Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

New races, new places, and new faces. That was my 2009. I trained smarter, harder, and farther than ever before. I learned more about myself through the challenges of 2009 than any other year. Adversity taught me how to persevere. Fear taught me not to be afraid. I learned to rely on what I have, and celebrate my good fortunes. I am blessed with an incredible wife - who I love more each day - a fairytale family that supports me in everything I do, and friends - new and old - all over this awesome country. 2009 was quite a year. 2009 was awesome. 2010 will be better.

How? Oh, just wait. It starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Goals - 2010

It isn't quite January yet so I'll save the official roll out of my 2010 goals for a couple weeks from now. I can tell you that I'm excited about a new year full of challenges. In addition to a competitive and challenging athletic career in 2010 I am also returning to school while taking on additional responsibilities at work. Now that's a recipe for success!
To all those that supported me in 2009 - thank you! I couldn't have had such a great year without all the family, friends, and new friends and inspiring people I met along the way. I look forward to more of the same in 2010.
My training lately has looked a lot like Randy Moss. I've been taking some time off. I have been hitting the gym for some laid back strength training and even hit the pool the other day for an easy 8x100, but I'm enjoying letting all the off-season sitting around drive me nuts. It only serves to make me more excited for January. I know I've been delinquent on the blog posts, but those too will pick up in the new year. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our special guest: Katie Visco

So you think you're an athlete? Driven? Motivated? An inspiration? You are. But so is Katie Visco. She is enroute to being the second youngest woman to run across the United States. Yup, that's right, she's running from Boston to San Diego and joined us for a few nights while she's here in the Phoenix area. Check out her website.

San Diego folks
- please help make Katie's arrival in your great city something special. Let me know if your local run shops and tri clubs would be interested in running with Katie, hosting Katie for a home-stay, or inviting her to speak at a local event. She's an AWESOME young woman with LOTS of energy who is sure to inspire you to even greater heights!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

A BIG thank you to all those who serve and have served our country. My quiet ride this morning was spent reflecting on this beautiful country and the men and women who give their lives, time, and expertise to keep us all safe and protect our way of life.
I woke up early on this day and headed north to explore the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This system now ranks as my #1 favorite in the Valley of the Sun. It is trails and mornings like this that start me thinking I may never live anywhere else. The climb to the top of Sunrise is why I ride bikes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting caught up...

I've been feeling totally overwhelmed in the last few weeks and I was finally able to run some reports that have me feeling better. In the last 16 months at my current position I've seen a 278% increase in service measures. Simply put, this means I'm now seeing the same number of students with 1.5 staff members as I saw at my last institution with a staff of six.
Training last week:
Wed: AM lifting
Thursday: 18 mile ride in / lifting during lunch /16 mile ride home (flat tire)
Friday: AM lifting
Saturday: 5 mile ride / 2.5hr Men's ultimate scrimmage / 5 mile ride
Sunday: AM lifting / yoga class

This week:
Monday: AM lifting
Tuesday: AM 18 mile ride in / PM 18 mile ride home

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Beast

My beast of a commuter lit up in all her glory

Monday: AM weights / 3.5 run @ lunch
Tuesday: 18 mile ride in / weights @ lunch / 18 mile ride home

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tonight's ride home


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Big Packages

So A tells me there are two MASSIVE boxes from Amazon outside the front door. What could these be I wonder?

Can you guess?


That's right two tires came in these two HUGE boxes.

I'll post my letter to Amazon as soon as I finish recycling all this waste.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October in Arizona

Prepare to be jealous....

Friday, October 16, 2009

The week

A lighter off-season schedule this week. I'm excited about putting in a lot more bike miles this off-season and only worrying about the swimming and running once I start training again. I also have a better idea of the courses for this year so I will tailor my training a little more to the specific courses. I'm hoping to work 1 swim, 1 run, 2 road, 1 mtb, 3x weights, and 2x yoga into my off-season schedule going forward. It sounds like a lot, but I think I can get all that in with a healthy dose of NFL football and beer drinking.

Monday: AM weights
Tuesday: 18 mile AM ride / weights at lunch / 18 mile PM ride
Wednesday: AM weights / lunchtime yoga / 3 mile run with A
Thursday: weights at lunch
Friday: 18 mile AM ride / weights at lunch

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tour de Fat (car free weekend)

Tour de Fat 2009

may I just say this kid DOMINATED the ride

Friday - great bike ride over to the Cornish Pasty Co for dinner and drinks. Ran into some friends while we were there and enjoyed their company before a great ride home. A on the cruiser and me on my beater MTB.
Saturday - I was up early to wash our bikes and make some adjustments. A rode her classic Schwinn cruiser all the way to Tempe Town Lake for the 2009 Tour de Fat and I rode the MTB again. The weather in Arizona is out of this world right now so even though the 7 mile ride took us a while we enjoyed every minute of it.
Once we got to the Tour de Fat it was time to get registered and participate in the parade. We had a great ride through Tempe and hung around to enjoy the festivities before riding home.
Saturday night we headed out on our bikes again to the annual party at the home of our real estate agent. We got turned around on the way there and put in some additional miles, but we finally arrived in time to enjoy some great food, drinks, and company before heading back home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

OK Computer?

For being a huge nerd and loving tech toys it's pretty surprising that I've never owned a bike computer. What isn't surprising is that I have an incredible wife who could tell I really needed one. So for my birthday this year I got this guy.

Sadly, I am now on the verge of having my new favorite toy taken away. Like a small child that shoots his little sister with a new ping-pong gun; I'm having way too much fun. Who knew that seeing your current speed, max speed, and average speed could be so much fun...and so addicting.

Part of the problem is that I share all of this information with my wife who loves me. Instead of appreciating how impressive an 18mph average speed is for my commute home she can only imagine me ignoring traffic, eyes glued to the computer, and trying to achieve a new land speed record on my bike. While this is not the case, for the most part, I should probably keep more of this information to myself if I want to keep my new toy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interbike Outdoor Demo

Bootleg Canyon is a great location for this west coast event. I can't begin to put into words how great the two days at BC were getting to ride all kinds of bikes and getting to check out the latest bike accessories. Some non bike pictures....

Interbike 2009 Day 2

Day 2 brought another early morning visit to McDonalds for breakfast before hitting the shuttle to the trails. While Monday's line for the shuttle was only a couple people deep the Tuesday shuttle line was packed with 100+. Next year I'll wake up earlier on Tuesday and keep my wrist strap on from Monday (you get to move to the front).

The trails on Tuesday were a little looser and a little more crowded, but still a blast. The lower temps (90s) felt great, but the wind was still strong blowing up all kinds of dust. It was a struggle to get suited up in the hotel room, but once on site it was another day in paradise.

that's a carbon weave
stair stepper anyone
Canondale left rize
Giant 29er
Banshee Paradox
A2B electric bike (20 miles @ 20mph)
Moots Mooto xz
new special addition 100oz mule pack

Interbike Day 1

Outdoor Demo in Bootleg Canyon lived up to the hype. I've included pics of most of the bikes I road on day 1. Keep in mind the weather was perfect, the community of riders A+, and the bikes were out of this world. Not a bad Monday.

GT Sensor 29er

Intense Uzzi
Santa Cruz Tallboy
Gary Fisher Rumblefish
Yeti ARC
Ellsworth Moment
Surly Pugsly
Surly Pugsly
Jamis 650B

It was a long day of riding on some really excellent trails. I took one shuttle run up to the top, but the SC Tallboy was a disappointment on the way down. The winners for day 1 were definitely the GF Rumblefish and the Surly Pugsley.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back to basics

I've been a major slacker when it comes to the blog. You'd think I'd have more time for blogging since I've also been slacking (off-season?) when it comes to training.

Upcoming events:
PBR Off-road Tri in a couple of weeks. I'm debating adding a race to my off-season. Thoughts?
Interbike - yup I'm living the dream this year. A new camera is on order and I'll try to provide daily blog updates with plenty of bike porn. If you're going this year give me a shout.

Sunday - lift w/A
Monday - lift during lunch
Tuesday - 800m swim, lift during lunch

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Defying death in the off-season

I guess it's official. I'm in the off-season. I made the decision to skip XTERRA Nationals (too much money, too much training) and just enjoy the fall here in Arizona exploring new places. This past weekend taught me that the off-season might just be hazardous to my health.

While hiking with friends on Granite Mountain in Prescott, AZ I came face to face with decisions and situations that are best left to Survivor Man and Bear Grylls. Almost to the summit of Granite Mountain the four of us (plus our brave pooch) experienced a sudden change in the weather. Dark clouds became pitch black, it rained, hailed, and lightning started crashing down around us. As we were several miles above the tree line we started a fear inspired run down the mountain. One particularly large lightning strike forced us under the partial cover of a large boulder where we crouched on our boots and and tried to formulate a plan. Forced to leave shelter by the fear of hypothermia, as a result of sitting cold and wet, we entered back into the melee on the mountain and continued running. The switchbacks down the mountain were quickly flooded and we should have expected that the dry canyon we hiked up would now be flooded, but we did not.
Once under the cover of the tree line we rejoiced in our safe descent and set out on a safer and more comfortable pace for the car. Not a 1/4 mile down the trail was the first of many torrents of water that impeded our way. Raging waist deep water in some parts and increasing volumes coming off the mountain and from the sky made our decisions to cross parts of the trail questionable, but again, fears of hypothermia and an ignorant focus on the proximity of a warm car drove us to cross ever deepening bodies of water.
Thankfully we all made it out without injury, although plenty cold and definitely shaken. Next time I see dark clouds on the horizon I will be thinking twice, and I plan to buy a bigger camelbak with a little more room for some extra preparation - just in case.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Still here

Friday - 800m swim
Saturday - 9 mile hike in Prescott National Forest
Sunday - rest
Monday - 3 mile run / weights
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Wednesday - 800m swim / weights

Still fighting the back pain.

Friday, August 14, 2009

All jacked up

After the first visit to the chiro my back was totally awesome. I was pumped, but then my neck got all kinds of crazy and I haven't been able to look right, up, or down. Not Awesome.

I saw the chiro again this morning and he tells me it's the normal process of my body coming around after being so out of whack. I'm really ready to be out of pain.

Thursday - rest
Friday - rest

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Derailing the pain train

As I wrote here in early May I injured my back the last weekend in April (conveniently the weekend before XTERRA Vegas). So of course I raced Vegas and then was unable to sit for longer than 10 minutes for the days following, and my back mobility was at an all-time low.

Fast forward 3 1/2 months and I'm still in pain. I've been resting, icing, stretching, and then racing/training the heck out of my back for those 3 1/2 months. I've been about a 2-3 pain level for the last 3 months and I'm sick and tired of it. So yesterday I did something about it.

Yesterday I saw Dr. Jimmy Yuan at All Star Health Spine and Sports Care. I got Dr. Yuan's name off an MTBR AZ post about chiropractors and looked him up online. In a VERY strange twist of fate Dr. Yuan had actually worked on me 8 years ago when I was in the Phoenix area on vacation and playing in a local ultimate frisbee tournament. He took me from lying face down on the field in incredible pain to sprinting and playing again in just a couple minutes with a couple adjustments. I've always told the story about "this guy in AZ" and now I've found him again.

Until yesterday that experience 8 years ago was the only chiropractic experience I'd ever had. Yesterday I got in to see Dr. Yuan again and I think I'm on the road to recovery and may have derailed the pain train. I'm a little sore from yesterdays adjustments, but my shoulders are back on my back like they're supposed to be and I'm walking taller and feeling better. It's really amazing what we can do to and with our bodies. Hopefully more improvement in the days ahead!

Training Update:
Friday: bike 40
Saturday: rest
Sunday: bike 30
Monday: swim 1200 / weights
Tuesday: run 3 / weights
Wednesday: bike 20 / weights

Monday, August 3, 2009

XTERRA Lock 4: Race Report

I'm back from the swine flue (seriously) and a week long (much needed) vacation on the coast of NC. I've collected a bunch of awesome pictures from the XTERRA race two weeks ago and am finally happy to release the race report!
Swim: 14:36 - 4th AG

The water temperature was 80 degrees of perfect. Water visibility - not so much. Racing in Lake Tahoe has forever spoiled me on the clarity and taste of open water racing. Brooks lined up right behind/beside me to take advantage of some drafting and there were so few racers that the start was actually a pretty civil affair.
I started off with long strokes that felt good, despite missing a bunch of swim workouts prior to the race. At the first buoy (200m?) I made the decision to kick up the pace a notch and went to breathing every stroke. I have no idea what about this season has me breathing every stroke when in all my training and almost all my other races I have always breathed every 3rd. Weird.
I swam alone for the last 600m and was mentally preparing for the bike. It was a comfortable swim and I exited the water to racks full of bikes.


Having a loud cheering section outside T1 was good and bad. All the yelling and screaming got me really fired up, but being fired up to put on shoes and gear isn't such a good thing. Looking back I wish I had left off the camelbak. The ride was too short to carry that and I struggled to get it on and buckled in T1. On the plus side my new shoes were super fast to get in and go.Bike: 1:17:48 - 3rd AG

This is where my race happened. The bike course (two six mile loops) was my hometown course where I trained after work when I lived in Nashville. Despite not having ridden the course in over a year I could still see the entire course in my mind. I spent the plane ride from Phoenix to Nashville playing the course in my head and planning for how I would ride each section of the course. This visualization was huge home race day.
I left T1 and immediately hit it hard. This is where having fans definitely helped. My goal for the course was to always be pedaling. The course is 90% tight rolling singletrack. When I've ridden here before there are plenty of places to coast and just let the course carry you through, but I knew that the only way I was going to finish where I wanted was to always be pedaling.
I was passed by two fast riders in the first 2 miles of the course, but they were the only ones to pass me. My legs felt strong and it was so cool to be back on one of my favorite trails. I couldn't believe how comfortable I felt riding Chandler's Niner MCR. I was little worried that the steel frame would be heavy, but I was happily surprised by how light it was. Only 80mm up front felt really small, but you really don't need anymore than that for this course. It is geared as a 1x9 and there were only a couple of times I could have used a big ring up front. He had his brake levers angled kind of high and the grips felt harsh, but I couldn't have asked for a better feeling ride on a bike I had never ridden before on a course I hadn't seen in over a year.
I exited the single track on my first lap to a ruckus (my Nashville bike crew). Awesome. I had the bike in the top gear and was giving it all I had around the peninsula before starting my second lap.
Lap 2 my goal was top push harder than lap 1. I was figuring that seeing the course and feeling out the bike on lap 1 would give me an edge on the second lap. Unfortunately, I was feeling a little less excited and a little over confident on the second lap and didn't ride as hard as I probably should have. That said, I had the time of my life on the bike. It felt so good to go so fast!


Super fast with my new Yankz laces. Seriously these things rule. I was in and out in no time.

Run: 36:05 - 7th AG

My run legs were nowhere to be found coming out of t2. Maybe it was really pushing on the bike or maybe it was having done 0 transition runs in training since April. Maybe it was both. My lungs and energy level felt good, but my legs were missing. I tried to keep pushing through the resistance and tried not to think about how much just 1 transition workout would have helped me now. Once I hit the singletrack the rollers got me going with a little momentum, but I knew it was going to be tough going. I tried focusing on the weather (upper 70s, low humidity for the south, and breezy). I told myself it was like running outside with the air conditioning on - this helped.
I felt stronger at the end of lap 1 around 2 miles into the run. As I came around the peninsula and knew I had only 2 miles to go I picked up the pace. One guy in my AG came blowing past me when we hit the singletrack and I jumped right on his heels. By my calculations I was 3rd in my AG and I really wanted to be on the podium for the 1st time in an XTERRA race. I ran with this guy until he started to tucker out and I kept the pace going. At mile 3.5 I snuck a look back and saw a guy blazing up the trail behind me. I knew from the start that he was in my AG and I knew I wasn't going to be able to run the pace he had going. My only chance was that he would blow up before the finish line. No dice. He passed me with a .5 mile to go and I decided to keep my strong pace and not risk blowing up and losing anymore ground. That decision cost me 3rd place.
Two weeks later it's easy to say I should have sucked it up and tried to run with him, but at the time it wasn't an option. Every race I learn something about that feeling and about that choice that makes me a better athlete and competitor. I ran into the final shoot as one of the top overall finishers, which is a first for me. To see guys like Craig Evans still breathing hard when I finish a race is super cool. For me this race was about the bike. It was about pedaling hard the whole race and railing turns with speed that I had never done before. It took going home and the support of dedicated friends cheering me on for me to reach that level and now I'm looking forward to never going back.
2:08:29 - 4th AG - 19th OA

PS - When I did this race in 2007 I did it in 2:23:15 and finished 5th. Some better competition this year for sure!