If 2011 were a typical American male it would be just over 63 years old – it may have broken a hip and like softer foods that don’t have small seeds, but it certainly does have plenty of life left in it. Yet, I find myself already planning for life after 2011. 2011 hates to leave the house, likes to watch Matlock re-runs, and talk about days of yore when it was a wee triathlon season with gumption, piss, vinegar….teeth.Read More
Jeley runs sub-10 minute pace for long training run.
Honestly, who the fuck cares, right?
Whatever, I am going to write this anyway…Read More
There was no official competition amongst the Jeley clan at the Deuces Wild Olympic Triathlon this last weekend, but secretly I was hoping to beat my wife. This was not only the first time we were competing on the same weekend, but we were even competing in the same event at the same distance. This was an Olympic distance triathlon so the distances for each discipline were:
Swim : 1500 meters (.93 miles)
Bike : 40 kilometers (25 miles)
Run : 10 kilometers (6.2 miles)
Let’s just put it out there…yup, she beat me. It was close. Closer than I thought it would be. I honestly thought she would beat me in the swim by 5 to 10 minutes, and although I am a faster cyclist, I knew there was no way I was going to put 10 minutes on her in the bike…I am making this sound like I was taking it very seriously. Ok…so it WAS a goal of mine to beat her. It wasn’t my primary goal, but it did provide me a little incentive to go harder.
But here’s the deal, she didn’t beat me by 5 minutes in the swim. Ms. Jeley is a really good open water swimmer. She beat me in the swim by only 4 minutes and 21 seconds, which placed her in the top 3rd in her age group coming out of the water. The swim was something I was VERY worried about. It was my first open water swim race over 400 meters in length. It was my first start with over 100 athletes starting at the same time. And the last time I did an open water swim in a race I had a major freak out moment. The swim portion of this race really was a watershed moment for me. I am no longer intimidated by open water, the distance, or the pack.
The only moment of the swim that was rough for me was getting punched in the back of the head rather hard by a guy I had been swimming next to for a couple hundred meters. It left me a bit stunned for a few seconds and I had to stop, tread water for a bit, and then refocus and go chase him down to repay him a bit. He ended up stopping right in front of me and I ran into him rather hard…I left him treading water and gasping for air as I continued on, with a little extra hard kick on top of the water just to splash him a bit.
When I exited the water the Team Triple Sports specathletes informed my that Ms. Jeley was right in front of me. I reached the wetsuit strippers, sat on my ass REAL hard, got my neoprene protection unit removed and sprinted off to the swim/bike transition. My transition went moderately well, except I tore my race bib (number) and had to invent a way to re-attach it on the fly…good learning experience. I got my shoes, number, helmet, and sunglasses on, and started my bike computer. I then grabbed my bike and sprinted for the transition exit. I passed teammates Caroline Jenkins and Susan Lacke on the way out cheered them on. Upon reaching the bike mount line I came across Ms. Jeley…we shared a couple of encouraging words and off we went.
The bike course started off with a small climb to get out to the highway and then it got REALLY fast. At mile 2 I hit 47 miles per hour and for the next 10 miles speeds were increased by a number of 30mph tailwind assisted descents. I felt pretty good on the bike for the first 12 miles and was looking forward to good bike time. Then we turned south and it all just fell apart. The remaining 12 miles would be uphill into a 30mph cross-headwind. First Eric “Alejandro” Bolles passed me, then with 2 miles to go Scott Schraff passed me. I would later learn that he made up 20 minutes on me on the bike…dear God that man is fast.
I don’t even remember T2…suffice to say it went pretty well, except I didn’t spend any time hydrating and also didn’t take enough water at the T2 aid station.
It was during the first couple of miles of the run that I was told by Caroline that while riding at over 30mph our friend and teammate Susan Lacke crashed with another rider. My heart sank when I heard that Susan had crashed. She had crashed in this race the year before and had come into this race a little intimidated. All that was known at that time was that Susan was in the hospital. We later learned that she had a couple of small pelvic fractures and a lot of road rash. Her bike was destroyed, but we were all very relieved to find out that Susan didn’t sustain any permanent debilitating damage.
The rest of the run was just survival mode for me. At this point this was the longest I had raced anything for about 20 years. I ran as much as I could, walked the aid stations, and just kept thinking about the finish line. With 2.5 miles to go, I passed both Caroline and Ms. Jeley going the other way. I knew at this point that I wasn’t going to beat Ms. Jeley on this day. She was only about 3 minutes behind me at this point (and she started 5 minutes back – positive delta of 2 minutes for Ms. Jeley). Soon, Caroline caught me and we shared a water bottle for about a mile. Then I faded and watched her run away.
At the finish line I was handed a stick of frozen sugar water and food coloring…nothing has EVER tasted so good. A couple minutes later, Ms. Jeley came through the finish line…that was a great moment.
The rest of the weekend was filled with friends and fun. A bunch of us from Team Triple Sports had rented a cabin for the weekend, and after the race, much of the rest of the team came by for a BBQ and about 2 million beers.
It looks like Ms. Jeley and myself won’t actually compete in the same triathlon again until 2012…I look forward to redeeming myself.Read More
Sunday was CRAZY! I was standing on this “beach” in Tempe, Arizona about to compete in my first “real” triathlon. There I am standing around in my new Team Triple Sports tri-top, looking like a professional bratwurst; 2 swim-caps on my head squeezing my fat noggin enough to make my eyes bulge out of my head. I constantly am scanning the crowd for somebody I recognize so I can strike up a conversation to keep my mind off of the fact that I am about to hurl myself into what amounts to a man made swamp. Wishing I could blend in a bit more, but as far as I can tell, I look like a sumo wrestler at the start line of an ultra-marathon. In a sea of ridiculously cut athletes, I am fearing for my life and hoping that one of these people will be kind enough to haul my limp drown ass up onto the shore at the end of the day so the water foul and bass don’t pick my corpse clean before my wife can identify the body.
Then my wave’s start time comes and goes…the race director is standing under the Mill Ave bridge with a bullhorn, pointing it away from the crowd at times. He begins telling everyone on the beach that the start will be delayed for …… reasons beyond…..and we should be ready….about 15…..thank you. Meanwhile 2 airplanes fly over, and a train goes by and nobody hears but 5 words the guy says, suffice to say we all understand that the start is now delayed, and it will probably be MUCH longer that the guy said.
40 minutes later these svelte, tanned, shaved Adonises and Aphrodites start moving like cattle towards the water. I find a guy that is the same age as me (you can tell by his age being drawn in permanent marker on his left calf), but he has obviously lied about his age, because if I am 42, then this guy was 24…there is no way in hell that his body has been through half the amount of beer and bacon that my body has. At any rate, I figure since I have no idea what my wave number is (I brainlessly forgot to check), and I have no idea what groups have already started the swim, I best just follow the liar to the water and when someone official yells go, I will start swimming.
I tread water for about 3 minutes, the water temp is great and I am getting exited. I realize “hey! you should freakin pee in the water! Better now than on the bike”…so I start focusing on trying to pee, and the official yells “10 seconds!”. “Oh crap, I am not peeing fast enough”. Official guy says “5 seconds!”. I think: “Oh good, now I’m peeing”. Official guy: “4…3…2…1…go!”. Me: “Wait! I’m not done peeing!!!!” … my brain finally goes “SWIM KNUCKLEHEAD!!!”. Off I go, straight into L5 swimming, breathing every other stroke, swimming by people, avoiding getting kicked in the jaw, alligator sighting every 10 or so strokes. “Hey wow, I am totally swimming in a triathlon”.
All went well for about 200 meters, then I realized that I was swimming MUCH harder than I should and I was starting to get tired. Now all sorts of things start getting into my head (beside whatever gnarlyness I was swallowing from the lake). “You are moving toward the center of the lake, you are going to drown”, “if you slow down, the wave behind you will swim over you like a Princess Cruise ship”, “that 14 year old on in the safety kayak smoked 2 bowls before he came here to be a life-guard this morning”. I slowed, freaked out, rolled over on my back, got swamped twice, swam side-stroke and then finally got my composure and finished the swim.
I knew it was slow. I was already disappointed before I even reached the beach to get out of the water, but now I had to focus. Focus on my primary goal; clean, smart, stress-free transitions. I don’t even remember running up the 50+ stairs from the beach to transition. My mind was fixed on the task in front of me:
- take off swim cap and goggles
- turn on bike computer
- put on HR watch
- put on bike shoes, no socks, don’t tighten them until on the bike
- put on race number (over right arm and head first, then left arm, turn number to the back)
- grab sunglasses, put them on, sunglass arms go UNDER helmet straps so when I take off my helmet later, my glasses don’t fly across transition
- put on helmet, fasten the buckle before grabbing bike
- un-rack bike, head for exit on north end.
- get past mount-line, hop on bike, haul ass
Everything went perfectly, except #3, my watch was a pain in the ass; and #5, my number ended up inside out and I had to unfasten and refasten my race-belt.
Ok, now I am on the bike…for me, being on the bike is similar to a hooker being in bed, it is just where I belong. I won’t go into the detail here other than I passed at least 50 people total, and was only pass by a couple of people in my age group and a few of the fastest people in the wave behind me. The course was a great course for me. I ride those same roads 2 or 3 days per week, and I am a better bike handler than most of the field. I really enjoyed this part of the race, and I did about as well as I expected.
Coming into T2, the bike course was downhill so it gave me plenty of time to get my feet out of my pedals before the dismount line…I was about to do my first “flying dismount”. That went pretty well…now time to focus on T2:
- Rack bike
- take off helmet
- take socks out of shoes
- put running shoes on (no socks)
- grab visor
- run to the exit while turning number and putting on hat
Flawless!!!!! I could have run faster through transition to improve my time, but as far as logistics are concerned, I don’t feel I could have improved my T2.
Run down the stairs and head out onto the run course. I had been having a few small issues with shin-splints in training, plus I had not had the run miles in training that I really need, but it’s a freaking 5k…the plan is to just run as hard as possible for 3 miles…ANYONE can do that. Who has 2 thumbs and can’t follow that plan? This guy, that’s who! I started running and it quickly turned into a shuffle…I started focusing on better form which SHOULD make me go a bit faster, but for some reason I had it in my mind that I needed to hold back so I wouldn’t need to walk halfway or near the end. The first mile goes by and my Garmin tells me 10:22 … ok, I knew I was going slow, but THAT is slow even for me. I take on some ice cold sponges and some water, and run a little harder, heart rate now at 162…mile 2 goes by, 10:55…….WHAT……THE….FUCK!??!. Another aid station, some more water, a Clif Block…1 mile left, for all that is holy in athletics, it is time to fucking run FAST dammit!!! I put my head down, get my heart rate up to 167 and 2 local triathletes that I know, that are slow beyond words, pass me…at this point, I am not only slow, I am pissed, and embarrassed at the same time.
With about 5oo yards to go I see Seth and Sutton cheering me on and it reminds me I will be hearing Christine’s voice cheering for me soon. My stride gets a little longer, my footfall a little lighter, and on the final hill I hear Christine’s voice above those of my friends and teammates….THIS is a GREAT feeling. I reach the finish shoot and there is a guy with 33 on his calf starting his finish sprint…YES, I can totally beat this young man to the line. I chase him down, 2 strides before the line. Some wonderful nice person puts a medal around my neck, I feel like somebody important, and another nice person takes my timing chip…33 pats me on the back and says “great race” … “you too man, congrats!”
You know what…I am actually a triathlete now…I have been calling myself that since I starting training in these 3 sports. I had no right to do so, I can see that now. I expected to finish this race because in my mind I had been a triathlete for months. But, I now know based on how difficult that actually was, that my expectation that finishing was a for-drawn conclusion, was misplaced.
A few days later, back into my training regimen, I am proud to say I finished my first triathlon. I am hooked, and cannot wait to improve on the entire experience, although I know that there will never be another “first time”. You know, I am okay with that…bring on the next race!!
P.S. – If you know me, you know I am a statistic freak…here are some simple numbers (in chart form) for you. You can see how bad the run REALLY was.
“KNOCK” <– this is me being superstitious and tapping the top of my desk with my knuckles.
If you ride your bike often enough, or over a long enough period, eventually YOU are going to fall off of IT. I’m not discrediting your skill. I’m not being “glass half-empty”. I don’t subscribe to fatalism. It’s just a simple fact that is mostly influenced by a couple of rudimentary principles of physics. Gravity and the Pauli Exclusion Principle (“two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time”).
Now certainly there are some factors that will have bearing on how, when, and why you fall off your bike. Some people just possess a greater level of balance, attentiveness, and dexterity. Some people have better reactions, or have the innate ability to put themselves in a position that allows them to avoid obstacles and potential pit-falls. And, some people are just luckier than others. But alas, you do this crazy thing long enough and your keaster is going to be on the ground at some point, and if you are lucky, it won’t involve a serious injury or damage to your bike (that costs more than your last 2 cars combined).
Group rides are both a blessing and a curse. Typically a large group of cyclists is easier to see, and because of the total area of a group of cyclists, motorists will more often than not, take a wide berth around the group. This makes for a slightly more secure feeling with regard to traffic. At the same time, because a group of cyclists takes up more room (and moves comparatively slower than the cars) we also make ourselves the target of ire…and sometimes motorists will just behave badly to show us what a bunch of bastards we truly are.
Even though Group Rides are generally safer with regards to traffic, we often cause ourselves more grief. Inside a pack of moving cyclists on city and county streets, we just have a lot more stuff to avoid (and run into); debris is harder to see, stop signs and traffic signals sneak up on us, John “Eddy Merckx” Doe sprints from the middle of the pack, Jane Doe drops a water bottle while on the pointy end. On top of that, the guy next to you is wearing headphones, or the girl next to you is on her aero-bars. And let’s face it, I know it’s a stereotype, but triathletes generally have lesser bike handling skills than your averge roadie…I’m just sayin’ (you can argue with me about this if you’d like, but you will lose).
You have to consider too, that on a Group Ride, there are just a lot more opportunities to witness someone falling off their bike. Take this weekend for instance; I lead 2 Group Rides; a 60 miler on Saturday and a 40 miler on Sunday. In 100 miles, with 2 separate groups of about 10 riders, I witnessed 4 people fall off their bikes, and I understand the tail-end of the Sunday group was almost taken out by a right turning motorist (less than a quarter mile from the end of the ride).
In these instances, luckily nothing was hurt but a bit of pride, and MOST of the instances we’re your typical “Oh shit, clipped out of the wrong side” get offs. But even though, it is very important for groups to pay extra attention. Even if the ride is advertised as “Conversation Pace”, that does NOT give us the freedom to shut our brains off. Communication when there is debris, when the group is turning, when approaching a signed or signaled intersection, or when cars are approaching from a perpendicular direction is IMPERATIVE. When the guys on the front are leading the pack through a intersection, it is very important that they communicate whether cars are coming and from which direction…and this communication MUST trickle backwards through the pack.
How did I manage to stay upright this weekend? To be honest, I put myself in a position to best avoid the rest of the group, which means I spent a great deal of time on the front. I don’t always do this (I would be much stronger if I did). I typically will do this if 1) I need a monster work-out 2) I don’t know the group very well 3) the group is mostly triathletes (again, sorry for the generalization, but do still have most of my skin).
As a cyclist for more than half my life, I do take responsibility to lead by example. I am careful at intersections. I point or call out debris and road furniture. but, most importantly, I don’t take my eyes off the road, I make myself aware spatially, and I listen constantly.
Group Rides are very fun, and help break-up the monotony of bike training. As triathletes, cycling is where we spend MOST of our time, and where we get much of our base fitness. Group Rides are a great place to meet new people, get to know your teammates or other area cyclists/triathletes, and if you are in a strong enough group, can be a great place to work on your speed and power.
People fall off bikes, it just happens. But don’t let the chance of falling bikes and people dissuade you from participating in group rides. If you are a new cyclist, join a group ride that has a no drop policy or lists A, B, and C groups. This way you can get in a group with other people in your ability range. There will often be one or two group mentors that will help you learn the group etiquette. As your confidence and ability increase you too will start to be an example for the rest of the group, and your enjoyment of the Group Ride will increase…pretty soon, you will be sprinting for that 35mph sign at the end of the ride and mixing it with the “Big Boys and Girls”
Have fun…and Be Safe.
Recently, I have been performing an unofficial, completely non-scientific, perhaps even mostly made up, survey while training on my bike. The goal of this survey is to come up with a comprehensive list of the things drivers and/or passengers throw from their cars into the road.
Please keep in mind that the results are largely based on the assumption that the items found in the road are thrown by said drivers and passengers, as very few of the ’tossings’ have actually been personally witnessed.
* Those that have been witnessed were typically thrown at me, but still ended up on the road, none-the-less.
footnote: 97.3% of all statistics are 43% made up.Read More