6/18 - 6/24/2012

I was back at some heavy training this week in preparation for Vineman 70.3 which is in only a couple of weeks. The pool was long course this week and because of the summer schedule I was swimming at much different times than usual. I forgot how much I really love morning practice and I really felt like I could keep the intensity up better with a greater amount of time in between workouts too. I don't know if it was lack of sleep or maybe getting overly excited but I woke up with nothing on friday and had to take a day off but I had some really good sessions this week and the weather was so beautiful that it was hard to have too many worries :)

Oh yeah...there is this too!!!!

Swim  16,450 yds
Bike   12 hrs
Run    44 mi

6/11 - 6/17/2012

This week I was just doing what I needed to get the hard racing from last weekend settled into my legs and get my system prepared to make the big push before Vineman 70.3. I have a couple of weeks before this event which is the big focus of my season each year. It is nice to have some leeway on a week like this so I can do some fun stuff and spend time with my lovely girlfriend. On thursday we rented mountain bikes and rode from the coast up into the mountains and then hiked in to Berry Creek Falls. This is one of my favorite one-day adventures in the Santa Cruz mountains and it was so beautiful. It makes me really want to pack up a bag and go for a stroll in the wilderness for a couple of days and that is currently at the top of my list of things to do when I get some time off.

Thats my girl who is an incredibly naturally talented mountain biker :)


This is a video of the falls in the early spring from the last time I was up there.

Swim 7,750 yds
Bike   8.75 hrs
Run    26 mi

Escape from Alcatraz - 2012

 So we are going to Tarantino this one by starting with the result and then going back to the beginning and telling the story of how I got there. ESCAPE from Alcatraz went well and I was able to race strong with metrical improvement and much better strength in several areas. I was sixteenth overall and I am really happy with the result considering that there were so many things that went wrong and could have derailed the whole thing. This was a good result and getting it despite all the impediments makes it a great result.

The morning before the race I was going through my usual race prep schedule and while I was in the pool someone walked into my office and stole my cycling shoes. I won't go into details about how angry this made me and how strongly I feel that this is a really messed up thing to do. I had to make an emergency trip to Spokesman and drop some money to try to reproduce my shoe/insole/cleat combination that took me a long time to work out. I was really rushed getting the rest of my stuff together, I forgot my visor and didn't have time to go over my bike setup. I was lucky enough to catch a ride to San Francisco from Bevan Docherty and was able to chat with him about a lot of stuff that has been on my mind lately surrounding this whole crazy thing. One of my teammates Jeremy Devich lives right across the street from where the race was held and was kind enough to let me crash on his couch which was totally awesome.

I didn't sleep all that well the night before but that is pretty standard so I was a little tired race morning. I didn't drink coffee because of the long period of downtime prior to the race start as I didn't want to jitter off all my energy before the start. I got T1 set up just in time to catch the last shuttle to the pier where the ferry launches from and as soon as we pulled away I realized that I had left my timing chip in transition with my bag. I tried to jump off but they said there would be no way to get to the ferry and that I could get a new chip at the dock. I went back and sat next to my teammate John Dahlz shut my eyes and listened to him chat with the guy behind us who I didn't realize until afterwards was Eric Byrnes who used to play baseball for the Oakland Athletics!!

We got down to the dock and I found the guy giving out new chips solving that problem and then got in line to get on the boat. Once aboard I wandered around for a while trying to find where the start area was...I think the lack of coffee had left me a little foggy. I found the elite area and picked out a large area of floor to sprawl out on. It is a long trip out to the start area and I closed my eyes actually nodding off for a little while. When the start was close they let us out on the boat's edge. There was a lot of back and forth about where to start on the boat so I just picked a spot in the middle and waited. They gave us a ten second countdown and then you just let go of the rail and of you go.

Being in the middle I had a pretty good view of the forming packs as they tore off towards shore. I knew that John was in the group to my left and that he was strong in the water so I kept with them and tried to stay in the draft. I am finding that my ability to swim in a group is not all that great so after getting kicked and punched in the face a few times I found myself alone. I tried to pick the best sighting points I could remember from the pre-race meeting and just tried to settle into a rhythm. The currents and periodic waves made orienteering a little tough for me and i definitely felt like I ziggzagged for a while until I got sight of the yacht club. I hit the beach near the east end which is a good indication that my line was alright and was glad to have my feet on solid ground. 

I opted to dump my wetsuit and grab shoes for the run back to transition because I figured all things being equal I would rather my feet be comfortable :)  I felt great on the run back, I saw some old friends  that had showed up and my parents which is always a boost, I even passed a few people including our team leader Ritch Viola, who had a stellar day! I got a look at where the lead guys were here as well and it looked like only a couple of minutes so I was glad that I had not totally hocked it on the swim. T1.5 was a quick in and out and I jumped on the accelerator as quick as possible because I knew there were a lot of people up the road. I think I need to ease into the bike leg more in the future though because I felt like my aerobic system was doing all the work and I couldn't keep my breathing under control. I caught and passed a handful of people in the first five miles of the bike ride including the women's leaders. The bike course is hilly and technical and I spent most of the middle just trying to keep the speed up despite all the obstacles. Around the midway point I reached back and realized that my water was gone AGAIN...some day I am going to figure that out. 

This is a shot from competitor magazine. This is the exact moment that my bike started making a strange noise which I though was a break rubbing but quickly realized that in my rush to get my stuff together the day before I had not done my bike overlook and my rear skewer was loose. My rear wheel had shifted and was rubbing against the frame. I can't afford to replace that wheel but I was inside of four miles and I just stayed vigilant, hoping that it wasn't going bring me to a grinding halt destroying my wheel or frame or worse. I pushed the pace back to transition despite the fact that by the last mile it sounded like I was dragging a string of cans along with me. 

I made it to transition safely and got a peak at the ring of rub marks on my wheel and tire just before I looked down and realized that I forgot my visor as well. I scooted out of transition and got to work on developing a good pace. There was a guy about two hundred meters up the road so I tried to gauge my speed off him because when I feel like I am reeling someone I tend to be stronger. He was pulling away though and around mile two Ken Rakestraw blew by me, that guy is absolutely flying this year! He hit the first set of stairs just ahead of me and I kept him in sight for the climb and felt good pushing myself. At the top of the bluffs was the best part of the entire day, our teammate Ollie Ralph who is in a wheelchair from injuries sustained the weekend before was posted up handing out high-fives and encouragement. It was so awesome to have him out there. I felt good over the bluffs and felt like I was flying on the downhill but when I hit the beach that all changed. The soft-sand run to the turnaround was brutal to me and I felt like I was reduced to a walk. Several guys caught me on the beach and then left me behind when we hit the sand ladder. I walked the whole thing heaving the whole way and was kind of disappointed about that.

Once at the top of the hill though I got another high-five from Ollie and leg my legs loosen up for the descent and the few flat miles back to the finish. I felt good and was able to keep up a great turnover and pace on the way back.

The biggest takeaway for me is that even though a ton of stuff went wrong I still had a really good result. I felt very strong and there are some good indications of improvement in the numbers so I am really happy with how the race went.

My team had an awesome day too with some incredible results and good exposure. I can't even say how much the support of team has helped this year so I send a big thanks to them. If you made it this far you are too kind! Thanks for reading :)

6/4 - 6/10/2012

This week I was just focusing on recovering from the event last weekend and getting ready for Escape from Alcatraz this sunday. I felt stellar monday then like a big pile of tar for three days and then normal friday and good again saturday. I turned over fairly well and raced strong this weekend. Again I will do a race report later in the week when I can get it all down and that race report will be titled Escape from Alcatraz - when a ton of things go wrong and you still get a good result that gets counted as a great result.

Swim 16,950 yds
Bike   6.75 hrs
Run    24.5 mi

Reservoir Triathlon 2012

The Reservoir Triathlon takes place at Uvas Reservoir which is in the foothills just west of Morgan Hill and it is a great venue. Uvas was where I did my first triathlon when I decided to start racing again back in 2009. The water is clean and warm, the area is beautiful and as with most local events a lot of people I know race there which makes it even better. This event was put on by Threshold Racing which does a lot of awesome local events and knows how to put them on properly. They have been really supportive of our new team as well!

I was treating this race as somewhat of a training day because I have a much bigger event next weekend and couldn't afford to rest through. I ran a couple of miles and did some stretching to warm up and then got into my wetsuit early to do a good amount of swimming before the race start. The water was pretty warm and if I had a sleeveless wetsuit I would have probably gone with that. There were only three guys (including me) that started in the elite wave and the next wave behind us started only one minute back so it was an interesting stagger.

At the gun Ted Simpkins went straight to the front and I knew he had made it through the Ironman St. George juggernaut so I fell in behind him. I felt pretty good until the turn buoy and when we turned to head back it was like someone dropped a piano on my back. I felt like I was so heavy in the water and I am still not sure why but I might have just been too warm. Ted put about 30 seconds on me in the second half of the swim (which felt like a lifetime) and was on his way out of transition when I arrived. I had some trouble getting my wetsuit off, as always, but everything else went smoothly through T1 and I mounted my bike and watched Ted tuck around a corner in the distance.

I got my feet in my shoes and grabbed my sunglasses by mile one and got into my tuck to begin the chase when I heard the all too familiar splash of my water bottle hitting the ground behind me. I don't know why this keeps happening and I have tried a lot of stuff now to prevent it but I am thinking I might have dislodged it when I was mounting my bike and all it needed was a little encouragement. I kew I had hydrated well the day before though so it would be fine if I went without. I selected a slightly bigger gear to keep my heart and respiration rates low and minimize the dehydration and went about the business of chasing back the time I had lost. I caught Ted around mile five or six of the bike but it was right before a technical descending section so I eased up a bit so as not to be passing dangerously. He was flying on the downhill and I was doing my usual overly cautious thing so at the bottom I was actually a ways back again. We did this same thing a couple of times where I would catch up before a technical section and then he would gain some time and I would have to chase back again. In the last five miles I finally caught up and passed him and lead into transition by a handfull of seconds.

While in T1 I heard the announcer saying that a few other guys were coming in off the bike and I realized that the cat and mouse we had been playing on the bike had allowed a few of the strong guys that started just behind us to catch up. I was the first one out on the run and as I had promised myself I allowed a little time to get into a rhythm rather than punching the gas right from the start.  Less than a half mile in I heard someone moving up behind me and felt a little pat on the back. It was one of my teammates Yoni Doron-Peters who I knew was strong and had started a minute back from me. This meant that on overall time he was already a minute ahead. About that time my breathing seemed to relax and my legs loosened up and I thought 'time to go to work.'

Putting a minute into a guy like Yoni over 10k is no small ask and given my confidence level lately it wasn't something I thought I could do but I felt good and that doesn't happen too often so I wanted to go for it. I turned up the speed to the maximum I could take and set about holding it there as best I could. Around the 1.5 mile mark I picked up the water bottle that I had lost off my bike and the race director was nice enough to take it with him when he came by on his mountain bike. At the run turn around I estimated that I might have put around 25 seconds into Yoni and I knew that I would have to keep up at least the same level to make up the other 35 before the finish. I kept my head down and my cadence up while trying my best to shut the pain out. Across the finish line I thought my chances were good of having made up the time and I kept an eye on the clock to make sure.

I was remarking the other week that I feel a little embarrassed having never won a triathlon of any kind and even though this was a smaller local even it is nice to have one under my belt that counts as a 1st overall finish. My time was also a five minute improvement over last year too which is the biggest positive that I am taking from it.

My team did really well too and though we had a few hiccups it was a great showing and things are looking good for the ESCAPE from ALCATRAZ triathlon next weekend.

5/28 - 6/3/2012

I got some good training in this week and just stuck with what I knew I could do. I skipped some of the volume to make sure I got in all the quality work I wanted to do. My mood is still touch and go this week but it helps a lot that I felt good in the pool and out on the road. On sunday was the Reservoir Triahlon put on by Threshold Racing and for me it was really just a big training day in preparation for next weekends ESCAPE from Alcatraz. The ESCAPE is one of the big races in northern California and the field is super strong so I had to train through this weekend. Race repor to come but in the mean time enjoy some of my favorite treats :)

Swim 16,100 yds
Bike   9 hrs
Run    41 mi