August 19, 2010

Plan2Peak TTT Race Report

So the boys of Team Big Pants Racing came together last weekend to try and bang out a team time trial for the Buffalo Cycling Club's yearly time trial series.  This was a crack pot idea that was construed by none other than our team captain and founder, Ted Graney.  All great ideas come from any situation where you think to yourself, "well, it sounded good at the time!" :o) This one was fun and amazingly, we did pretty well too.

Sunday came and I made the drive out to Grand Island for the race.  This was pretty low key as it was a club race and we were parking in the lot of an old chemical plant to get our bikes ready.  I pulled in and hopped out to stretch out the legs.  I had a feeling this was going to be a crazy suffer-fest today because I haven't been biking too much lately.  I should've taken the foreshadowing hint, I was right...

I strolled over to registration, met up with our newest team member, Joe Priore and ran into Kevin Patterson of TriSpot.  He was a little bit shocked to see me I think, but I reminded him that I do triathlons for TriSpot and I bike race for the Big Pants Racing team!!! (side note - Even though I bike race a lot around the area, I was never asked to be on the TriSpot cycling, mind you, OTHER folks that are on the tri team, are subsequently on the cycling team as well, but I was left in the dark on this one...okay rant and pity party over) 
Well the forecast called for sprinkled showers and we were all decked out on our triathlon bikes with our Team Big Pants kits on.  Later we would find out that the sleeveless jerseys were illegal for bike races, but since it was just a club race, they let us slide.  For the record, I was in bib shorts and a cycling jersey.  Above is the rear of the bib shorts.  Since my brain is kind of fried today and this write up came in the semi-monthly Big Pants team newsletter (yes that's right, we have a newsletter) I'll let Ted paint the picture with words of this race:

"And for the first time ever, Big Pants Racing entered a team in the Buffalo Bicycling Club's Team Time Trial on Grand Island last weekend. A 20 mile TTT around the Island. It was a blast, and for our first time at it, without any practice, we put up an impressive time of just over 47 minutes. I know we could have gone faster too. The results haven't been posted yet, but I know we were competitive. The team was Travis, Joe Meyer, Joe Priore, Ryan MacPherson, Kevin Lozano and me. With Ry and Trav on the team the risk of a horrifying crash was so heavy you could almost taste it. But when the starter yelled "GO" we dodged the oncoming traffic and blasted off. Ry and Kevin put in such massive efforts early that they got us going hard and then dropped off to let the remaining four of us bring it home. Those guys are team players. Naturally, it started raining hard 2 minutes before we flew into the only three turns on the course. Travis gave us plenty of room and then sprinted back to catch us and jump back on the front. We started to shorten up our turns at the front and that gave us just enough time to recover before having to take our time on the leading end of the line."
No photos were shot of this momentous race, but I can only assume that we looked like the Team CSC boys above flying into the line :o) In the rain, it was ridiculous to try and hold someones wheel when there was rain flying sideways into your face and a variable rooster tail of road spray coming up from the wheel in front of you.  Made the course a lot more challenging than it should have been, but still fun to try and latch on the back of the train after peeling off the front of the line.  Really is a lot different than triathlon riding. This was seriously like speed work and intervals on the bike!

So, I know I paced this one TOTALLY incorrectly and was limping back to the finish for the last few K's.  Thanks to my teammates for not dropping my sorry ass as I was the 4th one to cross the line and subsequently stop the clock for our team.  (even despite the emails about everyone scared that they wouldn't be able to hold my wheel!) In my defense, I took some monster pulls at the front of the line early and dug a pretty deep hole of pain to try to get out of. At one point I was pulling everyone and looked down and spotted 30+mph on the flats. It was crazy. 

All in all it was an awesome and fun experience and despite being like the Red Sox (a bunch of idiots) we managed to pull together a respectable time of 47:29 and that was good for 5th overall and if they put us in the Cat5 group like we were SUPPOSED to be in, we would 've been 2nd in Cat5. So not too shabby :o) We all went on another loop as cool down and had some brews (thanks to Ted) in the parking lot post race.  Good stuff and I know we all can't wait until next year for this race! 

Next up I have to defend my title in the 3rd annual trail beer mile in Rush, NY on Saturday evening.  I went an 8:02 and was able to fend off the likes of several top notch Rochester Runners such as Ryan Pauling and Brent Bartlett, among others.   So we'll see if I can bring the mini trophy home for another year!  Until then, crack a few brews, enjoy your training and get out there on the roads and trails. See you in the sunshine.  Cheers!

August 17, 2010

Summer Sizzler Race Report

Well I suppose I'll start out by saying that sometimes when you go into a race, you have a good feeling about it despite not doing the appropriate amount of training.  See I've been kinda slacking lately and just focusing on running so much that it's kinda dampered the whole biking and swimming thing that I was working so hard to acheive up until Musselman.  This race was going to be a special one, I knew it when I woke up, I knew that I was going to have good competition from teammates and besides, it was on my birthday! How could that NOT be special?? :o)
So I got into Grand Island early for the Sizzler (funny, the first time I raced this it was called the Spring Fling and was in June...) and a bunch of us had already organized a cookout for after the race utilizing some of the grills at the state park.  So coolers were packed with Ubu, various other brews and even though the race hadn't even started, I knew it was gonna be a good day.  There was the usual jokes in transition and normal fun stuff for race morning with friends.

I was in the 2nd wave and was going off 4 minutes behind the lead wave and would be forced to play catch up to all of the guys that I was hoping to chase down.  We headed down to the water and there was word that the seaweed was ridiculously high and bad this year.  No worries, just more fun to add to the day.  An old friend and competitor (who has been amazingly absent in races with me this year, Carl Johnson) once said, 'the more waves, sea monsters, and seaweed there is - the better it is for me' because he always loved dealing with obstacles on the swim.  Being that he was a strong swimmer, I don't blame him.  Probably just slowed everyone else down around him...

Well the gun went off and we were swimming and grasping at seaweed in the deep and things were going well.  I was swimming strong and there was one more green cap ahead of me, he hit the beach about 30 seconds up on me and I had to tell myself to relax, it's a long race, just pace yourself.  We grabbed the bikes and split out of T1 and onto the road. This was a peculiar day on Grand Island that there wasn't much wind at all.  It definitely made biking easier.  The BEAST and I were cruising along and passing some folks, but at every turn around, I would take time splits on Joe Meyers and Kevin Patterson to see where they were in relation to my 4 minute defecit that I was trying to make up. 
I rolled into T2 and nothing spectactular, just headed out on the run and was ripping off a solid pace and slowly catching up.  I was still doing the time checks and had made up a minute and was the virtual leader of the race at the first run.  The only thing I had to do now was hope that my legs could hold on to my pacing and not fall apart.
I came back into the transition zone, located my cap and goggles and was out heading to the lake again.  As I exited though, I realized I had wanted to rip off the jersey and HR monitor in an effort to reduce drag in the water.  Oh well, looks like I was going to be swimming in a shirt! The second swim was nothing special again, someone in front of me again in a green cap that I couldn't figure out who it was.  Made me a little anxious as I wasn't pushing that hard and didn't want to screw up a potential win by slacking and not going as hard as I could've. 
Well I hit the second bike and as many of you know, I'm not too great of a pacer.  Sometimes all the time I go out too hard and tend to die an extraordinary death over the final miles.  I really didn't want that to happen today.  I hit the turnaround on the bike and was still according to my calculations 60-90 seconds up on 1st place.  However, I saw someone who (at the time) I thought was coming REALLY hard after me just att he turn around so I didn't get a good look at him.  Being the cautious guy and not wanting to blow a W, I started to hammer the way home on the bike.  Now I really mean I freaking buried myself on this machine. I was crankin 26-28mph on the flats in a tail wind and just going balls out hoping not to get caught.  I know I'm not a strong rider, but I'd be damned if I was caught. 

I hit the last transition and sprinted out of there knowing the run was my specialty and I SHOULD be able to hang on for the 2 mile jaunt in the park.  After the traffic circle turn around I was still 60 seconds up and I trotted back in for the win and was pleased on such a hot day with the results
There was a medical emergency at the finish line that we all tried our best and banded together to help out with.  I don't know how he is doing now, but the guy that collapsed at the line was breathing on his own when he was loaded into the ambulance.  But after that got all cleared out, the rest of the folks finished and we were able to have a semi-normal award ceremony (minus the fact that the results were lost momentarily when the ambulance ran over the timing mats...) But they are up now and this was win #2 of the year for me, so I am more than pleased.  Since awards were delayed, we didn't get stuff at the race site, although Rich Clark from Score-This!!! said it would be in the mail in the next few weeks.  So I'm excited to see what comes in the mail for me.  I'll post later on that fun-ness.  I did get a new pair of Balega socks from a random prize draw at the "awards" and it was nice to get a new pair of socks :o)

Post race was awesome, we all hung out, told war stories of the race that day and races prior.  The Graney children even sang me happy birthday (I still think it was in exchange for the bag of Doritos I was holding, but I won't mention that!) and it was an overall awesome day.  I mean how often do you get to win a triathlon with all of your friends on your birthday?!?! :o) Good stuff.  Next on the dockett, I have to defend my title in the 3rd annual trail beer mile this weekend and then gear up for the Chicago Marathon in October.  It will be many miles on my feet until then, so see you friends on the roads and trails. Cheers and thanks for all who gave me birthday wishes!

August 6, 2010


That seems to be the stream of consciousness of obscenities in my head after a I accidentally clicked on a link in blogger and subsequently my entire sidebar was lost!!!

Needless to say, I'm not too happy...

August 2, 2010

Musselman Half iron race report

Seems like I am always way behind on writing these race reports and this one is no different. The only thing that I like to do is get the last race up before I compete in another race so that I don't fall behind on multiple reports. Really since these reports are only for me to look back on in years to come, I suppose it's not a big deal, but as anal as I am, I guess I have to have a system.

Musselman was to be my "A-Race" of the year and the one that I was focusing on all season. Since I wasn't signed up for an ironman this year, this was my longest race and subsequently my triathlon focus for 2010. I made a few snafu's in the prep for this race and they came back to bite me in the rear on race day. Apparently, I need to look back on prior races and actually LEARN from the mistakes of competitions past. But that will all be explained a little later...

On to the report! Race morning came and I was pretty amped. I was secretly hoping to break into the top 5 overall and get a chance to stand on the giant podium at the awards ceremony, but spoiler alert, today was not going to be my day... our wave got corralled off and we were waiting for the gun and I was joking with the folks in my wave. Pat Wheeler was there and using this as a ramp up for Kona in October and I knew he was going to be solid competition and was actually looking forward to it.

The gun went off and I was swimming like a man possessed. Somehow I always have this happen that I go out to hard and just struggle to hold on for dear life during races (not always just the swim leg) But this time, I was leading around the first buoy and there was a small chase pack behind me. I got passed by the 5 guys shortly after and just couldn't match the pace they were setting. I watched them maintain about 30 seconds on me and sit there. Sighting the last bouy before entering the "canal" I was kind of blinded by the rising sun and forced to just hope that I was going the right direction. The canalway was about 20 degrees warmer than Seneca Lake and I had visions dancing thru my head about how when I would be peeling off my wetsuit, there would be steam coming out because I was so hot inside... At that moment, a swimmer with an orange-ish cap blew by me on my right and straight down the center of the canal. Since we were the lead wave and in green caps, I knew he had made up the 4 minute defecit on waves and must've been FLYING. I tried to jump on his feet, but it was no avail. I hit the dock in about 28 minutes and that was good for the fastest HIM time I've ever done in the water and a solid start to the day.
I ran into transition and geared up quickly for the ride. I was hoping to be around a 2:30-2:35 today and that was going to take a lot of effort. I was pushing for what I thought was the entire bike leg, the pace for me never really let off and I think I dug myself into a nice hole with that effort. I haven't done too many bike workouts this year and I think my mono-pace rides made this effort feel super uncomfortable and set me up for a hard run.

The course is really beautiful down in Geneva and I was so focused on trying to push the pace to hit the mph and times that I wanted to that I didn't take a minute to "look around and smell the roses" like I normally do during races. Somehow this puts me at ease a bit and allows me to regain that comfort zone that I need. I made the same mistake at Ironman Wisconsin in 2008 when I did it and apparently didn't really learn from it. I pushed the pace too early on the bike, created a huge defecit and more or less, imploded on the run. (Amongst other problems at IMoo - ie. losing nutrition on the bike, etc.) I biked well beyond my ability for the day and didn't come up with a contingency plan, so it was difficult to push the pace I wanted to in the last half of the ride. Regardless, I still managed to bike a 2:36 which was solid enough to hang on to a 21.5mph average split forthe 56 miles. Not my best HIM bike time, but as far as I was concerned during the race, I was still on pace for the day to hit my goal of a sub 4:35 half iron.I hit the dismount line and heard my parents, sister and everyone else cheering super loud for me and that was fantastic (my mother rarely comes to triathlons so it was freaking awesome to have that support and see them there) I made my way out on the run course after a speedy 61 second transition and watched the guy in front of me double back and run back to the T-zone apparently forgetting his race #. Bummer for him I thought and I began my run.

That's him behind me in the above photo (he caught me shortly after this on the steep hill with the steps up to main street) I blasted out of transition and the only thing going thru my head was that I wanted to maintain the consistency that I had kept up all season with every race being on roads no matter the distance, I was able to hold sub 6:00 pace. I knew that I probably wouldn't do that here, but I was secretly hoping for sub 6:25 or sub 6:30's. I blasted out of transition and hit the 2 mile marker in 12:05 and knew I needed to slow this soon-to-be train wreck down. It must've been too little, too late.

Mile 4 was about my breaking point. I was running down Main Street before then and the stomach was starting to reject anything that I tried to force down it. It was sloshing a lot and I was not feeling well. I fully expected, given my race at the Buffalo Half marathon this year of a 1:17, that I was going to be able to swing a 1:24 run split for this race. Unfortunately even with the best laid plans of mice and men, things don't turn out as planned. It was the first time I actually tried to hit the"reset button" in the middle of the race. (You know that button that hangs in the back of your father refers to it as the BCC) I tried three times about mile 4 of the run to extricate the contents of my stomach, but it wasn't working so theonly thing I could do was keep going. My pace was slowing and I kind of felt okay around mile 8, but couldn't really turn it around well enough to hit the time goal I wanted. The heat on the run didn't help any either.

I hit the line in 4:42 and that was good for 17th overall and 4th in my age group. Just off of the podium (for AG) I was exhausted and well off my goal of around a 4:30 HIM. Being that I was 12 minutes slower than I anticipated for run alone, that would give the discrepancy. The other reason that I might have been a little slower in the run portion of this race was that the weekend prior was 4th of July weekend and I had gone with several friends on a hiking trip up in the ADK's and we crossed 4 of the high peaks off the list by tackling the entire Seward Range over two days (one 11 hour day and one 8 hour day back to back) and I got ribbed by my parents for my preparation stupidity with saying things like, "I guess hiking in the Adirondacks isn't the best way to prep for a half ironman!" But in their defense, I kind of deserved it :o)

So that was it for the Musselman Race report. Not the most ideal race and not the race that I was hoping for, but I'll take it. It WAS still a 4:42 that I did, so I can't be too hard on myself for that. I did get a chance to go up and spectate for IM Lake Placid this year and sign up for 2011, but that might have to be another post. On to marathon training, but not without a fun race beforehand. Summer Sizzler Formula One triathlon this weekend in Grand Island. Should be good fast speedy and fun times. So until then friends, see you on the roads and trails! Cheers.