Friday, December 16, 2011

Extreme Endurance

Many of you know that I have been using Extreme Endurance for about a year now and have seen some amazing results. I know athletes like to often 'hold their cards close' so to speak, and keep what they use a bit ambiguous or secret. I don't, because it takes a bit more than a 'secret pill' or 'magic serum' to produce results, success, or PRs. Through my time using it, I have been truly blown away. I have done little experiments by not taking it, and then taking it again. Doing tests with and without it...looking at power on the bike...lots of different pieces of data. Bottom line, it works for me. Not only does the data prove it, but I can literally 'feel' it in races and hard training. Weird.

Anyway, here was an article that made me say, "Hmmm...tell me more about this stuff," and it just resurfaced again on prweb.com. You can view all this here, or read on below where I copy/pasted it.

Nutritionist Investigates Claims of New Sports Nutritional Supplement

Nutritionist sets out to see if sports supplement is the real deal. Extreme Endurance is a 100% natural athletic dietary supplement, manufactured in a NSF Certified facility and certified drug-free by the world's largest sports drug laboratory. In a Gold-Standard, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical study, aerobic threshold increased 41% and lactic acid was reduced by 15%. This was a 30 day study involving 22 elite athletes.

After seeing the claims of Extreme Endurance, a new sports nutritional supplement on the market, nutritionist Lori Anonsen, MS, RD, ACSM, thought the product sounded too good to be true. So late last year, Lori investigated the phenomenal claims of Extreme Endurance. What she found out made her a believer in the product.

According to Lori, an extreme endurance athlete recently asked her, "How good can I get?" What a great question, she thought, and after several days of research, found some fascinating new sports nutrition information along with an abstract on a new sports supplement called Extreme Endurance. The abstract covered a double-blind, randomized, crossover study of 22 elite athletes. Being an ex-triathlete and current weekend aerobic warrior herself, she found the abstract very interesting and began a full investigation of the product.

Extreme Endurance claims to influence and reduce lactic acid concentration, which in turn improves maximum exercise performance and reduces muscle soreness. These are bold claims, so Lori looked at their website, http://www.xendurance.com. The site provided sound information, and cited a clinical study. In addition, there are plans to repeat the study on a variety of athletes from different sports.

The ingredients in Extreme Endurance are fairly basic: acid buffers like Magnesium and Potassium, Antioxidants, Trace Minerals and Protease Enzyme Papain. It is important to note the buffers used in the product, as well as Protease Enzyme Papain, which stimulates anti-inflammatory agents leading to less muscle pain and soreness are obviously of important benefit to extreme endurance athletes.

Powerful buffers, like Magnesium Hydroxide, often cause diarrhea when released and absorbed through the stomach lining. Extreme Endurance, however, is released in the small intestine to avoid gastrointestinal problems such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and interference with a healthy acidic environment needed in the stomach.

Since Extreme Endurance is a new product, Lori contacted a lead proponent of the product, Jürgen Sessner. Jürgen is the head trainer and coach for several professional triathletes in Europe who competed in the Ironman race in Wisconsin this past September. Jürgen participated in the double-blind clinical trial on Extreme Endurance with his triathletes, and told Lori he knew which athletes were receiving the active product after the "very first test" in the 10 day trial.

Triathletes in the first group used a substance in a brown bottle. After Jürgen tested two triathletes in the first group, he knew the contents of the brown bottle was the active substance (i.e. Extreme Endurance) and not the placebo. No one officially knew who had Extreme Endurance or the placebo until the final testing was completed 35 days later; but Jürgen knew because his triathletes had never tested so high in their lactate threshold.

Lactate threshold is a term used to describe an exercise level at which more lactate is being produced than cleared. The first group of 11 athletes, who all took Extreme Endurance, finished the 10 day test with an increase in aerobic threshold of 84%. The test also showed a reduction of lactate by 18%. By the time the crossover study was completed with all 22 athletes, the numbers changed to an increase of aerobic threshold by 41% and lactate reduction by 15%. Aerobic threshold increase is very important in athletic performance. It will allow athletes to use fat vs. carbohydrates as a major source of fuel, and therefore perform at a higher level of intensity for a longer period of time.

Jürgen said all 22 athletes wanted to continue using Extreme Endurance because all saw an improvement in their training. An athlete produces lactic acid during high intensity exercise. The lactic acid that is formed dissociates into lactate and hydrogen ions. Lactate can be used as a fuel source for the heart and other muscles during intense exercise. However, when the accumulation of hydrogen ions (H+) exceeds the buffering capacity of the muscle and blood, fatigue sets in. An acidic pH not only leads to fatigue, but can also cause muscle tightness and that burning feeling often felt during intense exercise. Extreme Endurance's ingredients help buffer the production of H+, and thus can increase an athlete's lactate threshold or ability to work much harder for a longer period of time.

Articles have been written about an acidic blood pH and lowered bone density in cyclists who ride over 100 miles a week, and in light weight rowers. An acidic blood pH needs to be buffered, and one of the body's ways to handle this is by using calcium stored in the body. In 1996, a study of six Tour de France riders showed bone density losses of up to 17% over the course of the race. An important side benefit of Extreme Endurance may be as an acid buffer to help neutralize calcium loss, and preserve a healthy bone density.

After analyzing all this information, Lori e-mailed http://www.xendurance.com and asked them for product user references. They gave her the name of Coach Rick Stassi, a strength and conditioning coach from Irvine, CA. Rick's resume is impressive; coaching 13 #1 draft picks, 60 college All-Americans and a world-class swimmer, Jason Lezak. Rick started Jason on Extreme Endurance just before the swimming trials last June. During the third day in Beijing, the 4X100 free style race was held. A major television network said 81 million people watched Jason Lezak catch France's Alain Bernard. Rick said, "Bernard was the 100 meter world record holder and had about 0.8 of a second head start on Jason - but the last 10 or 15 meters, Bernard tightened up. Lactic acid buildup got him"!

Jason smoked Bernard with the fastest 100 meter freestyle in history - 46.06. A sports announcer called it one of the miracles of the Games. Rick said, "This was Jason's third time at the games. I have trained Jason for 8 years and at the age of 32, he won his first individual Medal, 2 relay Gold Medals and swam better and faster - Extreme Endurance was his game changer!"

After completing her investigation of Extreme Endurance, Lori concluded if you are interested in improved athletic performance, with less muscle burn and soreness, then Extreme Endurance may be the game changer you've been searching for.


Roy M. Wallack
Achey - Breaky Biker Bones
Southern California Bicyclist Magazine

Nancy Clark, MS, RD.
Food for Thought
Rowing News, September 2008
Vol. 15, No. 7, 74-76

Jürgen Sessner Extreme Endurance Clinical Test Protocol
Testing Facility: Corpus Diagnostik, Hilpoltstein, Germany
Dr. Volker Tzscheetzsch and Juergen Sessner

Extreme Endurance is a tradename of LifeSpan International US, LLC.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

TIMEX Run Trainer to TrainingPeaks...simple

Some of you lucky ones out there have recently acquired the new TIMEX Run Trainer and have not downloaded it because you think it’s too hard…or simply put, you haven’t looked at it. So I thought I would give you a few screen shots to show you just how easy it really is.

To start, go to the TIMEX support page and download the right device agent for your computer (Mac or PC). It’s as easy as downloading any program. That site can be found HERE.

The page looks like this:

As soon as you load it on to your computer, you should see a shortcut, or, if not, go to applications folder on your computer and it should be there. It looks like this:

Use the download cable that came with your watch, and clip it on to the back and pug into a USB port.

Open the program, which will bring you to a screen that looks like this:

After your watch is connected, and you have the program open you should be ready to download. If the “Download” button is not active, you probably have not connected the your watch correctly. Double check that the pins and prongs are in the right spots. You are now pretty much set to take the data form your watch.

*While in this mode, you can also make any adjustments to your watch by selecting the “settings” button (top middle of the screen). That will allow you to adjust aspects to your watch like time, user information, zones, intervals, screen display/set up, and so much more.

To transfer data from your Run Trainer, click on the ‘Download’ button and your workouts should start downloading.

When they all have downloaded, your screen should look like this:

At the bottom of the screen, there is a button that says “save.” All the workouts that are checked, will be saved. Once they are saved, the desktop will look ‘empty,’ like it did when you first started:

Now you can login to TrainingPeaks by clicking on the “Login” button in the lower left of the screen.

This will now bring you to your Training Peaks account and all your workouts will be transferred on to the days.

If you do not have a TrainingPeaks account, you can activate a free one through this process. I believe it will ask you some questions to get it set up. With the free version, it will not allow you to build a week, meaning you cannot add notes or workouts to days beyond the current day. So it acts more like a diary than a training schedule. It is still a great place to story and analyze your data. But that is a whole different post.

Another thing to note is to make sure you have the latest Firmware update. That is a little different from downloading a program, but still pretty easy. I will show you a step by step of that too…shortly.

Let me know if you have any questions, or if I missed a step that would be helpful to add.

Dave Erickson did a video recently too, which he posted. You can find that video HERE.

Train on,


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Galveston 5150

As I destroy some of Emma's Halloween candy, I thought it would be a good time to hammer out a post on my most recent race...ahem, cough...2 weeks ago.

I have had my eyes on a 5150 race all season. I planned on racing Las Vegas in early Oct, but it was canceled. Booo (no the scary booo either). So we, Ken Collins, rescheduled for Galveston. I really do not know too much about Galveston other than it is in Texas. I don't know too much about Texas other than it defines flat and you should shake out your shoes before slipping them on to avoid large bugs.

Ken and I arrived in Houston a couple days before the race and immediately started wheeling and dealing on getting an upgrade for a rental car. We did. We had a economy car and wound up walking away with a Tahoe. Not too bad. Ken is quite the wordsmith. We also immediately noticed that it was hot...hot and humid. Blech.

Ken and I found some great places to eat and enjoyed some phenomenal fresh Mex restaurants. Since the World Series was going on, all we could watch was baseball. And don't ever mention the word Cardinal in Texas for about 1 year if you don't want someone to spit in your food.

We rode the bike course the day before, and I have to be honest, I have NEVER seen roads this flat in my life. I swear, if I hopped on someone's back, I could see across the entire state. But, though flat, the wind was rippin.' The bike had a unique cross/tail wind going out, and a cross tail coming back. Since the road was literally right along the Gulf of Mexico, there was no shelter. Bring it.

Fast forward to race morning, we arrived in plenty early, and since we had to check in our bikes the day before, there really wasn't much to do. We got kicked out of transition 1 hour before the swim start (not a fan of that) and wondered over to the swim start.

I used the bathroom a couple times and next thing I knew, I was clearing my TIMEX Race Trainer to zero. Here we go. The horn sounded and off we went. First breath I was reminded that this was salt water, mmmm so good. We were the 6th wave and quickly started swimming through other groups. I think I swam relatively straight, but who knows. I knew there was one guy in my wave that was just ahead. Beyond that, I think I was swimming well. I exited the clam bed (or oyster bed, can't remember) and quickly headed to T1. My Orca 3.8 wetsuit came off easily and I was quickly pushing my Orbea (last race on this steed) out of transition.

The first 1 mile of the bike has a series of 90 degree turns and rough(er) road. I used this time to get my feet in and situated. Before I knew it, I was on Seawall Road. I felt the cross wind an quickly locked into my pace, which was 'go hard.' I went past a few guys from another age group and quickly found myself somewhat alone on a highway. It was so boring. I cannot imagine IM Florida. I hit the turnaround and was headed for home. On the way back I actually had to get out of the saddle and stretch a little...at 30 mph. That is how flat it was, I actually felt the need to stretch even when going that fast. I rolled into the technical 90 degree turns and saw a couple of the pros and elites on the ground. They looked okay, but did not navigate the corners well. They sure are not helping the bad reputation the triathletes have on thier poor bike handling skills.

I hit T2 and was off running in my Kwiss Kruuz racing flats. The run was pretty flat and was a 2 loop course (5k each loop). The first loop I just did not feel well. I tried to push a little but just felt out of sync. I decided to settle in to what I had and then as I started lap 2, for some reason I felt a ton better. I am not too sure what was going on, I am assuming I was too hot from the bike. Once I was able to cool off through the aid stations on the first lap (I was taking about 4 cups of water and tossing 3 on me and drinking some of the 4th) I was cooling down. I ended up running the second 5k 30 seconds faster and felt like I could have run another 10k at that pace. Cool. It might also have had something to do with the Extreme Endurance regimen I have been taking the last 4 months too. Legs felt amazing.

I was happy with the day. I knew I stretched it a bit. Nothing felt good, it all felt tough and I was struggling a bit. Don't know why. But as a result I won my age group, the overall amateur divisions, and beat all the elite amateurs. Now I will hopefully be able to race HyVee 5150 in early September for the Championship. That would be cool.

Ken ended up 2nd in the age group (we are in the same age group) so he qualified for the championship too. He had a great race and represented Spokane well.

Big thanks to Ken for making this trip so much fun. He is an easy travel companion. It's never easy to travel to races so it's nice to have someone there that is not a stress case.

This concluded my race season for 2011. Racing for the TIMEX Multisport Team for another season has been phenomenal. I cannot thank Tristan, Keith, Tom, and Doug enough. They really see to it that the team is ready and on the start line with the best and looking svelte. The support is unmatched.

Also, locally, thank to Robin and all her staff at Fitness Fanatics. They really help me throughout the season and are such a HUGE part of the cycling and triathlon community here in Spokane.

Finally, and ultimately, thank you to my wife Jessi for holding down the fort while I was gone. I know me being gone, and with 2 kids to take care of, can be tough. I totally appreciate your support and encouragement in seeing that I get to some big races and ready to race. I love you and cannot thank you enough for all your support.

Sorry for the lack of photos, when I don't have any "support" at the race, there is no one clicking the camera. But thanks to the company shooting the race, I have a couple.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Just a quick follow up from my post on Wednesday...

I swam again today with Ken Collins and smashed my swim sets. I'm back. Just in case you were worried. :)

Hope all your training and racing has it highs and lows...but more highs.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

We all have these days. Sometimes we can explain them, other times we cannot. I had one this morning.

Owen got up at 3:50am to eat and Jessi responded. I did not look at the clock because I wanted to 'think' I had more time before my alarm went off at 4:10am...BEEP BEEP...my alarm goes off and Lloyd (100 lb black lab) gets up and steps on my head. I'm up.

I go and feed Lloyd and start my coffee only to find out we are out of coffee cups. But we have more, out in the garage. Another break in the regular pattern. I got my coffee, added one of the last sweeteners, and had one of Jessi's home made muffins. Things seemed to be going well.

I grabbed my running gear and was ready to run in the rain after a swim. I hopped in the car and loaded up my swim bag. In doing so, I took out a few things in order to get my running clothes in it (foreshadowing?)

Upon driving to the club, I realize I forgot my water bottle...oh well. I will survive.

I pull into the parking lot and see an open spot right up front, but then another car swoops in and takes it. I drive another lap and park in the back row.

I get changed and am ready to swim, and then realize I forgot my swim cap. Not the end of the world...just need to rinse really well afterward and use my SBR Tri Swim shampoo.

I walk into the pool and see that every lane has 2 people in it. One has an "aqua aerobic" person in it. I decide to jump in with her...she glares. As I unpacked my bag, I discovered one of the items I pulled out and did not replace was my pull buoy. Crap. I will survive.

I started my warm up and felt like maybe the water was "thicker" than normal. But that's why we all warm up.

I do my first kick set and come in 15 seconds per 50 slower than normal. That felt crappy.

I then do a 100 steady and come in 10 seconds slower than I should have at that effort and my form felt disjointed. I try again with similar results. I resign to a 500 easy and just 'swim.' I honestly felt like I was drowning. I decide to call it a day after 20 minutes.

I place my bag in front of my locker and hit the shower. When I get back from the shower there is a guy sitting right in front of my bag changing to work out...seriously? The place is empty and he picks the only place where there is a bag? The guy smells of well aged cheese and a back alley bar in England after a soccer game...and he's panting for some reason.

I change, grab my gear, and head out. As I was walking out of the club I hear my name called. A couple people I vaguely know are on the treadmills. So I go over and say 'hi.' They said they saw me come in and thought I got up early to only workout for 15 minutes. I said 20...not counting the shower.

I then drive home, sit in the driveway a few minutes, and ponder what the hell just happened. I have a few options right now. I choose going back to bed. I go in to the house and find my Lloyd, my dog, in the spot I had left. He is reluctant to move, but does. I laid down and Jessi asked how my swim was (this is now 5:15 am). I said, 'Horrible, I felt like I was drowning, so I came home.' She said, 'Keep it in perspective.' I tried to fall asleep again.

Now, this is really not that bad of a morning. Granted, it's about a 1 hr 30 min time frame, but I can't remember the last time where I just could not pull out a swim. Maybe being 40 has finally hit me and I am getting weak. I don't think so.

What I take from this is, my next workout will be amazing.

As Emma always says, "If this is the worst thing that happens today, it's still a pretty good day." But it's only 6:30am. There is a lot of day left though, but I will take her advice.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cda Triathlon 2.0

Cda Triathlon…possibly my favorite Olympic race in the world…possibly. This year it would serve as the USAT Regional Olympic Distance Championship. If you have not read my last blog post on the Cda Triathlon, you may want to in order to understand my battles with this race (click HERE to go to that post).

Fast forward to the day before the race, Aug 12th. I was already packed, ready to roll. Jessi took Owen and Emma up to her parent’s for the day to be with them in hopes to give me some room to get some final prep done. I know this is a stressful/anxious time for her too. I decided to go for a short prep ride on my race set up. All felt good except I was having some trouble with my front derailleur. Earlier in the week, I noticed that a zip tie had cut one of the wires and made the front der inoperable. Remember, I use Shimano Di2, which is electronic, not cable. But I was able to manipulate it a bit to get it to work…so I ‘should’ be okay. I decided to double check it when I got home, and it was no longer working. Crap! So I spent about 2 hours trying a variety of different ways to get it to connect. It worked from time to time, but not consistently, and not enough to make me feel confident enough to race with it. The Cda course is HILLY. I thought for a moment that I might be able to ride in the big ring, but I would ruin my race if I tried that.

I got on the phone and called Fitness Fanatics to see if they had any word on a new wire set…no luck. They had some suggestions to get it to work, but none seemed to fix the problem. I made a few more calls and was left empty handed. To start with, Di2 is not really on the shelf in very many shops, and ‘extra parts’ are nonexistent. Since I have di2 on my road bike too, I thought I could borrow some of the wires from it. So I disassembled my TT bike and road bike only to find out there are completely different connectors. Crap #2. Now I have 2 bikes completely taken apart, and still don’t have a race bike that works. It was now late afternoon and I needed to head to Cda to check in for the race that I am starting to wonder if I will be able to do.

Check in went FAST and I was able to peruse the list of 850+ athletes competing…but would I be on the start line? I was home again at about 6:30pm looking at a bike that was in shambles. I decided to go back to mechanical shifting…yup, cables. So I got Jessi’s TT bike and took off the front shift lever and the front derailleur. I got some SIS housing and a new cable that I had for some reason. I fitted my Orbea with the cable and housing and routed all the cables internally in the frame and aero bars…never easy. I got it all adjusted, wrapped the bars again, took it for a 2 block ride, made a couple adjustments, and loaded it in the car. Live by electronics, die by electronics. I was feeling a little bit country and little bit rock and roll, but I could shift from my small ring to my big ring…life was a little better.

Which looks better...right or left?

Not exactly the cleanest look

A battery next to a traditional front der.

I would like to say that the rest of the evening went smoothly, but it didn’t. Jessi got home, realized she left her purse and other things across town, ran out of gas in our driveway, had to go get gas in a 5 gal container and refill, dumped my toolbox all over the floor…the list went on and on. FINALLY I felt like we had everything where it needed to be and I hit the sac. Jessi and I both had a short laugh about the day. I think one more thing would have put us both over the edge…but, as I told her, it’s just a triathlon. In the big picture, it’s not that big a deal. It’s only as important as you make it. Since we were now laughing, priorities were in check. I went to bed still wondering if my front derailleur would work though. Zzzzz.

I woke up and had everything ready to roll. Breakfast, bottles, coffee… all was set. I was a little behind as to when I ‘wanted’ to leave, but I was still good. I hopped in the car, turned the key, and my battery was dead. Crap #3! Since it was about 4:45am, and dark, this was not part of the ‘plan.’ I backed Jessi’s car up next to mine to ‘jump it’ with cables, but our batteries were on the opposite sides. Cables were too short. So I went into the garage and got our battery charger, which has a ‘start’ function. So, finally, I was off and running, hopefully all the way to Cda.

Fortunately the drive to Cda was uneventful…I was happy for that. But I ended up arriving about 1:10 minutes before my start. That is pretty close for me. It also meant that the transition area would be pretty full and I would get a bad spot. But I know how to eek out some room. Derek Garcia was there and let me rack near him, which was helpful. But it still takes me some time to get all set up. The race started at 7:00 for the 39 and under, and 7:10 for the 40 and over. Since this was a USAT race, I was racing 40 and up and would start in the second group. This had some advantages and probably more disadvantages. But it was what it was.

The ‘young guys’ took off and it gave me some time to get ready. I don’t think I even had my wetsuit on yet, typical. I went down to the start and got in about a 100 yard warm up. Just enough to make sure my goggles did not leak and my Orca 3.8 was fitting perfectly. There were some fast swimmers in my group, so I knew there should be some out in front. The swim course itself is pretty simple, but if you don’t know the layout, you can always make it harder. They gave us the 1 minute to go call, and I started my TIMEX Global Trainer. The horn sounded and the race took off like a shot. I swam steady from the start and watched the race sort out a bit. The swim felt good, but I did not think I was swimming too straight. I started running into the slower swimmers from the prior wave fairly quickly and that required me to do a bit more spotting and weaving. When you come up on slower swimmers, it can often be quite alarming to them and you. I tried to keep calm and focus on my stroke. As I was approaching the exit, I knew I needed to be fast. I also knew I needed to prepare to hear how far I was down on the others too. Most people who were giving me splits, knew I started 10 minutes down, and some would just tell me how far I was down on my wave. Both are good information. I quickly made it through transition and was given numbers, and times of things I had no clue they were connected to. But eventually it would all make sense.

I was looking forward to this bike leg because it’s a course that I know pretty well now. I have spent a little time on it over the past years and feel that there are some sections that you can get an advantage in if you know the course. Those that have raced this course (was also the 1999 and 2000 USAT Nationals Course) know that it is anything but flat…or straight. As I was moving along the first 5 miles of the bike, I was passing quite a few people. I did not know if they were from my swim start or not, but it really did not matter. I knew what effort to ride and I had my nutrition pretty well set. As I started the first real climb, I saw Jessi, Emma and Owen on the side of the road cheering. They gave me splits on the first wave, which was great, but the most important questions was, did they actually start 10 minutes behind? Because if they didn’t, the information would be off. Regardless, it did not matter. I was going to race hard and see where my fitness was and what kind of bike/run I could pull off. I saw Jessi a couple more times and knew I was putting time into them, and I would need as much as possible. I finished the bike strong feeling like I still had some fuel in the tank.

T2 was quick and the crowd had already seen about 10 guys through…all from the wave that was 10 minutes up. I was leading the 40+ group, and was working my way into the other wave pretty deep. I was excited to run in my new K-Swiss K-Ruuz race flats. The run is pretty flat which I don’t mind, but it allows pure runners to move along quite well. After 2 miles I think I had about 2:30 on the lead of the race. I figured they were not putting a lot, if any, time into my lead. I passed a few more runners and was still feeling good. At about mile 4 I started to sputter a bit, but again, seeing Jessi and others out on the course really helped keep my spirits up. I hit mile 5 and started seeing a lot of the other runners coming out and that, for some reason, helped me pick up the pace a little.

I saw Jessi one more time with about a ½ mile to go and she gave me a few more yells and confidence boosters. I started to think that I might just win this race. But you never know until you cross that line. As I approached the line, I could see the 5 guys that finished before me, and after I crossed, Derek said, “You won it man, you were about 2 minutes faster.” It was a little anticlimactic to cross 6th and really be first. Not so much for the glory of it all, more for the knowledge that you won. Derek’s confirmation seemed accurate based on the other information…but again, that was under the assumption I started exactly 10 minutes behind. I still wanted to hear it from the officials. Soon, that affirmation was given. I was also told that I was the ‘oldest’ guy to ever win this race. I think that’s a compliment? I will take it that way regardless.

Winning this race wasn’t the highlight. This year has been one of new beginnings and new additions for our family. We have made some huge positive changes that place priority on family and supporting one another not only in sport. Though training and triathlon are a part of a MUCH larger picture, they are not the center of it. So to walk away with a good result, win or not, really showed us that even with perspective, good races still happen. It feels a lot different knowing that I was able to win a race with the family first.

This was the second time I have won this race. The first time was redemption, this time it was satisfying. I walked away proud that “we” did it, rather than we won it. Weird, I know.

Here is a video by Dave Erickson (www.swimbikerunvideos.com). Check out his site for more triathlon related videos and more.

Bike is back to normal...rest easy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Race the River Triathlon... here we go.

This year I was able to race in another one of my favorite races, Race the River Triathlon. It is a sprint in Couer d Alene as well. This year it would be the host of the PNW Region’s Sprint Championships. I have raced this race in 2008 and 2009 and won it both times. But 2011 would mark a return to my first Sprint race in 2 years. I was a tad nervous, but I figured it would all come back. Since I was the last one to win the race returning, I would be donning the “stripe,” otherwise known as #1. This is a great compliment in any race, but it also is a bit of a target and burden.

One aspect that I was not too sure about being back was my fitness. It’s easy to reflect back on what you once had and have delusions that you still have the same fitness. Based on my limited training (about 5 weeks) since our precious Owen was born, I figured I had a solid base carrying over from Oceanside, but my speed (which is essential for Sprints) was pretty limited. The field at Race the River was maxed out at 850, and some of the elite athletes were rolling off some big events. Brian Hadley was 4th professional at IM Cda, Derek Garcia who qualified for Kona at St. George, was just coming off a near victory over Brian…missing by a mere 2 seconds the week prior in a sprint event. Both have been having great seasons so far. Then there was a smattering of others that could easily pull off a great race as well. But I felt I had a small advantage since I was familiar with the course and the bike was pretty technical. And, you gotta do your ‘first race’ eventually.

The race itself was a bit of chaotic for me. I arrived about 1.5 hours before that start and I felt like I had never set up a transition area before. I was just moving stuff around not really thinking about what I needed. It was weird… I have done a ton of these races. Must be the old age. It’s just a part of not doing a race in over a year. I think this goes to show you that if you only race once or twice a year, your transitions will never be all that fast…relatively.

The race started with a ½ mile down river swim. I think the total swim time, with about 1 minute of running to T1, was about 9 minutes. I was feeling out of sync, but we were moving FAST. The problem with current aided swims is it allows weaker swimmers to stay close since relative time in the water is less. My shoulder was feeling a little stiff, and achy, but nothing too terrible; just not comfortable.

I ended up 2nd out of the water, quickly transitioned, and was in the lead on the bike in about 10 yards. I never felt I settled in to the bike, but I rode the 3 laps hard. I had 5 seconds, then 15, and then a 30 second lead on my nearest competitor. I had a quick T2 and started the run.

I cannot say I felt very good from the start of the run. But I plodded along. Derek Garcia caught me at about 2 miles of the 3.1 mile run. Then, shortly after, Brian Hadley passed me at 2.5 miles. They really did not make much distance after they went by. But I was in 4th gear and just cruisin’. I just did not feel like I had a 5th gear. Derek went on to win, with Brian close behind and me about 30 seconds off the winning time in 3rd. Brian and Derek really battled hard against one another and it was an amazing finish.

I cannot complain really. Got to keep perspective and look at the positives. I knew going in that I did not have the races or the training that is needed to challenge for the win in a race like this. As I reflected back on the race though, I was really happy to be able to be ‘in’ the race. But my next race would be Cda Triathlon…2x the distance…in 3 weeks. I love the Oly distance, but questioned if I would be fit for it? I knew the competition would be deeper, and the course tougher.

Hats off to Derek, Brian, and Nate Birdsall. They have been racing strong all year in a variety of distances and showed today their level of fitness and speed. Just glad they were still at the finish line when I crossed.

Here is an amazing video by Dave Erickson (www.swimbikerunvideos.com). He has a ton more on there as well.

A big thank you the Christine and Curt and all their volunteer staff that made this event another great one. The first year I did this race I thought, “Yes, this is what a race should be like.” Four years later, I am still saying the same thing. Check them out at www.racetheriver.com and sign up early…it WILL fill.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Titanium Man

With a name like Titanium Man, you got to figure it’s better than any Ironman. I am still on the lookout for Diamond Man. That will be a hard race and probably very expensive.

This race took place on Sept 3rd just a 2.5 hour drive from Spokane. A group of us (Natalie, Greg, Dave, Melissa, and myself) loaded up the Excursion at 4:45am and headed down to a race that started at 9:00am. I appreciate the later start when I am driving, but prefer an earlier start when I am in the same town. The drive was full of adult humor and tri talk. We were all eating our breakfasts and trying to think of what this race would be like. This would also be my last race as a sub 40 year old.
A little background on this race…it is only $35 and is chip timed by Milliseconds. It is a down current swim with a different location for each transition. The start is also in another spot. Logistically this seems like a bit of a headache if you were to drive down there by yourself. But it was actually set up very well. The bike you would think is flat, but it’s not. It is a very honest course with lots of turns, intersections and hills. The run, however, is flat. The field limit is 225 people, and yes, it sells out. I have signed up for this race on 2 other occasions but had never raced it because it is so close to the start of school. And, with it being only $35, it’s easy to walk away from. Times are typically right near 2 hours and a few pros (Michael Gordon) have seen 1:57 ish. I never understood why times have not been faster on a course with a current aided swim and what I thought was a flat(er) bike and run. Maybe there were long transitions? Regardless, I was about to find out.
Lets get to the race. I saw Chris Zylak and his fiancé Meg before the race as we were all walking to the swim start. He gave me some pointers about the start and the exit. With a current aided swim, it is easy to overshoot the exit if you are too far in the channel, where the best current is. So there is a balance between going out too far to get an advantage and then having to swim back in, to being in too close and not getting enough current. I lined up as far out as most and thought it was good enough. I was on the start line but everyone else seemed so far behind as they swam against the current to stay in place. They gave a countdown and off we went. I took off quickly and did not see anyone for the first 100 meters on either side. For some reason this alarmed me so I actually stopped, turned around to see that the race had actually started and I was going the right way…I was. Swimming in the Orca 3.8 feels so effortless. When you know a swim is supposed to be ‘fast’ you are always looking for the finish. I think I started looking after about 500 yards. Unfortunately this makes the swim seem long and like it’s never going to end. There was one guy further out in the channel than me that was a bit ahead of me, and then there was another guy kind of next to me. I could see the exit and angled in. I ended up coming out of the water 3rd, on the heals of 2nd. My swim time was 15:55 for the 1500 meters. I started pulling off my wetsuit as I started T1. At this race you needed to ‘bag’ your T1 items so they could bring them back to the finish. For the first time in 3 years, I was going to put on socks for an Oly race. My feet were a little beat up from a training run where I forgot my socks and my feet suffered from that a bit. I did not want this race to push back my training so I took the extra 10-20 seconds (dang that sounds like a lot) to roll them on. I then threw on my Rudy Project Wingspan, grabbed the Orbea, and was off.
Upon exiting T1, I asked the volunteer how many individuals were out on the course? He said 2, and I was 3rd. Okay, I could see the one in front, but not 1st. I started going to work watching my power and shifting flawlessly with my Shimano Di2…love that. After settling a bit, I took some splits on 2nd and could see that he went from 20 seconds to 30 seconds ahead…darn. Then later he was at almost 50 seconds. What the heck? We are not even at the turnaround and I am getting gapped big time. We finally came to the turnaround (which was actually more than half way) and I could see that I was closing on both 1st and 2nd a bit, but they were still up the road a bit. When the came by me I could see that they had shoe covers and short sleeved skin suits. Hmmm, I figured these guys must not be individuals…they were on teams, thank God. That would explain why, and how, they were putting time on me so quickly at the start. They were fresh at the start of the bike, I was not. As we headed back towards T2 I was closing on them and could actually see them both. I wasn’t sure if I would catch them before the finish, but might. I kept hammering along and feeling solid. As I entered an intersection a volunteer directed me straight through when I was supposed to turn. Fortunately I looked back at her and she indicated I needed to turn. So I slowed to a stop and flipped a U turn and was back on track. Probably lost about 20 seconds, nothing too crazy other than a steady tempo. I was frustrated, but at the same time, I am a huge advocate that racers need to know the course…I did not and relied on being directed. I normally will drive the course the day prior, but since we drove down, I did not have time.

I rolled into T2 in 3rd, just behind the 2 teams ahead. I was handed a transition bag, and realized it was not mine. Funny part was, they gave me bag #6…I was #242. How could they make such a huge error? They did not, I did. I never took the sticker off my helmet from the Priest Lake Triathlon a couple weeks prior so that was what they called out…doh! I tossed bag #6 and they scrambled to give me the right bag. I transitioned into my K-Swiss K’ruzz racing flats and was off. These shoes make you feel like you are flying regardless of speed…love these shoes! I could see the teams down the road and started to take splits. I was reeling them in and passed the first team at mile #1…then started to close on the first team who was a tall guy with a decent pace. I was watching my TIMEX Global Trainer and knew my pace, and average pace, were solid. But I was closing consistently. I passed him at mile 2.5 and was actually hoping he would run with me for a bit…he didn’t. I hit the turnaround and was heading back. I took a split to see where 2nd was. Around every corner I was looking. And each time, I did not see anyone. Then he came. The perennial favorite, and Team USA member, Ryan Brown appeared. He has been in the top 2 of this race for at least the past 5 years and has won it the past 2 or 3. He is a local and is quite fast. I have only raced against him once a couple years ago. But, according to my split, I had over 4 minutes on him. I knew I was in a good spot. I felt great on the run feeling like my turnover was quick and I felt light. I was staying in control, yet knew I needed to pay attention to breathing and how my legs were feeling. I started to see some familiar faces from my club, Tri Fusion. Scott Allen was in 3rd and then Greg Gallagher who was in 5th. Both looked good and I was excited to see where they finish.
I finally rounded the last bend and could see the finish at the top of a 400 meter hill. I kept it steady and crossed in 1:53:17. So going quite a bit faster than 2:00 was capable. Even as a 39 year old, I think if you knew this course, were efficient with transitions, you could go sub 1:50. But that will be for another race.
There were a few casualties in this race though. Natalie got a flat just 3 miles into the bike, and Dave was hit by a car on the bike while in the top 15 at mile 18. Dave ended up running his bike in and finishing the race.
So I was finally able to race the elusive Titanium Man triathlon. It was a great day and I have to say it will be a race that I would like to come back to. Now that I know the course a bit better, I can race it smarter...maybe not faster though.
The only thing missing from this race was my family. I have done a few races this year without hearing Emma and Jessi cheering. Hearing their voices always brings a smile to my face. But, racing and training, and scheduling our entire lives around triathlon is not a real priority for us. That’s not to say that we don’t support one another, just saying that this was not a race that was of utmost importance. Triathlon or not, life carries on. It’s nice to be able for us to take care of needs and not feel like we are ‘missing’ something.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Whitworth Criterium

Roger to Jessi at 9:15am: "The Whitworth Criterium is today."

Jessi: "What time does it start?"

Roger: "11:00am"

Jessi: "You gonna do it?"

Roger: "I don't know, I was thinking about it, but I don't think so."

Jessi: "You should, you will have fun."

Roger: "I don't know. I rode kind of hard yesterday and I forgot it was today."

Jessi: "You will regret it if you don't."

Roger: "Okay...I should probably get ready."

Roger: "They also have a kid's race."

Jessi: "Emma would love to do that."

Jessi: (smile) "What can I do to help you get ready?"

And that was how the morning went. I went down to the basement to find my road bike. I realized it did not have any cranks on it or wheels. Hmmm...probably need to fix that. I quickly assembled the missing parts and was then finding my cycling gear. This consisted of many 'yells' up the stairs starting with, "Jessi, have you seen my..."

Eventually I got most of what I needed. Jessi mixed some bottles for me and I was pretty much ready to roll at 10:20. The reason I could not miss this race was it was being held 2 miles away. So I saddled up and rode to the race.
Upon arrival I signed in and rode a few laps. I ran into some familiar faces and did some catching up. The Whitworth Criterium, presented by Spokane Rocket Velo, is a .9 mile loop with only 2 real corners. But it did pose some challenges because on race day it was VERY windy.

Our pack quickly assembled on the start line. Since I had some hard efforts yesterday, I was surprised my legs did not feel more fatigued. They did not feel like they had that high end explosive speed, but they felt good. I take Extreme Endurance and I am convinced that plays a HUGE role. My intentions were to sit in for about the first third of the race. Kind of let things settle, and then go to work. Well, I think I race one way...attack, bridge, chase, attack, repeat. Because I only made it about 1/2 way around the first lap and I felt the pace was too slow so I attacked. You see, when packs (especially in crits) go slow, that's when crashes typically happen. As I was off the front, and producing some pretty big watts, I had to smile. You race the way you race...

After a couple laps in, I started to hear some familiar cheers. Emma, Jessi and Owen had arrived. I can always hear Emma's little voice cheering at the top of her lungs. Jessi had the whole clan in tow...and lots of bags too. Such a production with an infant. I will spare you all the race details, but I was able to get in a break and stay away. It was a fun event and one that I hope they will continue to have.

After my race I went and saw Jessi. She had mixed up a recovery drink for me and gave me some recovery supplements. So cool. She really takes amazing care of me and the family...always thinking ahead. Emma was already warming up for her race and sizing up the competition. Her race would start in about an hour and they would do 1.5 laps. They grouped all the kids together...kids from 6 years old to 12. A mix of mountain bikes and road bikes. The 'younger kids' would only do 1/2 a lap and initially Emma was lumped into that group. But she asked the official if she could do the longer race, and he obliged.

Photo by Kimberly Hicks Brittain

The race started and some boys took off fast. They got a good gap but Emma started to go to work. She was passing kids and getting up to the 2 boys up front. As they approached the hill on the back of the course, Emma flew up it...I don't think she even shifted. One of the boys yelled, "Girl coming!" to his buddy. But it did not matter. Emma smoked them on the hill and then maintained over the top. I could tell she was working hard and 'racing.' She put such a gap on them, that you could not even see them at the finish. She rolled across 1st...ahead of all the boys :) It was pretty fun to watch. And the race official who questioned if she could make it was obviously surprised. When she finished she was so excited and I could tell was tired.

The highlight was sharing the day with my family and watching some races in some beautiful weather. None of this would be possible without support from my family. We all work together to make things happen. It's such a good feeling.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Wednesday Mt Bike Race #3

Well, not much more to say about these races really. They are a blast, amazing people, and a phenomenal workout regardless of your "sport." As a triathlete, these races expose me to some serious 'above threshold' efforts in a real race environment. They also train my bike handling skills a great deal as well to keep them sharp. And lets face it, triathletes, in general, are not known for their keen bike handling. Finally it allows me to network with other wheel riding people, that I have to say, are not so OCD, Type A, Compulsive, etc. Now, I can see you all now wrinkling your nose and scowling. I know I am part of this said group as well. I also know that there are many mt. bikers that are too... but I am pretty confident about the bike handling :) I'm just saying, it's a change of scenery. If you have not been to one...go. You will see what I am talking about.

Today's race was a big change. It was a lot more single track and more technical with tight corners and major rock sections. It is definitely not the area that I make up any time on people. I need the wide open trails...the wider the better. But for today, I would be learning. I was also a little fatigued from the 24 Hour Race efforts on Saturday and Sunday. Legs will be calling for some recovery at some point. Thank you Extreme Endurance!

I started on the front line and could not get my foot in. I went into the first corner about 10th out of 60. Not ideal. We immediately started a single track climb that I started to see a slight split. I knew not to freak out...I would let the others do that. I passed a couple guys, and we started another single track climb. The front 4 were pulling away. Patience. Things finally settled in and I figured I was with a group that I would be good with for a bit. One guy came off the lead group and we picked him up. We turned into a group of about 8, and I was riding 6. We hit some steep climbs where guys tried to move up...but then exploded over the top. After lap 1 of 2, we were down to 4. As we rounded the first corner into lap 2, I could see that Jessi made a special trip down to the race to cheer me on...or look at all the other svelte young guys :). I heard her cheer, and knew Owen was somewhere with a full belly of milk. It's so refreshing to see familiar faces (good looking ones too) that cheer your name. Makes the race feel more personal. I looked at my TIMEX Global Trainer to see how many miles a lap was so I knew when the finish would come at the end of lap 2. There were 2 guys from a local team "The Bike Hub" that did 90% of the work. The guys behind me only had an interest in getting ahead of me. The two "hubbers" navigated everything well and I was getting gapped on every technical section but could easily close on the open areas. As we rolled quickly into the last 2k or so, the road opens up. Like I have said before, when others do a lion's share of the work, I normally do not contest the finish. So I wound it up a bit and went to the front to give these guys a swift lead out. As I pulled in front of the lead guy, he took my draft. I could see the 4th guy making an effort for the finish, and I let it roll. I was hoping one of the "hubbers" would pull around me, but I think I gapped them all. As a result, I won the 4 person sprint. Wasn't really a sprint, but you get the idea. I ended up 4th overall...thanks to other people's work.

Fast Finish

Afterward I thanked the 'hubbers' for all their work and it was not my intention on stealing the finish. They loved the race and thought it was the best one they have done so far. What a great group of guys all in all. Out there for fun, pushing and challenging themselves...just like me. We chatted a bit and then I went to the finish line.

At the finish line the keg was already tapped and the rootbeer was being pulled from the cooler. Everyone has their own account of their race which is always fun to hear. Sometimes you can relate, and other times you wonder if they were on the same course.

I was looking for Jessi. Normally she can be found at the finish line where she gets the finish shots. I located her in her car with Owen...a little 'busy.' I chatted with a few more people. Robin from Fitness Fanatics was there. She was the host sponsor of this week's event. As a result Felt bikes showed up. People were able to demo their mt. bikes. Jessi emerged from the car and Owen was ready for a hug...and a diaper change. No matter how hard you ride, what place you finish, or how tired you 'think' you are...poop happens.

Start the watch

Remove diaper..wipe and clean...

Install new diaper...

Stop the clock.

Nice split. I think the helmet helped.

After a quick change, (I am pretty fast at diapers), we got loaded up and headed for home. On the way home, we were greeted by a torrential downpour. So much rain that rivers were crossing the roads, small ponds were forming that cars could not cross. I love this stuff.

Here is a short video I shot on the way home from the race. Notice the guy in the brown Chevy to my right. He decides to show how cool he is by trying to 4x4 it through the water...only to flood his rig and literally become "dead in the water." He was pretty cool for about 3 seconds.