Monday, August 25, 2008

I am a Tri Geek Part 3...and unrelated cool stuff

OK, the above pics are part of the "unrelated" but cool part of this story taken from us helping out at the Larry Kemp junior Camp this weekend, Left is Head Coach Kristi with firefighting mad man husband, EMT, awesome bunk mate Chad with junior phenom Holden in the foreground...the other shot is the whole group, just had to share, it was a blast, kids and bikes, like peas and carrots...more at the back to my Tri story...
so I made it to the run, sorry for the pause here, but my run was the least exciting part of my first Olympic Tri. If you check results, another cool thing about triathlon, you get really detailed information on times it takes between swimming and cycling (your Transition times) and all legs of your event as opposed to some road races where there is no physical record of your brave feat. My run was less than specatular...until you factor in how little I trained and how sore I was for the 4 days afterwards...then it was pretty me.
So for the run I headed out at a crawl and remembered Tom's words from Triumph to just keep going, and I began to play the game. IF I kept going I could stop and take a pee after the first lap (3 of them). So I pressed on. Finally the water I had swallowed in the swim had worked it's way through my body and it was building pressure, but anther little tip here...hold it. Some how the urgency it creates is a good thing, it can make you go faster assuming it is not a full blown emergency. So I plodded on, willing my legs to keep going.

Soon I noticed that whenver I got passed, it was by hummingbirds, runners with a fast turn over. One thing about only being a cyclocross racer who runs occasionally is that I am used to bounding up stairs, not flying over flat ground at high speeds. My legs were sllllllloooooooowww. I would hear the bam, bam, bam, bam, bam of someone coming up on me as their shoes hit the ground and I was about half their pace BAM...........BAM............BAM...........BAM.....maybe that was why I was so sore the next week???
So I made it around once, then even though I could have claimed my reward, there really wasn't any place to pull over except the woods at the transition, but when I got there it wasn't that full of vegetation and there were lots of people around, so I told myself "next lap FOR SURE! I will pee and be free of this extra 10 oz!" and picked up the pace as I headed back out on the pavement.

Now the last post I did I said "why run when you can fly" and this is where the mental power of Cycle U came in. I preach to anyone who will listen that you set your vision on what you want to have happen and belive it as if it already has. I had invisioned a good run. I began to let my body do a good run despite what my pain sensors were telling me. I started to stride out a bit more on the flats, and dig deep on the rises or small hills. I fought to stay with those who passed me or at least maintain my speed. I held my head up and let my legs go.

At times I couldn't feel my legs much, they were working and flying beneath me but they didn't necessarily feel attached to my body. I had a few aches to work through, which slowed me down a bit, so I wasn't shutting out all pain but the last half of the run I was going for it and fighting to keep my pace as high as I could.

On the final lap, when I knew I was about 1/2 mile away I started to really go as fast as I could. I actually passed a few people and was striding long and fast and felt like I was really racing for the first time on the run. I sprinted across the line knowing I had given it my all. I didn't have to pee anymore. I think that h2o had be reabsorbed cause it was kinda hot by then. It was great to finish, and especially great to get the cheers from fellow teammates, wife and son and total strangers as I came into the finish line. Wow, that was great. And it totally stoked my ego to do OK at something I thought I might not finish during the swim.

Thanks for reading, look for me at Kirkland...I just might make it. I have to post a few pics from our Larry Kemp 10-14 year old camp in Cle Elum this past weekend, that was a blast! If you know of any kids this age who like cycling, it might be their favorite 3 days of summer next year.

This is us after a swim in the river and a road ride. Below is some cyclocross with Tim Rutledge. Great crew of kids!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I am a Tri Geek, Part two..

Now I don't want this to be a brag session, but if you are reading I am assuming that you are fine with some pointers on how to ride a good TT since I really can't help myself. At one time I was the 2nd or 3rd best TT rider in the state and it was the discipline I won my first stage race with, practiced every other week my first year of racing and loved for the simple fact that it was a pure measure of how you compared with other riders...once you factor in the "Geek Bike" savings.

OK, here we go with the play by play... I shuffled out of the water, and luckily had placed my bike at the far side so I know how to find it. Peeled off the wetsuit and got the shoes on and struggled getting a dry jersey over a wet body and finally was on the road and riding. I had visualized a good race. I knew I wanted to work hard and steady on the bike so I immediatly took it up to a hard level on the first little hill and on the first downhill got a Clif Shot down my throat with a few gulps of water. Now I settled in to reel in some fish that got away.

The way I approach the bike is to ride the entire bike leg with similar speeds in similar sections, go hard on the uphills hold that over the tops until rest portions of the course. We were doing 4 laps so the first lap I was not exactly railing the corners, just getting to know what the lines where and how hard I could push it when I got cooking on the last 3 laps. I was looking for pavement quality, gravel, potholes and other hazards to work around, besides the obvious like course marshals, turns and traffic. I clocked a steady first lap passing folks pretty regularly, swallowed another Shot with a few gulps of water and put my head down for lap 2.

I knew to get the best time that I had to average similar times each lap, and I purposely held back a bit on the first lap, planning to ratchet it up each lap until the last one was a full sprint to hold the speed, taking risks in the corners and really maxing out on the uphill parts. That is what came to me as I was riding, the places I made the most time was on the uphills where lots of people settle in, I was jamming them hard knowing I could rest on the downhills.

The other key is not resting UNTIL you are up to speed on the downhill. If you let up when you hit the summit you are wasting kinetic energy, keep pushing until you are going at a fast speed downhill, only then can you get a breather!

I have to admit, I enjoyed passing all those fast swimmers. I enjoyed giving "atta boys" to everyone as I passed and encouraging everyone. I know cycling can be hard, but after the swim I was like "born again!" I was just so happy to be back in my element. The other thing I did that I didn't see anyone else really do was stand up on the climbs. This course was really fun, rollers with each climb less than 20 seconds so standing up to jam them was perfect. It was a joy to find the right gear to stand on, then throw the bike side to side to use the last of my upper body energy before the run.

I reloaded Shot and water for my last lap and really poured it on. I tried not to think of other riders as I passed them, but it is very helpful mentally to have a target. I THANK all those who were in front of me as I was rabbit hunting and there was a steady stream where I was pursuing people all the way until the transition. I didn't intentionally hammer by anyone, I just maintained my speed and sometimes it took me half a lap to catch someone.

I was just on my regular road bike so I had to ride the "fake aero" position (above). I just put my elbows on the tops of the handlebars (thankyou FSA bars with the flat tops and Coach Adrian for wrapping my bars last year!). was yelling at me that I was doing great when I came in. I must say that I am salvating for a "real" Tri Geek machine...with "real" wheels and positioning. Here is a little hint for Santa : )
I don't know how much I moved up on the bike leg but Carla from our Team (she was course marshalling, how cool!) was telling me to go for it cause I was rocking my age group or something.
I rolled into the transition and got onto the run, wow, did I have to pee. I was doing the 90 year old man shuffle powered mostly by willpower and Tom's words from Triumph Multisport "just keep running, it gets better". He was kinda right, it did, but not until the time...why run when you can fly or Are those really my legs running underneath me?
Thanks for reading, now go enjoy the summer!

Coach Craig