Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Some Pictures from last season

Team Pictures in Australia

Team Pictures in Hawaii

More Team Pictures ....

Dad, Jeff, and I in the Chicago Bean

Fashion Icon is Born

Who needs shoelaces when you can use medical tape to keep your shoes on securely? There is actually a good story to go with this one.

Photo credit needs to be given to Jeff Cloutier Not only for his expert skills but ability to remain cool and calm in the face of a distressed subject.

Twas the night before US Nationals in 2006, my first ITU race and only my 5th triathlon ever and 2nd as a pro. In other words, I was scared shitless and very high stress. I was getting my race shoes ready to go and those quick laces all first pair. I trimmed the laces down to get them perfect only to realize that they were a bit too short and my racing flats were too tight to pull on. 8pm at night in Long Beach California there were no quick laces or even shoelaces to be found. To overcome my stupidity, I ended up taking the laces out of my trainers to use in my racing flats, and they worked out fine. But in the meantime, I wanted to still use my trainers to walk around before/after the race...hence my new fashion statement with the tape. I patented this new shoe system and am waiting for it to really take off in the fashion world then my ship will come in....But in the interim I guess I will have to scrap by as a toiling athlete.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Locked Down in Israel

My last race wasn’t all that I hoped for…in fact it was a big disappointment in my book. The biggest downer is that my running improvements that I have worked so hard to achieve in my training were not reflected in the run. I exited transition strong and got out to a great start but faded fast. I was passed by almost 30 people on the run falling from 5th place to 35th. Mentally watching that many girls blow by me was difficult since my wasted legs had no response. I am not sure if I biked too hard pulling for to much of the 40K course or if the fighting on the first portion of the swim had any effect. Regardless of the cause, my run was four minutes off where it needs to be next year. I have a lot to work on in the off-season and look forward to getting my running form back on track.
Israel takes its security to a different level imagine having all your bags unpacked in front of you. I am not exaggerating my carry-on, checked bag, and bike were unpacked completely. Every item was removed as they x-rays and swabbed each and every item. My items were splayed and dumped bike and wheels riped from the case to be x-rayed separately….. But on top of this psychical examination, you are also grilled verbally about your trip details the whys wheres and asked the same question in 3 different ways to try to catch you in a slip. It is this intense interrogation and invasion that makes the US airport security a breeze in comparison. We went through security within Israel 3 times, and it was intense every time. It is normal to spend an hour or more being cleared through security before you can even get in line for your boarding pass.
On Sunday after the race, Jillian and I miscalculated and were short on time; we only arrived to check in 1 hour and 45 minutes before our International departure. As our bags were unpacked and prodded and analyzed by 8 security agents, we were stressed about making our flight. The delta manager came over to say we were tight on time, and it wouldn't be their fault if we missed the flight. After an hour and 5 minutes, we were repacked and cleared to finish checking in. As we arrived at the counter with 45 minutes to spare, we were treated to the Delta manager telling us that we could board the plane only if we both had $100 in cash to pay for our bikes. Most airlines don't assess this fee on international flights especially since our bikes were well under the weight restrictions, at 36 lbs for mine. We scrambled for cash but could only come up with just over $30 each. Jillian and I offered her travelers checks or credit cards or to sprint to the atm. I am not ashamed to say that we begged her to please have some pity on us, and please let us on the flight. Coldly, the Delta manager ignored us and walked away...not even offering to help us get re-booked on the next day's flight or any advice on how we should get home from Tel Aviv. It was 10:50pm, and we still had 40 minutes until our flight was due to take off. The Delta desk was unmanned and would not have any agent there until the next night at 8pm.
We tracked down the Delta number in the states, and with the help of moms working on the problem from US phones were able to get re-booked on a flight 12 hours later at 10:40 am the next morning.
I understand that we were at fault but the Delta manager’s complete lack of compassion for our situation and unwillingness to assist in any way was downright evil. . Yes we should have arrived sooner, but the lack of empathy to assist us when we had time to still make the plane was appalling.
After spending 20 hours in the Tel Aviv airport, we were so slap happy and silly that everything was amusing. Since the Thursday night before the race until Sunday night, I had a total of 12 hours sleep. Not enough considering that I normally get 8 to 10 hours a night. Finally, we got on the flight headed home. Sadly for me, we arrived at JFK late. After clearing passport control, waiting for my bike and bag to arrive, and clearing customs, it was already past the take-off time for my scheduled flight. I was re-booked for the next morning to arrive home at 11am the next day and given a hotel room for the night - yay finally a chance to shower! Sadly, the luck didn't last; I was called later that night by Delta to let me know that the flight I was rescheduled on the next morning was cancelled. Now, I would leave in the morning and fly to Atlanta then fly to Denver arriving at 4pm. Wow, this is turning into the never-ending trip: I left Eilat at 12pm on Sunday or 3am Sunday morning MST. When I get home tomorrow afternoon, I will have been traveling for 62 or more hours.....

First & Last Duathlon

An oil spill in the SF bay made the Treasure Island race into a duathlon. It was my first ever and hopefully my last. The race showed me that I still have many more improvements to make on my running speed and fitness. I started out the first run well but faded after the first half mile. As a result, I ended up in no-mans land. I was forced to ride the entire 40 K on my own, which is not ideal for a drafting race but preferred to staying with a pack that expects me to do all the work. In the future, I'd like to go back and race Treasure Island on the real course when we are able to swim as well as run and bike. On the plus side, the trip was a very fun. Jeff was able to take some time off and come with me. We stayed with friends and had a nice time enjoying Marin county for a few days after the race. It is such an amazing place to ride and run; I look forward to visiting again soon.

Kona Camp

Despite my burned out body & mind, the Kona camp was perfect. Exactly what I needed to get in some great quality training with teammates, Abi & Vin, along with Siri & Nicky. I was able to spend almost three weeks in Hawaii. I saw some great improvements in my run and definitely left the camp feeling more fit and excited to finish my season.
Kona is an amazing town and a great place for an iron man. We spent time riding and running on parts of the iron man course, and it gave me renewed respect for those athletes. I hope that I have a chance to train in Hawaii again and especially enjoyed training with teammates who were able to push me on the bike and run.


The weekend after returning home from Greece I headed to Dallas for a non-drafting race. I was eager for redemption after the upsetting turn of events at that race. And it was a great bonus to have a high school friend living outside Dallas; it was great to have a place to stay and have the opportunity to catch up with her & her husband.
The race didn't go badly but wasn't great either. The swim was not my best; I had chance to go for it and try to bridge the gap or be comfortable in my pack. I choose to be comfortable instead of really giving it that extra effort to chase the leader. It was a costly mistake in retrospect since I really needed to get every second that I could on the swim to get ahead for the run. The bike was a good effort not spectacular but not bad. I passed several people and came into transition in 3rd with the 4th place right at my heels. The run was typical of this season steady but not fast. I slide from 4th exiting transition to 7th. After this race, I felt very drained and part of me really wants to end my season right now. But after the bad luck in the last three world cups I'd like to end on a good note. In retrospect, I should have planned a week or several days completely off in September or this week after Dallas to recharge physically and mentally. But instead here I am surging on with the training and flying out to camp in Kona for the next 3 weeks.

Greece is the word

I headed to Rhodes Greece for my next race and was very excited for the chance to race healthy after my bad luck at the world cups in July. Unfortunately, the bad luck continued and followed me to Greece. Rhodes city was an amazing location to race. The old city is very historic with the walled city and gates still standing from early BC. To race in such a scenic and historic location was awe-inspiring. And the Mediterranean sea was so clear and salty.
On race day, I had a good swim and exited the water with the leaders. But once on the bike, in the first 800 meters I heard an audible pop from my bike tire. I looked down to see a flat. I rode on it to the neutral wheel stop and asked for a 10 speed shimano cassette for my new back wheel. I was given a nine speed and got on my bike as fast as possible but the lead pack was gone and I was now in no man’s land. I rode steady with the second pack for several laps until the cassette locked up between gears on the hill. I just barely avoided crashing and had to ride backwards down the hill to the wheel stop. This time I was given a 10 speed cassette but the 2nd pack didn’t wait for me. I was now riding in the third pack and frustrated with the bad luck and my chances of a top finish as I would be starting the run well out of contention after losing about 7 minutes with my wheel stops. I pulled out of the race on the run; it was the first time that I have voluntarily pulled out of a race and I hope to never do it again. I think in retrospect it would have been better to finish but at the time I was too defeated and mentally out of the game after my unlucky day.

Tale of two cities: Chi-town & LA

I was able to break up my season with 2 non-drafting races. The first was Chicago and the next LA; I was excited for races where I could use my bike to my advantage. Chicago is always a favorite place to visit after spending my college years there I have many fond memories as well as family that live in the area. In addition, Jeff was traveling to the race as well as my parents so I was excited to have so many people there to support me. Sadly, the race didn’t go as planned. The day before the race I went for an ill-advised bike on the race course, lake shore drive. I should have know better not only was I scared out of my wits by the traffic but got two flat tires and had to walk my bike to the nearest cross street and hail a cab back to the hotel. The race didn’t go much better; I was shook up on the swim when another competitor was very unsportsmanlike stopped during the early portion of the swim and purposely clawed off my goggles. There is always contact during the start of our swims but this was totally out of line. I was upset and in shock. I stopped to fix my goggles and swam to the other side of the pack to get away from that competitor; I would not have know who she was except for the special color cap she received as an honor. For the next week I had the claw marks where blood was draw on my forehead. The bike and run didn‘t go very well; I don‘t think that it was my day. I gave my best effort and it wasn‘t good enough the final insult was when I was out-sprinted for 10th place with 100 meters to go. I just had nothing left in the tank at that point and was lucky to finish on my feet.

Two weeks later, LA went better. I had another great homestay which makes it easier to afford traveling to all these races. Unfortuneatly, a training partner had a bad experience with her homestay, but on the plus side she was able to race superb despite that outside stress. I really enjoy ocean swims and was looking forward to competing after last year’s debacle where most of the field was DQ’d. The swim went well; I came out with the front pack and had a good transition. The bike was faster than last year; I definitely have room to improve if I want to hang with the top racers but I didn’t lose ground to anyone except the top two finishers. I came off the bike in 3rd place and ran solid. It felt much better than Chicago but the effort wasn’t good enough to hold off the charges from two fast runners behind me. I finished in 5th and was happy with the result overall but know that I have a better run split in my legs.

Local races rock!!!

It is always a rare treat to wake up in my own bed for a race. Longmont is only a 30 minute drive and with the late start time it was nice to sleep in my own bed and not have to travel for this race. I was eager to race but a bit nervous about how my leg would pull up after he sailboat incident. I was excited to get to have a cheering section as Siri, several training partners, and Jeff all made it down to the race to support us.
The race day was hot, typical Colorado front range in august 100+ degrees dry heat but with a penetrating sun. We started after 1pm and with a very exposed run course the heat would definitely be a factor during the run. The swim went badly…very badly. I ended up no mans land between the front pack leaders strung out ahead and the large second pack. I swam as hard as I could but mentally found it hard to keep my thoughts positive. Exiting the swim I felt spent and ran to my bike dreading the pain to come. I headed out hard on the bike and caught 3 or the 5 girls ahead of my in the first lap. I pushed past them hard to ensure that no one would be riding with me unless they were able to jump on the train. I ended up passing the girls cleanly and rode the entire 40K bike on my own time trialing. I lost time to the 2 girls in front strong cyclist working together but was able to put time in on the rest of the field. Starting the run in 3rd place, I wanted to stay steady and finish the hot run without falling apart. As expected the run was very hot and the lack of ice and water on the course made it even worse. I tried to keep steady and felt better as the run progressed. I managed to hold off the other races and finished spent in 3rd place. At the finish we were glad to see ice filled baby pools to fall into, and I was sent off to the medical tent for some assistance.
I was happy with how the race ended but hope that I can avoid racing draft legal races all on my own in the future.

Killer Sailboats

I arrived home from Salford on Monday night and was back training on Tuesday bright and early 5am! On Wednesday, our team had an open water swim practice in the boulder res. At the end of our session we were doing a final warm down loop as a group. Swimming along in the pack with a lifeguard watching on his jet ski, I was hit by a sailboat. The experience was very traumatic since I was hit hard twice by the centerboard and rudder and had no idea what was happening to me. The pain was excruciating. I had severe bleeding into my quad and another hematoma. I was very upset with my luck as well as the irresponsible behavior or the boulder res lifeguard and the sailboat operators. This accident cost me where I need it most; I lost another week of run training. And with a continental cup planned for 10 days from the accident I was left unsure of my race schedule. I decided at the last minute to race at the Longmont continental cup and with the decision being so last-minute my taper was only 2 days.

3 Races for the price of 1

First race as a 30 year old
I had a great experience racing in NY for the Geneva Continental Cup. My parents were able to make the trek up to watch another race this year. I spent my 30th birthday on the plane traveling to the race and looked forward to racing after a long break. The race course is great with a no wetsuit swim, a challenging bike course, and flat run. I was looking forward to the bike since each loop includes some tight crit-like turns and a decent climb and decent. This was the first triathlon I have done that starts after noon; the race starts at 3pm. I am not sure how to plan my nutrition for racing at that time since I normally only eat breakfast before my races. The race started okay but the swim didn’t go quite as planned; I lost contact with the lead gals and was chasing them for the last 500 meters. Exiting the swim I was 20 seconds down and had to work hard on the bike to bridge to the front pack. The bike went well our group worked well and put time in the other packs. Exiting the bike, we had a sizable gap on the other racers. The run started off poorly but improved steadily until the last two laps when I started to feel normal. I was able to finish in 3rd moving out of 4th place in the last lap. Overall I was disappointed with my run but happy overall with the effort and excited for my world cup races in the next two weekends.

Sickpuppy in Austria
I traveled to Kitzbuhel Austria for a world cup race and caught a bug that turned into bronchitis. By the time I arrived at the race, I was sick as a dog. Luckily, my mom accompanied me to the race and was able to help me cope. The bronchitis had me wheezing and hacking up with any minor aerobic effort. On race morning, my mom did some respiratory therapy on my back to loosen up my lungs. But even as I was riding to the start I was hacking and coughing in a tiring effort. By the start, I just wanted to finish the race and go back to bed. I finished the race and actually held together pretty well until the run when my exhaustion from battling the illness caught up with me. I finished the race and wanted to immediately collapse into any bed. As soon as I finished, I started a course of antibiotics in the hope that I could kick the illness before next weekend’s world cup race in Salford.

What a difference a week makes
By the race weekend in Salford, I was feeling much better; still not 100% but night and day from where I was only a week earlier in Kitzbuhel. By the race day, I felt confident that at least my body was doing double duty battling an illness along with having to race. The swim went well and I exited in the front of a large pack. One the bike, I did a lot of work pulling to try to keep the pace honest so that we weren’t caught by the other packs strung out along the course. Sadly, I think I wasted some energy that I really didn’t have to expend and suffered more on the run as a result of biking so hard. On the run, I felt steady but not fast. When I finished the race I was frustrated by my performance but not upset considering the events of the last three weeks.

June Blues....

June was a tough month on June 1st I went in for a pre-race massage tune up and left the office in pain. My massage therapist went too deep on some already strained muscle tissues. Sadly, the deep tissue massage caused the damaged tissues to bleed leading to a hematoma in my piriformis muscle. I had planned to race Alcatraz and San Juan but had to cancel both races as I was unable to walk or run at all. This is very upsetting since the training was going very well. But on the positive end as a result I have met and been working with a great acupuncturist that will help me to heal and prevent this from happening in the future. Since I will be off running for 2 to 3 weeks, I won’t race until the July 14th Continental Cup in Geneva NY. And I get the chance to be a spectator and watch Jeff’s Ironman later this month in Idaho. I am excited for the trip and know he is going to do great.

Monday, May 21, 2007

South Africa World Cup

I arrived in South Africa a bit worse for wear. The flight was packed and I felt like a sardine stuffed along with hundreds of other people in a too small tin can. I definitely didn’t sleep as well as I had on my flights out to Portugal and cringed each time the people around me coughed and sneezed hoping that I wouldn’t catch anything before the race. When I arrived in Durban, a childhood friend living in South Africa with her husband came to pick me up from the Airport. It was great to spent the first night with Ashley, her husband, and her family; it definitely took my mind off the race. On Friday morning, I woke up way too tired and too early to drive from Durban to Richards Bay for the race. When I arrived in Richards Bay, I got in a run, bike, and swim on the race course. I was feeling awful; exhausted, jet-lagged, and ready to go back to bed but managed to stumble through all the workouts. As soon as I got to my hotel that afternoon, I passed out and took a two hour nap before the race meeting. When I woke up I felt 100% better and on Saturday felt even more rested and ready to race. I tried to keep all my pre-race workouts easy and relaxed saving it all for Sunday. Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to stay relaxed. On Sunday morning, I felt good warming up on the bike and swim. I was ready for the gun at this race and had a good start but managed to get clobbered really badly during the sprint to the first buoy. Getting dragged backwards, clawed, dunked, swum over…it was mayhem.
But after the first buoy I broke free and had cleaner water and more space until the exit for the first lap. I overtook some girls in the front pack during the sprint out of and back into the water. I was swimming a bit close to one of the large German girls, I guess she thought too close and decided to place her hand on my back and give me a good dunk. After that I backed off and bit and slide onto her feet…no need to get dunked again. At the end of the swim, I was in the middle of the lead pack and sprinted onto my bike. This bike course was much better for me than last week; 8 laps of a loop with one pretty decent hill. I really went after the bike and worked hard on every lap. I ended up pulling along 15 girls for about 80% of the entire bike but didn’t even care -- I was on a mission to give myself as much time going into the run as possible. I had a little help from my teammate, Joanne, and a few of the other girls but didn’t want to waste any time so I put it all out there on the bike and keep our pace going. Unfortunately, we ended up lapping out 3 of my American teammates, one of the last lap was very upset with me and yelled at me. I was so focused on killing myself on the bike to get that lead going into the run that I couldn’t think about any distractions. But getting yelled at when you’re going after your best race is not very constructive and distracted me just enough so that as I came first into transition I tried to dismount my bike still going about 20mph. Don’t try this at home!
I lost control of my bike and it flew down onto the ground while I kept running. So I turned around scooped it up and only lost about 10 seconds with that whole fiasco. Once on the run, I could tell that I biked really hard; it was hot and I was exhausted. I tried to just keep going and hold onto my position in 15th place, at the back of the bike pack that I pulled around. I was cramping up and had the chills from the heat and dehydration. I just tried to focus on keeping my cadence and finishing. A few of the girls from the second pack caught me and I wasn’t sure my place when I finally made it over the line. I ended up in 20th overall and with one world cup point. It wasn’t the best race especially with the death march run, but I was happy with how I really went after the bike. When I finished my tank was on empty so I put it all out there on that day and did my best which is all you can ask of yourself. On the bright side, there is plenty of room for improvement. I definitely think I can put together a better race with a faster run and better timed surges on the bike to go for a breakaway instead of pulling along the lead pack. And it was very nice that a few of the girls in the front pack thanked me for all my efforts pulling our pack and keeping the pace fast. With each world cup, I have learned a ton and look forward to competing in more later this year and improving on my results.
After the race, I was able to see a bit of the men’s race but had to quickly get on the road to head back to Durban to spend a few more days with Ashley and her family. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my time in South Africa and was able to see a ton of sites around the Durban area. I even got the chance to do a 6K open water swim off the Durban beaches, which thankfully is protected by shark nets. By the time I returned home, I was very excited to see Jeff and eager to catch up with my training partners and get back to some hard training in Boulder.

Portugal World Cup

My first world cup race of the season was in Lisbon this May. I was really excited for the race and eager to get more experience at that level of racing. I arrived in Lisbon on schedule, but my suitcase and bike decided to spend some more quality time in Heathrow airport. I guess the 8 hours of layover in London wasn’t quite enough time for my bag and bike to enjoy the airport. It was the first race trip during which my bag and bike have been lost; I was calm at first but started to get more nervous the longer the bags took to arrive. 36 hours later just as I was starting to get a bit manic, both bags arrived at my hotel. The bike arrived just in time for our team to go down to the race site. Unfortunately, our hotel and the host hotel were about a 30 to 40 minute drive from the race site through the confusing streets downtown Lisbon. Thankfully the USA team rented some vans to get us back and forth to the race venue on Friday. The swim was in an small open water lake with cold water; it definitely was going to be a wetsuit swim. The bike course wasn’t going to be fun. It included a 1K section of cobbles on each of the 8 laps as well as a technical section of tight 90 and 180 degree turns on carpet as the course snaked down and through an indoor pavilion. I would have preferred a tougher course with more challenging climbs but at least this race would be a good opportunity to work on my technical biking skills. The run was flat with varied terrain from cobbles to uneven boardwalk. After previewing the course on Friday, I wasn’t able to get back there on Saturday and to get to the race site on Sunday morning my parents and I rented a car. After I finished all my pre-race stressing and workouts, it was already the late afternoon. Luckily, my parents were able to see some of the downtown Lisbon sites while I wasted the day getting ready for the race. On Sunday morning, we got to the race in plenty of time thanks to the lite Sunday morning traffic and my crazy desire to get us up and going hours before the race start. I felt great on my warmups and was excited to get going. During the swim leg, I had the worst start ever….there was no time between the take your mark and the horn. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that I was last off the pontoon. Despite the start, I had a great swim and stayed with the front pack the entire way.
From the swim to the bike, I had a good transition too and my wetsuit came off super fast. Once on the bike, I tried work really hard to catch a few of the swimmers that got out of the water a few seconds up on the rest of the lead pack. After the first two laps, it became clear that no one was going to do any work on the bike. I tried to get things going but it seemed that everyone’s strategy was to work hard and sprint through the technical sections then sit up and ride Sunday style for the rest of each lap. This was the worst possible scenario for me. Since I haven’t been able to run, I needed to keep the lead pack far ahead of the second and third packs. Sadly, all three packs merged on the bike and when we started the run there were almost 40 runners starting together. It would have been even more but there was a small crash on the last lap of the bike. I tried to do my best on the run but my lack of fitness with all the time off made it a struggle. I finished in 30th overall and 3rd American. I wasn’t very happy with the results but considering the way the bike played out and with the challenges facing my running training the last few months it was the best I could do.
After the race, I definitely decided in South Africa I was going to work my butt off on the bike and try to keep any lead that I could over the packs behind me. For the next few days, I spent some time in Cascais, a beach town outside Lisbon, with my parents and enjoyed getting the chance to explore the area. By Wednesday, I was ready to head to South Africa but sad to say goodbye to my parents.

Never-ending Easter

I arrived home from Australia on Easter; it was a never-ending Easter day as I left at 2am in Australia Easter morning and arrived 24+ hours later at 4pm on Easter in Colorado. Before leaving Australia, I saw my doctor there and received the MRI results that I had torn cartridge in my hip. I was given another 2 weeks of rest from running but allowed to swim, bike, and water jog. It is simply nice to know the problem and have a workable plan for getting healthy. On the bright side, upon my return to Boulder I found out that I got into the world cup races in Portugal and South Africa. Although the timing with my injury is not ideal, I am looking forward to this chance to race at the elite world cup level. Training in Boulder is always a challenge with the altitude. On top of that I had major jet lag and wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3am for the first few days back in Colorado. But by the end of the week, I was starting to feel normal again and was happy to get back to doing some great bike and swim workouts. And looking forward to starting to run on the amazing trails in Boulder as soon as my two weeks off were completed.

(Long overdue) Wellington NZ Race Report

At the end of March, I went on a short trip from our training camp in Australia to Wellington New Zealand for a continental cup race. I was really really sore from the Mooloolaba open race and wasn’t totally looking forward to making the trip since I was also battling an injury from February that had resurfaced with a vengeance. The week before the race I even went to get an MRI on my hip to locate the problem but wouldn’t get the results until after I got back from the race. I was happy not to know since my goal was simply to race my best and go after a good swim/bike combination.
I arrived in Wellington and went directly to my accommodation, a youth hostel. I was a little wary of staying in a hostel before a race since I didn’t want the stress of trying to sleep in a bunk bed with 3 roommates to each suite. However, it ended up working out fine and the women in my suite were very nice, friendly, and mature (aka thankfully not out partying till 4am).
The race course was excellent: the swim was in a choppy bay, the bike course had a challenging hill that we were to climb 5 times during the race and some technical turns, and the run was 3 flat loops through town. The day before the race I did my usual pre-race warmups and really enjoyed the bike course. For the swim, I went to a local pool and was feeling good but swimming very slow. Until I realized that the pool was long; 33 meters long in fact making what I thought were 100s into 132s. I breathed a sigh of relief with that news. For the rest of the day, I relaxed and got ready for the race. There were a four other Americans at the race; its always great to see some friendly and familiar faces.
Race morning was cool and rainy, my least favorite race conditions; but the rain abated before our race start. The wind however was not as cooperate and there were 40 to 50 mph massive winds making the swim extremely choppy and the bike treacherous. I was preoccupied with my sticky bike brakes and worried that they would be rubbing the whole race…so much that I wasn’t even as nervous as usual. At the swim start, I had a poor position but ended up with a good swimming coming out of the water in 5th position behind the fast swimming Americans and one Kiwi athlete. On the bike, I had a great ride and worked with two Kiwi athletes to real in all the fast swimmers. And on the last lap of the bike, I broke away and had a 37 second lead going into transition. I knew I would need it for the run. The run went well; I focused on keeping my cadence up and trying to run as fast as I could through the injury. I ended up 6th and was really happy with my swim and bike performances and was happy that I made the trip.

I headed back to Australia for the last week of my training trip; it was a great experience but I was also looking forward to getting home to see Jeff and get back to my life at home.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Photos from Down Under

Check out more team photos from Australia on Siri's website.


It was a load of Firsts for me in the end of March. I had my First race of the season, the Mooloolaba Pro Open Race, on the 24th. My First time to the Sunshine Coast, which is even more amazingly beautiful than the Gold Coast. My First road trip for the year as we got two mini-vans to take 6 of us up the coast for the race. I finished First in the race and had a great time. The swim was in the ocean and I even caught a small wave, my First in a race this year, but promptly lost the advantage when I stepped in a hidden hole while running out of the water and face-planted (my First ever in a race) quite dramatically. On the bike, I managed to extend my lead and build up a good cushion for the run. Since I’m dealing with an injury, I really wanted to have a good position going into the run. It was also my First paycheck for the year! I will definitely need it to cover all the travel costs for this training trip and my races. I am excited for another First next weekend; it will be my First ITU (draft-legal) race this year. I am hoping to get some much-needed points. It will be my First trip to Wellington, and I am very excited. Hopefully, there will be more Firsts to come.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Icy Hot

The last two weeks have been very intense. With all the hard hot training, I have resorted to icing and frequent sessions with the icy hot goodness of tiger balm and the soothing aid of arnica with traumeel to keep my muscles happy and mobile.
Speaking of heat, the weather here has still been really warm; some days it’s so intense but most days it’s been bearable. Luckily most of our hard run and bike sessions have started before 6am. My parents are down in FL for a quick vacation, and it sounds like their weather has been great too.
Finally, I have decided that my first races will be at the end of this month one in Mooloolaba and an ITU continental cup race in Wellington, NZ. In New Zealand, I am hoping to get some much-needed points. I am eager to have a good first race too in Mooloolaba to get the kinks out after all this hard training.
Well that’s all from down under for now.

Highs & Lows

The first two weeks of training camp are almost over. It’s been a great start to the season. Though I am a bit worn out, I look forward to working even harder in the next few weeks. I know everything I do now will pay off during the racing season.

Some of the highlights thus far were our team outing to Surfers’ Paradise after our long ride on Sunday. The waves were amazing, and it was fun to play around in the surf with my training partners. And our long ride through the hills west of the coast was gorgeous with some challenging climbs to rival those in Boulder. One part of the descent was so steep it felt like my handlebars were pointing straight down the bumpy chip seal road, and my sweaty hands were gripping the bars so tightly that I was afraid my arms would cramp. It was a little scary but needless to say I survived. Another highlight was our team BBQ at our apartment complex last week; it was nice to unwind with some good food and great friends. Finally, getting the opportunity to ride in a local cycling crit the last two weekends has been a fun experience and definitely is helping to improve my pack riding not to mention cornering and sprints since each loop of the course includes a 360 degree turnaround.

Not to many lows, mostly just a few miserable workouts that I suffered through painfully and was relieved to forget about as soon as the session ended. And missing Jeff, my parents, and friends in Colorado. I didn’t think I would get homesick at 29, but I was wrong. It's been a bit of culture shock with all the changes this past month from quitting my job and moving to flying down here and really becoming a full-time athlete. The last low light I hate to complain about with friends and family freezing at home but it's really hot hot in our little room that Mary bought an XL fan to help cool us off and even that hasn't helped much.

I am attaching some pictures from the Gold Coast in Australia. These were taken by an expert photographer and my teammate, Mary, just across the street from our apartment complex. On another note, my favorite triathlete, chef, asst. coach, and support crew leader just set up a blog, Stories from the Sidelines.
Well that’s all the news for now....signing off from down under.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

G’Day from Down Under

My teammate Mary and I completed the 25+ hour journey together from Boulder to the Gold Coast of Australia. It was pretty uneventful except for a few fun details like when my bike trainer was confiscated at the gate because it was clearly a deadly weapon. The manager of ticket agents grabbed the offending trainer out of my hands and proceeded to lunge aggressively at me with the trainer to exhibit how it could easily be utilized to strike anyone on the airplane. Mary and I were both shocked by his display and despite my objections that I would not be using the trainer to hit anyone over the head he still insisted upon confiscating it. Another highlight of the trip was our continuous trips to the bathroom….we were amazed that our seat mate went only once on the 13 hour flight vs. our 5 or 6 trips. The trip was going swimmingly until Mary’s bike did not arrive in Brisbane, turns out it decided to stay in Colorado instead of traveling down here. It finally arrived a few days late but was missing a seat post bolt, clearly a sacrifice to the bike box gods. After getting a bolt, she’s now up and running. But we’ve both been plagued by some gastric issues….Mary has been struck my some bug from the plane while I seem to have gotten a case of food poisoning. Luckily, we are both recovering and should be a 100% imminently.
Now to the destination, Australia is an beautiful scenic country, and the weather has been amazing. The Super Sports Center in Runaway Bay is a great facility with a 50M swimming pool, running track, cycling crit, weight & cardio machines, sports med., and more. (I have been battling an injury to my hip joint capsule and unable to run so the pool is also excellent for water jogging in the interim. Much improved over Flatirons where I have only a 10 meter stretch to use.)
And our team is all looking forward to Siri’s arrival here so that we can really get to work.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Joy of Riding Outside!

Finally, after weeks of snow, ice, and cold temps....I made it outside for a long ride. Don't get me wrong, I actually like riding my trainer. But after 5 weeks of long rides inside, it was a treat to get outside on a moving bicycle. Even 2 flat tires and freezing digits, fingers and toes, on the downhill couldn't dampen my mood....well maybe for a nanosecond but not for too long.
And less than a week until I leave for Australia. I am nervous, excited, and can't wait to get in some great training; I am sure there will be some awesome sessions and a few horrible suffer-fests. It's a bummer that I won't have my new custom Elite Bicycle before I leave, but it also gives me an extra incentive to hurry back to Colorado in April. And if I can ride well on my old bike, imagine how fast I'll be on the new one!
On another note, I am officially a resident of Thornton. The move went very smoothly - fast and efficient like a well-oiled machine. I am not sure about the 'hood but my two new roommates couldn't be better.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

4 Shots A Day...Keeps the Doc Away

I am officially unemployed!
Kind of crazy...luckily I haven't gotten bored yet. Actually, the last two days have been a whirlwind of tedious errands and appointments...and today's highlight 4 shots at the doctor's office. The shots were to prepare for a continental cup race I am planning to do in Thailand, a remote area of Thailand on the Laos border. Hopefully the shots along with the malaria pills will protect me from typhoid, polio, malaria, and any other diseases. If not, I guess I'm SOL. The CDC also had a warning about any exposure to fresh water due to Schistosomiasis, an incurable parasitic infection caused by infected snails that release large numbers of larvae (mmm...) that can permeate any mucous membrane exposed to the water.... does that include the Mekong River where I'll be swimming for the race? Could I swim in a full-body dry suit? Maybe a few ITU points aren't worth it.
On another note, the shots in the arms certainly did not help my swimming tonight. It was a pitiful sight, but at least I didn't drown in the pool. Our coach, Siri, warned us that once we get to Australia, she's gonna really put the hurt on us. I kind of though I was already feeling it, but I am sure all my definitions of pain and suffering are soon to be rewritten.
One of my other big tasks for this week is packing up for the big move this weekend. A big shout out to my FCC, Jeff, who will be helping to supervise the loading of my 10 ft, not 10 inch as the Budget rental agent clarified for me, moving tuck. It's funny, I started packing in January and did a great job for the first few days but haven't made much, or any, progress since oh about January 6th. Maybe I'll get back to it now or maybe wait till Friday night. Who doesn't work well under pressure?
Well, the boxes are calling or is that MTV with another bad reality show?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Training Hard in Boulder

Welcome to my new blog!! I am a 2nd year professional triathlete who is leaving my position at Corporate Express and pursuing my dream to be a world class athlete full-time.

Starting in late December, it was back to the grind to get ready for the upcoming 2007 season. As it is my 2nd season as a pro, I am excited to see even more improvements this year and hopefully learn from each race what I can do better next time. Last year, I learned a ton and defnitely suprised myself with some amazing races. But, I know that I have a long way to go and putting in lots of hard work now will pay later this season. Unforuntealy, this winter in Boulder has been snowy & cold. For the past 4 weekends, it has snowed at least 4 inches. Not to mention the snow left over from the blizzard in December! Needless to say my bike hasn't seen pavement since I was visiting my family for Christmas. My teammate and I have spent plenty of quality time on our trainers either at home in the garage or in our coach Siri Lindley's basement. And the running hasn't been much better. But luckily, Boulder plows it's bike paths, faster than the roads, so I have been able to venture out for some miles instead of spending hours on the treadmill. And it helps to know that the snow & cold are only temporary at least for our team. In 3 weeks and counting, I'll be headed on a jet plane to the outback for some hard training and racing in Austrailia. I can't wait... biking outside, not having to run over ice and snow to the outdoor pool, feeling the sun, and of course training my butt off!