Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brightening Up

I am glad to say that with some key Island insight and much needed help, I have secured a rig to romp around Kona on during my upcoming visit. Its not a Tri bike, but it’s the right size (I hope) and thus will have to suffice. At this point, if it had 2 wheels and weighed less than me, I was going to be happy. So thanks to those who helped out, I am indebted to you. My trip just got a little brighter.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Palomar & the ToC

Yesterday was pretty awesome. A gnarly ride and watching some of the best cyclists in the world at work combined for a great day. A couple friends from the OC and I met up with a buddy and some of his training partners from the TCSD down in San Diego and rode Palomar Mountain to catch the final stage of the Tour of California. I had heard many descriptions of Palomar, none of which characterized it as "easy" and thus, I was a little weary about what lay ahead of us 20 miles into the ride. Well the mountain did not disappoint! This is quite an intense climb, and now I understand why it has been categorized as a "non-category" climb. The thing is unrelenting. After the store, it is literally all climbing for nearly 12mi, with something like 4,200 ft of elevation gain.

The highest I can recall my heart rate ever getting on the bike is about 160. And it was for a fleeting moment. Palomar held me between 165 and 172 for the entire climb. Having never climbed it before, and therefore not knowing what was coming at us, made the trek even that much more... shall we say, adventurous. At one point my buddy Ryan even said, "F#%K, I don't know if its another mile, or like 5!!" But, with the help of all the fans lining the road, cheering for every rider like they were part of the tour, we ended up topping the beast in 1:15. After reading that the "Normanator" mashed it in 56, I don't feel so bad about that time.

One thing is for sure though, the climb at this time of year makes for an interesting wardrobe situation. It was about 60 when we started, but the temps dropped as we climbed. However, as I was operating at nearly max output, the beanie, jacket and leg warmers, had me quite toasty. This lasted for about 20mins after we reached the top, but with the SNOW (yes D, you read that right. SNOW in So. Cal.) the temps had us quickly "a-shivver". So after layering up with our extra clothes we descended down to about the 3,500ft level to await the race. If anyone saw the coverage and saw the two fluorescent green "Borat Thonged" dudes, thats where we watched from (the man thongs NOT influencing the stop, its where TCSD had set up shop). To see the first breakaway of 6 or 7 come by at the speed they did after having just climbed the hill myself, was quite awe inspiring. Those dudes straight HAMMER!! Having descended that far down we were actually able to get back to the store and see the riders on their way down as well, and then catch a viewing one more time about 5mi from the finish.

All in all a pretty awesome day. I am pretty sure I will be making at least one more trip to the summit of Palomar before Wildflower, cause it makes "Nasty Grade" look like a speed bump!

I got some pics which I will post later and even some video, which if my technologically/computer illiterate brain can figure out how to post, I will include also.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Clouds over Kona

So it would appear that the crappy weather we have been having left us (it was about 73 at the pool today) and the clouds transferred over to Kona (at least in the figurative sense). That is, the bright spot that has been my upcoming trip to Kona, just got a little cloudy when I was informed that ALL rental bikes on the island are booked. Dammmitttttttt!!! I was really looking forward to getting in some quality riding over there. My friend is on it trying to bum some off of friends for us, so as of now that is my only hope. The guy at Bikeworks recommended I ship my bike, but with Oceanside only 4 days after I return, I am just not "oh so cozy" with that idea. Anyone know of any other places that might have rental bikes over there??

I am crossing my fingers.

On a brighter note: 5300yds in the Sun never felt so good after the S#!t weather we have been having.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

3 days for 2 wheels

With the tri bike all set up and begging for some miles, I took this 3 day weekend as an opportunity to do some "catching up" on the tri bike after my time out of the saddle. After 3 days and 180 miles, I can say the new rig is quite nice.

Saturday was a 13mi run with the Club in the morning then an afternoon ride on the Santa Ana River trail. I had never ridden the trail before. I caught myself laughing as we got out towards Corona, next to the 91fwy and I started thinking about where I was. You see, when I was a younger chap, my grandparents lived out in Canyon Lake, and I can't possibly count the number of times we drove the 91 out to there place. To pass the time, I always looked off into the surrounding towns and the golf courses. Never did I imagine I would be riding a bike out there, let alone doing it from Newport Beach and back. How times change I guess?

Sunday was a mellow ride in and around Irvine, Laguna, Newport & Huntington. Thankfully the rain held off long enough that we stayed dry the entire way.

Since it was pouring rain when the club was to meet for our Monday tempo run, I took the opportunity on Monday to honor our Nation's Presidents by spending 3 hours hanging out with Coach Troy and the trainer. 3 hours proved to be quite a while on the steel wheel, and while it certainly wasn't "fun" it was well worth it. Following that up with a 4mile run had me ready for some flannel PJ's and a nap. Still getting used to the new position, and the legs are a little sore, but I think with some more mileage, I should feel right at home come Oceanside.

My Valentine, aka "Mom", gave me a pretty sweet Valentine's day gift that has already yielded some pretty delicious concoctions. This thing is awesome! No doubt many more a nutritious recovery drinks and snacks are headed my way. I highly recommend it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ready to Roll

I really can't believe how excited I was to be back on a tri bike after my long off season seemingly spent doing my best to convince others I was a "roadie". God I am glad thats over. Thanks to Mondo and Manny at Ted's Manhattan, the new rig is fully assembled and ready to rock. After an awesome fitting by the aforementioned last night, some pretty significant adjustments were made to last season's position. Anybody else still get nervous as you watch saw blades being taken to your precious new carbon? I do! Despite my uneasiness, my faith in Mondo was well placed! The new set up, while this morning's trainer session proved it will take a little getting used to, feels good and fast. Hopefully it will lead to some big drops off my pathetic bike splits from last season! Here is a pic of the lady, mind you she is in business casual attire here, maybe I'll post a pic of her all dolled up for a big dance in her race wheels later.

I really cannot believe it has been this long since I've ridden a tri bike. I thought about it last night while I was escorting the lady home, and realized the last time I rode a tri bike was Clearwater. Jeez, thats like over 3 mos. This may not be a big break for some of you, but it is definitely my longest. I think I am going to pay for it during my first couple weeks back in the saddle. Looming discomfort notwithstanding, with rain expected almost all weekend, the new rig even has me excited for some long trainer sessions! Although, I am sure that will fade... fast.

Monday, February 9, 2009

KONA Bound!!!

Man how I wish I could be writing those words with the meaning all triathlete's immediately think of upon hearing such an exclamation. Maybe someday... For now I have to settle (can it really be called settling?) for a little training vacation. Saturday night I went out to an awesome steak dinner with friends, who were nice enough to invite me to ruin their romantic island getaway and accompany them to Kona for Lavaman. Needless to say, I bit, and will be visiting the tri Mecca come March 26th!! And yes this will be my first time.

I thought about, and still am sorta entertaining the idea of racing Lavaman, but given that it is only a week before California 70.3, I don't think I will. Rather, I will take the trip as an opportunity to get in some radical training on the IM course, see the sights, wine & dine, and help support my two good friends in the race. I think the term... and someone correct me if I'm using it wrong, is "Spectathlete". That will be me.

So to put it mildly, this weekend turned out to be a pretty damn good one. The legs came along rather quickly post marathon, my new bike (sans fork) arrived in CA on Friday, I had a decent run and a good swim on Saturday then was privileged enough to attend my Grandma's (aka - "Gramcracker's") 90th birthday celebration with many family members and friends, then went to a bomb ass dinner (bone in Filet Mignon) with great wine and great friends, and then be invited on a trip to Hawaii. Not a bad weekend at all. Even my alarm blaring into my head at 4:58am couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
This is going to make for a busy March and beginning of April:
1. March 6-8 Trifest, Tucson, AZ
2. March 13-15th, Bachelor Party, Phoenix, AZ
3. March 26 -31st, Kona, HI
4. April 4th, Oceanside, California 70.3

That is quite a hustled travel schedule for me, but I can't wait to get over to Kona and train!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

All Smiles

Last night was my first time back running since the Marathon. Who knew 4 days of not running could leave me jonesing even for a treadmill!?!? Yes, with the rain here, I was forced to take that first run on the "Make you wanna punch someone" machine, but the time off and the upper limit of 4mi kept me from getting too edgy. Overall I'd say I was rather pleased with the way my body has responded (way better than last year), and the run went alright. Some strange sensations crept into the legs after about a mile, but nothing "painful" per se, so I kept going. My left quad definitely was feeling it the most but nothing too remarkable. So at 31mins and 4mi, I called it quits. The stiffness was immediate but with only a mile drive to home and the ice bath, it was short lived.

This morning I was relieved to find seemingly no lasting effects in the sticks from last night. An hour on the trainer and they still felt pretty darn good, although I am sure they would have felt better had "Coach Troy" been replaced with Rachel's view! (I mean COME ON!?!?! Does it get any better?) So another hour on the "Steel Wheel" tonight with my friend/nemesis Coach Troy, and then its the Saturday mornin Club Run (most likely to be a little moist).

As if it being Friday, and the legs apparently recovering nicely, weren't enough, this is the e-mail that greeted me when I arrived in the office chair this morning

That's right... There she is!! All snug and warm for her trip half-way across the globe, my new bike has arrived in California. Albeit, without a fork, she is here and thanks to the highly commendable efforts of a great friend, will be delivered fork and all, on Tuesday. To say I am excited to get back on a tri bike is an understatement. To say that I am excited to get on a brand spankin new tri bike is an EXTREME understatement!! As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." In this case it is certainly true, but since this post is already long, I will only use 4: I AM F-ING PUMPED!!! Big ups Jimbo!!

Have an awesome weekend. Adios.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This be the time to take it all in, relax, rest, lay on the couch, eat cheeze its and doughnuts, and drink down many full bodied beers on a nightly basis. Or so it appears that is what some people seem to think. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying the relatively sedate lifestyle these last couple of days have offered. But nightly ice baths aint exactly what comes to mind when I visualize my ideal relaxation vacation.
I live in Southern California. I was born and raised here. I thought San Luis Obispo was literally FREEZING when I went to college. Thus, one can see why I am not exactly a "cold weather" person. Add to this that I seem to have pretty crappy circulation in my hands and, more importantly for the sake of this conversation, feet, and one can also see why an ice bath is pretty much torture for me.

Ohh well, at least tomorrow is Wednesday and I only have two more blocks of ice in the freezer. (I made a deal with myself that if I bought several in one trip, once the totality was exhausted, I need not return). My toes will be happy come Friday.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

2:45 and then...


So the legs held up and seems I hadn't forgotten how to run during my taper (as I thought I had) and I was able to run a 2:45:32 today, which was good enough for 6th place overall and 3rd n my age group. Thanks to all those who sent their well wishes.

My plan was to go out somewhere b/t a 6:20 & 6:30 pace for the first half and see how I felt thereafter. I went out a little quick (1st mile 6:05) but settled in after that and ran just at a 6:30 for the first half. About mile 14.5 I was feeling really good and decided to start picking it up a bit. At about 15.5mi I checked the Garmin and saw a 5:55 pace and thought, "Oh S#!t" I may have put myself in for some hurting in the final miles because of it. So I calmed down a little and settled back into about a 6:20 for the next 5 or so. After the turn around at 20, I was surprised I was still feeling pretty solid except for some blister issues on the right foot and a quad problem on the left. Respiratory and energy wise however, I felt solid. At the 23 marker, the quad had become a little more of an issue, and when I tried to kick it into that final gear, it voiced its protest rather aggressively and I knew I wasn't going to find that gear. But I was able to catch and pass one more runner and thought I might be able to catch one more but came up about 150 yards short.

While I did feel pretty strong, even in the final miles, I couldn't help but laugh to myself at about mile 23 thinking about how asinine it is to even contemplate those miles after 112 on the bike!! How the nutbags like Macca and Alexander run 2:45 and faster after the bike, is beyond me. I simply cannot fathom. Which brings me to my reality check story. As I was discussing the race at a super bowl party with a friend who ran the half today, I realized I was telling her that 16 weeks was plenty of time to train for the Rock n Roll San Diego full in June. That's when it hit me that IM CDA is in June as well, which means I have about 19 weeks. I guess I better start tyring to figure out how you nutbags do it.

Overall, I am stoked. Don't feel terribly sore, and I don't think the quad is anything Doc. Ryan can't take care of.

Oh, and P.S. the Carrot Cake was ECELLENT!!!