Sunday, December 23, 2007

We Need Backup

I picked up the QR yesterday. After doing some research, I figured out that it is the 2002 model of the Quintana Roo Tequilo. It has Shimano 105 on the front derailleur and Ultegra on the rear. Aluminum frame with carbon fork and carbon aero bars, too. This bike is a 61 so it is a little big, but I'm a big guy.

I'm really leaning towards keeping this and NOT getting a road bike. I can ride the Cervelo on long training rides or rides in good weather and I can use the QR for mid-week sessions or anything in bad weather or high traffic. Any feedback would be appreciated.

It provides me with backup but also helps me conserve the Cervelo.

The old QR, the USA Special Edition, is dead. When the guys at Conte's took the saddle off, the seat post and the frame cracked. The frame was already rusted. I had them take the crank off, too, and put it on the Tequilo. So, I have salvaged what I could and I'll leave the rest in the trash. RIP, USA Special Edition... you served me well. But, it is time to move on.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, I actually rode a bike outdoors yesterday. I did a quick 15 mile ride on the new Cervelo. I can already tell that if I attain the same bike fitness that I had the last 4 triathlon seasons, that I will drop time off my bike splits. My previous rig had 650s on it and the P2C has 700s. It is definitely lighter and it feels like I'm riding on a feather. My aero bars still don't fit right and I am considering getting carbon aero bars. I go back to Conte's tomorrow for a professional bike fitting. I'll talk it over with Greg at the store. I still don't know how to work my bike computer and I don't even know how to take it off the bike. I guess I ought to read the manual.

I got a Quintana Roo Tequilo out of the deal at Conte's. It is ready for pick up and I am going to head over there today to grab it. I am considering keeping it as my "beater" bike so I don't have to risk the Cervelo on day-to-day training rides. However, I may try to trade it for a road bike or sell it and buy a road bike.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Start Your Engines

I've made my decision. I have purchased a Cervelo P2C. It is a carbon tri bike with Dura Ace components. It is a 2007 edition and was purchased from Conte's in Ballston, VA. Scott McAhren, the store owner, was very helpful and extremely "tri"-friendly. I got a pretty good deal, too, as Scott threw in a Quintana Roo Tequilo in the transaction! So, now I actually have three tri bikes although the mechanic claims that my old QR USA Special Edition is no longer safe to ride. In fact, I cannibalized some parts off the old tri bike and have them being put on the QR Tequilo. When I get that bike back (hopefully this weekend), I'll post some pix.

I am very happy with my purchase. The specs on the bike can be found in a link below. Check out the photos. I feel like a little kid at Christmas as the weather has been too cold to ride and I've been very busy, too. So, I haven't had a chance to cut loose yet. I think I'll have some time this weekend. I haven't ridden a bike outdoors since September 8 so I've got a lot of pent up energy and this bike knows just what to do with it. It rides fast and hopefully will help enable me to cut some time off my bike splits.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Plot Thickens

After today's DC Tri Club NTP Program planning meeting, I went over to Conte's Bikes with club president Chad Lewis and his fiance Kirsten. She was going to look at some tri bikes and I wanted to look at Cervelo and Conte's is a local Cervelo dealer. I was kind of spacing around the shop and came across a Cervelo P2C. It's a carbon frame tri bike with Dura Ace components. It is cherry. To top it off, they're selling it for $2700. I test rode the bike and a Cannondale Slice that they had in my size, too. The Cervelo was so much nicer. I plan on going over tomorrow and completing the transaction.

Here is a complete review of the bike and I found many of the things stated in the review to be right on. I believe this is the bike for me.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Out of the Mouth of Babes...

comes great wisdom. Yesterday morning (a Saturday), I took my 10 year old daughter Jessica Rose to Starbucks. We were out of coffee and she was hungry. So, I order her a chocolate donut and a drink and I get a low fat, turkey bacon breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee - Breakfast Blend... black. While they are making the sandwich, Jessica has her donut. I was hungry too, and wanted to "warm up my mouth" before taking a sip of coffee. I asked JR for a bite of her donut. Without flinching, she flatly stated, "No, you're on that crazy diet." Oh yeah. I had momentarily forgotten. She was right.

This was a lesson, thought quite small, of how much of a team effort this enterprise I am undertaking will be. And, quite frankly, it is a microcosm of how a team effort is required throughout our lives. We can't do it alone. Sometimes, the only thing between us and whatever it is that is a challenge... will be the words of a 10 year old.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Week in Review

This week has been rather busy in real life so the training has taken a dip. I intended to swim, bike and run at least once this week. I didn't. I did stick to my weighlifting routine and have stuck to my diet of no trigger foods. It was tough as it snowed this week and a mug of cocoa was sounding pretty good. But, I stuck to my guns and managed to get through this full week without slipping. Seriously... no pizza, sweets, fried food, latte, cocoa or desserts.

The weightlifting is starting to pay off and I am packing on some muscle. I have to get some measurements done so I can chart where I'm starting at here and I should also post some photos so we can see the progression.

No progress on the bike search, although my training buddy Chad, president of DC Tri Club, made a list of bikes that I should check out.

- Kuota K Factor
- Kestrel Talon
- Quintana Roo Seduza
- Felt B2

Hopefully, I can make some time on Saturday or Sunday this weekend to look at some more bikes... and perhaps even clip in!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's Not About the Bike

My search for a new tri bike has begun. Yesterday, I visited Race Pace in Columbia, MD to look at their tri bike selection. They carry Felt and Trek. I looked at the Equinox 9 made by Trek ($2000) and at the Felt B2 ($3400). I'd really like to buy a road bike and a tri bike as on some rides, a tri bike just is not appropriate.

Currently, I ride a Quintana Roo USA Special Edition. I bought it three years ago and I have worn it out. Put in a lot of miles on that thing. Something that stands out in my mind is that I did my first tri on a 20 year old Schwinn that is really just a commuter bike. The QR is a tri-specific bike and I never did more than three minutes faster on the Columbia Tri course than I did on that old Schwinn. That has taught me that Lance Armstrong is right... it isn't about the bike. It's about the motor... my legs and my mind.

However, I do need to get a new bike as the QR is exhausted. Looking at the B2 has been an eye opener on the newer technology and ideas that have been applied to tri-bike construction. At the same time, I'd like to keep the money I spend realistic. I could spend $5000 + on a bike... but my head AND my heart tells me that it would be wiser to put that kind of my money into my daughter's college savings account than into a bike.

My search for a bike should take about 30 days. I want to check out lots of different choices and balance performance with financial sense.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

11 Months to Showtime

I am a member of the DC Tri Club. We have been Mid-Atlantic Region Club champs three years running. The club is very active and is participating in the USAT Club Challenge. This month, the focus is on swimming. This is a good thing as I didn't swim the whole month of November. I've got to get back in the pool.

I have two other things to focus on this month... strength training and nutrition. As I posted earlier, I am in a heavy weight lifting routine. I have been very consistent with my weightlifting workouts and they are starting to payoff. Definitely packing on the muscle... which also means increase in body weight. I weighed in yesterday at 208. I'd like to be 190 lbs 11 months from today.

So, another goal this month is to eliminate "trigger" foods from my diet. Just for 31 days. No pizza, cocoa, cake, french fries, chips or other food that is, let's say, counterproductive. Already this morning (it's 8:23 am), I've been offered chicken wings. My daughter talked me into cooking her some wings that I had left over from the Cowboys vs. Packers game on Thursday night. She said she couldn't eat them all, so she offered some to me. Tempting... but no. It wouldn't look good if I couldn't go one hour (woke up at 7:30 am) without breaking my promise... NO TRIGGER FOOD THIS MONTH.

This is going to be tough.

OK, so there you have it... December 2007... 11 months to showtime... focus this month... swimming, strength training and better diet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sean Taylor

I'm a big Washington Redskins fan. Sean Taylor was probably my favorite player on their 2007 roster. He really was coming into his own this year and likely would have made the Pro Bowl again, if he was able to return from a recent injury. But, I'll never get to see him play again. He died of a gunshot wound. Details surrounding the incident remain to be revealed. Another reminder that all we have is today. Live this day as best you can.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Flashback: Ironman Florida 2006

On November 4, 2006, I completed Ironman Florida 2006. My finish time was 12:51:39. I beat my goal time of 13:30. My total transition time was 22 minutes and change. My marathon time was 5:01. I believe by doing better on transition and the run, I can trim my time down to 12:15... my goal for Ironman Florida 2008. This video is a montage of shots from my 2006 experience.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Flashback: Timberman Triathlon Festival 2007

This past August, my sister and I took our respective families on vacation to New Hampshire fir the Timberman Triathlon Festival. My brother-in-law did the Timberman Sprint. My daughter did the TimberKids Tri along with my niece. My sister and I did the Timberman 70.3. The movie above documents the Sprint and the TimberKids race. As I was racing in the 70.3 (6:10 was my time), I didn't get any footage on the day of the long course. Team Hoyt was out there, too. Very inspirational seeing them on the course.

Desiree Ficker was the female winner of the 70.3 and a highlight of the weekend happened when Jessica Rose got a snapshot with Desiree at the hotel.

The 4th Discipline: Nutrition

Those of you who know me know that food is one of my weaknesses. I can eat a lot of it and I can eat a lot of the kind that a finely tuned athlete shouldn't eat. We have pizza day at lunch every Friday at the office. I have to physically leave the office to "avoid the 'noid" but if there is some left over upon my return, I will frequently slip. Also, life can get busy sometimes and it is so easy to order Chinese delivery and fall into General Cho's Chicken trap. Anyway, you get my drift... I would like to change my eating habits... I must change them to knock 36 minutes off my IMFL 2006 time.

I was talking to a guy at work today. He is doing some run training right now and he told me about how he has knocked double digits off his body fat percentage. He took a full 30 day period and TOTALLY eliminated junk food. Since then, he has had cravings but when he fed the craving, it made his body feel bad and the cravings have decreased in frequency.

Where am I going with this... I am going to attempt to eliminate the trigger foods that I have for a 30 day period of time. The month that I will do this is December. This is a time of the year when I can typically fall behind. And then it takes the first 90 days of the new year to get back into the place where I want to be. So, I'm going to give it a try... this means the following...

General Cho's Chicken
Candy/Cookies/Cake/Pie/Ice Cream
French Fries
Fried Food
Chips of any kind

I think it will take a miracle to make this happen. But, I'm willing to give it a try because I think the payoff can be big. First of all, it will enable me to not fall behind during the holiday season. It may also result in a decrease if not total 30 day elimination of these Improvised Edible Delicacies and if it can result in making it easier in 2008 to tune the diet when training volume starts to increase, that'll be a good thing.

Some people try to quit smoking. I'm going to try and quit junking up my body.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Training Begins

As I was eating a piece of "Death by Chocolate" with vanilla ice cream lopped on top at a dinner party last night, one of the other party guests asked me "when does training begin for Ironman Florida 2008?". I replied that it won't really begin until Memorial Day 2008. But, that isn't really true. I could argue that training has already begun and I'd like to share a few relevant items in my regimen here.

- I am in a heavy weightlifting phase right now. For the past two months, I was doing weightlifting that consisted of all body parts, twice a week with high reps, low weight. Now, I am in a phase where I lift three days in a row.
  • Day 1: Chest and Arms. Dumbbell press, incline dumbbell press and decline press. 4 - 5 sets with heavy weights. Sets of 10 down to 6 reps on last set. Curls of various types and tricep extensions to hit both sides of the arm.
  • Day 2: Legs. Squats on a Smith Machine. Leg extension. Leg curls. Calf Raises. Again, 4 - 5 sets with heavy weights. Sets of 10 down to 6 reps on the last set.
  • Day 3: Shoulders and Back. Arnolds, shoulder press, military press, lateral raises and a variety of back exerices. The idea is to get the shoulders and back tired out so it is heavy weights and multiple sets.
- Every other day, I'm doing ab and core workouts.

- Running: I'm doing short maintenance runs though I am signed up for a 10k this Sunday. I'm doing the Cold Turkey 10k in honor of Kati Fisher ( My running is 30 - 40 minute runs at a 9 minute mile pace to just maintain form an aerobic capacity. I've been running twice a week.

- Biking: I have not been outside on a bike since the Civil War Century on September 8. My bike is currently in a state of disrepair and I sense some blog posts soon about purchasing a new tri bike. I have ridden a stationary bike at the gym once week. I do an hour on the stationary to the hill program so I can get my average heart rate (hr) into the 140 range. I think time away from the bike will be good although I have to be careful about getting TOO FAR away from good bike fitness.

- Swimming: My gym has a pool. I've been in it. I haven't been in it lately. I'll probably start trying to get 1000 yard swims in a couple times a week. Mostly to work on technique.

- Nutrition: This year, I plan on doing better with my eating. Right now, I am trying to take it easy during the day at work. I am typically eating a bagel with peanut butter around 10 am, a protein shake (banana, strawberries, blueberries, yogurt, soy milk, whey protein powder) for lunch. Then, a Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch Clif bar around 3 pm. Been pretty good with that plan the past couple of weeks. I have to rein in the food consumption when I'm *not* at work. Last night's dinner party did not boost my confidence.

So, training really has begun. I'm trying to build some muscle and maintain my run fitness. I start working on bike and swim technique here soon and am trying to apply a nutrition plan that keeps me from putting on weight during the "offseason".

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A 140.6 Mile Journey Starts With a Single Step

On November 4, 2007, I signed up for Ironman Florida 2008. The event will be held on November 1, 2008. The race filled in about 7 minutes. So, I am one of the lucky ones who got in.

This blog is intended to archive how a suburban dad will transform into a finely tuned triathlete that finishes the race in 12:15. Such a finish would improve my time by 36 minutes from Ironman Florida 2006. So, now it's out there. That is my goal. Finish in 12:15 or less.

Video of me preparing to signup for Ironman Florida. I was one of the lucky ones able to signup through

We learned this week that a woman in the 2007 race died after an incident during the swim. This is the second year in a row that an athlete died after the swim at Ironman Florida.

Here is the news as it was posted on the Ironman Florida Yahoo Group (


Re: Prayers for IMFL athlete
With sorrow, I share with you the news I just received from Dave Young:

It is my sad responsibility to be the messenger of unhappy news I
never, ever thought I would send.

Dorothy Barnett-Griffin, wife, mother of three, sister, daughter,
philanthropist, athlete, friend to hundreds and more of an Ironwoman
then all the Ironmen I have ever known, passed from this frail
existence today November 8, 2007.

Dorothy will be missed. She was a punctilious pink presence everywhere
she went. She opened her heart and her home and her purse to so many.
She was a woman of opinions clearly stated and a wit and wisdom
equally measured out in ample doses to lift or lead others as needed.
She was a magnificent woman.

She was intolerant of fools and incompetence but had a heart so big
that she became the epitome to many of faith and hope and charity –
but like Paul writing to the Corinthians, charity was her greatest
quest. As a result of losing her first husband to a sudden tragic
death, she became familiar with and then a huge supporter of the
Journey of Hope Grief Support Center in Plano. In fact she was racing
in the Ironman to race funds for this organization. (For more
information see

We honor best not with flowers and cards and well-used expressions of
sympathy but by imitating and emulating the worthy life of another.
You could do far worse than to follow the admonishment to go and try
to be like Dorothy. Be "Dorothy-Strong!"

On her way into Heaven I can hear her saying as she speedily passes
dawdling others shuffling slowly along - just like she did in many a race:

"Girl on your left."

We are diminished greatly by her leaving, we are all magnified for
having had her in our lives.

Farewell Dorothy.

Please pray for Mike and Dorothy's kids.