16 March 2009

Miami International Triathlon

1.5k swim/ 40k bike/ 10k run
Miami, FL
15 March, 2009
1st overall amateur

The best part of my weekend was no doubt the fact that my dad's cousin and her family hosted me at their home in Ft Lauderdale. They took me to and from the airport, fed me, gave me a great bed to sleep in, fed me, shuttled me to and from the race site, cheered for me, and fed me. Words cannot express my gratitude towards Tina, Brett, Tyler and Brittany. Thank you guys.

Saturday, the day before the race, I felt okay. I was finishing up a pretty heavy training block, so I was anxious to test out my racing abilities slightly tired. A good hour ride on Saturday loosened up my joints and got me ready to kick the tires and light the fires...yeehaw. Sunday, at approximately 5am, my adopted family shuttled me down I-95 towards Miami. On the way, we passed a "gentleman's club," which was still thriving with activity...at 5am. Bienvenidos a Miami, for sure.

We had to deposit our children, errr, bicycles, the day before the race, so the set up on race morning was fairly simple. I go for a quick jog warm up and throw on my awesome new Zoot wetsuit, the Zenith 2.0. I warm up for a few minutes in the water and get ready to lay the hammer down. The last instructions that were given to the Elite Amateur wave were to swim to the left of the big buoys, which I did. After about 200m, I had a nice gap on the rest of the field, and proceeded to hammer the rest of the 1500m. I swim to the left of the last buoy, as instructed, and exited the water with a nice 1:40 lead, give or take. As I am running up the beach, I hear my cousin, fans and race officials yelling at me to go back into the water, and swim the RIGHT of the last buoy, which was a good 30m away. Bummer. I came onto the beach the first time in about 17:30, so my little detour cost me about 1:15, which as fate would have it, still allowed me to be first out of the water. Onto T1.

The bike course was a two loop, out and back adventure on the Rickenbacker Causeway, towards Key Biscayne. Traveling west, towards mainland, we had a nice tailwind, almost direct. Traveling east, towards the Key, was a not-so-nice headwind. Oh well, everyone had to deal with it. My Kestrel Talon SL, thanks to Steve Harad, performed wonderfully. It was my first race on this machine, and she was nice. I bike the second loop in roughly 90 seconds faster than the first loop, which got me pumped for the run. Onto T2.

Matt Reed and Andy Potts were about to finish their first 5k loop when I started the run, as their wave left about six minutes before mine. It was fun pretending I was ahead of them for at least a little while, and when Matty caught me before I started my second loop, reality sunk in: I had another 5k to go, but at least I held them off for three miles (please include sarcasm). The run itself was beautiful, with some decent shade and views of the Bay. Last year, I was caught in the last half mile of the run by a Gazelle, and got second place. This year, I was looking over my shoulder, probably too often, nervous of a repeat of last year's efforts. I held my own this year and broke the tape to earn the W.

I'm already back to fairly intense training in preparation for my next race, which is the St Anthony's triathlon on April 26th. See you then,

10 March 2009

Christmas Come Early

"Meli Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day..."

The past two weeks for me have been nothing shy of awesome. East Ridge Bicycles here in Chattanooga, TN and Kestrel Bikes have teamed up to put me on two Talon SL bikes; one road and one tri bike. Last week was the maiden voyage on the tri bike, and she screams down the road just like the bird of prey after whom she's named (ahem...brand name, Kestrel, that is, not the model name, thanks to my overly intelligent friend, Jimmy. Kestrel(brand name)=bird of prey. Talon(model name)=deadly sharp toe). I've already done a few rides on it, and being a "not entirely svelte" athlete, I appreciated the responsiveness of the frame, as I have about 174 lbs to put some power into the bike. I hit a sprint at nearly 1400 watts, and the Talon SL took it like a champ. More to come on these bikes after I put more miles on them.

Smith Optics has been so awesome to me over the past year, and their sunglasses provide my eyeballs with the safety I need, in addition to making me feel a bit more stylish with their frame designs and fashionable apparel. I have been racing and training in a pair of street sunglasses, the Super Method, and even though they're not "performance cycling glasses," I find they have outstanding eye coverage. Their polarized lenses also add to their sun-conquering light reduction.

I can't say enough good things about Zoot Sports. For the past two years, I have exclusively raced and trained in their apparel. They are not just a triathlon apparel company. In a most recent care package (understatement), I received some cycling bib shorts that hands down are more comfortable than any boutique brand, European, overpriced, fancy-chamois bibs I have ever worn. Eli, Brian, and the gang out in Vista, CA have really made me feel like part of the family, and words cannot express my gratitude. More to come on some of their 2009 products...

Last, but certainly not least, I had the honor of being a groomsman at one of my best friend's wedding this past weekend. Kyle and I have been buds for quite some time now, and it was awesome to see him tie the knot. I actually have known the bride, Crystal, for even longer than I've known Kyle. Crystal was a diver at Alabama while I was swimming, and the fact that I got to see two friends get married only made the weekend that much more special. Everyone knew everyone at the wedding, and we all had a wonderful time thanks to a very special day between two of some of the best people I know.

Until next time, keep your tires rubber-side down, wear sunscreen, and eat your veggies.