Thursday, June 29, 2006

Trumpet Call Please it is, my Ultravelo Bike story. I rode a bicycle...1012.79 miles this month...June 1 to June 29. I am not going to ride tomorrow.

There is a reason my temmates call me "Myles" and that reason is because I put a lot of miles in on the bike. Typical months run between 750 and 850 miles, even in winter. It isn't because I think I need this much time in the saddle or even that I think it is advisable for a triathlete to put this much time in the saddle, it's simply that I love to ride.

So why did I go the extra distance this month? I have been unable to run and was concerned about loosing fitness right in the middle of the season. I wanted to be able to keep the weight down and the cardiovascular fitness up.

What was the outcome of all these miles? I have maintained my weight at a Clydeorific 212.5lbs and during the month was able to post a 107.3 mile ride in 5 hours 34 minutes and 15 seconds on a hilly course. I know I showed up to Buffalo Springs overtrained last weekend but I'm not concerned because I wasn't running in my division anyway I was just out to have a good time and the mileage took precedence.

I can honestly say that my legs feel a little fried right now and I'm looking forward to backing off and getting in some recovery, then well see what gains I may have made.

I also pumped up the swim a little. Right now I'm sitting at 20,311 meters but I still have one more swim to complete tomorrow and am undecided on the distance.

Fortitudine Vincimus!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Here Cometh the AquaClyde

Ok, so maybe this doesn't really depict the Aquabike event at the 2006 Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon, or at any triathlon that also includes Aquabike for that matter, but one can dream.

This year, thanks to a not so timely hip fracture, I was not able to do the BSLT 70.3 but was able to salvage something of the race by doing the Aquabike and male 70.3 relay.

First off, as a triathlete I must say that just doing the swim and the bike and then stopping is, well, you can fill in whatever blank you want but let's just say it feels like unfinished business. In Duathlon you run-bike-run but I guess swimming is so detested by triathletes that any event beginning with Aqua just gest cut short, Aquathon: swim-run, Aquabike: Swim-bike; why not swim-run-swim or swim-bike-swim? Anyhow, I digress.

So as I was saying, I participated in the Aquabike and the male 70.3 relay. The Aquabike, Relay teams, Clydes and Athenas took off in the last wave of the 70.3 at 7:05 am. That was cool because I did get to take off in the wave with all my usual compadres. The water was a perfect 74 degrees with a light chop caused by some winds that were in the process of dying down from an early morning storm that was threatening to make this one miserable day.

The start of the swim was a wave start running into the water off the beach. I'm not sure how many were in my wave but there was enough to create the human washing machine effect but not so many that it became like a scene from Dante's Inferno where human bodies were writhing over one another in heaving masses of suffering. I quickly found some open water and began settling into my long-distance pace. I really paid attention to my stroke mechanics, reach - pull through deep, extend to the rear - full stroke - roll onto my side and pull the change out of my pocket - reach over the barrell and site - reach out, full stroke. My breathing was nice and easy and my sighting was excellent. The great thing was that I was feeling pretty fast and relaxed at the same time. I didn't get to draft much because everytime I came upon some feet it was because I was overtaking the next swimmer. I ended up catching several swimmers from the previous two waves. The only "mishap" was about 3/4 of the way through the swim some guy jumped on me, not feet first obviously but none-the-less I was swimming along and wham, there was someone ON MY BACK wand I went under about three feet. I came out and yelled WHAT THE F*&#K?! and this guy is looking at me and sheepishly says...sorry. Any who, I came out of the water in 36 min 40 sec, I call it a good 1.2 mile swim.

Into transition I ran along, yes I RAN YAHOO and didn't feel a thing! Stripped the wetsuit, changed into the cycling gear and was off in a sluggish 3 min 19 sec, I really need to get a faster transition but something usually happend, this time I started to take off and realized I wasn't wearing my sunglasses so I stopped for a moment to wonder if I had brought them from the hotel and then realized that I had just left them in my transition bag so I had to dig through that for a bit and then I was off...for real.

I climbed up and out of the famous BSLT transition hill and immediatly noticed that I was passing people going uphill. As a Clyde I am used to either 1) holding my own on hills or 2) being passed on hills, but rarely do I pass. During the course of this race I did nothing but pass people all day long, up hill, down hill, on flats, straights, curves...pass, pass pass. The bike was totally uneventful other than all the passing I was doing. I suppose this is one of the benifits of going off in the last wave. The BSLT 70.3 bike course is a tough one but enjoyable. I completed it in 2 hrs 46 min 39 sec. My total time in the Aquabike was 3 hrs 26 min 38 sec, which was good enough to earn me 2nd place in the male 39 & under catagory and 3rd overall in the Aquabike.

My partner in the male 70.3 relay took the chip after a bit of a rough hand-off. I ran into transition and turned up the wrong bike rack lane and when he yelled out to me I turned around and immediatly hookrd someone's transition bag with my pedal and started dragging it along. Anyhow, I got the hand off and Sharkbait took off to finish the half-marathon in 1 hr 55 min, AFTER he had won the overall Grand Master (55 yo +) catagory earlier that morning during the Tri-Raider sprint triathlon. In the end, a broken Clydesdale and a Grand Master took second in the BSLT 70.3 male relay, being soundly beaten by a three man team of guys ages 22 to 24 who were each specialists in their respective sport, no shame in that.

In all, it was a great day. I have to admit that while I was hitting the home stretch on the bike all I wanted to do was run and after I got off the bike in transition it took me a while to feel good about my race because I felt like a slacker, I guess a bit like an imposter and a second swim would have probably made me feel better. Oh well, as time went by and more and more of my friends came in off the course I felt better and once Sharkbait crossed the finish line for the 70.3 and I saw how happy he was I really felt like I had been part of something special, I felt good.

Later that evening at the awards cerimony I got to thinking about our friend and fellow Outlaw Len who is laid out with a brain tumor at the moment. I got to thinking how Sharkbait and I had managed to take second place as two men in a field of three man teams, how I had done the bike and swim and Sharkbait had ran a sprint and then done the run. I got to thinking about what it means to me to be a New Mexico Outlaw and the spirit of fellowship that moves us as a team, the spirit that we try and cultivate far beyond any acts of triathlon or competative greatness and I got to thinking about the missing man formation...and I got back to thinking about Len.

Now I would not be so disingenuous to suggest that Sharkbait and I went into this saying "Let's win one for the gipper!" but that's the thing about our team...we DO think of each other, we want to share our experiences with one another, we want to hear about each other's experiences and most of all, when the chips are down for someone, we do come around and strive to lend a hand in whatever way we can. Len is our missing man right now but we hold his space for when he returns. Sharkbait and I had no trouble in reaching the conclusion that Len should have the third trophy, the missing man, the ever present team member.

God's speed Len.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bad Kid on the loose

Oh yeah! Buffalo Springs Half-Iron is finally here! It has been four long weeks since my last event, I like to race often, and I am dying to get out there and compete. I feel like a kid who has been stuck in time-out! Sure, I am relegated to the Aquabike because Doc won't let me run for another week, but still...the swim...the bike...the atmosphere...the's going to be great.

The only regret is that I will miss out on competing for a podium spot among my fellow Clydes...I was training hard to acomplish that, I guess too hard. Anyhow, I do at least get to take off in the same wave as the Clydes since I am registered in the Aquabike and the male relay. A fellow Outlaw, Sharkbait, will be doing the run portion of the race..after completing the Tri-Raider Sprint tri while I am out on the bike!

Wife and Son will also be doing the Tri-Raider, which is the Texas Best of the U.S. event. I love having my family racing with me!

Who knows, maybe I'll have a strong showing in the Aquabike and/or relay. I'll give it my best!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rugby Roots

Yesterday I was bouncing around some blogs and ran across one triathlete whose atheletic roots are in Rugby. Of course this sent me to thinking about my own atheletic roots. I've been in some organized sport since I was 4 or 5 years old, starting with t-ball I believe. Sport has been a vital part of my life ever since. Though I eventually became a good student in college graduating Summa Cum Laude etc... Sports were about all that kept me interested in going to high school.

However, when I reflect on my life long attachment to sport I recall with greatest fondness my time as a rugger, Rugby player that is. I played for six years for the U.S. Marine Corps and it was fantastic! During my brief Rugby career I played inside center, tight head prop, lock and even one game during the 1988 military national championships as a scrum half. I think like triathlon, Rugby is not only a sport but a complete lifestyle unto itself. However, unlike triathlon, Rugby is a pretty unsustainable lifestyle filled with a lot of physical punishment doused in beer.

Don't get me wrong, Rugby is not exactly the brutal, uncivilized sport that many think it to be, that is a cultivated immage. It's a tough sport sure, it is filled with hard hitting, hard drinking and bawdy songs but at the root of it, as we ruggers like to claim, it is a gentleman's game. It is not filled with the oversized cry baby rich kid wroship me egos of football, baseball and basketball; for the most part it is simply filled with ranks of regular people out to have a good time and I say people because it is not an exclusively male sport either, there are plenty of women's leagues out there.

So, I salute myRugby roots and leave you with a snippet of the tamest Rugby song I could locate. Rugby songs always take the form of call and answer, singer and chorus and as noted on one website, "WARNING, Rugby songs are tawdery at best!"


I used to work in Chicago, in an old deparment store
I used to work in Chicago, but I don't work there anymore

SINGER: A woman came in for some velvet

ALL: Some velvet from the store?

SINGER: Velvet she wanted, felt she got!

ALL: Oh, I don't work there anymore!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A bit of New Mexico: My Saturday Long Ride

This Saturday I had an excellent long ride. It was excellent for a few reasons, first I got to spent the first part of the ride with friends and fellow Outlaws Bones, Sharkbait and Ricky V. I headed from home down to our usual meeting place and we spun out down the Bosque north through Corrales and out to the Jemez Dam. After doing the Jemez Dan run I split off to log the extra miles.

I headed west out U.S. 550 to the village of San Ysidro. To the right you can see a picture of the old Spanish church at San Ysidro. Here is the second reason my ride was so excellent, though it was a little windy as the day progressed the sky was that New Mexico cobalt blue with hardly a cloud in the sky and you could see for miles, all the mesas with their varried colors of red, gray, tan, sand and see clearly all the way to the Jemez mountains, which is where I was headed.

At San Ysidro I pealed off onto NM 4 headed into the Jemez foothills towards the Pueblo of Jemez. To the right you can see a traditional version of their pottery. After the Pueblo I kept on going deeper into the foothills until I reached my turn around point for the day, the Tosee Red Rocks. Unfortunatly Blogger refuses to let me show you any more of my beautiful state.

Finally, the third reason the ride was so excellent, it contained lots of hills. I've mentioned before that as a Clyde the old power to weight ratio isn't there for me to be a great climber but for my size I am pretty good. Below you can see the elevation profile for my ride, which I created with National Geographic's Topo!. By the end of the ride I had covered 107.3 miles in a respectable 5 hours, 34 minutes and 15 seconds.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's a Triathlon Vacation!

Yahoo! Today I finalized the last of my reservations for the vacation Wife and I will be taking this summer! It's going to be a triathlon vacation. Here's the scoop.

First stop, Flagstaff, AZ where we will participate in the Mountain Man Sprint Triathlon. There is also an Olympic and a Half-Iron that day but come on, this is a vacation and we will be week two into a 5 week spate of races.

Next stop, Lee Vining, CA. It is a little town en route to our next destination, it fits my criteria of being on a road where I have never driven before and it has some cool looking stuff nearby. One place is Mono Lake, which is one of the oldest lakes in the western hemisphere. The other cool place near Lee Vining is Bodie State Historic Park, the official ghost town of the state of California! What makes a ghost town so cool? Well, let's face it, Wife and I are New Mexico Outlaws After departing Lee Vining it will be a brief drive northward to beautiful Lake Tahoe where we will be staying on the South Shore on the California side. While there we will head out to the Nevada side to Lake Tahoe State Park to catch showing Othello at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

After a couple days in Lake Tahoe it's on to Portland, OR to visit Dad and Step-Mom as well as a Blogging Tri pal of Wife's, Slow Brave Athena. No time to breath yet for it's on to Bend, OR to race in the Deschutes Dash, Oregon's Best of the U.S. race.

Whew, I'm getting tired just writting this rest for the wicked. Now it's on to Pocatello, ID for three reasons, it is conveniently on our route, it is a cool little town and it has a most excellent little coffee shop near the University. Wife and I stopped there during out last mega-tour of the west.

Finally, we hit Blanding, UT for the grand finale mystery activity. There is a lot of outdoor fun to be had around Blanding and we have as many as two days left to explore then it is homeward bound.

July 15th can't get here soon enough!

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm at my best when I play

Today was my "long ride home from work - heat training day" and while I was on my way home I kept looking at my brake pads thinking "I really need to get a new set of pads" just like I've been thinking for the past two weeks. Well, I went in to my favorite bike shop to pick up some pads and while I was in had then take a look at my chain and cassette because I've been having some gear slippage recently. While I was sitting around at the back of the shop one of the guys rolled in an old Schwin one speed and it had this huge headlight and attached to the rear of the bike was a little generator that flips over to press against the rear tire. Does anyone remember these?!

If you have ever seen one you will remember exactly what I'm talking about. My big brother had one of these on his steel frame Ross three speed bicycle. I used to borrow my brothers bike and take it out in the dark and ride as fast as I could because the faster you wnet the brighter the light became. I was awesome! This sight at the bike shop immediatly taransported me back to a time when the only thing I think I ever thought about while engaged in physical activity was just the sheer thrill of being active.

I have always been active in sports of all kinds whether I was any good or not. When I was in third or fourth grade I played basketball and I was very overweight as a kid. To make matters worse our uniforms were red and if you ask my Mom, Dad or Wife they will all confirm that I have a tendency to become red and sweaty during vigerous excercise. Anyhow, my Dad went to most if not all the games and much later in life he told me he loved it primarly because I would just run like crazy up and down the court red as a tomato with little indication that I knew what the hell was going on.

I still tend to do pretty much everything with gusto and I still get lost in play during the heat of competition. Perhaps I just don't reflect on that fact enough during training and need to spend more time reminding myself from whence my passion comes; play.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lazy Sunday Long Swim

Today there just isn't all that much to report. I took it easy this morning and Wife and I headed up to Cochiti Lake for a nice long swim. I was hoping for it to be a group swim but the group consisted only of Wife and I so as soon as the wetsuit was on I hit the water for a race pace swim to the other side of the lake, 1.3 miles.

You can see the route I took to the right and above is a picture of Cochiti Lake right along the stretch I swam taken from the shore I left from. The picture of the swim route and the distance measurement was done by a little online program called "Map My Run", I've found it to be very accurate.

My sighting on the way back was a little off, which added about 1 10th of a mile to the swim and my overall time for the 2.7 miles was 1:18:14, not too shabby. It would have put me out of the water in 558th place out of 1943 finishers at IronMan Arizona last year, which will be my first big race next season and my first official Ironman.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cycling in the Box

I'm sure you have all heard people complain that they went out on their long ride and ended up with a head wind the entire way out and the entire way back...right. Well, that is exactly what I did this morning. I took an excellent long flat ride north out along the "El Camino Real" a.k.a. NM 313 past the the town of Bernallio, past the hamlets of Rivajana, Angostura and Algodones and out to the Pueblo of San Felipe. This is an excellent ride if you are looking to push big gears for long periods of time. The pavement is generally smooth and large sections of the route are bordered by ancient cottonwoods, acequias and the Rio Grande.

As I was ridding along I noticed that I had a bit of a head wind, nothing too bad but noticable. I was thinking, "Cool, it's nice to get the headwind out of the way while I'm fresh and ride a tailwind home." By the time I made it out to San Felipe and turned around to head back south I noticed that once again I had a head wind and thought, "What the hell!? This must just be a thermal or temporary shift or trick of my immagination or something. Surely I am not ridding BACK into a headwind." And the it dawned on me, "BLAST! the Albuquerque box!"

Now, if you are a Hot Air Balloon pilot you love the box. As a matter of fact, Albuquerque is considered the Hot Air Ballooning capital of the world specifically because of the box. The box is a weather phenomena created by the fact that Albuquerque sits in the Rio Grande river valley and is flanked on the east by the Sandia and Manzano mountains and on the west by the giant Mesas and lava flows. This particular geologic set up tends to create winds that will blow from north to south in the mornings and than from south to north as the day progresses.

Ah well, good training. I clocked 80.3 miles in 4:17:36, which isn't bad considering I relegated all my climbing to the final 20 miles with a spin out the the Jemez dam, then west NM 550 to the National Guard Armory and back home via Unser, which is the largest part of the bike leg for the Rio Rancho Duathlon.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fast in the water and light on my feet

Ok, so maybe I'm not actually fast in the water or light on my feet but here are two news items for you to ponder.

Thismorning I had a follow up appointment regarding my hip so didn't have much time at the gym. I decided to just get in a 500m swim and be on my way. I hopped into the pool and took off and after a 100m hit my lap button and was at 1:43...sweet. My first 100 are always the fastest bot when I got done with my second 100m I was at 3:50. I stopped to do a double take and wondered for an instance if that was my time for 150m instead of 200 but it wasn't, it was 200 no doubt. So I figured maybe today is the day and kept going. I ended up with 500m in 9:57. Now I am aware that 9:57 for 500 isn't what could be refered to as fast, but it's fast for me and that's what counts.

As to the "light on my feet" bit, like I said I had my follow up appointment today to check in on my hip. It's a confirmed fracture. Doc said "if it was something bad (such as an infection in the bone) it would have gotten worse and yours has gotten better." We took a look at the MRI together and sure enough I have stuff inside me. He pointed out the blurry white area that represented the fracture and I could tell that it was different from the other side of the picture but that's about it. You could kind of see a like right along the line of fracture but you really have to know what you are looking at.

ANYHOW, I digress. All I wanted to mention is that my kind of fracture is very rare. It is usually only found in Ballerinas...and...endurance atheletes. Thank god, my teammates would never let me hear the end of it if the injury was limited to ballerinas. So, three more weeks and I get to try out my running legs again and then, look out Barishnikov!

Woops, did I say that out loud?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Crusty the cyclist

Yesterday I got one of those special treats that only hot and dusty places can offer. As work was winding down the skies began to darken and the winds began to blow. What this resulted in was a 30 mile ride home with a little bit of sprinkling followed by a gail of dust with a little bit of sprinkling followed by a gail of dust and so on and so forth. Here is a picture of a guy examining me while I'm stopped to take a breather.

Oh well, its good training, for what I don't know but when I was in the Marine Corps everything that was fairly miserable was labled "Good Training." Though I spent a lot of time slogging into the wind I also got to spend a fair ammount of time with a monster tail wind. I hit 36 mph on the flats...Wheee!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Come on baby light my fire

Today I oficially began my heat conditioning. Actually I was going to start that about a month ago but the day I started is the day I became seriously injured during my run so I have laid low. However, there is no more time to waste. I've got the go ahead to swim and bike all I want and I have races to get ready for. Today after work I wnet for a 40 mile spin out onto the west mesa back behind the extinct volcanos that sit to Albuquerque's west. There is nothing out there but pavement, sand, desert grasses, lava rocks and WIND. Today it was a scorching 97 degrees with a stiff wind comming predominantly from the north, right into my face. The picture here is the west mesa and it gives you an idea of the ammount of shade that is available. In the distance are the volcanos. This picture would have been taken fron the road I was ridding on.

What can I say, I went through 3 28oz bottles of fluid and ran out maybe 5 miles from home, I was pouring sweat when I was climbing up onto the mesa and the hill blocked the wind and I was dry and hot in the wind. When I got home I was coated with a white layer of salt.

Watch out summer, here I come!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Milkman race report; a view from the sidelines

You will note my blog is sporting the brash new Milkman Triathlon logo. Having not heard a single dissenting view regarding my suggestion I have adopted the World's Toughest Milkman as the event's new logo, let's see if it ends up on next years t-shirt.

As the offical team photographer I did my duty by shooting up a new disposable equipment is too valuable to be used as an official New Mexico Outlaw's whatever.

It was a beautiful day out in Dexter, NM and the temperature was fairly moderate though it started heating up later morning. I remained comfortable while my teammates were working hard. I stood around by the lake snapping off pictures as teammates came crawling out of the water, there was a nice coll breeze blowing off the lake.

On the bike I found a nice shadey spot, again in an area that took full advantage of that cool breeze off the lake. After a while of waiting for the first Outlaw to return to transition the wind really started to pick up. I tried to stand my ground in the shade but with the combination of shade, cool lake water and the higher wind I began to get a little chilly so I boldly moved across the street into the sun.

When the first Outlaw came flying by I snapped a shot. It took some time for the next Outlaw to come by and I had time to note that folks were looking pretty haggered off the bike. I surmised that the wind was indeed tough out there on the course, which was later confirmed by many who complained about the ride uphill most of the way to the turn around and then the headwind all the way back. For several of the folks toward the first quarter of the pack or so the wind was a cruel joke because they would not have had the benifit of a tail wind to push them along but would have turned into the head wind for the return.

As luck would have it I ran out of film but I did get a shot of Wife comming in on the bike. Being out of film, having bravely done my duty, I sauntered over to the finish line and grabbed a cool drink and stood around in the shade. It's thirsty work being the team photographer but someone has to make the sacrifice and I was man enough to step up.

Oh, the other Outlaws did their part too, you know, posing for pictures, winning cool trophies....all very dramatic...I think I'll keep them around.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Officially out of commission

I said that unless I heard otherwise I would be running the Milkman this weekend. I heard otherwise. I recieved a call from my sports medicine guy and he informed me that he and his colleagues are 99.9 percent sure that I have a stress fracture of the acetabulum. That is the cup-like area within the hip where the head of the femur attaches.

Here is his actual e-mail:

"I just reviewed your MRI. I am concerned that you have a stress fracture in your acetabulum (the cup part of the hip). Our musculoskeletal radiologist is not here today but I have left him a message to call me in the morning after he has had a chance to look at the scan.

This is a unusual injury but has been reported. I personally have not seen one. I would advise you not to run on this as the stress fracture can go onto complete fracture with repeated insult.

E-mail me a number where I can call you if you wish or I can e-mail you tomorrow after I have read from the radiologist."

I recieved a call from him later, earlier today, and he let me know that when I come in for my next appointment he will do some additional x-rays and possibly a CT scan if questions remain.

Oh well, back to being the team photographer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm runnin' the Milkman

Ok, despite the MRI yesterday I still have no idea if I'm still oficially injured or in recovery; can you tell I'm impatient? Unless I hear something from the Doc tomorrow I'm going to run the Milkman Triathlon this Saturday. This event is the New Mexico Best of the U.S. event and is a fun one to run. I'm not planning on setting any records but I just can't resist the pull of a good local event as long as there is some doubt as to whether I should be resting completely versus keeping active but taking it easy. This race is also part of the Bottomless Lake series, all of which are a lot of fun.

Anyhow, the only real purpose of this post is to see if I can get some support for a different race logo.

Here is the current logo

Here is my enrty

along with a little more context