Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 ITU World Cross Triathlon Pictures

Monday, May 14, 2012

Final Prep for World Cross Triathlon Championships

A quick update on my Father.....After 11 days they finally were able to remove the breathing tube from him.  He remained in ICU for another couple of days fighting an infection before being moved to rehab which is the final step before he comes home.   How you get an infection in a hospital?  Apparently this is common.  That is why I do not like hospitals.  They make you sick :-). 

The big week has arrived.  This weekend we will be heading to Alabama for the 2012 ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships.  I really wish this event was later in the summer.  Form is no where near to what it needs to be. Training as been limited and I am still about 10 lbs short of my racing weight.  My goals for this weekend are just to try my best and have fun.  If I get top 10 in my age-group I would be very, very happy.   Top 15 is what I expect given my current form and level of competition - it is the World championships.

What is a cross triathlon?  No it is not a triathlon using a cross bike (that would be cool if it was).  Those Europeans call off-road triathlons Cross Triathlons instead of the licensed Xterra brand which has become synonymous with off-road triathlon here in the USA.

I got in my Team USA uniform while I was down in Florida.  I never like to race in something new.  This has not always been the case however.  I used to bring out new jerseys for big motocross races as I felt it was good luck.  Seemed to work really well for me as I seems to always bring my "A" game to big races and great results.  That or crash my brains out.   Anyways, I did my final test workout up at Smithville wearing the kit. Several people in the parking lot did double takes while I rode by.  They looked  at me like "who the hell is this guy"?    I guess I would look the same way if I someone was out training in a essentially a swimming suit.

I mentioned a testing working above.  When I am training seriously, which is not much anymore, I usually do aerobic (sub-max) test workouts to see how my fitness is improving.  I do these monthly test for running and cycling. The test is done at my aerobic (L2) heart of 150 bpm for a set distance.  The course is one complete lap at Smithville (basically the old BB36 course).  This is about 10.5 miles.  Although some may feel performing this test off-road my lead to pour results, I believe it is more of a real world test of your aerobic fitness level.  An added benefit is I can also test equipment.  For example, which is more efficient a 26er or 29er?   In theory I would be able to turn a faster time at a given heart rate on the most efficient bike.  Yes I know that course conditions and things such as weather and other trail users will impact any test.  I performed the test on "fresh" legs and similar course conditions for each monthly test.  Luckily I was able to get most of my test on clean trail and only had to stop once to help a fellow rider after she crashed.       

Below are the results   As you can see my form has steadily improved over the last four months.  At the same hear rate (effort) I got steadily faster.  Part of this was due to a decrease in weight, but I would like to think I am getting in better form as the season progresses.  O.K. so which bike am I bringing to Pelham?  Which is more efficient?   Efficiency to me is the name of the game, especially in a multi-sport event such as triathlon.  I want to be able to ride within my self at the fastest pace possible and still have the energy to run fast. 

2011 Giant Anthem X w/10spd XT, Fox Fork, Nevagal UST and Ritchey Shield Tires @ 28 psi.
2008 Turner F/S 29er w/9spd XTR, Manitou fork, Nevagal Tires, Ritchey Shield & Crossmark (ust)  @ 25 psi.

  • February on Turner (Ritchey Shield): 1:02:56
  • February on Giant (Ritchey Shield): 1:02:23
  • March on Turner (Kenda Nevagal): 1:01:43
  • March on Giant (Kenda Nevagal): 1:01:30
  • April on Turner (Maxxis Crossmark): 1:00:21
  • April on Giant (Kenda Nevagal): 1:00:03
  • May on Turner (Maxxis Crossmark): 58:30
  • May on Giant (Kenda Nevagal): 58:49 (stopped to help fallen rider)
What did I learn?  I learned that it is mostly the rider and not the bike that matters.  I did carry more speed on the flat sections on the 29er, but made up time on the 26er on the tight sections.  I was able to go around corners faster and with more control on the 26er.  I contribute some of this to the UST tires. I felt faster accelerating out of corners on the 26er.   I was able to navigate the rocky sections slightly better on the 29er.   It comes down to what am I more comfortable on?  The answer is the Giant 26er. On runs after each test I had better running times on the 26er.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bad Genes, Golf Balls & Old Blades

 How quickly things can change.  Just last week I was making final plans for a solid training month leading up to my big event of the year.  Fast forward a week and I am down in Florida visiting my Father in the hospital.  My Father Al had  Quintuple bypass surgery last Friday.   He is not doing so well and is currently in an induced comma in ICU.  Like many, I hate hospitals.  I have spent far too many days in them and have a real dislike.  My Uncle Wallace, Al's little brother, came with me several times to keep me company.  While we were there we discussed all the family members who have passed away.  Most from accidents, but many from heart disease.  It appears I have some very bad genetics with many having heart problems.  At one time in my life I wanted to live until I reached 100 years old.  But with this recent discovery I might have to reduce that to 75 or so. 

I have been working hard this week helping my Mom and working remotely at my normal job. Needless to say I have been very stressed, worried and tired.  Normally I like to exercise when I get really stressed as it helps me cope.  Saturday was not as busy at my parents business so after the mail ran and we got the deposit together I head off to the beach.  I really needed an open water swim and what better body of water to do that in than the ocean.  Conditions were very good today at South Beach Park.  Temps around 85 and very little wind which meant good swimming conditions.  The goal today was to just relax and find some peace out in the ocean.  As I entered the water I noticed a swimmer approaching swimming about 75 yards off shore.  I decided to swim out and follow him to practice drafting some. All was well until he headed toward shore then I was all alone. I continued swimming North towards Spanish River Park.  As I continued along I started to see golf balls on the ocean floor.  Or at least I thought they were which would make perfect sense because I was swimming past the Red Reef Executive Golf Course along A1A.   I decided to take a break from swimming and tried to dive down to retrieve one.  The depth I was swimming at was just too deep for me to reach them so I continued on trying to maintain a good swim stroke/position and find that "Inner Peace" that I was searching for.  As I did I remember this little story about Golf Balls and Life which helped me some.  I started to get a little sick from waves and my shoulder was starting to hurt from the constant swimming.  I turned to shore and was happy with the distance I had covered - nearly reaching Spanish River. 

With no bike to ride my next best option for a leg workout was to buckle up a set of rollerblades.  It has been a long, long time since I rollerbladed.  I must have looked like a real "Queen" trying to rollerblade along A1A shirtless with old blades and a set of poles.  My balance was off.  I do not know if it was from using the poles or what but I definitely revered to Newbie status.  After several miles I finally settled in and started to glide well.  This brought back a lot of fond memories of spending time rollerblading with this sweet little blond girl from Pennsylvania that I had met about 20 years ago.  I remember blowing my entire paycheck on a new set of Rollerblades for her.  We were both hooked and loved rolling along with not a worry in the world.  One day we ventured out and bladed all the way from her house to Deerfield Beach (well over 20 miles), had lunch and enjoyed an adventure all the way back home.  That was a great day.  My little ride today almost ended badly for me.  As I was working my way back to the car I took a side road which had some damn speed bumps.  I guess I was still dreaming and thought I could Rollerblade like I used to 20 years ago.  I tried to jump the speed bump and lost my balance big time.  Luckily I had the polls and used them to act as a tripod skidding along.  As you can see by the picture above, I wore right through the rubber ends trying keep from falling.  I do not know how I did it, but I saved it.  I may not be able to walk straight tomorrow, but I saved it.