Friday, July 31, 2009

IMLP Geek-o-meter!

Time for the IMLP 2009 Geek-o-meter!
The sole purpose of this entry is to spit out numbers for those of you who get a throbbin' bobbin over anything that involves digits.

(As you may have read in the previous post I did Ironman Lake Placid with an injured foot...that said, here we go!

Finish time: 15:38:51
Swim time: 1:24 (in my usual ball park)
Bike time: 7:23 (includes pedaling the last 20 miles on one leg.)
Run time: 6:29 (that's an average 14:50 per mile)

I wore a Qunitana Roo Ultra Full wetsuit and Aqua Sphere goggles for the swim.
My bike is a 2001 Specialized pro edition frame, alloy, 54cm, zebra stripped.
Drive train is a combo platter of Dura Ace and Ultegra with Zero G brakes.
Bontrager wheels with Conti Competition tires.
Thomson seat post, Bontrager stem and Salsa Handlebars
Seat is Teri Fly
Computer is Cat Eye Strada and the Orca Squeaky toy was made in America by Co-Union.
On the run I wore Nike Vomero size 11.
I wore the same outfit all day...A nice orange/white and grey number from the 24 Hours of Booty. It was my way of helping to bring awareness to a bike event that raises money for the Livestrong Foundation and the Ulman Cancer Fund.
No hat...too damned hot.

The most frustrating part of the day was that I had tons of energy as my nutrition was spot on.
I went through 30 servings of Gu Roctane and water (7 bottles on the bike) all day with a little solid food on the bike (PB and J) and soup and cola on the run (walk). One Succeed! Capsule (electrolytes) per hour but none on the run. I never really flagged all day.

There were 2,531 registered athletes.
2,258 Finishers
140 DNF's (did not finish) for Men
68 DNF's for Women
65 DNS (did not start)

There were 93 starters in my age group (55-59 Yikes! am I that old?) and 84 finishers. I was 67/84
In the Year leading up to IMLP my training consisted of:
105 Kilometers of Swimming (about 64 miles)
4220 miles on the bike
1,278 running miles
615 hours worth of my time.
Toss some time in the weight room and yoga in there too.
Totals are from my paper training log and may vary slightly from my on line log. My paper is more accurate, but when it comes to this kind of thing I tend to not be wrapped that tight.

On the bike I saw 6 folks with flat tires. It was obvious that some of them had no idea how to fix it. Witnessed 2 bad crashes. And 3 folks who were DQ'd although I can only find one on the record. Saw a number of folks pinged (penalized) for drafting but not sure how many....I saw at least 5 in the penalty tents.

This was my 4th Lake Placid, my fourth Ironman and my Ironman PW (Personal worst) and I told Mary Lou that if I ever want to do Lake Placid again, she has permission to beat me senseless with a ball peen hammer.
I enjoyed this IM better than the other was fun even though it hurt, and I think that's because I was real good about my to experience some new stuff, like finishing late,
and just how dark it can get on the River Road. I was also witness to the legend of Matt Long become even deeper and richer...a very special part of the day.
All in all...No complaints! It's just Ironman.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wanna Squeak my Whale? IMLP 2009

Even though some of the kids at school call me "Mr. Serious", I am anything but. I've learned through time that life is too serious to take seriously and that a sense of humor is what is often needed to get through the day. With an eye to Ironman Lake Placid this year I wondered what I could do to take the "Land of the wrapped too tight" (Ironman) and spin it, just a bit, on it's ear. (Some of you may remember I wore a kilt at IMLP 2007.)
It hit me in a bike shop a few weeks ago. A bell! Better yet...a squeaky toy.
Here it is mounted on the handle bar of my bike fresh off of my fourth Ironman.
Race day comes, as it always does, way too early. This time at 3am. No rushing for me or our friend Janet or May Lou for that matter. When you're staring at a long day you want to ease into it. Mary Lou is volunteering and Janet, the Iron Virgin, will find out what she's made of.
Breakfast, a shuttle ride, body marking, a last check of the bike then waiting for Godot at the swim start. Scott and John, Trifuelers, show up to breathe in some of the big grip. They'll spend the day volunteering at the Boat House aid station (Best aid station EVER!) then stand in line on Monday to sign up for next years bru-ha-ha.
Janet and I and our new friend Sylvie, wetsuits high and tight, stroll into the water and wait for the gun. In short order the cannon fires and we don't move. I've learned to wait about 40 seconds after the gun...keeps me out of the "rugby match in a washing machine." Then we're off...and swim through many of those folks who were cudgeled at the start. while some folks look like a windmill I remember that slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I glide through the water and finish the first lap of the the two lap swim. I take a second to accost the crowd ("Hey Everybody!) pee in my wet suit and slide back into the water for another goes well and I have NO idea how slow or fast my swim time is...It simply isn't important. Stripped of my wet suit I see my sweety at the rail and get a smooch...the run on carpet to the transition area and I know how the day is going to go. It's going to get ugly, but that's Ironman.
I've been dealing with Metatarsalgia in my right foot and it seemed to have gone away only to resurface two weeks ago. It's an inflammation of the distal head of the third metatarsal. It feels like a hot poker being rammed into your foot by gremlins. By the time I hit T1, the Gremlins are shoving away...hopefully it will calm down on the bike.
On the bike and facing the first lump of the day (see the bike course elevation in a previous post) I feel great...light and steady. I scream down the drop into Keene at 58mph. Bike handling skills or hospital bills. No room for error here. Through Keene and on to Jay on the flattest section of the course...with a tail wind I'm humming at 24 mph. Passing folks I squeak the whale on my handle bars and get laughs from other racers, volunteers and spectators. A few folks look at me without smiling and shake their heads. They must be taking this seriously. Upper Jay, Black Brook, Wilmington all slide by. I pass Janet on an out and back section (she's a wicked swimmer!) spin the eleven miles uphill into Lake Placid to start lap two of the bike.
I squeak the whale going through town and the crowd erupts and cheers..."Go Orca Go!" someone yells.
By mile 70 I'm feeling the foot. Nothing to do but smile, squeak the whale and keep moving forward. On the 10 kilometer "Drop" into Keene a lad screams by me low in his aero bars. A mile later he is laying on the surface of the road, contorted, helmet smashed blood running from his nose others cyclists already lending a ambulance wails in the distance.
I pass Matty Long on the climb towards Wilmington. He looks rough. I squeak the whale and he laughs. As I pull away I tell him "Hang in there Matty, there have been worse days than this." Matt was dead a few years ago. Now he's alive. He will finish the race with two minutes to spare. I can't complain about my foot, it's just what it is. It's Ironman.
Around mile 90 my foot is done. Can't put much pressure on it and so the last 20 miles into town are mostly on the left foot and leg. The gremlins have moved on to filling my foot with lava. Despite that, my energy is good thanks to Gu Roctane and just plain old water.
Into Placid now and off the bike...Volunteers cheering as one takes my bike I ask him if he wants to squeak my whale...he does then a whole pack of Vols jumps on to squeak it...howls of laughter, a few pats on the back and a "Man, that whale is AWESOME!"
I manage to run a good portion of the first six miles...but it doesn't last. The pain in my foot smacks me down to a walk with running breaks...but I keep moving forward. I miss the whale.
Frustrating because my stomach is good, I've got tons of energy, it's just my paddles won't work right...I'm walking on the outside of my right foot, which changes my gait and causes a huge blister on the bottom of my left foot.... That's Ironman.
Passing Janet going in the opposite direction and we high five and giggle...even though we're going slow, I'll finish number four and she'll become an Ironman. Ironman is about finishing, even when things get bad.
The dark quiet of the River Road is replaced with the yells and cheers of all the folks on Mirror Lake Drive...Scott walks with me toward the finish and then changes direction to walk with Janet. Harangued by the crowd I run the last half mile down the street and onto the oval..I am alone. I've never finished this late before. I've never had the oval to myself. Eric had this finish line to himself when he won all those gold medals and now I have it that way. In the past there have always been other athletes around me... a pace or two behind or just in front. Looking back, no one there. I come to that last fifty yards and the music is pumping and the crowd is cheering, yelling. They are yelling and cheering...for me. That's Ironman.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This is me cleaning "Torque." My 2001 Specialized Aqua and Sapone zebra stripped bike.
All good machines have names. Dad always referred to the car, no matter which one, as "Bessy." I have no idea why. Cold winter mornings:
"Come on Bessy!" Up a steep hill: "Come on Bessy!" On the side of the road: "%$#(*&*^%@# Bessy!"
It's not easy to come up with a name for a bike. You don't buy it then name it. It takes time to show itself. I've had lots of bikes and have found that if I don't have a name for it in a few weeks, it usually ends up sold. It shows I'm not in love with it the way folks fall in love with mechanical objects. Of course, any real bikie will tell you a bike has a soul and a personality.
Torque does.
Torque is short for Tomas de Torquemada. He's the monk that organized the Spanish Inquisition.
It's named Torque because I suffer on it so.
Not a (insert whiny voice here) "oh my legs hurt and lungs are going to bust" suffering. But emotional, gut wrenching, soul laid bare stuff.
It's a pro quality frame that I bought from a friend some years back. The whole bike, with race wheels, weighs 15.5 pounds. It climbs like a machine possessed and descends like it was born for the 9th circle of Hell. It's comfortable to ride and springs to life when I get out of the saddle and kick it with the spurs. won't let me stop. A ride comes to an end and it calls to me and demands to be ridden more and I give it a few more miles. I've ridden it all night and all day in sleet and rain and baking sun and it still demands to be ridden more...On it, I have been frozen and wet and cold and hungry and miserable and sad and angst ridden. On it, I have actually cried. On it, I have been tortured. The two wheeled rack of pain. Like "The Machine" in the movie "The Princess Bride" it can suck the life out of me. In the end though, I am "only mostly dead."
I love cycling, and I love Torque...the way that humans can love machines and I wouldn't have it any other way... even though I suffer on it so.

One week to Ironman Lake Placid. and the training is over pretty much. A few more evenly spaced workouts and rest days and that's it...hence the bike washing today before a final trip to The Bicycle Escape for a last mechanical check. I always like a shop to look over the bike one last time, in case there is something I've missed and the guys there are always spot on.

I'll post again on Tuesday with a few final thoughts before next Sundays tomfoolery!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


When I was a kid, my Dad or Mom would often pick us up or throw us into the top bunk or hold us up to put the star on the Christmas tree with the words "Upsey-Daisy." I used it through out my life from time to time and now it's snuck back into my lexicon because of bicycles and hills.

I'm sixteen days away from my fourth Ironman National Championships in Lake Placid. I've been riding in the hills a lot and found myself at the bottom of a long climbs saying..."Upsey-Daisy!"
Got back several days ago from Lake Placid from a few days of training...which included riding the course. (That's the bike course profile above) At the bottom of the big lumps it just seemed to pop out on it's own..."Upsey-Daisy." And I was sort of reminded of all those times as a kid when someone bigger than me, could lift me up, and say the words. I have to say them myself now but that's ok. It's life. Life is full of Upseys and downseys.

Training in Placid went well. A great week with 221 miles on the bike, 48 running and about 10,000 meters of swimming. Not all of that at Placid, of course, but it sure helped the totals!
In the midst of a three week taper right now...decreasing amounts weekly till the last week is damn near nothing. Not easier, just shorter.

In 16 days and change about 8:30 in the morning, when I hit the first lump of the day....