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

Posts tagged “Tucson

My last big week and a half marathon (A Mountain half marathon race report)

The week of Oct.13-19 Was my last big training week before my Ironman taper. My week started with a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool. Tuesday brought a 2 hour 45 minute trail run with lots of hills followed by 2 hours on the bike. Wensday started with a 30 minute run, followed by 2 hours on the bike with threshold intervals and then 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool. Thursday started on the track with 2×4000, an easy hour on the bike and 1 hour 7 minutes in the pool. Friday was 130 miles on the bike. Saturday was a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool.

To cap the week off I decided to test my legs with the A Mountain half marathon. 13.1 miles that begins flat in downtown Tucson. After which at mile 6.5 you begin the 275 ft accent of A Mountain (over about 1 mile) followed by equal downhill. That is followed by an out and back on the Santa Cruz River path before making your way back to the finish downtown.

Prior to the race I thought that a 1:40 would be a really good day with the training week I had put in. I planned on going out at a comfortable pace until A Mountain and then pick the pace up.

At the sound of the gun we were off. The first 3 miles I was averaging about 7-7:05 pace. My legs were feeling good and I was comfortable. I was just off the back of the lead group, with a few really fast guys off the front. The next 3 miles I was at 6:55 mile pace and still feeling good. As the climb started I began to pass all those that went out to hard. I probably passed a dozen people. he downhill saw several more people picked off as they descended on heavy legs. I made an effort to catch one more guy in front of me and then settled into his pace as we passed several more people. With about 2 miles to go my calves started to tighten up. I could no longer hold that pace and I let my “pacer” start to slip away. I slowed into a manageable pace and continued back into downtown. I was passed by one runner. I turned the last corner and saw the 13 mile sign…1/10 of a mile to go! I crossed the line finishing in 1:34:01 as the 21st male overall (26th overall) and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup. Far exceeding my pre-race expectations.

My totals for the week came in at 13000 yards in the pool, 305 miles on the bike and 50 miles running. Now it’s time to enjoy 3 weeks of taper before towing the line at HITS Lake Havasu for the full distance (ironman).

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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


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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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!


Racing, injuries and championships…2013 Tinfoilman Triathlon

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


Hot and humid day at the Firecracker

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


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

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


Full steam ahead

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

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

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


Dropping temps….the show must go on

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