Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lake Lopez Triathlon Race Report (And Cool Camping Pics)

Lake Lopez is near San Luis Obispo, and for a few summers when I was a kid we were up there all the time for my dad to go windsurfing and for us kids to enjoy the lake.  Very sentimental place.  I camped with my good buddy Alex and my mom and her boyfriend, Michael.  Julia, sadly was on a show - next time!  Anyway, I'll keep this brief.

My goal was to (hopefully) PR and possibly go sub 2:40.  But I did not do my homework on the course and decided to "do well" in the field (like top 5 age group?) would be great.  Since it's a small race I knew that might be possible.

Woke up early - freezing.  Air was in the 40s.  Let's swim in a lake?  WTF am I doing here?  Shockingly the water was warmer than the air.

Swim:  Good clip.  Towards the front of my wave start.  Could not spot the buoys or beach in the last quarter due to sun glare.  Lost at least 30 seconds getting in line.

T1:  Not feeling your feet makes getting into the bike shoes tough.

Bike:  Tail wind.  HEAD WIND + HILLS.  Long long rollers and false flats with the course culminating at mile 19 with a CRAZY hill.  We're talking 16% grade I'm told.  Dudes in $5000 bikes WALKING their bikes up.  It took all I had to make it to the top, then it was mostly downhill back.  I flew, but still only averaged about 18mph on this tough windy course.

T2:  Problem with my shoe, but oh well - only lost 15-20 sec.

Run:  A chore.  Man it was tough getting into a groove.  Rolling hills again and a long false flat until the turnaround.  Paced it well and tried to push the pace the last few.  But it was tough work!

Final time: 2:47...bummer!  BUT....good for 5th in my division!  (Although I think there were only about 10+ in the division!!!)

It sure felt great to soak in the lake afterwards.  Did another brick (bike/run) today (Sunday) and had TWO blowouts.  My tire is totally gashed and I'm lucky I didn't have to walk back!  After I patched the tube I ended up literally putting a few dollar bills in between the tube and the tire!  Can't remember where I heard that trick, but it worked for me!

Camping at this cool spot was a blast.  Great weekend.

Here are some cool pics I took last night:

Monday, March 22, 2010

The LA Marathon Experience

What a day!  (Well, yesterday...)

I woke up at about 4 AM to ride with a few friends from the Westside to the start at Dodger Stadium on the dark streets of LA.  The sunrise once we arrived was stunning.

I went out with the LA TriClub as a "pace timer."  On our bikes we basically leap-frogged the elite athletes and called their times into the media.  

Talk about a bird's eye view.  For several miles we would tail the field of elite men by mere feet!  It was amazing.

We were caught on TV quite a bit!  (This newscaster got a lot of sun...)

After the race I did a sequence of timelapses.  I got some killer vantage points with my Media Pass (long story!)

All in all an incredible day and I'm proud of my friends who all had a killer time on such a great course. (LA FINALLY got it right!)  Great job runners!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Solvang Century Race (Ride) Report

It's been a crazy week of training....a peak week, and since my injured IT Band has been recovery nicely a lot more intensity has been thrown in.  The highlight was my first 100 mile ride --- the Solvang Century.  I stayed up at my mom's house, about 30 minutes from the small Danish town of Solvang.  After waking up at 5:15 I suited up and headed Northeast.  I saw a small red fox run across the road as I neared the start, that definitely woke this nature lover up!  The first thing I noticed was the insane wind.  It's not often that you look at a forecast and it has ARROWS (representing wind) as the icon (usually sun, clouds, etc...)  They had predicted 20-30 mph winds all day....Yikes.

I started slightly after 7 AM and worked my way through the farm land.  From time to time massive "pelotons" would streak by at 20 mph and then get promptly broken up at the sight of a roller.  It was really fun spending some time in these large groups of 40+ cyclists.  It certainly helped with the wind!  I ended up meeting up with another LA Tri member, Chris Bird at around mile 30 --- we stuck together for 15 or so miles before I went off on my own.  At times I was powering through the crazy wind by myself, at times I was leading pacelines.  Rarely could I find a group that wasn't riding too fast or too slow.  It's ok, all that wind certainly made the trek rougher, which was the point of the day!

Somewhere in all of the insane beauty the course offered we were halted as cattle crossed the road!  So witty dude yelled "cow up!"  I laughed.

My coach, Rom had told me to really push hard the last 30 miles, which included the hardest rollers on the course (and also the most tired legs.)  I took this to heart, and despite hitting "mini walls" at miles 60 and 80 was able to push through, passing hordes of people who went out too hard.  The last 10 miles I was finally on the right side of the wind and flew into town at 30+ mph.  If it weren't for the crazy rough road this would have been the best part of the day.  The last bit of the course was the same as the SB Wine Country Half Marathon - so I got to avenge the two hills that cost me those 2/10 of a second that had me go just over 1:50 last May!  Cruising in I noticed that the finish was 1 miles short by my count.  I wanted those triple digits!  So I road up a half mile, turned around and called my first 100 miler complete in about 6:08.  Very happy with a 16 mph average on the windiest day I've ever ridden in.  

Although I was totally spent, I was oddly energized.  Despite thinking on the course "and I'm planning on running a marathon after this?"  I can actually begin to wrap my head around the idea.  Training is working...but I'm still freaking bloody tired!  But my spirits are definitely lifted by my most recent purchase at the expo....a Dr Pepper cycling jersey!  I think I'll have to wear this in my big race...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

4 Months to Go

It's been awhile since my last blog update, and for good reason.  I've been busy, but also injured!  Thankfully I'm on the upside, but the IT Band issue never got better.  Despite still swimming and cycling through it, my run has suffered.  I've still been putting in light miles, but I started physical therapy, will get orthotics for my running shoes and will be back at 100% VERY soon.

The bike has improved drastically.  Two weeks ago I was in Santa Barbara for the week premiering my piece "The Remarkable Farkle McBride" for over 3,000 school kids.  It couldn't have gone better and we're looking at planning a family concert for the public in the fall.  With any luck it'll also go to other orchestras.  Exciting!  

The Orchestra

The Kids

During my stay I went on an EPIC ride.  I made it up the famed Gibraltar Road, despite having to catch my breath (and legs) 4 times.  I netted about 4,600 feet of gain in just 45 miles.  Killer.  The climbs have continued, as this last weekend I set a Latigo PR of about 57 minutes without standing up out of the seat.  Me and the crew added Piuma as well which was 5 miles of pure hell.  STEEP.  But I'm feeling more and more confident with my climbing - netted about 5,200 feet of gain in 75 miles.  France has 5,900 in 112 miles - so I'm very close!

Top of Gibraltar Road, Santa Barbara

Top of Latigo Canyon, stretching and waiting for my friends.

The bike fit I just got from Nate Loyal is phenomenal.  Great guy too - actually saw him randomly TWICE on my long ride.  Descending Las Flores (very steep) a motorcycle pulls up beside me and the dude says "How ya doing buddy?  It's Nate!"  Too funny.  He's asking me how the fit is, etc.  Awesome.

So I'm in PT, stretching a TON and getting better and stronger.  Can't complain.  Less than 4 months out, except for the run (which is coming back!) I'm feeling right on track.

*** If you'd like to hear a highlight reel of the orchestra piece drop me a line and I'll forward you the link! ***


About Me

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Film composer moonlighting as a runner, cyclist and triathlete