Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Myself

The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain.
Kahlil Gibran

And sometimes the what or the why gets lost among the distractions. The ferns engulf our practice. Training and racing is so complex, so ridiculously hard to 'big-picture' grasp, so mercurial, that we often need to stop, slam the brakes and take a refresher quiz on why we are doing it.

Is it an item on our bucket list?

Is it ego defining?

Is it our profession, obsession or addiction?

Is it still positive and constructive?

I have done eleven Ironman events, finishing ten. You would think that would be enough. It isn't. That one of the whole where I took a DNF home with me (from Pentiction) still haunts me every night like an evil, sinister, wicked crone. Sometimes I wake in the night hearing my inner coach plead: "Just one more step, you can do it."

The failure to finish what I started that summer day stays with me like a battle wound. It hurts and it's ugly. I am embarrassed, humbled and angry all at once, a horrible combination. But the wound is a constant reminder.

That I long for redemption. I must get back and prove to the sly Mr. Id that I can do it, that what was once a motivating dream, can be again. That this current nightmare can become a miraculous reality.

That is what I long to obtain. The empirical knowledge that I am better than that. To remove that bitterness with the sweet taste of completion, closure.

Sure, the long range plan is to KQ (Kona Qualify), but the daily steps necessary to achieve that goal are the keys. You can't have Ironman fitness overnight. There are myriad distractions along the way that often seem as deadly as roadside IEDs. There is real life. The cost of racing is enormous. Shit happens. The need to stay focused is as trainable a skill as doing fartleks, intervals or speed sets. We can get lost, lose sight of the goal, give up, forget the why.

Why do this?

Because one day a long time ago I quit. I walked away and went home. I gave up, created a litany of excuses, threw in the towel of failure. I rested my accomplishments on the glowing significance of the ten completed IMs, suppressing the darkness of the one. The pain of that day was huge. It hurt BIG TIME. I thought I was properly prepared and trained, ready. But not for that.

Little did I know that the spiritual and psychological pain that was to follow would make the physical hurt of that day seem like barefoot walk in the park.

Why, then? Because I have to. Because it is there. Because it is in my blood. Because it is what I long to achieve (again). Because I enjoy the process, the journey and the culture. Because I have something to prove.

To myself.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just Another Day

Got in a great 10K last night. That is four laps around my home track that I know like the hand of my back. Sure my elbow hurts (steps have been taken to address the ergonomic failings of the new workstation) but not enough to keep me from the training schedule focused on the end of summer events. Would have been easy to play the "mouse-elbow" card and take the evening off, much the way I did for 0530 yoga. I can run with an inflamed arm, but downdog with weights is a no-go.

Which made the evening session all the more important. Consistency. Keeping the metabolic fire stoked. Freedom. Last night's lighting conditions in the park were as close to a Hollywood set as you will get. Magic and warm with a slight Northerly. Girls playing soccer and the obligatory poodles walking their masters. A jerk on a cell phone and three kids turning 80 rpm on new bikes, faces lit with the joy of speed.

I try to say hello, or at least acknowledge everyone who passes me, or I pass. There are snobs. There is fear. There is the attempt at isolation, and there is traffic. People show up when it's nice. Not to many distractions way back in January when we ran in the sleet and snow.

Dodging all this like tiptoeing through a minefield, I did my four ovals. Lap one was weak, my legs heavy from a full day of construction. I actually gave thought to cutting the four laps to two. But then I thought about the Ironman run. What a great time and place to practice that a little. Remove negative thoughts, regulate breaths and just keep pushing with as much efficiency as you can muster. Kid. Dog. Car. Rabbit. Duck.

Lap two was better. I was getting warm and the BMGs were rising to the occasion, now taking charge and in sync. I found an arm position that alleviated some of the searing pain caused from the pumping motion and rated the heart/lung combination: Good. Roller blader, two dogs, bike, stroller, Canadian Honker.

Lap three and I am committed and present. It is here and I am now. This is it. You may (or may not) have wimped out of yoga because of the 'hot-wing', and you may (or may not) have put in a less-than-perfect day with saw, hammer and level, and you may (or may not) have failed in any number of other ways (social, video, blog, filial, moral) but right now all that counts is this. This will define your day. It will name you. You are this, make it good. It's my choice. I can back off and cruise. Or I can go for it and see who I am.

Lap four. Pre used to say that it is a matter of guts, who can stand the most pain. He also said that every race is an opportunity to see what the human heart is capable of. Right now I am keenly aware of the pounding of my heart. My lungs are moving oxygenated blood to hungry muscles at a high, but efficient, rate. I am quite sure that I am making those noises that scare small children again. I don't care. There is a mile to go and I am going to finish this thing with all the gas left in this rusty tank. Folks walking up ahead I highly recommend that you GET THE HECK OUTTA THE WAY. A dog barks. Ducks take off. A smart young boy on a new red bike stops to watch the train pass. Two women talking are oblivious. I see a huge slug slowly crossing the path and I extend left stride to avoid, causing (sorry SHR) the possibility of an additional 400 slimy progeny. I am ramping up, getting faster, reeling in the finish line as if it were a feisty barracuda.

And I'm done.

And it's over.

Just another 10K in the park. Right.

And today is just another day.

Pix: At the LA Triathlon last year. Mt. Shasta from rest stop on I-5. Just another race and just another hill. Right.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Sun comes up. Sun goes down.

What happens between these daily celestial events most often determines whether or not we achieve our goals. What we do with available daylight. Use it or abuse it.

Running on motivational fumes of late, I was (again) inspired by the performances of several of my friends out in Coeur d'Alene Sunday. Yes, it's an Ironman thing. Unless you have been out there for a day on the battlefield, you just don't know what it is like. Worse, there are no words (that I have found) to describe the intense feelings and emotions that take place over 140.6 miles. When my words fail to properly articulate I resort to photographs. When they fail I turn to video. Sometimes the latter works, but sadly, more often than not, even high-def digital merely scratches the surface, leaving a void that can only be filled by doing.

Doing. And there lies the rub. You can't just go out and do an Ironman like you would wash your car or do the laundry. You have to practice three disciplines individually in continual rotation until they are capable of providing you with the desired results. Sometimes that means years of training. Just to finish an IM. A hundred miles in the pool. A thousand on the bike and more miles on the road than only a Tarahumara would appreciate.

Between all that, of course, is the time necessary to properly rest and recover, the typical 9-5 job, and maybe even some semblance of a family or social life.

Are there enough hours in the day for all this?

Yes. But you have to use them all.

You need to be smart, manage it well, have a plan, and be super motivated. That's all (except for luck and good DNA).

Yesterday as I sat happy for the CdA accomplishments of my pals, knowing what they had to endure to succeed, I took an updated look at my goals, my plans and my aspirations, this after a painful day with the median nerve in right elbow sending unrelenting currents of 220 pain to the far neurons inside this decaying sac of carbon. I could't raise a coffee mug let alone swim 2.4. Still…..

I took a quick look at the Kona qualifying times for a few IM events in the AG category I will age into next year. Just to see what the geezers have been up to. My PB is 11:02. Realistically, my last IMC was 11:15, and although I think I can repeat that, I'll take a ten minute age mulligan for this drill. Here are the winning times:

IM Florida: 11:38

IM Canada: 11:03 (2nd: 11:28)

IM CdA: 11:38

IM Lake Placid: 11:42

IM Texas: 11:32

Alright, that didn't take long. Mo is back. I can do another 11:15. My bike is stronger, my run quicker as a result of the mysterious loss of 15 pounds of excess fat. All I gotta do is get back in the pool and crank out a couple hundred laps. And lose this mouse elbow thing. And stay focused. And stay healthy. And stretch more. And finish the pizza oven. And…..

Sun is up. Time to get to work. Thanks Mojo.

Video is from the RCVman YouTube collection. Shot in Coeur d'Alene 2009.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ride, white and brew

Since the HoM (House of Mirth) will be dark next week, the Fourth of July, I thought an outside ride might warrant consideration. Here is what I came up with: The classy folks out at the Olympic Music Festival are throwing a little shin-dig and we are invited!!!! Ten bucks gets you all the picnic style chow you can eat and some brassy Americana marching music on the farm. It's 33 miles out, we'll ride from the Club starting at 10, enjoy the outdoors, food and music and ride back. In plenty of time for fireworks.

That's Monday, a week from today. If ya wanna go, just lemme know.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Flowers for my Lady

Just back from a nice little 33 miler around the rock. Phoenix Red (The TT rig formerly known as The Great PanuzzI) handled a touch better today as a result of a slight seat height adjustment and aero bar tweak. She is particularly fond of 1-2% rollers, although she did find a cozy climbing zone late in the ride. It is amazing to me the difference between Trixie, a 58 700c fixed Specialized Langster Comp, and PR, a 56 650c time trial rig. The glaringly obvious is that they are designed for totally different purposes, which I (very much) appreciate, but the subtlelties are anything but. I have found a climbing groove with Trix that sometimes makes me feel like Pete Townsend and his Gibson Les Paul. Serious windmills in A. And I get on my knees and pray…..

Phoenix is sleek. Aero like something from Boeing. Compact. The 650 wheels keep you grounded, corner fast. On the rollers, she kinda looks back and wonders why we are at a trot instead full gallop. The motor is easily isolated as weak link. I need to build more confidence in standing attacks as I feel too foreword over the wheels, out of balance, and therefore thinking of stability vice power and cadence. But this will come. The more we ride the better we will get to know each other. I think she has an attitude. I sense she likes to go hard and has a former lifetime familiarity of being the first one back into T2. She is just now getting to know me, and my attitude. The chain tube cracks gave no indication of over-flex or structural fatigue, and I put them to the test, in both hill directions and loads.

I kinda like her. Sassy little 650 redhead. I think we can make some music together.

Also, today is Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I took a quick look at the IM Athlere Tracker and my friend Lisa was first in her AG out of the water (1:05) and already had 35 miles in (1:45) on the bike. Great job, gal, stay strong.

I was surfing the running sites last night and found this clip from the wonderful movie Without LImits, starring Billy Crudup and Donald Sutherland (not to be confused with the wonderful movie Prefontaine starring Jared Leto.) Donald's eulogy, as Bill Bowerman, is amazing from both the acting perspective and the content. If you have ever wondered why we run, please watch this clip.

Pix: It must be love. I am already buying Phoenix Red flowers (or stopping at Manitou Beach to shoot her with Seattle across the Sound as backdrop.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


File this under self help. The DIY approach. We do it all the time. Must be 99% of the posts here can be catagorized as such. We train our bodies, we eat the right stuff, we manage our stress. Then we go out and race, fuel, recover, rejoice and repeat. All good.

Except when things break down. There aren't too many worse feelings than to be cruising along in your car, heading somewhere cool, for the sake of this example let's say it's to a race 250 miles East, and suddenly (out of the blue?) comes a noise that sounds eerily similar to fingernails on the blackboard. Metal on metal with no lubrication. A grinding screech accompanied by an evil, foul odor, smoke, and the instant (and way tardy) rapid jump of your temperature gauge to the red zone. Something is radically wrong. Turn down the stereo and safely pull over. NOW.

And of course by then it is too late, the damage has been done. Your only decision at this painful juncture is how to respond and what the impact will be. You won't hear me say this very often, but in this scenario, the better your coverage the easier it will be. Call AAA, your car gets towed, fixed and a $50 deductible and 15 hours later, you're back on the Interstate. Ah yes, security in a jar. But let's get off the highway and back to the side streets. After long and diligent practice you have mastered the art of discerning pain from injury. You actually now relish the onset of muscular fatigue because you know that the real fitness gains come only after we have introduced fatigue. Pushing past pain is now something you do on a regulate basis. You enjoy the post workout feeling of having survived another round of high-intensity action. The results are as evident as the way your clothes now fit (or don't.) You understand the value of a proper recovery and your body's need for rest. You sleep like a log.

You know pain from injury like you know slow from fast. But then something breaks down where you least expect it. A long dormant sciatica nerve flare up, achilles tendonitis, ye 'ol piriformis. What to do now?

If you are over insured or have a terrific medical plan, go see your doctor. If you feel that the injury doesn't warrant a trip to see Doc, try the oldest and most reliable method known to man, and especially racing man: RICE.

Rest Ice Compression Elevation.

Take some time off and let your body heal itself.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is defined here, and golfers elbow (tendonitis), here. Google DIY. I may have both, calling for two servings.

As RCVman demonstrates in the photo, sitting too long editing video or blogging can bring about significant elbow pain. Time for some RICE, ouch.

Friday, June 24, 2011


The phone rings.

Somebody wants me to do something they don't want to.

Begrudgingly, I agree.

I don't want to do it either.

The questions begin:

Why do people do what they do knowing full well,

that their actions will have negative reactions?

Is it so hard to connect the dot of cause

to the dot of effect?

Is it so hard to simply 'be yourself'

because most of us see ourselves as boring?

We need constant, unrelenting, stimuli

to feel like we're not missing something?

Are we addicted, obese, lazy and numb

because we will not take the time to stop and listen?

To really hear what cellular activity and

the sound of calm is?

Do no harm.

Do what must be done.

Do not over promise or under preform.

Do not take the easy way.

Do add gratitude.

Do add humility.

Do tip the waiter.

Do the work.

Do the best you can.

Do be patient with others.

Do laugh more than is 'normal'

Do take care of yourself.

The phone rings again.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don't Leave Home

I watched the fascinating "fueling the Ironman" video featuring Michael Lovato again last night because something was bugging me. Did he (or did he not) say that his nutrition strategy was to take on 2K calories on the bike? That would be a preposterous grand per 56, or 500 for 40K. When I do a 40K TT, as part of a tri or not, I might take on ONE GEL, 150 calories, tops. Certainly the longer the course, the higher the burn rate (and his is way more then mine) and the conditions of the day (this was for Kona), point towards the more is better tactic. But 2,000? Wow.

As described in yesterdays post, strange things can happen over the course of 140.6 triathlon miles. Toss in some wind, sun, the Kona factor, the rub that every hour of racing IM costs about $200 (entry fee, gear, travel, etc) and the drama is dialed up well past ten. And then there is the suffering.

As we echo quite often 'round here, training is testing. Could it possibly be that in all these years, my personal missing component has been in a seriously underfueld bike/run? Is it as simple as doubling caloric intake on the bike as Michael suggests?

Alright then, we'll give 'er a go. July 17 in Chelan, we'll put this test into play. Granted it's half the 140.6, but still a decent and timely distance to test the theory.

A thousand calories on the bike over 56 miles. With another 150 every three miles on the run. OK. Got it.

The Thursday links today feature an uplifting article about French cyclist Jeannie Longo (photo) who won her 58th national championship at age 52.

A rather vanilla (at best) piece from re-posting an article from Shape Magazine suggesting that eating a meal of low-glycemic foods, rather than high before exercise will give you 55% more calorie burn. Yo, Shape, show me the numbers! 55% NO WAY (but even 10% supports our current testing).

Three subsequent links found in the attempt to validate the 55% absurdity follow.

Some very interesting nutritional data, charts and graphs from Shape.

TrainingPeaks on the ONE RULE.

FitnessRX mag on indoor cycling and dressage. Giddyup.

Fuel. Don't leave home (or T1) without it. With special thanks to Karl Malden.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Being this the Wednesday before Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I thought it might be fun to stroll down memory lane and revisit 2003, the inaugural running of this event. I was there. I raced. I did not do well. It was not fun and neither is this. But for the sake of analysis and learning the lessons of the past (in order to not repeat them), following is my sordid summary.

Michael Lovato won overall that day. I will compare my times to his in order to illustrate graphically how fast he was that day, and conversely, how slow I was.

M. Lovato 50:14 4:49 2:58 8:40 First Overall

K. Lynch 1:18 5:50 4:48 12:06 15/98 AG

Mister Lovato (he was 29 then to my 50) cleaned my clock by almost four hours! I am so humbled I can hardly type. Here is how it happened:

The swim was OK. As most of you know the swim is not my strong (wet)suit. My strategy was, as it is to this day, to conserve as much energy as possible in the water through efficiency and calm. My race has always begun once out of the chop and onto the saddle. And this is part of the problem. Because giving up 28 minutes subconsciously sends a message to the master race controller that if the day is to bring victory, THE TIME IS NOW TO HIT THE GAS. By the time we had completed one of the two 56 mile laps, I was out of fuel and it was nearing 85 degrees. Still I hammered on, knowing (hoping) that a great bike split would allow a few "extended stay" visits at run aid stations to regroup.

As we have since discovered this doesn't work. The damage, due to hydration and GI imbalance cannot be undone by a thirty second walk into and out of a ten meter stretch of fast food tables. By mile five of the run I knew I was in trouble. I was not processing liquid and it was now almost 100 degrees of high desert dry heat. By mile ten I was taking on two defizzed cokes, a Hammer Gel and a handful of pretzels EVERY MILE. Still no processing. I could feel my belly swell under the weight and slugged along the route, doing the finish-time mathematical equations and realizing that I still had a shot at qualifying for Kona if could somehow pick up the pace. There was still 13 miles to go, but it now felt like I was carrying a ripe watermelon with me every painful step of the way. Try some water. Try some Gatorade. Take TWO gels. Slam THREE cokes. ANYTHING TO GET TO THE LINE.

At mile 20 I went into a porta-potty and tried to lose some of the volume. Nothing. I had been drinking like a frat-boy on a Saturday night for two hours, eating everything in sight that contained sugar or salt, and could only sit and thump the melon, trying to induce labor, it seemed.

Bloated, frustrated, tired, hot, weak but determined I set out for the last 10K. And it went from bad to worse. I felt like a beached beluga. There was no grace in this movement. It hurt. I was doing the death march, the Ironman shuffle, slow, no knee lift, bend and broken, nothing left. Done.

My fitness was good that morning. Twelve hours after the start I was a wreck. Nutrition is crucial when going long. Not even the fittest athlete can get through 140 miles under these conditions without a solid fuel strategy. Did I learn some lessons that long hot day 8 years ago? Here is an excellent video of Michael discussing his nutrition strat for racing Kona. (Editors note: DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.)

Learn I did. Two months later at Ironman Canada, I went 45 minutes faster and took a fifth in age group. Still one slot away from Kona, but progress.

I wish all my pals, and everyone lining up for Sunday's start the very best of luck. Have a solid plan. Stick with it. Finish strong.

My long range plans are to return to the IM circuit next year when I age up and give this silly Kona thing one more try.

Maybe with a better fuel strategy I can cut the gap between Mr Lovato's time and mine enough to finally run down Alii Dr. with a race number instead of a media badge.

Pic is me on the run. 2004. Not too pretty. Michael had already had a beer and a burger by this time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I am glad today is the longest day of the year. The summer solstice is officially under way and although our tiny island in Puget Sound is miles away from Stonehenge, we celebrate the light none-the-less. I have lots to do and plan on taking full advantage of the daylight to do so.

We picked up the fire bricks for the pizza oven yesterday and did the obligatory dry mock-up (see photo and please note design similarities). As we now wait for the refractory mortar (why didn't I order them together?), the siding, trim and bench construction are underway. I want to get the benches, storage, trim and siding pushed along as we wait for the mortar.

I also want to do a 40 mile (fast) test ride on Phoenix Red and see how she handles over time, under stress and in the sun.

Lastly I need to shake the tightness in my upper calves, still tender from Sunday's hilly BLD (big lap deuce) by yet another recovery 5K in the park.

All of that should get us to sunset.

For those of you who have inquired, here is the training run-up schedule for the next month, leading to the July 16 Chelanman 1/2 Iron. I am posting this because it is much easier to establish a time and work around that, rather than try to canvass the players and see what time will work. Here is the schedule, get your work done before we go. All are welcome to join. Speed and endurance are not required, THAT is precisely why we do this, to get faster and stronger.

Monday: Spin Off

Tuesday: Yoga Hills/Trails 5p

Wednesday: Spin 5K flat recovery run 5p

Thursday: Yoga 10 miler 5p

Friday Swim 10a Speed 5p

Saturday: Spin Off

Sunday: Long ride 9a

All runs start/finish at the duck pond at Battle Point Park.

Spins and Yoga (0530-0630) are at Bainbridge Athletic Club

Swim is at Bainbridge Aquatic Center.

OK, time to get to work. Happy Summer Solstice.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rory's Race

There are some parallels here with athletic endeavors of a slightly different bent. One can have the absolute worst day EVER, and, if the attitude is right and the spirit willing', learn lessons light years beyond what a 'mere victory' would have yielded.

I am not a golfer anymore. When you decide to dive into long course triathlon, your available hours for anything other than swimming, biking, running and recovering are virtually nonexistent. Add that to the fact that I simply could't keep that stupid little white ball between the OB markers, and the choice was as easy as Obama vs McCain. I do have some funny stories from my days on the links however, along with the precious few memories of a round well played or, as my buddy Beets used to say whenever it mysteriously happened, "THAT, was a nice golf shot."

Making Todd Holzman's excellent wrap story on the Rory McIlroy waltz thru the US Open a keeper. Crisp writing (...empty since Tiger Wood's recent series of unplayable lies), high drama, great story. And the lessons…..

How quickly we forget. Humility, lessons of self and the game, confidence. Sounds like Rory might have been slugging out a marathon instead of mashing a Titleist long and straight.

Dad came over yesterday with one of his old three irons. He had it marked where he wanted the shaft cut to fit eight year old Elliott's size and swing. I resisted the urge to suggest that maybe Elliott would rather ride his bike than golf.

After reading this story, I think I'll let Junior decide for himself how he wants to spend his sporting time.

Pix: Stacking the pancakes of success upon the lessons of the links. Whew.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let's go to work DADS

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. The pic is from (I am guessing) 1984. The players are, from left to right, Papa George (looking every bit like someone who rode his bike till they made him stop), his son (my uncle) Bill, an outstanding first baseman who played a season or two in the Oakland A's organization, the infamous RG (Rosevile George) doing his very best Harvey Keitel, yours truly (when brown hair was in vogue), brother Michael (Elliott has replaced Pokey). Back Row, nephew one, Darren, currently rumored to be in Malta with The Clients, and my brother Chris, who may be father figure, mentor, role model and coach to more kids in the Westchester-Playa del Rey area than anyone.

George Senior and Bill have moved on to the great ballpark in the sky. Leaving the Big Five to carry on.

On this occasion I would like to extend my sincere best wishes to all Dads. All teachers, all coaches, all mentors, all friends, men everywhere who try to make a difference. Who try to do something to better the ball. To make it a little easier for those who struggle. To lend a hand. To be there. To listen. To care. To share the work-load, offer expertise or unsolicited advice. Sometimes all that means being tough, or strict, or firm. Other times it's laughing, singing, dancing and touching. Deciding whether a swift kick to the rear will work better than a soft pat on the back. Being a good Marine and a compassionate big brother is never an easy job. Being Captain and Father runs 24/7.

I have always felt that the Man in Full had mastery of all the above and utilized them as necessary and on demand.

It's time to go to work. Let's make a difference Dads. We hit the ground running at 0530 tomorrow, so please enjoy the remains of this (Father's) Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Marymoor Velodrome

Yesterday I had the pleasure of chatting with the president of the Marymoor Velodrome Association, Hyun Lee, and was invited out to shoot some test video next Friday night. For those of you not up to, ahem, speed, on track racing, their site has a FAQ that will answer all your questions. I am thinking that four laps of high output tack racing might go for a moderately motivational video workout session. Moderately, of course, being relative. I would find this more like monstrously motivational.

If you would like to join the MV caravan next Friday, please drop a comment below and we'll start to arrange the logistics. Racing starts at 7, so I am looking at a 5pm or so boat over. Admission is $5pp, cheap entrainment for a Redmond Friday night. We could also stop at Veraci on the way home for a pizza and ale. That way I could take another look at their world-class pizza oven before starting the brick work on mine. Yesterday we spent the entire glorious afternoon getting the fascia and cedar soffits up as the fire bricks are backordered and might be another week in getting here (all the way from Tacoma.)

As you know this weeks big ride was postponed due to, well, complications. The Elma events we cancelled, Bernie's acute dual achilles tendonitis has prompted rest and recovery (on the couch I was just informed via e-mail), and it's raining. Despite these real-world outdoor issues, we still managed to rock the casbah for 91 (not a typo) minutes this morning, even adding an additional 15 seconds to the attack, max blast, rest drill. They now look like this: Stand (groove)>Attack (15 seconds)>Sit and Max power blast (10 seconds)>Seated attack(15seconds)>stand&recover. Whoa.

Take a look at the very cool promo video and see if you notice some similarities. Whoa.

See ya Friday night.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dr. WU

Are ya with me Doctor WU?

Seems research now validates what we have been pondering all along: Warm up (WU) to shake the cobwebs, loosen the joints, raise body temps, relax, and then GET AFTER IT!

I have always questioned the legitimacy of warming up for an Ironman. I mean, really, you have 2.4 miles to swim as a WU, or 112 miles on the bike to WU for the marathon. If you can't get loose over that period of time, perhaps jousting is more suited to your athletic talents. I reference the classic Medieval "sport" because one of the Dr. WU decodings uses Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere as a possible meaning behind Donald Fagan's classic Steely Dan tune of the same name.

So when you have someone say, WU for fifteen minutes, and then…..

Cut it to five, MAX. Get loose, get warm, get focused, get hydrated, get ready, and go.

Are ya with me Doctor?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yoga with Michelle

Ten minutes to demo Michelle's staggeringly popular Yoga with Weights class, held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at the Bainbridge Athletic Club. This particular class satisfies many of the tangential needs for triathletes, cyclists and runners, namely, flexibility, core strength, diaphragmatic breathing, focus and, perhaps most importantly, the practice of fluid, flowing, dynamic movement. It quite possibly, is the perfect yin to the extreme yang of our monster powers blasts. I find it a terrific balance between the two poles of practice:

The North Pole: High-Intensity intervals with bouts of maximal power output. M, W & Sat.
The South Pole: Range of Motion, stretching, deep core engagement, focus and breath. T & Th.

We are back in the pool on Friday. With Sunday being a long ride day.

Please enjoy the season, we head back to the weight room on October 1. The summer is about to begin and it is about fun, riding, racing and....

Yoga with Michelle.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yes, it is

Professional Triathlete's talk about their success as a result of indoor bike training in this piece from Competitor Magazine. There will always be the nay-sayers. Here is my response to the latter group: Fine.

Indoor training is NOT riding. It is training. Getting better. Fitter, faster, stronger. Go outside and ride in the rain, in the dark, in the snow, with traffic, with dogs, with teenagers on cell phones, fix your flat, spend an hour at the coffee shop, take some pictures, get sunburned, take a bee to the bonnet, crash every once in a while, go to the ER, wreck your 5K carbon-fiber bike, get yelled at by local red-necks, and most importantly, eat crap and drink beer while calling it fuel.

I will train inside, thank you. To be better prepared for race day. That being said, I love to ride outside, but there is no way I can dial in the intensity, frequency, duration and quality out as compared to in. Just doesn't happen. Lastly, should this horse need one more beating, I train inside to race outside with the philosophy that the motor is where it is at. You really want to argue that spending a thousand dollars to shave16 grams of bike weight will trump the 15 POUNDS I lost since January by training indoors? Let's do this then-You bring your expensive and light bike out Saturday and we'll ride 95 miles. I will ride a 22lb fixed gear Specialized Langster (aka Trixie) and we'll see what happens. No challenge, no ego, nothing macho, just a simple test.

Is it the bike?

Is it the weight?

Is it aerodynamics?

Is it riding outside?

Is it training inside?

Is it the motor?

Yes, it is.

Update to the Tuesday Update: This just in from Elma, WA. Sunday's Father's Day events have been cancelled. Sorry. Next triathlon there is July 4. Making the revised weekend look like this:

Saturday: Spin 0730-0900. Ride 95 to Elma. Eat. Sleep.

Sunday: Ride 95 back. Eat. Sleep.

Monday: Spin 0530-0630. Eat. Work.

Yes, it is.

Pix: Train inside (OPC in California), to ride (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) or race, outside, yes?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the Loop

Update Tuesday. Three items on today's big board.

Update Item Number One: Please don't forget that despite Sunday being Father's Day, we will be riding the return leg of the two-day, out and back double century. We leave from the BAC Saturday after class around ten and ride the 95 to Elma. Dinner and barley hops in E and then Sunday morning is Bob Green's deluxe low-key multi-sport offerings at Vance Creek. Then we ride back and treat Dad to dinner. The route map was posted on this very site last week if you are in need of cartographical stimulus.

Update Item Number Two: The wood-fired Italian Pizza Oven is coming along nicely. Poured the initial batch of vermiculite-Portland cement yesterday with another layer and cinder block cell fill this afternoon. We visited the New Rose Cafe yesterday to inspect their beautiful oven and I came away with yet another ornamental addition idea: The water element. Stay tuned.

Update Item Number Three: The Phoenix has risen! As the photo attests the Airfoil KM40 can fly. Tom and Gabe at BI Cycle did a masterful job of swapping out components from the Softride (RIP Panuzzi), leading to today's test ride at Mach II. If that hairline crack on the chain stay holds up on today's stress test, she will see her first race action in Elma on Sunday.

There, we have come full circle. Consider yourself updated and in the loop. Ciao.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The A Point

Part of the reason, I think, that I find racing so exciting is that there are rules. I say this knowing quite well that rules exist elsewhere, but in racing, they are important, not merely a vehicle for bureaucrats to continue the bureaucracy. Consider the race: Pretty simple, Point A to Point B. As fast as you can. On foot, in the water, on a bike. Distances vary, as does terrain and location. Rules state that one cannot obstruct another competitor, ingest performance enhancing drugs or use illegal equipment. No tripping, no EPO, no fins, no drafting (in triathlon) and no cutting the course. Other than that you're on your own.

Point A to Point B. Go.

In order to properly prepare for the journey, we train. Our bodies, our minds and our spirits. If your motor is suspect, the race will remove all doubt. If one crumbles as soon as the going gets a little tough, point B might never arrive. And the spirit? A great quote I saw last week, sums it: "There are no atheists at mile 24." Fine tune the motor, ready the resolve, respect the process. And you're ready, right?


Repetition is a prerequisite. Your motor, especially if up on blocks in the shed for twenty years, will need time to re-build, and that mental aspect is something that only experience can improve, meaning the spiritual side, becomes the key.

Because if you don't have the fire, the passion, the gratitude and the gumption to face the pain and suffering, the dedication and the drama, the doubt and the dread, the countless hours spent in relentless rehearsal, the defeats and the setbacks, the tough days and the long hills, you are are missing the point. The point is not getting to B, it is getting to A.

If I have done everything right (motor, mind, matter) in training and show up on race day fully engaged and prepared, I have already won.

All that is left is to go out and enjoy the fruits of that labor. Why would I want to break any rules after all that?

Pic: IM Germany in 2009. Can a impeccable will and spirit compensate for missing parts? They can. Please notice the spectator noticing the Ironman's right calf. Ya gotta say WOW. That's the point.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In boca al lupo

The much ballyhooed wood-fired, Italian pizza oven is in full-on production mode. I know that some of you will instantly wonder what the heck that has to do with training and racing, so I will explain thusly: Everything.

As in it's all connected (one way or another). We all know the value of rewards, the motivation necessary to succeed. The importance of the dangling carrot. Far too few of us have the athletic enlightenment to recognize that the training we do, indoors or out, early or late, with intensity or without, solo

or with a group, happy or not, IS THE GOAL. What happens after that is merely desert. The work to get there is truly the main course, il primo piatti.

Take teachers as another example. What is the goal? To get the students a diploma? No, it is reinforcing the

day-to-day understanding of the importance of learning, of building success upon success and keeping ever vigilant in the quest for knowledge. With any inspiration or motivation whatsoever, that knowledge will morph into wisdom. From knowing to doing. The goal of the teacher is not to create more students, the goal is to create more teachers. Same with coaches and the same with builders.

Hence the pizza. If I have to build an oven to fire organic, all local, home made morsels of motivation, as a reward for outstanding slices of effort, I will. Gladly.

There is nothing like sitting around the table in celebration, treating the body and soul to culinary goodness after a particularly gnarly workout or a high performance event. Or, like my buddy Dino Martini used to croon, "That's amore".

Train hard, eat well, laugh often.

Postscript: The plot has thickened (like dough) to include the goal of having the initial pie constructed from all local ingredients. Remember the farmer in PT who invited me to mill organic wheat on the stationary bike? Local mozzarella, pomodori, basilo, aglio, spinachi….all here. Anche pane e vino. If I can stay with it (back is a little tender this morning) target date is 4 July. In Italian, In boca al lupo (the mouth of the wolf) translates to good luck with that!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In n Out

Ten things we do indoors that you can't (or won't) do out:

1) Close your eyes and enter the zone.

2) Not worry about getting back.

3) Repeat power blasts.

4) Ride at 0530.

5) Use a towel.

6) Listen to loud grinding rock.

7) Not worry about cars, buses, trucks, potholes, flats or dogs.

8) Not getting dropped by the pack.

9) The weather.

10) Maximize training time.

There are others.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mt Hood Cycling Classic Video

The long awaited highlight video from the 2011 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. (Click on the title upper left to watch in 16:9 HD) Presented for your viewing entertainment and cycling motivation. Special thanks to Chad Sperry at Breakaway Promotions, USA Cycling and the gal at the Troutdale bistro who put a smiley face on my veggie calzone. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Father's Day

The latest local multi-sport event is taking shape. Has taken shape, rather. All that is left is to assemble the crew and go/do. Here is the skinny:

Saturday, June 18 (a week from this Sat. and Father's Day eve).

We ride from the BAC to Elma. See map. It is a handful less than a century, give/take 95. There are five category 5 climbs and 3,500 feet of total gain. Cake. We'll used the SAG methodology perfected on Bernie's Big Adventure, e.g. self supported. You must take the wheel for a stretch. We'll motel-camp at the Parkhurst in Elma, a beautiful 1930's stucco and wood bungalo dive, carbo-load at dinner and hoist a few. Sunday morning, Fathers Day, you have your pick of Elma events, a sprint tri, a du, a half-marathon, a 10K, a 5K or a one miler. Then we ride back. Once back, it, hopefully, still being Fathers Day, we'll all meet up for pizza and beer somewhere to celebrate the ride, the race, the event and the importance of being Dad.

You can also cherry-pick the events, one ride, just race, drive, race and ride, WHATEVER. Just show your offspring that you are still man (or woman) enough to hang with the homie wackos.

I do not want to hear your son or daughter say (ever), "Gee Dad, you can't ride a century, podium at a casual sprint tri, and ride another century home in two days, what a wimp."

I don't want to hear it. So sign up today to ensure the long term admiration of your kids.

Wait till you see what we have cooked up for Mother's Day!!!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nail On

At the finish line of Saturday's 10.6 mile TT. (click to expand oval)

Working on the video, and so far I like what we were able to capture.

Got some good R&D test news from DC this morning meaning big buzz is sure to follow. We're talking about cool rides on the big screen.

Putting together tomorrow's all-country set list, pretty much ye-haw the entire long, hard ride.

The Kestrel frame was discovered to have two hairline cracks on both chain stays. The seller says, Don't Worry, the Manufacturers Rep says Don't Worry, but my mechanic says "You plan on riding this hard?"

Well, yeah.

I assume full, total and complete responsibility for the amount of torque I place upon the graphite-carbon frame. If I snap that puppy like a dry strand of cappellini, se la vie. If I do it in the middle of an important race, I promise to generate but a single nano-second's worth of super-human ire in one vulgar breath, then let it go and move along. Sometimes ya gotta take a little risk and we have come too far to turn back now. (wonder how many more pop lyrics I can jam into the closing sentence?)

Nice power yoga this morning. My right elbow feels like somebody shot a rusty arrow through from close proximity. We're talking about inflammation and pain that makes the left hammy feel almost normal. Quite sure it's from all this mouse clicking. Or it could be age.

As a result of the right's plight, there are a couple of things I need to improve upon using my left arm. Hammering is one, and it is that time of day. The deck, with Italian pizza oven, beckons. Nail on my brothers and sisters. We are the builders of eternity.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Overall win.

Age Group win.

Personal best.

Great effort.

Satisfied with performance.


Major struggle.




That is the RCVman ten point race scale. I have personal and intimate knowledge of each of the ten. One could also rate these on the sweet-sour scale. Ten being the sweetest and one being the most acidic. There is nothing like a win. No debate. However, from that pinnacle on back down the hill, the dialogue gets a touch heated. One can argue that the effort IS the goal. That we train for the life style with the results secondary. One can create the case that the only real win is a loss, where you learn the lessons, adapt them, and make quantum changes to incorporate them into your new largess. Sometimes just to finish is enough.

I truly believe that if you have done everything right in training (and I do mean EVERYTHING) all you can do is go out and do your best. That is, and should be reward enough. Was I disappointed two weeks ago when I gave 104.5% effort for 12K only to finish in second place? No. The guy who beat me (by four minutes) has given me a wonderful gift. He doesn't know it but he has made me faster. I will learn the lessons from the heat of battle, train them into my routine, and show up next year with my clock cleaning kit. Thank you whoever you are. Or.....

We can always quit. Go back to Sedentary, USA. Watch apathetically as we gradually lose the fitness we have worked so hard to own. Throw in the towel. Walk away. Please do not feel alone if this is your choice, millions have already waddled down that aisle. At the bottom of the list are the two DNs, did nots. A did not finish comes with a story. A did not start, doesn't.

Don't go there.

Do not even think about it.

You have achieved something few will ever experience. The challenge. The game. An opportunity to see the real you. To test. To compete. To triumph. To cry. To win.

Time is irrelevant. So is place. Where you finish is mere data. What really matters is what your heart and soul hold as high truth.

That success and victory are in the trying, the effort and the way you run your race.

I may never win another race. That will not keep me from training like it is the most important goal in my life.

Which, of course, it is.

Pix: (Click to enlarge) Today we leave the faces, machinery, drama and technology out to bring you a few samples of the backdrop to the weekend's racing in Washington and Oregon. Mts Hood and Adams, the White Salmon River. I am downloading video and should have something up in a few days. Hydrate.