Saturday, January 29, 2011

Home Brew -- The Recovery Drink of Champions!

It's off season for us endurance athletes - time to have a little down time and work on our fitness bases during the cold season. It's also primo time to load up on my favorite recovery drinks. No, not the ones with all the electrolytes, vitamins, and specific protein-to-carb ratios. I'm talking about the drink at the end of the training day that relaxes your involuntary spasms, quenches the fires of your chafings down there, and somehow makes you think you actually enjoyed that century with a 5 mile brick.


HOME Brewski.

For those who are home brewing naive, it's quite a process. Simple, but lots of steps over five weeks. First, you cook it - malt, hops, water. Then you add a little yeast to the five-gallon bucket and let them work their magic, fermenting the sugars into alcohol over the first week. Next, you bottle your beer, making sure that the bottles, buckets, tubing, etc. are sanitized, as in cleaned in bleach water. A little priming sugar is added before bottling for the yeast to make carbonation, and the bottles are capped. Now the bottled beer sits at room temperature for the second week, then is refrigerated for 3 LLLLLOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG weeks before it can be consumed. Three weeks almost kills me every time.

There are so many cool things about brewing your own beer that I really can't list them all. But some of my favorites are that you can brew your own special occasion beer. This year I brewed a Holiday brown ale with light cr
anberry flavoring that was good, but really rocked with a wedge of orange. My wife Lisa and I started the Snake Bite Triathlon in our hometown a few years ago - hence Snake Bite Brew. My Evotri team mates and I are doing the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis this year in July - I'm thinking maybe a Life Time summer wheat brew may be in order.

Which brings me to my next favorite thing about home brewing - sharing it with your buds. We all know that triathlon is really about the journey, and the comraderie you share drinking a few of your creations with your training friends after a hard workout makes the journey that much sweeter. A few brews also makes your friends funnier. And you a better singer and dancer - you should try it.

So check out home brewing during this off season. While you're planning this year's race schedule, start planning your brew schedule and loading your fridge with your favorite flavors.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And Not to Yield (2011 Xterra Campaign)

By Sweet

"How dull it is to pause, to make an end. To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! . . .

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are---
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Ulysses, 1833
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Portions of this great Tennyson poem have been lodged in my brain during workouts the last few weeks. In the full poem (linked above) Tennyson is imagining a Ulysses many years after Homer finishes with him in The Odyssey. As Homer leaves things, Ulysses returns home to his kingdom in Ithaca after a world tour that includes fighting lots of epic battles and slaying monsters. He finds his palace overun with would-be suitors for his wife's hand in marriage and he dispatches with them in fine style. We are left to assume that he goes on to live happily ever after. In the 19th Century, Tennyson's poem envisions an older, restless Ulyssess. You can almost imagine Ulysses as the poster child for A.D.D. After kicking butt in the Trojan war and hob-nobbing with the gods, sitting around the palace eating gyros and drinking wine can get real boring real fast!

One characteristic of great literature is univeral appeal. Certain themes (love, death, heroism, betrayal, good vs. evil, etc.) can be understood by anyone at anytime. So it is that hardly a year goes by without a major Hollywood re-make of a Shakespeare play. Therefore, I feel it is perfectly appropriate to use a 19th century poem about a 700 B.C. epic to help understand my own athletic endeavors in the 21st century!

The restlessness is the main thing that draws me to this poem. Last season was the first in a very long time that I did not have a big goal race on the horizon. I raced OK, but mostly I just went through the motions. My family and my job are very legitimate priorities that I continue to juggle along with training. This winter, I took a hard look at returning to Ironman racing but it just wasn't in the cards with my current commitments and a new addition to the family on the way in June.

Me and Xterra/MTB buddy Sean Hyser after a particularly muddy race!

Enter Xterra!
Xterra off-road triathlons are something I have dabbled in over the years and have really enjoyed every time I've done one. I've often said that if I lived near actual mountains I would probably only mountain bike and race off-road tris. Two years ago before Jonah broke his leg, I was all set to make a run at the Xterra Series, but had to put that on hold. The Xterra Series has really been growing the past few years, but there is still only 1 race in Illinois and about a half-dozen in the Midwest.

Having raced the Ironman and Half Ironman World Championships, I am really drawn to taking a stab at the Xterra World Champs in Maui. Planning a racing season around a new baby in June is quite tricky, but that is another reason that I am looking to Xterra in 2011. I have put together a rather ambitious, but logical plan for the year. Essentially, my plan has me doing some crash course training to get into peak fitness by the Xterra West Championship race in Las Vegas on April 10. Cara's parents live out in Vegas, so travel should be cheap with free lodging! Assuming this plan of action works and I mangage to qualify for the World Championships, that gives me the flexibility to take some time away from training before and after our new arrival. The Worlds aren't until the end of October, so I can start re-building mid-summer to peak in late fall! Like I said, ambitious....

Outside of the bold 3 month time frame, the other major hurdle is that there are essentially no midwest mountain bike races prior to the Championship race in April. I'm going to rely heavily here on my fall cyclocross racing for maintaining some handling skills and try to supplement this with a little mountain biking while our local trails are still frozen (they are unridable during the spring thaw). Toss in a couple trail races and (in theory) I will be ready to rock it in April! Below is my ideal 2011 race schedule that is heavy on Xterra and MTB racing. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men, though...

2011 Race Schedule
2/20 Tour De Groundhog Cyclocross (Petersburg, IL)
3/6 Central Illinois Masters Swim Meet (Bloomington, IL)
3/13 Park Hills MTB Race (Near St. Louis, MO)
3/19 Rock Cut 20k Trail Race (Rockford, IL)
4/10 Xterra West Championship (Henderson, NV)
5/22 Black Partridge MTB Race (Metamora, IL)
6/4 Tri-Shark Triathlon (Hudson, IL)
Baby Dependent!
7/10 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon (MN)
Evotri Team Race!
7/23 Dino Xterra (IN)
7/31 Xterra Sugar Bottom (IA)
8/20 Xterra Illinois Wilds (Hanna City, IL)
9/4 5150 Hyvee US Championships (Des Moines, IA)
9/11 Comlara MTB Race (Hudson, IL)
10/23 Xterra World Championship (Maui, HI)
1/4/12 Cyclocross Nationals (Madison, WI)
2/12 Masters Cyclocross World Championship (Louisville, KY)

My 2011 goals are clear-cut:

#1 Qualify for Xterra World Championships in April
#2 Race Xterra World Championship and place in top 5 in age group (this would put me near top 50 overall including the pro field)
#3 Finish 1st in Age Group for Xterra Midwest Regional Series

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

JP's Tête à Tête with Terenzo Bozzone!

BOOM! Opening the New Year with a killer interview. We are with one of my favorite athletes TERENZO BOZZONE. He is 25 and already has won world championships at several distances. He also has one of the most remarkable performances in all of triathlon history in his course record at Wildflower. He is
currently setting his sites on Kona. Let's catch up with Terenzo...

JP: Terenzo, thanks so much for taking the interview.
Let’s jump in, how did you get into triathlon?

T: I have always loved sport, and had always swam, but whilst wake-boarding as a kid I popped an ear drum and was forced out of the water for a while, so I picked up duathlon. Which has evolved into triathlon and I have never looked back since.

JP: What was your best early memory at the races?

T: Winning the 2003 Triathlon World Champs in Queenstown, NZ

JP: To date one of the most impressive performances in triathlon history is your course record in Wildflower. That was absolutely stupid fast. Walk us through that day…

T: Just a perfect day, one every triathlete hopes for but struggles to find. Preparation went perfectly and my body just handled everything I gave to it. Let’s hope I can have more of them to come.

JP: You were originally a smoking fast short course boy. What was your
experience like with ITU?

T: I enjoyed the speed and excitement of shorter races, but I like the lifestyle and freedom of the long course races.

JP: What lead you to transition to longer stuff?

T: Missing out on the Olympics was a big factor. However, after deciding to get into the long distance format it has become clear to me that at the end of the day legends are made on the lava fields in Kona!

JP: You have showed massive versatility over all distances but what type of race is the best for you?

T: I love everything about triathlon, swimming, biking and running. SoI guess any distance is good for me as long as it is tough.

JP: Switching gears a bit, you seem to be into the social media with an awesome Twitter account, a great blog, and a facebook page where you do some awesome product giveaways. What draws you to this form of media?

T: The social media aspect is very important to me, as its all about the fans! We as pros have a responsibility to grow the sport. My website, facebook fan site, and twitter are very accessible options for most to follow me. Let’s hope it inspires future athletes into this great sport.

JP: Word on the street is you did a lot of training with Macca this year. What is it like to train with him?

T: Macca is a good guy, there is never a dull moment and he is always willing to help.

JP: Bottom line is you are training with a competitor. Do you guys get into serious competition in training and try to one up each other?

T: No not really. He is near the end of his successful career and I am just getting going. There’re not many pros over 40 and not many Ironman World Champs under 35. So we have quite a good combination going.

JP: It seemed like a rough day at Kona. What was your race experience like?

T: Well a rough day it was. I thought I was in a much better position going into the race, the body felt stronger than ever, but for some reason or another it didn’t click on race day. That’s racing though. It’s these experiences that help me to learn more about my body and hopefully I can use them to win in Kona in the future.

JP: What are your goals for next year and what is it going to take to
get it done?

T: Win a full distance Ironman, and a top 5 at Kona.

Lightning round:

Weight gain in the offseason or stable weight year round? Haha, weight
gain of up to 5kgs in the off season.

Favorite race? That’s hard, I love racing throughout the world, and
all races have something different about them which I love, but if I
had to pick one I would say the Philippines 70.3 Not only was the race
awesome, but the people there were so kind and genuine, I loved every

Predict Lance Armstrong’s time in Kona if he races this year. That’s
tough. I would think he would be competitive with Chrissie.

Chocolate or coffee? Why not both?!

Beer or wine? Again both!!

Job if not a pro triathlete? I have completed 2 years of a Physiotherapy degree here in NZ so if I wasn’t a pro triathlete I probably would have finished that. If triathlon was never in the picture growing up I always wanted to do Medicine.

JP: Thanks SO MUCH for the time, T. Last question, who are the sponsors who keep you going?

T: My sponsors are great, and I choose to be in partnership with them as I believe they are the best, and can help me be the best I can. They are K-Swiss, Plumbing World, Felt, Nutra Grain, Biestmilch, Profile Design, Aqua Sphere, Oakley, SRAM, Fuel Belt, Lazer, Triathlon
Lab, Zipp, Prologo and Sidi.

Again, for more info on Terenzo, check him out. He does some cool stuff from race reports, product giveaways, and live race play by plays on Twitter.

On Twitter

On facebook


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Great Triathlon Reads

By Pharmie

Maybe you’re looking for some tri-related reading to take along on your winter or spring vacation. Maybe you’ve recently signed up for your first triathlon and are looking for a place to start. Maybe you’re just looking for motivation to get you off the couch and back to training this month. I have mentioned before that when I signed up for my first triathlon, I didn’t know a soul who’d ever done one. To help me figure out what exactly I was supposed to be doing, I turned to my local Barnes and Noble and picked out a book that looked like it had what I’d need. I’m now heading into my 7th year of tri training and have amassed more triathlon-related books than I really care to admit. Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites, a brief description of each, and who I think could benefit from reading them.

Triathlon Training, Michael Finch – This was my very first triathlon book. It is written for the super beginner, and that’s exactly why I recommend it for people brand new to the sport. The information it offers is valuable but basic. The training programs, which vary from sprint distance to iron distance, are canned ,week-by-week plans. Having the plans pre-made helps take some of the overwhelming factor out of being new to the sport. Steve and I have used the programs offered in this book for his student tri club.

The Triathlete’s Training Bible, Joe Friel – This book is often considered a “must have” in every triathlete’s library. It covers all topics in much more detail than Triathlon Training. It’s nearly twice as long and doesn’t have the same pictures and illustrations. I honestly think it would have been too much for me when I started, but once I’d been in the sport a year or two, I found it really helpful. Joe Friel flushes out the concepts behind periodization and shows you how to build your own training program depending on the time you have and the races you are training for.

Triathlon Swimming: Made Easy, Terry Laughlin – I read this book while reteaching myself how to swim through the Total Immersion program. Although the book does go through the 13 steps of Total Immersion, I think many tri swimmers could benefit from reading it. It discusses efficiency in the water, gives some exercises to help you become more efficient, and offers valuable visualization techniques and tips for “feeling” the water to slip through it more easily.

Trizophrenia, Jef Mallett – Although this book won’t do much to advance your fitness, it’s a great book that reminds us why we love the sport. The stories and anecdotes will resonate with beginners to seasoned triathletes. It may also be an insightful read for those who love us but don’t necessarily train with us. The illustrations (Mallett is the creator of the comic Frazz) are an added bonus to the lighthearted book.

17 Hours to Glory, Mathias Müeller with Timothy Carlson – I have been doing this sport for a while and knew some of the big names but didn’t necessarily know their stories. I had seen the images of the woman crawling across the finish line at Kona all those years ago but didn’t know her name. I knew the names Mark Allen and Dave Scott but admittedly couldn’t tell you which was which. This book offers a valuable history lesson on some of the biggest pro names in the sport while intermixing stories of inspirational age groupers like Team Hoyt and Sarah Reinertsen. The 17 chapters, which each focus on one athlete, make for a moving read whether you’re Kona bound or new to the sport.

Training and Racing with a Power Meter (2nd Edition), Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan, PhD – When I first got my Cycelops Power Tap and Joule, I was SUPER excited but also felt a little lost. I wanted to be able to get the most out of this tool in my training and racing. When I asked my coach for resources, he referred me to this book.

The Time-Crunched Triathlete, Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg – This is the newest addition to our triathlon library, and although I haven’t gotten to read it yet (Steve’s been hogging it), I am really interested in some of its theories. I have definitely had seasons where training took a back seat to the rest of my life. It offers sprint and oly plans to keep you competitive and a 70.3 program that promises to get you to the finish line (but not necessarily with a PR).

Happy Reading, Everybody!