About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Riders on the Storm: BSLT 2008

Today was my attempt at retribution for the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3 Triathlon -- Buffalo Springs or BSLT for short. It was a cold, wet, windy day, and two, maybe even all three, of those factors had a significant outcome on my finishing time. In any event (well, all three, if you'll pardon the pun), today was a good day to race in Lubbock, Texas, and gave me a much fresher and appreciation of what is to come for IM CdA next June.

Just like in 2006, N--- & I stayed at a Marriott property in Lubbock, and, just like in 2006, I didn't sleep for squat last night. Not that I was getting midnight phone calls, but the pool was apparently the happening place to be at this particular hotel. Noises from out yonder dropped me in and out of sleep from ten o'clock until nearly 2:00 AM. When the alarm went off at 3:30, I had little choice but to stay conscious, as I didn't want a parking repeat of last time.

Fortunately, N--- & I got ready, breakfasted, and checked the weather, and it wasn't looking to be too beautiful of a day in the neighborhood: high winds and lots of rain were on tap. We were able to make it to the lake, get set up in transition, and ready to race well before six. I was able to maintain my sunny outlook, even if the weather wouldn't.

1.2 -mile Swim | 34:30
Water temperature at the start was just barely wet suit legal, but, as I was still extremely tired from the night's noises by the pool, I decided to don the Vortex. Unlike my last experience at BSLT, though, I was able to maintain a decent pace in my trek around the lake. Two things I noticed that made me question race standings:
  1. At the start, several (dozen) competitors in each wave, trotted through the water a good 50+ meters from the beach, hugging the shoreline around the lake, as that area was just deep enough to cover the ground below. While humorous to watch, I did feel it was a lot unfair, given their distance from the start and that fact they were supposed to be swimming.
  2. No strippers at the swim exit. There was still a great bunch of volunteers hoisting our weary, wet bodies from the water, but the absence of strippers threw my transition off by a good 20-to-30 seconds.
Even with the above, I still felt calm and comfortable in the water. However, I would, at some point, like to begin this race the sheer feeling of exhaustion that has plagued me the last two times I've been here. On the bright side, I was relaxed out of the water and set up for a good bike.

56-mile Bike | 2:52:04
My main reason for coming to this race again turned out to be the main reason I didn't fair so well in my time. The weather all but refused to cooperate, rendering me an obstinate rag doll to be tossed here and there, due to the deepness of my front wheel. This was most noticeable just after the first turn-around, when a high-speed descent and an equally high-speed cross wind caused my front wheel to oscillate with great rapidity. Fortunately, I was able to get the bike back under control, but the next several miles were difficult at best, given the low gear in which I spun in order to maintain control. Finally, I managed to get it back together, take in some nutrition, and get back up to speed for a bit.

I'd a friend competing in the aquabike event (same distances as me, but no running) who had expressed something short of concern over a section of the bike course known as "the spiral staircase of death." There were actually two sections that could have fit this description, but it was the first one that had my attention, for it was there where I flatted in 2006. No flat this time, but I also took the corners far more conservatively than before, due to the aforementioned instance of maintaining control in the crosswinds, as well as the wetness of the roads. I was able to recover lost terrain on the flats and on the climbing, as several of the competitors and I played leapfrog all the way until T2.

13.1-mile Run | 1:49:54
This was the only section of the course where the wet, overcast conditions were a blessing. Unlike the last time I ran here, I had no issues with overheating and no near-collapses from total exhaustion and lack of nutrition. In fact, despite the horrid weather conditions on the bike, I managed to take in the right amounts of nutrition to keep me motoring along. So, coming off the bike, I felt good. Really good.

My first three mile splits were consistent, around 7:45. Then came the hills. Unlike in 2006, I didn't walk any of them, but they did slow my pace down...a lot. By the time I crossed the finish, I was crawling at 8:23, nearly half-a-minute off of my target pace. Gotta do something about maintaining strength on the run. Of course, it could have had something to do with the fact I really had to pee, but, what's done is now done, and my intended retribution on the course is successfully completed; I bettered my time by nearly 23 minutes.

All Said and Done | 5:22:40
Weather in Texas is completely unpredictable, and in Lubbock, this holds especially true. Overall, it was good to have such an overcast day for such a long race, but I could have done without the gale-force winds on the bike course. In all, it was a fun race, but I'm not 100% sure I'll do it again. Next year is definitely out, as the week prior is CdA, but who knows what will happen in subsequent years.

Much appreciation to all of the usual suspects for their usual support, with particular notes going out to M--- for the awesome wheels, D--- & K--- for a super pre-race meal and good company (great to see you both again; missed you), and, of course, N--- for keeping me company on the long road behind and the even longer road ahead (we leave for Colorado tomorrow), as well as that cheer as I approached and crossed the finish line.

Next race will likely be Small Texan, at the end of July, but, we'll wait & see how I feel after vacation. Regardless, stay tuned to find out how IM prep comes along, how the school year starts up, and all of the other exciting things in my life that make this the best blog on the Internet. As you fall off of your chair laughing, accept my thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lock & Load

BSLT is on Sunday.

Transition & vacation bags are packed. Bikes are primed. I, for a change, feel relaxed and focused on the job at hand: Have as awesome of a race as possible.

While I don't recall every nuance of the course, I do remember some of the key points (like the mile-long, 9% climb right out of T1). That, plus the use I've been making of my HRM during training should make for a quality race. Of course, I've no hopes of qualifying, but that's not why I'm going. I'm going to have a more enjoyable race than I did in 2006 (no offense, B---, as it had nothing to do with you, S---, or the abundant hospitality given to me, the leach).

With that said, N--- & I are going to swing by the gym for a light swim (just to stretch out after an awesome massage last night), fuel ourselves, fuel up the car, and then head out. I've no idea what Internet access will be like in Lubbock or in Colorado (where we're headed the day after the race), but I'll be sure to pop back in with a post-race report as soon as I'm able. Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm In

I did it: I am officially registered for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, June 21, 2009.

What began as just shooting the breeze with D--- on his last ride with SAW this past weekend, I got to thinking about it, debating it with N--- (cost was a huge factor -- $551 [incl. Active.com fees {geez, can you say "racket"?}] is a lot of money for a single race), and I finally broke down and signed up. I am committed. Heck, I should be committed. Well, at least I can say that I've done one...or will be able to say. Then again, I guess I'll need to train. Seriously.

The back yard needs mowing, so I'm going to go tend to that. Wish me well and stay tuned for the hilarity that is sure to be my year's worth of training to not only finish Ironman Coeur d'Alene (yeah, gonna need to work on that spelling), but also to finish it in less than 12 hours. That's just a personal goal I'd set for myself, hence the extraordinary delay in my registering (that and the HUGE price tag, but, with an increase of $100 in this year versus last, my argument was that, like the price of gas, it's not going to get any cheaper).

Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Well-earned Rest Day

It's Monday, and I don't have a meeting today. How nice.

What would have made it nicer is being able to sleep a tad later without the cat dancing on my tummy to let me know it was past her designated (by whom?) feeding time. All the same, I've much to do today.

The house is still pretty clean, but I've a pile of laundry to fold before heading to the gym to do paddle drills. BSLT is now less than a week away, and I want to make sure all parts of me are ready.

Swim: Eh...check, I think. I feel semi-fluid in the water, despite my poor form during the swim analysis at Trisition Area last week. Swedish style goggles have made a comeback, now that I think I've the adjustment thing down properly.

Bike: Check. Logged 234 miles since last Tuesday, including three consecutive days of hard riding. Hopefully, there will be no mechanicals on Sunday. Heaven has the B2, getting it prepped; it'll be ready Wednesday.

Run: Check. Been doing long runs, including bricks, the past two weeks.

So, now it's taper time. Again, paddle drills this evening, brick tomorrow, swim on Wednesday, track (gonna try to sneak into Dobie [Shhh!]) and massage on Thursday, and a swim Friday morning before N--- & I hit the happy trail to Lubbock via Dallas.

Here's to a good race. Light a candle for me, or whatever. And, thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fast Women (well, "Woman")

Mom always told me to watch out for fast women. Little did she know I would end up with the fastest one around. Yup, for the second time, N--- took first overall female at the second of the Heart of Texas triathlon series.

The HOT series always yields something interesting . This morning, it was a toss-up between some guy attempting to race for the first time on a (girl's) loaner bike with a broken rear derailleur or some woman finishing the bike (and starting the run) wearing an iPod who, somehow, managed to avoid being disqualified. The RD reminisced about past oddities, including one guy who did the swim portion wearing sneakers, so as to have a faster transition time.

Post-race-o, it was off to Cracker Barrel for brunch with N--- & the folks, it being Father's Day and all. Long wait but good food. I'm glad they were able to make it out.

Between the past two days' racing, I think I feel a nap coming on. Of course, the napping cat in my lap is of little use when it comes to resisting such urges, so, if you can't beat 'em...

Training recommences tomorrow. Until then, it's nap time. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

En Español

English or Spanish, I've TRIed it, and I like it. A lot.

This morning was the first "Tri" IT IN Spanish Triathlon (henceforth referred to as simply "the race"), held in the blissfully vacant town of Zorn. Most folk are not familiar with the blip on the radar northeast of New Braunfels, but it's just up the road from another hiccup, Freiheit, so I went into the race feeling really confident: I could at least make it to the start.

Held at a private ski lake (sans skiers for the race), the venue was near-perfect. The race was not without its issues, but they were minor. Here's the run-down:

400m Swim | 8:13
A time trial start, we had to dive in from a dock and start swimming. Way cool idea, except my goggles fogged up as soon as I surfaced. The next 10 seconds or so were spent flailing about as I attempted to defog them. I can only imagine how stupid I looked to the viewers from shore. Once de-fogged, though, I was good to go. Really good.

25k Bike | 41:23
Navigating the private drive out of the ski ranch was problematic at best. The drive was less-than-idyllic: pot holes were everywhere -- which wasn't such a big deal on the way out, but would be on the return trip. My other issue was getting my right foot clipped in properly -- it slipped out twice when I tried to adjust the strap on my shoe. However, once clipped in and out of the drive, this became my race...well, almost.

I think I was somewhere around 14th or 15th out of the water, and it didn't take me long to begin picking off cyclists, one by one. M--- was kind enough to loan a pair of Zipp 808 race wheels (see previous posts), which made traversing the rolling hills of FM 1101 feel almost effortless. By the time I had hit the turn-around, I had fewer than four cyclists left in front of me (well, five, but I think that guy was drafting...he shouted something to me as I blew past him for the second time in less than a quarter of a mile, but I paid no mind). Two miles left, and I was sitting pretty in third.

5k Run | 22:36
Bleck: A trail run.

I was promptly passed right out of T2 by the guy who would ultimately take third overall in the race (I took 6th OA), but I did manage to keep him in sight the whole run. The shade was nice, but the unpredictable path had me rolling my feet on more than one occasion. Still, I managed to keep from falling or otherwise injuring myself, and I crossed the line just under one and a quarter hours, planting me first in my age group -- a first in itself.

Training: It's not just for the pros
Yes, I've actually been training. Not as much as I should have been, but school's been out for only a week. Hopefully, my results from this morning are a nice harbinger for BSLT and/or Longhorn. Stay tuned, and I'll keep you posted on how things progress. For now, it's bedtime, as N--- has HOT #2 in the morning, and it will be my turn to play support person for her. I've some big shoes to fill, though, as better support at my races couldn't be bought. Thanks, luv.

And thank you, dear reader, for reading.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Every day should start off with a ride as good as today's, regardless of the fact that my day didn't literally begin with the ride. Still, it's hard to argue with the sensation of flying down the road at an average of 21.5 (including stop signs & one traffic light; those are the "dips" in my speed), so I won't.

Further, my initial concerns over the 808s appear now to have been completely unwarranted. There were no issues concerning control, cornering, or anything else, for that matter. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller: They are so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up a pair.

And now, it's time to be serious. I need a cleaning and so does my house. Check back tomorrow to find out how the "Tri IT in Spanish" went. Until then, enjoy your Friday, junk food or not. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crazy 8(08)s

My second race of the season in which I proclaimed I would not race is the day after tomorrow. Granted, it's a sprint, but I want to use it as a preview for BSLT, with regards to gear, transition setup, and whatnot. About the only thing that will be different (apart from the obvious differences in distance and elevation) is that Saturday's swim is not wet suit legal. Doesn't much matter; BSLT has strippers. No, not that kind, you perv.

The day was ultra-busy, especially in comparison to yesterday when I accomplished precisely Jack and <expletive>. Too much food the night before and too much allure of Lego Star Wars (I cleared it and am now in free-play mode, where I get to be whatever characters I want; General Grevious is fun) for me to feel like doing anything, training-wise. But, again, I more than made up for it today.

After this morning's light run with N---, I rode to the gym, did a 2000m kick drill workout, rode home, played some Lego Star Wars, walked to Clemens to tend to insurance re-enrollment, walked home, more Lego Star Wars, cleaned the kitchen, rode to the post office to inquire about how I would receive my mail with all of the construction in front of my house, more Lego Star Wars, then went to Trisition-Area & Bike Heaven with N--- to pick up my packet for Saturday's race and race wheels, from the respective shops. M--- is planning on using the usual 404 setup in a crit on Sunday, and I wasn't 100% positive I could get them back to him, post-race, so I declined using them. Never one to disappoint, M--- pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the form of a pair of Zipp 808s: REALLY DEEP dish wheels. Other than the flat tubulars on them, they are yummy.

Once home, I aired up the tires and installed the new cleats that came in the mail (must have come by after N--- & I left for the shops) in order to take the B2 for a ride around the block. I don't think I'd ever made it around the block quite that fast. Granted, I could have just felt fast due to the 808s, but I'll test that notion with a tad more extended test ride. The only down side I've noticed thus far is difficulty in controlling the bike in the cross winds. Based on how things go tomorrow, I may just opt for the Sciroccos. I just don't feel like wasting all of my energy on the bike trying to keep the rubber side down.

Phew, what a post. I'm sure more (interesting stuff) happened today...I'm just at a loss for what it was. I need to badger off in order to get a couple more pages of the SAW site taken care of; I'd really like to have that thing finished by this time next week. Feel free to take a gander and let me know what you think. Whether you do or not, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Winds of Change

Not much to report in tonight other than that summer holiday officially began today. I had no obligations to go anywhere or do much of anything today, so, after a track workout at UTSA (high school tracks are still under a path of gravel that would seriously disrupt anything faster than a 10-minute mile) with N---, I headed home and proceeded to play Lego Star Wars for the better part of the morning. After some piddling around the house (and a nap with the cat), I headed out for the Tuesday night ride in Cibolo. Boy, did that suck.

The wind has been blowing nearly non-stop for the past week or two -- and it's been more than a gentle summer breeze. Tonight's wind was so fierce, I almost considered abandoning the ride with J--- & B--- because I was having so much difficulty controlling my bike (oh, yeah, forgot to mention: the top tube now sports a really neat indention, courtesy of a concrete pylon at the Shell station on 281; no word from Cdale, but I'm not exactly holding my breath). A short while later, though, we caught the tailwind and cruised at ridiculous speeds. I ran out of gears on the flat stretches, hitting nearly 40 in some areas. Imagine if my legs hadn't been shot from the morning's track workout.

Gads. So much babble. I need to wrap this up and head to bed. More later, depending on how bored I get during the summer. Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Counting Down

To-day is Monday. To-day was a good day. To-morrow begins final exams. School will be over on Friday.

All things considered, I should be happier than a pig in its own feces. However, I'm somewhat reserved when it comes to my classroom setup, as the composite video cable I ran a couple of weeks ago turned out to be no good; at least, I could get no signal through it. My initial response was to simply replace it with an S-video cable, as I had a 25' cable with me at school, but that cable turned out to be a few inches too short, literally.

A quick trip to Altex has remedied lack of a cable, but it now means I need to arrive to school extra <expletive> early tomorrow in order to run the bloody thing. Plus, tomorrow is "salad day," which means I'll need to pack in some green (eggs just finished boiling, too) in addition to the cable running gear (fish tape, in particular). With the extra boxes of hanging file folders (I am finally getting my file cabinets organized...two years later), it doesn't look like I'll be commuting tomorrow. And that, I suppose, it was I am most upset about.

No commuting today, as my bike was still in my classroom from Friday. Lots o'crap to haul tomorrow, so that's a no-go. Wednesday & Thursday...maybe. Much will depend on how much stuff I can get taken home with me tomorrow. This is the part of the end of school I really dislike.
Eggs are done, which means I need to wrap things up here and in the kitchen before crawling into bed. Tomorrow's swim workout will come even earlier than desired due to the aforementioned cable running gig. Sheesh, the things I do to make my classroom more fun.

More in the next few days on training, next year's schedule, and so on. Goodnight, faithful reader. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

That's HOT

Holy mackerel. The past few days have kept me moving along at an insane pace.

  • Morning run at 7:08 pace
  • "Work"
  • New shoes at Trisition Area
  • Exchanged iPod Shuffle at Apple (they lost my appointment, so it took a tad longer than planned, but I now have a new Shuffle, also in red)
  • Pop in to see N--- & her sister, dropping off CDs, sunglasses, and other stuff that N--- would need for her Friday training
  • Paper grading at Borders
  • Breakfast with J--- & J---
  • "Work" (started packing up classroom [sniff.])
  • Went with J--- to pick up a moving truck
  • Laundry (Fridays rock!)
  • Dinner & movie (Minority Report)
  • Doggie Dash 5k (5th OA/1st AG)
  • Ride with D--- (should have been 50-ish miles, but my fit on the bike wasn't feeling right; we capped at ~20)
  • Refitting on the Cdale (saddle position was ~3cm too low!) & tuneup of N--'s Cdale at Bike Heaven
  • Returning of Zoot Ultra Tempos to Tristion Area (sniff; I loved the way the foot strike felt but was unable to tolerate the blistering)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Washing of Buckbeak
  • 70th birthday party/dinner with the folks
  • Met N--- at home for a relaxing evening
And today was the first in the Heart of Texas (HOT) triathlon series. N--- signed up to do them all and started off fantastically well today: 1st AG / 1st OA (female). My fiancé rocks.

Back at home, N--- is getting cleaned up from her win, the kitty is cozied up in my lap as I type this, and we've a pool party this afternoon at W--- & S---'s. Summer is off to an awesome start, even if it doesn't officially start (for me) until next Saturday. Whenever it arrives, here's to a smoother, less-wet summer than last. Thanks for reading.