Wednesday, October 31, 2007

2007 Xterra World Champs: Race Report

I am back in San Diego and still kind of in shock about my race. For the first time it all came together. My goal was the podium for my AG and I just missed it... by 25 seconds. I am not in anyway disappointed. I had the race of my life and took 20 minutes off my time from last year.

I usually write a pretty detailed race report but I don't have one right now. Everything went so smoothly that it all seems like a blur. So here's a quick one with some photos.

Everything went perfect. Very relaxed and felt good. No stress.

The swim was kind of rough and we started way down the beach. I got roughed up a bit but it's pretty much what I expected. I felt great swimming without a wetsuit.

swim split: 25:40 (128th)

I was stoked to get out on the bike and was feeling good. I was immediately started catching and and riding past people a lot of which usually ride away from me. I just felt good and really pushed it from beginning to end. I had some sketchy situations descending but pretty much just worked hard on the climbs and let if fly on the descents. I still really can't believe how good I rode. It was definitely my best performance ever on the bike.

bike split: 1:44:43 (43rd)

I felt good coming off the bike and new I still needed to work hard to maintain my place or move up. The run in Maui is just brutal. There is really no other way to explain it. I passed quite a few people and kept it together until mid way through the the "spooky forest". I kind of blew up in there but luckily it didn't cause me any places.

run split: 48:40 (26th)

39th Overall
8th Amateur (2nd American)
4th AG (1st American)

The actual placings don't mean much to me right now. I feel like I finally raced up to my potential and that's the most important thing. I am so stoked to end the season like this.

I will post more about the race and trip later this week. Thanks to everybody that sent me emails, text messages, and called me both before and after the race. I really appreciate all the support.

Here's some photos:

Talking with Jeff Smith (National Champ 25-29 AG) post race. Dirty.

Talking with Tom after the race. Probably something along the lines of how much I need a beer.

Now it's time to relax.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

2007 Xterra World Champs: Tomorrow is the day...

Tomorrow is the day my whole season has been based around. Getting back to Maui for some redemption has what has kept me motivated all year long. I have trained my ass off and now it's time for the fun. I plan on blasting myself tomorrow, leaving it all on the course, and then celebrating a killer season with good friends and cold drinks.

You can follow along on the Xterra site.

The goal:

I'm #518.

Life is good in Maui.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Race Week Update #2: doing what I can...

I'm still here and so is my condo. After a stressful. crazy couple of days things are getting back to normal... kind of. I finally left downtown yesterday morning to skies filled with ash, but the mandatory evacuation for my neighborhood was lifted Tuesday morning. I decided to play it safe and give it another day. Everything was fine when I got home. Everything was covered in ash but the fire never got to close to my place. I was one of the lucky ones. There has been some damage that I can't even wrap my head around.

I am now back at Beth's in downtown San Diego and I am all packed and ready to go first thing tomorrow morning. Our flight leaves at 830am so we will be in Maui by noon. I can't wait. I have quite a few images and photos to share from the week so I will keep the writing to a minimum.

Training this week has been a challenge to say the least. Doing anything outside has been impossible. The air quality has been horrible all week and swimming, riding, running outside would do more bad than good. I know I have had a good build up to this race and I had to trust that. So everything I have done this week has been done indoors on the treadmill, trainer, and the indoor pool at the just opened 24 hours Fitness right by my house and just enough to stay sharp and ready to throwdown on Sunday.

The AQI (air quality index) this morning:

a chart explaining the severity:

Here's what I have done training-wise day by day (planned vs. actual):

Planned: Rest

Actual: Rest
I took the day off and just sat around with my feet up and did some stretching while being glued to the TV trying figure out what was going on with the fires.

Planned: AM - Swim - 2500 yards w/ race pace intervals
PM - Run (San Elijo Lagoon) - Race pace intervals 3-2-1-1-1-1-1 (minutes followed by equal recoveries). 40 minutes.

Actual: AM - Run (treadmill) - Race pace intervals 3-2-1-1-1-1-1. (minutes followed by equal recoveries). 40 minutes.
PM - Ride (trainer) - easy spinning, recovery watts. easy, easy.

I had been feeling really good in the pool over last weekend and was bummed I couldn't swim, but was very pleased with the run. I read about mega fast guys like Simon Whitfield and Hunter Kemper doing a lot of treadmill workouts and have been wanting to incorporate them into my training. After this workout I will definitely be hitting the treadmill for regular speed workouts next year. I loved the even pacing and controlled efforts. The recovery ride was just to spin out the legs and I followed that up with some good stretching.

spinning away in Beth's apartment:

Planned: - Ride (MTB) - short climbing intervals done at race pace with plenty of recover. 90 minutes total.

Actual: - Ride (trainer) - intervals done at race pace (threshold watts) with plenty of recover. 75 minutes total.

The trainer workout was solid. Having a Power Tap to gauge the effort is key. I could just lock in my cadence and wattage for duration of the interval. I also wore long sleeves to simulate the heat of Maui and sweated my arse off. I followed that up with some more good stretching.

Thursday (today):
Planned: AM swim - 2000 yards w/ race pace intervals

Actaul: AM swim - 2300 yards w/ race pace intervals

I was kind of torn last night as I was sitting on my computer looking at the air quality index. There was a chance it could be better in the morning and I really wanted to get in a swim. The YMCA is closed all week so my only option would be my work pool, which is outside. My plan was to get up early this morning check the AQI and make the call. As you can see from the chart above it was horrible. So I went to plan B. A brand new 24 hour fitness had just opened a couple of weeks ago a couple from miles from my house and they have a 3 lane pool. I have a lifetime membership (paid in full) to 24 hour but haven't been in over a year. So I headed and figured the pool would be packed because nobody could do anything outdoors. I was wrong. I had the pool to myself. Swam for 45 minutes and called it a day. On another note... the gym is killer. All the equipment is brand new, the pool is solid, and the locker room is huge. I will definitely be spending a quite a bit of time there over the winter to try and pack some lb's of muscle on my scrawny frame.

Well that's it for now. I just finished a killer dinner. Time to rest and relax. I will post again from Maui before the race. Here's some photos/images from the week:

This is right up the street from my house. The hill in the background is where I do a lot of my training both riding and running. Stolen from a news site.

The smoke-filled sky as I was leaving downtown Wednesday morning. I actually saw people out jogging and there the ash was falling like snow flurries. Not smart.

check all the smoke over the ocean. it's supposed to blow back onshore over the weekend.

cooking my post swim breakkie this morning:

the finished product: scrambled eggs with brown rice, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, roma tomato, shredded cheese, taptio hot sauce, & salsa. Fruit bowl on the side. word.

Beth coaching me through my trainer workout:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Race Week: We're on Fire!!

I was contemplating what I was going to write in this post last night as I sat around after a killer dinner thinking about how I totally ripped apart my weekend workouts. Seriously, my race-sim (bike/run) on Saturday was incredible. I was strong and fast and PR'd every climb on the bike and all my checkpoints on the run. My training plan and peak were right on the money.

Then I woke up this morning had a good breakfast and then when I headed out to my truck I was greeted by my neighbors informing me that we were under mandatory evacuation. Apparently the wild fires had spread like crazy overnight and it was moving in my direction with no let up in the foreseeable future. So i gathereed all my important documents, computers, some clothes, and I am now at my girlfirends apartment downtown.... nice and safe. I also got my road bike and my mtb is at B&L getting tuned for the race on Sunday. I am supposed to fly out on friday mornning so I hopefully I will be able to get back into my house before then but they said it could still get worse before it gets better... pretty nuts!!

So right now Worlds is the furthest thing from my mind. I am just hoping the fire doesn't reach my condo and all my friends and co-workers are safe.

Here's a couple of photos from I was leaving my house:

I'll keep everybody posted...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Peak phase update #3

Just over 9 days away... 9 days and 2 hours to be exact (at time of posting!)

I'm ready.

I am feeling good and really starting to look forward to race. I can't believe it's only 9 days away. I have seen some really good numbers in my workouts this week. It's amazing what going into and interval workout rested and ready to throwdown will do.

My race simulation/peak workout wednesday morning consisted of an off road ride with climbs at race pace/effort followed up by my "xterra" running loop. The workout was done in a light drizzle and by the end I was covered in mud. I won't go into the details and splits but I will let you know that I set PR's on the long mtb climbs and smashed my checkpoints on the run. I guess that's what is supposed to happen when you're in "peak" mode.

my bike after the ride:

Things have been looking good in the pool too. I have opted to skip masters the next couple of weeks and just spend the early mornings solo in the pool at work. I like it. It's dark. The lights are on a timer and they haven't adjusted them yet. So when I get in the pool at 615am the deck and in-pool lights have already automatically shut off. It makes me feel hardcore... haha. I also get to swim solo and have been getting in very race specific workouts. I love swimming masters and the workouts are killer, but they are definitely not built around my training plan. Spending and hour swimming at work doing exactly what I need to is the way to go. I have one workout in particular that I am really liking right now... I will share it later.

Saturday will be another race simulation/peak workout but a little shorter in duration as we get closer to the race, but I will still be cranking it up with some full blow race efforts mixed with plenty of rest and recovery.

well that's it for now. I gotta go ride. I'll check in after the weekend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good Racing, good beers, goodtimes,... and more good beer.

Things are busy for me right now. I just started the second week of my "peak" phase after having a killer weekend out in the Arizona desert. Let's re-cap.

riding in the desert:

I headed out early Friday morning, hit the pool for some yards, and then got on the road to Tempe. I got to Tom's office early in the afternoon to meet up with him and Trevor for a pre-ride of the course. We headed over in the 95+ degree heat and got in about an hour of riding on the course. It wasn't marked very well but we did out best. Tom raced the course last year so he got us through most of it.

After that is was back to Tom's for showers and then we got some chronic food to grill.

temp gauge in my truck.. before the ride:

We were up early for coffee and to get ready to head down to the race. It was an 8am race start and we were all using it for a training race for Worlds so we just took our time and cruised down to the race. The temps were in the mid 70's and perfect. I met up with Dan and Travis from Mafia Racing, hung out for a bit, and then got ready to race.

The Race (750 swim,10 mile mtb,3.5 mile trail/road run)

I had a good swim. It was wetsuit optional and since I am getting ready for Maui I decided to go without it. Good choice. i love racing without a wetsuit. I am actually faster without it and came out of the water just behind the leaders and ahead of a lot of people wearing wetsuits.

I had an Ok ride. There were some sketchy loose sections and just made sure I was riding smart and pushing where I could. On the second lap I ran into a lot of lap traffic and with all the single track and first timers it made for some hard passing. I definitely got caught behind some slow people and opted to just chill instead of taking chances and taking somebody out or crashing myself. Overall it was solid... I got passed by one guy and I kept the rubber side down!

I felt really good coming off the bike. I ran hard, passed the guy that passed me on the bike in the first mile and just kept up the pace. There was really no one else to catch. I was sitting in 4th overall and just pushed on to the finish.

heading for the line:

2nd AG
4th Overall

post race refreshments:

Overall podium:

The race was a good time. We followed it up with cold pbr's courtesy of the mafia crew. After helping breakdown the race site and drinking more beers we headed across Tempe Town Lake for the Tour de Fat. yep... more beers.

me and trevor taking in some of New Belgiums finest:

I was contemplating just getting up and getting on the road, but I am glad I didn't. Tom, Trevor, and I met Brian out at McDowell Mountain park for some super fun desert single track. It was killer. We rode for a couple of hours and then headed back to Tom's and I showered split with the quickness.

some of the fun mcdowell has to offer:

This week:
I am back in full-on peaking mode so it's a mix of intense, race pace efforts and a lot of rest. I am feeling good.

I am now riding/racing for Mafia Racing. Check them out. It's a killer race team that I am stoked to be on.

Here's a bunch more photos from the weekend....

me, trevor, tom:

more fun:

even more fun:

follow me for goodtimes:

post race lunch with the boys:

bikes were every where at the Tour de Fat:

I need one of these:

oh thank heaves... fueling the long drive home:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Peak Phase: update #1

Saturday was my first peak workout and I had another this morning. These workouts have full blown race pace intervals mixed with some recovery. These workouts are tough as I am really trying to simulate the intensity I will be throwing down come race day.

In total I will have 6 of these workouts before Maui and each one will be a brick. The only thing that will change is the duration of the bike and run. As I get closer to race day (10/28) the efforts will stay really intense but the duration will be on the decline.

All the workouts will be done on the same course and will be paying close attention to my splits and hopefully seeing the times come down as I get closer to my "peak".

They only exception will be this weekend. I will substituting one of my peak workouts with a race... and a killer one. I will be racing the PBR Off Road Triathlon in Tempe, AZ on Saturday. Yeah.. that's right... a triathlon sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. There is now way I could pass this up. Another reason for me going out there is I am going to start racing for Mafia Racing and they are putting on the race.

The course is relatively short compared to an Xterra off road tri, but the short distances is what I think will make it a good workout right now. I can go hard and it won't take too long to recover from. It's also a mass start, it should be in the mid 80's, and hopefully it will be a non-wetsuit swim. This will all make it good prep for Worlds.

750 swim - one loop in tempe town lake
10 mile bike - 2 laps in Papago Park
3 mile run - 1 lap

There is also a post race party sponsored by PBR.... good times!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Game on.

It's on. I have now entered the "peak" phase of my training and even though it has been a long season I have plenty of motivation going into these final weeks. My key workouts now will be race simulation bricks with varying intervals at race pace and also focusing on fueling as I would in the race. I really like these workouts because I love dialing up the intensity.

Recovery from these workouts is going to be as important as the workouts themselves. So I will definitely be very conscious of how my body is feeling and will make sure I am doing everything right to going into my peak workouts ready to go all out.

This weekend was solid. I had a good brick on Saturday. It was a tough MTB ride with over 4000ft of climbing and then a run off the bike in which I felt incredible. I really nailed my nutrition in this workout. Sunday it as a nice long run in San Elijo lagoon and a nice easy spin along the coast in the afternoon.

That's it. Here are some more photos from Tahoe: