Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The DuceMan Commeth

This weekend is the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival, one of the more popular events in the southwest. This is a full weekend of triathlon beginning on Saturday with the half-iron taking off at 6:30 and the Olympic taking off at 8:00 and Sunday is the X-terra, which kicks off at 7:00. Not only is there a full weekend of triathlon there is a huge raffle Saturday evening. The raffle is a massive hand out of over $17,000 worth of gear.

This year the DuceMan 70.3 is also one of the qualifying events for the USA Triathlon HalfMax National Championships and the USAT Long Course world Championships. As far as the HalfMax Championships they do have a Clydesdale and Athena Division and I would have to run a 5:40:00 in order to qualify for nationals. The other way to qualify would be to place in the top 25% of my age group. I don’t know if I can qualify for nationals in my age group but if allowed I would need to place in the top 25%.

So my goal for this race is to qualify for long course nationals. This can only mean one thing...my 70.3 PR will have to fall...by just over 15 minutes. I don’t know if I would actually commit to racing nationals if I qualify, I haven’t thought that far ahead, but I’d sure like to qualify.

So, what will I have to face to meet this goal you ask? Let me introduce you to the course.

The swim, they tell me, is flat…we’ll see. It is a 1.2 mile triangular swim in Fool Hollow Lake and the water temp is supposed to be 67 degrees, perfect!

The bike is not flat. The website describes it as a 56 mile ride that will take you through Ponderosa pines, the high desert and many small towns and communities. They also say the course is exceptionally fast with a few hills at about the 40 mile mark. I’m looking at the bike profile and can sort of see it but the course is a loop, whatever elevation you lose you also gain…whatever. I’m keeping it in mind that I’ll be on an “exceptionally fast” course and just go for it. I am also hoping that I’ll really get a chance to see how the new bike performs; I have yet to ride it in what could be construed as good conditions.

The run course is not flat either. It begins with a couple hundred feet or so of climbing but this takes place over 4 miles and then it is generally down hill with a couple little rollers thrown in. I don’t know how I’ll attack this yet, I want to see it first. I’ll probably try a moderate pace on the climb and then try and pick it up to my 5K pace for the last two miles. I think I can hang on to the end running like that, we’ll see.

The GEEKGRL will also be doing the haf with me. She was originally registered for the Oly but decided to jump to the half as a good fitness test in preparation for IM Louisville. There will also be a number of other Outlaws racing…it’s going to be a good time!

Monday, May 28, 2007

My 100th Post

Well, this is my 100th post so I know I'm supposed to do some getting to know me thing but I'm not sure I'm up for the whole list thingy so I'll just let one tid-bit slide to meet a small fraction of the obligatory. I started playing cello in the 5th grade, late bloomer. By the time I was in the 8th grade I auditioned for and made it into the Midwestern United States youth philharmonic.

Lots of parental moving, I also went to 13 different schools between 1st and 12th grade, eventually put the kibosh on my career as a cellist and by the 9th grade I was your usual jock high school guy...who loved classical music and had his own personal collection secreted away at home where none of my friends knew about it. The problem I ran into is that I was too skilled for the school orchestra where we had moved. By that time I was receiving private lessons from a professional cellist and playing in a private youth symphony, the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio. I quickly tired of sawing away at the same old crap and having the orchestra teacher ask me to "go work with the cello section" meaning please go teach them how to stop making that infernal racket while I work with the rest of the strings to try and get them to stop making their infernal racket.

However, for years I drug my cello around, though it stayed with the parents when I went off to the Marine Corps. I did take up the bassoon because it was easier to transport and easier to find a teacher who could actually teach me something since I was a novice. But I kept comparing my sound as a cellist to my sound as a bassoonist and I just couldn't cut it. I switched over to the double bass for a bit but was loosing patience and drifted away.

As a young adult I returned to my dusty cello from time to time and played the single piece of music I retained, a cello concerto written by Antonin Dvorak. I became disgusted with my decline in skill and eventually sold my cello wanting it to have a real life as a musical instrument. To this day I become entranced at the sound of a cello well played, I can feel it, as some would say, in my soul.

The GEEKGRL and I tried to foster an interest in music in our kids but to no avail, they are all about the video games, you can't fight with a kid to get them to love something...it ruins the kid and the something. I also determined to set down roots in one place and provide them with the opportunity to become involved in something, whatever that may be, and be able to see it though their high school years with the same group of friends and whatnot. I like to think this has been a good choice but, in my eyes, the evidence is lacking. Like I said, they are all about the video games. Well, they have their lives and I have mine. As a parent I sure hope they have something they can look back on with nostalgia in the same manner I can look back. Maybe I was a particularly driven youngster and would have benefited more from the long-term stability that Place can offer.

The paths our lives will take...such an adventure. Maybe some day when I'm old and rickety I'll go out and purchase an old and rickety cello and begin my love affair anew.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Infiltration complete.

GeekGirl here. I decided I didn't feel like saying, "point here, click there" so I just did it myself. I fiddled around in PhotoShop for the banner. Sweet Baboo pointed and said, "make that bigger, put that there."

Yeah, I liked the sloth, too. I may steal it for some other purpose.

GeekGirl out.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Random Madness

So I’ve been thinking about changing up my blog a little because I am totally jealous of other bloggers and their swanky customized headers. As you can see I have changed my header to reflect the noble struggle in which we as triathletes are all engaged.

Well, maybe not but still, it’s something. In matter of fact I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I consulted with the GEEKGRL and in typical techie fashion she said “Ok, do this, click here, point there, click here now save” and I started with the “Well, why?, what does that do?, what’s that?, is this thingy going to do that?” and I was told to “JUST CLICK THERE and save” and so I did and now my beloved old blog is gone forever, unless I totally rebuild it from scratch, which sounds like a lot of work.

So, for now it’s random madness. Don’t get used to anything because it’s in flux…unless of course I just give up on it which is very likely. While I may be persistent in athletics and in my professional life I am the current grand master of the Luddite movement and actually loath techie stuff and have no patients for doing anything beyond this simple bit of blogging that I do to wow and amaze our nations most vulnerable citizens…those that can be happily convinced to part with huge sums of time and money all for the purpose of pouring sweat.

I love you guys.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Olympic PR: A Buffman and Squeeky Race Report

My Olympic PR takes a dive…FINALLY. I have not had any luck at the Olympic distance so far even though I have suspected I could do fairly well at it. I have done 3 prior Olys, not many in my area, and have done stupid things at each and every one; let me enumerate:

1) The Buffman and Squeaky 2006 – ran with fractured hip – time – 3:14:01
2) The Grady Williams 2006 – ran with cold, drank giant carbonated energy drink within ½ hour of the race starting and spent most of the day vomiting foam – time – 2:56:10 (my old Oly PR)
3) Las Vegas (NM not NV) Triathlon – drank 1 QUART chocolate soy milk within one hour of race start and spent the bike wishing I could throw up and spent the run actually trying to throw up without success – time – 2:58:00

I assure you that you, the reader, could be no more puzzled at my pre-oly-race behavior than I but today…oh, today I got it right.

I awoke at 5 a.m. and had my usual bowl of oatmeal and soy latte, 3 hours before race start, went to the race course and set up. Me and the GEEKGRL were the first ones there. We hung out talking to friends and visiting until time to start and then headed over to the beach for the mass swim start. The water temp was 64 degrees and it was overcast and cool. I have been having trouble the last couple races acting like a completely spastic moron at the beginning of the swim. Essentially I have added to my swim routine some vigorous thrashing and flailing and gasping…just as a warm up you know and then I swim normally. Today I decided to dispense with all that and swim normally from the very beginning so when the starting horn went off I casually sauntered into the water and waded in to just above my knees and languidly lurched forward into the water and began swimming nice and easy.

Now as I was about my happy business there were people all around me charging into the water arms and legs flying in every direction with panic stricken looks on their faces. The funny thing was…they weren’t going any faster than me, I mean, they were certainly making a variety of very speedy motions in comparison to me but as far as actually forward motion…not so much. I was like Neo from the Matrix and the rest of the race just unfolded from there.

Everything, I mean everything I did on the swim today was better, my breathing, my sighting, my drafting, the length and depth of my stroke…everything and what was my time? 27:19…a 1:49 per 100m swim pace. I was amazed because I knew I was swimming faster then usual, I could feel it I just didn’t know by how much. I was rewarded with the sweat sound of hearing fellow Master Clyde, E.P.’s name called out as he was exiting the water while I was getting ready to depart T1. I couldn’t believe it, I beat E.P. out of the water…maybe he got attacked by one of those buffalo’s that are purported to hang around the water, I don’t know but this was a first for me.

I cleared T1 in 1:34, pretty average, and hit the bike. The bike is a real quad crusher and it begins right out of transition, I guess so you don’t have to wait in fear. I was really hoping to be able to write this race report and go on and on about how fantastically fast my Lucero is but it was not to be, the winds picked up early and everyone, including me, was getting blown around pretty good. There were lots of gusts and headwinds so the bike split was fair, 1:17:22. Here is one thing I can say about the new bike though, I climbs much better than the old Trek. I can tell that I’m going to do some damage on this machine.

I came screaming back down into the canyon and cleared T2 in 50 seconds and was off on the run. The run is basically flat with a few short rollers. Unbelievably I was the leading Outlaw until about 20 yards after the run turnaround when Muffin Man caught and passed me. I feel like I had a pretty good run. I did experience some knee pain around mile 4 and that slowed me a bit but nothing dramatic. Also, I have learned that if I can keep my HR below 180 for about 4 miles during a 10K then I’m running about as fast as I can…once my HR passes 180 is starts to creep upward and by the time it is sitting at 183 I can go very much farther without a dramatic slow down. Anyway, I completed the run in 52:13.

Now, to put this in perspective, the overall male finisher ran this race in 2:07+. His name is Hector Tovar and he’s been to Kona, as a matter of fact, I think he was 2nd or 3rd in the Military division at Kona 06. The #2 overall male is an ex-USA Olympic team pentathlete…he finished up in 2:11+ and so on…in other words, it’s not a fast course.

My finish time…2:39:20…at least that’s what my watch said…it may have been a couple seconds faster. First place Masters Clydesdale, 1st place overall Clydesdale…oh, and yes, I once again got to have the experience of being called out for 3rd in my age group and then letting it roll down to the next guy…I’m beginning to think Mike and Marty are just getting a kick out of tooting my horn.

Friday, May 18, 2007

We're Short!

I was just looking over my blog and what jumped out at me but my countdown clock for IMKY.

Ladies and gentlemen…as they say in the military…we're short, double-digit midgets to be exact.

99 days and counting!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Today was the 30th; yes the 30th running of the Jay Benson Triathlon, the largest sprint distance triathlon in the state of New Mexico. This race was my first tri in 2005, my first tri ever. At this, the beginning of my triathlon career I weighed in at a svelte 242 pounds, down by 30 pounds from the time I began training for the race. Out of 23 Clydes I placed #13 with a time of 1:23:33. The distances, by the way, are 3 mile run, 20K, 400m swim. My splits were 28:56 run – 37:48 bike – 12:55 swim

Last year I was racing very well and was just dying to win the Clydes at the Jay Benson but as rotten luck would have it I fractured my hip a few weeks earlier and struggled through the race in agony. Still, I beat my time from the previous year with a 1:15:06. My splits were 25:21 run – 36:02 bike – 9:24 swim, which landed me as the #4 Clydesdale.

This year, however, I am more on top of things. While I think that I may still be slower due to all the long distance training and my new speed work regimen that keeps my legs fried I am not injured and am feeling pretty good. This year, finally, I have reached the top of the heap…1st place masters Clyde at the biggest race in New Mexico, the one race that draws the fastest people. I couldn’t be happier!

I don’t know how many other Clydes were in the race but if previous years are a guide it was probably around 25. In any case, I’m still waiting for the official results to be posted and would like to look again at my times. Between my watch and having looked at my results I remember these as my times: 23:15 run – 32:50 bike – 8:44 swim. My total time was about 1:07:50!

The funny thing is that I felt ok on the run, ok on the swim but thought I was having a crappy bike. On the run I knew that I was not going to be able to run at my top speed because of my recent run workouts have kept my legs in a state of shock but I kept my HR at an average of 178 bpm and just let time take care of itself. My swim was fair. I think it could have been better but I wore a two piece and kept the top on and I could feel it dragging. Hint…a skinsuit is faster in the water and does not drag like a 2 piece. If you wear a 2-piece make sure you have a wetsuit on over it.

Anyway, the first 200 meters of the swim sucked because I felt heavy in the water and my arm turnover was kind of fast and uncoordinated…I also swallowed a lot of water. Fortunately I came to my senses at about the half –way point and got into a nice smooth stroke, slowed my arm turnover, evened out my breathing and increased my depth of pull and glide. Then, and only then, did I start passing people. I dropped about 10 people in the last 200 yards!

The big news, though, is my bike split. I rode that puppy at an average speed of 22.7 mph! I do believe that is my fastest bike split in any tri. In fact, when I look back at the previous Jay Benson race results…I only have then for the fast 4 years, it is the fastest bike split ridden by any Clydesdale. I thought my bike speed had been killed by this year's IM training and thought I was sucking on the bike today because I was working so hard. It turns out...I was just working hard.

The GEEKGRL also took 1st place Masters Athena! And, yes...Mini-Me took 2nd in his age group, 16 - 17 y.o.s It was a Pilgrim kind of day!

Next stop, the Buffman & Squeaky Olympic Triathlon in Lubbock, TX…at the fabled site of the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3. The Buffman & Squeaky…a.k.a. the Squeaking Butt Man as we like to call it in our less sophisticated moments, is a tough Oly because of the canyon climbing and the heat. This year it is shaping up to be a major regional Masters Clyde show-down. We’ve got Steve from the plains of West Texas showing up, Felix from the South West Texas borderlands, E.P. from South Central New Mexico and little old me from North Central New Mexico…and that’s just the dudes I know about.

And guess what else…I’m bringing my new secret weapon…the weapon of Colorado Multisport fame….bwaahaahaa!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mama Baboo goes to Louisville

Ok, just a short post. After I did IMAZ I did a post about a letter of concern from my mom. Essentially she was worried about the fact that I became very dehydrated and ended up having some trouble. She wondered why anyone would do an Ironman and especially why anyone would do more than one. It was suggested that she may better understand the whole Ironman culture if she were to come and see me race so I went ahead and presented her with the following deal.

I offered to fly her and my step-dad out to Louisville to come watch the GEEKGRL and I run the inaugural Ironman Louisville. Mama Baboo thought about it a couple days and just called me and accepted. So…I’ve made hotel reservations for them at the headquarters hotel, the Galt House Hotel and Suites. I also suggested that they start training for a day full of spectating.

So it is all set, August 26th me and the GEEKGRL will run the inaugural IMKY and Mama Baboo will be watching and soaking up the Ironman atmosphere.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Clyde of the Canyons

Today was the second time I’ve raced the Ransom Canyon Sprint Triathlon. I love this race because of the people who run it, Mike and Marty Greer of Buffalo Springs Lake Half Ironman fame, the community that supports it, Ransom Canyon Texas, and the venue in which it is held. This is one tough little race. Mike Greer is an OLD SCHOOL triathlete. He said today was his 294th triathlon and he has been racing since the mid 80’s and who knows how long he has been race directing.

Anyway, being an old school triathlete Mike is a firm believer in old school venues. Today at the awards ceremony he lectured us on the evils of “Starbucks Triathlons” that are based “in the big city on flat courses that go in loops where you just ride and run around in circles and then go drink your Starbucks.” He believes in small, country venues with farm to market roads, wide open vistas and BIG ASS HILLS, or in the case of the flatlands near Lubbock Texas, DEEP ASS CANYONS that you climb up out of, careen down into and climb back up out of as often as is practical.

As far as my actual race went, I did well and had a good enough time but felt uninspired.

Here’s the low-down. My swim was just weird and kind of sucked. It was supposedly “500 yards give or take 150 because the wind storm last night blew the hell out of our buoys” and I did it in about 11:30. I felt completely breathless for the first half and then finally settled into a groove. I crawled out of the water slipping and sliding all over the boat ramp and finally cleared T1 in 48 seconds.

The bike begins with a killer 9 – 12% grade climb that is about ½ mile long up out of the canyon. I sped along once out of the canyon and just went hard, caught a few people and then struggled into the wind on my way back. Some poor guy went down about 20 yards ahead of me while we were descending back down into the canyon and was hauled off in an ambulance. I cleared T2 in 1:00 and hit the run. I ran…and ran…and finished.

During the awards ceremony I was called out as having won 3rd in my age group, 40 – 44, and I stood up and said, “Um…I raced as a Clydesdale” and they said, “oh, of course” and rolled the award down to the next guy who I must say was far smaller and leaner and looked quite surprised to see an award rolling down to him from a Clydesdale…damn straight Skippy. Anyway, I took first overall Clyde by about 8 minutes and 1st masters Clyde by about 12 minutes…and it just didn’t resonate.

I was happy to see I was #20 overall. I think I may need to change my focus from winning the Clydes division to placing in the top 15 – 20% overall in the short races and of course try to limit my sucking on the long races.

The GEEKGRL had a great race too. She beat her previous year time by 10 minutes and finally beat her nemisis flat out to take 1st Masters Athena!