Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pain Cave

Pain Cave (n) - payn-cayv; A room designed with the sole purpose of hosting self-inflicted suffer sessions so that you can crush the following season. Decor tends towards the 'functional' with aesthetics almost being shunned as a sign of weakness.

We decided to convert my daughter's (now at college) old room. The gym / spin class workouts weren't working well from a schedule and bike fit / setup perspective.

39" HED TV - $299
AppleTV - $94
Floor Fan - $24
Rubber flooring - $36

Not having to snake coax cable into the room - happy times

Hours of future pain and suffering - necessary

Looking over at the guy you're blasting past on the bike course next season - PRICELESS

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Hair......

Recently, I updated my professional profile picture on LinkedIn (shown). I didn't think that much about it. The picture was taken at a corporate event and I thought the guy did a nice job.

A colleague made a comment on how different my hair looked from my previous profile picture. I hadn't really thought of it because generally the style of my hair is 'event driven' rather than 'planned'.

What follows is the best explanation on this subject I'm capable of:

In general; how my hair looks on any particular day is driven more by the following mathematical relationships: 

  • Length and 'un'-manageability are exponentially related. I generally go too long between haircuts, so when I do get it cut, I get it cut short. At some point it passes the ‘perfect’ length / manageability threshold, but then degrades quickly.
  • 'Un'-manageability and amount of ‘product’ are linearly related. The more up the exponential length curve, the more product it takes to contain it. Product is expensive. Thus my desire to keep it shorter. 

(side-note: short hair is also easier when you swim/bike/run daily.  Crowie is my idol.)

  • The amount of allowable product is limited in the professional environment since the only style that the ‘longer’ version of my multiple-colic (i.e. hurricane) hair that works is the look Brad Pitt sported in “Fight Club” (prior to him shaving his head near the end of the movie). This look works well for personal events (like my previous picture taken at a friend’s wedding) – but gets too much crap from the shizzle-challenged corporate environment where a bunch of middle-aged peers wouldn't know style if it came up and bitch slapped the idle Bluetooth headset out of their ear and pulled the Oracle / IBM / <pick your technology> golf shirt over their heads. Word to these folks – just because you got a shirt for free at a trade show, doesn't mean you should wear it.
  • Finally, one other (albeit, self-imposed) product usage limiter is whether I have another workout planned later in the day. Since product is expensive, and don’t want it to run into my eyes during a workout – I’m likely to say ‘ahhh screw it’ when getting ready in the morning.  Plus, as athletes, my wife and I have an unspoken agreement to forgive each other's bad hair days. Anyway - combined with bed head and previously discussed naturally occurring hurricane hair - factoring in this aspect of the calculation requires a solid background in chaos theory mathematics and is thus beyond the scope of this dissertation. 
Hope that explains my hair. I can provide graphs if desired. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

3 Things That Will Make You a Better Cyclist

So over the last 28 years of competitive riding and racing, I've done like a billion different types of workouts. They all have their place, and all work a specific component of your fitness.

But all those aside - there are some things I've stumbled on that have paid huge dividends given their simplicity. The following work, and work REALLY well to make you a better cyclist. Stronger, faster and more 'one with the bike' with regard to your bike handling. So here they are. If you're having trouble incorporating, or want some additional detail - just ask.

#1 - Commute (on the bike)
There is nothing like time on the bike. And commuting puts in time on the bike. Not to mention, you are getting in two rides a day, the latter when you absolutely DON'T generally feel energized to ride. But if you have no sag options, then you have no choice - unless you want to sleep at your office.

Riding twice per day (say 2-3x per week) will get your comfortable on your bike and smooth out your pedal stroke like nothing else. You will become one with the bike. And you get the added calorie burn benefit of the double workout.

Ok.. yeah.. not like that.
There is also the added benefit of getting 'free' riding time out of your schedule. It goes like this. Let's say it takes you 30 minutes to commute 12mi each way in traffic. Let's say all-in, it takes you 50 minutes to complete each leg. That means instead of spending 60 min / day in your car (wasted), you are spending 100 min/day on your bike to achieve the same thing. That's 100 minutes of riding that is only 'costing' 40 more minutes out of your schedule. That's the way I think of it anyway.

No shower where you work? Baby Wipes. You'd be surprised.

Getting sleepy by 2pm? It will pass. Coffee helps in the mean time.

Have to ride home in the dark? Lights are cheap these days.

Too early, cold, rainy? Sorry - can't help you there. Man up.

#2 - Ride a Mountain Bike
Mountain biking will improve your bike handling, climbing and sprinting. It's a power sport. For added benefit, ride over gnarly stuff ultra slow. Learn to track stand and bounce around on the bike like a pogo. Find a grassy field and practice riding / holding a wheelie (back and front). Practice your dismounts / mounts.  Ride in the snow. Ride on sand. Descend stairs. Descend longer flights of stairs.

I guarantee when you re-mount the road bike it will feel like you're locked on a rail. Dead solid. Just don't drop a 6" curb on those new fancy Zipp carbon clinchers by mistake!

Betchya next time you'll be able to 'hold your line' in the Sunday group road ride

#3 - Ride Hills... Lots of Hills
18 years ago, a good friend of mine once told me when I was whining about a particularly nasty climb, "Dude. Hills are going to hurt. It's a question of whether you want to be hurt, or be in control of the hurt".
Y'know - there is a lot of advice to be shared about hills, but Solid Gold that advice is.

Loving hills is all in the head. The hills is just a terrain change. It doesn't care or think about you. It can't change it's topography. It's stuck. You just need to start thinking about an approaching hill differently. If you realize how much they do for your riding, you will start to love them. You'll get a smile on your face as one approaches. Don't go to your happy place to avoid feeling the pain. Rather, make the hill your happy place. It's sick and wrong - but if you get your attitude right, you will crush hills my friend.

Ride hills until you can laugh at signs like this.
Grind up in a big gear. Sit and spin up them. Attack at the bottom. Attack on the upper 1/3. Attack in the middle - heck, attack when you feel like you can't attack. And ALWAYS get out of the saddle and sprint over the top and down the backside before dropping into aero for the ride down.

Seek hills out, and next season you'll be formidable. You'll stay big chain ring / out of the saddle on anything less than 1/2 mile. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Running Faster and Fluid: The Zen Tempo Run

Ahhh... yes. I know what you're going to say; "I already do tempo runs". But there are a ton of different definitions of the 'tempo run - even among experienced coaches. Thus, 'tempo run' has become an overloaded and ambiguous term such that even experienced runners, with years of running under their feet, will say, "I'm finally starting to understand how to properly do a tempo run".

Zen Tempo Runs are a subset out of the bucket of 'tempo runs'. They aren't new and certainly not my 'concoction'. They are structured much like a Hal Higdon verson of the tempo run - but with a bit more emphasis on 'feel' and 'fluidity' and a bit slower. Danny Dreyer also comes pretty close to these concepts in his Chi Running books and materials. I'm also sure that the term 'Zen' has been attached to a variety of run types. Ahhh the weight of the overused term, 'Zen'

So can call this anything you want - maybe 'Touchy Feely / Not Too Fast / No Pain Tempo Run' - the definition is more important to me than the term. I was going to simply call it the "XXX Tempo Run" - but it immediately struck me that instead of interpreting the XXX as 'insert anything here', the name would create it's own impression (and missed expectations when Google searches landed on this article).

Honestly, I spent more time on the above paragraphs explaining the 'name' of this run than I spent coming up with the actual name of the run (which was about 3 seconds) So - onward.

The purpose of the "Zen Tempo Run" is very specific; to teach you to stay as loose and relaxed as possible at speed. It teaches you to be fluid. They are more 'technique oriented' than any other run. They are preparation for harder workouts where you have to really concentrate to stay relaxed through your stride. Many coaches will define 'tempo run' this way. I'm just adding a term to make it specific (and to keep it in the 'pain free' zone).

The proper pacing for a Zen Tempo run on any particular day is best achieved by 'feel' (which is why they take a while to really get right). Here's some general structural guidelines to get you going:

Run a very easy pace for 10-15 mins. Really focus on being relaxed and quickening your stride. In other words, speed up over that 10-15 mins by quickening your turn-over. To do this you'll need to focus on keeping your stride shorter. Throw in the following drills: Butt Kickers, Skipping and Fast Feet.

Meat of the Run:
Start slowly picking up the pace. Be careful of going to fast, too soon. The pace profile is one that ratchets up the pace over the first 1/3 of the run, maintains a steady pace over the next 1/3 and then evenly ramps the pace back down over the last 1/3. The maximum pace (hit during the middle 1/3) should be between Marathon and 10K pace, but it can be slower (rarely is it faster).

The BEST way to pace this run is by tuning into your body and searching for the the following indicators:

1. NO BURN - if you start to feel the burn, back off. Otherwise you are doing a Threshold Run.

2. RELAXED and FLUID - your limbs should be turning over like they are barely attached to your body. Think 'gazelle' as opposed to a charging rhino (which is how a lot of people run fast). Your feet should feel like they are barely touching the ground. If you start to tense up, then work through a process of relaxation while running again. If you can't shake the tension, then slow down a notch.

3. PEACEFUL MIND - The more you can 'let go' of your thoughts and focus on 'feeling' your body, the better you'll execute this run. Try to focus on how your feet are articulating when you land and push off. Focus on evening out your breathing. Focus on relaxing your shoulders (hunching can creep in when you are trying to run fast). Shake out your hands every few minutes. Think only pleasant thoughts - or think about nothing at all. But by all means, keep yourself in the moment. Don't zone out and let your mind wander (and your pace / form suffer).

Cool Down:
By the end of the last 1/3 of the run, you should already be slowing down to your easy pace (which is usually a bit faster than your warm up pace was). Run 5 minutes or so at this pace, even slowing to a walk in the last few hundred meters. Stretch afterwards - especially hamstrings and calves.

That's it. If you've done it right you should feel worked, but energized. If you feel 'spent' then you went too hard or too far.

Total distance of the Zen Tempo run can be anywhere from 3mi to 10mi. It would be tough to do one shorter and get much out of it since you'd barely be warmed up. Some athletes run these farther. But I think you can get a lot out of a run somewhere in the above range.

Do this run once every other week - or whenever you need to shake out the cobwebs. You're harder runs will start to be more productive and you should start seeing your paces picking up in those faster sessions.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Off Season Rambling

My last race was the Chicago Marathon, wayyyy back in early October. Thought I'd just drop a few lines as to what I've been up to for the past 6 weeks or so.

I was ready for the race season to be done. I wasn't necessarily feeling beat up or mentally crispy - just happy with how the whole year had gone. Felt like I had a great season with really strong results. Definitely felt like I was ready for some rebuilding and a well deserved break. It can mentally wear on you a bit to operate in that constant state of fatigue that hard training requires.

I also had developed this niggle in my right foot about 3 weeks prior to Chicago. With a bit of conservation, I held it together - but it was also time to really get a handle on it. Those kinds of things are generally a warning sign that the body needs some rest and rehab.

So what have I been up to for the past few weeks? Well, for the most part - just taking it easy on a number of fronts. No real structure to my training right now. Just playing around with some different workouts in each sport (swim, bike & run) to get a feel for what might work for those 'go-to' workouts.

Scaled back the running, and still was struggling a bit with the foot. Self-diagnosed a little plantar fasciitis towards the heel coupled with a slight strain of my achilles (insertion). Feel like now with some taping and backing off on the running, things are starting to heal. btw - the KT Tape is pretty rockin' stuff and there are a ton of great videos out there on how to tape for just about any injury.

Also doing a lot of training in the swim and bike. Did this great swim workout today. 3000yds total, mostly skills work with the Finis snorkel and fulcrums. Also a 5x200 set of just swimming at pace. Lots of kicking. Trying to really work the technical weakness in the pool.

Then did a 32mi road bike ride with 4x7min at threshold (w/5mins in between). Felt really good to put in such a solid day. Feeling good and tired right now - and also like I've made up for the Thanksgiving feasting :-)

Did a REALLY great ride earlier in the week. Rode over to Lookout Mt. and up and over. Then across through this road I've never been on (a bit grungy and unpaved in spots), and down Hwy 74 back to Bear Creek park and home. 36mi and over 2500ft of climbing.

Also raced a 5K 'turkey trot' put on by Paige's team. That was 2 days after flying back from my 2 week India / China trip - so I wasn't sure what was in the tank. Ended up taking first with 21:10 - not my best work time-wise, but respectable. I wasn't planning on 'racing', but one of Paige's team-mates had gone off the front and I guess that even with age, I'm still like a dog chasing cars. At some point that's going to fade away, so I better enjoy it while I can :-)

Hmmm... yeah, writing this all down, sounds like a lot of training - but the vacation part is really not feeling like I 'have' to do a workout if I don't feel like it. The truth is that I *love* to be out there doing these things - it's more the structure of training that I need the break from.

So other than all that - I'm really just spending lots of time with my family and friends. Not worrying as much about sticking to the strict diet. Sleeping in when I can't motivate to get up at 4:45AM and head to the pool for masters. It's freakin' sweet!

That's about it. Sorry if this post is a bit meaningless and rambling. Just wanted to make a journal entry to myself if nothing else - to remember this time when I'm the middle of training next year. Something to look forward to.

I promise the next post will be more interesting :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another Country I've Now Run In - India

So I went running for the first time in Chennai, India the other day. It was a trip.

I've run a lot in China as I'm over there about once every 3 months. And running in China can be a bit hairy with the chaotic traffic. If running in the city was a video game, New York would be like level 1 or 2. Running in China would be level 6.

Running in India would be level 11. You know that level where you battle the Volcano Lava Monster with nothing but a battle axe while monkeys through balls of fire at you from the cliff sides. Yeah. It's like that.

Not only does the traffic drive on the 'British' side of the road (kind of messes with your trajectory estimation skills), but vehicles don't slow when they almost collide like in China. In fact, they generally speed up. It's like the driver of the car / moped / motorcycle / bike / Tuk-Tuk (3 wheel vehicle) perceives that there is a chance they are about to collide and their response is, "Screw it" - and they speed up to go all in.

Like China, traffic is like being at the business end of a particle accelerator. Only instead of quarks and leptons (which I think have no mass), you are dodging stuff that has quite a bit of heft in addition to moving in  completely random directions at a variety of ever changing speeds. If I recall, existing at the quantum level you would see particles popping in and out of dimensional existence too. I swear that at least once a moped appeared where none existed just a moment before. At least that's what it seemed like. Toss in some stray dogs, roosters and cows.... yes.. in the city.. and it will test your peripheral vision skills to the max.

And there are monkeys too. You heard me. And although they aren't throwing flaming lava balls at you, having one screech in your ear from a fence while you run by can upchuck your concentration - especially if you're not expecting to see a monkey. The first time I looked over and saw this little simian bastard staring at me - it freaked me out. Up until now, the only time I've seen one is at the zoo.. behind some glass.  All I could think of when I first saw one was that old Pink Panther scene. I don't know why.

Anyway. Here's some video of the traffic scene here - from the safety of my car. The video doesn't do it justice. And keep in mind, this street is a major road with barriers to keep everyone in line a bit.

Don't get me wrong. I love adventure - and I'm glad I did it. But for the rest of my trip, I think I'll stick to the hotel treadmill. To the best of my knowledge, nobody ever got whacked running on a treadmill.

Or got assaulted by a monkey.


Having a great time with my colleagues out here though. I absolutely cherish the opportunity to travel and learn as much as I get to in my job.  Here's some pictures from today...

Our new office
Should be moving in about a month or so

Views from the terrace (i.e. roof) of our office overlooking the city of Chennai

Ocean is out just at the horizon (about 4km away)

Potluck - everyone brought a dish.
Home cooked goodness. Man, it doesn't get better than this!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hitler finds out the results of his MRI

There are a bunch of different parodies on this clip, but this is for those of you that have ever been injured.

WARNING: Although the audio is in German, the sub-titles in this parody contain a lot of instances of the 'F' word. Hide the kids and those easily offended.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicago Marathon 2012 - PR :-)

I ran the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday (10/7/2012). You couldn't ask for better weather - low to mid-40's throughout, partly sunny and very little wind.
My time in Chicago was 3:03:27
That's a marathon PR for me of over 7 minutes from last year. It put me 82nd in my division (of about 2500 runners) and 1050th overall (out of 37,455 finishers). Not shabby for a guy about to turn 49 years old in a week!
I've kind of broken this race report up into some sections - because some people may or may not be interested in the gory details and just want to hear general experience stuff:

* Overall Experience (with pictures)
* Some Mechanical Details
* Nutrition Side-Bar

Prior to the race, everyone told me that it was such a great event - and they were all right. What's most amazing to me is how well organized the whole thing is. This is the 3rd biggest marathon in the world (NY, London and then Chicago) with about 46,000 entrants. Yet, the wait time for things like bathrooms and gear check was non-existent. The routing also splits everyone up into wave 1 and 2 and then into the corrals (like 5 per wave) - so it really spreads everyone out. I was 'seeded' (based on previous marathon times) Wave 1, Corral A (right behind the Elites). I love this type of approach because it means you are running with people that are about the same speed (give or take) as you. Meaning you don't have to worry about getting 'blocked'. In addition, the corral opens up past the start line and right from the get go, you can go as fast as you want (unlike Denver, which is narrow and twisty in the first 2 miles - so you feel a little blocked initially).

I traveled by myself to the race. Stayed at the Howard Johnson's downtown. Yeah, it's kind of a dive and looks sketch from the outside, but the room was clean and it was about 1/2 of what the 'host' hotel was (Hilton). I wouldn't stay there with the family - but this was just me. And - BONUS - there was a Whole Foods just 2 blocks away and the Chicago / State Red Line station was 3 blocks away.

Got there Friday afternoon and rode the train downtown. After being misdirected by Google maps on my phone, I found the hotel (as well as the nearest Starbucks).

Slept as late as I could on Saturday. Then put on some running clothes and hit Whole Foods for a little breakfast. Took the train down to Grant Park to preview the start area and do an easy run along the waterfront with some strides. The resting and extra O2 was paying off. I was trying to run my strides at my target marathon pace by feel. When I checked my Garmin I was out-running them by 30s / mile - whoah there... by the 4th one I had calibrated my pace to where I needed to be. Then off to the Expo. Nothing fantastic there. It was a big-ass expo. Picked up my packet and headed back to the hotel.

On the walk to the Red Line I had seen a cool cathedral style church. I noticed they had mass that night at 5:15pm - and I thought it would be a nice way to spend my time before the marathon. That type of more traditional service in a cathedral style church, reminds me of my childhood - going to St. Hyacinth in Detroit. I also was feeling so fortunate in my life and health. I liked the idea of thanking God for the gifts in my life, not the least of which was having the opportunity to participate in such a great event.

The mass was really great. I'm sure the congregation was about 2x the usual for a vigil mass. The priest gave a great homily that was oriented to the runners he knew were there. He then invited up everyone running to come to the alter for a blessing from the congregation.

After church I went to Whole Foods and did a light dinner from the food bar. A little rice, bland mac 'N cheese and a piece of chicken with some broth based soup.

On the morning of, I woke up without the alarm clock right on schedule (5:10am). Got dressed and down to the start line via the trusty Red Line. There were a ton of people streaming into the park and a lot of energy in the air. I went through my routine including a warm-up that included some strides. After another bathroom break I headed right on schedule to my start corral.

I always love the energy and nervousness in the start corral. It calms my nerves because it's such a familiar place now to me. People are joking around, chatting. Warm-up clothing is being tossed in every direction. You stay warm because of all the body heat. The time went so quickly and I was just trying to savor the experience. At 7:20 the wheelchair group went off. Then 10 minutes later the horn blew and we were all off.

The course opens up right away down Michigan Avenue. I quickly found a pacing groove and settled in for the haul. The course is really amazing. You can go here on YouTube for a video tour through all 29 neighborhoods (detailed on the Chicago Marathon website). You wind through all of these different neighborhoods including Greek Town, Little Italy and China Town. At one point running through China Town I felt like I was running in China (where I go several times per year for work). It made me smile.

In short - I ran pretty much even splits the whole race and executed my race plan right to the letter. The only unexpected thing I had to deal with was that my shoe came untied at about mile 15. First time that's ever happened. The lace was tied properly and even double knotted. It's those darn Brooke's Racer ST 7 laces. It wasn't that big a deal though. I noticed it was untied, then calmly took off my glove while running, pulled over to a curb and tied it calmly and quickly. Maybe 10 seconds which I made back up again within about 1/2 mile.

Finished the race strong, tired but not trashed. No wheels falling off at mile 23, no nutritional bonk. It went by the book and I felt pretty happy that I had done so much practicing of my plan / nutrition and tactics leading up to the race. It really made a huge difference.

Coming into that home stretch is amazing. It's narrower than Boston so the crowd feels bigger and more intense. The roads in general feel narrower and the crowd in places on the course edge in making then narrower. In some sections I was reminded of the Tour de France where the riders are threading through the spectators. It's really pretty cool to be in close of contact with them.

After the race and some milling around and stretching, I headed back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap. Then wandered down to Lou Malnati's for my first solid food of the day. I ate at the bar so I didn't have to wait for a table. Felt a bit self-conscious about how much food I was eating. I felt like announcing, "No really - I don't eat like this all the time!" - Had a big house salad, 2 beers and a 9" deep dish pizza (that is listed as 'serves 2'). When the bartender saw all that was left was 1/8 the pie he commented, "Wow. That's impressive" - again, the guilt crept in.

Body-wise I felt and feel great. Nowhere near as sore as past marathons. Even went out for a 20mi road bike ride with some decent hills on Monday afternoon when I got back (Paige and Luke were driving back from the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque). Even reeled a few guys in on the climbs - what can I say? I'm like a dog chasing cars. I can't help myself. Here's some pics from the top of Red Rocks Overlook (my house is on the valley floor, past the hogback in the second shot).

I really need to go to church more often to give thanks for the life I have. I feel so very fortunate.

What I was most happiest about was 'how' I ran the race. In previous marathons, the wheels kind of fell off around mile 22 or 23 and then it was pure survival to keep too much time from spilling off the clock. I've worked a TON on very specific marathon training. In particular - long pacing runs and progression runs. Also completely re-worked and experimented over the past 9 months with my nutrition (described in detail in the section after this for those that care).

That all paid off because this year, I pretty much even split the whole course. There were race clocks at every mile, so I just kept pacing by feel and checking my pace at each mile. Generally by feel I was within 2-3 seconds of my target pace (after pulling back a bit on the first couple faster miles).

Boring is the wrong word to describe most of my race, but certainly what I've learned is that a properly executed marathon should feel fairly mechanical for the first 20 miles or so. In other words, you're main job is to get your body to that 20 mile mark so you can effectively race the last 10K. And that's how I felt. Just ticking off the miles - taking in the scenery, trying to find things to occupy my thoughts until the next race clock. Checking in on how I was feeling, making sure I was running relaxed and keeping my head in dealing with the little variations: bridge overpasses (quicker feet, try to pick up a couple seconds on the little downhill), turns (gradual inside track to cut the corner the way the course is measured), wind (tuck in behind a taller runner / group until the wind subsides). The thing about a marathon is that the little things all add up over the distance.

The end result was that I finished feeling tired, but strong. The 'pain' came right on schedule at around mile 23, but it was very manageable. Kept my head in it, trying to find another gear to keep the pace up. Tried to pick up 5 seconds between 23 and 24 and then again to 25 - ended up even splitting them. Good to know I was leaving it all on the course.

Crossed the finish line pretty darn happy to see that 3:03 on the race clock. I felt spent, but not trashed.

My nutrition was based on the 'Nutritional Epiphany' I had back in February of this year after reading a bunch of materials on the Hammer Nutrition web-site.

Day before:
Just eating light and bland food (nothing after 7pm).

Morning of:
(2 hrs before race time): 2 scoops of UCAN in about 8oz of water (240 calories). Nothing else.
(10min prior to the gun): 1 Honey Stinger Waffle (160 calories)

During the race:
Sips about every 2mi of multi-hour Hammer Nutrition Sustain Energy flask (4.75 scoops total in 8oz of water (~500 calories total)).
Course provided Water (4oz about every 3-4mi)
Course provided Gatorade (about 4oz at mile 18 and again at mile 23) (50 calories total)

TOTAL RACE DAY CALORIES CONSUMED (prior / during)  = 950 (183 cal / hr during race)
TOTAL CALORIES BURNED (estimated) = 3,144

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Every Day Travel

Also took a pic of my road bike. I really feel like it's totally dialed in as well. Just disappears underneath me when I ride.

Here are the specs for it:
- 2010 Specialized Tarmac Pro
- Carbon seatpost and bar
- Easton 90 stem
- Ultegra throughout (53/39 - 11/28)
- Fizik Antares saddle (yes, for me it's VERY comfortable)
- Mavic Kysrium Elite wheelset
- Continental GatorSkin tires
- 20.2 lbs

I just rebuilt the cockpit of my mt. bike a few weeks back. will try to get a post on it - but it's much more 'old school' :-)

Time Travel

So I finished the key upgrades to my TT bike tonight. Here she is.

I found the wheels on Craig's List - was actually looking for a bike for Paige and stumbled upon an ad for a Cervelo P2 (which ended up being too big for her). But the guy was also selling the wheels separately.

They are HED Jet 6's (2011) and barely ridden. I actually couldn't even find any wear on the braking surface. Guy said he had less than 100mi on them. Negotiated a bit (hey - it's the end of the season and I wasn't in a hurry). Ended getting them for about 1/2 of what a new set would have cost me. With the saved dough, I decided to upgrade the shift-clunky 105 to Ultegra 6700 (actually only had to upgrade the crankset, BB and chain).

So here are the full specs:

  • 2009 Specialized Transition frame-set
  • HED Jet 6 (60mm) race wheels
  • Continental Grand Prix 4000-S tires
  • Zipp Vuka cockpit w/Dura-Ace shifters
  • Fizik Arione saddle
  • Full Shimano Ultegra 53/39 - 12/27
  • Ultegra pedals (sleek grey)
  • 20.8 lbs (not super light)
Got to take it out for a 20 minute test ride just before dark and I have to say it is SWEEEEEET!

Shifting is nice and smooth. I also took a couple links out of the chain which improves the shifts and eliminated the chain slap. Yeah - you can't cross-chain, but uhhhh... yeah.... you should never do that anyway.

Can't wait to put in some serious training miles on it and of course race it next season. Not only in triathlons, but also planning to do some TT races. Yeah - the little wings behind the fork are not UCI legal - but I've asked and the refs say they aren't that picky at the races and I can ride those as is.

Oh, here's an assignment for you. See if you can spot the rear brake. Thaaaat's right. Here's a picture of a Shiv (which has the same brake position).

I will tell you it a sheer pain to adjust it especially the drive side pad.

btw - over the weekend I had thrown the wheel-set on my road bike and took them for a 30mi spin. It was a bit windy out, so a great test. Definitely feel them at speeds over about 19.5mph. It's hard to explain, but you feel the front end just get 'lighter'. On one stretch where a 'strong' effort puts me at about 21-22mph, I was pulling 23-24mph with the same perceived effort. In a strong cross wind coming back they are interesting. You feel the wind pushing the front end around a bit, but you also feel the sail effect - like the front wheel is lying on the wind. It's pretty cool - but you have to pay attention.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Run Faster: The Most Overlooked Component

This past year has been one of my best race years. I've PR'd at pretty much every distance (5K, 10K and 1/2 marathon). I'm running the Chicago Marathon with a pacing target of about 3:02-3:05, which would be a 5-8 min PR - and I'm feeling better about going into that race than I have in my past 6 marathons.

In all of my races I've felt strong, solid and fluid - almost perfectly timing my pace to the distance (meaning I felt like I left it all out on the course but didn't gas out prior to the finish line).

So what was my big training secret for this year? (and this is where you 'quick fix' folks will navigate away from the page ;-) - it's just been back to one core 'old-school' concept.

You have to train like you want to race. Specificity leading into a race is key. 

In other words - you need to run at race pace for a significant amount of time that is proportional to the distance of your race. Of course you need to build up to this and balance it with making sure you can recover from your workouts in time for the next workout, but I think too many people run slow and then wonder why it is that they run that same speed in a race.

It's more complicated than that of course. And I'm a BIG fan of LSD (Long Slow Distance) in the base building phase. In fact, one of my fastest years ever racing bikes was after a winter of riding the rollers for hours on end and commuting on my bike to/from work 35mi round-trip 4x per week when the weather cooperated (or cooperated just enough - i.e. it was crappy outside; but ride-able).

My point is that I think too many people get hung up in the base phase for too long. They avoid the suffer sessions - not the super-high intensity ones, but the grueling, medium burn ones that just gnaw away at your resolve over miles and miles. Kind of like..... well... in a race.

Look, specificity training hurts. It physically challenges you, but most importantly; it mentally challenges you. But during a race - it's exactly that mental fortitude that will help you to endure a pace to hit your PR goals.

Anyway - rather than belabor the point; I think this concept is captured REALLY well in an recent article in Running Times with legendary distance coach, Renato Canova.

It's written from a marathon training perspective, but you can apply it to any other distance and even any other discipline. In this age where people are looking for an easy path, such as being able to run a marathon on only 25mi a week (reality-check: yes, you can 'survive' a marathon, maybe even without injury on 25mi per week, but you are not going to 'run' it and certainly not going to 'race' it) - or the "train for Ironman on 8 hours per week using mostly Cross-Fit" (reality-check: maybe there are a few people that have done it, but probably not you, not me, not most people).

Look, I'm not saying periodization, LSD, strength training, cross-training, interval training, etc.. doesn't help. Rather, they are part of the puzzle. And the one part you absolutely DON'T want to omit (but many do) is specificity.

There's an old training joke where a guy wants to run a marathon at a certain pace. His training plan is simply.

Day 1: Run 1mi at goal pace.
Day 2: Run 2mi at goal pace
Day 26: Run 26mi at goal pace.
Day 27: Rest
Day 28: Run the marathon at goal pace
Maybe with a little more structure - it's not such a silly joke :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Most Nervous Race - EVER!

Last Sunday, neither Paige nor I were racing. We agreed though that we were more nervous at the start of this particular race than we had ever been for the start of any race in our lives.
Yep - this was Luke (our newly minted 5 year old's) first race at the Kid's that Tri Duathlon (1/4mi run / 1.6mi bike / 1/4 mi run).

First, let me say - the kid has been training. Last weekend I took him to ride the 1.3mi loop around a local lake (which he did twice). Then he got off the bike and said to me, "Ok, now I need to run" - and headed off down the path. He's done this several times now. I suspect if he could write, he'd have a training schedule all worked up for his weeks leading into his big race.
On race day, he didn't seem nervous until the kids were all lining up. They age group was 5-7 year old, and he's not a huge kid to begin with. Toeing up on the line - he just looked so small. And I could see in his face the nerves setting in a bit.
I had decided to run along side him for the race. I kept my distance in the opening segment because all the kids went out like bullets. Pretty quickly they settled back into an even pace on the first 1/4mi out and back.
Going into T1, he was pretty self-sufficient getting his bike and snapping on his own helmet. He started to mount to ride out of transition and I had to remind him to run to the mount line first. He still mounted a bit early - the ref just smiled at me. Not many penalties handed out today :-)

On the bike I was glad to be running next to him. His bike is a 12" wheel bike - no real match for the 'big kids' bikes hauling along. So at times he was out there all alone. Sorry - I'm an over-protective parent and there were a couple sections of the path where a wrong turn could have sent him down a pretty steep incline and into the lake. Plus, it was nice to keep offering words of encouragement - mostly, "I'm sooooo proud of you!"
On a couple of the downhills, he was hauling along. I had to put out more speed than I would have thought to keep up with him. Estimating somewhere around my 800m pace (which is around 10.6 mph). I did a quick calculation - that means his little 12" wheels were spinning at about 300 RPM! (this is about equivalent to my road bike going (I think) about 24mph).
Coming into T2 he was visibly pretty tired, but man the kid just pushed through it. I was really so proud of him on his final out and back run. As he ran into the final 50m, I peeled off and a couple of the older kids ran next to him to carry him across the finish line. He was on cloud nine crossing that line!
Luke then learned the best part of the race - heading to the food table. And man, that kid got his money's worth. We were cracking up at how much he was chowing down and drinking.

So what was his placing? 

Well, if you look at results it becomes apparent that the 7 year olds dominated with finish times about 2x faster than the 5 year olds.

Kids were pretty well distributed by age as you'd imagine. Luke was 4th (out of 7) other 5 year olds in the race - they did one set of awards for the whole group (5-7) so he didn't podium ;-) but he was pretty happy to win a gift certificate to Kompetitive Edge (local tri shop).
Paige and I were just so proud of our little racer! I don't think it ever even occurred to him to quit.
Needless to say - he crashed hard that night and slept like a rock!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I could use... a little more cowbell !!

Whenever I'm at a race (spectating), one pervasive thought that constantly dogs my mind is:

"Man, we need a decent cowbell!"

Yeah, some races pass out those dinky, party favor type cheap-o ones, but I wanted something that racers can actually hear!

Well, this one off Amazon for $13 bucks (and free shipping) does the trick!

It passed the indoor, 'make the dog run for cover' test.

Paige said it hurt her ears.


ps: If you've never seen the SNL skit, then you must watch.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

LittleFoot Triathlon - Race Report

Last triathlon of the year - and the bonus was that it was in Bear Creek park. The entry to the park is only a mile from my house, and the start at the lake was only another 3mi into the park. Perfect pre-race bike warm-up - although riding a TT bike with a 20lb transition pack feels a bit sketch on the downhills into the park!

The race is a sprint distance (750m swim / 20K bike / 5K run). Right now my biggest constraint is the swim, although let me say something about short distance races - (bike TT, 5K runs, 10K runs..) - they hurt.... allot! You are basically red-lining the whole time. Especially on the run - you just so want it to be over. But more on that in a bit. First things first:

Swim: So I've been REALLY working hard on my swim over the past few months. Lessons, stroke analysis, skills work, masters and of course open water. All paid off. While I'm not blazing fast, I've gotten pretty comfortable at least at *being* in the water. And my biggest fear going into my first open water swim was the 'washing machine' that is a mass swim start.
But by the time this race rolled around, I felt really great about the open water swim and even the mass start. I had zero anxiety about it and was really looking forward to it in fact. Standing there on the beach in my wetsuit, I felt like I had done the work to belong there. We were all laughing and joking about the start. The water was a bit nippy (72 degrees), and the air temp was even cooler (about 64 F). After warming up in the water I was standing on the beach and my teeth were chattering. But once I got swimming, it was perfect temperature all through the race.
The other funny thing was that due to the end of season drought and Denver Water pumping out the reservoir, it had exposed about 50ft of beach. So the entry and exit was on these big slippery rocks that necessitated a water start - and some careful footing on the exit.
I was in the second wave, so sighting was helped because I could see the splashing of the first wave out near the first turn when the siren went off. There was a little bumping and such, but it wasn't too bad and I could just move into clearer water pretty easily.
I held on pretty well to the lead pack, but then realized I was going way too fast and I had to let up and breast stroke a bit to get my breath back. From there on out it was a combination of decent freestyle pace and taking a couple backstrokes or breast-strokes to recover. I still swim way too fast in open water and end up getting out of breath. But pacing is coming along.
On the last turn I was able to speed up a bit and was just starting to find my pace, but by then we were bunching up a bit again to exit the water and run up the beach to T1.
My T1 went pretty well, although I still struggle with getting my wetsuit to clear my big feet and also need to get some tri shoes so I can set up a flying mount, instead of struggling with my road bike shoes.
Bike: This was my first race on my new TT bike. It's set up really well for me, but I'm still getting used to it. I felt good, but feel like there's room for improvement on power generation overall. Still, it's a strength and my split is usually high up on in the rankings (as is my run). I spent the ride reeling in folks that had gotten away on the swim (or in the earlier wave). There was one guy that just kind of stuck out there. We noticed each other (there were four 180 degree turn-arounds on the course and we got a good look at each other and exchanged some smiles as we passed. He was in my age group and had good bike handling skills through the turns and descents ("Damn, I hope he's not a good runner", I kept thinking - turns out he was :-)
I did notice that he faded ever so slightly on each of the steady climbs (nothing in Colorado is flat) and on the last climb I finally passed him pretty strongly and tried to put some distance on him. But then this truck turned in front of me and I got blocked for a bit (string of slow moving riders on the right). I yelled out, "C'mon!" and the driver waved me to pass on his left. But still, it messed up my ability to gap the guy and we both entered transition just about the same time. Good flying dismount and smooth T2 (although I had to spend an extra 10 seconds to fix the bike rack that had folded back up when one of the other riders had pulled their bikes out.
Run: Out on the run and I just kept working on winding my feet up. I didn't see the guy I was chasing and figured he was slower out of T2. Now I just started picking up pace and picking more people off that had burned a bit too many matches on the bike. I especially liked the hills on that run because I run that park ALL the time and know the topology of the whole run course like the back of my hand. Every roll and drop - I knew where I could spin up and recover.
It was an out and back, and on the final climb to the turn-around, I could hear someone slowly bearing down on me. As they got closer, I could just tell it sounded like a woman, so I stopped worrying too much - turns out I she was the top AG women finisher. She passed me on the turn-around and we exchanged 'nice work' as I tried to pace behind her.
Finally, with about a mile to go, I saw the guy I had been chasing on the bike. Crap, that means he left T2 'ahead' of me! I was making time on him and tried to stay quiet, but he looked back and started to speed up a bit. The gap (about 13 seconds) held until the finish. I just couldn't close it, although we both had picked up the pace and were now passing a few 30-39 year olds in the closing mile. With 1/4 mile to go, I knew I couldn't kick to close that gap because he would just kick as well. I looked back - nobody in sight. Time to cruise in.
He and I talked afterwards. Really great guy. We both exchanged thanks because we knew we had each pushed each other on the course. Turns out he was from San Antonio. He had actually ridden in his running shoes and didn't have to mess with a collapsing rack. We had nearly identical splits (I actually was slightly faster on the bike and run overall) but his transitions, especially T2 was where I lost that position. He ended up being 3rd in our AG with me like 13s behind him. Ahhhh well.
We both also had similar backgrounds, although he was more of a runner. I can't say enough about how nice a guy he was and how fun it was to share perspectives and thoughts on the cat & mouse throughout the race.
I ended up 4th in my AG and 20th overall (including the 6 elite men ahead of me). Not shabby although I beat myself up for losing a podium spot in transition. Then again - that's a painless problem to fix for next season!
My biggest area of improvement continues to be the swim. I came out of the water 4 minutes behind the number one guy in my AG. That's pretty tough to make up over just a 20K bike and 5K run. But over the winter, I think I can knock at least a couple minutes off my sprint distance swim time with some good attention to that.
I also think that with some attention to my bike (I really did just some cursory bike training this season and rested heavily on my run fitness and laurels of past riding) - I think I can bump that up by quite a bit and make it a real strength again. Also need to work on being able to put out power and keep my bike handling smooth while in the TT position. Throw some decent race wheels in that mix and I feel pretty good about my splits - especially in the longer races (Olympic and 70.3) on next season's agenda.
Post race: I actually didn't hang around for awards because Luke's 5th birthday party started at 11am. We did a big Star Wars theme party for him and about 15 of his friends. Paige and I put a lot into it including some great decorations and her dressed as Princess Amadala and me as - well who else? Darth Vader! (Luke's mother and father for those of you not in the Star Wars 'know'). The kids loved the guest appearance of Darth Vader. Although two things - you 'cook' in that costume in the hot sun (as well as fog up the full helmet eyes). And '2' - when a kid pummels your helmet from behind with a light saber (that we made from pool noodles and black duct tape) - it echoes pretty loud in that helmet!!
Needless to stay, Luke and I took a nap mid-day once the party was a success and in the bag!!
Great Saturday!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paige - Utah 70.3 (and diversions during :-)

Paige raced her first 70.3 triathlon a couple weekends ago. For those of you that aren't familiar with the distances involved, 70.3 is the total distance (in miles) of the race broken out as follows:

1.2mi open water swim
56mi road bike race
13.1mi road running race

All strung into a single event with 2 transitions (swim to bike and bike to run). It's also referred to as a half-ironman (the ironman distance doubles all of the above).

She came in 3rd in her age group and Luke and I couldn't be more proud. She trained so hard for it. Over the summer I got to run, ride and swim with her a few times. While she's always blown the doors off the swim, her cycling especially this year went to another level. I noticed a few months back riding with her in Albuquerque. Last year she did her first 1/2 marathon - but to tack one of those at the end of a 70.3 takes on a whole new meaning.
Luke and I didn't go. Paige and I talked about it and as great as it is to have the whole family at these events, it can be a little stressful for the racer. So instead, her dad drove up from Albuquerque to support her and text me the splits during the race.

That leads me to the other cool thing about that long weekend - it was just me and the biscuit for 4 days in a row. We had a blast with 'Luke and Daddy' time. In addition to flexing my exceptional baking skills and creating a celebration cake, we made the banner for outside the house to welcome her home.

We also went on a few excursions including (w/pictures):

Camping Trip to Bear Creek - this was his first 'non-backyard' camping trip. Complete success and he had a blast. He wanted to know why we couldn't just stay camping all weekend - so I think the next trip will be multi-day.

2 Trips to the Beach - one I ran to / from with Luke in the jogger. On the way up a pretty steep hill, pushing him, the jogger and a bunch of gear (I'm guessing total weight of about 80lbs), Luke asks, "Daddy... are you running or walking" to which 'dad' replied, "Luke, in a second you're gonna be walking". He redeemed himself on the way back when he said, "Wow - we are going really fast!" (I think I was being played). The other trip was via car after my long run on Sunday. He loved the beach and I don't know why we haven't gone there before. It's close to the house and we were able to build a sand castle village as well as collect about a billion sea shells.

Mystery Trip to a Pedestrian Bridge - it's near our house. They built it a few months back. Every time we pass it, Luke asks about someday walking over it. So we made a mystery trip out of it and he had a blast just walking over it, seeing the views and then walking back.

Beyond that, it was just some other runs with him in the jogger, some trips around town, goofing around the house and a special Saturday night of pizza and watching every episode of Shaun the Sheep. I'd say a fun and successful weekend all around for the family and we had quite the celebration when Paige returned a little weary, but happy on Sunday night!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

from Nashville, TN...

So this is a first (for me blogging). I'm writing this from a table in a bar in Nashville, TN. Out here on business, working on a presentation for tomorrow...but..

This is Nashville, TN. If you ever want to see the MASSIVE level of talent in the US in the music business - come out here and spend some time. I'm in a little bar / restaurant and the vocal abilities of the folks on stage completely waxes anything you'll see watching 'The Voice', 'American Idol' or any of those packaged shows. The one lady just announced that she just won a Nashville Music Vocalist Award.

Went out for a run when I landed. Started out with the intent to do 12mi. Ended up doing 14 with a bunch of tempo work. Even with the heat / humidity - running down Music Row past the studios and downtown across to the Shelby (?) trail and along the river. Whoah - I was just so freakin' geeked. I'm a long time guitar player / mediocre singer-songwriter style pop vocalist / recording studio wanna-be. I've done open-mics and small gigs here and there - but then you come out here and.... whoah.... I mean this is one little crappy bar, in a city of a ton of little crappy bars.. and these guys are awesome.

So - good Masters Swim this morning before I got on the plane. Respectable run / pacing work in the bag. Couple of draft Blue Moon's (my anchor to Colorado / Coors), and a decent salmon / baked potato / salad dinner. Good live country music...  This all on top of a confidence building session in open water on Monday night and a kick-ass BRICK hitting some decent paces off the bike on Tuesday. Put that together with my wonderful wife and kids...

Holy crap, I have a happy life. Don't worry - be happy.

btw - this was waiting for me on the bed when I walked into my hotel room. It's (I assume) a swan made out of bath towels (although my initial pattern recognition put it as more of a cobra, ready to strike).

I know it's supposed to be soothing and add a touch of something - but it just kind of freaked me out. I dismantled it immediately. Die swan!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Georgetown 1/2 Marathon PR

Ran the Georgetown to Idaho Springs 1/2 Marathon this past Saturday.

I love this race and love the distance. It's long enough to fall into a rhythm and also test you, and the pace is between that marathon and 10K speed. Hurts, but is manageable.

It's billed as a net downhill course, but I've made the points before about it of why it's a little deceptively tricky. First, it starts at about 8300 ft and the first 2.5 miles actually send you back into the town, up and down some hilly streets. Second, there is a 1.5mi section on dirt road and trail that can be a little tough, especially since that comes around mile 7 or so and you have to watch your footing on the  rocks, sand and ruts. Finally, in the last mile there are some rollers through Idaho Springs at 7300ft that you have to mentally push through when tired. You also have to be a good downhill runner to take advantage of a downhill course. I finally feel like I'm getting there, but am always reminded on this course that I still can improve.

That being said, it's a fast course and that brings out a decent field. About 2560 racers this year.

The weather was perfect. Nice and brisk, but not too cold at the start. This is my third year running the race, so I knew I needed to stage up front. Otherwise, you can get clogged up going back into town at the start, and then you spend too much energy running off the side of the road and weaving to move forward and keep a good pace. In a half, you don't have lots of distance to make up easy time at the start. It runs more like a 10K than a marathon.

I was really happy with the start, my overall pacing and being 'present' mentally through every mile. The last is something I've worked on over the years. Otherwise I tend to drift off pace and miss out on key places in the race when I could have gone faster. And I was strong into the finish, passing a couple folks on the last couple turns.

The downside in the race was that I had some GI issues that crept in at about mile 4. It got progressively worse and at some point there is that realization that a I'm not going to be able to just run all the way through it. You know that moment in Dumb and Dumber where Harry (Jeff Daniels) is driving in the car for his date with Mary, and he first feels the effects of Floyd's (Jim Carrey) sabotage (Floyd put a whole bottle of 'Turbo Lax - use one teaspoon for fast and effective relief' into Harry's hot chocolate? Yeah - that feeling was happening by mile 5.

So I sped up a bit and planned pit stop at mile 6 (hoping they had porta-potties there - they did). At mile 6 I ran into one of them and a minute and a half later was back out on the course - much better. Mental note, no more big burrito for lunch the day before. Need to really keep things bland and light all day prior. Ah well.

I then picked up the pace to pull back the lost time. I don't think a 1:30 stop has to translate to that amount of time lost if it happens with 6mi to go because it gives you a little recovery time and you can always run a bit faster for a couple miles. Maybe it cost me 45s net lost time? Anyway - lesson learned.

My finish time was 1:27:49 - which was a PR for me (both 1/2 marathon and on that course) - by about 1:40! I was super stoked by that! It's a fast field in my division though. Even though overall times were slower than last year, there were some fast guys (I know many of them by name from other races) in my division. The above time would have put me 4th last year - this year I was 8th (out of 125 guys). I was 84th overall out of 2560 racers. Happy with that with my 49th birthday coming up! Nice to be PR'ing as I age :-)

Saturday night we headed out to Hacienda's for my favorite post race treat; Chicken-Changa and a big house margarita!

Ah, but to finish off my Dumb and Dumber day, I cut my finger while making some home made tortilla soup. It was a decent slice. I put a band-aid on which stopped the bleeding, and even swam later in the day. Doesn't hurt, but when I took the bandaid off last night, it still bled pretty well. I went to Urgent Care more just to make sure it didn't need stitches (I didn't) and to see if I should get a tetanus shot (I did). But they apparently wanted to give me a 'money's worth' bandage. Look at this puppy!

It's kind of silly - I mean the cut is maybe an 1/8" long! Yikes!! Ahh well...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TT Position Setup

Last night I took some time to set up my new TT bike. Here's the steps I went through:

1. Put the bike on the trainer and leveled the front wheel.
2. Adjusted seat and aero extensions by 'feel' based on past experience.
3. Video taped me riding both on the 'horns' as well as in the aero position.
4. Then I pulled the video into V1 Home Premium (which I've had for a while) and took a snapshot from the video.

side-note: V1 is great software. You can upload video. Run it at any speed, frame by frame, forward and back, draw lines, angles, and compare side by side to other videos. You can even download models from a variety of sports.

5. Uploaded into TriRaceBook ( and used the position tool to set each contact point (per their online video tutorial). You can see the result below. 

Analysis was pretty much what I figured. I had purposefully set the seat a bit lower than I think it should be at so I could get used to the steeper aero position of my back. still puts me in a decent position, but it's lower than I'm used to (on the road bike) and it creates a bit more elbow angle than would be optimal (closer to, but not at 90 degrees). But higher and more forward is something I need to work towards over time. Need to let the body adjust.

After that I went over the whole bike with a torque wrench. was happy to see that the previous owner had kept the bolts to spec. Always a concern on a bunch of carbon components and frame!

Here's some snapshots of some model aero positions. Sagan is closest to my build (he is 6' / 160lbs, I'm 1/2 inch taller and 164 lbs), Cancellara is close to my height. Cadel is shorter, Wiggins is taller.

And of course there is Lance's new position:

 I've always noticed that in the 'lab' setting, the riders are further back on the seat, but they tend to edge out on the nose of the saddle in the heat of the race. I also think TT riders tend to ride with a lower saddle than triathletes - but I need to look into that further.

Anyway - at lunch today I took the bike for a ride through Bear Creek. I was really happy with the setup. Just tweaked the bar extension length by 1/4" while on the ride.

Now going to pretty much ride the TT bike exclusively until the Bear Creek triathlon in early September. Should give me time to adjust and make some tweaks to the setup. Next year I think I'll throw on a nice set of race wheels. The HED Jet 5 Express are currently in the front running. They have an AL rim with a carbon wing bonded to them. I'm just a little worried about the carbon clincher issues that have sprung up recently - where some races have even banned them. With the hilly courses in Colorado, it's just better I think to have a rim that's not going to go kaboom from brake heat build-up.

Haven't come to terms yet with wearing an aero helmet. I'll get there.... :-)

Oh yeah - why do I have this much time to spend on my bike setup, analyzing TT positions and wheel set selection? Because the Georgetown 1/2 marathon is this Saturday (and I'm going bouncy crazy in taper mode - i.e. less training load). Wish me luck!!