Monday, June 30, 2008

hitting the hills

Tonight is hill workout number 2 of 4 I want to get in before the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon. Hopefully I'll see the results in my run split in 2 weeks.

This is the first time in a long time that I've done speedwork. I've gotta say... it sucks. For a guy that loves racing, I hate going fast.

Going fast is OK, it's the aiming for a certain pace or heart rate that drives me nuts. It kind of sucks the fun out of it for me. Most of the triathletes I know can't get enough training data. They've got Powertap wheels & GPS/heart rate combo meters & they know their lactate threshhold & max heart rate...

I know my tires have 120 psi in them & the start/split & stop/reset buttons on my watch stick, so I try not to press them once I get it going. I also know running up a long hill makes my lungs & legs hurt, so it's probably good for me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

My second tri of the year went considerably better than the first. Last time I was 10th in my age group, this time I won it.

First place, Men 25-29, Lake Minnetonka Triathlon. Ahh, sweet redemption.
The swim was better than last time by about 2 minutes. I didn't go as far off course as last time, and the water was quite a bit warmer. I didn't wear a watch this race, which was the best idea I've had in a while. Mentally, I felt like I had a chance at placing. I wouldn't have been so optimistic if I knew I had a 15:40-something swim.

T-1 was a little slow, I fumbled with my sunglasses a bit. I put my bike shoes on in transition this time around. It worked well, but I should have practiced running in bikes shoes. The Look cleats were a bit wobbly. I might try Speedplay pedals next time.

Bike was OK. The wind picked up on the second half of the out & back course which slowed me down a bit. My new aero bar brake lever was a huge asset. It came in handy on a few sweeping corners when I had to scrub just a little speed. Hydration went well.

T-2 would have been awesome, but I had trouble getting a shoe on. I can't grip the tongue tight enough to really whip the shoe on, so I end up smooshing the tongue down in to the toe box. Now I have an excuse to get some of those fancy one-piece Zoot tri shoes. Solid.

I wasn't too thrilled with my 18:33 run. I think I could have gone low 18 or high 17. But, it really doesn't matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

The Lake Minnetonka tri is really a fantastic event. It's the most beginner-friendly race I've ever done. The race director gives out ridiculously huge trophies to the top 5 overall, and fairly huge trophies to the age group winners. I was carrying mine left-handed on the walk back to the car, and had to to stop & rest several times so I wouldn't drop it.

If, after a race, your only complaint is that the trophy you just won is too heavy... life is pretty sweet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is no-hands the new fixed gear?

What is it with no-hands bike riding this spring?! Over the last few weeks I've noticed a ton of people riding around upright, not hanging on to the handlebars.

Everyone is doing it! This morning I saw a high school kid on a mountain bike, a tight-pants hipster on a cruiser, and a 40-ish spandex-clad roadie all riding no handed. Of course, they were swerving all over the path like drunken idiots.

So, is no hands the new fixie? At least fixie riders hang on to the handelbars. They may be brakeless, but they can hold a straight line. That seems safer to me that the wobbly no-handed style that's getting very popular as of late.

Let's be careful out there.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

what the?

This makes no sense.

A bridge is closed because it may be unsafe, but the re-opened to vehicles but not bikes or pedestrians. What!?! How the hell can a bridge be safe for a 3000 pound SUV, but not a 160 pound runner or 200 pound guy on a bike?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

well that couldda gone better

Well, my first tri of the year was pretty much a train wreck. It started off with an 18 minute half mile swim. Ouch. That used to take less than 14 minutes.

I followed that up by spending the first half mile of the bike trying to fasten my left shoe. I leave my shoes on the pedals in transition, then velcro them as I ride. It wasn't a problem at the Gear West Du since I was wearing gloves. However, the 58 degree water made my hand too cold to grip the strap. Local rockstar & Kona veteran Anthony told me after the race that putting bike shoes on in transition works best for him. I've seen more than one guy slip & fall while running through T1 in a smooth soled tri shoe. But, if it Works for Anthony, I'll give it a shot. The transition area at my next race (Lake Minnetonka) is grass, so traction should be OK.

So, after 17 miles of biking with my shoe strap flapping in the breeze, I arrived in T2 and hit the run. I wasn't motivated to go very fast since I knew how far behind I was. That lead me to a revelation; no more watch wearing while racing. If I think I'm still a contender, I'll be more likely to hammer on the bike & run.

As my swim wave headed in to the starting corral I saw an above the elbow amputee. I looked for him after the race, but couldn't track him down. I gotta find that cat & see what transition tips he has!

Friday, June 6, 2008

fit to print

This just in...I'm being interviewed for Midwest Events Magazine! Hopefully I'll say something interesting enough that they'll publish the interview.

Manitou Sprint is this Sunday - it will be my first tri of the year. I'm expecting to swim well for about 200 yards, the fall apart. Water temp is about 60 degrees, and I have a sleeveless wetsuit. I'll be lucky if I can lift my left arm out of the water by the halfway point!

Monday, June 2, 2008

when last I rocked

Last Friday, I was playing cards with my wife & enjoying some nice tunes from my iPod.

Then a song came along and ruined my day.

And I absolutely love the song that ruined my day. It was "Get Off" by the Dandy Warhols. They are among the damn finest bands you'll find. Here's why hearing them sucked...

As soon as I heard "Get Off", I realized something terrible. That was the last song I played when I was able to play the standard, "right-handed" guitar.

In January of 2007, I knew my left hand was dying. My guitar playing was quickly going to shit. So...when I determined the end was near...I took stock of the chords I could play. I knew immediately what the best option was. It was the Dandys.

On a night in January, when my wife worked late & I had the house to myself, I rocked the hell out. I cranked that track on the stereo & played along. At the time, it was my final farewell to guitar. I played that tune at least 6 times in a row. I sang the lead & harmony alternately. I played guitar behind my head. I tried to blow the windows out of the house. I rocked it out like I had mere months to live...because I thought I had months to live

Hearing that ditty the other day was just sad. I have never missed guitar like that. While my wife dealed cards, I pretended to tear up due to a pollen allergy. That wasn't the case.

I'd honestly give another limb, just to make a little psychadelic prog-rock again. Man, I wish I could play that song.

Dandys rule, OK?