Friday, September 13, 2019

Banned from travel

Banned from traveling 

We went on a trip this summer and it was a terrible experience traveling with Noelle (9 months old) and Ashley (3.5 years old).  Therefore, Tina and I have banned them from traveling with us.  This unfortunately included this race.

Therefore, I made the trip to Xterra Pan-Am/Nationals alone.  It was peaceful in the car driving there, but I did miss them at the race.  Fortunately, a group of local Vail Valley friends rented a condo for the race and invited me over for a pre race dinner.

Race day:
Since Tina wasn’t there to support me, my normal setup routine was a bit different.
As I was putting the front wheel on my bike, a part of the hub fell off somewhere in my heavily packed car.  The wheel wouldn’t stay on without it.  I decided to look for it after setting up everything else in my transition.

After 15 nerving minutes, I found the part, installed the wheel, and was ready to set up my other transition (it’s a point to point bike portion).

I was excited because the swim was a non-wetsuit swim for the pros. As you probably know, I find all triathlons to have a relatively short swim, and relatively long bike.  The non-wetsuit rule effectively makes the swim a tad longer, so that’s good for my overall placement.  (Usually)

The race:
I was of course hoping to be 1st out of the water, and started the swim fast.
I led a pack of 4 of away from the crowd. Sam Osborn (eventual winner) took over leading sooner than I expected and set a brutal pace. (Which I loved)
Unfortunately, a boat wake came by and I decided to rehydrate myself with it.
This caused me to lose some pace and trail off of Sam’s feet while Branden Rakita(3rd overall) went around me.  It wasn’t pleasant, and I ended up coming out of the water 3rd with Karsten Madsen(2nd overall).  Funny story:  When we were swimming back towards the shore after the turnaround buoy, I saw another pro coming our way on my left, (this was a clockwise course) I thought he decided to swim the race backwards!  This turned out to be Brian Smith (and we laughed about it when he passed me on the bike (Sorry I was talking on the bike Alister)).
Karsten, Me, Sam, Branden (the top 4 out of the water happen to start together... Hummm.  Also, if I had been 4th at the END of the race, this would have been the top 4 overall!

Swimming in the lead... then not...

My 1st transition wasn’t good.  The chaos with my wheel caused me to make rookie mistakes.

I lost more positions early in the bike after dropping my chain.  This bothered me. I hadn’t dropped a chain since this race 5 years ago, anytime training or racing, period.  Momentum is important in a race like this and I was starting to lose some with the chain.  I did get it going again and rode most of the 2nd climb with Ryan Ignatz.  We ride well together with him pulling me on the climbs and me pulling him on the flat sections. (In this race however, there were no flat sections)

At the start of the big descent, I dropped my chain AGAIN!  More momentum was lost.  I started taking technical sections slower for fear of another chain drop, and I never was able to rejoin Ryan.  

By the time I hit the run, there were many competitors gaining on me.  My normally strong run has been hampered by multiple injuries. In fact, I was reduced to aqua-jogging a week earlier.  Fortunately, Tina and Jennifer from Jointworx got got me running just in time for the race.  I experienced no injury pains during the run.  I did, however, experience a lot of racing pain and cramping.  It was a tough run.  I lost a few more places and ended up 11th.  

Considering I was questionable a week prior to this race, I’m very happy with how it turned out. I like to be first out of the water, but I can’t always pull that off.

Driving towards home alone after the race allowed me to take many breaks to stretch my very sore legs, but the rest of my body felt good.  This race is good prep for the Xterra World Championships on October 27.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vail MTB town series

Way back in 2011 I won the Expert category of the Vail MTB Town series.  I'm not doing that again, but I have a chance of winning the Mens Masters Expert 40+ this year!  The final race is tonight and the course is similar to the Xterra bike portion.  I should know this course better than anybody, but I have not ridden it since the Xterra race!  Wish me luck!
At the MTB race last week

Monday, July 29, 2019

Xterra Beavercreek

My home course, Xterra Beavercreek, is always one of my favorites, and this year I raced well.

In theswim I like to get an early lead using my advantage of living here. I didn't have such a great start, but I did get into the lead.  I pulled Branden Rakkita and SAM Osborn with me.  No worries though, I still pushed it and had some help from Branden keeping the pace high.  We tried to pull away from Sam, but he proved to be too strong.
I exited the water with those two and after a lightning quick transition I was in the lead. 

Brad and Branden (photo: Xterra)
I knew I couldn't win this race, but I stayed with Branden and Sam as long as I could before having to focus on my own race.  They are simply too strong for me.  Josiah caught me soon after and I gave him the surprising information that we was taking 3rd from me and could see Sam and Branden up the trail!  He was psyched! (and easily won the day)

I rode with Karsten Madsen for some time until a volunteer asked about a crashed rider on the trail.  I am known for talking during races, but one of my training partners, Alister Ratcliff, has been coaching me to talk less and focus on racing more!  I broke from my new training and told the volunteer the details.  That took too much breath on the massive climb and I lost contact with Karsten.

Ryan Ignatz caught me at the top of the climb and we rode together (having fun, of course) to the end of the bike.  I couldn't hold onto him on the uphill for the run, so I settled in for maintaining my 7th place.

With about 1/2 a mile to go, one of the best runners in Xterra, Brian Smith, showed up a few steps behind me.  I had to find a new level of pain to hold him off for 7th.

With all the running injuries I've had this year (see previous post), I'm extremely happy I raced well.  I achieved all of my goals.  1st out of the water, 1st or 2nd fastest transitions, top 8, re-qualified as a Pro, had fun, etc.  Nearly all of my in-laws were here to watch (Tina's parents, sister, and Godparents... talk about pressure!). I raced in a kit that my mother in law repaired (thanks Christie!) that is very old, but very comfy.

Paul (father in law), thanks for all the videos:

Swim Exit

Bike Finish

Run Start

Finish Line

Pain Face

Friday, June 28, 2019

Physical Therapy

I want to thank Jointworx Physical Therapy
Without them, I would have been too injured to race years ago.  Here I am running on their treadmill in a recovery from an injury using a weight reducing belt.  It's been very helpful this year.
This is the view from the treadmill...

Monday, June 24, 2019


I headed down to Boulder for another Olympic distance road triathlon (this was the Boulder Sunrise Triathlon).  What I thought would be good racing prep for the upcoming Xterra Beavercreek ended up being a great win!

My friend Cheryl who got me to do a road tri last year here in Boulder did it again.  Thanks Cheryl (who won her age group!)

Another great story is Kimberly Goodell won the Women's overall.  We are former teammates on the Chicago Smelts masters swim team (where I met Tina).  I hadn't seen her in 10 years and... way to represent!

A few race details:
It was supposed to be a cold rainy day, and the weather held off for nearly perfect racing conditions.
I led wire to wire, and felt fantastic.  It was one of those days where when you ask your body to go faster, it does.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

2019 GoPro Mountain Games

This past weekend was full of racing.  It started on Thursday with a Rocky Dog Trail Run.  I've raced with Senna lots, and had lots of fun.  This was no exception.  She's 9 years old and did great!

Here we are with Branden Rakita, his borrowed dog, Shadow (Thanks Ric!), and Alister Ratclif between us (Ayla is hidden).

I later raced with Alister in the Short Track MTB race.  I then finished off the weekend with a category win on the Vail Pass Time Trial