Monday, June 29, 2009

Rim Nordic #1 Race Report

First of all I can't thank all the people that left me comments and sent me emails regarding my last post. I got a bunch of great information and a lot of positive feedback. I know I made the right decision to get that stuff out there and I'll definitely share my progress. Thanks again.

So the weekend was a good one. Saturday I was up and met Danielle from Nutzzo (mine and Beth's newest sponsor... more later on this) to pick up the best nut butter (race fuel!) out there I headed home and hit the road with beth. when i woke up my legs felt like junk but as soon as I hit the road they came alive. beth just cruised with me for bit doing her pre-race spin and then I headed out for more miles on my own.

I am still in the middle of a pretty hard training block so I really wasn't in rest/race mode on saturday and the plan was to just train through Sunday's race. So I got in a couple of hours with some good efforts. I really didn't want to head home. my legs felt great and the weather was perfect.

the rest of the afternoon was spent down at the expo for the San Diego International Triathlon to get beth all checked in and ready to go. I was stoked because I got to hang out with Shawn from Avia and his mega fast wife Tracy for a bit and also my homeboys from Breakaway. When we got home Tom showed and then it was off to El Caribe... and encinitas ice cream & frozen yogurt for a solid pre-race meal.

sunday morning we were all up at 430am. beth to head town to harbor island for the SDIT and Tom and I headed up to the mountains. Tom and I showed up got registered and then headed out for a lap of the course. riding an 8.25 mile lap with a lot of climbing hours before the race may not seem (or be) the best strategy, but the course is pretty technical and we wanted to know what we were getting ourselves into. we took it really easy and the course was fun.

tom took off with the other pros at 1130 and my wave started started at 1138. i knew the race was going to be tough because I was lined up with some really fast dudes including Matt, Justin, Marcos from show-air, Humberto from Jenson USA, and my mega fast Celo Pacific teammate Griffith along with some other guys that were ready to drop the hammer.

the start was pretty fast and i was able to hang on. once we hit the single track the climbing started and it got tough. i got trapped a bit behind some slower climbers. i hit the fireroad climb and hammered and got away and moved into 5th and then to 4th. the top 3 guys (justin, griffith, and matt) were up the road. at the turn around at lap two I saw that justin was leading followed closely by Griffith and Matt. I hammerd to get on matt's wheel as we started the steepest, hardest climbs of the course. griffith, matt, and i worked the climb together and then I went around matt and began to pull away with griffith.

working hard with the boys...

once we got back to the fireroad i went for it again and worked really, really hard. i glanced down at my garmin on the bars and my heart rate was about 195 for about 5 mins. I got away from griffith for a bit and caught justin to move into first... but it didn't last too long. griffith caught me on the descent and was able to get pretty good gap on me.

The third and final lap was really hard... the climbing is tough and it was really hot. i was able to hang for 2nd place behind my teammate Griffith so we definitely scored some good points for Celo Pacific. I am really happy with my race and finally feel like i can hang with these fast dudes. i know i still have a lot of work to do to race to my potential but it's good to be able to see and feel and the progress i have made so far this year.

The race.
24.72 miles
5,000+ ft of climbing
avg HR: 182 bpm
max HR: 199 bpm (gotta love it!)

post race. that's not a mustache... it's dirt.

tom's race didn't go to well as he wasn't feeling good. he actually threw up a couple of times during the race, and much more after the race. unfortunately we couldn't stay for the awards because we was not feeling well, but he came around later on and was feeling much better. i am stoked he came out to race... always a good time!

Beth had a killer race too. she was the first female amateur at the San Diego International Trialthlon, winnig her AG and finishing 5th overall taking down some the elite/pro women! after not really running for 8 weeks it looks like she still has it in her! hopefully she'll carry this momentum into the Vineman 70.3. i am really looking forward to watching her race up there (an hitting the Bear Republic Brew Pub!).

we celebrated sunday night with a big meal at Rimel's and some ice cold Yellowtale Pale Ale.

That's it... another good weekend for the team.

Friday, June 26, 2009

race weekend, coming clean, and making changes...

this weekend is full of racing for us. on sunday i will be heading up to running springs for the first race in the Rim Nordic series and Beth will be racing the San Diego International Triathlon. I just found out my homeboy Tom is coming in town for the race too. So stoked.

I really wish i could be there to watch beth race but for some reason it always seems events fall on the same days... it sucks, but it's something you have to get used to when decided to spend the rest of your life with a fast/competitive chick.

hopefully we'll both have some good race reports to post next week.... now for some real news.

a lot of changes...

I contemplated a lot about this post and if i should really put this out there... but obviously, since you are reading this, i decided to charge it. this blog was started when i started training and racing and has all my good and bad moments thus far... and in my opinion this is one of my worst. i think this will be a very pivotal moment for me in my athletic pursuits as well as my overall health and well being, which is WAY more important. I am by no means perfect when it comes to my training. i have learned a lot through trial and error and this will definitely serve as another learning experience.

First of all... i have had a really fun last month of training and racing with my new training plan under Trevor's watchful eye. he has me feeling great... and working my ass off!

the month before (end of april/beginning of may) was kind of nuts. the week after the Malibu Canyon 14 mile trail race where I had the "mysterious" quad cramp issue I had a physical exam. the exam was scheduled a month prior (i get one every year) and had nothing to do with what went down in the the race. let's just say that results from my labs (blood work) weren't awesome... and I kind of had a feeling they wouldn't be. i won't go into the exact details (at least not right now) but the test results were pretty well in line with what happens to a lot of endurance athlete's when they push their bodies too far and aren't eating enough. i even had to get an MRI of my brain... luckily no brain tumors! it was/is still some pretty gnarly stuff and I am taking it very seriously.

not mine. just a cool image.

what happened?

i really noticed a shift in the way i was feeling the week after the race at sea otter. the race kicked my ass and I had already put in a huge week of riding... as well as many hard weeks of riding and running in the months leading up to the race. i couldn't shake the fatigue post race and recovery from workouts took a lot longer... but i didn't stop training or even cut back. i also started dropping weight without trying. for most of the year i was around 134-136 and then I plummeted to an all-time low of 129. i just figured i would come around like i always have in the past. my original plan was to peak for the Idyllwild Spring Challenge and the Malibu trail race but with the way i was feeling i bagged that idea and just kept training through them. I had an OK race at idyllwild and Malibu was horrible!

I continued to train a lot and try to find some balance between running and riding. I never found it. I was running as much as a lot of people who train just for running and riding with the same mindset... like i was just riding. i gave no consideration to how much each of the sports was affecting the other, and really didn't care. with no A races, and no real focus i just trained A LOT (too much) and gave very little thought to recovery and just kept logging a lot of miles. i also still have/had the triathlete mindset and felt like i had to get in at least two workouts in everyday. the problem now was that one of the workouts wasn't a swim, which would have given my legs and body a bit of break. So I was just running and riding almost everyday. stupid.

the training is one part of the equation. the other is my diet. the bottom line is that i wasn't eating nearly enough and probably haven't been in quite a while. for the last couple of years everybody tells me that i'm to skinny but i never really gave it much thought... until now. i just wasn't eating enough to fuel my training or recover from the training i was doing. most people know i love food and eating healthy but it's probably too healthy and just not enough overall calories. the result was that i had dug myself into a pretty big hole.

i think one of the reason this happened is that one of my best qualities in racing is my ability/willingness to suffer. when it hurts is when i love it and dig even deeper. unfortunately having to dig this deep in training all the time due to lack of energy/fuel and too much training had a negative impact on my body. when i was fatigued and low on energy i would just "dig deeper" and get through the workout which in turn just broke me down even more. not very smart.

i really needed to get things back on track and get my body back to a good place. so i decided to just focus on one sport and really work hard at it without digging myself any deeper in the hole. when i came down to it I decided to focus on the bike because it's what i am really enjoying more than anything right now, will have the greatest benefit when i return to the xterra scene next year, and just plain and simple it doesn't beat your body up like running does. I just couldn't fathom training for a 3 hour running race (pike's peak ascent) in the state i was in. I was struggling through 90 minute runs and not enjoying them at all.

i think this residual fatigue goes all the way back to last year before worlds. I was over it and tired but i got through it... again with trevor's help. I also had some "bad" blood work back in the fall of '07 before Xterra Nationals and Worlds. It's time to take this stuff seriously.

so for the past month i have been following the cycling focused plan trevor has me on precisely. Resting when he says i should rest, going easy when told, and also nailing some hard workouts... actually taking days off! The balance has been great and I have put together some solid races and training sessions. I have also been ramping up my calories and adding in some foods (bread, rice, more potatoes) had not been eating a lot of in the past while following a pretty Primal diet. I have been feeling much better but still have a long way to go before I am back where I need and want to be... I'll get there. so this will be an ongoing experiment and i can already see/feel some differences after just a month.

with the total change in training focus my race schedule has also seen some drastic changes.... i'll post that next week. lets just say it's going to be a fun... don't worry, there will still be some running races in there.

sorry for getting all serious but i think it was a story worth telling and huge lesson learned on my part! I don't want to forget this and know i can turn in into something positive. i can't wait to see what i can do with a healthy body.

random photo from Sea otter.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a lot of riding... that's all

a huge weekend of riding (for me) and not much else... I am loving just focusing one one sport right now. it makes for a lot of quality work that isn't compromised by the needed recovery of additional workouts.

Monday-Thursday were focused on recovery and ended up being good timing as I was also battling an impending cold... i am pretty sure i won. the only day I really felt like crap was tuesday mid morning to wednesday morning. by thursday morning i was feeling good again. i still have kind of scratchy throat and feel like i am losing my voice but the body feels good.

as i mentioned before I took friday off of work to take jaakko out to palomar before he headed back to finland early this morning. beth came out too and we conned a couple more people into joining us. the rest of the crew was made up of katya and paul... and unfortunately we were a bit late and missed matt who ended up charging solo.

the plan was to ride from kit carson park, up to lake wohlford, then climb palomar, descend palomar, climb cole grade, and then head back to the park. i had pretty good legs after taking it easy all week and put in a solid effort up wohlford with jaakko leading me. i just hung on and stayed on his wheel. we regrouped at the top and then headed for palomar.

I was hoping to use jaakko as my rabbit climbing up palomar in attempt to beat my time and watts from last go, but a couple of miles into the climb his back began to lock up and so i was forced to charge it solo. the weather was perfect... for me. it was 80 degrees and sunny. I ended up making it to the summit in the exact time as I did a month ago almost the exact same normal and avg power. I am happy this time because it was pretty much a solo effort. last time i was with a group I had people to chase and it's hard for me maintain absolute focus for over an hour on the climb.

I waited at the top and troops started to roll in... except for beth. i got a bit worried and headed back down to find her. i won't go into the details but she had an epic blow up... check her blog for the details!

we descended palomar and then hit cole grade and i was still feeling good so I pushed again. i was stoked to be done with the ride and back to the park with 4.5 hours of riding in the bank.

the ride.

Saturday ryan and keevin came down and we hit the Celo Pacific ride after getting in hour in before hand. There was solid group and I really didn't know to expect. We rolled out of carlsbad and then on to camp pendleton and once we crested the first hill and regrouped it was hammer time. i was sitting about 5th wheel when a bunch of guys went flying by. I tried to latch on and after a 600+ watt effort i was back with the group and moving forward. I decided i was going to get in the mix and worked hard the entire northbound trip and took a lot of pulls and sat in the front. it was tough and fun. It was more of the same heading back south except this time we got to ride in the rain. gotta love this extreme june gloom.

this is the the group ride and cool down... a lot of spikes.

at the end of the ride ryan, keevin, and I tacked on another hour to give us just over 4 hours and 75 miles on the day. solid. after cramming some food in out mouths and cleaning up ryan headed over to Green Flash for a couple of beers to celebrate the solid effort. it was fun until a bus full of meat heads showed up and started getting rowdy... so we headed out.

Sunday I had 3 hour endurance moutain bike ride on the schedule. After 3 cups of coffee and a solid breakkie i was out the door. I decided to hit the local trails solo so if I was over it or really feeling beat down I could bag it and head home. that didn't end up being the case. i got in a solid ride with a lot of climbing. i didn't nail it on any of of the climbs but just kept in control and pushed some big gears.

now it's monday and the work has definitely caught up with me. my legs were trashed when i got up this morning... a good feeling! so it was a good thing today was a scheduled rest/recovery day because i needed it. I got a lot of work done, got in a fun surf, and got spend plenty of time with FW. tomorrow morning i will be hitting up the swami's ride before work... and that's just the start of a hard week that will end with Race #1 of the Rim Nordic Summer series. I'll be heading up there with the Celo Pacific crew.

Monday, June 15, 2009

bad baseball, rad riding...

a weekend of ups and downs!

saturday morning i was up early (4am) to head out to temecula for the first race in the Racer's and Chaser's summer shootout. the race was supposed to start at 730am to "beat the heat" but it was a cool, misty morning. i got in a longer than normal warm-up (1:10) because the start got delayed which was fine by me because i needed a little longer to get going and get into "race" mode that early.

before the race i met up with some of my new teammates from Celo Pacific. good people and i am really looking forward to racing with them over the summer... more on that later.

annette, mark, me, and grifith (won my category... mega fast!).

the race. 4 6.5 mile laps with 800+ ft of climbing per lap.

they started all the cat 1's and pros together so there were probably 20 of us and i actually had a good start and just sat in for the first 1/4 mile of fire road... and then i blew it. i was kind of trapped in the pack and couldn't get around before we hit a short section of single track and that's when the faster guys made a move. once out of the single track and back on another fire road i tried to bridge to the front group but they were gone. i missed the bus!

I continued to ride hard and caught some guys on the first lap and was caught by a guy from Team Cytomax... and then we battled all the way through the first 3 laps. so the riding wasn't easy, no time to relax. i couldn't get away from him until the end of the the 3rd lap and as i started the last lap i put in a solid 5+ min effort and was able to get away for good and hold on for 4th place in Cat1 30-39 and just in the top 10 overall. good day.

race: 1:54, 25.5 miles 3420 ft of climbing

leather is better. killer re-usable number plates. go green!

Saturday afternoon beth and i headed to huntington to Ryan's crib for a pre-game bbq. i brought a fresh growler of green flash hop head red and ryan made some killer tacos... perfect after a tough morning of racing! as for the padres vs. angels game... what an embarassment! the pads played like crapped all weekend and as much as it pains me to admit... the halos dominated them... BIG TIME. even though the result wasn't good the game was super fun... even if it did feel like i was at disneyland.

ryan loves his rally monkey!

as for sunday... I had 4 hours on the road on the schedule but had no plans. i knew we would be back late from the game and wasn't sure how i would feel after racing. beth and some sick ride plans and was meeting a group in El Cajon to ride the great western loop... twice, once in each direction. i woke up sunday morning feeling good and beth talked me into to joining her and was stoked I did. we had a solid crew and charged the first 40+ mile loop just after 8am and it was pretty cool and overcast... but the climbing right off the bat warmed things up.

couter clockwise great western loop:

we finished the first counter clockwise loop in exactly 2.5 hours and were back at our cars refilling bottles, grabbing food, and the ladies hit starbucks for esspresso. we headed out on the second loop and it was getting really warm and sunny. we hit the climb and i felt great and was able to put in solid effort. we ended up finishing the second at just about 2:30 as well... and i was shelled... but very stoked with how i rode and also how beth did... she killed it!

clockwise loop

totals for the ride:

time: 5:00:39
distance: 84 miles
elevation: 8000ft of climbing... i think.
normal power: 200 watts
kj's: 3008

the next 4 days are all about recovering from the last couple weeks of nailing it. then it's back at it on Friday. I took friday off of work and am taking Jaakko out to palomar for climbing. i am fully expecting him to rip my legs off!

Friday, June 12, 2009

another weekend, another race...

Photo from Sunday's Race - stolen from Ryan's blog. loving the YETI!

just a quick post...

training has been going really well this week and the for the last couple of weeks as well. i am pretty much just focusing on cycling/mtb right now for a couple of reasons. i have another post in the works as to why I HAD to this and what my race schedule will look like for the rest of the year. definitely some fun things lined up.

trevor's plan for me is definitely challenging me but also structured so I am able to recover from my harder sessions and get ready to lay it down again... and again. i hit the swami's tuesday morning ride again and it's the best i have rode yet. i had a blast and am starting to get comfortable. i was even taking pulls and leading some of the climbs. the guys on the ride have been really cool too... i can't wait to get out there again. it's likely a weekly race.

i also got in solid hill repeat workout thursday morning. 5 x 10-12 min @ 50-60 RPM. Full on strength session and the kind that makes me grateful to have a power meter. it makes it really easy to make sure i am going hard enough... and not too hard. Jaakko joined for this one and he was dropping the hammer. that kid is going to do some big things. he's only 22 and well on his way! we finished off the session with a climb up Double Peak Rd.

jaakko at the top of double peak road. loving california!

tomorrow morning i will be heading out to temecula to the race the first race in the Racers and Chasers Summer Shoot out series. I will be racing all 4 races with a goal to win the series. i am really excited for a summer filled with mtb racing!

what i am more excited for though is heading up to the OC on saturday afternoon to watch the Angels and Padres square off. We'll be heading up early to BBQ and knock back some good beers with Ryan and Sarah before the game and then it's on! Ryan's favorite team in the Angels and obviously i am a diehard Padres fan. we've been talking crap back and forth all season about this series... so this is huge. we also got lucky with a killer pitching match up. Jake Peavy for the pads and Joe Saunders for the halos. My call is for Peavy to dominate! I am sure after a couple of beers me and ryan will have plenty to say to each other regarding the game... I am sure Beth and Sarah will be stoked! it's going to be a fun weekend for sure.... as always!

Monday, June 08, 2009

2009 Santa Barbara Bike Fest (perfect weekend!)

ok... this post could have the most photos in a single post and they kind of tell the story of the weekend. so i will try to keep the writing short... if possible.

saturday morning beth and i hit the road for huntington beach to meet up with ryan and sarah before heading to santa barbara. it was pretty uneventful trip and we were all suited up for a pre-ride at ellings park by 130pm.

the course was tough and relentless. it was a 5.5 mile loop with 800+ ft of climbing per lap. there were some pretty technical descents and plenty of steep climbs. i was kind of nervous with beth and sarah out there riding with us but they charged it. they rode 2 laps with me and ryan and did a great job. ryan and i headed for one more lap and pushed the pace a bit. i was feeling pretty good, even after a big week of training.

after riding we headed for our hotel which was probably the bad part of the weekend. it was UCSB's graduation weekend so all the hotels in the area were booked, had two night minimums, or were WAY over priced. even the holiday inn express was $300+ a night. so we snagged some rooms at the fiesta inn. total dump. read the reviews on yelp. enough said about that.

we had a solid pre-race meal at a killer place off state st. called Silver Greens. perfect healthy meal before a race.

sunday morning in SB.

we were up pretty early sunday morning and had full day of racing on tap. beth and sarah raced at 9am, ryan at 11am, and me at 130pm. we hit a killer local market for some breakkie and coffee and the were on the road.

Ryan and I helped Beth and Sarah get ready for their race and then they headed off to warm up.

ready to do work.

soon enough it was time for both of them to roll up to the start line of their first mountain bike race. ryan and I were like proud, nervous parents as we watched them go to the front on the opening climb. the we cruised over and watched them both nail the final technical, switchback descent. they were killing it. i was so stoked when i saw beth blowing some by some dudes that started before near the end of the lap!

Beth... she loves it!

Beth totally impressed me and won her AG and finished as the second woman overall in the beginner class... and on a tough ass course. Sarah dominated too coming third in the AG group.

Beth finishing strong... and holding of a guy who was trying desperately not to get chicked. he did!

Owning the podium! I made them raise their arms.

my champ.

then it was time for ryan's race and he killed it too. after some bottle mix ups he held on for 2nd in the Cat 2 25-29 division.


then it was time for me and the rest of the Cat 1 and Pros to race. it was kind of weird starting so late in the day (130pm). I suited up and did 3/4 of a lap as a warm up and was feeling pretty good.

ready to go.

the field for my category (Cat 1 30-34) was pretty small in comparison to the others but they were all fast and guys that I have been battling with (and for most part getting my butt kicked by) all season. even though we are all pretty competitive with each other after the gun goes of it's always mellow and camaraderie before and after the races is awesome. that is why i fell in love with xterra racing and then this year the mountain bike race scene. the guy that really epitomizes this is Matt Perry. The dude is fast and has been kicking my ass all over southern california this year. he won counting coup, the idyllwild spring challenge, and it seems that i only see him at the start line in the US Cup series and then he's gone. he's having a great year and I am stoked for him but more stoked to see how good of a guy he is. he races hard, pushes himself to his limits, and is always smiling after the races.... just a good dude.

so for the race... i lined up next to matt and waited for the others to join us. this was matt's home course so I knew he was the man to "try" to hang with. all season i have been struggling with my starts and i was hoping to have a better one on sunday. didn't happen. i was off the back in the first 100 yards but then worked my way back into 4th through the first climb before we hit the the technical, single track descent.

i rode really well on the fast descent but lost my bottle. my nutrition plan for the race was to start with a bottle of calories and kill it during the first 2 laps (sub 30 min laps) and then beth was going to hand be another bottle of the electolyte drink at the start of lap 3 and i was going to take the gel i had in my jersey. so i knew no one would be waiting to give me a bottle at the end of lap 1. by the last major descent of lap 1 i had worked myself momentarily into 2nd place and then headed for more single track. luckily beth was sitting right there. i yelled to her that i needed a bottle! she was on it and bolted back to the truck to get my bottle. by the time i got to the start/finish/feed zone she was waiting with my bottle. i was stoked.

at this point i was back in third but made a move ride after the feed zone to go back into 2nd before we hit the single track climb... and dropped the hammer! I got a solid gap and caught up to Matt who was leading the race. As soon as we hit the fireroad climb i made another move and got a way. I hit the technical single track descent for the second time and this time i was leading my race so I went for it and nailed it! some of the best riding i have done in a race.

heading out on the final lap.

now i was riding scared. i knew it was matt's home course and the other guys were all fast so I just didn't let up. i passed through the feedzone again a got another bottle from beth and a gel from ryan so my nutrition was back on track. i just kept pushing myself to go harder and faster and my lead kept growing. I felt like was getting stronger with each progressing lap. I was able to hold on for the win and couldn't believe how good i felt.

me, marcos in 2nd. and matt in 3rd.

it was hands down the best MTB race i have been able to put together and couldn't be happier with it! All riding and Trevor's coaching is working!

the race.
1:47 (bout 4 mins up from second place)
21.66 miles (4 laps)
3959 ft of climbing

after the race we hung out for the awards, and a couple of firestone drafts (they sponsored the event, gotta love it!), and then hit the road. i couldn't be more stoked about the how the weekend played out. we all made the podium and just had a great time. i can't wait to do this again.

more photos!

we all made the podium! loving it!

Beth always comes through... during the race... and more importantly post race.

chatting with Marcos (2nd place). another good dude.

team tall.

team small.