the shoes and lifted my helmet visor. As I approached the dismount line I threw one leg over the bike and was quickly off and running into transition. Bike time…55:20 (23.5mph average). Transition went smooth and fast. Another 0:48 and I was off to repeat the run course.

My running legs came around pretty quickly and I settled into a good strong pace. The second run always hurts so you just deal with it. Again I picked up the pace at the first turnaround and began to push the pace. Hit the second turnaround and saw the elite (pro) men coming on fast. They were on their first run as they started in the last wave. I started the final uphill as the elites began to pass. I used them as motivation and began to see how long I could hang with them as they went by. Didn’t stick with them long but each time it allowed me to pick up my pace and hurt just a bit more. I knew I was close to the finish and the pain would be short. I hit the top of the hill, took the final turn and pushed all the way through the finishing shoot. Final run…20:32. My finish time was 1:36:24, 6th place in the 45-49 agegroup and 48th place overall amateur. Very happy with my performance against a very strong field. Qualified for the Duathlon World Championships in Spain but will be passing on the spot.

Overall the event was very well organized and ran smoothly. The weather was great, the volunteers were fantastic and the traffic control outstanding. Next year the event will again be held at the same venue and I will be back to move up a few places!


Training camp part deux.

This weekend, as part of the TriFest weekend at TriSports.com, Team Trisports had a training camp. This camp was not the intense camp like the Accelerate3 camp a few weeks ago and had a little more social aspect blended in. Of the 29 sponsored athletes, 25 converged from all parts of the U.S. …Arizona, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Mexico and California are a few that I remember. The weather was fantastic…clear, mid 80’s and devoid of the winds we had earlier in the week. 

Thursday…day 1

This day was our check in day. We met up with our sponsor coordinator Jaclyn to pick up our new team kits. The new fit and design were awesome. I then hit the trails for a 50 minute run on the Morning Wren, Yetman, and Hidden Canyon trails in Starr Pass. I had also gotten in a 2 hour bike ride earlier in the morning.

Friday…day 2

The team was up early meeting at TriSports for the 7:00 roll out for the Mt. Lemmon ride. This ride was open to all so we were joined by 150+ others. The ride from TriSports to the base of the climb was an hour of “no drop” pace to keep everyone together. From the base it wasa free for all… everyone was welcome to pick their own pace and climb up as far as they wanted. The group stopped at the base to strip off excess clothing since the climb was long and the desert sun was warming things up. As the group got rolling I was caught towards the rear. I worked my way forward to find that the group had already split and the faster guys were already up the road. I made an attempt to bridge up to the group but made little progress. So, I settled in in no-mans land between the two main groups and set my own pace. I slowly picked off a few riders as they dropped from the main group. We were given support by the Sram Race Support vehicle and I saw several with flat tires keeping those guys busy. At mile 11ish we were greeted by the smiling faces of the TriSports staff with there big ‘ol truck sagging…the cold water was welcomed as there is very limited water on the mountain. I filled my bottle and soldiered on until I reached my planned turn around point at mile 18. Did I mention the weather was great! The descent was a 40mph romp to the bottom. Then I returned to the start point at TriSports. A great lunch awaited the team members. Yummy.

After a few hours of relaxing the team them met at the Tucson JCC for a swim workout. After a short warmup we threw down a 100, 200, 300, and 400. That was followed by 4 fun 8 minute sets. The first one was heads up swimming. Next was several differant sculling drills. That was folowed by a game of catch…teams of 2-3 would start off in the center of the pool in opposite dirrections…you circle swam until one team caught the other…repeat until time was up. The last one was tug of war…2 swimmers teathered together with strech cords swim all out in opposite directions until one reaches the wall. After that we had to pick our fastest swimmer to do a get-out swim. If she completed a 100 in 1:00 minute we got to get out…if not we got to swim more. Fortunately she hit the wall in an awesome :59. After a shower and a little rest the team then met again at TriSports for a catered dinner (yummy again), introductions, some TriSports history and a tour of the facility which is quite impressive.

Saturday…day 3

Another early day as the team met at TriSports for a  mystery workout (we had packed a bag and turned it in the previous night for this event). We departed on our bikes at 6:30 and rode to the designated mystery workout location…the JW Marriott resort in Starr Pass. The resort graciously opened their doors to us for a “mini race” with a few twists. This race doubled as a photo shoot for the team and our new uniforms. The race was a blast. We started in time trial fashion…one off every 20 seconds. The start was a blast down the resorts water slide into the “lazy river” pool. We then swam a little over 2 loops in the lazy river against the current (to make it a bit harder). At a few spots there were water fountains that disrupted your breathing! After exiting the “river” we mounted our bikes, exited the resort grounds and rode 2 loops through Starr Pass. The loop consisted of non stop rolling climbs. One final hill back to the resort “transission” area and we were off of our bikes, slipping into our run gear and off for a run through the Hidden Canyon trail. The first half is a long climb before the downhill 2nd half. The whole trail is rocky and technical. Upon exiting the trail I missed a course arrow and led a few others to a premature finish, cutting off about a 1 mile loop around the resort. OOOPs…good thing this was just for fun! After the race we jumped on our bikes and took a “leasurely” ride over Gates Pass before returning to TriSports. Upon our return TriFest was in full swing. The parking lot was full of tents filled with vendors for the expo. We were also treated to taco’s…again, yummy! A little down time to get rested and cleaned up was followed by the TriSports VIP party. Another fun filled ending…food, band, beverages, poker and great people!

Thanks to Jaclyn, Sarah, Seton, Debbie and all the others that assisted in putting this all together! It was a great weekend.

Here are  pics from the Team Presentation “Race”.

Here are pics from the TriFest Mt Lemmon ride.

(Pics curtousy of Tom Demerly)

TriSports.com blog on event


First race of 2011 is in the books

Yesterday (2/20/2011) was my first race of the season. The TriSports.com Desert Classic Duathlon was the venue and doubled as the USA Triathlon southwest regional Duathlon championships. This years course was changed from the previous years. The runs were a bit longer and the consensus was they were definately harder than past years. The bike course remained the same,  just started at a differant point on the course. The weekend started on Saturday with the drive up from Tucson. The drive was made a little more challenging by a show put on by mother nature. She blew up winds of 50+ mph and near brown out (blowing dust) conditions followed by pouring rain. Several accidents on the highway made for slow and not moving at all traffic for a 3-4 mile stretch (people drive in stupid mode even when weather dictates otherwise). After arriving in the Phoenix area and picking up my race packet I headed to my Phoenix area race headquarters/home stay at my good friend Victors home. Victor graciously opens his door to me whenever I race in the area…big thanks for the hospitality!

Race morning I awoke to cool and cloudy conditions. After last years cold and rain I had packed my gear with all conditions in mind. I arrived at the McDowell Mountain Park early since I like to take my time getting ready. I set up my gear and then scoped out the conditions to make my clothing choices. I decided on my regular TriSports.com/Accelerate3 team kit along with arm warmers and light gloves. After a short warm up run with coach Brian it was time to get to the start line. The Pro wave got on it’s way followed by all those “young” guys in the 39 and under wave. 5 minutes later it was our turn. The horn went off and we were on our way. The first run was  3.2 miles. It started off with 3/4 mile on pavement and then turned onto the trail. The trail conditions were soft, wet and some mud. I started off at a comfortable pace knowing the hard parts of the trail came later in the run. There was a small group of  “fast” runners and then I led up the chase. I eased into the pace that I planned on keeping and maintained my position on the run. Mid way through I started to pick off people from the under 39 wave. My nice light race flats had tripled in weight thanks to the build up of mud. I entered T1 feeling good and ready to rock on the bike. T1 went smooth and in a matter of seconds was on the long run-out to the bike mount line. The wet, rough ground did not feel good on bare feet! After mounting my bike I was off on the 21 mile bike. The roads were still wet from the previous nights rains. The  course basically consists of an out and back with large rollers followed by a second out and back with false flats and rough pavement. On the bike I felt strong and quickly settled into my rhythm. I was passed by a few of the ultra fast bike guys and began to pick off a few off the fast run guys. The wind stayed away this year. The last couple miles on the bike are slightly downhill. This allowed me to ease up a bit but still maintain my speed. Coming up to the dismount line I had my feet out of my bike shoes, quickly dismounted and began the run into T2. The rough pavement hurt even more with my feet being partially frozen. I dawned my running shoes, ditched my helmet and arm warmers, grabbed my visor and glasses and was off on run 2. The 2nd run was 3 miles and contained numerous short and steep hills throughout and not much in the way of flat ground. The first 10 minutes my legs were dead and my feet still frozen. After that I put the pedal down and pretty much red lined it to the finish. With less than a mile to go I looked over my shoulder and saw no one. Half a mile later I heard the sound of feet hitting the trail behind me. Shortly after I was passed by 2 competitors.  I quickly glanced at their calves and was relieved to see they were in the younger age groups and not mine. I hit the finish line in 1:45:45…good enough  for 14th overall age grouper and 2nd in the 45-49 age group.

Next up is the Duathlon National Championships!

My ride race ready