Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hot at Huntsville

paddle put in at HuntsvilleWell, we knew this was the weather we would get on race day since its been like this for about the past month! Hot and humid! At least at Muleshoe it wasnt humid. It would be different at Huntsville, so we trained in the nastiness as much as possible to try and get acclimated to it...but who can really get totally acclimated to this damn weather?! So we started off the week after Muleshoe with HART training on Monday and Tuesday, I took the next couple of days off for no explainable reason, swim on Friday, trail bike on Saturday, and then another recon at Huntsville on Sunday. Dave P, Monica K, and Dennis P were there as well. I could stay for only one lap, so I tried to make the most of it and pushed the pace. I was sopping wet with sweat at the end. With that, I left them with the rest of their training session while I zipped back to the H to move stuff into my office in the new building.

another day of clear skies, but super hot!Race week started with HART training on Tuesday and Thursday and I swam on Friday to keep the muscles loose. It was nice not having to drive on Friday and sleep in my own bed...but the risk was that it was a different routine. I was starting to get used to the leave work in the early afternoon, drive to race site, pre-ride, dinner, sleep routine. Oh well, my body would just have to deal with the increase in rest. I did go over to Whit and Aaron's to meet his parents, but we were back home by around 9 or so. The big "L" he signed over his forehead said it all, but I had to race early in the morning! I left with no remorse.

chillin with Slick RickWe got up early and made the drive north to exit 109. We were one of the first racers there, so I was able to save a good spot for all the HART teams--there would be a lot of us this time because it was so close to Houston. I think there were 17 or so teams from HART alone. Scottie went off to do her registration volunteer thing while I set up TA and re-rigged her bike...long story short, after borrowing Mo's bike after running over hers, she got hers back in time from the shop, just after wrecking Mo's and sending it to the shop. By the time I was all set up, TA was full with racers and pretty much all the HART teams were there.

TA chaosAfter all the pre-race rituals, we were there at the starting line, in the front row again. I wanted to keep pace as long as possible with the top teams. With no fanfare, we were off! Pace was fast, but I was still feeling good. We again let the super fast go and kept a pretty good clip still, faster than the past races. We were actually in front of Keith and Bobby's team and the first place coed team in the series for once! But I knew with the heat my pace would most likely slow down a bit and it did. Scottie egged me on to tow faster, but I was going as fast as my legs would go--brain said, "go faster!", legs said, "hell no!" So we kept a steady, somewhat slower pace for the last portion of the run.

the startWe made it back to TA still in front of a few of the fast teams and transitioned to the boat. This is where the real hell happened. We got in the boat relatively fast, but then I noticed something a bit different this time. There was a small amount of water in the boat. At first I figured that we must have just brought it in with our soaked shoes when getting in, but at the first turn at the observation stand, we were swamped with water! WTF?!? The boat wasnt going flat, so it wasnt that--I just couldnt figure out where the water was coming from! It eventually got up past my knees! I guess we could have stopped and bailed, but without knowing where it was coming from, I figured it would just fill up again. So we were paddling very hard just to keep us and our swamped rubber duckie moving forward. Normally we would be passing or keeping pace with the teams around us, but we were continuously getting passed like we were standing still! Frick! I was distraught, but with no other option I went into overdrive to no avail. We eventually made it back to shore, but not before being passed by almost 10 teams!

run!At this point I was spent from muscling that extra water around the lake. Still, I tried to mash on the bike to catch up to the other coed teams. We were still catching up to teams, but not at the furious pace that we usually do. Frank, on a coed masters team, for some reason called us out before the race even though we werent in the same category, so we kinda wanted to at least beat them this race as a goal since our primary one was out the door after that paddle. Scottie was doing great on the tow until one bumpy section dislodged the T.O.W. This wasnt a problem, but when she tried to reconnect, we hit a sandy spot and she was down. It was at this point that Raymund and Ferley passed us and spit on us as we lay in the dirt...okay, so they didnt spit on us and they did check to make sure we were okay.

that seaweed on her paddle was the least of our problemsWe eventually got hooked back up and were moving, fast enough to catch Frank and Helena. I got ahead of myself and thought we needed to pass them as soon as possible so that we dont get caught behind them if they happen to crash. So, of course, instead, as we tried to pass we crashed and broke the tow. We tried to quickly get reattached, but the first crash had partly damaged the retracting device and as I started to roll on, the tow wire got tangled in my wheel and ripped the T.O.W. clean off my bike! Double Frick! Complete systems failure--that was it for towing that day. But it didnt seem to matter to Scottie--the whole incident seemed to spark a flame under her! She had had enough it seemed and she motored out of there with me keeping pace! We quickly caught back up with Frank and Helena and Scottie made the move and passed. There was no slowing her down now! We made it back to the finish straight and now it was down to the final special test.

bike!My legs were just jello at this point. We had to run over to the swimming area, but before we could get into the water we had to scale this mountainous slide and slide down...okay, it just felt mountainous. We then waded through the lukewarm lake water which did not refresh us at all, but it did mean our race was soon over so I tried to trudge through it as fast as I could. We made it back to shore and it was back over the slide, backwards, and then a sprint to the finish. With that we were done.

i thought slides were supposed to be fun?!We finished in just under 2hrs and got 4th place. Good, but we were hoping for better for sure! We had a great run and good bike...that damn boat! Oh well. We are now tied for 2nd place in the series. We now have one last race if we ever want to make a dramatic move up in the standings. Its highly unlikely, but we are still gonna give it our best shot. Glen Rose, feel our vengeance!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Huntsville Sprint AR Suunto T6 Log

* events:

- 3.17mi run
- 1.52mi paddle
- 9.18mi bike
- 0.43mi special test

total = 14.37mi

** altitude about 350ft above actual
*** first TE=5.0 of series! This was a tough one (boat filling up with water didnt help)!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mooshoo, err, Muleshoe is the Best I Ever Had

Huntsville State ParkSo after the good race we had up in Dallas, it was back to work because we knew the next sprint race over in Austin would be our toughest yet with the bike being almost all singletrack. All of the top competition had really good biking skills and the twistiness of the sweet trails would most likely negate our towing option, but we still pushed at training to give it our best. The week following the race was HART training on Monday and Tuesday, lunch swim on Tuesday, brick workout with Scottie on Thursday, and then we had weekend training up at Huntsville on Sunday.

adventure race training by Rick SandersTraining at Huntsville was a bit more relaxed than usual. We started off with a pseudo classroom session where Rick gave us advice for sprint racing, then he gave us a little time to set up TA before starting the sprint mock race. We started off with a 2+ mile run from the water to the nature center and back. We led the pack and transitioned pretty well to the bike. One problem--Scottie's front tire was flat! Was it because of her preride this morning? No, Rick decides to "randomly" let air out of tires as a special test. Hmm, funny he didnt let air out of either Ray-Ray or EMo's tires, who were the next to come in on the run. Regardless, we tried to pump the tire back up as fast as possible and hop back on the bikes.

mmm, post-training brats!We head up the main park road, which has a pretty nice climb to the trailhead. We grinded up to the top. Then it was into the singletrack. The weather has been so dry that the normally sandy trails were super sandy! We had to concentrate on being "light" on the bikes and surf through the stuff. We did really well through the trails and stayed with Ray-Ray and EMo. Once we got back to the pavement, we mashed back to TA where we proceeded to air up the boat. We quickly get in and start practicing our paddle strokes. Rick comes over to help and tells us to "reach out and grab us some!" We stay out there for about an hour just working on technique then mosey on back to TA for some picnicing fun. Another great day at Huntsville!

Mooshoo BendThe next week was pretty much the same, except a bit easier since it was race week. HART on Monday and Tuesday, spin class on Wednesday, swim on Thursday, and pre-ride on Friday. Scottie got to the race site way before me to help with the race, so she had already pre-ridden the bike course. I hit the trail as soon as Mo and I arrived. It has been so long since I've been to Muleshoe, probably 2 years, but now I remember why I love this trail so much! Plus, the area had a bit of rain the night before so the sand was knocked down a bit, making the turns a bit more sticky and fun! After I get back from my preride, we pack up and head over to Marble Falls for dinner and lodgings.

rubber duckiesSaturday morning, race day. The temps are already in the 80s at around 8am, but thankfully there is a bit of a hazy cloud cover to protect us...but not for long! We get set up pretty quickly, so Mo and I had a bit of dead time before race start. As soon as Scottie is done helping with registration, she gets the rest of her gear together and we listen to pre-race. Scott makes it sweet and simple and in no time we are at the line...we decide to go straight to the front to see what it feels like. We are in front of the iMOAT teams for a moment...it feels great! After a less than stellar Star Spangled Banner by the racers, we are off!

exposed to sun on the final leg of the runWe are busting our butt on the run as we know that the bike will give us trouble. With that in mind, we are staying with the lead pack, which is pretty big at the moment. But we know that some teams will blow out in a second...and they do. Slowly we pass team after team, but the strongest stay constant or even start pulling away. We catch up to this male team that is visibly having team bonding issues. One guy is berating his teammate, yelling at him, telling him to run faster, while at the same time not slowing down to offer a tow. Obviously his teammate did not appreciate this abuse. When the stronger runner did slow down and let him tow, he immediately speeds off in a fury and the towee has finally had enough and pushes his teammate. Hilarious! I'm so glad that we are A LOT better with our communication!

finishing up the paddleSo we finish the run, in front of the squabbling male team, and transition to boats. The AAR masters male team is so eager to smoke everyone on the bike that they forget that the paddle is next and are running their bikes out of TA...we nicely ask, "you guys arent done with the paddle already, are you?!?" They change course. We get in the paddle and are doing well. We round the first buoy neck and neck with a couple of teams. We slowly pass 2 or 3 and are now in the top 10 overall, 5th coed. We are paddling pretty well, but cannot gain much ground on the rest of the leaders. Still, we do as much as we can and finish the 2 mile paddle alongside a couple of male teams.

kickin it on the trailsHere comes the painful leg. We start off nicely with some flat trail, so we mash hard here. But as the singletrack comes, we slow down noticeably. Teams are now passing us, which is completely opposite from the Dallas race where we were passing teams violently! Thankfully the teams passing us were in other categories, but it was still a bit disheartening. Finally, as we crossed the main road into the park, we decide to tow. This actually works for the most part, but I am sure Scottie doesnt like it as much, not having full control on the technical singletrack. Still, she is a super-trooper and we get through the trail system and actually make time on the teams that had just passed us.

5thFinal leg is the special test, where we have to wade through the lake about waist high along a rope. Not too hard, but the muddy bottom definitely slows us down. Once we get out, we agree to sprint as hard as we can. In the process, we pass one team and almost pass another two. Done in just over 2 hours in the blazing heat! As we recoup under some other team's ez-up, we find out that we are 5th coed--not bad considering our not so stellar bike performance. I am happy because we kept pushing regardless. Plus, this put us in 2nd for the series in the coed div...I'll cherish it for these next couple of weeks! After awards, we head back into Austin and have lunch at El Arroyo and then back home to H-town. We have another 2-week break before the next race, so we have time to work on our strategy for Huntsville. So that's what we'll be doing. Until then, mash hard!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Muleshoe Bend Sprint AR Suunto T6 Log

* events:
- 3mi trail run
- 2mi paddle
- 8mi trail bike
- special test

total = 13mi

** speed not recorded due to battery death (need to remember to replace before every race!)
*** altitude ~400ft above actual
**** erratic HR recording possibly due to strap slippage

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dashing Through Big D

white rock lakeWith the Combat Tri done, it was time to focus on the White Rock Lake sprint in Dallas. This race would be the one for the true flatlanders who loved to mash! We started the week of training with a paddle-run-bike training session at Sabine on Monday, went to HART on Tuesday, swam on Wednesday and then took it easy until after the drive up on Friday. When I got there, we mounted up and did a pre-ride of the course. Afterwards it was time for dinner (Chili's) and then we headed over to our Super 8 motel off of I-30 and that concluded the uneventful night.

scott does pre-raceWe got up bright and early the next day to get some Starbucks before heading to the race site. I also wanted to drop off the seats at the boat drop, so I did that right afterward. Once I got back, I immediately set up TA and got registration out of the way. It was another good turnout--about 100 teams I think. It was in the heart of Dallas, so if you were from here you had no excuse. With TA set up we went for a warmup run and this sat and listened to pre-race.

didnt realize how important these signs were until we hit the bike!Within a few minutes we were toeing the line for the start. Once everyone was over there, I could barely make out Kathy's muffled voice, but I could tell the jist of it...3, 2, 1...GO! So we were off on our first 1.5 mile run to the boats. Nothing special here--just a bunch of running on grass and some pavement, just trying to keep up with the gazelles. We got to the boats with big lead pack and transitioned well into our boats. Now came the headache of not being the fastest on the run...we tried to get our rhythm down but I quickly saw that it wasnt going to happen--we were heading straight into a couple of guys spinning in their boat! I tried to evade, but got pinned between them and another boat. That direction was obviously not working, so I then tried a hard right, but of course thats when the guys decided to spin in that direction! Frack! I finally yelled for them to get out of the way and somehow got away from that mess. What a waste of valuable time and energy!

tow was sooo important in this race!We eventually got our stroke and were slowly picking off people along the way. As we were approaching the turnaround I could see about 10 or so boats ahead of us, so that was pretty good! On the way back we were probably going about 4+mph and still passing teams. We got out of the water, dropped off the boats and were back on the run back to TA. I wasnt as fresh this time around, so towing was probably at an easier pace. Still, I think we were doing alright and staying with the lead teams.

HART/Ike's Revenge finishes another race!Next was the bike--the part I was totally drueling over! We got on our bikes pretty quickly, hitched up the tow, and mashed! Right away we passed about 3 teams. Then we hit a pack of roadies doing an easy ride...did I say this lake was packed?! This lake was packed! We were constantly dodging runners and bikers and I was thankful that I decided to buy a little bell--I used it generously! We drafted behind the roadies for a while but they were going at erratic speeds, so when it finally opened up, we passed them and mashed on. The paved trail was easy to get to top speed on and we were passing teams pretty consistently. We then entered the short singletrack section, which we still kept hooked on since it wasnt very technical. The only issue we had was the course didnt flow well and there were two three spots where it just abruptly turned back on itself. I braced for impact, but thankfully Scottie never really slammed into me even though we were still towing. After that, it was back to the pavement and the short little section back home.

woohoo!We pushed really hard on the home stretch of the bike because we knew that it was the last event before the special test. We jogged into TA, dropped our bikes and helmets and proceeded to a cargo net that we had to crawl under. No issues here and just like that we were done! I really felt good about our performance and it was justified as we got 3rd place! Not bad considering the tough competition! We hung out a bit, Bobby and I got a bite to eat while Scottie finished up helping with Scott and Kathy, and then I ended up just jetting back to Htown because I couldnt get a hold of my friends in Plano. That was it. 2 down, 3 to go...and the next one should be pretty tough! Muleshoe has some sweet singletrack that I love, but may give our team fits. We'll see...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Not Quite SEALS, But it was COMBAT

HART off to CombatSo I was coming off of the XTERRA high the weekend before and was actually really relaxed about the upcoming Combat Tri down in Texas City...perhaps too relaxed. I figured if I can do a crazy open water swim, a simple 300yd pool swim would be cake--I do this all the time during lunch! So I stayed with my regular training and went to HART on Tuesday and Thursday, did some short interval swims on Tuesday and Thursday, and rode my tri bike on Wednesday since it had been about 3 weeks since I've been on it.

my TAThe race would prove to be fun like XTERRA since both the Warship and Emoe were racing as well. Since it was practically in town, I took my sweet time that morning and did my usual ritual of mocha, muffin, and banana right before heading down. Once I got there it was already chaos at around 6am! By that time Warship and Emoe were all set in TA already and we laughing at me for arriving so late. It was thankfully okay since we all had assigned spots on the bike racks and I had already picked up my packet on Thursday, so I actually didnt have to rush around. Emoe had the sweet bonus of his daughter racing as well--the Moore Triathlon Team!

coming out of the swim, battered and bruisedSo after waiting a while in transition and the prerace briefing, we ambled over to the pool to line up. I was number 200-something, so I had quite a bit of time to wait since we were going in numerical order and 10 second increments. I actually didnt like the 10-second increment--the first tri I did gave us a full 25m head start before letting the next swimmer start. But that was a much smaller race, so I understood the 10 seconds--otherwise we would be there all day! So Warship, Emo, and I just stood by the edge of the pool and watched the chaos ensue. People were trying to pass, people were blocking, people were diving under and over people...nuts!

finally out of T1!It eventually was close to my time, so I filed in and slowly marched over to the start. I just didnt want to get passed! So in I jumped...1, 2, 3, GO! I tried to get into rhythm and it did work for a short while. I made the first turn and it looked like I was keeping my 10 sec lead over the next guy, so I kept going strong. I actually caught up with the woman ahead of me! She didnt let me pass at first, but at the next turn she let me go. I quickly caught up to the next guy, but he was a jerk! I obviously was trying to pass him, but he was so huge and there always seemed to be a swimmer coming the other way on the right side that I wasnt able to pass! The lady I had just passed actually caught back up with me and we were now involved in a 3-way scrum! I was so pissed, but I couldnt do anything other than punch the guy in the gut. So I just swam on his side for the rest of the way, trying to draft and rest so that I could smoke his ass on the bike.

yeehaw!We got out of the water and I sped pass the lumbering oaf and tried to quickly transition on to the bike. The girl was right next to me and she actually was on a relay team, so I didnt feel so bad that she was right there with me. I still dont have my swim to bike transition down--it was one of the slowest transitions in my age group!! I finally got on the bike and went straight to work. I actually felt really comfy on the bike despite not spending too much time on that particular machine. When I turned NW on I-45 I started picking off people one by one in pretty quick fashion. I was feeling really good and this was even in a slight headwind. Going up the overpass and now going SE on I-45 I was now a freight train with the tailwind! At times I got up to 26mph or so on the flat course. I never got passed by one person. Turning back to TA, I passed one more woman who looked pretty serious and didnt want me to pass her (she was working really hard to keep up). I ended up with almost a 24mph average--my quickest ever on the bike (even compared with all the Duathlons)!

DONE!So now to the dreaded run, 2nd dreaded after the swim. It started off similar to the XTERRA bike-run transition where I had just passed a pro-looking woman at the end of the bike only to get smoked by her near the start of the run. It happened again here, but this time instead of her being the only female to beat me at XTERRA, three women beat me at Combat...which I understood--these women are fast! Anyway, I just tried to keep my run around a 7 to 7:30 pace, which I eventually did. I actually passed people on the run too! Woohoo! It seemed like forever, but eventually the finish straight came and I hammered in around 1hr 7mins.

smiles all around!I actually felt really good and felt like I could go longer, which is a good sign. Results were up really quickly and my heart just dropped--I missed 3rd place by 24 seconds!! That was that horrible T1! Grrrr! Oh well, now I know what I need to improve on for real...other than swimming! I still felt good since I was able to finish top 5 in a sport I just started in, this being my 3rd ever tri, 2nd if you dont count XTERRA. The rest of the crew had a good outing too, with Warship and Emoe putting out swim times a lot better than what they predicted and Emoe's daughter getting 3rd place!

So that was pretty much it for Combat. I of course immediately started looking for the next tri...unfortunately all the Ironmans are booked until next year. ;)

Monday, June 01, 2009

White Rock Lake Sprint AR Suunto T6 Log

* events:
- 1.5mi run
- 1.4mi paddle
- 1.5mi run
- 13.5mi bike

Total = 17.9mi

** loss in speed signal due to battery depletion
*** altitude reading about 200ft above actual