Friday, July 10, 2009

Leon's Triathlon 6/06/10

The three cities of Hammond, East Chicago and Gary have greenlighted the return of Leon's Triathlon in Hammond for June 6, 2010. Registration starts in August. Keep an eye on for info.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Race Report Firecracker Triathlon July 5, 2009

The conditions at the 2009 Cycle and Fitness FireCracker Triathlon could not have been more favorable. Calm 69 degree water, sunny and 70 degrees at the start of the race with a nice breeze developing by the end of the run.

Pre Race:

Team BigGuysTri, consisting of this blogger and his brother Steve, got up about 4 am, rather reluctantly checked to make sure our tri shorts and top were in the bag and leave by 5 am and make the 2o mile drive to Benton Harbor's Jean Klock Park for a 6am Transition Open. This blogger ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and two 16 ounce glasses of water to maintain hydration. This apparently worked because the Port-o-Let got a workout before we started the race. Once arriving at Jean Klock Park, bikes were unloaded, tires were inflated and the walk to the transition area was more like a more like a crawl because it was only 5:45 at that point.

The transition area at this race is set up pretty good with two rows of around 150 bikes using the same racks used for the Steelhead Triathlon, with women on one row and men on the other row. The Transition area appears to be a bit narrow but in the end it works well as there are three lanes of travel to get from the swim to the bike and from the bike to the run.

Team BigGuysTri racked bikes at spot 102 and 103. Team BigGuysTri were the first to rack so we got a chance to check out the transition entrance and exit as well as take time getting our gear set up comfortably. The Firecracker crew as well as USAT crew at this race do a pretty good job of following and enforcing rules as Team BigGuysTri found out as we were told to rack our bikes a specific way and then this blogger was scolded for and ultimately had to correct a missing bar end cap. Thankful for no penalty, tape was applied and no harm was done.

At 7:45 am USAT closed the Transition area and shuffled all 300 participants, some in wetsuits, (some in only running shorts???) out to the beautifully calm, 69-degree water for the swim start. Team BigGuysTri got a few practice stokes in as USAT and the Firecracker crew got the swim start and timing gear set up.

At 8:00am the horn sounded for the Team BigGuysTri Wave, also known as 39 and under males. The first half of the swim went very well for this blogger as kicking and punching was at a minimum and a short period of drafting in the water helped until the first swim turn. About 250 meters into the swim, a small bout with aspiration tripped me up but I continued to the next turn and was able to swim pretty comfortably until about the last 50-75 meters when my breathing got a bit off line and I had to stop for a second to get my bearings. Overall, this was by far the best triathlon swim I've ever had as I came out of the water and hit the mat (which was at the top of the beach) at 9:27. All results can be found here.

My wetsuit came off very easy and this was kind of a surprise as this was only the 2nd time I had swam in this wetsuit. Coming into T1 I felt pretty good and our transition spots were only 20 or 30 meters from the exit. This blogger's bike wasn't the last bike on the rack (YAY!!). That spot was reserved for the other half of Team BigGuysTri. After a smooth transition and exiting in 1:37, I did notice that my left shoe had fallen down from the rubber band that was holding it. This didn't cause any issues though and I was able to mount the bike and start riding pretty comfortably. I wouldn't do much different in the transition from swim to bike.

The bike portion started off superbly and continued that way until the last 150 or so meters, but we'll get to that. As I started the bike, I was able to get into my shoes easily and make it out onto the course without any difficulty to speak of. My breathing was under control which has been a problem in the past for me. I made it a point to relax in transition and be more under control with my breathing. I will say I had some concentration issues to start the bike portion that almost caused me to crash when I got off the side of the road by not looking far enough ahead. This happened a second time on M63 southbound when I ran out of land and into the gravel but I recovered and had an overall good ride. The Firecracker bike course is a little decieving in that you want to start the first mile very fast but soon realize that M63 is all up hill on the way out. I tried to keep my legs under control until the final turn onto M63 south and I must have done something right as my average speed on the bike was 20.1 mph with a bike split of 37.27. I was a bit confused as when I checked my bike computer after the race it stated 12.9 miles and this race is advertised as 11 miles. Oh well, I was very happy with my bike split even with a mechanical at the very end in which I was so excited to hear the BigGuysTry cheering section (consisting of my beautiful wife Val) that I down shifted and my chain fell off. Thankfully I was entering the final stretch of the park and was able to carry enough momentum to get within 25 meters of the dismount line and then dismount and run to T2.

I thought that T2 was a little weak in that I was trying to no avail to control my breathing. It felt almost like a hyperventilation and I had to slow to a walk just be for racking my bike. After racking my bike I decided to take my time and get my breathing under control as I put on my shoes, racebelt, and visor and exit T2 in 1:31.

Coming out of the run, I made it a point to get a good photo op and the photographer laughed and commented as I smiled for the camera. I learned my lesson last year that one should always be aware of the cameras in a race as I had a picture taken of me fiddle-farting around with my watch when I should have been smiling for the camera. After my photo op, it was down to business and that business was not very good as my first mile was around 12 minutes....GUH!! I was able to settle down a bit and get a better rythym and a bit better turnover during the 2nd and 3rd mile. The Firecracker course is very flat which helps guys like me that can't generally run fast. I ended the run with a split of 30:01. This is about what I had expected going in and I'm not disappointed.

Overall, this is a very well run race with a great atmosphere and a very intuitive course that requires minimal instruction from race support personnell. I want to say a big thank you to Cycle and Fitness for sponsoring the race and all of the volunteers that help make it a success.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quote of the Week


I've been lolly gaggin around with this blog lately because of the long wait for my first 2009 triathlon. It is officially in 7 days. I'm pretty amped up about it because this morning with the Starbucks group we rode 65 miles at 19 mph moving average. I've decided to start something new with the blog thanks to Brian from Whiting. It will be a regular quote of the week. Since this is the height of the Tri Season and I've been riding with a new group, I've decided to keep my ears out and listen for interesting or funny quotes. This week is from Brian from Whiting
"32 Miles per hour on a fixed gear bike?....That's bad ass!" Thanks Brian,

Look out for next week's Quote of the Week.

Friday, June 19, 2009

3 weeks to go

I've got three weeks to go before I brave lake michigan in early july at the Firecracker Triathlon. So far so good. did a brick workout this week that felt really good. 15 miles at 18.5 and a 5k at around 28 minutes. Swimming in the lake for the first time Saturday

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NBC Universal

Living near a big city, or at least close enough to broadcast TV antennas to not need cable is friggin sweet. Especially since this new fangled HD TV stuff has come out. I don't pay for cable (because I don't have it, not because I steal it) and NBC Universal shows triathlon on a regular basis through the spring and summer. Last night they showed Ironman New Zealand. The coverage was pretty great. It's reminiscent of abc's wide world of sports in the 80's for all you little leaguers out there. Even the part where one of the leading cyclist is shown puking while riding and not missing a beat. These elite IM athletes are incredible. If you have HD or get NBC Universal from your cable provider, you should check it out. It can be inspiring to watch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Time to rant about wheels. Why is it that there are about 3 factories in Taiwan that manufacture every single wheel on the planet yet I have to pay $1500 bucks for a wheel that the Taiwanese are selling for 200 to the US companies? This is silliness. All of us weekend warrior triathletes, cyclists, runners and swimmers need to wise up. Just because you're smoking down the road with a big sticker on your wheel that rhymes with pipp, doesn't mean that you don't have to still pedal. That friggin wheelset you just paid $2000 bucks for probably won't save you much time. Stop paying $2000 bucks for a sticker dammit, it makes my shopping experience very unenjoyable!!

Off to buy my new wheelset! wish me luck