I just returned from Louisville, KY where I just completed my first Ironman! This was an unusual Ironman in that the swim was almost cancelled due to a toxic algae bloom in the Ohio River. Pretty crazy. For the last month of training, I had no idea if the thing was even going to go off. I continued my training and tried to stay mentally focused which was not easy. I flew to Louisville and still did not know if the swim would happen! Then… 24 hours before the race, they lifted the swim ban and the race was on. YES! 6 months of hard training would not be lost as well as thousands and thousands of dollars. Doing an Ironman is not a cheap endeavor either. The race went well although there were some rocky moments… I swam over some iron bars in the river and witnessed a violent high-speed bicycle crash. The crash shook me up a bit but I rallied and enjoyed the rest of the race. The last 3 miles of the run were hard but the finish was amazing. The finish line is in downtown Louisville where there are thousands of people cheering and encouraging all the participants. I did gulp some river water but did not get sick. No toxic river water syndrome!! It was a fantastic experience for myself and my parents. Thank you Louisville for hosting an amazing event!
Archive for the ‘TRIATHLON’ Tag
Just returned from Hawaii and we were on the Big Island! I am doing an Ironman in Louisville, KY in October and I wanted to possibly do some training on the famed Kona Ironman course. I did it……. with my family’s help. Thank you mom and dad! I did the 2.4M ocean swim on one day and the 112 bike on another. The currents were a bit stronger than I anticipated but I felt good and the bike had some serious winds and heat. I am pretty sure the Big Island is my favorite island now. So many different ecosystems.
Working left handed is quite a different feel! Not being able to swim, run, bike is a killer. Makes you appreciate it more huh? When gone? For sure. I watch cyclists ride by and I stare and certainly they think something is amiss. The one armed wonder is staring at me. I want to thank Jodie for all her help. Cutting your nails requires assistance from a loved one. Such great fun for her! I am slated to take part in the Donner Lake Triathlon in July but could miss it. We shall see as the doc stressed thinking long term and not risking it. In the meantime, I am trying to walk 3 miles a day and hitting exercise bike at Cal Fit.
Maybe I will go to Fleet Feet and look at shoes.
On another note: Check out Ryan Elmore’s blog: http://thelogcabin.wordpress.com/
I had been wanting to swim the length of Donner Lake in the high Sierras after I saw and was inspired by a Masters Swim Race there three years ago. What a scene that was. I was standing on shore with 300 swimmers on an early August morning with the lake shrouded in fog. Donner is a high alpine lake on the California side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is at an altitude of 7,000 plus feet with its deepest point at over 300 feet! Mingling with these brave swimmers just before they set off into the foggy abyss was enough to scare this swim class dropout to death! The organizers of the event had to delay the start for the swimmers safety. The fog was as thick as pea soup, very much like the Oregon coast! Eventually the swim began and I made my way back down to the finish, a mere 2.7 mile swim. As I watched these athletes finish, I thought I must conquer this lake one day.
Fast forward to August 2011! At this point, I have a few triathlons under my belt and I am ready to tackle the beast of Donner. Well, maybe not, I pulled a pectoral muscle moving some furniture the week prior. Like a fool, I thought I would be OK swimming 3 miles. I set off in perfect conditions with the water a balmy 71 degrees and a very faint breeze blowing in from the west. Please note this is not the actual Masters Swim Race but my own personal little race. There is a huge difference here. BOATS and JET SKIS abound in non-sanctioned race settings. This is a hazard you MUST be cognizant of at all times hence why my girlfriend spots me with a bright yellow kayak. Regardless of the kayak, it is so easy to drift out into boating lanes. Chugging along we looked up to notice in the distant Sierra mountains….. SNOW! YES! snow in August. We had record snow this year! At approximately the two-mile mark with my pectoral muscle screaming at me and boats encroaching we aborted the mission. Dang. I was in discomfort the whole swim and was probably quite stupid to push it. So……. we stopped and I fell just short of my goal. Oh well. There will be another August and I will be back!
I weighed in at 178 on Friday, July 15. Six pounds lighter than the previous July. In July 2010, I did the Donner Lake Triathlon which was an Olympic distance event. This year I set my sights on a higher goal, the Vineman Half Ironman 70.3 race in Sonoma County, CA. Six pounds less I thought, as I stood on the scale, that is good. It is not a huge amount but if you had seen me on the beach in Mexico in 2007 you would have nominated me for Weight Watchers Man of The Year. Four days prior to stepping onto the scale, I had carbo loaded like I never have in my life. At this point, if I never saw marinara sauce again in my life I would have accepted it. One week later I am still OK with my life long ban from Buca Di Pepo!
I arrived in Windsor, CA on Saturday, July 16 to drop off my run gear at T2 and attend a mandatory meeting prior to race day. We had never seen so many thin people in one spot in America EVER! It was unreal and at the same time pretty intimidating. To start, my bike cost probably as much as the pedals on most of my fellow triathletes bikes! Aerobars, disc wheels, tri bikes, and race helmets shaped like spaceships were abound! My Giro bike helmet was a 1990 model that I was concerned was even within race rules it was so archaic. The racers and their families all jammed into the Windsor High School gymnasium for the 2:30 PM meeting. In a nutshell, riders DO NOT take the hard right and hill at mile five on the bike fast! It was probably repeated twenty times to us on this Saturday so I made a mental note.
Fast forward to mile 4.7 on the bike. By this time, I had survived the swim in the Russian River clocking in around 39 minutes. As I approached the 5 mile mark, I could see flashing lights on a fire truck and thought there is no possible way someone could have ignored those 45 warnings and crashed. Or could they? YES THEY COULD. I rounded the hard right turn and went down slowly and there on my right an unfortunate participant was done for the day. The rider was bloodied and laying on a board with his neck secured like an injured NFL safety.
The bicycle route of Vineman is absolutely stunning! I probably biked past 50 wineries. Damn that was KORBEL? The famous champagne? I believe it is known much more for their brandy these days. Of all places, Wisconsin, is the biggest consumer of Korbel Brandy as my Grandma Helen can attest. It was a very enjoyable ride and I was able to keep a solid pace of around 18 mph. under mostly cloudy skies. I did not come upon anymore carnage, thankfully, and sped by vineyard after vineyard thinking to myself this is why I live in California! The field for this event consists of people from all over the world and it was not uncommon for me to hear Spanish speakers during the run.
The moment of truth is always the run portion of a triathlon. It makes sense as it is the last event, the temperature has risen, and you are on your last hours of the race. I call the last five miles the “hell zone” ala the “death zone” on Mount Everest. Make no mistake, I am definitely not comparing a triathlon to an Everest climb but the “hell zone” is not pleasant either. The temperature was not even 80 on this particular day which makes a world of difference. While I was waiting in line to get my race bib I was informed by another racer that just a few years back it was over 100 degrees at the end. Brutal! I totally lucked out and it was a fantastic day!
Lake Natoma in Gold River, CA is a dammed up portion of the beautiful American River. It is a great spot to swim, kayak, row, etc. I took my first plunge of the season yesterday. The water was 54 degrees so the hands and face get a little cold. We have had lots of snow in the Sierras this year and the river and lake are high! The water is pure COLD snow melt and the visibility is pretty dang good. A family of ducks were chasing me on the homestretch but I just nudged them at the line!
Northern California! In my mind, it belongs in the top 5 regions of the world! Not that I have been all over the world mind you, but I just get this feeling it is in the top 5 somewhere. San Francisco, Napa Valley, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe to name just a few! WOW. It really is a paradise for a person who loves nature and the outdoors! Anyways… I do a lot of cycling, running, open water swimming, and in the winter cross-country skiing in the Sierra Nevada. All this activity has led to a love of triathlon. What is great is… I have friends who specialize in each of one of these disciplines and I train with them and later put them all together. I have a good buddy from San Francisco who I have known all my life. He is an extremely talented and dedicated cyclist. A great training partner…. but also a very scary and unpredictable training partner. I have been on, no question, the toughest bike rides of my life with this friend. Mt. Diablo, Howell Mountain Road, Mt. Tam, Sierra Road (see what Lance Armstrong said about Sierra road)…. all epic ascents in Nor Cal. But today, I will tell you about The DEVILS CANYON!! This is a ride that is literally 2 hours up and 2 hours down. This gorgeous ride takes you under and over California’s tallest bridge, Foresthill Bridge, and along one of the most scenic rivers in the United States, the American River. Please take a look at our statistics and you will get an idea of this ride terrain:
I had never ridden this ride before and am always a bit leery where my friend is leading us. Past experiences tell me I KNOW it will not be pleasant. At about midride, we began a steep descent into a dark wooded gorge where we approached speeds up to 40 mph. While we descended, I thought to myself, what in the hell is he getting us into now? As the saying goes… what goes down must COME UP! We finally reach the bottom and lo and behold what do we see? A sign of rednecks in the area: A bulletpocked road sign that reads DEVILS CANYON. Oh man. We have one hell of a ride UP now. Thanks Joe.