Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Time for some fun...

So now that I have my slots secured for the Xterra National and World Champs it's time to have some fun... and train my ass off. I have just been keeping things unstructured since I got home from Virginia. I have got in a couple runs and swims, and been riding quite a bit.

I did my first ever mountain bike race on Sunday and I am hooked. It was so much fun... and by fun I mean hard. I have never ridden a bike that hard for that long. It felt great to push myself on the bike. I will be defintely be doing more mountain bike racing over the next couple of months as I build towards my A races.

Here's a quick review of sunday's race in photos:

15.96 Mile
Avg HR: 181 bpm
Max HR:197 bpm
Total Ascent: 2143ft.
Prior to Nationals and Worlds there is only one triathlon that I will be focusing on. It's the Snow Valley Xterra on 8/5. Last year I was 2nd in my AG and 3rd Overall. I would really like to try and take the overall title... so that's my goal. Other than that I will probably do a couple of sprint tri's just as threshold/brick workouts and anything else that sounds fun.

Here's rough outline of the rest of my season... as of about 5 minutes ago. I am sure things will change.

7/15 - Rim Nordic #2 - MTB race
9/1 - 24 hours of Adrenalin - 24 hour mtb race (part of 3 man team)
9/15 - Aztec Invitational 5k - Dirt Dog XC series

That's it's. Hopefully I'll see some you out on the roads and trails... that's where I'll be.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Race Report - Xterra East Championships

ok... so here's the report.

I had one goal heading into this race and that was a top two finish to lock up a spot for Worlds. I got into Virginia Beach on Wednesday afternoon, spent Thursday relaxing at my parents house and then headed up to Richmond Friday morning to pre-ride the course.

Friday I met up with Trevor, Tom and Will to ride the course. The bike course is pretty techncal, and fun, so we just cruised and rode some of the more technical areas more than once. After the ride it was time to check into the hotel and relax. I got up Saturday morning and hit the bike course again with Trevor, and this time we were joined by Cody Waite. They took off and I just cruised and again focused on the technical areas of the course. After the ride we swam the course which would prove to be very beneficial as the current in the James River was considerably stronger than last year.

After the swim it was back to the hotel to relax with my parents and cousin and watch some of the College World Series. We headed out for dinner and hit up Baker's Crust. I scarfed and huge, grilled Turkey sandwich, pasta salad, and a side salad. I was stuffed and ready to go.

Here are some photos if the bike course from the pre-rides:

Short rocky climb:

You ride through these tunnels twice:

You have to hike your bike up these stairs twice and ride/hike down them once:

The Richmond locals have done a killer job on these trails. There are bunch of ramps and bridges throughout the course:

super fun single track:

Race Morning.

The race started at 10:30am so I was up about 6:45 with a hot cup of coffee and then my pre-race meal... my special oatmeal.. as usual. Another cup of coffee and water with NUUN and I was ready to head down to the race which was only a .25 mile ride from the hotel.

I got a good spot in transistion and just kept hydrating. The forecast was calling for 95 degrees and sunny and it was already very warm at 9am.

All set up and ready to go (#344):

The swim:

This was one of most challenging swims I have ever had in a race. It was a wave start with the pros going off first with my wave, men 35 and under, 2 minutes behind. It was a "no wetsuit" swim, which I was happy about and I was even more stoked to be wearing a Zoot speed suit.

my wave starting:

Finally spreading out:

The start was rough. I basically got my ass kicked for the first 200 meters, but then finally found some open water. The current to the first buoy wasn't too bad but a bunch of the group was drifting and I had to make a decision. Head away from the pack and straight to the buoy or stay with pack and probably swim a little further. I headed for the buoy and was right on.

Heading for the second buoy is where the current really started to get strong. People were drifting way off course. The swim course was pretty nuts with a bunch of turns and the strong current it made the swim tough. I finished in decent postion and was glad to be getting out of the water.

There was long run (1/4 mile ?) to T1 and I chose to go barefoot while a lot people were putting on shoes. Looking back I probaby should have thrown my mtb shoes on right out of the water as the path to T1 was pretty rough. T1 was OK, defintely not my fastest.

Swim time (+ T1): 21:55

The Bike:

I was so stoked to be heading out on the bike. I was really looking forward to racing this course. I quickly got with a pack and we were laying it down. I stayed with them through the initial single track but they kind of got a way when the guy in front me stacked it.

Heading out on the bike:

I worked my way into another pack with my friend Tom and we were moving. He's strong on the bike so I knew I was with a good pack and staying with them would be my plan. All was going well and were passing quite a few guys, and then as always I took a little spill. We were hauling through roller coaster section and as I came flying around a blind corner and I pretty much squared up on small tree and was sent flying over the bars. i jumped up, had to put my chain back on and I was off. No damage at all but I did lose the pack.

I was working hard to get back to them and then nthere was another mishap. There was a split in the course and the marker had fallen off the tree. I ended up taking the wrong way and lost atleast a couple of minutes. Once I realized I made the wrong turn I was bummed but just started hammering. I honestly thought my race was over at that point as I was starting to pass people that I had already passed earlier on. I was just over half way through the bike and was kind of discouraged.

I decided to just go for it and just see where I was after the bike. I killed it on the second half of the course. I was riding really well and passing people and dropping guys. My legs felt great. I got into T2 and had a quick look at the clock and realized I still may have chance, but honestly had no ided how far back I was.

working hard towards the end of the bike:

Bike time (+ T2): 1:22:33

The run:

I was mad as I was leaving T2 about going off course but my legs still felt great. Probably the best they ever have in a race. My cadence was quick and I was moving. I could see quite a few guys ahead of me and I started tracking them down one by one. I spotted my friend Tom about .25 mile ahead and my goal was to just catch him as soon as possible. Once I got up to him I told him about my wrong turn and he said he already knew and gave my some words of encouragement. Then I went for it. I had already passed quite a few guys and was now thinking I may still be able to run my way onto the podium.

I was still feeling very strong and kept my cadence high. I spotted a guy ahead of me and could see he was in my AG. I caught and passed him pretty quickly and then saw another guy in my AG just ahead. I again made sure to make a fast pass to try and make sure he didn't try to hang with me. He didn't.

I just kept going and couldn't believe how good I felt eventhough it was scorching hot and I pushed really hard on the bike. I finished the run with a good kick and felt great after crossing the line, but still didn't know exactly where I was in the race.

just about finished:

all done:

After crossing the line they got handed me my results card almost immediately and to say the least I was stoked... and relieved!
run time: 40:12

Time: 2:24:40
2nd AG
4th Amatuer/21st overall
I am defintely very happy with the results of the race and I can now relax a bit and just then just focus on Maui. The thing I am the most stoked about is how my riding is coming along. My bike split was exactly 10 minutes faster over the same course than last year, even with the wrong turn. I was also stoked about my run. I felt great off the bike and had the fastest amateur run split and 8th fastest overall. The hard work is paying off.

cooling off in the shower tent after crossing the line:

Enjoying a cold one with my parents in the beer tent after the race:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mission Accomplished.

2nd Place AG.
4th Amateur Overall.
full report later.
I am heading out to ride some of the sweet single track before I head back to Virginia Beach.

Friday, June 15, 2007

back in VA!

It's on!

It never fails. Everytime I come back to Virginia the weather is nuts. It was super nice when I got in to town on Wednesday afternoon, yesterday it was cloudy and drizzled, and Sunday is going to be out of control hot up in Richmond.

With a 10:30am start it will be damn hot!

If you have been reading this blog for a while and know I feel about the heat and you know I was absolutely stoked to see this forecast. I race the best when it's really hot and most of my competition seems to to do the opposite. Needless to say staying hydrated and keeping my electorlytes in check is going t obe key over the next couple of days. I am going to be living on NUUN.
Training this week is going as planned. I had a short killer bike Tuesday morning and I smashed my old PR's, both on the climb and descent, on the loop by my house. Wednesday was a rest as I made the transcontinental flight. Yesterday was a 50 min run with some short intervals. On the last two I was going sub 5:10/mile pace and felt really good. My workouts this week have giving me a lot of confidence and I can't wait to "do work" on Sunday.
In about an hour I will making the 100 mile drive up to Richmond to ride the course. I can't wait. The trail system in Richmond is killer. Riding it last year was super fun. I am even staying an extra day in Richmond to get in some riding... depending on how crushed I am from the race... and how many beers I have post race!

One last thing before I head out. I have to give props to the guys over at Conte's Bike shop in Virginia Beach. Yesterday when I put my bike back together I was having some problems with my rear break. They are located a couple of miles from my parents house so I gave them a call. I explained my situation and they were able to get me right in for race tune-up. When I got there I noticed the the were a big time Specialized dealer so I knew my bike was in good hands. 45 minutes later I was ready to roll. Good guys at that shop!

View from my room at my parents house... a lot of green:
Crack #1:
Crack #2:

Sunday, June 10, 2007

it's been a while... again...

I know it's been a while. Between work and training I have not had much free time.

Vegas was fun and was a well needed break after the big block I put in on the bike. We ended up staying in the Penthouse at New York New York. Good times. See photos below.

On the racing training side of things... I am ready for the Xterra East Championships next weekend in Richmond, Va.

This past week I have had some really good workouts. I put in a lot of time on the MTB including and epic ride with Tom at his Ranch in Pine Valley yesterday. We basically explored all the trails around his cabin and it was a killer time. We put in about 3:30, 28 miles, and 5100ft of climbing. Oh yeah and it was all at altitude. We started out at 4000ft and headed up from there. I think the lowest we got was 3000ft. After the ride his wife had and equally epic lunch waiting for us. I can't wait to get back out there again and I am hoping we are going to plan a HUGE weekend of riding out there some time soon.

Today is what really solidified that I am ready to "do work" next weekend. I planned a swim/bike/run workout today and it was just what I needed. I started of with 2000 yards in my work pool with about 1000 yards of race pace intervals. After that it was right onto the bike for MTB ride in PQ canyon with Ryan. We took it relatively easy and he showed me some super fun new single track. We got in 2 hours and 19 miles. Then it was a quick change and a hard 20 minute run off the bike at just below race pace. My avergae pace for the run was 6min/mile and I felt like I was just cruising. With the big ride I did yesterday I was expecting to be hurting a today but it was the opposite. If felt like I could hammer on the bike and I felt faster on the run than I have in a while. Good signs.

I leave on Wednesday morning for Virginia. I can't wait. Work has been stressful and I can't wait to see my parents.

Random photos from yesterdays ride and Vegas:

Fun double track descent:

gnarly rock face from the bottom:

a view from the top:

me at the peak:

I like steak, Gallagher's Steakhouse, NYNY - Las Vegas:

Sleeping on the way home from Vegas... beat down:

Sleeping on the way there:

view from the Penthouse - NYNY:

me and my brother after a couple of cold ones:

good times: