Friday, March 14, 2014

Training and Preparing

This is a quick update on life the past few weeks and months.  I've been training well and am starting to count the days until the start of the season.  However, there is the little matter of becoming a father that is also weighing on the mind slightly.  I'm sure it won't be life changing or anything, but I guess I'll find out.  Ashley is doing great and we are as prepared as we are going to get for little Sidney to break out of her current prison.  She's as active as her parents so I have a feeling we'll have our hands full.  Ivan doesn't know what's coming but we have comforted him by finding his long lost big brother.  If we weren't having a kid, we'd have another dog by now!

In the midst of what I've been calling Babygeddon,  I did make a quick detour to southern California for a great training trip to jump start my build up to race season.  It was nice to get outside and enjoy myself while putting in some solid aerobic work.  Now I'm back in Richmond and starting to put up some encouraging numbers on the track and on the bike.  It's still early, so I've got time to make sure all cylinders are firing before heading down to St. Anthony's for my first race.  I'm looking forward to getting back to the race that started my pro career!

More to come as the season gets closer, but my updates may be fewer and further between in the coming months.  Perhaps the next one will have a baby picture!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

2014 Preview Part 3: "Training and Racing"

It's getting to be that time of year when the long off season slowly turns into pre-season and eventually it will be time to race! I have always enjoyed the process of training, but my true love is toeing the start line and plunging head first into battle with myself and my competitors.  I'm slowly building in intervals, including a few hill efforts, and generally getting more focused on key sessions in training but it is all just laying the groundwork for a successful season.  While training has been going well, I can't wait to see the transition area set up and waiting for the energy of race day.

I have posted my planned race schedule here on the site and will update it if there are any changes.  With our baby girl due less than 2 weeks before St. Anthony's, I know I will have to be somewhat flexible in my plans (Understatement perhaps?).  The Rev3 series has been my focus for the last 18 month and I have really grown to like the people, courses, and atmosphere that come with it.  It's an obvious choice to race Knoxville as it is the finale of the 2013 series, but for me it is also obvious to continue with Rev3 for the rest of 2014.

Very simply, they do things right and treat their athletes well. If you haven't seen it, check out the interview with the big boss on Slowtwitch HERE.  He mentions the great team he has working for him and I agree.  Add in the fact that the Rev3 races have a reasonable prize distribution (more than the top 3 athletes can cover travel costs... how novel), and I can't see why I would go anywhere else.

I'd love to do a few full distance races since that is where I feel my true abilities can be found, but from a business perspective it makes no sense.  I stand to benefit more from a successful Knoxville race this year than I would if I were to get top 5 at Kona and that's not including the physical abuse I'd accumulate trying to qualify.  Greg Bennett said it best a few years ago... double the distance, half the money.  Sad but true.

I will be looking forward to a full season of Rev3 racing after Knoxville is over.  I enjoy going back to familiar races and seeing familiar faces.  The new Rev3 Rush in Richmond will be phenomenal (I hear rumors of our local tri community planning to show everyone a good time!) and I still have dreams (nightmares) of tackling the Quassy run course yet again.  I look forward to defending my Williamsburg title, but this time at the Olympic distance.

Getting my road bike ready!
There are many exciting times ahead for me this season and I can't wait to get started. Until then, I'll keep plugging away at my training regimen.  I like to keep my head down and my efforts focused.  I've got miles and miles of hard work in front of me for just a few hours of perfect speed come race day.  It's not the easiest time of year right now, mentally or physically, but I'm squarely focused on the goal at hand.

Happy training!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Preview Part 2: "Sponsors"

I've been lucky to have great support throughout my age group and professional racing career.  Family and friends make up the backbone of this support, and I couldn't have gotten to where I am without them.  That's the reason I made "real life" the first post for my season preview.  For part 2, I'm looking at my sponsors as they are also an integral part of my continued success and improvement.  I've been lucky to become associated with a group of great companies over the years and for 2014, my support team looks pretty similar to 2013.

When looking at sponsors, my philosophy is to find great products and companies that I believe in and stick with them as long as they'll have me.  Too many athletes just chase the best deal or hottest trend and look foolish in the process.  I am always on the lookout for potential partners, but I never rush into a sponsorship that I don't believe in.  I also work hard to make sure it's a mutually beneficial relationship.  Simple.

I have a whole page dedicated to my sponsors and have links to their sites on the left of this page, so I won't spend a bunch of time describing the companies.  What I will do is tell you why I'm happy to represent them!  First up, I'll cover the #1 consideration for most triathletes... Coffee.

Utopian Coffee has been an absolute life saver for me because of my snobbish taste in good quality coffee.  I have spent way too much money on my coffee habit in the past and having good quality coffee at home saves money in the long run.  I've got a great subscription set up so I have a new, fresh pound of coffee at my door within a few days of running low.  I now can barely order coffee when going out to breakfast because I've become spoiled with the taste of Utopian Espresso blend.  I encourage you to get spoiled too!  My good friend Brendon will take care of you, just tell him I sent you.
MMM.... Every Morning
Next up, First Endurance Nutrition.  The only thing that is as regular as my coffee usage is my First Endurance Multi-V in the morning.  Throughout the day, I generally use 2-3 other products during training.  I eat relatively 'low carb', so I may get close to 100% of my carbohydrate intake from First Endurance products every once in a while!  A hard workout with out Ultragen simply doesn't happen.   I've come to rely on this company because of their high quality products, but also because of the high quality people behind the scenes.  I've consulted them on race planning and career development in addition to nutrition and have yet to be led astray.  They are constantly developing and refining their product line and I'm happy to have them in my corner!
Sexy... kinda
I've ridden ISM saddles ever since they were a small niche company out of Tampa Bay Recreation.  I met them at St. Anthony's Triathlon where they encouraged me to try out their saddle after I complained that mine was no good.  I switched right before the race and haven't looked back.  Now they are the top saddle company out there and I'm working on becoming one of the top cyclists in the sport.  If you visit their headquarters, you may still see my picture on their front door!

BlueSeventy is the last of my returning sponsors and the first company that gave me a shot.  Back when I was swimming sub 16 min miles, I was looking for someone to believe in my triathlon abilities.  Luckily, I was picked up by the best!  I can honestly say that the Helix wetsuit makes swimming more enjoyable and I almost don't mind when races have wetsuit legal swims.  Like ISM and First Endurance, they are always looking to improve their product and I am happy to benefit from their pursuit of excellence.  Thank you for the years of support.

At the end of last year, I made the move to Carytown Bicycles as my primary local bike shop.  I switched shops because I enjoy the people at the shop and the atmosphere they create.  Having a knowledgable mechanic is priceless and Jessie has never steered me wrong.  Having that comfort going into a race is immensely important.  Add in Tim's constant reminders that "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" and I've got a perfect situation.  If you're in Richmond, be sure to swing by and say hello!
Yes, our philosophies fit pretty well!

New for this year, I'll be working with NormaTec Recovery for the extra benefit from hard workouts. I've done a lot of research and coaching over the years and I know that my training is only as good as my recovery.  I'm just getting started with this company, but knowing that there is a Pitt grad helping steer the ship, I'm very happy to follow along.  I'll be sure to update how I like their boots as I get into the meat of the season.

Along with my primary sponsors, I'm lucky to work with Matt at The Sport Factory and Jay at Peluso Open Water for my coaching and training needs.  Both coaching companies are first class and I'm happy to consult and be consulted by them. If you're looking to improve your racing, you can't go wrong.  Links to their websites are provided under the Coaching Tab above.

That's it for part 2 of the season preview.  Next week, I'll lay out my race schedule and talk about my season planning.  Until then, I'm busy preparing for the season the best way I know how.  Train safe and stay warm.