Sunday, April 27, 2008

AZ XTERRA Triathlon

Adding an Xterra to the weekend is always a fun way to switch it up a little bit. During th 1500 meter swim, 18-mile double track mountain bike and a 4.2 mile trail run, temperatures hovered in the mid-80s. The swim started promptly at 9:15am immediatly after this year's new road version; I managed to do it in 27 minutes, just 4 minutes behind the leaders.

I had the 16th fastest bike split which pushed me up a little bit in the ranking. My biggest problem during the race was during the run. My new shoes started to give me some blisters about half way through the run. Even worse, was my transition time from the bike to the run. I underestimated the amount of water I needed, so I had to rest at the T2 and drink some water.

After the race, people seemed to get up and leave a lot faster than last year's race. I think the combination of the roadies this year and the higher temperatures made some of the racers impatient. A few of us hung out, drank some beer, and waited for the award ceremony. Great weather, nice backdrop, free beer..... good times.

18th place, 3rd place in my age group. Not too shabby considering I rarely run anymore. The times below explain everything:

I have some room for improvement, specifically my transitioning and my ability to run at a faster pace. I will be doing more intervals this week in all three sports (dreading this, but I think it must be done), possibly getting back on track with some more running during the week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Team Trisports.com


The 2008 team information is up on the website. We have some great athletes in the mix; it should be an interesting year. Also, my tri uniform came in the mail yesterday. Fits perfect and exposes all those great tan lines.

It has been one year since I did my first triathlon; planning on doing it again tomorrow. I am hoping to make the top 10 this year, I pretty lofty goal considering last year I finished in 55th last year. Cleaned the RM Vertex, changed saddles to the "duct tape saddle", strapped a tube/CO2 on with duct tape and gave it a quick tune-up (post AZT 300) for tomorrow's quick mountain bike leg of the race.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Patagonia Lake

Patagonia Lake has 50% off their rentals on Tuesdays. Max and I headed down to the lake early on Tuesday to get some early morning kayaking in. Here are two pictures of Max and I (courtesy of Max)

and some practice doing open water swimming. I have decided to do the Xterra race this weekend since I past the deadline for the brevet and my cheeks are still a little sore from last weekend's AZT 300.

Monday, April 21, 2008

600 km brevet or Xterra?

A 380-mile out and back from Casa Grande to Tombstone? Very tempting. 40 hour time limit. My AZT 300 debacle has me aching for some more miles this week, something epic. If my cheeks can heal up soon, this might be one option. It is a little early to decide what I am doing on Saturday (only day off this week), but maybe I can squeeze this one in. The only downside is the $55 entrance fee that includes bag drops and a hotel. The other option is the Xterra race at Saguaro Lake, not so epic and more expensive, but it would give me a chance to do a triathlon.

Tomorrow, Max and I are headed down to Patagonia Lake. Max will be kayaking, I'll be trying to swim behind him for at least an hour in my wetsuit. After that, I'll just relax, maybe go for a quick run around the lake. A quick day morning trip, then it is back to Tucson for work in the afternoon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tucson International Film Festival

AZT 300 starting line pictures




Headed to at least one movie this year. Here is the schedule for this year's film festival.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Out



150 miles clocked in and a broken saddle caused me some massive chaffage problems. I tried chamois lube and some lotion, along with my fleece sweater on top of the saddle. Even rested for 3 hours with gunk on the sore areas, no luck.

Race started off pretty calm, a few of us were up in the front, switching off who was pulling. Blair and Troy pulled over for some water as Scott and I pulled ahead and chatted a bit only to be later joined by Mike.

Scott, Mike and I continued yo-yoing at a pretty reasonable pace for the next 15 miles, until Mike flatted before the paved road into Patagonia. I got to Patagonia in front of Scott and Mike about 2pm, exchanged a few words to both of them at the market before setting off solo. I never saw anybody else after Patagonia.

Toward the end of Salero Ranch, my saddle broke, although after about 10 minutes, I managed to fanaggle it to stay on. The high for yesterday was in the high 80s, although with enough water I didn't feel very overwhelmed by the heat. I stopped at the Smithsonian for some water and a quick bath before descending Elephant Head and managed to sneak out most of the Madera Canyon section before getting filtering water at the stream in Madera Canyon (water faucet is still broken). Box Canyon was a little windy at times, although it was nice to have some dirt road riding. More gates on the AZT turnoff, but some sweet singletrack riding. I love riding at night, especially on the day before a full moon. It is always eerie to ride into camping areas so late, camp fires are dwindling, everyone is asleep. These are the times that I think it is time to go to bed, then I realize that I did not bring my sleeping bag or pad to force myself to keep riding. Although, there were times when I had wished I brought a sleeping bag even went so far as to doubt my decision to another multi-day race. Bad thoughts seem to creep in when your mind starts wandering after 18 hours in the saddle. No Ipod yet since I was saving it til the section after Tiger Mine Rd.

I kept rolling into the night, but the saddle became a huge issue and started rubbing me the wrong way. I had an emergency stash of lube (frankly, I have never used the stuff although I carry it around jic). No luck. I got to La Seville Picnic area just before the sun starting coming up on the horizon, aout 530ish. Time was flying by quickly. The road ride to Basha's was hard and painful since the chaffing was becoming ever apparent, although I arrived just as planned, 730 a.m. 135 miles of hard mountain biking in less than 24 hours.... I was content and ready to ride some more, although my saddle and shorts needed some more attention.

I thought some lotion might do the trick. Only made it worse. I rested at the bench on the side of Basha's for 3 hours thinking that might help. It didn't. I pressed on into Reddington after one amazing pep talk from Max. Road riding was hard, riding the dirt road up Reddington was damn near impossible. Time to face the inevitable. Thoughts of the secluded sections after Tiger Mine Rd would be hard enough to ride tired let alone in the shape I was. I turned around and came back down off Redidngton to the Circle K. Coffee and pull out time.

Chris is back home. Jefe is recovering. The rest of the crew, as far as I know, is still out on the AZT.

Next project... changing my bike setup drastically. About a year ago, I had to decide between a road or a mountain bike. A chose an expensive road bike over a descent mountain bike. Big mistake. Frankly, the mountain bikes that I currently own are not meant to be ridden for 24+ hours at a time. The Tucson Bike Swap is tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Final day before the race


Bike and gear are ready. I am ready. My head is shaved to one inch.

My plan is to ride at my pace in order to ride through the night on Friday/Saturday (cooler temperatures) and continue on toward Lemmon. I hope to get to the Control Rd turnoff before sunset in order to start descending Oracle Ridge. According to recent trail work, there is a chance that this section of the trail has been drastically cleaned. The only question remains... is it safe to ride at night or has the traverse of death only been altered a little bit? Weather on Mt Lemmon looks descent so I am going to take a gamble and lighten my warm-clothing load like I did last year. If I miss my deadline, I might just stay down at a lower elevation and take a nap.

A few updates about some of the racers. Max is at home with knee pain. He's out of the race. We had planned to ride together for most of the race. Heal up soon Max. I hope to see you tomorrow on Houghton Rd or at Reddington.

Plesko and Jefe had to bow out of the race today after rolling the Element outside of Show Low. No injuries, bikes are intact, nevertheless the prospect of getting back home after the race might have been problematic if they continued down to do the race. Both had a very good chance at finishing the race, and Plesko would have made the record for rigid singlespeed since nobody has ever finished on said setup. Damn, I wish all three of you could still ride tomorrow.

Waiting to hear from Fred about his arrival in Superior. Until then, I will be prepping dinner and doing some last minute adjustments.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quote of the day

At times I wondered why I had my bike with me as it was slowing me down so much.
Dave Harris in reference to the Sedona Big Friggin' Loop

I'll be uttering that exact phrase tomorrow a few times, I can already envision where along the route.


Monday, April 14, 2008

AZT 300 ready?


Marshall
seems to have his bike dialed in. Chris seems to be headed in that direction. The rest of the crew seems to be reticent about their plans. Scott seems to be gearing up for another record setting run. I hope Max's knee heals this week.

I'll be posting my bike in a few days, plan is to have one, small seat bag and 3-4 cages for water.

It was really rocky....


The crew from New Mexico summed up the SBFL.... "It was really rocky." About 60 miles with a little under 9k of climbing, and tons and tons of hike-a-bike. I managed to crank in a few minutes before Dave C and after Lynda. Lynda and I chatted and yo-yoed for about the first 35 miles, until she dropped me on Baldwin, where then I proceeded to flat (although the slime held almost to 179).

This weekend left me wondering a few things about the AZT 300, most notably, how to carry so much water given the higher temperatures that seem to be here. Additionally, the trail work on the traverse of death offers a new opportunity for a sleep-deprived cyclist to go over Lemmon w/o having to wait until daylight to ride down Oracle Ridge. All things considered, it looks like it is going to be an ideal weekend, a weekend that allows me to push my limits.

Post-SBFL, I drove down to the AZ Ironman to volunteer giving out Gatorade and water. Very encouraging. Each person that ran by was trying to finish the marathon section of the IM AZ despite the early mid-90 degree weather.

It was encouraging to ride so much this weekend.... looking forward to Friday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

D2D and SBFL


photo credit

Rolling out in a few hours to meet up with Dave for Dawn 'til Dusk in Gallup on Saturday then the Sedona Big Friggin' Loop on Sunday. If that was not enough endorphins for one weekend, I plan on driving down (after the SBFL on Sunday) to the Ironman AZ to volunteer from 7pm-11pm as people finish the marathon section.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Decline in National Park attendance

Overall, the number of people who visit national park sites has been on a steady decline for almost 20 years — with a handful of exceptions.

Sad. Read this next one that hits at why....

We like our soft pillows and Jacuzzi baths too much, it is said. The population is aging. A study earlier this year, from the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that the downward trend included nearly all outdoor activities. They blamed it on electronic media, particularly games.
The Ghosts of Casa Grande

As a child, we vacationed in National Parks. Zion is probably one of my favorite parks; just in the last year, I have been there 3 times. It might be time to add some parks to the list of things to hit this summer on the bike.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hills


Did a hill ride up in the foothills early this morning while some clouds came in over Lemmon. I took Swan up to Coronado (+20% grade) a few times before dropping back down to Skyline/Ina. The picture above is looking up at Lemmon from Coronado (yesterday I forgot to mention that I saw Auntie Joe and Uncle TC on my ride). On the way home, I stopped to get some coffee and just enjoy the weather for about 20 minutes. Sitting at a coffee shop/juice bar after a hard ride is by far one of the best things in life.

Hit the gym for some strength workouts before heading into work.

Mileage on road bike since Monday: 121.65

Arizona Trail Race 300

Image from 2007 AZT 300 starters arriving after a night of heavy rain and wind at Parker

The GPX file and cue sheets for the 2008 AZT 300 are now up thanks to Scott. The stats are almost the same as last year; just a few, minor course alterations that add some new singletrack. 300 miles, w/ 40,000 feet of climbing.

I know of at least 10 people that will be at the starting line for sure, of those, 2-3 people "touring" in a 4-5 day schedule. I am going to toss myself in the category of racing again this year. If you remember from last year, I rode the race with just my camelbak and a fleece blanket. My approximate ride time last year on Friday and Saturday was 15 hours and 18 hours respectively, the two longest days on a bike that I had ever done up to the AZT 300.

Things light LED lights, space food, and electrolytes are a given, but questions still remain.... sleeping bag vs. fleece blanket or FS vs hardtail.

Monday, April 07, 2008

R.A.M.

It has been too long since I rode my bike, 6 days to be exact. So I did what any sane, quiescent cyclist would do, put on the new Pearl Izumi P.R.O. shorts and went for a road ride, a 49.5-mile ride around the town of Marana. In the pack was my inhaler, a few mojo bars (this weather is making the mojo bars melt in the back of my shirt), one hammer gel, and two water bottles. At around 3 hours, I made pretty good time considering my leisurely pace.

Eastbound Union Pacific train pic for Gpa Ross

Marana agriculture

I met some tourers that are traveling to the Grand Canyon, Mike and Diana. The whole time we were talking, I was thinking that I need to do another trip like the PCH 300 last August. I ended the conversation asking them if they wanted to take a shower and/or stay at my house tonight. I wasn't surprised to hear them say they'd rather be out camping in the desert. F&% yeah is all I could think of as I rode off. A possible very long, summer ride is in the brew for me.

After the ride, I hit the hills and sand some more for some hike-a-bike training, around 4 miles. After the run, I made my last Pacific Salmon dinner for a few months (maybe more?) and then did some strength training. More news in the AZ Star about cycling, like Should cyclists have to pay insurance?...makes me think that it is another slow day in the world of news.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Asthma?

I had traces of asthma as a child, although I was never really put on an inhaler. After I did PEE in November, I had some massive breathing problems for a week after the race, same thing with the 24 hour race and the Rim Ride.

Today, I went to urgent care about my unrelenting cough that started after my successful bout with allergies. I am going to see my doctor tomorrow to do some more tests, but the PA said that it might be asthma or induced asthma (from exercise or allergies). Until then, I have an inhaler that I will be using 3 times a day until my cough dwindles.

I'll go down fighting, but as it looks now, a bid for the AZT 300 "finisher" title is going to be even more challenging if I can't lose the cough.

Addendum: I feel a lot better just using the inhaler as directed by my PA. I was worried that my cough would start to impede my riding the rest of the week, thereby altering my riding for the 2 weeks prior to the AZT 300. I hope to get back on the bike soon, since last week was spent off the bike.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It Feels Like You Ate A Lot of Wasabi

Had to attack a runny nose today that would not stop, some tips from NPR that actually worked. Still doing some recovery from the RR. Hopeful about feeling 100% better by tomorrow for a long road ride.

Edit to post on Friday morning: Yeah, um. So that worked.....temporarily. My allergies have never been this bad, eyes are going crazy, nose is uber runny. Lynda recommended some Quercetin, so I am headed over to GNC to get some and some coffee from Coffee Point. Rationale: if you have to suffer through allergies you might as well do it with some nice coffee.

Any allergy advice is welcome and will be heeded.

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