Saturday, April 28, 2012

TdK Stage 7 Recap

28 Apr 12-

Well I knew the back to back hard days would eventually catch up to me, and today was the day.  It was alright though I knew today was going to be tough so I helped the team out all the way until the base of the climb.  It was 50k and I did a decent amount of work throughout that and then just went up the climb.  There was a 20k section between the 2 climbs where I was hoping the group would come back together.  Our GC rider attacked after the first climb and put 1'30" into the first group.  So that drove the first group to chase him with 3 guys from the 1st place team who are all within 30secs of the GC.  I was back in the 2nd main group and we weren't able to catch the main group.  I just sat in and let a team that was in 5th in the GC and only had 2 guys up the road do the work (Your top 3 riders count for each stage for the Team GC), so they had 3 guys in our group doing a majority of the work.

I just took it easy and sat in for the last 30k and made sure to avoid any craziness.  I caught some wheels at about 2k to go and stayed with them but with about 1k some other guys came around, I got on there wheels and then when the group came together with 500 to go I just pulled off.  There isn't a point for me to be sprinting for 33rd place and risk getting tangled in some non sense.  Our group ended up 5 minutes down, but no big deal as I am not in the GC due to missing Stages 2-4.

Now for our team, they had a great day and our GC rider stayed away after the climbs until 20k left.  He then managed to find his way to the finish line and win the stage.  That gave him a 10 second bonus, which puts him 11 seconds ahead and in the yellow jersey.  Elmer won the KOM for the Tour de Korea since there is no KOM tomorrow and JY still holds the Sprint, Best Young Rider, and Yellow Jersey.

Tomorrow is going to be a crazy 48k of mayhem, but I am looking forward to showing up and doing what needs to be done to protect the Yellow Jersey for JY and to hopefully help him get the sprint points as well.  All I can say is it is going to be a crazy one, and hopefully we can all come out with no injuries.

Link to ride on Strava:
Stage 7 Placing: 62nd out of 155 (Time Gap: 5:08) -Stage 7 Individual Results
Stage 7 Team Placing: 2nd (Time Gap: 0:00)- Stage 7 Team Results

Friday, April 27, 2012

TdK Stage 6 Recap

27 Apr 12-

Well back to back tough days really take a beating on the body.  Although today was a little shorter than yesterday I found myself in a break again.  The only good thing was this break had 11 people in it which meant a little less work but the pace was still fast and the rolling hills were brutal.  In this 11 man break we had myself and 1 guy from our team, 2 guys from the 3rd place team, and 1 guy from the 1st place team.  It was a perfect opportunity for us to take the Team GC, only problem was that is not our goal.  This break started around 20K and grew all the way to a 2 minute gap, and it grew to that very quickly.

Now the problem with this break is that the 1 guy from the 1st place team (BMC Korea), was that he was in 3rd on the Individual GC.  So then we had a problem on our hands, but one would think that BMC would of wanted to pull the break back to protect dropping all the way to 3rd in the Team GC.  Obviously they have their priorities set on the GC as well as they did not do any work to bring the break back.  With 40k to go our team went to the front along with my friend Derek Laan's team, Team Cannondale Korea.  They were working really hard to bring our break back, so now let me fast forward to the last 5k.  We still had our gap I wasn't doing any work other than trying to get over the last few rollers, the guys were drilling it up these things and I was on the rivet.  With 1k to go we still had a small gap, maybe 15secs.  Things started shaking up in our group of 11 and people started firing off.  A guy went at 500m and ended up getting a good gap, at 300m I found myself on the 3rd place wheel and was going to ride that to 100m and then sprint for the last spot on the podium.  Well at 200m I look to the left to some guys who weren't in our break go flying by me, talk about a kick in the junk.  It wasn't that bad though because that meant we didn't lose any time on the yellow, and I managed a top 20 finish.  The crappy part is being in that break that stuck for that long and then not finishing off the job.

All in all the day ended alright, our team just had to do way too much work as a whole.  My legs are getting pretty heavy considering I have been in a break for 3 hours over the 5 hours of racing the past 2 days.  The bad thing about that tomorrow is a huge stage for us and the hardest stage of them all.  It plays into my favor that it is 120k, but going into it with thrashed legs will be tough.  Anyways, below are the results from today and a few photos.  Also, JY (Our GC rider), talks about the race and how he REALLY REALLY likes Honey Stinger Waffles.

Link to ride on Strava:
Stage 6 Placing: 19th out of 153 (Time Gap: 0:02) -Stage 6 Individual Results
Stage 6 Team Placing: 5th (Time Gap: 0:02)- Stage 6 Team Results

As you can the portion that we covered in our break was pretty brutal
 Overall Results, we still have all 4 Jerseys
 Sign in board, pretty neat other than the board is re used every morning so it is getting a little dirty.
 JY still in 1st place with the Yellow Jersey
 JY and the 2 guys that are in 2nd for the Best Young Rider and Sprint Jersey
 Yeah, ummmmmm I want to go Right?


Thursday, April 26, 2012

TdK Stage 5 Recap

26 Apr 12-

Last night was an interesting journey to make it all the way down here to the race start area.  It started with what was suppose to be a 40 min train ride to get to the KTX station.  Well 3 stops from the KTX the train decided to stop and make us get off.  I had a very small window to get to the KTX station so I had to get a cab and have him drive me 10K to get to the KTX station on time.  I ended up getting there on time and made the train, so one headache avoided.  I met up with my buddy John on the train and we made it to Daegu about 10pm and still had about an hour drive via taxi.  The cab driver we got was by far the worst we could have got.  He would step on the gas and off the gas so it was very uncomfortable and then on top of that he couldn't work his GPS, and he might of been slightly blind.  So on top of all of that he then decided to take a round about in the opposite direction until we started yelling at him.  So what was suppose to be a 1 hour cab ride turned into a 2h15m cab ride.  So that was the trip to get back down to the team, now onto the important part, the race!

The day started out with an extended neutral zone due to the poor road conditions from the previous days storm.  The rain, wind and road conditions were so bad yesterday that they canceled the race.  This didn't help my "fresh" legs as much as I had hoped since everyone else was fresh as well.  I got a 20 minute warmup in which was a little short, but knowing the neutral zone extended I wasn't too worried.  I stayed up at the front of the main group and we got to the first climb and I slowly dropped back trying to conserve energy for the second climb which would be a crucial part of the race.  As we came to the bottom of the first climb the team that is leading the race launched an attack and I marked the guy.  It ended up just being the 2 of us and we opened up a gap to 1m30s and didn't get caught until about 2k from the 2nd climb with a group of 4.  At this time we had 6 guys, I sagged off the back of the group on the climb and just kept them in my sight.  I had 2 of my teammates coming up the climb and they put some time into the field so at the top of the climb the 3 of us came together and descended together.  At the bottom I worked hard to get the 3 of us back to the group but 2 guys had slowly slipped up the road.

We eventually came together as a group of 8, 3 from our team and only 1 from the lead team.  I tried to get the group motivated as everyone but that 1 guy had a lot to gain, especially us.  We were working well together except the 1 guy kept disrupting the group.  There was a sprint point at 77k, and JY (Our GC, Young Rider, and Sprinter) said he wanted to go for it this morning.  So with about 1k to go from the line I let it rip and we strung things out, I went for about 500m.  Luckily we had it stacked perfectly to where JY was on my wheel and then Elmer was on his, so when I came off Elmer sat up and JY got a big gap and took the sprint points, which put him in the "BLUE" (more commonly known as the Green) Jersey

After the sprint the main group caught us and we stayed together all the way to the finish.  JY had planned to attack with about 1k to go where it hit a small incline.  He got a decent gap and ended up taking the Stage Win!  This win gave him the Yellow Jersey, so it was a big day for our team.  We now have all 4 Jersey's and are sitting 2nd in the Team GC, down by 23 seconds.

I enjoy the team concept a lot and feel that it is almost more rewarding that triathlon.  Not every race is about ME, it is about the TEAM and today I was able to walk away from the race with a not so great placing but still had the feeling of accomplishment due to contributing to the TEAM.

Tomorrow is going to be 89K with a lot of rolling hills, so it is going to be another tough day especially since we have so much to defend.  Looking forward to another beautiful day on the bike.

Link to ride on Strava:
Stage 1 Placing: 55th out of 153 (Time Gap: 0:25) -Stage 5 Individual Results
Stage 5 Team Placing: 3rd (Time Gap: 0:00)- Stage 5 Team Results

Overall Standings, as you can tell "STK" we STORCK are dominating, claiming all 4 Jersey's at the moment.

 Today's course that we covered, right after that first hill is where I got in the 2 man break.  Stayed away till right after the sprint line.  We got caught by the right after that small climb before the 2nd big climb.  We stayed away all the way till the sprint line and then the main group was back together.
 Signing in for the Stage, sporting the HONEY STINGER HAT!
 Started the day with Chamois Butt'r Embrocation on due to it being a bit chilly and finished the day swiping it off with Eurostyle Sport Wash.
 Post race interview with a local Korean TV station that broadcast in english.
 Elmer on the left who has the KOM Jersey and JY on the right who has the Yellow, Sprinter, and Best Young Rider Jersey's.  Heck of a day for the team!

Video from today prior to myself and John showing up.  If you get tired of the beginning forward to the end to see the scenery of where we started.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

TdK Stage 1 Recap

22 Apr 12-

To kick things off for the Tour de Korea they decided to start it off with a fast and flat 55K.  A majority of the course was going to be on the expressway, although the first 10K was along a river which had 13 speed bumps.  These speed bumps would have been fine, however it was raining this morning.  They aren't your typical speed bumps, they were cobble speed bumps to begin with so the race people put thick rubber mats over them.   They then became slippery and ended up taking out quite a few people.

Today the main objective was to just finish in the main group and not let anything get away.  The team made a critical error early on by letting a break get up the road with 4 guys in it, which we had one of the 4.  Not so critical at that point, then the guy in the break thought he heard us call him back on the radio and just slowed up and let them go.  So instead of not having to worry about bringing the break back we got put into a situation to have to work to get it back.  It had 2 guys from one of the stronger teams in the race in the break with a GC contender in the break.  Instead of being able to take it easy and just mark people I ended up having to sit up front for about 15 mins with 2 other guys and work to pull the break back, eventually we got it back so no big deal.

With about 10K to go I really started concentrating on my positioning and made sure to stay up front in the first 10-15 people.  With 3K to go we came off of the freeway and across a bridge.  I then really focused on staying up front so I could possibly setup a leadout for our GC guy.  At 2K our 2 teammates that were up front came off the front and I sat up there and kept the pace up for about 800m.  Crazy thing is the only 2 signs I saw from 2K out was the 2K sign and then a 300m sign.  With about 1K left I peeled off and just tailed off the back to try and avoid any craziness.  I wasn't in a position to win or podium so there was no need to take any risks.  I ended up with the main group and came out with no road rash or injuries so all in all a good day.

We had one teammate crack a frame and another fracture his femur, so team wise it was by far a good day.  Not sure as of now where we are in Team GC, but it shouldn't matter much as there was no time gap.  Stage 2 suits some of our riders a lot better than today did and we should be looking for a good day tomorrow.

Link to ride on Strava:
Stage 1 Placing: 70th out of 171 (Time Gap: 0:09) -Stage 1 Individual Results
Stage 1 Team Placing: 7th (Time Gap: 0:00)- Stage 1 Team Results
Stage 1 Map and Elevation
 Signed in and ready to race! #126!
 Getting the legs loosened up on Saturday.  We are rolling in style this year!
 The Harley Davidson truck which is transporting all of our bikes and gives us a dry and warm place to warmup.  This was Saturday the day prior to the start at the host hotel.  It was raining and all the teams were impressed with our setup, crap today at the race all the pro teams were in awwwwww at what we have.
 The Team at the Welcome dinner.  Rocking our Watts Hoodies and shirts.
When there is not an actual washer and dryer you have to improvise ;)

2012 TdK Preview

21 Apr 12-

So the time has come for the 2012 Tour de Korea to get underway.  I will be riding for the same team as last year, except for this year I will be on our "A" Team.  We have two teams, Team Storck (A) and Team Watts (B).  We are all riding for the same shop owner, who owns Storck/Rapha and a new shop called Watts.  All of our jersey's and shirts have Watts on them as we are trying to promote the new shop.  Each team has 8 riders and unfortunately a few of us are not able to ride all 8 days.  A month or so ago I approached my boss for approval to race the whole thing and due to inspections going on at work I am not able to race all 8 days.  I am hoping to be able to race Stage 1 and then 5-8.  It will hopefully all workout for the best and I will be there for the last 4 days, where I could possibly play a crucial part in the race.

Our "A" Team was 2nd in the Team GC last year and we also had our GC rider finish in 2nd.  This year things have changed and we have a new GC rider, a 23 year old Korean guy who took 3rd place last year.  The team focus is to place well as a team but to also get him in the Individual GC.  He is super strong and has actually been involved in a college study where they had him sleeping in an elevation tent that was set at 4,000 meters.

I am looking really forward to the race and hopefully being able to help the team accomplish all of our goals.  I have put in the work and am ready to go so we will see how it all plays out.  Below are some links of where to follow the race at and some pictures of the route and prize money.

Tour de Korea Website:
Tour de Korea FB Page:

 Team Storck, the most diverse team in the peloton. 2 from Korea, 2 from the US, 1 from Japan, 1 from Denmark, 1 from Begium, 1 from South Africa.  Great group of guys and completely bummed I can't ride all 8 days with the.  Not only can they ride fast, they are also awesome to be around.
 Stage 1-8
 The route that will be traveled.  We always finish in the same city as the pros but each morning we have to get up and drive ahead, as you can see by the dotted line.
The Prize Money.  50,000,000 Won, about $44,000USD.  They changed the payout quite a bit this year, Individual GC goes 50 deep and no team money for team stage placing.  They have also added best young rider and spring jersey's for this year.  Best young rider is 1987 and younger.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Look into the Past 4.5 Months of Training

17 April 2012-

After Kona back in October I decided that I would switch my focus to cycling and start prepping for the Tour de Korea.  There were two bike races after Kona that I did a little prep work for to end out the season.  If you remember I got taken out and crashed in the crit but came back two weeks later to win the road race, so ended the season on a high note.  Well over the past 4.5 months a lot has changed and I am starting to feel more like a cyclist right now than a triathlete, but don't be fooled I have still been running and swimming a bit as well.

I switched coaches back in late November and started full time with Zach Garrett a member of the US Military Cycling Team, accomplished cyclist and Aerospace Physiologist.  We kept in mind that I would be returning to Triathlon shortly after the Tour de Korea so agreed to try and maintain my run and swim, but we knew it would drop off a little bit.  The bike was the main focus and we will soon see how that works out, but I can tell a huge difference from November till now.

So what has the last 4.5 months looked like?  I was fortunate enough to spend 3 weeks home in California and the weather cooperated and made for some great training.  I was also able to attend the US Military Cycling Team Camp down in Florida and get two races under my belt as well as train with the Elite Team and soak up a bunch of knowledge from the best riders in the military.  With all of the above happening I put in some solid training, but also put in some solid travel across the Pacific Ocean. Below are some graphs to help you see how things have went over the past 4.5 months.

Above is the hours I put in each week.  I have averaged 13 hours up to this week, and have a total of 265hrs and 4,340 miles accumulated between all 3 sports. 11/28/11-4/17/12
(Click Image to Enlarge)

For those of you that use TrainingPeaks and WKO+, this is my total TSS combined for Swimming, Running, Cycling.  I averaged 772 not including this current week, which is the last column. 11/28/11-4/17/12
 (Click Image to Enlarge)
And again for those TrainingPeaks/WKO+ users, here is my PMC Chart.  Those 2 spikes in TSB were when I came back from Camp and was completely exhausted from a big week training and the travel to get back and then just as I got back into it I got sick. 11/28/11-4/17/12
(Click Image to Enlarge)

With all of the above data some of you may be able to relate to all of it, but for the most part everyone can understand the hours/distance trained.  The biggest thing that a lot of people overlook in training is consistency.  I would like think that if you look at the above data you can see that I have been really consistent week in and week out considering the circumstances.  When you travel across the Pacific it can make things a little harder as it eats up a few days, but for the most part I am not putting in "huge" weeks and just keeping everything consistent.  Over the last 15 months I have completely turned my training around and have found great results in that.  What has been different?  I have found great coaches, put my trust in them and let them guide me down this path.  Training is quite simple when you are surrounded by great mentors, coaches, friend and of course family.

Hope this little insight into my training helps you better understand what I have done to prep for the Tour de Korea and hopefully some solid results will show how hard I have been working.  Be on the lookout later this week for a Pre Race Blog about the TdK