Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Ironman Augusta 70.3 Smack Talk

The 2011 ESI Ironman Augusta 70.3 is in the books.  I did not compete this year, but I did compete in 2010.  I tracked several of the athletes for much of the day.  I was especially interested in a few that I know personally and are competing with me at the 2011 Ironman Florida race in November.

Here's how they did today; Chad Daniel finished in 5:05:11, Sean Gray finished in 5:34:49, and Ken Cook finished in 6:27:02.

Chad's wife Tamara finished in 6:19:15.  Carlos Talbott, a cycling buddy also competed and finished in 6:06:56.  Tamara and Carlos are not doing IMFL.

Here are some screen captures of each of these athletes.

Chad had a great bike and his transitions were fast but he gave it up on the run.

Sean had a good race overall but could use some improvement in the swim, bike, run, and transition segments of the race.

Carlos must have walked the whole half-marathon.  You need to run more laps buddy.

Tamara kicked it on the bike (for a girl), but she must have been walking with Carlos on the run.  She had to be using Chad's training plan.

Ken had a solid swim and a respectable bike segment but his transitions are ridiculous.  What was he doing for over 19 minutes?  I hope he didn't lose his bike in transition.  That would be humiliating!

Here's where the "smack talk" starts/continues.  You will note in the image below my own measly performance from the 2010 ESI Ironman Augusta Half-Ironman race.  If I recall correctly, and I think I do, I had been training on my wife's pink cruiser before buying my Quintana Roo CD0.1 bike less than three months before the race.  I believe my pre-race bike training included a total of about 700 miles on my new bike.  I also recall that it rained for much of the race.  Here are my results.

So, as an old fart of 49 years, it would seem as though at least one of these young bucks could beat my finish time of 5:01:54.

I sure am looking forward to Panama City Beach, Florida.

Okay, I'm really proud of all the athletes, especially the ones I know.  Good job!

Thanks for reading my tactless blog.

Fourteen Down - Six Weeks to Go!

Week fourteen of my 20 week Ironman training plan started on Sunday, September 18th.  I had worked 2 mid-shifts and I was beat so I didn't do any training on Sunday.  In fact, I went to bed at 8pm and slept 12 hours.  Gotta include good rest in the plan.  Susan and I took the opportunity to take Max to the dog park.  He was not very rambunctious as you can see in the picture below.

Max taking a break

On Monday Susan and I worked in the yard during the day.  I was released from my chores at around 3pm and I was on my bike by 4pm.  I rode 37 miles solo before riding 23 miles with the Southern Crescent Cycling club folks and 8 more miles solo again on the ride home.  My total numbers for the day were 68 miles ridden in 3 hours and 30 minutes averaging 19.4 miles per hour.  I was trying to get my longer rides in early on in the week so I would be fresh for the Tugaloo olympic distance triathlon on Saturday.  During my ride I took a few pictures.

The well manicured streets of Clayton County
I know every county has it's problems but it seems as though Clayton County has more than it's fair share.

Horses on New Morn Drive in Henry County
A rare image of the black helicopter that surveils the homes of the not so paranoid after all
The address of the aircraft registration number is the same as Cisco Systems in Wilmington, Delaware.

On Tuesday I ran 10 miles in 1 hour, 20 minutes and 34 seconds.  My average heart rate was 150.  I planned to run more but Chip and Richard wanted to run on Wednesday so I had to save my energy.  Susan was home cooking for our friends Jim and Mary Ann.  Jim is an avid runner which he and I have in common.  He and Mary Ann are also foodies which they and Susan have in common.  Susan prepared a dinner of collard greens, maple glazed sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, corn bread, and a maple glazed pork chop.  Jim and Mary Ann brought the wine.

Jim with two bottles of wine
Jim and Mary Ann have a nice wine collection.  Pictured here with Jim are a bottle of 2001 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru and 2004 Margaret Rivers Chenin Blanc.

On Wednesday I swam 1.8 miles in the lake in the early afternoon.  The water is noticeably cooler than it was only 2 weeks ago.  I wore my full wetsuit but my head was still cold for the first 20 minutes of the swim.  Later in the afternoon I rode 26 miles with the SCC folks.  We had a group of about 10 riders that averaged just over 21 mph.

On Thursday Susan and I rode our bikes in the neighborhood.  We logged a whopping 3.1 miles.  Neither of us felt like doing much more.  I spent the rest of the morning getting my bike ready for the Tugaloo triathlon on Saturday.  I washed my bike, swapped out my training wheels for race wheels, and oiled and cleaned my chain.

On Friday Susan and I rode the hood again.  This time we logged 10 miles.  After we got back home I continued my pre-race preparations.  I cleaned my bike again before loading it into the car with all of my other race stuff.  I printed the address to Tugaloo State Park so I could enter it into my GPS, set out my clothes for the morning and set 2 alarm clocks for 3:30am.

On Saturday I did the Tugaloo Olympic distance triathlon in Lavonia, Georgia.  See my race report here.

In summary I swam 2.7 miles, rode 144 miles, and ran 16.2 miles in about 12 hours.  It was a recovery week and I had to taper for Tugaloo so I'm not disappointed.  Week fifteen will be much worse.

Thanks for reading.

2011 Tugaloo Olympic Triathlon - Race Report

The 2011 Tugaloo Olympic Triathlon on Saturday, September 24, 2011 started at 8:00am at Tugaloo State Park on Lake Hartwell near Lavonia, Georgia and features a 1.5K swim, 42K bike, and 10K run.

The park is located 120 miles from my house on the south side of Atlanta.  I woke up at 3:25am and was out the door at 4:05am.  It was going to be a long day.  The park opens at 6:00am.  I got there right before they opened.  I was hoping to have plenty of time to check-in, get body marked, setup my transition area, and get to the beach by 7:45am for the mandatory briefing and the time trial start at 8:00am.

I packed my car on Friday, printed directions to the park, wrote down the 2010 top five M50-54 age-group winner finish times (2:24:08 to 2:34:28), just in case.  I even had a $5 bill ready for the parking fee at the park.  My USAT card and ID were in my pocket too.  Susan and Max, our dog, were going too, but that plan was cancelled at around 3:20am in favor of the backup plan which was for me to go by myself and for Max and Susan get a little more shut eye.  In their defense, neither of them are used to getting up that early.  There goes my personal photographer and cheering committee.  Although, I was able to take a few pictures on my own.

At the park I paid my fee and followed the directions of the flag wavers to a grass parking area / field near the group shelter.  I got my bike ready and collected all my stuff in my transition bag before taking the Donner Pass to the transition area.  The park's Donner Pass is a foot worn trail through the viney woods, down and then up a ravine, and across a little bridge to the back side of the transition area.  I suppose it's a quick way to get from point A to point B if it's not totally dark, there's only a sliver of the moon showing, and you're not hauling a bike and 30 lbs of gear.  I wore my headlamp but it didn't highlight the dark green "trail starts here" post.  Me and two other guys fumbled through the woods until we saw some others on the path.  I know I saw some Poison Sumac too.  I'll probably breakout in itchy spots later this week.

Cars waiting to enter the park at 6am
Registration was a breeze.  I picked up my race packet and timing chip, got my body-marked, and put my race number on my bike before entering the paved parking lot, now triathlon transition area.  The transition area was lit with portable high-intensity floodlights which was surrounded by about a million flying bugs.  Fortunately, someone had the foresight to locate the lights some distance aways from the bike racks.  The transition area is sort of "J" shaped with the majority of the racks on one side.  I was located on a rack near the bend close to the fence.

Race packet minus the gel packet I used
Transition area
I racked my bike, setup my shoes, sunglasses, towel, race belt, and nutrition and hydration.  I used a rubber band to stabilize my pedal mounted bike shoes.  That was the first time I'd done that.  I also blew up a balloon and taped it to my water bottle.  I wasn't going to lose my bike in the transition area during this race.  I opened two Gatorade bottles and removed the tamper proof seals.  I pre-opened two packets of Shot Bloks before putting them in my bento box where I also had a Clif Bar and some Endurolyte capsules.

My transition area setup
The lake swim start area in the distance
I made my way down to the lake for the mandatory athlete's briefing where they went over the swim course and other stuff.  There were a lot of collegiate triathlon team members participating.  They were instructed to start the swim first.  They lined up 2-by-2 and started the swim in time trial fashion with each set of swimmers entering the water just a few second behind the previous set.  Since the race didn't start for each athlete until they crossed the first timing mat the race director asked faster swimmers to move forward and slower swimmers to start after them.  I stayed with my general group by race number.

I entered the water, started my stopwatch, and headed for the first buoy.  The field was spread out so there was some, but not a lot of bumping.  I swung wide at the first buoy and headed toward the second.  The water temperature was 75-degrees which is very nice for a full wetsuit.  I rounded the second buoy and headed for shore.  When I exited the water my watch read 30:38.  That was not as fast as I had hoped but it seemed as though I had passed a lot of people in the water.  I ran up the beach, dunked my feet in the kiddie pool to rinse them off and headed to the transition area.  The air temperature was around 65-degrees.

I made what seemed like a quick T-1 transition and ran toward the mounting line.  I was able to later run through transition easily with my bike shoes mounted to my pedals.  At the mounting line I hopped on my bike and started to pedal but the rubber band didn't break as I'd expected.  I'd even cut little sections out of it to insure it would break but nope, it just stretched.  I reached down and broke the rubber band with my hand and tightened up the Velcro straps on my shoes.  It took me about 2 miles to recover from the swim, then I was passing people as much as I could.  I think four riders passed me during the bike segment and I may have re-passed two of them later on in the race.  The first three were in the first two miles.  I finished the bike segment feeling good about my overall standing but I know it would be unlikely that I would end the day with a finish time close to the 2010 top five M50-54 age groupers. 

I dismounted my bike and entered T2.  I wasted a few seconds getting my small size bike frame to rest securely on the rack.  I'll have to rig something up below my bottle cages.  With my bike stuff stowed and my running shoes on I headed out onto the run course.

On the run course I hung with another runner for almost 3 miles through the camp ground amongst the smells of last night's campfires and the morning's bacon cooking.  She was doing my pacing for me.  I didn't get the opportunity to thank her.  Actually, before the race I had spoken to Slayer, an All3Sports team member, about the John Tanner #2 race we both did two weeks ago.  He said that the overall female winner was a friend.  When I was on the run course Slayer gave word of encouragement to my 32 year old pacer girl.  I thought to myself this must be the female winner from John Tanner that Slayer was talking about so, I must be doing pretty good.  All I needed to do was keep up with her.  At around the 3 mile mark I passed her.  I didn't realize until the turn-around after mile 5 that she had disappeared.  I only had 1 mile to go and pushed onward and upward.  It was a hilly run course.  About 400 yards from the finish line I got passed by another age-grouper.  He was 49 years old and encouraged me to keep his pace since he had been keeping mine for a mile or so.  Since he wasn't 50 to 54 years old I let him go.

I finished the race 76th overall having gotten "chicked" 13 times and placed 4th in my age-group in a time of 2 hours 39 minutes and 04 seconds.  After giving up my timing chip I wandered down to the registration area where they had pizza, Gatorade, Cokes, cookies, bananas, Cheez-its, pretzels, and other food stuffs.  I got a piece of pizza, a Coke, and sat down for a few minutes.  I noticed that preliminary results had been posted.  I checks the results for my age-group.  I didn't make the cut.  No award for me. 

The finish line in the distance
I picked up my stuff and headed to the car via Donner Pass to call Susan and give her the news.  I wasn't bringing home the bacon today.

A cove on the lake along Donner Pass
The wooded trail on the road to Mordor (a reference to Lord of the Rings)
The viney path
Overall I think I had a good race.  My transitions were much improved.  I do recall thinking to myself what the heck was I thinking when I signed up for Ironman Florida.  That race is more than 4 times this race and this one almost made me throw up.

My hydration was good.  I had two 24 ounce bottles of Gatorade that I brought from home.  My nutrition was okay.  I really like the Shot Bloks but the Clif Bar was stuck in my mouth for a while.  I chewed it up but had difficulty swallowing it.  I even coughed up a wet clump Clif bar paste which landed on my arm.  Nice!  I forgot all about my Endurolyte capsules.

Kudos to the volunteers, sheriff's dept., police dept., ambulance drivers and paramedics, water safety people, residents of Lavonia and the surrounding area.  Not once did I feel unsafe during the race.

If I could recommend two changes to the race organizers it would be 1) relocate the port-a-potties to a paved area and add a few more and, 2) start serving water or Gatorade prior to the race.  Many of the racers are eating last minutes food stuffs and, like me, all their hydration is locked up in transition.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2011 Ironman Augusta 70.3 Shout Out

Here's a brief shout out to some peeps that are doing the 2011 ESI Ironman 70.3 Augusta triathlon on Sunday, September 25th. 

As you probably already know the Augusta 70.3 includes a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run.  Ironman branded 70.3 triathlons are often referred to as a half-ironman or HIM.

Participating in this year's race are Georgia triathletes Chad and Tamara Daniel of Peachtree City, Ken Cook of Griffin, Carlos Talbott of McDonough, and Sean Gray, along with about 3,200 others.  Chad, Ken and Sean are all doing Ironman Florida as well this year.  Chip, Richard and I met Sean on the Silver Comet Trail a few weeks ago.  Sean, a Canton, Georgia paramedic, will wear bib # 343 to honor the number of firefighters who lost their lives in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Carlos is one of my Southern Crescent Cycling buds so he should do very well on the bike.  I'm sure he'll perform respectably during the swim and run segments as well.

Chad Daniel,  bib #599,  M30-34,  start time - 7:52am (wave 6)
Carlos Talbott,  bib # 803,  M30-34,  start time - 7:56am (wave 7)
Sean Gray,  bib # 343,  M35-39,  start time - 8:04am (wave 9)
Ken Cook,  bib # 1330,  M40-44,  start time - 8:12am (wave 12)
Tamara Daniel,  bib # 2917,  F30-34,  start time - 8:56am (wave 22)

The athlete's day will begin with a wave start swim segment.  The Pros start at 7:30am and the final wave starts at 9:08am. 

Use the athlete tracker on Sunday to follow the athletes through the course as they cross over each timing mat.

Good Luck Y'all !

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thirteen Down - Seven Weeks to Go!

Week thirteen of my 20 week Ironman training plan started on September 11th with no training.  It's supposed to be an off day and I took it.

On Monday I got in 2 hours of riding.  The shorter hours of daylight are starting to take hold.  I got home just before dark.

On Tuesday I swam 2.4 miles in the lake.  I wore my wetsuit for the first time this season on a training swim.  After about 30 minutes in the water everything found its place and I just eased into each stroke.  I realized how much effort sighting can take too.  I'll have to work on that.  I also went for an 11 mile run.  I ran my usual route around the lake hugging the shoulder so I don't get hit by a car.  I also pulled down a few "carpet cleaning" signs off power poles.  I hate litter!

On Wednesday Chip, Richard and I swam in Lake Peachtree.  Richard and I swam 2.4 miles from Drake Field to the dam and back.  Chip swam laps back and forth to a dock near Drake Field.  Then we rode our bikes 25 miles through Peachtree City.  I had a flat.  This is my third flat this year.  The cause was a tiny piece of metal that worked its way through my tire.  I fixed my flat using my CO2 inflator for the first time.  It worked like a champ with step-by-step instructions coming from Richard and Chip.

On Thursday I had to get ready for an evening out so I just ran 10K close to the house.  Our evening out included another trip to The Shed at Glenwood restaurant.  My wife Susan and our friends Susan and Jim liked it so much when we ate there on Sunday we had to go back.  They were having a dinner and New Zealand wine pairing event with Glenn Cunningham, Director of New Zealand wines for Constellation.

Once again I was unprepared and had to use someone's cell phone to take a few pictures.  I set my camera and cell phone by the door so I wouldn't forget them when Susan and I left the house.  We left the house through a different door so, I was without both.

Nobilo Icon New Zealand wine
The dining room at The Shed at Glenwood
The wine pairing event was well attended.  I took the above picture just after we arrived.  It was still early!

Glenn Cunningham, Jim, Susan, and Susan (l-r)
You can just see my buddy Rudy on the far left in the picture above.  Rudy is a math professor at Morehouse College.  He sat beside me during the dinner.  Together (between courses) we solved many of the mathematical problems that have puzzled society.  The menu for the event is listed below.

Reception Course
Nobilo Icon, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ
Fried Peppadew Pepper, Local Goat Cheese
Polenta Cake, Tomato Confit, Fontina
Foie Gras Club Sandwich

1st Course
Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, Marlborough, NZ
Late Summer Salad, Deviled Bantam Eggs

2nd Course
Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ
Silver Queen Corn Risotto, Chanterelles, Maize Mushrooms

3rd Course
Kim Crawford Small Parcel Rise & Shine Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ
New Zealand Lamb Porterhouse, Field Pea Ragout

4th Course
Jackson Triggs Proprietors Reserve Vidal Ice Wine, Niagra Peninsula, Canada
Vanilla Panna Cotta, Georgia Peach
Pear & Pecan Streusel

It was really good!

On Friday Chip, Richard and I rode the Silver Comet Trail all the way from the Mavell Road trail head to Cedartown.  We totalled 101.85 miles on the bike in 5 hours and 30 minutes followed by a 30 minute run brick.  That was the furthest I've been on the SCT.  Beyond Rockmart the trail has a lot more turns, and street and railroad track crossings which is not ideal for tri bikes.  The train depot at Cedartown is nice but the area leading to the depot leaves something to be desired.  During our ride we saw a wild turkey, a snake and a big fat ground hog.  The SCT wasn't as busy as is it has been in the past.  The weather was great.  I was cold before we started so I put a cloth car chamois inside the front of my jersey to stay warm.  I left it there all day, except on the run.  The temperature never rose above the mid-70's.

Me, Richard and Chip at the start of our ride on the Silver Comet Trail
Chip and Richard at the depot in Cedartown
Me and Richard (Thing 1 and 2)
The back side of the Cedartown sign at the depot
The front side of the Cedartown sign at the depot
The groundhog hiding behind a log after he (or she) scurried up the hill
A closer view of the groundhog
On Saturday Susan and I rode our bikes 10 miles in the neighborhood.

A summary of my week's training is as follows.  My plan called for me to put in a total of 19 hours and 25 minutes of exercise.  Until this week the most I'd actually trained in one week was 13 hours and 38 minutes.  That was during week eleven.  I was supposed to train for 15 hours that week.  Last week was supposed to be 18 hours and 20 minutes but I wasn't even in the same ballpark.  This week has been much better.  I swam 4.8 miles in 2 hours and 44 minutes, rode 186 miles in 10 hours and 43 minutes, and ran 21 miles in 2 hours and 52 minutes.  My total time dedicated to getting ready for Ironman Florida this week is 16 hours and 20 minutes.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anniversary Farmapolooza

On Sunday, September 11th Susan and I spent the morning in front of the television watching the memorial ceremonies marking the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.  It just so happens that 9/11 is also my wedding anniversary.

My wife Susan is a foodie and she can really cook.  She watches food network shows, makes her own recipes (that are actually good), and reads extensively about the subject.  After a less than perfect visit to the Corks and Forks event at Grant Park on August 28th I need a bit of redemption.  The Corks and Forks event itself was nice and the food and wine was good too.  The problem was more specific to my driving and parking portion of that day's activities.  Susan and I never argue, except when I drive.  I'm usually driving somewhere and she's telling me how to do it better.  You're going too fast! You're going too slow!  You need to be in the right lane!  Don't tailgate!  At Corks and Forks my immediate task was to find a parking space at Grant Park.  To my ultimate dismay I offered to let Susan drive and exited the car while looking for a space.  Mind you, I was following the advice of a coworker.  He and I had previously discussed driving with our better halves and he apparently had the solution.   Afterwards I realized that he might have embellished the success of the often discussed but little used You Drive maneuver.  This maneuver is usually initiated as such - Here, You Drive!  Following my own initiation of the maneuver I stopped, put it in park and exited the car.  Susan hopped into the driver's seat and found a great space to park.  Good we're here!  Nope, not so fast!  She sat in the car with the windows rolled up and me still outside the car trying to get her out and calm down.  She did eventually get out of the car but the damage was done.  The next 90 minutes were spent with Susan saying "you've ruined my day" and me apologizing for my gross error in judgment.

Here are a few images from the event.  You might notice in one of the images Susan walking about 100 feet in front of me.  At that distance you can't see the steam coming out of her ears.

2011 Corks & Forks

Fast forward two weeks to Sunday, September 11th.  This year Susan and I planned full day of things to do for our anniversary.  I even swore off blogging and training for the day.  The plan was to wake up, have some breakfast, go to the movies in the afternoon and later on eat dinner at a nice restaurant and see a show with some friends.

We saw the movie Contagion.  It was good.  After the movie I wanted to stop at Wal-mart for some canned tuna, bottled water, Purell, and shotgun shells.  I got a watch battery instead. 

After reading a few on-line reviews Susan decided she wanted to go to The Shed at Glenwood for dinner.  I might have recommended pizza and a coke at COSTCO but I didn't want to die.  Susan made our reservations on-line and we arrived at around 6pm.  The weather was great so we decided to eat outside.  Our friends, Jim and Susan, accompanied us.  It was their idea to go to the Variety Playhouse afterwards.  We placed our drink order and looked over the rest of the menu.  The area of east Atlanta where the restaurant is located has had a resurgence over the past few years.  It sits in a new building on a corner lot amongst new condo developments and new craftsman style single family homes.  Susan and Jim ordered the sliders and my Susan and I ordered the shepherd's pie.  Our meals came with a choice of two salads, blue cheese wedge or Beet and one of three desserts.  I chose the cheesecake.  Susan ordered the panna cotta with peaches.

The wedge salad was really good.  Blue cheese dressing is often bland but this dressing was full of flavor.  The shepherd's pie was hot and delicious with lean and tender chunks of meat covered with mashed potatoes.  No veggies.  The desserts were good too.  The owner gave us a homemade Ding Dong dessert to try.  It was the best!!!  Definitely go for the Ding Dong dessert!  I didn't bring my camera so the owner let me use his cellphone camera and e-mailed me the images.  The staff was very good too - knowledgeable but not pompous and attentive but not overly so!

Susan with The Shed at Glenwood owner Todd Martin
Shepherd's Pie
Susan B. with her Stella and sliders
Jim B. with his sliders
At the Variety Playhouse we saw The Kicks and Los Lonely Boys.  This was the first time I'd ever been to the venue so I didn't know what to expect.  It's basically an old converted theater.  We were all surprised by the seemingly good acoustics.  Both bands were great - lots of energy!

Susan and I had a good anniversary.

Thanks for reading.

Where to Improve

I did a few things at Saturday's Tri the Parks John Tanner #2 sprint triathlon that I would like to do over.  There weren't many errors but my race just wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it to be.

1) I didn't put my race number on my helmet.  I didn't see it in my bag and frankly didn't take the time to look for it.  This didn't affect my time but could hamper the efforts of the race organizers to do whatever they do.

2) My bike computer didn't work.  I later found out that a last minute adjustment to my sensor screwed it up.

3) I didn't scout out the transition area and subsequently lost my bike for almost a minute in T1.  Bad!

4) I didn't prepare for the bike dismount and ran in my bike shoes to T2.  I should have removed my feet from my shoes 200 feet out and ran in my socked feet.  It's faster and I'd have better footing. 

5) I took off on the run without pulling my shoe laces tight.  Not a big deal but I eventually had to stop and pull them tight.

Overall, I can't complain.  I did well in each segment of the triathlon.  It was just my transitions that suffered.

You can bet that I won't make the same mistakes at Tugaloo later this month.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011 Tri the Parks (John Tanner #2) Sprint Triathlon - Race Report

The 2011 Tri the Parks (John Tanner #2) Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, September 10, 2011 started shortly after 8:00am at John Tanner State Park in Carrolton, Georgia.  As of last year John Tanner State Park is now a county park.  The park is 80 miles west of my house on the south side of Atlanta.  Susan and I woke up at 3:30am.  I drank a can of Coke, a smoothie, and a cup of coffee.  I was trying to get myself all lubed up, so to speak.  My efforts would be rewarded later on at the port-a-john.

We left the house at 5:00am and arrived at the park at around 6:40am.  Susan brought a huge cup of coffee.  It was still very dark as Susan, Max and I walked through the park.  I had plenty of time to check-in, get body-marked, setup my transition area, and get to the beach for the start.  There was a $5 fee per vehicle to enter the park.

I had a really good transition area rack location.  The transition area was setup with 8 racks divided into 2 sets of 4.  I was the second bike on the second rack near the bike exit and entrance.

Transition area setup
The course is a 600 meter swim, 13.8 bike, and 5K run.  The swim course is a long triangle swam counter-clockwise around 2 buoys to the shore.  The bike course is ridden clockwise with all right turns.  The run course went through the park pavilion area and counter-clockwise halfway around the lake to a short stint on a gravel road, to a very hilly mile or so to the turn around and back to the lake and across the dam to the finish line.

The first of 6 waves started just after 8am.  Each wave left the start 3 minutes after the previous wave.  I was in the 5th wave before the novices in wave 6.  I swam a few warm up laps before the start.  The water temperature was perfect and just barely legal for me to use my wetsuit.  The air temperature made it feel very cool.  I think I could have sold my wetsuit for a handsome profit.  I moved up to the front of my wave group and waited for the start.  We got the signal to go and headed out toward the first buoy.  This was the first time I'd worn my wetsuit since May.  I felt like I was really moving fast in the water.  I finished the 600m swim segment in 11:59 which is right at the 2:00 per 100 meter mark.

Running to T1
I ran into the transition area and stopped at the end of the second rack.  My bike was gone and so was my stuff.  I spent the next 45 seconds or so turning around in circles looking for my stuff.  I finally took a breath and looked to the left.  That's when I remembered the second set of racks.  I ran down to my rack to find my bike and stuff.  There it was.  I pulled off my wetsuit, put on my bike gear, and ran over to the mounting line.  As I mounted my bike another rider next to me did the same and she promptly fell over.

I finished the 13.8 mile bike segment in 39:46 averaging 20.8mph.  This is the area where I would like to improve the most but I can't complain about my performance on this day.

Running to T2
I returned to the transition area and headed out on the run.  The 3.1 mile course was hillier that I had expected.  I felt good though after I got my legs and motored past half a dozen guys in my age-group in the last mile.  I finished the run segment in 21:16 averaging 6:51 per mile. 

Almost finished
Men 50-54 Triathlon Results
Men's triathlon award winners
I finished the race 30th overall and 1st place in my age-group.  My time was 1:16:21 and I received a medal for the efforts.

First place award
On the way home Max, Susan and I stopped off for some burgers at Sonic.  Max can always recommend a burger joint.

Susan and I took a few pictures during the day.  Click the image below to open the photo album.

Tri the Parks John Tanner #2

Thanks for reading.

Twelve Down - Eight Weeks to Go!

Sunday, September 4th marks the start of week twelve of my 20 week training plan.

On Monday morning my poison ivy rashes were better so I ran 8.5 miles.  I wanted to run more but I had a bit of GI distress so I cut my run short.  I made it home just in time.

On Tuesday I ran 11 miles around the lake.  Before I left the house my wife said “don’t shoot any birds”.  I told her on Monday that, for the second time, two drivers basically ran me off the road while I was running and as a consequence they got flipped off.  I said I would be good and I was.  My run went on without incident.  I finished the 11 miles in 1 hour and 19 minutes averaging a 7:11 mile pace.  The weather was close to perfect, overcast and 70 degrees.

Maximus Herrmann von Bruffmore
No Max, that daddy’s medicine!  After days of battling the spread of poison ivy blisters like kudzu on a pine tree, I decided to take some drastic action.  I'd already tried Zenfal, Ivarest, dish detergent (I thought it might remove the oil), a bleach and water wash mix, and h-h-hot water.  None of it seemed to work.

Prednisone pills
My 120-lbs German Shepherd dog Max has suffered with allergies every summer since he was a puppy.  During the years he has been prescribed all sorts of medication to relieve his symptoms.  One of oral his medications was Prednisone.  It helped but it turned Max into a ravenous eating machine.  Prednisone is “a synthetic corticosteroid drug that is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant drug”.  Our new veterinarian has prescribed a different medication Temaril, which works better with less side affects.  Temaril is “an antihistamine to relieve itching”, not a steroid. Max had a few Prednisone tablets left and now I’m taking them.  I hope it helps and I am not a doctor so please don't consider this an endorsement of any medication or their use.

This ordeal reminds me of when I was a kid and I had an ear ache in both ears.  Unable to sleep, at about 2am I couldn’t stand the pain any longer.  I rummaged through the medicine cabinet for something to relieve the pain. I found a tube of Jiffy Toothache medicine.  I’m sure my eyes focused in on the words “numbing” and “relief” somewhere on the packaging.  In seconds I was squeezing the red goo into the ear that was causing me the most pain.  In retrospect, that was stupid. It provided no relief and took me days to get all that junk out of my ear.  While we’re on the subject of things not to do, let’s add to the list pouring turpentine on your head when you have paint in your hair and playing tag with friends and a 5-gallon bucket of roofing tar.  The later required a serious haircut to resolve.

Anyway, I have a pill plan for the poison ivy and my training continues, hopefully.  I’ve got the Tri the Parks John Tanner #2 sprint triathlon race scheduled for Saturday, September 10th and I really didn’t want to have to worry about itching and scratching before the race.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - Nothing!  That's not part of the plan.

On Saturday I did the Tri the Parks sprint triathlon.  It was a good gauge of my general fitness and highlighted some areas where I need work.  I finished the race in first place in my age-group (M50-54).  My run saved me.  I ran the 5K run course in 21:16 at a 6:51 pace.  Feeling a bit guilty I ran another 8.5 miles later in the afternoon.

A summary of my weekly numbers are not good.  I swam 600 meters, rode 13.8 miles, and ran 31.1 mile in 4 hours and 45 minutes.

I'm gonna have to step it up this week.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tightening My Handlebar Stem

After I had my crash on the Silver Comet Trail on Friday my boys got me and my bike fixed up and back on the trail in just minutes.  My handlebars had performed an impression of a dowsing rod although my dowsing rod was better at locating pine trees than finding water.  It must have something to do with the drought.

I'm determined to prevent another crash (due to the same issue).  None of my equipment came with installation sheets when I bought my bike last year.  I did some on-line research on my handlebar stem on the manufacturer's website.  That's the best place to find support and technical information.

I found the 2-bolt stem instructions on the VisionTechUSA website.  I looked at my stem to verify the information.  As indicated in the instructions, the information I needed to know was located on the stem itself.  From the image below, this includes 1) an unknown number, 2) angle, 3) length, and 4) torque specifications and handlebar size.  In my case these data are; 0610, 10-degrees, 70mm, and 12Nm and 26mm, respectively.  The stem handlebar clamp bolts are 5mm hex.

Stem technical data markings
I couldn't find a reference to #1.  I thought it might be the model # but after looking at the instruction sheet I'm not so sure.
Stem angle (10-degrees) and length (70mm) data
Stem handlebar torque (12Nm) and center diameter (26mm) data
12Nm equates to 106 in/lbs and 8.85 ft/lbs.  The installation sheet shows the fork clamp bolts should be tightened to 6Nm.  I couldn't find any markings for this on my stem but I don't plan to mess with the fork clamp anyway.
2-bolt stem (5mm)
The installation sheet refers to carbon assembly paste.  I don't have any of that.  Other than the paste, I need a torque wrench and a 5mm hex bit.  I've got plenty of hex wrenches and plenty of hex bits but my 5mm hex bit is lost for good.  I have a ft/lbs torque wrench but no inch/lbs torque wrench.  I've ordered an in/lbs torque wrench on-line.  My efforts to find one locally were in vain.  I've also ordered a set of mm hex bits.  When they arrive later this week I'll put them to good use making sure I don't end up in the woods again.

Disclaimer:  Please refer to the manufacturer's documentation before attempting any bike maintenance or, better yet, use the services of a trained professional bike mechanic.