Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Michelle's Green Bay Triathlon Race Report

By: Michelle

Racing season officially kicked off for me 6/3/12 with the Green Bay Olympic Triathlon. As far as tri's go, this is not a huge event and is a nice way to move into the season. A few of the distances seem a little goofy in that the swim is advertised as 800 yds. (which I even doubt the length of that!), the bike is 28 miles, and the run is the typical 6.2 miles. But, it is typically well organized, and aside from the unpredictability of the temperature, is a nice family event.

The struggle for me tends to be the distance. Not that it's too long. It's too short. I would imagine this is all in my head (as most of my issues are!). With long course racing, which I prefer, I just sit in there and burn like a slow, low flame. Not too hot. Not too intense. Just steady. And maybe because I have typically experienced good success with long distance racing, I automatically associate that with my strength.

But, here's the thing....short course racing HURTS!!!! It really hurts. If it doesn't hurt, then I'm not doing it right. At times while I'm out there, I wonder, why am I making myself hurt so much? Is this really worth it? Which then leads me down the mental path of questioning if I'm getting old, losing speed, losing muscle mass, getting depressed, losing my drive....The list is endless.

Maybe I like long course more because it seems as if there is less pressure. All is not lost if I'm not out of the water with the lead pack. If my transitions are not perfectly executed, I still can make up the lost time. I can fix little nutritional glitches without too much turmoil if I stay plugged in mentally. 

It's not even that I don't perform fairly well at short course events. I finish typically in the same percentile in a short course race as I do in a long course race. So, what's the deal in my head? I don't have it figured out. I do know this. Ask me to choose between an Ironman distance race and an Olympic distance race for my A race of the season, and I'll choose the Ironman anytime!

That was quite a bit of rambling. As for the race itself, the sky was clear with temps in the 70's and moderate winds. The moderate wind part was a blessing. I swear, spring seems to be windier and windier every year. Once again, made up in my head? Not sure, but I was happy it was only 9-10 mph winds.

The swim is an absolute nightmare. Nothing that happens out there even resembles swimming. The course is so congested and shallow. Most people dolphin dive 1/4-1/3 of it. Really I just try to stay clear of everyone and, when I can, settle down and get into some sense of a swim stroke. The distance is totally inaccurate at 800 yds because there is NO WAY I can swim 800 yds. in 10:30 which is what the results show.

The bike was fabulous! Literally, MY BIKE  is fabulous! I am on a Quintana Roo CD0.1 this year and I absolutely love it. I feel very comfortable when aero and the ride is super smooth. I honestly don't think I've felt this comfortable in my set up with any other bike every in the past. The course was fairly flat to rolling. The biggest issue I had was the sticker covering my disc wheel coming loose and slapping against the frame with EVERY ROTATION! Irritating. After about 5 miles of this and not knowing what it was for sure, I figured it had to be the sticker because the bike was moving along just fine. I really enjoyed the bike part of the day and soaked up the feeling of how lucky I was to be racing.

The run was a downer for me. I really feel like I've been running well lately. But not this race day. I couldn't get anything going. Just NO fire in the legs. I did the nutrition without a glitch. Actually, I was better on the nutritional front then I ever have been. Maybe it was the heat. Honestly, 70's doesn't sound hot and it really isn't. But, I really haven't done anything yet this year at race pace in that temp range. Maybe I wasn't mentally plugged in. But, I don't think it was that. I just felt flat. In other words, not my best race performance and I'm not completely sure why.

What's done is done. I have learned over the years that I give myself the rest of race day to feel sorry for myself. Then it's OVER! Done. Move on to the next hurdle. Truly, as the years have gone by I have gotten quite good at this. Well, really, why not? Racing is supposed to be fun and thankfully, I still see it as fun. I can see a change in me (good or bad? I'm not sure) that is more about appreciating the experience and the ability to race rather than the final outcome or number on the clock. But, I WILL say, it's still a SMALL change!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Matt Gets Fit

Matt gives us the details on getting fit to his QuintanaRoo CD0.1. Many thanks to Andy at HUB Endurance for the hospitality and expert knowledge. Ed. Note: you may be interested in Matt's adventures getting to Chattanooga.

Wow, that was quite a long drive!  No stops, no food, sole focus was get to Andy’s quick!  And that I did, I managed to turn a 6hr 9min predicted drive into a 4hr 55min ludicrous speed adventure.  Not the most beautiful route, tons of the same view the whole way, and plenty of rain to drown a crocodile.  But I made it!  I think I strolled into Andy and Heathers just a hair after 11PM.  Just in time for some brews and storytelling.  What an interesting 30hrs!

Waking up Sunday morning to a nice downpour was less than ideal for a Mother’s day, but what can you do? Everybody woke up, was in cheery moods, and ready to celebrate!  Heather had picked out a nice restaurant for brunch, and so graciously extended the invite for me to join.  Brunch was off the charts, we had Applewood smoked bacon, donuts, some other things that were like donuts but had a fancy name and had lots of powdered sugar, it was a pre-diabetics sugar freaks dream!  Thanks again to Andy and Heather for allowing me to join them for their mothers day celebrations!

After brunch was the bike fit!  After all the donuts, bacon, and bloody mary's, I was pretty full and not looking forward to getting on a trainer to ride, but knowing that I was one step closer to racing on the CD0.1, I was able to suck it up.  Little did I know I was walking right into a buzz saw.  Andy didn't inform me that I was going to be doing a bunch of serious intervals in order to find a dialed in fit.  UH OH!

All anger aside, that Dynamic Fit Unit (DFU) is unreal!  This thing reminds me of the willy wonka elevator that goes every which way.  You can move the seat up and down, forward and back, angle it, adjust the headset up and down, as well as the angle.  And Andy, being the sly cat he is, felt like a funny guy, moving me around like I was remote controlled!  I did not see the humor in this.

I digress, and this time I mean all anger aside, that DFU is sick.  I was able to test quite a few positions and able to see the exact power and efficiency numbers across the board for 10+ positions.  After an hour and a half of tweaking the position we finally agreed.  We jumped off the DFU, and transferred that position onto the CD0.1.  We dialed the fit in on the CD0.1, and last up was cleat position.  As you would imagine, Andy has a crazy fancy electronic cleat positioner.  After another 5 minutes of testing with these special pedals, he was able to get enough information to dial my cleat position in. Fancy Pants Andy and I had done it!!  We were finally able to get the bike fit in!  After all the setbacks over the past month we came out victorious...only thing left to do is train :)

Mad Mad thanks to Andy and Heather for hosting me last weekend, allowing me to invade their Mother’s Day parade, and thanks to Hub for everything they have done with my bike.  Huge appreciation and gratitude to all who have helped out in the process.  I am very grateful!