Monday, September 9, 2019

DNF?!! No Way!

I'm all tatt'd up for the event!
My simple set up at T1.

Let me say I continue to love Xterra events and Ogden has got to be one of the best of Xterras.  For anyone unfamiliar, the main event is an Olympic distance "off road" triathlon.  You need a mountain bike for the bike portion and better be ready to run uphill for the running portion.  I've done the Richmond and Kualoa Ranch versions of the same event and they've all had some good elevation gain on both the bike and run.   

The published elevation gain on the bike was 4,614 feet over 28k.  About a month ago I was concerned I was in over my head.  I got to some training albeit not as much as I'd hoped to do and didn't worry about it. On Saturday I was awoken to the fact that I was indeed over my head!

Around mile 12 of 18 heat cramps in my legs were nearly debilitating.  Not only was I forced to walk my bike up portions of the trail I had to lie down and stretch a handful of times. It was a feast of humble pie courtesy of Utah goodness.  This was the first time for me that I felt like I could really be in a DNF situation.  My hydration bottles were empty and in preparing for the race I'd obviously forgotten how debilitating dehydration could be-I didn't even think to bring Endurolytes.  Endurolytes for me are a magic "dehydration killer" fix.  I love them but hadn't used them for so long that I'd totally forgotten to carry them. This is only my second triathlon of the year and first Xterra in years.

Somehow I survived the bike, and when I rolled into T2 my legs and stopped cramping for the moment. I walk/ran through the 10k run over a period of about an hour and a half and was completely spent when I finally crossed the finish line. DNF? Not that day.

Bottom line-Xterra mountain biking/off-road triathlons are not in the same basket as the on-road aero-bar requiring, Ironman type, triathlons.  Xterras do not suffer the weak of legs.  Two days later my legs still feel the remnants of Saturday's cramping. 

By all accounts, the race is a world-class event.  Staff is super friendly and helpful (oh yea, I left my timing chip at home and they gave me a replacement but promised to track me down if I didn't turn it in later; thanks to the Household Commander for bringing it to the finish for turn-in!) and there weren't billions of attendees.  Everyone is super friendly and you're able to meet and chat with folks without feeling like a sardine packed in a can. In an era of a flooded market, Xterra's done a great job of keeping the hometown feeling in this one, something very much appreciated by this participant.  I'll be back next year but much more prepared!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

New Triathlon/Multisport Watch: Suunto Spartan Trainer

After about three weeks of carrying around my Suunto Ambit because it had another broken wrist band I bought a Suunto Spartan Trainer (steel). DC Rainmaker calls it "a full triathlon watch for $279."  Of course his review is top notch and of course I read through it before making the purchase. As well as his reviews of the Spartan Ultra and Sport.  All through watches were appealing and in the end the budget model was the fit for me.  There is a fairly good price jump between the trainer and the Ultra with some fairly minor differences in my mind.

Of the extras I missed out on by buying the Trainer model, the lower quality screen graphics and inability to customize the brightness may be the most serious, although I've only had the watch for one day and am still getting used to using it.  Other differences include the mineral crystal glass versus Saphire in the Ultra model, shorter battery life in the Trainer, no touch screen with the Trainer model, and no compass feature on the Trainer.

Suunto Spartan Trainer in awesome steel

Had a great mountain biking ride with a friend a few days ago.  Not only my first MTB ride in many a moon but the first outing here in Utah.  In addition to getting some street grinding cardio conditioning in we hit a portion of the Shoreline Trail We're prepping up for the Xterra Pan Am Championship triathlon coming up in September.  Stoked for the off-road tri!  Xterras are always a blast. I've done Richmond and one in Hawaii and neither one disappointed so I'm stoked to be off-road with them again.

It's nice this time around that I live nearby and will be able to go pre-ride the course! Looking forward to nailing that down and going for a ride out there, will be awesome to be racing on the course having already ridden it-I've always been jealous of the folks that have been able to do that.

Suunto map cutout of our Shoreline Trail ride

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Spudman Olympic Triathlon Mini-Review

I say mini-review because I'm not a very detail oriented, in-depth writer on these matters. This will be a write up on the race from my perspective. What I saw and how I experienced the race. Keep in mind I was a pretty quick in-and-out racer and was out to just have a good time, not out to get on the podium.  I enjoy being around other folks who lie to stay in shape, spend their money on fine exercise equipment and the take opportunity to work out in great venues.  With that in mind, here was my experience at the Burley, Idaho Spudman Triathlon.

Night Before Check-In and Race Meeting.  Check-in and pre-race meeting were standard and easy, swag bag was weak-in addition to the finisher's shirt it had one Hammer gel, one packet of Hammer electrolyte capsules (which I had never seen before, pending trial still) and some bio-gel.  I think the world has largely forgotten the art of the swag bag.  Friends of mine talked up the pre-race carb load the night before but this year it was canceled for an undisclosed reason, bummer.  It was striking how many families were camping here and in attendance.  I knew camping was allowed but was surprised at just how many folks were taking advantage of it. Maybe another year I'll do that, but it brought back memories of my very first triathlon that entailed arriving on-site very late at night, setting up a tent for a quick sleep, and rising early to get ready and stash the tent before getting in trouble for sleeping in a reserved group campsite! 

Transition area set up. T1 is 1.6k down river so the wife and I drove down and racked my Specialized Transition as to not have the hassle in the morning.  Folks were friendly and the parking lot nearby was busy and dusty.  The local sheriff's department had lights up and a crew watch over the gold mine of carbon and rubber overnight so no worries.  I elected to set up my T2 station on race morning.  Interestingly it was a free-for-all when it came to bike placement vice numbered stalls.  Luckily there were numbers on the columns and I picked one that aligned with my number for easy recall as to where I parked. 

Race Day Fun. I was a little annoyed that no official posted or publicized water temperature on race morning.  Being the one guy who had his triathlon wet suit packed by movers and in a fleeting moment chose to go with a water skiing wet suit, I was keen to leave the wet suit behind but was leery about ice cream headaches ruining my day.  I wore the suit and would leave it behind if I got to redo it, the current pushed my floating neoprene mess down the river in a decrepit 22 minutes.

No issues in the first transition area. I'd staged my hydration and gels that morning so I quickly took in a gel and washed it down before getting into a cycling rhythm.  The course was a rectangular route through country roads in farming country that I grew up with.  Some locals were out cheering from time to time and volunteers were usually the ones manning corners to make sure we turned at the right location.  No cramping and no stomach issues had me in good spirits when I came into T2.

I was careful to not take in too much hydration on the bike as I am prone to sloshy belly problems on the run.  The good news is that it paid off and I had no cramping or sloshy belly on the run. The bad news is that I ran out of energy at mile 4.  I'd planned to take in two gel packets on the bike and I only ate one (got lost in my head and forgot the plan).  I took in one as I started the run and ended up eating one more at about mile 4, where it was too late.  Most of the run was on farmer's access roads through farm fields, the rest was through local roads. Not a ton of cheering locals but there were some out chuckling at the out-of-town-crazies come to town.  Given my energy depletion, I was happy to see a fairly steep chute kicking all the runners down into the finish line on the golf course, "Yes!  I will actually be able to run through the finish line!"

Top five finishers in my age group

My stats for the day

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Combat Cycling Willie Kay Style

This morning's ride included some big roots coming up through the paved path quite a few driveways with some land mines as well (rocks that would easily cause a flat). Needless to say, a decent portion of my ride was spent in a defensive position, but no worries, I knew it was going to be fairly exploratory. 

Pineview Reservoir near my new digs, cycled near/beside here today

On Saturday I'll go participate in the Spudman Olympic distance Triathlon in Burley, Idaho.  It's near my home town and this is the first chance I've had to go give it a run. I'm curious whether or not I'll see some old-time but not forgotten familiar faces.  Also excited to swim in a downriver venue but not excited to swim in my water skiing wetsuit.  The triathlon wetsuit got packed before I realized it and it was not to be easily found...that's the moving life.

Spudman course below, I don't know if I've ever seen a bike course so square.  I hope it really is fairly flat as I'm realizing how I'm not ready for hills in a big way.

So anyway, while today's ~20-mile ride was a good effort, I haven't forgotten that I'm racing soon and plan to start a focused taper after Wednesday.  I'll get a jog in tonight and a swim in the morning and then take it fairly easy with some easy running and cycling trips between Wed and Friday night when I rack the bike.

Visited Salt Lake Running Company (awesome running store, this was my first visit) yesterday and was able to pick up some tri-shorts (yep, mine all got packed with the movers) and some gels. Realized today I need to pick up another water bottle so I can have one with water on the bike and one with a sport drink. Recommendations?  I haven't been training with one so I'll probably fall back on the ol' Gatorade or Powerade to keep it simple. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Train On! In Search of Shin Splints

Our family has arrived at our new outdoor sports mecca home, Ogden, Utah. But let's keep that outdoor meccaness a secret, don't want to overflow the area. 

On the road I swam in the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (if you count white water rafting as swimming-best I could do this time on the road with the family), I've cycled in Burlington, South Dakota just east of the Badlands National park, and run in Casper, Wyoming.

Anyhow, I've done what I could while on the road, about 2400 miles from east to west. Yesterday I did my first cycling ride here in the new territory.  I started off optimistic, seceded to safety and lived to fight another day.

My other Suunto Ambit band broke, so I threw it in the bag on my bike, this morning I ran with it in my hand, in the gym I set it down and worked out w/ the heart rate monitor on...whatever. I need to upgrade but hard to justify the moola for the Garmin Fenix I want, will bite the bullet soon after I exhaust my extra Ambit bands on hand. 

Graph of my uphill run, ~600 ft ascent, love having hills near home!
Seven Days until Spudman!!  The Spudman will be my first tri this year and I didn't do any last year so I'm excited for an event! It sounds like my dad will accompany and watch all of us crazies so it will be fun to see his reaction and perspective.  I think my kids will sleep in that day.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trek West Post I

Triathlon training is already somewhat intensive, requiring two-a-days and access to bikes and pools (running shoes are easy).  This is all just fine when you're hunkered in at home with gym access but I'm beginning a multi-day trip west during which I MUST STILL TRAIN for a triathlon coming up in just 17 days.

The good: I get to exercise in new exciting places. Like Central Park in New York.  That was a great run!

The bad: it's harder than I thought it would be. Third day out and I haven't broken out the portable bike trainer. Plan to do it tonight but I'm working on some work that has to be done. Competing priorities are rough!  Finding pool access takes work...I was going to do it in Cincinnati as I'm sure availability is plentiful but chose to run instead. Solid choice as my running is sucking right now and the swim I have to do is downriver.

Pics and more thoughts to follow.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Difficulty, Obstacles, and Snowboarding. Only dreaming of Triathlons still.

My Son and I recently had a great trip to Snowbasin, Utah.  I hate to talk too much about it because it's a great mountain and great mountains shouldn't be over-run.  Had we shown up one week earlier or one week later I think we would have had some great powder days, but as it was we enjoyed two perfect bluebird days in spring skiing conditions.  Yep, even got a little suntan out of the trip.  

As my title denotes, I've been having quite a rough time getting any triathlon training in, just too much going on in life.  We're getting ready to move out west which requires a lot of paperwork at a 60 hour work week and painting the house, prepping the house for staging on the market, etc.  So it's busy at our house! 

While I'm only registered for one triathlon so far (the Spudman in Burley, Idaho!) I recently perused more local events and hope to sign up for one, maybe two events that will be in June.  I'm looking at the General Smallwood Olympic Distance triathlon at General Smallwood State Park and the Rock Hall Triathlon.  I've done them both and like the Rock Hall the most.  It's closest, there's a great pizza for post-race munchies, and a scenic bike ride.  The run is a loop through an historic neighborhood and I like to think General Washington had stomped through some of those same neighborhoods back in the day. 

I do prefer the Smallwood swim over the Rock Hall swim, I think it's just one loop in a larger area while the Rock Hall swim is two loops.  I've only done the Smallwood tri once, and the time I did it was raining at the start.  I think I was colder out of the water and wasn't anticipating it being so warm but was delightfully surprised.  And yep, I was in a wetsuit, it was legal that day.  There was tons of rain on the ground.  Coming out of the swim the rain had relaxed but a handful of folks regrettably kept their wetsuits on during the bike.  Poor souls that didn't know any better.  They were seen later with the suits halfway off while riding their bikes.  Would have loved to hear their thoughts at that point in time.  

View of the Sisters at Snowbasin

Father and Son at the Lodge
I was grateful for the time I got to spend with my son out in
this beautiful area.  Snowbasin is a great resort and is owned
by the same folks that run Sun Valley, one of my favorite places to board when I was a kid.  I'll be back for sure and will be curious to see what it's like in the summer (they purpose mountain biking trails, we'll see).  If you haven't guessed it by now we'll be moving to the area this summer.  I can't express how excited I am to be in the area-I simply love the chances I'll have to get back into the outdoor lifestyle that I love so much. This was just one weekend I had to enjoy with my son but I hope to have a lot more with him and my other boys.  Hopefully, they'll come to enjoy the outdoors as much as I do. 

DNF?!! No Way!

I'm all tatt'd up for the event! My simple set up at T1. Let me say I continue to love Xterra events and Ogden has got to b...