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Monday, March 31, 2008

Animals everywhere

Last week was Spring Break for my son so the kids were together for the whole week. There were a few fevers and cases of strep, but they (and Mom) survived and had a lot fun together as usual. They spent one day at the zoo and Jen took some great pictures of the animals.

Watch out for that eel Hannah!

And we're all in love with our new 5 month old Shih Tzu Bailey that found us this weekend.

His previous owner went back to China leaving him with some relatives that live in our neighborhood and work long hours at their Chinese restaurant. They aren't home enough to give him the TLC he needs so after some negotiation$, he's come home to live with us.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I’m joining the aliens

And yes, that alien is made of veggies.

Here's the news flash: I was able to successfully secure an extremely rare (at least until September) white Rudy Project Syton helmet. The blue ones abound but wouldn’t match my bike at all. Amazingly, had 10 white ones in stock in the S/M size of the SuperComp variety. Originally I had ordered the Syton Open from E-Rudy but was later informed that the next shipment from the manufacturer wasn’t due until September. Everyone else on the planet seems to be out of the white ones with the exception of some guy in Italy with a used one listed on eBay. There are a couple of things I simply won’t buy used and helmets are one of them. Some others are underwear and car seats for my kids.

The Syton Open is simply a scaled-down version of the SuperComp without the ear covers and visor thingy. The only drawback for me is paying extra dough for the SuperComp with the possibility that I may not be using the ear covers and visor thingy unless 1) they don’t get in my way 2) they’re comfortable.

I decided to race with an aero helmet after reading some fantastic claims that wearing one can save you up to two minutes on a 40k time trial. I’m not sure if I believe this or not, but if it’s true, it’s one of the most economical things you can do to improve your bike split. Most pro triathletes wear them and it seems that all pro cyclists wear them for time trials. There must be something to them I suppose, so as long as I don't look too goofy ~ think of the cover girl from the last Triathlon Life issue ~ I'll give 'em a try.

I always liked the look of the Syton because it’s the least dorky looking aero-helmet in my opinion (and apparently many others’ opinion judging from the supply shortage) but two things really sealed the deal for me on this helmet. The first was the last year’s Bike Sport review of this helmet in comparison to a few others. The absolute kicker for me was this statement, “Ventilation is better than any aero helmet we tried making the Syton Open ideal for extremely hot conditions”. Anyone who’s raced in South Carolina knows the heat is always a BIG factor.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but the other reason was aesthetics. The shape of the helmet perfectly mimics the shape of the white paint that begins on the head tube of my bike and separates into two flanges that taper down either side of the top tube.

If you look at the Syton from the top, you’ll see that this is the same shape of the helmet, where the crown part of the helmet separates into two aero flanges that taper toward the back.

Cool huh? Another aspect of the aesthetics that I like is the fact that the crown part of the helmet looks more like a regular cycling helmet in that it has ridges in it and is not shaped like a dome ~ and everyone knows that all aliens have dome shaped heads.

I’m joining the aliens but I don’t really want to look like one if I can help it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The season begins

And I missed the first race! By the time I decided to register it was full. I’m talking about the Paris Island Sprint Triathlon. I wasn’t really keen on doing this one in the first place because it’s really more like a Super-Sprint with just a 500 meter indoor pool swim (Lame-O!!) but then thought that any tri is better than no tri. By that time the thing was full.

Anyway, I was a little surprised to see that Stephen Shenal won our age group. I lost to him at my first tri ever (Langley Pond Sprint) last year by less than a minute but then was able to beat him at the Festival of Flowers and SC Half and although he race the Sprint at Hickory Knob and I raced the International, I think I outpaced him still on the longer distances. This is another testament to how screwed up the Setup Events “Series” scoring is because here’s another case where I was clearly the faster triathlete in 2007 but ended up scoring less series points because of the races I chose to race. Don’t get me started!

I have to give Stephen props because he’s obviously done a good bit of work in the off-season and it showed in his times at PI compared to last year. He shaved almost a minute off a 500 meter swim, about a minute off his 5k time and he was 5 minutes faster on the bike!! I don’t know if this was a fluke or what, but he even beat Radek Parnica who absolutely kills it in the Open (formerly Elite) division. I’m guessing that Radek’s 34 minute bike time was because of a flat, penalty, injury or something because the guy finished 4th in the Elite division last year.

Last year Stephen was someone I kept my eye on but didn’t worry about too much, but it looks like this year may be a different story … Stephen may be the one to beat in the 30-34 AG. However, I'm sure there’s more lurkers like me that haven’t shown their face yet. Another one to watch out for that came out strong at PI that I routinely beat last year is Matt Barker; he’s looking stronger this year than last. And of course there’s David; always a strong competitor who I know is not in a peak period right now (I follow his training here). He’s just started getting back in the pool after his off-season and his high intensity cycling and running has just begun as well. He’ll be coming on really strong in the coming races.

Hopefully everyone in the 30-34 AG comes out for Langley and races the International with their “A game” so we can see how things stack up for 2008. I’m already looking forward to 2009 when I don’t have the IM looming with all it’s zone 2 training and can focus on speed for these short course (with exception of the HIM) series races. For this year, I’ll just have to take it as it comes and hope for the best … but I still intend to be the one to beat in the 30-34 AG, so bring it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Core Board

I just received this email from the Wellness Center here @ work. I thinking of trying this out but I'm wondering if it's gimmiky and worth my time. I guess I'll check it out and see:

New Core Board Classes at the Wellness Center

Introduction To Core Boards
Mondays 1:05 - 1:35 p.m. Tuesdays 6:15 - 6:45 a.m.Wednesdays 12:05 - 12:35 p.m.
*No sign up necessary. Just attend class and select “Intro to Core Board” from the activity list when you sign-in.

To view the complete March Group Fitness Schedule
click here.

Introduction to the Core Board

This class utilizes the core board—a multi axial training tool with a variably stable surface. The object is to stay on the board while doing moves like squats, lunges, push-ups, and jumps. The stability of the core board is adjustable, so beginners can work with an almost stable surface. The more advanced you get, though, the more unstable your board should be.

What is Core Training?

Reebok Core Training is a breakthrough innovation in exercise and fitness developed by Reebok University. It is based on the premise that improved torso strength improves limb function. This class focuses on conditioning and training the body’s central zone or core using reaction, the process in which the body moves and learns to move. By focusing on the root of usable strength, the torso, core training improves functional conditioning, reactive movement and quality of exercise. Core generated movement helps develop control, precision, strength and suppleness simultaneously. Improved core strength and conditioning makes all other exercise and training more effective.

Reebok core training develops:

Torso strength
Reactive movement
Control, precision and suppleness
Total body strength

To find schedules & upcoming programs, visit UnumCentral.

—> Go to Colonial
—> What’s Happening Now
—> Wellpower
—> Colonial Wellpower Program
—> Group Fitness Schedule

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bad blogger, I know

Yeah, I've been a really crappy blogger lately. Sometimes I question if I should be maintaining a blog outside of my training log because of the constraints on my time. That and the fact that I'm naturally introverted, but hopefully I'll warm up to the idea of sharing my life and times with the world.

What's been happening lately?

Well, my training has been pretty consistent which is a good thing, albeit a little less volume than I would like. When summer vacation comes around I hope to bring my volume up some which is going to be crucial to a solid time at IM this fall. My weekly volume is typically about 10 hours with 100 - 130 miles a week on the bike, around 20 running and 7500 meters in the pool. This is okay for my base period and short course racing which is the first half of my season.

The IRS is after me. They say I owe big brother 10k! It looks like my former employer mysteriously reported an additional $60,000 of income for my ssn for 2006, which on top of my actual reported income put me into the bracket that gets the hammer dropped on them by the man. Hmmm, would've been nice to have the extra 60k. Can you image the bike I'd be riding right now if I'd made that!!! Maybe that 14k BMC TT03 or something like that. Well, this should be fun to deal with.

I'm pretty bushed from the weekend right now. My wife had a girl's weekend away and I (with the help of my mom and father-in-law) manned the ship. I did manage a brick on Saturday thanks to Poppy! Sunday was all chores and playing with the kids. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get a training weekend at the lake house out of this. I'm going to wait until the water warms up a little so I can get some good open water swims in the wetsuit. There's really good riding in that area as well. For all you SCTS racers, y'all know what I talking about ... it the same lake where we race the Hickory Knob triathlon.

My bike sponsor and I are now in consideration of my bike setup for this season. I should know a little more on this later in the week. I've had good success on my current rig; 2 #1 AG rankings out of 3 races. The other race was the HIM and since it was my first of this distance (and first Half mary) I went super conservative on the bike. I know I'm fast in the hills on the Scott, but will it be as fast in the flats of coastal NC? I'm hoping to get the best of both worlds, a really light carbon frame that has aero tubing. We'll see what Paul comes up with. It may just be some changes to my fit and a component upgrade to the CR1, or it could be a new frame from one of the companies he sells (Scott, Trek or Jamis). There was a guy from Look in there a few weeks ago so maybe he'll start selling for them ?? I tell ya though, that new Jamis Xenith with the front brake tucked underneath the fork and the rear brake off the chain stay looks freakin' killer ... so clean from the front. High $$ frame though. More on this later ...