Monday, March 29, 2010

Chest cold & drafting...

Oceanside 70.3 half ironman is in the books & over with. After a time in 2007 that would win my age group 2 of the last 4 years, I hoped for a better race yet than 2007 to at least finish 2nd. I say 2nd because a pro athlete that finished 2nd overall in the pros at Ironman Canada apparently realized he would not be able to compete with the other big boys anymore and now decided to race age group. So there was little chance I'd be able to take down someone that travels all over the world to train at will and has the capacity to nap/recover in the afternoons while the rest of us manange to squeeze in a workout & work well into the afternoon or night surviving on anywhere from 5-6 hrs sleep a night.

I came down with a chest cold last week which dashed my hopes of the podium finish--and the hope was now to just complete the race and nab a spot to Ironman Coeur d' Alene in Idaho in June. The long and short of the race report is the swim was easy but knowing my lungs wouldn't hold up long once on the bike due to illness, I held back--but surprisingly finished only about 35 seconds slower than last time I raced here. The transition went smooth although I didn't quite run T1 as fast as last time (understandable without the lungs). Hackingly, I started the bike with a large group of athletes and it was chaos with 2,500 athletes out on the course that day. There were wave starts but I caught people who started 3 waves ahead of me by the end of the swim so here I was coming out with them. There were some from the wave behind me that caught me too (the faster swimmers from the 40-44 AG), so those guys were also starting the bike together. At mile 8 or so, there was a turn around & we had to slow up to do a 180 turn around an orange cone. Wheel to wheel then once around the cone everyone accelerated. When you have so many of the same cycling ability, it takes some time to spread out. About 1.5 miles later, a marshal pulled up & yelled to the guy behind me to pull over at the next Penalty Box to serve a 4 minute time penalty for drafting. I knew he was close because I could see his shadow on the ground as we were riding. Then the marshal yelled at me to do the same--but there was nobody in front of me. I nearly yelled back, "W.T.F? There's nobody in front of me!" But I restrained because that would likely get me disqualified from the race. Clearly there wasn't anyone for around 100-150 yards in front of me. That took the steam out of my engine and I was paranoid to get anywhere near another cyclist. Soon pack after pack were passing me (really drafting that is). The only thing I could ascertain is that the drafting occurred at the 180 turn around point. In 22 YEARS of racing, I have not so much as gotten a warning for drafting, and do not agree with the call. But I am glad they were marshalling the course & have to take my lumps along the way even if I don't think I was drafting.

At the penalty tent I was asked by everyone in the tent if I was okay due to the non-stop coughing from my chest cold. They asked if I need medical assist. "Nope, I've been sick for a week & am still sick--probably shouldn't be racing." I said. It was a really windy day and the time out at the Penalty Tent only made me lethargic & unable to get back to speed. No top end at all on this day, although my climbing was surprisingly good on my new P3C Cervelo--few people the entire race passed me on an uphill. All I could think of was getting off the bike & onto the run. When T2 came around I knew I had not only lost contact but lost my energy reserves from decreased stamina due to the illness. The fight to fight was just a mere fight to finish from that point. After taking a "number 2" (to be politically correct) in T2 (Transition #2 where you change from a biker to a runner's equipment), I went through the first 6.5 miles rather easily but had no gumption to push at all. Lap #2 of the half marathon portion was worse as the Muscinex I was taking clearly contributed to dehydration and I began to feel light headed. In the end I was only 22nd in my age group instead of what should have been a challenge to the #1 or #2 spot and top 50 overall. It was a dismal day indeed but I live to fight another day when I get healthy. Racing is a weird thing  in that you never know what the day will hold for you. Things can go great right up until the start, then in can all tumble, or it can be horrible & then turn out great. On this day, it was back to basics and the hope of getting to the Ironman Coeur d' Alene in June where I will have some athletes racing. I intend on being there for their support (although I'll be racing too). It is always nice to be at the same races as those you coach. As I hack away slightly worse for the wear writing this post race report, I will take a week or week and a half off to recover and then it will be build back up time for a domestic Ironman in June--where I was 3rd in the AG & top 36 overall including pros out of 2,200 last year. Hopefully sickness and/or injury can be avoided next time around. All of us triathletes pretty much have the same mentality & that is when we get knocked down, we get back up again and fight harder next time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2010 Oceanside 70.3

T-minus 14 hours until lift off for the first race of the year in California. All was well until a week ago I came down with a chest cold which leaves me in coughing fits all day & night—lungs feel “burned” from all the coughing. Slept with a humidifier 2 feet from my pillow yesterday just to ease the breathing. Funny how things can “tumble” on you all at the last minute. I’m not sure how this will affect my race aside from the fact any illness affects you—and being a half iron distance this is going to HURT! I’ve already scaled back my expectations from what they were a great deal. If only there was one more week to “heal” instead of only 3 days.

I’ve made some improvement today hitting the green tea all day long, hoping to loosen things up. On a bright side, my first race on the new bike should be a blast. Hopefully it doesn’t ride away from me because yes—it is that fast of a bike. Nothing like having its rider left behind! I should have some fun meeting up with my first cousin…he is now the head US National Surf Team head coach. He’s also owner of his own line of surf boards---and SURF Magazine has dubbed him “Lord of the Boards”. Just go down to the beach and talk to any competitive surfer and they’ll know who he is. Former US National Champion…ESA Champion & was also on the cover of SURF Magazine when he was younger.

It’ll be a nice meet up with a party Saturday night post-race as one of the original “Page Peeps” from Ironman California. This is the 10-year anniversary of it all but it has been downgraded to a half iron distance due to military/security issues on Camp Pendleton property post 9-1-1. Either way, the weather should be nice. Looking at some of the posts on Slowtwitch, there are a lot of “nervous” racers all ramping up for the first big race of the year. I had a fleeting moment of that a few weeks ago looking at the start list—that usually doesn’t happen. Part of that was I think because I knew who the contenders were after viewing the start list and I was excited in knowing the names & where I “could” place. Not so much an “Oh my gosh so & so is here—this is going to be rough” but more of an “Oh my gosh I could actually podium high if all goes according to plan.” Of course, now I’ve been clobbered over the head with a chest cold & it isn’t fun. This is one time I’ll have to depend on my “luck & karma” to not feel like death warmed over at some point during Saturday’s race. But remain optimistic & hope for the best—even though I already know it won’t be my best. Let the Guardian Angel guard me Saturday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cervelo P3C: 2010

Here's my new 'baby' which I think I've posted on FB...but just got the XLAB Torpedo drinking system on yesterday. So far I've dropped the seatpost about 5mm--not much, but enough to keep the hips from rocking side to side while pedaling, and take pressure off the achilles & hip flexors. So far not a lot of issues from the bicep femoris or ITB at all. The armrest width is still a little narrow but it goes to show how "un-aero" my last setup was. Control will be the big thing on fast downhills nearing 50 miles per hour...which we have plenty of those around here! The Riser Kit to take 3 cm of spacers from the steerer tube below the stem should be here in about a week.

I'll get a chance to visit my first cousin in Oceanside which will be neat, he recently took over as Head Coach for the US National Team in Surfing. Yes, surfing has a Team USA too. He's the head honcho. Looks like coaching runs in the family! He wasn't sure if he was going to be in town until recently--he travels a lot to other competitions, so I'm hanging out with my buddy Chaz next week. Should be a hoot, he's a crazy man but certainly fun.

Time to post the pictures & then pack for the trip.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Boulder Altitude Camp, Wolfgang Dittrich & Spring

 What a whirlwind past "quarter" it has been, can't believe how the time has flown. This season started out great thus far, with of those I coach--who raced thus far, all PR'ing (Personal Record) in early races--Mark, a local guy from Golden, set 2 PR's in half marathons he competed in this year, a day after a 100 mile ride, then again a day after a 80 mile ride. While I told him not to ride so long beforehand--he still PR'd.. I'm really wondering how fast this guy could go on a day where he just rested. They were both training days for IM CDA this summer anyhow and he had the opp for a really long ride in nice warm weather rather than the trainer or freezing cold of Colorado, can't say as I blame him! Two others that raced & set PRs, John & Bob, in the Walt Disney Marathon. John qualified for his first Boston Marathon which he'll race in 2011, he's really doing great & seems quite a bit more serious than past years.

The BAC (Boulder Altitude Camp) has really taken shape & we currently have athletes from coast to coast (Florida to California) who will be attending. While we have spots available, we are hoping more come to Boulder for a week long fun in the sun & learning about Iron Distance training & racing.

After 10 long years, I finally have my new ride! Still getting adjusted to it and dialing it in a little closer. While I'm coming up on my first race of the season shortly, I'll have a nice bike that will hopefully compensate a little bit for the lack of fitness so far. I had Wolfgang Dittrich film me in the pool & give his top-notch swimming expertise to me about a week and a half ago. My stroke feels like I've changed it drastically but to my surprise he thought my stroke was not that bad. For a later starting swimmer (I think I was 18 at the time), it seems I've made up for lost time--never having been a swimmer in high school nor on the local swim team...I fell into it late, but trained seriously with a small Master's group up at University. The swim coach was the head US Deaf Swim Team Coach and was very good--with both his daughters setting school (collegiate) records in their time. So far the run seems to be coming along, hopefully I can rely on my strength to get me through this upcoming half ironman and produce a decent result. I know "decent" is arbitrary but considering the near 3 year injury that comes & goes, I'd say any "podium" finish would be very satisfying at this point.

Spring has sprung in Boulder & we have had rain, snow, sleet, warm & cold temperatures. It is only a few weeks from the buds starting to transform into leaves. A few rains & warm days things will start greening up around here. I'm looking forward to some races this year even though I'm only signed up for one so far. I'll develop my race plan as the season progresses, hopping into races randomly. The important thing now is to just get in as good of shape as I can so that when I do enter a race, I'll be able to contend for a high placing. Time to ride...