Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
With such a tight battle for the overall, making the teams was a VERY stressful task. We wouldn't want someone getting an unfair advantage in the relay resulting in some type of physical harm being done towards Vincent Lavallee for making the teams, potentially damaging his generally good looks.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
- Now that Nathaniel has gone, I can give up the secrets, here are a few helpful tips for how to hold your breath as long as possible.
- Before holding your breath, inhale and exhale slowly from deep within your diaphragm. By doing this, you're ridding your lungs of low-quality air. Spend 5 seconds breathing in and 5 seconds breathing out; do this for two minutes, and be sure that when you exhale, you push out every last "drop" of air.
- Take a massive gulp of air and hold it. Don't breathe in so much that you're about to pop; fill your lung capacity to 80-85% so that you still have room to relax.
- Always do this with a partner watching, since you can lose consciousness without warning.
- Don't hold air in your cheeks. This method is meant for an air reserve, but you have to "let go" of the air in your lungs if you want to use the air in your cheeks, and exhaling air in your lungs usually gets rid of the reserve in your cheeks. In other words, it's not easy to switch out the air in your lungs and the air in your cheeks without letting both escape. But it can be done -
- Splash cold water on your face. It has been observed that putting a person's face in contact with cold water triggers bradycardia, or the slowing of the heart rate, which is the first phase of the mammalian diving reflex. You don't need to actually put your entire head underwater, though. You can splash some cold water on your face right before you hold your breath, or try using a cold, wet washcloth (don't use an ice pack, though; the same study suggests that the shock of something too cold triggers other reflexes). Just make sure it's cold enough (21 °C or 70 °F) and the rest of your body is in a relaxed position.
- Relax every muscle in your body. Meditate so that you can lower your heart rate. Your body will consume less oxygen that way. By closing your eyes, feeling, and focusing on slowing your heart beat, it is possible to lower your heart rate significantly and increase the time you are able to hold your breath for. Concentrate on something that's relaxing to you. When you can't concentrate anymore, distract yourself by doing something with your hands, like counting to 99 with your fingers.
On a lazy Sunday morning, the University of British Columbia Aquatic center saw 17 triathletes dip their toes in the pool in preparation for event number 9; the 500m swim set.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
There have been many speculations as to why I haven't updated in so long. The leading hypothesis can be heard in this re-enactment of a discussion overhead in the triathlon club office earlier this week.
Make sure your sound is on.
The accuracy of this video is incredible. The space aged office, Nathaniel and Matt wearing spandex, Vince being... Well you know.
No doubt in my mind that this happened.
However, it saddens me to admit this is not why the blog was so delayed. In all truth, its because I've been so busy with lab work. Mixed in with a visit from my mom and I'm just getting around to it now.
But rest assured, I remember all the important parts.
As one of our smaller events, the brick workout only had 14 people show up for the legendary ride on that cold wet morning. The conditions dampened the hopes (hahahaha) of those who had counted on drafting the entire bike course, however, this courageous bunch wasn't going to be deterred by the weather.
Due to weather conditions, the duathlon turned into a brick workout as the team opted out of doing the first running leg.
Quickly on the bike, a small trio of Barry Claman, Derrick Lee and Kory Seder took off the front. They worked hard and managed to open a gap on the rest. At the turn around Kory missed the turn only to venture another 700m down the road (Correction, Barry turned too early and everyone else followed. Kory is the only one who did the correct course). At this point Barry was able to distance himself from Derrick and came in to transition with a solid cushion of time.
Following this leading trio was the main pack of men, with Nathaniel, Winston and Scott all following not too far behind.
In the girls race, it was a little more of individual efforts as Kim Seder biked away from the group finishing the bike course with a demanding lead heading into the run. A little ways back the main pack arrived led by Victoria Gilbert with Lauren Spazadore and Celeste Pakstas just behind.
Barry rounded out the finish in an impressive 21:31 with Kory having an adjusted time (due to the detour) 30 seconds back.
In the girls race, Kim led from the gun finishing the run nearly a minute ahead of second place, where Victoria was able to break open the pack and lead Celeste to the line by just over a minute.
Claire also took part in the make up session of the brick workout. However due to some navigational issues her time had to be doctored, her time works out to 26:16 but please don't ask me how I came up with that. There is a lot of hand waiving involved.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Super Sprint Triathlon
And so it is I hereby propose a true sprint triathlon, the Tri-Dash. And this is what I have in mind…
First, the rules. Then the events.
The rules are essentially like any other swim-bike-run triathlon but for one primary difference: there are no transition areas or transitions. That is to say each of three events is a separate entity, occurring as its own competition. Each event is separated by a number of hours, though all three of these events are to take place in the course of a single day. The results of each event are judged not on a points system (as per decathlon, heptathlon, etc) but strictly by time standards. Athletes qualify for the final through a round of qualifying heats. There would be a women's race and a men's race, of course.
The Swim: The swim consists of a single 100-meter freestyle sprint, from the blocks. It takes place in an Olympic-regulation-size 50-meter pool and each athlete competes in his or her own lane.
The Ride: The ride consists of a 1-kilometer flat, straight time-trial. Tri(athletes) are to start individually from a standing start.
The Run: The run consists of a single 400-meter dash. It takes place on a 400-meter track and essentially follows the rules as that of the International Olympic Committee's track and field rules: each athlete competes in his or her own lane against seven other runners.
How I see things…
Fast and fun! Any male capable of breaking 3-minutes would likely be deemed "world-class" and perhaps can consider himself one of the truly fastest triathletes in the world. Female times would likely hover within seconds of the male individual event times.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This was in the latest issue of Cyclocross Magazine (Issue 7 or those interested). I did not write it, it was written by Chris Gescheidle. He talks about some great points. If you're interested and want to learn more, check out cxmagazine.com
It was a nice late spring afternoon and although my triathlon training plan called for a bike ride with intervals, I decided to break out the 'cross bike and hit the trail.
"Wow! Look at those beautiful Texas wildflowers!" crowed one of the mother-son duo as I rode my Bianchi Cross Concept past them on a local trail not far from my house.
I passed them a few miles into the trail at an open field skirting a lowland creek, where Texans roam the fields looking for wildflowers all year long. Spring happens to be one of my favourite times to mount the 'cross steed and get off-road. The funny thing is I'm a triathlete and it's the middle of the early triathlon training season. So why am i even thinking about cyclocross?
Since I first tossed a leg over a 'cross bike and raced, I knew I was hooked. I’m sure most of you can say the same thing! And at the end of my first ‘cross racing season, I knew I had to incorporate it into my triathlon training. And why not? Triathlon and cyclocross share two common elements: cycling and running, so why not use cyclocross to my advantage year-round?
Dallas isn’t known for its cyclocross racing by any stretch of the imagination. Don’t get me wrong, Texas does flourish with some of the best cycling—on and off-road—you can find in the whole country. And for Teas, ‘cross makes a good showing from Dallas to Houston. So, I’ve decided to use the mild winters and warm (OK, hot) summers to my advantage. And I mean my advantage for triathlon and cyclocross.
You’ve probably heard the stories of how world-class cyclists have proclaimed that ‘cross racing made them better at road racing. It’s true. Extending your riding through the winter makes you a better rider. Period.
It’s hard to most triathletes to continue to ride during the off-season without structure, while continuing to improve our skills. Sure, you can tell yourself that you will work on interval training, on-leg drills, close quarter riding and so forth throughout the off-season, but when it comes down to it, you will probably just ride.
Long, slow distance rides have their place, especially in the off-season. However, sprinkle in some cyclocross and watch your early season form climb the charts like a new Jonas Brothers CD.
When I trade my road bike or time trial bike for the ‘cross bike during my heavy triathlon training season, I remind my body and my mind of the skills that will make me a better triathlete. Let’s look at the different ways ‘cross helps me in a triathlon.
One of the biggest and most visible improvements is bike handling skills. This oft-neglected talent of experienced riders comes shining through when you race ‘cross. Having to negotiate fatter tires through tight corners, through sand, or along the mud makes you learn how to handle the bar, pedal and brakes.
I remember the first time I tried ‘cross. There was no mud, sand or “trash dump
like I saw in later years, but the descent on the first U-turn caught my by surprise. It wasn’t that steep; heck, it wasn’t even a “descent” for the veteran racers that day. But with a triathlon background, I was used to mostly flat, time trial like terrain! Speeding down that creek bed had me holding on for dear life instead of holding my bike in a relaxed manner.
I realized that if I was going to get better at cycling, whether at road racing, cyclocross, or triathlons, I needed to hone my handling skills. In the end that made me better on race day and in training.
One of the key elements in triathlon that is often overlooked is the transitions. This is the place that the racer transitions from the swim to the bike (called “T-1”) or from the bike to the run (“T-2”). At the beginning of the race, the transition area is filled with bikes on their respective tacks, waiting for the participants to exit the water, grab their bikes and get out to the bike course. Of course, there are rules to follow when inside the transition area, as well as when one exits and re-enters that area. One of the rules is not being able to mount your bike until you are clear of the transition area and across the “mount/dismount” line.
I love watching triathlons from the “mount/dismount” line. I can tell from watching who has practiced mounting their bike (most don’t). if you’re good, ou can run out of transition with your bike, cross the line, mount your bike and go without ever stopping. If you’ve not practiced this, however, you will probably cross the line, stop to find your pedal, swing your lef over, slop on your cleats and lose your chain as you back-pedal. Then, as you almost fall over, get totally frustrated, you find you are starting your bike with a lot of stress. A fluid mount and dismount can save a few dozen seconds… more than a lot of equipment upgrades.
Practicing transitions, perhaps especially the mount and dismount of your bike, is ammunition in your arsenal. And because cyclocross incorporates mounting and dismounting, it’s a great way to practice specificity. If you can dismount quickly and efficiently for a barrier, then mount the bike after clearing the barrier, you will be better at properly mounting and dismounting your bike in triathlon.
Of course, you can’t race triathlon without running. Well, OK, you can, but your chances of cross the finish line ahead of others will be mighty slim! And, although ‘cross has less running than it used to, it’ll help you keep a bit of running fitness throughout the off-season.
Many cycling-focused triathletes dread the run portion of the race. That’s a shame, too, because running is actually a great way to cross train between cyclocross and triathlon. Different muscle groups get used, which can help joint stability and lessen overuse injuries.
If you do decide to incorporate running into your training regimen, be sure to get your shoes fitted by a professional. Begin by adding running to a walking routine, and then gradually increase the mileage of running over time. Ultimately, you will sprinkle in speed work, sprints and even ‘cross-specific drills (i.e., hopping barriers) to improve your skills.
Riding in a Pack
Although most triathlons are non-drafting races, knowing how to safely pass someone or avoid a collision as you pass is is an often overlooked skill, too. I’ve often seen collisions, or near-collisions, on triathlon courses simply because someone wasn’t comfortable with another rider in close proximity. Instead of welcoming the change to their environment by practicing riding in a pack or passing, they freeze-up in fear, often to their own detriment.
Cyclocross puts a rider in the think of close-quarter drills. Unless you just get dropped early on, you will probably have chances during the ‘cross race to be close-up and personal with another rider The more you do this, the more comfortable you become with other riders around you during a race. Becoming at ease in this environment makes you a better rider in other races, including triathlons. When you’re out on you next group ride, practice rubbing shoulders (literally!) with other riders. Once you get used to the bump-and-grind of elbows and shoulders, you’ll be much less nervous when this inevitable part of cyclocross occurs. Plus, when you give someone a little bump on the tri course (or receive one), you’ll be less likely to go down. Note: Please check with the rider you’re going to practice this skill on before leaning into him; failing to do so will get you ejected from the group ride faster than showing up with your aero bars.
So, how do you get started? Well, first check Cyclocross magazine’s comprehensive race calendar from ‘cross clinics or races in your area. A clinic is an invaluable way to not only see proper technique, but also to have someone watch you, give you specific pointers and answer your questions.
Then, see if you can find a group with which to train. Contact race promoters or clubs for information on any groups training ‘cross on a regular basis. You man even find a group on Cyclocross Magazine’s online community site. Some groups host a series of practices races or workouts, for example every Tuesday evening, where you can come back weekly to the same course, hone your skills and actually progress.
Don’t have a cross bike? No problem! Your mountain bike or hybrid will do. Or, if you have a bit of clearance, simply install some narrow cyclocross tires on your road bike and get out there. Here in Teas it is fry, you can get away with running a road frame with 28 or 30c ‘cross tires. The Schwalbe CX Light and Ritchey Speedmax 700x30 are two of the narrowest out there. At your first race, you’ll see all sorts of bikes, so don’t be intimidated if you don’t have a ‘cross-specific bike. Just makes sure whatever you se can handle some off-road terrain, run-ups, cambers and, at the fun races, mud.
As far as the dismounts, remember your skills as a triathlete. If you’re an accomplished triathlete, you know how beneficial it is to approach the dismount line at a race and be able to “run in” because you’ve left your shoes on your bike. In cyclocross, it’s the same principal, except this time you’ll leave your shoes on your feet, dismount the bike on one side, run over the obstacle or barrier, then do a flying mount, the same as you would in triathlon T-1. Check out Cyclocross Magazine’s brand new newbie section on their website.
And when it’s necessary to run, you will probably have the advantage coming from a tri background. You’ve trained for triathlon using “bricks,” (a workout that involves running directly after coming off the bike), so the payoff in ‘cross will benefit you, too!
Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be that easy. And you may experience a higher heart rate during the race than you do in triathlon. The constant accelerations and the cheering and jeering crowd will keep you at the redline.
You’ll have to practice your dismounts and the jumping over obstacles. You’ll also want to practice carrying your bike on your shoulder and carrying it up a hill. Now this is something you obviously don’t do in triathlon. In fact, we get really good at pushing our bike through the transition, but in cyclocross, you will need the skill of carrying your bike. That’s because there are so many sports on a ‘cross course where you cannot ride it.
For both the run and the bike, practice short, quick accelerations (think interval training on steroids). You might be lucky enough to get into a rhythm somewhere on the course, but most likely you will be hammering the entire time. Remember the duration versus intensity principle? This is intensity and duration!
But you can—and should—add ‘cross to your repertoire. Use the triathlon off-season to hone your cycling skills by adding a little cyclocross into the mix. Join a group ride. Attend or volunteer at a race. Join the community. Pretty soon you’ll see what the fuss is about. And you might just end up trading in that tri bike for a pair of matching ‘cross bikes.