Friday, June 29, 2012

US Military Triathlon Championships

23 June-

I finally did it, I had finally made the Air Force Triathlon Team.  It took me just a little over 4 years from my first triathlon to make it to the starting line, but wow what a journey it has been.  It almost didn't happen due to the fact that I had crashed on some railroad tracks about 10 days prior, but luckily just some minor road rash and stitches.  I couldn't of made it onto this team without some amazing mentors along the way, but there is one person who really looked after me.  So first off I just wanted to say thanks to Kathy Rakel, the now 3x US Military Triathlon Champ, as she helped mentor me over the past 2 years.  I would go to her with questions in regards to the application process and what exactly the team was looking for.  So I owe a special thanks to her for all the help, and wish her the best as she transitions from a full time military member and pro triathlete to just focusing on being a full time athlete.

Last time I traveled over from Korea I struggled with jet leg for the first time.  I normally adapt really quick and typically do not have problems with jet lag.  So with that in the back of my mind I came out 2 days prior to the rest of the team and arrived to Pt Mugu on Monday.  Pt Mugu is located next to Oxnard which is about 30 minutes north of Malibu.  It is an amazing area and I was really happy to show up early so I could enjoy the local roads for some good training.  I woke up on Tuesday and got an early swim in and then headed out on the bike finding some amazing climbs right off of the Pacific Coast Highway.  I came back after training and had to send my coach a message asking him if I was allowed to ride longer the next 2 days as long as I kept it easy and didn't completely smash myself.  He was all for it, so Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I put in some amazing rides.  It was awesome to wake up to overcast weather and then just go out ride up the mountain a bit and then boom the weather was amazing.  It was nice to arrive early and just get settled in and be able to just focus on getting solid recovery and rest after each workout.

The rest of the team trickled in on Wednesday and I played the role of bike mechanic throughout the evening.  The team had a few issues, a few minor ones and then one major one.  One guy showed up with a 10spd cassette while the rest of his bike was 9spd, so off we went to Performance Bikes to get a 9spd cassette.  The major issue was one of our girls somehow went out for a ride and snapped her derailleur hangar and set screw on her derailleur.  She had a Look bike, so it was quite rare but luckily there was a shop in town about 30 minutes away that helped her out.  Other than that everything mechanically was fine.  I had switched my cassette out from the 11-23 to 11-28 to go climb the mountains so other than that my bike was all setup for race day.

The "busy" day of the week was Thursday.  It started out with a 10am team meeting and gear issue, followed by bike check at 1230.  They were pretty particular on bike check since it was ITU Style racing (Draft Legal).  After that we had the race briefing which took place at 1400.  Then 1600 was team pictures followed by opening ceremonies at 1800.  So to say the least Thursday was the busy day.  Friday was a really relaxing day, got my workouts done early then just relaxed.  We went to Olive Garden for dinner as a team and then followed it up with a past tradition from James Bales (who was not able to attend this year due to injury) with Dairy Queen Blizzards.

Race morning was not the typical race morning since our race didn't start till 1030.  Luckily our hotel was within a 3 minute walk of the transition area.  They were actually doing chip pickup and body marking right outside the hotel.  They had a sprint distance race that started at 0800, which my step dad took place in.  He had a good race, minus his swim as he was a little paranoid of the ocean swim, and ended up 3rd in his Age Group.  I just hung out and watched the start of the race and then went about my normal routine.  I got in a short 15 minute run to loosen up the legs and then took a 10 min shower that was nice and hot which really got the body loosened up.

Prior to race start they played the national anthem with all of us on the starting line.  Immediately after that the horn went off and the race started.

Swim- 21:32
The biggest horror stories you hear of this race is that the swim is brutal.  It is brutal in the sense that their are a lot of strong swimmers and then the water is COLD!  Not to mention there can be some surf, although it wasn't that bad.  It was a 2 lap swim and I just swam as hard as I could and tried to remain around someone the whole time.  As I was coming out of the water on the 2nd lap our coach was there telling me I was 30th out of the water (actual results have me at 28th), so right where I expected to be.

T1- 0:57
Nice and fast, but not quite as fast as the others comparing times across the board.  Off onto the bike I went and had my work cut out for me.

Bike- 52:27
With the bike being draft legal it does not play into my favor at all.  I knew I would have my work cut out with my swim time, but was hoping to have some people to work with.  Out of transition I had one guy with me but he didn't want to come along so I just settled in and started to bridge to the first group ahead that I saw.  My tactic was once I caught a group I would sit in for about 15 seconds and then move the front and get the pace going.  Well I would move to the front and pick up the pace and then look back and I would open up a gap.  The first 2 times it happened I slowed up for the group thinking maybe I just accelerated too fast.  Well after those first 2 times I decided that I just needed to ride my own race and moved on.  This happened as I came to 3 different groups.  No one wanted to come with me, except one guy, Brad Pigage, who is on the Navy Team (he is actually in the Coast Guard though), and is also a member of Team RWB.  He came with me right before the start of the 3rd lap, he took a pull or 2 and then I went to the front and looked back and he was off the back.  I was actually kind of happy that I dropped him because he is a stellar runner and I didn't want to take him into T2 with me.  At the start of the last lap I saw a group ahead which had 5 people in it, they had about 30 seconds on me.  I worked hard to catch this group but it took a lot of effort and I didn't catch them till about 1.5 miles to the finish.  When I caught the group it had my teammate Ken in it.  I knew I had already worked really hard on the bike, and figured I would lay it all out there since my legs were pretty shot.  I looked over at him and said "You just tell me when and I will pull you all the way to T2".  He was kind of in shock that I had made it to the group and after about 10secs he looked back over and said "Lets GO".  I dropped the hammer and off we went.  4 of the 5 guys in the group came with, so one less person to worry about.  I liked the tactics there as I felt if I could put some guys into the red right before T2 it might play into my favor.  I think it was a little to late to put them too far into the red, but it was the "lead" group, with 3 other guys solo off the front.

T2- 0:23
I had the fastest T2 time along with one other guy.  I was really happy with that as my T1 time wasn't all that great compared to others.  I got in and out of there and was out on the run with the guys I came off the bike with.

Run- 35:58
I knew I worked hard on the bike and it was just going to be a matter of how hard I worked to how bad my run would be.  I was confident going into the race that I would be able to hold low 6min pace if not sub 6min pace.  I came out of T2 and just tried to stay with Ken, but he set a blazing pace out of T2 and I just couldn't hang.  I settled in and just ran my race.  The interesting thing about this race is they take the top 6 to Military Worlds, and then for the team competition it is Cross Country Scoring (meaning you just add up a said amount of finishers placings and that is your team score, it was 7 men and 4 women, scored separately as a male and female competition, no joint overall winner).  I was running to protect my position as well as trying to move up to the top 6.  Once I realized the 2 guys in front of me were running quite well I just settled in and wanted to make sure I had some energy if I had to protect my position.  About half way through the 2nd of 2 laps, Brad Pigage had caught me.  I knew he had to put in a solid effort to catch me but I still had roughly 1.5 miles to run with him till the finish.  When he caught me I just stayed with him and realized he was breathing pretty hard.  I felt under control and was able to briefly talk here and there.  We ran stride for stride for about half a mile, then I started playing games.  I wanted to see what he had left so I would put in a surge then just float out there.  He would come back up to me and then about 30-45 seconds later I would do the same thing.  I did this about 3 times and then with about 400m to go I put in one final big surge and held him off to finish the race 8th Overall.

**A couple key points about this race that I want to address be for going further.  The course is SHORT, everyone has to race the same course so it DOES NOT matter that it is short.  So when looking at the above times realize that the bike is 22.8 miles and the run is 5.9 miles.  Also, the Canadian Armed Forces Team races in the race as well although they are not counted in the scoring, 1 Canadian was ahead of me, so technically I was 9th Overall, but among US Athletes I was 8th.***

Swim- 21:32 / 28th
T1- 0:57 / 17th
Bike- 52:27 / 1st    Strava File:
T2- 0:23 / 1st
Run- 35:58 / 16th   Strava File:
Total: 1:51:17 / 8th Overall US Finisher (9th w/ Canadians)
Link to Results:

Male Team Finish:
1st Navy
2nd Air Force
3rd Army
4th Marines

Female Team Finish:
1st Air Force (Also swept individual podium)
2nd Marines
3rd Navy
4th Army

Overall I was extremely happy with my performance as well as our teams performance.  Although we did not defend the championship, we had a great time and have an amazing group of athletes.  I was honored to be part of such a great team.  I came into the race with low expectations and ended up shocking myself.  I had no thoughts of going to Military Worlds, but missing that opportunity by 55 seconds is what will fuel my training over the next year.

I can't thank everyone enough for all of the support.  The race atmosphere was awesome down there with some great fans and all of the teammates on the course cheering each other on.  A special thanks to my Mom, Step Dad, and sister Madyson for coming down for the race and cheering me on.  Also, a huge thanks to HED Cycling for the great wheels that helped me achieve the fastest bike split.  HoneyStinger for the great support of the military and great products, and FRS for the awesome products.

Here are some pictures from the race and time down there  
Out on an easy spin day prior to the race.
Prior to Steve's swim start


The team, minus Stephanie, Erin and Scott
 Last minute pep talk from Mace and then a short prayer

 Hammering the bike Solo.

Out on the run course

 Finishing up the first loop

 The post race ride which happens every year up some random road that climbs up the mountains, great time with great guys.  Check out the strava file!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hongcheon RR 6th Wk in a Row

16 Jun-

Today marks the 6th weekend in a row of racing.  It has been quite the past 6 weeks with a lot of racing.  I have had a lot of fun racing the bike and throwing the one triathlon in there.  This weekend looked like it could be the end of my streak.  The course profile didn't suit me all that well and they had all the 45 and under guys racing together.  Before the race even started I knew it was going to be a tough day.  I had a game plan to keep my streak alive, it was just a matter of executing and hoping it would work.

The course started on a slight uphill that went along for about 6k.  We started with all of the road bikes together.  Then of course in typical Korean Cycling fashion they had to screw one thing up, and honestly this was the only thing they screwed up.  They sent the MTB'ers off right after us, and they ended up in our peloton and trying to ride through it quite quickly.  It just became one big group of roadies and MTB'ers and I wasn't happy about that one bit.  Other than that the race was put on very well, great course marshal's, great lead vehicle for both the breakaway and the peloton and then results were posted in a timely manner.  Only other complaint is it took a while for awards to take place, about 45 minutes later than the posted time which was 45 minutes after the finish, so 1h30m after the finish they put on the awards ceremony.

At about 4K there was a solo guy off the front, no one to be worried about but a reason to go to the front to pull him back.  I was getting in patient with the MTB'ers being with us and wasn't happy with how things were going in the pack.  I went up front and picked the pace up trying to string things out.  I took it over the top and through a tunnel.  Then we started a downhill, and as all cyclist know the downhill is not the place to attack.  I figured I had nothing to lose and really wanted to get away from the pack.  There was a slight head/cross wind so I put the hammer down.  It took about 5 attacks to finally get away but I finally made it stick.  At the end of the downhill we took a right hand turn and got onto some back roads.

The reason I had to get away was because there was a climb that started at 30K went to 35K and then it was 4K to the finish.  I needed to get some time on the climbers prior to that climb so that I could hopefully go over the top with them.  I slowly worked up a gap and was able to maintain about 45secs all the way till the start of the climb.  We had looked at the profile and wasn't sure how bad the climb was going to be.  Well I came around the corner and it was a dang wall with one switch back at the top.  It was quite brutal and I made the mistake of looking back and the whole peloton was in chase mode.  Luckily Elmer (my teammate) and Hyung Mo were the only ones that caught me, and they caught me at the top.  Strava says that Elmer out climbed me by 45secs so that is how we know how big the gap was that I worked up.

From the top of the climb to the finish we just hammered away and all did a share of the work.  The fun began about 500m out when Hyung Mo attacked.  He sat up at about 350m, and then attacked again at about 250m.  We kept it together there and then at 150m Elmer put down the final sprint and took it to the line and I came around Hyung Mo at 50m to take 2nd.

All in all it was a great day and I was able to execute the plan that I had laid out.  I was really excited for Elmer to take the win as him and Hyung Mo are in the same age group and are always going back and forth.  I couldn't of stayed away with out the great help of some teammates in the peloton keeping it under control.  So a big shout out to them for keeping it under control and letting me stay away.  Thanks guys!

Once again thanks to everyone for all of the support!

Under 45 Overall-
Results: 2nd out of ~40
Link to ride on Strava:

 Fellow Military Rider Matt Burt just arrived in Korea and joined right in the racing action!

The pack attempting to chase me down.

 Our Team dominated the top 6! If you can't beat them my as well join them, I think Hyung Mo might take that into consideration ;)
 The top 3!
The Top 10 is all they posted, and here it is!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Typical Weekend in S.Korea= 9 Stitches, Crazy Korean Cycling Rules, and Missing the W by Inches!

10 June-


Where to begin to describe this weekend.  I guess I will go with chronological order.  Went out for a ride with the guys on Saturday and got in a great 3 hours.  Came back from the ride cleaned up the bike to get it ready for the race and then was going to head to the pool to get my swim in.  On the way to the pool I was riding with a new guy from here.  He is borrowing my road bike as his bike hasn't arrived yet and I was just riding on my commuter bike.  We were just talking and going along at probably 15mph or so.  Next thing I know he is going down on the railroad tracks and I am in shock that he is crashing on MY bike, and next thing you know I look up and my wheel is in the tracks.  Yeah, stupid move on my part to lose focus and take myself out.  I whacked my chin pretty good and had some decent road rash.  I spent the next 3 hours in the ER with an amazing crew of medical staff that took great care of me.  Alright I know you could care less about me, YES the bikes are OK ;)!  I ended up with 9 stitches and had to plead with them on how long until I can swim, it was the first question out of my mouth when I walked in there.  Originally it was 4-5 days, then by the time I left they found a source that said 24 hours.

After the stay at the ER I headed back home got my bike and caught the bus up to Seoul.  I spent the night up there and we headed out early Sunday morning to the race.  We knew there was a parade that we were suppose to attend, it started 3 hours before the race and was only 30K.  We got there in time to try and do the parade, but we were a little slow getting ready.  I had to take care of the morning business, Elmer was pinning his number on, and then one of our guys told us it didn't start till 10.  We thought it started at 9, so we figured we would just show up a few minutes late and do the parade course more less on our own.

Next thing you know they are telling us we are DQ'd, then they are telling us we could race.  It was really confusing, we argued with them that we showed up late and so forth and then they started coming up with reasons why we had to be DQ'd.  First was, "You didn't ride the 30K so you won't be tired like the other riders", our response, "We will ride the parade course and show you we rode 30K with our GPS". "No, that isn't fair".  Next problem, "You can't be on the podium, nor can you get prizes (it was just merchandise".  Our response "We don't care about the prizes, WE WILL podium in our Age Groups and we want to be on the podium".  There response, with no reasoning "NO".  All in all it was quite frustrating as they didn't want to budge at all.  YES, we were in the wrong, but really you are going to DQ us because we miss a parade that started 3 hours before the race by 10 minutes.  Korean Cycling took 1 step forward and 2 steps back this weekend.  This was there 2 steps backwards.

The 1 step forward they took was there was 2 road races, one was Novice (anyone that has not ridden in the Tour de Korea), and Intermediate (Anyone that has ridden in the Tour de Korea, or is a foreigner, that is an automatic nod that you know how to ride a bike).  In those categories they still had Age Groups by 10 year increments, which is still not a perfect system as it is hard to know who is in your Age Group, but it was a step in the right direction.

I would really like to see a sanctioning body stood up where they lay out all the rules and everything is the same at all the races.  It would make things much less complicated and you would know what you are getting yourself into before the race.  Some of the problems we have come across that cause confusion are: Is it chip timing or is it gun time? What Age Group are we using today? Is it mass start or wave start?  It just seems they are behind the power curve by a long shot, and hopefully it will all come together in the next couple of years as the sport is definitely growing here.

The Race Report:

The race was a 45K Circuit race with each lap being 9K and the total race was 5 laps.  We pre rode the course during our warmup and I knew where the move was going to be made and had told Elmer my thoughts on it.  The only problem is I didn't know how early it was going to go.  The first lap of the race was pretty un eventful, I just sat in and tried to stay up in the top 15 in case something went that I liked.  About half way into the second lap Mr. Lee, a prior teammate of mine and prior Olympian attacked just before the climb started.  I decided that I wouldn't mind working with him as I know he is strong and we could work well together.  Well I bridged to him and then about 2 minutes later we were all back together.  No one wanted to come to the front though so I just stayed up front and kept a nice tempo going up the small climb.

Next thing I know I hear Elmer yelling at me from the right hand side to GO BRAD, GO!  I step on it and look over to him and Hyung Mo attacking like crazy.  Elmer is the KOM from the TdK and Hyung Mo was 2nd place in the GC.  I had to work really hard to make it over the climb with them, but luckily I was already up front and was able to go with them.  About 30 seconds later the 2nd Place Best Young Rider from the Tour de Korea joined us.  I knew this break had a lot of fire power and I wanted it to stick.  I work hard and the others were working hard as well.  Once we established the gap it just kind of stayed where it was and didn't grow much.  On the last lap we really opened the gap up and half way through the lap I knew it was going to come down to a sprint between the 4 of us.

About 1K out it was a decent that then went flat for about 200m and then started a false flat to the finish, which ended up a gradual uphill.  At about 600m to go, Hyung Mo and the other Korean started talking some crazy stuff about  "Co-Champions".  Myself and Elmer were confused and were like "WHAT?", "NO WAY WE ARE SPRINTING THIS THING OUT!!".  I slowly picked the pace back up from 600m, and then really started to open it up at about 400m.  I got to 200m and the 2nd place BYR was on my wheel and I stepped on it there.  He started to come around me at 100m, came next to me at 50m, and by the time we hit the line he got me by about half a wheel, if that.  The timing sheets had us exact time to the hundredth of a second, and it didn't go any further nor did I see a photo finish picture.  Either way it was an amazing sprint finish, the best one I have had, even though I took 2nd.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support, couldn't do it without you guys!  5 weeks, 5 podiums and a whole lot of FUN!  Special Thanks to Honey Stinger, FRS, Primal Wear, HED Wheels, Quarq and everyone else!

Intermediate 20's-
Link to ride on Strava:
Results: 2nd out of ~30

Intermediate Overall-
Results: 2nd out of ~75

The "SPRINT" Video:
 Showing off the 9 stitches, rumor on the street is chicks dig scars ;)
 When they were discussing the "Co-Champions" and me and Elmer were going "HUH?????"

 Iphone close up of the sprint
 The sprint.........
 Yeah it was that close.  Insert immature dirty comments, go ahead.

 We took our own Podium Pictures, Derek took 3rd by winning the field sprint (He was technically 2nd since I was DQ'd before the start, but they still let us race)
 Overall Podium (Myself and Elmer were both DQ'd before the start due to not doing the parade, but they still let us race.  Yeah crazy huh??)
 The pink was showing we did not do the parade and would not get prizes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hongseong OLY Tri

3 June-

The first triathlon of the season popped up on the calendar by surprise.  5 short weeks after the Tour de Korea I was getting ready to get back after it.  I hadn't really let up since the Tour de Korea, I took the first weekend off after the race and then have been racing every weekend since.  I made the switch back to my triathlon coach, with the hopes of getting selected to the Air Force team, which did happen.  Like I have mentioned before Scott (my tri coach) doesn't like me racing all the time, but I just happen to love racing.  We have an agreement that I don't get to rest/taper into these races so I just train through them.  It keeps the training consistent and since I am not targeting these past races it is all fine by me.  I got up early on Saturday and got out for a long ride and then headed down to Hongseong with my buddy Robbie, who was also racing on Sunday.  In Korea you have to show up the day prior to pick up your race packet and get your bike checked.

Once getting the registration sorted out we headed to the transition area and I got in the water for a short 30 minute easy swim.  The water was quite warm and I was happy about that.  It was going to be a 2 lap swim, but unfortunately they didn't have the course marked yet.  I just got out there and got use to swimming in the wetsuit again.  After that we managed to go find a hotel, it ended up being about 1.5K from the race start, so it made it nice for the morning of the race to just wake up and ride over.  The next task became quite difficult.  Dinner.............Being out on the coast in a coastal town we couldn't find anything other than seafood.  I mean I am all about trying new things, but when it comes to the night before a race, not the best idea.  We drove around for a bit until we found a meat restaurant that had some chicken soup thing and then we think we were served duck meat, but it might of been pork, or possibly dog, who knows either way it was decent and filling.

I ended up getting to bed quite early and was asleep by 9, which was probably the earliest I have been asleep in a while.  I was up by 0530, which kind of sucked as race start wasn't until 9.  I slowly got up and got breakfast and headed out to the shoreline to just enjoy the morning and eat.  After that I just went and lounged around the hotel until about 7 before heading to the race start.

Breakfast- (I forgot to get my go to meal of Instant Oatmeal)
3 hours before race
1- Honey Stinger 20g Protein Bar
1- FRS 20g Protein Shake
1- Chocolate Muffin
1- Pastry

1 hour before race
1- FRS Can
3- FRS Soft Chews

30mins before race
1- Honey Stinger Gel w/ Caffeine

Swim- 24:01

The swim has never been my strong suit, however it seems the races here in Korea  there are not a lot of strong swimmers.  We started in waves, and we had a pretty small wave with Male 18-34.  We started 2mins after the Pro Males and 1 minute after the Pro Females.  It was 2 loops, but you never had to exit the water.  I started on the outside as the rope kind of swung out and formed a C instead of a straight line.  So the shortest route to the first buoy was to start from the outside.  I went out pretty hard for the first 200m and found myself side by side with another swimmer.  About another 100m I found myself solo out front.  I just tried to keep my pace and slowly started building up a lead.  After the first lap I looked back and had a pretty solid lead and just focused on swimming the second lap strong.  I ended up coming out of the water first for the amateurs and then had a long T1, about a 300-400m run.

Probably one of the few times you will ever see me leading a swim by that much, or I should say at all!

(Click Picture to Enlarge)
Ahhh the dreaded wetsuit stripping, didn't use any body glide or lotion so it took me a bit to get it off.  After trying to stand on the leg with one foot and pull up with the other and it didn't work I just went it to turtle mode and flipped on my back.  Sooner than later it was off and I was running out of T1 with my bike.

Bike- 57:50 (not including T1/T2) 1:00:33 Including T1/T2

Well I wanted to make sure the off season cycling focus didn't go to waste.  Luckily the pros were out in front so I had something to chase.  I slowly started picking off a few of the girls on the first loop and then a few of the guys on the second loop.  It was a 2 loop course with a small hill right out of transition, which you only hit once due to the turn around being down the road a little ways.  Then right before the far turn around there was another gradual uphill that was about 400m long.  Other than that it was a slight tailwind out and slight headwind back, with 4 180 degree turns.  It made for a pretty fast course.  The Pro's were ITU draft legal and they combined our T1 time with our bike time so not sure exactly how my "bike" time measured up to theirs, but below is the Top 10 splits.

(Click Picture to Enlarge)

Run- 38:01 for 10K, but unfortunately the run was 7 43:16

The one area I was concerned about 5 weeks ago when I came back to the tri training.  I had been running once to twice a week during the cycling focus, but my last race was Kona and I left there with a solid run.  I was concerned I was going to have a lot of work to do to get back to where I was.  Well the last 5 weeks went really well and I came back in my opinion stronger than when I left Kona.  I am not sure exactly what it was but these 5 weeks I have been running really well.  Scott has me hitting some great workouts and they are working wonders.

I came off the bike still in the lead and luckily I had some pros to chase down.  I figured since there was no amateurs ahead of me I would just focus on the pros and see what I could do.  The run course was 4 laps, so I was able to see how big of a lead I had off the bike.  Well when it came down to it I had almost a full lap.  I think I ended up lapping all but 1 guy by the end of the run, and I managed to run my way into the pro field.  I was very happy with my run and am anxious to build on this performance and hopefully put down a solid run at Pt Mugu.

(Click Picture to Enlarge)
Overall I am very happy with how the first race of the season went, disappointed the run course wasn't accurate, but that is out of my control.  I look forward to building off of this race and seeing how things go in Pt Mugu at Armed Forces.

Official Times based on Timing Chip (T1/T2 included in Bike Split)
Swim- 24:01
Bike- 1:00:33- Strava File:
Run- 43:16- Strava File:
Overall- 2:07:49
 (Click Picture to Enlarge)

Below are some photos from the race:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

AF Tri Team/CAT 3 Upgrade/Summer Plans

5 June-

Over the past 3 years I have applied to the Air Force Triathlon Team.  Last year I was not able to apply and was the first year that I was close to the level to be on the team, however we had a big inspection at work so my boss wouldn't even let me apply.  I still sent my resume to the coach so that I did not fall off the radar.  Since last year’s application a lot has changed on my end; my training habits, getting a coach, getting a power meter, and having a breakthrough year last season.

I put in my application this year and my boss was behind me 100% and was happy to sign off on it.  This is the first year that I thought I actually had a really good shot at making the team.  I had put in a lot of work last year and put up some solid results, more on the long course side of things, but still had some decent short course results as well.  I was thinking to myself if I was not selected to the team I needed a break from Korea and was considering funding my own plane ticket back to Cali to do the race and then spend some time at home.

Luckily I got an email about 10 days ago informing me that I had been selected to the Team and would be representing the Air Force at the 2012 Armed Forces Championships in Pt Mugu, California.  It is a 1 day Olympic Distance Race (1.5K Swim/40K Bike/10K Run).  It is ITU Style, which means you can draft on the bike but must use road bikes and not triathlon bikes.  It does not suit my strengths, but I believe I can still have a solid race and help out the team.  The race has individual results as well as team results.  They do Cross Country scoring and take the top 8 males from each branch.  We will have 10 guys and 6 girls there racing officially for the Air Force.  Others that were not selected may fund their own way, which is what I was considering doing.  If you do this and have a good race it will get you noticed and more than likely selected to the team for next year if you beat some of the official representatives.

I posted this on my FB page when I got the official word, and this pretty much sums up how I felt about being selected:

“Woke up to some GREAT news this morning......Selected to the '12 Air Force Triathlon Team, and will be racing in PT Mugu, CA on 23 June! It has been a long journey to this point, and one thing is for sure " I " had very little to do with getting to where I am. There are 4 reasons why I am where I am: The great support of my Family and Friends, the amazing mentors and coaches I have, All of the g...reat training parterners and teammates I have and have had, and then lastly all of the people that step onto the same start line as me and push me to my limits! And there is one person that got me into all of this, so if you ever need someone to blame Gen. Brad Becker, thank you for inspiring me to do my first triathlon and putting on that event (And kicking my rear as well that day) THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!”

I am looking forward to representing the AF and hopefully contributing to our team results so that we can keep the Title for the guys in the Air Force's hands.  The past 2 years the guys have won the title and the past 3 years the girls have won the title.  As well as the past 2 years Maj James Bales and Capt Kathy Rakel have both won the individual titles.

In other news, I put in for my CAT3 upgrade through USA Cycling.  I fall under the NorCal region, since that is where home is and submitted through them.  Being overseas makes the situation for upgrades a tricky situation.  I have racked up some solid results the past couple weeks out here as well as participating in the TdK, however none of my TdK results counted for points due to not placing high enough.  So I took my race resume and submitted it to the upgrade person in NorCal.  He approved the upgrade so now I am officially a CAT3 road cyclist.

I have made travel arrangements and plans to head to SuperWeek while back in the states and hopefully have some solid results out there to upgrade to CAT2.   I will also be racing a few races while I am back in California, after Armed Forces Triathlon.  Check out the Race Calendar link off to the right for more information on the races.

I am looking forward to being back in Cali to represent the Air Force at Armed Forces and then follow it up with wearing the stars and stripes of the US Military Cycling Team throughout the US for a few weeks of racing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hwaseong Circuit Race and TTT

26 May 12-

Well last year this race we did as a team and won the TTT.  Myself and my good friend Aaron had marked this on our calendars again as a race we wanted to target.  Last year they had a circuit race prior to the TTT but they were not allowing people to do both.  This year things were different and we were allowed to do both.  The circuit race was 40K with one neutral lap, so total distance of 45K.  The TTT was 30K.  The race was held on the Kia Motors test track, it is basically a 5K super speedway with high banked corners (we stuck to the bottom on the corners which was flat).

The circuit race was first and started at 0900.  They had the groups broken up into Under 40 and Over 40, with about a 5 minute gap in between the starts.  Our group had 65 people or so in it, with a few local college kids from the local cycling University.  High school and College sports are specialized at a young age in Korea, so if you want to be a cyclist you go to said school, or a basketball player you go to another school.  So these college kids aren't your typical college cyclist, they are the future of Korean cycling.

The race started off really slow, so I jumped early to get things going.  I got a decent gap and stayed away for a bit just sitting out there at a tempo effort.  A few others joined me but about 5 minutes later we got pulled back.  I made several other attempts to get in a break but nothing was sticking.  So about 20 minutes into the race I just went towards the back of the pack and just sat in.  With 1/2 a lap to go I started moving up to the front to get into position.  Going into the 2nd to last corner (these were long sweeping corners, not your typical corner) I was boxed in pretty good and I eventually got out with about 1200m to go.  I moved up to 5th wheel at this time and just sat in.  A few of the guy started to go super early but I stayed patient.  With about 500m to go the sprinters from the Korean BMC Team (the guys that beat us in the TdK) went.  I had the opportunity to get on the guys wheel that took 2nd but my teammate and lead sprinter JY was already there so no reason to take the wheel from him since me being on the wheel wouldn't benefit him.  That was the best wheel for him to be on for a leadout as the guy from BMC is a strong sprinter.  There was a train lined up behind JY, so I just went at it on my own and ended up 7th, not bad for not being a sprinter.  I was happy with the result and it was a good way to open the legs up prior to the TTT.

The TTT started at 1230, so I had some downtime in between races.  I just sat around with the team and got my TT bike ready to go.  We talked strategy a little bit and got things sorted out.  We have all ridden with each other here and there but not all 7 of us at once, so we practiced a few starts and such and felt somewhat comfortable.  We got to the start line and took off.  I had the Garmin 800 set to auto lap at the line so I had a decent idea of where we were in terms of getting slower or faster.  Our team director was also showing us if we were up or down from the previous lap compared to BMC who was going to be our biggest rival.  Every lap we were a few seconds down and by the last lap they were showing us 8 seconds down.  We really hammered it home for the last lap and ended up putting down our fastest lap while BMC completely fell apart.  We ended up winning by 11 seconds and had almost 2 minutes on the 3rd place team.  We really wanted to get redemption on BMC from the TdK and myself and Elmer both said we would rather take 6th and beat them than take 2nd and lose to them, so we were glad to win and still beat them.  It was a great day as we defended our title from last year, and made a little money while we were at it.

40K Circuit Race Under 40-
Link to ride on Strava:
Results: 7th out of 63

30K TTT-
Link to ride on Strava:
Results: 1st out of 10

Here are some pics from the event as well as a few videos: