Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've been sticking to the plan. But, I have to tell you... I am totally gassed. My bike ride this afternoon was very uninspired. I ran 12 miles yesterday in the morning and I was wrecked for the rest of the day. As the volume is picking up, my energy is running down. This is to be expected as I'm really shocking my system. Next week, I'm going to the beach for a nice 5 day training set (long run, ocean swim, brick, long bike) and then I'll taper the following week before the Northeast Triathlon on August 16.

Tomorrow morning... 45+ minute swim at YMCA with a lunch time tempo run. No 100 mile bike ride this weekend... I'll try to get in a 60 miler on Sunday with brick on Saturday. I need to recharge the battery a little...

-- TJ

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ironman Fever

Ironman Lake Placid was yesterday. That means, you can sign up for Ironman Lake Placid today. I thought about it... seriously. It is still open. In fact, Ironman CDA is still open, too. But in the end, I'm not signing up. I'm still training for IMAZ and here I am thinking about next year already. Crazy. The only way I'm doing an Ironman in 2010 is if I get a slot at Kona.

By the way, on my ride yesterday, I got separated from the group and wound up riding the last 60 miles by myself. It was grueling and I was slow. But, the ride did indeed end with me safely at home. Next 100 mile ride will come in two weeks down at the beach.

Big shout out to all my Ironman Lake Placid Finisher buddies and also to my sister Jessica who PRed at yesterday's NYC Triathlon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


The workouts are starting to get relentless. Yesterday started with an early morning 40 minute swim at the YMCA with Colette. Then at lunch, I did a 40 minute tempo run from LA Fitness. It was hot and humid and I purposely was pushing the pace. A tough run.

Then, this morning I rode the 25 miles to JRs swim meet. Hung out there for a while to watch some races. Then I rode home and ran 25 minutes off the bike. Morning ride (leg one) was cool and at a comfy pace. The second leg was close to noon so the sun was beaming and again, I purposely rode at a good clip. I pushed the pace to get the heart rate up for the brick workout.

I had to get off my bike at a construction site. I needed to walk around the work as the road was down to one lane and traffic was backed up. I wasn't really watching where I was going even though I was now "off road". I walked into some gray mud and gummed up my bike. It took me about five minutes to get the gunk out of my wheels and brakes. Duh.

Tomorrow... ride to Sugarloaf Mountain through Georgetown and back. 6 am clip in. Relentless.

-- TJ

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

T Minus 4 Months

Sandy Point, morning July 19, 2009

Today is July 22. Ironman Arizona is November 22. So, that means we're four months out from the race. It also means it is time to get serious about training, nutrition and mental preparation.

Willie and I had dinner on Monday night and discussed some details about the trip. We've got our hotel reserved but don't have plane tickets or bike transport yet. Time to get that dialed in. Willie has also been having some trouble with his knee, but was able to complete a 60+ mile ride this past Sunday and then ran after the ride.

I bricked twice... bike/run on Saturday... swim/bike on Sunday. First open water swim (OWS) of the season. Swam in the Chesapeake Bay with DC Tri Club Half Ironman group. I wore the full body wet suit and felt pretty good.

Training schedule appears to be breaking down as such:
Friday: Morning swim, tempo run in pm
Saturday: Brick (Medium bike, 1/2 hour run)
Sunday: Long Bike
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Short bike, swim at lunch
Wednesday: Long run
Thursday: Tempo bike

Trying to do weights on Monday and Thursday but have only made it in once each week the past three weeks.

Long run this morning was good. 10 miles in 100 minutes with an average heart rate of 124. Nice, slow, steady pace. Very humid today.

Lead group 7/19 ride @ dock in Annapolis. Adam, Adrianna, AJ & TJ

-- TJ

Monday, July 13, 2009

Total 200 - Ride Report

Crossing the Patuxent River at Solomons, MD

It is really difficult to ride a bike 200 miles. Even if the ride is relatively flat, and there is a tailwind for about 80+ miles and you get to rest a little every 25 miles. When your training reaches a certain level, the physical part is really not the hardest thing. In my opinion, it is the mental game and the nutrition plan that are the two key elements to success.

I did the Total 200 last year. I was physically in better condition for last years ride than I was this year. I had trained a lot more in advance of the ride, had a better nutrition plan in place and overall was just in great shape. In fact, July 1 - August 15, 2008, I was probably in the best shape of my life.

This year's ride offered a few lessons and observations that I'd like to note here:

1. I got into the A group on the ride out to the first rest stop. Two of the six riders in the breakaway set the world record for the Race Across America (RAAM). We were going out Pennsylvania Avenue at 24 - 28 mph depending on the road grade. After I had taken a turn doing the pull, Patrick Serfas commented that "it was like it was raining when you were up front"... because I was sweating so much. My heart rate was pegged in the 160 - 170 bpm range which is way too high for such a long ride. But, I did want to see how far I could go at a pace like that. I rode with that group for 15 miles and they dropped me for good when we were going up the hill from 301 up towards Waysons Corner. They beat me to the rest stop, but not by too much. The pace was blistering and we even beat the volunteers there. They hadn't even set up yet!

Chad and I at the first rest stop. Only 180 miles to go!

2. The volunteers were awesome, again. Some DC Tri people and some people I didn't know. My mom even took a turn volunteering. Thanks Mom! She has completed some century rides herself and it was good to see her at the 6th rest stop.

3. On miles 50 -75, I was with a group of about 6 - 8 riders. I got two opportunities to take a pull. Each time, some drama happened. The first, I rode over too far and got into the "road bumps" that keep car drivers from driving off the road. Both my drink bottles shot out. I had to stop and KDOG helped me collect my gear before we clipped back in. Me in the back of the train this time. Then, when it cycled to my turn again, my chain fell off as I dropped into a different gear. GRR!!!

4. We were escorted over the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge. The bridge only has two lanes, one in each direction. And, it is a high bridge, going up 135 feet and is 1 1/2 miles long. When you reach the other side, there is an uphill to negotiate. I was dropped this year by the group. I was joined by one other straggler, Laurel, who is training for Ironman Louisville. We let a group of 4 riders catch up to us and we stayed with them for pretty much the rest of the ride.

5. Well, except for miles 85 to 105... the last 20 miles into Point Lookout. It was apparent that we had a headwind and I was growing tired. After a second pull with this post-bridge group (and I had pulled all the way through Lexington Park), I dropped off the back and essentially rode the last 15 miles alone into the headwind. It was a dark time on the ride and I did consider dropping out. But, when I got to the park and ate a little, I felt a lot more positive. Taking off my bike shoes and helmet helped me refresh a little, too. I did hear a guy on his cell phone calling his SO and telling her he was calling it a day. I don't know who he is (was) but I felt a lot better knowing I wasn't the only person feeling the edge of my endurance. I'm just grateful I didn't DNF as he did.

6. The ride back was actually better than the ride down. The wind was behind us now and the day was not hot and humid. In fact, the weather was perfect. Relatively uneventful. Laurel got a couple of flats on the way back. I rode a little with Big Al Navidi, a fellow Clydesdale. Always fun to ride with Big Al.

Clydesdales living large

7. I actually rode strongest the final 40 miles. I had some nice pulls coming out of Deale and back into Anne Arundel County. Coming out of Waysons Corner, I fell behind going up the hill near Showplace Arena but Laurel flatted and we stopped to regroup. I then pulled us all the way up to the Beltway. I felt pretty good, overall. Mentally knowing the end is near really helps.

8. My nutrition was good though I did feel the calves and the hamstrings pulling miles 85 - 105 and then miles 150 - 175. They never seized up completely, however. I alternated between HEED and water for drinks. I used one flask of Hammer Gel and ate only one Clif bar. I did a lot of fruit at each aid station and ate some Dorito's and washed them down with a Coke at mile 150.

It is easy to say now, but I think that will be it for me and the Total 200. I'm 2 for 2. It took me a little longer this year... ride time was 10:45... and the ride wound up being 205 miles, according to my cycle computer. That is an average of over 19 mph. Not too shabby. A great test in preparation for an Ironman and I passed again.

KDOG and Laurel at the last rest stop. They both beat me back into DC.

-- TJ

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Heat is on!

I see T did his 200, so now the heat is on. I have been taking it slow since EM which was 4 weeks ago - yikes! Since I had knee issues at EM, I've had to have the bike tweaked a few times, first fix actaully made the knee worse, couldn't bend the knee at all after a 60 mile bike at the beach. Back for a second fitting and have riden a couple of 30 mile easy rides and today had no real pain.

I was very worried that it might take weeks or even months to recover, and it has brought up all the bad memories of the past injuries and has me worried. I still plan on getting back to Rehab to Racing, the team that I turned to after my surgery last year. They help people just like me recover from surgery and get back to racing. I plan on using them to help me stay injury free, or in my case injury less. I still need help on my running. Turns out, I'm not getting a break in the swim right now either, it appears the right shoulder is acting up with pain on every down stroke, I'm taking the ibuproen and icing when I get a chance. This is looking a lot like 2006 all over again.

My bright spot has been the new Cervelo, when the pain is gone, it is a lot of fun for me to actually accelerate! I also purchased new Zipp 404's since a Cervelo looks naked without them!

Anyway, were able to get in a 30 mile ride today with no pain and great acceleration, followed by a 45 min run. Still feeling some good soreness from a strong run and strength workout on Thursday, but overall felt good.

I'm back swimmimg with Patti's group on Monday's and with 19 weeks to go, will be looking to put in the same number of hours and milegae from 2006. We're talking about a 100 mile ride next Sunday in Salisbury. If that goes well, I will be feeling great and can now manily focus on running.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Total 200 - A Day to Remember

200 miles in one day. Capitol Hill to Point Lookout and back. A real test of endurance.

I need to collect my thoughts. I will do a ride report soon. I believe my ride time was 11 hours but I need to check my cycle computer.

Meanwhile, here is a photo of Chad and I at the first rest stop.

-- TJ

Friday, July 10, 2009

Total 200

One day, one ride, 200 miles.

Saturday, July 11, 2009.

Lights out, 9:15 pm this evening. 3:45 am wakeup.

-- TJ

Sunday, July 5, 2009


What does LiveStrong mean to you? To me, it means living life to the fullest despite any affliction. It may be cancer or some other disease. It may be a physical handicap or an addiction. It may be living in a time of war or a place in poverty. No matter what the challenge, to LiveStrong means to me that an individual sets the difficulty aside and lives their life as they choose. It may be cycling, or running. It may be playing music or writing poetry. It may be starting and running a business.

Of course, I write this in the context of the 2009 Tour de France. Lance Armstrong returns from retirement to ride again. And he has promised to raise awareness of cancer and its impact on the lives of so many. Yours truly, included.

I did my first brick of the season today. I rode with a 35 year old cancer survivor I met playing basketball this past offseason. This is his second year of triathlon. He survived brain cancer in his 20s. We rode 28 miles in Rock Creek Park and I rode home and transitioned to the run. Even though I fell down about 5 minutes into the run, I did a 7:45 mile in mile 1. I managed to average under 8 minute miles on the 28 minute run. Average heart rate was 151. It was a good workout and an encouraging start to "brick training".


-- TJ

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tail Wind

East view from top of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Thank God for tail winds.

Got in 96 miles today... rode from my house to Sugarloaf Mountain and back. After waking up at 4:07 am, I left my house at 6:10 am and rode down through Rock Creek Park to Georgetown. Then, out Reservoir Road to MacArthur, up Old Angler's Inn hill to the BP. I picked up a co-worker, HF, at the BP and he joined me for 56 miles. HF arrived just as I got to the BP (he drove from Falls Church). He clipped in and we went up River to Norton, hung a right and then got on Glen Road. We hit all the hills on the way out, including Black Rock.

View Larger Map
Black Rock... an evil climb in the middle of the woods.

It wasn't until we got on Comus Road that we noticed the wind... it had really picked up and was in our face. We got to the foot of Sugarloaf and HF stopped to fill up his water. After he loaded up, he questioned why he did that... perhaps better to add the weight after the descent. For the record, HF beat me up the climb... but I wasn't too far behind him.

HF looking relaxed after the 2 mile climb up Sugarloaf.

When we got back to the bottom and headed towards Dickerson, we really got rolling. We may have averaged 27 mph over the 5 or so miles to the Dickerson Market where we refilled our bottles and rested for about 5 minutes.

I am proud to say that I didn't get us lost on this ride. The last time I lead a ride out to Sugarloaf, I got off track on a number of occasions. I dialed us in this day but when we got to Whites Ferry, I felt a lack of confidence of how to get back to River Road if we continued straight on Waschle so we just took a left on Whites Ferry and rolled through Poolesville to Partership Road. The wind was behind us and I think we were going 18 or 19 mph UP the rolling hills into Poolesville. We then smoked the three miles or so to Partnership, which is a flat stretch of road with a big shoulder. I like Partnership Road as it is a fast downhill to River Road. After making the left, there is the big hill up to the T and then comes the 10 mile ride back on rolling hills to the Falls/River intersection.

That stretch of road is usually when I start suffering and it was miles 72 - 82 for the ride today. Thank God for the tail wind. It is probably the fastest I've ever done that section of road before and we actually passed some cyclists who were way ahead of us. If the wind had been in our face, it would have made today's ride very painful. So, I am grateful for the tail wind. It was a nice push over those 10 miles.

I dropped HF off at the BP and continued cruising home. The only thing to report on the rest of the ride is that the AT&T National is this week and part of my ride home went right through Ground Zero over there. I rode on a section of Bradley Blvd. and the road was choked with traffic and pedestrians. My observation is that it seems like a lot of walking to watch golf. There were thousands of people walking and walking but I never saw a fairway or a green. Honestly, it looked like the Republican National Convention, too. I hadn't seen that many white people since I was at Verizon Center for a hockey game.

Left off Perismmon Tree onto Bradley and then WHAMMY... women with hats and guys with loafers and no socks.

Anyway... it's 4th of July weekend... so I'll get some training in, for sure. I had an uninspired swim last night after lifting weights... the first time I'd been in a pool since June 19. I need to get into a swim routine... I'm dialed in on the bike right now and am starting to feel real good running. Tempo run and swim tomorrow, perhaps. I plan on doing my first brick on Sunday. Next weekend... the Total 200! Todays ride definitely helped prep me for that ride. And, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. God is great.

Maybe Willie will post an update on how his training is going.

Would the ride go faster if I rode the bike rather than carry it?

-- TJ

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cervelo Saga

I now have my 4th Cervelo bike in 18 months. Let me take you through the timeline.

December 2007: I purchased a brand new 58 cm Cervelo P2C from Conte's in Arlington, VA. The bike had a DA kit and served me well. Shortly before Ironman Florida 2008 when tuning up the bike, Conte's discovered a crack in the frame. They felt I could still do the race with the bike and I averaged 20 mph on the bike course (just had to get that in there).

Cervelo P2C primed for NJ Triathlon 2008.

November 2008: I turned my bike over to Conte's so they could hammer out details with the Cervelo rep. I never did see the crack but I believe it was on the downtube under the seat on the rear of the tube. I left the bike in the shop and they said it'd take a few weeks to wrap it up. As I was done of the season, I just kind of let it go and didn't even give the bike I had spent so much time on a proper goodbye.

February 2009: I finally followed up with Conte's and evidently, Cervelo wasn't willing to play ball. Conte's offered me a deal where they'd give me a Cervelo P3 frame and a new Wolf CRL front fork, as the old one was toast. The P3 frame was a 61 cm so I thought awful hard about it. I finally thought that this would be the best deal for me so I did the swap. They took the components off my old P2C and installed them on my P3 and I rode it home.

It is standing still... but still looks fast. Cervelo P3.

April 2009: So, I start riding again and I put about 500 miles on the bike. Seth at Conte's gave me a good fit and the bike was working out ok. It was big, but I was handling it and getting in some good training.

June 2009: By this point in time, I'm starting to feel the bike is a little too big for me. I was on a ride with a fellow DC Tri Club member... a big guy who is at least 6' 4". He was telling me about how he was looking to buy a P2 but they didn't have one in his size and his color. I got to thinking... I wonder if he'd buy a 58 cm P2 and trade it for my P3. I emailed him about my plan and he agreed that it was a good idea!

On Jun 2, 2009 11:29pm, Tom Collins wrote:
> Casey... let me bounce an idea off you...
> Would you be interested in buying my Cervelo P3 for the same price as a brand new P2C?
> It has a DA kit and is a 61.
> -----------------------------
> TJ
> Ironman

On Jun 3, 2009, at 7:39 AM, CC wrote:
TJ, I just might. What's making you want to sell it?
- Casey

On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 7:41 AM, Tom Collins wrote:
It's a little too big for me. I really should be riding a 58.

On Jun 3, 2009, at 11:44 AM, CC wrote:
TJ, your offer sounds good to me. Would you mind if Conte's gave the bike a quick look prior to buying it?

So, we make the deal. Casey rides off on my P3 and I get a brand new P2! Full DA kit with the new Vision brakes... very slick.

Casey on my old P3... boo hoo...

2009 Cervelo P2... yeah!

Late June 2009: After a long ride, I'm just looking over my bike and I see what appears to be a crack on the frame! Again, it's on the downtube under the seat but this time it's on the front. I ride it over to Conte's and they look it over. Definitely a crack. They hold on to the bike as they talk to the Cervelo rep. This time, I guess he relents and they agree to give me a new frame.

Close up of crack on frame... BOO!

Crack was located in front of the "e" under the seat on the downtube.

July 2009: So, now I have a new frame, my 4th new Cervelo frame since December 2007. I plan on clipping in for a 100+ mile ride on Friday. I'll take some pix of the journey. Let's hope everything holds up this time around. I really appreciate all the hard work Conte's has been doing in order to keep me happy. Scott and Jody run a great bike shop.

Seth of Conte's dialing in my aero bars.

-- TJ