Friday, April 30, 2010

B-day weekend

This past weekend was my birthday, the big 27….. or something like that.  Who doesn’t like to talk about the toys they got.  I had been wanting a new pair of sunglasses for a while.  As much as I love my Bolle’s, and my Tommy Hilfiger shades, they don’t work great while exercising. 

I must have an odd shaped head or something, because finding sunglasses that sit correctly on my face is a challenge.  I did some research… yeah big surprise here.  Narrowing down my list and aiming the application at running and biking, I came across multiple sources that said Tifosi made some quality sunglasses at a price that was reasonable. 

A few months back I saw that one of our local bike shops had all Tifosi models on sale, about 15 dollars off the 60 dollar retail.  Not too bad, well by the time I went to the store to pick up a pair, the sale was no longer valid so I held off.  It was around Easter that I was surfing, read killing time, and saw that the model I wanted, the Tifosi Slip, was on clearance at less than half price!  I called and had a pair held until I got back into town. 

What a great pair of shades!  They are not too big and bulky, yet have good coverage.  The best part is the vent on the top part of the lens that allows some air flow to keep them from fogging up.  Tifosi has many lenses but I got the Fototec model.  These are basically “transition” lenses that you see advertised for regular glasses.  If it is bright, they darken up, if there is little light, they lighten up. 

Now at first glance, I saw red lenses and crossed them off the list.  After some use, I am glad I went that route.  These lenses make colors pop.  Since they were an early b-day gift, I got some use out of them ahead of time.  They are awesome!  Highly recommend them to anyone seeking an affordable shade that works great for sporting.  They also make different lines that offer different lens combos.  There is a golf model with polarized lenses, a base model that comes with clear, red, yellow, and smoke (none are Fototec)

On to the birthday weekend.  I had some family in town and we did the tourist things, went to Mall of America….on a Saturday… I took my parents to eat at a pizza joint, called Punch pizza.  They make your pizza in a wood fire oven.  800 degrees for 90 seconds. Yowza!  What good food!

Sunday was my bday, and also the Lakeville, MN Ironman bikeride.   Now I remember this race last year when it was 45 degrees and rainy, thinking those people are insane.  Nothing changed this year, maybe a bit warmer, but still rainy.  I was a fair-weather participant.  If it would have been nice, I would have considered going (35, 65 or 100 mile ride)  That was also excluding the 24 hour flu that hit on my bday. 

I felt miserable Saturday night, but when there are so many good foods – veggie pizza, chips and fresh salsa, steaks and cakes.  I thought I just overate, but come Sunday morning, that was not the case.  I had a bad case of the 24 hour flu that stuck around until mid day Monday.  My training was light early this week as my first Tri approaches this weekend.

Although most would not recommend having a bike fit done before a race especially, my wife offered as the second part of my present to take my bike in and get it professionally fit.  I have tried, using my webcam on my laptop, a protractor, and all the non sophisticated tools, so I decided I better do it since I still was not comfortable on the bike like I wanted to be. 

I went in for the fit on Wednesday and thought my fit was close, boy was I wrong!

Adjustments made:

Shifted seat back to forward position
Raised seat height to get me into the correct leg angle range, boy was I off!
Swapped the 90mm stem for 110mm, that made a huge difference how my weight was distributed up front.
Installed some cleat shims to level out the platform my foot is on.  Turns out I have about 7 degrees of difference between the inside and outside of my foot, part of what is causing some numbness in my toes being on a non level platform.

I did a easy ride Wednesday night and felt great.  It is more aero and aggressive, but man does it feel good.  Hope to do another ride before the race and rock out this weekend.  Check back for a Race Report!

Last night, I pushed a bit harder than I should have, but I wanted to test that I would be comfortable on the bike for the race.  I fought a wind on the way out, 19 MPH.  On the way home, 25 MPH.  I had some times on flats that was spun out of gears 31.x odd MPH on a flat!  That was a trip.  
Home to pack after work tonight and then to make the trip up for the race tomorrow.  They cut rain out of the forecast, now predicting 20+ MPH winds gusting to 35+, hopefully the wind will be at my back!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Goal Setting and Placing

A good topic came up the other day, and I thought I would throw my two cents into the mix.  I would be interested in knowing what people think or how they place their focus in response as well.  When racing, do you set goals for your self and base your success on those goals, or do you get more satisfaction getting a medal?

I have learned that on any given day, you could medal.  All it requires is the people faster than me staying home.  It also works the other way.  One race you may have the top 10 field of local athletes show up and crush your hopes of placing.  Luckily this logic flows from Age Groupers all the way to professionals.  The intriguing part to me is the responses people give. 

Age groupers(Bottom and Middle of the Pack): Although I tend to shy away from these types of phrases, it helps to get the general idea regardless how you classify each.  I have seen the majority that fall into this category respond by saying they base success on personal goals they have set.  Maybe it is to just finish the race, that their bike split averages 19 MPH or they beat their time from last year.  All are very realistic goals for this category of racers.  Often seen as not having a shot at medals, their focus becomes on competing to reach these goals. 

FoP Age Groupers: Here is where things get sticky.  These are the people who can start to go either way very easily.  Some people are highly motivated by recognition and race to place.  Others are still very goal oriented and base success on their accomplishments.  I would say this is where I fall.  I have the understanding that any given race, I cannot control who will be there, how they perform, or any external conditions.  The only thing I can control is how I run my race.  Sure throw in flats, winds, heat/humidity and you have some parts that are beyond your control. 

My reasoning for this area is that I still base my success on my personal performance.  If that performance on that given day puts me at the top of the age group, so be it.  I am not out for the money that is for sure.  I am not out for recognition, because frankly I couldn't tell you the name of 1 winner of my AG last year.  There is just some hidden stigma that I cannot quite put my finger on that drives me to want to place. 

Maybe it is a small piece of recognition of the hard work that I have put in, and where it has helped me grow. 

Then comes the areas I am not as experienced to talk about.

Elites:  Sometimes a monetary prize, others fancy swag, and sometimes spots in future races.  Many of these rewards are given to people who place.  Does this shift how people prioritize?  If you want a shot at Clearwater, you have to race and place in order to qualify.  Placing then seems like a fair goal to have in mind.  Again you cannot control who shows up and how they will race that day.  Keeping in mind typical times can correlate to qualifying times or performance, but only to some degree.  Take for example a qualifying race.  If some participants pass on a qualifying spot, it may roll down to the 5th, 6th or 10th finisher. 

Pros:  I cannot even begin to imagine how they think.  I think goal times/performance is considered, and with their experience, I believe they know within a fairly close range what their finishing time will be.  If my paycheck was related to my performance, I would probably be more oriented towards placing, but that is just speculation. 

This is just my take on the grand scheme of things. Take it as you will.  I once heard a quote that I often think about as I see myself grow in the sport and although I have not lived much of it thus far, I believe it is applicable to the sport and many things in general.

"Success leads to confidence, confidence leads to arrogance, arrogance leads to complacency, and complacency leads to failure"

I have not become arrogant yet, I am becoming more confident as I see my progress.  While I have a long road to continue developing, I aim to keep myself from getting arrogant or complacent. 

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