About Me

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San Francisco, California and, Carrboro, North Carolina, United States

Monday, September 27, 2010


Stats: (1st Overall 1st AG)
Swim: 20:39
Bike: 58:07
Run: 36:31

First, I'd like to thank the guys at Pacific Bicycles; on Saturday they did an excellent job of getting my new areo bars set up and ready to race for Sunday. Thanks to them, I was able to ride to the second fastest bike split (by the way Tom T. was right there too, with the 4th fastest bike split).

Second, as always, it was great to see all the black, white and pink out there representing and taking care of business. Everyone did well and even though we had a small contingent of athletes, we took home quite a few of the awards.

Here's the race report.

I love swimming in the ocean, maybe it's because I fondly remember my pre-law career as an ocean lifeguard, or maybe it's because the salt water makes me more buoyant, but nonetheless it's a great experience swimming in the Pacific and around the pier. I saw Dave Ried (an excellent swimmer) and knew that is the guy I was going to try to draft off. Well, I made it to the first buoy with Dave, and then he slipped away. I tried telepathy to have him slow down just a bit so I could get back on those feet, but it was not meant to be, in the end, Dave was too strong a swimmer. I came out of the wave in second, about 1:00 behind Dave.

Onto the bike and time to chase down Dave, who put another 10 seconds on me in transition.  About a mile into the ride I came across a female athlete hammering away and wondered who was this super biker?  As I passed her I was surprised to see it was Tyler Stewart, Ironman champion, hammering away out there as she completed one last tune up race before heading to Ironman World Championships.  She is one strong cyclist, posting the 6th fastest bike split. About mile 15 or so I caught Kelly, who was also hammering away and racing well. I eventually caught Dave at mile 19 and rode into transition in contention for the overall win.

The run is great, it's along the coast and offers nice views of the ocean and coast line. Between miles 1 and 2, I passed Erin who was running well and looking strong. I kept chugging along, knowing that I had a good chance at the overall win if I could just keep it together. I did end up keeping it together, but just barely. My mile splits (5:34, 5:49, 5:53, 5:52, 5:48, 6:03, (1:31 for .2 miles)) indicate a slowing trend, so I was happy when I saw the Dream Inn and knew the finish was only a few hundred meters away. Those meters did not go by quickly enough but the finish was easy. I was also happy not to have been out sprinted at the finish. I have a bad run with losing races in the finish shoot, a couple times this year, and at last year's Santa Cruz Tri and Big Kahuna, so a non-sprint finish was just what I needed. I made it to the line in 1:58:08.  This was a nice win for me.  I won this race back in 2006 and I am finally feeling I am getting back to my old self.   

Congrats again to everyone who raced. We did great and I am always impressed with how well everyone is swimming, riding and running. Also, thanks again to Jared and the guys at the store, the work on the bike was great.

Lastly, if anyone has found my 34 minute 10K run, please return it, there's a reward. It was last seen in April at the track and regrettably I have not been to the track since, and it's now missing. I fear I'll have to be back on track to find it. I also suspect DRET stole it, he was also on the track that night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

THE "DOUBLE" Pacific Grove Olympic Distance and Big Kahuna Half Ironman

Pacific Grove Olympic Distance Tri

This was a super fun race. Anyone who has not competed at the Pacific Grove race should give it a go. Swimming through kelp beds makes the race interesting, the bike is fast, fun and spectator friendly and the run course is a fast three loop course with a one small hill on each loop.

Stats (2nd AG 4th Overall)

Swim: 26:04 -- T1: 1:33 -- Bike: 1:01:20 -- T2: 0:43 -- Run: 35:27

The Swim.
The swim was fun albeit very slow. The gun sounded and I quickly jumped on the feet of the first swimmer. We made it around the first buoy in good position with a nice size gap. However, the first swimmer lacked any judgement as to how to avoid the kelp beds. On the way back into shore, we swam/crawled/got tangled up in and became way too acquainted with seaweed. At one point I thought I would be rescued because I was wrapped up like a sushi roll. After entering the water for the second loop, we again swam right into a long stretch of kelp. I was thinking what are we doing, this is crazy. At the buoy I had enough of his poor directional skills and took the lead the last quarter of the swim. Navigating in a zig zag fashion I avoided the kelp on the way in and came out in first. However, it was a slow time of 26:04 (to put it in perspective; on Sunday's Big Kahuna Tri swim, I came out in 25:07 and swam 1900 meters not 1500).

The Bike.
"If you're not cheating you're not trying and you're only cheating if you get caught."

This was clearly the motto of the guy who sat on my wheel for entire ride. I made a tactical error by pulling him around the entire race and not slowing up so that he had to take a pull. It was very frustrating that he avoided a penalty, but that is how many races are played. I was off the bike in first, a Pac West athlete and all around good guy (Dave) was right with me, and the drafter a few seconds behind us.

I had a not so great T2 and left transition in third, behind the drafter and Dave.

The Run.
I tried my best but I just did not have it on Saturday. Have you ever started running and your calves are just tired and not springing? That's how it was, but I wanted to make the best of it. I caught Dave at the first turn around and caught the drafter shortly thereafter. The drafter and I ran together for about 2 miles when I started to cramp. A gap formed between us and within a mile I lost about 35-40 seconds. I felt better the final lap and tried my best to claw back the time but was only managed to bring back about 20 seconds. I finished about 23 seconds in arrears.

I had a blast out there racing. I was a little frustrated with the drafter, but in the end, I have no complaints because if I was in better run shape, it would have been a non-issue and I would have taken the run. I jumped into the pacific ocean for a natural ice bath and tried to figure out how I was going to race a half ironman in 24 hours (because I barely finished this olympic tri).

Big Kahuna Tri 4:24:53 (3rd AG 7th Overall)
Swim: 25:07 -- Bike: 2:20:02 -- Run: 1:36:07

This is another great race. I love swimming in the ocean and swimming around the pier. The ride is fun, mostly along HWY one and the run is challenging with a tough ending on the sand.

First, major props to Andreas (another Pac Bikes athelete) who took the win. He's in great shape and racing fast.

Setting up transition I realized I left my racing kit in the hotel room. I usually put the shorts on before I leave, but since they were still wet I did not and they were left hanging on a hanger. I had an old ITU one piece suit in my bag and that would do. Lucky for me, my better half went back to the hotel and retrieved the pac bikes kit.

The Swim.
Happy to see Andreas at the start line, I told him, I planned to swim on his feet. That's exactly what I did (sorry if I hit your toes Andreas). Unfortunately, Andreas swam a bit off course with about 100 meters to go and I swam straight in to be first out of the water, with Andreas a few seconds back.

The Bike.
I had a quick transition and was first out onto the bike. I really hammered the first half of the bike forgetting that there were some tough climbs heading back in. I got to the turn around in a fast 1:05 and had about a 3+ minute lead over Andreas and another rider (Mark) who were in second and third. However, the way back was difficult (1:15 or so on the way back). There was a headwind and I was really struggling with the effects of the Pacific Grove race. Each climb I just had no power and I kept looking for Andreas to catch me. I am not sure how I did it but I managed to stay in first off the bike. I had maybe a 30 second lead off the bike.

The Run.
I was really surprised, I felt great the first 6 miles. About mile 3 and 4 I actually started thinking I could pull this off. I held onto first until Andreas caught me at about the 7 mile mark. I thought, ok, I'll run with Andreas for a while and see where this goes. Well I tried to run with him, which I did for maybe a 300 meters, and then he slipped away. (Andreas is looking very fast). There was a hill at about mile 8 and that was my undoing. I tried to catch Andreas and my legs simply quit. It's not a feeling I've ever had before, it was not a blow up or bonk, but almost like my muscles just decided enough was enough. They wanted no more of me. Unfortunately for me, I was still 5 miles from the finish. My 6:30/40 pace turned into 8:30/40 pace. My 1:24 turned into a 1:36. Mark, the second place finisher passed me at mile 10 and then I just did what I could to finish. I ran a 54 minute second half, not exactly the negative split I hoped to achieve but nonetheless I had a blast, and was stoked that Andreas took the win. If you're going to lose, it's always more fun to lose to a teammate. I was also very happy to complete the "Double." I always wanted to do it.