Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cyclist for a day

Monday's bike ride was a struggle to start. Already I had two days of heavy training. 8.5 hours, 92 miles on the bike, 23 miles running. So Monday was a struggle to get going for my 2.5 hour ride.

My father-in-law lives in Newbury, OH. Aimee jokes that he lives near the border of Pennsylvania but it's not that bad. Actually this is out near DaisyDuc.

I picked my road bike for this ride to change things up and give the tri bike a rest. It was almost 30 minutes into my ride by the time my legs warmed up and I felt like riding.

Then a transformation happened. I wasn't a triathlete anymore, I was a cyclist. No brick run afterwards, no aero bottle, no aero bars......just sitting up and enjoying the view. I didn't have a planned route since I don't ride in this part of Ohio very often and not for this many miles. I had a general sense of the direction I wanted to take and went for it.

The details I'm providing are for DaisyDuc because it's her 'hood I was in. Once I hit the end of my first road I could turn left or right. I chose left because it would take me away from cities I knew. I didn't even realize I was heading east on Route Speed limit was 50MPH but traffic wasn't too bad, wide shoulder and I'm comfortable with traffic.

As I'm riding along enjoying the sights I see a sign for Camp Asbury. This is a United Methodist Camp & Retreat that I had been too when I was a kid, almost 30 years ago. I never knew where this place was. At that young age it could have been near Columbus. But here it is near Hiram. I turn off Rte. 82 and work my way back to the camp. When I reached camp, at the bottom of a hill, I stood in the parking lot trying to remember being there. The setting was very nice. The green trees, fields and lake looked like alot of fun. I did remember canoeing on the lake. It was a nice trip back in time.

Heading back up the hill I continued east and made my way to Garrettsville. I saw the oldest Giant Eagle sign I've ever seen. Giant Eagle is a grocery store chain and the sign looked to be an original.

In Garrettsville I headed north on Rte. 88. At this point I started seeing other cyclists. A large touring group was out for a country ride. I would pass, going in the opposite direction, clusters of 5-6 people at a time. I probably waved to a total of 30 people. It was great seeing them on the road enjoying the day.

I eventually passed the Hermann Pickle Farms. Pickle Farms???? I took a picture of the sign but it didn't come out very well.

I finally started getting into Amish country. Ohio has several areas that are widely populated by the Amish. Riding through them is interesting as you pass buggies, farmers plowing with horses and clothes drying on the line. The benefit is that Rte. 528 between Parkman and Middlefield has 6 foot wide shoulders for the buggies. This was great for me on the bike. I didn't have to deal with the buggies but the horse poop had to be avoided several times.

From Middlefield I finally headed back west towards Burton. This would be my last town before heading back to dad-in-laws. Burton is like the maple syrup capital of Ohio. They have festivals and other cool events in their little mountain top town. The road up to Burton was probably the biggest hill I climbed for the day.

Out of Burton I took a little road named Hotchkiss. This road was a beautiful way to finish my ride. Nice homes set back from the road and spread out from each other. The trees lining the road provided shade from both sides, I was in a tunnel of trees.

By the time I finally made it back to the house I had ridden 3 hours instead of the 2.5 prescribed by coach. But you know what, that didn't matter because I truly enjoyed being a cyclist for the day. The mental refresher I received from this ride hit the spot and it was a great way to end the weekend.

So Daisy, yes I was in Portage and Geauga counties. You are lucky to have such great terrain to ride in. Get TriSaraTops out there for some riding.

Get on the bike and ride.

Playing the numbers game......

Here are my numbers from my most recent workouts.......

4000 - number of yards swam during lunch
65 - number of minutes to swim said yardage
200 - lengths in a 20 yard pool to reach 4000 yards

92 - miles on the bike
5 - hours to complete said ride
3 - fellow club members to share the ride with
7 - miles run after the bike ride
1 - hours to complete that run
2 - slices of pizza eaten after workout
6 - friends to share the pizza with after the workout, especially when you expected to be the last person in the parking lot.
4 - Time in the afternoon I finally made it back home having left at 7:00AM

16 - miles run
10 - hills encountered
142 - minutes to complete run
4 - fuel belt bottles consumed
1 - great friend to share the run with, TriAl

54 - miles on the bike
3 - hours to complete said bike ride
2 - bottles of Gatorade and Carbo-Pro consumed
6 - Amish buggies seen
1 - Amish buggie passed
1 - Pickle Farm sign
2 - counties traveled in

adding everything up for deposit in the Ironman bank.....priceless

Bold, no receipt necessary.....the feeling in my muscles tells it all.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Been busy....

making deposits in the Bank of Ironman. Between training, work and home my world has been spinning. I'll get back on track with posting on the blog.

I hope everyone has been doing well out there.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Can you help a fellow out?

In case you didn't know Flatman has a new home. Same guy, different name. He's rebuilding so send him some love.

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Road Food

I'm traveling for work this week so I don't have my favorite recipes available and I haven't had time to search the internet for recipes. So what do I do while on the road, try to eat healthy.

Nowadays breakfast at most hotels is provided. One of the perks to attract customers. The best part of breakfast where I am staying is the fresh fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges.....good choices.

I still manage to stay away from fast food, especially for lunch. Subway is usually a good option for lunch even though I try to limit the carbs and processed meats, turkey or chicken is preferred.

Dinner last night was the old stand-by, pizza. I also ordered a side salad. Except for the pepperoni on the pizza the meal was healthy. You have to get pepperoni on a pizza.

Short and simple today.

As Greyhound says, go play....recess is calling.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Reflections

Today I take some time to reflect. I don't get retrospective very often so bear with me.

Ironman Travel Day

So yesterday was a travel day that sucked donkey balls. Cleveland to Detroit. Late leaving Cleveland, late getting off plane, miss connection by 15 minutes. The damn plane was still sitting at the gate but my seat was already awarded to someone else. The next flight wasn't until 10:14PM. It was noon when I missed my flight. Sitting on the plane feeling like I was going to miss the connector I was calm about it. Take the day as it comes. Why stress too much., that was until I was told that I may have to wait 10 hours before actually flying to my destination, which also required a 1.5 hour drive further north (my final destination was Sault Saint Marie, MI).

I called my travel agent and he helped get me on an earlier flight but a different airport. So luggage was a mystery as to where or when I would have it.

I'm not used to travel problems. I have been fortunate to have very few troubles when traveling. I finally got my luggage the next day, delivered to my hotel, whew.

So I get on a flight to northern Michigan, one of those turbo prop planes that seats 30. It was a bumpy ride. My stomach got a little quezzy. I have never had problems while flying.

Then my mind started to think about Ironman. I'm reading the book "Becoming an Ironman". The stories are incredible. Ranging from first timers, to DNFers, to the fast. I thought about my day. The emotions I endured. Keeping my emotions in check. Feeling my stomach turn over. If I can endure this day of travel I can endure Ironman. Bring it on.

I Don't Think Much
When I started this blogging thing I thought I would be able to release my inner writer. I always have random thoughts going through my mind but usually can't get them down. I bop from thought to thought. Even writing a blog post takes me too long because I get distracted.

But I've been finding it to my advantage lately. As my training bears down on IM USA I have a wierd calm around me. Confidence is high. The body is responding well to the training. I'm preparing every day in one way or another.

I read the posts from IronWil and TriSaraTops about their training and how they are dealing with the long training days. The mental trial and tribulations. Reaching their limits and pushing beyond to find new corners of their personae. I think it's the teacher in them that allows them to write so beautifully. A different part of the brain functions better than mine. I admire them for their talents and I know they will rock at IM Wisconsin.

I don't think at their level. Maybe it's a male thing. Do us males have a certain confidence and cockiness that makes us ignore what lies ahead. Perhaps it's stubborness that permits us to push forward beyond our limits.

I just had to ramble a little today. It's not as exciting at Sara and Wil but it's what I got.

Game On Everyone.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I feel a little bit better now. A little stressed out right now, and I rarely get stressed. Quick recap as I sit on hold.

Wednesday: Drive to customer in Columbus, work, Drive home.
Thursday: Drive to customer in Erie, PA, meeting, drive home.
Friday: Drive to customer in Akron, 5:00AM start time, office, home, tired......zzzzzzzzz
Saturday: Try to recover and do chores around the house, include clean tri bike.
Sunday: Powerman Ohio Du, leave house at 5:00AM, drive 1.25 hour, race, drive home....tired...zzzzzzz
Monday: Have travel day from hell going from Cleveland to Sault Sainte Marie, MI.

Only consolation is that last week was easy because of Powerman and now I'm semi-resting while in the UP for work. I did have a good day at Powerman. Still waiting for official results to be posted.

The biggest problem is that I don't have my luggage. I bought some stuff all Wal-Mart to tide me over but it's been a crappy day.

I feel like I've already been through Ironman. I've had to keep my emotions in check, not reveal myself and take it as it may all day. It's been a mental IM training day.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Sunglasses and Tires

I had five hours on the bike this past weekend. That's alot of time to think of ideas for the blog. Problem is that by the time I finish the ride I'll be lucky if I remember two of them. So here are two that I remember.

Check Your Tires
Before I left for my ride I checked the surface of my tires. The front had some cracks, thanks to a bad habit of pumping them up to the max. I also found a sliver of glass in the tire. Fortunately my road and tri bike both have 700 wheels. so I switched out the front wheel and I was ready to go.

So check those tires before rides so you don't have problems during.

Eye protection/sunglasses
I always wear sunglasses when I ride. I have contacts so I want to avoid getting dirt, road spray or bugs in my eyes. I wear Rudy Project Ekynox SX with three different lenses; metallic blue, grey and yellow. I put the yellow lenses in for Sunday's ride because it was very overcast. The yellow lenses help intensify the surrounding light and provides a better view of your surroundings while still protecting your eyes. Rudy Project glasses can be expensive but I've had these going on three years. I also check Performance Bike for their glasses, they work pretty nice and also have clear lenses.

Keeping these two tips in mind will help make your riding more enjoyable so you can get your Game On.

Big Deposits at the Bank of Ironman

This past weekend was a busy one but very important for my IM training.

Friday is my typical rest day. I slept in a little and took a cold bath for my legs before taking a regular shower. I had to drive 3 hours in the afternoon to a customer for an evening migration. The work didn't last long and I was sleeping by 11:30PM. the next morning I just needed to check on the customer and drove home. I was back by 12:30PM. I still had to do my workout for the day.

Usually I have a long ride/run brick on Saturdays then a long run on Sunday....supposed to simulate running on tired legs. But with the weekend schedule I switched the two workouts around. I ran my 2 hours Sat. afternoon starting around 3:00PM. The weather was threatening the whole time but I never had any rain. I was feeling great running on "fresh" legs for once. I was in my target HR zones and had a nice rolling course. I'll have to introduce it to my Cleveland friends. All said and done I put in 16 miles again, same mileage as last week. I calculated my pace and I hit 7:45 average per mile. It was good going that fast but that will not be my run pace at Ironman, I'm hoping for 9's.

Back at home Aimee and I made some pizza on the grill and I prepared all my gear for the brick on Sunday. I went back to the CVNP for my Lake Placid training ride, aka the Death Ride. The workout plan called for 5 hours on the bike and a 45 minute run afterwards. This Death Ride is comprised of approximately 14 hills coming out of the valley with plenty of rollers in between each hill. These hills ranged from a short steep climb for 1 minute to a longer gradual climb that lasted 15 minutes. In between were rollers that usually lasted 20 minutes.

Of course some of the steeper climbs are later in the route on very tired legs. My first hill I knew it would be a long day as my legs were still tired from the 16 miles the day before. But the more I rode the better they felt. They started to loosen up and respond to the climbing. The best hills were in the middle portion of the ride. I did enjoy the entire ride and had some funny observations during the rides, usually involving farm animals and a slug.

As I finished the bike ride I rolled into the parking lot and mentally made myself ready for the run. I didn't look at my bike computer on purpose. I didn't want to know my stats until I was all done. The display on the computer shows RPMs and total time. It will be like that at Lake Placid also.

After a 5 minute transition I headed out for my run. This was the worst my legs have ever felt after a ride. Heavy and tough to move. I thought I would have to walk some but I pushed on. My first mile was 9:30, okay not bad. Then my legs started to respond to the new movement. My stride was short but quick. I made sure my upper body was relaxed and focused on pace and form. I kept it flat since I did a rolling course the day prior. When I made it back to the parking lot I had ran 5.5 miles.

Ride Stats: 86 miles in 5:05, 13 hills plus rollers. All combined 14+ hills.
Run Stats: 5.5 miles in 45:49, 8:20/mile pace. I'm skeptical on that but the GMAP and time don't lie. but I started at 9:30 for the first mile. The other 4 miles really changed the average.

Total workout time is 5:54:22.

Now if that isn't a big deposit in the Ironman bank I'm not sure what is. I talked to my coach today and she is excited because I am right where she wants me to be in the training. She knows the stuff I am riding now is harder than the Lake Placid bike course.

So after my workout I had to get home, ice bath the legs, shower, get dressed and go to my brothers for mother's day dinner. I'm glad he was cooking because I was fried, I'll have to post his seafood stew it was very good.

When Aimee and I got home I checked my training for the upcoming week and decided to skip the morning swim coach had for me. We went to bed early and slept in. I needed the rest after such a big weekend.

I hope everyone had a great weekend like I did.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I've been called out..... Bolder in Boulder. I knew someone would call me out in response to my interview on GYGO #17. So here are the pictures that I sent to TriGeekKahuna and IronWil. Now don't judge me if you don't know me. I'm not some sick pervert that sends pictures of feet and legs to just anyone. When I heard GYGO #15 and how Kahuna wouldn't stop teasing Wil about her foot "issues" I had to step up, literally. I just have a sense of humor that is a little off kilter and I just couldn't resist.
When I first sent the pictures I wasn't sure if I freaked them out. I didn't hear any response until they called me, yes I was a surprised triathlete.

So Bolder, here is my shaved leg, where's yours?

Another 16 mile long run today. Felt great and riding long tomorrow, probably in the rain, oh well.

Keeping the Game On.

Quote of the Day

“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”


If the rain keeps up I'm going to go play in the rain.

Go out and play....Game On.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Family and Friends Friday - Mother-in-Law

Some people paint an ugly picture when it comes to Mother-in-laws. I've never had any problems. I'm on my second one and still no problems. Sure they have their little quirks but doesn't everyone. Aimee's mom is no different than any other person and is a damn wonderful person.

Liz is the aquatics director at a local city's rec center. She has been teaching swim lessons, arthritis classes, water aerobics, life guarding, etc....for as long as I've known her. She knows what a crappy swimmer I started out as but has commented on how good I look when I swim.

Liz and her boyfriend Joe have been able to travel around the world and recently visited New Zealand where they hiked and went bungie jumping. We have been fortunate enough to join them on vacation and always have a great time. This picture was from the jeep tour of Aruba two years ago.

Liz and Joe will be at Lake Placid watching me put my body through the wringer.

Happy Mother's Day for all the lovely ladies out there. Tell the kids all you want for Mother's Day is a four hour block of time so you can ride your bike and train.

Enjoy getting your Game On.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Double Duty

I've been doing double workouts since the beginning of the year. So what difference does it make today that I mention that. Because I have to pay homage to Mistress Mirror and Master Placid.

Thank-you mistress for a good swim this morning. I felt strong and fluid as I swam next to TriSaraTops. My confidence is continuing to build as I approach IM USA. If you had told me three years ago that I would be swimming 4000 yard workouts with thinking twice I would have said, "Yuz crazy Alfalfa".

Thank-you Master P for the strength to perform my evening hill repeats with power and stamina. I know the hills will improve my running for the Lake Placid course.

Have you thanked the patriarchs/matriarchs of your triathlon course?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Seafood Pasta

When it comes to meals I've found some great recipes that are quick and easy to make. Ironman training has made it mandatory to whip up meals like that. This one allows you to choose the main ingredient and pasta.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine
1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup and Recipe Mix
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
seafood or choice, shrimp, scallops, white fish, fake seafood (crab/lobster), your choice.
pasta of choice, cooked and drained

Lightly saute the garlic in oil for 5 minutes. If you are using uncooked seafood you can cook your choice with the garlic. Remove the seafood and set aside.
Add water, wine, soup mix, oregano and dried red pepper in skillet. Stir constantly, bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Return the seafood to the skillet and simmer 2 more minutes. When done spoon over your pasta of choice.

Enjoy with a glass of red wine, it's good for you.

Eat up, so you can get your Game On

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Hills

Cutting to the chase today so hang on.........

Tackling Up-Hills
Whether you are running or cycling hills, how you attack the upward slope, especially turns, can make or break your climbing. Often times people think that the best route through a turn is to hug the inside curve. That's not bad when you are on a flat surface. Once the road turns skyward the inside may be your worst choice.

The inside curve is often the point where the slope is the greatest, causing you to fight gravity even more. Try to outside corner instead, or at least move away from the corner. On a closed course you can use the entire road. The incline is usually more forgiving and you won't struggle up the steep corner.

Running the Down-Hills
Last year at a local du, Hinkley Buzzard Duathlon, I was running the downhills at a conservative pace. However there were several others that were charging down the hills and just blowing by me. That's when I knew I need to learn how to run downhill. You figure this would be easy since gravity is helping your down the hill. But more often that not you are subconsiously putting on the brakes. This braking action is counter to the downward momentum and puts a strain on your quads tiring them out too fast.

I read in Runner's World about running down the hills. In a nutshell it said to treat the downhill as a controlled fall. Let gravity help you move quickly, turning your legs over at a high rate and using your arms to keep your balance. Your body position should be perpendicular to the ground. I try to move my shoulders forward to keep the right position.

You will look and feel like you are about to fall over, but again subconsciously your body will compensate to prevent you from hitting the pavement.

Remember hills are out friends. Hills will make you both faster and stronger. Flat roads can't.

Game On

Monday, May 08, 2006

Holy Schmoly......

have I really not posted since last Wednesday? Sure as shit in the woods came from a bear. It's been hard to balance the Trilogy lately and find any time to post on the blog. I want to put up something worthwhile and meaningful but I can't sit still long enough to do that. I have missed two weekend recaps so I will summarize my summary with two words(or letters)............................F' in A.

Training has been treating me well. Weekend rides are between 4 and 4.5 hours usually lasting 70-75 miles. Runs after the rides have been surprisingly fresh. Long runs on Sunday have been postitive.

Last week was a recovery week. Lighter on the intensity so my body could absorb the training.

Saturday was a 4:45 brick which resulted in 71 miles on the bike and 6 miles running. Kick ass part was that I did the 6 miles in 45 minutes, and this was after the freakin' ride. I was pumped.

Sunday was even better. For those the understand the word Hinkley will understand what I'm talking about. Hinkley is the best hilly running routes in the area. The roads around the Cleveland Metropark provide 6, 8 and 10 mile loops. I started with the 6 mile loop expecting to do two loops for my 2 hour run. I was back at the parking lot in a perfect 48 minutes. where the hell did I pull 8 minute/mile from? So after a quick P2, I went back out on the 8 mile loop to see what I could do. I was feeling great. I made it back to the parking lot in 63 minutes.

Now I will say that each uphill has a downhill that improves your pace but damn I was moving and still feeling good. I still had 10 minutes to kill of my two hour run. So I head back out on the 6 mile loop to do one mile out and back. Damn, I kept getting faster, 15:22!!!!!!

All said and done 16 miles, 2 hours 6 minutes, 7:55 pace.

I"ve decided that I must pay homage to Master Placid, the patriarch of the IM USA bike/run course. I've been paying homage to Madame Pele but I'm not going to Kona, so Master P gets my thanks for providing me with the strength and speed to kick ass on the hills of Hinkley.

Enough rambling tonight. Two for Tuesday will probably be a late post tomorrow due to working out of town.

I'm feeling good, time for you to get your game on.

check out my countdown clock. IM USA is just over the next couple of rises.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Let's Get This Party Started

In case you haven't noticed a recurring theme, I like to cook on the grill. Specifically my Weber grill using the recipes from the Big Book of Grilling. I've shared some great recipes that are mouth watering and delicious.

Many of the recipes call for a sauce or rub to be used. So today we talk about how to get things started properly for a great meal on the grill.

I really enjoy taking a variety of herbs and spices, some fresh from the garden, and mixing together a flavorful rub. With most rubs you want to coat the food with the rub about 1 hour before cooking. This helps intensify the flavors when the food hits the grill. We try to make several rubs at once then store them for future use when needed. A zip lock bag or airtight container works great for storage. The following rub is very simple to make and is good for any food; steak, pork, chicken, even fish. A true all-purpose rub. Double the recipe to store some in reserve.

Southwestern Rub
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (can also use cilantro)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

combine everything in a small bowl and rub on the meat or fish. refrigerate for 1 hour before grilling.

When is comes to barbeque sauce there are plenty of bottles in the grocery store to choose from. Many interesting flavors, some national brands, some local brands. In the Cleveland area former Cleveland Browns defensive end Al "Bubba" Baker has his own sauce and opened up a restaurant. I've been there and the food is great.

Well, I like to make my own sauce and Weber has a recipe that is easy to make and tastes great on anything.

Weber Tangy Barbeque Sauce
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup catsup
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash pepper

In a medium saucepan cook celery and onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Serve warm with grilled beef, pork, or chicken, or brush on meats during last 10 minutes of grilling time.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Get that food on the grill and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Bike Skills

According to Bolder, "It's all about the bike". So today's TfT is about the bike. I have spent many miles and hours on the bike recently, especially the hills. This past Friday I was OTR for 4.5 hours going up and down the hills of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While on the downhills I thought about skills required on the bike.

Skill #1 - Pedal Position
While coasting or riding downhill it is recommended to keep your pedals flat. This provides you with a stable platform for your feet without feeling off balance. You feet are also in the best position for when you want to navigate a turn. I've found that I am most comfortable with my left foot forward. Having my pedals level are very important when going down hill. Some of the hills I was hitting were fairly steep and the level cranks gave me better stability without getting pitched forward. Give it a try next time you are on the bike.

Skill #2 - Keep it Steady
Tri bikes are not necessarily designed for cornering, climbing or descending. The angles of the bike are much steeper which is great for when you are wanting to go fast in a straight line. Even descending can get a little hairy on a tri bike, I've almost crashed several times thinking I was on a road bike. To help keep the bike under control I clamp the top-tube between my knees. It's amazing how much extra control you can get on the bike by doing this. The extra stability helps prevent the bike from shaking.

So get on your bike and ride.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

I think of this quote every May 1st. Please help me fill in the blank.

Hurray!! Hurray!!
It's the first of May,
Outdoor _______ begins today!

I'll get a more meaningful post out later today.