Friday, July 30, 2010

A's NY reflections

Hi All! E and I had a great trip to NY and VT for Ironman Lake Placid. We were well prepped for the race and had a great trip. The end, with a B&B stay and then wanderings around Burlington, VT, before our flight home even felt like vacation! The vacation extended a few days here in Boulder as I finished my reading from the plane and am trying to get back to "normal," whatever that is. So nice!

So...... After 7 tries at the iron-distance, I set a small PR (49 seconds!), had my highest placing in my age group (5th), and had a well-executed race where I really have no excuses or interesting happenings to report from the swim, bike, or run. I was excited to have a race where I felt like I gave it everything I had to give.

Unfortunately, I did not earn a Kona slot, and I also missed my goal time, by a lot, so my emotions are a strange mix of elation for a race where I felt I went hard, took risks, and used up all my resources, frustration at the missed Kona slot and final time/place, and confusion at what I could have done differently since my prep was awesome and I thought my execution went pretty well. Maybe I'm just not as fast as I want to think I am? Anyways....

We are moving on now after 5 years of ironman racing. No WTC or ironman in our future for now. I am a bit lost on how to cope without a race of this magnitude to prepare and train for. I know I will need a focus soon, but don't feel rushed to find "what's next" just yet.

This was not meant to be a race report, that is still coming, just a quick update to say we had a great vacation, and I had a good race but one that has me searching for something new to chase. Hopefully that something is a good challenge, but also something I can achieve and find some satisfaction in. The road has been fun to travel on so far, let's see what's around the next bend!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lake Placid Reports Coming Soon...

Sunday was the race.

Monday was packing up, going to the award banquet, and heading out of Lake Placid (to a wonderful bed and breakfast at Point Au Roche).

Yesterday was spent visiting Burlington, VT and flying back to CO.

We finally got back to the Peoples Republic of Boulder this morning at 1:30 am. Sammy the cat was quite happy to see us and kept head butting and licking us as we tried to fall asleep.

It is a strange feeling not being signed up for an Ironman (at this point last year, we were signed up for Canada in August '09, St George in May '10, and Lake Placid). Strange but freeing as well.

Anyways, we'll have our race reports up soon. I hope.

Peace Out,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


This topic has been stewing in my brain for a few months. In that time, it may have lost some "spicy flavor" but likely also gained a few extra "ingredients." It all started back in March/April as we were preparing for Ironman St. George. One of our scheduled long bike/runs was a ~6 h ride, with climbing, followed by a 60 min run. We decided to drive the 7 miles to Lagerman's Reservoir so we could run right after on the glorious dirt roads that cut through the farm and ranch country up in Boulder County. A quick detour to recover our forgotten helmets (we rarely drive to bike and, well, just forgot to load them into the car) we mounted our tri-bikes and were rolling north to Masonville and the Rist Canyon Loop just beyond.

The trip to Masonville was fairly routine (honestly, I do not remember much of that part after 2.5 months, so I'm just assuming it was routine, E may need to correct me). We rolled up to the 1 stop sign in town, turned right, and began the loop. The first part was familiar as it is part of the Loveland Lake to Lake course, but then we took another left turn onto the first dam for Horsetooth Reservoir and headed into uncharted territories. This started me thinking about all the canyons around us and how many of them we have ridden.

The area around Boulder has many riding opportunities, but we are situated in a place where the plains meet the mountains. That means that, when riding, you can choose flat/rolling, or you can climb a canyon. We have ridden many canyons in the Boulder area. For the first few years, we mostly only rode Lefthand Canyon. I have ridden Lefthand Canyon in all weather, and at all times (I still remember my first solo ride there, it was the day before the Bolder Boulder 10 km run). It has some peacefullness to it, possibly due to the familiarity bred from repetition. The grade changes some here and there, but it is all mild until the last mile before Ward. There you turn right and start to CLIMB! Lately, we have continued on, climbing past the Peak-to-Peak Highway to the fee station for Brainard Lake. And we have been doing time trials from Highway 36 to Ward for the past few years, too (not yet this year, but we'll see what July brings). My first year here, I also roller skied this canyon at least once a week (sometimes twice) all fall. We have even run on this road now, too (though we turned at Olde Stage to get steeper climbing).

Sometimes we'd take the spur off Lefthand Canyon up to Jamestown, but only a few times have we been past the general store in town, and only twice have we ridden Super Jamestown in its entirety. Lately, the Jamestown route has been our after-work-during-the-week time trial (though again, not yet this year). From 36 it is 8 miles and a good gauge of fitness. This last Saturday was our second trip up past town all the way onto the dirt and beyond and it was much easier than I remembered, likely a combination of better fitness and better bikes (and bigger rear chain rings with 27 teeth).

We also tend to ride up St. Vrain Canyon, Golden Gate Canyon, and Big Thompson Canyon (sometimes with the turn at Drake to include Glenhaven, sometimes without.... mmmmm, cinnimon rolls in Glenhaven, mmmmmm....). Golden Gate is often only once a year (pain to ride to the start from Boulder), but the others are common additions to our riding menu. We only descend Boulder Canyon, and only ~once a year (too much traffic, limited shoulder, traffic is FAST), though we do use a few miles of it to get to the start of Sugarloaf and Magnolia roads.

We have never ridden Coal Creek Canyon (hmmm...).

And until this year, we had never ridden Rist Canyon. The closest we got included use riding up Stove Prairie Road, not knowing where we were, and turning around right at the Junction to Rist Canyon Road.

I like new things. Very much. Especially new experiences. Needless to say, I was EXCITED to ride up Rist Canyon. When the day arrived, however, it was less than ideal. I was up before 2 am to go in to work and assist in a critical process step on the production floor. I thought I might be home by 3 or 4 am and get some more sleep, but it was after 5 am before I did get home, so we decided to eat and get rolling (this low sleep may have contributed to the forgotten helmets....). Then the wind started howling. By the time we dropped off the last Horsetooth dam and hit Bellvue it was whipping out of the West. Which meant a headwind as we climbed up the canyon. The canyon starts pretty narrow and twisty. And you climb up. After a while you think you might be nearing the top as you pass a side road on the left with ~50,000 mailboxes at its mouth. And you keep climbing up. Up a bit further the road shifts left and the surface changes and it rougher (chip seal?). Still not the top. Still climbing up. Then you pass the Christmas tree farm, a U-cut place. And keep climbing. Then it seems to open up a tad, you start to go down hill (what the heck?), and if you are lucky, the gale-force winds are now drifting snow across the road in drifts that extend past the centerline. Then it actually starts snowing! Still you climb up, past fancy ranches, past hand-hewn log fences, up through steep swichback. Onward you climb. I gave up multiple times (there were too many false tops for my wind-frazzled, sleep deprived psyche) and was a pile of mush when we did crest the top. A quick pee in the bushes and well-earned Snickers bar (Almond, yum!) righted my spirits and we remounted our bikes for the fun descent down Stove Prairie Road to finish the loop back to Masonville. Then we retraced our path from the morning, battling the wind the whole way back. Once at the car we skipped the planned run in favor of sleep. The run was only an hour and the wind had extended our bike more than that amount of time past what we intended, anyways (all for a mere 102 miles!).

Then a few weeks ago (June 19th, to be exact), we met our friend Karl to ride this route again. This time we climbed up Stove Prairie Road and descended Rist Canyon. My whole mood towards this place changed (Stove Prairie has been my favorite road to ride from home ever since the first time on it, but Rist Canyon was too brutal for me to do much more than shudder each time I thought of it). It was so green up there! We intended a 6 h ride, but had a beautiful, tail-wind assisted ride up Stove Prairie that got us up to our turnaround point much faster than anticipated, and it was cool and green and we did not want to leave, so we continued on to Rist Canyon to make a loop out of it. Going down was FUN and very fast (20 minutes, not the 2+ hours we climbed in April). The whole ride was grand, simply grand. I will conceed that that may be partly due to the Karl-supertrain that pulled us back to Longmont from the Conoco station on Highway 34 in ~1 h. I just tucked in behind in my aerobars (I never draft in the aerobars, but...) and Karl was so smooth, steady, and straight that I felt safe and fast. I like going 23-25 mph with ~ 120 watts of effort!

The canyons here are beautiful and challenging, and make for some great biking.