Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A note about Bike Fashion near EOY 2009

Let me break this thing down for you (i am your neighbor!):

- Triathlon bikes and road bikes: strange athletic machines that are usually ridden by people in tight spandex-y clothing who are very sweaty and breathing heavily.

- Hybrid bikes: a bike, usually ridden by someone in business attire coming home from work, or a casual bicyclist.

- Mountain bikes: ridden by people who either have no clue what they're doing, and bought their bike at Target, or who are serious offroading maniacs who love the sport.

- Vintage bikes: That classic schwinn or brooks or globe-y bike that older guys ride to get "in touch" with being young again. Likely in business attire or running shorts and a cotton tee.

- fixies: ridden by hipster artsy types

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chicago Triahlon fatness

For those of you who have seen my 2009 Chicago Triathlon Pictures, I want to make a disclaimer... The round tubular shape around my waistline was NOT any kind of performance enhancing device. It was, in fact, an anomoly in the manufaturing of my race clothing. Apparently a tube of cellulite, comprised of refined ingredients from hundreds of cakes, bowls of ice cream, chocolate bars, converted sugars, and animal fat, concentrated into what is known as "a muffin top" was sewn in to the race top I was wearing, unbeknownst to me.

The makers of Zoot athletic clothing and TYR athletic were not available for comment for this blog posting. Repeated calls to their customer service line, to discuss the appearance of this odd, tubular shape, were not returned.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chicago Triahlon 2009

This morning I raced in the 2009 Chicago Triathlon. What a great race! And I felt really GOOD which is a very important thing to me in these races.

The big story this morning was the weather. The forecast called for "October-like weather" with a high in the 60's... YIKES! This summer in Chicago has been very cold, and I'm not sure why. But this was outrageous.

Thankfully the sun broke out before I got into the water, and the water temp was actually a totally bearable 63.5 farenheight. I had to wait for 2 hours in the cold first, though, but the sun finally rose and the clouds faded and we had a full sunny day. It was warm in the sun and cold in the shade. I was in wave #23, which started at 7:44 AM and turned out a respectable but equal time to last year, essentially. I thought I was going to do much better on the Swim--I was going in VERY confident that my training had prepared me for a 20 minute swim--but due to the fact that I've been pushing off the wall a lot more in the pool, my expectations were off a bit. And it turns out that only elites and professionals get 20-minute swim times. I really never hit my stride on the swim unfortunately, I caught it on the last third of Wildflower this year, but never could really get a hold on it at Chicago. I was extraordinarily frustrated that I kept swimming ontop of people at this race and bumping in to people, people get into your way... it's an unmitigated disaster because this triathlon is getting so huge.

Biking wise I felt strong, and I felt that if I have a lot more potential, if I had a regular training schedule. I started to get a hold of the oft-conceptualized constant power output that the human-bike system is supposed to create, which is why you upshift and downshift going over hills. I definitely hit a great stride here. I biked only two minutes faster than last year but we had a NASTY 15+mph headwind from the north, which really altered the field's performance this year. The continental race tires I bought the week before the race SANG the whole way and I will definitely race on racing tires from now on. The Specialized Allez may be seeing its triathlon days numbered here. I think it was responsible for my immediate cramping on the run. As soon as there is money I will get a Triathlon bike, if I am to stay in the sport. Money may not be good for a while, however.

Suprisingly, for only having trained 6 times on the run this summer, I turned out a decent run time. I was pretty scared because of my knee problems from last year (A note about my knee problems. I was essentially UNable to run after Steelhead Triathlon last year, and walked most of Chicago Triathlon (a month later) because of that and because of major shoe malfunctions. I started foam rolling my legs this summer at the urging of my Girlfriend and Chiropractor and I beleive that was majorly helpful in me being able to run 6 miles cold-turkey.) Really made me feel that a half marathon was possible before the season ends this year, however I probably won't attempt it. I stopped every mile to check my pulse, which was around 120bpm, so I was taking it mighty easy, just to avoid injury on this unprepared run. I really suprised myself that never once on the run did my knee problems materialize. Even with patiently expecting the moment when my legs would flare up and that terrible twisting iliotibial band pain that I had on a few of my training runs... it never happened. I did attempt to stop and stretch my legs on the run and my hamstrings and calves IMMEDIATELY went to full-insane-tilt cramp mode, and I backed off immediately and prayed for freedom and it went away--no mores stretching on the run. I iced my hammies at the end of the race at the medical tent.

Finally, it was really nice to see some of my friends supporting me along the course. Thanks Anna, Mary Megan and Joe! Sorry I was the only one that could drink the beer.

Overall, considering my lack of training all summer... I was very impressed where I can go on my next race. Ironically, if I could cut just 9 minutes off my swim, 15 minutes off the bike, and 20 minutes off the run I would be a rockstar elite athlete.... that seems to be a lot easier than it probably is though.

Clock Time02:51:30
Overall Place1397 / 4243
Gender Place1216 / 2951
Division Place274 / 557

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh god.... it's that time of year again. Starting a training regime... way too late.

I'm gearing up - literally gearing up - for the 2009 Accenture Triathlon... with a bag of ice on my leg.

The story is that @JasonMuelver just finished walking me through my first bike rebuild thursday night after my derailleur cage exploded on a trail in Rochester, MN (it was friggin hilarious... except that I was 11 miles out).

A little thought and consultation with Jason led to me making the hefty investment of buying all new hardware for the bike, and saving up for a frame later on, maybe next year. After 2-3 weeks of online purchases and waiting for shipments I have built a badass hodgepodge of new and used hardware. Dura-Ace 10-speed shifters, brakes, and deraileurs, a 10-speed ultegra cassette (12-25), Shimano R-700 compact cranks (34/50), a whipperman chain, and a smorgasboard of cables from Performace Bike on Halsted and Diversey in Chicago. Of course it's all on my shitbox specialized frame form 2007 which has nasty scars and bends from the FedEx nightmare. Thanks to @MikePilat and for the use of his living room, while I was taking care of his cat.

Finally after weeks of feeling fat I got back on the bike and was reminded that I am human and I have atrophied a bit. I made intentions to make it a brick, and during the run i felt so slow and heavy and useless.. at about 0.7 miles i had this strange twisting pain run up from my knee to my hip... it's the old iliotibial band pain again. Hurt REALLY bad. Guess I have to finally get on the damn foam roller.

... and here we are. I feel confident in the water but I have to train rigorously for the next month.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Be Skinny and Tan again

Agile, lean and brown. This summer I want this.

I am struggling right now to control my winter diet and wrangle it into that tropical low-fat diet that I had last summer... I need to control this beast. I have begun with the vain attempt to reduce my caloric intake... but DAMN that is hard.

Yes, I am swimming, my shoulders and lats are getting larger and shaping out... but everything is covered in a thickening layer of undesirable body fat.

... that's all i got right now. I don't even have hopeful words because this is HARD!!!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Readying for Wildflower 2009

Well February is upon us now, and I've got only 3 months of chicago season to get ready for my fastest open water 1.2 mile swim in my history of competition.

I don't consider it to be a simple task to do this, especially considering the 25 yard pool problem.... it basically sucks ass. That's pretty much all I have available to me on the near north side of Chicago in the winter. I'm going to get up to distance in the short pool first, then I might explore signing up at a longer pool thats a bit of a drive away, on the near west side, for the remainder of the time. I think I'd like to get up to about 70% of the distance in the short pool by mid march, then consider less frequent long swims at the UIC 50 yard pool during march and april.

I did the math on this ridiculous feat a long time ago. I would have to end-to-end 84.48 times, or do 42.24 here-to-there-and-back "laps". I was often confused about these pools being 20 yards or 20 meters or 25 yards or 25 meters. After some reserach I have come to accept that the meters thing is out, because that's clearly the Europe thing, but is my pool 20 or 25 yards? Off to the Wiki I went.

I also skimmed this:

I'm like 90% sure that the pool I'm swimming at is 25 yards.

For those of you highly intelligent avid readers of my blog, you may know that I still have not competed in a 1.2 mile swim. I was raring to go for the steelhead triathlon in 2008, when it was cancelled due to bad weather. I had trained in the Chicago lakefront, in the heat of summer, and so my target time at that point was 45 minutes, and I feel I have to at least meet that time.

I will only be training for the swim because I'm going to be on a relay team. I wanted to let you know about my relay team members, Chris Newton and Robert Wallsgrove, two of my amigos out in L.A. who raced Wildflower with me last year. Chris is going to spin the bike up 56 miles of grueling hills and Robert is going to run the hardest 13.1 he's ever run.

Being the "front man" for the team though, so I have to refocus a bit this time. Not that it was ever a good idea to risk foot cramps, but this time I not only have to swim fast, I have to make sure that I dont stop and get a DNF, because that would really kill the team. I have to spend as much time on the safety aspect of making sure I can finish, while at the same time finishing as fast as possible. It's not just my race anymore.

Our team name.... NewtWallyRooch. Look out for us at Wildflower 2009.