Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cliff Wines

This is pretty cool! I wonder what the chances are we'll be able to find these on the East Coast anytime soon?

Belgium Knee Warmers has the scoop.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lazy weekend, restless body.

After a nice lazy weekend of no racing for the first time in about 4 weeks I've found myself itching for some work. Monday I went for a nice solid 4.5 mile run that turned into a 6 miler after deciding last minute to jump across the arlington memorial bridge. Nice run with a decent pace most of the way.

Today after a brutally cold and wet short commute in wearing just shorts and a jersey (bad choice) my hopes for a lunch workout were thrwarted by a bit of an unnecessary meeting. So instead after work I got out for a spin at haines on the fixed gear. I really need to start doing that more often and start upping the bike milage. While I'm not sure I really want to do more large group rides at haines right now, I could definitely use some solid solo efforts with some lactate threshold rides thrown in for good measure. Today at hains I did some 5 minute hard intervals into the wind though pushing in a big gear is probably not what I need to be doing right now. I also worked in some 30 second sprint efforts into the wind also that were decent. They would have been better of course with some gears but for now I take what I can get.

Tomorrow unfortunately I won't be able to get out to Greenbelt so it was ok to drill the legs a little bit today. Maybe instead I'll try and get out for a long fixed gear spin out one of the commuter trails and back before I need to be somewhere around 7. Today spinning around on my bike was all I could possibly want.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Greenbelt Testorone Crit, er Training Race

Finally made it out to Greenbelt Park last night for the training race. I wasn't really sure what to expect of my own performance and quite frankly I didn't think I was going to be able to hang with the pack and finish the race. Maybe the race just picks up a lot towards the end of the season but at the end of the season last year I was having a much harder time hanging in there. I was also spending my time towards the front of the pack and attempting things while last night I spent the majority of my time in the middle-back and only once was on the very front of the pack.

Anyway, I feel like I handled the accelerations and and herky jerky of pack riding pretty well considering all of the riding I have done lately has been solo time trial stuff. The fitness level I have from everything, biking, running and swimming obviously helped tremendously since the amount of riding I've done lately is pretty minuscule. Glad to see I can get out and at least hang in there.

Overall I was satisfied with the ride, I'll start trying to do more as the weeks go by; beginning with putting myself in a better position towards the front of the pack and working to stay there. Going into the finishing sprint I was in the back and had no shot of moving my way up so I just sat up to watch Chris who was riding at about 3rd wheel. If he could sprint as strong as he can drill he would be unstoppable, especially this year. I think yesterday he ended up around 5th or 6th but they missed him in the results...

I felt pretty fresh at the end and definitely would have liked to have a better opportunity to mix it up in the sprint. But, there is always next week, and with my season pass for the B race I see myself having plenty of opportunities to roll the dice.

There was definitely some testosterone sulking in the pack last night as I suppose is the norm. Some bumping and shouting, maybe a little shove here or there. Folks need to remember it is a training race, there are no real prizes... oh and we're amateurs racing a B training race. Have fun and try not kill anyone.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Awaiting unofficial officials...

Sunday morning I woke up relatively early (for a Sunday morning at least) and headed down to Haines Point to try my hand at the final DC Tri Training Duathlon. I've never done a duathlon, and I've only ever done one real brick workout which was over a year ago when I was training for the Pittsburgh Triathlon. So, needless to say I had no idea what to expect; though I do know I've gotten a lot faster, at least on foot over the past year.

There was a good group of folks out; I'd guess at least 30 started though don't quote me on that. We all basically leaned our bikes up against trees and benches, pulled on the running shoes and lined up at the exit of the bus parking area near the point. I lined up about mid pack but quickly made my way out and around the majority of the crew once we started. I figured I might be going out to hard but I wanted to push things a little bit and soon I was solidly in 4th overall with 1 and 2 setting a blistering pace and trailing third by just a few steps.

I continued to pace off of the runner in third until I was gradually passed by another guy who then moved on to pass the guy in front of me. This got me a bit more motivated toat least keep my fourth place spot and I picked it up, passing the one and then trailing, with a slightly widening gap the new third place the remainder of the first run. This was probably one of my better 5k runs with a pace of what I'm guessing will be just over 6 minutes per mile.

The transition to the bike was ok, though I didn't really press to hard to be fast. I kept the intensity pretty high and kept my eye on the guy ahead of me. We did the long loop, all the way down to Independence and back around the point three times so I got to see how far behind the leaders I was each lap. The top two again were flying, though I think I kept them at a somewhat consistent gap for the majority of the bike. I felt pretty good, though the feeling of the run then bike is definitely a bit different then the swim then bike. The glutes were certainly feeling the brunt of the additional pain. The gap between myself and third remained fairly constant, though I don't believe I made up any ground.

The final run started pretty poorly with more calf cramping. I need to figure something out to deal with that since for the second time in a row I had to stop and message a leg so it wouldn't seize up. Once I got it worked out I cruised along the rest of the way, making sure no one was catching me but also knowing I wouldn't catch anyone ahead of me either. I definitely could have given the second run more had there been some motivation but still it was a good run.

Overall I'm very pleased with the result for the day. I've got some serious work to do before I can hang with the leaders out there but I gave a solid effort and I feel like I produced a good result against some veteran competition. I'm eagerly (read: obsessively) awaiting the final results which should be posted on the dc tri site soon so until then I won't know exactly how things went by the numbers. Will post up some data bling (sorry, no powertap here) as soon as it is available.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming of self absorbed proclamations and intentions; or something like that.

I've been working to figure out what I want to do with my season; from road racing to running to mountain biking to triathlons. It's looking like my focus will be centered around the triathlon. At this point I don't really have any road racing on my radar aside from the Greenbelt series so I may just stick with that. I've been loading up my calendar with area triathlons though, so think I'm hooked.

So, for what it's worth this is what I'm thinking for my 2008 season:
4/19 Leesburg Baker's Dozen
4/20 Kinetic Sprint Triathlon
4/27 GW Parkway 10 Miler
5/4 Nanticoke River Sprint Triathlon

Still to come:
Weekly Greenbelt Training Series Road Races
Weekly Wednesday's at Wakefield Mtb Races
5/11 DC Tri Training Duathlon
6/1 Cascade Lake Sprint Triathlon
6/7-8 24 Hours of Big Bear
6/29 General Smallwood Sprint Triathlon
7/20 Pittsburgh International Distance Triathlon
7/27 New Jersey State Sprint Triathlon
8/16 Luray Sprint Triathlon
9/7 Cape Henlopen Half IM Triathlon... Ultimate season goal...?
9/7 Also Annapolis International Distance Triathlon
X/X Other Half IM Triathlon?

This is a tentative plan at this point, but it's a decent outline for my season could look like. In September and into October there are a number of additional triathlons I am eyeing, though I'll wait on any decisions on those. Currently I'm signed up for Greenbelt (season pass), the DC Tri training Duathlon, Big Bear, General Smallwood tri and the NJ State Tri. I'd really like to get to Pittsburgh and do the tri this year since I was initially supposed to last year but I'm unsure of the logistics of that one. I may do it, spend a day or two there with friends, head to Eastern PA to hang out with Pops at the house there and then do the NJ State tri kind of on the way home but we'll have to wait and see.

As for the September 7th race, I really want to do Annapolis; it's close, supposed to be beautiful, Brian is doing it... On the other hand my goal is to do a 1/2 IM by the end of the season. I'm sure I could find one somewhere else; there is the Briarman Half lite but that may be hillier then I want to go for on this go round. Maybe a bit earlier; I could look into something in August.

Goals for the season? I want to win my age group, though in reality I really just want a top 3 finish in my age group. Most of these races appear to not have the Elite category so overall wins I know are probably a bit hefty expectations for my first season of triathlons. I do however feel that I have what it takes, at least in the sprint category to place top 3 in the age group. Had I not fumbled a bit at Nanticoke (I know smaller race, less competitors) I could have jumped a spot or two; just have to get that extra little drive.

So there it is, my current plan for the season. I'm sure I'll change things around as time goes by but hopefully this will fill a nice outline for me.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


In taking my own advice, bike/car interactions are part of the training/bicycle riding "community" in general. Debates on topics such as this are best held in general cycling forums, not informational forums for the local racing community. Obviously my beliefs are not fully agreed upon by all of the Mabra community but I know there are at least a handful who do. Chris, after an early post, continued his thoughts on the Racing Union Blog; quite appropriate. Check it out, comment there. That's what it was meant for.

I can understand a debate regarding the safety of races/event sign ups/referees/rules; those things which have popped up in the past (though the debates raged on into to trolling wars) are at least directly relevant to racing. Debates in general though should be reserved to the bar or bike forums or whatever. I will from now on hopefully hear about upcoming race signups through teammates since I'd rather not have to delete 30 single thread emails form my account every time I check my email.

The appropriate use of a crap blog. Rant over.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Excuse - Season Plans

Looks like I'll be passing on the second week of Greenbelt as well now. I've got my season pass but the cramping calf muscle from Sunday's race turned into a very tight and sore calf muscle so far this week. I didn't realize it Sunday late afternoon when I went climbing, only Monday morning when I woke up and could hardly move my leg.

Last night I went out to the pool and put in some easy laps with light kicking. Took a while messaging my calf both in the pool and then afterwards in the hot tub. The jets felt alternately good and awful, kind of my thoughts of what a deep tissue message would feel like. Today, it's sore, hopefully just the post massage sore, but I don't want to push my luck. Not interested in reliving the torn hamstring experience from my high school football days.

The rest of the season I think I'll try and focus on the triathlon. Not sure I'll plan to sign up for any road races anytime soon. I'm not interested in signing up as early as necessary since I have no idea where I'll be. I don't like planning that far in advance all the time...

Monday, May 05, 2008

T2 - A marked improvement

My second triathlon showed the marked improvement I was looking for, though there is certainly still room for improvement. My largest time cuts were realized, most notably in the swim and 2nd transition where some adjustments and better prep were evident yesterday. I also managed a better pace in the run and posted a solid bike performance as well. There are a couple of things that happened that should certainly not have and cost me a few seconds here or there like my tool pouch jumping out of my back pocket on the way out of the 1st transition and trying to run out the bike entrance for my run portion. That said, I'll take my 9th overall placement for now. I unfortunately just barely missed the top three in my age group coming in a close 4th to the 8th place overall competitor.

The swim went fantastic in comparison to the last one. I felt much more comfortable swimming in the group and I must have had a bit better control of my heart rate because breathing was far less of a problem. I was still breathing every other stroke but I was not panicking for breath. The water was very choppy and it was a salt water swim so that was a bit new but I swam consistently and relatively efficiently with long easy strokes. Overall I came out of the water in 27th place so I'm not too disappointed with that. Room for improvement by far but a good base to start from.

The 1st transition was a bit sloppy but still was a solid 2 minute job. I may need to look into some shoes that are easier to put on and may want to practice wetsuit removal. I also think the pre-clipped shoes may be something I should look into.

The bike was a nice flat course with some somewhat strong headwinds that hurt me a little bit. For the first half of it I battled it out with two other cyclists, each of us taking turns passing each other but not really able to put each other away. After about half the way through heading into some headwinds I began to fade back and slowly faded away from the two of them. I held on though, passed a few more riders and held off any other potential advancers and finished with the 10th fastest bike time overall.

The bike to run transition I dropped over a minute off my time from the last race, mostly due to the zip tie shoe laces. I did however have a bit of a brain fart and started to try to run out the bike lane before a spectator yelled at me and got me back on track.

The run started off very poorly as both calves started to cramp up big time. I was actually thinking I wouldn't be able to do much of anything and actually stopped a couple of times to message my calves and try to work out the cramping. After a couple of minutes however they loosened up and I was able to open up my stride again. The biker that finished first of the two I was battling earlier was not as strong a runner as biker so I picked him off almost immediately. I passed a few others and had my sights on the other cyclists from the group for the remainder of the run.

I ended up finishing just behind him though despite my initial closing of the gap, he held a consistent lead through the finish line. My run time was 12th overall at a 6:30 something pace. I know I can do better then that and I'm a bit disappointed once again that I didn't dig deeper for this final section, but once again here lies some more room for improvement.

It's a bit of a disappointment as well to have come so close to my mental goal of at least placing in my age group, though in my own defense I was thinking about races with the Elite category (I know, a bit of a cop-out but still). I know where I need to and can improve so that is the important thing. One thing that I really enjoyed was being one of the "toppish" contenders out there. Running by the leaders, knowing I was only a short distance behind is a pretty good feeling which I certainly don't get from my usual road running races at my average guy pace. It's cool that my combined slightly above average abilities can produce a near top result too...

Friday, May 02, 2008

At times like this I almost wish I was a religious person

A very discouraging post from the Fat Cyclist today. I wish I could offer my prayers but I won't make that empty promise. Instead I will hope that the yoga concept of oneness with the earth and your surroundings are for real. The thoughts and feelings going out for Susan right now are there; hopefully they may help in some way.

I want to cry for Elden and his entire family. I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings going through his mind.

Freewheeling himself into his terrible two's

This post is a meme in honor of the great Freewheeling Spirit. I don't do many meme's, I think I've done a total of one actually, but here, I am being punished for being a loyal Freewheeling reader.

So, my blog I guess is right around the corner from it's 2 year anniversary. In reality I believe I am much younger then Mr Spirit, though in blog years, he's only a couple of months my senior! My first post, announcing my intentions to blog to the world, or at least to myself maybe found here.

My (possibly) most read post is a horribly written post about me being a socially awkward doof, meeting the soon to be Mayor elect, Adrian Fenty at his parent's Adams Morgan Fleet Feet shop. (I'm not totally sure on this as I have no sitemeter anymore and never really looked anyway).

I have no clue what my most commented post would be, but I'll go out on a limb and say I'm not very popular and 7 is my max.

It took me a while to figure this one out, but I finally did. This is by far my favorite post. Mostly just because I loved rowing so much in college and I will never have that same thing again. I could reminisce about crew all day and all night if I was given the chance. Quite appropriately, it links to Freewheeling Spirit for providing inspiration to the post.

Most fun? I have no idea. Some of of the more fun things I've posted about lately have surrounded this type of thing.

No quitting, but a couple of soul searching directional shifts, or something like that. Alright I can't find them and I'm finished looking. They're there, I promise, though they're not very interesting anyway.

Thanks Freewheel for this painful look back at the wretched, random and sad life of this blog. In all seriousness, congratulations on your second successful year of blogging; I hope for my own sake there will be many more to come!

Your faithful reader (even if I can't comment anymore b/c of computer firewall crap),