A Sunny Sunday in Phoenix

Another eventful day was had here in Arizona yesterday.  After the previous days misadventures, Eric and I were ready to have a nice day riding in the sun.  On the schedule was an easy ride to the site of the Criterium (~30 mi away); Eric was going to be racing and then another easy ride back to the house (~30 mi).  When you don’t have an automobile it really makes it easy to rack up the miles.

Since the race wasn’t until 3:30 we had plenty of time in the morning to get ourselves together and relax.  We ended up heading out to the race around 12:45 and other than hitting about a million stop lights, the ride was uneventful.  It ended up taking us a little over an hour and a half to cover the 30 mi to the race.  Once at the race I just couldn’t stop myself from getting in on the action.  After talking to Eric I decided that racing was the only option for me.  I know that this race was not scheduled but I have been wanting to race in an actual bike race for quite some time, and personally I feel like it can only benefit me as a cyclist and triathlete.

It ended up being an absolute blast!  Here is the Garmin File for those interested –> 1st Bike Race.  So the race went pretty much like this…me being a complete newb to the whole bike racing thing spent that majority of the race near the front and completely in the wind instead of sitting nicely in the pack and conserving energy (watts).  Even though my HR was at astronomical levels I felt like a million bucks.  It was so fun to be in and around other cyclists all getting after it.  There were surges and lulls, I totally understand how some people relate bike racing to poetry in motion.  Sure this was a very low level Cat 5 Crit…but I got it!  It was great.

With 3 laps to go I decided to step on the gas a bit and try to string things out so that Eric could have a better shot at taking 1st.  He obviously is the stronger bike of the two of us and the more experienced bike racer as well.  He would be the one to give us a shot at some $$.  Well for about two laps I was in control, I felt like Mark Renshaw leading out Cav.  After I had my moment in the sun I was content to finish mid-pack and enjoy the finishing straightway as Eric tried to get the win.  In the end he finished third and earned a $40 paycheck.

Eric got paid $$

After making the 30 mi trip back to the house (we made it back 10 min faster than our way out) we promptly spent half of the days earnings on dinner…which consisted of this –>

Dinner is served! Sweet Tomatoes all you can eat salad buffet might be my most favorite restaurant of all time!!
After - plates cleaned. All fueled up.

And oh yeah, I almost forgot to add that on the way home from the race out string of misfortunes continued as Eric flatted not once, but TWICE!

Eric changing flat #1 on ride home.
and Eric changing flat #2 on ride home.

Operation Phoenix has begun!

Hi All,

Eric and I arrived in Phoenix on Friday morning and have been settling in over the past couple of days.  First thing first, we made our way to the grocery store to load up on our supplies.  Since we don’t have a car down here we had intentions of putting all the food in our backpacks and carrying the rest in bags.  However, when you buy the amount of food we bought that just isn’t possible.  Here was 1/2 the haul (my portion) –>

Food food food

And here is the cart we “borrowed” to get the food home.  We took it back today, don’t worry!  Many thanks to Safeway for the cart though, it really saved the day.

Taking the food home

We took a quick spin around the area on Friday afternoon along with a short run in the shadows of South Mountain.

On Saturday the plan was to ride ~32 mi to the AZ State Crit Championships and Eric was going to race and most likely dominate.  However, right after we set out to make the trip my rear wheel broke when the rim snapped, thus rendering my bike useless.  After a quick cab ride back to the house and wheel change I rode back to where Eric was only to find out that since my departure he had succumbed to two flat tires.  Luckily I had snagged an extra tube.  After his final tube change we were on our way to the Crit.  After riding harder than we planned in order to still make the start time we were disheartened to find out that we reached our “destination” only to discover it was 10mi the opposite way of where the race was.  With the start time coming and going the chance to race for Eric was lost.  We sill made our way to the race site so that we would know where it was since Eric was going to race again on Sunday (today).

After we stopped at the race for a while we headed back home, had a fantastic lunch in Scottsdale and stopped by Tribe Multisports since I forgot to pack my swimsuit.  We finally arrived home a little after 3pm and got settled in.

That brings us to today.  We are currently hanging out at a nearby McDonalds utilizing the free wifi to check up on our emails, post blogs, upload ride/runs and book flights.  Yeah, living the dream!

We are going to set out for the trip to the Crit in a little while.  Now that we know where it is we can hopefully make the to and from ride a lot easier, mostly a recovery of sorts…and at the race Eric better win because money is on the line.  $100 to the winner I believe!  That would buy us some nice food for a few days!

Pictures and updates to come tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Heading South, then to the NW, then East, back to the NW and finally the East again

The 2012 Spring/Summer season officially kicks off this week as my life will essentially be on fast forward for a month or so.  I will be leaving PDX and heading down to Phoenix, AZ for two weeks of fun in the sun (literally on the sun as I guess it has been on avg 100 degrees down in AZ on a daily basis).  Hopefully I will come back with a cyclists tan that would make even Jens Voight proud.  I am heading to AZ with none other than Eric Lagerstrom himself.  We will be training our butts off in the hopes of preparing ourselves for total world domination…

After the time down in AZ, I am going to make a quick stop in PDX for a few hours and then head immediately back East for the Triple T (TTT) Ohio race weekend where I will be teaming up with my best bud Mike Corona with the goal of winning the team competition.  We race to win! 🙂  We both raced individually at this race last year so we know the course, which means we have no excuses this year.  The TTT event is one of my favorite as it is basically like going to camp.  Hanging out in a cabin, racing all day and shooting the proverbial “shit” with buddies…its pretty awesome.

Then after the TTT weekend I will head back to PDX for a couple weeks, watch my brother graduate Medical School and then eventually make my way to Boise for the Boise 70.3 taking place on June 9th.  I am extremely excited for this race and fully intend on coming in ready and raring to go!  After the race I will continue driving East to Upstate NY where I will be making camp for the summer on Keuka Lake.  The week after Boise will be my reset week where I will take the week off from training and get my mind and body ready for the assault on the fall races which will include Timberman 70.3 and the “Crowie Double” of Vegas and Kona.

Lots of stuff coming up very soon and I must say it is a bit intimidating as I have a lot of packing, driving and planning ahead of me…but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It is going to be an absolute blast.

First thing first though and that is to have my ace mechanic Danny Recordon get my Speed Concept up and running!

2012 Texas 70.3 Race Report

Two years later and 25 minutes faster – that is what it comes down to.  When the times get lower the difficulty of raising the bar each time increases. This race was a great way to start off the 2012 season and was much different from the race in 2010. Much of this was due to Lance Armstrong being in the field as the crowds of both racers and spectators were massive.  In 2010 we parked within 25 yards of transition; this year it was a solid mile away. Awards were presented in front of the merchandise tent on the main walkway and this year there was a full blown stage with seating and everything.  But the changes were good, a larger and deeper field was present and that only made for a better, more competitive race.  Who wants to say they beat a bunch of slouches? The goal is to race against the best possible competitors and truly see where you stack up.
The lead up to this race had been going quite well since the beginning of the year.  I was getting a lot of mileage riding here on the open roads of beautiful Portland and was staying injury free.  The weather was cooperating and things were rolling.  All good things must come to and end though.  Once late February rolled around things began to get a bit colder and wetter and that continued on into March, which eventually led to me getting a bit sick over the last week or so before this race.  I was worried that I was going to be in rough shape come race morning, but I was intent on doing everything possible to get better and get to that start line ready to go.  I slept and rested as much as possible, while managing to still train as best I could without overdoing it…that was the hard part.   In the end, I did what I had to do and got to Texas in the best possible shape I could. There is still much work to be done, but for April 1st I could only be what I was.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.
None the less, I was in Texas on Thursday and met my awesome parents, who once again were able to make it to my race.  God bless them for always being there for me, I couldn’t do what I do without them!  They decided to drive down from NY this year and met me at the airport.  It was late, but being the troopers they are we grabbed a late night meal at Denny’s on the way to Galveston. On Friday, I successfully built up my bike for the first time, registered for the race and caught a matinee showing of the Hunger Games with my mom. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to a matinee. It was great – an almost empty theater, air conditioning, comfy chairs and the movies was pretty darn good!  After that was dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, one of my favorite places for some reason…seems to remind me of my younger days, and then an early bedtime.
On Saturday, I headed out as soon as the sun shown for a good bike ride and short run off the bike to get things loosened up. Then I had a big breakfast and basically did the same stuff I do the day before all big races…sat on my butt and chilled.
On race morning I woke up relatively late since my wave was the second to last, starting 1 hour and 3o minutes after the pro men.  As I expected, it was congested chaos for the gun. The swim was uneventful but felt long, and I just wanted to be out of the water and on my bike. My time was just under 31minutes which is pretty typical for me.  That put me in abut 24th place in my AG and in the hundreds overall…someday I will be a 25 min guy, I promise!  At least I had good transitions so that made up some of the time.
The bike started out great.  With so many people already on the course it made me feel even faster because I was constantly passing people. However, the downside of constantly passing people is that the chance of getting run into or something bad happening is increased.  Luckily, nothing like that happened.  I haven’t looked at my files yet, but based on how I felt I would say the bike went like this:  Good first 20 miles into the wind and 8 more kind of sloppy miles where it felt hard.  On the way back, I got some of my mojo back and even though it wasn’t a true tailwind (more of a crosswind), I increased the mph and felt like I was going hard. I was only passed by one male 23 yo about 15-18 miles into the bike, however I caught him with about 4 miles to go on the bike, so that was a nice confidence booster leading into the run.  The ride from the main road to transition was long and slow at the end, as there were some corners and obstacles, which gave me time to think about my dismount. I had previously never done a flying dismount barefoot, but figured I might as well give it a shot on race day…what the hell – it was the season opener and I felt good about it. It went great! I felt like a true triathlete as I smoothly popped off my bike and into a run with my bike in hand.  My bike time was 2:20 (a PR), and aided by the fact it that was über flat and a bit of help from the wind on the return trip, I believe I was 4th in my division. I averaged around 23 mph on the way out and just over 26 on the way back.  Here is the file on strava.
A mostly empty transition (in my section) had me feeling good about my position. Little did I know I had over 8 minutes to make up on the current 25-29 leader. The leader had laid down a sub 30 swim and a 2:13-ish bike: a very, very good swim/bike. Luckily triathlon is a three sport event. Like the good soldier I am, I stuck to my “plan” and ran smooth. The whole run was steady, never feeling like I was pressing. I have many minutes to gain on the run, but for now a 1:26 will suffice.  The course was a three loop circuit with many twists and turns, as well as a section on an airport tarmac that felt like the Sahara…hot and windy one way and then extremely hot and still aired the other…both a tad miserable, but great at the same time. Some hated this section, but I felt that it was such a stark contrast from the rest of the course that it really evened things out. On the runway strip there were no sharp turns, no spectators cheering you on…it was like a mini energy lab even though I have never seen or been to a place like that. For almost a mile it was me against myself. And I had to do it 3 times, something that I confirmed with most racers that was a bit of a surprise, as it was assumed that it would be bypassed on the last lap. However, it was not.  Other than that section, the most notable thing from the run was that the aid stations were a complete cluster f#*%.  With nearly 2400 people in front of me, I was literally bobbing and weaving the whole way.  Especially on the last lap when I literally could not get the water and other nutrition I needed, there were just too many people walking or standing around the aid stations. I don’t want to complain about much because I understand the difficulties of putting on a race like this, but man that ticked me off.  Also during the last lap on the tarmac I was going around a u-turn section where about 12 people were strolling around at the same time. I was half a mile from being done and wanted badly to get there as fast as possible. Like the rest of the race this meant doing some creative running to get around them, and at one point I had to make an up the gut move between two women who were practically holding hands.  Sure I came up on them like a bat out of hell, but man I did not want to slow down!  After I broke free I heard this…”we paid to race too”‘….ahhh lovely!
On the run
I crossed the line at 5:50, so backing off 1:30 left me with a 4:20. A good 7 minute improvement from Timberman last year, and a run of 1:26, which was about 1 min off my fastest half iron run, yet good enough for 1st in my division.  It was a solid start to the season.  And yes, I did catch that kid who had 8 minutes on me. I don’t know when it happened, but I ended up beating him by 2 minutes to take the 25-29 AG win. Of course I have to acknowledge the fact that the toughest competitor in the overall age group race, Pat Wheeler, buried himself in training the previous week and month, and thus graciously allowed me a moment in the sun (literally..it was pretty hot in TX!). I will take it for now because I know next time we meet it will be a different ball game…and I can’t wait! He’s a Kona veteran with lots of experience and I am a newbie who doesn’t know any better. I should be ok, right? Ha! Ha!
Ahh, it was a good weekend with good friends who I have not seen in a while. I was itching to race and this was just what I needed. This will really help in getting me through the next month and a half of heavy training, as I prepare to continue with the season. I have lofty goals for myself and I know that I need to be on top of my game on many levels to succeed.  It’s not easy to get everything in order, but I do have a plan…A GOAL and that’s the first step. I believe in it and you know what they say about when you believe in something…..
Group Picture at Awards
Finally thank you to Kiwami for taking an interest in me and supporting me this season. I am proud to wear your gear both on and off the race course. The prima top and bottom kit was amazing and I highly recommend it! It was very water resistant and did not weigh me down one bit while on the run, even after dumping countless cups of water on myself and running through multiple “shower stations”. Also, the pockets worked great for putting gels and shot bloks in during the bike and run. I was very proud to put on the podium shirt for the awards.
And to QT2 Systems, I thank you for a great training program and look forward to what is ahead!
Athletes Lounge, you have taken this implant from the East Coast, employed him and made him feel at home. Thank you, thank you! It does not go unnoticed.
And with that I will let you all get back to training.  See you all at the races!
Full Race Split Details Here
Swim: 31:57
Bike: 2:20
Run 1:26
Overall Time: 4:20 (35th OA, 7th Amateur and 1st AG 25-29)
Lance's Jet
Obligatory Lance Photo (mom took it)

 

Michael Raelert getting grilled by the media

 

My Speed Concept before being racked

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