Monday, March 25, 2013


Swim - a hair over 30,000
Bike - somewhere around 70 miles
Run - a hair over 40 miles

Time - around 18.5 hours

I'm being circumspect about my numbers this week because I am ashamed of myself from the weekend.  Thankfully, this sort of shame does not result from bad decisions and the implications of those bad decisions after 2 hard nights out like a lot of "young professionals" here in Charlotte; it stems from my lack of ability to get on the MF'ing trainer.  I just don't get some people's ability to flog themselves hour after hour on the trainer.  I GET that their circumstances require it, but I don't GET how they stay sane.  They are better than me.  I mean, I love riding my bike.  I really do.  But I do not love riding my bike indoors. I respect the ability to do it, but I do not envy it.

For me, being GOOD at exercising is a fortunate by-product of enjoying the process of exercising.  I do not enjoy exercising in it's own right.  If it wasn't for racing, I would not be interested in training at the level at which I currently reside.  After all, I don't do it JUST to look amazing, I do it to crush as many dreams as possible.

So we get a weekend like this past one: the first weekend of spring in late March and it's raining both days, it's cold, and it's miserable. It completely ruined my mood. Watching the forecast for each upcoming weekend is a bit like foreplay (or what I imagine it would be like but I do not know of such things) in that it "readies" you for the the...experience...that the weekend provides.

Needless to say - but I will anyway - this weekend was...anti-climactic.  The ONE single silver lining I can think of is at the SwimMAC Master's workout on Saturday morning (sprinter set from the blocks as the main set) I set a big PB in the 50 yard free.  Diving off the deck (because the blocks still intimidate me) netted me a :26, which is pretty good for a tri-geek.

I will leave you, intrepid reader, with another shot at sort-of seriously semi-pro shenanigans tip of the week:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Semi-Pro Training Tip

Today starts the first in a series of what I am going to call - most elegantly I might add - Semi Pro Training Tips.  You can decide how seriously you want to take me on your own, but rest assured that I definitely do everything I say in these tips.  I am not joking around; if you want to maximize your potential as a triathlete you'd be well advised to listen and OBEY!

In this first one I wanted to highlight the best thing to do when you are NOT training (or working).  Some of you all out there have silly responsibilities such as kids, wives, girlfriends, etc.  That sucks! (not really, it's awesome, but for the sake of my sweet blog and my sweet semi-pro training tips let me reiterate: ARGH RESPONSIBILITY!!!)

Due to the hurried nature of its creation, you have to turn the volume up pretty good; I promise I don't say anything NSFW.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More training means more beatdown-ing

S - 37,700 yards
B - 171.7 miles
R - 47.9 miles

Time - 26.23 hours

Ahhh, the first week of daylight savings time.  Is it possible for life to be better?  Being able to ride in the afternoons after work is one of the great joys in life.  With all the swimming I've been doing this year (this week included obviously as I think it's actually the most I've ever swam in one week's time) my bike volume has been rather limited.  With White Lake Half in 3 weeks though, this week brought with it a renewed focus on two wheels.  Three rides, all hard.  Can't beat that!

I am riding this bad boy again, which is both a blessing and a curse.  A curse because I miss my S5 but that bike has removed on to other pastures.  I am happy Fletch is riding it as the bike deserves a good rider.

It is a blessing because riding this bike means that I have one fewer bikes than before and that means I can have one of these...

And equip it with some of this...

It's gonna take a while to put it all together but rest assured that it is going to look spectacular and go like STINK!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cary Du Classic (long course)

S - 19,500 yards
B - 147.1 miles
R - 49.6 miles
Time - 18.74 hours

This week was pretty normal from Monday-Friday although I did miss one trainer workout in the middle of the week which was a bummer.  The best thing about this week was the it was the last week with short daylight.  The time to ride is upon us and I could literally not be more excited.  I want to love my bike again!

Nothing like riding a wave of excitement into a race! ~3 hours of training the day before and ~4.5 hours of training the day after is like a delicious oreo sandwich of hard work.  Due to working until close on Friday night (~8pm) I wouldn't have had time to head up that night, nor had I solicited a place to stay from anyone in the area.  So Saturday morning bright and early I rolled out to make the drive up to Cary for the race (~2.5 hours).

Picked up my packet, sticker'ed up my bike and helmet, did a brief warm up and headed to the start line.

Run 5mi - 28:25/28:25 (2nd)

5:23, 5:44, 5:48, 5:51, 6:04 (start out fast, hold, then slow down...perfect!)

While lined up on the front I took a brief stock of those around me to see if anyone looked fast...the answer is always yes.  I didn't know any names on the participant list but since the short course and long course were starting at the same time there was a good chance the run would be very fast.

At the start, two young guys took it out very hard.  I settled into pace relatively quickly and pretty much just maintained throughout the 5 miles.  About a mile in I noticed one guy had just settled right on my heels and the two of us were about 50 yards behind the two leaders with another fast-looking guy a bit further back from us.  Mile 2 was fast again and at the second turnaround (one lap of the run course had two turnarounds) I had caught up the very young guy (at the end of a long uphill) and myself and my buddy had all gained on the lead.  By the end of the first loop the lead guy was only 15 yards or so in front of our trio but he split off to do the short course was well as the young guy that had slowed dramatically.

Myself and my right-behind-me-buddy continued on at our pace until just before the first turnaround when I heard him pull off his arm warmers and he surged past me very quickly.  I had no interest in dropping my pace that much as I was pretty comfortable (plus, I guessed that of the two of us I was the stronger rider) so I let him do his thing. The second loop of the run ended uneventfully and I ran into transition.

T1 - :36

The one think I was a little nervous about was installing the Kask Bambino on my head.  It is an extremely close fitting helmet with a large visor so the opening isn't that huge for my noggin.  Luckily, with the practice I had done the night before (yes, seriously), it went on smoothly and I had no problems grabbing my bike and heading for the mount line.

Bike 31mi - 1:17:20/1:18:21 (1st)

Rolling out on the bike it was pretty crowded because there were many short-coursers also departing for their cycling journey.  After a minute or two I could see the guy who had hopped on his bike ahead of me and it looked as though I was closing ground relatively quickly.  He had a red car with its flashers on leading him so I was excited to see the race had a lead car.  I passed him and assumed the lead but the lead car stayed with him for pretty much the rest of the race...awkward.  The course was rolling and eventually the long course split off from the short course.  At a couple of points the volunteers were no where near ready for my arrival.  It's not as though I expect a red carpet or anything (well, actually...I kinda do) but at least stand up and direct me when you see me.  I had seen no one behind me for a while and at one point turned right at a T intersection where the volunteer and cop were chatting (I had a stop sign) after seeing no traffic on my left but I was annoyed that the cop was getting paid double-time (or time and a half, but it's a lot) to do a crap job of direction traffic so I yelled at him the question "Are you planning to direct traffic at anytime" as I made the right turn.  A little antagonistic but I figure he deserved it.  For the most part the police are completely and utterly awesome.  This one just put me at a risk and I felt as though I didn't have to be.

The only other annoyance I experienced was approaching a turn at a large intersection the volunteer was on the right side of the road, sitting down waving her flag and the cop was on the left side of the road and had yet to enter into any traffic negotiations.  I saw an arrow on the ground pointing right so, hoping it was the right course marking, turned right onto a giant road.  Highway 64 at this point is 2 massive lanes and a massive shoulder with a massive median and another set of lanes on the other side.  It's a big road.  In my head I was thinking there is NO way this is the right route.  I must have messed up.  All while thinking this I was plowing along at 25mph before after 1/2 mile or so I stood up out of my pedals to look behind me and see if anyone had turned.  I looked ahead...I looked back again.  Nobody.  I looked ahead, I looked back again, nobody. Finally I decided to come to a complete stop and wait to see which way the next cyclist went.  At the same time I dismounted to peel a piece of tape off my rear wheel that had been flapping and hitting my brake calipers.  I saw someone coming so assumed I was going the right way and set off again in earnest.  The lead car "caught me" but then once I forged ahead dropped back to stay with second place.  I was at a loss as to what he was doing.

Anyway, I eventually got back in with the short coursers and nothing happened leading into the finish line.  I hadn't seen anyone threatening behind me for quite some time so as I hopped off the bike I assumed my lead was strong.

T2 - ?

Put bike away, take off helmet, put on shoes, run out with sunglasses in hand.

Run 5mi - 29:42/30:14 (1st)

5:57, 5:55, 5:56, 5:56, 6:14 (yea maybe I did let up a bit...)

Let's just say the first 1/2 mile was "rough" and be done with it.  It had been quite a long time since I'd run hard off a hard bike off a hard run.  Florida doesn't really count because what I did off the bike certainly can't be called running...

Anyway, a lead biker emerged after a bit and I continued on steadily to the first turnaround and while passing mile 1 saw my first chaser and another minute or so later the second chaser.  I was a good ways ahead but didn't let it go to my head...and continued on with my semi-torrid pacemaking.

The first loop was completed uneventfully  and I was holding mile paces *relatively* easily.  Despite the rolling course my mile splits were remarkably consistent; I was honestly surprised.  On the second loop at the turnarounds I noticed my chasers had not gained on me so I knew that I was going to win (which is always a pleasant and relieving feeling...).  I crossed the finish line in first place in a pretty fast time and immediately put my hands on a cold Mountain Dew.

2:17:01 - 1st, full results click

You'll notice I have two different times on the splits in this report, I do that because for whatever reason the official results are quite different than my own split times.  If they were close I wouldn't care but there is enough discrepancy for me to want to report both.  Given the lack of a T2 I'm guessing that somehow the time in T2 was applied to the bike and the run, although I don't think I spent a minute or more in T2.  I also think my T1 was a little bit longer but I really have no idea as I didn't use "multisport mode" on the 910xt.

I was happy with this race and was very happy to win.  I didn't really want to say anything but I'd have been upset if I didn't even though I didn't feel particularly "fast" leading into the race.

All in all, given that  I was in full training mode (the week was completely normal but I missed one ride mid-week and with the race Saturday my overall volume for that day was much lower) so am pleased with being able to go "fast" while "tired."  Can't be anything but pleased with a 1-1 races to wins record for 2013!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Do you do a watt-a saving?

Hehe, get it? So punny.

On the eve of the first multi-sport race of the year (for me) I think it's important to go over some easy ways to buy speed.  Or, if not purchase, to make conscious decisions to reduce one's aero impact.  I've often heard it described as "punching as small a hole through the air as possible" and I really like that.

Let's start from the front and work our way back, shall we?

So this first picture is of the front of my P3.  The thing that stands out the most is how little "crap" there is visible.  Visible to the eye, or visible to the wind (hopefully).  A clean front profile can save a good bit of demand watts.

So in terms of aftermarket purchases, the TriRig Omega brake is obviously the most "important" in this picture.  What's also a bit more subtle is the tire/rim interaction.  The tire is the exact width of the rim (to a degree) and this complements an improvement in aerodynamics.  Tire width can be just as important as tire choice.  To a degree, again. Another change in this picture is the cable routing.  The rear brake housing, despite entering on the top tube, is invisible to the wind as it has been routed above and around the stem.  The front and rear shift housings are routed externally (i.e. not through the 3T Aura extensions) and this allows them to stay closer to the top tube, which means they're very slightly less "awkward" looking in the front profile.  Ideally, I'd like them to be even closer but it's just about as "perfect" as it can get.

Another thing that many forget when using Zipp wheels is that the hub features an "aero" component.  So the idea is you put your wheel into the fork then rotate the hub adjustment "piece" so that it is in its "aero" position, then tighten the quick release. The main "purchased" speed you see here is obviously the Zipp front wheel.  I personally prefer the carbon clincher (as opposed to the tubular version) for a number of reasons...

1) Tire selection is as good for clinchers as it is for tubulars, if not better
2) Installation and in-race fixing is much, much easier
3) Achieving "ideal" rolling resistance is easy because by simply installing your chosen tire with a latex tube you do the job.  With tubulars to achieve "ideal" RR you must clean the rim of all existing  dried glue (extremely difficult).  You must then put several layers of glue on both the tube and the tire to really get the tire tight to the rim.  This makes any removal or repair very difficult.
4) Fixing a flat is generally cheaper ($15 latex tube/$8 butyl tube vs. $90-120 tubular tire)

The ONLY downside in my opinion is that the carbon clincher version of these wheels are more expensive.

An often overlooked part of aerodynamics and tri bikes: saddle comfort.  If you wiggle around a lot and/or get out of your saddle a lot (due to discomfort) then you are not as aero as if you are firmly (and comfortably) planted on your butt in the saddle.  Now, a saddle like this is obviously very ridiculous.  Of any component on this bike it, without a doubt, elicits the most questions and comments.  It is incredibly expensive.  It is incredibly odd-looking.  But wow is it comfortable.  I often ask people when they bemoan saddle expense ($150-200 saddle options): "How much are you willing to pay for a comfortable undercarriage."  The answer is almost always a begrudging: "Whatever."

Ultimately position plays the biggest role.  Buying free speed (yes, I realize that's paradoxical) starts with the big stuff and gets into the more nit-picky stuff:

Cockpit (basebar + extensions)

There are more options available to "aero" out your bike but those stand out as the ''easiest."  Most people could probably do helmet, tires, tubes and a wheelcover and that would gain them many minutes over an IM.  Once you start trying to max out the potential of your bike it becomes a less awesome dollar per watt spending program.

The only good place for Tim Noakes' novel (just kidding, sort of)
Overall, I like knowing that if I have 250 watts for a race that I'm making the most use out of those 250 watts.  I don't like the idea of "wasting'' speed.  It's one of the reasons I ride Cervelo.  It's one of the reasons I ride Zipps.  Trust in your product choice. Many people do not or don't know enough to even ask the right questions. Gotta get that eduhmacation!

Monday, March 4, 2013

March, why are you so cold?

S - 32,600 yards
B - 137.5 miles
Run - 45.9 miles

Time - 22.28 hours

I'm not going to be as cliche as some and say that I live in the South for a reason and that reason is warmth.  But I will go so far as to say the weather so far this year has been remarkably...cold.  It's a not-fun juxtaposition to the climate I was experiencing this time last year when I spent 3.5 weeks in Tucson, AZ.

Things could be worse though; last year it was cool to bike a lot.  (I think I rode in excess of 800 miles while I was in Tucson).  This year it is cool to swim and run a lot! That is much easier with cold, windy, snowy weather.  Pools and treadmills are the same temperature, always.  Even if it's snowing huge flakes outside on a Saturday morning (like, say this past Saturday morning) the pool is always comfortable.  Even if you're doing a broken 1000 IM for "time."  (as a sidenote, whenever Jonathan says we're doing anything IM for "time" I substitute "survival" for "time" as my own personal goal)

Seriously, whenever I "successfully" finish an IM interval, this is EXACTLY what I look like.

Tan, ripped, good looking...happy....all of the above.

All that being said, this week was pretty normal.  At least, in so far as things have gone lately.  Lots of swimming, decent amount of running, some biking.  Swim 7 times (in 6 days), run about the same, bike 4 times.