Today's Workout

20060930, Saturday

Phase: Adding Intensity

Run (13.28 miles lsd Time: 2:17:09
Splits HR: Average Heart Rate: 124
Start time: 7:00 a.m.
Weather: 73° 70% humidity with wind at 0 mph.

Notes: I met the runners I'm coaching down at the Town Lake Trail this morning. Great run. Legs felt really good. The weekly mileage got pushed up to 53.32 for 8.5 hours. Next week I'll be going for 60.

Spinergy Rev X

Won another auction. This time for a Spinergy Rev X rear wheel. I put it on Pawn Shop Bike tonight and took it to the short 1/4-mile track to see if there was a difference. Three miles per hour faster. I think it could be more as the wheel is missing the press fit end cap which creates a slight wobble.

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PSB Goes to the Chiropractor

I had a feeling today was going to be great. It had too. After torquing my left knee yesterday I had no thoughts for today and I didn't think it could get any worse. It could only get better. I had made an appointment with Bike Fitter Jerry Gerlich at Castle Hill Fitness. I had wanted to do an article for our online goodhealth Web site on bike fitting. Pawn Shop Bike (PSB) was going to get an adjustment. And actually, not just one from what I'd read of bike fits. They took a couple of hours if done properly. They make an adjustment and you ride. Another adjustment and you ride. And so on. And so on until the watts, mph, distance and efficiency are all maximized.

I met Jerry at the door and signed the waiver. The one that states if I pass out and die while on PSB or the Velotron, Jerry has every right to place me and PSB in the dumpster without thinking twice. I started by riding one of the stationary fixed-gear Tomahawk bikes for fifteen minutes or so at about a 90 cadence. We then placed PSB next to the Velotron in aligment so one could see the difference in height and placement of each tube compared to the Velotron.

Jerry asked a number of questions about weight, height, age, etc. He then took all kinds of measurements. Let me say that this was no simple tape measured inseam. Oh no, there were all kind of devices to measure this and that. Once they were all entered into the computer, it calculated what would be the ideal geometry for my bike. All of the measurements. There on paper was the bike I was supposed to have. Over in the corner was the bike I had...PSB.

If I ever need a bike to race in some other location or to sub for the one I have, I can always call Jerry and get the geometry to another bike shop and they'll be the same fit. Let me say OMG. I don't use the Oh, Mmmm and the Gee too many times but it's necessary here. Everything about buying a bike had just been turned upside down. There shouldn't ever be a time to go into a bike shop and pick out a bike becuase it looks good or take an inseam measurement with a tape measure, pay and go. That's what causes the backaches. That's what causes the neck pain, shoulder pain, arm, hand and groin pain. Geometry first. Bike second.

I climbed aboard the Velotron with a 50-inch flat screen mounted on the wall in front of the bike and connected to the computer. A few keystrokes and a simulation came up on the screen with about 25 numbers at the bottom of the screen. Speed, mph, effeciency of right side versus left side were all happening in real time. A two-minute ride and then adjustments were made. More riding...more adjustements and so on. Each time the distance grew longer, the efficiency was better and the watts increased. Once all of these were maximized it was time to transfer the calculations and geometry to PSB.

Jerry went over to PSB and started to compare the numbers. The first two or three were fairly close surprisingly. I guess a year on the bike and making adjustments here and there got it to a comfortable and aero position. Jerry kept measuring. Holding a plumb on the knee pointed to the first measurement that was way off. My knee was 5 to 6 centimeters forward of the ball of my foot. Long story sort. Adjustments to the seat, the cleats the handlebars and PSB was matched up with the fit that felt great on the Velotron bike.

I took PSB out in back of the shop for a little spin but it was difficult to guage the improvement.

I got home with enough time for at least a 90-minute ride. I took PSB out toward the time trial course but there was too much wind to really get an idea of improvement so I went to the Veloway. Quite a few riders were there. I went out and followed a couple on nice bikes for half a lap. PSB was keeping up nicely with these two.

The veloway has three or four points where you can see other riders. You come almost face-to-face with the other riders. I came to one of these points and a woman on a Felt gave me the look and smiled. Not the look like I'd like to ride with you or have dinner with you look. The look like I'm gonna leave you in the dust and kick your ass. Deja Vu. At the last triathlon there was a woman on a Felt that gave me that look when I passed her. She disregarded the USAT rules which meant she should've backed off three links. Instead she was pissed and passed me back. I waited until the second loop of the course over the rollers. I came up beside her and commented what a nice Felt bike she had. She said, "thanks." I asked her if she liked it and she did. She said it cost her over $1500 but it was pretty fast. She asked, what kind of bike I was riding. I said.... Oh...... it's a PAWN SHOP BIKE bought for $69 and then proceeded to climb out of the saddle and dust her on the hill.

So anyway, here's another of the Felt Nation sisters stalking me on the Veloway. Dang. Ok, I'm game. I start to accelerate. I get closer and closer. She turns a head over the left shoulder and sees me approaching. I can see her up ahead get out of the saddle and climb the hill. I'm at the base and start to climb. Dang she has some muscles in her back. PSB is closing the gap. I think I hear a grunt. I know I heard a grunt. PSB has another Felt in its sites. PSB is licking its chops. Another climb and I'm getting closer. I'm two bike links in back. Close enough to hear her breathing. There were two more turns until the end of the loop. I get right on the back tire with just one link between our tires. And then it happened.

There's a new sound never heard on the PSB coming from the front fork. A humming that sounds like a bowling ball rolling through an aluminum tube a mile long and then amplified. Wow!!! I had heard this sound coming from bikes with disc wheels but never on PSB. It was the new carbon-aero fork and the aero front wheel. Together they made for an amazing sound on the curves. Felt Nation sister heard it too. It was like she was hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. She dodged left, she dodged right. Last turn....she....she....she turned off the course and headed for her car. PSB was too much for her.

I slowed down, took a drink of Accelerade and then turned to take another lap. The sun was setting and this was going to be the last lap. A shadow appeared over my left shoulder and was passing. The silouhette in the sun looked just like Lance but smaller. He was riding a sweet Trek and it appeared his calf muscles had calf muscles, much like a shark has rows and rows of teeth. Little Lance taunted me to race and gave me the look. Not the look with a smile like Felt Nation sister, just a look. I cranked but didn't acknowledge the look. Turn for turn, climb for climb I was there on his tail but he stayed in the left lane, I in the right. He didn't grunt like Felt Nation sister. He didn't seem to hear PSB make the humming sounds on the turns.

Half way through the 3.1-mile course a few oak limbs had grown over the left lane by about four feet. I was about four links behind little Lance at this point. Little Lance goes under the limbs so I follow. I look up after going uunder and little Lance has climbed out the saddle. He's mashing and changing gears. Crap! The old lull your opponent to sleep, go under some trees and accelerate like a wild man move. I'd fallen for it again. There was no way to catch him in the time that was left. I doubt I could've anyway as he was little Lance.

PSB felt faster than ever. It also felt more comfortable than ever. Jerry, the bike guru really knows his fits. There's renewed confidence in next season's possibilities with Da Fish and Da Bike Guru in my corner. All I need now is a running guru.

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Dilloman Triathlon - Race Report

This one definitely hurt more. The only goal going into this one was to increase the pace. Last week I wasn't tired or sore afterwards. A little out of breath at the end but I took that as a sign I should have pushed myself. I wasn't happy with last week's results. I mean I always appreciate finishing and not coming in last, but I wanted to do better. I hadn't prepared with any speed work this summer but still felt, in the back of my mind, I should've done better. Today , I did finishing 5th in my age group.

Due to global warming and the hottest August in Austin on record, the lake was very low. So low the transition area was a quarter of a mile from the swim exit. This meant we were to run over gravel uphill from the water to get to our bike. Luckily, I brought two pairs of shoes and ditched the idea of running in flip-flops. A shoe transition area was created for us to exit the water, jog barefoot over the sand, put on our shoes and make our way .25 mile uphill to the transition.

Oh, and also due to the low lake levels, we had to enter the water at the exit and swim 60 yards to the start. Once everyone arrived, one of the triathletes belted out a superb National Anthem as the sun was rising and that set the tone for a great day.

I was again in the last wave so I got to see quite a variety of freestyle variations. My wave start was fairly typical with arms thrashing about legs kicking ribs until informal swim lanes were created. Once the lanes were created, the swim was uneventful until a woman from an earlier wave met head-to-head with myself and the legs of another guy in my wave. We all paused asked if everyone was ok, got our bearings and went on with the swim. Even with all this I can say that today I enjoy the swim over the other two events. It's also my most improved event, even over running.

By the time I got close to exiting the swim, I saw black and green caps so I felt good about the pace. Maybe a little slower than last week, but it was a longer swim and I didn't want to go anaerobic. The exit was precarious as we climbed rocks to get out with the help of volunteers. Not bad, just not what I was expecting.

I ran over to my shoes and threw them on, sand and all and ran up towards the transition area. Some athletes were already walking at this time. I had lucked out as the way they opened the transition area, the gates opened close to my bike. I toweled as much sand as I could get off, strapped the helmet on, grabbed the bike and ran for the exit. A brief jog over a rocky path and we mounted onto pavement.

One of my weaknesses last week was the cycling event. I just didn't have any power built into the legs. My first climb was good but the second hill was where I got passed by many. This week I planned to put more energy into the bike and if nothing was left for the run, so be it. This week 's course had more rolling hills. I saw an increase in speed on the downhill, reaching 39 mph at one point. However, with every great downhill, there's a bitchin uphill. I felt this one in my gluteus maximus. I felt it. It hurt. I cussed it. I climbed and passed people. Not just the first loop but the second as well. The bike hurt this time. It also hurt more as I forgot a water bottle. Doh!

The average speed was 3 mph slower than last week. Two things played into this as there were more rolling hills this week. Also, on two downhill sections, all of the momentum was lost as an immediate right turn was performed on the decent. My average speed dropped only 1.2 mph which fits with a percieved increase of effort.

By the time I got to the run, the sun was out and it was blazing. The cool front that came through Austin last week was entirely gone. The heat and humidity of the summer was back. I grabbed a glass of water and one of Gatorade from the aide station to get a little more hydrated. It helped a little and I couldn't take too much into the stomach as it would've sloshed around. I felt a little more tired than last week but good to get to the run. It seems every time I get off the bike for the run, it's a mystery which muscles will be ready. Last week the calves were great and the hips and quads were stiff. This week it was the opposite.

I had grabbed the pair of Nike Free this morning thinking they'd be great on the asphalt. Argh! We weren't running on asphalt today. It was a mixture of rocks, gravel, mowed brush, dirt and grass. A really off-road run. While I didn't have the support I needed in the shoe, it was lighter. I could feel what the bike had taken out of me. Not having my water bottle had hurt as well. My stomach was starting to ache. I tried to disassociate by using the Peter Reid method of counting to 20, over and over again. It seemed to work.

At the 2.0 mile marker I came across a 67 year old gentleman who looked pretty strong. I complimented him on his fitness and he said this one may be the last. He may retire. I told him he looked like he still had a half-ironman in him and it would be a shame to stop now. I wished him well and went on. I found a burst of energy and picked up the pace until the finish line. What were weak legs now found some energy. 1:42:44.5

Race Results

Today was my Dad's birthday. It's been six years since he passed and this race was for him. I thought about him looking down on me during the swim and maybe he was there to make that part go really well. Who knows, it could have been him that I passed and spoke to at mile 2.0 of the run. Either way, I gave it a little more gas today and I'm going to feel it tomorrow.

This was the last triathlon race of the season for me. Next year looks promising as new events are going to appear in Austin, including a half-ironman-distance race. I've enjoyed every minute of this year's races and will be back next for more.

Tapering for Dilloman

I'm right in the middle of another taper for the Dilloman Triathlon this weekend. Less of everything. Less miles. Less eating. I dont foresee that I'll do anything Sunday that'll make for a PR. I'm at the end of base building and didn't have any time to get a true 12-week sharpening/speed phase going. That'll have to wait until next year. I will have time to go through 12-week speed phases this fall and winter.

The schedule shifted this week. With the morning temperatures in the sixties, I no longer needed a post-run dunk in the pool. For the next couple of months, it looks like runs in the morning with cycling and swimming in the evenings.

I picked up a copy of Michael Bane's book, Over the Edge, a regular guy's odyssey in Extreme Sports. Michael chronicles his making a list of 13 extreme sporting events and then trying to finish each and every one. I bought it for a buck at the resale shop. I guess the person who donated it wasn't impressed with Bane's efforts. I bought the book as I'm still searching why people do these types of events.

If you want some more triathlon podcasts to listen to, visit Competitor Radio. Many of the archives are from years ago, transformed into podcasts. Faris Al Sultan, Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, just to name a few.

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Jack's Generic Sprint Triathlon - Race Report

Everything was better this time. I guess everyone has to get one under their belt in order to know what to expect. And the more you do, the more you know, which also allows one to improve.

I had only two goals for this triathlon; improve the swim and second, catch plenty of pink caps (women in swim wave ahead) while not allowing the white caps (women in swim wave behind) catch me. I had no expectations for transitions, the bike or the run.

I felt before the race that transitions would be faster and they were. This I think was mainly due to having done one triathlon before. I got to the race early enough to get a great position at the end of the rack. Last tri, I spent 9:06.0 minutes in T1 and T2 combined. Today, I spent 3:36.3 minutes in T1 and T2 combined. And this time I took the time to put on socks.

I felt the swim would be better and it was by far, the most improved area of the tri. Not only had I put in many more swim miles this time, but I had also been coached by Da Fish who improved my stroke. I went out for a warmup swim before the start and I think this helped my nerves. Last time I had some anxiety going and combined with the limited arm motion of the wetsuit, it cost me some time. Rather than sit in the back of the pack, this time I attacked and maneuvered through swimmers. I got one shot to the ribs but that was the worst of it. Everything else involved hands on the legs or my hands on their lags. I was able to site the buoy and find the open spaces.

By the halfway point in the swim, swimming lanes opened up a bit and I could I was coming up on some pink caps. I felt great and could see the finish so I put a little more into it. This swim was shorter than the last one but it definitely was better. It was also better as this was the only leg of the race that I beat the Governor. He kicked my tail all over the road last year during running events. Today, he was announced over the speaker and was two swimmers in front of me. Today, I got out of the water ahead of him. It was a good thing as he went on and kicked my tail in the bike and run.

I had a feeling that if anything suffered this time it would be the bike section. Since the last tri, PSB had some new parts; an aero front wheel and a carbon fork. These two alone should've shaved a few seconds off the bike and I think they did. What didn't shave any time was the total lack of bicycle legs for the 15 miles. I had allocated all of my training time to running and swimming. Well almost. I did some cycling but nothing near the amount of mileage I needed for today. Translation, 17.2 mph last tri. 17.4 mph today.

Everything was going fine on the bike. The first big hill I went through like butter. I passed a few people and even more on the descent. Something happened on the second hill. A total lack of leg energy dropped me to five mph and much of the advances I made on the swim were negated. It was weird but I'd catch a burst of energy and then have none. Then loaded, then depleted. So this back and forth caused me to pass people and to be passed. The last 1/3 of the bike, I finally settled down and got into a similar cadence with a couple of riders. I was ready to get off the bike.

The transition from bike to run was different this time for the muscles. Last tri I felt it in my calves. They were tight and eventually loosened up. Today, I felt it in my quads and hips. The calves were fine but the quads and hips felt numb of all things. The first half of the 5K was mostly uphill. This put more strain on the numb parts. It wasn't until the turn around point, where I stopped for a cup of water that the legs felt normal. I accelerated for the second half of the run and found a twenty-something and a thirty-something to strike up a conversation with. At this point I felt I had accomplished what I set out to do and was wanting to refocus on having fun. Just as I had that thought a white cap caught me and passed. Time to put the hammer down. I accelerated but came just short of catching the white cap before the chute. As I passed a couple of younger athletes, I guess that evened out with the white cap. The run was better than last time, 9:19 m/M versus 9:12 for this race.

It felt great running across the finish line. Not so much for the accomplishment, but for the lack of mental mistakes this time. The better swim, the knowing my bike legs could be better with more training time. The feeling of not being such a newbie.

Jack and Adam's Bicycles really put on a great triathlon. I thought having it at a ski ranch was going to be iffy, but it was great. No nutria, no rats, no piranha. Nothing but semi-green water. Great schwag, friendly volunteers, great after-race food and beverage. This race met all of my criteria for a race and then some. Don't take my word for it. It was featured in this month's Triathlete Magazine as the best "Under-the-radar" triathlon. In that same section, Austin was rated #7 Top U.S. Tri Town.

Race Results

Race Photos

Onward to Dilloman next week.

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