San Diego International Race Report

3:30am: Eyes open fast. On race morning when you wake up, you don't have the normal tired looking/groggy eyes when you wake up. They look like they do after you have a few cups of coffee...Ready to go! I jolted out of bed 20 mins ahead of my alarm clock. After packing the night before, all I needed to do was to start eating, hydrating and stay relaxed. My body felt great, I kinda had an unplanned taper for this race. I had only run once in 2 weeks (to try and get rid of my calf problem) and the past week was so busy at work that I only put in a few bike and swims. Even counting the race I only put in 4.5 hours of training time for the week which is my lowest to date.

Dinner the night before: The kids went home with grandma and grandpa so we took this rare opportunity and went on a dinner date in Old Town. There's a new restaurant called Soro's which serves Mediteranean food (which we love) so we gave it a try. I normally don't like to experiment with new foods the night before a race, but come to think of it, I've never really had a dinner that settled well the morning of a race. The excited/nervous stomach always wins that battle. I ate the Chicken Scampi with some salad and a glass of wine. Probably ranks as one of the top 10 meals I've ever had. So good, if you're in town eat there!

Race morning breakfast: 1 banana and tried something new, a potato with a little bit of butter and spike. I decided to not have coffee which ended up being a great decision. I wanted the caffeinated gels to have more effect during the race. Coffee gets me too amped up for race mornings and also makes me have to pee like crazy and gives me an unsettled stomach. Instead I sipped on 1 bottle of Gatorade Fit Perform which I also raced with. This is a new drink I added and tested over the past few weeks. I've found that I need a lot of sodium in hard workouts/races. It helps prevent me from cramps and does the job at the fraction of the cost of what Hammer Nutrition's "Heed" does--which is what I've been taking in the past.

Setting up transition
We gave a ride to a local Temecula Valley Tri Club member, Mike Hebebrand (who qualified for Kona last year) down to the race and once we arrived it was packed! Couldn't find anywhere near transition to park so we had to park pretty far away and next thing I know I have only an hour till my race starts and I haven't even set up my transition! Since I already racked my bike the night before, I had to walk/jog about a mile to transition with all my stuff. I saw local pro and fellow SDTC member Charisa Wernick jogging and said hello while she was warming up like I should have been by then. The fact that this was only my 3rd triathlon really started to show! Once I finally arrived, I got everything set up and actually felt really calm. I accepted the fact that I was not going to be able to warm up, so I just suited up, hit the restroom one more time and got in the water for a bit of a warm up.

Swim start (I'm in the middle of that mess)
1K Swim: The water felt refreshing. I was a little worried that it would be freezing like it was for my Xterra Vegas race. That water took my breath away and tightened me up! I got it about a 200 meter warm up and next thing I know we were all lined up at the buoy for a floating start. Everyone commented in the water that are age group seemed a little small. It seemed like there was only like 35-40 guys, but come to find out there were 96---I guess when you are in the water spread out, it looks different. I lined up towards the front kinda on the outside and convinced myself that I was going to have a good swim this time. The horn went off and instantly it became a brawl. I got socked in the temple, dunked under, swam over, goggles knocked - so I started doing the same to others and just swam as hard as I could the first 100 meters to try and find some open water. This never happened. Every time I would finally get into a rhythm someone would ram right into me or I would do the same. I'm pretty sure I was in the middle pack about 400 meters in, but I started slowly getting pushed towards the rear pack. At this point my heart rate was skyrocketing so I had to forgo my bilateral breathing to breathing every other stroke. This in turn jacked up my form a bit, but when we finally passed the last buoy and started heading in -I finally got in a rhythm and passed a bunch of people. I finished in a time of 16:50 (1:41 pace) which was a big improvement over Vegas.

T1 (2:24) After practicing the past few weeks on transitions, I felt like I improved but still about minute slower than the leaders in my age group...Still a lot of work to do. However,  I knew exactly where my bike was, threw the wetsuit off, helmet, glasses on and decided to get into my shoes then and run out while taking down a Powergel Latte (2x Caffeine!).

Exiting the swim (notice not too many yellow caps...)
30K Bike: You don't understand how excited I was to get on my bike. I was even thinking about it during the swim. With the Slice in my artillery now, I knew I could post some good numbers on it. With the lack of swim skills I needed it! Most things you read tell you to ease into the bike, but with it only being 18.6 miles, I started hammering from the get go. Within the first 10 minutes of the ride I passed probably 40 people. A lot of them were from the earlier under 29 wave but I also saw tons of them from my age group. This got me pumped so when we started hitting the climbs, I hammered even more. Out of the 18 miles, I'd say only about 5-6 miles are flat. The rest is rolling (sometimes steep) hills. I stayed aero basically the whole time except for the really steep climbs where I just got out of the saddle and hammered some more. I didn't get passed at all during the bike except for one time going down a hill, I was pedaling pretty hard and this dude just flies by me with his $10k bike and wheels and he's not even pedaling! I guess there's something to say about having nice wheels, although it doesn't matter when you can't climb because I passed him back up right away on the next climb and didn't seem him the rest of the race. After I reached the tip of the climb for the 2nd time (2 loops) I started flying and as I approached a corner I decided to stay in the aero position (going pretty fast) and I felt my front wheel slip underneath me and grab again a few milliseconds later. Holy crap, that was awesome! I think I might have been smiling most of the bike, especially when a rabbit was playing frogger with the cyclists. He ran right past me and another rider and almost hit a racer going the other way and the guy yelled out some obscenities...Me and the other guy laughed it off and then I refocused and hammered. I had a sensation for this race that I have not had probably since my last race running competitively which was in the CanAm games in Boston, MA (back in 02?). It's kind of like you're in the zone. All pain kinda goes numb and a deep focus is enact. It almost feels like you're a machine and your just guiding it along. I braced this sensation and with each pedal stroke a burst of fire and energy filled the machine that I was guiding towards speed. Everyone I passed, I passed with authority like I was on a mission. Even though this was only my 3rd tri, I felt like I had been doing this for years. And I have. This is competition. This is pushing through pain. This is going fast and I was having a blast...My time ended up being 47:26 (23.5 mph) which I thought was decent considering the hilly course.

Leaving T2 (Matt on the left in gray)
T2 (1:17): As I approached T2 about 1/2 mile out, the first setting of fatigue in my legs finally hit. I think my effort played out perfectly. I took in about 3/4ths of my Gatorade bottle and felt pretty good. I got out of my shoes and just pedaled on top of them about 100 meters from the transition area. I dismounted, ran to my transition area, threw on my shoes, bib, visor and Garmin and as I started running out, took in another Powergel Latte but no fluids.

10K Run: As soon as you leave T2, you go through about 100 meters in the sand and as we ran up onto the sidewalk I ran past a few guys and then Matt - who I just recently met through the Tri Club yells, "James, is that you?" It startled me because I was kinda in the zone and I said, "Dude you must be having a good race or my swim reeeaally sucked (his wave started 5 mins behind me)! "He said, well I'll see you at the finish line!" I don't know if it was the gel or what, but it seemed like I couldn't get my heart rate down. I was breathing like I was doing intervals and I look at my Garmin and I'm only doing 6 minute pace! My tri suit felt tight and constricted and overall I was a little uncomfortable that first mile which I hit in 6:01.

Finally I started feeling better around a mile and a half so I picked up the pace. Then it happened. The calf I was so worried about sent a sharp pain almost like I just got bit by something. I look down and my Garmin reads 1.88 miles..."Wow, I've got a long way to go," I said to myself.  Every left foot strike sent a sharp pain straight up into my brain telling me to stop. It was then, like some people do when they are in a jam, I prayed. Sorry for those of you that are not religious -I don't share my beliefs on this blog because everyone has run into a christian or anyone religious for that matter that offended them in some way...I'm sorry.
However, I want to keep this blog real and praying is what I did. 100 meters later I come up on this guy that is running with a prosthetic running leg. I sincerely believe this was the answer to my prayer. This guy's missing half of his leg, from which the half that he does have is on fire and I'm complaining about my strained calf...As I ran by him, before I could even say anything, HE said good job. I said, "Likewise...." and headed off. The challenged athletes are so inspiring to me and this guy Michael Johnston (who finished in an impressive 2:00) that I passed inspired me big time. I hit my 2nd mile in 5:48 and my calf wasn't getting any better. At this point I just kinda embraced the pain, altered my form a bit (compensating more on my right leg) and started pushing harder. It's so hard to explain but the pain and hurt that you feel in triathlon is so different than it was for me running. Everything on your body is on fire, everything is just one step away from cramping up - and everything in your mind is telling you to slow down. To me, that's when you know you are pushing hard enough in a race. I pass through the 5k in 17:45 and at this point I've passed a lot of people and each one I go by has a fancier racing kit - so I know I'm getting close to the leaders in my age group.
Coming down the home stretch
One guy I remember most looks at me as soon as I come up on him and he said..."Aww man, dude what age group are you??" I said yours man, let's do this together..." He said, "Yea, it's only about 2 miles right??" He lasted about 200 meters and laughed saying, "Yea, your too fast -see you at the finish..." I don't think that chatty guy was pushing it hard enough....Mile 4 comes at a 5:39 clip and that's when I see Ryan and he runs up and gives me some encouragement. I asked him if he had any idea what place I was in - but he didn't. He said I looked super strong and that I could catch a lot more. I push harder. 8k comes in 28:31 (5:20 mile) and I just feel like I'm flying. I keep passing more and more guys and already wondering what I could do if I just learned how to swim better! Then with about a 1/2 mile to go it happened. Cramps. With me being so focused and feeling good (besides my screaming calf) I decided not to take in any fluids or gel during the run. I didn't want to break my rhythm. This was a mistake. Both of my lower quads started locking up bad. Maybe it was that last mile split....It was the same type of cramping that I got at the end of the Rock and Roll AZ 1/2 I did in January. The type where your legs just start giving out from underneath you. I stopped and walked a few steps every 400 meters. I was really getting worried that I wouldn't make it! I was on pace to break 35 mins (which was my goal), but as I looked at my watch at 6 miles it read 35:05 and knew it wasn't gonna happen. I jogged as fast as I could in and finished with a 36:38 (9th fastest run split on the day).

At the finish I was happy to see a lot of the pro's recovering in the athlete area and some age groupers. I had no idea where I was. I felt like I had a good race (I know I had a good run), but I also knew that my swim sucked. Amy was telling me that I was probably about the 30ish person to finish and that the pros weren't that far in front of me. I started getting pretty excited joking that I was gonna quit my job if I won my age group...haha. Not so much. I finished 6th in my age group out of 96. I was the 31st amateur with a time of 1:44:35. One second faster than Matt (who I passed earlier in the run) so I'm excited to have a great training partner! At first I was bummed because I thought I was one place from the podium, but come to find out, they only award 5 deep when there are over 100 in your age group which we were just short of. I put things into perspective and realized that I'm still so new to the sport and I can't expect to win big races like this with only 2 triathlons under my belt and a total of 4 open water swims in my life.

The thing that I took the most out of this race is that it lit a fire inside of me to get competitive in the swim and dominate my age group. I never intended to get back into endurance sports after I stopped running competitively and moved on to wife, kids, and a career. But I'm starting to realize with enough discipline I can do it all. I know my body well enough that if I really wanted to I could get back into 14:15 5k shape or run another sub 4:05 mile. The muscle memory is there, I'm still young (in my my prime if you ask me) and I feel like I can tolerate pain and stress easier. But I'm done with running, it's time to change the chapter. So I guess you can say I want to make a comeback, but this time in triathlon and this time I'm coming back with a fierce.

Coming into form

Amy caught me practicing transitions
Since I've had my bike, it's amazing how much more I want to get out and ride. I was looking at my Garmin data history and I found out that I started cycling last July. I would put in 20 miles/week here, 50 miles/week there...Every once in awhile jump up to like 100, then back down to 45...All over the place! A lot of that had to do with the nagging IT band issues that were associated with my old bike, Blue Steel (which I sold last week) and the fact that it just wasn't that fun. Jim at The Bike Shop always told me that riding a nice bike just makes it so much more fun and exciting to ride. I didn't really believe him at first, but boy was I wrong! For the past month I've averaged around 125 miles/week of riding and within that short time frame I've seen HUGE gains on the bike. Living in Temecula I have the luxury of a lot of hills and a lot of wind at my disposal. I often ride after work when the wind is at it's peak and it's amazing what being in the TT position can do to Slice (pun?) through the wind. No doubt it's a bit sketchy ---you get knocked around quite a bit with wind hitting you in all directions. However, I know it is making me STRONG. I get so fired up looking at data after my rides and showing me hitting averages of 19mph+. Even on my recovery rides, 20 seems so easy and when I compare that to my recovery rides on my old road bike it's like 3-4 mph faster!

No doubt climbing is a bit more challenging and awkward in the TT position. When I'm in the aero position, it seriously feels like I'm going 10mph and when I get out of the bars I feel powerless. I guess I'm gonna have to stick with fairly flat races until I get myself a road bike that is a racing machine...After I get a cyclocross bike...sheesh. This sport is WAY to expensive. The inaugural NY Ironman has like a $900 entry fee. Are you kidding me??

I'm excited about racing this weekend--although last week I tweaked my calf and haven't run since. I'm actually going to test it out tonight. The good news is after rolling/icing/massaging that sucker, it feels a lot better. Either way, I'm going to toe the line. The swim should be interesting. I haven't done an open water swim since my last race at Xterra Las Vegas. One of the biggest factors in my poor swim in Vegas was the cold water and lack of mobility/being comfortable in my wetsuit. It's warm/er now and I've been doing a lot of swims in my wetsuit and feeling much more comfortable in it. I did a semi-comfortable 500 meter time trial this morning. I kinda went at my 1000 meter pace (which is the race distance this weekend) and dipped under 8 mins. So I'm hoping this weekend being in the salt water and getting on some people's feet I can get in the 15 min range --which will hopefully keep me in the race. Last weekend I also practiced some transitions, picked up a few good tips online and hopefully that will quicken them up a bit.

Stayed tuned for next week's Race Report----

A week of high's and low's

On top of West Lilac Rd...Isn't she pretty??
 I've been kinda in a weird training funk these past two days. Tuesday night I hit up the track for what was going to be just a moderate effort workout, but literally 50 meters into the first 800 rep, I felt my calf twinge and had to pull up and head home. So frustrating. Just when I feel like my running fitness is finally getting to where I've imagined, I pull up with a lame calf injury. I know it's just a strain but it might keep me from racing next week. Right now it's all about massage, heat, ice. I'm pretty sure it's a culprit of things that caused it and I'll use it as a learning experience. First of all, I haven't been stretching like I normally do - just haven't had time for it the past few weeks. I've barely had time to squeeze in my workouts! 2nd, Dave Kloz pointed out that my new isoTransition shoes are way too minimal for the track. I hadn't planned on using them for track workouts - only racing, but I wanted to work them in before I raced...Guess that was a bad idea. Regardless, I'm still going to race the swim/bike portion - jump into the run and see how it feels. Hopefully the adrenaline and drugs can mask the pain...Dunno, hurts to even walk on it right now. Another culprit of the strain is not going to Rehab United for the past 3 months. It was either sacrifice RU or a bike workout...Seems obvious, but I know that I need the extra strength/conditioning with me being 32 these days. I have a feeling if I hadn't stopped going, I wouldn't have pulled up lame on Tuesday night.  Oh well, lesson learned.

My beautiful family
 As for the good stuff, my little brother Jason got married last weekend and it was a blast to be a part of the wedding. We got a chance to spend 4 days down in Ramona with family and we had a lot of fun. On the bike front, I've been posting really good numbers (HR/MPH/Perceived effort) on the bike. I wish I had a power meter to see what numbers I'm hitting there but regardless, I'm getting comfortable on the Slice and it's amazing how much faster it is than Blue Steel. Some more good things; an athlete I'm coaching Ryan Wilshusen had a 39 minute PR over last year in the Rock and Roll Marathon and qualified for Boston posting a 3:00:16 almost breaking the 3 hr mark! He earned it! I've dabbled with coaching before in the past and always enjoyed it, I might have some cool opportunities coming up - so we'll see.

I'll just leave with a few random pictures over the past week, and if you haven't noticed yet, my wife talked me into creating a twitter account to go in conjunction with this blog - follow along if you'd like.

Ryan on his way to a huge PR
Amy and I at the top of a Mt. Woodson hike
Crazy, Albertson's in Temecula has a whole aisle dedicated to craft beer. If you ever read my
other blog before this one, you can see my stance on this here. However, it's cool to see that the world is catching on to beer that has taste!!
Some serious bouldering going on here in Ramona!! Note dramatic face!


Saturdays track workout consisted of 20 X 200 w/ a 200 meter float/jog (about .50 secs rest) for a total of 5 miles on the track.

My splits after a 3 mile warm up:
1st one: .35
2-20: .36 (4:49 pace)

Felt amazing to get into a rhythm. Like clockwork, it was almost impossible to go faster or slower. I'm starting to get flashbacks of my hay day. I feel younger and younger each time I go to the track. My long effortless stride, my relaxed jaw jiggling with each foot strike. The pain being brushed to the side like a piece of art that desperately wants to be finished.

The track has a tendency to capture the heat on a hot day and it delivers the smell of synthetic rubber that I absolutely love. After each .36 I would sometimes just close my eyes taking in the smell, feeling the heat form in my sock less shoes, listen to my heart pound and taste the salt on my lips. This is how I get in touch with my senses, this is my bliss.


Busy. Everybody is, right? It's a pretty common saying in small talk. Almost worse then talking about the weather. I'm not big on small talk - even with strangers. Yes, I know the weather's been crazy. I live here too. And I'm pretty sure that as long as you're not homeless, you're probably busy like the next guy. I've been doing this blog now for about 9 months now and I always try and get a post out early each week, but this week I've been "busier" then usual. I've been having a lot of fun with the blog, it's cool to go back and see what I was doing 9 months ago and get detailed reports about what I was doing in racing/training. Although I've always been good at keeping a training log (all the way back to high school) - my logs weren't exactly the most detailed. In my note section, 90% of the time you would see "Felt like crap, Felt great, Hot outside, Sore from yesterday"....that's about the extent of my detail. It's funny, in my old high school running logs (before GPS watches or were around) I was sooo off on my mileage. I would either record it way to short or way to long. I remember seeing things like "30 mins easy...7 miles." That's a pretty freakin fast 7 miles....But then I would also see things like 75 mins...7 miles. I remember when I had a particularly good session, I would ask my dad if he could take me on the course and see how many miles it was so I could figure out my pacing and how fast I went. Eventually as I got older, I would just measure out like 5 courses and just do the same route every single time...I so wish we had that technology back then! Running would have been so much more fun! Although after doing that for so many years, I still pick the same 5 or so routes up in Temecula. I'm trying to mix it up more often.

Needless to say, with 4 dudes in this -it smelled in the morning
That was quite the tangent...Busy. Work has been crazy busy. Don't think I've ever shared what I do on this blog before. I am the Director of Marketing for a local Commercial Roofing Contractor that specializes in energy-efficient roofing systems like white-reflective and solar panel systems. I do a lot of events, a lot of those are on week nights which makes the ability to schedule training very difficult. Then last week was my lil bro's bachelor party - he's getting married this weekend, super excited for him. Although....I was not excited on my run the night AFTER the bachelor party. We camped up at Paso Picacho campground (up by Cuyamaca Lake) had some beers and good times the night before and when morning came around -

Although you can't see it from this angle, you can run all
the way to the top of this, really cool
 I felt fine. Woke up, had some coffee and a snack, took
care of business and off I went. I decided to do some climbing and climbed up Stonewall Peak which ends at 5,700 feet of elevation and has amazing views at the top. My legs actually felt great after a hard 45 mile ride on the Slice the day before. However, when I got to the top I started getting what I like to call some serious "beer diarrhea cramps." For most of you that workout a lot, you know what I'm talking about. Because I'm in great shape, not only do I metabolize the alcohol (rarely get drunk or have hangovers) really well, but my body also gets rid of the toxins pretty quick. In this case, too quick. After taking in the views I headed back down the mountain to try and get to the bathroom. About 5 minutes in, I started to struggle. I started laughing because as I was leaving the campsite one of the guys said, "Hope you make it back with both socks..." I started doing a shuffle / jog / walk / hunch over and that's when I saw a group of the guys hiking up including my brother and asked if any of them have any TP, they kinda laughed...I fake laughed back and continued on until I got about 1 mile from the bathroom. It was horrible at this point. Even though I could see the bathroom, with the switchbacks, there was no way I was going to make it...So there I was, a 32 year old grown man, taking off his sweaty socks to relieve himself on the side of a hiking trail (sorry if this is grossing you out...I'm not one for small talk...). The thing about it was I was more bummed about littering then anything. I'm going to have to volunteer for a trail clean up now somewhere...

Because of the crazy week ahead (these past 4 days) Amy and I stayed in Ramona Monday night so I decided to hit up my Alma mater for a track session. The whole family hit up the track and it was pretty cool to have my wife and kids running on the same track that I spent countless hours of suffering on back in high school. Now, it's not exactly the same...we ran on a cinder track and had more weeds than grass on the football field...With some 10ks on the horizon, I decided to do 10x400 meters w/1 minute rest. I haven't done any speed work since I ran competitively. If you could pick out the single genetic gift that I have in endurance sports, it's speed work on the track. 20x400's, 30x200's, countless 150's, 300's, 600's - you name it. I did about 10 years worth of it and those workouts always seemed to come easy for me as opposed to the mile repeats in the grass or 50 minute lactate threshold sessions. No matter what kind of shape I'm in, I always seem to be able to survive these workouts. Surprisingly, Monday was no different. I was curious how my body would react. Here's my splits (w/1 minute jog/rest in between):


Once again, I felt in control the whole time. It's amazing how great you can feel when you have such a huge aerobic base behind you. Makes me want to race on the track again, although that's not gonna happen. The next day (Tuesday) Amy and I had a few drinks (on a planned day off of training) down at Joe's Crab Shack down at Embarcadero Park after a work function....But later that night I got the urge and decided that I wanted to ride. My legs were pretty hammered from 3 hard days in a row, but I couldn't help myself and so I hit the road to some Tiesto -a DJ I just discovered for riding and also Deadmau5 (thanks Eric for the recommendation). I've never been into this kind of music, but for some reason I just love riding to it, I think it's because it kind just gets you into a rhythm and helps you zone out through the pain cave. I keep tweaking the fit for my bike a bit each time and I think I almost got it dialed in. I definitely felt more power in my ride (especially in the aero position uphill). And after a week and a half of no swimming because of my horrible neck/pinched nerve pain, I finally got back into the pool. I really feel like my fitness is getting dialed in just in time for the San Diego International Triathlon in a few weeks. As long as I can stay within a few minutes to the leaders getting onto the bike, I think I'm going to do some serious damage on the bike and run. This course plays to my strengths. It's a short 1000 meter swim, followed by a short/hilly 18.6 mile bike ride and then a 10k run. So the distances are a little lopsided in favor of the runner, which I'm excited about. I have a feeling I'm going to have an over 30 PR on that 10k.

Thanks for reading everyone, here's some more pics:

Tested out my new Peral Izumi isoTransition'

1 yrs old, already working the track over

Future track stars

Me and Amy's drinks - some spiked Limeaide and Strawberry tea...Tasty!

Black Market Brewery beer tasting...yum.

It's on...

Ignore the ugly tile (from the previous owner...)
 Sunday night around 3pm I am smiling ear to ear. I come home and can't wipe the stupid grin off my face. I just spent the past 3 hours riding, fitting and debating about which bike to take home with me. It was a tough call, after getting professionally fit on both the Blue Triad SP and the Cannondale Slice 5, as I suspected my body frame fit both just fine. It had to just come down to which one I liked better aesthetically and mechanically. I learned a lot about fitting --you read and get so much advice about how important it is to get fit to the right bike and how it can make such a big difference in your ride performance. I'm now convinced that as long as your body is proportional, most of these TT bikes will fit you fine. The only thing that is important is just finding the right size for you (54, 56..etc). I was reading and hearing so many different opinions on this matter and I think there's a lot of politics involved. Different bike shops, websites etc that try to steer you to or away from certain makes/models. For instance, Blue's are know to have higher front ends and tend to be for people with shorter torso's...Seriously? I couldn't see a difference between that and the Cannondale. I think the bottom line is to ignore everything you read and hear and just go out and ride the bikes. I wasted hours of research looking too deep into this.

Now, if you're pro and you're trying to shave seconds off your bike split, I can see the benefit of finding that PERFECT fitting bike. As an age-grouper though??? Reminds me of this guy that was bragging to a group of triathletes that he pees off the bike and run during races. He's a mid-pack age grouper. Really?? You're not pro dude, shaving 20 seconds off your time and scaring spectators is not worth that 226th place finish instead of 227. Sorry for the rants. I've come to find out there are a lot of arrogant/vain people in the world of triathlon. Runners tend to just let their legs do the talking, triathletes tend to talk with how expensive their bike is, how much gear they have, how many ironmans they've done...etc...Drives me nuts. And since I'm a triathlete now, let's talk about my bike. (Dammit!)...

So I ended up going with the Slice mainly because of how smooth the shifting was and the reputation Cannondale has (Blue is still fairly new). And I have to admit, I love the way it looks. As soon as I got home I headed out for a spin. It has been getting suuper windy in Temecula in the evenings lately. For some reason, the wind doesn't really bother me in running or riding though. I think it's mostly a mental thing for a lot of runners/riders that hate the wind. Two things that make me at ease with it. 1. Everyone in the race or workout is going through the same wind. 2. It's only going to make you stronger. Along with the bike I purchased my first Tri Shoes and after reading a lot of reviews I went with the Louis Garneau Tri Lite shoes which are ridiculously light and comfortable. I also went with the Look Keo Max Carbon pedals which blow away the mountain bike Shimano pedals I was using on the Forge. Speaking of the Forge, after getting my Slice I really wanted to do a Office Space number on that bike (like they did with the fax can see the clip here). With all the IT issues it gave me, all of those dropped chains, flat name it - I was done with that thing! I posted it on craigslist the next day and already have some interest.

So I head out on my first ride and I hope not to sound arrogant (I am a triathlete now) but I'm a lot faster than I thought I was. Riding Blue Steel about 100 miles a week for almost a year has turned me into a beast on the bike come to find out. It's kind of like when you used to play little league when you're on deck to bat and you put that donut on your bat or maybe swing 3 of them and as soon as you take that donut off and swing with your bat, it's sooo light and it feels like your swing is more powerful than ever. I'm experiencing the same thing with my bike now. 25 mph has never come so easy. Even in the wind I was hitting over 20 with little effort. It's amazing what the aero position can do for your speed.

After a quick 25 miler that night I headed out for a 50 miler the next morning on Memorial Day. It was beautiful! You always hear that there are two downsides to a TT bike. 1. Uncomfortable on long rides 2. Climbing. I wanted to put both of those to the test so I headed through Rice Canyon and Couzer Canyon to see what kind of efforts I'd have to put in. The results were great to say the least. I think it's because I've been so uncomfortable and miserable on Blue Steel for so long that this bike feels amazing on climbs and long rides. I was able to stay in the aero position basically the whole ride (including 90% of Couzer Canyon) and it felt great. One thing I read that will always stick with me is...Every time you are out of the aero position, you are better off with a road bike. Easy enough. It's funny, I got so many compliments on the road that day. Whenever I road Blue Steel with my mountain bike shoes, whenever I hooked up with a group they would look at me like I was funny...goes back to that whole vain thing. The way you look is WAY more important then how fit you are. So backwards.

It's amazing how much more enjoyable a ride can be with a nice bike. It makes the process fun and the fact that my IT doesn't hurt riding anymore makes me pumped to get back on the bike again. My running continues to hit new levels I haven't seen or felt since high school/college. I look at my fitness right now and I like to compare to where I was when I was younger. The past year I have been in my sophomore year of high school fitness, but lately I've graduated and I think I'm right about where I was as a freshman/sophomore in college as far as 8k/10k fitness goes (won't touch my 800/mile fitness ever again!). Swimming has been on hold the past week because I've had this really bad pinched nerve in my neck that seems to just be getting worse. I slept on it wrong one night and all the running/biking is not making it better.

Here's a few more shots of the Slice, thanks for reading!