Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wildflower Recon

Do camping sunrises ever get old?

This past weekend, I went up to Lake San Antonio, CA – home of the Wildflower Triathlons, to do some course recon.

I headed up with my buddy Dan who I did IMLP with it, and his fiancĂ© Arlene, who was up with her LA TNT team. It just so happened that every TNT team in the state was there that weekend, so it wasn’t just course recon, but party recon as well!

Saturday, the plan was to ride the course with a warm up until mile 10, race pace from mile 10 – 40, and then just bring it in.

One nerd and one walking advertisement before the ride.

I have been just absolutely itching to race lately, so getting up there to do some race pace efforts would be a deec substitution for not doing superseal. Great job to James, Beth, Paul, Carrie and Michelle for killing it out there in the 'nado on Sunday! Afterwards, it was to re-familiarize myself with the pain cave that is the run course.

Not only was it course recon, but it was race-idiot recon as well. I swear, at every race I am at, there is always someone out to get me. So, I am barreling along at mile 8, and there is this dude up ahead who is all over the road. It wasn’t exactly windy, and he is holding a line about as good as a toddler handling a bike without training wheels – all over our lane, crossing over the divider – just all over the place. As I approached him, I was yelling car back (because there actually was one), and I was starting to fear for my safety as well. As I passed him, I noticed he was on a P3C, Zipp 808’s and a wireless powertap. $7,000 worth of bike gear, and he never learned how to ride it. Nice.

In addition to race-idiot recon, was preparation for peeing on the bike, which was executed with perfection at about mile 33.

I finished the bike somewhere between 2:45 and 3:00, and started out on the run course. The plan was to “keep it easy”, but the only thing easy about this course is nothing. The hill from mile 3.7-5 still sucks, and still makes me walk part of it. Fortunately, one of the great thing about being up there the same weekends as hundreds of others is the fact that there were aid stations on the run! At about mile 5.5, some woman flagged me down, and hooked up some ice water. I promptly dumped on my head, and started with some race pace efforts.

I was obviously “in the zone” (or out of my mind) when I completely missed this arrow

And this arrow

And these 2 arrows…

signaling to take a right off the road and head onto the trails. I realized this about 5 minutes when I ended up doing an unnecessary loop. Thankfully, only a few people caught my idiocy!

Afterwards, it was the dreaded down and then uphill between miles 9.25 and ~11. I actually crushed the uphill coming back up, but just like last year, the flat section to the last uphill brought me to a screeching halt. I cruised the last downhill, and then jumped in the lake for a quick cool down before dinner.

The run course is definitely tough.

Sunday, the plan was to ride the bike course again, and try to replicate the effort from the day previous. It was colder, and definitely windier, but the data (or my helmet!) proved something was working:

Saturday; Miles 10-40

• Avg Power: 210W
• Avg Speed: 21.6mph
• Avg HR: 153

Sunday, Miles 10-40

• Avg Power: 207W
• Avg Speed: 22.1mph (maybe aero helmets really work!)
• Avg HR: 148

We kicked back for the next few hours and then made the trek back to SoCal.

How thirsty are you? We obviously went left...

... because I was thirsty for some wine that was sofaking bueno!

In-and-out, animal style (naturally) – so worth it!

Overall, a killer weekend, and I CANNOT WAIT to get up there in 4 weeks!

I also did some pretty sweet race preview videos that will get uploaded onto amateur endurance within the next few days, so be sure to check ‘em out there!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Enjoying a San Diego Moment

Today, I had one of the most enjoyable bike rides I think I have ever done.

The scheduled called for a 90 minute easy spin - if I could fit it in. I hit the road at about 5:45pm, for an easy spin down to La Jolla. I had no goals or objectives in this ride, other than to cap the HR at 145 going up TP.

I set out, and just casually spun south on 101. A commuter cyclist passed with me with 2 saddle bags, but the ego in me didn't come out and say "there is no way I will let this guy pass me". I spun up TP, headed over to UCSD, and turned around.

On my way back to Solana, myself and another cyclist were going back and forth. What I found comedic was we both had power taps, so whenever the two of us were close to one another, it was like a damn hornet's nest with all the clicking. After this went on for a few moments, I made a comment about it, and we started chatting about (what else) training and such. Shortly after she finished "her story", she mentioned that her turn was in cardiff, and we parted ways. Since it was just before sunset, I turned around shortly after that.

Even though I was coming down the hill with a nice straight away next to the beach, I held back, and just kinda people watched going through "downtown". As I passed the restaurant, I noticed that the bottom of the sun was just touching the pacific. During this quarter mile stretch of road, I took it all in: the 30ish people taking pictures of the sunset, the 15 or so surfers in the water, a few runners doing the same as I.

Then it hit me, and those of you in San Diego know exactly what I am talking about: I had a San Diego moment. You know, those "Wow, I am so lucky to be living here right now" moments. As I made my way to "the hill" going up to solana beach, I looked back one more time to find the top of the sun just barely over the pacific, only to have it set as the hill started to obstruct my view.

It wasn't just the San Diego Moment that made the ride enjoyable, it was the fact that I was just enjoying the bike ride.

So often, we endurance athletes get so caught up in training, that we lose sight of actually enjoying it. Yeah, its cool to have an aweome swim (do those even happen?! :]), a killer bike, or a great run, but its not that often that we actually get to enjoy a training session.

Even though I took my power meter with me and it said I did worked at an average rate of 145W, I don't feel like I did any "work" at all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Holy week of tests.

Friday, I had to give a verbal final exam in class.
Friday night, I knocked out 2750 yahds in the pool, 1500 of which was a TT (actually, it was 1450 yards b/c I cant count for sh!t).
Saturday, we had to give a team final presentation in class.
Monday, I had a different team final due.
Then later this week, I have an aerobic run test, which I am surprisingly looking forward to, as painful as it will be.



After dropping some more smack in my previous post, I got just what I had coming to me.

Sunday morning, I had a rude ride planned, and rather than doing it on my tri bike in the rain (since the last time I did this, I had to replace a headset AND bottom bracket, and I didn't want to have to add a wireless powertap to the mix), so I opted for the MTB in the rain. "Who cares if I get muddy and wet on that thing?" I thought.

But, what I didn't think about was "What happens if my chain snaps 19 miles from my car?" Yep. I started off at PQ west, and by the time I was about a mile east of pomerado in Poway, I was powering up a hill when all I heard was "Ding!", and then all the sudden I had a cadence of like 200 with zero tension. Thankfully, I gave Damian a call (and had my phone battery die on me shortly afterwards!), and he came and picked my wet and muddy ass up.

What did I do next? Well, of course after making fun of the "Dark Horse" and saying he is stuck on the trainer in Rhode Island, I went back to my place and did TWO HOURS AND FIFTEEN F'N MINUTES ON THE BLOODY TRAINER. The best way to describe it was miserable. Nothing like being aero for a long time with no change of scenery, no decrease in tension and no wind to cool you down.

Ain't Karma a b!tch? :)

I grabbed some food afterwards, chilled, and then did a sweet time-in-the-bank run afterwards in San Elijo Lagoon (where else would I run?), where I surprisingly felt really good the entire time. This week was my biggest run week at 5 hours, and things are starting to feel pretty good.

Up ahead - lots of hill work. To quote my coach, he said "We should even be swimming hills".


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sizing up the Competition

There has been a lot of "chatter" on email and facebook over the past few days regarding my latest video on amateurendurance.com.

Pat Drain , the self proclaimed "Dark Horse", has been talking all sorts of smack. Listen Pat, you dubbed yourself "Dark Horse" because you live in Rhode Island, and even with DST, you are still probably stuck on the trainer or dreadmill at 5pm because it's still dark outside. Not to mention the temperature is not exactly what I'd call "race specific". I admit, you have ran exactly one more half marathon than I this year so far (Pat 1, Ryan 0), and probably have run more than I, but running a half mary in temperatures that require a fleece headband, pants and a jacket ain't gonna prepare you for the heat and hills of lake san antonio come early may.

Damian is talking smack as well, which is amazing because it shows that he actually took time out of his day to stop eating, and do something else with his pie hole. What's even more amazing, is the amount of energy he is expending while being sick. Personally, I suggest that he conserve his energy for race day so he doesn't have excuses.

Paul, the good sport and competitor, is taking it all in stride, and laughing his ass off. Which, thankfully, is one of the few body parts that isn't showing in one of the pictures I use.

So, if you haven't seen it already, and don't mind watching my ugly mug, here 'tis...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Desert Weekend

Only in the desert can you wake up to this...

Killer Weekend out in Borrego springs with TCSD.

Saturday: probably the hardest ride I have ever done, as far as intensity and duration. The motion based link doesn't really provide the true picture, but this does:

It all started out nice with a group of 20 or so. About 3 miles in, I mentioned to the person next to me that we were starting to split up a bit, and looked back to see who was with us. The gentlemen behind me looked me square in the eyes, and said with a rather firm voice "Don't slow down".

I thought to myself "Gonna be one of those rides I guess". Having not ridden in a group in forever, I figured what the hey!

I proceeded to not slow down, and before I knew it, there were 6 of us pace-lining through the southern california desert. When I got to mile 10, I realized I was already half way done with my fluids, and that the pace was relentless. "I have no business riding with these guys" I told myself. Then I thought "riding alone sucks a hell of a lot more". We kept a solid rotation going, and traveled the 28 miles to the salton sea in about 1hr 11min. We returned in much the same manner, only with a slight head wind.

After a hard fought 56 miles, I (and everyone else) can honestly say the cool down was harder than the rest of the ride.

Shortly after getting back to camp, a few of us headed out for a hike...

Desert Oasis! For real!

Inside the Oasis!

Continuing past the oasis leads to some waterfalls...

Ever wonder where a river ends?

Few random pics:

What is becoming typical triathlete attire - even in a social setting. (Kevin, really?)

Someone's hungry!

Saturday night was "letting loose". By that I mean, I drank wine like it was water. This mind you, coming from a guy who was in the desert, and was worried about not hydrating enough earlier in the day!

The bi-annual TCSD marshmallow fight!

Sunday, we did "hill top challenge" (promptly at 9am), and let's just say climbing a steep hill made my lungs burn, and got me back to reality very quickly! No hangover either!

After pounding water and OJ like it was wine, Paul and I headed out on a solid 10 miler. I don't know if my HRM was not on correctly or if the wine from the night previous had EPO in it, but I have never run 8 min miles at 150HR for any duration, so I'll take it!

The rest of the day sunday was spent being shelled from the weekend, and loving every second of it!

Monday, March 02, 2009

"The more quad pounding, the better"

... words spoken by the Chuckmeister in reference to my second epic hike this past Sunday.

Not one to disappoint, here's how it went:

Text version:
  • 7am start at the end of clairemont mesa blvd
  • Blaze my own trail down to the river
  • Get to the top of Pyle's Peak (have breakfast)
  • Head over to Cowle's
  • Run down Cowle's for some extra quad poundage
  • Hike back up Cowle's
  • Take the long way back to clairemont mesa
  • Do a bike ride later in the day
Visual Version:

Just after sunrise...

Mini waterfall area - so cool to just hang here and listen to the water for a few...

Pyle's Peak is up there...

Way up there...

View from atop pyle's...

View of breakfast, sans utensils of course...

First of 7 peanut butter balls (recipe to come soon over on primal fusion!)

From a top Pyle's Peak, you can here absolutely nothing but a slight breeze at 9am...

Highest point in SD...

More not flat
Total stats...
  • Elevation gain: 5,100 ft
  • Distance: 16.25 miles
  • Time: 5hr15min moving time
  • People who were hiking cowle's: way too many!
  • Feet absolutely trashed: 2

This marked the end of another big week at 18.5 hours, so this was just a killer way to end it on a good note!