Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Rookie Season as a Pro & Silverman / Austin 70.3 Race Recaps

idk bout those spokes, but positions look tight. #aerosnapchat
Preface: I just finished watching “Rounders” on Netflix, so you can bet this post is going to be flush full of poker & card metaphors. That’s my play, no kicker, just an exposed hand. Jokers & wilds have no place here. If you want to fold now, please feel free to do so; there’s no rathole midway thru the game.
(Seriously, that was pretty much it.. Just had to splash the pot on the flop & get it off my chest.)

I haven’t blogged but twice this year & feel like I owe all of my friends a hearty “you’re welcome” for not taking up your precious time noodling around on other, similarly irrelevant, blogs and websites. But alas, you’re at the table now, so let’s deal..

Don't be jealous of that run belt..
If the success of my rookie season as a professional triathlete was a song, it’d be exactly like Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Starting off incredibly depressing and slow with some light piano- people are wondering where they’re going with it. Then the tune turns & the tempo starts to quicken a bit, but the lyrics are absurdly dark and nonsensical- making the listener feel glum or straight up question what Freddy Mercury is doing with his life. A light guitar solo enters, temporarily putting people at ease (“ah, there’s a hint of the old Queen we’re used to”). But then the song stops completely and a snappy piano chord starts up & emerges (or what one would think to be) a completely new song, with a chorus & multiple tracks of Freddy Mercury’s vocals hitting your ears with a rock opera. Then the drums & guitar- & we’re off, head banging #WaynesWorld. That was a long-winded version of saying, I’m on the up & up.

Since I last updated this blog after a positive race in Syracuse, I’ll ante up a quick recap of the summer races and get everyone in the game:

In July, my pops and I road-tripped up to Sonoma for the Vineman 70.3.. Being in good fitness I was stoked to hit the course with a slightly less daunting pro men’s field than what has become the norm of that race. Unfortunately, in the few days leading up to the race I had been fighting a flu-like cold & convinced myself I wasn't sick at all, but fatigued. After a poor swim and miserable 25 miles on the bike & I went into survival mode and “finished”. I don’t recommend running a half off the bike with a fever & feeling nauseous, but I’m glad I stuck it out.

Just wish we had matching outfits. Gregg, Reid, Barb, Lex
In August I flew up to Seattle to race the Lake Stevens 70.3 (sadly, the last time racing that race due to Ironman's pro race restructuring). Having just received my (much needed) new Cervelo P3, days before, I didn't have a rear race wheel compatible with an 11 speed cassette. My bud, Luke McKenzie, was gracious enough to send up his rear 11-speed 808 from Bend with Clayton Fettell. Being the absentminded idiot I am, I put the wheel on, not having a chance to ride & check it beforehand. Unfortunately, the conti tire Luke had on was thicker than the tire I had on my training wheel and was rubbing into the frame (nobody’s fault but mine). So a PR swim of 26:04 and a decent (yet unmotivated) 1:19 run was eclipsed by a bike split of nearly 10 minutes slower than what I posted the year before. Despite the wheel blunder, I managed a top 10 finish.
Lake Stevens. Not sure why I'm so happy.Must be the lenses.
I noticed a lot of positive changes in my cycling fitness and run strength in early September. I’d like to credit this to a sizable cycling training block I did in May/June (thanks to the advice of Brett Clare) followed by a massive run block in mid/late summer (guided by Beth Gerdes).

Silvermang 70.3

In early October, Mark Barber, Jen Ward Barber, Jen’s parents (Don & Sherri), Mitch Hall, Lucy Hall, Katya Meyers, Payton Douglas, Reid Butsko, my parents & I took the #VictoryVan out to a house on Lake Las Vegas for the Silverman 70.3. Having been familiar with the 70.3 World Championship course, I knew that the bike course was slightly tailored to my cycling strength (lots of steady climbing with middle range gradients).The swim course was moved from Lake Las Vegas to Lake Mead and the bike course was altered accordingly (which included a significantly increased amount of climbing, especially right out of T1). The run course remained the same 3 lap, 2 mile uphill-2 mile downhill, grind.
See Payton's sign for more on Unicorn Bird$
After a toasty wetsuit swim in Hot Tub Mead, I exited the water in a good size pack, 2-3ish minutes down on the lead group. After the 1st couple miles on the bike, I decided to take the reigns of our little 4-5 man group and turn up the pace a bit to shake off the clingers. Tom Lowe rode by me on a flat section around mile 5 and I did my best to stick to his pace for the next 15 miles. That dude is a powerhouse on the bike and the only reason I could hang in the vicinity was the climbing. After enough time was put into me on descents and flat sections I realized I was in noman's land and there was no point to do so when two strong cyclists, Thomas Gerlach and Steven Kilshaw, were riding just a bit behind me. Joined up with them and we cruised the remainder of the course together. On the last aid station, Kilshaw was in front and sat up to toss some of his bottles out. I was still in my aerobars and rode too close to him going into the aid station. Not thinking, I backed out to the legal spacing. Stupid me for not knowing the rules that if you enter a rider's draft zone, you HAVE to pass. Well, I got a lovely 4 minute penalty for that, which I’m not arguing about, I’m just pissed at myself for not paying attention in the moment. Upon hitting T2 in 2:30, I sat, angrily, in a penalty box, besides transition for 3 minutes and watched Thomas and Steven hit the run course together in 3rd and 4th place (as well as another dude, a few minutes later, passing for 5th). After a pity party and a bit of childish behavior in T2, I started my pouty run. Somewhere around mile 3 or 4, I decided that not all was lost and I could still have a decent run. I ended up in 6th at the end of the day, which was disappointing, but a step in the right direction.
Payton, putting on the finishing touches.

I’d be lying if I said that the Austin 70.3 wasn't on the top of my mind every day following Silverman. I knew I had fitness, just needed a race where something uncontrollable didn't bonch up my scene.

With a 2 gallon zip-lock bag jammed full of Harmony Bars, a bandanna (to fight off Ebola in the airport, like a Cowboy would), and a mean hankering for BBQ, I flew off to one of my favorite cities and met up one of my best buds, Brian Wrona (I didn't actually follow thru with the airport bandanna idea in fear of looking like a hipster terrorist). My friend and fellow pro, Katya Meyers also flew out the next day to join our party at Wrona’s pad. Our pre-race dinner of chip & salsa with 2 beers really hit the spot and Sunday morning I knew I was ready to shuffle the deck.

My morning started by walking thru a small swamp on the way to T1. 15 minutes were spent hunting in the dark for sandals, which I borrowed from Wrona, submerged in a few feet of mud alongside any swag I woke up with. I thoroughly enjoyed the look from a woman when I exited the porta-potty covered in “mud”. After a wide eyed stare of confusion, I promptly said “watch out for that seat, it’s tricky…”

The deep V-neck edition.
The swim started awkwardly with all of the pro men standing on the beach, unaware the race was starting in 30 seconds.. It was an in-water start and the start buoys were roughly 30-50 meters off shore, so.. slightly haphazard beginning to a race. Nonetheless, after the initial splish-splashing about, I found the feet of Chris Leiferman, who had a good pace going, and I got comfy. Exited in mid 26 with another good sized pack of dudes. T1 was a tough one, but not as tough as the bottom of my feet, unfortunately; lost way too much time plucking thorns out from underfoot. Having T1 located in the middle of a brier patch isn't ideal but it could probably be passable in future years by maybe adding some carpets, tarp, I don’t know… anything? Got on the bike and jammed the 1st couple miles to catch up to a little group of some stronger cyclists that had formed while I was mucking about in T1. About ½ way thru the course I realized that I was having a good day and the energy was there, I just kept telling myself to not do anything stupid to screw up the vibe that my legs were throwing out. Our group had caught 3 dudes that got dropped from the pace that Kevin Collington and Chris Kemp were setting, up front. In the last 4 or 5 miles (at least from my seat) the pace quickened and the group started turning it up a bit. I ended up 5-10 seconds back from the group coming into T2 with a time of 2:14 (which, on the new and extremely rough course, I was pretty happy with) . Maybe it was nutrition, maybe it was me not paying attention during a surge; I’m not sure, but I was a little bummed to start the run just behind everyone. My legs weren't all there during the run but I had the energy to hold a strong pace the whole time. Went from 8th to 7th and ended the day with a 1:19 run and finish time of 4:03.

Happy, mostly because I've finally got the chips to play with the high rollers rather than playing a lonely game of solitaire, off the back. That’s the feeling I've been craving and the main reason why I wanted to race with the big boys. I’m really looking forward to taking a little break then getting back at it this winter and prepping for a big year in 2015.

Big thanks to all the awesome people and sponsors I've had help me this year.. Spy Optic, Harmony Bar, Stone Brewing Co., Xterra Wetsuits, Nytro Multisport & my awesome family and friends.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wandering the Windy City & the Syracuse 70.3

Pre-race swim w/ Jennyonthethumbsup
Don’t travel with me. Just don’t… I’m undoubtedly cursed. If there’s one thing I can count on when flying anywhere, it’s that I can’t count on anything. I’m pretty sure untrained carrier pigeons would've reached Syracuse faster than I did last week. Covered wagons on the Oregon Trail would’ve been a more efficient & reliable transportation method for my cargo than checking it onto a plane.

My wayward enterprise to the East Coast began last Wednesday morning at the San Diego airport- & to no surprise, with a 2 hour delay. On my (almost) arrival into O’Hare airport in Chicago, the captain informed the flight that we can’t land “due to a bit of choppy weather”. We circled above Illinois for another hour before landing at, what would become, my new favorite least favorite place on earth. If anyone has any questions or would like advice on where to go in terminal 2 at O’Hare, just shoot me a message, because I was there, delayed, for 8 HOURS. I can list you the name of every shop & restaurant, in order, in concourse C like the 1st 20 Presidents of the United States (so with about 80% accuracy, some spelling errors, and a few that don’t actually exist). I know where all the prime spots to charge your phone are, where all the flight crew members gather and gripe before/after flights, & where to sit and enjoy a beer while observing people frantically running to & fro gates. I own the record for the pub crawl in concourse C, having 1 beer at every bar that evening. This endless delay finally ended at 1:30am with the outright cancellation of the flight.
Millennium Park
Left to fend for myself until the next flight to Syracuse (which was Friday AM, 30 hours later), I set out into the windy city to find a bed. After unsuccessfully infiltrating a Holiday inn and Best Western, learned that every hotel in/surrounding the city was booked (or overbooked). I was forced to split a cab with 5 others, 17 miles into the middle of BF-nowhere to a Super 8. The next morning, awoke with excitement (seriously) and jumped on a train into the city. I had never been to Chicago and have always wanted to, so I got out my exhausted phone and texted a number of friends from Chicago and asked where I should go & explore in the city. I took a tally of the most popular suggestions and took action. It was actually an awesome day roaming the city and wandering around this urbane & metropolitan wonderland. With the expectation of a few close calls with some ruffians on an evening run to Soldier Field thru the South Side, it was a great day.

Of course, my flight was delayed for 2 hours on Friday morning to Syracuse because the Pilots were in a different city. Nonetheless, I finally made it to the Cuse that afternoon….. with a missing bike. I (almost) didn’t care; just happy to see my friends & home stay, Dan & Alesha, as well as victoriously reach my destination. With a crash course in How to successfully argue with the airlines by being pestering and aggressive by Alesha, my bike was found and delivered to the airport on Saturday afternoon, 20 minutes before the Pro meeting.
Soldier Field

Let’s Talk Racing-
With the knowledge learned from being there late last year, Dan & I armed our alarm clocks early and navigation system for the road less traveled (the back road entrance) & arrived at the race with plenty of time to spare. I was uniquely amped and excited before the start (later attributing this internal explosion (on every level) to the pint of straight espresso that I drank with breakfast).

I was slightly surprised I had a decent swim, thinking for sure I’d have a bad swim with my regimen of 25-minute, twice weekly, swims at my parent’s pool over the last 2 months. Nonetheless, felt strong and took turns rotating around with a group of 3 others, exiting in 26:30.

 I borrowed my brother’s bike (my old Shiv) for this race (any bike companies out there….. I’d love a bike. Anything above a 1998 ti frame will do). Just like hooking up with an ex, everything felt familiar and there were no awkward moments in position re-acquaintance, which made for smooth sailing on the bike course. A big change in cycling training was mainly credited to much conversing with Brett Clare. For those of you that don’t know Brett, aside from being one of the most humble and class dudes around, I couldn’t even begin to list his endless accomplishments in cycling. Brett helped form the groundwork to get me on the right track, and with just 6-7 weeks of change, I had, unquestionably, the strongest bike split in a 70.3 I’ve ever had. Praise also to Luke McKenzie for helping me with boundless technical aspects to cycling. There’s so much to learn about this sport, you can’t do it without the help of others who’ve experienced it, themselves.

I rode without power or any sort of bike computer and relied totally on effort. The downer was I forgot to attach a 2nd bottle cage to my back seat, so I only had 1 bottle and had to grab a few water hand-offs at course aid stations. I believe I passed 7 people on the bike and rode  alone the whole day. I felt strong and even held back a bit on the climb. I really love that course, it’s got a long grinding grade/climb for the first 15-20 miles then rolling, ending with a few downhill sections; great road conditions and epic scenery. 2:17 bike split. It would’ve been nice to have a few others around to keep the pressure up when I’d start to get comfortable, but I think I did a decent job with the presented circumstances.

Run snaps by Dan
I entered T2 in 8th place and was excited to start the run in the top 10. Unfortunately, I could tell immediately that I was going to be fighting.a losing battle with dehydration. After rolling thru mile 2 around goal pace (11:40), I walked a few aid stations and drank as much water as I could get down. The next 6 miles were ROUGH and the challenging course/hills didn’t help anything. It wasn’t until miles 8-9 that my energy came around and I could pick up my legs again. The last 5k I felt great but the damage had already been done and had been passed by too many guys. Ended the day in 12 th (24 Pro men started) in 4:12

I wasn't particularly satisfied with my result but happy I’m finally figuring out the 70.3 distance and seeing progress. I’m confident I can piece it all together someday.

Following the race, Jen and Mark convinced me to come with them to get some of the local favorite Ice Cream (I’m so hard to convince when it comes to sweets);  &  a well earned dinner at Dinosaur BBQ capped off the night. (Joint celebration for Dr. Mark Barber, successfully defending at SU, days prior.)
Should hv just taken that balloon back home..
As you can probably imagine, the trip back home was nearly as ridden with shite luck as the way out. I’m not lying when I tell you this (as if I were lying about anything else in this post) that this devil woman at the front counter of United was deadest on charging me $450 to check my bike back to SD. Clearly, by her superiorly accurate eyeballing size/scaling talent, she could tell that my bike case was just over the size requirements for oversized baggage. After 45 minutes of arguing and eventually proving her wrong with a tape measure, the price was reduced to a mere $225 (the monkey covering his eyes emoji, here). After a 3 hour in delay in Newark because, get this, they loaded another plane’s baggage onto the plane I was on and only God knows where our baggage was. I made it back to San Diego only to find the jetway (connector from the plane to the terminal) had been frozen and had to be reset by the mechanics, which took 35 more minutes before we could un-board. Thinking only of how I’d be devouring California Burritos and an IPA with my brother as soon as I got off that ridiculous ramjet, those felt like the longest 35 minutes of my life. I almost kissed the ground when I got back to Encinitas, but instead kissed my Stone IPA after a toast to a great & unforgettable trip.

Dino BBQ w/ Mark, Jen, Dan & Alesha

Thanks to my outrageously rad sponsors- Spy, Harmony Bars, Stone Brewing Co, Xterra wetsuits, and Snapchat (…just kidding, or am?). Special thanks to Dan, Alesha & little Finn. Thank you guys for opening up your home to me and making me feel like family.. Lookin forward to returning the love in SD soon! (Also to the Anderson family for giving me an Ecuadorian Spear. You can bet I’m gonna nab some fish in the lagoon with that that sucker). Lastly, Gregg, Barb, Reid & Lexi… you guys make me this happy: Click Here #andreaGail
The Flight Home #snapchat

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Lumberyard Eating Challenge

Pic by Courtney
Switching things up a bit, I’m going to write a recap of my last endeavor, an eating challenge. I figured this is probably something the standard “Cats in Pajamas” audience member rarely partakes in. Hopefully I can provide a little insight on the challenges of an eating competition. Let me preface this by saying that I went into this entirely too cocky. As I found out (just like I found out during my 1st beer mile), because you like something (food, beer, or even working out) and you enjoy doing it a lot, doesn't make you competitive at it. There’s a separation between enjoying a particular activity (in this case, eating cheeseburgers & fries) and relishing in the struggle of a trial or competition involving that.

This particular eating challenge was discovered (note: “discovered” is being used as a personal reference, not a public revelation) as Mark Barber and I were enjoying a double cheeseburger at The Lumberyard in Encinitas a year ago. On the menu, a 4x4 burger eating challenge is offered, though few have taken part in it, let alone finished. In short, you have 30 minutes to finish four 1/2lb patties, topped with four slices of cheese, four pieces of bacon, lettuce, a fried egg, onions and a Thousand Island spread on both sides of the pretzel bun. Oh, failed to mention the 1lb of french fries surrounding this mountain of burger, like a moat protecting a castle. This idea was thrilling, to say the least. As we ate our double cheeseburgers, the challenge seemed very accomplish-able.

It wasn't until my roommate, Jake, suggested the idea a few weeks ago that we finally found a date to put our high talk into action. Now, those who know me are most likely aware that I can put away a pretty hefty portion of food. Unfortunately, I also eat at a speed similar to the speed that Garmin’s customer service department works at- SLOW as a dying turtle. I’ll ALWAYS be the last person eating at the table & have become comfortable with people angrily watching me eat as they’re waiting leave. I can make a bowl of oatmeal last for hours. If there was a Lifetime Achievement award for savoring food, I’d have two of them.
That being said, I figured, in the spirit of competition, I could flip the switch and eat fast for 30 minutes (that’s probably how Kobayachi or Joey Chestnut train for competitive eating competitions, right?). Same strategy for endurance sports.. Just do a bunch of reeeeaallly long slow runs for years & I’m sure you’ll knock out a 4-minute mile when game day finally rolls around. (no?)

Game Day:
With a support crew of friends, we rolled into The Lumberyard on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Having done some substantial training (cycling, not food prep) in the morning/ afternoon, I came hungry. When we informed our server that out of the 10+ people at our table, 3 would be doing the 4x4 challenge, a quiet sense of excitement spread throughout the restaurant (or maybe just our table and 3 other servers). A man, who I can only assume was the manager, came out before the challenge started and listed the official rules. When our mammoth mountains of meat were presented to us, I was excited right down to the moment it was set down before me. I’m sure I heard the table let out a small quiver as the beast burger was dropped in front of me and tested the bulwark of this eating pulpit. After the essential documentation (snapchat, naturally) of these outlandish towers of carne had commenced, a timer was set down before us.
The same shaky feeling you get, minutes before a race, overtook me as I looked into the eyes of the burger. The timer was started and we were off. I had no real strategy for this (which was stupid), opened the burger up and started mowing patty by patty down. I glanced over at Mark to see the “Pie slice” method being employed, with a perfectly chiseled out 1/5th of the tower now missing. Jake had chosen to take the classic burger eating method (to his credit & scoring the most style points). He, straight up, manhandled the entire thing and was ferociously attacking it like a corn on the cob. 
Game Faces. Snapchat by Charisa
My first reality check came after the 1st 5 minutes, when I’d already taken down 2 patties and some bacon and realized my stomach didn't have the ability to posses this much food in a mere 30 minutes. Hunger wasn't the issue, I was perpetually hungry the whole time, I just couldn't fit it into my stomach like a boa constructor. 15 minutes in, I had 1 patty remaining and started working on the fries. After taking down all the sweet potato fries I took stock of the remaining room in my body, picked up the last patty and couldn't take a bite. These patties weren't your flimsy burger king/in-n-out patties, these were heavy. They said the burger was 2lbs of meat, but we decided that it was an estimate and was likely more. Mark was the 1st to throw out the white flag, followed by Jake and I, surrendering with 10 minutes to go. Mitch Hall rationalized it the best when he asked “If you were absolutely famished right now, could you eat the remainder of that in 10 minutes?” No. So why even attempt it after having stuffed your face silly for 20 minutes.
A scale was brought out and we weighed what Jake and I had remaining… Jake had 10oz of food left and I had 11. Jake was the winner of the losers. As I said yesterday, I may have lost the battle but I won the war with that burger. I felt fantastic the next day and had enough calories to provide some great workouts.

Take-away from this experience: Because I love food doesn't make me a competitive eater. Expecting to just show up and finish that in 30 minutes would be like your casual exerciser (20 minutes of cardio 3x a week, arms & back on Tues/Thurs, etc..) expecting to jump into an Ironman and finish in under 10 hours. There’s a reason only 19 people of the 150+ have been successful in the 4x4 challenge; it wouldn't be a challenge if it was easy. The willingness to train & suffer is what separates the competitors from the participants.

On an unrelated note, I'm jazzed to be going to Syracuse again for the 70.3 in 2 weeks!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Talkin Durty to Ya

(Complements of Reid's instaG selfie sillz)
167 days since I've last punched the keyboard with my thoughts and spat it onto this blog for all the interwebers to behold. Since that day, any time I've tried writing something that’s taken more than 30 seconds to jot down, I've just ended up getting side tracked, taking “what character are you” quizzes on Buzzfeed or shopping for nut butters on Amazon. Yes, my attention span has become diminished as my need for quick info has increased (in which, I blame twitter & snapchat for). In those 167 days, a lot of really unimportant and irrelevant stuff has occurred; like the rise and fall of my mustache. I’m still confused at how so many people managed to take me seriously during that time, as well as my ability to maintain eye contact with anyone for more than 5 seconds. I've also discovered that it’s possible to ride the exact same times (if not faster) on a 10-15 year old titanium frame bike, worth $free.99, as it is on a $12k+ bike (so what if feels like you’re scootin on a John Deere lawnmower compared to a Lambo? ..You’re still going the same speed, just (waaaay) less sex appeal).

Spectating is hard work.
I began this post to chat about the New Orleans 70.3 but I’ll first address the Oceanside 70.3…
(If you like twitter, or abstracts of abstracts, then: What you’re about to read is a brief downer paragraph. Skip it if you want to get to fun stuff)
I was hesitant to race the Oceanside 70.3 as my first race of the year- with a World Championship caliber field, chomping at the bit to get their season underway… BUT I did. Felt like a dude who can Macarana exceptionally, but jumped on stage alongside Michael Jackson, Shakira, Chris Brown and MC Hammer in a dance-off & expected to be competitive. (Even the Coachella hologram of MC Hammer would still annihilate me… oh he’s still alive? nvm #STOPhammertime). That being said, here’s a quick recap: I sat on the back of a big pack until the turn around buoy then somehow got separated and solo zig-zagged the remainder of the swim. It wasn't my finest swim ever. The harder I pushed on the bike, the flatter and more unenthused I became. Far behind, riding solo and not being around ANY competition (other than a pressing 20 minutes with Karl Bordine) for 35-40 miles was pretty damn frustrating, especially when you’re having a flat day. My heart & mind just weren't in it. I’m just being honest here. I hung my head and spun back to T2 then transitioned to my car. I've gotten a lot of people upset at me for bailing, and I mean no disrespect to them or to the sport by pulling out (not proud of it either). Empty heartedly completing a distance isn't “racing” to me and certainly not why I enjoy triathlon. A mental restructuring was/is needed to race professionally and all experiences make us grow. That’s all I got, regarding Oceanside.

I was excited about racing the New Orleans 70.3. A slightly more reasonable Men’s Pro field meant that I could at least be competitive and around some dudes. Also, I was stoked for my brother who jumped onboard last minute to race his 1st 70.3.
Race day began with an introduction of the Pro field, one by one. After hearing the announcer introduce great triathletes before me with countless accolades, I was shocked to hear them actually have plenty of info on me when they intro’ed me. I believe one of the phrases was “blogger, extraordinaire” which I immediately heard my brother laughing and in my head thought “haha.. I wonder if these guys know that I haven’t even glanced at my blog account in months”. But to their cred, I probably wouldn't have started writing this if they didn't say that.
Reid & I sharing how great how great our days hv been
After a wonky & extremely unannounced start, I saw a few guys go off the front & left a large pack of dudes swimming a very "Keith" style pace. Thanks to the massive water churning of Tom Lowe, I was hardly working, sitting on his feet. I felt like a kayak in the wake of a cruise ship. In the last 2-300 meters I got into a better position & exited with a good-sized group of guys. Hopped out of transition with em & started motoring up the N'awlins Highway. Literally, in the 1st mile or two a ref scootered along side me & displayed a red card. I was pretty chill about it (if I do say so), calmly asked when/what it was for & he explained that he gave me a 4 minute penalty for taking 35 (or something) seconds to pass a rider. Hmm, really? I honestly didn't even know what he was talking about as we had just started out on the bike & the pack I came out of the water with was a hodgepodge & still sorting itself out. I didn't get down & just kept riding like nothing had happened. "Think about it when you get off the bike & take the penalty in t2. I wasn't having the most awesome time on that bike course in the wind & my legs didn't feel as strong as I would've liked (how often are they ever, though?) but had a decent pace going on. I don't remember when, exactly, but I got misdirected off course by a police & missed a bridge. That was a downer. 

Rolled into t2 (or/actually the penalty box outside of transition) & saw Chris McDonald, fresh out of the penalty box himself. I had a nice little chat with my dad thru the duration of those 4 long minutes & saw a grip of pro men ride in & take off from behind me. Figured, "I'm out here with an empty run course, may as well knock out a good brick run workout without trying to wreck myself for St. George in 2 weeks". So, I ended up taking out the 1st 6-7 miles at a nice Sunday long run pace, and then progressively running each of the remaining 6 miles faster than the last. The last 5k was a steady hard effort. #boringTrainingdetails 
The only thing I was genuinely upset with was that after a great swim, my poor brother got a flat, rolling his bike out of t1, then a rear flat after the 1st mile. He didn't even get a chance to get in his aerobars, let alone finish his 1st half. I didn't think my shite fortune would bleed into his bank account. Not sure what cricket in a crack I stepped on while walking under a ladder, alongside a black cat, during a full moon I pissed off, but I desperately need a bird to poop on me, cause I could use some luck.
Rice, beans, cased meat that's been uncased, & beer #NOLA
New Orleans was still a good time and I had fun exploring thru the streets of the durty Vegas of the south with my fam. I’m looking forward to going back to St. George in less than 2 weeks and hitting that course like I did last year, but “one more time, with feeling”.

Big thanks to all of my kick ass sponsors, I love you guys. Spy, Stone Brewing Co. & Harmony Bar! And (as always,) all of my love to my family & friends for your support. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Experiencing the Weird in Austin

Noisy on your eyes, quiet on your ears.
Last week I traveled back to Austin TX with hopes as big as the guts of faithful Wataburger customers. After a nails race here last year (7th overall) and a solid race at the Texas 70.3 at the beginning of this year (knocking out a 4:02), I was eager to get back to the Lone Star State & dig in the spurs to crank out more Tejas horsepower.

Melvin's food truck dude laughed when I asked for that 
I convinced my mom & sister to come out with me and experience the brilliance of Austin because the city is genuinely interesting & quirkily oddball.  We invaded Brian Wrona’s new Austin pad while he was, ironically, on a trip back to the west coast. Can’t thank you enough, Brian- & I really hope you relish those new lima bean colored sheets & harvest emotional & physical warmth in the awful discounted Dallas Cowboys & Christmas blankets we left you with. I was also jazzed that a bunch of great friends from the good part of California came out to race & explore Austin. Most of the fun was adventuring with friends, post race. I will say, for as artistically cultured and grandiose the coffee shops, restaurants, boutique shops, food trucks, and festivities are... San Diego has the Austin craft beer scene beat by miles. Though, Craft Pride on Rainey Street is pretty dope, 1 or 2 good Austin bars don’t touch the legion of craft beer bars and breweries that SD has.
"I hear the 1 on the right unravels in the playoffs" - Wrona

Turned out, a good grip of pros showed up to race. I was actually kinda happy about that because it just meant that there’d be more people to ride with coming out of the swim; anything to keep the competitive fire burning. I was (/am) mega confident in my running, at the moment, so I wasn’t too concerned about losing too many battles off the bike.
Momers & I about to tackle some BBQ
The Race.

The swim was ok but fairly unexciting & expected. I gotta get better at being more aggressive in the opening 4-500 meters. I watched the men’s 25 minute pack put a tiny gap on the dude’s feet I was sitting on, around 5ish minutes in, and knew I missed the boat. Sat comfortably in a group of 3 or 4 and came out of the water, mid 26 minutes, feeling fresh.

Cool slice in the front tire (right); rear tire, thx 4 icing the cake
It had been raining that night/morning & I rode a slightly lower air pressure in my tires so I wouldn’t be sliding around on corners & turns (& just as I typed that out, realized that may have been part of the cause of my flats). On the bike, I was excited to find 5 or 6 guys, right away, to pace with/off.  Not even 12 miles in, I heard that stomach sinking sound of “pppssssttttwwwshwwwwsshhhwwwssshhh” and a thumping front end of my bike. “Rad”, I didn’t even bring Vittoria Pit Stop. I sat on the side of the road for 5-10 minutes before a photographer motored over to me and called the tech support to come my way. A wheel dude showed up sometime later & just gave me a new front wheel to ride so I could at least finish the bike. I was pretty pissed but at least I could spin back and knock out a gnarly fast run split. At mile 48, I saw a female pro on the side of the road, walking her bike with a flat (I saw a lot of flats). Just as I was thinking, “man.. flat city today” I heard that damn sound again “pppshshffffftttttssssshhhtttwwww” (that’s my best recreation of the sound I can scribe out for you, but anyone who rides a bike knows it); this time it was my rear disc (tubular tire). All you can do is shake your head and laugh at that point; merely getting back to the transition wasn’t even doable anymore. My day/last couple months of racing had just become a comedy. Sitting on the side of the road (no less, directly in front of a Donut shop, with no money.. that’s just cruel), at least I had company with my new friend, Ewa Bugdol, the female pro who flatted in the same spot I did- she was in 2nd at the time.. that blows.

I was upset, but got over it. That’s racing, I guess. Good days and bad days.. blah blah blah. Nothing is sure in sports; just by putting in endless hours suffering in training each week doesn’t guarantee results.. & good results aren’t always achieved by endless hours of training (most of the time they are, however..)

Ironworks BBQ
My triathlon season is over, but I'll jump into a running race or two before I completely pull the plug on my fitness for the year. I love triathlon; & as I was recently reminded by my good friend, Bill Jones, I do it because I have fun & find thrill of racing to be unparalleled. I’m already looking forward to building for next year, being my 1st full season racing professionally, but I think a break is overdue & well needed.
 fairly standard snapchat

I just want to thank my sponsors for believing in me and supporting my crazy racing addiction thru the ups and downs this year.. B+L Bikes, Stone Brewing Co., & of course, my radical parents & family. & my friends for tolerating my incessant barrage of snapchats.

Addendum: I’d like to give a shout to a new sponsor for next year, Harmony Bars. These little squares of goodness are so bomb you can taste the awesome!! Once Jess brought 2 trays of her White Chocolate Coconut Blondies to a party and I’m pretty sure I ate the 1st tray by myself before others even realized they were out.. (gluten/soy free). Check em out!

Charisa & Jen with no regrets.
Downtown Austin from SoCo... right after a man, solely wearing a thong, rode across on a beach cruiser.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How's Trix?

Havin a beer w/ my old Team Stone buddy, Phil MacNitt
Well shoot.. I'm sorry for not having scribbled down anything legitimate since the beginning of summer. I took a little break from chatting (and partaking) about racing; But, alas, I'm back and will start scrawling out my thoughts and experiences for the blogger world soon.

In the meanwhile, I'm excited to get back to some competition. I'll be racing the SuperFROG 1/2 Iron distance on Sept. 29 in Coronado again this year. I'll do my best to not run past the finishing chute and continue on for a 1/2 mile up the beach again like last year ;-) I also hear there's going to be a few fast cats showing up too (like my good buddy & training mate, Ian Mikelson). Looking forward to a tough/fun day.

I had initially planned on racing the Oceanside Lifetime Fitness Series Olympic race in mid October; but, after further thinking, bailed on that idea due to it being a week before the Austin 70.3... Which I'm saving up all my chips for. 
New custom speedos thx to Betty Designs

I'm also amped to announce that I've recently partnered up with the world's greatest brewery, Stone Brewing Co.  Couldn't be luckier to have the company that inspired me to do my 1st Triathlon, now become one of my sponsors (in 2009, I was working for Stone & entered their New Year's Resolution contest and (having never done an endurance sport in my life) signed up for my 1st tri after chatting with some friends at a party). 

Talk to y'all soon!

Monday, July 22, 2013


More or less, this pic sums up my last month of racing; a little pissed off, a little confused, a little frustrated.
Photo: courtesy of @ Vineman 70.3

Thank God for good friends, family, & beer.

ps. down but not out.