Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Controversy in the ETU champs

This is the link to the article, but I’d imagine triathlon forums may be talking about the issue. I haven’t got much time to read them, though.

What happened? If you check the video, it appears that the guy in white is blocking the guy in blue. The guy in white is the Pom boy, the blue boy is Gomez. The blue guy is not doing any visible effort to dodge the obstacle and swim towards the rest of the field, but the video is not great quality.

Gomez was not happy about it, and referees have given him some credit, as the brit was disqualified.

The matters opens the question, though, of where do you draw the line. Races at the elite levels are about medals, points for the athlete, points for the country and a bit of argy-bargy about who’s top dog. Wether the purists like it or not, there's obvious team tactics involved.

Drafting races see many times younger guys sacrificing themselves and working hard for the big boys who can later run a sub 33, which is where you need to be these days. Not many breakaways succeed, and when they do is because someone didn’t pay attention or the race was not that important. Is the drafting part of triathlon becoming more of a team sport and this incident is just one symptom?

So, I ask, where does the line need to be drawn? An athlete is penalized for blocking another athlete. Doesn’t that happen at any race at some point or another?, doesn’t it happen often in a 30 or plus guys bunch riding or running into a 180º turn?.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Updates, TdF and the Ironbunch

The two weeks of stress are finished. I was getting ready for my final exams and I had a “moderate” week in the middle. And plenty at work. The results? I think I ticked all the boxes in rather good shape. The exams will be on an 80 to 90 % (I think); the work stuff is back to semi-normality and training I missed only one session.

The ironbunch is the group of my training buddies who are doing IM next march, they run a group ride at the civilized hour of 8am on the Sundays. And I join them every now and then. The last time was Sunday a week ago, in a horribly wet Auckland winter day. I started my thing after 6am and was at their meeting place by 8.15. It followed with a flat 15km into their ride (by now I was over 3 hours). I decided to peel off at one intersection, and head back to the city. The rest of their circuit was great training, but I had no more spare tubes and no much food.

10 minutes before the city I got another flat. Although I didn’t panic, I was quite unhappy about the prospect of calling Nat to pick me up. I decided to inflate and ride, and then inflate and ride and then inflate and ride until I got to a bike shop 5km up the road. The strategy worked quite well, the only problem was that the shop was closed. Lucky for me, another training mate was just stopped at the lights, and I got a free tube to keep going. When I finished it was 6.15 hours and 5.40 of riding.

I’ve also finished the first block of base prep. for IM, a total of 36 hours of cycling (‘bout 900km) 13 hours of running (close to 150km) and 11 hours (28km) of swimming spread in 3 weeks. The body is OK but I am in serious need of stretching and core stuff… next big thing is to get a membership for a gym running back.

And the TdF is finally here!, only a week to go and a month of joy… pity I don’t have satellite TV to see the full stages.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

nice surprise

Dear Secret Friend
Thank you very very much for the cool book about Le Tour you left on my letterbox yesterday. It certainly made an impression and I am very humbled by your words. I did not know that I was an inspiration for anyone, let alone that I deserved to be recognized with such a cool present.
it's the shape of a bike wheel!

I must add that my wife is not very impressed and I had to face an inquest about who was the “lady friend who left you a book on the letterbox”. It was all clarified when we did a thorough examination of your handwriting and concluded that it is a male. (that seemed to give her some peace). It is now a matter to narrow down the list of people who knows where I live and we’ll get there (remember I work as an investigator and I never miss). Once I find you, I shall invite you with a good ol’ flat white and a muffin at some fancy place. Alternatively, send me and email. I am very thankful, though.

As I was saying, the book is really cool and it’s sitting on my bedside table already. My training programme demanded a 1hour55min run yesterday, and I was coming home thinking to shorten it to 1.30 and be happy. Then the discovery of a present put a bit of a cheer on me and it helped me finish what was on the programme. This time around it was a case of mind over body. We had a hard VO2 set on Monday, and my calves, and hammies were quite sore. I thoughed it and went for the 115min run with a big smile on my face.

I was tired, but the rainbow made it good

Monday, June 13, 2011

Body over mind

Auckland waterfront at dawn in early june
Many have said that endurance sports is a matter of mind over body. I won’t probably argue with that statement, although I must say that sometimes it is a matter of body over mind. A quick example. I’ve been waking up about 6am most days in order to fit in longer rides and be able to have the rest of the day to do other stuff. The sleep hours have steadied up on 7 to 8 hours which is not bad at all. Anyway, back to my example: Woke up on Sunday at 5.45 and it was pouring down quite heavily. I said I’d better wait and see and go in a half hour (usually it takes me 10min from the alarm sound to me being on my bike outside home). Next thing I know it was 8 in the morning! I mean… it didn’t even took an effort to sleep straight 2 hours. I wanted to go out, I’ve already woken up and I was more than ready for it, but I have my body 2minutes and it just fell off to dreamland.

There is no question that my body needed the rest, and there wasn’t even a fight between mind and body, the body just went for it. It’s crazy how sometimes we forget this small lessons. I guess next Saturday I’ll be going to bed earlier, or sleeping a bit more and re-organizing my day in a better way.

Other than that it was an average winter weekend: long ride on the Saturday, long-ish ride on the Sunday. Saturday customary pizza and plenty of coffee, books and time with my other half. (We’re going for 10 years together this week… I call that endurance as well!)

On the run front, today is VO2 set days, and I am feeling more than VO1. We have to meet a very demanding target running for 7.5min. The distance to be run is taken from the infamous cooper’s test, which we did 2 weeks ago. My result? Just over 3500m in 12 minutes. How was I a year ago? Here is the answer. Does that mean I’m worst off? Nope, well…I hope so. It means I’m on a different phase of training.

Anyway, enough for today, be safe out there,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Living the dream

I'm not talking about me here, it's been a miserable three weeks on the weather front. I'm talking about my good mate Reado, who is in Germany racing the northern summer season for a club. Go and see his website it's got good photos and updates of sunny Europe. His decision to go and race in Europe is not a light one to do for a 30 odd year old guy, as you have to leave partner, work and other stuff behind, I mean, he's at that stage where he doesnt make a living out of triahtlon, so I take my hat to him for his ballsy move.

As I was saying, it's been a pretty boring couple of three weeks, but that doesn't take away that I've been a good boy. Since my last post there's been a meeting with the coach, a new programme and plenty of hours on the saddle, and the trainers. Swimming has been average, but not to shabby at all. A quick update on the three disciplines:
Swimming: winter is back to basics, and we've done lots of drills at the pool. The good news for me is that over the seasons I've learned to master most of what my hands and arms should do. This year the focus is on the hips, and getting them to coordinate witht he rest of the body in the stroke. It looks like i'm quite stiff out there.
Cycling: hours, hours and more hours. I've made sure I cycle at least 4 times a week for the last 4 weeks. Going to works, small 45 min rides and so on at a low level of exertion. All has gone good with plenty of wet days. (today being the latest examples). I was involved in minor bike vs. car incident, but lucky me, I hit the car instead of the car hitting me, so all in pretty good nick.
Running: I'm quite average on that front, and I am starting to worry. Speed wise I am fine for the time of the year. But the mileage I am running seems to be a bit on the short side for a long distance event. I will consult with coach for some instructions.

So...have a programme, but this time around there's a new dynamic to it. I have a set of requirements for the week, and I can later organize with some discretion. I'm entering into week 3 of the first block of 4, and it's been pretty good. I'm above the number of hours on some, but spot on in the levels of excertion. The programme, the work pressure and sudying for uni exams meant that I'm doing a lot of solo stuff, wich I guess can't hurt as mental preppin for the big IM.

I've taken a few photos, mainly of scenic rides, will upload them soon.

Other than that, I expect to be more regular on keeping the log.