16 June 2010

Pontevedra ITU Premium European Cup

Down to the nitty gritty: I ate a huge slice of humble pie. All of those guys are fast at every discipline. Going into the event, I had posted some decent swim times this season for 1500m, so I was confident about my abilities in the water. Kiss of death. The water in Pontevedra was cold. Maybe 59 or 60 degrees. I didn't warm up, because I was already a little warm inside my wetsuit, so I figured if I warmed up I would slightly overheat. Mistake. The swim was two 750m loops, and I had the worse starting position on the pontoon because of my ranking, or lack thereof. The gun blows and I am immediately swallowed up by great swimmers. My first 750m were humbling, but I was able to make up some time on the second 750m loop and NOT be the last one out of the water. Onto the bike. The bike course was technical and challenging with a couple climbs, descents, 180 degree u-turns, and fun European roundabouts. There were initially four of us working together to catch the main pack. Aboard Roxanne (my Litespeed C1), I was able to hammer the first two of six loops and catch some dudes that fell off the main group. The guys in my group were able to drop a couple athletes as well, but it wasn't good enough to catch the main pack. The bike contained moments of 190 beats per minute heart rates, mixed in with moments where you can re-catch your breath. The cycling is very dynamic as opposed to a steady state sustained effort, like non-draft triathlon. Bursts of max power mixed in with aerobic riding; just enough to thoroughly thrash your legs for the run ;)

Onto the run, I hammered my first of four loops, hoping to finish strong. Before the race, ITU officials told us that if we were lapped, your race in done. Well, Javier Gomez flew by me as I finished my first loop as he was finishing his second loop. He ended up lapping a bunch of dudes on the run. Anywho, I thought since he lapped me, my race was over. So I stopped. I asked race officials what to do, and after 30-45 seconds, an official said that I could continue the run, as the lap rule only applies to the bike course. Sweet. "Oh no." Time to haul ass. I ended up running 35 minutes flat for 10k, which probably would have been 34 flat or faster had I not stopped...not that it would have made a difference. However, that run was encouraging for me. The sport of ITU draft-legal triathlon is a completely different sport than non-draft time trial style triathlon racing. The swim will kill you. The cycling is a bike race, not a time trial. The run is an all out suffer fest.

I ended up finishing 45th of 60 athletes. It's tough to dissect this result, as there are many factors to take into consideration; travel, new kind of racing (for me), etc. I had a wonderful race experience and travel adventure. My next race will be the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon on July 11th. I am more than excited to race this spectacular event in my home town, and on behalf of my amazing sponsors and support system.

Until next time,

10 June 2010

It always rains in Spain

...especially when Mother Nature knows you've rented a car in a foreign country. Here's the story:

The flight from Atlanta to Paris was a piece of cake, and I didn't have any troubles in de Gaulle, which is more confusing than Chinese Algebra. The final leg of the journey from de Gaulle to Vigo, Spain was a sleepy blur; something had to be too good to be true. It was.

Since Pontevedra (the race site) was only 20km from Vigo, I decided to rent a car in case I wanted to do some exploring after the race. I found a great deal on a sexy little red Citroen, and I was excited to hit the Autopista del Atlantico, which is the main road from Vigo to Pontevedra. The Autopista is a coastal highway, virtually identical to the Pacific Coast Highway, and Galicia (the name of the region in Spain where I am) is identical to the Pacific Northwest. Imagine San Francisco and the Oregon coast rolled into one. Except the signs are in Spanish.

So I'm scooting along the Autopista towards my would-be destination, when the road starts vibrating. "That's not the road vibrating," is what I said to myself. Luckily, the issue was the driver's side rear wheel. Not so luckily, the tire decided to detach itself from the wheel. Fortunately, I speak Spanish, so I was able to call the rental car agency and arrange for a tow truck. I was sitting on the shoulder of the road for about an hour waiting for a mandated tow truck, as my contract stipulated. All the aforementioned took place in the rain, which only added to the not-so-fortuitous ambiance. Since the issue was not simply a puncture flat, I deemed the car unsafe to drive, so I turn around and head back to the airport in Vigo to exchange the car...or so I thought. For no apparent reason I take a detour and get lost. No, I don't need directions. I know where I am. No I don't.

I happen to roll down my window and ask a caballero (Spanish for "man" "dude" "bud" "sir") for directions. This caballero was a priest. I couldn't make this story up if I tried. I find the airport, then try to exchange the car, but they had none. So, I resorted to taking a ride in a taxi to Pontevedra. My journey is complete...or so I thought. I had arrangements to stay at a hotel I found on the internet. Suffice it to say, the hotel was not as grand as its description. I then decided to call the host hotel for the race, and they were kind enough to offer me a great deal for a single room. I take one final taxi ride to my current residence where I am typing this blog post. After my journey I had a great meal of fish and veggies, spoke to my sweetie, then hit the hay, hard. Today, I have had a nice swim, run, and brief accidental self guided tour of Pontevedra. 

The race, which is the Pontevedra ITU Premium European Cup, takes place on Saturday at 6:30 P.M. I've never had a race at that time of day, so I'm excited to sleep in, have a relaxing morning, then hopefully light the road (and water) on fire.

I apologize for not having written a Memphis in May triathlon post. I think I may do that just now, but I wanted to share my travel story while it was fresh on my mind. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned.

30 May 2010


"...you don't have to wear that dress tonight"

I cannot express enough gratitude to East Ridge Bicycles and Litespeed. Drool away, folks. Drool away.

25 May 2010

Rev3, Recovery and Roxanne

The Rev3 triathlon in Knoxville, TN is a world class Olympic and half iron distance race held virtually in my back yard. I've never had such a luxury of driving only an hour and a half to a race of this caliber. Additionally, I had a support system that rivaled that of the Griswold Family Christmas, which made for an even more amazing race experience. Thank you all so much for your support.

Race morning began with a balmy 45 degree air temperature. Good thing I brought my Saucony run pants and warm up jacket! Rev3 does an amazing job of making everyone feel like a rock star, and the professional field literally had the royal carpet rolled out for us as our transition area was carpeted...no, not shag. After a fun five minutes of wading in 69 degree water sans wetsuit, the pro wave took off and I had a good swim. I came out of the water about 40 seconds down from the fastest swimmers in the world, so my feelings were not hurt as a former short course butterfly swimmer. Onto the very challenging bike course I held my own and rode strong. Nothing too terribly exciting happened, which is a good thing. I couldn't help but sing to myself the University of Alabama fight song as I rode through the University of Tennessee campus, though...my Quintana Roo CD0.1 (known to you now as Lolita) handled the technical, hilly and challenging bike course like Mario Andretti. Too bad I didn't have a Formula 1 engine in my belly.

The run course was also very fun and challenging, and I was able to run strong to finish 15th professional amongst a star-studded line up.


For the most part, all of us swim, bike, run and workout a lot. For the most part, all of us neglect the equally important aspect of training, which is recovery. Recovery is training. When we beat our bodies up, we must allow it to heal or we cannot become better as athletes. In order to recover, there are a couple very simple, easy but utterly paramount tools we must incorporate into our training routines; massage therapy and body balance/chiropractic care. Two Chattanoogans who literally keep me upright and training/racing as hard as I can are Christian Stegall and Dr Robert Haug. Christian is a massage therapist in town who specializes in athletic therapy and overall muscular health through massage. Dr Bob from Riverview Chiropractic keeps my body balanced through applied kinesiology and muscle balance. Email, call, text message, or send a courier pigeon my way and I will send you their information.


I am extremely fortunate to live in the same town as cycling and triathlon powerhouse companies, Litespeed and Quintana Roo. You all have been introduced to Lolita, but now I proudly present Roxanne; she is a size ML Litespeed C1 frame equipped with a complete SRAM Red build. I will post pics as soon as I can fun my USB cable to connect my camera to my computer. She's 'purdy.' I cannot express enough gratitude to East Ridge Bicycles and the folks at QR and Litespeed. I've been to bike shops all around the world, and East Ridge Bicycles is second to none. Chuck Norris even thinks so.

04 May 2010

St. Anthony's Triathlon

So, the Winchesters loaded up the fun, 'ol fashion, four wheel sleigh and pointed it south for about 580 miles. My mom, dad, one brother and I took off for a nice road trip/race/mini vacation, and it was a wonderful weekend.

The drive down was uneventful, which is nice, and we were all eager to get to Florida. We arrive on Friday before the race, and we all take a quick nap before heading down the race site for a warm up (I was the only one racing, but I use 'we' because if it were not for my family, I wouldn't be there!). I shook the legs out with a little spin and jog, followed by saying hello to the Quintana Roo and ISM (thank you for the photo!) guys. Afterwards, we joined a great friend, athlete, and coach Marc Bonnet-Eymard and a few others for a nice dinner. I had some wine, and I think I'm on to something for pre race relaxation. Normally, I'm wound up tighter than a (euphemism of choice here), but just a little red wine seemed to help me pump my cerebral brakes.

Wash, rinse, repeat for Saturday, and next thing I know, it's race morning. I get in a nice warm up, and decided to walk to the swim start as opposed to swimming across the marina like most other pros do. In retrospect, I maybe should have gotten in a better swim warm up. The cannon blows, and we're off. I settle into a decent rhythm, but never really got to motoring. I hop on Lolita, and I'm ready to ride. Things were going well up until about mile 10, when uber-cyclist David Thompson passes me, and a minute or two later a marshall comes by and asks me to stand down. What does this mean? Well basically, regardless of the distance of the pro in front of you, you must be on the other side of the lane as him. Well, David was a good 30 meters up the road, and in a roughly 20mph crosswind, it was difficult to judge where he was. So, I was penalized for the first time in my career. I couldn't change the outcome, so I put my head down and hammered after coming to a complete stop, waiting 60 secs, then resuming. All in all, the penalty probably cost me over two minutes on the bike. I rode hard, which took a little wind out of my running sails, but I ran as hard as I could, passing a few guys to finish 18th Pro. I hate to say "would've, should've or could've," but I know that penalty cost me close to three minutes.

Coach Tim and I have been putting a move on training since St. A's, and next stop is Rev3 in Knoxville, TN this weekend. Hopefully, I won't have such a look of pain aboard Lolita this weekend, as pictured above.

Until next time,

20 April 2010


I couldn't be happier to announce I am a new addition to the Quintana Roo and Litespeed family. Headquartered just down the road from my parent's house, American Bicycle Group is a cornerstone in the triathlon, cycling, and local community. And as a local boy, I couldn't be more proud to represent a local product.

Pictured above is Lolita. Quintana Roo chooses to call it the CD0.1...I prefer something a little more "exotic." The CD0.1 offers nothing less than industry leading aerodynamics and ride response. I've already logged many hours on her, including a few 1300+ watt sprint efforts, and I was simply blown away by the ride quality and speed. She is spec'd out with the following:

Frame: Quintana Roo CD0.1 High Modulus, size ML
Drive train: SRAM Red
Hidden brake calipers: TRP
Aerobars: Uberhund Blitz (thank you Bert!)
Saddle: ISM Adamo Racing (thank you Dave!)
Wheelset: training - Powertap 2.4SL Wireless; racing - Zipp Sub 9 and 404
Pedals: Speedplay X1

My road bike, which is on its way to East Ridge Bicycles, will be the Litespeed C1. East Ridge Bikes has been paramount in my development as an athlete and amateur bicycle mechanic. You guys are awesome. I will post pictures and ride reports as soon as she is built. In the meanwhile, Roxanne is a name that has been thrown around for the C1. I think I like the name duo of Lolita and Roxanne. Thoughts?

Next, I will be racing at the St Anthony's Triathlon in St Petersburg, FL on Sunday, April 25. I'm looking forwarding to opening up the throttle with Lolita.

19 March 2010

Success and Lemons

Saturday, February 27th I started my season off with a pleasant surprise. I competed in the Scenic City 5k, which was a chilly morning for a jog along the Chattanooga Riverfront Parkway, but a good morning nonetheless. Saucony is a wonderful sponsor, and my lime green race kit and Type A3 racing flats had me looking fast. Unfortunately, the lack of sunlight during the Chattanooga Winter had me looking rather...um...not so tan. I ran 15:55 for 5k, bringing home my final mile in 5:03 with a mad sprint for the remaining tenth of a mile. It was a good morning followed by brunch with my dad and some out of town friends. Success. "Running on. Running into the sun..." was a fitting thought by Jackson Browne's 1977 hit. Success.

Lemons. Thursday, March 11, I flew down to Ft Lauderdale to compete in the Miami International Triathlon; this would be my first time racing this event as a professional, and I came down with guns a 'blazing. I was the overall amateur champion at this event last year, and I was looking to see how I stacked up against the world's best this year. The Friday before the race I had a great little swim warm up at the International Swimming Hall of Fame pool in Ft Lauderdale, and my confidence was high. Saturday morning I woke up with a not-so-pleasant cough and a little body ache. No problemo. "You don't have to feel good to go fast." I went down to the race site, warmed up, dropped off my bike, and set sail back to my cousin's house to rest up for the big dance. The rest of day was filled with no hunger (a disaster for me), sweats and cold chills, and a worsened cough. Sunday morning I followed my pre-race routine and headed down to the race site. I attempted a run warm up, only to nearly faint in the process. I got some great advice from Matty Reed and Chris Lieto that there are always other races, and I decided to pull the plug shortly thereafter. I went back to my cousin's house and slept the rest of the day. I woke up Monday morning in hopes of catching my plane, but that idea quickly turned into a trip to the ER because of my 103 degree fever, bad cough and body ache. Lemons. I stayed there for a few hours, got some good fluids and medicine, and they sent me on my way. I was finally able to return home on Weds, after it took a good 48 hours for my symtpoms to subside.

Today is Friday, and it is a beautiful day in Chattanooga. I haven't so much as broken a sweat (other than the fever) in seven days, but now I am seeing the light. Success. My lungs are still weezy, but otherwise I am ready to get back after it. Tina, Brett, Tyler and Brittany, you guys are awesome, and if it were not for you, I would probably be passed out on South Beach somewhere begging for someone to take me to the hospital. Thank you all so much for your support.