Ironman Wisconsin Champ!

Ironman Wisconsin Champ!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Bretscher Multisport Wrapup

It's that time of year again when I brag, not about myself, but about those I have the privilege of coaching.  Coming off of an overwhelmingly successful 2010 season I am happy to report a crew of established Bretscher Multisport veterans, and newbies, of all abilities were able to put up equally successful results in 2011.  Here are the highlights of the year.
Muncie 70.3 2011-all about the team

Andrew, St. Louis:  Coming off a successful 2010 campaign as BMS athlete in which Andrew was awarded USAT All American honors, 2011 was Andrew's best season yet.  He kicked off the racing season early in February with a 3:02 in the Austin TX marathon, went to the New Orleans 70.3 for his first tri of the year (although there was no swim) and came away with his highest placing ever in an Ironman event, 6th in the 25-29 AG.  Followed that up with a new PR and 2nd AG at the Memphis in May Triathlon.  Unfortunately Ironman Couer d'Alene did not go how Andrew envisioned, getting sick midway through the run while on pace to break 10 hours, but credit to Andrew he did not allow his Ironman fitness to go to waste and capped off his season with his first ever triathlon overall win in the Big Shark Triathlon.  Andrew will return for his fourth consecutive season as BMS athlete in 2012, race schedule TBA. 

Billie, Plainfield IN:  Billie joined the team in 2011 looking to take his tri game to new heights.  He raced a shortened season as he had twins arrive in August.  Billie put up quality results in local early season races Terre Haute and an age group victory, 2:14 PR in the Muncie Olympic Tri.  He capped his season off in July with his best performance of the year, the Muncie 70.3 with a 50 minute PR of 4:51.  Billie will be back on the squad in 2012.

Dana, Chicago:  Like Andrew, Dana returned to Team BMS in 2011 for his third consecutive year on the squad coming off a 2010 season which saw him named USAT Age Group All American.  Dana had a solid season with an early season age group victory in the Kansas 70.3, and then later in the year bettered his 70.3 PR twice at the Muncie 70.3 and then again in the Pigman half with a 4:14.  He went under 2 hours in an olympic distance for the first time ever in the Pleasant Prairie Tri with a 1:59.  Finally Dana finished his year off with his first Iron distance in many years at Rev 3 Cedar Point.  Dana's 9:20 finish landed him 4th place overall and narrowly bettered his previous PR of 13 hours.

Greg, St. Louis:  Greg joined the BMS squad in 2011 after signing up for Ironman Florida.  He raced many local early season races consistently finishing 20 minutes faster than previous years and towards the top of his age group.  He managed an olympic PR of 2:23 and a 5:18 finish at the Racine 70.3, a 30-minute PR.  Greg finished the year on the highest note at Ironman Florida with an 11:03 debut at the distance, good enough for 407th overall on the day.  Greg will return to the squad in 2012, Ironman Arizona will be his focus.

Jen, Zionsville IN:  Like Greg, Jen joined in 2011 with Ironman Florida as the major goal.  She won her AG with a 2:36 olympic distance performance at Tri Indy.  She had what was likely her best performance of the year at the Steelhead 70.3 and did something she didn't plan on: qualified for the 70.3 World Champs.  Catching the flu 7 days before Ironman Florida made things difficult as Jen couldn't workout 6 out of the last 7 days leading into the race but a gutsy performance still yielded a 12:53 finish, within minutes of her PR.

Julie, Chicago:  After many years in the sport and 2 previous years on team BMS, Julie entered 2011 with her much anticipated Iron distance debut on the radar.  In the leadup to that race Julie couldn't help but set PRs in every other distance she competed.  This included a 2:22 olympic distance PR, and a 5:12 70.3 PR.  Julie also finished 2nd place overall at the Green Bay Triathlon, her highest overall finish ever.  And then at her much anticipated Rev 3 Cedar Point she put together what was likely her greatest athletic performance ever going 11:26 in her first Iron distance, good enough for 7th place overall on the day.  Julie was pretty excited.

Mike, Brownsburg IN:  "Racing machine" Mike was back on the squad in 2011 with more race results than I can mention.  Highlights for Mike include his highest overall finish ever with a 2nd at the June Muncie Sprint Triathlon, along with another overall podium, 3rd place overall at the Hoosierman Triathlon.  Add to that a 1:33 half marathon PR and a 21st place age group finish at the Steelhead 70.3, Mike's highest age group placing ever in an Ironman 70.3.  Unfortunately Mike's Ironman Wisconsin got a little ugly as he fought issues on the run which prevented him from being able to run but credit to him he didn't pull out and walked it in to finish the race.  I know Mike and the race will only fuel his fire when he goes to Ironman Louisville and Florida in 2012.

Moira, Decatur IL:  New to the squad in 2011, Moira raced a series of successful local sprints followed by her peak for the season, and half distance debut, the Racine 70.3.  In Racine she had her best race of the year finishing in 5:21, good enough for 14th place in her age group.  Moira will return in 2012 with Ironman Wisconsin on the radar.  

Paul, Terre Haute IN:  Paul joined team BMS in 2011 with Muncie 70.3 as the focus.  At Muncie Paul recorded a 5:18 finish, a lifetime PR at the age of 53, and 21st out of 127 in the 50-54 age group.  Paul will return in 2012 with another Muncie PR planned along with select races in the Rev 3 series.

Ron, Cedar Rapids IA:  Ron returned for his second year on the squad in 2011 coming off a 2010 season which saw him named age group All American after finishing the season ranked 2nd in the 50-54 age group.  Ron started 2011 hot with an age group victory at Memphis in May, finished 2nd place overall at the Door County Sprint, and went a lifetime PR for the half distance at the Pigman Tri with a 4:30 finish.  Ron's major focus for the year was the highly competitive HyVee Triathlon where he finished in 2:11 on a tough course and yet another age group victory.  Ron capped off the season earlier this month in Las Vegas at the ITU Long Course World Champs.  His first appearance in a World Championship and significantly further than he had ever raced, Ron brought home the age group bronze medal in the 50-54 age group.

Suzanne, St. Louis:  Coming off a successful 2010 season with team BMS and the "gutsy performance of the year" at Ironman Wisconsin, Suzanne was back for more in 2011.  She put together successful results in the Austin Marathon, New Orleans 70.3, and a 4min PR with a 2:44 olympic distance finish in tough conditions at Memphis in May.  But the focus all year for Suzanne was the Vineman full-Iron in California where she recorded a massive 57 minute PR with a 12:26 finish.

Thanks everyone for another fantastic season.  Look for more of the same in 2012 with a team as strong as ever and a growing team presence at the races.  Who wants to be apart of this?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Wrap

My 2011 season is complete.  After dealing with a pretty significant calf pull suffered during the run of the Westchester Triathlon and, consequently, having to withdrawal from the start list of the Pocono 70.3 and Rev 3 South Carolina, my focus races for the end of the season, I ended up deciding to call it a year and not chase a late season race.  I had the desire to race more, but couldn't really find another race option to warrant traveling to.  I tossed around the idea of a November Ironman for a while, but that would make 3 Ironmans in a 5-month span and having only raced one Ironman prior to 2011 I thought it might be just a bit much.  Mainly though I just wasn't fully committed to racing another Ironman this year and probably the biggest lesson I've learned in my short stint of Ironman racing is the importance of being completely committed to the task at hand heading in.  I am heading into the offseason hungry and excited for next year, something I haven't felt heading into the winter months in a few years.

My 2011 season didn't start or end well, but all in all I feel pretty good about what I was able to accomplish this season.  I started this race season embarrassingly out of shape and it took a lot of mental strength to stick to the training plan through those initial race results.  But I stuck to the plan and by the time July came around I was rolling and gaining momentum with every race.  Looking back and comparing my May-June race results with my July-September results it's hard to believe that these results all came in the same season.  Highlights for the year were my three separate 5th place finishes at the Muncie 70.3, Ironman Lake Placid, and Rev 3 Cedar Point.  Cedar Point was without question the best shape I was in all season and my best performance of the year, unfortunately riding 6 miles off course on the bike cost me what most likely would have been a finish time in the 8:30s and a potential podium finish (and not to mention the money).

Looking ahead to next year I think my first priority has to not be so much getting faster, but being fit for a much longer stretch.  My main goal in this sport right now is simply to make a comfortable living.  Getting faster will only help my cause but mostly I need to be in shape for longer than just 3 months.  If I can replicate the same fitness I had in the late season this year and maintain that fitness for 6-7 months instead of 3 then I'm in for a really great year.  I don't have to be faster, just race fit for longer.

All in all I feel really good about where I'm at in life right now.  A year ago I was coming off of my second consecutive rough year of under performing, my team had just announced it would no longer exist at the end of the year (all my sponsors gone), my job as triathlete was feeling more and more like a burden, I wasn't having fun, the 9-5 and steady paycheck was looking very appealing, and I had begun applying to some real world jobs (gasp) with the intention that I would take a year sabbatical at the very least or quit the sport entirely if I landed a job I wanted.  It was during that stretch last winter that I quit exercising for several months, got way out of shape and I think it was the best thing for me.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say, my mind rebooted during the down time, I got excited about training, racing, and triathlon again, signed on with a new team, and approached the season with a brand new, healthier mindset.  I learned to embrace the setbacks and disappointments along the way as simply an unavoidable and sometimes necessary part of the process towards being great.  All the time off certainly put me way behind the game at the start of the season, but I think I was also better towards the end, and will be a better athlete and person in the future, because of it.  Today I'm really enjoying my career as pro triathlete and coach.

I look forward to getting just mildly out of shape this offseason and coming in hot to 2012!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Injury Bugs Bite

Unfortunately the calf pull I suffered at mile 4.5 of the run in the Westchester Triathlon ended up being worse than I had initially suspected.  Well, not so much worse, but much slower to heal than any muscle pull I've ever experienced.  Coming off of the Rev 3 Cedar Point 140.6 my muscles likely shortened as a result of the fatigue from the race and not training much the following week.  Then, two weeks after the race, I jumped in a sprint tri where the pace was much faster than I had been training for, add in my low profile racing flats which place more stress on the calves, and bam, muscle pull.  Lesson learned, be careful when racing on short rest following an Ironman, and don't forget to stretch when you can't train the week following an Ironman.
After about a week where things did not seem to be improving at all, the calf seems to have healed in just the last few days and I've been able to get in some short runs pain free.  Today I managed 3 x mile completely pain free.  Long way to go yet, but it's 3 miles more than I could run a week ago.
Unfortunately, as a result of the injury, I was unable to compete in either the Pocono 70.3 or Rev 3 South Carolina the past two weekends, my two biggest races for the end of the year.  I'm now trying to decide what to do with the rest of my season.  I had planned to finish off the year with Ironman Florida but having not run for 2 weeks and only being able to run 3 miles right now it's hard to believe that I can be ready for an Ironman in less than 4 weeks.  Ironman Arizona is another race I am considering, and would give me two additional weeks to prepare, but Arizona would also be a significantly more expensive trip and with the level of pro talent which traditionally assembles in Arizona it would probably take my best race of the year to come out ahead on the business side.  The other option is to call it a season which might be the most reasonable choice of all, but the emotional side of me just hates the idea of a good season ending on an injury.  I will continue to train as I can, see how things progress, and will likely decide in the next week or two where to go with the end of the season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Westchester Triathlon

Coming off of Rev 3 Cedar Point I had by far my best Ironman recovery to date.  Consequently I made the decision to race on just two weeks recovery.  I know I am fit and wanted to take full advantage as one of the lessons I've learned the past few years is you cannot take great fitness for granted, it doesn't happen by accident.  The Westchester Triathlon was the race I chose to tackle, an olympic distance race with a smaller pro prize purse taking place about 20 miles north of New York City.  After driving the course on Saturday and making note of the seemingly endless number of multi-million dollar mansions and exotic cars along the route I did a little internet research and learned that Westchester County NY is the 7th wealthiest in the entire country.  That explains it.

Swim:  19:20  8th fastest split
The race venue was beautiful and the swim one of the more enjoyable I've done, in the ocean water of the Long Island sound.  With only 9 pro men competing I expected the race to be pretty spread out.  I didn't expect 8 of us (plus two women) to all be the same swimming ability and have a large pack the whole way.  I exited the water in 8th place but just 20 seconds down on second place.

Bike:  59:12  25.4mph  2nd fastest split
The bike course was very urban, lots of intersections and turns, lots of bad pavement and obstacles, several significant climbs, and a bit of traffic to contend with.  After driving the course and seeing it for the first time Saturday I had pretty much written off the possibility of breaking an hour.  So I was really happy with the way I rode, I wasn't quite as strong as I was two weeks ago in Cedar Point but I'm still riding very well right now.  Out of T1 I was sitting 8th and made my way into 3rd within the first 5 miles.  My plan for the bike was just to push as hard as possible and never fall into a comfort zone.  I knew coming off of Ironman racing that endurance wouldn't be an issue and I just needed to have the guts to really hurt the whole way.  I gave up a little time on a few descents and in a few corners being conservative since I didn't know the course very well but overall still a quality ride, second fastest on the day and by far the hardest 40k course that I've ever broken an hour on.  Into T2 in 3rd, two min back of the lead and one minute down on second.

Run:  36:42  6th fastest split
Starting the run I knew that the win was probably out of reach but I believed I could catch second and that's what I set out to do.  However I realized in checking my splits through the first few miles that I was not running my typical 10k pace despite my efforts.  There's only so much you can ask your body to do two weeks post-Ironman and for me a sub-34 10k might not be one of them.  Although I was running 10-15 seconds per mile slower than the effort felt I was visibly pulling back second place, slowly but surely.  I focused really hard on bringing him back and with two miles to go I timed the gap at 23 seconds, it was going to be really close.  But then, out of the blue and with no warning or prior discomfort, I was suddenly overcome with a sharp, intense, and debilitating pain in my lower left calf.  In the span of 10 seconds I went from charging after second to stopped on the side of the road barely able to walk and unsure if I could finish.  After being unable to move for a few seconds I started to get things under control and assessed the situation.  I had just over a mile to the finish and knew I had a good 3 minutes over 4th.  Not enough time that I could walk the whole thing like what probably would have been smart, but enough of a lead that I could afford to limp home.  I realized I couldn't really run at all because I couldn't put any pressure on the ball of my left foot but I managed to find a way to limp/gallop at around 8min pace while pushing off the ground with only my heel on my left foot.  It was pretty awkward but it got me to the finish in 3rd place with 40 seconds to spare over 4th.

Overall:  1:56:42  3rd place
A decent result which is good but now I'm hurt which isn't good.  Post race I could barely walk and it was straight to the med tent for treatment.  The pain was so general at the time that I was really worried it was my achilles as I've observed through others how nasty achilles problems can be.  But now that things have settled down a bit more I'm pretty certain it is my lower calf, I'm hoping nothing more than a severe calf strain.  Monday was a scheduled off day and today (Tuesday) I won't be running, likely not Wednesday either.  I really want to race the Pocono 70.3 this weekend and Rev 3 South Carolina on October 9 but won't race either if I'm not 100%.  So we'll just have to wait and see how the healing comes along, it seems to slowly be getting better.  I'm very fit right now and think I can get on the podium this weekend if I am able to race so am doing everything possible to speed the healing.  Below are top-5 results.

1     Jordan Jones             7 19:08    8    0:51 9     57:18  1    0:47 5     34:25  1   1:52:26
2     John Kenny               6 17:43    1    0:50 7     59:41  3    0:52 7     35:21  3   1:54:26
3     Daniel Bretscher         8 19:20    10   0:50 8     59:12  2    0:39 1     36:42  6   1:56:42
4     Patrice Hamelin          4 18:54    3    0:49 6   1:02:06  4    0:43 4     34:52  2   1:57:22
5     Matt Mangen              1 19:00    6    0:56 10  1:02:36  5    0:53 8     36:46  7   2:00:09

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rev 3 Cedar Point-Triumph in the Face of Adversity

Sometimes the race results don't tell the full story. That was the case at my biggest race of the year this past weekend, the Rev 3 Cedar Point full-Iron distance. On paper it's another solid 5th place, but nothing ground breaking compared to what I've already done this summer. However, with the adversity and total mental breakdown I had to endure for several hours mid-race, and the fact that I went through what I did and still came out with a top-5 finish and new PR, this was by far my best performance of the year, one of my best races ever, and I'd have to say my most proud race result ever. As they say, this is one of those races where you really learn something about yourself.

I went into this race very confident, the most confident I've been heading into a race since my 2008 season.  I knew from training I was very fit, I felt I was peaking perfect, in fact everything seemed and felt perfect heading in which is quite rare in my experience.  I've never been one to talk a big game so I surprised myself Saturday evening when I made the comment to someone, "this will be my last race flying under the radar".  Slept great Saturday night, another rarity for Ironman, most of my typical Ironman nerves were transformed into confidence.

Swim:  51:56  7th fastest split
Not much to report in the swim, it was both good and bad.  Good in the fact that my swim training had gone well in the lead up to the race and I am my most swim-fit of year right now.  Bad in the fact that I swam alone the entire way, no feet to draft.  With only about 16 pro men in this race I knew the race would likely be very spread out as the day wore on so I was mentally prepared to do long solo efforts.  All in all it was fine and I was onto the bike in 7th and very much within striking distance of the race.

Bike:  4:51:52  24.3mph
I went in with the attitude that this race was about taking risks and dealing with the results of those risks.  I took that attitude onto the bike and set out to make this race mine right from mile 1.  I steadily passed, and dropped, riders through the first hour (thank you stagger rule for keeping any packs from forming in the men's pro race) and went through 40k in a hair over an hour.  Through the first checkpoint on the bike I had ridden within a minute of the fastest cyclist and was only around 4 minutes off the lead.  Things were going exactly as I would have scripted up.  Then, while riding solo in 5th place at mile 45, I came to the corner which, unfortunately, played a big role in the men's pro race.  Long story short, there had to be a last second course change in the final days leading up to the race, the course was rerouted after being marked, and all arrows were accounted for......except one.  The corner didn't feel right to me when I got to it, the entire course was staffed very well and this corner had nobody, just an arrow on the road.  I thought about stopping but didn't know if 6th place was 1 or 8 minutes behind, plus the next racer wouldn't know any better than I what to do.  I went with my instinct and followed the arrow.  The two race leaders went through with a moto escort thus ignored the arrow.  Of the next 14 pro men to hit the corner without an escort, about half went off course anywhere from 4-6 miles.  One of the unfortunate things that sometimes happens in triathlon is that when there's a problem on the course nobody is aware of, it's the first riders through who "discover" it and it is quickly fixed.  This errant arrow was discovered and removed by the time the pro women hit the corner, but of course by then the damage was done.  An extra 6 mile loop I rode without even realizing I was off course.  To throw salt in the wound, the one and only big climb I encountered all day was during the 6 miles extra I rode.  Eventually the loop put me back on the course, I started seeing volunteers again, and I was pretty sure I had ridden correctly.  Then I went past the 50 mile marker with my computer reading 56 miles.  Not long after I started passing athletes who I knew were well behind me all along.  I became extremely angry and enraged, I didn't know what I was angry at, but I could not believe this was really happening.  There were so many thoughts going through my head I didn't know what I should do, didn't know what place I was in.  I put serious thought into pulling the plug and dropping out.  I had entered the Syracuse 70.3 next weekend as a backup plan in case something went awry in Sandusky and I certainly thought this qualified.  I decided I should continue on until I found out what place I was in.  The last 2.5 hours of the bike were a complete mental collapse, I could not move on from what had happened, I just kept focusing on and asking how this could happen in my biggest race of the year, feeling so sorry for myself-why me, why this race?  If this happened in a sprint or a half I could just make up for it in the next race, but Ironman is different, you can't just jump in one the next week, you have to make the races you do count, you can only do so many.  I kept telling myself that losing 15 minutes in an Ironman does not mean a lost race, but try as hard as I could, I could not get my mind back into the moment of the race.  And then as the pain of Ironman set in around mile 80, my mental state made the difficulty of Ironman so much harder.  There was so much negativity going on in my head and I could not get any information about what place I was in or if others went off course too.  I just soldiered on.  Physically I was starting to feel the hard early pace I set and I wasn't in the mental state to battle, I completely surrendered to the suffering, and faded badly the last hour.  Every time I passed a mile marker I was reminded of what happened and that I had 6 additional miles to ride, it was absolutely mind crushing.  I checked my computer as it clicked 112 miles and I had ridden it in 4:37, almost exactly what I had targeted for myself the day before.  And I had ridden that split in the mental state I was in and while knowing I had to go 118, not 112.  I thought about how I should be in T2, how energized and motivated I would have been to come off the bike in that split.  Instead I had 6 more miles on the bike.  In the end I rode 118 miles in 4:51, 24.3mph.  Looking back through the results, and taking away the miscue, I was probably the 4th best cyclist on the day.

Run:  3:01:11  3rd fastest split
In the T2 changing tent I was told 6th place which I didn't believe at first.  Then starting the marathon I had several spectators tell me 6th place.  Suddenly I became elated and excited that through everything I had the opportunity to salvage a sizable paycheck.  The legs were not there initially and it took a while to become a runner.  Once I got going I was able to click off 6:30ish pace all the while keeping in mind that my big focus for this marathon was the second half which has been my downfall in my first two Ironmans.  Following Lake Placid I did a complete nutrition overhaul (posted in full below) solely geared towards the last 13 miles of the marathon.  I missed my official half split but it was 1:27/28.  The last 13 miles I relied a lot on coke and caffeinated gels, and I've become a fan of both.  I moved up one spot and at mile 21 was just a minute down, and gaining, on 4th place.  I ran miles 21-23 really hard but then the wheels came off and I had only pulled back a few additional seconds.  One of my big goals for this race was to run my first ever sub-3 marathon and with two miles to go I think I only had run 7:30ish pace to do so.  But having gone through everything I had gone through, persevered, and salvaged a good result and payday when I thought there would be none, I decided that I just wanted to take the last 2 miles to myself, smell the roses, and take everything in.  There will be more chances to run sub-3 marathons when I'm racing for position.  I was really happy, totally relieved, and especially proud of what I had done as I approached the finish.  Turning into the finish chute I saw 8:48 on the clock and just laughed that through everything here I am setting my PR and going 4 minutes faster than this same race last year.  I ended up running the second half in 1:33/34 which is by far my best split marathon ever, still room for improvement though.

Overall:  8:48:29  5th place
Of those who went off course, 'I think' just 3 finished and those 3 were rewarded with 2-4-5 place overall finishes.  All of us were really happy, and not one negative word was spoken from anyone, even Chris McDonald who rode the same 6 mile loop as I and ended up just 5 minutes away from winning the whole thing.  From looking at splits and comparing what I saw on my computer I'm pretty certain that I added about 14 minutes to my bike which is funny because I wrote down 8:34 as my finish time the day before the race.  I won't waste time and energy trying to figure out where I 'would' have finished or in what time, but who knows what effect being mentally removed from the race for 2.5 hours had or what effect riding 6 additional miles had on my marathon in addition to the 14 minutes.  I'm just very proud that I weathered the storm, persevered, and stuck it out.  Even with the miscue I finished just 20 minutes off the win.  My ultimate goal was a top-3 podium and I do believe that the way I performed was good enough for that.  I'm proud that I have my own story of not giving up and the next time someone says to me, "I dropped my nutrition on the bike and my race was ruined" I can tell my story of Cedar Point 2011. 
Looking forward, I am very fit right now.  I knew that heading in and this race only confirmed it.  48 hours after finishing the early indications are that I've recovered very well from this one, much better than Lake Placid.  My soreness is probably just half as bad as Placid and I even rode an hour Monday morning.  I give credit to an easier course and being much more fit as the reason I am feeling as good as I am.  I'll take this week very easy and then next week get to work on the "4th quarter" of my season.  I'm very fit and the focus of the 4th quarter will be entirely racing.  Excited to see what I can do.  I'm finalizing my race schedule this week but this is what it is looking like:
9/25  Westchester Tri  NY
10/2  Pocono 70.3  PA
10/9  Rev 3 South Carolina
then see how I feel and either call it a season or do some combination of the following Florida races
10/30  Miami 70.3
11/5  Ironman Florida
11/12  Clearwater 5150

I want to say a big thanks to all the volunteers and Rev 3 staff for a great race.  Congrats to all the participants, especially Bretscher Multisport athletes Dana and Julie.  Dana had a fantastic day and went 9:20 which ranked him as the 4th overall age grouper on the day and a PR by over 4 hours!  Julie, in her Iron distance debut, put together her greatest performance ever and crushed everyone's expectations with a 11:26, ranking her the 7th overall age grouper on the day!  Wow!
Finally I would just like to offer another endorsement for the Rev 3 series.  As I've been saying for over a year, unless you have a legit shot and are trying to qualify for Las Vegas or Kona, there are far more reasons to do a race in the Rev 3 series.  The Rev 3 experience is unique and fantastic, the venues are very logical (at Quassy and Cedar Point parking is within 200 meters of the start, transition, and finish), courses are fun and challenging, entry fees are lower, and you don't have to commit a full year in advance.  Imagine being able to train, assess if you are ready, and then entering without having to risk an injury forcing a DNS after you've paid $600.  But what I like most about Revolution 3 is they are in the sport for the right reasons, to promote and further the sport, and give the triathlete the best experience possible.  Making money is important with any business, but it is far from the 'only' thing with Rev 3.

Daniel Bretscher Rev 3 Cedar Point Nutrition Report
     4 Powerbars (960 cal)
     1 piece dark chocolate 88% cocoa (20 cal)
     16oz Powerbar Perform (140 cal)
     Perform drink all morning ~16oz (140 cal)
     Powergel Double Latte caffeinated gel 20min before start (110 cal)
Total Race AM:  1370 calories
Bike 118 miles:
     1 Powergel every 8 miles.  9 Vanilla/5 Double Latte Caffeine.  14 total @ 110 cal each  (1540 cal)
     100oz Powerbar Perform (875 cal)
     ~40oz Gatorade (80 cal)
Total Bike:  2500 calories
      One gel every 3 miles.  4 Vanilla/4 DL caffeine.  8 total @ 110 cal each  (880 cal)
      One cup water/one cup gatorade every mile-first 16 miles  (~600 cal very rough estimate)
      One cup water/one cup coke every mile-last 10 miles  (~400 cal estimate)
Total Run:  ~1900 calories
Total Race Calories: ~4400
Total Calories Wakeup-Race Finish:  ~5800

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rev 3 Cedar Point-Ready to Race

I am now less than one week away from my biggest race of the year, Rev 3 Cedar Point. I feel really good about where my fitness is at heading into this race, in fact this will be the first race of the entire 2011 season where I am genuinely pleased with my fitness heading in. There is no doubt that I am in my best fitness of the year, and I think I may be in the best shape of my life although I’ll wait until I see the results from this next block of races before I make that judgment. Within about ten days of racing Lake Placid I could feel that my cycling had reached another level and things have continued to progress from there.

Although this will be my third crack at the Ironman distance, this will be the first time I am giving myself permission to really get in and “race”. My Ironman debut, a year ago, was all about experiencing the distance and learning. In Lake Placid I went in knowing that I was not ideally fit and instead focused on executing a perfect race. Although I didn’t execute a perfect race I did execute a good race and the plan worked as I finished 5th on the day when I’m confident there were more than five people more fit than I was at the time. Those first two races, I raced very conservative and against myself. Come Sunday I plan to race the competition and will not be afraid to make some moves and make the race happen. Heading into Lake Placid I completed just two training rides of 100+ miles. Now I’ve completed five. I don’t have a specific race plan for this Sunday, but I know at some point the race will open up and there’ll be an opportunity to make something happen. I plan to take that opportunity.

My goals for this race are as follows:

1. Improve upon my 5th place finish in Lake Placid
1a. Put myself in a position where I have an opportunity to podium (top-3)

2. Run a sub-3 hour marathon

3. Set a new PR (8:52)

The one big thing I haven’t done well in either of my first two Ironmans has been marathon execution. In both my first two races I ran significantly slower than I know I was capable. This was due to both poor execution (running the first half too hard), as well as lack of mental toughness the second half. This will be one of my major focal points for Sunday, barring extreme weather there is no excuse for me not to run a sub-3 marathon. The one major change I’ve made from Lake Placid to now is a complete overhaul of my race nutrition. I’ve seen benefits from this in training and I’m excited to put it to the ultimate test on Sunday. Hopefully implementing caffeine into my nutritional plan will give me the extra boost I need to stay strong the last half of the marathon. That, plus being mentally stronger and making myself suffer like I’ve never suffered before, something I’m mentally preparing myself to do.

Follow me online Sunday Race begins at 6:50am, hopefully I’ll be finishing around 3:30pm. Wishing everyone racing this weekend a good, safe day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Steelhead 70.3

Three weeks removed from Ironman Lake Placid was my first real race back, the Steelhead 70.3 in Benton Harbor Michigan. With 38 pro men on the list and a flat course I went in expecting a pretty similar race to what we had in Muncie, lots of packs on the bike and ultimately a runner's race. I was looking forward to this race because, although Lake Placid was just three weeks ago, I feel I've made real gains in my swim and bike fitness since then. Running, however, has been a struggle. I've found Ironman recovery to be as challenging and as much a test of patience as actual Ironman racing. I've felt terrible and cut more runs short in the past two weeks than I have this entire year. When I made my Ironman debut last year it was essentially the end of my season. Thus this is my first real experience racing an Ironman with several more months of racing planned. Anyway I went into Steelhead excited to test my swim and bike fitness but with pretty much no confidence in my run.

Race morning Lake Michigan was very angry and the swim was, rightfully so, cancelled. I was happy the event was made into a bike-run and not a run-bike-run since, with my run still not 100% from Lake Placid, the last thing I wanted to do was a long course du. I was excited for the race since, with a time trial start, I was pretty certain it would be a true test of where my bike fitness is right now. Unfortunately the dynamics of the race played out such that it wasn't a true test by any means.

Bike: 2:06:33 26.6mph 9th fastest
The pros started the time trial highest race numbers, down to lowest, in other words slower athletes starting first, fastest athletes starting last. In hindsight I think it would have been a much more fair race had they started us in reverse order, fastest to slowest. I started about two-thirds of the way through, and felt awesome right from the get go. Was riding smooth and strong into a pretty brisk headwind. First 10 miles were solo and then I made my first pass, but wasn't so much stronger that I was able to pull away. Not long after, we were caught from behind by some athletes, but they weren't so much stronger that they were able to pull away even with 10 meters of separation. Continue this trend for the next 30 miles, we continue to roll up slower riders and the draft becomes so strong that nobody falls off the back. 45 miles in I think we had a line of 13 athletes, all of us riding a far faster pace, with minimal effort than we'd ever be able to ride on our own. My experience is that almost all flat 70.3s end up with large packs, but this got to be pretty silly. Anyway nearly half the men's pro field dismounted within 20 seconds of each other, having put out minimal effort on the bike, and having not done a swim I knew the run was going to be insanely fast. Officially it's my fastest ride ever at 26.6mph but only the first 20 miles required any real effort.

Run: 1:14:37 7th fastest
The massive pack was moving out of T2. Just keeping up with everyone I split the first mile (net uphill) in 5:33. The pace stayed hot from there. I went through some periods feeling really good, and others feeling pretty bad. But throughout it all I never ran slower than 6min pace. Officially it's my fastest run split ever by 90 seconds but with no swim, and hardly any real riding I think it hardly counts as a pr. Normally I'd be pretty skeptical about the validity of the course with a split like I had, but it was the exact same course I ran 1:20 and 1:22 on the past two years so I know it's legit. Mainly I was just pleased that having had really inconsistent training runs in the past two weeks I was able to run well when it came time to race, felt pretty good the whole way, and never really fell apart at the end. The fact that the run splits were as fast as they were (12 people ran under 1:16) just goes to show how little effort was required on the bike.

Overall: 3:22:34 9th place
When I crossed the line and saw my run split I was positive I would be top-8 and likely top-5. But I kept seeing more and more cross with similar run splits. Then when the waiting was done for the results I ended up 9th, a mere 22 seconds off the last money spot. Tough to take but that's racing. In all nearly half the pro field finished within 4 minutes of the win which further shows the dynamics of this race. In future time trial starts they need to start the predicted fastest athletes first, slowest last, so that there will be far less passing, and less chance of packs forming than what there was. That and actually put officials out on the course. This is a race I'll put behind me really quick, there's really nothing I can take away from it other than a decent workout, knowing I rode really strong the first 15 miles, and I put together a good run despite feeling terrible most of the week leading in. The only good news is the race didn't take the toll on me it normally would and I should be able to get back to hard training quickly. I've got 4 weeks until my biggest race of the year, the Revolution 3 Cedar Point Iron distance in Sandusky Ohio September 11. I feel really good about where I'm at right now heading into this race, far better than I felt about myself heading into Lake Placid. I'm confident my swimming and cycling will be better than Placid, and my run should be back to 100% by then. Now I really want to crush these next two weeks of hard training to give myself the best possible chance of having my best race on September 11.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ironman Lake Placid

It has now been 3 days since I raced Ironman Lake Placid in New York this past weekend.  Much like my first go at the Ironman distance this past September I find myself still overwhelmed and trying to process everything that took place this past Sunday.  Overall I am satisfied and proud of the race I was able to put together and execute to bring home the result I wanted heading in.  Although I can still see plenty of flaws in my race preparation and execution, mainly a combination of my lack of experience and a steep learning curve in Ironman racing, this was a big step forward from my first take at the distance.  My perception of my race is still changing every day, and my race report would be different any of the last three days and will probably continue to change, but overall it was a great day and another amazing experience in the sport.

Unlike my first go at the distance this past September where I went in with no real plan and just wanted to experience the distance I went into this race with a pretty specific plan and time checks.  Having looked through the past 10 years of Lake Placid race results I was amazed to find that almost like clockwork, a 9 hour finish time places 4th overall just about every single year.  The race field assembled didn't strike me as overly impressive despite this being a major Ironman with a big prize purse.  There were about five "big names" (one of whom dropped out) and after that things seemed to drop off substantially.  With all this in mind plus the knowledge of the course having trained on it two months prior I decided on what I thought would be a pretty conservative race plan that would net a 9:00-9:05 finish time which, based on the history of the race, should put me right in the thick of racing for a good top-5 result.  I have been running great all year and I knew heading in my bike fitness has improved over the season but is still lacking.  I was only able to put in two rides of 100+ miles in prep for this race where ideally I would like to have gotten in 4-5 100+ milers.  So I knew I had to really chill on the bike as going too hard would only hurt my weapon, the run.  I planned to try to ride a 5:00-5:05 conservative bike split and hopefully be able to follow that up with a 3 hour marathon.  Combined with the swim I knew that should put me right around 9 hours which should have me racing for a good result.

Race weekend I tried to avoid the Ironman zoo as much as possible as being around the thousands of people and race madness only makes me nervous and stresses me out.  I didn't arrive in Lake Placid until 2pm Saturday, an hour before gear check in ended, and just 17 hours before the start.  I want to say a big thanks to the Jacobs and Allen families of Plymouth Indiana for hosting me in their rental home, it was a great homestay that kept me relaxed all day Saturday and having never met me they were very brave to host me!

Swim:  55:21  8th fastest split
Race morning was busy and went by quickly which was nice because I didn't have much time to think about what I was about to undertake.  The swim was very uneventful which I think is always a good thing in an Ironman swim.  Got off to a great start and right into the thick of things.  Swam towards the front of the chase pack the whole way out.  Got to the first turns 1000 yards out and got shuffled to the back as I was on the outside around the turns.  Swam back in on the back of the group.  The swim in Lake Placid is fantastic, it is clear and there's a visible underwater guide cable the entire way.  It was super easy to draft and I only had to sight about every 5 minutes.  Started the second loop at the back of our group and the pace slowed considerably.  I looked up and the guy I was swimming on lost the group in front of him.  I made a move to go after them but quickly realized they were gone and decided my best bet would be to just sacrifice a little time and cruise the second half on the feet in front of me.  Out of the water in 8th place, couldn't believe how big the crowd was, the entire quarter mile run to T1 must have been 5 people deep.  Made it a point to really cruise through transition as it was a long day and I wanted to keep my heart rate down.


Bike:  5:02:37  22.2mph  7th fastest split
A quick transition put me onto the bike within sight of 5th place.  I planned to go out really conservative as it was but didn't plan to be in such high position starting the bike.  So I decided to go out even easier since I was in good position.  Two guys went by in the first 10 miles.  Was riding well within myself at the effort I planned but not seeing the speed I expected for the effort I was giving.  At the first turnaround 30 miles in I became concerned.  The leader was way further up than I expected, and the lead woman was only 4 minutes behind me.  I had dropped from 6th to 8th position and could see I was about to drop to 9th.  I felt I was in control of the race after the swim but could feel it getting away.  The only good news was that every single pro was riding a solo effort and there was nobody working together so I didn't feel as bad about getting dropped and being alone.  At mile 35 Jason Shortis came by to put me into 9th and I decided that I had to forgo my conservative race plan and go with him to get back into the race.  We started the long climbs leading back into town and the pace felt super hard.  I stuck with it and started feeling better and better.  By 45 miles I felt the best I had all race and began taking turns setting the pace.  Through the half in 2:27 which was right about where I wanted for a 5 hour split.  Kept working with Jason until I got dropped on the Keene descent at mile 70.  Rode the entire rest of the way solo.  Was concerned about the last 20 miles since that's where I fell apart in my first Iron distance race and the last 20 are all uphill, but I think my ultra conservative pace the first 30 miles paid off because I stayed strong relative to everyone else.  Caught and passed two guys who were falling apart on the final climbs in the last 5 miles heading back into town.  Hit T2 in 6th position with a 5:02 split, pretty much exactly the position and time I had written down I wanted to be before the race.  Best news of all is that I didn't feel fried finishing the bike like I felt in my first 140.6, I felt ready to run a sub-3 hour marathon.

Run:  3:04:42  5th fastest split
I always tell the athletes I coach that in any race over 4 hours in length you have to be ready for things to go wrong and the unexpected because unexpected things always happen and troubleshooting is part of the game.  I was lucky that I only had one big curveball thrown at me during the race and as it turns out I did it to myself.  I hurried through T2 to try to gap the two athletes I came off the bike with.  I started the marathon and knew something wasn't right but couldn't figure out what.  A minute in I realized I had left my gel flask in my transition bag which was the nutrition I was relying on for the marathon.  Oops.  I quickly had to improvise and utilize the aid station nutrition which is a bit of a gamble because you never know what flavor the gel will be and some flavors I can't tolerate.  Thankfully I made it work although I had to force some of the gels down.  Felt great running out of T2, no real lingering fatigue and floated through the first 6 mostly downhill miles at 6:15 pace, passed an athlete to move into 5th position and was putting time into everyone behind me and gaining on 4th.  Through 10 miles in 64 minutes feeling great and through 13.1 in 1:26.  It's amazing how quickly things can change in a marathon because I went from feeling on top of the world at the half marathon, on cruise control enjoying the massive crowd in town, positive I was going to smash 3 hours, and run down 4th place to feeling on the verge of walking, completely depleted, legs so sore I could barely lift them, hoping I could just finish top-8 in a two mile stretch.  My pace went from 6:30 on cruise control to 7:30 and struggling in that two miles.  The last 11 miles were just pure raw suffering.  Probably the biggest thing I took away from my first 140.6 race was the knowledge of how painful and intense the suffering is in Ironman racing, there's no workout or other race that can replicate the pure intensity of the suffering.  I think having that knowledge really helped me to keep it together and manage the last 11 miles despite the discomfort.  I made a 1 minute port-a-john stop at mile 18 and then went through a real bad patch from 19-20 miles.  Started doubling my nutrition intake the rest of the way and that seemed to help.  Through 20 miles in 2:15.  Was very concerned about getting run down from behind but thankfully all of my closest pursuers seemed to be going through the same thing and all of the time gaps seemed to hold steady despite significant slowing.  My mind went to some bad places those last 11 miles but through it all I kept pushing.  The last 10k all I could manage was 8min pace, I've never run with such sore quads in my life, lifting my legs took all the energy I had.  Finally made it to the speed skating oval where Eric Heiden won 5 gold medals in the 1980 olympics.  Can't say I remember much from the lap around the track to the finish but I made it to finish 5th-the exact position and almost the time I had written down for myself a few days before the race.

Overall:  9:07:05  5th place
Very happy to come home in the exact finish position I had written down for myself a week ago.  Not so pleased with my half marathon run splits of 1:26-1:38.  Although I did cut 7 minutes off my marathon from last September which was run on a much easier course.  Ironman marathons just have a steep learning curve I suppose and I did take a big step forward although I know I had sub-3 in me.  Probably needed to go out 1-2 mins slower and then be more mentally tough the last half.  I was very fortunate to not lose any positions with the way I ran.  Had the field been deeper this mistake likely would have cost me several positions in the final 10k.  Got away with it this time and didn't lose any positions.  Had a great time at this race, Lake Placid is an incredible and inspiring place to race.  I still remain amazed by the undertaking to put on such an event.  4000 volunteers worked from 5am through midnight to make the race go without a noticeable glitch.  Ironman racing is a pretty neat thing with an incredible positive vibe surrounding the events and I hope to be back at this one next year.  I look forward to the second half of my season now.  This first half got off to a very slow start following a long offseason but I have come into good form in the last month.  I look forward to starting the second half of the season in race shape and continuing to build the momentum I've found in July.  I feel more motivated than I've ever been entering August and if things continue the way they're going I think I can produce career best results the second half of this season.  But for now it's time to recover.  See you at the races, and congrats to all the participants,  Daniel

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Muncie 70.3

A week ago I competed in the Ironman Muncie 70.3 in my home state of Indiana.  With this being the first professional triathlon race Indiana has hosted in nearly a decade it was a race I had highlighted and had on my mind since the day it was announced.  All season long I had planned to be on my A game for this race.  Race week we had 30 pro men confirmed and typical July hot weather coming raceday.  With hot weather, a flat bike course, and a deep talented pro field assembled I predicted we would see large packs on the bike and ultimately those who could keep it together on the run would have the successful results.  The race played out pretty much exactly as I anticipated and my prerace strategy of using the swim and bike just to setup my run seemed to be the optimal plan on this day.

Swim:  27:17  13th fastest split
There's really not too much to write about from the swim, it went pretty much as the swim always does for me.  Once everything calmed down and sorted out I was in the second pack, where I always seem to swim.  Out of the water we had 8 guys in our group and got word that the lead group was just a minute up. 

Bike:  2:08:22  11th fastest split  25.9mph
From the get go the pace was pretty hard on the bike and I did a good amount of pace setting in the early going as I hoped we could catch the lead group.  We dropped a couple guys off the back with the hard pace in the first 5k and we ended up with a group of four; myself, two of my teammates, and one other.  At the first turnaround 9 miles in we were still a minute down on the lead group of 8.  I spent a decent amount of time at the front setting the pace the next 20 miles hoping to catch a glimpse of the lead group.  Problem was we were a group of 4 chasing a group of 8.  To our credit though our group ended up only riding about a minute slower than the larger group up the road and despite the lack of officials on course I thought everyone was doing their best to ride legal and keep the race fair.  At the 30 mile turnaround I was pretty certain that we were not going to catch the lead group, I was a little tired from the hard effort the first half, and I began to remember my prerace prediction that in the end it would be a runner's race.  I've been running well all year and didn't want to screw that up by riding too hard with a hot run coming.  So I spent nearly the entire last 25 miles sitting at the back of the group and conserving as best I could.  45 miles in I could tell the entire group was tired so I decided to make an effort to breakaway.  Went to the front at 50 miles, tried to make a break but the legs were totally shot.

Run:  1:17:36  2nd fastest
Started the run 12th and felt terrible.  Two athletes ran away and I couldn't match their pace.  Just tried to relax and hoped the body would come around.  I took a lot of aid through the first two aid stations and that seemed to really help as the legs started coming around and finally things started clicking.  Moved into 10th at mile 4 and set my sights on 8th, the final payout.  Just seemed to get stronger and stronger as the run went and everyone else seemed to slow down.  Caught 8th at the turnaround and not long after moved into 7th then 6th.  Ran several miles in 6th place and was pretty sure that was where I would finish as I could see 5th about 30 seconds in front but he was maintaining his gap on me the entire way.  Then, at mile 10 where I typically start to fade I just felt really strong, pulled in 5th place and ran as hard as I could, never faded, to a 5th place finish.

Overall:  3:55:36  5th place
Pleased with my performance and my race execution on this day was near flawless.  Been awhile since I've had a good race result and all my results so far this year have been garbage so feels extra good in that respect and helps to validate that despite the slow start, yes indeed I am getting into good shape.

Another one of the big highlights of this race for me was that Bretscher Multisport had its first ever "team race" in Muncie.  We had 7 athletes make the trip to Muncie and I think all of us enjoyed the experience a little more because of each other.  Triathlon isn't exactly a team sport but with the camaraderie we shared all weekend it certainly felt like one.  We started things off with a nice dinner Friday night and then finished off the weekend with a nice team photo and claiming our fair share of hardware at the awards ceremony.  Highlights of the Bretscher Multisport athletes include....
Julie:  7 minute PR of 5:12 and 45th overall out of 455 women
Mike:  61st out of 242 in the 40-44 age group and a new "hot weather pr" of 5:23
Ron:  Runner-up in the 50-54 age group and 1 minute short of a lifetime PR with a 4:33
Dana:  New PR of 4:15,  7th place overall age grouper on the day
Billie:  50 minute PR of 4:51 and 21st of 176 in in the 30-34 age group
Paul:  New PR of 5:18, 21st of 127 in the 50-54 age group
Congrats all!

 Julie, Daniel, Mike, Ron, Dana, Billie, Paul unveil the team banner

Daniel, Ron, Dana bringing home hardware

Now I turn my attention to Ironman Lake Placid in one week.  I'm running phenomenal right now, swimming good enough, cycling I'm still not convinced.  Despite Lake Placid being a mountainous course compared to dead flat Muncie I think my race plan is going to be almost identical.  I've got to swim and cycle in a way that sets up my weapon:  the run.  In my one and only go at the Ironman distance I over-rode the bike and ended up running about 15 minutes slower than I thought I would heading in.  I did that on a flat course.  With Lake Placid having six climbs that are miles in length I expect the bike to be one of my greatest ever tests in patience.  For five hours I'm going to have to stay patient and keep my competitive instincts in check.  If I have my legs starting the marathon I believe I have the fitness to run sub-3 hours.  Today I spent some time looking through the history of Ironman Lake Placid.  What I learned is that 9 hours has never finished lower than 6th overall.  I plan to aim for around a 5-hour bike split and hopefully that will lead to a 3-hour run split which should put me around 9 hours overall and a rock solid result.  I'll be happy to finish top-8 on the day but coming off of Muncie, secretly, I want to match or better my 5th place result from last week.  It'll be an adventure no doubt and right now I'm just trying to drill it in my head that yes, I am about to race another Ironman.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rev 3 Quassy

Rev 3 Quassy-Middlebury, CT

Well this will be a different race report from Daniel because it will not be from his perspective.  It will be from mine-his girlfriend! (I better do a great job because this may be my last blog entry!)

Swim 26:38 18th Fastest Split
When we got to the race site the outside temperature was around 50degrees so I was crossing my fingers that the water temperature would be 68 degrees.  It was 69 so no wet suits today.  I hoped that Daniel could stay warm enough though to swim well.  Not being able to see much of the actual swim, I can judge how well Daniel competed by his place out of the water.  It was about how I had expected it to go, although I had hoped that he would be in a higher position going into the bike section.  I have watched enough races to know that the swim portion typically isn’t detrimental to your overall place.  For instance, the overall winner of the race swam just 12 seconds faster than Daniel and only had the 16th fastest swim split.  I knew that the bike portion would be crucial!

Bike 2:30:58  22.5mph 19th Fastest Split
On Friday, Daniel and I drove the bike course, which was the first time that I have ever done that with him.  This is the section of the race that I never see but this course seemed difficult to me-I got car sick from all the hills and turns.  As Daniel said, “It is an honest course.”  There were some big climbs, technical turns and very few easy portions.  I knew the course was challenging when the professionals ride about 15 minutes slower than a typical course.  Just like the swim, I can judge his performance on his place.  I started to get nervous when more than 10 minutes had passed since the leaders had left transition.  Once Daniel arrived in transition, I knew that he did not have a great bike leg and did not put himself in a position to win some money.  I did not think it would be possible to pass 9 people on the run.  It would have been easy for Daniel to mentally give up at this point.

Run 1:16:04  8th Fastest Split
During the bike portion of the race on Sunday, I ran miles 5-13 of the half marathon course skipping the most challenging part Mile 4-5, which was all up hill.  I would not consider this an easy course and I can’t imagine running it after swimming and biking although the conditions were ideal for a runner since almost the entire run course was shaded and the temperature was about 70 degrees at this time.  Daniel had a fantastic run and a PR by 55 second!  His previous best was 1:16:59 from  2008 at the 70.3 World Championships.         

Overall 4:15:47 16th Place
After this race, I believe Daniel should have a lot of momentum going into his training and next race.  His bike fitness is lacking compared to the other 2 disciplines right now but I do not think he is too far off.  Finally, this was a stacked race full of professionals so if you are looking to travel to the East Coast for a challenging course and to compete on the same venue as World Class Athletes, you may want to consider this race.  From my perspective as a spectator, Rev 3 puts on a great race atmosphere!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daniel vs. The Wall

This past week I've been out training with my old roomate, Jun, in Frostburg Maryland. The riding out here is hard, very hard. During our five rides this past week it rained during four, and we averaged over 15mph once. I realized midway through the week that we were just 15 miles from the town of Westernport which I recognized for one thing: The famed Westernport Wall of the Savageman Triathlon. This climb, and its 31% gradient has quickly become one of the most famous climbs in all of triathlon for its steepness and Tour-like atmosphere on raceday. The race itself is said to be the hardest half-iron tri in the world by all who race it. Having trained on the course this past week I can report that no half-iron I've ever done even compares with this course, and I've done some pretty challenging races. Having seen the videos from the Westernport Wall on raceday I had to go check it out and below is Jun and I attempting to conquer "The Wall".  The Savageman Triathlon is on my triathlon bucket list.  If you're ever passing through Western Maryland check out the Savageman course, you will quickly realize that all of the courses which you thought were challenging, were not!

Raceday chaos on the Wall

Daniel and Jun Versus The Wall

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rev 3 Knoxville

This past weekend, for the second year in a row, I kicked off my season at the Revolution 3 Knoxville triathlon down in Tennessee.

Swim: 19:41 20th fastest split
I went into the swim prepared for the worst. The swim and I just have not been clicking this year. Furthermore with the cold and wet spring in the Midwest I wasn't able to get outside for my typical weekly May open water swims. This would be the first open water swim since September. And I was wearing a new wetsuit for the first time as well. Anyway the swim ended up better than I anticipated. Not good, but not too far off. Got out well and right into the second group where I typically swim. Stayed in the group through the first turns but then halfway through a funny thing happened. I just lost contact. Wasn't struggling too much, the group simply swam away from me. Usually once I get through the first 5 minutes I'm good for staying on in the group but not today. I don't know if it was a momentary lapse in focus or what but it was a helpless feeling watching the group of 10 just pull away. Ended up losing only about 20 seconds to the group but 20 seconds was just enough to allow the 10 or so guys to team up on the bike and work together. All of the 5th-13th place overall finishers swam in that group so that was my one chance at a top-10 finish.

Bike: 1:00:50 23.8mph 16th fastest split
Moved up several positions in the first 5k of the bike but there would be no catching the second group of 8 guys. Rode decent on the day, not great, but not bad. The bike course is what makes this race. It is just a lot of fun to race the fast sweeping turns mixed with two separate 2 miles climbs and a 40+ mph descent.

Run: 35:24 14th fastest split
I had big hopes for the run but the legs were not there which I believe is mostly a result of the challenging bike course. And also probably the 80 miles of running I logged the previous week in training.

Overall: 1:57:48 14th place
I feel alright with my race. Certainly not any kind of breakthrough but the thing I told myself before the race is that barring injury or some unforeseen event, this will be the most out of shape I am for any race this year. And if finishing in the top half of the pro field is my most out of shape, then I should be able to pull off a good year. I just need to keep working. Swim was a little better than I expected and run was a little worse. But overall I was consistently faster than last year all around. It felt great to put on the jersey of my new team, US Pro Tri, for the first time. Next week I'll do it again and try to build off of this out in Maryland at the Columbia Triathlon. Finally I'd like to say that Revolution 3 puts on amazing races on very well thought out venues. I encourage all to check out this series which is doing all it can to support the sport of triathlon. In fact I just booked my ticket out to Connecticut to race Rev 3 Quassy on June 5!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Ready to Roll

The 2011 race season is here and come Sunday morning I'll rollin' into Carmel Indiana hot with my 2011 steed all ready to go for the first hitout of the year! Special thanks to Larry at Covered Bridge Cyclery for all his hard work on these beautiful rigs. I'm excited to be riding Planet X in 2011! See you at the races

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 Race Schedule-First Attempt

Here is my first attempt at putting together my race schedule for the upcoming 2011 season. I say first attempt because what I end up racing this season will almost certainly be different than what I'm thinking right now. But here is the rough sketch of what the season will look like. Races in bold are what I plan to peak for.

4/17 Carmel Sprint Triathlon IN
This race has unintentionally become my traditional kick off to the season. I've opened with it the past 4 years. Good low key age-group race, a chance to blow out the rust from the offseason, and fun to compare times year to year. I'll be going for 5 straight wins this year.

5/15 Rev 3 Knoxville TN
Had one of my worst races ever here last year, look forward to returning, taking on the challenging course, and love supporting the Rev 3 series!

5/22 Memphis in May 5150 TN or Columbia MD
Going to be a long drive this weekend, haven't decided if it will be to Memphis or Maryland. I've had great success at Memphis the three years I've raced it but Columbia has potential as well.

6/5 Pigman Sprint IA or Rev 3 Quassy CT or Mooseman 70.3 NH
Another long trip, either to Iowa, Connecticut, or New Hampshire. If I show great form in my May races then I'll head out East to take on the tough pro fields, otherwise will play it a little more conservative with Pigman. I've won Pigman before, Quassy is a course that sounds like it would really be challenging, and Mooseman is a place where I have unfinished business after last year's DNF

6/12 Kansas 70.3 or Eagleman 70.3 MD
Ironman 70.3 this weekend, just have to decide if I want to make the long trip East or West

6/26 Pleasant Prairie Triathlon WI
Very fast olympic distance race I'll be looking to make it 3 straight wins

7/9 Muncie 70.3 IN
Really excited for this one, have it highlighted since the day it was announced. First pro triathlon in Indiana in 8+ years, better believe I'm there and hopefully in peak form. Additionally excited as this will be the first ever Bretscher Multisport team event, we have 8 athletes scheduled to race right now!

7/17 Racine 70.3 WI or 7/24 Ironman Lake Placid NY
Will combine my Muncie peak with another race. If I'm prepared to go the distance it'll be Lake Placid, otherwise will stick to the more local 70.3 race.

8/14 Steelhead 70.3 MI
Have had good races here the past two years

9/11 Rev 3 Cedar Point OH
Made the big Iron distance debut here last year and excited to return a second year. Great race, great series, big prize purse all in a relatively short trip. Count me in!

9/24 Peregrine Triathlon IA
One of my favorite races, great venue, super fast course, wonderful event management. Have had great races all three years I've raced, going to 4 wins in a row this year.

10/1 Powerman Muncie Duathlon IN or Pocono 70.3 PA
Long course duathlons certainly take their toll on the body but it's not everyday you find a pro duathlon close to home. Also considering a 70.3

10/9 Rev 3 South Carolina
Love to give back support to the series that supports pros so well and has the best interests of the sport of triathlon in mind!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Assessing the Damage

Yesterday I assessed the damage of the offseason: I stepped on a scale for the first time since September. The last time I weighed myself was the week leading up to Rev3 Cedar Point when I was at peak fitness. The number I saw then: 146.4 pounds. The offseason damage report: 159.6 pounds yesterday morning. No wonder 6min pace was so difficult to hold during my tempo run! The weight is about what I was expecting. What's more is that I'm up to 60 miles per week running and can tell that I've already lost an estimated 5-6 pounds. I still have yet to start swimming or cycling, this week will mark four months away from the bike and the pool. I plan to start swimming this week but it could be another three weeks before I get back on the bike. Three weeks are left in the collegiate swim season and once it wraps up I'll instantly have an extra 3-5 hours each day to train, the time I am currently spending coaching. I'm really not too worried. My experience tells me that the aerobic base I have from running will bring my swim and bike fitness along much quicker than if I wasn't exercising at all right now. Running is by far the most time efficient way to build the aerobic engine (not to mention lose weight) and in past years I've questioned how much I am really gaining by doing 2-3 hour aerobic rides on the trainer. What I'm doing certainly isn't the ideal way to be training right now but I'm confident I'll be in at least respectable shape come May and no reason I can't be coming into peak form in mid-July when I plan my first block of peak races.

A couple pics I snapped of my legs last September, the week of Rev 3

Pic of the same leg today, pitiful

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tri Gear Sale

Making room for new sponsors in 2011, in fact I'll have 100% new sponsors for this upcoming season as my team of the past two years no longer exists. Will be on a new team for the upcoming season, that will be the subject of a future post. The subject of this post is some used equipment that I have to get rid of to make room for the new gear. If you are in need of a road or TT bike, or speedskin, there are some smokin' deals below. If interested, contact me through the link below, I'll be happy to provide anyone with more information or pictures.

1. Valdora XRD full build carbon road bike w/full Dura Ace components, training wheels (comes ready to ride minus pedals). Size 56. A few months of use and less than 500 miles, perfect condition. Price-$1700 (MSRP $3425)

2. Ceepo Singer Carbon TT bike frame, fork, & seatpost. Size 54. Used for 9 months. Price-??? Have had this frame sitting around unused for two years. If you want it I'll work out a price with you, just want to get it sold at this point. Could possibly transfer components from one of the other frames onto this one to make it a full build. Great bike, rode a 2:07 56 mile bike split on this frame

3. BlueSeventy Point Zero 3+ Swim skin. Have one used and one that's never been taken out of the box. Used-$50 New-$150 (MSRP $400)