Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lost in Space

Not to be outdone on 95 miles rides, I went on a ride of my own today. Unfortunately, I didn't have a team of really fast bike riders that I could draft off of. I also didn't really know all the turns on the route I had chosen to take.

I posted on the DC Tri Forum for a long ride on Sunday and one guy responded. It was someone I never met before, nor had I ever heard of him. But, having no other takers, I agreed to meet him at 6:15 am at the Hains Point parking lot. He showed up, on his bicycle. It took me a few minutes to get ready and we were off.

Just a quick sidebar... this is the equivalent of a blind date. Training with someone is a very serious matter. NOT just anyone will do. And, it is good to leave an out in case things are not working out for you.

My colleague said he wanted to go long but I left an out that we'd do 60 miles or so. Off we went.

We did the Wisconsin Avenue to Reservoir Road thing. We bantered a little, but those who train with me know that I'm mostly business when we get the wheels turning. We got out to MacArthur and I opened up some separation between us. He was having a hard time keeping up. About 10 miles into the ride, he got up close and said, "I'm not going to be able to keep up this pace". It was cool... I could dial it back a little. He had passed me on some of the hills so he was definitely a good rider.

We got out to Glen Road and then the topic of turning left or right on Seneca came up. He wanted to go long so, we took a right. I got the left into the neighborhood right and was thinking to myself... you know... we could go out to Sugarloaf.

So, there is a point out there near Germantown where you can see Sugarloaf Mountain. I said, "We could ride out to there." He said, "I don't have anything else to do today", so I took that a yes. After we got out to 118, I started thinking... shit... I don't know if I know all the turns out here...

There is a fork in the road where you can stay on 117, go on Barnesville Road or take a right on Slidell... I chose Barnesville... which I learned quickly was not correct. We backtracked and hit Slidell. This was correct. Then, I got off track by turning on Old Baltimore. We had to ask some people walking which way to Comus Road and they pointed it out. We were actually on Peachtree Road.

My new riding partner took this in stride and was good natured about it. Once you are on Comus, it's easy... head for the mountain. We made the climb but I finished a good five minutes in front. We headed back down and then out Sugar Mountain Road towards Mt. Ephraim.

I got off course again on Martinsburg Road. I missed the turn for Wasche Road and we almost ended up at the river. We headed back and then took the left on Whites Ferry.

As I had to keep waiting up for Derrick to catch up to me at all turns, I felt good as we rolled into Poolesville. I knew that all I had to do was tell him about Partnership Road and then I could cut him loose.

I felt real good the rest of the way back to Hains Point and definitely had a higher mile per hour average finishing the ride. Of course, the sun came out and humid became hot and humid.

I swam again at Hains Point afterwards. Paulie met me there. Ed Moser was there, of course. I think that guy lives at Hains Point because he is there everytime I am out there. I got leg cramps again, however. I think I am going to kill the swim after bike thing and switch over to bike/run bricks. The cramping on the swim is just killing that workout.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Training Weekend

I woke up at 4:45 am this morning. Yeah, I know... it was late. But, I was zapped. Work has been busy this week and I grilled for the swim team at Wednesday's swim meet. I cooked 125 hamburgers in like 45 minutes. We had to setup and clean up, too. In 90 degree weather.

So, I woke up and went to the pool at the YMCA to meet my training buddy, Colette. We've been doing long swims on Friday mornings. When I got to the pool, I realized I had forgot my googles, ear plugs and nose clip. I need these items to keep the water out of my head. I used to get sinus infections before I started using the plugs and clip.

So, I'm already a little pissed off and cranky. I leave, not in a huff, but I was definitely not pleasant. What to do... go to the LA Fitness and lift? Swim later? Go straight to work because I have a 9 am meeting with Council person Nancy Floreen? I decide to go back home, find my stuff and return to the pool. My swim, though uninspired, did get completed. I did a 2500 meter swim in like 55 minutes. Then, at lunch, I went to LA Fitness and did the weightlifting workout.

My usual training buddies are out of town Sunday. So, I have to scare up some fresh meat to train with. Kip is out of town, too. Mike and Wendy haven't ramped up the mileage yet. Simon is riding later in the day. Colette is doing the General Smallwood Triathlon. Hmm... what do do...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are you out of your mind?

OK, so my buddy did Ironman CDA on Sunday. His time was just under 14 hours. Great job, Adam! So, what the meant is that signups for IM CDA 2009 started on Monday. On Tuesday, I noticed the race still had not filled. I circulated an email observing that fact and asked the question, "anyone interested"? A couple of people didn't even bother responding. Chad and KDOG said, "it's not part of *our* plans next year." My sister considered it for 24 hours and passed... claiming she's not ready. (like... are you ever really "ready"?)

After another 12 hours, I have come to the conclusion that I am out of my mind to even consider signing up. I mean, I'm still working on Ironman Florida 2008. IM CDA is on June 21, 2009. That would mean after IM FL, I'd take a month or two off and then get right back into the kind of crazy training regimen that I am in. It is very time consuming. Additionally, signup for the race is $525. This is an expensive sport. I've already spent over $5,600 this year on Ironman. By November 3, 2008, I believe I will be able to trace over $10,000 of expenses directly to Ironman Florida.

So, it would dominate my time and would be very costly. Why would I consider this? Am I out of my mind?

I love triathlon. I really like going long. Our current morning training bike rides that are over after 90 minutes leave me somewhat unfulfilled. The challenge of pushing harder is very rewarding when goals are achieved. The feeling of serenity on a long swim, bike or run is not easy to describe in words. The fellowship with my training buddies is real and unfiltered.

But, there is definitely a toll. My clothes smell. My car stinks. As I am writing this, I am definitely over tired. I haven't hung out with any non-triathlon friends since January. I haven't washed my car since April. Triathlon, and more specifically, Ironman training is kind of like being addicted to a drug... it can squeeze everything else in your life out, if you let it. It has definitely been a challenge balancing work, family, community, spirituality and triathlon.


I keep coming back to the idea of signing up... registration is still open.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Checkpoint Charlie

A few items of note:

- Training Tri: The DC Tri Club did a training tri yesterday. I participated. It was intended to be a checkpoint... a way to see if I'm making any progress. I'm happy to report that things went well. The official results aren't in but I had my best time ever in the DC Tri Training Triathlon. The big difference was the run. I did the 5k with a pace under 8 minute miles. Not fast for many but definitely good for me. Additionally, a peer of mine... Paul Evans... finished behind me. I passed him on the bike and on the run as he appears to transition faster than I do. I went out strong on the bike and kept up the pace on the run but didn't really kick it until the last 200 yards. Then I went to another gear and that is when I passed Paul. Only one person passed me the whole race... some guy went by me on the bike and definitely dropped me.

- Sunday Training: Chad and KDOG were out of town this weekend, so I had to come up with a different Sunday training plan. I texted, emailed and phone several people. No one got back to me. I started feeling kind of sorry for myself and even imagined that no one else was interested in training with me. Paul offered to hook up when we were chatting at the training tri so we locked a plan. Unfortunately, Sunday morning, an equipment failure prevented Paul from making the ride.

However, I saw that Kip had finally replied to my text overture and I called him at 7 am. A quick word about this concept... triathletes will communicate with each other at times that most people would consider abnormal. Those of you who know me know that I wake early. So, sometimes... event with tri people, I can be a pest with early morning communication. So, I called Kip reluctantly. "Hello?" Kips groggy voice answered my call. I started by asking, "Is this too early to call?". Always quick witted, he replied, "I guess not." He agreed to ride and we got in about 53 miles from Hains Point out to Seneca and back. We hit all the hills... Mountain Gate, Old Anglers Inn, Esworthy and Massachusetts Avenue.

When we returned to Hains Point, Paul met up with me and we had some lunch and then got in 2000 in the Hains Point pool. I went over to Conte's later and, bless their hearts, they took great care of me. I bought some bike shorts that I intend to wear at the Total 200 which is not less than 3 weeks away.

Oh yeah... it was my first ride with the HydroTail loaded up. It was on the bike for the training tri but I didn't have anything in it. My spare tube fell out and got twisted in my bike wheel. Then, on the Whitehurst Freeway, an almost empty water bottle came out. Gone forever.

- Ironman Coeur d'Alene: A person I met through work is doing his first Ironman today. His name is Adam Edwards and I've been tracking his progress today here. We met at a Covad Partner Summit. I think we got to talking because I was wearing an Ironman hat, of course. He had done the California 70.3 earlier that spring. I think some friends were already influencing him to do a full Ironman but I like to think that my eyewitness account helped tip the balance. He has had some injury issues during training but had a clean bill of health today. Go get 'em Adam!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I received my HydroTail from this week. As you can see, I attached it to my bike this evening. The Cervelo only has one bottle cage on the uptube. Attaching the HydroTail behind my seat will enable me to have two more bottles with me on rides.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Flying on Father's Day

Being a dad is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. It's like everyday, that kid is still there and in need of something. I grew up in a time when dad was Mr. Brady and always seemed to have the right thing to say. I find that this isn't always the case for me. Many times, I am lacking in words and tempermant. Times were changing at the time of Mr. Brady and they are even more different now. But, I still think one thing hasn't changed... it takes a lot of time and effort to be a good dad... to be a father.

Barack Obama touched on it yesterday... what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child... it's the courage to raise one. He talked about setting an example of excellence for our children. He talked about how life doesn't count for much unless we're willing to do our small part to leave this world a better place for our children.

How does this relate to triathlon and more specifically, Ironman? Well, I have seen how my Ironman journey has had an impact on my daughter. She's already done two triathlons and a 5k... and she hasn't even turned 11 years old. She is very health-conscious and makes good food choices. She is very active physically and I think she enjoys riding a bike more than watching TV.

I took time out on Father's Day to ride a bike, myself. Well... I took about 6 hours. KDOG, Chad and I did the Capitol Hill to Sugarloaf Mountain loop again. I had a blast. It was a beautiful day and we were flying along pretty fast. Afterwards, we did 2000 yards at Hains Point. When I returned home, I gave my wife flowers and a card, as it was our wedding anniversary yesterday, too. 12 years. We cooked out with some neighbors and ate a nice dinner together. It was very nice.

I think the crowning touch was a card Jessica Rose gave me for Father's Day... there is a picture of Darth Vader on the front... it reads

Across the centuries and the galaxies, one question has plagued mankind - "Why?"

And dads have the answer...

when you open the card, you hear Vader's voice declare, "I am your father".

And it reads, "That's why. Happy Fathers Day."

I'm flying on the road... and in my spirit. It was a great Fathers' Day.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hot & Humid

Summer Washington DC weather rolled into town over the weekend, producing the steamy training conditions that will prevail into September. I managed to squeeze a run into a overbooked Saturday and got a long ride in this morning. 73 solo miles in just under 4 hours in Howard and Anne Arundel counties. Drank plenty of fluids. I've dialed in on sipping every twenty minutes, taking a hammer gel every 45 minutes and eating a Clif bar every 90 minutes. This plan keeps my nutrition in line and keeps me from bonking.

Swim today was in the Hains Point pool. It is 50 meters so you have half the turns. It is outdoors, too. The past week was my highest volume of swimming yet in the training year.

I haven't posted my workout log in the past 4 weeks... so... in case you were curious... here it is:

Friday, June 6, 2008


I am feeling a little overwhelmed today. The training is relentless. I'm going to get a swim in this morning and do a weightlifting routine at lunch today. This week has been very busy with work, family and community commitments so fitting in the training has been a struggle. This weekend is supposed to get real hot and I again have things going on both Saturday and Sunday that will force me to get workouts in open spaces on the calendar. There won't be much time for rest and it is likely I'll be unable to avoid staying out of the heat and humidity. Stay tuned...