Caliente Has Arrived

Da Fleet is complete! "Caliente" is the third and final bike to be built. It's a basic rode bike to be ridden for longer rides this fall and possibly some road racing or crits next spring.

I took my time for this bike build and surprisingly everything came together well. I was dreading the adjustment of the brifter's index cabling but it took no more than the tri bike. Until I find a great deal on some wheels, Caliente is sharing the wheelset from the tri bike (Salsa Verde).

Last night I couldn't wait to get on it so I took it for a spin. It was very smooth and seemed fast. The index shifting was dead on. I'll have to take it out this weekend to see how comfortable the geometry is or where it needs a tweak or two but for now it's very nice.

Here's the breakdown of parts and costs;

  1. Cannondale frame and carbon fiber fork - $75
  2. Bontrager carbon fiber Race Lite seat post - $20
  3. Nashbar brakes - $30
  4. Cabling - $30
  5. Brake/Shifters (Brifters), Shimano Ultegra - $90
  6. Shimano bottom bracket and Bontrager cranks - $30
  7. Handlebars - $20
  8. Stem - $20
  9. Seat - $30
  10. Rear derailleur, Shimano 105 - $20
  11. Front derailleur, Shimano Ultegra - $25
  12. Chain, SRAM - $14
  13. Tape - $10
Total Cost: $414* * The wheelset will add another $120 when purchased.

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You Get What You Need

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you might find
You get what you need
Oh yea-ay

Another Frankenbike was scheduled for Saturday but at first it looked like it was going to be a bust. A bust meaning all buyers and no sellers. Something was not right with the 11 am start time. Even the pizza parlor, the location of this month's Frankenbike, wasn't open at that time. Four or five buyers sat around on the front deck enquiring what everyone else was looking for. One other guy was looking for a road bike rear derailleur as I was. The others kept their cards close to their vest. A couple of sellers finally showed up and I had about 20 minutes until my cycling guru friend arrived at my house, from out of town, so if this thing was going to happen it needed to happen quick.

Long story short. I went to pee, came out and one table was set up. Looked down and spotted a Shimano 105 short cage rear derailleur. How could this be. Where is the other guy?. I spotted a front derailleur and then a Bontrager carbon fiber Race Lite seat post. Pull out a few dollars and I was done.

If I'd shown enough patience with the brifters I would've been able to score some Shimano 105s which were attached to a light handlebar for $85.00. Again, this has taught me to wait for Frankenbike and if it's not there then go to Craig's list, then eBay, and then finally online retail if I have a couple of days and local retail if I need it immediately.

I started to build the road bike last night. It should take a couple more days and then I'll show you the fleet.

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Breakthrough Swim Workout

It's bound to happen at some point and all you really have to do is be patient. That's what I told myself over and over again about making progress. This morning's workout was one of those breakthrough workouts where something finally clicked and clicked in a BIG way.

I listened to countless podcasts of Endurance Planet and The Competitors Radio Show. I read Triathlete Magazine, Runner's World and several other online pubs and blogs each month absorbing countless factoids and info snippets. I'd probably heard everything I needed to bust through and make some great progress except it didn't happen that way. Either I didn't hear the right snippet at the right time or it wasn't presented in the right way. Even my gurus more than likely told me how to do it but it didn't feel right or I wasn't listening.

A couple of months ago I heard or read where a runner should engage their core by pulling the belly button towards the back and then scrunch/squeeze the glutes. This little piece of information radically changed my form and made running easy. A BIG WOW that day of running. A breakthrough workout.

Today, it happened again, but for the swim. I was reading 623's blog and saw the Japanese animation of Grant Hackett's swim stroke. Something pulled me into it. My animation background or the simplicity of the application, where you could really get in and analyze an Olympian's swim stroke from every angle possible. I studied it for a good hour and came away with a key difference between what I've been doing in the water and what Grant Hackett does. Actually, with him being a gold medal winner in the 1500, there's tons of difference between our strokes but here's the first one I noticed. At one point, both of Grant's arms are forward over the shoulder plane (see image above). AHA! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I could not wait until the next swim workout to try out my new found knowledge. This morning, I swam a few 25-yard lengths to warm up and start counting strokes per length (SPL). Most laps were in the 17-to-18 range with the old stroke. I then tried the new stroke with trying to reach a little further and keep the arm forward for just a tad longer. The first length produced 14 SPL. Ah, that was a fluke, I thought to myself. The second length produced a 15 SPL. Hmmm. 14, then 14, then 15, then 14, 14, 14, 15, 14. It was the first time I felt like a swimmer or at least a boat with a hull, compared to a barge.

That one change produced two other changes. First, for some reason I went from head up and feet down, basically non-horizontal, to a true horizontal position. It felt right and comfortable. Next thing was the feeling of wrapping your arms around a barrel. I'd heard of this, read of this, but I'd never felt it until today. For some reason that feeling clicked as well. All three things contributed to cutting the number of strokes from 18 to 14. A breakthrough workout. Now I have to get into the pool more in the next couple of weeks and really commit this to muscle memory.

Note 20090408! If the above animation link doesn't work, try this one.

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Last Time Trial of the Season

It wasn't pretty but it was a PR, even if by two seconds. 22:27.6 or 21.4 mph for the last Run-Far cycling time trial of the year. Given a side stitch halfway through the course, I'll take the PR. At least this time the handlebars stayed on the bike. ;)

Check this out. "It's also possible that food itself may add to the diaphragm's distress. A meal of less digestible, fatty food before exercising will make the stomach heavier and increase the tugging on the diaphragm."

I guess a double dose of pop tarts and Red Bull fell into that category. I only did it to compensate for the three beers I had at the pub on the way home with some soccer friends, which I agree, was a total disrespect for the sport. I don't even like soccer.

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Peak Phase - September

Here's the last of the half Ironman distance training schedule (click on the image to make it larger). It's been modified from its original form to place the Olympic distance event in the right spot with recovery, etc.

What happens on what day of the week is the same as it was for August and September.

This carries me through the race, which will be Oct. 7. That's just when the temperatures get a little cooler and the shift will be to outdoor running and maybe some long rides.


Pink Caps Just Don't Work For Me

I thought I could deal with it. But after looking at the Austin Triathlon photos (#149) it's pretty apparent that the pink swim cap was a bust.

I totally look like one of the smurfs. I thought it was even ok when they gave the older wave the gray/silver swim caps. If the Longhorn Half IM folks do pink again, I think I'll bring my red, green,yellow, or silver cap and insert myself into the proper colored wave.

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I stepped outside for this morning's run and was very happy. The temperature was in the 60s with a slight breeze. it wasn't perfect as the humidity was still in the 80ish percent area, from yesterday's two-inch rain but it was the best we've had to run in since the spring.

With the lower temps my minutes-per-mile times dropped down into the 7:xx range at the same heart rate. That felt good to get back to those times.

And the best news of all is that I scored some brifters (shifter and brake combination) on eBay the other night. It happened as all the other auctions I've won. I put in a bid and left it alone, not looking at it, not checking the email alerts, nothing. I then came back to find I'd won the auction without all the stress of refreshing the page and the anxiety that goes along with that routine or the stress from not winning the auction. I lost two auctions before it, earlier in the day, by ONE DOLLAR.

Anyway, the brifters are in the mail so I'll have the last piece to put the new roadie together and take it for a spin. Just in time for some long fall rides.

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I was listening to the latest Endurance Planet, the Friday edition, and heard an audio excerpt from "First Triathlons" by Gail Waesche Kislevitz . In this chapter, they heard the story of age-grouper Rich Donnelly who had to overcome the effects of a hit-and-run accident to become a triathlete. Inspiring stuff. Take a listen if you have the time.

I really feel lucky that my accident on Friday wasn't worse. It was so easy for a bus or a car to be where I landed in the road and they would've been going 40 easily. Even flying the ten feet that I did, didn't cause long lasting damage.


Rode Saus and I are Back to Normal

I woke with a pain in the middle of my back this morning. It subsided as the day wore on. I decided to go look for another wheel and stopped at a few bike shops down the road from where I was hit on Friday. The first shop had nothing for less than $109. As Rode Saus's entire cost may be around $50, I thought a single wheel at $109 would've been excessive. I then stopped by Bicycle Sports Shop. The guy I spoke to about wheels took a look at Rode Saus rear wheel and said it might only need a truing for $12.00. Hah! And indeed that's all it needed was to be put onto the stand and adjusted. The guy who did it said the next time I'd need to get a new wheel. No problem. And to add to that, he didn't charge me a nickel.

I put the wheel back on Rode Saus and it's good as new. All headaches and back pain are gone as well.

On another note, the race athletes are competing today at Ironman Wisconsin. It looks like the weather is great this year for a triathlon.

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Commute Home Friday

The commute home from work Friday night took a nasty turn when a truck pulled out from a stop and hit me in the side. First off, I'm OK and the bike, well, pretty much OK.

I made eye contact with the driver of the truck before pulling in front on the sidewalk. He later said that he thought I was going to ride behind him. I was lucky and it made me more aware of the cagers and their lack of a thought process.

As I started to pass his truck I heard the acceleration and immediately I tensed up. I then felt a hood touch my left cheek and a bumper on my calf with a sort of bump. The acceleration continued and I was being pushed out into the main artery of traffic. The bike gave, I flipped over the bike and I landed on my left cheek and on a backpack I was wearing. I lay there and looked back seeing a woman driving a van with her mouth wide open. The next I remember is an elderly man shouting Oh my God and looking over me. Traffic came to a stop. I got up and picked the bike up and moved to the curb. I seemed OK, the bike seemed OK and I told the elderly man that it would be OK.

When that situation happens, reality is far from the scene. A form of shock took over and nothing really made sense. I remember straightening my handlebars checking the tires and telling the man not to worry that I was fine. I mounted the bike and started back on my commute. A couple of miles in I thought pedaling was more difficult and I must be hurt somewhere. In fact, when I looked back at the rear wheel it had been bent in the crash. It was wobbling and no longer true although it could still spin.

Today, the next day, the left cheek is really sore, there are muscles in the back that are sore but not all at once and not at the same time. It's like the soreness moves from muscle to muscle.

Getting in a wreck in the SUV on the expressway last year caused me to sell my motorcycle that same week. This event will make me more cautious but not make me sell my bikes. I'll still commute to work but I may take a different route or maybe do something different. Sell them, not ride them, no way.

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Commute Solutions Month - September

Commute Solutions Month starts Sept. 9 but I got a jump on it this morning with a ride on Rode Saus to work. Other than riding it on the trainer, this is the first time I've taken it out since replacing the bottom bracket, the cranks and a few links on the chain. Of course it threw the chain four times in the first four miles but I eventually got the correct tension to the chain and the rest of the 15-mile commute was great. A couple of people actually let me have the right of way.

And yes, the beater bike has a new name. It's still Red Sauce, but instead of translated in Spanish, it's now Dutch, which is where my ancestors came from. So from now on or until I change my mind again, it's now know as Rode Saus.

I opened my blog this morning and noticed that my Google ad was for Accelerade. Happy Friday. Not only that, Accelerade is offering a 2-for-1 coupon on their premixed drinks. HEB, our local grocer has just started stocking the premixed drink on the shelves. Life is good on this Friday in Austin.

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Lessons Learned from Austin Tri

Listening to a podcast yesterday morning reinforced an important point. Final results are not immediate. Incremental results can be. It may take ten years or 10,000 hours of training to get where we want to be or to become the best that we can be. And that's clean without EPO, testosterone or any other banned substances.

Given that pearl of wisdom, and checking in with my gurus post race, I've come away from the Austin Triathlon feeling better about the race. Namely,

  • The swim felt good until the cramp and was as fast as last year's sprint, which was half as long.
  • The bike time was faster than last year's sprint, which was half as long.
  • The run was as fast with half as much training.
  • Strength work increased power and removed any back pain from the bike ride.
  • Starting slow, finding a pace and finishing strong with a kick on all three legs of the race proved doable and felt good.
  • Intervals and hill work built strength.

Lessons Learned

  1. Gels without water upset my stomach or at least the brand or flavor I took did.
  2. I need to take all the tools I'll need with me.
  3. I preferred to drink my nutrients rather than use the Bento Box.
  4. Don't forget to pack the Body Glide. Ouch!
  5. More race pace work is needed.
  6. More flexibility work is needed.
  7. Mounting the bike with shoes in the clips needs more practice to insert feet while still pedaling.
  8. Padded bike shorts for any ride longer than eight miles is a must.Ouch!
  9. Get to race weight and get the calorie intake dialed in.
  10. I lost more electrolytes than I originally thought.
  11. Learn to suffer more.

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Austin Triathlon Race Report

Things didn't look good around 5:00 p.m. last night. The skies opened up, much like they did back on Memorial Day with the CapTexTri. That triathlon got cancelled and it was hard to believe this one was also in jeopardy of doing the same. The difference was the amount of rain. While there were strong showers they were brief, and while it would make for a muddy tri, at least it would go on. Luckily, I had wrapped the handlebars and seat.

The Austin Triathlon was using the same real estate as the CapTexTri. So it felt weird walking up to body marking this morning wondering if the weather would rob me of my first Olympic triathlon. It's a little strange doing my first triathlon of the season in September. I thought I would've been more excited but I was mellow about the whole thing. It could have been from lack of sleep, which was a first for any event. Normally, it'll take a while to fall asleep but eventually I do. Last night I didn't. Gathering my stuff felt like I was going through the motions. This held true all the way until the countdown to the swim wave start.

The expo had substance. The Hyatt Regency provided the venue and much of the same venders were there. The Austin Triathlon hit all the bases with the giveaways; a nice TYR bag, something to read (Triathlete Magazine), something to eat (Clif bar) along with some pretty good coupons and a great water bottle. Accelerade was the drink of choice at this race so I was extremely pleased. Oscar from Accelerade gave me a couple of temp tattoos so I ended up placing them on my upper arms above where my race number would eventually be inked. The only thing that was out of place was the color of my swim cap....BRIGHT PINK. I didn't get that one. I did buy a Bento Box for my gels, along with the Easy laces and some Clif Shots.

Last night at about 8:00 p.m. I checked the Austin Triathlon Web site and they had posted the official water temperature for the race. With the increased release from the dam, the water temp had dropped from 82 to 78 degrees, making the race wetsuit legal. I had a problem though. Both of my wetsuits were giving my shoulder problems. The constant pushing of the rubber material was causing shoulder tendonitis. I decide to chop the sleeves. After marking the cut lines, mirroring my Speedo tri-suit's lines, I took the scissors to the suit, knowing that if I messed up, that maybe the sleeves and legs could be used as arm and leg warmers on a cold, winter day's ride. The suit went back together just fine and my shoulders were free to move around which would free up my stroke.

Just before the swim start the officials announced a course change. Because of water currents, the course was adjusted from one bridge to another. No biggie. As I listened to Shawn Colvin sing the national anthem, and what an awesome job she did, there was a black swan at the end of the pier we were about to jump off of. I didn't know what to make of this. Was this a good omen? Was it bad? Did it not matter in the least?

It was our turn. Those that wore the pink swim caps. The last men in the water. There was supposed to be three minutes in between waves but it felt like 30 seconds. There was really no time to jocky for position. I put my head down in the water and started for the first buoy. The washing machine began with legs and arms hitting me from both sides. I looked up to try and move a little left. Systems check returned check on the wetsuit. It was working great. Check on the clear goggles. These were much better than my dark pair I'd worn many triathlons before. Check on the pink swim cap. Still there.

Following us oldtimers were the women's open wave, meaning the really, really fast women. I knew a few would come through our group, cutting like butter. Sure enough, a couple swam over me and kept going towards the first turnaround buoy. They were hauling ass. I tried to get behind and follow but they were motoring too darn fast. I settled back into my pace and kept going. Just after the second turn, oh maybe 700 meters into the swim I caught a large guy from the wave ahead of ours. A green capper. I accidentally swam up from behind and when he rolled and I kicked, I felt my left hamstring knot up. ARGH! Not now, I was just getting the feel of this swim. Relax. Relax the muscle. Tighter. Ouch. Ouch. OUCH!. The muscle finally gave a little and I started back into the stroke. I was a good thing I decided on the wetsuit so if the leg was going to be non-productive and I'd have to drag it, at least it'd float. And that's precisely what happened for the next 300 meters. It was a good thing the arms felt good. By the time I reached the last buoy the hamstring had calmed down enough to get some kick from the legs. I tried to make up for lost time and cranked it up a bit.

Looking back on it I don't know where that cramp came from. I mean it was early in the race, I'd taken in plenty of Thermolytes and salts before the race knowing it'd be hot and humid. The only thing I can figure out was the placing the leg in such a awkward position maybe caused it.

Transition one went well. I got everything and got on the road. However, in the first five minutes the handlebars had a problem. They weren't just loose, the bar ends would've dropped into the wheel if I didn't hold them up. CRAP!. I thought it wouldn't be so bad as I had planned to hold on for the entire ride anyway. The problem came with every bump or pothole in the road. They caused the allen bolts to come a little looser each time. I debated whether to go back to the bike mechanic, go back and get my allen wrench, stop on the side of the road and hope someone stops to help or throws an allen wrench my way.

The bike was getting hard to steer. Instead of only moving vertically, the bars were now moving horizontally and throughout 3D space. I debated what would happen if the bolts fell to the pavement. I knew what would happen. I'd hit the pavement so hard it'd make my wetsuit rubbed-raw area look like a mosquito bite. By the third lap I decided to stop and find something that I could use to brace the bars. Nothing. lesson learned. Carry the bloody allen wrench in the bag. ARGH! I hopped back on the bike and decided to make do for the remainder of the last lap. A couple of people said, "That ain't right" while looking at my situation. Somehow, I managed to get to the bike dismount line in one piece.

I was never so glad to get to T2 and then start the run. All of the emotions on the swim and bike legs exhausted my brain. I sat there in front of my transition equipment not knowing if I had everything. My heart rate was around 160 so I let it subside and drank some NUUN and Accelerade. Race number check, shoes, socks, check, hat, shades, check. Then get your butt in gear!

Given everything that had already happened, I decided the run would be uneventful. Run with a heart rate below 159 and enjoy the race and that's what I did. I stayed at about 153 and the legs felt surprisingly good, despite the earlier hamstring cramp. I could still feel the hamstring wasn't 100% so I just backed off of it a bit. It was just so humid (97%) and 75 degrees that I was losing a lot of fluids. Each water stop I grabbed one or two cups for the head. Some cold water sponges and the kids with cold water squirt guns were a big help.

The race ended with a little kick, cross over the timing mats and I was done. Put this to bed. Nothing left to do but grab a Fat Tire, some Accelerade and listen to the band on stage, while cheering some of the last few folks to cross the finish line. That's one of the great things about this triathlon. The spectators were given close access to the athletes and with three loops on the bike and two on the run, spectators could see all of the action.

Jack and Adam's really outdid themselves with this one. While I had my own problems, J&A did everything right, as did the volunteers. There wasn't anything lacking.

The end time was 3:06:35. I wanted to get under three hours and probably could have, not for the cramp and stopping on the bike, but it didn't matter. Next up, the Longhorn Half Ironman in about a month.


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