Sunday, July 27, 2008

1 ride, two crashes.

Both were my own dumb ass fault too! Saturday was a planned 125 miler. Rode 30 miles at 6:30 am and then met up with the local roadie group ride at 8 for some company. They were planning a century but only 2 guys showed up for the ride instead of the usual 4-5.

Crash #1, mile 80.
It was at the top of the biggest climb of the day. I was about 100yds ahead of the two other guys and when I reached the top of the climb I was coasting and twisted around to see how far back they were. When I turned myself back around and put my right hand back on the aero base bar I missed and my hand slipped off the bar sending my whole right arm and upper body quickly down past the bars. This violently turned the wheel to the right sending me over the top of the bars. Luckily the bike had veered enough to the right that I flipped over off the road and into the gravel of someone's driveway. I landed on my left knee and shoulder, some how twisted quickly on my back and my head snapped back hard enough to crack the back of my helmet and embed it with pea gravel. I was having a good ride up to that point and my first reaction was to lunge for my bike to hit stop on the computer because I did not want the time I was not moving affect my avg speed or time for the ride! Collected myself and stood up. Bike looked ok, shifters were a little scratched up and the left armrest pad plastic was cracked. Minor road rash on my left knee/shin, my back was scratched up and my head rang for a minute or two. Oh, and my blackberry pearl that was in my back pocket got broke. The roadies caught up to me standing by the side of the road and asked if I was stretching/cramped and only after seeing my bloody left knee did they realize I crashed. I think I was only doing 15 or so mph at the time, so I was a little stiff/sore but decided to press on. About 5 miles later the roadies had to get back to town so they bailed and I continued on determined to get 125 miles in. I think riding again right away also helped to keep me loose and not tighten up because once the ride was done my right hip got really sore/tight.

Crash #2, mile 110.
This was a much more spectacular crash, at least to look at I think. On this route there is an amish run store that I planned on stopping at to get some fresh water for the ride home. I was going about 15 again and pulled into the gravel parking lot. Apparently they recently re-graveled this lot because as soon as I hit the lot my front wheel buried and came to an abrupt stop. Again I found myself going over the bars, although this time I was holding on to the bars tightly so me and bike did a whole front flip in the middle of this parking lot. This time I landed on my right knee/shoulder and got a small gash in my right knee and sore elbow. I tried the "get up as quick as possible hoping no one saw that" maneuver but it was too late. The amish storekeep saw everything and came running out to see if I was ok. I mumbled something and told him I was just stopping to buy water. Cool thing was he felt bad for me, I think, and gave me free two ice cold bottles to top off my supply and I sheepishly went on my way.

By now I was counting my blessings that I wasn't more hurt and my bike wasn't more messed up so I made a bee line home and finished with 118 miles. Today woke up sore with a stiff neck, two sore elbows and a sore right shoulder. Took some ibuprofen,waited for an hour then headed out the door for a 100 miler and set a PB and luckily made it home in one piece today.

In better news, the 'stat's' for this week's big base week were:

Monday off.

Tuesday swam 3,300, bike 38.5 miles of hills in 1:58.
Wednesday ran 17 miles in 2:17 (8:03 pace)
Thursday swam 3,200 yards.
Friday swam 2,200 (had to get back to work early), ran 11.2 miles in 1:30 (8:02 pace)
Saturday biked 118 miles of hills, and crashes, in 6:29 (18.2 mph avg)
Sunday biked 97.5 miles in 5:05 (19.2 mph avg), ran 6.5 miles in :52 and change (about an 8:10 pace).

Total time was 21+ hours, including 250+ miles on the bike and 34+ miles running. Overall legs feel great, especially after back to back big days.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Butler County YMCA Sprint Race Report

Finally, some good results!

This is a race I did 2 years ago as my second ever race and I remembered it as a small, short fun event so I signed up for it again this year in hopes of a high finish and or placing in my age group, the ever competitive male 35-39.

The race is billed as a 1/4 mile swim, 7 mile bike and 5k run, but we later found out the run was changed to a 3k instead of 3.1 miles! I was also surprised that there were a lot of people here. Quite a few were not serious racers or on mountainbikes but there were still well over 250 starters, which is bigger than I'd remembered.

I was in the second wave as all males up to 35 years were off 5 minutes ahead of us. This kind of made me mad as it was going to be hard to see where I was in my ag/heat once we started catching the racers in the first wave. They did not mark ages on calves so I figured I'd just go as fast as I can and hope for the best once I lost track of who was in what heat.

Swim 4:52. I had the 4th fastest swim overall I think. It was 100 yards or so out to the first buoy, turn left go 200 or so yards then turn left at the last buoy and come the 100 yards or so back into shore. I went fast to the first buoy and got there first in my wave, made the turn with one guy wide to my right and 3-4 on my feet. The last few races I've done have all been longer races so I was used to going hard to the first marker then settling in. I did this and a couple of people got along side me then I realized this was a SHORT race and no time to settle in so I picked it up and came into T-1 with 2 other guys right beside me.

Bike 21:09. I had the 3rd fastest bike overall, the fastest only 39 seconds faster than me. I remembered from 2 years ago this was a rolling course. What I didn't remember was just how rolling and or twisty it was. There was literally only 2 stretches of road where you could be on your aero bars. With all the short steep climbs, fast descents and sharp turns a road bike would have been the way to go and the top finishers all were on road bikes. I definitely made a mistake with the tri bike and with a disc. I only got passed by one guy, the eventual winner, at about mile 3 just before the turn around. He had started next to me in the swim but was older than me so not in my age group. I had passed 10-15 people from the first heat and when I saw the leaders of the first heat coming back I noted where they were and my time. I knew I was at the time in second in my heat and wanted to know if I was gaining or losing on the people that started 5 minutes ahead of us. I was glad to see that when I got to that same point the split was about 4 minutes, so I knew at that time I had gained on all the people in the previous heat and as best I could tell I was in second place overall! I finished the ride, came into T-2 on the pedals, rode the bike right to the mat and had a good dismount.

Unfortunately, my string of bad luck this year would continue as running to my rack in bare feet I stepped hard on a piece of gravel in the parking lot that was being used as transition. I landed square on my heel on this small rock and it hurt bad.

Got through t-2 quickly, and headed out on the run prepared for a 5k.

Run time 9:30, about 10th best run. So the run was somewhere between 1.6 and 1.8 miles, as best anyone can tell! I started with a guy right beside me but he was someone I'd caught from the previous wave. The run is an out and back on a rolling paved bike path. Up the little hill out of transition I was easily able to drop the guy beside me and set my sights on the 2 runners about 50-100 yards in front of me. At this point I was pretty sure I was still 2nd or 3rd at worst overall. My heel was really pounding from the rock I landed on and I know it held me back a little but I just kept trying to keep gaining on the guys down the path. I hit the first 'mile marker' at about 3 minutes flat, so I knew something was wrong and maybe thought it was supposed to be the 1/2 mile marker. About a minute later I saw 2 younger guys from the first wave coming back already and thought, damn, if this is a full 5 k they are way ahead of me but I noted where they were and the time on my watch. About this time a tall, lanky guy from my heat was gaining on and caught me. Next thing I know about 5 minutes in we hit the run turn around! By now the guy that passed me is about 20-30 yards in front of me as I later found out he hit the turn around and gave it hell. At that point I did the same and went as hard as I could back trying to gain some distance back on him. I couldn't gain much on him, but he wasn't pulling away. I did however catch 2 more guys from the first heat and when I got to the point where I had marked the leaders of that heat only about 3 minutes had passed so I was pretty sure I was ahead of everyone in heat 1 and was pretty sure that put me in 3rd overall. I still am not sure how long the run was but I know we were going at a decent pace. My goal was a sub 20 minute 5k and I think I would have been easily on pace for that. One thing I thought kind of odd was that the guy that passed me for 2nd on the way back the run course was shouting to people that it was a really short run to pick it up! I thought 'hey, we didn't have that luxury, why are you telling people that now!" because I know had I known how short the run was I'd have gone out even harder to the turn around.

Finished the race with a good sprint with one guy from the first heat and we finished neck and neck, although it was nice knowing I was really 5 minutes ahead of him!

I was right ended up 3rd overall out of 233 finishers. I was just hoping for an ag placing and ended up with an overall podium spot, so I was really happy with that. Including me, like 5 of the top 10 finishers overall were in my 35-39 ag.

After talking to the guys that finished 1st and 2nd overall I was glad to hear that they do short olympic and sprint races mostly. The second place guy said he had really been training for short fast stuff. Given I'm still training for IM Wisconsin and haven't done a lot, if any, of short speed work I was really glad with my finish. Got a nice little trophy too! My heel is still sore and I have a nice black and blue spot where I landed, but otherwise 15 minutes after the race I barely felt like I'd done anything.

In retrospect I definitely could have rode a lot better on a road bike. It would have been easier on the short steep climbs, fast descents and maneuvering through the turns. For the run, obviously it was so short I should have gone harder and also not landed on that damn stone.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Meltdown in Morgantown

June 29th was not a good day to race. I did the Morgantown HIM last year as my second every 1/2 and went 5:17 and change. I had been looking forward to and training for this race as one of my A races this summer and was shooting for sub 5 hours, hopefully close to 4:50 as I was in much better shape and had more training than I did at this point last year.

Two weeks before the race I came down with a cold/sinus infection and sore throat which screwed up my last week of training before the taper. I took things easy, felt better, had a good taper and felt great the day before the race.

The swim was uneventful. 29:36, about 40 seconds slower than last year but I felt like I went a lot easier. I was 3rd in my age group, 27th overall whereas last year I was 41st overall so I was happy with the improvement. Also, last year's swim may have been short. As a side note I again felt great in my Xterra wetsuit.

The bike started out great. Felt good, went steady on the flats and spun up the two hills. I only got passed by a couple of riders and only one in my age group I think through the first lap. Rode it in 1:17 which was my goal, and was 3 minutes ahead of last year. There was some rain and more wind than last year also, so I was definitely having a better ride. But then about mile 35 I hit a pothole, hard, and flatted my front. I lost about 8 or more minutes changing the flat and got passed by a ton of people. I then rode too hard for the next 10-15 miles trying to reel back spots and could feel a dreaded blow up coming so I tried to soft pedal and really take the last 6-8 miles or so easy but the damage was done. I coasted in to a 2:47 bike, about 10-12 minutes slower thand I wanted.

On the run I knew instantly it was going to be a bad day. Fought through two massive quad cramps, the first time ever, the first mile then things started to just shut down. Worst half marathon ever and if there was ever a picture to tell a thousand words of disappointment the following does so:
Yep, that's me finishing about an hour behind the time I wanted and about 35 minutes slower than last year! (The clock shows race time and my heat was about 15 minutes after the clock started, but still a bad day).

Later I learned my coach, John who was racing the pro division, had a bad day also and had to DNF after the first lap of the run.

Got home and felt lousy for the bad performance and felt like an idiot for taking the bike out too hard after flatting. Still couldn't stop coughing for the next day or two so I finally got to the doctor on Wednesday. Turns out I have a double ear infection, sinus infection and walking pneumonia, whatever that means, and have probably had it the last few weeks. So I'm now sure that had a lot to do with the blow up and lack of energy at the finish. I'm now on lots of antibiotics and medication and should be ready to go again in a week or less.