Monday, July 27, 2015

Taking the Detour

DETOUR #1: Driving over the Eastern Sierra was very relaxing after a solid week of work.  I finished work at 2:30pm, arrived in Santa Rosa to race Vineman 140.6 at 11:30pm.  Turns out there is a fire near South Lake Tahoe, which translated into a turd chase on windy county roads trying to get down and around.

DETOUR #2: Exited water feeling pretty good and in 4th place.  Solid bike legs came around and we were cranking in 2nd or 3rd place (pretty strung out and no one giving splits) just past mile 100 of bike.  Head down and hammering a corner full of volunteers shouted left turn, I turned left.  Ten minutes later I realized I'd been sent out on lap 3 of a 2 loop point to point bike.  Missing the "lolly" part of the "lolly pop," was at 120mi and 10mi from the bike to run transition when things hit the fan.

Most days are awesome, so everyday can't be.  It's my responsibility as an athlete to be familiar with the course.  That was the first, and hopefully last, time I've been that close to the front and feeling good then gone way off course.

Vineman is a great race.  I would certainly plan to go back and would recommend it to friends.  Very scenic.

I sorted out my excess energy on the Pacific Crest Trail off Sanora pass with a couple hours of mountain shuffling and silence.  

Solitude and mountains is restorative. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sean Hayes Sandwich: Fresh verse

Miles of trials, the trial of miles.
Time is starting to move faster.
Finding space to slow it down feels good.

A long time ago Nick met Sarah.

Eventually they got married.  Here's a song that sums it up:
Time went on. Happy and moving swiftly.

Then came the most magical moment: a daughter.
Introducing 'B':
In a place as powerful as Yosemite, with friends turned family, the experience can only be described as follows:

A couple photos from in between hugs: Day 1 trail run 20ish miles Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite with a huge net loss.  Day 2 ride Yosemite back to car in Tuolumne Meadows with a huge net gain.
 Long rides are longer without coffee.  Sunrise roll-out. Nick and Sarah are on a tea good.

 'B' and Nick stage right.  Lucky baby, proud dad.
 Post ride after work mid week. 4,000ft to 9,500ft. Not bad California.
 Mountain shuffling


Until next time.
Your pal,

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Going to the mountains is going home: Mediation in competition

A whisper turns to a murmur, a murmer turns to a buzz. Stress.  If they shorten the race to a 70 mile ride and 13 mile run should I still eat this loaf of bread?  

The drive from Mammoth to Reno.  Good morning.

Projected race temp is 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  There was talk of shortening the race for the safety of both athletes and volunteers. Tension and anxiety of athletes in the village builds.  Pro meeting on a hot clammy boat: “No intention of canceling the race.” Tension rises.

Pre-riding run day before race: man playing bagpipes at top of hill. Fitting.

In an odd way, chaos created a sense of calm heading into Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  This race was a reminder at just the right time of why adventure and meditation through movement is healing.  When forced to focus on what is right in front of a person simplifying, trying to control less, and more focus is required.  All consuming moments make ‘life-stress’ melt away (especially if it’s hot).  Assessing risk and working through fear is what makes racing and big human powered objectives meaningful and beautiful; to get that mountain top perspective you gotta put out.
Two spunges by vital organs and three cups of ice down my shorts; Zroom.

In my first year as professional triathlete, in large part, I’d lost touch with my addiction to the grit; a drive to be the best when things are at their worst.  I’d mistakenly started to think people were watching, I was going to make money, and being a pro-triathlete would fill my 401k.  Nope.  No one has been more honest about the initial stages of behaving and performing like a professional athlete than my mentor and coach Kurt, like an older brother he consistently beats me down to reality. Kurt, I’m in debt to you for the guidance.

Tuktuk enjoying stretching her legs. Rest week post IM: cross rides on dirt.

Moral of the story: As I watched Andy Potts race himself into the ground on the second lap of the run, Heather Jackson give her first 140.6 acceptance speech, and my training parter Amber reel in 4th I started to look at this whole thing with a new sense of awe and bewilderment. None of the aforementioned folks came to success quickly.

So what’s the message?  Challenge yourself once every day.

NOTE: I was not at my best when things were at their worst, and certainly wasn't fast.  But finally I finished 140.6, free of cramps/GI stuff, and  within range of current fitness.  Huge thank you to coach Kurt. 15th Male Pro.

Here are some photos from the week of exploring.

Your pal,


Trail run from door.

Thanks, John.  American.