7.17.2010

R is for Roadies

On Tuesday night I headed out to Spokane Raceway Park for a circuit course bike race, Twilight Series put on by the Baddlands Cycling Club. As I pulled up to the race I really wanted to do my best to look like a roadie but this wasn't covered in my pre-race internet reading...so I was just gonna have to fake it.


Once the paperwork was filled out, I headed over to the race director and planned to sign up for the "C" pack but after talking to the Race Director, I was in the "B" pack or better known as "OHH CRAP"...Go Big or Go Home...Right? For all of you newbies (from the wisely veteran)...this race there are 4 separate groups or packs- A, B, C and Womens (though women can race in any pack they want).

After getting all geared up and pinning my number to my side...I was ready to go. Well kinda, as I was watching Jessi kick some serious butt in her race, a 'real' roadie asked my why I had my number on upside down (but to my credit, it was actually sideways and couldn't be read from the finish line)...but so much for faking it.

Tactic 1- Recce the Course- So before the first race started, I did a lap or two around the course and did my best to develop my race strategy which was actually pretty simple...do whatever everyone else is doing and try not to crash.

Tactic 2- Warm up with Sprints- This actually worked quite well as I was sprinting back and forth to the porta potty...I think my nerves had the best of me.

Riding in the pack!
Tactic 3- Figure out the 'Main Players'- Yeah this didn't happen...I didn't know anyone there and for all I knew since I signed up on the Arrivee team...I was handed that title :)

Out in front...not really sure what I was doing up there...
Tactic 4- Still don't know what this means but I stayed with the main pack so I am pretty sure I did some of this at some point in the race.


Tactic 5- The Break- These definitely occurred many times throughout the race. I was never actually part of one but did make sure to get near the front as the pack began to bridge up...yeah that's right I just used the term 'Bridge Up' and actually knew what it meant...been watching too much of Le Tour.
Leading the pack back up!
Tactic 6- The Attack- I never attacked on my own but definitely followed many...this by the way is where the legs REALLY start to burn.

Tactic 7- The Finish- Even though I have watched the stage finishes in Le Tour a hundred times, I can guarantee that you do not actually learn anything. The burn in the legs, the many different lead outs and the shear speed at which it occurs is crazy. This was by far the hardest part and it was humbling to watch so many racers just fly past. No hands in the air for me :(


All in all this was an absolute blast. I was in the main pack the entire time and never felt like I couldn't compete with these roadies...well until the end. But that is what happens when you have trained for an Ironman and have absolutely no sprint legs.

Jessi before her race!
Roger and Arrivee in pack A.
Congrats to Jessi for racing her first road race and doing awesome. Check out her race report here. She was able to ride with the many veterans and ended up finishing forth. Also thanks to the Arrivee guys, especially Roger and Cris for all the tips helping ease my nerves...

Can't wait for the next one!!!

7.13.2010

Tonight's Epic Road Race

With the Tour de France in full effect, I figured there couldn't be a better time to start my road racing career. Tonight I am entering my first EVER road race and even though I am a bit nervous, I couldn't be more excited. I love to do triathlons but always looking for a way to mix it up a bit and try something new. After hearing and reading about Roger and Team Arrivee latest races, I looked like a ton of fun...for them.


Now I have absolutely no background in any type of bike racing but did grow up on motorcycles and always wanted to race motorcross, so that helps...right? Ohh yeah, and I have been watching a bunch of the Tour if that counts for anything.

So with basically no idea on what I am actually doing, I did a quick internet search today and figured by the time I was done reading...I could probably turn pro. So found this link and figured if it was on the internet it must be true...

BASIC ROAD RACE TACTICS…
I want to write this for the road race novice and not necessarily for a rider from a big team where team tactics will play a much bigger role in how the race is planned and unfolds. There are obviously too many race scenarios to list in full as a road race is a dynamic thing and no two races are the same. That is what I love about the road… you have to use your brain and work out what’s going to happen and change your tactics as the race unfolds on any particular day. There are, however, basic scenarios that are the same whatever happens in any race, and here are just a few that will help the road race beginner..
With all my experience...this seems like a good start!!!

1. Recce the course… Always make time to have a look at the race route by going around it in the car either the day before the race , or on the morning of the race if time allows… Look out for major climbs, bad corners, road conditions, prevailing winds, exposed sections where cross winds could have a major impact and , naturally, have a good look at the finish. Is it uphill, downhill, bad corners etc.? Is it exposed, so the wind could come into play?

Well kind of too late...I will try and check it out when I get out there but if all else fails...just go with the flow.

2. Before the race, have a small warm up with a few sprints, so if the race starts at 1,000 miles per hour, or there is a climb after the first two miles, you are ready for it.

THESE RACES START OUT AT 1,000 MPH...Not with this racer!!!

3. If you are unsure who is riding the race, do some homework and find out the names of the “main players” and then, if you don’t know them, or what they look like, write their numbers on some masking tape and put this on your stem, so that in the race you can pick them out. If one of these guys or girls makes a move, you can go with them (if you can!) Or at least you can watch how they conduct themselves in the bunch and learn from their experience.

Note to self...Be the Main Player!!! Honestly though, I plan to watch and learn and then wait until everyone forgets about me and WHAM...who was that guy on the POS bike that just kicked our butts!

4. Stay close to the front of the race, especially early on and don’t be intimidated or swamped by other riders. Hold the wheels and if a gap opens near the front of the group, move into it to hold your forward position. Be confident and do not be timid, otherwise you will be “swamped” by the other riders and find yourself at the back of the group.. NOT the place to be. You will have to move back up (probably in the wind) and start the process all over again. Watch for echelons forming in cross winds and if this happens you MUST be near the front. If you find yourself in the “tail” of the echelon , in the gutter and gaps start opening, move over to the centre of the road (depending on wind direction) and try to form another echelon. This seldom happens in UK races, but it should! There is absolutely no point in trying to hang on in the gutter, as eventually you will be “spat out”, so , for goodness sake , get another echelon organised. It’s so much easier to work in a fluid echelon than grovelling in the gutter. Then, as soon as the race changes direction again, the group will reform. This won’t happen if you’ve left a 30 second gap open by staying in the gutter! Also when you are approaching a hill, especially a hard long or steep one, get to the front of the group! (This is where the recce comes into it’s own!) This will give you a chance to go with an attack without having to go around another 50 riders, or, if you are climbing badly, it gives you “room to go backwards” and still be a part of the group when you get to the top of the climb.. Be alert and concentrate on what is happening around you!

I pretty much have NO IDEA what this just said...

5. If a break forms and you are a part of it, for goodness sake, keep your mouth shut. A big lesson I learnt as a newbie pro was NEVER to start shouting and screaming for people to come through and try to organise the break. Stay quiet and just do as much in the break as the person who is doing the least. Don’t sit on the back, just go through, but don’t get carried away… Try to save as much energy as you can. If the race is long, don’t forget to eat and drink little and often. This can be overlooked with all the other things that are going on… But it’s important to stay fuelled up, so eat a little and drink a little at appropriate places...

Not sure what a "break" is and why it is such a secret but I have a feeling it doesn't involve stopping on the side of the road...

I highly doubt we will be seeing any of this at our race...
6. If you are in a small break away group, watch out for attacks, or if you are feeling good, plan your own attack. Best places to attack are on a hill, or if things have been jumping around on a particular hill, there will always be a lull over the brow. This is an ideal place to attack as it takes the others by surprise. Other good places to attack are in hard cross winds, or strong tailwinds. NEVER attack into a block head wind as you will soon be reeled in. Another excellent time to attack is if a group have been away and are being caught. As you are joining up with the breakaways, lay off a few lengths and you can be sure they will sit up when they catch the breakaways. As soon as they sit up when the junction is made (they always do this) ATTACK from the back and they will probably hesitate as they wait to see who is going to take up the chase, especially if they have all been working hard and the breakaways will be too tired to counter attack… and you are away !

Ohh...so that is a break. I will probably be hanging on for dear life so ATTACK will probably be out of the question...

7. THE FINISH… If the race ends in a bunch sprint, this is a very specialised and dangerous scenario. If you have any qualms that you can’t get involved as a novice, stay out of it. Eventually you will see what the other top dogs do and then you can try to emulate them. A bunch sprint can be very physical, so you will need to get used to the bumping and barging in the races before you get involved in a hectic bunch finish. You can always start the sprint near the front and just look what happens around you without actually putting yourself into a compromising position. LOOK AND LEARN…
In a sprint from a small group , things are much easier to work out, and now you can get involved without it being dangerous. If you are in a small group approaching the finish, the first thing to do is to work out several things at the same time… Which way is the wind blowing? Is it uphill or downhill? Which is the best wheel to be on? Can you see the finish banner well?
Now you can work out your sprint strategy. If it’s a head wind, don’t start the sprint too soon and come off the “right” wheel. If it’s a cross wind, try to attack on the sheltered side and then move to the shelter of the finishing straight. (don’t move your line too much though, as you could get disqualified…. Be safe!). If it’s tail wind, you can afford to jump early, but from the back of the group. Don’t advertise the fact that you are going to start your sprint by trying to jump off the front of the group.. Jump from last man and get a gap. Then the others will find difficult to close on you if there is a tail wind blowing. The last thing to remember is to sprint PAST the finish line and not “to” it. How many races have been lost in the last 50 metres by riders thinking they’ve got it in the bag. Even experienced riders get this wrong.. Remember Oscar Friere getting under Erik Zabels arms in the last 10 metres as he raised them , thinking he had won the Milan San Remo for the fifth time.. Oh dear… SPRINT PAST LINE !

Yes, there is a lot to learn about getting it right in a road race. But nothing compares with crossing that line with your arms in the air (once you are sure you’ve got it) believe me, it’s the best buzz you’ll get on a bike!

If I am actually in this situation...things have gone WAY wrong and it is in the best interest of all riders in front, behind and to the sides of me to WATCH OUT!!!

So now you pretty much have all the expertise and experience that I do...Should be a good race :)

7.08.2010

Post Ironman Recovery

After last years Ironman, I struggled to play a little hoopfest and then all be vanished off the workout/triathlon scene. I was fighting nagging injury after nagging injury and it was all I could do to get out the door and do well anything.
Fast-forward a year and it couldn't be a more different story. Though I was a bit sore the first few days after the race, I recovered much more quickly and honestly right now feel absolutely awesome. I think it has a bit to do with not pushing myself to the complete edge during the race but has more to do with me being in much better shape then ever before. My training leading up to the race was much smarter and in turn has turned out to be a blessing as I have already gone for multiple bike rides and even a run and swim. This didn't happen for a few weeks last year.

Even with the somewhat quick return to some training, I have found plenty of time to relax and just enjoy life and what you have to put on the back burner as you have to commit so much time to training the last couple of months leading up to an Ironman.

Family:
Over the 4th, I had a ton of family come to town from as far away as Brazil. I also had my sister come back to watch Ironman, so I was able to spend a bit of time with my niece Elli...aka The Cutest Niece Ever...but I might be a bit bias :)

Feeding Elli some glorified Cheerios...Gerber whatchmacallits!

Elli loves the swing we hung for her.

A Serious Moment ;)

Love this Picture!!!

My Cousin Aleesha and Bella
My Sister Jesica and Elli

3 Generations!!!

Adorable!!!

With her new Monkey from Teddy Bear Junction!!!

Relaxation:
The day after Ironman was spent by the pool. There was no need to do anything else period!!!

So I get a text from Carla asking if I was relaxing...response:
"If you can call this relaxing"

Chilling with one of the best little IronFans around!!!

And even when you are back to work while all your teacher
friends are laying by the pool... ;)


Training:
I have slowly moved back into some sort of training regimen. There is no detailed schedule and really I do whatever I want when I want to. I have been back to the pool once and even went for a nice short run. Throwin' in a few short bike rides and honestly just enjoying getting back to moving around without the race hanging over my head.
Jessi and Adam on a post Ironman recovery/get back to it ride.

A couple of Roadies...well kinda :)

Great first ride back!!!
I can't tell you how nice it is to have some time to just relax and enjoy. With some perfect weather now approaching...get yourself out there and enjoy it!!! I know I will!

7.06.2010

Ironman Coeur d' Alene 2010: Race Report

Triathlon Tip: Always find someone who can write.
With all my gear turned in, all I had to do on race morning was wake up early and head over to Coeur d’ Alene. As with just about every race I do, sleeping the night before is always horrible. I struggle to fall asleep and when I finally do, I swear the alarm clock goes off 2 minutes later…Saturday night was no different.

After arriving in Coeur d’ Alene last year, there didn’t seem like there was enough time to get everything done. From getting body marked, dropping off special needs bags, loading the bike up with my nutrition and pumping my tires, but this year everything was done before I knew it and I was able to spend a good 30 minutes just standing around waiting. It is amazing how much easier things seemed the second time around.

Tiff kept asking me if I was nervous and I could honestly respond with “No” as I felt calm and focused. I just wanted to get the race under way, it couldn’t start soon enough…but in all reality I had been saying that for about 2 weeks.

Finally the race announcer made the call that transition would close in 15 minutes and it was time to get the wetsuit on and head down to the water, which is like a herd of cattle, albeit a very fit herd, trying to move along at an extremely slow pace. Reaching the beach, I headed down to get a quick warm-up swim and get use to the water temperature.


The Swim-
My goal for the swim was go out strong and find a little open water. I placed myself right up front with the big boys and planned to catch some feet of a slightly faster swimmer. After my experience last year, I knew the swim wasn’t going to be easy but I had no idea what was in store.


The first loop was brutal. I was fighting for position the ENTIRE way out to the first turn buoy. I think I may have found about a minute of open water but I am probably exaggerating. I don’t recall that many people grabbing and pulling but when you start in the first row…I guess that is what you better expect.


The first turn buoy made the cattle herding earlier seem like a walk in the park, though I guess it kind of was. You pinch all those swimmers down into that small space and you go from swimming freestyle to a modified breaststroke and really you are just trying to keep you head above water.


The toughest part of this swim is going across the back portion of the course. You can’t see anything with the sun cresting Tubbs Hill, the only option is to following the thrashing in front of you. I was eventually able to spot the turn buoy and realized how off course many of us were. We were swimming way left and now had to adjust and move right in order to get around it. I think I might have spotted the buoy a bit before the other swimmers as I was now trying to play a game of modified Frogger and basically swam across the general flow of traffic.

Once you make it around that buoy, you are home free as the waves seem to pull you towards the beach. It was funny how long it felt to get to the yellow buoys on the way out and how fast it was to the orange buoys on the way back. As I exited the water, I looked down and my watch read 32:40 and though I was hoping for a slightly faster first loop I was definitely pleased with my time.

Really need to start smiling during my races!
The second loop was pretty uneventful and before I knew it, I was heading back to the beach. I had set a goal swim time of somewhere between 1:00-1:05, knowing that if I broke the 1:05 mark, I had a great swim. I came out of the water at 1:07:24 and honestly couldn’t be happier. I could have focused a bit more on strong strokes but I had a solid effort and felt much better exiting the water this year.

Swim Time 2009: 1:11:49
Swim Time 2010: 1:07:24

Transition #1-
Have you ever seen that Victoria Secret Fashion show on TV? You know the one where they run backstage, people are yelling and clothes are flying off and then back on to the runway…well T1 is like that just different …basically minus smoking hot chicks in underwear part.

After getting my wetsuit stripped and grabbing my bag, I was into the tent and did my best to get out of there as fast as I could. I really focused on being as quick but organized as possible…which really goes out the window as you heart is about to jump out of your chest and the simple task of putting on your sock requires complete focus.

Soon I had all my gear on and I was off to find my bike.

T1 Time 2009: 3:56
T1 Time 2010: 4:32

The Bike-
After last year’s disastrous second loop, I really focused on trying to stay within myself and not getting caught up in all the excitement and going out too hard. If you have been around triathlon long enough, you know that you do not have a great bike unless you have a great run. I think I may be the exception to the rule this time around.
Heading out of Transition!
Because of the temperatures were expected to reach into the 80’s, I made a decision to add enduralytes into the nutrition routine. Since the weather has as been extremely mild, this would be my first serious extended effort in warm temps and I should have known you don’t do anything new on race day but I feared not getting enough electrolytes since I don’t drink Gatorade and took a chance. If I could do it all over again, these would be the first to go.

I felt strong throughout the entire ride and if it hadn’t been for the almost cramp when I stretched out my back, I may have quite taking the enduralytes and the entire outcome could have been different. You can second guess yourself a thousand times, as I have done, but it doesn’t change anything.
What's that...another picture without smiling. Surprise, Surprise!!!
Even though I was having a great ride, the absolute best part was seeing…ok usually hearing everyone out on the course. From the family and friends downtown, to the people spread out along the course, to this tiny quiet group of people standing out on the corner of Rimrock and Dodd, hearing people cheering is the best.
Now if you were out on the course anywhere in the Hayden area, I am sure you heard the tiny quiet group out there. It was pretty lame;) how they pulled out all the stops with the sound system blasting music, spotters placed up the road with walkie talkies to let them know who was coming and screaming and yelling that went on even as you were far up the road. I can guarantee you there were some jealous athletes out there. TRI-FUSION and IRONFANS…You So Crazy!!!
Still not smiling...but there's the hand again :)
This year I felt strong the entire second loop. Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing more exciting the finally getting off that freakin’ bike but I wasn’t in survival mode and never felt more ready to start the run. I really think I had the perfect effort on the bike and finished a few mintues faster that my goal of 5:30.

Bike Time 2009: 5:51:40
Bike Time 2010: 5:26:24

Transition #2-
This went great and before I knew it, I was out running a marathon…awesome ;)

The “Run”-
Last year entering the run, the back of my knees hurt more than I thought was possible…until now. I was able do the Ironman shuffle and finish with what I think was a respectable 4:10 marathon.
There are definitely not a lot of pictures of me running but here is one!

The first out and back felt great. My legs felt strong and once I got into a groove, I really felt I was going to have a great run. About 15-20 minutes in, I developed a side stitch. Now I have suffered through these before and knew it wasn’t something I could just push to the back of my mind. After a few quick walks to try a few breathing techniques…nothing seemed to work. I would run for a bit, then have to stop and try breathing out real fast…then run again and stop…and eventually run again.

Now I can’t put the complete blame on the use of the enduralytes but it is really the only thing I can think of that would cause this imbalance. I hadn’t experienced this in any of my training and after such a long year…this couldn’t get any worse.

The entire first loop I did my best to try and run between aid stations or whenever I thought I might run past someone I knew. I really didn’t want to walk when all these people came out to cheer for me and I tried to use their excitement even though I knew things were heading south fast. I knew was going to finish this race, it was just a matter of how long it was going to take me.

Not a lot to smile about on this run!
As I headed out on the second loop, my run-walk stragety turned into a walk-run survival. I really hate walking and I am not sure there is anything that frustrates me more. My legs felt strong and I knew I was able to run but every single time I would start to run my stomach would start to cramp up. There is nothing more miserable than watching over 500 people pass you as you struggle along. You have so much time to think about what if I did this...what if I did that and the mental game of trying to finish really begins.

It got to the point where I couldn’t understand how all these people could walk so fast. It was crazy that every time I tried to pick up my walking pace another athlete would go by like I was standing still…and in most cases, I was actually standing there wondering if I could move forward. Though completely physically taxing, mentally this was the toughest thing I have EVER done. Putting one foot in front of the other was near impossible.

As miserable as it is to be walking a marathon of an Ironman there were still a few highlights and can make even the most miserable athletes smile. Seeing familiar faces of my family and friends. I struggled to just keep moving but each time I would see and hear the cheers, it gave me that extra boost. I will be the first to tell you, I definitely didn’t show my gratitude out on the course but if it counts now, I could be more thankful for the continued support throughout the run. From my parents, sister and friends down in the park, the Tri-Fusion teammates along the course, Greg, Nat, Craig, Erika and Matt on bikes popping up everywhere and for my IronFans going crazy 12 hours after it started. There is no way I would have finished this race without you guys out there.

I am not quite sure how I mustered up a jog but I was able to run the last mile or so and though it was close, was still able to finish just under the 12:00 mark.

Here is a video my coworker, Berry, put together. It's a pretty cool bit and if you look at the swim start you will see one guy dive in just before everyone else...about 3/4 the way up the beach. That is ME :)
video

Run Time 2009: 4:10:19
Run Time 2010: 5:19:17
Here are a couple more videos at the finish line.


video



Overall Time 2009: 11:20:14
Overall Time 2010: 11:59:42

I have been asked no less than 50 times if I am going to race next year…and I can tell you next year is not in the plans but after having a great swim and bike, I will be back and will do this race again. I have some serious unfinished business and know that I am capable of doing this race under 10:30. That was my goal and coming off the bike and it was within reach. I know there are a ton of outside factors but after this experience, I will someday put all three disciplines together.

My Family!!!

A few of the IronFans!!!
Thank you to everyone who came out and cheered. After examing the highs and lows and what might have been, I really enjoyed the overall experience and can “almost” understand why we put ourselves through such a long training days to get to the start line of an Ironman.

I want to send out a special thank you to my sponsor GU Energy for supplying all my training and racing nutritional needs...couldn't have done any of it without you!!!

Congrats to all the other racers out there. Especially Adam, Jenn and Nate...Welcome to the Ironman Family!!!

7.03.2010

Ironman Coeur d' Alene 2010- IronFans!!!

There is really only one way to start out blogging about my Ironman experience. Though this might be considered one of the most difficult individual challenges one person can attempt, I truly feel that there is absolutely no possible way for an athlete to make it to this day and maximize their potential without the support of family and friends.

I fortunately have been blessed with amazing support from all sides. Even though my family thinks I am completely crazy for even attempting triathlons let alone an Ironman, they came out in full force to cheer me through the finish line. THANK YOU to everyone who came out. Not pictures was Brandi, Jeremy and Nikki.
The Team Anderson Support Crew
When it comes to friends, I might be a little bias but I am pretty sure I have the best IronFans out there. How often do you find people who will ninjafy (yes…I probably made it up) themselves and seek around in the dark decorating for a race. It all starts out civilian and in one quick transformation...you become Ninja! Jessi and Tiffany each have an account of their experiences...



While I was doing my best to try and sleep, my IronFan crew was hard at work!



The Lil' Ninja Emma...

My Awesome Sign...Thanks Natalie!!!

You have just been Ninjaed!
Seriously though, this is what makes Ironman so much fun. You have trained for so many months and it all boils down to one day, one experience and who else to share it with then some of the best people in the world. Roger, Jessi, Tiffany, Eric and Emma went all out...THANK YOU!!!

To all the Tri-Fusion teammates out there that cheered continously throughout the day. Honestly you guys are the best team around...hands down!!! Craig, Erica, Natalie, Greg, Trish, Merissa, Matt, Jessie, Stan and I am sure the many more I have forgotten. So many familiar faces really makes these races enjoyable!!!

I don't have a ton of pictures from the many others who came out to support at the race but THANK YOU to my good friends Rory, Carla, Damon, Joe, Erika, Jon, Jenny, Marci, Scott, Clayon, Richelle, Nicole, Berry, Jed, Kristin and Suzie. Seriously how cool is it to have a list that long of people to thank for coming out and cheering you on.


Clayton and Richelle

Carla and Rory (Rory is an IronFan Pro)
I can’t thank you all enough for the support throughout the year and right through race day. When you have a tough day like I experienced, its these people that help keep you moving step after step. Even though there are about 5 hours of last Sunday I would like to forget, there are countless others that I will keep forever.

As for the race report…stay tuned because it is on the way!!!