Somehow I let the stupid part of my brain make decisions for the rest of me the weekend before last. I had planned on doing the Battle of Burlingame 6 Hour MTB race, but I knew I also needed to work on dealing with transitions for the upcoming Half Ironman. It just happens that there was a duathlon just down the road from me than is known as being good for first timers. Well the duathlon had a start time of 8:30 am, and the Battle of Burlingame XC race, not the 6 hour event, had a start time of 2:30 pm, so why not do both!
Race of Rams Duathlon (First race of the day) The race was a 1.5 mile run, 14 mile bike and then a 2 mile. This was the first duathlon I had ever done, so I was not really sure how to approach it.
I decided to go out easy on the first running leg and was a little surprised at the end when I found out I had run a 10:46. That was a 7:11 pace and 19th fastest run, which is not something I would have ever expected.
I felt really good on the bike right from the start. so I decided I would push a little on the first lap and see how I felt at the start of the second lap. I was picking off other riders here and there so I was pretty sure that I had a good ride going. At the end of the first lap I was still feeling pretty good so I decided to go all in on the second lap and just buried myself. I was pretty sure that it had been a good ride when I hit the transition and there were only 6 bikes hanging there. The result was a 43:46.5 bike leg that was good for the 5th fastest bike leg of the day.
I didn’t want to ruin what was turning into a good race on the last run so I went for it. The second run was an out and back that was all uphill for the out part. Almost immediately I had three runners go by me, and at the turn around there were two people right behind me. I managed to sort of hold them both off to the finish. Okay one passed me and then I managed to stay with her until the last 100 meters where I passed her back. Net result for the second run was a 14:41.3 which worked out to a 7:21 pace.
My overall time was a 1:11:37.5. That was good for 11th overall and 1st in my age group.
The Battle of Burlingame (Second race of the day) I went out to warm up before the race and was not real impressed with the hill at the start, until I found out that the course was pancake flat. That pretty much told me that there was nothing left in the legs and it was going to be a real long race. I put in a good hard effort for about the first 1/2 a lap and then decided that I needed to just back off and try to finish. On the 3rd lap someone passed me and said he was surprised I was still even out there after racing in the morning. My only comment to that was that I didn’t really think the pace I was riding at really counted as racing. That was maybe not the most polite thing to say being that he was just catching me at that point. After a quick laugh he more or less paced me to the finish. My finishing time was 1:38:53 which was good for 14th. I was a little surprised by my lap times. I figured they would drop off really bad after the first lap. The second lap was only 2 minutes slower than the first, and the third lap was actually 20 seconds faster than the second lap.
This may have been a really good race course and I would love to try it again without the dead legs. Maybe next year if these two events do not fall on the same day.
For some reason I decided to register for the IRONMAN Timberman 70.3 later this year. I’ve never done a triathlon of any length before, so I decided to jump right in and see how things go. At some point my brain must have switch gears and figured out that I should really put some effort into this, or I was going to be in for a long and most likely not enjoyable day.
One of the first things I wanted to get out of the way was working on the run. I ran track in high school, but I was a sprinter. After high school I ran a little and have even done a few 5K races. Not sure that is the makings of a good half marathon race. In mid-February I started to train for the Willi Whammer 1/2 Marathon on April 26th. I started easy and just kept slowly adding distance and managed to get to the point where I was up to 11 miles comfortable.
Well race day came around and I was greeted to pouring rain and low 40’s for a temperature. Basically I could not have asked for better weather, yeah right. Well I decided to make the best of it and just go out and run. I had originally been targeting a 2 hour time, but with the weather I figured I was going to slip a little on my target time. Most of the hills were located in the first 6 miles of the race. I’m not sure if it was due to the temperature or what, but I really struggled with the down hills. My shins were killing my ever time the road went down and I was just about walking. Fortunately I felt strong on the up hills and flats or that first half would have taken forever. The second half of the run was just a case of keeping a steady pace and try having a little fun, which I’m not really sure that I pulled off that last part.
All in all I was happy with my time even though I missed my target of 2 hours. I’m not sure when the next half marathon is going to be, but I am going to be lining up at a duathlon the following weekend.
I started using TrainingPeaks.com several years ago, but I didn’t really start using it to its full potential until this year. For the last couple of years I kind of put a training plan together from bits and pieces of things that I had read without always understanding the big picture. It worked okay, but I never peaked properly for races. I would frequently put in the work, not always the right kind of work, but didn’t get the recover part right going into my big races.
Two years ago I purchased a training plan for an event and then put in a lot of time and effort for the race. I ended up having one of those dream days and started to look at my training a little different. After that race I started to really dig into the data that the reports in TrainingPeaks was showing. The Performance Manager became my fitness bible after I spent some time getting comfortable with what it was telling me. The nutshell version is the blue line is your Chronic Train Load (CTL) or basically your fitness level. The pink line is your Acute Training Load (ATL) or how much work you have been doing. The yellow line is your Training Stress Balance (TSB) or how fatigued you are. Basically as you train your ATL increases which increases your CTL meaning that you are getting fitter. The side effect of this is that your TSB decreases, which means that your tank is starting to run empty. You can only push so long before you need to take some time and recover. What the image above is showing is the steady series of build and recover periods that I have done since I started this years training in December.
There is both a Basic Edition that is free and a Premium Edition that is paid for. I would highly recommend taking a look at the basic edition and if you like it, then spring for the premium edition. Both USA Cycling and USA Triathlon memberships offer discounts for TrainingPeaks.
This is going to be a little bit of a different year for me. Historically I have just raced bikes with the odd running race thrown in. This year I am going to be doing a few more running races as well as a couple of triathlons. The triathlons are something new that I have never done before, and will be the biggest challenge training wise. I also do not swim, so that is something I will have to learn this year.
The other change is that I am trying to get the family more involved in athletics in general. If any of the kids get into any of the sports that I am into even better.
Courthouse O’Putnam 5K – Ran a 25:15
Willi-Whammer Half Marathon – Ran a 2:04:48.21
The Battle at Burlingame 6 Hour MTB Race – Changed Plans
Race of Rams Duathlon – Overall Time 1:11:37.5
The Battle at Burlingame Sport Race – Finishing Time 1:38:53
Whiteface 100k MTB Race
28th Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon
Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge
Niantic Bay Triathlon
Timberman IRONMAN 70.3
Full Cyclocross Season
Stay healthy for the whole race season!
Finish in the top 10 of a 100k MTB race.
Top 50% in a Cat 3 ‘cross race.
Get my weight under control. Ideally it would be between 185 and 190.
Make better use of my training time to free up time to spend with the family.
Improve my bike handling skills in all cycling disciplines.
My 2013 racing year can be summed up in one sentence. It was over before it ever started.
I had a good plan going into last year and I thought some achievable goals, but the week before my first bike race I broke a couple of ribs. This wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time that it hurt enough to stop me from riding, training and sleeping. While I was waiting for the ribs to heal, I decided to go see a doctor about a problem with my foot that had been bothering me off and on for about a year. It ended up being a severe case of athlete’s foot. He put me on oral Lamisil for 90 days. One of the side effects, other than destroying your liver, can be fatigue. For every hour I spent on the bike I would spend four crashed on the couch after. It was the end of July by time I was off this stuff and another two weeks before it cleared out of my system and I could start training again.
So what’s the first thing I did once I was training again? Over train and end of with a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder area that made it pretty much impossible to ride. That took another six weeks to get straightened out. At this point it was mid-October and the ‘cross season was in full swing and I was not even close to being in race shape. At this point I called it a season without ever lining up for a bike race, and only one running race.
Over the weekend I ran in the Courthouse O’ Putnam 5k. It was the second time I have run this and was hoping to lower my time a little. Well I ended up 3 seconds slower than last year. Overall I was still happy with my run. My first and last miles were close time wise, while my second mile was almost 50 seconds slower. The second mile is also where all the climbing is during this race. At the end I felt that I may have held a little too much back and could have easily held the pace I was running for a second 5K. My time was 25:15, which worked out to 8:08 minute miles. This is well under what I need to reach my first big goal of the year, a sub two hour half marathon.
2012 was a good year on the bike. I hit most of my goals for the year. The goals that I accomplished were finishing
the in top 50% in the Cat 4’s, upgrading to Cat 3 in Cyclocross and finish a
Cat 3 race on the lead lap. I also
wanted to do and finish a 12 hour solo MTB race.
The two big goals that I missed were picking up an upgrade
point as a Cat 4 in Cyclocross and finishing the Hampshire 100 in under 6:30. I was on pace to easily finish the Hampshire
100 in under 6 hours until I folded the front wheel.
I ended up putting just over 5100 miles on the bike for the
years, and a lot of those miles were with some really good friends. Here is looking for many more miles in the
years to come.
into this weekend I had a good recovery after three solid weeks of training.
It was probably the best I have felt going into a race weekend since I
returned to racing last year. Instead of the usual worries about what I hadn’t done I spent the week working out some of the bugs in my bike position
and getting my tires dialed in a little better.
was going to be a hard race no matter how you looked at it. It was a monster field, 150 riders, and there
where way too many guys racing in this that had not business still being in the
Cat. 4’s. I wanted to try something a little different for this race, so at the
start I just plain went for it knowing full well that I was going to pay for it
later in the race. I was rewarded with a
really good position after the first lap and surprisingly the cost wasn’t as
high as I thought it would be. Yes, I
did give up some positions later in the race, but my lap times after the first
lap were 9:11, 9:13 and a final lap of 9:12.
Never expected my times to stay that consistent after the effort I put
in at the start. The one thing that I
did notice that I need to work on was at the start of the second lap a teammate
passed me and I was able to hang with him for the second lap. On the third lap, every time we accelerated
out of a corner a little gap would open and it got harder and harder to close
it down until I finally snapped. All of
a sudden I was 19 seconds behind him. Finished 54 out of 133.
I knew was going to be a totally different day as soon as I started warming
up. My legs had no snap to them. I could push a big gear, but had no cadence at
all. After the results from the day
before, I decided to try the same thing and just go at the start. They ended up being the best move of the day
as there were at least three pileups right off the start. I managed to stay clear of all the chaos and
had a good position when things settled down.
Unfortunately my legs never came around, and although I kept a steady
pace for the whole race I did give up positions slowly throughout the race. I was in a group at the end of lap two and didn’t hit the lap counter, but what I did get was my average speed for laps 2
and 3 was 12.9. My average speed for the
last lap was 13.2, so that still tells me that I was going as strong at the end
as the beginning. No complains there! Finished 55 out of 132.
for the course, it was great. Adam
Myerson and company put on a first class event and it is one that I am already
looking forward to for next year. The
course was fast, dry and still challenging.
Both days had full fields in the Cat. 4’s, but the course was open
enough that the racing fun. Can you use
fun to describe a ‘cross race?
Saturday: I went into this event without any real plan. I had been sick all week and lost 10 pounds in the 9 days heading into the weekend. I hopped onto the course to get in a quick pre-ride after the first race ended. Then I took my pit wheels to the pit area. At some point during this they called for staging and I never heard it. By time I arrived at staging it was too late for my call-up, so they stuck me in the back. If nothing else, it gave me a plan for the race. Go hard until you can’t go any more, and then go harder. It may not have been the most elegant plan, but I did learn something from it. For the 40 minutes of the race I had an average heart rate of 182, which was higher than I thought I could maintain. I ended up with a solid 60th out of 99 finishers.
Later in the day I found myself sitting with a bunch of great friends watching the pro race. Holy shit those guys are fast. In my race I am looking to go about 45 seconds a lap faster to finish near the front. These guys were going 4 minutes a lap faster than me. Watching them also showed me that you can really hammer through some of the corners that I was crawling through because I just didn’t feel like there was enough traction. They seemed to trust that the bike was going to go where they pointed it. Jeremy Powers held on to win over a determined looking Ryan Trebon.
Sunday: I had a solid plan for the race today. Make my call-up, start hard and suffer. I dropped my wheels off in the pit area at the start of the race before mine and then started working on getting a good warmed up. I made my call-up in the 5th row. It was kind of neat being that close to the front without having to kill myself getting there. Once the whistle sounded, I again tried to get by as many people as possible before the course narrowed. I really worked on trying to trust my tires and drive through the corners during this race. I have no idea where I was running position wise, but this was the first time that I could still see the leader at the end of the first lap in a race of this caliber The next three laps where just a case of holding my position and gaining any that I could. I had a much better sprint at the end and gained two spots in the final 100 meters to finish 34 out of 77 finishers. It ended up being a GREAT race, and lets me know that what I worked on all summer should pay off. This was far and away the best ‘cross race that I have had.
It was great seeing the crew Saturday at the pro race and even better getting to line up with a couple of good friends and battling it out on the course. This might be the best part of racing ‘cross. I didn’t see any pictures of the three of us together, but someone had a good one of John and Gary.