Sunday, March 31, 2013

'12 vs '13 Quarter 1 Training (Cycling vs. Tri Focus)

31 March-

I like to look back at my training data and compare how things are going to the past year.  Last year was a unique year, I took a 5 month break from being Coached by Scott DeFilippis and had Zach Garrett coach me with a focus on cycling.  He still had me running and swimming 1-2x a week, but the focus was the bike.

Below is a breakdown in pictures of how things compare: (Click the picture to Enlarge)


 2012 Total Training Hours
2013 Total Training Hours
 2012 Fitness Summary
 2013 Fitness Summary
 2012 Swim
2013 Swim

 2012 Bike
 2013 Bike
 2012 Run
2013 Run
2012 PMC (Swim, Bike, and Run)

 2013 PMC (Swim, Bike, and Run) 
2012 PMC (Bike ONLY)
 2013 PMC (Bike ONLY)

 2012 PMC (Bike and Run)
 2013 PMC (Bike and Run)

 2012 TSS (Swim, Bike, and Run)
 2013 TSS (Swim, Bike, and Run)
 2012 TSS (Bike ONLY)
2013 TSS (Bike ONLY)

Looking at all of the charts above basically confirms what I already knew.  I have been training more consistently across the board this year.  I would say being back in the US and being stationed in Texas, which has a mild winter compared to S.Korea is really helping the training.  Not to mention I have a solid training partner in ITU Pro Barrett Brandon who lives here in Ft Worth.  We try and train together 1-3 times a week depending on if our schedules line up.  Luckily for me he has been kind enough to let me chase him around on some solid run workouts and then we both dish it out on the bike.  Our swim times don't match up which really sucks because him and his wife are both amazing swimmers, so hopefully in the near future things will change and I can start swimming with them as well.

The run mileage is up quite a bit compared to last year, 20 mile a week average increase.  I peaked so far with a 55 mile week of running and the legs didn't fell that bad at the end of it.  I am seeing run times that I have never seen before and am feeling great.  I am also maintaining power on the bike and although my "snap" and short power bursts are not there like last year when I was focusing on cycling I am starting to feel that I can sustain power longer.  And well the swim is the swim, I am trying to swim more but it hasn't quite happened yet.  I have been working on my technique and it has improved a little bit, now it is just time to get a lot of work done in the pool and hopefully come June the hard work will start to show.

In late December and early January I was sick off and on and it was quite frustrating.  Eventually I got over all the sickness and started to put in some solid training.  I showed up to cycling camp in Tampa and that is where I put in a huge week, actually the biggest week of training to date.  It took about 2-3 weeks after camp to realize it, but that week is what really launched this early season fitness into high gear.

Overall I am really pleased with how things are going and looking forward to race season kicking off next weekend.  I will be headed down to Miami Florida to race in the Elite Amateur Wave at Nautica South Beach.  Looking to start the season off strong, so we will see where all of this early season work lands me.

Thanks to all of my sponsors/supporters for the continued support.  I am still in a little bit of shock by the amount of companies and individuals that have decided to partner with me this year.  I was not expecting it and am truly grateful for all of their support.  And then as always I couldn't do this without the amazing support of my family and friends.  Special shout out to Training Peaks for making this super easy to accomplish by pulling all of this data and being able to analyze it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fayetteville Stage Race

16/17 March-

So once again I found myself trying to be a cyclist,  but in reality I am still a triathlete at heart ;)  This race was a good one for a triathlete as it was a Road Race, Time Trial, and Road Race.  Funny how since Mineral Wells I have received a few comments from fellow cyclist and friends telling me that Crit racing isn't my thing, so Fayetteville would be good for me.  Funny thing is last year I picked up 6 wins in Crits, granted they were CAT3 crits but none the less I wouldn't say I am a horrible Crit racer.  But yes, Fayetteville suited me a lot better than Mineral Wells, as that was not a typical Crit course and obviously did not suit me well.

Fayetteville was about a 3.5-4 hour drive and since I had to work Friday night I decided to get up early Saturday morning and head down.  Luckily another cyclist from Ft. Worth wanted to car pool, so bright and early at 0430 we were on the road to Fayetteville, which is in the middle of no where Texas.  The first Road Race did not start until 1010.  We got down there with plenty of time to spare, I ended up sleeping in the back of the car for about 40 minutes.

Stage 1- 68 mile RR-

Great weather for the race, sunny, not a cloud in the sky and just an overall great day to be on the bike.  I sat in for quite a while and then decided to attack a few times.  The Garmin Devo kids didn't want to let anything get away so they controlled the race up front and kept bringing everything back.  Then about half way through they put their whole team up front and just kept the tempo up and guys started falling off the back.  On the first lap I got dinged by the referee with a warning for going over the "centerline" which is usually the yellow line, but there was no yellow line as it was a narrow country road that was about the width of one lane.  I swore at the race brief they mentioned they would be less strict on this road, but no worries just a warning.  I stayed in the bunch and on the last lap went to move towards the front with about 3 miles to go.  Sure enough the referee saw a different centerline then I did and got me again, but this time gave me a 30 second penalty.  It was a judgement call, and as always the referee is always right.  In the final stretch I lost contact with the group and lost about 16 seconds, and then add the 30 second penalty and I was 46 seconds off the lead.

After the race I had a friendly chat with the moto referee.  He is a retired Army Warrant Officer, and I had met him at Mineral Wells.  We talked about the call and he explained how his number one priority is rider safety.  I told him that I respected his decision and that it was a judgement call.  Great guy and I have learned in a short amount of time to never argue with the ref, especially during the race.  So we talked after and were both very calm.  I appreciate the work he does and he had his belief of what the ceneterline was and I had mine, obviously I think center is a not 50%, but hey we agreed to disagree ;)

Category: Elite CAT2/3-
Results: 41 out of 61 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Stage 2- 9 mile TT-

The winds got pretty nasty in the afternoon and I was a little worried.  I had not ridden my new Jet Disc and Jet 9 in windy conditions.  I figured they would be alright and I would be able to handle the Jet 9 in the cross winds but wasn't sure.  I felt pretty good in the TT and the wheels handled really really well.  The Garmin Devo kids destroyed it and  I ended up just outside the top 10.  I finished 10th in Mineral Wells and figured I would be around the same even though it was a bigger field.

Here is the setup that I used for the TT:
 Category: Elite CAT2/3-
Results: 11 out of 61 (
GC Standings After Stage 2: 22 out of 61 (
Link to ride on Strava: (If you look at the guy that Strava says I rode with he is the one that won the TT, if you want to look at his file)

Stage 3- 80 mile RR-

We got the early start time on Sunday and it was a little chilly, not bad though.  Around mile 1 a guy from Dallas Bike Works went off the front and everyone let him go.  He opened up a big gap pretty quickly.  I got antsy, and being a little cold figured I could use it as a chance to warmup.  I chased him down and also brought a guy along with me, which was his teammate.  We stayed up the road for quite awhile keeping a good size gap.  Then a group started to chase and eventually after about 20-30 minutes they caught us.  We had a break of 13 guys and we started working together, well I wouldn't really say together.  The break had a Garmin kid in it and was represented by the other teams as well.  We started building up a nice gap and around mile 50 it was at 4 minutes.  I don't really know how we got ended up with that big of a gap, because quite honestly our break was worthless at working together minus about 5 of us.

I felt really out of place in the break being a triathlete and knowing how to do a rotating paceline.  8 of the 13 guys didn't know what the heck was going on and couldn't figure things out.  Garmin kid wasn't working but everyone kept letting him in the paceline, and when I say everyone I mean the 8 guys, not the 5 of us that knew how to ride a bike like a cyclist.  There was one guy that was completely clueless, he would sit on the back then come to the front then ride so hard he would end up off the front.  Then he would come back ot the group and wonder what happened to everyone.  Then back he would go to hang out on the tail for 20 minutes then he would do the same all over again.  He didn't know how to work with the group.  Finally I told him "I don't want to be an A-hole, but you need to just sit on the back and enjoy the ride you are screwing everything up and you don't know what you are doing".  He looked at me like I was the crazy one.  The 4 other guys laughed and told me thanks because they were about to throw him off the road.

So back to our 4 minute gap at mile 50.  All of the sudden Garmin goes to the front of the peloton (heard about this after the race), and they started drilling it.  Our 4 minutes went to two minutes in a matter of about 20 minutes.  Then next thing you know we are at mile 75 and the whole group is back together.  Talk about a demoralizing moment in a bike race, being away for 73 miles and getting caught with 5 to go.  It sucked, I was mentally out of it at that point.

And here is where I screwed up.............I gave up positioning, I went to the back and never gained positioning back.  Going into the final 3K things really picked up and out the back I went.  I lost quite a bit of time and a shot at the top 15, more than likely 9-12th in the GC.  But I showed up to the race to get a good workout in, and I definitely got that.  I like to get results and represent the military team, but the end result is to have a great triathlon season, and the bike racing is just a stepping stone to that.

Category: Elite CAT2/3-
Results: 32 out of 61 (
Final GC Standings: 24 out of 61 (
Link to ride on Strava:

 Photo of our dysfunctional break (Photo Courtesy of DNA Racing's Chad Hodges, well actually his wife)

Overall it was a great weekend of training and I was really happy with getting some high intensity miles in.  Unfortunately I think this will be my last bike race for a while as triathlon season is coming to a start.  I may do a TT in the future and possibly one more race towards the end of the season, but have to focus on the priority and that is swimming, biking and running.

James McCowen and his crew put on an amazing race.  Very safe and fun environment.  I appreciate his support of the military and allowing me to come down and race a great event.  Looking forward to racing down there next year and hopefully I can get a few more guys from the team to come down.

Thanks for all of the support, especially to HED Cycling for taking care of me and allowing me to be a part of a great organization.  They have been supportive last year and then this year were able to help a little more, and being a little guy in the big picture it means a lot.  The HED wheels performed amazing in the cross winds of the TT.  Special thanks to Fort Worth Cycling for getting the bikes ready for the weekends races and also to Honey Stinger and FRS for the nutrition support.  Big thanks to all of my family and friends for the continued support!

Next blog should be a good one, going to be an inside look at the transition from an early season cycling focus (last season) to a triathlon specific early season focus (this year).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Play Tri Collegiate Draft Legal Tri, I mean Duathlon

Play Tri Collegiate Draft Legal Tri Duathlon- 10 March 2013-

Earlier in the year I came across this race online and liked the idea of being able to race an ITU style event early in the year.  With Armed Forces Tri being draft legal I thought it would be a good idea to have another draft legal race on my application for the AF Tri Team.  Applications are due 15 April, so most of the races on there come from the year prior, so having some current races can give the coach a good idea of what kind of shape you are in.  They only select 10 males and 6 females, so it is pretty competitive.

I know you are wondering how I am able to race a collegiate race.  Well the only requirement was to be under 29 and be a full time student.  Embry Riddle considers someone full time if they are taking 2 online classes at once and since they are in a 9 week period, let me tell you it is a lot of work.  I also contacted one of my AF teammates and told her about the race.  Erin is currently in a program for Physical Therapy that is ran by the Army and Baylor University.  So she is in full time student status as well.  In her words, we were the "Old kids crashing the college Tri".

The race was on Sunday and they held a race brief on Saturday.  They decided earlier in the week to cancel the swim due to the water being in the high 40's and replaced it with a 1.5 mile run.  They also opened up the race to the public and not just college kids, and with that a local pro from San Antonio showed up with his wife who was a college student.  The womens field only had 8 girls and the men had 25, so they decided to combine the field.  They wanted to move the start time up of the mens race but I asked to keep it the same so that it would be a little warmer and the winds would hopefully be a bit stronger.  I had found out that the two other "fast" guys were superb runners, which meant I would have to have a heck of a bike to try and get a win.  We pre rode the course with a few others after the brief and that is where I got the intel on the other two guys.  I talked with both of them and they both said the other guy was the one to beat.

Run 1- 1.5 miles-

They started us outside of the transition area about 200m down the road from the park trail.  Most of the run was on single paved trail through the park, so getting a good start was crucial.  I got out front and then about 1/4 mile in was passed by the two strong runners.  I didn't go with them and stayed back with a few other guys.  I came into T1 19 seconds back on the two leaders and was fine with that.

Bike 20K-

I did not strap into my shoes for about 5 minutes.  I worked on bridging to 3rd place and had already dropped the 5th place guy that came into T1 with me.  Once I got strapped into my shoes I attacked the 3rd place guy and it took me about a lap to bridge to the first two guys.  I was going to wait till 2 laps to go to attack them and try to get a gap but at the start of the 2nd lap we went to pass a lapped rider and I looked back and already had a decent gap coming out of the corner.  At that point I thought it was a good opportunity to attack and I kept the gap and kept building it over the remaining laps.  I came into T2 12 seconds up on 2nd and 1 minute 32 seconds on 3rd.

Run 5K-

I was quickly passed by 2nd place and just stayed focus on running a solid 5K.  I didn't know how big my gap was on 3rd kept checking over my shoulder.  I did not see him when I looked back during the first lap so did not know what happened.  On the second lap there were more people on the course and I couldn't find him.  With a little over half mile to go all I heard was some heavy feet stomping behind me and someone panting heavily.  I was under control but did not know where he came from.  We ran side by side for the last half mile and I out kicked him in the last 100m to end up 2nd on the day.

Run 1-1.5mi - 8:41 (4th) (
T1- 0:26 (2nd)
Bike 20K- 32:09 (1st) (
T2- 0:29 (5th)
Run 5K- 18:09 (4th) (
Total 59:55 (2nd)

Overall I was really happy with how the day went.  I thought I played my cards right and did what I had to do to try and win.  I just wasn't the best athlete out there, and I got beat by a great college kid Scott Wilkinson.  I think he will have a great race a collegiate nats and has a bright future in triathlon ahead of him.  I also realized that I cannot get complacent on the run and have to stay focused, I almost lost 2nd place by not focusing on the task at hand and just settling for 2nd.  I should have continued to push hard knowing that the 3rd place guy, Mark Saroni was charging hard.

Training is going well and looking forward to the upcoming races!

Thanks again for all of the support from my family and friends and from my sponsors/supporters!  HED Cycling, FRS, Honey Stinger, ISM Saddles, Clever Training, FW Cycling and Fitness, and of course TEAM RWB!

 The top 5 men and women!
In Erins words "We crashed the college Tri Du and cleaned up"  Congrats on taking 3rd Erin, on a bummed knee and all!

Monday, March 4, 2013

How was your day? This might put your "horrible" day into perspective...........

4 March 2012-

I had the day off today because I test for E-6 tomorrow.  Most people spend the whole day studying and prepping for the test, but the other night my Dad asked me if I had been studying leading into the test.  I looked at him in shock and said "Really Dad you have to ask me that?".  After almost 27 years of him knowing me, he for one should know my study habits are poor and I have never given 100% when it comes to academics or studying for anything.  I don't really have an excuse other than I have other priorities right now.  I am in "full time" student status (2 courses at a time that are 9 weeks long), working a 40 hour work week, and training 15-22 hours a week for triathlon.  I think my education and achieving my bachelors degree is higher on the priority list at this point than E-6 as it will open more doors on either the military side or the civilian side if I end up getting out in 2014.  Anyways enough about that, back to my day.

I woke up at 0600 to depart the house by 0630 to meet up with local pro triathlete Barrett Brandon.  I have been training with him 1-2 times a week since December.  Really just depends how our schedules match up.  It is nice to have someone that can kick my rear in all 3 disciplines and to have someone that can train in the morning / middle of the day.  We got in a solid 3 hours of riding which included some solid intervals.  I then came home and had a snack and a quick shower.  Then proceeded to a great 2 hour nap, life couldn't get much better ;)

Then I got up and went and put in a quick 2400yds in the pool testing out my new wetsuit(s) (yesterday was the Zoot Prophet, today was the Wet Zoot 4.0), I think I am leaning towards the 4.0.  I then left from there to go help out at Daggett Middle School here in town.  The tri club I am a member with, FW Tri Club, has a volunteer program set up with the middle school which has started a "Tri Club" within their after school program.  Myself and a teacher headed out with 6 kids for an hour ride on the Trinity Trail.  We got in 12 miles and it was a great time.  I stayed up front with one kid who wanted to go faster than everyone else.  It was just me and him so we were able to talk for most of the ride.

I was asking him about the upcoming Triathlon in June that they are training for and he was telling me that he was looking forward to it and that today he was giving it "everything" he had because he wants to do good at the tri.  I asked him what his parents thought about him doing it and he said they were really happy for him.  Then he made the comment that he really wanted his father to go to the race but it was on a Saturday and his Dad always worked Saturdays.  Then he perked up and said "He promised me he will be there though, he is going to skip work to come watch me race".  I hope his father can hold that promise and be there for his sons first triathlon, the kid is training hard and I can just tell how big of a let down it will be if his Dad is not there.

After the ride I wanted to go get my car washed but also wanted to grab something to eat.  I was going to go to Chipolte as I had a coupon for buy one get one free, from the CowTown 1/2 Marathon.  I found one that was closer to the car wash than the typical one I got to, so I plugged it into the GPS (yes I still use GPS here as I can't seem to find my way around town).  On the way I ended up taking a wrong turn due to some road construction on the freeway and ended up going to the typical Chipolte anyways.  There was a reason I took a wrong turn.......

As I was getting out of my car there was what I assumed to be a homeless man digging through the trash.  The lady that was just entering the restaurant was laughing at him.  He stopped and was just standing by the door when I approached.  He looked at me and all he said was "Here sir let me get that door for you".  That buy one get one free coupon said on it "Bring a friend for buy one get one free", but I was just going to use it for myself and hopefully they would ignore the friend part and I would have a burrito for tomorrow or later tonight.  Well obviously there was a reason I took the wrong turn, a reason the coupon said bring a friend, and a reason that lady laughed at my new "friend" Tyron.  So after he opened the door for me I asked him if he was hungry, and he just looked at me shocked.  I was like crap hopefully he isn't offended by this.  He was more shocked that a young guy would offer to buy him dinner.  Little did he know I had my buy one get one free coupon ;)  So we started talking while in line and he told me the people there didn't like him and we might get yelled at.  I told him not to worry about it and that he was my guest and they weren't going to do anything.

We went through the line and I told him if he wanted a beer it was on me as well and I would even join in and have one.  When I ordered the beers the cashier made the remark "You know the alcohol has to be consume here".  Really? You had to say that, if it was just me would you have said that?  I wanted to say something but told her no problem, Tyron and myself would enjoy dinner here and we would drink our beers at the restaurant.

We sat down and got to talking and he was really thankful, he enjoyed his beer before even touching his burrito.  He then had maybe two bites and said he would save the rest for later.  He couldn't understand why someone my age would be doing something so good for him.  I just asked a question back instead of answering the question and said "Tyron, what have you done to me that gives me a reason not to buy you dinner?"  He just looked at me and though for a second, then he said well good point I never thought about it like that.  He then went on to explain how he spent the 15 years in prison, has been out for 10 years and can't get on his feet, $20 can keep him fed for 10-14 days by eating .99 cent hamburgers and a local night club pays him in beer for cleaning up around there but they won't pay him in cash.  He lives on a porch and is the only homeless guy in the neighborhood and he still couldn't figure out why the lady was laughing at him for digging in the trash can, "I was just trying to get food for dinner tonight".

As we were finishing our beers he asked for money, I responded with "Sorry Tyron that is the one thing I will not due, however I bought you dinner, I bought you beer and next time I am in the neighborhood I will do the same".  He explained he just needed it for the bus.  Said he needed to go to Lancaster, it is a street in the town.  I was wondering why and asked.  He said he needed socks and there was a place there that gave clothes out to he homeless.  Well lucky for Tyron I had a pair of socks in my swim bag, because I am lazy and hadn't taken them out along with my Cervelo beanie.  So I gave him the pair of US Military Cycling socks I had and then asked if he had been cold at night (it has been in the 30's lately at  night) and he said yes, so I gave him the beanie as well.  I just got an awesome HED beanie so no longer need the Cervelo one ;)  We went our separate ways and I told Tyron next time I was in the area dinner was on me as well as a beer or two.

It is the experiences like this that really open your eyes and make you reflect on what you have and what hand life has dealt you.  By all means my life hasn't been 100% amazing, it has had its ups and downs, but I will be the first to tell you that there are far more ups than downs in my life and I am thankful to have every bit of what I have.  I think all of us take for granted the roof over our heads, the heater that turns on when it gets cold, the running water, the many pairs of socks that we have and the car that gets us around.

I was raised by amazing parents, all 4 of them, I have amazing family and some truly amazing friends.  Looking into the kids eyes when he was telling me about his Dad being there for his first race, I never had to worry about that, it was something that I never thought of, my parents were always at every event myself and my brother did.  It was the day like today that makes me really appreciate everything that I have.  I have been dealt a great hand so far, there is more I want to do with it, there is more I want to achieve, but tomorrow is not guaranteed and I realize it could all end today and I could look back and realize it was one heck of a ride, even if it was only 26 years.

So if you are struggling today, just think about Tyron digging through the trash can, or the kid that is worried that his Dad might miss his first triathlon.  These are the things I take for granted, and in reality they are never a guarantee.