Saturday, June 23, 2012

Twingery update

Just a quick post to update on my back. Well my back is fine…the diagnosis was slipping out of alignment, the treatment, once back in place which it is now, is really strengthening my core, improving my posture and being a bit more thoughtful about how I move, that is not flicking my body around like I am 25 years and not ignoring the 20 years more that I have on the clock!. As mentioned my plan was to be pretty aggressive about treating it and this week I will have 2 trips to the Physio and 2 to the Chiro. Next week I am on Vacation so treatment will be self inflicted administered. Also what has become apparent is that my flexibility is just ridiculously bad, my hamstrings are so tight you can bounce a quarter off of them, the treatment, stretching…but the trick to this is to actually do it! In addition to my short Trigger Point roller I have picked up a couple more instruments of torture, the roller is actually for my back and the ball is for my hips!

image image

However as one things go right another goes wrong and my hip flexors which are just as tight as my hamstrings are tight and all the prodding and poking has generally pissed them off, so now I am babying them, that means reducing my cycling and running (not that there was much running happening)! I am icing them when possible although there is only so much sitting around with and ice pack in your lap that I can take!

It’s three weeks to Vineman so there is no real fitness that can be added at this stage so it’s a case of not losing any that I have and getting things back to 100%

One correction from before was that I needed a prescription for the PT not the Chiro

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ironman Arizona bike recce

This post, like most of late is a little late in coming. I actually went out to Tempe at the beginning of May. The idea was to get a chance to ride the bike course and it was a good excuse to catch up with some Daily Mile friends; Thomas and Carl, both of are locals, Thomas is doing IMAZ in November and Carl the HITS Ironman a week later. It was going to be a bit of a drive out; Tempe lies a little East of Phoenix and so it was a 420 miles away. The plan being to get out of Dodge a little early Friday to miss the commuting traffic and try and get into town as quickly as possible.

Despite my best efforts I managed to get caught in some traffic making the drive a little longer than anticipated added to which, to be safe, an hours roadside nap meant I didn’t get to my hotel until the early hours. Alarm set and heads down!

The plan was to meet the guys early to avoid the heat, the forecast was for a warm day! I headed out and met with Thomas and Carl. First order of the day was to roll down to Tempe Town Lake to have a good look at the swim and transition area, it’s also the where the expo is the preceding days. I had seen it in many photos and felt like I had a pretty good lie of the land but to actually see it in person added a definite color to the area. After having a good look at the Swim entry and exit and the Bike out area we set out to ride the course.

Ironman Arizona’s bike is three loops of approximately 37 miles out toward the McDowell Mountains and back. not really three loops but as you go up one side of the road and down the other I suppose it is a loop albeit a very shallow one! The race is chosen by many, including myself, as a good race for first timers; a calm swim and relatively flat bike and run will chew you up and spit you out too much!


So once we got out of town it soon became apparent that it’s not a flat bike course. There is a steady shallow climb where you gain around 550’, the last section of less than half a mile of so kicks up a little more, then you roll over the top down for a quarter mile and you are at the turnaround. I wasn’t timing it per se but I hit the turnaround at around 1:23 and was firmly in between my guides. With such shallow descent I was pleasantly surprised at the pick up coming back it town and I was comfortably able to keep my speed up in the mid to high 20mph range.


Due to the nature of the course; through the open desert one of the challenges was the wind, while it wasn’t too bad at all during my visit but I have been warned that it can get gusty from any side, this will require me to think carefully about wheel choice, not that I have many to choose from but whether to run deep dish wheels or not will be the question. Another thing that Thomas warned me about was wild dogs roaming across the road and maybe even chasing bikers along the road!

After we arrived back at the cars it was a quickish change and a short run around the local park to finish off the 47 mile ride and 3 hour brick.

@thomaso @carlck and me post IMAZ loop ride and run Good people and good times Thomas, Carl and me…yes I need to drop a few pounds!

Based on this early reconnaissance I anticipate three possible challenges with the ride:

The first is the possible wind; it’s no fun having a headwind but even less fun than that is having a nice gusty side wind blowing at you and having experienced being blown straight across two lanes I can tell you this is no joke!

The second the temperature; despite starting nice and early (6:00am) it warmed up quickly especially the deeper you got into the desert, see the black line in the image above, temps in November should be cooler but they can go either way by a lot!

  • Average temperature: 64
  • Average high temperature: 76
  • Average low temperature: 53
  • Warmest ever: 96
  • Coldest ever: 35

The third will be maintaining an aero position for the maximum amount of time, given that I have 5 months to go I think this is less of an issue and the one that I do have control over, unlike the other two!

If you want to check out my Garmin data you can find it here.

So a great opportunity to see the lie of the land and combined with my weekend at St George soaking up the Ironman race day atmosphere it’s good experience points in the bank. I hope to get out to Tempe a few more times between now and November, more bike time and look at the run course but in the mean time a big thank you to the guys for guiding me around!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012


It was nothing special, simply standing up did it and I felt it pop. My lower back just slipped out of alignment…ugh. The last time this happened was a few weeks before the Santa Clarita Marathon last November so I knew what was needed, some TLC from my friendly Chiropractor unfortunately she had retired! So after a couple of conversations with a friend in the know in terms of local resources I had in hand the numbers of a local Chiro and a Physiotherapist. With only four weeks to go till Vineman I don’t really have the luxury of time and I know it would be a fine balancing act between the final weeks of training, some therapy recovery and a decent race.
I have a pretty good health plan through my job so I decided to go to both and be pretty aggressive in treating it…if nothing else it would give me a insight into what the two disciplines thought. To get to the Chiro I needed a prescription so a quick trip to the Urgent Care clinic took care of that. So here are the conclusions:

Physio; poor flexibility (shocker!) in hamstrings, quadriceps and back forward and back, hips vertical balance is pretty good but they are weak, I have a series of follow ups next week to get into the therapy

Chiro; poor flexibility (again a shocker!) in hamstrings, quadriceps and back also rotationally. Leg muscle development is unbalanced, all quads (from running and cycling) interesting question was I pusher or a puller on the pedals and did I like climbing…hence the over developed quads and under developed hamstrings. My spine is out or alignment in the T6/7 and also around the L4/5 area, again a follow up next week in terms of the therapy

The good news is that with all the prodding and pushing I got yesterday afternoon it feels a lot better but it’s not right yet so the rest of this weekend will be easy and each day will be filled with the stretches given to me and most likely an easy week next week… more news to follow Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Knifing the Slice!

I had always planned to put my Cannondale Slice under the knife, that is upgrade it. It’s a solid frame (even though it’s been retired now), not as good as Chrissie’s Hi-Mod version which is just better Carbon Fiber but with the same design. The components are pretty basic but hey that’s what you get for less than $2200…and quite a lot less given it was an ex-demo bike. imageIf you look it up online it’s spec'd as Shimano 105 which is their entry level grouppo but the reality is far from that, there is in fact very little 105; fr/rear derailleurs, cassette are basically all you get. the shifters and Chinese no name, the brake levers have a name…but nobody’s heard of it! The brakes are entry level Tekto and the crankset is a FSA compact on Cannondale’s BB30 bottom bracket standard. The base bars are Profile Design and mounted on a Cannodale branded stem with Profile Design T2 clip on aero bars. It also comes with the god-awful Fizik Arione saddle which was 86d at the start of the year for an ISM Adamo Breakaway. The wheels are Shimano 501, work horses they are but they are not light at nearly 2000gms.

If you look online there various versions of this with slightly different components but this is what I got when I got mine. Out the door $1500 and 25lbs of bike.

It’s took me a little time to collect the various parts that I wanted, a new grouppo can easily set you back $1000 but if you buy it piecemeal you can actually save a lot.

So my goal was to replace the entire set with Shimano Ultegra; this is their next set up from the 105 but it’s leap years ahead and enjoys a lot of trickle down technology from their top of the line Dura Ace.

Added to which two things were in my favor; the introduction of Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting and the rumor mill of the Shimano 11 speed cassette, these two things meant that there was a lot of price pressure on retailers trying to empty their shelves…lucky me!image

It probably took 2-3 months to finally collect all the pieces I needed in the dark gray color, obviously not the shifters in the picture, this list is as follows:

  • Ultegra crankset 53/39 this is a standard not a compact
  • Ultegra brakes
  • Ultegra bottom bracket; I had to have an adapter fitted to convert the BB30 to standard
  • Ultegra derailleurs front and rear
  • Dura Ace shifters; these were a total steal off of Amazon for $50!
  • Dura Ace carbon brake levers; total luxury but Shimano do not make a Ultegra version

The next thing was the aero bars, I wanted a one-piece, that is not one with clip-ons and it took some time to do the research, by the time I had made a decision; 3Ts Mistral, based on several conversation with a friend MUN in the UK, trying to find a set in the US was like finding Rocking Horse poop…it doesn’t exist! To the rescue came MUN who secured me a set in the UK and with PayPaling they were on their way to me arriving in under a week!

So off to my LBS I went to have everything fitted and to be refitted to the bike. I was anxious to try out the new setup and I headed out to ride a local ride just over 21 miles which I had baselined using my Cervelo, which IMHO is a quick bike, well I think the number speak for themselves…but wait there’s more!

The next thing on my list was the wheels and to be honest the plan was to get them a bit further down the road as I actually want to get a pair of deep dish wheels and while I can’t justify a pair of Zipps, not that I really need any real justification. I am very tempted to get a pair of Flos which come in at a fraction of the cost and while being a smidge heavier possess a lot of the aero dynamics of their higher priced brethren, the problem is is that they are a start up and there are out of stock, new wheels are expected sometime in June or July and really wanted a better pair for Vineman, see a couple of posts ago for some predictions.

Now while surfing I came across an ad for a set of Fulcrum Racing 5s, these are “semi serious” wheels; by that I mean they are above entry level but are some ways below serious racing wheels,s kind of like good training wheels. They weighed in a good 200grams less than the 501s and best of all were on sale, 50% off! Sold I quick drive across LA and a super fgriendly bike store owner who stayed late for me and they were in my hands! Two inner tubes later and with a snap the Conti Triathlon tires, from Chainlove (formerly Bonktown) and I was set.

I know it’s not polite to talk money but the object of this exercise was to do it all as cheap as possible, so here’s the breakdown:

  • Shimano pieces $690
  • 3T Bars and Stem (new stem to match, cos’ I am Mr Matchy) $330
  • LBS fitting of new parts and refitting of me $300
  • Fulcrum Racing 5s $250
  • Conti Triathlon Tires $50

All in $1600…so the question is, is this now a $3100 bike? Here are some other options:

The list goes on but I think that it certainly holds it’s own against the shortlist that I looked at. The real test is in the riding though, but first I should add that the above has shaved off around 3.5lbs so I am much closer to that 20lb mark which is not superlight but for a 58cm bike is pretty respectable!

So onto the eating of the the pudding (or pie for my preference) as that’s’ where the proof lives! So here’s a big slice…


So as you can see the new Slice is 5:30 (five and half) minutes faster than my Cervelo over the same route, ridden at a similar effort level, even with the old wheels it was over 4 minutes faster. Now while the shifting is cleaner and crisper, the brakes stop me like I have thrown a ‘chute out the back and the bars have me lower and tighter, in my opinion it’s the wheels that bring it together. On both the Cervelo and 501s the max speed I was reaching was 35mph, with the Fulcrums I had to sit up and air brake as I hit 39mph…on a bike, for me, at least for now, that’s fast enough!

So that’s that really, a few minor tweaks and maybe or maybe not a set of Flo wheels and my bike is race ready! Here are some photos!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Not a happy Panda!

photo (3) 5 months of use…RIP!
imageAltimeter has gone a bit crazy! I know I bitched about it being hilly where I live but it’s really not that bad!
10-14 days till the new one…how will I survive?!?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

May done…and I nearly was too!

May seems like a distant glimmer in the rear view mirror right now, I think that speaks to the velocity that I am travelling through this year. As the title eludes to it was nearly the month when I was was done, done in that is! My volume of training had been steady over the last 5 months and so it’s almost inevitable that something had to give and the signs were pretty clear, physical fatigue combined with being mentally tired and looking for excuses not to train. So much as it hurt to back off and spoil the lovely graph that I had been building it was the sensible thing to do.

image image
Miles Time
I eased off for a couple off weeks mid month which also coincided with travelling to St George to watch IMSG and then to Tempe (post to come) to ride the IMAZ course loop and also gave me a pseudo taper for the OC Olympic Tri which was in the last third of the month. The race went really well, that with the rest recharged my batteries to finish the month strong and start June solidly, So here are the May digits in more detail:
  • Swim; 22,688 yards (12.88 miles) 9:32 hours
  • Bike; 231 miles 13:24 hours
  • Run 50:73 miles 7:08 hours

So as you can see the swimming is still getting lots of attention, it as as Joe Friel would say, my limiter and there is no point working my strengths, especially if I never get to finish the swim! That being said despite PR at the Love Run 10k my running is pretty…let’s be honest; shit right now!

Looking forward over June I recently picked up Swim Workouts for Triatletes by Velo Press from Amazon and I love it, simple (but not easy…big difference!) workouts designed around race distances. Of course in typical fashion I am having to carve up the program to fit in with my schedule but having gotten through nearly two weeks worth, I think it’s having a positive effect, assuming hanging onto the end of the pool gasping for air is the effect you are looking for! I am sure I will write up a review soon…maybe!

My Cannondale Slice has undergone some radical surgery too and a lot of the parts have been upgraded I will have more to say on that this coming week but here is a teaser…


So with Vineman 70.3 only 36 days away is it too early for a prediction? Ah what’ ev! Here’s my goals:

  A B C
Swim <44:59 45-50 >51
Bike <2:45 2:45-59 >3:00
Run <1:45 1:45-52 >1:52
Race <5:20 >A/C< >6:43

I am sure my math is wrong so feel free to correct me!I think in reality that it will pan out to be a B/A/B if I can have a good bike, so somewhere around 5:30-5:40 inc transitions.

So with that on with the day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Official photos…

Not great but the best of the official ones!

OC Tri

octriswim1 octriswim2
oc tri bike 1 octribike4
octrirun1 octrirun2

Love Run 10k

image image

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

PCTR; RIP, the end of an era!

I saw this on Scott Dunlap’s blog post today…very sad news indeed. Lots of firsts, fun times and fond memories!

Just five days before the sold out Skyline to the Sea 50k event, Race Director Sarah Spelt posted on Facebook today that Pacific Coast Trail Runs is officially closing its doors. Here's what she posted today around 3pm PST:

"I am beyond sorry to announce that I am forced to close the doors at PCTR, effective immediately. As many of you know, I have dealt with some very difficult obstacles these past few years which have taken their toll, in many ways, on me and on PCTR. Although they were exacerbated at the end of last year, I truly believed that PCTR could be turned around through the influx of money, the hard work of a few of us, and the support of my friends, but it just wasn’t to be. As a business, PCTR can no longer function.

I know that many runners/entrants will be upset with this decision, but please try to keep in mind that, for each of you, this is a race in your life, but for me, for over 12 years, this has been my life. Moving forward, I am hopeful that other RDs who are friends of mine will take over the upcoming events, and that those of you who have already planned to run will still be able to do so. Thank you for your understanding."

No mention of refunds, but some runners are rallying to do the course this Sunday anyway (and could use a few volunteers if you are in town).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Love Run 10k

AKA how to pull a PR and 2nd AG placing outa ya ass!

My training has been a bit hit and miss but this week I finally felt like I was back in the groove, so much so I signed up for a 10k on Thursday, I have 5 weeks to Vineman so I need to find my fast(ish) place and this seemed like a good Sunday morning speed workout.

Love run 10k 6_4_12

It’s only a short race and so it’s only a short report:

I wasn't expecting too much from this run/race and signed up at the last minute. Just goes to show all that training pays off in the end! Went out steady and tried to reach a a solid pace that I could hold throughout. The course is an out and back and is downhill out and uphill back so it was never going to be a negative split.

I was passed and then latched onto a girl who turned out to be the 3rd place women in the 30-35s.  I stayed within 10 yards of her till M4 and she had a bad water station stop slowing down and I blew passed and didn't look back, ran down two other guys in the last 1/4 mile and was passed the closing stages of a race and I will always throw down a sprint finish!

Amazed to see my finish time was 57 seconds faster than my previous PR from 3 years ago! First place in my AG was 38:XX!!! That being said I am very pleased! Saw a few locals including Rebecca K. fresh off of tearing up IMSG a month ago!Shirt and bling

06:54.5 166 90
06:56.7 166 89
06:58.7 171 89
07:04.8 172 89
07:02.5 174 88
07:04.1 177 88
01:04.5 179 92