Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tucson Training

The second camp of the Squad has begun. Unfortunately, I have only been 2/3rds of the way in.  A nagging Achilles tendon issue has been plaguing me and the result has been no running for the past several days.  I got in a whopping 20mins with the Squad on the first day but the Achilles wasn't happy and that has comprised the totality of my running thus far.

On the brighter side of things, we are now swimming at the U of A pool and it is a fantastic facility. A welcome reprieve from the community pools I have been frequenting the last couple weeks.

Falling into the "Brighter Side" category as well, my "saddle time" has received a nice bump due to the lack of running.  Nothing crazy just some consistent hours in the company of my Specialized.

I was getting very used to the training out here, normally just Pedro and I, with a few other "Mini-Squad" swims, and riding with some of the local crowd.  We had a nice groove working and to be totally honest, I wasn't exactly counting the hours until the second camp began.  However, once we had everyone back in one place, I recognized just how valuable the Squad is.  A regimented schedule, with times for every workout, forces you to be accountable.  Add to that the competitive drive that is inspired by the group dynamic, and you essentially have the principle reasons I joined the Squad.  Shortly into the second day of camp, I was somewhat struck by this realization and found myself smiling at my good fortune to be included in this group of talented athletes and quality individuals, under a dedicated coach.  Don't get me wrong, camp life is not all cake and ice cream parties.  But the consistent hard work, in the company of like minded individuals, all striving to improve, is even more rewarding.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Read it in the Wind

Again I apologize for the late posting, but after a whirlwind (pardon the pun) trip to the tunnel, and back to Tucson training, time has been hard to come by.

Simply put, the A2 Wind Tunnel experience was incredible.  I owe a HUGE "Thank You" to Paul Lew and Reynolds Cycling for taking me along for the ride.  It was quite a privilege to get to see the inner workings of a wind tunnel, have the science explained (as best as possible in laymen's terms), and see the numbers for myself.  It was immediately apparent why the A2 Tunnel has become the standard bearer of sorts in the triathlon & cycling worlds.

We started off the trip by heading to a great shop in Charlotte, NC which gave Paul a chance to talk wheels with a Reynolds distributor.  Paul Lew, is, in no uncertain terms, a wealth of aerodynamics knowledge.  His main business is designing unmanned aircraft for the government. 'Nuff said.
Paul & I bookended by Bicycle Sport's owners
The next morning started early as a long day of testing lay ahead of us. Mike Giraud heads up the bicycle testing at A2 and the guy knows his wind.  Between he and Paul, suffice it to say I felt like a square peg all day.  A big thanks goes to Mike not only for his expertise, hard work, and attention to detail, but also for his patience in taking the time to explain the goings on.
Mike Giraud setting me up on the Reynolds RZR 92s. INSANE Wheels
The rest of the day was jammed packed with testing, and given that I can't reveal much as of yet, the story is best told in photos:

Testing was done in the black skin tight shirt as well for consistency
Testing was done on a road bike to see the interplay between the different frames
Mr. Lew Dispensing knowledge
I am extremely greatful that Paul & Mike took the time to use their expertise & knowledge and make some changes to my position that I am confident will benefit my racing in 2011. HUGE!

You might have noticed that I was aboard Specialized bikes for the testing. No, this was not because Reynolds had a deal to use their bikes. There is indeed, something more in the wind (sorry, I couldn't help it).

If you have been reading this blog for a while, or followed my racing last year, you know I rode Blue Competition Cycles in 2010.  Well, in addition to those changes I announced in previous posts, the bikes I will be riding in 2011 can be added to that list.  

I greatly enjoyed working with Blue and riding their bikes.  I have NOTHING bad to say about the company, the people I was fortunate enough to work with, nor the quality or performance of their bikes.  The Triad and Triad SL were/are great bikes.  

I am excited however, to announce that I will be aboard the "Big Red S" this year and training and racing on Specialized bikes and in Specialized helmets and shoes.  Specialized has earned the reputation as a leader and innovator in the cycling and triathlon world and I am honored and privileged to have their support in the coming year.  In tandem with another sponsor of mine, Palos Verdes Bicycle Center, a Specialized concept store, I am extremely fortunate to have all bike bases covered. Its going to be a great 2011 aboard a bike!  How could it not be with this set up?! 

Cheers, Ian

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wind in the forecast!

I am extremely excited to announce I will be continuing my relationship with Reynolds Cycling in 2011.  I raced & trained on their wheels for the majority of last season and love them.  Speed, performance, and QUALITY... Reynolds in a nutshell.

I am also very excited to say that I am writing this from a hotel room in North Carolina, where in a few short hours I will find myself working with one of the most renowned aerodynamics expert in the business, Reynolds designer, Mr. Paul Lew, in the A2 Wind Tunnel.  We will be testing a multitude of Reynolds wheels and working on my position to dial in the right combo and show just how well Reynolds wheels perform. To call this a great opportunity is almost absurd. Wind tunnels are EXPENSIVE and I will be spending close to seven hours in there today. I know this is WAY more than a great opportunity. More likely than not, its of the "once in a lifetime" sort.

I will be tossing out some twitter and facebook updates so follow/friend me if you are keen to see some of the action.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

1st Camp

First off I would like to apologize for the tardiness of this post. The words "Busy" and "Tired" are too often used excuses, but between packing up and "moving" to Las Cruces, training, and then "moving" to Tucson, they are apt in this instance.  So my humble apologies to any who may have been awaiting an update on "Squad Life."  But alas, here goes.
Coach Paulo wasted no time in setting the tone for the Las Cruces camp.  No introduction, no touchy-feely "Welcome to the Squad" dinner, it was, "be at the NMSU pool at noon on Saturday."  I hadn't even been to the hotel yet.  For the most part, the Squad all rolled in and after a quick chat (brevity is one of Paulo's strong suits) we were on deck for our first swim.  An hour and twenty minutes and 5,700 yards later, we were told who our roommates would be, and to meet at a, "to be disclosed" location for a run in 2hrs.  So it was a quick check in and unpack the car and off for workout #2.  Whirlwind.

Ayway, I won't bore you with the details, you can check "The Triathlon Squad" Facebook page if you are so inclined, but suffice it to say that we got some solid work done in New Mexico.  If you have read my blog in the past, you will be aware that my former coach was a fan of some pretty big workouts, those 8, 9 & 10hr epic days I wrote about in the past.  For the Las Cruces camp at least, I found none of that.  In fact our longest runs were 1:35 and longest rides just over 4hrs.  It wasn't about one or two epic days, but rather, putting in solid work, most times 3 times a day, day, after day, after day.  Repitition and accumulation.  As one of Paulo's favorite acronyms goes; G.T.W.D - Get The Work Done.

Unfortunately, early in the first week I managed to tweak my left adductor/quad and had to miss a session or two.  But thanks to the incredible support offered by Chiro and ART practitioner Dr. Bobby Harrison, my time on the DL was short lived.

The Squad is made up of some great people, personalities, and athletes.  I joined the Squad becuase I wanted to be pushed in every workout.  I think I underestimated just how "pushed" I would be.  It's no secret that I am not a standout athlete in any of the disciplines of triathlon and that fact was readily apparent in all our workouts.  Just about everyone on the Squad is a better swimmer than I. Chris Coble swam for USC, Pedro Gomes is a former ITU stud and thus can more than handle his business in the pool, and the "ITU Girls" as we like to call them, can all hold thier own, and some of mine.  Needless to say, the almost daily 5300-6400yd workouts started my days off with a full helping of "challenge."

Me 3rd lane in & behind as usual

The bike offered no repreive from the above-described Smash-O-Ian.  This is where the Canucks of the Squad really showed their prowess.  Trevor and Heather Wurtele, professional triathlon's talllest couple, laid the smack down, day in, and day out.  We were also blessed with another talented cyclist from our Great White neighbor to the North in the person of one "Johnny-O!"  On the mend from some health problems that plagued him the past two seasons, Johnny-O definitely showed some of that form that took him to the podium on several occasions.  

Hill repeats

On the run it was more of the same.  I have raced Trevor in the past and been unfortunate enough to watch his long legs run away from me several times.  Thus, I knew he would be one to push my heart rate to death metal speeds.  I would say that Pedro Gomes was the cause of similar, coronary close calls, but as he was so often, so far up the road, my eyes, brain and heart did a simple "fogettaboutit."

All this meant that I and all the members "got their money's worth" on the trip to Las Cruces.  I know it may not make for the most entertaining reading, what with no "8.5hrs, 135mi and 10,000ft of climbing" adventures to take you through, but trust me, none of us are the weaker for it.  In fact, I think all the members of the Squad learned a little something about what has become one of our other Squad Mantras, "Backing it up."  Plain and simple, it is about getting the work done, in a professional, responsible and dedicated manner.  Then waking up and doing it again the next day.  To sum up the "lesson" if you will, of the Las Cruces camp, its that there is no secret, there is no magic session and the is NO SHORT CUT.  "DO YOUR JOB." EVERYDAY.

Again my apologies for the delay, but there you have my report on Squad Life: Part 1.

I am now in Tucson, reunited with Maiki and some other great training partners including Pedro who I convinced to tag along, and plodding along waiting for the next camp to begin in a few short weeks.

Interestingly enough, opportunities have become available to come train with the Squad here in Tucson. If you are interested, check it out.

Stay tuned as now that I have gotten a little better settled, (and am blessed with more reliable internet access) I will be reporting in more frequently.  I have some BIG, if not HUGE (at least for me) news to report in the coming days.  Suffice it to say, I am VERY excited about 2011.