Floyd Finally Admits To Doping

The first Tour de France that I really watched and cared about was 2006, and it was great.  It was the first Tour that Lance wasn't a part of and we had a strong American that might win and make it 8 straight American Tour wins.

The Tour was close, and then Floyd had a bad day and lost a lot of time.  The next day he came back with an incredible ride and made up a lot of the time he lost.  Then he won the time trial and took the yellow jersey and won the race.  It was dramatic and very fun to watch.

Then, he failed a doping test and was accused of using testosterone.  He denied it, fought it and this went on for years.  He filed appeals, lost his battle in court twice and still vehemently denied he cheated.  I'm pretty sure he even wrote a book.

A few months after he won the Tour, right in the midst of his doping scandal, I had a chance to go for a group ride with him. I thought it was pretty cool, and really wanted to believe he was clean.  He was a really nice guy.  Nice guys don't cheat, right?

There I was sitting on the wheel of the winner of the Tour de France thinking working in the bike industry was a great thing.  I thought it would be a story I might tell for a long time.  I don't tell anyone about it....ever.  Riding with Floyd is nothing to be proud of.

Now, years later he admits to doping:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703691804575255410855321120.html?mod=djemalertNEWS

This man is so clearly starved for attention.  Now that no one cares anymore about his claims of not doping, he decides to come clean (so to speak).  And when does he do it?  In the midst of the biggest stage race in the United States.  And even worse, he's trying to drag Lance down with him.  Misery loves company, I guess.

I don't know if Lance is clean or not, but I do know that Lance has been tested more than any other athlete and he hasn't failed a test yet.  Until he does....

I think this is my favorite line from the article:  In the emails, he expressed frustration about the inability of antidoping officials to clean up the sport. 

Really, Floyd?  You're frustrated they can't clean up the sport?  This reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld when George refuses to date a girl because she's bald and Elaine says to George, "...YOU'RE BALD."

Floyd, just do us all a favor and sink into obscurity and stop trying to drag others down with you.



How I'm Going To Win The Lake Mills Swim By 4 Minutes

I've got the Lake Mills sprint triathlon coming up in a few weeks, and I just stumbled upon a great new swim strategy:  running on water.

The swim is a 1/4 mile.  I'm not sure how fast I can run a quarter mile, but I know I can easily run it in 1:30 so I figure I'll just shoot for that.  In order to get up enough speed and run in an arc like they suggest I'll have to start in the back and let the whole field go first and then I'll just run past all of them.

I checked out some past results and the overall winners typically do the swim in the 5:30 - 6:00 range so if I can 'run' the swim in 1:30 I should have a good, solid 4 minute lead coming out of the water.  Can't complain about that.

The bike is my strength so I figure I can hang onto at least half of that lead which gives me a 2 minute lead starting the run.  There will be some very fast runners there, but 2 minutes is a lot of time to make up on a 5K run so this new strategy could really work out for me. 


Race Report: Beloit Wellness Biathlon

Saturday I raced the Beloit Wellness Biathlon (really a duathlon - 2 mi run, 11 mi bike, 2 mi run).  As I think I explain every year, it's one of my favorite events of the year.  Partly because it's just flat out fun, mostly because it was my first ever multi-sport event 3 years ago.  So this was my fourth time running the event, and it marks the beginning of my fourth year in multi-sports.  I admit, I also like it because it's also my first - and only - multi-sports overall victory - last year.

The day didn't start out as smooth as I'd hoped.  I have a standard warm-up I do for events like this and after I set up transition I set out on my warm-up and my bike wouldn't shift into the big ring.  The course is pretty flat so that's a big problem. 

My friends, the ones that know how to work on bikes, like to give me a hard time because I probably shouldn't be working on my own bike.  I have a compact crank I've been unable to sell on ebay, so I thought I might give it a shot and possibly use it for Ironman.  My concern with a compact crank isn't the hills; I know I'll like it there.  My concern is running out of gears on the flats so I thought running it for a flat race might be a good test to see what I think of it on a fast, flat course.

When I installed it I forgot a couple of important things.  First, I forgot to lower my front derailleur which is why I couldn't get in the big ring.  That was an easy enough fix, and not a big deal really.  The other thing was that I apparently forgot some spacers.  I think I needed to take a few of the spacers from my old crank and use them on the new one.  So my crank was sliding side to side a little the whole day.  There was nothing I could do about at that point since I didn't have those parts with me.  Not ideal, but I figured it would get me through the 11 miles and then I can swallow my pride and beg one of my mechanically inclined friends to fix my bike for me....again.

Lessons learned: #1 don't make bike changes the night before a race.  #2 if you MUST make bike changes the night before a race go for a short ride to test them out.  I should have known better.

Oh well.  Live and learn.

The race started as all duathlons do: fast.  I ran a 6:30 pace on the first run last year so I wanted to go out at a 6:15 pace this year.  I felt like I could have gone faster, but I was concerned about pushing too hard on the first run and blowing up on the second run.  So I checked my pace a little ways into the race - 5:50 - backed off and watched the large majority of the elite wave pass me.  That's not easy to do, but I really wanted to stick to my plan.  I wasn't too concerned (yes, a little concerned) because it was obvious some of them were going out way too hard.  Others weren't really pulling away much.  But there was one guy, Ian Innabary, who was pulling away and looked smooth.  I was concerned about him.  I had no idea if he was a strong cyclist, but he looked fit and I was wondering how much time I can afford to give him.  But not sticking to my plan now could mean giving him a ton of time later on so stuck with my plan.  I finished the first run with an average pace of 6:17 per mile.  I estimate Ian ran about a 5:55 pace.  So when I say I gave him time, I really mean he took it.

The first transition was fast.  I came into T1 in fourth place, right behind second and third.  I passed them in transition and started the bike in 2nd.  I couldn't see Ian and estimated he may have pulled as much as a 40 second gap on me.  It was time to hammer.  He was clearly a better runner, so if I had any chance at winning it was going to happen on the bike.


 Heading out on the bike.

I haven't had a lot of confidence in my bike fitness lately, so this was a good spot to be in.  It was going to be a good test.  I never got out of the big ring, so shifting wasn't an issue.  I could feel my crank sliding back and fourth, but other than that the bike was good.  I rode super hard, stayed as aero as I could and started reeling him in.  I felt like I made up ground quickly early on so I thought I might be able to catch him a little past the halfway point, and then I would work on a gap.  I wanted at least 15 seconds, in which case I would run as hard as I could and hope he couldn't match his first run pace and not close the gap.  But I really wanted more of a gap.

He was a stronger cyclist than I gave him credit for, and he was really hard to catch.  I eventually did catch him, but it was very late in the bike.  Then I pulled a gap... a good, solid 2 second gap.  It was going to be a tough run.  Even though I didn't get the lead I wanted, I led the race into T2 for the third year in a row so that was fun.  And I averaged 285 watts - 10 more than last year - and 24.6 mph.  I felt like it was a solid ride and it gives me confidence that my bike fitness is improving this year like I need it to. 

Me and Ian coming into T2.

 Me heading out on the second run.

The start of the second run.  Ian wasn't far behind.

T2 was fast, and I held on to my lead heading out on the second run.  I could hear Ian's footsteps behind me so I had no time to settle into a running rhythm.  I had to hammer, and with each step I could feel my calves threatening to cramp.  Being a long course triathlete, I don't really train at this intensity so my calves were rebelling a bit, but they never did cramp and they eventually calmed down.  About a quarter mile into the run, Ian made a pass and pulled a little gap.  Based on the first run, I expected him to pull a big gap but the gap stayed at 4 seconds for a good part of the second run. My goal was to keep it at 4 seconds, and hope for a sprint finish.  

About a mile into the run I settled into a running rhythm and picked up the pace a bit....so did Ian and his gap began to open.  I kept pushing and gave it everything I had but I couldn't match his run speed.  I finished 14 seconds behind him and averaged a 6:16 pace on the second run, 45 seconds per mile faster than last year.

 My dad, the volunteer, directing me to the finish line.

 The finish.

Even though I didn't win, which I really wanted to do, this race was more satisfying than last year where I pulled a two minute gap on the bike and cruised through the second run.  Ian pushed me to my limits, and I had to dig deep.  First place is fun, but it's more satisfying coming across the finish line and realizing you exceeded your expectations and ran a better race than you thought you were capable of.  

 Getting some post-race goodies from my mom who also volunteered.

All in all, it was a great day. The weather was fantastic and I had a ton of fun.  I finished second overall and won my age group. It's tough to complain about that.  And later in the day I took advantage of the great weather and got out for a nice 50 mile run to New Glarus and back, one of my favorite loops.  

Even though I've already done some racing this year, Beloit marks the beginning of the race season to me so I'm in full on race mode and loving every minute of it.  Next up is the Aquathon this Thursday.  Then the Lake Mills Triathlon followed by the Liberty Half Ironman, my first 'A' race of the year.

I don't know how this race season is going to go, but if Beloit is any indication it's going to be a very fun season. 


Truths For Mature Humans

I received this e-mail forward today and thought it was worth sharing....

Truths For Mature Humans

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.
15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!


IMWI 2010 Nutrition Plan

I've been spending some time rethinking my nutrition strategy for Ironman this year, and I think I'm going to go back to something similar to what I did in '08.  Last year worked well, like '08 did, but I think I might try all liquid calories again (I'll still work in some sportlegs - and a 5-hour energy - seriously, try it before a long tempo ride, it works great - but I'm going to do my best not to need sodium pills).  Fig Newtons are a pain to carry.  The main reason I went with them last year was because gels were bothering my stomach, but I think it was Powerbar gels and not gels in general.  I ran out of Powerbar gels and have been using Hammer gels this year that I got at races and they don't bother my stomach.

Last year I did a mix of Fig Newtons and Inifinit on the bike, and Powerbar gels on the run even though they sit in my stomach like a sugar bomb.  By the time I realized it, I didn't have enough time to come up with a new plan.

In '08, I did a mix of Perpeteum, gels and Gatorade Endurance Formula.  This year I'm thinking about using Inifinit, gels and some Heed and/or Gatorade.  Infinit will be the bulk of my calories on the bike, and I'm going to experiment with it on the run but I'll probably do Heed (or Gatorade if I grab it from the course - I can drink Heed or Gatorade without stomach problems) and Hammer gel. 

I switched to Infinit last year mainly because Perpeteum goes bad very quickly.  On a hot day, by the time I got to my second bottle it was spoiled and bothering my stomach.  Infinit doesn't go bad and you can customize your formula, which is very cool.

Based on a great interview with Asker Juekendrup on Competitor Radio (for anyone doing long course tris, this interview is definitely worth a listen) I decided to tweak my formula  a bit.  I cut out the protein because it's a bad fuel and it foams when it comes in a powder form so that makes mixing Infinit difficult.  I also upped the calories a bit.  The rest of the formula is essentially the same:

My calories on the bike will come primarily from Infinit, but I'll probably do a couple of gels if I think I can take in the extra calories without problems.  It's easier to digest calories on the bike than the run so I'm going to get in as many as I can so I'm in good shape calorie-wise when I start the run.  I'll have my bottle of Heed I always run with and Hammer gels on my race belt.  I'll probably put a second bottle of Heed in my special needs bag.  I can drink Gatorade, but I prefer the watered-down flavor of Heed while running. [They raffled off some tubs of Heed at the tri this weekend and I really thought I deserved to win one since it seemed like I was one of the only ones there who actually likes the flavor....no such luck.]

As always, I'll only drink water for the first 30 minutes of the bike to let my stomach transition.  Then I'm aiming for 350ish calories per hour on the bike (about 50 per hour more than previous years).  This summer I'm going to experiment with pushing that closer to 400 to see what happens.  Like Crono's plan with bike fits, find the limits.

The final 30 minutes of the bike will be water only.  I'm thinking about going for about 200 calories on the run per hour, which will come from Heed and gels.  I've always done gels whenever I feel like I need calories, and this year I want to come up with more of a set plan for the run so I have some work to do there.

I want to cut out the salt pills as much as possible because I think most endurance athletes overdo them (I'd link to the Joe Friel interview but I can't find it), but I'll still have my emergency pill canister on my race belt with salt pills, Advil, Pepto pills and Immodium pills in case the shit seriously hits the fan, so to speak.  I've learned that when you start to beat yourself up mentally, you're most likely just low on electrolytes and that's a good time to take a salt pill.  I'll get more electrolytes on the bike from the Inifinit so I shouldn't need to pills then, but Hammer gel doesn't have a ton of sodium so I may need some salt pills on the run.  If you're curious, I prefer Saltstick tabs because I think they have a better electrolyte balance than other pills.

For those doing long-course triathlon looking for nutrition advice/resources, here are a few sites you might find helpful:

Tri-Talk Nutrition Calculator





Race Report: Alex Tri

Brrrrr....Saturday I did my first triathlon of the year.  It was also my first triathlon with a pool swim.  I wasn't sure what to expect doing a pool swim.  I also wasn't sure what to expect doing a triathlon on May 1 in Minnesota.  I kind of expected cold weather, and that's exactly what I got.

I chose this race because it was in Alexandria, MN which is where Courtney is from.  Her family is still there, so I figured we could visit her family and I could get a race in.  Kill two birds with one stone, and if you know how much I dislike birds you can imagine how much I enjoy killing two with one shot.  With Courtney being in town, her sister decided that would be a good time to get her baby baptized.  It was a busy weekend.  Good busy, but busy.

Anyway, the temps were in the mid 40s and the winds were above 20 mph.  The skies were gray and there was a chance of thunderstorms.  Not exactly the type of weather that makes you want to ride 12.5 miles then run 2.8 in wet gear.

They had an elite heat for anyone expecting to finish the race in under 1:12 minutes so I signed up for that.  Elite heats typically go first so I figured I'd be going at 9 am. I had a snack about 7:45 and did a warm up on the bike a little after 8. Then I got in the pool and swam some laps.  Then I waited....and waited....and waited.

The elite heat was last.  I went at 11:00 am.  The swim was 600 yards and was decent.  Not great, but decent.  I was hoping for an 8:30 swim and hopped out of the water in 9 minutes.  I'm not too disappointed because I wasn't quite sure what to expect since I've never swam in a pool in tri gear before.  And we all know timing chips create massive amounts of drag so my slower than expected time can clearly be blamed on that.

I'm in the green cap.

The bike was cold.  I put my vest on, but that was it so I was in wet shorts and my arms and legs were exposed.  It was about 48 degrees at the time I was out there and the winds were horrible.  I was hoping to average about 280 watts on the bike and only managed 265.  The weather made the bike really tough and my only real motivation to push hard was to get off the bike sooner and get the event over with so I could warm up.  I was doing my best to focus on the race, but I found my mind constantly thinking about getting the whole thing over with.  It's a shame because the course was great and the event was really well run.

The beginning of the run was terrible.  I was cold, very cold, and the run started into the wind which didn't help the situation.  I also realized early into the run that my boys had gone numb on the bike and this time my saddle wasn't to blame.  Wet shorts and 48 degrees is a bad combo.  I was uncomfortable to say the least.  My toes were also numb (that's what I get for not wearing socks) so I felt like I was running funny even though I don't think I was.

In the end, I had fun even though I was freezing the whole time.  I wanted to break an hour and finished in 1:02:01 so I came close.  I think under better conditions I may have broken an hour so I'm happy with my performance.  I finished 4th overall and 2nd in my age group so I got an award.  It's a little trophy that appropriately enough looks a bit like an ice sculpture.

Later in the day was the baptism...

Courtney, Rachael and baby Diem.

Sunday morning I went for a 10.5 mile run from Courtney's parent's house.  They live in rural MN which apparently means gravel roads.  Wisconsin doesn't have many gravel roads so it's a little strange to me to see them.  I'm not sure why, but the idea of a long run in the country on gravel roads is very appealing to me. There weren't enough gravel roads for me to do the whole run on gravel, but I did get in several miles of gravel which was cool.  Unfortunately, I didn't dress warm enough and it was very cold and windy again.  

Minnesota is cold. Brrrr...