Sunday, July 25, 2010

25.8 mph and 1:14/100y!

After Giro di Coppi and a 17 hour week, I was due for a recovery week. As usual though, full of time trials.

I had a crappy 15 minute TT (should've been 30 minutes) on Tuesday. Lack of nutrition and tired legs from GdC left me depleted. I averaged 24 mph for 14 minutes, and suddenly lost my legs and couldn't speed up on flats. This told me that I was done. I met back with Michelle for a spin and CHICK-FIL-A. Their new spicy chicken sandwich has good taste. Not much hotness, but a spicy taste. Good.

I had a pathetic track workout Wednesday, same problems as on Tuesday. 2k cutdown that was a little too fast, and 2x800 at 2:24 and 2:26... maybe a little fast, but it didn't feel bad. Overall I felt dehydrated and didn't want to push it. I had my mind set on the Crystal City 5k, but this workout gave me doubts. Funk dat.

Thursday I felt awesome. I had recovered from GdC finally and ate well during the day. This set me up for a 6-minute all-out TT. My previous best was 25.4 mph. This time around, I churned the pedals to a personal best 25.8 mph for 6-minutes! On a rolling course too! I love watching my strength increase on the bike. It's really motivating. The hard work is paying off each month.

I swam a tough 3050 yards with Dirk at the CUBU masters workout that evening, including 10x100 at 1:14/100!! That too is at or close to personal best.

Had simpler recovery workouts on Friday and Saturday (including a 2400m open water swim with Dirk at Sandy Point) and decided not to race at the 5k. It was brutally hot, I wasn't tapered enough and knew I wouldn't set a PR, the reason for initially running in it. Turns out that besides one guy who ran a 14:03 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), only half of the amount of people who ran sub-16 in 2009 achieved that time this year.

Sunday, rode with Dirk in 90+ degree weather. It was very tough... ranks among the most atrocious (in Dirk's words) rides we've each had. Hey, it builds character... I guess.

Looking forward to really cranking up the effort and miles in anticipation of Nation's and Philly Distance. The intense training starts this coming week. I accept the challenge, as always!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Giro di Coppi -- Sicar's Maiden Voyage

This past Saturday I raced in the Giro di Coppi, my first road bike race ever. I was pretty nervous. Friends and foes warned me of close quarters, unexpected sprints and 45+ mph descents. I knew road bikers to be a pretty intense and serious bunch. I want to become the best biker I can be however, and the best way to do it is to embrace road biking and become an all-around better biker... not just a time trialist! Matias, Robbie and Dirk especially urged me to just jump in and get the experience.

Being a new cyclist, I raced in the 37.5 mile cat 5 race. My initial hope was to stick with the peloton and hang in there. I didn't expect much. Friends said that I had better speed than most of the guys there... I should go for the win. I decided that I'd hang in the middle of the pack and then attack at the end or on uphills.

Let the cowboys ride! The race started fast. As soon as we cleared the first hill, speeds were in excess of 25 mph, faster than I do at triathlons by myself. That's what happens in a group. I tucked into the middle of the pack and completed the first 12.5 mile loop. Huh, I wasn't tired... I decided to push it harder, moving into the front third of the pack. I made some more moves on the uphills and held my own on the downhills. By the end of the second loop I was well within the top 10. Could this be for real? Am I among the leaders? Crazy, but I felt like I had been doing this for a while and that I could really hang in there. I just kept it going... tuck in and draft on the flats and attack hard on the climbs.

By halfway through the final loop, I was in 2nd place! I decided to give the pack a stir and do something I definitely had not planned on... I surged on a flat! A NCVC guy decided to go at the same time, so we worked together. That was a rare moment of the race where I worked with someone. I was one of the few unattached riders, so teams were constantly trying to edge me out of the paceline to help teammates out. This made me pretty mad! I had to show them up. The pack eventually caught us, but the tempo of the race had increased, making it more competitive and exciting. I was totally into it.

My hill climbing advantage was huge here... it was a really hilly course, with the finish line resting atop a steep 200m climb. With 1k to go, I remembered this. Despite being in 3rd at that point, I decided to drop back a little and let some of the bigger guys go. It was my intention to draft off them and then break out as soon as I saw the "200 meters to go" sign. It worked to perfection. As soon as I saw the sign, I punched it (not the sign). I passed 6 guys almost instantly as I barrelled up the hill toward #3, who started strong but was really struggling at the crest. 10 meters to go, I was right on his wheel but starting to tire out. I then remembered I had 3 gears left to shift to! He did not! I shifted up one cog and that provided me with a burst of speed that got me past him within 5 meters of the line.

3rd place overall! Not too bad for my first road bike race. My strategy worked great. And Sicar, the bike, felt awesome under me. What a strong climber. Speed averaged somewhere between 22.5 and 25 mph... hit a max of 48 mph! Good showing by Matias too, finishing 6th in the 3/4 race, pacing the pack much of the way and staying strong. The next morning, Robbie won the NYC Triathlon elite age group division, and 6th among pros. Beast.

Several days later, I'm still really pumped from this. Sure, it was a cat 5 race, but I went into this race with no great expectations... an empty head. It's how I need to go into all my races. As I told Michelle the other day I took what the race gave me... I did not try to predict the outcome of the race before I got to the finish. It worked here. Why can't it work in a triathlon?

Pictures coming tonight

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's your turn, Sicar!

This weekend is my first road race (biking), at the Giro di Coppi. I'm doing the cat. 5 (beginners) race, one spot away on the waitlist. Hopefully one person doesn't show up Saturday so I can get out there and ride! 37.5 miles, well within my limit, but it'll still be tough. I'm really looking forward to it. It's pretty much my next step into the sport of cycling, going past simply doing TT-style racing as in triathlons. It's my hope that road bike racing will help my triathlon biking as well as further my relationship with cycling. I have no expectations of winning this race or even getting top 5, my goal is to learn, and if the opportunity presents itself, win. I have an advantage on uphills, so I'll be sure to unleash on those. Otherwise, I won't let myself take the lead until the end, if I am in reach.

This is also the introduction to the racing scene for the newest addition to my household... my road bike, the Dolan Hercules, whom I affectionately nicknamed Sicar after my cats (it has the speed, agility and climbing ability of Simon... and the black nose of Oscar). It's been used for the past month and a half or so as a training ride, especially on longer rides or hill workouts... but this is a racing bike at heart! It WANTS to be pounded, it WANTS to suffer along with me in a race. It's jealous that ZeroZeroTwo does all the racing and time trials.
I don't have a good picture of my Hercules (will post after the race), so here's a photo from my dealer so you get an idea of what it looks like! I have SRAM Rival groupset, black handlebars, cheaper wheels (I WISH I had those Navigator carbons!).

Sicar looks better!!!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DC Tri Club training triathlon -- Redemption!

So I was pretty down on my running after the mile. Sure, I had improved in every distance and was much better off physically than in July of last year, but I thought at least I would finish a second FASTER, not a second slower than last year. But I've put it in perspective and realized that the mile just is not my race at this time. Probably will never be, I'm training for triathlons and 5k-1/2 marathon... nothing longer, nothing shorter! Let's leave it at that!

I was encouraged by Hendrik de Heer to participate in the DC Tri Club's 2nd training triathlon on Sunday. I thought, just like he, why not? I don't have a race for a while and I had a TT-style brick scheduled for that day. Why not make it fun with some light competition? The distances were 400m pool swim, snaking around the 50m Hain's Point pool; a 17 mile bike, thrice around the large HP loop; a 5k+ run, once around the short loop. Main competition for me was Dirk and his new DOLAN STRYKE and a DC Tri Club Elite team member, Andy Blatecky.

Dirk and I had fine swims, about 6:15 or so for 400m, not bad, I think I beat him by 2 seconds, so I still have a slight advantage in the water!!

The bike was odd... I had some stupid (on my part) mechanical issues that caused the rear wheel to rub against the frame, causing me to have to stand up and really struggle to accelerate and keep a decent speed. It was tough. I still somehow managed just around 23 mph average! That's encouraging, at least! Remember during the winter when I pined for the days when I could average 23 mph on my best day?

Dirk had an awesome ride on his new bike. I'm upset I couldn't stay with him this time!

Run was great. I brought in a sub 16:50 for the 5K, which ranks among my best post-bike runs ever. And I felt controlled and relaxed. I passed Blatecky about 1.5 miles in and I just held the effort steady the rest of the way. This is a good sign for Crystal City 5k, as well as my post-bike 10k prospects at Nations (I want a 36 or faster!).

So the tri definitely washed away any grief I had about the mile. I'm doing well at what I'm training for, and that is the most important thing now.

OOOH. Look what's coming to my house today! My new front wheel!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rats for me, Hot Diggity for Michelle!

Shoot, that was a disappointment! I ran the mile at the Midsummer's Mile last night, expecting that maybe I would get a 4:30, despite not really training for that distance or tapering at all during the week. Well, yeah, didn't work out that way! Instead I suffered through one of my most embarrassing runs ever! Ended up with a 4:40, not quite reflective of the effort I put in, and goshdarnit, it's quite a discouraging time! I was 2 seconds faster in the mile last year! I was in better shape for shorter stuff then and wasn't really into triathlons at the time, but heck, I at least wanted to better that time.

Made several mistakes, such as trying to make up for lost time after a slow start... before I even got halfway through the race! Bush-league! Oh well, live and learn. I lived and I think I've learned. So that's good. 2nd overall though. Must have been poor competition or the heat. I think the former!

Michelle Miller ran a 4:56, thus accomplishing her 2010 goal of sub-5 for the mile. Way to go Michelle! She's worked so hard at it, suffered through heat exhaustion and plenty of hard workouts to get there. Through disappointments and mistakes she learned how to run the mile the right way and showed the world what she had! Very inspiring! I'll have to follow her example. And she ran smart last night, even after going out slow she maintained her composure, unlike myself, and ran consistently. I felt sorry for the males who looked at her at the start, thought to themselves "Oh geez, a girl, I better make sure I'm in lane 1 because she definitely won't beat my superior male-ness". She beat all but a few of them. Excellent.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Man, I can't stop sneezing. Ever since the move, I spend at least 3 total solid minutes out of my day sneezing. That doesn't sound like much, but one sneeze takes about 5 total seconds to prepare, release and recover. That is... um... 36 sneezes a day! Think about it. That's a lot. I don't know if that's exact, but it's close.

My training has been good so far this week. Good news from all 3 sports!

Swimming -- I've been attending the Curl Burke Masters swims at American University and they've been SOLID. I swim with Dirk, surrounded by cocky swimmers far faster than The Beastman or I. I've been getting in 3000+ yard swims each time. My totals for the week are over 12k yards, which is more than I've ever done. Not quite as much as Dirk's 20k+ swimming weeks, but I'm doing more... and am getting faster. That's the most important thing.

Biking -- Still improving! I did an early AM superthreshold interval set, 5x3 minutes, averaging 24.3, 24.7, 24.7, 23.8, 24.3 mph, at the rolling GTown rec loop. It's heartening to see I'm regularly touching 24+ mph in my intervals... not to mention last week's 40k time trial. I got a hill workout tomorrow and long rides this weekend.

Running -- Haven't done quite as much as in the past, but I put in a SOLID track workout last night:

4x800 @ 5 sec/400m faster than 5k pace (4:50 mile pace)
1x3200 @ 10k race pace (5:20 mile pace)

I hit all my paces (a little faster on the 800s, averaged 4:41 pace) and felt great at the end of the 2 mile (right on with a 5:20 average). I'm excited to see what my 10k time will be at the end of the year (sub 32:50?). If I can do sub-36 minutes at Nation's I'll be very happy.