Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
When most people go out to ride 50 miles on a day when the heat index is around 100 degrees they may have certain fears. They may fear the excessive loss of sweat due to the heat, they may fear the cars roaring by them, they may fear the distance of the ride...what I fear is the same thing I fear on every ride...attacks from redwing blackbirds! I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 movie, "The Birds" way back in 6th grade...yes I'm sure it had some kind of scientific value my teacher related to the 6th grade curriculum in 1992. What I thought was simply a science fiction movie is turning out to be very truthful. These birds are out for blood!
I was hit 3 more times today bringing my summer total to 7 hits...all on the back of the helmet. These birds are vicious! They sit atop the telephone lines (I wish they would get shocked to death for this but can't figure out whey they don't) or in the grass right near the road and they wait for me to ride by every day. The birds like to wait until I've gone by them and then they take off hovering overhead until they dive bomb right at me with one thing in mind...blood! Now, I'm typically a very humanitarian kind of guy...but right now I wouldn't mind if these dang things would all go up in smoke in an instant. I find myself turning around on the ride making crazy barking noises trying to fend them off when they are hovering overhead but that rarely does any good. When you stare them down for a period of time in most cases they will fly away but turning around while riding at 20+ mph to stare them down isn't the most safe thing to do. My thoughts are continually of Dr. Dave Juehring who was knocked off his bike last year when one of these things dove right into his face while he was riding near my house. Dr. Juehring's recovery has been a long one.
From what I've read these birds are very vicious this time of year because they are nesting in the ditches near the sides of the roads. What I don't understand is that I've never for a second thought about getting off my bike to go take out one of their nests. I'm not sure why they feel some guy riding by their nest on a bike is a threat to the nests when there has probably never been an instance of a rider stopping to attack the bird nests. One of my training buddies, Jared Dammann, summed it up best when he said, "When I put my helmet on to go ride I feel like I'm putting a helmet on in preparation of going to battle...battle with the birds." The birds like to chirp in my ear and then let out a loud screech before they come dive bombing into my helmet. I know where most of the "danger" spots on my ride are but every once in awhile they will come out of nowhere to attack. I write this post as a warning to all riders in Scott County...beware of the birds...and if you get a chance to take one out, by all means please do!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Bringing it home on the run...
I would now have to wait to see the finish times of the other guys coming in who started behind me. As it ended up I placed 3rd. Jason Maurice was 2nd, 30 seconds ahead of me and the winning effort was put up by JJ Bailey from Des Moines. He was 1:28 ahead of me. The amount those guys beat me by was almost entire the difference in the swim. I need to get better there. Overall I was very satisfied with the race. Both JJ Bailey and Jason Maurice have previously hit a standard to qualify as professional triathletes but they have both opted to keep their amateur status for now at least. They are very good. I finished one spot ahead of last year's champion Eric Ott who finished in 1:05:51. The XTERRA professional from Cedar Falls was someone I had never beaten and he finished in 1:07:07 but then was assessed a 2:00 penalty so he was given an official time of 1:09. Complete results with splits and rankings can be found at http://www.theracershub.com/files/273-575.txt
It was great seeing so many of my friends and family at the race. My wife Jen made this awesome shirt for our daughter Payton. She is growing up so fast and cracks me up on a daily basis. Thanks to everyone who came out to watch the race.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I had a couple very key workouts this week that have me excited to race next weekend in the QC Triathlon. On Wednesday I did my hard track workout. I ran 2x 1 mile in 5:04 and 4:57 with 4 minutes rest between them. Then I did 2x 800's in 2:30 and 2:28 with 2:30 rest followed by 4x 400's in 71, 70, 70, 65. I decided to speed things up this week after being run down last weekend. That didn't sit too well with me. On Saturday I did my other really big workout. I biked 60 miles and then got off the bike and did a 10 mile brick run in 1 hour flat. That was 6:00/mile average. I was hoping for 6:15 pace but got to the 5 mile mark in 30:12 and decided to push a little harder on the way back. I hit the last 5 miles in 29:48 which is a time I couldn't have run 5 miles fresh a year ago.
Next Saturday is the 10th annual Quad City Triathlon. This was the 2nd ever race I competed in way back in 2000. The past few years it has been my first race of the summer and last year I weighed 193 lbs. for it. I'll post some pictures from last year next week with the race report. Last year my time was 1:11:00 and I placed 17th. This year I'm hoping to go 1:04:00 and place in the top 3. The defending champ, Eric Ott is coming back to defend his title. There is also a really good triathlete from Des Moines coming. Only 1 guy has ever done the course faster than he did, and that was record setting pro triathlete TJ Tollakson. I also heard there is an Xterra pro coming to the race. Xterra is off-road triathlons. I'm excited to race a good field and hope to be in contention for the win. If anyone is interested in coming out to watch the race is at West Lake Park and it starts at 7:00 a.m. This week will still be a good training week but I'll back off a bit on Thursday and Friday. I am still aiming for a peak performance on July 11th so I can't back off too much for this race. Despite the heavy volume this week I'm still feeling very good...and I'm more inspired to race faster. Sitting on the butt kicking I got at Pigman for 2 weeks is probably the best thing that could happen to me in the long run. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Swim- I knew the swim would be key for me. Based on the splits from last year I was hoping to swim in the middle of the Elite pack hoping to find some good feet to draft behind. I knew if I could get out of the water in the middle of the pack I would be in good shape. When the horn sounded I dove in expecting lots of contact but there was actually very little. I hugged the right side and let the fast swimmers start in front of me. I wanted to simply stay locked in on their feet. I was swimming well through the first 200 yards and it didn't feel too difficult. I was still in a relatively large group but when we made the turn around the buoy half way into the 547 yard swim I looked up and the group was gone. This was my big mistake. I never should have let the group get away from me. Once I was on my own the gap opened up much larger. I ended up exiting the swim in 7:25 which was about a minute back of the leaders and about 45 seconds back from the pack I hoped to stay with. When I arrived in transition I saw there weren't many bikes left from the Elite racks which is never a good sign. I had a good transition to the bike with my shoes already clipped in. This year is my first in doing that and it has been helping me save precious seconds in the races. My overall swim ranking was 35th out of the 675 individuals in the race.
Bike- Out on the bike course I immediately began moving up in the race. I started passing guys whose names I recognized and they were ones I had never beaten before. I was pretty excited about how I was riding. We had a long stretch that was very fast heading into the tiny town of Palo, IA. We did a loop through the town that was probably only a mile long and it was very frustrating because we had 4 sharp turns in this one mile stretch and I was pretty conservative on the turns because the road was very wet due to the heavy rains a couple hours before the race started. After getting through Palo I continued to pass more riders and started wondering what place I was in. We got to a point in the course where we turn around and about a minute before the turn around I saw the first guy coming...unfortunately along with the first guy were 7 other guys. They were lined up one after another which was pretty frustrating to me because I was out on my own working to catch a group of riders who were able to use each other for help. I hope this was done legally because it's rare to see so many riders in a triathlon together in a group like that since they don't allow drafting but there was nothing I could do about it. I never saw a single course marshall out and there wasn't a penalty assessed in the entire race out of 675 riders which is unheard of in a triathlon where drafting isn't supposed to take place. The top 8 riders ended up coming in all within about 15 seconds of each other. I was the 9th one to come in and was about 2.5 minutes behind at this point. I did have one big mistake with about a mile and a half left in the course. We went down a hill and the road split two ways. There were volunteers there who apparently didn't feel the need to say which way to go. I saw a rider going left so I turned left...of course the rider going left was starting out on the bike course and someone yelled to me that I was going the wrong way. I got turned back around but the 4 guys who were behind me passed me. Out of frustration I picked the pace back up and passed them all again before getting off the bike in 9th place. My second transition was the fastest of the day in help to the running dismount and leaving my shoes clipped in. I was out on the run in 9th place. My bike split was the 10th fastest, behind all 8 of the guys who were in the lead group and one other guy who finished the race just behind me. I averaged 24.8 miles per hour.
Run: I pushed the pace early in the run. I knew there were 4 guys who were right behind me getting off the bike. I also wanted to see if I could catch someone from the first pack because I wasn't sure exactly how far ahead they were. I went through the first mile somewhere around 5:35. Just after the mile mark I had a guy come up on me moving at a good pace. I told myself to latch on for as long as I could. The tempo got faster and we went through the 2 mile together which wasn't marked. I was getting some small cramps in my hamstrings but continued to push through them. I knew I was running faster than I ever had in a triathlon. We passed a few of the women from the Elite wave but no guys were in sight. Just after two miles another guy passed me and he was really moving fast. I tried to pick it up to go with him but couldn't hold the pace. With a half mile to go yet another guy passed me. I recognized him. He won the Trihawks race that I finished 7th in last September. I latched on to him and with about 400 meters to go I decided to make a late charge. I passed him back and almost got one of the other guys who passed me but missed by 1 second. My 5k split was 17:41, my best in a triathlon by about 15 seconds. My average mile pace was 5:42. I'd like to get that down to under 5:30 by season's end for a sprint distance. My finish time was 1:04:52 which placed me 11th overall. Complete results with splits can be found at http://www.pigmantri.com/pig109b.html I was pretty disappointed by the placing. I was really hoping to be in the top 5, but after looking at the results I felt better about it. My time goal had been to break 1:04. The field was simply loaded. There were 12 USA Triathlon age group All-Americans and one professional in the field. The guy who was 6th today was 3rd at the Amateur Age Group National race in Oregon last September. He was also 2nd at Hy-Vee in Des Moines and 2nd at Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis. He's an absolute stud and was 6th at Pigman. I beat some guys I'd never beaten who were ranked much higher than I was last year. With that said, I'm not satisfied. I have a lot of work to do. Congratulations to champion Daniel Bretscher on a great race. Daniel is a professional triathlete from Indiana who is in his second year competing as a professional. He was recently awarded USA Triathlon's professional Rookie of the Year award. I enjoy following his career. My plan as of now is to train hard through Hy-Vee on June 28th and then back off for Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis on July 11th. I think if I back off for the QC Triathlon and for Hy-Vee I won't gain much fitness from now until Lifetime Fitness so I'm going to work hard for a month and then hope for a big time drop and a breakout race then. School is over. I have 8 hours more each day I didn't have the past 31 weeks. What I do with that time will determine my success by the end of the summer. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!