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  • Off to the races!

    Posted on February 28th, 2014
    jason joe eric Tritonman

    Like 2013, I will continue living, training and racing with Eric Lagerstrom and Joe Maloy in 2014.

    Welcome to 2014

    I believe this is where I’m supposed to tell about all the changes I have made over this off-season, and how that is going to translate into newfound success. While I have made a few changes in equipment (thanks to USA Triathlon and ENVE Composites… more on that below), by and large, much is the same as last year. You may recall that last year I joined Paulo Sousa’s The Triathlon Squad, began working with them in November of 2012 and then moved to Poway to train full-time in January. Similarly, this season’s training began in November and I continue to live in Poway, training full-time with the same guys under the same coach. The reason for my success in 2014 won’t be due to changes, but consistency.

    Winter training was good. We put in a lot of hard hours, enjoying most of them, surviving some, and staying engaged always. It’s always great for a few months to pass and realize you haven’t missed any training due to injury. Kudos to Paulo for training smart. 🙂 I’m excited to translate this fitness into results.

    IMG_0857

    Preseason

    I actually had a bit of a false start to the race season already. On February 16, I ran a local road race, the Coronado 10k. Some pretty quick guys in Scott Bauhs and Ben Bruce came out and led the race up front. I was in a pack of a few guys most of the race and ended up finishing 5th in 31:32. It was a fun event and a good way to stir the dormant pre-race butterflies a bit. As Paulo put it, it was a “good tempo run.” Results Strava

    Last weekend I was down near Fiesta Island for the UCSD Tritonman Triathlon. This was a collegiate draft legal race that let some of us from The Squad jump in. It was a sprint distance race, and a great opportunity to have a test run before races start to count. I made a few mistakes, highlighting some things to focus on and fix this past week in training. I ended up 5th (6th if you count Greg Billington, but officially he was disqualified for not serving multiple penalties!). Thanks to the race organizers for giving us the opportunity to race locally. Results Photo album

    Clermont

    Back in the day. I miss those shoes...

    Back in the day. I miss those shoes…

    This weekend I am in Clermont, Florida for a sprint distance ITU Pan American Cup. This race was my second ITU race of my career back in 2012, where I finished 17th. I remember my excitement after the race, knowing I’d earned my first ITU points. Goals are a bit higher this time around. Here is the start list. (I’m ranked 10th)

    Australia

    A few days after returning from Florida I will be heading off to Australia with training partner Joe Maloy. USAT will have a small camp where we will stay and train before racing the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup on March 15. There is a possibility for me to race in the New Plymouth ITU World Cup a week later, but as of now, I am not on the start list. There is a chance I will roll on to the start list, so I will be keeping an eye on that. This will my first time to Australia and I’m obviously looking forward to it very much.

    New bike

    Bike build

    Bike build

    Thanks to Litespeed’s support of USAT, I will be racing on a new Litespeed L3 this year. I was on my previous bike, a Blue RC6, for nearly three years and it was time to upgrade. This was the first time I have had to opportunity to build a bike up from just the frame myself. With two mechanical engineering degrees (I finally finished my Master’s of Engineering degree in December!), I thought that if I can’t figure this out, I might want to ask NAU for a refund! Thanks to a bit of help from training partner Eric Lagerstrom and Paulo, I finished the build in a couple of days. The bike rides and looks great, thanks in large part to ENVE. They sent me a fresh seat post, 40cm road bar and 100mm stem to go with the SES 3.4 Clinchers that I train on and SES 8.9 Tubulars that I race on.

    Race Schedule

    I have a tentative race schedule posted. There are a lot of World Cups on there, and with Olympic points qualification beginning in May, these races will be more and more difficult to get into. It’s likely I won’t know whether I am racing until a couple of weeks before the event. The only way to really guarantee the races I’d like to do is to BE BETTER!

  • Am I wrong?

    Posted on June 23rd, 2011

    In 2010, professional triathlete Jordan Rapp was on a bike ride in Oxnard when a car pulled out in front of him. Jordan didn’t have time to react to the car and ended up smashing into the windshield, cutting his throat, and nearly bleeding to death. The car fled the scene, and was later found to be owned by an illegal immigrant. Basically a cyclists worst nightmare.

    Fast forward to last week. I’m riding some hill intervals on Santa Susana Pass. As I crest the top of the hill heading back toward Simi Valley, huffing and puffing from the effort, a jeep turns right in front of me. I wasn’t going too quick, maybe 15 mph or so, and I was able to brake/swerve out of the way. Unbelievable. Scary.

    “Thanks Asshole!” I yell at the driver. I look back at the jeep in disgust, and astonishingly, it has stopped and began to make a u-turn. What could this jerk possibly have to say to me? He cut ME off!

    The jeep catches up to me on the descent and rolls down the window. He looks to be in his mid 30s, blond and had a surfboard in the car. “Hey I just wanted to apologize for cutting you off back there.” Huh, I guess he just didn’t see me. Nice of him to apologize. But then he continued, “But could you apologize to my daughter for the profanity?” You have got to be kidding me! What a backhanded apology.

    “Yeah. Sorry. Just watch out for bikers.”

    I had some inner conflict. If I hadn’t said anything he probably never would have seen me. I guess a little girl doesn’t need to hear bad language, but is “asshole” really such a bad word? I was upset. My word choice could have been a lot worse.

    Am I wrong here? Has anyone had a similar situation?

    After thinking about who was right and who was wrong, I started to wonder what could have been done to avoid the situation. This little altercation was a bit eye opening for me — I was on a wide road with fairly light traffic and I was still almost hit. Drivers clearly do not look out for cyclists. So what can we do besides wearing a helmet and being aware of what is going on around us?

    Jordan found himself in a similar predicament once his wounds had healed…

    Before getting back on the road, I thought about what options I had to make myself more visible. Neon helmets, jerseys, etc. all crossed my mine. But ultimately, I wanted something that dramatically caught the eye, and the obvious thought was a flashing light. On cars, the presence of daytime running lights contributes to a greatly reduced risk of a head-on collision. Add in a flash, and I figured that drivers would pay even greater attention.

    The above excerpt is from a series Jordan began writing for Slowtwitch called “Stay Safe. Be Seen.” He has reviewed several different lights intended for daytime use so that cyclists can be seen and stay safe. I intend to go through the reviews and purchase a set of lights so I can try to avoid an accident like Jordan had, or another awkward apology for my “profanity.” I will post which one I decide to go with, hopefully in the coming weeks.

    Thanks for your help, Jordan.

  • Collegiate Recruit

    Posted on June 6th, 2011

    The eerie feeling of no longer being a collegiate athlete has worn off, and I am in full swing with my next pursuit. Thanks to USA Triathlon’s (USAT) Collegiate Recruit Program, I have hit the ground running.

    The Collegiate Recruitment Program was created in 2009 to find the next Olympic athletes for team USA. All but one of the US Olympians from the last three Olympics have come from a Division I swimming or running background, and this is a trend that USAT believes will continue. Barb Lindquist, who swam for Stanford and competed for USA in Athens, is the program’s coordinator. She contacted Coach Eric Heins in the Fall of 2009 asking if any of his athletes would be interested in a career in triathlons after finishing their collegiate eligibility. Heins forwarded me her contact, and we kept in touch as I dabbled in triathlon last summer.

    With the end of my running career on the horizon, Barb and I discussed becoming a “full blown” recruit. What this means is that Barb and USAT help me progress from a novice triathlete — getting me a coach, equipment, training camps — to a 2016 Olympic hopeful.

    Coach

    The first step in getting me prepared for a future in triathlon was finding me a coach. I won one race and took second in two races last year without a coach, but those were small fish. There are much better athletes out there, and I need someone with experience to bring me up to their level.

    Barb began by contacting some of the best triathletes in the world,  Jordan Rapp (previous Ironman Canada and Arizona winner) and his wife Jill Savege (2004 Olympian). Eventually she found Ian Murray, a Level 3 Certified coach, and asked if he knew of any coaches in the area that would be willing to work with me. Surprisingly, he was interested.

    Triathlon Training Series

    I am very lucky to have Ian as a coach and I am confident that he will help me accomplish my goals. He has great experience, serving as a team USA coach at several ITU continental cup races and coaching other ITU professionals. He has a series of triathlon training videos called TTS, and he hooked me up with some swag.

     

    Equipment

    Quintana Roo CD0.1 "TT" Bike

    Next up was equipment, i.e. bike. I had been riding on a Trek 1500 from 2007 that has served me well, but was putting me at a pretty big disadvantage at the level of racing I am now at. For non-draft racing, I found a sweet deal over at the Slowtwitch classifieds on a Quintana Roo CD 0.1. The bike has SRAM Red components that work like a dream. For the majority of the races I do this season, I will be on this time trial bike.

    But moving forward, I want to do draft legal racing. The point of the Collegiate Recruitment Program is to prepare athletes for the Olympics, which is draft legal. I needed to upgrade my road bike from a Trek 1500 so I am not missing out on “free speed.”

    Thanks to USAT and Blue Bicycles, I am now riding a beautiful Blue RC6. Ian helped me build up the bike with a mix of Shimano Dura Ace and Ultegra components. We slapped some beefy training wheels on there (for now), and what I am left with is an amazing ride. It is so much more responsive than the Trek, and I am really excited to put in the mileage in the saddle on it.

    New Blue RC6 Bike

    Shimano Dura Ace and Ultegra components

    Training Camp

    Barb didn’t stop there. I have been invited to come to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for 8 days in July for a triathlon camp with other collegiate recruits, including friend and recent pro Brianna Blanchard. I am so thrilled for this opportunity to learn from the very best in America and to meet some triathletes that share my goals.

    I am beginning to train more intensely, focusing on my swim and bike while my Achilles continues to heal. I plan to continue with updates on the road toward living my dream as a professional athlete, so please continue to follow.

  • Summer 2010 Triathlong Training Part 3: Bike

    Posted on August 6th, 2010

    In terms of time, the bike leg of almost any triathlon dominates the others. In an Olympic distance event, the bike will likely take almost twice as long as the run and three times as long as the swim. Consequently, many triathletes’ training regimen reflects this with very high biking volume relative to the swim and run. A glance at the user training logs at Slowtwitch confirms this.

    However, I do not subscribe to this — not yet anyway. My training this summer had nearly equal parts swim and run, with biking getting whatever was left over. I did this for two reasons.

    1. Swimming is my weakest leg compared to the best triathletes. My future success in draft-legal triathlons hinges on how much I can improve in the swim, not the bike.
    2. I still have a year left of collegiate running and that is still my #1 focus. It is imperative that I kept my mileage high with my last cross country season on the horizon.

    Now that I have downplayed my bike training, here is what I did do. With the little bike background I have, I figured anytime on the bike will lead to improvements. With this in mind, I made sure to get in a long bike ride every weekend, working my way up to ~60 miles. After I got my post-work swim in on Mondays, I would get on the trainer for about an hour to do some “tempo” intervals — generally with 8′ hard/4′ rest as the main focus of the session. Thursdays and Fridays I would ride 20-30 miles by feel in the late afternoon after running and swimming earlier in the day.

    With this training load I was able to split the 15th fastest bike split at the Breath of Life triathlon on my 2003 Trek 1500 road bike (23.7 mph average) and the 5th fastest bike split at the Strawberry Fields tri on a friend’s Quintana Roo TiPhoon (~25.7 mph average).

    Moving forward

    Trying to break into professional draft legal triathlons presents a bit of a paradox. In order to earn a USAT elite license to race in ITU draft legal races, you need to qualify at nondrafting events by placing in a certain position overall or within a percentage of the winner’s time. To be competitive with the top athletes in these races, you will likely need a time trial or triathlon specific bike and maybe even an aero helmet. However, once you get into draft legal racing, you won’t be able to use any of this aero equipment.

    Because earning an elite license is next up on my triathlon goals, I am now in the market for a tri bike. I have time on my side, as my next tri won’t be until Summer 2011, so right now I am scanning the classifieds for a potential buy. What I am looking for is a quality bike that is a few years old and lightly used so that I can save a few bucks. If you know of a bike for sale that fits the bill, let me know!

  • First Ride to Snowbowl

    Posted on April 25th, 2010

    Humphreys Peak (12,637 feet)

    Today was a brilliantly sunny, warm Spring day in Flagstaff. Conveniently, this was the first weekend of the year that Arizona Snowbowl was closed for skiing. There is still quite a bit of snow on the trails, however, so this means that car traffic is light and bicycle traffic is heavy.

    Shortly after waking up and enjoying a banana and bowl of cereal (I love that you can eat before/during a bike ride, as opposed to swimming and running where you have to really watch what/when you eat), I headed out to meet up with Jared Threw, a member of NAU’s TriJack team that placed 29th at last week’s Collegiate National Championships (he was 58th and 1st for the team).

    The view from 9,300 feet

    We headed north on Highway 180 until we reached the road to Snowbowl, where the ascent began. This was probably the longest climb I have ever done (about 6 miles and ~2,000 feet of elevation gain) and I loved it! I will definitely be seeking out more climbs in the future. I need to work on my descending though, as Jared dropped me within the first few minutes.

    I brought along my new JVC HD Memory camera that I got from my cousins Hanna and Dina as an early graduation gift. I took a few shots while riding and put it in a video (with some Weezer in the background, of course).

    Weekly totals

    This week I wasn’t able to put in quite as many hours as last week because of the heavy school load. I still managed 13 hours and 20 minutes with 5:27 running (45 miles), 5:02 swimming (14.15 km) and 2:50 biking (50.6 miles). With reading week ahead, I am hoping to get back over the 2 hours/day mark and continue to improve my fitness. I want to hit 50 miles of running, 20 km of swimming, and a couple of bike rides.