Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘cycling’

It’s Beginning To Look Like…

It’s really beginning to look like I’m training for something. A few folks have noticed that there is certainly an underlying mission each week when it comes to my fitness. I’m definitely trying to get back into the top shape I was in a couple of years back, but on top of that it looks like there may be something else.

I honestly don’t know. Maybe there is. We will have to see what tickles my fancy once the engine is back at 100% and body fat is back at 15%. For now, here’s the results of this past week:

Swim:  4000 meters / 2 Days

Bike: 16.3 miles / 1 Day

Run: 22.9 miles / 4 Days

Tennis: 2.5 hours of singles

 

I’m really happy with where my swimming is heading. I matched last week’s distance with one fewer day, thanks in part to having a 2500 meter set on Monday. I also did my first two a day this week, combining a 1500 meter swim with a 3.5 mile run.  My long run crossed 11 miles this week. I could’ve gone farther but ran out of water. The weather stunk pretty much all week, with rain Monday thru Thursday, followed by a dip into the 30’s (it had been in the 70’s for the past week). I did good to get that one cold 16 mile ride in.

Singles and doubles season both started this week. I dropped my first singles match in a fashion I’d rather not discuss here. Needless to say there is a lesson learned here.

Looking ahead, I’ve got 2 doubles matches and 1 singles match scheduled for the coming week. My plan also has increased mileage on the bike and running. I’ll get in the pool at least once this week and work on form and get a good workout in.

2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Report

This race marks my fifth race at the 1/2 iron distance triathlon, but my first of the Ironman-branded variety. I personally had a tough time with this some years back, because an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. But there are some people that do these Ironman 70.3 races and then call themselves an Ironman. Whatever – that’s between them and their conscience. With Lake Placid and Wisconsin in my rear view mirror, I decided it was time to take advantage of the big crowds and support crew of these bigger 70.3 races.

This race also marks my first under a new coach. I hired him last month and have only been through roughly 4 weeks with him, so I assured him that if this race resulted in a poor outcome that I fully accepted the responsibility. Once this season ends in late October, I will post more about my thoughts on my coach and the future. But let me say that his past experience at this race greatly helped keep me focused on what I needed (and didn’t need) to do in the few days leading up to the race.

I arrived at the race site on Saturday afternoon and was greeted by a huge line for athlete check-in. The line was occupied by many non-athletes, but once you reached the actual check-in point they weeded all those folks out so it wasn’t congested where the actual work was taking place. It is funny what a matter of a few minutes makes – at 4pm the line wrapped around the corridor. At 4:45pm it was about 1/3 its size. After picking up my packet, I took my bike down to the transition area (roughly 1 mile away) and checked it in. The logistics of this race really bothered me up until I went to sleep Saturday night.

Sunday I awoke thinking to myself “Self, this isn’t fun any more.” I had always told myself once it stopped being fun I would stop doing it. Of course, saying this to yourself once does not really mean anything. If I said that over and over for a year I would have to give it serious thought. I shaved, showered, packed the Xterra (I wouldn’t be coming back to my room after the race) and began the walk with my transition bag down to my bike. This all went smooth. Light drizzle began to fall at 6:30 as I was leaving the transition area.


Savannah River – Ironman Augusta 70.3
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Swim 1.2 Miles – 30:10

It’s raining now. Not that it matters – I’m getting wet anyway. The physically challenged athletes went off a few waves in front of mine. Of note was a blind guy and a guy with one leg. I saw them both later on the bike course and was thankful that I am able to compete with no physical impairments. This event is a river swim and while you don’t feel it, it is definitely there. There was the usual jostling for the first 1/4 mile or so but then everyone found their place and just swam. The only sighting issue I had was at swim finish. The buoys were still way to the left and it was not obvious that I should be turning right. I think I wasted an extra minute or two here. No big deal though – I’m very happy with my time.

 


My Bike in Transition Area – Ironman Augusta 70.3
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Bike 56 Miles – 2:46:36 (20.2 mph)

It rained. The entire time. The bike course is great – rolling with only 1 or 2 real climbs that I recall. Early in the ride, I hit a hole in the road that was filled with water (that’s why I didn’t see it) and my sippee cup flew off my bars and landed in the road. Evidently I had missed a hole or didn’t double the strap back when securing it in the dark this morning. Of course, that was all my fluids for the first 19 miles, and I hadn’t drank anything yet since I had just gotten on my bike 15 minutes ago. So already I knew this would be interesting.

Mile 19 came and I was very happy to get water and dump in some of my concentrated Infinit. Nutrition began flowing instantly and I was feeling great. I guess holding my mouth open to catch the rain was a good strategy. Had it been warmer that day, I would’ve been screwed. As it was, I was able to maintain over 20mph across the bike course and have good legs to run on.

 

Run 13.1 Miles – 2:09:53 (9:54 / mile)

The run was pretty flat. There was a gradual grade that was virtually unnoticeable. Fortunately, it stopped raining when I hit mile 2. Unfortunately, I did not have dry socks in my bag in transition so by mile 4 my feet were starting to blister. And oh by the way, I found that my Garmin 405 had frozen at 9:25 am while I was out on my bike – so I was flying blind on the run. Yikes! 

When I ran past the finish line the first time I saw the time clock say 4:45:00, so I knew getting in under 6 hours was within my reach. I felt like I was dragging on the run and would be cutting it close. Without my watch, I really had no way to know. The second loop I walked a few times, but once I hit mile 11 I started motoring. When I came around the corner into the finish chute I looked up and saw 5:58:10 on the time clock and knew I had blown 6 hours out of the water. That clock started with the pros and I was somewhere between 20-24 minutes behind them! I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed that I was near tears. After crossing the line, I turned around to look at the clock again just to make sure it said the same thing on both sides!

Overall time – 5 hours 38 minutes 27 seconds. My best at the 70.3 discipline.

Parting Thoughts

A lot of folks sit back in retrospect and look at what went wrong. This race represents a lot that went right for me. Speed work on the track on Wednesday nights. The Thursday night hammer fest in Roswell after work. A decent amount of time in the pool and practicing in open water. And above all else, a well executed game plan. I was concerned that the logistics of the race would stress me out. Losing my fluid & nutrition for the first 19 miles was almost my demise, but a huge lesson learned as well (even that needs a plan B on the bike). Not having a watch to pace my run presented a huge challenge. Having a mental plan (or formulating one on the fly) and then executing to it made me very successful on this day.

Would I race Augusta again? Probably. It gets dogged because of the river current. But fine, add 10 minutes to my swim time and I’m still well under 6 hours. Triathlon is about more than just the swim. I still had to propel myself over the open road by bike and foot.

Do I love this sport? Definitely. I shouldn’t take myself too seriously at 4:30 on a race morning!

A Done Deal (Mostly)


2010 Scott Plasma 20
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

After a year and a half of shopping for a triathlon / time trial bike, I have decided on the Scott Plasma 2 frameset with a full Shimano Dura Ace gruppo. Looking at the specs, you’ll say “Oh, he’s getting the Scott Plasma 10” – but my paint job will actually say “Scott Plasma 20”. Do I care? No. But I have talked about the bike both ways, so now you know.

What went into this decision?

First, I had to meet all of my personal objectives. Frankly, I’m knocking them out of the park and these were pretty tough measures that I set for myself. Second, I had to research what type of bike best fit me as a rider. You see, I have a 34″ inseam and I am 5′ 10″ standing on pedals (6′ 0″ in real life). This means that I need a bunch of seat post, but a shorter top tube. Bikes like the Cervelo P3 (my first choice), Felt B2, etc. are all made for people who are longer in the torso than I am. Those bikes are polar opposites to what I needed. So this pushed me over into the line of Scott Plasmas and Blue Triads. This is discussed further up on Slow Twitch, but essentially (Emphasis mine):

Who might best use a bike geometrically built like this? Two cases immediately come to mind. One involves a relatively fit, trim, experienced triathlete, who’s probably going to ride with his or her seat angle at least moderately steep. If this person is short-waisted—that is, short in the torso, long-legged—that person is going to need a bike like this: short in length, taller in height. The height is required because that short torso means that rider’s height is in his legs. Those taller legs prop the saddle higher, and that means the head tube has to be higher as well, to keep pace with that tall saddle height.

For whatever reason, I simply wasn’t a fan of the Blue Triad. Not sure why. Add to the equation that I have had great success and enjoyment on my Scott road bike and things started coming together. I knew I wanted the Plasma 2 frameset which comes on the Plasma 10 and 20, and I wanted all Dura Ace which was pushing me to the 10. But the production run on the Plasma 10 was done and there were no remaining frames in stock. The sweet thing was that I could get a Plasma 2 frame with the 20 paint scheme, throw a Shimano Dura Ace gruppo on it and the only noticeable difference would be the color scheme. And I just happen to be a fan of the color green. So there you have it. It’s like it was meant to be.

So why do I say it’s “Mostly” a done deal?

I’ve plopped down a huge down payment, the bike is being built, and I am awaiting my fit appointment. I doubt any new information will come up during the fitting but you never know. And yes, having to cut the seat post is scaring the crap out of me. I’m not the one doing it mind you, but it’s just one of those things that you can’t undo. If the seat is too low you lose power. Ok – I’m done stressing for now.

So August 3rd is the day that I’ll pick up my new ride and have the final fitting done. I will have almost 2 full months to train on it prior to the 70.3 in Augusta. I may even take it to ride on the IM Louisville course, but I’m still leaning toward using my road bike for that adventure. I’ll post pics and maybe video from the fitting, as well as the full details of my new ride once it is in my possession.

Get back to work. Happy Monday.

Spring Training 2010


Pre-ride 3-31-2010
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Baseball players have wound down Spring training and the regular season has begun. Atlanta has completely skipped Spring and gone from high temperatures one week in the 40’s to last week in the 80’s. I decided it was time to take some time off from work for a little Spring training of my own.

3/31 – 43 mile bike ride through Suwanee, Buford, Flowery Branch and Sugar Hill. High temp on the bike was right at 80 degrees.

4/1 – 5.75 mile run at lunch (I worked today). Again – the weather was perfect. This is evidently the start of heat training for the season so my run struggled a bit. I expect this to change quickly.

4/2 – Rest day. If anyone ever posts a week’s worth of workouts and you don’t see a rest day, you need to question them. You get stronger via recovery from the activity, not from actually doing the activity. I worked today, too.

4/3 – 6.7 miles run. This was an easy out and back on the greenway. Not a lot of elevation change. Right at the end I had to gun it to get around some annoying Team In Training people. Once again, they were occupying the entire 12 foot stretch of concrete with just a few people. They said “sorry” as I passed them on the right – meaning they knew they were in the wrong. Unfortunately, they continued to be in the wrong even after I passed them.

4/4 – Ride: 15.5 miles. Originally I planned this to be a swim as I thought it was the last day of the Tri2Remember Swim Clinic. Evidentally, it wasn’t due to the Easter holiday. I have missed the prior two practices due to the ING Marathon one Sunday and dealing with my mom’s estate the other Sunday. 

4/5 – Stott pilates. It’s nice to work out with athletes. There is a common respect there – especially when they give you a workout that absolutely kicks your ass. That was the way today went. Imagine 1 hour of core work where the goal is to find all of your different breaking points and make them stronger. That’s how it went. At the end, the instructor said she admired my ability to swim / bike / run for hours on end – she could do pilates for hours, but no way could bike or run for that long. And to be honest, an hour of Stott was all I could take. Mutual admiration isn’t a bad thing.

4/6 – Long run. >10 miles. I wanted to go longer than that today, but it simply wasn’t in the cards. As I mentioned earlier, it’s heating up in Atlanta – they high today was around 88. So the heat training has kicked in earlier than planned. That’s not a bad thing. I just ran 26.2 a couple of weeks back, so I’m not worried about the distance. I’ll get in a 15 miler this weekend and a bunch of maintenance runs as well so I should be all set for 26.2 again in 2.5 weeks.

And thus Spring Training for me has ended. I feel better and stronger today than when I started 1 week ago. The base fitness has been awakened and proven. I am working on the 3rd solid week of logging EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth and my workouts. All that combined and I FEEL like an athlete again. That was the overarching goal of the past week and I met it with flying colors.

Cycling Safety in the Offseason


The top of Fort Mountain
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

For many of us in the United States, the weather is getting colder and the urge to ride our bikes outside is dying down. Of course, it’s not for me – but the rest of you people may be wimping out and that’s okay. This is a friendly reminder for those of you out there still riding to be extra vigilant as there are fewer riders out and motorists may not be as aware of our presence.

If you ride enough miles you will eventually encounter less than friendly motorists that do things to you. I’ve had people try to run me off the road, throw bottles at me, yell, etc. I’ve even had stupid people in their own front yard yell at me to get off the road – as if I didn’t know where they lived. What idiots.

One of my favorite stories came from the Athena Diaries this summer. Someone pulled a stunt on her while out riding, but evidently they were close to their final destination and she was able to note the address they pulled into. She wrote a friendly blog post titled Dear Pompous Idiot with this gem of a quote inside:

Oh, And thanks so much for pulling into your own driveway and screaming and swearing at us from your very own front yard. I checked on Google Street, and saw the same dark grey Volvo parked in your driveway, and now I know where you live. I’ll be sure and share that address on every cycling advocacy website that I know.

Just remember friends, you have as much right to the road as everyone else. Be smart, be predictable, and be safe.

 

  • Recent Tweets…