May 17, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Visiting family and lending a hand at the FL 70.3 event this past weekend. No excuses to forego training, only limiting factor was the lack of decent cycling routes. Swimming and running didn't pose an issue. Out of desperation I enlisted the help of Map My Ride, surely I wouldn't be led astray by a fellow cyclist who took the time to post a route on this website. Please grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and witness for yourself this awe insipring photo tour of my weekend ride in central Florida. Cheers

My borrowed ride, who knew that mid 90's cycling technology was so advanced? With the exception of the rear wheel being out of true it was a solid ride, can't complain when you're in a pinch and need to log some miles.

The first 8 or 10 miles weren't too bad, road conditions were fine and lighter traffic meant that a limited shoulder wasn't much to be concerned with. I was vaguely familiar with that stretch anyway, more than I could say for the next 30 or 40 miles of road I would encounter.

Notice what's missing from this seemingly fresh paved section of road? I'm not sure if this was better than the previous 20 minutes worth of suffering on uncompleted road construction which afforded a few inches of shoulder covered in crushed gravel and pebbles?

My personal favorite of the day, and yes I was still following the route obtained from Map My Ride. Nothing against that website or the person who posted that route, I just found it incredibly amusing (regardless of any personal danger it presented).

I eventually turned off and happened to merge with a charity benefit ride in progress, a double edged sword to be sure. Large group rides typically produce more alert drivers, but that also means having to contend with the cyclists which can be a tad dangerous in its' own right. Mr. Penny Farthing rider was the only photo worthy participant of the group that I passed. Kudos to you Sir.

The group ride turns off, I continue riding along according to the map. Paved road turns into narrowing crumbly road, where upon chunks of brick begin to appear embedded in the pavement. Now riding on a single lane brick road - awesome. Don't be fooled by the photo, I snapped this shot just seconds after riding past a house marked off with yellow police tape in the front yard (seriously).

Within moments I turned back onto the main road and was in sight of familiar streets, the loop was completed and I was headed for home. Funny how we can sometimes classify this type of ride as being both a "worst" and "best" - here's to hoping for many more days just like this one.


May 4, 2010

Train In Vain

2010 Wildflower Race Report.

High hopes of working in a solid 3 week training block between CA 70.3 and Wildflower never quite materialized, much to my dismay. Among the roadblocks encountered were the completion of moving into a new residence, a mystery pain in the right knee which cropped up just prior to CA 70.3, and just for good measure we tossed in a 5 day photo shoot for work which allowed for a whopping 4 hours (total) time devoted to training.

Doubts were quickly mounting, but it was Wildflower and if I was physically able then I'd give it my best shot.

Plain and simple - I need to learn how to swim. Time lost in the water is now a major limiting factor in my results. I'll make an honest attempt to jump in with the Masters group over the next several weeks. Beyond the usual frustration of being sandwiched or cutoff in the swim, it was just another day at the races with few details to note.
Swim split - 32:05

Let the fun begin ....

Starting in the earlier waves is a huge luxury (unlike that Forrest Gump box of chocolates - you always know what you're going to get at WF). i.e. the start waves never change from year to year. Rolling hills, false flats, dicey road surfaces and a notoriously cruel climb all make for a great little warm up that rewards patience and proper pacing. Having opted to race without the use an HR monitor I went totally old school, based solely on feel and instinct (knowing the course also provides a huge benefit). It was the typical exchanging of places in the early miles, the legs felt flat on the climbs but solid on every other section. I had the most memorable climb ever up Nasty Grade thanks to the recurring squeaks which followed closely behind the ENTIRE way up that hill ("El Goibar" was applying serious torque to the cranks which produced three consecutive squeaks followed by a 2 beat rest ). I dropped him on the descent and never heard from him again. Fell off the pace in the closing miles, still managed to ride right where I had anticipated.
Bike split - 2:40:30

Headed into T2 with a few other guys in my AG, must have beat them out as I never saw them after that. Slowly started to gain some ground and reel people in. Spotted Nick around the lake near mile 3 and he was kind enough to offer encouragement as we were cresting the top of the hills (in spite of having to deal with his own stomach issues). Saw him again on the mile 10 out and back and he was doing fine at that point. Ran down a few more guys in my AG and struggled through from mile 11 - 12, toughest point of my race. I was informed at the mile 12 mark that there was 1 guy making up ground, not what I wanted to hear. Bombed down Lynch Hill and starting picking up the pace as soon as it leveled out, hit the "s" turn and took a glance over my shoulder to gauge how much of a lead I had. Not enough, I starting sprinting and hoped it would deter any challenge. One final look back and there was no chance he would pip me on the line.
Run split - 1:31:15
Overall time - 4:47:52

And yet another epic Wildflower experience is in the books.