Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Blogiversary

It's kind of hard to believe that I started this blog 4 years ago on New Years Eve 2005. A lot has happened over the past four years. Many race reports, many revelations, many trials and tribulations.

Many friendships have been made.....some have stayed....some have moved on.

In 2006 I competed in my first Ironman at Lake Placid. Along the way I raised money for the Susan G. Komen foundation and was introduced to Bolder in Boulder, Tri-Geek Kahuna and IronWil.

In 2007 I whipped out a fast Half Iron race and fought the physical and emotional battles of trying to run long. Somehow I managed to complete my first solo marathon. I trained for the first time in Boulder, CO and fell in love with the area.

In 2008 I went long again at Ironman Wisconsin (Mooooooo). I continued to learn more about who I am as a competitive triathlete and person. I lost a friend to ovarian cancer. Ran the Bolder Boulder 10k. My daughter graduated from high school and matured very well over a short period of time....very proud of her.

In 2009 I had my best racing year to date. Stellar performances at sprint, Olympic and half-iron distances allowed me to push the limits of my mind. "Push the Mind and the Body Will Follow" became my go to phrase. I also "Hardened the F' Up". I also competed in the American Triple-T. My son graduated from college....another "child" to be very proud of.

Over the course of four years many people have stopped by to say hi and read my occasional rambling. i just like to write and be creative. Hopefully someone understands the message I am trying to convey, laugh a little, learn something about me..triathlon..or life.

Here's to an exciting 2010.

Game On

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sooner or later.....

"Sooner or later, we're all going to let somebody down. We're all going to screw up. But life is about how you come back from it, how you learn from it and how you use it to make yourself a better, stronger person."

For many reasons this quote struck a nerve today and I had to post it here.

Read the blog post about Bengal wide receiver Chris Henry.

I guess one reason I connected with this story is because my son Andrew is only 3 years younger than Chris Henry.

Friday, December 11, 2009

St. George Training Weekend - Friday

Some of you may be wondering why I'm writing from St. George.

St. George?

As in Utah?

And my response is, "Yes, St. George, Utah." Site of Ironman St. George on May 1, 2010.

Please flash back to this quick post back in March, here.

I expressed my nervousness on that day. Something that likes to sit in pit of your stomach. Well the someone I referred to in that post was Aimee.

Aimee is the one who signed up for Ironman St. George. She has several half-distance races under her belt and when this race was announced it just felt right for her to take the step up to the Full distance.

Aimee ran her first marathon in St. George back in 2003. We had a nice group from Cleveland doing the race and it was a great experience.

The IM training cycle began in November. Things are going well so far with the base training. We are putting the plan together ourselves and I like how things are progressing. We are working together on this pretty well.

So we looked at our calendar and decided to take some time off and travel out to St. George. Some early training on the course and see what this race is going to be like.

So we flew out today. It was a long travel day. The flight from Ohio departed at 6:45AM which means we had to be up at 4AM to get ready. My dad transported us to the airport with our bikes. This is a new thing for us since all of our races have been drivable. It was more convenient and actually cheaper for us to fly the bikes out with us.

We flew to St. Louis where we had a 3 hour layover. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be as we read the paper, talked and ate some lunch. The final legs of our flying took us into Las Vegas...3.5 hours of flying. In Vegas we got a rental car and drove the 2 hours to St. George.

During our travels we had stops in all four time zones.....Vegas is Pacific and St. George is Mountain. It was confusing the keep our times straight.

After we checked into the hotel we drove the run course and headed to dinner. I'll save my review of the run course until I actually run it and will put my comments in a separate post.

We ate at a highly recommended local restaurant, Scaldoni's, and absolutely loved it. Our waiter, Dave, was awesome. He made some recommendations that were perfect. While Aimee and I were reviewing the course maps Dave made comment about seeing the maps. We started talking about the race which he is very involved with locally. Dave is an avid cyclist and is on the city's race committee.

He provided us with some brief insight regarding the course and made us feel very good about how the race is really being embraced by the city. Being able to talk with a local about the race was very nice.

So far the weather is not the best. Average temperatures in St. George for this time of the year ar 58 degrees. It's the mid 30's this weekend. Possible snow/rain for the weekend. We are going to do the best we can with the weather. We do have plan B.

Saturday we run the course and will drive the bike course. More information to follow.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Moment of Weakness

Everyone has a weakness. But it's really a matter of how strong is a person to admit/accept that weakness. Even more so how committed is one to correcting the weakness.

There are many weaknesses out there that usually fall into two categories: mental and physical.

I know I have mental weakness. I'm a procrastinator. I actually find myself doing my best work under an intense deadline and within a short period of time. I also procrastinate if I don't have a huge interest in the task. There may be other things that are more fun to work on or do.

I also think I've developed an ADD type of mental weakness. It's not the chemical imbalance ADD that is treated with Ritlin. No, I'm talking about the lack of focus that many people are now displaying because of technology. How many distractions do I encounter during a single day?

  • Work e-mail where people are expecting immediate answers.
  • Personal e-mail that I check way too often.
  • Instant messaging.
  • Cell phone calls.
  • Text messages.
  • Blog posts - writing and reading.
  • Youtube videos
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Weblinks that lead to more weblinks
  • Television
  • Radio

Yeah.....the good old USA has become the United States of ADD.

I've been getting better about my mental focus. I go off-line with my e-mail and only update it 2 or 3 times a day. I shut down the personal instant stays active. I'm writing down a to do list. It's time to get my head in the game.

It's hard to believe an Ironman triathlete would have any physical weaknesses. It all depends upon how you look at it and what forces the revelation. For me it was a 5k+ at the beginning of October.

What is a 5k+? It was a Crossfit Cleveland event recommended by a couple of our friends.

The workout was to do the following:

Run 500 meters
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 squats

Repeat 10 times.

The numbers don't look to intimidating until you look at the finals stats.

Run 5k....5000 meters
50 pull-ups
100 push-ups
150 squats.

I did okay. Finished in just over 37 minutes. The pull-ups and push-ups are what killed me.

I am not the strongest in the upper body. I really don't like to lift weights. I've tried to follow a lifting routine several times only to fall of it completely out of boredom or the better weather of spring. I hate to spend a workout indoors lifting weights when I could instead be outside running or riding.

Anyways, my upper body was pretty shot by the end of the 5k+. My legs were fine. My chest and biceps were screaming. I completed everything in just over 37 minutes....about 10 minutes after the first finisher.....and about 20 seconds ahead of Aimee. Aimee paced herself much better than I and was able to do the upper body exercises better than I since she teaches Body Sculpting two times a week.

Yeah....Aimee did great.

We did the 5k+ on Saturday morning. I was fine for the rest of the week, but starting Monday DOMS showed up. You know who DOMS is.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

The only problem with this is that I was not experiencing muscle soreness. It down right f*ck!n' hurt!

I was messed up for a week.

I couldn't straighten my arms because the biceps were tight.
I was having a hard time reaching back to put on my jacket.
I had to bend over in the shower to wash my hair.
I was rolling out of bed because I couldn't push myself up.
I borrowed my neighbors tractor to cut the grass because I couldn't pull start my own lawnmower. Even then I had a hard time steering and the bumps in the yard made my pectoral muscles bounce up and down......ooooo that hurts.

I will never forget what that felt like. I never want to feel that again.

So what do I do to after I recovered from my 5k+?

I joined Crossfit Cleveland.

I needed these workouts.

I wanted these workouts.

As I approach my 43rd birthday I do need to incorporate strength training into my workouts. I also know this will improve my overall fitness. My core will be stronger and my endurance will improve.

I've been hitting the workouts twice a week and am also trying to do one at home on the weekend.

I can tell it's helping. My push-ups and pull-ups are coming along. Aimee is noticing some changes also.

So yeah......find a weakness and do something about it. It will make you a better person.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Fun, for techies

No not Trekkies. Those guys are weird.

Techies. Information Technology Professionals. Geeks.

This is for Christi and any other IT person who reads my blog.

How many Software Engineers, programmers, does it take to change a light bulb?

....wait for it......

None. It's a hardware problem.

Ba dum dum.

Besides, you would want it done right.

Oh snap.

Thanks folks. I'll be making regular appearances on this blog. Come back for more abuse.

I'm crackin' myself up.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Out of Control

That is essentially how I have felt over the past several months. My posts have been weak....if you want to describe it as that.

I mean...nothing for the month of November?!?!?!? Holy lack of motivation Batman!

I stood in the bathroom the other day and the sight inspired me.

Hey now people....keep it clean. This is a family type blog. It's not like I was taking a wiz or standing in front of the mirror naked....but I have been told.....


Actually I was staring at this.....

Yeah....laundry. And you can ignore my pink bathrobe hanging on the wall.

But I looked at the pile of clothes spilling out of the hamper onto the floor and realized.....
"Yep, that's what my life has been like the past several months."

And I blame work. In this economy I can't complain. I have a job I enjoy and every once in a while it gets super crazy...but I do love a challenge.

My last official race was the DoubleMussel at the end of July. My season was essentially over and that is when a huuuuggggeeeee project at work started to get very active. At times I felt overwhelmed and ready to toss in the towel because everything was piling up and spilling over.....kind of like laundry needing to be washed.

I didn't even want to read my favorite blogs. I would try to catch up in spurts but some of you I am seriously behind. Tri-Diesel: 30 behind. Mel's 2nd chances: 56 posts unread. T-Bone's reports: 27 posts including his Ironman Kona reports. Jess's journey: 56.

So what does one do when faced with what appears to be an insurmountable task.

You sort it out.

It's doesn't look as bad now. Work on each item individually and eventually all the laundry is done.

Mid November the HUGE project started to taper off. There are still some loose ends to tie up but I am able to work on other projects, think about blogging again and start updating everyone on my training.

Aimee was a grounding point during all of this.....just like she always is.

Big things are happening for 2010.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday he do that?

Simply unbelievable. Y0u can check out the story here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Race Report #2

I have several other posts in my mind that I want to write but I did say I would have a second race report. So it's off to the races again.

Akron Marathon Relay - September 26th.

I was in the office prior to this race talking with my friend and co-worker Kim. Her husband's company has entered a 5 person relay in this marathon for the past 5 years. She was telling me that one of the runners was injured and her husband (Bob) was scrambling for a 5th runner. The hard part was finding a person to run the final leg which would be 8 miles.

Without hesitating I said, "I'll do it." She looked at me like I was crazy. She should know better. She knows my triathlon insanity. Before we schedule any weekend work she always makes sure I don't have a race planned.

I was going to be down at the race anyways. Aimee would be on her own 5 person relay with her sister and friends.....running the final 8 mile leg. Why not go down and have some fun.

Race morning we got down to Akron and found everyone near the start line. Kim and Bob, Becky, Deana, Kristy, Kim and Kyle. Aimee's team was named the Intoxi-Kitties. They made up cool shirts and all.

The team I was on didn't have any fun name. Just the name of the company. Bob was running the first leg so Kim stuck with Aimee and I. Kim also said she had never seen the start of the marathon. I had to correct that so I took her up to the start line where she could see the fast runners and everyone else start the race.

After the race we headed to the first exchange zone. Bob would finish there and then all four of us would drive to the final exchange zone where Aimee and I would start our run. It was great having Bob and Kim give us a ride to the exchange zone instead of riding on the shuttle.

We made it to the exchange zone with plenty of time to spare and we waited. Several marathoners came through as well as some of the wheelchair athletes. The funny part is that I didn't know who I would be exchanging with. I would know based upon the bib number but I had never met the guy. I was told his name was Chris.

Finally 2 hours and 10 minutes after the start of the marathon my relay teammate came into view. My run of 8 miles would be starting.

Before I get into details I must add some additional comments.

  • I had done no speed work prior to this run.
  • I was two weeks post Dances with Dirt. Remember 18 miles of wonderful suffering?
  • Bob had been talking me up to his co-workers. Greaaaaaaattt.
  • Did I mention I have not done any speed work?

Yeah, the pressure was on. I was going to be the ringer for this team. I was just going to have some fun. The marathon finishes in Canal Park, home of the Akron Aeros AA baseball team.

So I grab the wristband from Chris and I head out on my run. I wanted to start a little on the conservative side so I could warm up and get into a good groove. The anticipated rain started to come down in a fine mist so that wasn't too bad.

I had several goals for my run.
  • Have fun.
  • Encourage the other runners
  • Hunt down two teams I saw leave before me
  • Do the best I could for the team.
I did have fun. Waving to people who took the time to come out and cheer. There was a group of retirees sitting in front of their apartment building. When I waved they cheered enthusiastically and rang their cowbells and clappers.

I caught up to the 3:10 pacer who was having bad cramps and had fallen behind his group. When I caught the 3:10 group I told them to keep up the good work. They were looking good.

I did catch those two guys in front of me. I didn't get one of them until the last mile.

I did my best for the team. In fact I surprised the crap out of myself. During the entire run I kept myself right on the edge of blowing up. I held back enough to cover the distance. I pushed the downhills and stayed steady on the uphills.

Somehow I managed to do this with minimal nutrition. I forgot to carry my normal PowerGel and had to resort to Gu. I hate Gu, especially the chocolate which I had to take at one aid station. I did manage vanilla at the next aid station but that was late in the run.

I had a blast thanking the police officers and volunteers. I saw several friends along the route who cheered me on.

I crossed the finish line 51:18 after I started. I averaged 6:30/mile and had one downhill mile register 6:07. The team finish was 3:07:21 which put us in 8th place in the open division.

After I made my way through the food area I found everyone and we watched Aimee cross the finish line. Overall we had a great day at the Akron Marathon. I would recommend this race to anyone who wants to come to Ohio. It is top notch and they do a great job.

Fortunately I didn't feel like any of these people the days after the race.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Catching up......AGAIN!?!?!?!?

Some of the drama from work is starting to die down. A little more manageable now.

So I've decided to take the time and write a quick summary of two races I was in "recently". These were relay events so I will focus on just my portion of the event. Below is the first event. Number two will be a second post.

Dances With Dirt - Hell, Michigan

This run was almost a month ago. A good friend of ours had asked us to be substitutes on her team. Aimee was going no matter what. My work schedule freed up so I could be the fifth person.

DWD is a 100k, 62 mile, extreme relay run. Those are their words not mine. The extreme part involves running trails. On the trails we encountered sand, poison ivy, mud, water, corn fields, roads, hills, rocks, roots, muck and all sorts of other stuff.


We had such a good time with Jen, Suzi and Nicole. Since I am a big studly type of guy you would think I was on a team with these girls........

but honestly I don't think it would have been as much fun as with....

Jen our fearless leader and team captain:

Nicole, the seasoned verteran:

Suzi, the third DwD virgin besides Aimee and myself:

The 100k course is divided into 15 legs. I ran 4 legs totaling almost 18 miles. Each time I ran I had fun, pushed myself hard and had fun. I absolutely loved the format, atmosphere, trails and people. Each segment has a name. How fun to say that you ran the Butt Kicker, Stripper Pole, Amputation, Where's the F'in Bridge or This Sucks.

My fourth leg was probably my favorite. Aptly named Vertigo due to the hills we would be going up and down. I was tired and sore and ready for one more run.

While waiting for Suzi to finish her leg I noticed a girl waiting for her teammate. I recognized her from the opening leg I ran called The Stampede. I was running behind her early on and her shirt said,"Pass me and tap my ass....Men Only!" I passed her during the Stampede and patted her ass while calling "tag". She had forgotten what was written on her shirt. I didn't think I would see her again.

Wouldn't you know it but I was about to start my last leg with her in front of me. I saw her teammate coming in and Suzi was about 200 yards behind. There was definitely a goal during this run. As this girl started her run I yelled out to her, "Hey 280 (team number)....I'm coming for you!" She looked back, recognized me, threw me a huge grin and took off like a bat out of hell.

Crap....this girl was fast. I would have to work pretty hard on this leg. The trails were twisty/turny through the woods. The line of sight was at most 50 yards before the trail curved left or right. Trees. Tall Grass. Other runners. I couldn't see her in front of me. I could hear her occasionally as she ran through some of the water. Not the splashing but the squealing as she was trying to avoid getting too wet.

It was too late in the day to worry about those types of things. I tried to find the path of least resistance and plowed through. I didn't want to loose any more ground on my target.

**** It may sound like I'm a dirty old man chasing a young girl through the woods using terms like target and goal. But I didn't know her name. Work with me on this people ****

Okay. So I'm getting closer. Slowly reeling her in. I have expended so much to this point I just run behind her. If I try to pass her she will just pass me back. We start chatting as we run along. She would pull ahead of me during an uphill and I would close the gap on the downhill.

We started to approach a corn field, one of many, and she pulled over to tie her shoe. How could I not take advantage of the opportunity. She stepped aside, bent over to tie her shoe and I stopped quickly to pat her on the butt. "Gotcha".

She agreed it was a fair pass as she started to follow me on the trail. We continued through fields or grass and corn until we popped out on a road. This road linked the two sections of trail together. I like to take advantage of the "easy" terrain of the road and pushed the pace. I wanted to pass some people before getting back on the trails.

My new running partner was just over my shoulder when she commented, "you sure are running fast." Damn straight. I was trying to prevent her from passing me. She finally passed me though on that road. She patted my ass as part of the pass.

DAMNIT. Now I really have to run hard to stay with her. For the rest of the run I was never more than 10 yards behind her. More tall grass. More corn fields. More hills.

With about one mile to go she made a proposition. Instead of us killing ourselves for the remainder of the run, if I stayed with her without passing...she would allow me to pat her ass for free at the exchange point. That sounded like a good deal so I agreed and just tried to stay with her.

We just so happened to be passing another guy who heard our deal and he wanted in on the action. "What about me?", he said. Well he didn't last very long so she didn't have to worry about the "other" perv running behind her.

I have now run 17 miles. I have one more to go. I need to last 9 more minutes on the trail behind her. My right IT band is not happy with me. It's starting to hurt. BUT I CAN'T STOP NOW!!!! I can't slow down. I'm hanging on for dear life as I run just off her shoulder.

I have never run this trail before. I do not know when the madness will end except for when we reach the exchange point....wherever the hell that is. I can hear people cheering through the woods. We must be getting closer.

Obviously she did know where we were because she starts to speed up. What the heck is going on! She's trying to drop me. I dig deep and stay with her. Up the last incline and through a three foot dip in the trail.

Immediately after the swoop in the trail we blast out of the woods into a sea of humanity which was the exchange point. I can only imagine how we looked to these people as we sprinted out of the woods. This poor girl being chased by some crazy guy dressed like this.....

As we stood there panting she looked over and said, "You didn't pass me." I conceded and didn't get my last shot at her butt. However, she wasn't done. "I owe you one more", she said.

Being the gentleman I am, I was more than happy to offer up my butt to my new friend Brianna.
Yeah. She was having way too much fun with this. I was spent though. I left it all on that trail thanks to Bri. I don't look too good......and I'm not talking about my choice of running attire.

I may never see Bri again but she helped make Vertigo one of the most memorable runs I have ever had. I looked up her teams results......she's 27. How did this 42 year old guy manage to run with this girl 15 years younger I may never know. I just shook my head after the run, because it was the only thing not hurting.

I had the most amazing time at DwD. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the weekend with. Check out the video Jen's husband put together.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catching up......

on my blog reading. Work has been crazy busy and has kept me away from posting or reading blogs. I can't believe what I have missed........

Jamie Whitmore is pregnant

Shawn is posting about as often as I am but has a fire that won't quit.

T-Bone is getting ready to race in the Ironman Championships Hawaii

Tri Diesel continues to dish out and find motivation

My Question Mark is sharing her senior year in high school with us.

Mel has had one hell of a roller coaster ride the past 3 weeks.

Pro Triathlete Bree Wee is getting ready for the IM Championships as well. She always has great pics with her awesome posts.

Now I have to get a real post up here for you to read. I do have a race report to write. There will be pictures and a video. It was a great race last weekend.

Game On.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is your next race?

Lately that is the question many of my friends have been asking me. I really didn't have anything on my race calendar after Musselman. I ran the Skirt Chaser in Denver but I really didn't race that. I just wanted to catch Aimee before the finish line.

But I am running this weekend.....with a team.....of girls.

I'll be running on trails with names like:

Stampede - the first leg
This Sucks - swamp running?
Swoosh - sections called the Abyss and Death by Mosquitoes?
Vertigo - mountain climbs and butt slides?

Our friend Jen contacted us about running at Dance With Dirt in Hell, MI. She needed some replacements after some of last years team bailed for another race.

Aimee and I couldn't pass this up. This is going to be so much fun. Pictures and a report when we are done.

This is Jen's team video from last year.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Revolution is Here

Revolution3 Triathlon that is. The crew bringing a full distance triathlon to Northern Ohio was in town for an informational meeting. One year from this weekend the Cedar Point FullRev and HalfRev will take place. One full year in advance, Heather Gollnick and her staff came out to look at the park, swim the waters of Lake Erie, and ride the roads.

Last night there was an informational session at the host resort. Since I am the USAT contact for SBR, I had received information about a club challenge that was going to be offered. I drove out to see what the race would be like. Oh yeah, meeting Heather would be a nice bonus.

A small group of people attended the event. The RD of the Greater Cleveland Triathlon, Mickey, was there. Sherman from Bike Authority showed up. There was Brandon, Ken, Tim and George representing the Cleveland Tri Club. Jim and Andy from the Spin/Second Sole team showed up also. Kyle Amsdell was asking some good questions as well. It was a great representation of Cleveland triathlon.

Heather, Eric and LJ represented Rev3 very well. They each provided great insight into the concept or Rev3, the race, how they want the race to be run, etc. After the general questions were answered Heather fielded some triathlon specific questions about nutrition, tapering, spousal support...anything we wanted to ask.

I was taking notes so that people could get a feel for the race. Here are some of my notes.

Currently there is no limit for entry. Being the first race at Cedar Point they anticipate good but not huge numbers. If they were to cap the entries it would be around 1500. Can't remember if that was for both races of not, FullRev and HalfRev.

The course is 90-95% done. Small changes are still in the works. The bike and run course are pretty much set. The swim course may move from one side of CP to the other. Last night the wind was from the north and Heather personally saw what type of waves the lake can produce. The white caps made her nervous. But she did say the "bay" side of the park was great to swim in.

Swim will be 1 or 2 loops, hoping to keep it one.
Bike and run will be 2 loops.

FullRev starts first with possibly a mass start followed by wave starts for the HalfRev. The HalfRev wouldn't start for about an hour after the FullRev. This should help with any congestion issues.

Due to the large pro purse being awarded there will be a large number of USAT officials on the course. Drafting will be the biggest concern but I'm sure the officials will be watching all aspects of the race.

Aid stations will be typical for a full distance event. 10-15 miles on bike and every mile on the run.

Similar to what Mickey does with training days at GCT, Rev3 will sponsor preview rides, swims, runs with pro triathletes leading the way.

Rev3 uses a front wheel bike rack system. No hanging the bikes by their seats. This would make everything nice and tidy. The racks will even have a name tag that you get to keep.

Club discounts will be available. Those that have already signed up don't worry. When the discount is available you will just need to contact Rev3 to get the discount applied....get a refund.

Even the volunteers can get discounts. If someone does volunteer for the race they can get a discount for the next year.

Rev3 is introducing a Club Challenge for the featured race at each of their events. At Cedar Point the featured event is the FullRev. A club can have teams of 3 men and 3 women compete for prizes. The lowest cumulative time of all six club members determines the winning team. Each person must be competing in the FullRev. Interesting concept.

There are still some logistical items to be worked out. Spectator entrance to Cedar Point is being figured out, especially if someone doesn't want to get on the rides. Family and friends just want to watch the finish. It will be worked out over the next year.

There are other things that I may not have written down but it will have the support and feel of an Ironman event, especially for the FullRev.

I came away from the meeting feeling pretty good about the event. They have been working hard with local resources to make the event attractive to local and out of town racers. Heather, Eric and LJ displayed a genuine excitement about the race. Heather and LJ especially had a high level of energy and enthusiasm about the race. The manager of Sawmill Resort was also providing input about training opportunities on his beaches.

The local support is definitely there.

After all the formal hoopla Heather answered some questions, took some pictures with us and signed some pictures. She was a pleasure to talk to and meet.

Here I am with Heather. Is this a blogger meet-up? A pro triathlete sighting?

Here is some more of the guys wanting a picture with Heather. The guy between me and Heather was from the Toledo Tri Club. Do I smell a Club Challenge between Cleveland and Toledo? Could be.

I'm glad I went to the meeting. Now I have to decide my race schedule for next year.

Game On.

Friday, September 04, 2009

It sits on my nightstand

.....usually filled with spare change, pens, nail clippers, chap stick, etc. It's the kitchen junk drawer but on my night stand.

I cleaned it out yesterday. I swear it was holding $10 - 15 in change. But I stared at the bottom. Just like a kid who eats all of his oatmeal from the bowl or cleans his dinner plate. The kid who wants to see the picture under the food.

If this wasn't so special....I wouldn't post it for you all to see.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009



Yeah you.

Who's yelling at me?

It's me....P2C. You know. Your tri bike.

Oh man you had me worried there. I thought it was some of my blog readers coming after me.

No one reads your stupid blog you hack. So once again, Where the hell have you been?

I've been around.

Not with me you haven't.

I know. August was my off month. I didn't forget about you. We had a good ride at Musselman both days. I figured you needed some time off also.

Fine...sure. I wouldn't have cared but you didn't touch me for two weeks after Musselman.

I know.

I was dirty. You put me away in the garage and I was dirty.

I know.

No you don't know. I WAS DIRTY! You peed on me....TWICE. Remember?

Oh that. Yeah, I guess you are right. Sorry about that.

Sorry don't cut it. YOU PEED ON ME!!!!!

I tried to wash you down during the ride. I sprayed water on you.

Oh sure. What about the chain. Water....chain.....rust. Duuuuuhhhhhhh.

Okay. I was a little slow cleaning you. I cleaned you up pretty nice. Lubed the chain. Cleaned the carbon fiber real good.

Then you just left me to collect dust in the garage. You sure know how to tease a guy. Put me in the bike stand right at the edge of the garage. Able to see the outside without a chance to get my tires on the pavement. DAMN YOU!!!!

August was a very busy month and I needed the time off. Don't forget, our season started early this year with Triple T. I was ready for a break.

Sure fine. A small ride would have been nice. Instead you use me as a holder for your bug spray. Thanks a lot.

Hold on. Let me see where August went. I can't believe it's September already.

August 1 Aimee and I had dinner with friends in Vermilion. Oh there was a lot of wine and we closed the restaurant. No chance getting up early to ride the next morning. However, I did ride forget about that.

Go oooonnnn.

August 8/9 I had to work then we volunteered at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. It turned into a duathlon because of the strong lake current. You should have seen all of forget about that too.

You mean my extended family was there! Damn you.

August 15/16 was more work and the Vermilion tri. I was in no shape to race but Aimee did the Aquabike.

That prissy pink Cervelo was able to race. This is totally unfair.

August 22/23 I had more work....again.

And last weekend August 29/30 Aimee and I went to Denver to visit Marc and Gloria. We saw Depeche Mode in concert at Red Rock. We also drove to the top of Pikes Peak.

We also went through a park called Garden of the Gods

Oh and then you probably rode one of Marc's bikes while you were there.

Actually no. Aimee and I ran in a race called the Skirt Chaser 5k. The women had a 3 minute head start on the guys.

Did Aimee kick your ass?

Almost. I didn't get her until 2.5 miles. We did cross the finish line together holding hands. We were both 11th in our age group. Aimee talked with Nicole Deboom after the race.

You're about to make me puke.

August certainly did fly by. How about a ride tonight? Do you want to get out on the road?

Sure but I don't quite feel right. Something is different. WHERE ARE MY FLASHPOINTS!!!!!

I let Eric B borrow them for Ironman Louisville. They looked sweet on his white Trek. He flatted twice because of some tacks on the road. But he finished in 12:10:10.

FLATTED!!! I'm about to faint. I need some fresh air.

Okay. I'll get changed and we can go for a ride.

And put some damn air in my tires. I feel about 60 pounds low. If I didn't like that guy so much I'd toss him in a ditch.

All set. Let's see how my legs are today. I don't want to go too fast but I'll open it up a couple of times.

Damn right. I'm built for speed mother fu.....

STOP RIGHT THERE!! This is a family type of blog. I have youngins' reading my posts.

Fine. Let's get going then. "BAAACCCKKK in the saddle again"

That's right. Game On.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Caption Contest - We Have a Winner

Thank you all for submitting your captions. Each judge, Aimee, Patricia (AMBP contact) and myself, selected our top three favorites. the caption with the most votes would be the winner.

After tallying the results a winner of the Anti Monkey Butt Powder has been determined.

"ummm, I dont get what is so funny about fartlek, I really dont"

Congratulations Big Daddy Diesel. You will be contacted about receiving your Anti Monkey Butt Powder.

This has been fun. I'll have to see what else I can get for some contests.

Now get out and ride, run, swim and get your Game On.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Caption Contest - AMBP Review

Thanks for all the captions so far. It will be tough to pick a favorite.

I figure it's time I should provide my own review of Anti-Monkey Butt Powder. When I was first contacted about AMBP I wasn't too sure it was a good product for triathletes. I know they say to use it on a bike ride, but being a triathlete what about the swimming part on race day? I is a powder.

Now I don't normally get monkey butt when I ride. I usually don't use anything when I ride. I believe the butt needs to be toughened up for those long days in the saddle.

Occasionally I'll get some bad chaffing between my thighs when I run. Some Body Glide or a good pair of shorts will prevent that.

But hey......I'm up for trying new products. So I agreed to give it a shot. I've used regular baby powder and Gold Bond so I wanted to see how AMBP compared.

Right out of the container I could tell it was different. The calamine powder is what makes it unique. It has a good feeling when applied.

I tried the powder for a couple of runs but I was sweating too much for it to do much good. But I will say post workout it's a nice relief. Absorb some of the sweat and prevent the dreaded crotch rot. Maybe they could come out with Anti Crotch Rot Powder. Maybe not. Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I am going to let my sis-in-laws boyfriend give it a try. He plays golf and gets chaffed sometimes during a round. I'll see what he says.

Overall I like the product. The calamine powder is great. I think I will use it more post workout than during. So like the monkey....I give it a thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Caption Contest - New Video

48 hours left in the caption contest. So far there are 6 entries. These people must not be telling their friends. Maybe they want to keep their odds of winning high. Tell your friends to stop by and read about AMBP (Anti-Monkey Butt Powder) and submit a caption for the picture.

Here is another video clip. Yes even bikers suffer at times.....and I'm not talking about pedal bikers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Caption Contest - The Prize

I have to tell ya. The PTMATBWF post has really generated a lot of interest. I got this e-mail message from someone commenting on my blog post. Apparently she has a product that I might like to try out.

Wait a minute. Was I reading this right? AMBP. Monkey Butt's. Is this serious? I hit the web site and read up on the product and to say the least I was intrigued.

So I've been chatting with the AMBP lady and I thought maybe I could help spread the word, and powder, through the caption contest. So guess what. The winner of the caption contest will be sent a package of AMBP to try for themselves.

Just look at all the great ways you can use this stuff.

I've been trying the stuff out myself and will be posting my own review probably next week. I don't typically suffer from monkey butt, however I do sweat like everyone else.

Don't forget to tell your friends about the caption contest. And the captions better be good. The surprise guest judge works for the add agency that came up with this video.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Caption Contest

Who can come up with best caption for this photo Aimee took of me during our Musselman weekend? I was talking with Kevin, a fellow DoubleMussel triathlete, before the sprint tri.

Over the next couple of days, while you try to come up with some witty caption, I will be posting about the prize that will be sent to the selected winner.

Giveaway Rules:

Submit your caption via Comment on this post to get your name in the running for some goodies. Comment once anytime before 6 am Eastern Time on Thursday 8/20.

You must be from the US or Canada. (Or have someone in the US or Canada that I can send this to.)

The winning caption will be selected by an impartial panel of judges including Aimee, myself and a third mystery judge....perhaps Paula Abdul. The winner will be announced the morning of 8/21.

If you're not a blogger, you can still comment, saying something like "Hey, this is John Doe from Detroit. My caption is blah blah blah" But if that's the case, make sure to check back on Friday to see if you've won - I may have no way of contacting you!

Spread the word and tell your friends to post a caption. I can't wait to hear what people are going to say.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Musselman Recap and Season Review

I needed to provide a recap of Musselman. More for myself than anyone else simply because this has been my best season ever. My racing was/is top notch and I have managed to push myself harder than ever before. I have learned more about what I can do and my future potential.

At Musselman I hit the emotional rollercoaster of a difficult race and managed to keep it together and finish strong. Keeping my race under control and racing my own race allowed me to pass so many people during the second half of the run including 4 - 5 guys in my age group. After talking with Aimee and reading other race reports many people struggled at Musselman and learned alot from their experience.

I found Mary's race report on the web site of my former coach. It helped put the race in perspective.

Speaking of the race. Mussleman is a race that is a must do. It is very well organized and caters to the athletes. The RD, Jeff Henderson, knows what athletes need since he is a competitor himself.

I don't know if I will do this race in 2010. There are so many races to do I hate to repeat Mussleman, but don't be surprised if I do show up.....for the DoubleMussel again.

Season Recap:

After Musselman Aimee and I have pretty much shut things down. August is a very busy month for us, especially me at work.

My race season started very early at the Triple T so my cycle is pretty much over. The competitive spirit just isn't there right now. We have volunteered at a local race. Helped others with their triathlon training. Enjoyed the downtime and reduction in training.

So what have I done this season?

Catch a Leprechan 15K.... 3rd in age group

Hinkley Duathlon....3rd in age group

Triple T where I had a very solid Ironman-like performance. I think I'm going to train to be more competitive next year.

Nordonia Duathlon which was too close to Triple T and I tanked on the second run....fourth in AG

Park to Park Half Marathon which was a fun training run.

The Dam Tri.....a huge effort that resulted in an age group win.

Twin Sizzler 10k.....sub 40 minute effort and 3rd in age group

Double Mussel.....Sprint win in the age group and a 5 hour finish in the half IM.

Yeah......I'm very happy with these results. Time to recover and rebuild the competitive fire for later this year and 2010. I just may get into another race here or there. Will definitely be fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday Fun - Performance

We all know that performance on the bike is a crucial part of our training and racing. How can we get the best performance on the bike. This video may provide some crucial tips.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

DoubleMussel Race Report - Half IM

At long last here is my race report for the Half IM race at Musselman. It's only three weeks post race. Enjoy the report.

Sunday July 19, 2009 – Half IM Tri
1.2 mile swim – 56 mile bike – 13.1 mile run

Race morning rolled around and I still felt tired from the hard effort during the sprint tri. At least the legs were tired. My body reminded me of how I felt on the last day of the Triple T. I got myself moving and fueled up for the day with two Boost and some peanut butter on bread. I also chewed on a PowerBar leading up to the start.

Aimee and I rode our bikes to the race site and got body marked. We racked our bikes and picked up our timing chip. While we prepared our transition areas we chatted with friends and competitors around us. I walked Aimee through the transition area then we made our way to the beach for the start.

Aimee’s start wave was going off right before mine. She was worried the 40-49 guys would swim right over the women ahead of us. I knew there would be plenty of room for all of us. When Aimee’s group was called to the start corral I gave her a kiss and wished her good luck. I knew she would be fine for the day.

A woman standing nearby made comment about how she saw Aimee’s chin quiver nervously as she turned away from me. The woman became choked up herself with our good luck kiss. I told her that Aimee gets emotional at the start of a race and I get emotional at the end. We chatted a little bit longer until I had to get in the corral myself.

When Aimee’s wave was sent on their way we were allowed to enter the water and position ourselves at the start line. We were standing in about 3 feet of water when the starting horn sounded. I started swimming immediately while some walked through the water. The wind was pushing some waves toward us from the left but I was into a good rhythm quickly and made my way to the first turn buoy.

We took a left turn around the buoy and were met with some small choppy waves. I was able to get into a rhythm with the small waves and didn’t have any problems making my way through the water. We started to catch up and pass through the women of the wave ahead of us. We were definitely spread out enough that I could make my way past people with no problems.

The way the swim course was laid out we made our way to the same waters we were in for the sprint tri. This would be the easiest part of the swim because this section is protected from the wind and the current actually pushes us into the channel. I did a better job sighting and moving around the other athletes.

Swimming up the boat ramp I didn’t stand up until I was in 12 inches of water. I stood up and headed to transition. As I started my jog to transition I saw Joella’s husband yelling to her. She was running right in front of me. She started 5 minutes ahead of me and we ran into transition together. As the timing mats beeped at us I asked Joella how the swim was.

Swim – 30:05 16th in AG

In transition I got my wetsuit off better than the day before. It slipped off my ankles easier. I put all my gear on and grabbed my bike. I told Joella to have a good bike and to be safe. I jogged out of transition warning people entering the aisle to be careful and I jogged by…I didn’t want a collision in transition.

On the roadway and past the mount line I jumped on my bike and started the 56 mile ride.

T1 – 1:37 9th in AG

Now I’m not going to bore you with a mile by mile account of the race. Overall it was a windy day. The winds were from the south/southwest. The winds were difficult to deal with and if not cautious I would burn too many matches during the early miles. If someone passed me I let them go. I was making sure to race my race. Here are some highlights:

Early on I was riding behind a woman slowly gaining ground on her. A guy passed me who was in my age group and I watched him reach over and pinch her ass. Since they were both wearing the same tri tops I figured they were married. I know I would have done that to Aimee if the chance arose.

As I passed her I asked, “Was that guy harassing you? I’ll have to teach him some manners.” “Is it sexual harassment when it’s your coach?” was her response. We both had a good laugh at that.

Fifteen miles into the bike and I had to pee already. The bladder was uncomfortable and I needed relief. I didn’t want to pee while riding into the wind since it would slow me down too much. I waited until we made a left turn and the wind would be more at our backs. After I emptied my bladder I washed off my leg with a water bottle and got back into rhythm.

When we finally turned north we were on top of the ridge between the two lakes. The wind was pushing us along nicely and my speed was 26+ MPH. I felt great during this stretch of road. The course turned east towards Cayuga Lake and a fast downhill to the road along the shore. I caught up to a fellow Cleveland Tri Club member and told her to stay strong.

The right hand turn at the bottom of the hill was sharp and I stayed behind the cyclist in front of me. There is no benefit of trying to pass him before or during the turn. However, he scared the crap out of me as he had to brake hard at the last minute and skidded slightly around the corner. He apologized to me as I passed him heading up the road.

For those of you that were wondering where Nemo has been I found him on the back of a woman’s aero helmet during the race. I announced my find to her as I passed and we shared a good chuckle from that. Her helmet looked like her little kids got to it since it was covered in various Disney stickers.

A little further down the road we made a right hand turn that would take us up the steepest climb of the day. I geared down to my small chain ring and spun up the hill. It wasn’t anything harder than in training but there was no point in killing myself getting to the top.

Once I made it to the top of the hill I started to feel like I was loosing power. My cadence was good but the speed and power just didn’t seem like it was there. I forged on and continued to take hits from my bottle of Perpetuem and chew on my Powerbar.

Paul, from the sprint tri, finally passed me and was looking good. I encouraged him to have a good ride and figured I wouldn’t see him again. Maybe I pushed it too hard during the sprint on Saturday. After he passed me I had to pee again. Going #1 for the second time on the bike is a little odd for a half IM but I needed to empty the bladder again.

A couple of more turns and I made it to the corner where my in-laws were working traffic control. I rode by my mom-in-law and gave her a wave as she cheered me on. It is nice having someone you know out on the course. After I passed her we had a long downhill back towards Seneca Lake.

I pushed a big gear to get the most from the downhill. But there was one thing I was fighting…..a headwind. I looked down at my computer and the 30MPH I was pushing wasn’t coming easy. I still had two more gears on my wheel to use but I wasn’t going to need them. During this downhill I passed Cleveland buddie Paul.

After the race Paul and I were talking about that downhill. Last year he bombed that hill at 40MPH. This year I was passing him at 30MPH. The headwind was that strong coming up the hill.

Rounding the right hand corner at the bottom of the hill I knew we only had about 16 miles to go heading north. The wind should have been at our backs but it definitely wasn’t helping.

For approximately 4.5 miles we ride through Sampson State Park. This section is the most painful, bumpy, chopped up road I have ever ridden skinny tires on. The road surface robbed you of speed and sent tremors all over your body. A couple of people passed me through here and then I was alone. I could see the small group in front of me but I couldn’t muster the power to get to them. I conceded to just make it out of the park to the better road surfaces.

Once we made it out of the park the road was much better. The smooth surface was a welcome sight. I got back into a good rhythm but I still didn’t have the power I wanted. All sorts of thoughts started going through my head.


This is the worst bike I have ever had.

What was I thinking doing a double?

Why did I push so hard on the sprint?

Oh yeah. I was hitting a low. I have had these types of thoughts during a couple of training rides but never in a race. People talk about the emotional highs and lows associated with long course racing (Half and Full IM distances) but I have never really been there.

Guess what? I WAS THERE NOW!

I looked ahead of me and hated what I saw. People riding ahead and I couldn’t make a good effort to bring them closer. Everyone else seemed to be riding better than I. I sat up out of aero…then I would tuck in again. I played with my gears to make the spinning easy. I tried to hit the downhill sections hard and spin up the hills.

It was just so hard. I finally had another “oh well” moment. It was along the lines of “Oh well I’m screwed.” My race wasn’t over but I wasn’t sure how I was going to salvage the race either. My big question was, “How is the run going to unfold?” Am I going to implode? How slow will it be?

I had to simply wait. I needed to wait until I made it back to transition and see how the legs would feel on the run. I had 10 miles to get myself ready for the half marathon. Let’s see if I could pull something out of my ass.

Bike – 2:48:06 25th in AG 20 MPH

Heading into transition I dismounted as usual and ran in my socks to the bike rack. I hung up my bike and pulled off my helmet. The day was overcast so I decided for once to run without a hat. I slipped on my shoes and grabbed my race belt. I headed out of transition at a steady pace but also made sure to take it easy for the first couple of miles.

T2 – 1:20 7th in AG

I had studied the run course with the help of Paul and another friend. They provided valuable information about the course and how to run it. I looked at the profile and put a plan together weeks in advance.

The first two miles are flat along the lake. Then the course gains 250 feet over the next 5 miles. Some of it gradual, some of it steep. After mile 7 the course is pretty much all downhill except for some rollers.

My plan was to hold back and conserve my energy until mile 7. After that I would go for broke and let it rip. Get into the “Go Zone”, embrace the pain and push the body with the mind.

“Push the Mind and the Body Will Follow”

Leaving transition I settled into a steady pace with a small group of guys. I know they are there but I don’t care because I’m going to run my pace. Within the first mile we are getting passed by a young quick chick. The 25 on her leg tells me she is full of energy and excited to be racing. I watch her go by and hope she can keep it up for the entire 13.1 miles.

At the first aid station after mile 1 I notice the most of the guys I was running with were gone. I had slowly pulled away from them. That was fine with me perhaps I wasn’t as bad off as some of the others.

I started my nutrition plan of taking a PowerGel at each odd mile. I would wash it down with all the water I could grab and drink at the aid stations.

At 2.5 miles we encountered our first uphill. A gradual street leading to the grassy hill next to a house. We could either take the stairs or grass. I choose the grass and power walked the hill. This thing was steep. A couple more degrees of slope and we would have been climbing the hill with our hands. That’s a sick person who puts a section like that in a race. But then again, Devil’s Hill at the Spirit of Morgantown is just as bad.

Once I made it to the top of the climb the road was flat and I was running with people again. I was slowly catching and passing people. I still wasn’t moving very fast by my standards but felt comfortable. If the course was flat I pushed myself harder than on the hills. I would try to gain ground during the easy sections, especially the downhills.

The course turned off the road and we wound through a wooded area. I passed a guy who asked what my pace was. I told him I wasn’t wearing a watch and was “footloose and fancy free!” It was liberating to be without my watch. I wasn’t hung up on my splits or overall time. I was racing how my body felt and right now I was feeling pretty good. In fact, the end of my bike ride had seemed to disappear. My attitude was good and I was running with energy.

I was staying on track with my nutrition. At each odd mile marker I sucked down a PowerGel and waited until the next aid station for water and cold sponges. I continued to pass some people and get passed myself. That’s okay. I was running my race.

At mile 6.5 the course turns onto a gravel road that stretches for almost a mile. And the road is not flat. There are two significant rollers on this “road” but the road ends at the highest point of the course. I just wanted to make it to the end of the road and begin my push.

After turning onto the gravel road a couple of us guys were passed by another woman. DAMN. Where did she come from? And she was no young chick either. 37. That’s what was written on her calf. She was keeping a great steady pace and slowly pulled away from us. I thought good for her. I hope I don’t see her again.

A slow and steady pace up the hills and a cautious pace down the rocky hills eventually landed me on the pavement of the road. As I looked down the road I knew I was ready for what lay ahead. And with that final thought I pushed forward.

I increased my turnover and felt the speed increase. I moved from the road to the shoulder because of the slight cant to the road. The shoulder was flatter and provided some cushioning. Being closer to the grass and weeds I felt faster as they went by.

I started to gain ground on those in front of me. I hit the downhills with abandon using gravity to pass more runners. At the bottom of one hill I heard a voice behind me, “I like your tri top.” He was referring to my Snakebite Racing orange and blue. But then I couldn’t figure out who was catching up to me. Next thing I know this guy is running next to me. He made some comment how his friends had given him some grief about his training run a couple of hours ago when he started. Damn. He was a young guy so I decided to let him go ahead. He told me only a couple more rollers and it would be all downhill.

I continued to suck down the PowerGels and grab water out of the unsuspecting hands of the volunteers. I was moving pretty good now and they sometimes weren’t ready for my grab.

Between mile markers 9 and 10, I powered up the last roller and hit the street heading back into town. I was still pushing myself pretty good when I saw Paul ahead of me. Not Cleveland Paul but second place Paul from the sprint. I had made up the 5 minute head start he had coming out of T2. I commented that I hadn’t expected to see him again until after the finish.

After I left Paul I came upon another athlete I wasn’t expecting to see again. The young 25 year old woman who passed me during mile one of the run was locked in a battle with another 25 year old who was running just off her shoulder. I didn’t say anything as I passed them. I was simply amazed at how close they were heading into the final 3 miles of the run. It reminded me of how I ran next to Paul the day prior.

I continued to chase down and pass more triathletes as the miles ticked by. Right before the aid station at mile 11 I ran up on a guy in my age group. I was taking no prisoners. I wasn’t going to give him the chance to hang with me so I surged by him with confidence and power that couldn’t be matched, at least by my standards.

I took water at the aid station and kept on moving forward. My run was coming together perfectly. Approaching mile 12, I ran past the 37 year old woman who had passed me on the gravel road. I encourage her to keep up a good pace reminding her that we can do anything for the final mile to the finish.

At the final aid station I patted Cleveland triathlete Joe Bush on the back as I passed him to grab water. I shouted, “Keep up the good work Joe!” as I kept heading to the finish line.

I can do anything for one mile. Keep on pushing the body. Turn those legs over. You have worked too hard to falter now. Mind over matter.

I got closer to the main area of the park and saw more guys in front of me. I might be able to catch them. And hey….look at that…they are in my age group. In the last half mile I passed two more guys in my age group.

I pushed it all the way to the finish line and was glad to finally be done.

Run – 1:40:22 13th in AG 7:40/mile pace

Overall 5:01:30 – 12th in AG

Friday, August 07, 2009

The lazy way to blog

I'm feeling guilty on several fronts recently. I have to finish my race report from Musselman. I have a product sample to review and pimp. I have other stuff to post.

But today I feel guilty for making you link over to Steve in a Speedo.

But, damn it's funny. Have a great weekend.

Bacon On

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

DoubleMussel Race Report

I know, I know. It's about freakin' time. Another race report posted almost 10 days after the event. Settle in because it's a long one....and this is only the first race.

DoubleMussel Race Report

or the

“Oh Well” Weekend Report

This race report is going to be super long since it covers the entire four day weekend Aimee and I had getting to, spending time in and leaving Geneva, New York. While it was a fantastic weekend spent with Aimee, family and friends, it was quite an adventure.

Aimee and I took Friday and Monday as vacation days so that we could make a nice four day weekend of this race. I was racing the DoubleMussel which consisted of a sprint tri on Saturday then the Half IM on Sunday. Aimee was racing the Half IM as well. We loaded up the trusty Honda Pilot and left home around 10AM. It was a very nice day for a drive to the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

We were about 30 miles from our exit to Geneva when the Pilot started to make a high pitched squealing sound. Then the smoke started to appear with a pungent smell. I quickly pulled to the side of the road. Sitting on the side of the road I noticed a parking area, not a full rest area, less than a mile ahead. I drove to the parking area and shut down the car. I opened the hood and started to investigate the problem.

Aimee was calling her mom and dad who were coming out to watch the race. They were only 15 miles behind us and would join us at the parking area soon. Aimee started calling around to find the nearest Honda dealer. Once Tom and Liz arrived we looked at the belts again and had Aimee start the car. After about 30 seconds the smoke reappeared. Shutting off the A/C prevented the smoke. Looks like the A/C compressor was seized up and the moving belt was rubbing along the non-moving wheel of the compressor.

I decided that we could drive to the dealer 16 miles away and work things out from there. Aimee also found a car rental place right down the street from the dealer. Unfortunately the largest car they had was a Toyota Camry. Let’s see…..two tri bikes, spare set of wheels, water, food, clothes, bike tools and parts, etc. No way all of that stuff would fit into the Camry. This was our first “Oh Well” moment. We transferred some to the in-laws car and the rest into the rental. We would make do with what we had.

We drove the final 17 miles to Geneva and checked into our hotel around 5PM. After getting all of our stuff up to the room we had to pick up my race packet for the sprint tri. We all jumped in the rental since we were going to get dinner after I picked up my stuff. At the packet pickup I chatted with some other athletes. After I got my race number I stepped up to the volunteer standing behind the goodie table. He was a tall muscular guy with tattoos down both arms. I handed him my envelope and said, “I’m doin’ the Double.”

“That’s what I like to hear”, he responded. I smiled as he followed up with, “I want to see you on the podium for both races.” I kind of shook my head as he said it but he managed to plant a little seed in my head. This guy didn’t know me but his comment was said with such earnest that he made me believe it could be done. As he handed me the goodie bag….”for fifty bucks I’ll tackle someone in front of you to help with your race.” This guy was cracking me up. I thanked him and I made my way out the door….but a seed had already been planted.

We all had a nice dinner and got back to the hotel. I prepped my transition bag for the morning and lubed the drive train of my bike. It wasn’t going to be too early of a day because the sprint didn’t start until 9AM.

Saturday July 18, 2009 – Sprint Tri
750M swim – 16.1 mile bike – 3.1 mile run

We woke up Saturday morning with plenty of time to get ready. I took a shower to help wake up. Drank a protein Boost and ate some bread with peanut butter. I had two PowerGels, one before the swim and one near the end of the bike. I would also use a bottle of Gatorade on the bike. When I was happy with my status I kissed Aimee good-bye and rode my bike to transition. She was going to either walk or ride her bike to the race. The hotel we stayed at was 2 miles from the race.

I had a great warmup ride to the race. I got body marked and picked up my chip before heading to transition to lay out my stuff.

This was my rack space

I met some fellow DoubleMussel participants and we chatted while getting our gear ready. I met Kevin and Joella. Cleveland triathlete and friend Paul Lentini was there doing the Double. The tattoo guy from the night before walked by and I told him Paul would be my competition. Paul is a pretty “solid” guy and my new friend started to back off from the $50 I was offering him to tackle Paul. This type of exchange helped add to the relaxed atmosphere surrounding the race.

Here I am talking to Kevin.

My final preparation for the race would be a walk through of the entire transition. I want to be familiar with the path I would be taking. What is the ground like? What visual cues will I see in order to find my bike?

I walked over to the swim start then the swim exit. I pictured myself coming out of the water and did a walk through of what my transitions would be like. I walked through my swim-to-bike transition all the way to the bike mount line. Then I re-entered the transition area pretending to coming in from the bike course. Where is the dismount line? What is the area like? There were a couple of rough patches I would need to watch out for. Back to my transition spot and pretend to get my running gear on. Walk back out transition and follow the beginning of the run course.

It may take a while to get through transition several times but knowing where you are going is important. Making sure my gear is ready and in the order I expect it to be..crucial. I don’t have blazing transitions naturally; it takes practice and mental preparation.

I grabbed my swim gear and walked with Aimee over to the start area. I was in the fifth start wave behind two waves of women. We were able to watch the first wave from the bank of the canal. We watched as some people swam through floating seaweed…..mental note to stay right. Since my group was starting behind two waves of women I wasn’t sure what the extra traffic would mean in the water. Would I have to swim around a lot of bodies? As Aimee was putting it…a bunch of guys swimming over helpless women in the water. I’d try to be nice and avoid any contact with other swimmers unless they were wearing the same color cap as I. But the theme of the weekend surfaced again, “Oh Well”. We would just have to see what happens.

The 40 – 49 men entered the water for the open water start. We had to swim out to the start line between two buoys. We tread water until the final countdown. I positioned myself front row slightly to the right of center. Because of the floating stuff, I started right so I could avoid the gross stuff.

At the sound of the horn I was off like a bandit. I got into my race pace very quickly….I do best with open water starts. I was pushing hard from the start and finally settled in for the remainder of the swim. Actually my stroke and pace didn’t change much. I was pushing hard and getting as much air as possible with each breath.

I did start to catch some of the women but there was plenty of room to swim around them. After making a left hand turn I accidentally ran into a woman doing breast stroke. I popped my head up and she said “sorry”. I replied no problem and got back to business. I thought it was funny she said sorry to me since I ran into her because I wasn’t looking. But I know she felt sorry for being “in my way” or “slow”. In my mind there is no need to be sorry. I don’t mind sharing the water with my fellow triathletes… matter how fast or slow we are….because even I’m slow compared to others.

I swam the rest of the way to the boat ramp weaving around other swimmers. I swam all the way up the ramp before popping up and heading to transition. Someone in the crowd said “seventh” as I went by. Looking at the results I was indeed seventh in my swim wave of the 40 – 49 age groups. I knew I had a good swim and this was proof positive.

Swim – 12:08 3rd in AG

The swim to bike transition is always the toughest for me. I have been having problems this year with getting my wetsuit off quickly. The last part just won’t go over my calves or past my ankles. I’m still happy with the transition as I kept it moving forward. The scariest part was mounting the bike. I had already decided that I would run pretty far past the mount line before jumping on the bike. As I headed toward the mount line I watched a woman weave back and forth across the lane trying to clip in. I had to time where I ran with where she was swerving. That could have been a bad collision. Once I made it past her I jumped on the seat and headed out for a ride.

T1 – 1:34 9th in AG

How bad could a 16 mile bike ride? I do that in my sleep nowadays. After the first major uphill I settled into a good pace and kept within a reasonable distance to a good rider ahead. I figured to let him set the pace a little. About 5 or 6 miles into the course a guy passed me in my age group. I decided to keep him in my sights and increase my pace.

I kept a legal distance behind this new rider as we passed people from prior start waves. The guy in my age group slowly increased his lead but I wasn’t worried about it. I could still see him and I had to reserve some energy for the half IM on Sunday.

At the 10 mile mark I sucked down a PowerGel so that my legs would be ready for the run. The final mile back to transition is slightly downhill and I could maintain a fast pace continuing to pass more people.

During the final straight towards transition I pushed past several more riders so that I would have a clear shot at the dismount line. I slipped my feet out of the shoes and swung my right leg over the seat as I coasted to the mount line. I hopped off the bike and ran into transition.

Bike – 43:54 2nd in AG, 22.5 MPH Avg, the guy who passed me was 1st

As I approached my transition spot I noticed the guy who had passed me was still in transition. I racked my bike quickly and slipped on my running shoes. I grabbed my visor and race belt then headed towards the transition exit. The visor and belt would be put on while running.

Here we are both in transition after the bike....time to run.

T2 – 00:47 1st in AG, 5th overall

I wanted to get into a quick but easy pace. I needed to remember that there was a half IM waiting for me less than 24 hours away. As I reached the asphalt path that we would be running on, my competition came up behind me and started to pass. It was time to do or die. I latched onto his shoulder and kept pace with him.

We were running pretty fast and the pace was just on the edge of anaerobic. I was breathing heavy but tried to keep it under control so he wouldn’t hear me straining. I kept on him and he would glance over his shoulder to see me still right behind him. After about 1.5 miles we started chatting and eased up the pace just a little.

Paul was doing the DoubleMussel as well and wanted to conserve some energy for Sunday. Idle chit-chat for the next mile didn’t mean our pace dropped too much. We continued to pass other runners and push each other.

With approximately half a mile to go I pushed ahead of Paul. I wanted to achieve two things; gain what little time advantage I could over my DoubleMussel competition and beat Paul. We didn’t know our positions in the race but I didn’t want to cross the finish line behind him. In the past I have conceded position to competitors because I haven’t put much emphasis on being competitive. But this race was different. I was feeling great. I was racing smart and I deserved to cross the line first. I was willing to burn the extra matches despite the looming half IM Sunday morning.

Here I am finishing the run. Thanks for taking pictures Aimee.

Run – 21:09 4th in AG 6:37/mile pace

After crossing the finish line I waited for Paul and congratulated him on a great first race. We chatted and fueled up with fruit and drinks. The timing company was posting results occasionally and we had to wait a bit to get our finishing times. I wasn’t wearing a watch so I didn’t know my splits or final time. Once I saw the results I was very happy with my time and place. Paul and I finished 6 seconds apart taking the top two spots in our age group. I found Paul and told him our position. I apologized for having pushed ahead at the end and taking first. One of Paul’s friend replied, “someone has to win.” Damn straight and it was me.

The awards ceremony was cool because they had podium spots to stand on as we held our bottle of wine, Nuun electrolytes and Musselman socks. It was great to stand up there wearing my Snakebite jacket and congratulating the other two “old guys”.

On the podium....

Final time – 1:19:32 1st in AG, 20th Overall

Monday, July 27, 2009

Huntington Tri Spectator Race Report

Oh I have two race reports to finish from 8 days ago, DoubleMussel at the Musselman Tri on July 18 -19.

But I have to post this first. This past weekend, yesterday, TriSaraTops and I watched three young women race. We, Aimee also, provided them with guidance and training for the Huntington Sprint Tri. Please cruise over to the EvoTri2 blog to read what I had to say...from a spectators view.

3 Young Quick Chicks

I'll be posting my own race reports soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Dam Tri

I finally finished the damn race report for the Dam Tri. Let's see now.....1..2..3..4..17 days after the race and I have finally finished my race report. Can we say procrastinate? I will admit that things have been busy with work. I did work on the report while waiting for lengthy computer things to finish. Yesterday I was waiting at a customer and decided to finish the race report. So without further delay.....The Dam Tri Race Report.............

How can you argue with a race called the Dam Tri? And the website had such a cute beaver as the mascot. Aimee wanted at least one tri to shake out the racing cobwebs and this race fit perfectly into the schedule. It wasn’t too close to the Musselman Tri in late July, yet close enough to home. Meadville, PA is a reasonable two hour drive from home and Alleghany College was offering accommodations on the cheap, $15 per person.

So we drove out Saturday afternoon to get into our apartment/room, scope out the course and have a good meal. First off the apartment we stayed in was awesome. These buildings were no more than 5 years old and were huge. Amazingly we shared a 5 bedroom, two story apartment with friends Adam and Beth from Cleveland. We had a full size fridge, two bathrooms with showers, separate bedrooms for each of us and pristine conditions.

Here is the apartment

Adam trying on his aero helmet for the first time. Just kidding....we were goofing around.

Aimee and Beth in the kitchen area joking around some more.

The big picture window in the sitting area

After settling in we drove up to the race site to check out the transition area and beach. After seeing where our bikes would be racked we drove the bike course. The bike course would keep us honest about our abilities without being too hard. A couple of the climbs were steep but short, nothing that we haven’t trained on.

Back at the college apartment we waited for Beth and Adam to return from a short bike ride. Aimee and I took a small nap cuddled together in a single college bed. It was so cozy.

When they returned and showered we headed to an Italian restaurant the race director recommended. We had lasagna and spaghetti with a nice salad and fresh bread. We saw a couple other athletes there but even without us being there the place would have been busy.

We grabbed some snacks on our way back to the college and settled in for the night. We prepped our race bags and gear. Put the race numbers on our bikes and chatted for the rest of the evening. Around 10PM it was time to call it a night. We all retired to our individual little rooms.

We woke up around 5AM Sunday morning to get ready for the race. The race didn’t start until 9AM but transition opened up at 6:30. Aimee wanted to get there early to get a good spot on the rack. There was a little bit of rain moving through the area as we parked and got our gear out. We placed our bikes on the racks and covered the seats and aero pads with our wetsuits to keep everything dry.

Slowly more people started showing up. We had almost two hours to kill so we were able to talk with other people from Cleveland and other athletes nearby. I took some pictures and got my mind into race mode. I was relaxed and calm.

One thing that would be different with this race would be my splits. I couldn’t find my race watch before we left for Pennsylvania, so I decided I wouldn’t worry about it and not wear one. I would run this race purely on feel. No worries about how long I have been out there. No worries about when I would get back to transition, no mile splits on the run….nothing. It was actually quite liberating. I never missed the watch.

I was in the third wave to start. First Elites, then 39 and under, then my wave...the 40+ old guys. We were up to our waist for the start so it wasn’t a true beach start. I hate beach starts so I was happy with where we were. We were nicely spread out and there wasn’t much contact for a mass start. I was cruising along when a guy was closing in on me from the left. We had the markers on our left so I wasn’t sure where he was going heading to the right. I slowed down so I could swim behind him and continue on course. I think my sighting was okay. I know I was drifting left and right so I was not straight. I never found anyone to draft with either, at least someone I felt comfortable drafting with. A couple of us from the wave started to catch the green caps from the prior wave which is always a little mental boost.

I was feeling good and exiting the water I thought I was in good position. I apparently also looked like a dork...or maybe that is my extreme intensity being focused on the race. Yeah that's it. I'm focused. After looking at the results I was the second in my AG and fourth in the wave to exit the water.

Swim time: 25:00

The run to transition was pretty far…uphill….on grass and asphalt. Yeah this picture is taken from the transition area. The beach is waaaaayyyyy down there.

There was no other way to do the transition so it wasn’t that bad. Everyone had to do the same run. Adam was in a rack just before my rack. He had a nice little bucket of water to rinse the feet. I took a quick step through it since he was long gone being in the prior wave. As I stepped out I knocked it over. DOH!!! I commented to a volunteer, “boy is she going to be pissed.” I was referring to Adams girlfriend Beth who would be using the bucket as well during her transition. Fortunately there was still some water in it.

I got my helmet and sunglasses on then started getting my socks and shoes on. Grab the bike and be gone from the transition. The mount line was around the corner from the exit and afforded me a great jump onto the saddle before heading out of the park. Despite what appears to be a slow T1 time I was the second fastest in my AG by 5 seconds. I told you it was a long run. And I passed the guy who was first out of the swim in my AG. So I was first in my AG out on the bike.

T1 time: 2:49

In order to hit the main loop of the bike course we had to climb a half mile out of the park. It wasn’t bad as long as I didn’t try to zip out of the park. There was no reason to burn up too much energy this early in the race.

The first loop of the bike was without much incident. At one turn I was gaining on two riders. I looked ahead and saw that Bubba Joe (driving a support vehicle) had stopped to talk with Billy Ray (course volunteer) and were not paying attention to us. The first guy was trying to figure out where to go. So I’m yelling from 50 yards back to make the right hand turn.

The bike traffic was pretty light since I was in the 3rd wave. I passed a fair number of people and was passed maybe once. The miles markers on the road were every three miles and my bike computer was spot on with the markings. The volunteers were great at the intersections often comprising of emergency crews.

As I approached the entrance to the park in order to start loop number two I thought how quickly the first loop seemed to go by. Some of the sprint athletes were entering the bike course now. It would be a little more congested but not too bad. The Olympic racers had to do an additional section during the second loop. It was a nice quiet road the reminded me of the Triple T, including the only hill that would require me to stand…steep little sucker.

Back to the main loop we rejoined the sprint racers. It was great seeing so many people doing the race. There was another steep section that had some people walking their bikes. I offered words of encouragement to them as I went by and saw a couple of smiles in return.

On one of the climbs I was passed by a guy from an older age group. He was riding strong but I kept to my own game plan and simply kept in sight. I wasn’t going to race him or try to keep up with him.

The second loop was pretty non-eventful. During that last major climb two things happened. First I was passing some of the sprint athletes on their mountain or road bikes. Again I was excited to see so many people doing the race. I came up on one girl who was grinding away in her big chain ring on her road bike. This is the exchange we had:

Me: Get in your small chain ring!!!

Her: Which lever?

Me: Left hand!

Her: Which one?

Me: I looked back and said, “Small!”


Her: THANK-YOU!!!!!

She started spinning up the remainder of the hill. Poor girl. I’m glad I was able to help but she really needed to know how to shift her gears.

Second observation during the final three miles of the bike…..I was gaining on the guy who passed me earlier. During the last mile we traded position a couple of times and I followed him into the park heading back to transition. It’s all downhill heading back to transition and there were cars parked all along the road. I didn’t attack the hill to fast since I didn’t want to risk a crash into a car or spectator. I pulled my feet out of my shoes and prepared to dismount. I still had a lot of speed as I jumped off the pedals and ran across the timing mat, almost too much speed as my feet had a hard time keeping up with my forward momentum.

Bike time: 1:12:05

Second fastest AG bike by 58 seconds

In transition I racked my bike, pulled off my helmet and slipped on my running shoes. I grabbed my hat and race belt and was gone.

T2 time: 00:45

Fastest AG T2 by 20 seconds

I made it out of transition ahead of the guy I was quietly battling. I wanted to take the first mile easy and settle into a good pace without blowing up. We had to climb out away from the lake and I wasn’t going to fry my legs this early in a 10k. The “old” guy behind me passed me and I was happy to let him go. He was within sight as we crested the hill and I kept him within 20 yards for the next 3 miles.

Mile 3 was on the reservoir dam, hence the name The Dam Tri, which was an out and back. I could see where I was in relation to those ahead of me. Not too many people were heading in the opposite direction. I saw some elite athletes and some other age groupers. Adam was about .5 mile in front of me and was looking strong.

At each aid station I was taking water. During mile 3 I sucked down a PowerGel and grabbed two waters at the next aid station to help with the absorption. I only needed another 20 minutes out of my body.

As I followed the “old” guy into the wooded trail portion of the run he slowed just a bit. I took this as my opportunity to pass him and begin my final push to the finish line. My two mantras were now front and center in my brain, “Do anything in 20 minutes” and PTMATBWF. Oh yeah….I was really racing now.

The wooded trail was my favorite part of the run course. Despite the slight uphill nature of the trail I felt great. I was really moving at a good pace. I kept putting more time on the guy behind me and was passing some of the sprint racers. When I reached the end of the trail I was near the entrance to the park. From here on it would be primarily downhill, at least that’s what I thought. I didn’t know the entire run course. We didn’t drive it or anything.

So I’m flying down the road and make a left hand turn. A short uphill and then a right turn to the out and back. The out and back started off downhill. Oops, the return would be uphill. Oh well. I’ve already committed myself to an all out effort and this hill wasn’t going to keep me down. At the end of the downhill were three ladies who had the biggest smiles on their faces as I approached their aid station. They were so happy to be there helping people make it through the race. I gave them a big smile and thanked them for being there.

Heading back up the hill I saw where some of my competition was; far enough back that I didn’t need to worry about them. I was going for time now and the clock was ticking away. Remember now, I am not wearing my watch. I do not know how fast I have been running. I do not know how long I have been racing.

At the top of the hill I start running to the left. A woman at the intersection yells at me to turn right instead. I smile at her, laugh and thank her for the correction. I get back to pace and head towards the finish line. The sprint and Olympic run courses rejoin and everyone heads down the road towards the finish line.

It’s downhill now. I’m pushing my legs to give me a quick turnover and speed down the hill. At the end of the road we cross over a small grassy area and through a small path to the parking lot where the race began. I pushed toward the finish line and saw the time of 2:35.

My wave started 10 minutes back and I was happy with my 2:25 finish time.

I saw Adam after having my chip removed and went to congratulate him on a good race. I first had to catch my breath and get some water in me.

Run time: 44:29

Fastest AG run by 3 seconds

We waited for some more people to cross the finish line. I congratulated the “old” guy who finished behind me, Harvey is 56…way to go dude. Adam and I saw some of our elite friends and got the low down on that race.

As we hung out waiting for Aimee and Beth to finish we got some food, drank, talked. I broke down my transition area and packed away most of my stuff. I saw Beth finish, then I ran backwards on the course a little for a cool down. I met Aimee on the final down hill and ran behind her until we hit the parking lot. I cheered her to a great finish and joined her on the other side of the finish line.

Finish time: 2:25:06

Won by 5+ minutes

Looking back at the results, after I left transition I led my age group for the entire race. That is a great feeling as I reflect on my effort.

Aimee with her 3rd place AG award

Beth showing off her 2nd place award
Adam took 2nd in his AG also.

Cleveland Elite triathlete and all around nice guy Jim Lamastra was the overall winner. No he didn't carry his son during the race. He probably could have done that and still won.
Here I am with my 1st place award for my age group. Oh the Game was very much ON that day.