Monday, June 30, 2008

Great weekend filled with training!

This weekend I got in some great training with a long ride (mix of road and mtn), an easy swim with drills, a mountain bike race and a hard transition run after the race. Some of my training was done with Greg Heinz, a great guy and a very good cyclist in the area (and a Cal Poly grad...Go Mustang's). I am excited to be training with him as I am certain he is going to get me into good shape!
I got my butt kicked in the XC race but man it was a great workout and I followed that up with a very tough transition run. I am pretty tired today so mission accomplished...feeling this beat means I went hard and that was the goal. I could really care less about any results b/c it is more about doing the hard work now so that I am fit for more important races in August and October.
I am doing some different training during the second half of the season. I think this new approach will deliver some great fitness and good results. With every race and every season I learn more and more about what it takes to excel at a high level in any endurance sport but specifically Xterra. Lately, I have given a lot of thought to my training and racing and, with a new arsenal of workouts, I feel like I am on the road to continued success and breakthrough performances.
Today is an obvious recovery day for me and as the week progresses I will get back into the really hard workouts. It took me about 1 week to get back to "normal." I felt off pretty much the whole week. After a solid weekend of hard training though I feel much better. I can't say I feel 100% b/c of some other things going on in my life but I feel much better, which is good.
I am always a big proponent of life balance and I believe that stress from work, family, etc. needs to be factored into every training plan b/c stress leads to poor training, end of story. While I know this all too well, it still amazes me how much stress can hurt your training and hinder your ability to push hard during key sessions. Most people close to me know that my company is going through a major restructuring right now and I, along with 50% of the other sales reps, were displaced and left without a job (and a car, computer, etc...the list goes on). A bit surprising to me given my track record with this company but it is what it is and I am doing my best to turn this tough time into a positive situation. I also believe that challenges like this one make you much stronger and smarter and it opens the door to bigger and better opportunities. So, take it from me, a lot of stress will hurt your training and needs to be factored in when developing a training plan...lesson learned, again!
Without a job I am left to train, train and train...shoot, I guess I have no choice but to get faster ;) I also get to spend more time getting my coaching business built up and Skinfit operational, which is a lot of fun and certainly where my heart is. I am also looking for another job b/c this thing called a mortgage has to get paid...why didn't I pick another sport like baseball? This triathlon thing doesn't pay much, especially when 15th is your best pro result! =)
Well, thanks for reading and have a good one!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A slight change

So, no race for me today. I was excited to race b/c it was going to be a stress free event on a beautiful course. As the week progressed making it up to Tahoe become very stressful and with the added smoke from the fires up there I pulled the plug. I will stay close to home and log plenty of miles on the bike with a longer road ride today and a mountain bike race on sunday followed by a hard transition run.
Keeping stress to a minimum is important to me. Plus, traveling to races is a lot of work and right now I just can't shoulder the load. I made the right decision and hopefully next year I can make it up there for this cool event.
So, have a good weekend everyone and I will let you know how my weekend goes come monday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good video of Xterra East Champs in Richmond

For all those wondering what the Xterra East Champs was all about this year check out the video link below. You get a good feel for this very cool, urban course.
FYI--Anyone in all green is obviously me =)
This video was done by Damian Gonzales and he has been doing a great job with these for a couple years now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moving right along...

So, I have back to training for 3 days now and it feels good. I feel more myself...not feeling so fat and sluggish. I can't say I feel great in my workouts (actually I feel pretty bad) but I don't really think it is from a big lack of fitness but rather a lack of "feel" for all 3 sports. I only took one week completely off but during a taper and race phase I don't get in much training so I tend to gain a little weight and feel a bit off. My "feeling" for all 3 sports will be back after a few more days and I think my fitness will return pretty quickly.
The only thing that is a bit suspect is my hip. It is getting better everyday but it still hurts and isn't firing at 100%. It will fully heal but it is just taking longer then I would like and I would be lying if I said it doesn't bother me a bit when I run.
So, my plan is to race Xterra Tahoe City this weekend and the only thing that will prevent me from doing so is my hip. The only races that matter to me this year are the Xterra National Series races and there only two more left--Ogden August 16th and Nationals in Lake Tahoe October 5th. So, if I am not feeling 100% I won't do the race this weekend b/c it just isn't worth injuring myself further. As much as I love Tahoe and enjoy doing Xterra races it is important to be smart at this point in the season.
So, we will see. I hope things are 100% and I can put in a great training day on saturday. If not, no worries...I will just stick around home and log some quality miles.
Have a good one!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back at it...

My week of excess is now over and boy does it feel good to be back training! I feel rather plump and out of shape, which is exactly the way I want to feel even though I HATE feeling like this. It was a good break mentally and physically. My hip is still bothering me a bit but i think some light movement will be good for it (since I went to medical school and all ;) ).
I got in a nice run and mountain bike ride this morning and it felt so good to sweat a bit. I will hit the pool for a short swim this afternoon just to get a feel for the water and to prepare myself for the masters sessions to come. This first week of swimming is going to be rough!!!
Oh, I love it though. I realize how much I enjoying being active when I spend time being inactive. I have really enjoyed training and racing this year so I am very excited to start my prep for Ogden and Nationals.
I will be racing this saturday (Xterra Tahoe City) just for fun...I love those Tahoe trails and that beautiful lake! I won't be resting for this race and, quite frankly, I don't have a really good track record when racing at altitude (unless I spent plenty of time training at altitude prior to the race) so it will be a great training day in a beautiful place, which is tough to beat.
Thanks for reading and have a good one!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Checkout a review of a great product from one of my sponsors

Some news and some pictures

I am lucky to have two new companies supporting my efforts as a first year Xterra pro...
1. Oakley--makers of the best eyewear on the planet, hands down!!!
2. ESI grips (extreme steering Inc.)--makers on the lightest and most comfortable mountain and road grips available.

With the addition of these two companies I have a very strong team behind me...thanks for all the support!!! Where would I be without my sponsors, family and friends?!

On another note, I decided to visit the doctor today b/c my hip is really bothering me (since my crash in Richmond). It has become increasingly sore and is still swollen so I was a bit worried it was more serious then I originally thought. The doctor told me that he is 95% certain that nothing is broken b/c where I have the most pain is on the biggest bone in my body. Basically, he said if it was broken I wouldn't be walking. So, he said that it will be sore and swollen for a week or so more and then I should be fine. I will get an x-ray down the road if things don't get better through the weekend. I was just experiencing more pain then usual (it basically hurts all the time) after a crash so I wanted to get it checked out. I am not entirely sure I trust the guy that looked at it (since he touched it for seriously 10 seconds) but he did make me feel a little better about everything. I just hope everything heals and I can be back training next week as planned. Deep down I think I am fine but it sure does hurt and it probably will for the next week or so. I guess I will just have to spend the weekend wine/beer tasting in San luis Obispo with Jess to dull the pain =)

Some pictures from last weekends race in Richmond

--From here down are some cool pics from our photoshoot in SF (we have hundreds so it will take some time to sort through all of them)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Xterra Richmond

So, I have officially finished my first pro feels great to get the monkey off my back from the poor performance in Alabama!
I placed 15th overall. I am happy with my performance. I have a lot of room for improvement but that's okay with me...I welcome the challenge. Finding ways to improve in all three sports and discovering my limits is what I love about this sport. So, starting this pro journey as the 15th placed pro in Richmond is a fine place to start in my opinion. I know I am capable of more and I will continue to put in the hard work and I am sure good results will follow. Oh, and I did get my first pro points so I will be officially ranked in the overall series!
The swim was crazy as surprise here. I struggled to find a rhythm on the bike but this technical course will do this to you (and I just rode poorly--bad lines, lack of coordination, etc). Plus, I crashed and landed on my hip pretty hard. Okay, I know, I know, enough with the crashing...tell me about it! It didn't bother me during the race but once I finished man did it hurt. Lets just say that getting around the airport today is a bit challenging and I am sure people are looking at me weird b/c I can barely use my right leg (at least without some major discomfort). Oh well, it is time for a break from training so I can let me body heal before I get after it again.
I felt good on the run but I know I can run faster.
So, I feel like I put together a good performance and I am at a great starting point. I learned A LOT on sunday and I will change my training to better replicate the demands of pro Xterra racing. Well, my big racing adventure is over and now I am on my way back to California...I can't wait to get back home. It was a great trip with great guys and a ton of great memories...I can't wait to do it again!
Have a good week everyone.
I am taking the next week completely off from training...a big mental and physical break! Then it will be back to business in prep for Ogden and Nationals.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Put it in the big ring and charge it!!!!

This has been our motto here in Richmond and it won't change as we all toe the line tomorrow morning.
We started the day with a short ride on the course and followed it up with a short run. I opted not to swim while the others got in. Then we picked up our race packets and set out to get in some serious relaxation...after lunch of course.
It didn't take long before Brian and I were passed out in the living room and I am pretty sure everyone else was passed out upstairs. I love naps!
Then we got our bags and bikes ready for tomorrow (while watching euro cup soccer and some golf). The race starts at 8:30 and we plan to ride to the race course as part of our is only 4 miles away and it is the perfect way to get the legs moving.
I am feeling very good and I can't wait for tomorrow. I really feel that I am capable of posting a solid result so I will give it all I have the second the gun goes off.
Dinner is about done (I am told) and then we will just sit around some more and watch the golf match.
Keep an eye out for a race report tomorrow or monday.
Until then, put it in the big ring and charge it!!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Great video of the Richmond course

Check out Cody's blog for some great video of the course we will be racing on this sunday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Course recon and mechanicals

Today Cody, James and I rode the bike course again. The good news is that I felt much, much better on the tight singletrack trails. The bad news is that I had a mild spill and bent my shifter and tweaked my front wheel. Let's just say I am kind of over this whole crashing thing...I have some issues!
Anyways, we took the bike to the bike shop for repairs and things seem to be okay but the shifter will need to be replaced after this race...I just hope it holds up for the race!!!!

--James in the big ring charging it!!!

After the ride we went for a run on the course to navigate some tricky rock sections.
Overall, I felt GREAT! The legs are feeling good and with the rest I have scheduled over the next two days I will be primed and ready to get after it on sunday. I am very excited to race and to see what I am made of!
Tonight will be homemade pizza and tomorrow will be filled with a TON of relaxation and sleep. Soooooooooooooo nice....

We made it to Richmond...

Yesterday the boys and I packed up early and drove to Richmond. It was about 6 hours of drive time from Asheville to Richmond. The time in the car hasn't been bad at all, despite driving a uhaul.
Once we got to Richmond (Which is still HOT by the way!) we pre-rode the bike course. The course is fun but the trails are pretty loose and technical, more so then I remember. I have crashed two times in the last two weeks so I don't quite feel comfortable charging technical trails but I think after a few rides on the course I will feel much better. It just takes a little time to get the "guts" back to really get after it. I am not too worried, the feel will come back.
After our ride we jumped in for a short swim...guess what? The water is hot! Seriously, could we have a normal swim please?!!! The swim is tough b/c the river is filled with large rocks and the currents can push you away from your intended destination rather quickly.
So, after a few hours out on the course we met up with my family, Whit and Dave. We will be staying with them here in Richmond. They are such great people and they are only 4 miles from the race venue. We went to a mexican restaurant for dinner and we had some killer fish tacos. Then it was home for bed.
Today Cody, James and I will be riding and running the course and then it will time for some more rest. Rest, rest, rest...can't get enough of it!
Thanks for reading and have a good one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Awesome day...mentally I am back on track

Today started out a little slow as we tried to locate some trails that are regarded as "the top 10 best mountain bike trails in the US." In a nut shell we drove FOREVER through some of the smallest backwoods towns in the country and 2 hrs later finally found our destination. It astounds me how different and slow things are around here...what a far cry from California! The 2 hrs of driving and frustration of being lost was completely forgotten once we arrived at a true mountain biking/training mecca...Tsali National Park!

This place is amazing! We first went for a swim in a warm, pristine lake without another person in sight. After our swim we took off to ride what I consider some of the best trails I have ever ridden. We spent 1:30 on tight, twisty and super smooth singletrack that flowed through the forest and along the lake. I finished the ride feeling rejuvenated and just plain happy to be alive! The we went for a short, super easy run. So, after today I am back on track mentally and I am fired up for the race in Richmond. What happen last Sunday is behind me and all roads lead to Richmond.

Then we hit up some true southern BBQ (and some beers) in Asheville. Let's just say they don't skimp on the portion size...honestly I ate about 1/4 of what was on my plate and I was maxed out (mind you I just got done training for 2 1/2 hours and didn't eat that much during the day!) Then it was back up to our little mountain cabin to pack some stuff up for our early morning departure to Richmond. Tomorrow we plan to drive to Richmond and pre-ride the bike course...can't wait!
It is onward and upward from here! Stay tuned as we take our adventure to Virgina and the race approaches.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rough start...

--Swim start

So, I wouldn't exactly call my first pro race a success. First pro start, first DNF (did not finish). After a tough swim in super warm water I head out onto the bike course in a good position. About 15 minutes into the ride I took a pretty nasty fall onto a bunch of roots. Basically, I lost control of my front wheel and the large roots stopped me dead in my tracks throwing me over the bars. In mountain biking, crashing is part of the deal and I have been very lucky so far to not have any serious crashes but this one wasn't so forgiving.

--A small preview of the damage (on my upper back)

I crashed just as my buddy and fellow pro Cody Waite caught me so he saw the crash unfold, he asked me if I was okay and I said "yes" immediately. I jumped back onto my bike but something just felt wrong. My back was locked up big time and my right side was killing me. The bike course has a ton of rocks and roots so it isn't friendly on the body. I tried to keep riding but since my back was completely jacked my right hamstring was cramping up (trying to compensate for a lack of power coming from my hips)and I was having trouble gripping the bars hard enough to maintain total control. I really did try to keep going but it was a lost cause so once I saw the main road I jumped on it and off the course for a the long, humbling ride back to transition. I was so upset with myself on the ride back. I was really in the mix with the other pros and had I put together just a decent bike (not even blazing fast) I would have started the run in a very good position to take a top 12 and even potentially a top 10 spot depending on my ability to push through the super hot conditions.

--Thought this beer was perfect..."Endo" beer! Exactly what I did on my bike yesterday, an endo right over the handlebars.

I hate excuses so I won't make any. This crash was my fault entirely and I am extremely upset with myself. I have never had anything but a very minor spill in an Xterra race and I have certainly finished all of them so to crash out of my first pro race truly disgusts me. I know I am too hard on myself at times and this is just part of racing but I am just beating myself up right now. The good thing is that I have some very supportive friends that are making sure I don't get too down on myself so I feel really fortunate to be hanging out with such good people.
While I am very hard on myself I am also good at turning bad experiences into learning experiences and I will use my first DNF as fuel for the next race. So, next it is on to Richmond for the 3rd stop on the Xterra Tour. Lets just say I can't wait and I will be racing with some serious fire in the belly next sunday. I hate failing more then anything so you can be sure I will give it everything I have next weekend.
For now, we are hanging out in Asheville, NC at an amazing mountain house.

For the next few days we will be exploring the trails out here in search of some epic mountain bike adventures. I will be doing some training this week in an effort to get my head on straight...nothing crazy but enough to get me in the right frame of mind for the upcoming race. I am pretty sore for obvious reasons so we will take today minute by minute but I think some activity is going to work wonders on the muscles. I didn't run yesterday so I am not very fatigued, which is good for next weekend. So, the next couple days should be a blast. I will be doing my best to put yesterday behind me and I am sure with this crew and these beautiful mountains I will move past my disappointing performance rather quickly.
Thanks for reading and thanks for all of the support!

--Life in a uhaul!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Update from the deep south...

This morning we took off early to get in a pre-ride of the course before the Xterra trail running races started. Cody and I rode the whole course and I am glad we did b/c this course is tricky...lots of tight turns, roots and rocks. Fun but you have to be focused the entire time or a tree can very quickly derail you.

--On the gradual climb and widest part of the course

--Cody fixing a flat

After the ride we got in for quick lap of the swim course. The water is very warm and swimming hard tomorrow will be very "enjoyable." Normally I hate jumping into cold water at swim practice but I would prefer that temp over the one we will have tomorrow without a doubt.
It is a beautiful course! You are in the trees the entire time so the sun won't be beating down on us but that's not to say the heat and humidity isn't enough already. Man, this weather is exactly why I could never live over do you people do it?! Thank you to my family for moving to California!!!

--Notice the blue number plate..pros get blue. Oh boy, it's going to be a good one tomorrow.

After our ride and swim we picked up our race numbers, etc. (#24--my first pro number!)and then went to grab some lunch at Whole Foods (I love this place!).
The we went to get the Uhaul for our road trip to Asheville and Richmond. It is going to be an epic road trip...I am so glad we decided to do this! I am here with a great group of guys and I am sure our adventure will be a blast filled with plenty of good times! We are bummed b/c Tom (one of our good buddies) couldn't make it...we miss you man! Get that work taken care of b/c we expect to see you in Richmond!
Now, it is time to relax. The legs are up and the tv is on..exactly what I need right now. I am excited for my first pro race tomorrow. It is a big step for me and I am pumped to give it a go. There will be 23 pros on the start line.
The race starts at 9:30 tomorrow so it will be nice and hot on the BRUTAL run leg of the course. At least they have a rain tent at the finish...that is where I will be for about an hour after the race if your looking for me =)
Alright, time for some inactivity. Have a good one and stay tuned for a race report.

-4 guys, 4 bikes in 1 ford explorer... a little tight but we made it work.

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's hot!

I finally made it Alabama after my flight was delayed by nearly 3 hours. I was a little worried that my gear wouldn't show up but it did so all is good.
Tomorrow I will pre-ride the bike course and get in for a quick swim. I am told the water temp is literally like a warm bath so the swim on race day is going to be tough...swimming hard in warm water is not at all fun. I can't wait to check out the bike course is fast and tight so it should be a great time!
It is due to be very hot and humid so it will be a hard day of racing on sunday but I feel ready to race and I am really looking forward to the gun going off!
I will share some pictures tomorrow after I checkout the race venue.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Packed and ready to roll....

I am all set for my trip to Alabama and Richmond. I take off tomorrow morning for a "glorious" day of travel with a bike box and a ton of's amazing how much you need to race! I am curious to see how shafted I get with my bike box and bag...they just love to take your money =)
I am really excited to head out east with some really great should be a fantastic time filled with some hardcore racing.
I have the camara and the computer so I will post updates throughout my trip.
So, stay tuned as I charge the second and third stops on the Xterra Circuit.
I will be in touch.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spoke too soon...

Alright, it's official, I will be racing as an Xterra Pro from now on!
I got the approval an hour after I wrote my last post.
There's nowhere to hide's go time!!!!!
Alabama will be my first pro race...we'll see what I can do.

Cruising along...

So, saturday I put together a solid workout. Then on sunday I had a mellow day that consisted of an easy mountain bike ride and an easy drill session in the pool...just a recovery day. I did have a bit of a crash on my ride. I was flying down some singletrack and got a little agressive (just trying to improve my downhill skills) and took a fall at a pretty high speed. Nothing broken or damaged but I do have some scrapes and soreness. The right side of my torso is a little sore but nothing too serious.
Yesterday was another easy day that consisted of an open water swim. Today I will mix in a little intensity...a short mountain bike ride with some 90 second accelerations up to race pace and then hop off the bike for a 20 minute transition run with several 60 second race pace accelerations. This little bit of intensity keeps the body sharp for race day. After my ride/run session it is time for more rest. Rest is my primary concern this week.
I will be doing two more open water swim workouts. The duration of these workouts will be shorter as the week goes on but there will be some intensity.
Overall, I feel great and I can't wait to race! I still haven't heard back from USA triathlon regarding my pro license...something tells me that I could be without the pro card for these upcoming races. I really hope not but it wouldn't suprise me since my contact is at the world championships in Canada this week. We'll see...
Have a good one!