Monday, August 30, 2010

Clearlake International

What a trip this past weekend was for the Clearlake triathlon just south of Houston. I made it to packet pickup just in time. I had a flat (in my car) on I-45. I am driving along and I'm thinking to myself this road sure is bumpy (similar to that of what my friend Tracy though the night before the McKinney tri). I thought it might be the road, but then looked at other cars and none were rattling as bad as mine was, so I decided I better exit and I pull over in a run down looking motel parking lot to change it. I looked around the area and decided this wasn't the "good" part of H-town. I debated whether or not I should call someone (since I don't have the coolest phone) to help me find the nearest tire shop or just change it myself. Since this was the first time I actually had to change a tire myself without supervision. I've been fortunate to have been able to locate a place before it got too bad in previous times. I proceeded to empty my trunk out which was a job itself and get the jack took me a few minutes to get it all together but once I figured it out, I was good to go. I need to ask Brent about doing more strength training, because my arms about gave out taking them lug nuts on and off. But the guys, at Wal-Mart the following day when I went to get a new tire, said I put a 180 pounds of pressure on those nuts, enough to hold a tire on a duele. I called my dad after I changed the tire and told him I was a mechanic now.

Oh yeah, so the triathlon went alright. I got off to a great start on the swim. I positioned myself behind the eventual winner Bradley Pigage (won his 4th consecutive race) and got off to a smokin' fast start. However, that only lasted so long before I found myself in the back of the invitational wave. I was drafting off this one guy and it must have been his first race in the elite group. I'll admit I was tapping his feet a bit too much, because the pace wasn't challenging enough and at the same time, it would have been too much for me to go around him so I sat right there and Ryan Lindsay was drafting off me. The guy was kicking hard and I knew he wanted me off of him, but its a race and you can draft in the swim, so I'm going to do that. Then starts to zig zag all over the place, then suddenly stops in front of me. In my head, I'm like, "Whoa, dude that is not a nice way to race." Ryan then gets around me and I miss his feet, I tried to keep him in sight hoping I could pull him back in but was unsuccessful. I enter T1 past my spot right back up, I had visually remembered how I placed my helmet so I could see it coming into transition. I found my helmet on the ground and not on my bike where I had put it and my new oakleys were missing, I spent several seconds looking around then got my game back together and took off on my bike. My swim was nothing impressive 26.47, some say it was about 2 minutes long though.

I had a real good bike and my fastest average bike split of 26.2 mph, a total time on the 25 mile route in 57:14. The course was flat and wind on are side for much of the beginning portions until we turned into a headwind and had some chip seal rode. Although I heard traffic was controlled better this year and nobody was a hit by car (Brad). There was a couple of intersections that were quite dangerous. One I never saw a police officer, but fortunately I had the green light. Then the next one probably could have been coned off better, had us making a left turn and traffic was on our left. How the heck am I supposed to get over when there is this big truck on my left blocking me? I surged just in time and showed that (blank spot here) that I can ride and cut in front of him and made the left turn, as a cop is running out into the intersection.

I some how had the fastest T2 of 30seconds! And my mom always complains about how slow and clumsy I am. The following picture is me running towards transition. I think the guy behind me is mad at me because, he stopped suddenly in front me as I am still rolling in and I slightly clipped his bike I think.

After a hard bike I found myself in the fight for the top 3 spots with the exception of Brad we were right there together. Ryan L. and Stephen Milford were just up the road in front of me. I caught Stephen first but unfortunately he had to pull out due to a strained muscle in the back. I caught Ryan soon after, before the halfway point of the run, I was feeling it was getting slower, we made the turn around I could Ryan not far behind, so that was motivation to me that I needed to suck it up a bit. I finished the 10k (6.2 mi) course in 36:50. Not bad considering how bad I felt, I used to do that on a day feeling good.

Picture of me and my house mates for the weekend Bradley Pigage and Stephen Milford.
Here is me and Aaron Palaian, owner of OnUrLeft Sports. He talked to me after the race. OnUrLeft and OnUrMark Productions puts on the some of the best put on triathlons I have been to including this year which include Gateway to the Bay and Bridgeland. I'll mention more about OnUrLeft Sports soon!

I'd like to give a few shot outs to few people. First is Jesus Christ for protected me in some of the worst traffic in the United States and a good race!!! Stephen and Brad for the homestay. Aaron Palaian from OnUrLeft Sports. A big congrats to all the competitors out there. It got quite hot as the day went along. I'd like to mention and ask for prayers for my riding buddy, Jim McCan, a 64 year old and one of the toughest road racers I know. He had a bad crash at the Hotter and Hell 100K road race in Wichita Falls, Tx, where a dude decided to swerve in front of him and take him out.

Next up in less than two weeks I'll be competing in Jack Weiss' race of Ironhead Race Productions, the Prairie Man half Ironman. I have heard despite how flat the race is, it can be one of the hardest half ironmans, so cheers to that, it should be a good one to do.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Take on the Heat

I took part in the 3rd of 4 races of Play Tri's North Texas Tri Series this weekend. Take on Heat which benefited The Colony Fire Fighters it started as a 350 meter pool swim. I was #61, but people were nice enough to let me move up and I started in front of my buddy and home stay Bender. The plan was to let him pass me then I draft the rest of the way. It took him about 2 laps to catch me but when he did I had to really work to stay on his feet and I was almost getting a bit sick to my stomach by the end of the swim, my swim wasn't impressive but it was 18th fastest. The bike was 2 loops and more technical with lots of turn at the beginning of each loop. I've never rode well technically before, but today I did thanks to Austin Saylor who I had to work hard to stay legally behind him. We went back and forth, but he did most of the work because I never could pull up close enough to him to go around him until the very end where I just smashed it as hard as I could and passed going into transition. I finished the bike with a 25.3 mph bike split. Finally, on the run my legs felt good like at Bridgeland and I could see Ahmed way up ahead so that was giving me motivation to keep pushing. My garmin is messed up again and I think possibly for good this time so I would "manually" count out loud how many seconds he was up on me, it was like 45, 29, and eventually I caught him near the 2 mile mark, but Ron Tribendis was still up ahead and I finally caught him, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to by the end of the run or not. In these pool swims you never know who is where really on the course. It felt like I was running faster but I still finished with the top run time of 17.34, about 5:39 average mile. Overall it was a good race with NO mechanical issues (besides the Garmin).

As you can see there were only two guys in the race. Me and Austin.

Some of guys were lucky enough to be with some of the beautiful ladies of the Frisco Triathlon Club.

Thank God for a good race and for remaining alive with DFW traffic! and Thanks to Bender for letting me stay with him again and Lance for gluing on a tubular tire on for me this week. Up next I am doing my 4th race this month in the Houston area again, the Clearlake international distance triathlon. It should be more good times with some of my homies Stephen and Brad.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bridgeland Triathlon: Overcoming Murphy's Law

What could go wrong did go wrong, known as Murphy's Law. I stayed with my buddy Anthony, which was close to the race site. When we were about the load up the bikes, we put air in our tires and a malfunction to my disc wheel where the stem broke on the tubular...uggh trying to remain calm, I happened to carry my training set with me and put that rear wheel on which isn't as aero at all and I have a heavy set tube in their too. I had actually had a dream about this happening earlier in the week, but I didn't carry my training set with me, so in the dream I wasn't able to compete. Then also my garmin malfunctioned, it wouldn't come on. It has been forever (if ever) since I've raced without a watch.

The swim was 500 meters, and for me, I had another good swim. I had a guy I found to draft off but he may have cost me more time than he saved me. He was zig zagging all over and then started to go off course, I didn't follow him then. I ended up swimming most of it without and help and still managed to come out of the water and gaining, just behind Stephen Milford for the second week in a row.

Trying to mount my bike and get caught up to Stephen my chain popped off,I felt like Andy Schleck and this other fast cyclist guy goes past me and Stephen is already way up the rode. I avoided saying any kind of 4 letter word in front of a bunch of people, at least out loud. I would spend the whole 14 mile failing to chase them down. At the first turn around I see Stephen way in front and he looks at me and I just shake my head. I got out biked big time, but still managed to avg 25.0 mph without the disk, the course was fast!!!

Needless to say, I was looking forward to getting off the bike and getting to the run. I was 7th off the bike. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised how good my legs actually felt running. I enjoyed the run course especially the gravel trail sections, reminding me of the Trinity trails. I got to work on the run and finished in 3rd place, by catching Stephen by mile 3. He tried to hang with me and I was hoping he wouldn't, so I had to increase the pace a little more and held him off. If things went right and I had gotten off the bike with Stephen where I should have been makes me wonder how close to 2nd I could have been. Oh well what's done is done.

This race I learned no matter what obstacles are thrown at you it's best to remain positive and deal with it and do what you can do. My buddy Brad Pigage in the middle of the picture just won his 3rd race for the 3rd week in a row. He is going to seek his pro card at the Age Group National Championships in September. I like to give a shout out to my good friends Rachel and Brooke for waking up super early and making it out to cheer us on and my new friend Tammy for coming out! Thanks to my buddy Anthony Limon for letting me stay at his place and play with his little greyhound dogs. I thank God for teaching me a good lesson today about determination and not giving up physically, but, most importantly not giving up mentally.

This month is a busy month of racing. I have next weekend off from racing, but in 2 weeks I'll be at the Take on the Heat sprint triathlon for races 3 of 4 of Play Tri's North Texas Tri Series. I am looking forward to it as it was my first triathlon in 2007, when I had no clue what I was doing.

Thanks for reading this, I realize I got more wordy than I intended.

Monday, August 2, 2010

30th Annual River Cities Triathlon

I raced in Bossier City this weekend in the 30th annual River Cities triathlon. RCT is the largest and one of the most competitive sprint triathlons in the south! It was a lot of fun and fast competition, including legend Dave Scott. I had a good swim for me, came out of the water right behind my buddy Stephen Milford. He wasn't expecting me that close. I was ready beat down on the guy that kept pulling me under, by my leg early on in the swim. The bike was fast, but got off to a slow start, managed to average 25.2 mph, I got to experience what it was like racing semi ITU style. Me and Stephen set the pace of our pack and everyone else pretty much latched on, we did most of the work going back and forth. Our pack had built up to what looked like 10 guys by the end of it. T2 definitely was crazy and rushed with guys trying to take an advantage with a lead out on the run. LSU cross country runner Mark Primeaux dominated the run by going under 17 min off the bike. I had some awful stomach cramps on the run, but managed to come back some on the last mile to take over 4th place with just over a quarter mile to go, for an 18:04 5k run. There was no way I was going to let that Aggie beat me.

Stephen Milford (7th), Brad Pigage (1st), Me, and our awesome host Ms. Roeten!

I'd like to thank Debbie and Rachael Roeten for hosting me and my buddies (Brad Pigage and Stephen Milford) and their smelly shoes, who they have never met before and to Scott and Terry Harkey for cooking an awesome pre race dinner for us. I stopped by my mom's house the afternoon before the race, and she must think I am skinny or something, she kept trying to feed me. I ate good food at her house too!! Thanks to the good Lord for keeping us all safe out there in a weather advisory heat wave. Big shout to Brad for winning!!! Me and Stephen are were so nice to Brad, before we confirmed all the travel arrangements to make sure Brad was even in the race to start with.

This weekend I get to to do it all over again with another sprint triathlon in Cypress, Texas, the Bridgeland tri. It is managed by OnUrLeft Sports.

Legend Dave Scott was there handing out the awards.