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.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Her first Tri

Aimee and I have a friend (Rachael) who works for a company that really promotes health and fitness. So when the opportunity arose to participate in the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (hint hint that who she works for) she jumped at the chance. She started running about 1.5 years ago and has enjoyed it. This is her race report.

I actually thought it was harder than I anticipated. Although I practiced in the open water I truly wasn't prepared. I guess it had been raining in Philly the month of June up until the Friday before the race on Saturday. The river was even red lined up until midnight before. The river did clear but the current was stronger than normal. I had to swim in a square path which meant going against current in 3 of 4 legs. As I started, I panicked a bit then my legs were cramping. Believe me I was not happy. I didn't train all this time and involve so many people, spend mine and others quit a tenth of a mile into the swim. I did not want to quit. I did the only thing I could do which was turn over on my back and do the back
stroke the rest of the way. It worked. I was tired though.

Once thru the swim, the rest was cake. I finished a lot slower than I hoped but I finished. And considering I almost gave up I was very proud of myself.

I plan to practice more in open water since that did me in.

Talk about pushing the mind. This type of race report gets me stoked up. Rachael is "very proud of myself" as well she should be.

Rachael gets the "Game On Award" for her first tri.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The mind.....

is a terrible thing to waste. Yeah is sounds very cliche but I do have a point to make.

Yesterdays post had been brewing in my mind for a couple of days as I completed my training for the Double Mussel in two weeks. The Fourth of July weekend presented some final training days that provided some important feedback on my readiness for the race.

Friday I rode a brick with the high school girls Aimee, Sara and I are working with. I followed that up with a fantastic 2 hour hill ride that left my legs tired.

Saturday Aimee and I ran in the Medina YWCA Twin Sizzler 10k. Despite my tired legs I had a great run breaking 40 minutes for the first time in 5 years.

But it was more than just my physical fitness that is in top form.

Mentally I am at a level that I have not been before. Six years in the making I have reached a mental awareness and toughness that is helping me push further and deeper than before.

Two thoughts keep running through my mind:

"I can do anything for 20 minutes." Mark Durno

"Push the Mind, and the Body Will Follow" Eric Banks.

These I have learned from two great friends and will be with me at every race or training day.

Professional and world class athletes develop this early on or just have this mental capacity from the beginning. For others it takes longer to develop due to many circumstances that a average person must deal with day to day. Some people never find it....and that is when it becomes a terrible waste.

During and after the 10k on Saturday, especially after I crossed the finish line and tried not to puke or pass out, I realized what a powerful entity the mind it. My mind has helped me accomplish some great things this year. I may be six years older than when I started to seriously train for triathlon, but I sure don't feel any older.

Game On

Sunday, July 05, 2009

How do you know.....

when you are ready? After all of the training and hours spent preparing for a single do you know you are ready.

First we look at our training logs.......

  • Swimming....drills, intervals, yardage back and forth in the pool, open water swims wearing a wetsuit.
  • Biking....seemingly endless miles, for hours are a time, climbing hills, eating gu's and drinking "calories", feeling your toes, ass and crotch grow numb, riding indoor during the cold early season days.
  • rain and snow and heat, 6 miles here......14 miles there, off the bike, up the hill, on trails and streets and treadmills, buying new shoes at the same time as getting an oil change (3 months or 3000/300 miles), chafing, blisters, black toenails, tight sore legs.

Second we look at the key milestones during training......

  • The half marathon training race. Letting everyone else go when you needed to follow the "plan"....steady pace, practice nutrition, it's not really a race...for you.
  • The practice tri to make sure you have it down pat and remember what transitions feel like....and possibly how much it sucked ass when you got pummeled in the water or flatted on the bike or bonked 3 miles from the finish line.
  • The time trial bike race where you felt the bike fitness was at it's peak only to be passed by not 1 or 2 but three riders who started at minute intervals behind you.....while your legs are burning and lungs are screaming for air.

Third we remember the lessons learned from all the cumulative days of training/racing....

  • The pre-race meal that fueled you just right and helped the next day.
  • How to keep your swim stroke fluid even when tired.
  • What a certain pace feels like.
  • How to get the dropped chain back on without stopping.
  • Knowing you can pee on the bike....without stopping.
  • Gu makes you puke.....Hammergel fuels the body.
  • You can cover the some more.

We have completed a lot during training. We have become stronger; physically and mentally. We have lost weight. We have gained weight. We have become sick. We have recovered. We get depressed. We celebrate milestones.

The muscles have many miles and yards in them. Our eyes have seen nothing but a black line for hours at a time, but they have also seen nature and the world around us during the journey. Our legs have spun in a circle millions of times and our feet have moved us forward many miles.

Our mind has become razor sharp as we feel the changes. These changes register in the mind of a triathlete, or any other athlete. These changes allow the mind to answer....

" are ready."

Game On.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Lance's new training partner

This video is great. What an experience for this little guy.

Tour de France Stage 20: Final Training Video -- powered by