Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yoga 4 Lunch

Just a quick update on how the off-season is progressing. This past weekend I got up to Prescott Valley, AZ for a hike with my wife and in-laws. Beautiful high desert, great time with family, and cooler temperatures (we are still in the 90s here in PHX).

Training has mostly consisted of running in preparation for January's 1/2 marathon and thinking about next year and what challenge I'll prepare for. One new addition I'm excited about has been twice a week yoga during lunch here at work. A nice open studio and quality instructor make these twice a week classes perfect for off-season recovery and strength building for next season. I'm also looking to get back in the gym in the coming weeks.

More exciting news on the bike front, but you'll have to check back for that news!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One week off-season

Until this year every fall brought the end of the competitive club ultimate season. Congrats to JAM, PoNY, Alpha Cobra Squadron, and Guillermo Y Comania for all making Nationals this year. I’ll miss hanging out in Sarasota.For the past several years the end of ultimate season meant weeks/months of physical therapy and rest - torn psoas muscle, torn meniscus, cyst on my PCL, and the usual bumps and bruises. One reason I decided to race XTERRA this year was to take a physical break from playing ultimate and use the year to build some strength and explore some different sports, while still qualifying for a national championship. Mission accomplished!

I’m still undecided about next year. Do I return to Ultimate? Do I use my 1st year of XTERRA experience to build an awesome plan of attack for a second year and redemption in Tahoe? Or do I live a more balanced life playing some ultimate, racing some local XTERRA races, skiing, backpacking, and just being active….?

Well, until I make that decision I’ve decided to join A in running the 2009:

I’ll be clear about this – I hate running, but if I want a better 2009 XTERRA season spending time training for this ½ will be a serious plus. If I go back to ultimate or just want to be active in 2009 this training won’t be that bad either. It’s just so much running….

So with my one week of rest after XTERRA 2008, I’m officially training again. Those of you that know me are not surprised at all.

Monday: 30 minute low intensity run

Tuesday:: 30 minute bike / core work

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rest week

My 2008 XTERRA season ended with Nationals last weekend so I took this entire week off. Complete rest - well I played league Tuesday night. I caught up with friends, family and work around the house.

Saturday, A and I worked for Habitat for Humanity and then I found some time to work on my Singlespeed. I haven't ridden this bike in almost 4 months - a real travesty and a consequence of so much racing and training.

Sunday John was in town so we hit up McDowell Mountain for an AM ride - perfect singlespeed track and tons of fun.

The eats this week have been awesome. I celebrated my one week off-season with Golden Grahams and Little Debbie.
Roofing for Habitat
finished product
time for wrenching
my post season nutrition

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

XTERRA US Championships ‘08 - Race Report

The Swim:

I was pretty concerned about the water temperature in Lake Tahoe. Official word was that it was 59 degrees and that was a far cry from the 80 + degree pool water back in Phoenix. I talked with the Tri Diva on the beach about the pros/cons of getting in prior to the start. I compromised - waded in a little- and realized that the temp was fine.

(by waded I meant feet in the water)

The cannon went off and I ran into the water with (315?) other athletes. It was extremely crowded and I had a hard time finding my rhythm. I was breathing every stroke as I planned and the water felt great –seriously. It helped that it was crystal clear and tasted great. The first 300m were way too crowded and not a lot of fun.

After that it thinned out and I could focus on my stroke. I tried standing up too early on my exit from the first lap and should have kept stroking all the way in, but that was my only hang up. I felt strong and fast with no thought of the altitude. This was one of my favorite swim experiences of all time.

(off to T1)


It was a ¼ mile run from the swim to T1. I didn’t leave shoes or a jacket and didn’t feel like I needed either one. I did take my time getting to T1 and got passed by plenty of people sprinting the ¼ mile. I had lots of clothing options in T1, but based on what I saw other riders wearing leaving transition I went for only the UA sleeveless I was wearing under the wetsuit and slid on my bike shorts over my jammers. I had placed hand warmers in my shoes and gloves which felt great on my hands and feet. My core was extremely warm. I’m really disappointed that you don’t get a strict swim split from the swim, because according to my amazing wife/cheerleader/equipment manager I was out of the water less than a minute behind James Walsh and the Diva, but my jaunt to and wardrobe change in T1 tacked on quite a bit of time.

Bike: Yin & Yang

I left T1 feeling strong, warm, and excited to see what this bike course was all about. I fell in behind several other riders and drafted the paved section until the start of the jeep road. Here is where the trouble began.

I’m no weight weenie, but my all mountain rental with a thru axle was quite the porker. I’d dropped the front end down and firmed up the rear shock, but it was still a beast of burden. The sand/gravel road wasn’t helping but I kept a solid cadence and was feeling confident.

Climbing, more climbing, and still more climbing. I hadn’t been training enough for this much granny gear action, but I was still making good progress. I was being passed by the slower swimmers, but stronger riders, and only had to walk twice. I got some nice heckling from passers, “That must be a rental.” Thanks buddy.

The flume trail was everything it is made out to be. One of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to go back and ride it for pleasure since I only snuck one or two glances at the incredible views. I knew I needed to fly on this relatively flat section to make up for my lack of climbing speed, and after passing one slower rider at the dismount section I rode hard and alone until the climbing started again…

(Flume Trail - not my image)

On the Flume section I started to get hungry. I knew this was a bad sign as I had only one GU with me on the bike. I ate it at the end of the Flume trail had enough power to hammer the Marlette Lake section and then things got bad. The trail climbs to 8,900ft and the temperature dropped quickly. I lost my strength and then my confidence. I felt hungry, weak, and cold on the climb to the top. I was having to get off the bike and push and had trouble keeping my balance on the bike at low speed. I was passed by one large group of riders and then all alone on the trail. This meant I had fewer people to chase and probably slowed down more than I would have had there been others around. When I finally hit the DH section I was weak and having trouble picking clean lines on this unfamiliar course. Opening up the suspension meant I could take some monster hits and fly on the jeep road back to T2. It’s true that I smiled pretty wide flying DH on this beast of a ride, but the 2:30:00 it took to go up and the 20 minutes it took to come down were not worth it.

(at least it looks pretty?)


I knew it was almost over. Took off my bike shorts, slipped on some mesh ones real quick and I was out. Happy to be off the bike.


I hit the first aid station for some Gatorade and it tasted delicious. I quickly found my legs and lungs and just tried to stay steady until I got some strength back. I was starving. Next aid station I got some GU and water and ate/drank while on the move. I built over the entire run course just getting faster. The twists and turns make it hard to carry any speed, but I could tell such a difference after the initial calories and knew I was going to finish strong.

(almost there)

4:28:38 - Ouch


I was disappointed with my time, but proud to have qualified and finished. I was also feeling really good physically post race, worlds better than on the bike, which was good, but also kind of disappointing. I learned so much at this race and am grateful I had the opportunity to explore such a beautiful locale and spend a great weekend with my wife, who was a trooper even in the cold. Many a thank you and lessons learned coming soon…(the view from the lookout)

(best wife ever)

Monday, October 6, 2008


XTERRA Nationals - Done!

Sunday was a tough day of battling cold and altitude. Full report with pictures later today, but I finished my first XTERRA Nationals and am back relaxing here in the Phoenix heat just taking the day off. What a weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

This is the weekend!!

Nine months of brutal training and competitive racing all over the USA brought me here. This is the weekend of the XTERRA USA National Championship. A big thank you for the season long support, pre-nationals advice, well wishes, and most of all the advice to have fun this weekend. I think that finally sunk in with one recent email and I plan on doing just that this weekend. Coming up, the race of my life in one of the most beautiful locales in the world. I just got my camera back so stay tuned for a pre-race report, pictures, and the final race report of the season...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Preparing for Tahoe

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week reading as much as I can about the course at XTERRA Nationals. I’ve also checked out the videos on XTERRA TV, which have everything from short pro tips to a full length video of last year’s race. Because I will arrive so close to the actual race there won’t be time to pre-ride the course or get a feel for the bike I’m renting. This virtual research is all I have to work with in laying out my race plan.

I’ve also been trying to identify the challenges that I will face this weekend and the mental and physical steps I can take to address them.

1. The “cold” – I’ve been trying to mentally prepare for this, but living in AZ, where it was 103 today, makes preparing for “cold” difficult. For the swim I’ve got a neoprene cap and plan on not being in the water that long. I still haven’t decided whether or not to warm up in the water the morning of the race. I’m going to try and find a new pair of full finger gloves that I like today at the LBS and wear those at the race. New gloves, new bike, why not…(yes I know this is trouble)

2. Climbing at altitude – I haven’t been able to get north of Phoenix the way I was able to before Snow Valley. The trails I’ve been able to ride and the commute I’ve been doing are all relatively flat. Mentally I’m prepared to grind and just keep pushing. Racing Snow Valley will help me here because I can expect more of the same. Equipment wise I’m not so great off because I’m riding this.

3. Altitude – I know that the best strategy for us low elevation folks is to be in the best shape possible. Well, I’m in the best shape I can be in given my experiences right now and racing Snow Valley taught me that breathing every stroke on the swim and making it through the first 15 minutes of the bike without totally blowing up is possible.

4. What is my goal? – This has been the biggest challenge of all. Making nationals was my goal this season and since I made the show I can’t help but feel I’ve eased off the throttle. It is hard with so many variables to have a goal to work for during the race, so after some research, I have one. Finish in under 3:45. I’ve never worn a watch in a race before, but I plan to in Tahoe. 3:45 – an honest and practical goal for my first year and the crazy summer I’ve had.