MadTrippin

The Amazing Race Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation

Archive for July, 2008

Triathlon Equipment Review – Sugoi Tri Shirt

Posted by madtrippin on July 31, 2008

Originally I was planning on doing my first triathlon swim shirtless and then pulling on a cycling jersey for the remainder of the race.  After speaking with a few more experienced triathletes and hearing one story of trying to pull a tight jersey on over a wet body, I changed my mind and searched out a tri shirt. 

I’m a big fan of buying online, but was running out of time before the big day and wanted to be able to train a little in the shirt, so I sucked it up and bought through a local store.  I had intended on going to Gear West, as they have a huge selection and it looked like decent pricing online.  The night I headed out there I got stuck in traffic and wasn’t going to make it before close.  So as to not have wasted all that gas and time, I stopped at Start Line (the same place I got my running shoes) and pick up some yankz laces. 

As it turns out, they also had a small line of tri clothing, including a couple of tri shirts with reasonable pricing.  It’s good that I didn’t buy online, as I was sure I was a medium (I’m 5′8″ and a healthy 170).  When I tried on the medium, it was TIGHT (and not in a good way).  The sales woman commented on how you shouldn’t be able to see chest hair through the shirt.  When I tried to take it off I heard a small ripping sound, so I actually pulled it down past my feet, rather than over my shoulders.

So… Large it was.  I decided on the Sugoi Fuel (the price was right – at about $40 – and it seemed pretty comfy).  I wore it for training in all 3 disciplines and it seemed just fine.  I didn’t notice any drag in the pool and it wasn’t so tight I couldn’t breath on the bike or run.

After my first race I can tell you that it worked like a charm.  I went from one event to the next without even thinking about the shirt.  Plus, I looked pretty cool in it - I suppose I should have some pictures to back up my claims.  My feeling is that good clothing should feel like nothing.  I didn’t even notice the shirt at all… that’s good stuff.  It dried quickly and didn’t chaffe or irritate in any way.  PERFECT.

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Choosing My Second Triathlon

Posted by madtrippin on July 28, 2008

I want to do another tri before the season is over, but I’m feeling the need to get more training in (especially on the swim).  I also wanted a week off from the 5-6 workout per week routine I was doing coming up to the Chaska Tri.  Last week I only trained 2 days – 4 mile run, followed by weight training and a 10 mile bike through the same crazy hill country the Chaska tri went through.

I’ve tenatively made up my mind… I’m thinking I’ll be entering the St. Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon in Hudson, WI – slated for August 30th.  It’s another 1/3 mile swim, only 10 mile bike and 4 mile flat course run.  This will give me enough time to improve my swim so that I should be able to rock the comparitively easy bike and run portions.

I don’t think my boys – Ben and Michael – wouldn’t be accompanying me on this one, so I’ll be going it alone.  Michael lives out of state and Ben has a bum ankle that he was nursing all through training before the Chaska tri.  I’ll still have my family posse there though.

On a not-so-sidenote… Andy – a fellow tri’er (FAR more experienced than myself) – finished the Chisago Lakes Half Iron Triathlon in 6th place overall and 1st in his age group.  Congrats.

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Triathlon Equipment Review – Aevero Tri Shorts

Posted by madtrippin on July 23, 2008

I’d been looking for tri shorts (basically bike shorts with a thinner, perforated pad to allow the water to drain off more easily and make for easier running) for a while.  I was finding $45 to $60 to be a pretty common price range.  Fortunately I stumbled across a pair while digging through ebay from a company called Aevero for considerably less.  The buy-it-now was just $19.50 + a few $ shipping. 

Of course I asked my friends if they’d ever heard of the brand and they hadn’t.  I had heard of sugoi and louis Gareau, but never Aevero.  I looked  up their site and they were obviously not a big company, but the site didn’t look like a fly-by-night.  Turns out they also sell cycling shirts and shorts.  Too bad they didn’t have a tri shirt for cheap.

I decided to pick up a pair.  I got them in just a couple days.  The shipping packaging was a simple bubble mailer, but definitely sufficient – plus it keeps the cost down.  The packaging of the shorts was a simple plastic bag with a paper insert.  It also included care instructions and a pair of free cycling gloves.  The gloves weren’t anything special, but the shorts looked pretty good.

I took them for a spin on the bike and the pad is about 1/2 the padding of a typical bike short, but good enough to get the job done (especially on a Sprint distance tri).  I emailed the company about wearing them in chlorine and got a response before days end that it was o.k.  They also recommended hand-washing and not wringing out the pad.  Drip dry would do and that’s what I did.

My practice swim went really well.  I was used to wearing the old saggy, baggy swim trunks and felt 1,000,000 times faster with the tri shorts.  Afterwards, I just rinsed and hung them to dry.

I’ve now run one sprint tri with these shorts and they worked like a charm.  I really don’t know how they could have been better.  I didn’t even notice them at all, which I’d say is pretty sweet.  I experienced no discomfort and abrasion or anything through the whole race.  I went right from the lake to the bike and through the run without missing a beat.

My final thoughts…
Durability has yet to be tested, but I’ve now trained for 4 weeks in them and ran 1 race and the reflective Aevero silkscreen logo on the bum hasn’t even begun to peel off and I really thought it would.  I think this is a great product so far.

GREAT DEAL and Great product so far.

***UPDATE AS OF 10/9/08***
So far these are holding up quite well.  My training has slowed considerably, but I’ve been using them in the pool and they’re still in good shape.  I haven’t been using them on the bike since the big first tri in July, as regular bike shorts are just more comfy.  They have faded a little bit and aren’t quite the crisp, dark black they were when new.  I’ve been pretty careful with them, in terms of washing and drying, so the pad is still fully intact.

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Post Chaska Triathlon Reflection

Posted by madtrippin on July 22, 2008

On the day of the race I was feeling a bit down on my time.  I think partly because my two friends whooped me so badly and I really thought I’d be more competitive than that.  The more I think about it, the less I care about my time.  It was alot of fun and a great challenge that has left me wanting to do more races.  Part of that is to prove to myself that I can do better, but I also just enjoyed the organized competition and competing with my friends. 

Plus prior to starting my training, I’d gotten into a terrible pattern of laziness.  I was’t really overweight or unhealthy, but I wasn’t feeling good about myself and training has really turned that around.  I’ve got more energy in general, I’m in much better shape and I’m way less likely to be laying around on the couch every night.  Plus most of my pants are fitting much better.  I’ll probably have to replace most of them soon relegate them to fat pants status – I’m on the last notch of my belt.

As for my next tri… I’m already looking.  Ben hurt his foot early in training and managed through the pain, but he’ll need a little time to heal up, so I’m pretty sure he’s done for our short Minnesota season.  I’m still kicking around the idea of getting another one in yet.  I think with some hammering on the bike, some swimming refinement and one more race, I would go into the off season feeling pretty good about next season.  If nothing else, I know I’ll be able to get into a 5k or maybe even a 10k, which I never thought I’d hear myself say.

I’ve looked at a few time-based training programs and I’m not really all that impressed.  I have trouble sticking to those anyway, as most of my training time has to be creatively acquired (early am, late pm, slipping out of the house on the weekends).  I just train as much as I can, as often as is reasonable, without neglecting my family.

I think I’ve got a good idea of what I’m going to do as far as the bike and run are concerned.  The swim will be the challenge.  I’m thinking about one of the books on beginnertriathlete.com.  Maybe a DVD would be better.  That way I can better emulate the techniques.  Maybe I’ll do both.  I just know a slow confident crawl would allow me to finish the swim faster and in better condition to bike than the fast side stroke I did on my first tri – my legs were spent.

I’m also looking at some new equipment for the bike.  The Cannondale frame will have to stay (don’t have the cash for something fancy), but I may try and figure out how I could swing swapping out components for better gear ratios.  I’d also like clipless pedals and an aerobar.  Other than that, I’ve got my tri shorts and top, goggles and a good pair of Adidas running shoes.  I’m set.

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Post First Triathlon Summary

Posted by madtrippin on July 19, 2008

So I’m back from the race.  I had a great time.  By that I don’t mean I was the fastest.  Not even close, but it was a lot of fun.  Here are my splits:

Swim 16:06
T1 2:02
Bike 57:52
T2 1:21
Run 28:08
Overall place – 182 out of 325

Not exactly the performance I was hoping for, but what are you gonna do.  My overall time was 1:45:27, which pretty much falls at the tail of my 1:30 to 1:45 prediction.

The thing that surprised me was my bike and run times.  I really thought I would do better on those.  The swim was harder than I thought.  I had a game plan of 200 meters of crawl, 200 meters of breast stroke and then the last 200 crawl (with maybe a little sidestroke when necessary). 

The lake was glass calm and plenty warm.  The plan started out well with about 150 meters of decent crawl.  I was actually in the mix for a short time.  Being in the pile was crazy with all the waves and legs and arms were crazy.  I got kicked in the head and got a little freaked out.  I immediately went to the sidestroke to try and get back into it.  For some reason, I couldn’t get into the breast stroke, so side stroke it was.  Unfortunately, I use a lot of legs in side stroke and by the time I got to my bike, my legs were feeling it. 

16 minutes is about as good as I could have expected.  I may need professional help with my swimming before my next tri.  That’s right, I’m doing another at some point.

My transition time was pretty good.  Michael was just finishing up T1 and heading out on his bike.  I got going pretty well, but I just didn’t train enough on the bike.  I used to race and kind of neglected biking too much.  I was great on flats and decents.  I don’t think I ever got passed in either scenario by anyone other than the obvious serious triathletes.  It was the hills that got me.  I’d make up a ton of ground on other riders until i was getting to the top of the hills.  I also made quite a few passes on corners.  I just booked through and cut to the inside.  It seemed like a lot of people tried to respect the lanes.  That’s crazy when the roads are blocked off.

The final decent is steep and I kicked in the afterburners.  I passed a load of people on the hill and in the turn just at the bottom of the hill.  I was in top gear (14) and out of the saddle coming into T2. 

I hopped off the bike and holy brick.  I shuffled like an old man to my area and hung up the bike and dumped the helmet.  I didn’t have to change shoes, so I took a drink and was on my way.  Despite my slow pace, I did 1:21.

The beginning of the run is a 1 mile uphill that nearly killed me.  I’m a little ashamed, but I did stop and walk for a little bit in the middle.  the middle mile is flat and the last mile is downhill.  I motored coming down and passed a few people.  In the last stretch I got my sprint on and cruised by a couple of people to finish strong.

Michael and Ben both beat me.  They actually crossed the line almost side-by-side.  They both did 23 minute 5ks.  Not too shabby at all.  I think my weak swim and less than adequate bike training killed my run.  No big deal.  I’m happy to have completed my first triathlon and am already looking forward to the next one.  Now I feel like I have a better grasp on what I’ll need to do to be better prepared.

The Chaska River City Days tri was very well done.  The organization was excellent and the athletes themselves were awesome.  Everyone is super supportive and actually the better athletes encourage you as they’re passing you on the run and bike.  A good time was had by all.

I guess now I’m allowed to say I’m a triathlete.  Pretty cool.

Interesting side notes… the women’s overall winner was 50 years old.  And… They started the swim waves from typically slowest age groups to the groups that are typically fastest.  I was in the 25-34 wave and we were second to last.  The last group was the 35-44 men.  That tells you something… being young doesn’t mean you’re going to have an advantage.  That being said… the overall men’s winner was 21.

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It’s Race Day…

Posted by madtrippin on July 19, 2008

So it’s 5:15 a.m.  The race starts at 7:30 and I’m sitting at the computer.  I’ve got my bag ready to go and just brought my bike to the front porch.  Ben and Michael will be here at 6:00 to pick me up.  Now I’m feeling nervous.  I’m ready to rock though. 

I’ve downed a bunch of water and I’m now eating a banana.  I’m hoping that will be good enough until my energy bar before the race. 

Let’s do this!

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Last Day Before the Triathlon

Posted by madtrippin on July 18, 2008

So here we are… tomorrow is the big day.  Am I starting to get a little nervous?  Sure.  It’s really excitement not fear, although we did look at last year’s results and found some of our estimated times to be not as good as we were thinking.  Really more of a matter of overestimating our times.  Some of those people put in some crazy times.  I think the winner did it in something like 1:02?

I really believe I can do this in 1:30 – 1:45.  Sounds like a big gap, but I really have no idea how I’ll perform outside of training.  After my last training swim last night, I’m thinking I may be able to put up a decent time.  At least better than the goal of a sub-20 minute performance I was thinking I’d put in.

I’m feeling like my bike time is something of a question mark.  I do feel confident about my cycling, but I never really timed myself over any specific distance, so I’m not really sure of my attainable time.  I did ride every section of the route as part of my training runs and feel like I should be able to put in some good pace.  I’m hoping for an average speed in the 19 or 20 mph range.  I always ride faster when there are other riders out there too.  I feel compelled to keep my pace up.

I feel very confident on the run.  I was able to put in low 25 minute 5k times pretty consistently during training, which I’ve been told would be a decent 5k time for a first time 5k runner.  I’m hoping for something in that area, although that may be tough after the swim and bike.  I’ve set a goal of 27 minutes for the run, but who knows considering all events in succession.  Or maybe I’ll get a good burst during the run.  

I have visions of me making some dramatic passes coming down the monster hill towards the finish line.  In training I always try and finish my runs with some punch, so I’m hoping to have some juice left at the end and look solid crossing the line.

Good, bad or average… I’ll post my results tomorrow.  There’s no shame in my game.

AND… I’d like to say congrats to my brother Gabe and his girlfriend… correction – fiance Malika.  I’m happy for you bro-ham.

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My First Triathlon is in 2 Days!

Posted by madtrippin on July 17, 2008

Wow!  This is coming up quickly.  I’m just hoping the weather holds.  Yesterday it was saying 40% chance of thunder storms for Saturday and now it’s showing 30%.  It would really stink if there was a thunder storm and the tri got cancelled.  Man… that would be a let down after all the training and preparation.

Last night I broke down and bought a tri shirt.  I wasn’t going to, but changed my mind last minute.  I was back at Start Line last night, where I bought my shoes, to pick up a pair of Yankz laces for my shoes and found a deal on a Sugoi Fuel Tri Shirt in Cobalt, so I bought it.

For those of you who don’t know, a tri shirt is made to be worn for all three events.  This one is basically a tank made of spandex (and other fancy space age materials).  In comparison to a cycling jersey… it’s tighter, the material is thinner, the zipper goes about 3/4 of the way to your wast on the front of the shirt and the pockets are smaller, tighter and on each side of the back, instead of all the way across.

I actually tried it on, which is very unlike me.  It’s a good thing I did, as all the fitment guides online seem to put me in a Medium.  I put on the medium and it was so tight you could see my chest hair through the shirt.  I didn’t come up with that one… it was actually the sales woman’s comment.  It was so tight that when I tried to take it off I had to pull it down over my shoulders and step out of it, instead of pulling it over my head.  So large it was.  Now I’ll look like a pro and, hopefully, not perform like a rookie.

The Yankz lacing system is basically elastic laces that you put in your shoes and adjust to fit.  Then you just pull your shoes on and you don’t have to tie them.  It’s supposed to speed up your transition time.

Today I’ll be purchasing the rest of the materials to make the Team Triple H Flag for our transition area.  Then tonight I’ll do my swim, lube up the bike (she’s all degreased already) and put the flag together.

An interesting idea was brought up today via email by my teammates.  We really haven’t talked too much about any of us beating one another in the race.  Sometimes Michael and I mention that Ben will whoop both of us in the swim, but no one has mentioned who might actually have the best time.  Now there’s been a wager placed.  The loser must buy a round.  It’s getting interesting.

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It’s Race Week!!!!!!!!!

Posted by madtrippin on July 14, 2008

The Chaska River City Days Triathlon is this week!  I’m amped.  I’m not all that nervous, just excited for the event.  The nerves really only come from the having never done all this before – picking up the race packet, getting onsite at 6:00 in the morning, setting up transition area, coordinating Team Triple H’s families… But I’m ready for the swimming, biking and running.

I did a decent swim yesterday and ran about 1.5 miles at a brisk pace afterwards.  It was the first time I’d swam in the tri shorts.  What a difference in drag.  You get a lot more out of your strokes.  I’ve set a swim goal for myself of under 20 minutes and I’m feeling like that is certainly an attainable time.  Maybe it’s not aggressive enough, as I’ve been able to do that pretty easily in training.  I’m just accounting for last minute nerves, open water and the mass start.

Training overall is going to lighten up this week.  I’m going to squeeze another 2 swims in, but my run and bike will be less demanding.  Durations will be pretty much the same, but intensity will go down.  I’m saving up for the big day.

I got some new rubber for the bike this weekend at REI.  I also got new tire levers, 3 tubes, some cheapo Chilis sunglasses and a couple of new water bottles.  Today I ran some errands to get a new Helmet (the old one is way too old to be effective – besides having a cracked core), some new goggles, a number belt and 1 pack of Clif Shot Gel to try.

The helmet is a Specialized Chamonix from Erik’s Bike Shop.  I’m on a budget, otherwise I’m sure I would have been tempted by one of the other more pricey models with more color choices.  While there I also picked up a pair of Tyr brand goggles – nothing fancy, just more adjustable than the speedos I currently have.

Then I ran over to The Running Room and bought a number belt and the energy gel.  Erik’s didn’t have the non-caffenated versions of Clif gels, so I got a Razz flavored one and The Running Room.  If it’s decent tasting, doesn’t give me gut rot and actually seems to work, I’ll buy a few for the race.

Tonight I’m going to see if I can’t find me a Tri shirt locally for cheap.  Sounds like Gear West Bike and Tri may have some for a reasonable price.

I may be in trouble for the expenditures when I get home.  If the tri goes well and I decided to do more (which I think I’ve already decided), my tri expenditures will probably continue to be a problem.  I’m going to have to find another source of income to support it.  I’ve already got a nasty motorcycle accessory addiction, which I’ve been neglecting because of the tri training.

We’re (Team Triple H) already talking about the post-race festivities.  Sounds like it should be a good time.  Ben and Michael seem ready to go and now Michael is talking like he may want to do a tri next year as well.

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Rained Out – No Brick

Posted by madtrippin on July 8, 2008

Last night I was going to do a full brick.  Bricking is what they call the transition from biking to running – apparently a reference to the way your legs react to the change in muscle movement/usage.  I’d never heard the term until I decided to do a tri.  I’ve done 13 miles on the bike and then run 1 mile after and your legs do feel like bricks.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.  It wound up storming pretty hard and I found myself running on the treadmill at the community center for about 35 minutes on an uphill setting most of the time, followed by a light round of weights.  I could have biked indoors and then run on the treadmill, but spinning on the exercise bike for an hour bores me to tears.  I need to be outside to bike any kind of distance.

Today will be my off day.  I’ve trained 3 days in a row and I’m feeling a bit tired, so a rest day will be nice.  I’ll have to hit the pool on Wednesday night and then again Saturday and Sunday.  I’m only a week and a half away from the race, so I’m going to try and finish up the serious stuff this week and lighten the load next week.

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