Thursday, January 31, 2013

Welcome to Paradise: Team Rev3 Summit

2013 Team Rev3 and Staff
Well, now it's official: I am a member of Team Rev3 for 2013!

One of the great things about this team is the dynamic of the individuals involved. There's such a wide variety of personalities that it's impossible to feel disconnected. Just a crazy bunch of people!

This year, Rev3 had nearly 500 applicants for the age-group team, of which 13 new members were selected to join the 40 of us from last year and beyond. Over the next few weeks, you'll see their blogs appear on the right-hand side of this page, along with our sponsors for 2013.

Without further adieu, a running commentary of Team Summit:

Thursday: Travel Bingo!
A trip to the western part of the country wouldn't be complete without filling out a Travel Bingo card. Some spaces that got filled in include: Delayed Flight, Guy Snoring in the Chairs In Front of You, Screaming get the idea. Everyone wins. And everyone loses.

My flight path took me from Portland to JFK before flying into Denver. Luckily, I had some time to kill:

Thank you, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Made my flight to Denver, and had the welcoming crew of team members Jordan, Maggie, and Tonia. Drove out to Boulder, and promptly crashed.

Friday: Let Summit Begin!
We headed on over to the Hotel Boulderado, the site of Team Summit. We started meeting up with all of the members, and then began with an engineering project: had to build a protective method to make sure an egg dropped would survive. All eggs made it.

We then started learning from our sponsors for 2013:

Pretty awesome!

We drove on out over to Pearl Izumi HQ to learn about their products for this year. It's crazy seeing this massive building, and just how small the brand is overall from the number of people working. I think there might've been a total of 50 people in the building. Nuts!

That said, it was awesome to tour around; meet the person behind the Project: EMotion running line; get fit for our 2013 kits; meet up with Tim DeBoom; talk about how the custom line works; how the pros have completely custom items done up, and usually have two uniforms made: early-season and late-season (aka "Now I'm actually at race weight"); and more that I'm missing.

We then headed to dinner, which is where we really started to bond as a team. I think we were at the restaurant for four hours, just having a blast.

I may or may not have had a couple of drinks on Friday. I may or may not have had a killer headache Saturday morning.

We rolled on over to Summit to do some more education from our sponsors. My favorite presentation on Saturday was from Reynolds wheels. Not just because I'm in the market for a new set of race wheels, but because there's been a lot of questions about the direction of cycling wheels in general. Most designs are moving from a v-notch or hybrid toroidal shape to a fully bulbous, wide profile. Reynolds, on the other hand, still has a sharper rim shape, but with other technologies they can make the wheel stable and reduce drag. In fact, it stays in its' aero "sweet spot" longer than any other wheel, and worth some pretty solid time savings, including against the almighty brand that starts with a Z.

In the interest of "in God we trust, all others bring data," the white paper for Reynolds appears here.

We also got to test out some of the beet juice from Biotta. I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it! There's also some recent study suggesting that pre-loading with beet juice during the course of a race week can improve performance on race day.  That being said, be prepared for the first time you head to the bathroom following taking it. You will think you're having internal bleeding. Don't worry. You're not.

We also learned a little bit more about the Ulman Cancer Fund and the ties that we have to it. I've decided that for one race this season, I'll be fundraising for Ulman.

Part of the reason I'm in this sport is because Hannah's father passed away from sarcoma so damn quickly. I decided that life was too short to let dreams stay in the distance, and rather just pursue them relentlessly. It has lead me to some fantastic places, including being a part of this fantastic team.

Well, I figured it's time to help put some of those efforts to give back, to try and help those who are my age who are battling cancer. To help those families who need support now.

I'm still debating which event I will be racing for Team Fight with. But I'll figure it out soon enough.

Saturday also brought us to Team Dinner in Denver, which was fantastic. Really felt like we've bonded as a group this year, beyond the e-mail connections.

Sunday: Skiing!
Oh, come on, you didn't think I'd go to Colorado without skiing, did you?

Jordan, Maggie, myself, Lauren, and Jeff. Rocking the R with Rev3!

We went to Winter Park. It was fantastic.

Of course, this wouldn't be complete without me eating sh*t at least once.

Whoops. Note to self: Keep the tip up.
I did say at least once.

Chopping down this tree...with...A HERRING!
Well, at least I looked good when I was upright.

In all, an amazing trip. Really looking forward to all that 2013 brings.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's My Prediction? PAIN.

Welcome back to bike training, I suppose.

After much deliberation, financial wrangling, and headaches that would rival the best (worst?) of my hangovers, I finally got the bike situation figured out. Went and had my initial fitting on Wednesday, and brought it on home.

Please, allow me to introduce you to Oddjob:

Allow me to get the Slowtwitch joke out of the way: seat's too high.

What's with the name? As like all of my bikes, this one's named after a favorite character of my late father-in-law. Considering we'd already gone through the Muppets and Wallace and Gromit, we went to the Bond franchise with this one. 

So why Oddjob? Oddjob was known for throwing hats. You know, off his head? What's the most noticeable feature of this bike? The size of the head-tube foil. See what I did there?

So anyways, Wednesday was the initial fitting, which we'll be tinkering with (play with saddle height, eliminate spacers, etc.) Thursday was the shake-out ride. 

Friday...well, Friday was my re-introduction to Friday Night Fights. It's an 8-week CompuTrainer competition, earning points towards a series title. I missed the first week due to not having a bike, and I will probably miss a week somewhere else. So I had to ride this Friday to get into the series standings.

Alright, not a problem. What's the course?

3.1 mile time trial, starting flat and maxing out at 7.5% grade. No downhill. All uphill.

Oh. This'll suck.

There's a fellow athlete in the area who talks trash with me a fair bit. So, naturally, he was my target for the week. I saw what his time was and just had to beat him. Put my game face on and got ready to rock.

I was paired up with a couple of other strong athletes in my wave. So I figured I'd have to fight pretty hard to even make the podium within my wave. Good thing I'm pretty light overall.

Managed to finish 3rd in my wave and demolished my nemesis. Only wound up 8th or 9th for the placing in the GC. Going to need to step up my game! Although, to put in perspective, my effort there was the off of my first three rides in three months. Not bad to get back on the horse.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Starts and Stops

Seems like once I get going on one front, another comes crashing on backwards.

The only worthy analogy for my geekdom would be the game of Risk, whereby you attempt to conquer the world. The problem, of course, is that at some point your defense in one area becomes weak as you try to conquer another part of the globe.

So, without further adieu, we'll break this one down into separate components on the training front: Swim, Bike, and Run:

Swim: Hey, there's this thing called improvement!
Well, whaddya know: this seems to be working. Big time. One of the Sustainable Athlete coaches, Kelsey Abbott, has been doing some work with me on improving my swim. Not just from a time perspective, but also from an injury one: we're trying to eliminate the possibility of that left shoulder becoming inflamed again.

The main change to my stroke is in hip drive; as in, the entire stroke is originating from the hip itself. No more stroke counts per length, or distance per stroke exercises. Instead, the entire focus is on streamlining and hip drive. By working with that hip drive, it quiets my shoulder down a lot, and also creates less lag time in the water. Before, I would stall a little bit as my left hand entered the water. That's getting eliminated.

I knew things were starting to work a bit better when, after contracting what I'm calling The Airborne Zombie Virus Vaccination Flu, I was able to hop back in the water on consecutive days and lock in on 1:32/100meters for sets. Now, yes, I know that's still painfully slow. But it's a vast improvement over my previous mess.

The next key, for me, is trying to find some people to follow around who are better than I am. I find it far easier to push when in a group dynamic than when alone in the pool; it's tough to try and find an extra gear when, with that previous slow-as-hell pace, you're the fastest person in the water by a mile.

Bike: Still nothing.
On the horizon is a new member of the Heisler household. Just a matter of finishing up the procuring of said bike. More to come on this in the following weeks. And hopefully soon, as Friday Night Fights is about to kick off...

Run: Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
Hey, this is a family space.

I've been cooking along at a pretty good pace, well, ever since the end of triathlon season. I've had some pretty good runs, some PRs at the 5K/10K distance, and been looking forward to crushing some dreams on the run this year.

Well, hold the phone. Someone else has some plans.

Went out yesterday to preview the Mid-winter Classic 10-mile course. It's a pretty hilly course, but the weather was as great as it could possibly have been.

Now, let's keep in mind a couple of things as I headed out for this 10-mile run:

  • My last "long" run was 8 miles on December 23rd.
  • I started getting sick with the Airborne Zombie Virus Vaccination Flu on Christmas Eve.
  • I went to the clinic on Boxing Day with the AZVVF, an ear infection, and a sinus infection.
  • I didn't start running until this past Tuesday, when I went out for all of 20 minutes, and followed that up with a 30 minute run on Saturday.
Translation: nobody has ever accused me of being all that smart.

Went out at a pretty comfortable pace, felt pretty good. Tried to toss a couple of intervals in, and my lungs laughed at me. OK, not a problem. I know it's a little ambitious to expect things to be all there with how little running I'd done. But I figure the body will hold up...

...and I thought wrong.

My right knee decided that screaming out in pain at about 9 miles was going to be a great idea. At first, I chalked it up to my tights being more like a screen-door at this point, and the patella capture device that they have on them moving all around. But as I sit here today with my knee still pretty well pissed off, I'm starting to think it's a little more substantial than that.

The pain's on the lateral side, basically in the space below the patella itself, and outward towards the tibia/fibula region. It's basically where ITB pain would be, except moved down 3-4 centimeters, if that makes sense.

We'll see how today's off-day will go. And then pick up tomorrow to see how things feel.

Really, I need to keep reminding myself that the goal is to kick some ass come race season and to go into Rev3 Cedar Point healthy. There's going to be setbacks, and the better I do getting things settled now the better off I will be come race season. Just need to settle, and remember: it's only January. If we're in the middle of April and things are like this...then we can get worried. But now's not the time for panic.

Beyond that, we've got lots of trips! Off to Colorado for the Rev3 Team Summit towards the end of the month, and then we're going back to Colorado a week and a half later to do a footwear vendor training. Just a traveling fool these days!