My personal journey training as a triathlete in Spokane, WA.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Burr is Boise 70.3

With my family having a major case of Strep Throat - I decided to road trip the 8 hour drive with local pro Haley Cooper and her boyfriend. It had the feeling of my old college days when I had to brave the 15 hour drive back home from Santa Clara during the holidays. Its always a treat to pick Haley's mind on race strategy, equipment and overall attitude towards triathlon.

I was really excited since I was staying with my good friends Todd & Michele Points who I have really seen since my wedding over 5 years ago. They built a brand new home about 20 miles outside Boise in nearby Star. I'm sure it will be a killer pad since he layed about 1500 sf of slate tile.

The weather was pretty crummy the last few weeks in Spokane so arriving in Boise we were greeted with sunny and warm weather galore. Yeah - no pollen for my irritated eyes and runny nose so I won't have to take claritan during the race!

Since the car was so small my buddy Steve Kramer graciously offered to valet my bike to Boise. We decided to meet after I registered in the morning. The whole packet thing is way bigger than Lake Stevens, much more the IM experience. They had a cool store full of lots of goodies which I couldn't help getting myself a cool Boise 70.3 race shirt and shorts. Gotta look the part at least even if I'm slow. haha.

Off we went to the bike check in and to do a short swim. On the way out we ran into IM pro Kate Major. Of course Steve is so shy that I had to go up to her and ask her for her photo, she graciously agreed and said she remembered me from the 2006 IM CdA we did together. She is super nice and fast (later I found out she won the race). Many of my friends call me an Ironman paparozi but I find it always amusing and somewhat educational to get feedback from the IM pros since some of its can be applicable to an age group competitor such as myself.

I won't bore you with my race report but to say the following that the combined time waiting for the race to start at 4:30am and the actual swim of 49 minutes in 50 degree water had me almost do the unthinkable and not start. It was hard to get motivated without my usual family support group but good ole' Steve Kramer kicked my butt and got me moving the start line, cold and miserable. The good news once I got on the bike - which is my favorite part the race I was able to warm up. The run was pretty uneventful knowing that I wasn't in prime running form with only a few long runs prior to the race. Overall a fun and great venue and definitely worth adding to my calendar next year. My race splits were 49 swim, 2:54 bike and 2:32 run for a total time of 6:27 or a few minute faster than my time at Lake Stevens. So even though my time is not where I want it to be (especially the swim & run) - I'm happy to always finish a race with a decent time SO early in my racing season!

Spring DUathlon

Since I'm not a very good runner someone suggested that I try racing a duathlon. Marla Emde does a good job putting on the Spring Thaw Duathlon series. My first race was the usual 2.2 mile run followed by a 11 mile bike and then another 2.2 mile run. This distance usually favors a strong runner and athelete that likes to go AT for the whole hour of racing. My first outing was on April 13th with 1:12 about 3 minutes faster than last year. I was 93/176 overall place so almost mid pack as a finisher. Not bad for a fast jogger!

Of course this type of racing style doesn't suit me or my strength so why do it? The answer is we need to train our weaknesses to get better and stronger of course faster!

So I was excited for the second race of the series when the distance increaed to a 3.3 mile run, 22 mile bike and 3.3 mile run where the bike is longer and allows me to catch some of the faster runners or so I thought! I started the run on pace going sub 9min and felt strong. My mistake of not bringing water on the short run caused me to drain my aero bottle in the first few miles. Of course the day was one of the hotest all week so I was pretty thirsty starting my second run. Needless to say it was a tough race with many of the athletes getting cramps or dehydration. Overall it was fun and challenging.

On a side note I was finally able to test my new bike fit during a decent race distance and found it very comfortable and fast. My May 13th race split 2:14 or 56/111 overall place.

The cool news is they give out an award for combined time for both races and I placed 10th overall Open Male behind some stellar local athletes. So kudos to racing my weakness and at least being consistent!

The cool news I was able to debut my new racing outfit courtesy of Team ZootGU and felt like I was a special pro athlete - aka Haley Cooper but with much slower legs! haha

50 miler of fun!

I just recently finished my first 50 mile ride of the year by completing the Lilac Century ride. Its my annual hommage to getting into bike shape plus basically a big social fest of roadies and triathletes mixing it up for between 50 and 100 mile ride options.

Normally if I was training for Ironman, I would be doing the 100 miler but since I'm only doing HIM race distances I can somehow justify doing the shorter 50 mile ride.

The day started out 2 hours later at a more reason time of 9am with a group of about 75-100 riders. I started out the ride at SFCC with my fellow Team Blaze members (Mason, Colleen and others). Unfortunately my roadie training partner Eric Abbott wasn't able to join us so my goal was to find another fast rider to help pace me.

At the second rest stop I was able to hook up with Rick Williams from Spokane Rocket Velo who graciously agreed to pace me the last 25 miles. It was fun to have a roadie talk me through how he attacks each hill climb with a high candence style. He noted that I was spinning way too slow (85mph) and suggested that I'm probably riding in too hard of a gear or need to work on some single leg exercises to build up my strength. So more to learn and to work on during my training so I relish the challenge to get better especially now that I have a new road bike as well to hone my skills.

Zipping Along!

I know its the beginning of race season when I take off my training wheels and put on my Zipp 404 carbon race wheels.

The are kind of miss-match with a 2001 front and 2007 rear but who really cares about the looks if they work.

I swear when I use that my bike speed magically improves by at least 2-3 mph.

Not sure if you can see from the photo but I just recently upgrade my bars from the stock Vision and FSA to Profile Cobra T2 carbon extensions, base bar, brakes and stem. The whole package is carbon so definitely an upgrade on look and weight savings just like the pros!

I also am trying new this year some gently used Qrings from Brett Peterson to help me smooth out my mashing of the pedals. The literature says a savings of 2-3 watts on power but since I don't have a power meter its hard to say the exact savings. However I do notice on the hills that I can spin a little longer before having to get out of the saddle and on the flat portions easier to hold a higher candence and speed! The true test of the benefits of all my new add-ons this year will be at the races if they translate to faster bike splits. So thanks to my bike sponsor - Jim Kozak at Cyclemetrix for installing all my carbon goodies and at least making my old bike look fast!

Christmas in April

After applying for a renewal for Team Zoot/GU back in October it was great to hear that I was selected as 1 of 300 age group competitors to be styling this year.

I really like all the choices of GUs with my favorite for training for Ironman being the espresso which has 2x the caffeine. However, now that I'm training for only HIM, I don't need all the kick and have been testing out lime and chocolate.

In addition, we received some cool accessories like my new outfit, tons of water bottles, gu bottles and of course 4 boxes of GU gels and GU2O. So I'm pretty hooked up for training supplies for the next 3-4 months of training and racing.

I'm not sure if there are others in Spokane who got selected as well but it will be cool to have a new racing outfit for my first HIM race in Boise on June 1st.

So its Christmas in April so a big thanks to my sponsor Team ZootGu.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Swim Stroke Video

Here is one of my favorite swim stroke video from instructor - Steve Tarpinian. He makes swimming so easy when in fact its quite a struggle for people like myself that have no swimming background. My goal for this year to consistently swim 2x per week and target my 1.2mile splits to around sub 33 minutes.

Swim Arm Cycle Video

Swimming Kick Drill

Here is a recent video taping of my swim stroke courtesy of Ben Greenfield. From the analysis, I need to focus on keeping my legs together when kicking, quicker catch, faster transition and breathing earlier.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Goodbye ole' friend - hello my new baby!

My story starts in 2001 when I did my first triathlon as challenge from my personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness to help me loose much needed weight. So I bought a new bike, wetsuit and some running shoes and off to my first race at the Spokane Club.

So with much regret I am selling my aluminum QR Kilo bike or rather passing along 7 years of fond racing memories and lot of training hours to a fellow friend and newbie triathlete - Rachel Bauman. I feel a little like a father approving of his daughter's first date making sure the ultimate buyer/user would be tri race worthy and take care of my old and trusted steed. Rachel was so excited with the new purchase that she immediately rode 20 miles the next day and plans on doing 2 sprint tri races this summer so I feel happy that my bike has found a quality new owner.

With money in my hand or burning a hole in my pocket I started my quest searching for a new Road bike. Many of my friends, coach and fellow racers have suggested that I get a road bike to learn how to be a faster cyclist plus you can't show up with the local morning ride on a TT bike! I spent numerous hours and countless emails with Jim at Cyclemetrix Bike Shop going over new options which were all out of my price range for what I wanted for frameset and components.

I eventually turned to search on Ebay and found the latest addition (2005 Specialized Roubaix Pro) to my bike collection. It was almost too good to be true to find a bike in my little size (49cm), full carbon frameset, DuraAce component and in my price range. I had numerous fellow roadies review and approve before I started the bidding process. After a week of very patiently waiting for UPS to show up - it was like Christmas in March for me! Funny how a bike looks better in person than online. Can't wait to hit the roads with my stealthly black road bike - still working on a nickname though which I'm sure will come in time after a few outings.