Checking in from the Lake

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I put something together on here.  The past couple of months since getting back to the East coast have flown by.  During this time a lot has happened for me.  A lot of really good things, opportunities and people.  I expected my home town to be much the same as I knew it when I was in high school and college…but things have changed, people have changed, yet the beauty hasn’t.  I can’t explain why because I was really only gone from the area for about 8 months during the winter and spring months but that time away has really shown me how great the Finger Lakes area and in specific the Keuka Lake area is.

Paddle Boarding on the Lake

It’s a place that I took for granted for a long time and now i’ve come to realize that I am happy here.  My family is nearby and fresh faces can be found in town, along with many familiar ones of course.  When living in a small town there can be stagnant periods of time where it feels as if nothing is changing.  The people are all the same ones you grew up with and it feels stale.  However, I am not getting that feeling here anymore.  Maybe it is the fact that my perspective on things has changed…as recently as the last few months.  Either way, I’ve come to the realization that I need to keep moving forward in my life.  I have poured myself into my interests like triathlon over the last few years as a way to block out the negatives in life and avoid the reality, which is that things change and there are different paths to be taken and different ways to achieve happiness.

My niece Ellie, my co-pilot

The next couple of months will see the culmination of almost 3 years hard work.  Triathlon has been central to my life since the fall of 2009.  Since that fall I can’t remember a single day when I haven’t trained (or not trained because it was a “recovery day”).  All those days were accounted for and if you went to my garmin connect site or training peaks you would see that something was accomplished each and every day.  I am lucky in the sense that good things came quick for me.  Some people spend many many years trying to attain what they want.  Well what I wanted out of this sport at the very beginning was to race in Hawaii at the World Championships because that meant “you did it” and provided some validation to all the hours I spent training and separating myself from a social life (I am not the type of person who is good at or wants to expend the energy juggling the two, for me in everything I have ever done it is all or nothing and all my energy is directed at a sole purpose.  100% all the time, every time; that mentality is changing as I come to realize what I really want in life)…the ironman in Hawaii was this thing that only the really good people got to do and that along with the fact that I only knew 2-3 people who had ever done it meant that I must achieve this.  This is the mind set you have when with a one track mind.  Well from day one before I had any business thinking this way…my mind was set on going to Kona.  It was as simple as that.  I eagerly thought it would happen in the first year at IMFL.  However, I was simply not ready.  I needed more time.  So after that race I committed myself to triathlon and the lifestyle it took to be a racer that qualified for Kona.  So 365 days later I went back to IMFL and won my AG, taking my slot to Kona.  Since this was last November and the race is this coming October I have had a lot of time to train…and think about the race.  During this time I left my job as a CPA, moved to Portland, OR and subsequently moved back East again.  It can be summed up that simply A LOT HAS CHANGED in a year.  If nothing else when I left for Portland it put into motion change. That change is continuing to evolve and I feel like I am getting closer to finding the next endeavor.

So the next two months will be my reward.  I will enjoy the opportunity because it is all I can do.  Without the help and support of my family this wouldn’t be possible.  My parents are simply the two best people in my world.  I don’t know why they love to see me play sports (they always have) but they do…enough so that they without hesitation gave the full speed ahead on Hawaii after I qualified.  I can’t foot that bill and most likely won’t be able to for a little while.  So this is my year…this is my one shot to enjoy the sport at a place where the world comes to celebrate it.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and won’t take it for granted.  With that said, I am not going to Kona to “just enjoy the experience”.  While I hope I enjoy my time on the island, I am still going into the race with a goal of performing at my peak.  Having known I was going to race in Hawaii since last November, it has given me the chance to build my whole season around it and put in the required training to race at my full capability.  With that said things happen…things change, but what really matters is that I will be physically and mentally ready for whatever is thrown at me.  Now the trick is to translate that into the rest of my life.

Next Up: Timberman 70.3 (8/19), Vegas 70.3 (9/9) and IM Hawaii (10/13)

Getting Busy in Upstate

NWT Coaching Crew Heading out for a Long Ride

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve finally settled back down here in the Finger Lakes.  Now that I’ve finally made my base here its been a bit easier to fall into a good rhythm.  Pool swimming has been firmly replaced with OWS in the lake and I am starting to put my assault on all the Strava KOM’s around the area!

The past two weekends have ben very productive with both long rides taking place in Syracuse.  Last weekend the group, consisting of NWT athletes getting reading for IMLP and Louisville, pictured above took off from Mike’s house and put in rides varying from 4-6 hours.  The following day Mike and I ventured over to the Cuse 70.3 course for our long runs.  I didn’t get a chance to see the new course yet so doing a big loop on it was cool and definitely had me wishing a little bit that the race has fallen better on my race calendar.  It was a very fun run course with some nice hills to break things up!

Yesterday, I again got my long ride done in Syracuse.  This time with Eric Hinman whose getting primed for IMLP in two weeks.  We started out by covering the 56 mile loop in bright sun and ended up finishing the second 56 in pouring rain.  The rain did cool things off a bit so it wasn’t a complete bummer.  It was nice to have a buddy eager to keep going in the rain as sometimes morale can be lost when the weather takes a turn for the worse.  Once the rides and runs were done we both rewarded ourselves with a nice meal from the world-famous Dinosaur Barbecue in downtown Syracuse.

It’s not Sunday morning and my long run is looming.  Now that I’ve caught up on yesterday’s tour I suppose I should get on with my day.

Triple T Triathlon Weekend 2012

Last weekend I once again made the trip down to Portsmouth, OH to participate in one of the best triathlon events on the planet.  The HFP Triple T Triathlon, held in beautiful Shawnee State Park is in my opinion what triathlon is all about.  Lots of racing, lots of camaraderie and a true “grass-roots” feeling throughout.  The word to describe the weekend that best suits it in my mind is like going to camp.  The first time you go you are a little nervous at the beginning but by the second day you are cutting it up with new friends and loving life, wondering why you had never been before.  In the second year and beyond it becomes a ritual where you get to share the same joy and excitement you have known in the past and you are able to rekindle friendships with those racers who have made the trek to OH once again.

One great thing about this race is that everyone who comes to the race means business.  It itself is a hard enough race as it is since it covers over 140 miles in basically 2.5 days.  However, add to that a drive of 8+ hours for most of the competitors and you truly get the people who WANT to be there!  Which is how it should be right?  I will wrap this introduction up by saying that once again this race was special in many ways…including the fact that top-level talent was once again present giving myself and my good friend Mike Corona a great challenge.

The 2012 edition of the TTT saw beautiful weather in the low 80’s for both Saturday and Sunday and the lake was a comfortable 60’ish degrees.  The water temperature was a good 10+ degrees warmer this year than in 2011 which made it much more enjoyable and easier to stomach on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Super Sprint – (Individual Event – 22:01, 6th OA)

This is such a short race that you hardly have enough time to breathe, and the type of event which is pretty challenging for me.  However, I was able to drop my time by about a minute from last year so that improvement in a sub 25 minute race was good enough for me to be happy with.  The swim was a bit of a mess as I dove in way to early putting my hands right down in the muck of the lake and making my garmin HR strap go down to my waist.  After fussing with that thing so I didn’t lose it I made my way around the buoys, my arms churning like windmills….my form was anything but good.  Out of the water and onto the bike was next.  I avoided any disasters on the climb and decent and finished the race up by running around a 5:30 mile.  Its a fun way to start the weekend but I wish it was a bit longer…25 minutes is really short!

AM Olympic – (Individual Event – 2:12, 7th OA)

Since I was a part of a team this year the first two events would be my chance to go relatively hard and try to put us in the best possible position.  I guess you could say its a delicate balance because you want to save a little something for the 2 other races since you want to have enough in the tank to lead your pulls on the bike and run up the hills.  Because let’s be serious you still have another OLY race in the afternoon and a 70.3 the next morning.  None the less, I still raced pretty hard by biking around a 1:10 on a very hilly course and running 40:xx which comes out to 6:15 miles on again a hilly trail run route…which I absolutely loved.  This effort was good enough for 7th Overall and kept us in around 4th or 5th overall team.

PM Olympic – (Team Event, drafting allowed – 2:22)

This event kicked off the true Team Race where by which teammates had to start and finish together and were allowed to draft while on the bike.  Working together Mike Corona and I managed a 1:06 bike split for the first leg of the event.  In a bit of a different style Olympic distance race we quickly transitioned into the swim which is by no means easy as you have to quickly get off your bike and put your wetsuit on before make the run into the lake.  We were pretty proficient with the change and were in the water quickly.  After completing the two loop swim we headed out to the run course to finish the day off.  The PM Olympic on Saturday is definitely a hard race as it take a lot of effort to execute correctly.  Not only do you have to deal with the fact that you did a race of the same distance just 4-5 hours prior but you have to be on your game in regards to nutrition during the time between.  If you screw that up you can pay for it big time in the afternoon race.  Mike and I really didn’t have any issues on the course and we brought it home with a respectable 2:22, putting us in 4th place OA team heading into the half iron on Sunday.

Sunday Half Iron  – (Team Event, drafting allowed – 5:03)

As always the Half Iron had a late arriving crowd and started a couple of minutes after 7:00AM.  Many will say it is a bit of a death march for some as they make their way to transition and then to the swim, however I wouldn’t quite go that far.  I would have to say that last year was worse because the water was still so cold that hardly anyone even wanted to warm up in the freezing water.  However, this year with the warmer temperatures everyone was in getting loosened up for the final event.

As for our race, Mike and I took off in the TT style swim start together and swam the two loop course together, utilizing drafting to ensure that we were going as fast as we could.  My watch gave me a split of a little under 12 minutes for the first loop which was about 150m short of a true half lap.  This was fast and it was confirmed when my watch said 25:xx when we exited the swim and made our way to transition.  I am anxious to see the split times for the race because I think the swim was probably a good 200-300 yards short.  But it was the same for everyone…so on we go.  The bike course is a beautiful one with about 4k of climbing included.  The two laps were pretty steady for us and we ended up splitting around a 2:50.  Yeah, pretty slow for most 70.3’s but this is not like most 70.3’s 🙂  This left us with only the run to complete.  I’d say we eased into the run taking the first loop relatively conservative and then completed the second loop a bit quicker but overall relatively at the same pace…just a bit more exertion was required.  Nothing to crazy happened on the run…at least nothing exciting enough to mention here.  However, the fact that we stayed pretty steady throughout the half gave us a 5:03 finishing time.  We were shooting to be under 5 so I guess 3 minutes on the other side isn’t to bad.

The 5:03 pushed us into 3rd place.  We really would have been 4th place team except for the fact that the team which was ahead of us had a few issues during the half.  But then again that’s why you race, you just never know whats going to happen.  Ultimately placing top whatever team really isn’t what this race is about.  It’s great to be among the leaders and score some swag for the efforts but the real reward is the experiences that this race provides.  There is just no event like this one, it is simply UNIQUE.  I personally feel that every triathlete should take part in this event at least once.  It’s different from an Ironman even though the distances are similar…some say its tougher others don’t.  Me, I just think its different…and in a good way.  So do yourself a favor and find a year to fit this race in.  At less than $250 for the entire weekend + $100 for lodging in a cabin with your buddies, you won’t find a better deal!

Here are a good batch of pictures from the weekend.  Three of them are from the finish line of the Super Sprint on Friday night which consisted of a 250 meter swim, 6k uphill bike and a 1 mile run.  The guy I am running to the line with started right next to me in the TT style swim start (he was #32 and I was #31) so since he got ahead of me in the swim I felt the need to make up a little ground on the run.  We ended up crossing the line at exactly the same time, however my name showed up first on the results sheet so I am gonna say I got him by a couple of inches 🙂


It’s been a few days since I’ve been in touch with the rest of the world.  I haven’t had much “extra” energy to ride to the coffee shop after my workouts over the past few days.  However, I made it through the two biggest training days of my life (back 2 back) and am now on the other side.

The rides and runs were pretty tough so no cool pictures of anything right now…hopefully I will get some videos uploaded from the trip soon and that will be a little better content for you all.

So what is next?  Tomorrow, Eric and I are being picked up by a cab at 10:45 am which will end our 15 days here in beautiful Arizona.  I can’t believe it has been 15 days!  It was certainly a great experience and provided an amazing platform to train our butts off.  Perfect weather and as much time to recover as we could fit it.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  I previously have never had this much time to devote to training and recovery specifically.  This makes me very optimistic about what is ahead this year and the years to come.  I literally have no excuses so its definitely a put up or shut up kinda time.

So for now I am going to get rolling along and kick out a nice easy ride and run combo.  After that it is packing time…yuck!

Portland tomorrow and New York on Monday….to those that I will see, SEE YOU SOON!

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.

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!

Something had to give

I just wrote about 4 paragraphs of sappy mumblings about how the past few days haven’t really gone as planned.  Workouts weren’t that great and I had to spend a Zipp wheel’s worth on my car.  Yada yada…you don’t want to hear about it and I don’t need to be whining.  So instead of that I will simply say this.  When you start to feel sorry for yourself, STOP and watch this –> ,then go about your business.


Another Block Down

This past Sunday concluded the end of another 3 week building block.  This coupled with the fact that we lost an hour due to Daylight Saving Time kicking into gear made me quite tired on Sunday morning.  Ultimately leading me to skip the Sunday morning shop ride and instead sleep in a bit longer and hop on the trainer in the garage before work instead.  All was not lost though, after getting the trainer ride done along with a short transition run I made one my my best homemade breakfast’s since I moved out here.  Believe it or not I actually used a skillet and fried up some awesome turkey bacon along with fresh duck eggs (yes duck eggs, we have two ducks that live in the back yard and one of them has started to lay 1 egg a day.  I must say that the eggs are really good, heavy yolk and a lot of egg white!) and of course a piece of hearty multigrain toast.  It was quite tasty.

On the training front things have been rolling along pretty good.  Knock on wood I have been pretty healthy and my body has been holding up well.  As of late I have been making a conscious effort to stretch a bit more as I have been feeling a little tighter in certain places lately.  These past three weeks have got me very excited as I have really been able to execute all my workouts without any issues.  I am now very comfortable back in the aero position after a good three months on my road bike, my running seems solid and in the pool I feel that I have gained some speed even without a swim emphasis as I have greatly reduced my yardage in exchange for more biking and running.  I believe that this strategy which was concocted by Tim Snow, QT2 Systems Coach will allow me to reap tremendous benefits this season.

And so as with every training block comes a reduced volume week (“recovery week”) which will give me a chance to rest my body a bit more.  I will still have some strong efforts over the next few days but I will also have a day completely off.  For the first time this year I felt a bit tired this weekend, not tired from not getting enough sleep, just a bit sluggish from some cumulative training.  This is a good thing as it means I am putting in the time…but I am grateful for the extra hours in bed that I will have this week 🙂

Next week will be back to the regular load as I ramp it up for one week and then back it down the following week, which consequently is race week.  I am heading down to Texas for the Galveston 70.3 on Thursday the 29th and will be there until Monday.  Not only will I get to hang out and race with many of my friends from back East but I will also get to see my parents for the first time since early November.  This will be the longest time I have been away from them so it will be nice to spent time with them and once again share the race experience.  With Lance-Mania taking place, race weekend will surely be filled with a lot of excitement!


If you don’t have anything good to say its better to say nothing at all…That pretty much sums up my blogging lately.  I am sure that some things that have occurred recently could be blog worthy like how Lance Armstrong triumphantly returned to triathlon.  But lets be serious I think enough people have that topic covered in its entirety.  So I won’t bore you all with my thoughts on it, other than I think its awesome and I can’t wait to feel the energy he brings to Galveston on April 1st.

This brings me to really my only talking point today.  Originally my first race of the year was going to be the Triple T weekend in Ohio at the end of May.  However, based on the fact that in January I was already itching to race again I thought a race a little earlier in the season would be nice.  Plus I think that as compared to last year when I was still working long hours in the office as a CPA that my training is progressing a bit quicker than in prior years based on the amount of time I have to devote to training and sleeping.  Being able to sleep between 8-10 hours on a regular basis does absolute wonders for the body and mind.  So instead of a late May race I decided to jump on the chance to race in Texas on April 1st.  I will be returning to the location where my first IM 70.3 took place in April of 2010.  It really is amazing how fast 2 years have gone.  It will be fun to race on the same course and based on the amount of people I know who are racing it as well it is sure to be a great weekend.  Also, this guy Juan Pelota announced that he was going to be racing it as well, which is pretty neat.

With the Texas 70.3 now on my schedule it is helping me focus on my training during these initially months of the 2012 race season.  Typically a lull is to be expected from mid February to mid April when work is substantial and motivation begins to waver after the excitement of a new training year wears off.  NOT THIS YEAR THOUGH.  This year is different for a lot of reasons and it is going to require a lot more discipline in many areas.  Something that I have honestly been lacking even up to now.  There is a lot that goes into a good race day, way more than just doing the proper training.

With that said I am going to go get ready for my day.  It’s almost 7am here on the west coast and I’ve got a great day ahead of me.  I am on my “rest week” but todays workout is anything but rest worthy.  It is my key workout of the week and one that brings me closer to a simulation of a 70.3 at a slightly lower intensity.

Until the next time,


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