Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend workout update.

I wish the off season would get over with already! This is the time of year when I usually lack motivation, or as I refer to it, the "Demotivation" demons which haunt us all come calling. Not so far this off season. Maybe it can be attributed to the great weather we've enjoyed here in Wisconsin.

Or, maybe it could be I'm really looking forward to the 2011 race season, and the new year in general! (Note to all-PLEASE, remind me of this post when it gets to be, say, late June and I'm feeling a bit burned out from the bricks, the 6 day per week workouts and the early AM swims/runs, thanks in advance!).

Just a quick update on workouts from yesterday and today:

Friday-trainer spin on the TT bike (bike position tweaked)
60min at 85cad, easy spin in the 39 ring
716 kcals (per the Polar F6, too high, more like 500 or so).
HR avg/max 131/142

Sat-swim at JMBA (1st swim in over a month!)
1,500 yards, easy pace (with plenty of rest stops!)
100 yd cool down crawl/free

Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer, and the entire family will be hitting the pool at JMBA. So, I will swim another 1K-1,500 yds or so, and maybe  get a short run in. I need to get acclimated to the swim again; overall I felt good post swim, just a bit tired. I'm looking for some much better times as I get back into the pool on a regular basis again. I just looked back on my swim notes from the summer; I swam 1,500 yd in 39:39 on August 19, so I'm like 10 min off my pace from 3 months ago. Glad I keep good workout notes!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day spin and some wine.

So Happy Turkey Day blogging world. I've got some extra time tonight, the kids are in bed after a big dinner during the day at my in-laws. We came home, full and tired, but we managed to watch Jungle Book without falling asleep! My wife is still at work (pulling a 12 hour holiday shift, this really sucks) and I am tired of watching the Man vs. Food marathon on Travel Channel.

I do love watching Adam Richman eat, he is so hungry, so passionate about what he does. I wonder if he ever gets sick of eating like a pig? And, I'd like to see if he has a workout program and personal trainer. Take a look at some of the older episodes sometime-you can call me crazy, but I swear if you see him at different times in the show's history, he looks like his weight fluctuates. Of course, it's tough to tell what show is what in the timeline. OK, I just looked him up on Travel Channel, he has a Master's from Yale University in Drama and still works in theater productions. Cool. But I'm still wondering how he can eat like that and not blow up like a freakin' Macy's Parade ballon? This show has been on since 2008, FYI.

I kind of answered my own question, to a certain degree-you've got to love the interweb. I checked on Adam's Bio on a website for his show. He is about 3 years younger than myself, so his metabolism is probably still a bit faster. It says he exercises daily-if time allows-and his Dr's check his blood levels for all the usual suspects regularly. It does not say if he has a trainer or what type of exercise he likes to do (or he is forced to do). I posted a comment on the site, telling him I love the show, and asking what type of fitness plan or personal trainer he has to get him on by. I will post up if they (or he) responds.

Back to Turkey Day. I managed to get in a 40 minute trainer spin this AM, before heading to feast. I was busy getting a bunch of house stuff done (you know, dishes, breakfast for the kids, clean up, typical Ironman stuff), so I didn't realize I had not eaten a thing all morning (2 cups of Alterra coffee don't count IMO). I was getting ready to jump on the trainer, so I slugged down one of these:
And the spin commenced. I felt better today than the other day I rode. The legs felt like they had a bit more power, I spun at about 90 rpm and a bit faster speed was maintained. The HR was kept low, I only hit about 135 bpm according to the Polar. A nice easy spin, no hammer time (pun intended). My shoulders are a bit sore tonight. I still need to tweak the TT positioning, move the aero bars lower, position the seat forward a few CMs, maybe raise the seat a very small bit. This tweaking is necessary because I loaned my TT bike to a race bud for our group ride, and he installed his saddle (an ISM Adamo) instead of using my Fizik Tri Arione. I kind of tossed my saddle back on, and had not given it much thought since.

Speaking of Hammer products and nutrition, I have been completely satisfied with all of the Hammer brand nutrition I have used in 2010 for training and racing. And I've used a bunch to get me by, including:

Hammer gels (a bunch of flavors)
Hammer Heed Sport Drink (powder)
Hammer Perpetuem (powder only, so far)
Hammer Endurolyte caps
Hammer bars
Hammer Recoverite powder

I have never had any gastrointestinal issues with the Hammer supps and fuel. Not once, never. And, the online guide and quantified research/data they provide makes planning my nutrition a bit easier, especially for longer events and in challenging conditions, like summer heat. I'm looking forward to getting to the 2011 season and into some of the longer runs and rides, so I can further test, tweak and adjust my nutrition for IMoo, and even for IM Racine. These are going to be my A Races for 2011, so I need to make sure I get nutrition nailed down 100% before then. This will remove one more variable in my IM equation, and hopefully will help me enjoy both of the races a little.

I cannot wait to try the Perp solids that Hammer released late this year-this will make the on bike nutrition much easier. Instead of mixing up 8 scoops of powder Perp in a bike bottle, and having to slug it down (I didn't say it all tasted great after 3+ hours of racing, I just said it didn't make me sick), I will be able to carry the solids and eat those instead. This should help in two ways: one, there will be less weight to carry on the bike, as I don't have to mix a large 24 ounce bottle for fuel. Two, the solid should be easier to consume. This will have to be marked "TBD" until I test my theory out in the spring. Once training begins in earnest, I plan on logging my ride and run nutrition, and I will post it up as well, as I begin to figure out what to use over 12+ hours of racing.

And finally, on to today's wine. A little disclaimer-I am by no means a wine expert and I do not know a great deal about wine. That said, I like wine and have been trying different brands and different types of wine. So my advice is this-TIFWIW! 

We uncorked a few bottles of wine and tasted some solid, budget priced offerings. The first we had was a bottle of Malbec my father-in-law had opened prior to my arrival. I didn't even get the name of it, but it was good, not as dry as some of the Malbecs I've had. It was an Argentinian Malbec, I believe. 

But the real winning selection was the 2 bottles my mom and I brought.  Both were from Chateau Ste. Michelle, a Washington state vineyard (and one of my favorite brands to date!) with excellent priced wines.

The first was a 2009 Columbia Valley Chardonnnay, on sale for $7.99. One of my "go to" wines when bringing a bottle to a friend's or just to keep on hand, it has a clean, smooth taste, slightly fruity but not sweet. Highly recommended!

Next, a bottle of 2009 bottle of Chateau Gewurtztraminer was opened, this was the first time I've tried this grape. And, this wine was rated 88 points (on the 2008 vintage) by Wine Spectator, BTW. Again, a sub $10 bottle.  Cheap-right in my poor azz, post IM race fee paying price range. This was similar to a Riesling, quite sweet, some citrusy flavor, with a bit more of an aftertaste. Pleasant and drinkable, yes, but a bit too sweet for myself. I have had Rieslings that were not so sweet, which I enjoyed more than this one. One glass was OK, but I would not drink 2 or 3 glasses in one sitting. That's all I got for ya, that is about as sophisticated of wine review you will get from me.

And, last thing. I kept the eating in check. Two cups of coffee, one Hammer gel, one plate of food. OK, I admit I had a piece of pumpkin and chocolate pie, and some wine. Not too bad, it was no Man Vs. Food blowout. I give myself a B- overall.

Happy Thanksgiving bloggers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This is my favorite tee shirt. A simple design. Clean, short and to the point. It reminds me of what it takes, personally and professionally, to succeed. This will be repeated in my mind often in this upcoming season.

Yesterday, I booked the hotel in Madison for next September. I was shooting emails back and forth with one of my race buds, who has done several IM races. I told him, I'm thankful they have been there before, to help work out all the details, the logistics, the training plans. And little (no, BIG) details, like not forgetting to book the hotel early, as they fill up very fast!

We are already talking about setting up our rides for next spring/summer, when we will journey out to central Wisconsin and ride the IM course. We're starting to talk about nutrition on the those long rides, how much fuel to carry, how much water or sport drink. I'm looking forward to the 2011 season now!

The temps here in SE WI were near 60 degrees yesterday, and some severe storms moved through the area early in the evening. One, possibly two, tornados touched down west of me, about 15-20 miles away, causing some damage. We had to hunker down in the basement for a short time, as the storm track went right over and near Wind Point. But, fortunately, the storm blew itself out before reaching us. It rained hard for 10 minutes, then the skies cleared up.

I did lift yesterday, only at home. I also got out yesterday before the bad weather for a 4+ mile run, it was almost too warm. Before the run, I did a short, super easy 45 minute trainer ride on the TT bike. It was warm enough to ride outside, but it was raining on and off, and the roads were wet most of the day. I did not feel like riding in the rain, or having to clean the bike and drivetrain. It will take some time in the saddle to get used to the aero position again, I was squirming around trying to get comfy for the 1st ten minutes. After that, I could ride for short stretches in aero. It will come back quickly, with some more saddle time. Not a bad workout day, for the off season!

Today, it was 24 degrees with a wind chill of 17 deg. What a temp swing! The high today will get to maybe 33 deg. So I'm going to get used to seeing this again:
The E7 will be sitting upstairs (or the basement) most of the time, for those trainer rides. Along with this:

And, I had some non-IM related stuff to do-good thing I'm on vacation this week. I have to replace the drain valve on the hot water heater. I was draining some water from it and checking the pressure relief valve the other day. The drain valve would not drain properly, so I unscrewed it and it flew clear off, spraying me and the mechanical room with about 10 gallons of hot water. No burns, but I did get surprised and soaked! After shutting off the water, I found the inner rubber seal was twisted or crimped, and had caused the valve to stick shut. So I called the company (Rheem) and they are overnighting the part to me, as it is under warranty-no charge. Great customer service, no questions or grief, a real person answered too.

We had the furnace checked out last week, just an annual cleaning and inspection. Of course, the plastic drain inside the furnace started leaking, so the tech had to return to silicon it to prevent the moisture from shorting out the circuit board. Lucky me, the extra trip was only $37 (it could have been like $275).

And the overhead garage door needed servicing. The door has been not closing in the cold but it opens just fine (under 30 degrees). So today, the service guy was out and said it would need new rollers, more supports/bolts added and a new bottom door seal. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.

I started keeping a running total of what the IM WI race will cost. I started telling my wife what we were up to so far, with entry fees, my USAT membership, the hotel-she stopped me and said, "No, don't. Not today". So I think I will just keep an Excel sheet for my own curiosity, and after it is all said and done, I will let her know. That is, if she wants to know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Racing to 2011.

Well, my race season got A LOT more defined on Monday, when I received that email I mentioned in the previous post (sorry no post last night, got home from work late...again).

So, what will the 2011 season be looking like for me??? It's going to look rather long...


Originally, it was a very, very long shot that I could get in to IM Wisconsin (IMoo, all my race buds and those IM racers out there call it). You need to be a volunteer, and then stay the night after the race. They open slots for volunteers first here in Wisconsin-you pay right away the Monday after IM, and you are guaranteed to race the next year.

Well, I didn't volunteer this year, but still had a chance back a few months ago, actually. The servers were all jacked up when IMoo registration originally opened. The servers actually crashed, and everyone had to wait a few weeks to attempt to register again. IMoo is a very popular race, it seems, and it sells out in minutes every year.

So my race buds Bob and Kim, they were sitting at home on 3 computers that re-reg day, and were both able to get entries into IMoo. I was unfortunately at work, and over lunch, I attempted to get on to register, when it opened at noon that fateful day. The server was running slow (as usual), and I had to click, re click, close that window, open this new one, click click click, resend-finally! I got through and entered all my info, next screen, answer the IM questions, next, enter credit card info. Click to submit. Nothing. Wait, here is a new screen. Uh oh, it says "Sorry, you will need to resubmit your entry". I try to resend, and see ALL the regular entries had sold out. In like 8 minutes. Sorry, try again next year, you fool.

Another race bud, John, was also not able to get his entry accepted in time. So he registered for IM Racine 70.3 shortly after. And, I'm still racing this one too-now, more for training and distance than just finishing it. We were bummed, we had hoped our little race team could all do IMoo one time together, especially seeing Bob and I will be racing the 40+ (really the 40-45 yoa) cat this year. If I enter road racing crits, I can now race as a Master! Holy crap, I'm getting OLD!

Well, back to how I was able to get into IMoo. My race bud Kim emailed me last month, telling me that IM WI was going to accept applications from service members (police, fire, military) for a few slots at 2011 IMoo, as the race happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

So, long story made a bit shorter. I submit my application, telling them how miserable of a swimmer I am, but how I've been a good boy and how I'm working hard on pulling my old butt through the water a bit better, and how I will train really, really hard, and will forego those cold beers and ice cream treats with the kiddies at Dairy Queen (well, most of the time I will...). And I tell them my races and rides I've done to date, some work history and why I want to race IMoo on 9/11/11. 

A committee from Madison Police Department WI (where the race is actually held) reviewed all the applications, and I was one of the lucky ones! (not sure of the exact # of selections made, I saw 25 other names for sure who were also picked). I still had to pay the race entry fee-it would've been super nice for WTC to kick in the entry fees, hey? Maybe in the next life, Jack (thanks, Midnight Run). 

But, I clicked and clicked some more last night, albeit there was no rush this time, as I had a password and special entry site, and here we go!

So my wallet is a little (OK-ALOT) lighter this morning. But, I'm OK with that. I was tossing around ideas for the rest of the race season, which will mainly be triathlon (I've got to finish one, eventually, right?)

Here is my early, very preliminary race calendar for 2011:

     1) Wisconsin Marathon (running the 1/2 only)-Sat May 7th.

     2) Elkhart Lake Sprint TRI-June 11th OR
         High Cliff State Park Sprint-June 18th (TBD at this early time, I might race both if I can).

     3) Pleasant Prairie Olympic Tri-Sun June 26th.

     4) IM Racine 70.3-Sun July 17th.

     5) Chicago Tri-Sun Aug 28th.
     (probably the Sprint distance, if I go to Chi town-I know, I know, it's only 2 weeks before IM).

     6) IM Wisconsin-Sun Sept 11th.

So there it is. The big one. The big cahoona. The big deal. I've already downloaded a pdf of an IM training plan from, where I am registered but rarely go. Now, I might go there a little bit more. The training starts about 20 weeks out from race day, and is really nothing earth shattering or hugely different than what I did this year. Oh, except the sheer volume. It starts at about 8 hours a week, and shoots up to 15-20 hours, then the taper. That will be a big adjustment again, training 6 days a week, 3 swims per week. I'm still training now, but I'm doing mostly weights, Crossfit, core strength and running/no bike, with a swim tossed in once every few weeks or so, just for fun.

And yes, our race group is doing several open water swims next year. We are road tripping to Madison and swimming in Lake Monona, where the IM course is set. We will also ride the entire IM WI bike course once or twice, as it is fairly hilly. I'm lucky to have friends who swim better (much, much better) than I do. My bud Bob did the IM Louisville swim in about 1hr 2x ish. He's also done IM Kansas 70.3 twice, and he did the swims in about 40 min there. Plus, he's done Redman Long Tri, and finished. I plan on making the swim my "best friend", and I will actually enjoy the swims this year. It will be done, with a little help from my friends (Thanks, Joe. Thanks John, Ringo, Paul and George too. But I got to tell ya, I like Joe's version better).

So, there you go. My motivation and goals are in place, the bar has been set very high. But, it is going to be a very cool, very memorable journey, which is much of the joy in getting to the destination!

Friday, Oct 19th:

OH, one more thing as I edit this post from yesterday. I noticed this was my 100th post! Happy 100th! Woo Hoo! Again, I'm not superstitious or anything, but hey, when it comes to IM, I will take all the good karma, good luck, good wishes, good numbers, whatever-that I can get!

Monday, November 15, 2010

BIG news week!

So, I got a bunch of email today in my work inbox. Nothing newsworthy about this-we all get email at work all day, everyday, right? A lot of it is crap, some might be mid level stuff, some might actually be important. Well, as I was off and at home, I figured I would check the work email quickly at home before heading out to shop with the wifey. I had sent some important training info and PowerPoints via email on my last day at work, and was just looking for responses from the bosses, and what would be coming up later this month as a result.
Wait, one email was from an unfamiliar address. Hmmm, wait. That address looks a bit like one I had sent an email to in the middle of last month. It is flagged "high importance". What the heck...wait a minute. GULP! I remember exactly what this is about,  I swallow hard, my stomach begins to twist and do flip-flops, a definite case of the butterflies! All from an email?! Do I dare open it?? My mind races, my pulse quickens and my blood pressure-well, I think my blood pressure stayed about the same. I think of everything this one email could (or could not) affect in my life, both personally and professionally. One email can do that?

Yep. What's it all about? Well, sometimes the god(s) we pray to, or the funny little ritualistic behaviors we tend to do (maybe a kind of obsessive/compulsive kind of thing, or salt over your shoulder, or whatever), these things seem funny, or almost ridiculous when you think back on why you do such things. At least, to me it can be funny. I can be amused, and sometimes laugh at myself.

And then sometimes, you realize that all the stars in the heavens above, all those little twists of lady luck and lust simply MUST line up, and she winks at you. And you get that one wish, that one miracle.

You have to understand something; I am very much a realist. In both my personal and professional life. I do not expect to pray, or do some funny "good luck" ritual, and expect a miracle from this. I don't pray and expect I will run a sub 7 minute mile. I do not think I will win the lottery by playing some obscure set of #s intertwined in my life, with birthdays, lock combinations, addresses.

Do miracles happen? Yeah, I am almost certain they do in this world. But I also believe this-in order to run a 7 minute mile, I need to train my ass off and work hard, dedicate myself. To win the lottery, well, I don't know what to do, I can never seem to win it.

Sorry, back to the email. What is it all about? What what what what what what what???
What already?
Sorry, you're going to have to wait until Wednesday, when it will be "official", even if only in my mind.

And no, I did not win the lottery. Well, in a odd sort of way I guess I did, but it's not the lottery you are thinking of. And, it really wasn't a lottery, even though I entered a "lottery". Awww, its kind of complicated.

Check back Wed. night. I will post it on up.

Anyways, today was a pretty good day. I ran a 5 miler at a good pace, and felt great. I could have gone on running and running, one of those days when I didn't want to stop. And since I was feeling ambitious, I did 3 sets of 20 crunches right afterwards, with an 8 lb medicine ball in hand. Yeah, the abs are feeling it. Then shopping and a light lunch with my wife-we got sub sandwiches from Lee's Deli, a little ma and pa locally owned one-of-a-kind place that has been around for as long as I can remember. Good stuff!! And we did shop-we picked out a chest freezer for the basement, bought some odds and ends, picked up the little turkey's Daisy uniform for her scouting ceremony tomorrow afternoon.

Here is today's run, not a super fast pace, but a great feeling was had:
What a great run!
But overall, I've been feeling pretty darn good. I did not have the "post race season blues, eat everything in sight", like I did the past two years. I'm thinking change might be just what I need.

I've been hitting the weight room at work in the past few weeks. Lifting, core work and trying to incorporate some Crossfit exercises-man, these are some hard ass workouts! For one workout, I did 3-sets of bench press on the olympic, dumbell curls and tri extensions, kettle bell clean and jerks, decline sit-ups, and heavy medicine ball toss to the wall (up high, over the head), followed by a sub 8 min. split 1 mile treadmill blast. My HR did not go below 154 during exercise time, and rest sessions were short. Good and hard, and quick-done in 40 minutes. Most of the Crossfit is really interval based training, and not a thing to take lightly, or if you're just getting a start to working out. Check out the Crossfit site, there are tons of workouts, complete with video demos, all for free!

I'm going to keep up with the weights/Crossfit this winter, making it my interval training days, but still doing longer, slower distance workouts on the TT bike and outdoor runs. I need to find a new pool, so I can work in the swim sessions, right after the first of the year. I hope it all will pay off in spades for the next triathlon race season. As matter of fact, it had better pay off in a royal flush type thing.

Like I said, you'll see what I mean and why I'm acting a bit weird. Sorry to leave ya hanging, but check back Wed night. I'm going to need more crossfit...and some more cowbell too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's Next For Contador? |

What's Next For Contador? |

A little extra blog material today. Since we're in the midst of the racing off-season, I think I will try something different this winter; Instead of just talking about my training and whatever, I will add a little something different, and will post on some things of interest in the Pro cycling and in the Triathlete world on occasion. No politics, no work related stuff. Those are my only no-no's.

My 2 cents on the doping issues which continue to plague pro sports; My first observation is this. The subject seems to garner a much higher level of scrutiny and becomes a much more public issue, via the press, in European countries. In the US, it seems almost as an afterthought if the headlines reach Pro level sporting, such as football, baseball (read, Barry Bonds and the Balco investigation). Maybe this is just the US culture on this subject in general, I don't know. But, the issues of doping and performance enhancement appears to be much higher profile across the pond. Here is a Nov. 2007 quote from Bob Stapleton, former GM/Manager of T Mobile, now with HTC, “The visibility these issues have in Germany is enormous,” said Bob Stapleton, a former telecommunications executive from California who took over as general manager and owner of the team late last year. “This is 50 times Barry Bonds.”
 The other issue for Pro cycling, for the UCI in particular and WADA is this: The problems with doping implications and bad press have been reaching the top levels of Pro cycling for years, and while it seems to have diminished in quantity (in my opinion, I could be wrong here. Maybe it is still well hidden), the quality of doping cases has been worse than ever. For example, Floyd Landis in the 2006 Tour de France. A Superman like performance on stage 17 to Morzine-Avoriaz, Landis looked like he was on fire! I remember thinking he had lost the Tour, for sure, on the previous day, when he blew up and lost tons of time. He looked mere mortal, like one of us mere mortals on a group training ride where we blow the lid and go too hard for too long. 

I remember watching this stage on Versus (then known as OLN) that summer of 2006. I was awe struck, it was one of those moments in sport that gives you (or at least myself) goose bumps, and you almost get misty eyed at that surreal thing you are watching unfold. This same feeling was had during the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, where the NY Rangers played Vancouver Canucks to a game 7 showdown. My buddy and I watched every game, and we watched game #7 in my crappy apartment, drinking beers and screaming at the TV most of the game. High fives and toasts for the NY hockey Rangers are something I will never forget the rest of my life. I remember that angry fist pump Landis gave as he crossed the finish line, and I couldn't help but be impressed, awe struck.
I will never forget this moment either, but for much different reasons. Landis denied doping, the Phonak team folds after being plagued by doping issues. Landis mounted a legal defense, filed appeals and went on a publicity circus-like crusade, appealing to everyone and anyone who would listen that he was really innocent. That is, until 2010. He suddenly admitted to systematically doping for years, and implicated US Postal and, of course, Lance Armstrong, in the same. More on LA in a later winter post, stay tuned, it will be worth it!
It's just LA's world.

Ivan Basso is another prime suspect; claimed by the now defunct Discovery Pro cycling team and Johan Bruyneel, and then suddenly sacked by Discovery for his ties to Operation Puerto. Discovery had to do this, to save face with the sponsor and to distance themselves with a suspected doper. Basso later claimed to have tried to dope, but he never did it. Really? Look at his performances prior to his involvement in the OP affair, and afterwards. He had become a ghost of his "former" racing self, even having difficulty riding mid peloton when he resumed racing after his doping ban. Yes, he has now recently begun the rise back up through the peloton to the front, even winning the 2010 Giro D'italia. Is he racing clean? I have a hard time believing it.
Basso on the dreaded Mont Zoncolon climb, 2010 Giro. Look at that face...

Alexander Vinokourov is another prime example, caught doping on the Pro cycling's biggest world stage. Vino denied everything, and still to this day does. Now, he returns to race with his Astana Pro cycling team, claiming he will give his 100% support to team leader Alberto Contador. Well, how about 60% support for AC, and a little of the left overs for Vino? Vino looks to attack his own teammate (again, remember back to T Mobile/Telekom with Jan Ulrich?) and wins a stage of the 2010 TdF. Oh, and lets not forget his winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège  earlier this year as well. Is Vino racing clean? Well, is he?

Vino-an innocent man?

This brings us full circle to Alberto Contador. He has been provisionally suspended pending the outcome of the doping investigation dating back to the 2010 TdF, where he tested positive for Clenbuterol (also, plasticizers were found in the tests. This material is supposedly a type of residue from plastic bags, like those used to store blood). AC claims to have eaten tainted meat from his home country, brought by one of the team employees at his request. Experts wage war, each side lodging their opinions on the matter. Scientific evidence for or against him, he's innocent, no he's guilty. To me, it sounds very much like another song and dance, a juke and twist, the same thing we've heard in the past, just another mouth speaking the words.

Time will tell, one way or another. I do believe one thing for sure-the sport of Pro cycling has got to do something to change this pattern of doping, or there will be no sponsorship left to support a great sport. The money will go away, the TV coverage will drop (its not great to begin with in the US). What to do to change it? Well, for starters, how about instituting stiffer penalties including a 4 year ban for first time offenders, and a lifetime ban for repeat offenders. Dope once=shame on you. Dope twice=shame on you again, no more. Also, hit the offenders with stiff fines. Take the financial incentive out of the picture, and make the chance of getting caught too steep to risk anymore. This has to be a cultural change, and yes, it will hut. There will be casualties, and some of our sporting "Heros" will fall, shattered. They are, after all, mere mortals, like we are.

Much more on the topic of doping and performance enhancing issues can be found here, a great website IMO, along with tons of other interesting and informative details on Pro cycling, including top 100 cyclists of the modern era. Its called The Virtual Musette: A Road Cycling Blog. 

Check it out here:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

End of a season.

Well, it sure feels like the end of the 2010 racing season. There is nothing left on my calendar for the year. The weather has turned colder, tomorrow we're expecting highs in the mid 40s with a stiff north wind (of course we are, we have an outdoor school field trip, and both kids have been sick). The last "official run" for me was Oct 30th, in the Milwaukee Discovery 5k. This is more of a fun run, no race pace or PR day, just tooling along with friends. We even dressed in our costumes this year-I was Phantom of the Opera-let me tell you, its not easy running with a plastic mask on half your face. This is a fun run, heck, they even serve tap beer at the last aid station. I stopped and waited for my friends, and had two beers. Oh, and for pics with the cute M&M and Incredibles girls who had also stopped for a brew!

Then, it was off to the finish line and the Milwaukee Ale House for post run celebrations. They had about 6 kegs of FREE beer on tap for the runners, and the place was jam packed. This was about 10am:
Milwaukee Ale House, good micro brew beer. We stayed until about 1:30pm.

A brief recap of the other stuff I haven't got around to posting. I finished the 30th running of the Milwaukee Marathon on Oct 3rd, my second mary. Long runs were lacking a bit, and I felt it around mile #20. I changed my race strategy on race day, knowing full well it would probably not work. I started off with the 4 hour pace group, but early on, I felt like I was running too slow, like I was shuffling my feet too much. So, I took off and went ahead of the pacers. Yep, I was right-it didn't work. I ran the 13.1 faster than last year, by about 2min 40sec. But, by mile #20, my legs felt like they were going to fall off. I saw the 4 hour pacers coming up, running with me, passing me, yep, bye bye they went. I simply could not speed up.

I wasn't alone that day with issues. I was running that last stretch with  3:30 pacer, who looked to be in wicked good shape. He was running a bit, then he'd walk and I would pass him. Then, I would walk for a few hundred yards, and he would slowly amble on by me. Repeat this, and see how ridiculous it can get. There was a remote, outside shot that I could make the 4 hour time, and I'd know by the final 5k if I had the shot. Well, I hit that last 5k and I knew I was not making it in 4 hours. SO, I figured, what the hell, why kill myself. I ran a pace I could sustain the last 3 miles, and finished upright.
Not great, but I finished. The racer shirts and medals were killers this year, a really nice design. The artwork looked nice, subtle colors, just pleasing to the eye. Here is the logo:
Right after the run, I put on the free foil wrapper-it was cold out there!

The kids and I, bundled up post race..lying in the grass to rest the legs:

And, I still have not completed a Tri. The Lake Geneva tri was a non-start for me. I woke up that morning after not sleeping all night, and found myself not feeling good at all. I was still going to give it a shot, and we even went down to the race that AM. Yeah, Wisconsin weather reared her ugly head. It was in the low 50s, a stiff wind was blowing right off the lake, and it was POURING out. I mean, it was raining sideways. So I stood around shivering for awhile, feeling miserable, cold, soaked to the skin and a bit feverish. So I packed it in and said forget it-and I'm glad I did. The race reviews from everyone I've heard from were terrible, a poorly marked course, few volunteers, dangerous roads with a bunch of nasty crashes on the bike leg and poor food afterwards. The race sweatshirts were ass ugly and dark brown, to boot. Needless to say, I won't be racing this one in the future, even if the weather is better.

Lets see, we road our little group "Tour de Java" ride a few weeks back. We had a nice Saturday and went out for about 20 miles or so, taking it easy for most of the ride. Most, I say, because my buddy brought a co worker with who is an absolute monster on the bike. We hammered one stretch at about 26-27 miles an hour, while trying to hold a conversation. We stopped for a hot cup of coffee at the coffee house just down the block from me. I haven't been on my bike since. Our race group will get together before the end of the year, over coffee somewhere. We sit and talk about this year's events, what we want for next year, look at pics from races, just have some fun with it.

I swam the other day, after 2 months out of the pool. I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt swimming (or not swimming, I guess?), and even managed to do 1,500 yards, not super fast but I finished and felt good. I mean, I was tired and took some breaks, but hey, it was a positive swim. I will take that. I know I can swim 2,100 yards again after a few times out-this is a good thing!

So, I slid into the off season, kind of "demotivated" about things, and the fact that fall/winter is here. I ran 4 miles today, still able to hold a 8:40 split. But, its hard to be motivated to go out at all right now. Wait till the snow flies and it hits 10 degrees. Then, it will be trainer time and pool sessions, running when the weather will allow. I'm starting on the weights and core strength stuff too.

And I started looking a bit closer at the 2011 race calendar. I found a few interesting races I might try, including the Chicago Triathlon in late August, this looks like a fun race. But, nothing is set in stone at this point, and I have not committed to anything yet. I've got a few ideas in mind, including possibly riding out east next year again, after missing it in 2010. Much will depend on what happens with a special entry application I submitted back in October to one of the biggest races in Wisconsin-if I'm selected to race this, then my entire season would be built around training for this one event. 

More on this thing later, when I hear back and know if I was selected...or not.