It's Been a Year

It's been a year since I started the fitness and diet programs. First, I changed my diet and then started to exercise. Then, I started to sign up for the events. I had a great time, lost 20 pounds and learned a lot about both diet and exercise. It's more than I ever learned while playing sports 12 months a year back in high school.

I boiled what I learned down to a couple simple truths.

  • It's what you eat and when you eat it.
  • It's what you do and how often you do it.

I also came to the resolution that I wanted something different for the second year. After the triathlon, I realized I really didn't care about the distance. The process of getting to the triathlon was what mattered most, improvement was second. Looking back at the events over the last twelve months I really enjoyed the middle-distance events. It could've been that the shorter running events occured in hot weather or the endurance event, the marathon, occured in 29-degree temperatures with drizzle, while the middle distance events occured in perfect temperatures. However it happened or whatever contributed, I had the most fun with the half-marathons and the sprint triathlon, and for that reason, those are the events I'll participate in for the twelve months.

  • January 29 - 3M Half Marathon
  • February - Austin Half Marathon
  • March 19 - River City Ten Miler
  • April 2 - Capital 10,000
  • May 29 - CapTex Tri (sprint triathlon)
  • June - nothing planned
  • July - Aquarena Sprint Triathlon (maybe)
  • August - nothing planned
  • September 10 - Dilloman (sprint triathlon) or Sept 17 Texas Man Sprint or Olympic, Las Calinas, Irving Texas
  • October 16 - Pervasive 10-Miler
  • November 20 - Motive Half Marathon
  • December - nothing planned

When I started I had no real training plan. In fact, the first training plan didn't include enough time to build a base, so that's what I'm doing now. If after building the base, I add more miles and can include a marathon, Olympic distance triathlon or half-Ironman, that's great. If not, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. There are plenty of events in the middle distance to keep me occupied, as well as improve the fitness I have now.

I also believe Americans in general have a Super-Size Me fascination with food, cars, homes and fitness events. It can also be extended to toys, such as the triathlon bikes I saw last week. The longer the event, the better. Sprint triathlon, Olympic, Half-Ironman, Ironman, Ultraman, Ultra-Bizillion-mile-man. I don't think so. I don't mean to put down the endurance events, it's just that to to that distance well, it takes a lot of time, time from other things. To finish a really long, impossible ditance or to do an event and compete, seems to be the question.

One person asked after the triathlon if I was now ready to persue the Ironman. No. No and no. One doesn't always realize the amount of time it takes to train for such an event. Looking at Ironman participants, the ones that do it right, they tend to train between 30 and 40 hours per week. That's like having another job. That leaves very little else in one's life for the majority of the year. I want to read. I want to cook. I want to garden. I want to take a vacation and not wonder if the hotel has a 50-meter lap pool or a trail to run.

Another reason for the choice of events was recovery and injury. I was lucky this past year with my knees and other parts of the body. It took me several weeks to recover from the marathon. Partly due to the lack of training miles and partly due to getting the flu the week before, the marathon took a heavy toll on my body. I liked feeling almost no discomfort after the triathlon. Two hours into any event I was still smiling and I having fun. By the fourth or fifth hour of an event, I was asking how much longer could this go on. I was cramping and not feeling well at all.

Maybe my fitness will improve to the point that four hours will feel like two of today's hours. If so, I'll do the endureance event in a heartbeat. If not, I'll stay within my two hours and improve on that.

June, July and August will be spent continuing to build the base. My time will also be spent in the gym, lifting weights as I need to increase the power in my legs. More powerful hamstrings and quads are on order. So although triathlon season just started, I see my triathlon last week ending the season and the next season starting with another triathlon in September.

CapTexTri - Race Report

Of all the races in the past year, this one had to be my favorite. It got an A+++ for all the things that make a great race; volunteers, organization, expo, swag, post-race food and friendliness. I couldn't have wished for a better race to participate in.

The day started, as most of my other races, when I woke up at 2:00 a.m. for a bottle of Boost. Anxiety was high an so I had a very restless night sleep. I probably got four quality hours and four hours of twisting and turning and looking at the ceiling. After the Boost, I slept great until 4:30 a.m. A yogurt, an Emergen-C and some coffee and it was time to get dressed and go through the gear one last time. I got out the door at 6:15 a.m., as the transition area and body marking was taking place at seven. The Olympic participants gathered an hour and a half earlier for the same routine.

1555 on two wrists, two upper arms, two thighs and age on the calf and I was ready to wait. I parked my things on the grass and talked to a few other Spinters who had gathered. We were kidding around with the folks out of town, advising them to watch out for the nutria in the lake. One guy said, "Yeah, they'll take a man down like a barricuda. The officials won't know your gone until long after the race is over." I knew we had him hooked when he asked how big. Not to overly do it, the arms spread about two feet wide; just enough for the out-of-towner's eyes to grow a bit.

Transition opened and the Sprinters made their way to their bikes. I didn't have a lot of room. Basically, under the bike and in front of it was as much as I was given. No more was needed though. I learned to get the bike checked in early so you can get an end spot on the rack. Those guys had plenty of room. I added a little more tape to the Profile aerobar bottle.

As I was in the first group of Sprinters to take off, I put on the wetsuit and walked over to the starting dock. It started to sprinkle but wasn't a worry as I was going to get in the water anyway. What would've been a problem were wet roads or muddy grounds. The race organizer went over a few rules and we made our way to the end of the dock. The LCRA river authority had shut down the dam at midnight last night, not only raising the water level two feet but also stopping the current. The Colorado River had become a lake.

I fell to the back of the pack and towards the shore, where it was advised not to get kicked in the face. The water temperature of 73 degrees was perfect. Not cold enough to bring on chills, and not warm enough to make one sweat in a wetsuit. We treaded water for what seemed like an eternity and finally I just turned on my back and took it easy. The wetsuit wasn't fitting correctly in the arms. Somehow, I hadn't given myself enough sleeve room which limited the reach. I tried to adjust it when the horn blew. Show time!

The swim leg was going pretty well for 100 meters or so then the limited reach of the wetsuit's arms started to annoy me. This disrupted my breathing and I stopped to figure out what to do. I decided to flip and do some backstroke for awhile. It felt much better and stretched out the arms a little. Past the first buoy and across the lake. Past another buoy and it was home from there. At this point a got a kick or arm that threw a bunch of lake water into my mouth. Not bad tasting but unexpected at that point. Onward. Somehow, I missed the last buoy and went to the right. All I remember is peeking up to get my bearings on the last buoy and not seeing it. What I did see was an official in a red shirt pointing over my back to the lost buoy. Argh!

Should I take a penalty or move onward?
Maybe they really didn't see me.

I swam back for the buoy and did it the correct way, feeling spent at this point. As I made it around the buoy, the second wave of fish were cutting through our wave. They were fast, at least faster than me. I got to the ramp and plenty of volunteers reached out hands to pull me up. They had three sets of people. The first group pulled people out, then a second group reached over, grabbed our hands and pulled us up some more. The third group pulled even more and then there was a lady in charge of pulling the rip cord on the wetsuit as we went by. A cool job.

Swim time: 21.45. My target was 20.0

OK, one mental mistake on the buoy but no more. I was very light headed and ran towards the transition area. I went in and down to my bike. No bike. Crap. I looked around and noticed everyone in the area at that time was of another gender and age. Crap, where am I. Crap, I'm in the Olympic transition area. Mental mistake number two. I ran out and over to my area. I had planned on two-minute transitions and that was out the window with mental mistake number two.

It was really ok to go mental as my only goal for this race was to have fun and I was having a blast. Swim gear transition to bike gear and I was out of T1. I was glad I'd changed the shoes and pedals two weeks ago as I could move much faster with my new shoes. They felt ok with no socks, a tip to save time in the T1.

T1 time: 5.26. My target was 2.0

"Cross the blue line and get on your bike," said the volunteer. I felt some energy come back to by body and I mounted the bike. I was off. Quickly I found another person at about the pace I wanted to go. I stayed three bike lengths back and wanted to go easy on the first loop of the bike course. I was wearing my heart rate monitor and it was in the low 160s. I eased back, followed the pacer and let the speedy bees go by. Tehre were still slow people riding to the left which I found difficult to believe as the one thing I heard over and over and which is the rule of the road, was slow riders to the right. Right is right, like three feet from the curb right to me. However, others thought the middle stripe must have been right.

Five miles into the first loop I decided to ditch the pacer. She was having too fun a ride and started to slow and talk to the volunteers more than ride. This was ok, but I already had two mental mistakes and needed to make up some time. I increased the cadence and got ready for the second loop.

Bike Loop One time: 22.33. My target time for this loop was 20.0.

The second loop went much better. I knew I could make up some time on a few downhills and my climbing was better today than in the time trial a couple of weeks ago. I surprisingly had enough energy in the legs to climb. Cool. Just when I started my descent I hit a bump in the road. This was a bumpt that had cost many a rider their water bottle or other gear, as the road was littered with debris. Bam! There went my bike computer. No fifteen seconds later a motorcycle pulled up next to me. An APD officer asked if I'd lost it and I said yes. As we both were moving, he handed it off to me. I said thanks and thanks again. How cool was that that he'd pick it up and drive it to me while I raced? I popped it back on and pedaled onward.

So many of the penalties were to come from drafting rules enforced by the officials or so they said at the breifings and in the clinics or in the rule book. I used the first loop to get a feel for the amount of traffic and distances between riders and and their aggresiveness. Now it was time to make up some time and find the 11t cog. I passed wuite a few slow, middle-of-the-roaders at this point and cranked it up to 28 mph down Congress. My legs were feeling good so I kept the cadence up and passed and passed and occasionally got passed.

Bike Loop Two time: 19.53. My target time was 20.0.

Back to transition and nothing mental went on during the bike. That gave me some confidence and I had a much better T2. It helps when you run into the correct area.

T2 time: 3.48. My target time was 2.00.

If any of the three segments was going to be my best, it was going to be the run. I was still in the 160s, heart rate wise, but felt good, although my calves were very, very stiff. I hadn't done any brick workouts to get the body used to this transition. As I advanced past the timing mat and onto the road, people were stopping. Some must have been spent their energy reserves. I had saved enough on the swim and on the bike that I was ready to run. I started in about a 10-minute/mile pace and thought I'd pick it up in the last mile. The humidity was brutal at this point. The clouds had parted to reveal the sun and it was starting to scorch the runners. At every water stop I grabbed two glasses. One to drink and the other to pour over my head. Each time my heart rate dropped into the 150s, but quickly rose back into the 160s a hundred yards later. Even when the cheerleaders with their water guns blasted me, my HR sank only about five beats. Psychologically, it felt like more. I got over the hills and was determined to run the entire length. No pain and the stiffness had let go in the calves. Just a comfortable stride until the end with just a hint of a kick.

Run time: 29.05. My target was 27.

I had completed my first triathlon. I had been diverted off this course in the mid-eighties due to work changes, life changes. Diverted off the path in the early nineties due to marriage, a baby and work. Now, the day had come where I crossed the finish line of a triathlon and I was having the time of my life. What a great day. Who cares about the two mental mistakes I thought. It was close enough and I hadn't been eaten by a flesh-eating nutria, hadn't been pulled out of the water by the Red Cross, hadn't eaten concrete on one of the hair-pin turns, had proven that the PSB bike was enough for the race, and most important of all, that I could participate in one of the great events Austin has to offer, meet new friends and have a blast. I'll be back again next year.

Thanks to all the volunteers who were so helpful in my first attempt at a triathlon. Also, thanks go to the sponsors for all the great food, beverage, and swag, which was exceptional. And thanks to the Austin Police Department for the retrieval of my bike computer and for making a safe course.

Total time: 1:42.32. My target was 1:30.
Average heart rate: 161

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The Bike is in the Rack

and hopefully the fitness is in the bank. It took most of the day today to get everything ready. I attended a couple of clinics, checked out the expo, modified the outfit, bagged all the gear and reworked the bottle system on the bike so it didn't clank like it did for the first half of the Tour de Cure. All that's left is my last meal before some rest.

And as for the swag, the CapTexTri swag was excellent. A metal water bottle, race belt, munchies, reading material, coupons, a nice red t-shirt and a mesh swim-type bag for some gear. Really nice.

Austin TriCyclist

Very cool transitions clinic last night, conducted by Missy, co-owner of Austin TriCyclist. Surprisingly, there were only three of us there. Looking at the transition times of folks last year, I bet others could've used the advise but thought they could use the time for other things.

I arrived early and looked around the shop. ATC has a very impressive lineup of bikes and gear. All of it puts my PSB bike to shame. I need to quit calling it the pawn shop bike, as it has brand new components on it now. New Cane Creek 200tt Carbon bullhorn brake levers and a set of new SPD, dual sided cleats pedals and cleats to go with my new shoes.

Anyway, Austin TriCyclist is a great shop for gear and bikes and free transition clinics. Missy is very knowledgeable and will get you suited up and ready for the event.

Another great shop down the street is Jack and Adams. They're having a free bike wash for charity tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Donations benefit Move Through Cancer.

The last couple of days I have done non-standard workouts, leading up to next Monday's CapTexTri. Wednesday included a run at the track in 94 degree heat with a heart rate in the mid-160s. One mile intervals to get the pace set right for Monday. Yesterday was swim day. I varied the lap speed to find the right speed, check the bilateral breathing and form. At the end, I worked on flip turns and finally got over that hurdle. For some reason, my ear silicon plugs kept me from getting disoriented and dizzy and everything worked out. I'm now a flipper thanks to Da Fish and the dude that looked exactly like Greg LeMond. Today will include core work, light weights on the legs and an evening LSD run of four miles or so.

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Brandon Marsh

It was a good thing I checked the Run-Tex forums today. Brandon Marsh, two-time winner of the CapTexTri, was speaking at Advanced Rehabilitation. He provided tips, a course overview and held a Q&A session at the end. All with free BBQ from Rudy's. What a deal.

Helmet is Now Metallic Green

I needed to change the helmet color for next Monday's CapTexTri. I went to the auto parts store to pick out something metallic. They had three choices; red, blue and green. I got home a tried it out. It didn't come out anything like metallic. I read the directions and it works with bare metal. Argh! No bare metal on the helmet. But wait, the spray paint cap wasn't metal. I then dug into a box of old spray paint cans and found some gold. Maybe it would work on the gold undercoat. Applied gold. Waited. Apply green. Waited. Before my eyes it worked it's chemical madness and Voila, metallic green!

Tour de Cure - Race Report

The day for the Tour de Cure, an 80-mile ride through the Hill Country benefitting the American Diabetes Association, had finally come. The bike was ready, I thought I was ready, the medical scrubs with iron-on transfers were ready. My helmet had even been spray painted Seton blue to coordinate with the scrub logos. The food was packed and all of my race numbers applied. But I was still hesitant about the ride. Maybe it was due to the fact the last time I rode 100 miles in the mid-eighties, my body's bone structure, particularly around the back seat, had been altered forever. I resolved this in my head by thinking that surely bike seat technology had progressed by leaps and bounds since then. I was also hesitant about the terrain and the forecasted heat. Forecasted to climb past the mid-ninties, it would be difficult to keep enough liquids in the body. And if the course included too many hills with the high heat, I'd be cooked.

I had also taken the bike apart two days earlier and fit the bike with some new SPD pedals to fit the new shoes I bought at Frankenbike. The unproven changes to the bike should have been left for after the ride but I was being stubborn about them and decided to do them anyway. A broken cleat or blisters or bad fitting shoes could have proven disastrous for 80 miles. Again, the stubborness in me won out and I'd have to live with it

But that's the difference between a race and a training ride. A training ride can always be rescheduled and another workout substituted in its place. A race where you pay your own money is different. There's even more pressure when you've solicited money for a cause. You have to show up. You have to ride. You have to complete the distance, no matter if it's 29 or 100 degrees. So I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and started my pre-race rituals. Emergen-C drink, toast, coffee, shower, gather the gear, depart.

Everything was going smoothly until I heard a pop, which came from the back of the car. Back of the car, as in, where the bike was being carried. I thought the bungi cord had snapped and kept driving, keeping one eye on the bike in the rearview mirror. After arriving at the Texas State University campus and disengaging the bike from the car, I noticed it wasn't the bungi cord after all. It was the front tire. No air. Argh! And upon closer inspection, it appeared the tire was burned. It was. The tire came too close to the muffler and the hot air scorched the tire and the tube. What a way to start the day.

I took the wheel, with the scorched tire over to the Bike Sports Shop mechanics tent, thinking there would be a cost or maybe they wouldn't be able to change it. As I walked, I wondered how many stores I could find at 6:30 a.m. with tires for sale. Not many in this small town. The mechanic looked at the tire, dug into a box of tubes and reached over for a tire. Within a few minutes, I was set to go. Free of charge. They were awesome as was the rest of the mechanics during the day's ride. At every stop someone was there to adjust nuts on my aerobars, on my handlebars or whatever I may have had go wrong. Even the SAG vehicles checked on me every now and then to see how I was doing.

My tire problem messed with my timing. Instead of eating with other cyclists before the race, I was having a tire changed. Instead of lining up to start, I was in the bathroom. I was running for the bike as the 55-milers were lining up to start. I picked up the bike and moved around the crowd and took off. Did that race announcer say left at the first right, or was it right at the first left? I spotted a couple of yellow shirted volunteers and they pointed me in the direction of the others. Throughout the day all of the volunteers were stupendous. Warm, cheery, helpful, and always a smile on their face. Great job to all the volunteers!

Just as everyone seemed to be settled into the correct way to pass and notify others of cars and obstacles, we came around a steep curve. Everyone was slowing down, pulling off to the right or left. As I slowed to come up to the narrow bridge, a few TDC officials were pulling two guys from the creek. Apparently, they had missed the bridge and found the creek instead. Later at the rest stop food table I heard what happened from the two. The first guy did miss the bridge and in his panic, his foot caught his buddy and pulled him in as well.

I stopped and refueled at every rest stop. Heed, water, bananas, oranges and PBJs. I took it all in and supplemented every ten miles with my own gels and hydration. During the course of the ride, the six stops probably added over 45 minutes to the ride but with the heat, there was no way I was going to skip a stop to refuel. I was emptying two bottles of fluids every ten miles and my quads were starting to cramp. Each stop thereafter I took in a cup or two of salted Goldfish. After awhile, the quads weren't great, but they were working. My heart rate was now in averaging 145.

During the ride, there were only two points that I questioned the choice of the 80-mile route versus the 55-mile route. The first came at the point where we separated from the 55-milers. We went straight to add 25 miles, while they turned towards Austin. This was a lonely 25 miles. It seemed like it was me and SAG vehicles during this stretch. Towards the end I came across two other riders. The first words out of each of their mouths was "Why did I choose the 80-mile route." I chcuckled and agreed and then we each looked down and pumped the cranks towards the next rest stop. There was a mental hurdle I got over when I reached the point where we split. I said to myself, "OK, that's done, let's get to Austin."

The sun was in full UV Index mode at this point. Any clouds that made the breeze a little cooler were now completely gone from the sky. I had drenched myself in SPF 45 Coppertone before leaving the house. I wondered how it would hold up. I couldn't tell if I was sunburned or not. The only discomfort I felt at this time were burning quads and sore wrists. During the first 40 miles I would take a break from pedaling and coast to give the legs a break. At this point, when I stopped pedaling, the quads felt like they were going to cramp. The only relief was to keep pedaling in whatever gear I could muster. I split my time between riding in a relaxed position on top of the bullhorn handlebar and tucked onto the aerobars. My wrists were hurting from the bullhorn position. My forearms were starting to chafe from the aerobar position. Since both were uncomfortable I decided to ride the bullhorn position on the uphills and the aerobars on the downhills.

The second point I questioned the 80 mile route was at the rest stop at the 64th mile. Nobody wanted to get back on the bikes. We didn't know each other, but we made conversation and ate more oranges rather than get back on the bikes. There had to be seven or eight of us huddled in the ten square feet of shade the tent provided. After no more conversation was found, one-by-one we each picked up our bike, mounted and head towards Austin. Two of the people in the shade decided to call it quits. They picked up their bikes and loaded them onto the SAG vehicle. As I passed, they gave me a thumbs up sign and said to go get 'em. Who was 'em I thought. Ah yes, the miles. That was the only 'em out there. One of the volunters had said that it was all downhill from here on out. How wrong she was. The two steepest hills were yet to come. Although steep, they didn't get my heart rate red-lined as last week's time trial. I climbed into a relaxed gear and kept pedaling.

By now there weren't many riders left on the course. And so it went until the final mile marker. I slowed down a little and reflected on the ride. At this point there were large trees on the side of the rode that had been absent all day, except for the start. They provided some nice shade and made the breeze, or what was left of it, cooler. As I pulled into the finish line, there were still people gathered to clap for the riders.

Now that I've had a couple of hours to recooperate, my quads are sore but not marathon sore. The knees are good. I'm on my second round of Liquid Advil gels and I did get a little sunburn on the face. Other than that, it was all good. The new shoes worked great, the new handlebar system worked great and the Seton Scrubs raised some cash for the American Diabetes Association. A day or two of rest and it'll be time to get down to business for the CapTexTri next weekend.

One last note. Yes, indeedy, bike seat technology has progressed leaps and bounds since 1985.

Ride Stats

Total Time: 6:00
Riding Time: 4:55
Rest Stops: :45
Mechanic Adjustments: :20
Total Mileage: 80 miles
Average Speed: 17.6 mph
80 mile course (PDF)


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May Time Trial - Race Report

I grabbed all of my gear and put it on the hood of the truck. I went to fill up the tires and became a little hesitant. I wanted the tires full, but not too full to have another blowout, like two weeks ago. How much air to go with? I settled on firm but not near the 90 pounds the tire would take. It wasn't like I was trying to pull in the fastest time trial of the day. All aired up, I pedaled out of the driveway and south toward the veloway, where Run-Far was conducting 8-mile cycling time trials.

About halfway to the veloway I started to see some riders. At the crest of the hill where I was to make a left, seven or eight riders were paused at the light. I was getting near the bee's nest. They were circling the hive, not wanting to go in, just doing there thing to get ready. Warming up the legs before they made a mad dash towards the timing mats.

I proceeded to veloway to look for the Run-Far van. It was as simple as their Web site had stated. Have your own chip, sign a waiver and go ride. There were cars all along La Crosse Avenue with cyclists in various stages of dress and prep. I could tell most were very serious about the time trial. One guy had a blanket spread out and was stretching as his family people watched.

Most of the bikes looked new and expensive. Many had time trial handlebars, aerobar shifters and aero brakes. Some of the riders even had time trial helmets. This was a serious gathering of the cycling community. I paid less for my PSB (pawn shop bike) than most people paid for their tires. Nobody laughed or stared. The retrofit of the PSB must have been up to snuff.

I signed my waiver, wrapped my chip band around my ankle and rode out towards the timing mats. Twenty or thirty riders were circling. I decided to keep going up the hill of La Crosse and follow a few. Most went a couple of blocks and then started to circle back. That was what was so different about this race. It wasn't a race at all. No start gun, no gathering of riders. You went when you felt like it. Just cross the starting mat and race against yourself, against the clock.

I was as ready as I was ever going to be so I turned right at Mopac, popped the gear to engage the larger crank and pedaled for the mat. Click to start the heart rate monitor. Beep, beep, my chip started the Run-Far clock. The start position is on one of the only downhills within the first half of the 8-mile course. I popped into the 11-tooth sprocket and decided to go hard for as long as I could. If I burned out too soon, I'd know for next time. 32.8 miles per hour. I caught a man about ten years my senior who was taking his time. Did he know something I didn't? I had ridden this course before and knew the hills were primarily on the first half and at the end. Don't think about it Tony, he could be done, he could be cooling down, he may not know the course. Blast past him and I did. A couple of bees approached. "Left" and they were gone. Twenty-somethings on expensive bikes. These were not bees I could keep up with. My heart rate was already red lined at 172.

I picked out a rider farther up the road who looked like she was traveling about the same speed. I decided to push on the hills to see if I could pass her. My quads were already burning. My heart rate was still in the high 160s. A couple more bees passed, "left". My hill climbing needed a lot of work. I lost ground to everyone in front of me. I approached the last hill before the turn around and pushed on. At this point my mouth felt really dry. I wanted to pause and grab the Cytomax bottle and get a breather but I blew it off, thinking I'm half way there and I can drink when I'm done in another ten or fifteen minutes. I caught and passed the twenty something. I glanced over to say hi but could tell she was spent, so I looked forward and pedaled on.

After the turn, there are a series of three or four slight down slopes in miles five, six and seven. I shifted into the 15T cog, then the 13T cog, then the 11T cog. Home. At least while I was in the 11T cog I wouldn't get passed or would be able to maintain pace with the other riders, both ahead and behind. 29, 30, 31 miles per hour. I thought if I pushed here I would pick up a little compensation for my abismal hill climbing efforts.

Mile seven, almost there. The second to last hill on the course came and so did the wind. Absent for the three quarters of the race, it down came right at me. A thirty something bee passed me going 27 or 28 miles per hour. "Left." I accepted the burn of the quads and dry mouth and dug a little deeper to try and keep up with the bee. I didn't want to draft, so I stayed back and kept pedaling. By this time I was at a higher cadence, but lower gear and was losing ground. I looked down and forgot to move my front brake pad off to the right when I started. It has a tendancy to get stuck after engaging and rubs the wheel. ARGH! F&(@! S*#@! My heart rate was still at 169 and my chest now felt like it was on fire. One more hill.

I approached the mat to finish. No energy left. Nobody was around except for a couple of guys changing a tube. This was truely a race with myself. Just me against the clock. I ended up with 26.08 (18.8 mph, average HR 169) for the final time. Not as good as my past attempts, but also not the slowest. There were 28 team riders like REI, Hotel San Jose, ATC, Texas Iron and others. Factor out the bees and if the brake pad slowed me down, I was happy with first time trial. I'll try again next month with more experience.

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Bike Time Trial Today

I ran six miles n i c e a n d s l o w to burn maximum fat yesterday. Actually, 13-minute miles. Everyone passed me on the trail, except for the walkers, but I didn't care. They were burning carbs, I was burning fat. Different priorities. Different mindsets. While it was only 78 degress outside, the UV index felt like it was near 90. Outside of a little suburn, it was a great run and I managed to keep the heart rate under 140.

Today is Run-Far Bike Time Trial Day. Run-Far, a local chip timing service, is gracious enough to go out to my end of town and set up mats, register folks and time them on an eight-mile course. I'm nowhere near ready to compete against the folks that average 30mph for the eight miles, but I want to do it anyway. The legs are going to burn but that'll be ok as I slowly taper towards Sunday.

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Whew! Sugar Week Is Over

Sugar Week was over as of midnight last night. For those of you who are new to my blog, my Tour de Cure donors vote each week on various blog polls pertaining to my training, leading up to the Tour de Cure, May 21. Last week's poll covered what I was to eat last week. Eat more sugar, sweets and gain a few pounds won out.

Listening to my donors, I poured it on. Well, pour is not the word, more like endulged my sweet tooth both weekends. I started the week with a chocolate mousse cake and ended it with cooking some gooey cinnamon buns and a key lime cheesecake. The result...four-to-five additional pounds today.

Those added pounds made me very sluggish the last couple of days. Exercise motiviation hit an all-time low. I didn't feel like running this morning, even though the weather was incredible, one of those handful of Austin mornings where the humidity was low and the cool breeze was blowing. OK, it's done. Sugar Week is over. Mission accomplished, more pounds. Now it's time to get the motivation back and hit the trail or the road.

This week is Tour de Cure Week, with the 80-mile ride happening Sunday. The current poll has me wearing Seton, misty green scrubs for the ride. There's still time to vote.

Tour de Cure Poll #3 - What Should Tony Wear

It's time to cast your ballot for what I'm going to wear during the Tour de Cure. View the options and then come back to the poll and select one of the options below and if you choose the "Other" option, you can email me your thoughts or place them in the comments area, by clicking on the Comments link at the bottom of this post.

What Should Tony Wear During The Tour de Cure?
red cycling shirt, black cycling pants, red/black helmet
blue cycling shirt, black cycling pants, red/black helmet
Seton Scrubs. Misty Green cycling shirt, Misty Green cycling pants, Misty Green helmet
Elvis Outfit. White cycling shirt with rhinestones, white cycling pants, tacky white/gold helmet with sideburns and Elvis sunglasses.
Other - click on the comment link below and write in your preference if different than the four above.
Free polls from

Training With Diabetes

Here's a podcast that's timely with the Tour de Cure next weekend. Tracey Berg is an endurance athletes who has Type 1 Diabetes and has overcome those challenges to lose weight and compete in sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons. This summer, she has five races on her calendar including a half-Ironman distance race. Hear how she trains and how changing her running form helped her enjoy the running portion of the race much more.


A stomach virus sidelined me for a couple of days. It was either that or something I ate Monday or Tuesday. Abdominal cramps and fever prevented me from doing anything but sleeping. Although I can still feel it in my lower back, I think I'll be able to get in a short run or bike this evening.

Later today, I'll have Tour de Cure Poll #3 up for voting. It'll cover the Tour de Cure outfit I'll be wearing race day, May 21.

Update - I went to Pho Thai Son today for lunch and ordered a bowl of Brisket Pho Soup. Ahhhhhh. there's nothing like Pho Soup to put the yin and yang back into balance. Just like grandma's chicken soup, this is the best thing when your body is out-of-whack. Fever, chills, and stomach cramps are gone and it's time to get back to training.

Monday Evening

Twenty miles on the Mopac Time Trial course and a few laps on the veloway. The bike made it up to 32.6mph tonight. It keeps getting better. The new aerobar pads worked great. Rather than purchase a couple of pads for $24.95, I decided to use the "Heal My Heels" gel pads sewed into some green velvet. The velvet side was on the top and the backside of the velvet, a polyester-type material was then stuck to the aerobar cups with velcro. They were very comfortable.

75 Miles Completed

I ramped up the workout schedule to get the 75 cycling miles in last week. Total miles for the week came out to 91.9 over 11.2 hours. I can feel it today, even with a rest day yesterday. The knees creak more and I'm sore in different places. The run this morning felt terrible for the first mile, but then felt fine after that. My heart rate came in five beats higher than last week. I attribute all of this to two things. First, it's been storming here in Austin every night for the past week. Getting up to check on the trees and house with the hail and wind broke my sleep pattern so I probably missed out on a sleep cycle each night. The second contributor was the increased hours and mileage built into last week's schedule.

This morning, the poll is all tied up. Half of the folks want me to eat more sugar. The other half want me to continue with the same diet. So unless someone breaks the tie, I guess I'll eat the same thing, but with a little more sugar. There's a chocolate cake in the refrigerator that I could be persuaded to take a few bites of. Also, an extra glass of wine would surely make my muscles feel better.

Frankenbike was a success. The rain almost cancelled the whole thing, but five or six people braved the weather and emptied their truck beds with loads of cycling gear for sale. I was able to pick up some new cycling shoes for $10 and a used light weight time-trial handlebar for $5.00. S-W-E-E-T!

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Friday Evening Ride

Twenty-six easy miles this evening on the Mopac route and the veloway.

Average Heart Rate: 137
Average Speed 14.5mph
Miles left between now and Sunday evening: 32.7

Poll #2 - What Should Tony Eat Next Week?

OK, poll #2 is ready. It covers what I should eat while training next week, Monday through Sunday. If you're a Tour de Cure donor, feel free to cast your ballot. If not, there's still time. Click on the Tour de Cure link and then click on the red button to donate. Any amount of $1.00 and above gets you a vote in the poll.

Next week's poll will cover the Tour de Cure outfit. I've moved it up a week in order to prepare the logos and signage if that ends up being choice of the people and also if the Elvis outfit, or whatever is the choice.

What should Tony eat this week for training?
As much sugar as he can get his hands on. He's underweight. Donuts, chocolate pie, it's all good.
He should keep the same diet.
He should eat Robo Stu's tuna and water diet to drop some weight.
He should go Kenyan. Rice, beans and corn for the week.
He should just cut out dairy products.
Free polls from

First Poll Results - Tour de Cure

My people (Tour de Cure donors) have spoken. The first survey results point to 75 miles of cycling this week. Seen as it's Thursday and my week runs through Sunday, I decided to knock off a few of them. I haven't been slacking this week [log]. Twelve miles of running and a couple of miles swimming plus work on the core. Today, I cycled through sixteen miles so I have 59 more between now and Sunday.

Lots of riders out on Mopac today. Nothing special about the ride. Average 18mph for the Mopac time trial route. I did get the bike up to 30.4mph during one stretch so that's better and no blown tubes. I did see a couple of riders with flats.

On my rides, I've really enjoyed my gloves. Early this season, I tried on several pairs of cycling gloves at the bike shop and none of them fit great for the price. What did fit and was nice for the price was a pair of Harbinger weight lifting gloves. Just like the cycling gloves, without padding though, for $6.00. I knew after replacing my running shoe insoles that gels were readily available for the padding, so I bought the gloves and placed some gels into the palm area. Specifically, Heal My Heels by Airplus. Ahhhhh, there's nothing like gel on the rump, the heels and now on the hands.

Tour de Cure Update - It looks like we have a couple more riders for the ride. The total's now up to six. Tomorrow, watch the site for the next survey, which will cover what I eat and drink next week. Remember, make a donation and you get to vote.

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Building Base Starts To Show

Since the Freescale Marathon, I've been building my aerobic base. Something I didn't give enough time to last year preparing for the Austin Distance Challenge and the marathon. No intervals, no tempo runs, so hills and no Fartleks. Just LSD (long, slow distance) and sometimes runs in the aerobic zone. It's very boring, but easy on the joints. It seems to be working.

The second week after Freescale I ran 4.5 miles at 134 heart rate and 13.2 minutes per mile. This morning my 4-mile run was at a 130 heart rate and 9:49 minutes per mile. I couldn't believe it yesterday when the heart rate monitor was reading in the 125 average HR for 10:50 minute miles. Amazing that it's true, you have to go slower to go faster [Mark Allen and Phil Maffetone]. I do believe that recent cycling, elliptical and swimming activities have played a part in this as well. This could mean that the San Antonio Marathon will be different than the Freescale Marathon. It couldn't be worse. It also means that I've finally come across a training program that works for me.

Tour de Cure Update - My people (donors) have voiced their opinion in last week's poll and I will be cycling 75 miles this week. It's already Wednesday, so I better get in 20 today. I had planned on a 20-mile ride yesterday, but the unexpected rain and hail came through in the evening.

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