Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August--mission accomplished!

Up in NYC yesterday and today. Last night was my daughters 21st birthday and we celebrated by taking her and her friends to The Monkey Bar in Manhattan. AT the end of the dinner they brought her out a big slice of cake and everyone in the restaurant sang happy birthday. Turns out Jimmy Fallon (host of Late Night and ex-Saturday Night Live guy) was there and he came over and sat with us to wish Kara well. Here is a pic:

Anyways, august is in the books--the first of my three month IM build. Here are the stats for the month:

Swim: 35,000 yds
Bike: 1212 miles
Run: 147 miles
Time: 101 hours

I also had 5 long bike rides and 3 long runs and swims.

So mission accomplished. Probably over-emphasizing the bike and may rebalance a bit in September. I certainly would like to run more but life (kid moves, hurricanes, job, etc) and my body are definitely limiting the amount of run work I can achieve right now.

I'm a bit concerned about my body's ability to hold up to this volume. I have little twinges in my left knee, my hip abductors, and my right plantar facia....all have to be closely monitored as well as making sure i don't overtrain. So, my plan is to stay on the plan but I wouldn't be surprised if I found it necessary to back off a bit in September. Also, with two long course races this month, I'll have to make some concessions so that my body holds together....

Always, on track so far!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Me and Irene

Well the good news is we survived and our houses are for the most part intact!

Quite the experience for sure. I've basically spent the better part of the last four days lifting, dragging and moving things--probably have a couple more days to get things back to normal.

I'm at the shore on a beautiful Monday morning. yesterday afternoon, Alex and I took a break from the chores and went out and enjoyed a fantastic two hours of body-boarding in the Irene generated surf. A strong west wind (30 mph) and big swell sets led to a truly epic session. This morning, with all the moving work and getting thrown around in the big surf for a couple of hours leaves me feeling a little worked over.

Obviously, the hurricane impacted my training this past week although I ended up doing a pretty good job. Here are the totals:

swim: 7500 yards
bike: 246 miles
Run: 30 miles
Time: 20:57

I was also able to get in all three of my key workouts:

swim: 4000 yards in 62:30
bike: 101.9 miles in 5:41 (very windy so slow but veraged 176 watts again)
run: 13.5 miles in 2:00

for the first 4 weeks of my build, I've been able to get 4 long rides, 3 long swims and 3 long runs in--so I'm pleased with that.

Looking ahead, I'm feeling like I might have to back off a bit this week and maybe have a real easy week...we'll see how I feel once I get out there today....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tuckahoe Race Report

Tuckahoe Sprint Triathlon Race Report
August 14th, 2011


Location: Beesley’s Point, New Jersey
Distance: 0.25-mile swim, 12-mile bike, 2.1-mile run
2011 Race Number: 11
Career Triathlon Race Number: 111
Conditions: Cloudy, breezy, with sporadic rain, temperature in mid 70s. Water temperature of 78 degrees.

Tuckahoe is a fun little sprint I’ve competed in the last two years. It features a shorter than normal run (which I like). I’ve finished second in my AG in both of the prior years. Overall, I had finished 9th last year and in 12th in 2010. There were 11 starters in my AG and 222 overall—down from 256 in 2010.

The RD is very likeable although I always find his races a bit quirky. This year was no exception as he decided to move the transition area, after five successful years in the previous location, which necessitated a different swim course, a much longer run from the swim exit to T1 and a different run course. Further, some construction on the bike route led to a bike course change so the entire course was different this year. He also has relatively few volunteers and in the past the bike course hasn’t always been clear—especially at the prior year turnarounds (there were no markings at all and no one to tell you where to turn).

I was amongst the first to arrive early on Sunday morning and registration was a mess. I’ll spare you the details. It took quite a while to get set up but I finally did so and was also able to get a decent warm-up in. I spotted Mercer Craft, whom I had raced against and beat at Jersey Genesis and surmised that he would most likely be my main competition in our AG. Prior to the swim the RD messed up the swim waves and announced the bike course change (first anyone had heard about it). The referee announced that it was our responsibility to know the course (which I chuckled about). At the last minute they discovered they had put the exit of the swim in the wrong place so there was a bit of a delay while they sorted that out. It started to rain some—business as usual at a City Tri event!

The Swim

The sent the 40+ women out first and then the second wave was men 45+…much to everyone’s confusion—I wasn’t complaining although this would be a major factor in the outcome of the race. The course was visually (and physically) longer than the prior to years—good news for me. It was in the form of a counterclockwise box with the exit about 50 yards from the swim start.

I lined up to the right very determined to go as hard as I could—I wanted to see if maybe I could post the fastest overall swim—I felt very confident in my swim given my strong recent results. I started way to the right, away from the buoy, so I could watch the proceedings (breathing on my left). I went hard at the gun and in very short order I had pulled ahead of everyone with the exception of one swimmer to my left (turned out to be Guy Lanciano—a 46 YO). We paced each other as our paths converged and after about 75 yards I could see that he was slowing. I felt good and cranked it up another level and begin to pull steadily away from him.

I felt very strong throughout the swim and was able to navigate my way through the slower swimmers from wave 1 with relative efficiency. I could tell I was on a good swim and soon approached the swim exit. I exited the swim in 6:35 and my HR monitor did not function during this race, so no HR data to report. In the prior to years, my swim had been 6:12 and 5:23, but the 6:35 today was definitely a stronger and faster paced swim—just a longer course. In 2009, I was 21st OA (94.0%-tile) and last year I was 17th OA (93.8 %-tile). This year, I was 9th OA (96.4 %-tile). Everyone that was faster than me was in the last wave (young guys) and I was able to put a significant gap on my AG competitors (keep in mind that the “official” swim times were recorded at the entrance to T1—after I ran for 2:07—so given my relative running speed, my actual swim gap was probably considerably better than those depicted below). Here is where we stood in the AG after the swim:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Craft + 0:31
3. Gibbons + 1:27
4. Green + 1:40
5. Gimpel + 1:51

Transition One

The new T1 setup was appalling. One had to run over rough terrain with exposed roots and rocks and then alongside the road for a while and finally across a path. It took me all of 2:07 just to get to T1. Once in T1, I took another 49 seconds so my total T1 time was 2:56. This was a minute slower than prior years.

As I was finishing my preparations at my bike, I saw Craft so figured I probably had about a 30 second lead on him. I was only 4 seconds faster than him (on a longer swim course) at Genesis, so I knew that my swim is morning was relatively quite strong. Still, Mercer was able to make up time on my in T1 and here is where we stood after T1:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Craft + 0:17
3. Gibbons + 1:12
4. Green + 2:15
5. Gimpel + 2:25

The Bike

I powered out of T1 feeling pretty good about things. There were a few souls from the over 40 women’s AG but within a mile I passed them all and low and behold, I was first on the road. I kept looking up the road through the rain and couldn’t see anyone and I fairly quickly figured out that everyone was behind me.

I found this to be quite exciting. Normally, I’m in one of the latter swim waves, so I’m never first on the road. I looked down at my SRM and I saw some pretty good numbers flashing back at me. I was psyched! I came to the first major intersection and the cop just looked me. I guessed correctly and made the right turn. Hmmmm—wish I knew the new bike course.

About 4 miles in another cyclist (47 YO) came by me on a P3. I had left T1 about 16 seconds in front of him. This surprised me. I turned and looked and couldn’t really see anyone else behind me. Initially I was a little bummed, but soon convinced myself that this was actually a positive. I could follow him on this new bike course and use him to pace my effort. I settled in about 30 yards behind him (I know this is well beyond the draft zone, but I don’t like to get any drafting help, and after 110 draft free races, I never want to even be close to getting a drafting violation).

Soon, we saw the duathlon leaders coming back so I took some comfort in that. Then, we turned off the main road into a neighborhood and soon we approached an intersection. There was a cop car but the cop was in the car—apparently into donuts and coffee. There were no markings on the road. We were moving at over 25 mph. Decision time—what to do? I thought the correct course was left—I thought it had to be given the prior right turn we had made. However, the lead cyclist went straight and I had about 2 seconds to decide to follow or not. In my brain, I thought that the sporting thing to do was to follow him so I did.

As we sped up what sure looked like a cul-de-sac I had a real sinking feeling. We bent around to the left a bit and then sure enough it looked like a dead-end. The lead cyclist kept riding forward and I yelled at him several times to turn. For some reason, I kept following him. Finally at the end of the circle he turned and I dutifully followed him—we both swore as we passed each other.

With a bit of panic we cranked back. I glanced at my SRM—it turned out that we rode an extra 0.55 miles. We came back to the missed turn and I could see the first of our chasers just past the intersection—it was Lanciano. He turned around and as I passed him I yelled that he should turn around—he definitely rode some extra distance.

As we hit the intersection I could see Craft turning around to follow us. I knew that the lead guy should now go right but he went straight back the way we came. Decision time again! Damn—I wish the RD would just take care of business—this is ridiculous to spend $90 on this product! I thought what the hell and just followed him. I glanced behind and everyone was now following our lead (as they should).

Running the math, at my average pace of about 24 mph, the extra 0.55 miles cost me 82 seconds. I was probably more, given the need to decelerate and reaccelerate at the turn. I was pumping adrenaline as I was quite pissed by the episode. I cranked up and passed the lead cyclist and really put the heat down—I was seeing 300+ watts on my SRM.

I soon tired from this unwise surge, and the other fellow soon came by me again (we both cursed the RD again) and I settled back in 30 yards behind him. I was a bit deflated and I knew with Craft’s running capability that I was likely to be run down—I’m just not good enough to through away that much time to a talented triathlete like Craft.

I soldiered on and completed an elapsed 12.32 miles in 30:18—an average pace of 24.3 mph. My average watts were 261—which is quite solid and my SRM had my average HR at 161—I still had more to give!

The extra distance I rode was of-course a real issue competitively. Last year, I was 2nd OA (99.6 %-tile) on the bike and this year I slipped to 12th (95.0 %-tile). Darn, I wasted a really solid bike through poor logistical race management.

Worse, my extra 82 seconds turned a solid advantage against Craft into a very competitive situation since I was only 11 seconds faster today on the bike (vs. 56 seconds at Genesis). Here is where we stood AG-wise after the bike:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Craft + 0:28
3. Gibbons + 4:35
4. Green + 5:35
5. Kent + 8:09

Transition Two

My second transition was respectable—I even picked up three seconds on Craft. I completed T2 in 0:52. I saw Mercer in transition and I felt that I was toast—this was an inappropriate reaction but it was hard not to be down given my course miscues.

The Run

At Jersey Genesis, I was 61 seconds over 4 miles slower than Mercer on the run. I left T2 with 2.1 miles in front of me and a 31 second lead. By all objective measures, despite my course adventures, I should have expected to be very competitive with this lead.

Unfortunately, I was not in that mindset. I’m not sure why, especially given the upward ark of my run most recently, but I had a poor run today. It took me 16:40 to run the 2.1 miles—a 7:57 pace—which is way underperforming given my fitness and recent performances.

Not surprisingly, Mercer had no trouble running me down and easily beating me. He put almost two minutes on me today on the run and ended up beating me by 72 seconds. It would be easy to blame my course misadventures as the cause of this defeat—and surely that is true at one level, but equally true is Mercer’s much stronger run relative to mine—he went out and beat me on the run—good on him.
Obviously some of this is due to Craft’s great run—he was 23rd overall for the run. I was a very poor 64th (71.6 %-tile) vs. the 82.1 %-tile (2009) and 83.2 %-tile (2010) I had previously achieved.

I finished 20th OA (91.4%-tile) vs. 96.9 %-tile last year. Here is how we ended up AG wise:

1. Craft --------
2. Christofferson + 1:12
3. Gibbons + 4:22
4. Green + 6:56
5. Kent + 9:29

Good race—need to stay on course! Need to run faster! No major insights. Had fun. Good win for Mercer.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Week

A little behind here--still need to write my last race report.....

Last week was a solid week. I did spend Sunday helping Anders move up to Harvard so I missed the LAF ride on Sunday but still a good IM prep week. I also battled a bit of an ear issue so the swim was a little light this last week:

swim: 6000 yds
bike: 297 miles
run: 42 miles
time: 25 hours

I missed my long swim this week but had a 14 mile/2:12 run and a 112 mile/5:58 ride so still on plan.....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where we are on the bike--long ride wise

Third week of my IM build and third long ride today. This is what the three rides have been:

1. 95.2 miles over 5:26 for an average speed of 17.5 mph
2. 106.2 miles over 5:47 for an average speed of 18.4 mph
3. 112.2 miles over 5:58 for an average speed of 18.8 mph//176 average watts

So nice steady progression--I went through 112 miles in 5:56:45.

To put this in perspective, here is the history of my build up to IMFL 2007--where I did a 5:06 split (211 watts):

1. 101.2 miles over 5:28--18.5 mph/180 watts
2. 107.5 m/5:28/19.7 mph/190 watts
3. 94.0m/5:00/18.8 mph/188 watts
4. 112.2m/5:58/18.8 mph/196 watts
5. 93.0 m/6Z:00/15.5 mph
6. 93.7m/6:07/15.3 mph
7. 133.1m/7:00/19.0/19mph
8. 78.2m/5:03/15.5 mph
9. 112.4/5:13/21.5mph (Chessapeake Man Aqua-Velo)
10. 91.0/5:05/17.9 mph/181 watts


1. Very nice progress so far on my long rides--I'm starting to get up into the neighborhood where I want to be.
2. Way more power in 2007--I was in much better shape entering my IM build in 2007--but perhaps a bit burned out. In theory, I should see more progress through this build then I did in 2007 where I thought I was pretty level/stagnant.
3. In 2007, when Peter Reid was my coach, I was in by-far the best triathlon shape of my life. Looking at these 10 rides there are a few that are pretty much signature rides:
--112.5 mph@ 21.5 mpg at the ChessieMan AV--obviously a race situation without a run but that's a solid ride
--133.1 miles @ 19.0 mph and 190 watts--this was the biggest ride of my IM2007 build and I'd sure like to replicate it (or beat it) during this build.
--107.5m @ 19.7 mph and 190 watts--damn--that's pretty good!
4. I clearly have more work to do to get back to my 2007 level of fitness--but I don't think it's impossible--nor is it, at the end of the day essential.
5. Slow rides in 2007 were in DE/PA with tons of hills
6. I seem to be going faster on fewer watts in 2011 as compared to 2007--look at my ride today compared to ride 4 in 2007. It would be nice to think I'm more aero/efficient, but it was probably a weather (wind) issue. Today was windy, but not super bad....

My distances travelled per hour today were:

Hour 1: 19.3 miles
2: 18.3
3: 18.4
4: 19.3
5: 19.1
6:17.8 over 58 minutes (18.4 mph)

I worked hard today--I don't know if I can get back to 2007--but I'm really getting a lot fitter now--IM bike wise--just need to stay healthy and motivated--I'm sore but happy tonight!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The importance of race tactics and planning

I raced at Tuckahoe yesterday and received an important lesson.

Firstly though, as you recall I had originally planned to race out in Michigan at the Steelhead70.3. After further discussions with Judy we concluded that given all the work and family things going on I should not take the 3 days away to do so. As it turned out, had I gone to Michigan I would have done just a bike/run as the swim was cancelled due to weather--so that was a fortunate call.

For some reason i thought the Tuckahoe race was Saturday but at about 10pm on Friday, Judy and Anders told me that in fact it was on Sunday--man I'm off my game! AS a result, my workout plan was disrupted a bit and I missed some volume this week as well as my long run. I also did a bigger day on Saturday--the day before the race--then I typically do--to avoid the week being a washout training wise.

Anyways, I had a pretty good race at Tuckahoe except that I found my self in 2nd on the road during the bike leg and followed the leader off-course and ended up adding 0.55 miles to my ride. This did not help my race competitiveness and I believe cost me the AG win--I settled for second. Oh well-one of the key tactical execution requirements of a triathlon is to stay on course! This is the first time this has happened to me in 111 triathlons.

My stats for the week were of course less than hoped for with my poor planning on the race date:

Swim: 9000 yards
Bike: 252 miles
Run: 21 miles
Time: 19:42

I only was able to do 2 of my key long workouts:

Swim: 62 minutes (4000 yards)
Bike: 5:47 (106 miles)

No races for three weeks now, so I'm looking forward to some high volume and quality workouts!

Friday, August 12, 2011

100 days

Into the final 100 days before IMAZ. Working through my second build week--a little lower volume this week (as compared to last). Racing tomorrow at Tuckahoe--should be fun!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Walker Sprint Race Report

Walker Sprint Triathlon Race Report
July 30th, 2011


Location: Walker, Minnesota
Distance: 0.25-mile swim/17-mile bike/2.8-mile run
2011 Triathlon Race Number: 10
Career Triathlon Race Number: 110
Conditions: Low 70s, stormy, torrential rains, 30-40 mph winds. Water temperature around 73 degrees.

I returned to Minnesota, not far from where I was born to among “other things” compete in the 2nd edition of this sprint triathlon. The other things included my father’s memorial service, which we held later this day at 2 p.m. in the nearby town of Hackensack. As you may know, I’ve dedicated this season to the memory of my father who passed away last December. It was a year ago, when I did the inaugural Walker triathlon, that my father came out and watched me race a triathlon for the last time. It seemed fitting that I do this race in his honor and memory and I guess I’ll always associated this race with the passing and memory of my father.

Given I was racing for my father, I certainly wanted to do well and defend my AG title from last year. There were 294 individual triathletes entered this Saturday morning with 13 from my AG—the latter the same as last year. I was racing with my buddy Bill Price who had flown in for my father’s service. You might recall that Bill and I did Oceanside together earlier this year—it was his first Half-Ironman. I had about a dozen relatives come out to see what this triathlon craziness was all about.

Physically, I was coming off a relatively easy week—one I needed to recover from a very hard week the week prior and also, there was much to attend to with my father’s service and travelling to Minnesota. My legs were “dead” all week but I was hopeful they would be sufficiently recovered by this morning to give it a solid go. Bill and I rode down from our hotel (about a mile from the start) and did our pre-race stuff and were ready to go in plenty of time. Bill was “unofficial” as he was racing with Judy’s number (who decided not to race) and would disqualify himself at the end of the race.

The Swim

I was in third wave. The first was comprised of law enforcement and military folks—the official name of the triathlon is “Chase the Police”. Two minutes later, the under 40 men went and two minutes after them came the men 40 and over.

As I awaited the start standing on the beach of the pristine waters of Leech Lake, I noted that the wind was picking up quite a bit, some waves were forming and the sky was getting ominously gray—hmmm, perhaps I should of paid more attention to the weather forecast!

The course looked long (it was) and entailed an on the beach start and a counter-clockwise triangle. We were constrained between two relatively close together docks so it was quite tight on the beach. Bill and I felt that the right side of the start area was favored as the first leg of the course vectored to our right—the base of the triangle (2nd leg) was much wider than the starting area—so it seemed marginally shorter to start far right. This suited me fine given my predominantly left-side breathing pattern.

Since Bill is such an outstanding swimmer (he was the fastest swimmer in the 55-59 AG at Oceanside), I lined up right behind him and next to the right side dock. My plan was to try to draft off of him as long as I could and then try to pick my way through the slower swimmers in front of me. At the gun Bill charged into the water with me directly behind him. We both did a couple of dolphin dives and the swim was on. Not surprisingly we were almost immediately clear of the field. I found it easy to sit on Bill’s feet and had a clear view of the rest of my wave—an ideal tactical situation.

About 75 yards in I could tell Bill was swimming too far right—he was aiming for some no wake buoys as opposed to the turn buoy. I reluctantly let go of his feet as I figured I would ultimately have to do so and I wanted to minimize the distance that I swam. As I headed back towards the main field I could see one other swimmer who was close—I assumed this was Downare, who won last year and I had swam side-by-side with. To my right and ahead I could see Bill moving ahead—although not that quickly.

As I neared the first turn buoy I began swimming through the congestion of the slower swimmers in the first two waves—there was lots of breaststroke, backstroke and floating going on. I made the turn and it was a real mess in front of me. I lost track of Bill but was monitoring the other fellow from my wave. I was content to stay just ahead of him, as this would get me the official fastest swim in my wave.

I did a nice job of weaving through the traffic—I stayed mostly to the right. I felt very comfortable and strong. I could tell I was swimming below my potential but didn’t see any need to pick it up, as I was able to stay just in front of the swimmer to my left. Down the final stretch I put a surge on to make sure I had the fastest time in the wave and I was easily able to move smartly ahead of him.

I hit the beach with an elapsed time of 6:46 and an average HR of just 149 bpm. This was two seconds slower than last year, although last year my effort was greater as my HR was 155. Even though I was slower this year, the course was almost certainly quite a bit longer. In 2010 I was 14th/219 or 94.1%-tile. This year I was 5th/294 or 98.6%-tile! This is the highest OA %-tile I have ever had in a swim. Here is a comparison to the top 5 guys (OA) who did the race both years and how their 2010 and 2011 races compare:

2010 2011 %Change

Downare 6:53 7:26 + 9.4%
May 7:51 8:21 + 6.4%
Domogalla 8:19 8:52 + 5.7%
Dobrzywski 7:13 8:51 +22.6%
Manske 6:22 7:03 +10.7%

My 0.5% “slowdown” obviously compares vary favorably to the above. Indeed last year I came out of the water 3 seconds behind Downare and this year I was 28 seconds faster—and he would repeat his victory this year overall. If I had swum 5 seconds faster I would have had the 2nd OA swim time. Frankly, I took it pretty easy on this swim and I feel like I probably could have gone 20-30 seconds faster.

AG wise I had a dominant swim—here is where we stood after the swim:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Massey + 0:50
3. Baudler + 1:47
4. Janda + 2:13
5. Heine + 2:32

Of the 12 other guys in my AG, only Janda represented any real threat and with a 2:13 advantage after the swim, barring an unforeseen incident on the bike, I won this AG race on the swim.

Transition One

As I ran up the beach towards the transition area and ripped my goggles off I immediately noticed that the weather had changed significantly during my 7-minute swim. The sky was very dark, the wind was howling and the rain was coming down hard. Just in the 15 seconds or so it took to run to my bike the rain and wind seemed to pick up in intensity—oh boy!

I had what I thought was a decent, but not great transition. I ended up completing it in 1:48 with an average HR of 156. Last year, it took me 1:45 (169 bpm) but I had a better rack position so pretty comparable. My body was clearly under far less stress on this morning.

As it turns out however, my T1 was substantially better than everyone else in my AG—Janda was second best but he still lost 27 seconds to me. Here is where we stood after T1:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Janda + 2:40
3. Massey + 2:43
4. Baudler + 3:43
5. Otto + 5:20

The Bike

The first two miles of the course snakes through the small town of Walker and it’s immediate outskirts. We then head out of town on Highway 34, which is always up or down, but mostly up until about 9 miles into the bike whereupon we head back to town on a rails-to-trails path that is a long false flat with probably a fairly consistent downgrade of 1%. Then we retrace part of the first section. The course was slightly changed from last year—I didn’t record the distance in my race report last year so I can’t tell how much for sure the changes impacted the course distance. This year it came in at 16.98 miles and if I had to guess, I’d say last year was maybe 0.1-0.15 miles longer. This course had quite a few less turns and should have been faster than last year—all things being equal.

But all things were anything but equal. In just the first couple hundred yards I was hit by a sharp and startling side wind gust that made my 1080 front wheel choice look like a real liability. The wind was from the side and slightly from behind in this first section. It was strong enough that I sat up and put my hands on the “hoods” to maintain control. The rain was now almost biblical and I could barely see out of my Oakleys—where did this storm come from? —I was completely surprised.

About a mile in Downare came by me, which told me I had a great swim as I left T1 behind him last year—he is a fantastic biker and I quickly lost track of him. I hit the turn out onto Highway 34 and I could see my friend Bill up in front of me. He had left T1 about 35 seconds in front of me. As we climbed the very long first hill, the wind was now very strong (40 mph?) and in our face and from the left. It was also very gusty and unpredictable. A couple of times I almost went down—and this was on the climb. It was miserable! The rain was relentless and it was hard to even go 15 mph up the hill into the wind.

I caught Bill around 3 miles in and I commented to him on how hard it was to control my bike with my front wheel and disc. I couldn’t hear his response. Things went front bad to worse on the first descent. I was terrified. The wind was moving me 2-3 feet sideways at a time. I made the mistake of sitting up and braking and my bike immediately launched into a death wobble. I quickly lifted up off the seat and clamped my top tube with my legs to dampen the vibrations. This worked and I realized my mistake—I had to stay in the aero-bars or the unweighting of the front wheel would surely lead to a crash. I got back down in the aero position but had to keep one hand on the brake—which I had constantly engaged (rear wheel)—which seemed to have marginal effect in the rain with the carbon braking surface. I was trying to keep my speed under 20 mph on the descent—anything faster seemed uncontrollable. Several times the wind hit the tail of my aero helmet and literally yanked my head around—what a nightmare!

I’d pass guys on the climb, only to have them re-pass me on the descents as I fought for control. I was determined to be extremely cautious—I had a eulogy to deliver that afternoon and a crash was not a viable option.

At long last I hit the turn off of Highway 34 and onto the path. I glanced back and Bill was probably 15 seconds behind me—I had made up 35 seconds in the first 3 miles but only 15 in the terror-filled next 6. As I dropped down onto the path the thick tree stands around the path significantly dampened the wind. Also, the wind now was from behind and my bike felt quite stable again—the crisis had for the most part passed! I knew I had loss some significant time due to my equipment choice and I was now determined to gain some back over the next 5-6 miles—I lit the “after-burners” up even though it was still hard to see in the rain. I kept it in the 26-30 mph range over this next section. My legs felt great (as they should as I was so cautious over the first nine miles) and I was consistently in the 280-320 watt range as well. I re-passed all the people who had put time into me with my struggles and quite a few others.

I had a couple more minor side-wind scares in town but soon found my way safely back to T2—Whew! My bike split was 47:58 and my HR averaged just 154 bpm. Last year, I completed the bike in 45:37 with a HR of 161. My average power dropped from 246 watts last year to 231 watts this year. My cadence went from 81 to 71 rpm—none of this is surprising given the conditions and my equipment challenges. I know some of this slow down was due to the wind—and thus affected everyone, but I knew I had some problems that others didn’t. To get a rough sense of this, I again looked at the 2010 and 2011 splits of the top five guys who did both to see how their rides changed. On average these guys were 36 seconds slower (worse conditions but shorter, less “turny” course). Based on this, I’d say I probably loss somewhere between 1:45-2:00 due to my inability to control my bike with the wheels I had. Oh well—at least I was safe. (As an aside, I would say this was one of the 5 scariest triathlon bike rides I’ve had in my career—the others being: Annapolis 2011, Kona 2010, IM Austria 2008, and IM Wisconsin 2005).

Interestingly enough, last year I was 12th/219 or 95.0%-tile OA. This year I was 14th/294 or 95.6%-tile. It would seem the best riders were not bothered by the conditions as much as the majority of the field. I also was once again able to claim the top bike split in my AG and surprisingly put huge time chunks into everyone except Janda, who was just 51 seconds slower. Here is where we stood after the bike:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Janda + 3:31
3. Otto +11:50
4. Swee +13:02
5. Peterson +16:47

Transition Two

I came flying into T2 on a mission. I executed what I thought was a great T2 and completed my tasks in 0:48 and an average HR of 150 bpm. Last year I was 5 seconds slower. More relevantly, I had the fastest T2 in my AG. Here is where we stood after T2:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Janda + 4:01
3. Otto +11:50
4. Swee +13:11
5. Peterson +17:12

The Run

With the strong last 8 miles of the bike I felt pretty confident that I had the AG locked up (although I had no idea who I was racing against). Last year I left T2 with a 7+ minute lead. I figured with the bigger field and the second year that the competition was a bit tougher this year—say 2 minutes or so. Plus I felt like I lost 2 minutes or so on the bike so I figured I was 3-5 minutes up leaving T2.

With rain and relative coolness, I felt pretty good all the way through the run—my legs actually didn’t have that “dead” feeling of the last week. Only a few runners passed me. I saw a bunch of my family at the hotel and was surprised to see that the RD had lengthened the run course—adding a 0.2-mile out and back on the new bike course. Last year the official distance was 2.4 miles and this year it was 2.8.

After the turnaround I looked carefully at the guys coming up behind me and didn’t see anyone I thought looked 50+. I missed Janda but even if I had seen him I would have know that the win was mine.

I cruised at about an “8-9” effort all the way to finish and completed my run in 21:43 with and average HR of 160bpm—well below my threshold. This works out to 7:45/mile, which given the hills and my run fitness is not a horrible result. Last year I ran the 2.4 miles in 19:33 (165 bpm), which was an 8:08/mile average.

Comparatively, this year I was 61st/294 on the run, or 79.6%-tile. Last year I was 43rd/219 or 80.8%-tile so pretty similar. It was a lot cooler this year so that’s probably why I ran at a faster pace. I was 4th best in my AG and ended up with a comfortable winning time of 79:02 (which was good enough for 21st OA-93.1%-tile vs. 95.0%-tile last year):

1. Christofferson --------
2. Janda + 2:06
3. Otto +11:45
4. Peterson +15:58
5. Swee +16:12


A good race and a great way to honor my father—the service later was very special.

I had the best swim I’ve ever had at a triathlon and avoided some real challenges on the bike. I picked up my 4th win of the season and 33rd OA (which raises my career win % to 30%--33 out of 110). I’m ready for the critical part of 2011 now—building for IMAZ!

Today's ride

Cranked out 106.2 mile ride today in 5:47--this works out to 18.4 MPH. A nice step up from the 95 miles @ 17.5MPH of last week. This is equivalent to a 6:05 IM bike split. Not bad considering traffic, stops (got lost twice and stopped for new fluids 4 times), road bike and non-aero wheels/helmets, warm-up, 95 degrees and lots of wind! I'm pretty sure I could do a 5:35-5:45 right now at IMAZ no problem.

I felt great--really strong--lots of 190-220 watt tempo work. I was in my aero position for over 4 hours. Plus, I just completed a 7 day stretch with 386 miles on the bike.

Can you hear me now?

LOL--I love to say that!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

1st IM build week in the books!

As you know, this week was the first week of my last Meso-training cycle for 2011. This is a 16 week build block leading to IMAZ. More specifically, I'll do 13-14 weeks of "building" and 2-3 weeks of tapering. I'm doing a bit of research right now and trying to determine how long my taper should be but I'm confident it will be in the 14-21 day range.

My build training plan is pretty simple and is built on a foundation of three key workouts each week: a continuous swim of at least 1 hour, a bike ride of at least 5 hours, and a run of at least 2 hours. There are other training objectives for each week of course but I feel if I can hit these three w/os each week I'll be pretty solid come IMAZ. Of course, I'll be flexible if my life/work schedule interfers or if I feel training overload at some point. I'll also be gradually increasing the intensity and duration of these three key workouts as the build rolls along. In terms of total training volume, I'm aiming for training time in the 20-30 hours/week range with a thought that I'll generally follow a bigger week with a lesser week, and visa-versa.

In any event, my three key workouts for this first week were:

Swim: 65 minutes--2.4 miles
Bike: 5:26--95.2 miles
Run: 2:06--13 miles

My aggregate volume for the week was:

Swim: 10,560 yards
Bike: 280 miles
Run: 41.4 miles
Time: 25:00

So all in all a pretty solid first week--especially considering that Monday was a travel day and I only had a 30 minute run on that day. I feel pretty good and it seemed like a reasonable workload for my body. I'm definitely getting fitter now.

Looking ahead, I'll probably do a bit less next week as I need to be up in NYC and I'm planning on racing again this weekend (this will be my only race in August)

All good so far!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whew--time to move on!

So, I went with my family to Minnesota last week and we had the memorial service for my father. It was a meaningful and special experience. The focus was on celebrating his life. We had relatives and friends from all over the country attending. I'll continue to miss my father but this weekend was a good basis to move forward.

I did do the Walker, Minnesota triathlon on Saturday as well. My good bud Bill did it with me. A really intense storm/squall line blew through during the race and I certainly had my hands full with my 1080 front wheel and 40 mph winds! I did win my AG and had (by any reasonable measure) an awesome swim. I did what I had to do on the bike and limited the damage on the run. I'll post a race report in a few days.

With the end of July, I've finished the 2nd of my 3 meso-training cycles for the year. I'm now officially beginning my IMAZ 16-week build. (Today was a slow start given the 14 hours of travel time, but I did get a short run in).

MY last week in July was a recovery/consolidation week--here are the totals:

9500 yds swim
155 miles bike
14 miles run
13:27 total time

The totals for the month of July are very satisfying:

29,200 yds swim
1124 miles bike
127 miles run
91:40 total time

More importantly, I enter my IM build phase very ready to do IM-level workouts--beginning this week. I'm very motivated and Physically sound and stable. I won my last two races in July and I have Anders, my training bud around for a few more weeks--look out baby! It could be good!