Archive for the ‘cycling’ Category

Probably the easiest review to ever do on a big race. If this is not one of the nicest weekends of the entire summer, then we are in for an unbelievably great summer. This is Syracuse, and for us to have typical sunny California weather for an entire weekend, well it is a big treat. Very little wind, abundant sunshine, starting off cool in the morning, reaching mid seventies in the afternoon. Kenny and his army of staff and volunteersput on a great race. To have over two thousand triathletes, their families in one place with participants from all over the world including royal princes, to make it all go well and actually look like it was easy to pull it off has my appreciation. Kudos to all that made it happen.

In my previous blog I predicted a few things, one of which is that I would be inspired. I was, I am.

My race was cut short. Normally I would say, yeah that sucks, not happy, what ever. I have one regret of not being able to enjoy the scenery that I knew awaited me on many points on the bike course. I made it as far a a few hundred yards up on Sweet Road. My right knee popped going up the first big hill out of Jamesville. I walked it up, got back on, spun as much as I could. When it came time to apply the needed power to the crank arms to climb , the same knee barked. Part of me said tough it out, deal with it later. A more sensible side of me, which seldom wins an internal argument like this decided  that pushing up Sweet Road would likely cause more damage, like a tear or something worse. I dislike not finishing pretty much anything I start out to do. I dislike surgery and or missing out on entire seasons much worse. I walked the bike back nearly all the way to race site.

It is unplanned events like this that you find out about other aspects of the race. My fellow racing participants (it was a lot of them, I couldn’t begin to tell you ho many) would ask if I was OK, if I need help, neighbors watching the race would inquire and offer to help, the bike support crews, law enforcement, etc. All very friendly and offered a helping hand. I was told That I could get a ride back if I needed it. Once they were done giving bike support on the corner of Sweet road, they would come get me or I could wait. Cool!  It felt good to walk it off, and the pain subsided as long as I didn’t try to push hard on a crank, or run. I would walk most for the way back, and got on the bike and coasted the downhills. This suited me fine as I didn’t want to bother anyone, or distract from those that needed help and be sent on their merry way to finish the course. If I needed a ride that would happen just for the asking.  Once I got back in, and sent our team runner off  (as a team we were now DNF, but at least Todd could get in a solid race run in unofficially), I headed up to the medical tent. Once there,I got prompt professional care, squared away with an assessment, ice pack,and eventually sent me off in a knee wrap. It was swollen some, but no trip to the hospital.  I was able to walk reasonably well, and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.  I don’t recommend that you ever need  to visit the medical tent, but if you ever did, they have my vote. We parted with thanks, but hope I don’t see you again today 🙂 The way I was treated by all those around me was inspiring, and says a lot about the community spirit of the race.

A visit with the good doctor will be on the schedule this week. It is my hope that being actually smart about it, may stave off  further problems.

Something that I thought was just great, was when the last athletes came in off the bike and headed out on the run course. They were cheered by, and very loudly I might add, by the pro’s, the elite athletes among us, as well as the crowd that had gathered waiting to get it in to retrieve their bikes.  I was glad to be there  to witness that, and to help cheer the remaining participants on.

Very happy for my teammate Mary Ryan for a good swim, and running teammate Todd Robertson who put in a solid run on a tough run course. Couldn’t ask for a nicer teammates to share the day with.  A big thank you to  my sister Kim,and my wife Lee  for volunteering, helping with wet suit stripping duties. Very glad for the family support and helping out with the race.

Again my hat is off to Kenny and his team for giving us a great race today, and for all of you that added to my experience of enjoying an absolutely beautiful day in upstate New York.

 

To those that have followed my wandering writings in the past, I do apologize. My blogging on the sport we are all fond of has been non existent for a while now. Not that I have had a change of heart, or no longer promote all the good tangible things that come from a multi-sport lifestyle. In fact, it hasn’t changed at all. My schedule is not much of one as I still am working on building a tech company, and to gain stability financially. The idea of keeping what Lee and I have worked so hard for is the first priority until we can no longer do so, and have to rethink our dreams for the future. With  all that my training time has been minimal,and will rely on experience and pure grit for the bike leg tomorrow. a few extra long bikes would had made me feel more ready, but that always seems to be the case. I am on a great team with super nice friends which make it an absolute pleasure to participate with.  Mary Ryan will start us out on the swim, and Todd Robertson will cleanup on the run. I’ll be handling the cycling chores. No doubt my bike , a 2011 Specialized Comp, is fast enough. It is a smooth ride, and never a complaint since I bought it. The engine (myself) of course is always suspect.  I know the course well, the hills are no taller, less or more steep than they have been in the past. It is a pretty course to ride. I will enjoy it, as it is slated to be a very nice day to race, surrounded by thousands of like minded people pursing a great sport. It is and will be  inspiring, and I will soak it up as much as I can. No major time goals or other nasty teams to beat 🙂 Seriously, no big rivalries, maybe a little trash talk here and there. The goal will be to finish and finish well, and look good doing it. This year for me is more of a social event with a significant work component. None of my comments are meant to be detracting from those with other race goals as it is certainly a big part of the triathlon lifestyle. Whether it will be for a podium spot, a personal best, other time/speed goal, or first time at that distance. Some of my triathlon friends will use tomorrow as a big training day for a full ironman later this summer. Bigger achievements await them, and you have my admiration. I wish all my fellow athletes a great race tomorrow, a safe one in fact, and that it be memorable one as well.

Up early today, unfortunately not to race, rather have to go into work for most of the day. I am grateful to be swamped with work, servicing a contract/design project for my main customer, however I do cherish my play time, and time at home. Gorgeous day, and I would rather be on a relay team or volunteering. Syracuse 70.3  is an epic event.

As I finish writing this, everyone should be out on the bike course, the swim leg of the race in the done category. Participating last year, I can freshly recall the 4:30 AM arrival, body marking, checking the bike, and all the little nuances of race prep on event morning. The adrenaline, and excitement is something I remember most. The bike course is scenic, and one of my favorites. There is something very different climbing Sweet Road with a sea of triathletes on race day verses the training rides be it solo or the CNY tri club. Something about working it together in mass ( without drafting of course) just makes it perceptibly just a little bit easier. The run will be a hot one today, but again, It is a tough but pretty run.

So from the confines of my office in spirit and in heart I am with you. I wish you all an epic day,  awesome experiences, and that you reach your goals or take away something very positive and tangible! I’ll be watching the posts, and online comments and pics. Hope to see you at other events later this summer.

Mike

If you have been following along this year, you know that 2013 has been a big year of changes. For me, probably about 3-4 too many.

The last two months have been mostly suffering fools, mental anguish, and making changes to weed out things that take away more than they enhance life at the Joyner household. In retrospect probably a long time coming. There were a few disappointing surprises. Life goes on.

Training has been sporadic due to time constraints getting a tech company up and going. Training/racing definitely falls into the category of things that give so much to quality of life, managing stress and better health. Not something i would want to cut out. As much as having that brass ring of ironman in front to drive me is a good thing, I find myself way overtired, not sleeping well and worrying too much.

Ten weeks to go to Ironman Lake Placid, and I am at a place not feeling the love of sport, and I have to do a mental reset. My longish bike ride today came to a stop at 15 miles, dead tired, no drive to push through a 35-40 mile ride. It’s not me, and there’s no faking an ironman. When I toe the line for the big dance I want to be well trained, not hanging on for dear life, worrying about cutoff times. Last year this time I felt very driven to hit each milestone in route to Syracuse 70.3.

In the long view of things, it’s a game/pursuit we love to do, and ranks somewhere beyond 2nd to supporting the household, taking care of family, and being there for my wife, as she certainly is for me. Time for me to regroup, and refocus on the important things first.

What next? Its just one race, there will be others to aim for. I do have take care of my health and well being, just set different goals. It’s not feasible to dedicate 12-16 hours a week given my circumstances, 4-7 hours. I can fit in. I’ll talk to my coaches and lay out a new course, concentrating on base, keeping my head fresh, stress managed. I’ll be low key this summer and maybe eyeball something late summer. More to come later.

With all the things mentioned in recent blog posts, it continues on as much of a wild ride as predicted. With the new career focus of starting a tech company, the customary long hours and no or few days off are the norm. As one might expect, any firm schedule is a suggestion at best. Aside from my brain being over saturated, I still have the little task item of preparing for a long day in July. Whether I am ready or not, 140.6 miles  will be waiting, leave your excuses at the beach. Given all the circumstances, crossing the finish at Ironman Lake Placid will certainly be a significant life event. No doubt, it is a monumental experience for all those who take on the Ironman challenge.

One side benefit to be a singular team of me, myself, and I is that I can slip away to do that two hour workout when I have a break in the day, or do it on the fly. Working long hours, the mental break is most welcomed. The stress relief is a huge bonus.

Workouts are progressing slowly. I am beginning to complete about 70-80% of them as detailed in my EN Out Season plan. Weight is slowly dropping, and hope to be where I was last year (lightest weight) by late March. That all sounds good except I hope to lose much more before July. Balancing a diet, and increasing volume workouts in April is something I need to make happen.  I found a great deal on a like-new Quarq power meter for my tri bike a week ago.  Got it installed and working, no problems. Next I’ll need to time trial test and set a baseline while I learn this training with power business.

Recently got a bike fit with Jamie Campbell at Bike Loft  in North Syracuse. Using protocol from Specialized, it is a intensive in depth assessment of your joint alignments, range of motion, etc.,  before they even begin to look at bike sizing and fitting. My wife is a director of rehab at a skilled nursing facility, and I would draw similarity’s to what her physical therapists would look at  in the assessments of patients. Jamie was very thorough. When it was all said and done, I had a better position, and way more comfortable. My bike fit  that I had prior was not too far off, a few minor tweaks, a better fitting seat for my big butt, and I left as a happy camper. I have a few hours on the test seat, and will order that today. Highly recommended. We are fortunate to have a bunch of great bike shops in the CNY area. I enjoy heading back to the Bike loft, as my experience with them goes all the way back to when I was a young boy. This goes back to when Lance’s parents where running it. aside from that, it is a great shop,and I always get great service there.

As promised, I started swim lessons with coach Bill Houser at the  Cazenovia College pool. first night was pretty good. I liked working out as a group. It encourages one to keep at it rather than slack off. We ran warm up drills, and some baseline stuff. At the end we were all video taped to analyse what we are doing right/wrong or need to improve. My video should be a hoot. I’m bracing for the some good, some bad, and likely some very ugly. With the grace of God, and what help that coach can give me, I can reduce the last two items, and swim reasonably sorta slow as opposed to very slow. I am told that I can take a 2 hour swim, and bring it down to a 1:40-1:45 swim with fixing basic technique issues. That will certainly work for me.

My laundry list of things to get done or put in place are being checked off one by one. Despite the hectic times, there is progress, and very thankful for that.

Middle of January, we’re in the thick of it, and on many fronts. Currently in Endurance Nation’s Out Season plan. The idea is to work on speed and needed skills. Of course in my case speed is oh so relevant and a large matter of perspective. Given that qualifier, I have faith and past experience that supports the belief that I will be ever so slightly faster on wheels, land and sea at the end of the Out Season (end of March). It is my hope that I will see substantial gains as compared to the here and now as I type this. After that, welcome to volume and endurance on top of some speed work, just not so much.

It has been overwhelming when combined with starting a new technology company. Long hours, up to my eyeballs trying understand more of the business side of things. As chief  everything officer, all things including the buck stops at my feet. Good news, office is up and running , and working on first contract. Getting it up and running and making money quickly sure helps.  I have yet to nail down a solid schedule with everything in flux. Having some flexible time does allow me to get  workouts in, but I need to get that down to a consistent schedule. Training for an ironman and starting a company, probably not the best idea, but it does help relieve the stress. No trouble sleeping this past week.

With multitasking in overdrive to the point of mental abuse, I did accomplish a few things for my ironman quest. Swimming lessons start in two weeks. That will take up Tuesday night time slot. Renewed YMCA membership  to get other swim days in, plus tread mill for those over the top nasty winter days (winter running is my favorite). Three blocks from my office,and very handy for a early or midday workout. Hopefully I will be bike training with a power meter in a few weeks. Looking forward to better more consistent and objectively measurable workouts on the bike. The watts don’t care about other factors or how you feel. More watts, harder, faster. I am signed up for race rehearsal camp in June in Lake Placid. It will be great to get a real feel for the venue. Should be a big confidence builder. Anything I learn there will give  me a few weeks to either enhance or correct before the big day. Looking forward to meeting my teammates that weekend. Even with all this going on, I am still working on getting the payload down. Getting faster by dropping weight is a plus. Still have to get a bike fit done before those long 3/4/5/6 hour rides.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I will forgo some of the usual races to stick to the training plan, not to mention keep a reign on discretionary spending. Broke my heart to not sign up for boilermaker (favorite race) That day will be a two hour bike and 20 min run, with a four hour bike the day before.  I am signed up for Lake effect 13.1, and the new Syracuse 13.1. Looking forward to doing those as I can fit them into my current out season plan. Of course it calls for doing 1/2 mile repeats  at tempo pace with 2 minute recovery pace between each one. Smile and run anyway  🙂

Mike

Solid focus in training for the big dance! Halfway through the 4th week of bike focus. I can tell things are progressing as I am notably becoming tired of sitting on the trainer, and bored to death after about 20 minutes spinning. To help with this, my wonderful wife Lee tolerates the bike being in our great room off center to the big screen TV. That does help the hours pass. At some point I hope to remember that these two hour Saturday rides will be short work outs come this spring when 4-6 hours in the saddle will become the new norm. Even though I have gained some weight, my head is back into it, and focusing on diet, using the calorie counter, and renewing my effort to a slimmer 160lb me come July or high water. Running is feeling good, no aches or pains, and it is nice to switch up from the long run focus of marathon training. Of course we’ll revisit that again long before July.

Hunting season was very productive and expedient this season. Being tagged out until muzzleloader season has given me more free time to train at my preferred times as opposed to “fitting it in.” Along with that,  we have a freezer full of quality lean protein (wild turkey & venison) which is a preferred staple in our home.

In a few short weeks , training will switch to Out Season plan, and will focus more on speed, and high quality workouts. I will diverge a little from the plan to get swim lessons, and up my swimming game before I switch to the ironman plan in April. I like the approach as 30 some weeks of ironman focus only has got to be hard on the mental game.  I also hope to make the switch to training with power on the bike. It won’t change how hard I’ll need to train, but it will help with not overdoing it, and more precisely measure my progress. Power meters don’t care how much coffee or red bull you had, or if you are having an off day etc. In the end, watts are watts.

Really liking the Endurance Nation training methods, and the knowledge base that I can draw from. So far much of it is like my experience in training for Ironman Syracuse. That will be different soon enough once April arrives. Having the resources and confidence in coaches Rich & Patrick , and my EN teammates having my back, makes the unknowns of tackling 140.6 miles less intimidating.

Looking forward to the constant progress,and the upcoming phases in route to Lake Placid. Hope that your off season training has begun on a high note. I’ll report back in again  as the weeks roll by!