Monday, August 29, 2011

Tuff Stuff

I realize my last blog was lacking any photos of this beautiful place called Boulder that I have been writing about. I have gotten a few requests for some photos and I tried to comply. Trust me. I did. I really did.

However, it appears that the elevation that is so hard on our lungs up here, is equally unforgiving on electronics. This week both my digital camera and my iPhone felt its wrath and came out the worse for it. So sadly, despite my best efforts, this post will again be noticeably lacking any photographic documentation of my Boulder exploits. (As of this posting the iphone has been resurrected, sort of, by the nice girl with the cute smile at AT&T).

My second full week here in Boulder came and went without any mishaps (other than the aforementioned electronic tragedies) or any particularly noteworthy events. I did my job, got the work done, relaxed and pulled off some major internet surfing sessions. You see, Ben, by his own admission, doesn't really watch TV, so he hasn't felt compelled, understandably so, to add another utility bill to his mailbox. Thus, between sessions, I am left with pretty much the MacBook Pro on which I write this post for entertainment. Luckily for me, this week the Island of Tahiti played host to the Billabong Pro surf contest at the infamous Teahupoo (pronounced: Cho-poo) at precisely the time when one of the biggest swells to ever hit the island rolled through. Some major edge-of-your-seat type stuff came across my monitor.  Some of the wipeouts were quite intense.

While watching these guys and a gal, risk their lives in some insane surf was certainly riveting. More spine tingling was watching Jordan Rapp resoundingly signal his return to the top step of the podium with a crushing win at Ironman Canada.  Jordan has been "back" after his horrific accident since LA Tri last year, but I think even he would admit that his "defense" of his title at IMC marks yet another step in his full "recovery."
Photo Credit Tim Carlson - Slowtwitch
 Sunday also gave me the privilege of watching good friend and fellow Boulder summer camper, Chris "Big Sexy" Mcdonald claim his 4th Ironman title at Louisville. Chris is a great friend and person and I have HUGE respect for him as an athlete not just because of his 4 Ironman titles, but more so (and I don't think he will mind me saying this) because of his ability to take a good hard look at his situation and the road that lay before him earlier this year, make the tough decisions, and proactively change his approach.  The results do not lie. It is not the easiest thing to stare down the gun barrel of reality, accept your current path may be "off", admit it to yourself, make the difficult choices and changes and have the work ethic and perseverance to power through the rough parts and come out better for it on the other side. It may sound a bit cliche, but I think it sort of encapsulates Ironman racing. It is that kind of character that is needed to push through and become a champion. Sincere Congratulations Chris.
Larry Rosa - Lava Magazine
So while my electronics collection may not be, these guys have certainly proven they are made of some "tuff stuff." 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Boulder you got good stuff.

Well my first week in Boulder is in the books.

So far training is going well. I have been busy soaking it all in, the sights, the sounds, the grasshoppers.

I decided to cough up the dough for privileges at the Flatirons athletic club, mainly because pool hours basically become a non-issue. There are some solid swim groups at the Flatirons as well and getting to jump into one of those every once in a while is good. Good for a solid thrashing.

Running here has been "an experience" but one I have enjoyed, for the most part. Elevation can be a tricky nut to crack, and I have felt it's wrath this week. Tempo runs have been, well, less than tempo and I had to check a couple times to make sure my new heart rate strap was working properly. Numbers that high are something I am not entirely accustomed to.

While the above described activities have, on the whole, gone well, things on the cycling front have been stellar. Riding here, elevation notwithstanding, has been fantastic. Some incredible views, challenging climbs and great weather have combined to make for quite the cycling experience. I have actually found myself reminiscing on the scenes of Lake Placid. With towering mountains, lakes, and rushing rivers round nearly every corner, one can easily see the similarity between the two. The two are equally beautiful. Boulder however, in my humble opinion gets the nod due to the variety of routes, the climbs and the quality of the roads. The only detractor may be the aforementioned grasshoppers and the colonies of which we encounter out here. Its a brutal scene at times.

All in all, Boulder is proving to be a spectacular place. Even if its only been a week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Past, Present, and Future

In all the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks I haven't gotten around to updating this here Blog for a bit. So here is a little run down on the Past, Present and Future.

The Past: Following Lake Placid I took a trip down Connecticut way to visit my friends Tommy and Katie in their new digs. I had never been to Connecticut before, and was impressed with Stamford and the surrounding area. One day was too short of a trip, but I am hoping to get back this winter.

I had been in Lake Placid since July 3rd, and before that, had spent the previous 7.5 weeks between Hawaii and Utah. In reality, I had been home for about 36hrs since January 9th, so to finally be heading home felt a little strange and more than a little exciting. In all I got to spend 10 days at home, visiting with friends and family I had missed dearly. The highlights of my trip included getting to spend time with my 93yr old grandma, my parents, brother, friends, and attending the wedding of a long time dear friend. 2 days after said wedding I was back on the road. 

Which brings me to the present: 
I am writing this from a couch in Boulder, Colorado after having spent 3 days in Salida, Colorado with my good friend Maiki. I have been in Boulder for 4 days as of this posting, and have to admit, this place is pretty awesome. Boulder takes some heat in the triathlon world as it has become "Triathlon Mecca" or "Tri-Geek Central" but after just a few short days I can see why so many people like it, and why so many of the top professionals in our sport train here. Plain and simple, the place has a great deal to offer when it comes to training for triathlon, and very few mitigating factors.

I am knocking on wood as I write this, but I haven't found the adjustment to altitude to be all so terrible as of yet. While I'd like to think that is due to my outstanding physiological capacities, I am sure it has much more to do with the training plan my coach has built. So far, so good.

Finally, the Future:
I plan on staying in Boulder for the next several weeks and am fortunate that friend and fellow Specialized and Zoot athlete, Ben Hoffman is allowing me to crash at his place at the mere cost of $2,000.00 a month, and all laundry, cooking, dish, car and S-Works Ruckus washing duties. A steal if you ask me ;-)

On the racing front, I will be putting in a good block here before I head on down to Branson, Missouri on September 18th for a 70.3 that I hear is top notch. I wanted to race Rev3 Cedar Pt. and was fired up all season to do so, but with my race at, and recovery from Lake Placid not going as desired, it was just too much too soon.

However, occupying the biggest and most (only?) important news of this post, I am happy to say that I accepted a slot to race the Ironman World Championships and thus will be heading back to the Big Island and the town of Kona for a second time this season. I am stoked and humbled to have qualified, albeit due to roll downs under the new Kona Points Rankings system, and cannot wait to be floating in the harbor waiting for the cannon to fire and racing as a professional triathlete on the most hallowed of triathlon grounds. If you had asked me 5 years ago if there was even a glimmer of hope that such circumstances could arise, I would not have hesitated even a fraction of a second in saying "NO!" I have had heard some friends and my former coach describe the feeling of starting and racing in Kona as a pro, and I am thrilled and honored to get the opportunity to experience the same myself come October 8th.  GAME ON!!