Wetsuit Repair 101

I noticed at the aquathon Thursday that there's a small tear in my wetsuit, so I went to Endurance House today and bought a wetsuit repair kit so I could patch it before tomorrow's triathlon.

Here's the tear. It looks bigger in the picture than it actually is.

Step 1: Clean the wound.

Step 2: Apply the Aquaseal...

Step 3: Let dry.

Easy enough. We'll see if it holds tomorrow morning.

While I was at Endurance House, I picked up some new goggles....

Those suckers have more suction than a Dyson. I'm confident they won't leak, but they might suck my eyeballs right out of my head...or give me brain damage...or both.

Every spring I go out and buy a plant that I kill by the end of summer. This is last year's plant...

Here's the plant I'm going to kill this year...



Whew. What a day. It started with my first ride on a fixie. That's right. My new bike arrived, the Schwinn Madison.

If you've never ridden a fixie, it's quite an adventure. I almost got bucked off that thing a few times today. I don't have clipless pedals for it yet so I'm using the toe straps that came with it, and my left foot slipped out on the first hill and I tried to coast to get my foot back in and the bike bucked me up and almost threw me over the handlebars. Close call.

The second time was when I tried to coast over some gravel and it bucked me so hard it lifted me off the seat. I'm sure it was quite humorous to the cars driving by, but I didn't find it so amusing. Right now, I'm not really a fixie fan. I'm going to keep at it, but if I don't like it after a few more rides I'm going to flip the wheel and turn it into a single speed, which will lead to plenty of ridicule at work but that's okay.

After work was the first aquathon of the year....and my first open water swim of the season. If you're unfamiliar, an aquathon is a 1000 meter swim followed by a 5K run. I've never done one, so I didn't really have any expectations. I wanted to have a good swim (for me) and then take it easy on the run since I'm still sore from the half marathon (apparently, that half marathon was quite a beating on my quads because after an ice bath and 4 days of recovery they're still sore).

The weather wasn't looking good - high of 60 with a chance of severe thunderstorms. And the water temp was 58 degrees so it was a wetsuit mandatory event. I was kind of hoping for some serious storms to move in and wipe out the event so I wouldn't have to get in the water, but I also kind of wanted to go ahead with it because my first triathlon of the season is Sunday (Lake Mills) and I'm prone to panic attacks in open water so I wanted to get my first panic attack out of the way....and I did because the nasty weather held off and we got the race in. Just some light rain.

I expected the water to be really cold, but holy smokes was that cold. I went out for a short warm up (if you want to call it that) about 15 minutes before race time. It didn't bother me that much on my feet and legs. I guess the ice baths helped acclimate me to frigid water. And it wasn't as bad as I expected when it got to my chest. But putting my face in the water was when I felt the pain. It was really hard to breathe. I swam a bit and then went back to transition to put on a second swim cap hoping that might help keep me from losing too much body heat.

When the gun went off, I ran in and started swimming as soon as I could. The water was really shallow so a lot of people ran for quite a while, but I figured I came to swim so I might as well go for it. The water was super cold and I was having a tough time breathing...and then I had my first panic attack. I was really hoping I was over those, but obviously not. I swam side stroke for a bit to catch my breathe and then, more out of frustration than anything, decided I wasn't going to let open water get the best of me again and I started swimming. After a few minutes of being on the verge of another panic attack I finally settled down and found a decent rhythm, except I was getting a lot of pain in my left shoulder. That's been happening recently and I'm a little concerned about it. I don't know if it's an injury, overuse (doubtful since I haven't been swimming as much as I should lately), or poor form (likely).

Swim Time = 15:03

I came out of the water and into transition and experienced the other problem I have with swimming in open water - vertigo. I had my transition all set up so I could slip into my Zoots, grab my hat and go. I bent over to finish getting out of my wetsuit and...bam...I was on my butt. Everything was spinning. I pulled my wetsuit off and got into my shoes while sitting on the ground. Then I grabbed my hat and ran - a little sideways - out of transition.

Transition = 1:02

The run was interesting. I didn't realize my feet were numb until I started running. Wow, that's a really weird feeling. They felt like bricks. I wanted to take it easy and just have some fun on the run, and I did start a little on the easy side but as I started picking off runners I noticed my pace was gradually increasing. Eventually, I gained a little feeling in my feet and that's when I noticed the insole in my right shoe was bunched up under the arch of my foot so that was bothering until it slipped back into place at the 2 mile mark. I pushed pretty hard on the last mile and picked off a few more runners. Coming into the final 100 yards, I noticed the guy behind me was sprinting, trying to get me before the finish line. I thought, 'oh no you di'n't' (Cheri's favorite line) and I dropped the hammer. I held him off and even slipped past the guy in front of me one foot from the finish line. Everyone cheered, and he was so pissed he wouldn't even look at me after the race. Sorry, dude, but you gotta race all the way through the finish. Don't get mad at me because you backed off.

Run = 20:31

Total time = 36:34
Overall = 9th out of 72
Age Group = 3rd out of 12

I figured I would be a middle of the pack guy, especially since I planned to take it easy on the run, so I'm really happy to finish in the top 10. Now that I've done a competition that includes swimming, I have more motivation to get back to the pool and put some work in and improve. Motivation at the pool has been lacking lately, so this was a good thing. I'm pumped.


Race Report: Madison Half Marathon

I used to run quite a bit when I was younger. I didn't know what a tempo run was, or intervals, or even the distance of a marathon or half marathon...although I did know I would never run either because those are for "real" runners.

What I did know was that it was 1.1 miles around my parents subdi
vision and 5 laps seemed like a good distance to run. I ran about 5 days a week, not because I thought I needed 2 recovery days but because I never felt like running all 7. I never wore a watch, although I did check the clock from time to time to see how long it took, usually about 45 minutes. I never figured out what pace that was, although I suspected it was horribly slow. I didn't consider myself a runner. I was just a kid with a pair of running shoes from Kohls (which would be replaced years later when the stitching began to give way because I figured that's how you knew your running shoes had reached their limit) who liked how he felt after a good run, especially after running at night. I loved running at night, still do.

Now my running is dominated by my Garmin, pace zones, heart rate zones, tempo runs, striders, training logs... you name it. I replace my shoes after about 400 miles
. And even though I ran my 3rd half marathon today, a distance I thought I would never be able to run, I still don't consider myself a runner. And sometimes I wish I could get over my obsession with tracking everything and just strap on running shoes and run, not because I need to get some miles in, but because I like the way I feel after a good run.

Today was the Madison Half Marathon, my 3rd, Cheri's first. And I
made 2 mistakes, one of which I make every single time and it's the reason I've been thinking about how I sometimes miss the old days of running simply for the sake of running.

Mistake number 1 was thinking 30 minutes would be enough time to go to the bathroom and get to the starting line. They didn't have half the number of porta crappers they needed, and Cheri and I were still in line when they sounded the horn and sent the runners. We started about 7 minutes late, which meant we'd have a lot of runners to pass.

I ran like an asshole for about 9 miles, forcing my way through groups of runners, bumping elbows, running on the grass or sidewalk. I felt bad being so aggres
sive, but I didn't want to let missing the start ruin my race. I wasted a lot of energy searching for gaps to run through, and since I was running a different pace than everyone else I never had a chance to get any water at the water stations.

Mistake number 2...I do this every time...I forgot to turn off the auto-pause on my watch. I really wanted to run 7 minute miles, and thought that I might have an outside shot at cracking 1:30. I wore a 1:30 pace band so I could see how far off pace I was because I wanted to start out somewhat on the conservative side (if you consider 7 minute miles conservative, that is). I wanted to be about 60-80 seconds off a 1:30 pace at mile 10, and then try to run a hard 5K. I hit the 10 mile mark exactly 80 seconds off pace (or so I thought) and then dropped the hammer. I was running a 6:59 average at the time and I needed to drop that down to close to 6:30s to hit my goal. The hammer I dropped wasn't nearly big enough as I was only able to bring my current pace down to 6:45...and that really, really hurt.

The hills had gotten to me, and I quickly realized 1:30 was out of reach. But 1:31 wasn't so I ignored the horrible pain in my quads and kept pushing on. I finished in 1:31:06....according to my watch.

It turns out my watch was on auto-pause for about a minute, so my official time was 1:32:13, a 7:03 average pace. Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy with that time. It'
s a PR by more than 20 minutes. But I'm a little frustrated that I thought I hit one of my goals when I didn't, and I think I would've paced myself differently in the middle had I known my actual pace. Garmins are great, but sometimes I think I should race without it. I've raced 2 5Ks without my Garmin, and both were PRs. Maybe a Timex and paceband is the way to go.

Technology...it's great, but sometimes all it does is make things difficult.

Cheri had a great race. I tried to get her to write a race report, but she said she'd rather nap on the couch. She wanted to run a sub 2:10, with a sub 2:00 being a pie-in-the-sky goal. She, too, had to work her way through a lot of runners (I'm sure she was more polite about it than I was) and came across the line in 2:01:06, a 9:15 pace. That's a killer time for a first half marathon, especially one as hilly as this was.

Notice the watch on Cheri's left wrist. That's her new Garmin 405, her b-day present from me. Maybe I should have gotten her a Timex and a paceband instead.

Here's a picture of Cheri with Tim, her boss when she worked in HR. He accidentally ran the half marathon today. He signed up for the quarter marathon, but followed the wrong route (notice...we found him hanging out around the medical tent...he was feeling a little rough).

Since we knew some people who ran this race, congratulations go out to the following people for a great race....

Steve K. - 3:58:34
Mike & Jen W. - 6:36:35

Half Marathon:
Ryan G. - 1:27:27
Jim T. - 1:39:49
Jason V. - 1: 56:29
Bob K. - 2:00:26
Al H. - 2:02:01
Jason K. - 2:04:46
Tim M. - ??? -no official time since he ran the wrong race

We saw this girl on our way to the expo Saturday. Check out the handlebars....


Double Bong 40K TT

It turns out the park is named after Richard Bong. I have no idea who that is, but at least the name makes sense to me now.

The race was a two hitter, if you will. Two laps around the park. Registration is at Brighton School, and the race starts down the road a little ways
and is one big rectangle with 3 right turns. It's pretty flat and the roads are really nice with little traffic. It's a great TT route. Here's a picture from my warm up ride...

Don't be fooled. It wasn't that nice out. It was cold and really windy. It wasn't too bad when the sun was out, but clouds rolled in and we didn't see the sun too much once the racing started.

One thing about TTs: those guys are FAST. And serious. Lots of skinsuits, aero helmets, disc wheels...

I had two goals for this event: 1. Suffer 2. Under 1 hour.

I knew I could make myself suffer, but breaking an hour was a long shot. But it's like the 4 hour marathon, everyone wants to do a 40K TT in under an hour so I figured I might as well go for it. Since I knew it was a long shot, I wasn't going to be disappointed if I didn't make it.

I figured I could average around 275 watts, so I tried to hold back a bit in the beginning and pace myself. It's easy to ride well above threshold in the beginning, but you'll pay the price big time later on. The race started and ended with a tailwind, so you got a chance to start out with some decent speed.

Eight minutes into the ride, I looked down and I was averaging 26.5 mph and the guy who started one minute behind me passed me like I was tied to a pole. I told you those guys are fast. My average speed dropped as I turned into the wind. I watched my power closely the whole time and, after the first few miles, tried to make sure I kept it at 280 or higher. It was tough, but I finished the first lap in about 30 minutes with an average power of 279.

My goal was to suffer, and suffer I did. The second lap was painful. I was tired, the wind was brutal and I was really struggling to keep my power up. I told myself I would make the last few miles really, really hurt. I wanted to finish with nothing left.

I stepped it up a bit the last few miles and I was able to keep my power around 300, and it became a total sufferfest. My legs were aching, and I kept telling myself to 'make it hurt.'

Even with stepping it up a bit, I finished with an average power of 275 so my power dropped a bit on the second lap. And I didn't break an hour, but I came close so I'm really happy with my ride. Not satisfied, but happy (my high school football coach once told me it's okay to be happy with your performance, but never satisfied - or you're done improving - and it stuck with me). It was tough and I gave it everything I had and that's all you can do.

Time: 1:00:44

Only 44 seconds off my goal. Not bad. That's a 24 mph average (the course was 24.4 miles, a little short of a full 40K). Some guys finished in around 55 minutes, which comes to about a 27 mph average. That's crazy fast.

I haven't seen the final results yet so I don't know how I did in my category. Mid pack is my guess.

I was supposed to run tonight, but my legs are really sore and I don't think it's a good idea so I'm going to rest up. Only one week until the Madison Half Marathon.


Race Report: Beloit Biathlon

I haven't been able to update my blog much lately because I've been having a hard time getting online (Charter sucks). One of these days I'm going to call Charter and go off on them, but I've been in a good mood the past few days so I need to wait until I'm in a really bad mood because I'd hate to accidentally be nice to them and not stress what a rip off their service (or lack thereof) is at $110 a month.

I could go on forever about them, but instead...This morning I ran the Beloit Duathlon, I mean, Biathlon (they call it a biathlon). It was a 2 mile run, 11 mile bike, 2 mile run. This was my first ever multisport event last year, and I pushed so hard on the bike my average HR was 97% of max and I had to walk a little on the run because I thought I was going to die. So this year my goals were...1. No walking. 2. Top 10 overall.

Finally...a nice day. Warm, sunny, but really windy (I kind of like it that way since the bike course is so flat...makes it a little tougher).

Check out the transition area. That's my bike. I was the first one there. If you're wondering why I parked so far away in an empty parking lot...it's because that's the way I roll. Also, notice we finally have leaves on the trees. Spring is officially here. It's official like a referee with a whistle (btw, I heard that line on TV and Cheri hates is so much it's quickly becaming a favorite of mine).

I signed up for the 9am elite wave so I headed out for a good 45 minute warm-up about 7:50. I rode the bike course with a few hard intervals thrown in to get my legs used to the lactic acid. Then I made sure my transition area was ready to go, hit the porta-crapper and did a short run warm up. Then we had the pre-race meeting and we were off. For being the first one there, I didn't really have any time to waste.

Run #1 - The first run was fast. I wanted to run about a 6:30 pace, but I switched my Garmin to kilometers last weekend for my 20K run and I forgot to switch it back so I was getting my pace in mpk and it didn't mean much to me. I ended up running a 6:08 pace and I came into the first transition in 8th place. It worked out because a 6:30 pace would've been too conservative.

There was some construction on the run route so we had to run through gravel and up onto a new concrete road and eventually back down, through gravel and back on the road. Not ideal, but it wasn't that bad (except I did slip on loose gravel stepping down and almost fell on my face).

T1 - Fast. I had my bike shoes clipped in already, so I got out of my running shoes, put on my helmet and I was off.

Bike - I must say, I'm pretty proud of my ride today. I started the bike in 8th place and caught and passed the leaders with a few miles to go. I pulled a bit of a gap and then in the last mile my right calf cramped up really bad and second place caught me while I was tr
ying to stretch it out a bit. We were side by side going into transition, but he forgot to get out of his shoes early enough and I passed him again so I was first into T2....and....the best part...I won the bike! They didn't do chip timing so it is possible someone in a different wave beat my bike time, but I'm confident enough that that didn't happen to say that I won the bike today (even if I didn't I was in first place for a few miles and first into T2 and that was really, really fun). My average speed was 23.6 mph.

Here's a shot of the bike course I took on my warm up...

T2 - The lead didn't last long. My calf locked up and I was limping pretty good going into T2 and lost the lead. I racked my bike, took off my helmet and put on my running shoes and hobbled to the transition exit where I lost goal #1. They had a water station at the end of the transition and I had to walk through it and massage my calf because I couldn't run. It was locked up really tight. What is it with this race? 2 years in a row I've had to walk... but this time it was only for a few feet.

Run #2 - It didn't take long for 3rd place to catch and pass me (he eventually ran down the leader and won). I hobbled along a bit and my calf finally loosened up abou
t the half mile mark. I checked back to see where 4th was and luckily I had a decent gap so I hung on for 3rd overall. I screwed up my splits by not hitting the lap button in time, so I don't know my exact times but I do know my average pace on the second run was around 6:50.

I finished in about 53 minutes and took 3rd overall and 1st in the 30-39 age group. And although I lost some time with the cramp and almost fell in the construction zone, I h
ad tons of fun today. They said they were thinking of calling it quits after 19 years of running this event, but they're planning at least one more year and I have to say I really hope they keep this going. It's a small, but really fun, well-run event and we need more events like this in the area.

After the race I hung out and cheered everyone on while I waited for the awards ceremony. Then I stopped by my parents house and my dad was heading out to watch my nephew take his karate test so I tagged along. My mom was at work and she works at the Beloit Clinic where the Duathlon was held. I wish I had told them I doing the event. Maybe she could've gotten out for a few minutes to watch.

Here's a picture of my nephew dominating the dojo. I wanted to get a shot of his hands covered in blood when his partner got a bloody nose (I thought that would be a better shot of "dominating the dojo") but I didn't get a chance.

Tomorrow...The Double Bong 40K TT. If you're curious, the name comes from the location - Bong State Park (who named that park, I wonder).


The Ice Bath

Wow, I look a little crazy in that picture, don't I? It's fitting, I guess, since I was about to hop in my first ice bath.

I suppose you're wondering why anyone in their right mind would sit in a tub of ice...as you should be. They claim it's good for reco
very. It stops the inflammation caused by a hard workout and speeds up the recovery process.

I filled the tub with cold water, dumped my bag of ice in and then grabbed a copy of Marathon & Beyond so I could read the article about running an ultra marathon in the scorching heat of Las Vegas.

You would think the worst part of an ice bath would be....you know. But it wasn't, really. The whole thing is equal torture and it was so friggin cold at first I could hardly breathe. Talk about a shock to the system. It was clear that reading was out of the question. Remaining conscious was the new goal.

After a minute or so, you basically go numb from the waist down so the initial shock goe
s away. And that's about the time you realize you forgot to find out an important piece of information: How long does one sit in an ice bath? A minute? 10 minutes? An hour? I decided to wait until the ice melted, which probably took about 5 minutes but it's hard to say since I may or may not have blacked out.

So why did I need an ice bath in the first place? Cheri and I did 2 laps around the arboretum, our last big training run before the Madison Half Marathon in 2 weeks. The arb loop is a great training run for several reasons. 1. The university created a 10K route around the arb and marked all of the miles and quarter miles. 2. It's kind of hilly - no brutal climbs, but it's non-stop rollers with a couple of decent climbs. 3. Very little traffic. 4. Lots of runners.

There were quite a few runners with water bottles and fuel belts and you got the feeling that everyone was out there preparing for the marathon. My plan was to run 5K at my long run pace (about an 8 minute mile) then 10K at race pace (about 7 minute mile) and the last 5K at my long run pace. The run, I figured would take about 1 hour and 36 minutes. Cheri said she was going to go at a slow, comfortable pace so I should take a magazine to read while I waited for her. I figured she would be out there for about 2 hours and 5 minutes.

My run went well, although I struggled a bit in the middle, and I finished in 1:33:19. Cheri finished in 1:55:30. Pretty impressive for someone running at a "slow, comfortable

After dinner, we decided to go to a movie. We wanted to see Run, Fatboy, Run but it wasn't playing anywhere. So we went to go see Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Based
on the previews, our expectations were really low, but we figured we've seen a lot of bad movies so chances were that this wouldn't be the worst movie we've ever seen. Not the best reason to see a movie, but we felt like going to the theater.

This was one of those rare cases when the previews don't do the movie justice. It was hilarious. One of the best comedies I've seen in a long time. Lately comedies are so lacking in material they give you the good stuff in the preview and then the movie is a complete disappointment. Some of the scenes in the preview weren't even in this movie. Go see it.


Gun Show!

Yesterday was the gun show. If you don't remember - and you probably don't - the gun show is our Thursday lunch ride. It's a 22 mile route with 3 sprints. We roll out at noon and pick up the guys from Saris. The roll out is neutral until we get out of the residential neighborhoods and then it's on. The gun show started a few weeks ago, but this was the first one I've done this year.

All of my training this year has been steady state riding, so I don't really have a sprint so I thought I wouldn't have much chance to win the sprints. So I figured I would have a little fun and spend the whole time driving up the pace making guys work when they didn't want to.

I stayed in the pack for the first mile or so on the first sprint, but then I felt like doing some work so I went to the front and pulled hard for a while. I was hoping to get Mark set up to win the sprint, but he got boxed in by some of the Saris guys and couldn't make his move. As soon as everyone took off for the sprint, I sat up and rode easy the rest of the way figuring I would start pulling again as soon as the sprint was over....you know, keep the pace up and don't let anyone rest. We regroup after the sprints, and we had to wait a while for someone so everyone got a pretty good rest, but I took off right away anyway. I pulled for a good part of the second sprint before the group passed me and battled it out.

I didn't plan on doing that much pulling on the third sprint because I was getting tired, but when everyone regrouped the pace was pretty slow and for some reason I just didn't want to give everyone a break so I took off and opened a bit of a gap. The group quickly caught me and - probably to get even with me for me driving the pace up when everyone wanted to catch their breath - they let me pull most of the way. It was hard work, but I actually enjoyed it. It was good threshold work which is good for time trials.

Before the sprint line on the third sprint, there are two hills, a left turn and then it's a gradual downhill and very, very fast (and fun). The route is different this year, and I forgot there were 2 hills. I thought there was one so when the pace didn't seem that fast on the first hill, I attacked thinking I could open a gap and maybe hold it to the sprint line since it was all downhill. Imagine my surprise when I saw the second hill. My legs were already burning, and of course the group was more prepared for the second hill than I was so they attacked that one and I struggled to hang on. I hit the downhill pretty hard - about 33 mph - but was nowhere near the sprint.

But it was a fun ride, and I got in some good, hard work. I probably won't ride the gun show next week. I have the Beloit Duathlon next Saturday, and that was my first multi-sport event ever (last year) so I really want to go back and do well. I struggled quite a bit last year because I went out way too hard on the bike and my average heart rate was 97% of my max (for 30 minutes! ouch) and I thought I was going to die on the second run. I had to walk for a little while to let my heart rate come down. I think I'll play it a little smarter this year.


Bike to Work Month & Peanut Butter Duathlon Results

May is bike to work month. We earn commuter bucks for biking to work, and to encourage us to ride to work this month commuter bucks have been tripled. That's right, tripled. That means that if I ride to work every day this month, I can get a free bike. Not a bad deal, huh?

Not a carbon bike or anything like that, but I will earn enough commuter bucks to buy a Schwinn Madison, which is our fixed gear bike. I kind of want a fixie, but I don't to buy one since it's not that high on my wish list. But for free...well, that's a different story. Plus, I rode the Madison for our 2008 catalog so it only makes since that I own one (that picture made the cover of our Japan catalog so I guess you could say I'm big in Japan). I've heard they have a tough time
keeping the Madison in stock so I hope they have one for me when I earn enough moola. Here's a pic....

Today is a rest day, but I biked the 4 miles each way to work. This was my first ride on my road bike in 2 weeks and it felt really good to get back on a road bike. Tri bikes are fast, but not as much fun as a road bike.

They posted the results of the Peanut Butter Duathlon, and as it turns out I did place in my age group. I forgot the top 3 don't qualify for age group awards since they get to take home some cold, hard cash. So I ended up 7th overall and 3rd in my age group. My official time was 1:08:14.

Age Group...

To all those who found my blog looking for results, thanks for checking out my blog and congrats on a good race. It was a tough, but fun day. It's great to hear they had a record turnout on a cold, rainy day. Official results are posted at www.onlineraceresults.com.


Shower with your shoes on.

Today, the weather was great. Too bad yesterday wasn't like this. I woke up early and went out for a 10 mile run on the bike path. It was really nice... a little chilly but there wasn't a cloud in the sky, no wind, the birds were chirping...a great spring morning.

My run went really well. I started out at a comfortably fast pace and picked it up toward the end and finished fairly hard. I didn't realize how much of a hurtin the duathlon put on me unt
il after my run. A 10 mile run will make my legs sore, but not that bad...usually. It only took about 2 hours for the pain to set in. So what did I do?

I went for a bike ride with Cheri. We headed out to Whitewater lake again. Many times a ride will loosen up my legs and they'll feel better but not today. They were really hurtin after the ride. Good thing this is a recovery week. I need a break.

Check this out. It's not Whitewater Lake. It's on the way to Whitewater Lake. It's a farmer's field...

That's what record snowfall will do for you.

I've been wanting to work on the fit of my tri bike so I had Cheri take some pictures of me while I rode the trainer. Here's one of them....

It's not too bad, but I've got some work to do. You can't really tell from this picture, but it looks like my saddle is a tad high and I think that may be why my power has been a little low on this bike vs my road bike. And it looks like I could drop the front end a bit and get a little more aero. I also need to angle the aerobars down a little, I think. You can see my wrist is at a goofy angle and that's why I'm getting pain in my wrists.

After that, I plugged my measurements into the fit calculator at www.competitivecyclist.com. The numbers that came up with agreed that I need to lower my saddle, and it says I can lower the front quite a bit.

After the duathlon yesterday, I put my shoes back on and hopped in the shower. They clean up pretty nice. You can't even tell I ran in the mud.

I'm kidding. I didn't actually shower with my shoes on, but I did give it some serious thought.

These are the wheels that came with my bike. I really want to throw them on and go for a ride to see what they're like, but I'm not going to . I've decided to sell them, and it's better selling a set of wheels that have never been ridden than trying to convince someone they only have 20 miles on them. Plus, if I don't ride them I won't know what I'm missing...if anything. I doubt I would prefer them over my Reynolds wheels.


Race Report: Peanut Butter Duathlon

Peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly peanut, butter jelly with a baseball bat.

This morning was the Peanut Butter Duathlon in Rockford, IL. 2 mile run, 14 mile bike, 2 mile run. I was hoping for one of those great spring days, but instead I got 45 degrees and rain. It was one of those days that make you wish you hadn't preregistered. Oh yeah, the run was a trail run.

Remember when I posted about my bright yellow Zoots that looked like this?

Now they look like this:

First off, I have to say I don't understand triathletes and why they refuse to dress warm. It was mid 40s and raining and some guys were wearing shorts and a short sleeve jersey. At the very least you have to put on some knee warmers to protect your knees. Anything under 70 degrees and your knees should be covered. Anyway, I was bundled up so I guess it doesn't matter.

Also, you can call my aero helmet goofy (because it is) but it's not as goofy as doing the run with your helmet on....which someone did.

Run 1: The first run started really fast. The official results haven't been posted yet so I'm not sure how many runners were there, but I would guess around 100. At the quarter mile mark I would say I was running at about the top 25% mark, which really surprised me since our pace was 5:55. I knew that was too fast for me so I backed off a bit and let a few guys get by me figuring there were a lot of people who headed out too fast. I finished the first mile at a 6:30 pace and started picking off guys who had gone out too fast. Then the mud got deep, ankle deep in some spots. It was slippery and really tough to keep your pace up without slipping. Unofficial time: 13:01.

Transition 1: I practiced transitions this week and was ready to do a fast transition with my shoes already clipped in. However, with the weather the way it was I didn't think that would be a good idea. The start of the bike was downhill with a few turns and wet and raining and I was wearing a thin pair of gloves which would make slipping into my shoes while riding more difficult so I opted to leave my shoes off the bike and play it safe. The Zoot shoes are really easy to get out of so I got those off really fast and got into my cycling shoes. Then, as many times as I've practiced putting my aero helmet on, I still screwed it up and I forgot to pull the ear flaps out and I smacked myself in the head with the helmet. The local news had some cameras there and one of them was in the transition area so maybe they'll show me smacking myself in the face with my helmet on the news tonight. Not smooth, but my first transition was still pretty fast. Unofficial time: :59

Bike: The bike was 3 laps around the park and had a lot of rolling hills. There was a guy that finished the run right in front of me a few yards in front of me on the bike so I pushed hard and passed him...then he passed me back and pulled a bit of a gap. Both of us then settled in and held that pace for the next 2 laps while working our way through some of the faster runners. Being a 3 lap course, we passed a lot of riders on the second and third lap and I spotted quite a few Schwinns. Good to see we were representing. Anyway, I had made up a little time on him on lap 2 and passed him early on lap 3. I was hoping to pull a gap, but figured he would get remotivated when he saw me pass and stay with me...and he did. Coming into T2, I slipped out of my shoes and that slowed me down enough for him to get by me again. He didn't get out of his shoes prior to the transition so I was anxious to see if I would put some time on him getting out of my shoes early. He had to come to a complete stop to get unclipped, and I came into transition riding side saddle and ran into transition getting by him while he was getting off his bike. Unofficial time: 40:52

T2: Not much to say. It went pretty smooth. I unclipped my helmet as I was running to rack my bike. Then I slipped into my Zoots, pulled the cord to tighten the laces, grabbed my number and hat and was off. I put about 7 seconds on the guy I came into transition with by not having to take my shoes off. Unofficial time :39

Run 2: The second run went pretty well. I checked back a few times to see if he was closing on me and I noticed about the 3/4 mile mark that I was putting a little more time on him so I stopped worrying about him and focused on keeping my pace steady and not slipping in the mud. Unofficial time: 13:19

Unofficial time: 1:08:12. I took 7th place overall and 6th in my age group. I would've liked to have had a faster bike leg, but I'm really happy with my results today. The hard training is paying off. However, I am a little disappointed I finished 7th overall and didn't place in my age group.

But I'm not going to let that get me down. I had a good race, had some fun despite the weather, and ended with my best finish in a multi-sport event. A good day, I'd say. Now I can't wait for the Beloit Duathlon in 2 weeks. That was my first ever multi-sport event so I'm looking forward to improving on last year's time. Hopefully the weather will be a little nicer...warmer at least.