Sunday, June 24, 2012

TTT and a Sprint

Two weeks ago Zoot teammate Rick Lapinski and I decided to do a 40k Team Time Trial for fun. I did this race before and it was anything but fun. It was about 40 and raining and super windy… in June. Anyway, the weather was much better this year, however a thunderstorm did come out of no where but that was after we were back at the cars. The first 15 minutes went well and then I slide of the back of Rick's wheel on a turn and pushed hard to close the gap and then take my pull. After that I could tell my legs weren't into it and then to make matters worse the clamp that holds the saddle to the seat post broke and my saddle become loose. As long as I balanced perfectly in the middle of the saddle it was fine but the second I slid in any direction the saddle would move. The next 40 minutes were not fun at all, but Rick had a really strong ride and pulled me in. We ended up winning the open division and once again I remembered how bad an open TT hurts (especial when you can't really put any weight on the saddle).
Today I went back to race the Twin Lakes Triathlon in Palatine, a local race that I did for the first time 2 years ago. Last time I wasn't sure what to expect but I ended up having an outstanding race and winning.
I jumped in to do the warm up swim and my stroke felt great, probably the best it has ever felt. I was super relaxed, swimming easy and had a great feel for the water. So for my warm up swim I did the full 700M course in 10:40, which is really good for me considering I never once swam hard. I started right up front and immediately got swam over by about 4 guys, than swam around them to the outside in the first 200 meters, and then started making my way over to the buoy line and got mixed in with another pack. I tried to get in front, but I just couldn't get away and ended up with the group for the rest of the swim. I ended up only going 19 seconds faster in the race, while swimming much harder, then I when swimming super easy on my own just a half hour before the race.
T1 was my quickest ever and I managed to pass 2 or 3 people. On the bike I passed another 3 people in the first mile and was then on my own the rest for the ride. I never saw anyone in front of me, but assumed someone was up the road so I keep pushing. The course had probably 30 turns in 14.5 miles so it was really hard to get into a rhythm. I ended up riding a few watts higher than 2 years ago, but never caught up. I believe I came into T2 about 2 minutes down on the leader.
T2 was also perfect and I was out on the run course in 38 seconds. I felt good starting to run but I didn't have any speed in my legs and they were heavy. I keep pushing through and they did loosen up. Each mile got a little faster and I felt a little better. A little after the third mile marker I could see the lead truck up the road. I did everything I could, but just ran out of road and crossed the line just over 30 seconds behind the winner.
Sure I would have liked to have won this race again, but I'm pleased that I went about 30 seconds faster than last time I did it and it was another race with no issues. I've had this feeling all year that I've been flat as I haven't had any really great races, but other than the TTT, all my races have actually been very solid and I've executed without issues. Now it is time for a good solid block of training to peak for Vegas.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Leon’s Tri 2012

About two weeks ago, three people emailed one weekend to make sure I was ok after I hadn't posted on twitter/facebook/blog or anything for a while. This made me realize that I have so many great friends I have made doing endurance sports and it's been a long time since I've been online and posted anything.

To those that were concerned, thank you, I appreciate your messages. I'm 100% fine, actually I'm really good. There have just been other things in my life that required my attention and triathlon took a back seat for a little while. We sold our house which was a challenge having a two year old and me working at home the majority of the time. Then we found a new house but couldn't move for a few days and then had some projects we had to do. We are thrilled with the new house and very fortunate we could sell our old house and move, but it was very stressful and time consuming. At the same time I took on more responsibility at work and have been working long hours for a while now. Anyway, that all meant that I had to miss some workouts and I had zero time for being on facebook/slowtwitch/etc. I ended up missing two races in May due to moving which made Leon's Tri my first real race of the year.

Swim 20:27 – I started the swim wide and just wanted to have a solid swim to measure my fitness. The swim felt awesome. I was never once breathing hard and out in no time. I'm sure the course was a bit short as I went 20:27, but it felt and looked the same as last year and I went about a full minute faster. The biggest difference is last year I came out of the water exhausted and swam really hard, this year it felt like a warm up. I believe I was in about 15th overall after the swim and I had the 36th fastest swim of the day…. very unusual for me. All the swimming over the winter is paying off.

Bike 1:00:04 – Last year I crushed the bike and made up a ton of ground, but then fell apart on the run. So this year I held back and really focused on just relaxing and taking in some nutrition for the first half. Then in the second half I tried to ride a little harder but my legs weren't feeling it, so I backed down. I ended up holding 5 watts less than last year and came into T2 in 7th (compared to 3rd last year.

Run 36:50 – I felt pretty good leaving T2 but just like on the bike my legs just weren't there today. This has happened before and usually they just need a mile to get going, so I figured if I just held on and didn't force it I would be able to speed up. Well, my legs never felt better and I never picked up the pace. The good news is, I never felt worse and never slowed down either. It was kind of strange because I felt like I could have held the same pace for 13.1 miles, but I just couldn't speed up at all.

2:00:01 – 9th overall

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this race, but now that it is over, I guess it turned out exactly like I should have expected. My weakness has always been and is still the swim. Over the winter I focused on swimming and swam much more than ever before while riding/running a little less. That seems to have paid off because I swam faster and felt better than ever coming out of the water. Both my bike and run were just a little slower that I would have liked/expected, but it's the first race of the season and I still have a few months to get them back.

Overall, it was uneventful but great start to the season. I had absolutely zero issues with gear/nutrition/pacing/anything and was in full control of my race the entire time. To make the day even better I raced on a team with a few of my Zoot Ultra Tri Team teammates and we won the Co-Ed team challenge.

The highlight of the day had to be when my two year old daughter got body marked before the race, told me she was going to show me how to swim, and then was waiting for me at the finish line to run with me. As usual thank you to Theresa and Abigail for supporting all of my training and racing, and to Zoot and our Ultra team sponsors. On that note, I had the opportunity to race in the Zoot Kiawe. For about 3 years now, I've felt the Ultra Race 2.0 were the best Zoot shoes ever made, but the Kiawe is very quickly changing my mind. If you are look for a light weight race shoe for tri's, definitely take a look at the Kiawe.