Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MS150 ‘Race Report’

First, a thank you to everyone who has helped support me for this race.  I have a couple more weeks to raise money and would love to add some more to it Donate Here

About the event:
150 mile bike ride from Duluth to the Twin Cities!  Seeing as my longest ride has been 60-65 miles, I was not sure what to expect for this event.

I had to drop my gear off at our main office on Friday morning.  After a rough nights sleep because I was afraid I would sleep in or forget something, I loaded everything up in the car and headed to drop it off.... in the pouring rain.  Quickly unloaded my army bag and bike, and kept my tri bag with some of my clothing in my car to ride on the bus with me.

I took a half day because we left from across town.  We parked at Century College and waited with some teammates.  Oh yeah… our company team was 182 riders.  Not too shabby, last year they had 108.  We are sitting about 164k out of a goal of 175k this year.  Before hitting Century College, I had to hit the liquor store and pick up a couple drinks for the road since we were on a charter bus. 

IMG_0920 IMG_0921
We got on the first bus and before we started moving, the weekend started. 

It is quite amazing that even with rain and traffic heading north to the cabins, the trip to Duluth goes much faster beer in hand and not driving.  I met a few new people who I would be spending the following days hanging out with. 

A few beers later I had to use the restroom on the bus and as I was finishing this task, I noticed the sign:
We arrived in Proctor at the high school.  We decided to "camp" out in the gym that night, the thought of getting up super early to tear down and be ready for a group picture at 6AM did not sound too appealing. 
After claiming our spot in the gym, we headed on a bus to Duluth for dinner for our team.  We had some pizza and calzones, and a beer or two as we enjoyed each others company and getting to know more team members. 

There were supposed to be buses shuttling back to the school, but we waited and waited and waited, and ended up walking to a hotel where we luckily caught a bus back.  Another 45 minutes later, we were back and crawled into our sleeping bags. Failed attempt at a gym picture:

I put in ear plugs, but was quite happy that nobody sawed logs too loud that night. 

I woke up around 3 and drifted in and out of sleep until 4, where I was wide awake after going to the bathroom.  5AM rolled around and we started packing up.  I had seen outside, and the picture was not perfect by any means.  Dense fog, some light sprinkles and cool.  I opted for a base layer, team jersey, and team jacket. 

Out to the moving trucks we went with all our gear, opting to eat one of the homemade granola bars I have been making was a good idea for breakfast.  (Stay tuned for the recipe, they are delightful and really easy to make, plus very good for you)  The bikes all ready for us and our trucks ready to be loaded up with bags. 


We hung out for our team picture and headed to the start line.  This is when things got cold.  Some people took off before the Opening Ceremony, and some of us stuck it out to take off with the group. 

IMG_0945 start
After a performance from Clay Walker, we were off, albeit not on time. 

The start of the ride goes down a lot of hills.  The problem? My sunglasses were fogging up like no other due to the fog and I eventually had to take them off, which remedied the problem!  Now that I could see I felt a bit more comfortable, but the roads were wet, and bumpy, and down hill.  This is the point where I was very happy for purchasing gloves the previous day for biking.  My bars were slick, but the gloves helped a ton.  After a short stop because I had some rattles in my back end, which I think came from junk roads and my valve extenders rattling in the HED Jet 60 rear.

Brandon and I ended up riding together the whole day, skipping the first rest stop to hopefully pass some of the crowd.  Since there were stops every 12 or so miles, I felt comfortable making it to the second one without any issues.  We got on a trail and there was some awesome scenery, I am hoping someone on our team took some pictures that I can borrow and show the amazing waterfalls.  When we went past it was on a wooden bridge, I was focused on not falling since it was wet and slick. 

We got to the second stop and it is quite a scene of people refueling.  I had taken in a bottle of Infinit and planned on consuming a bottle every two stops to keep my nutrition up.  The stops had all sorts of goodies, cereal, granola bars, fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and my favorite that everyone I hung out with would also agree with... Larabars!  These are like candy! 

IMG_0947 IMG_0948

I used the porta-potty and found this sign amusing and snapped a self pic:


We continued riding and the fog finally lifted about half way through.  A little lunch at mile 10 AM raised the question what time is "dinner"  After lunch I was struggling mentally, I was starting to fatigue a bit, and had a lot of thoughts along the lines of "Are we gonna be there soon?" Then I realized I need to take it all in, pain and all, use it as a breakthrough type workout for mental barriers.  We kept going and around mile 60 I was ready to be done, but we kept pace and finally were off the trail.  Let me digress.... The trail... Great long trail, pretty good condition, but man after the first part... it was all the same, trees, some rocks, some fields, and a pond here and there, that is about it. 

We finally got off the trail and on some roads, (insert sigh of relief) I knew we had to be getting semi close.  Some turns, some city riding, some shoulder, some on the road, and the point where I saw a guy forget to unclip last year while I was picking up my wetsuit.  I just saw him tip over and take another 3 people with him.  Wanting to keep mentally sharp, I tried to remember these little things.

Ahh the final turn into the casino, and about a mile of riding to the end.  We left the pavement and were on some soft rock/gravel that was quite mushy from all the rain.  We figured out where our trucks were, about another mile away, so we rode/walked our bikes to the trucks and then had to walk back in bike shoes.  We found our Cargill tent and our gear.

Time to relax! 

Well that is after we setup tents and had a beer.  We made the walk back towards our trucks to the "showers"  These things were badass!  Semi trailers that you walk up some steps to get in.  When you enter the trailer, there is a long aisle that goes from front to back, then you see a wall of doors that look like toilets at the mall or stadium.  Plastic doors that you walk through, lock, and then have a small area to undress and hang things before the shower curtain to keep your stuff dry.  On the other side of the trailer is the shower head.  Enter that little space and pull the curtain, hit a button, Boom, water!  It even had adjustable temps.  This is the point I have to say I would have been happy with luke warm water.  I was cold, covered in gravel and gross, and just wanted to wash off and feel somewhat clean. 

I have good news, the water was hot, VERY hot.  I even turned it down some because it was so hot.  Now the button you hit only turns water on for a while, maybe a minute?  Yeah I probably hit it around a dozen times or more. 

I was in the spot right in front of the door, so I could feel the cold breeze under the door and knew as soon as the water turned off, I was going to get cold, and that did not seem appealing.  Plus, I had my Zoot Compression Tights to put on, which would turn out to be a task. 

I managed to get dressed and out I went, feeling renewed. We sat around and hung out in our team tent and enjoyed a few recovery drinks from a guy named Sam Adams.  The weather decided not to play nice and made enjoying those drinks more difficult because it was so cold! 

Dinner was served at 2PM and then after much debate, I decided to get a massage, it was amazing.  I could have fallen asleep multiple times but wanted to enjoy it!  This lady found a couple spots in my quads that were like rocks, and hopefully you know what I mean when I say it hurt so good.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so someone digging in to work out a tight spot is the only way for me!

We decided to hike over to the casino and watch the Twins game and enjoy some warm dry air, although it was smoking which is rather nasty when you are not around it much.  A few good conversations later, leaving some money behind with the Blackjack dealer, and a couple of drinks, we walked back at about 10:00 PM.  It was dead when we got back, climbing into bed for another day of riding felt good.

I slept fairly well until 4AM again and woke up.  I laid there a while and then started organizing things for tear down.  Camping is great, and I love it, but tearing down and packing back up is not always appealing. 

I got everything loaded up and luckily our bikes were unloaded at our tent this morning.  I walked my bags to the general MS150 trucks so I would have them when I got back into the cities, and walked to our tent in my bike shoes.  After a quick breakfast and some much welcome warm coffee, we were off. 

I rode with a group of 7 people total on Sunday, most everyone taking turns pulling at some point.  This ride was mostly on roads which was a great change of scenery from the previous day.  There were a lot of small rolling hills that broke up the trip nicely. 

We stopped at all rest stops and my legs were significantly better than I expected them to be.  My rear end.... that is another story.  Yet again at mile 30, my buns started to feel it.  Overall the day was good, great company, better scenery, better weather... even to the point I took off my jacket and put it in my jersey because the sun started to poke out. 

We arrived back in White Bear Lake and funneled into the finish line.  What an amazing experience!  The finish is packed with people cheering you in, and it gives you such a great sense of accomplishment as well as knowing it went to a great cause. 

I rode to my car, packed up the bike and found my bags to change my shoes and headed to the team truck to thank everyone for the great weekend.  Not long after I was on my way back to life, having added one more chapter.  I am very grateful to have met such great people and be able to help such a great cause.  We all registered for next year again.  I was not even going to joke with myself that I wouldn't do it again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 New Brighton Race Report

The Race:


The New Brighton Sprint was the first triathlon I did in 2009, and can be blamed for the long hours of training, the blog, twitter, and all of the things that the sport brought with.  In no means am I saying that is a bad thing.  It has been a great journey thus far.  Race morning I was down around 27 pounds from when I started training in 2009, not too bad in the course of a year.

The course did not change much from the year prior, and was I looking forward to comparing times between the years.  You can compare different races and times, but the courses are so different, the best way to gauge improvement is to race the same course.

We packed our bags up on Friday night and drove north and stayed in a hotel to make the morning a little easier.  I spent some time in the hot tub and sauna keeping well hydrated but relaxing the night before.  A restless night’s sleep followed, and we were up at 5:30.

Breakfast consisted of a wheat flatbread bun deal… I don’t quite know what to call these things, with peanut butter and honey, and an ever so small glass of coffee.  We packed up and were out of the hotel ahead of schedule, which put us in the park before 6:30 when transition was supposed to open. 

Getting setup:

The park layout is difficult for a tri, there is a parking lot close to the lake with a shelter and transition between them, but once that lot fills up, people have to start parking further out.  I wanted to make sure we could park close, and we were able to!  We head to transition and picked our spots after changing my mind on which side of the rack I wanted to be located.  (I am picky like that) 

I laid everything out, bike, helmet, glasses, bike shoes, run shoes, wetsuit, race belt, and got everything inflated, taped off the disc cover, and went for a short warm-up on the bike.  I rode out and back a total of about 2 miles to get a feel for the winding park roads leading us out.  I felt strong, not Superman strong, but I felt at ease on the bike, and my legs were able to push out some good numbers.

I made a quick trip back to transition to re-rack the bike, a stop at the port-a-potties, and then to the race meeting as I started to put on my wetsuit.  I did a couple hundred yard swim to warm up and get the feeling of the water.  It was cooler than it was on Monday when I swam in the same lake, probably due to the rain. 

The Goals:

Now before continuing on, I should discuss my goals and a few thoughts in my head.  I wanted to push this race hard, real hard.  Using this as a benchmark on what I have gained in the past year with more focused training was key for me to evaluate where I need to focus effort in the future. 


- Swim time in the 1:30s/100 yards – Not terribly lofty if you look at my times from last year at 1:41/100 but I think it was short somewhat, because that was blazing fast for me last year.

- Bike – Average 20 MPH – I have done this training, I have not done it racing.  I typically use the Garmin speed since that tracks distance incase the course is not accurate.  Well my 310xt is being repaired (hopefully) and should ship back today actually.  So I am going to take the bike course as being pretty accurate and since it was the same course, improvements will track the same.

- Run – Sub 22 minute run, enough said.

- Overall shooting for a 1:20, with hopes of getting around 1:15.  A 1:10 is possible if everything goes perfectly.

2009 Results:

20/32 AG 213/359 Overall

Swim: 14:47 (1:41/100)

T1: 3:43

Bike: 47:37 (17.6 MPH)

T2: :48

Run: 27:33 (9:11 Pace)

2010 Results:

5/35 AG 26/347 Overall

Swim: 13:18 (1:31/100)

T1: 1:05

Bike: 36:47 (22.8 MPH)

T2: 31

Run: 22:11(7:24 Pace)

The Swim:

½ Mile swim, rectangle shape.  I was in Wave 1 and towards the front.  We started knee deep and the whistle went off.  Ran in a bit further, a dolphin dive, and off we went.  The first 300 yards were a mix of feet and arms.  I managed to not get kicked or punched, but fought through the crowd and finally got settled.  It took a while to settle in, over half way out and my sighting was eh at best.  I did not go off course much, but it was a struggle to find the markers.  I made the turn about as tight as possible and then the second turn and headed in.  The way back was much better, although I did find myself thinking I was cruising and not pushing hard enough for part of it.  I sighted well on the way back and keep moving forward, seeing fewer and fewer people ahead of me.  Before I knew it, I could see the bottom of the lake and was on shore. 

Two eh pictures out of the water, I look a bit distraught, need to sew a velcro patch near my rear so I do not fumble for the zipper cord!

086 088

Transition 1:

A little futzing around with my zipper, and I managed to get it down as I ran into transition.  I would like to have it at my waist when I get to the bike, but was trying to focus on one thing and do it right, getting to my bike!  I got there and then had issues getting my left foot out, that threw me for a small loop, but I managed, pop on the shades, helmet, slide on the shoes, and out I go.  Room for improvement? Yes, learn the flying mount and get out of your wetsuit faster.

I couldn’t even think of a good caption for this first picture, and the second the helmet looks ginormous on my head!
091 092


I started going, and I felt good.  It took me a bit to settle in, probably two miles for my HR to settle and get in the grind.  I start making my turns, which seemed like every turn was followed by a climb, not the best layout, but I did what I could.  Moving along, I reeled in a few people, and saw Jared, whom I had swam with on Monday.  I gained ground and finally passed him at mile 8.  He let me know that he would be back on the run.  Knowing he had a running background, I kept on the hammer to build some time.  By keeping on the hammer, I was aiming for 240 watts over the course, I ended up at 210, quite the difference.  My legs just could not keep up that day for some reason. 

I was in the race mentality and moving strong, regardless of wattage, I felt good.  That is until I took one corner a little hot and a little tight.  The intersection was being controlled, so as I rounded it, I came into the left lane and quickly had to hop on the brake seeing there was an unpainted median that I ended up about 6 inches from.  I am a thrill seeker, but taking my tri bike off this “sweet jump” did not sound like fun, and rattled my cage a little.  I kept pushing and was back before I knew it, not too bad 36 and change, that had to be a strong bike I thought.

116 Go Jeff pedal

Transition 2:

Well as you can see, I tried to hit my lap button, but my setup was not conducive to that.  Watch on left wrist, running with bike on my right, I didn’t have a hand to hit lap, I decided to do it after I racked and away I went.  Sliped on my Zoot’s and grab the race belt, holy cow, 2 races in a row and I remember the belt!  Hanging it on the bike rack is the key it appears so I do not forget it.


I headed out of the transition area and start climbing on grass a little to the trail, grabbed a water, and took too much in right away.  The first section is a bit over a mile and is run on the park trails before looping back past the finish line.  I did not have my legs under me very well, but managed to pass one guy, then got passed by 2 others.  Knowing Jared was going to be coming soon, I tried to push but started to feel a cramp build in my right hamstring.  Sure enough about ¾ of a mile, here comes Jared, saying “Told ya!” We exchanged a few words, and I told him to keep it up. 

120 125
I loop back and crossed through the parking lot, looking at my watch before starting the out and back…9:50 Ok not bad I think.

At this point I knew I had 100 yards from the waterstop to the finish line at the end, so I said run for 2 minutes and find something you can recognize.  I ran, sure enough 11:50 ticks, and I see some historical sign along the trail.  Perfect I though, when I run back, I will see this and know to pick up the pace even more.  I continue out the trail longer than expected before seeing the first runner come back the other direction, a few seconds later, number 2.  They must have modified the course just a bit to make it longer than the previous year, because the turn-around was a bit further than expected.  I turn around and head back.  Seeing it took about 6 minutes on the way out, I knew I needed to keep that going back to break my 1:15 goal.

Through the trees and seeing the people behind me, I kept on keeping on.  Before I knew it, I saw my sign, and picked up the pace.  About 20 seconds later, I was IN THE GROOVE!  Why can’t I feel this earlier?!?! I was moving effortlessly, although my pace got significantly faster.  What pace you may ask… well I don’t know, my 310xt was out for repair! Ugh!  I see the finish as I came out of the woods, and pushed the rest out.  Across I go, 1:13:50, not too shabby! 


Pretty well executed race, despite my wattage not being where it needs to, my bike split was solid.  The run needed to be faster.  I hopefully can remedy that by having my Garmin to help keep pace.  A 20 minute improvement from last year!  I will take it!  My wife also had a great race cutting 15 minutes off her time from last year even though she has only biked three times in the past month!

leaving time to go

After the Race:

I came home and did some things around the house.  My wife took a nap as she had a bachelorette party that evening.  Somehow I got roped into baking a cake for the party which also resulted in a few good pictures that speak words on their own:

The directions said make sure it is well lubricated to prevent sticking.
Far from the Cake Boss frosting, but you get the point.

I had some extra batter, so I got 6 cupcakes out of it as well.  Two of them did not make it the rest of the night.
Some prep for the following week’s fruit and veggie supply:
Man Night Dinner!
Chicken Brats from Sam’s Club.  They are amazing, and only 4.5g fat in each.  I figured out that there are 6 beers and 5 brats for a reason.  One extra beer to consume while you are grilling the brats!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A quick update of awesomeness!

I wanted to update with something so here is something.

In all seriousness, I do have some updates. First and foremost, New Brighton Sprint Tri on Saturday!!!!! I have been itching all winter for this. Although I started off in Alexandria with a good showing, the first ourtdoor tri is making me anxious. This will mark the 1 year mark from my first tri, so I am excited to see what I have gained over the course of a year. Last year my time was 1:34:26. I had set some goals for this race and even have modified them a bit:
- 1:3x /100 yard Swim, 1/2 mile course
- 20 MPH Garmin Average - 14 miles
- Sub 22 Minute 5k
- Based on these goals, I set a goal of going under 1:20
- I had also seta another goal of 1:15 being the best I could possibly do and may get me on the podium
- Finally I have been crunching numbers and think that I may be able, God willing, and everything going right, to run very close to 1:10

I know a 10 minute gap is a large difference over this short distance, but I am pretty confident with the 1:20 goal, thinking I could come in around 1:15. The additional 5 minutes are if I can break the mental barrier and race harder than Alexandria on the bike (and hopefully better conditions.)

That sums up my thoughts for the weekend in a nutshell. On to the next thing. I have been talking and talking about these reviews I am doing, and I am going to talk some more. I am finishing photos for Wahoo Fitness Fisica ANT+ receiver for the iPhone. I am also mid-review of the Sleeptracker watch. I just got word back that I will be reviewing a product similar to the Fisica but offered by PedalBrain I should have this in early July, from a local Twin Cities company. I also just received a HydroTail from Beaker Concepts to add to The Great Hydration Debate

As always I have other things in the works to hopefully keep you updated with the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and gear. It is going to be a busy summer!

Next weekend I will be doing the MS150 ride from Duluth to the Twin Cities to raise money for the MS Society. Please click the link above and donate a few dollars to my campaign, every little bit helps! I picked up my team jersey last week and will be putting some pictures up shortly.

Last but certainly not least, I am proud to announce I have been chosen as a member of the 2010 MARATHON Bar team. Although it is very early in the game for this yet, I should have some cool pictures and information in the next week or so, so stay tuned. I am very excited to be working with such a great group of athletes with similar interests, but from such different parts of the country.

  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2008

Back to TOP