Monthly Archives: June 2006

Jean’s Race

 Just a quick note to let you know that Jean had a bike wreck during her race at Morgantown. She’ll fill you all in on the details but she hit a pothole (sound familiar?) right after some railroad tracks and went over on her left shoulder. I just talked to her briefly after she got back to her room and suggested a quick visit to the ER. They told her she has a level 1 a/c joint separation (I think) and she chipped a small piece of bone off the top of her clavicle. She’ll get a better idea of recovery once she’s home and is hoping it will be a fairly quick rehab and won’t interfere with IM Wisconsin (11 weeks away). Bike is OK and she tried several times to get back on and finish but couldn’t get in the aerobars…too much pain.

She should be home tomorrow afternoon or evening.


Beer In The Fridge

Beer At Crooked Lake 

I asked Jean if she minded if I put a beer in the fridge and she said “of course not”. I took her reply to mean “of course she didn’t mind”, so the picture is attached. Had she known it was a really big beer, she probably would say she meant “of course you can’t”, but now it’s too late. It’s a Kölsch and it has to cold condition for three weeks or so. I unscrewed the bulb so the light wouldn’t alter the flavor. The recipe is my son, Matt’s, so we’ll see if he has any chance of being a “Brewmeister”.

Saturday was long bike day, the first of our 6 hour rides on the training schedule. Larry and I went out at 7 AM and did 2:20 or so while the rest of the group fed their caffeine habits. We met up with them at 9:20, and did the rest (6:13:25 total but who’s counting). After following the ride with a 30 minute run and the last of our graduation open houses, the couch cushions called my name and it would have been rude of me to ignore them.

Our group has discussed all aspects of training several times, sometimes on our long runs, sometimes at Saturday morning coffee. Everyone has their own program that works for them and I’ve used Multi Sports for the past few years (Roch Frey, Paul Huddle, Paula Newby-Frasier, Heather Fuhr among other superstars). I signed up for their on-line training program when I did my “Return To the Scene Of The Bike Wreck” training for Ironman Wisconsin 2004 and they (Paul) babysat me through the practice ride. Of course I printed off all the information back then and, since I’m too cheap to sign up again, I use the same program (yes, I did go back and change the dates to 2006 on every sheet).

It’s a great program and helps with all aspects of training including nutrition. I know what should be done and our discussions have all agreed on the importance, but I’ve gotten into race conditions and my brain seems to take a siesta. I finish the bike without drinking enough and without eating enough calories to refuel the muscles, and I wonder why I bonk at 85 miles on the bike and I’m dehydrated to the point of leg cramping.

On Saturday’s ride I figured out how many calories I needed based on my body weight and how much fluid I needed to keep myself hydrated and actually did what I planned to do. I finished the bike feeling great except for a really sore butt (there was a good chance they would have to surgically remove the seat from “the Great Divide” but that didn’t happen) and felt good on the transition run. My hopes are that this isn’t just a flash in the pan, and I’ll go back to my old ways of FTF (failure to focus). I asked for a volunteer to look and see if my butt was bruised, but no takers.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene is today and we wish our Grand Rapids friends (Libby Jennings, Ruth Bareman, George Pravda, Bruce Babcock, Tom Henson, Don Litzsey,  and others I don’t know) a good race. To some of us “good race” means winning…to others of us a good race is doing your best given the conditions that day…to still others of us it means just having fun. Whatever the motivation we hope our friends enjoy the experience.

The Half Ironman race at Morgantown, West Virginia is also today and Jean, Gary Ivinskas and John Hopkins are doing that one. I talked to Jean last night and she gave me a rundown of the course. It sounds hilly and difficult but we wish them the same “good race”. I’m kind of glad I’m not there because watching Jean in a race drives me crazy. First of all, I feel like I should be out there too and that makes me a little depressed. The biggest thing is that I feel powerless and can’t help her do anything. I always worry about bike wrecks and injuries until she crosses the line, so I’m better off here in Michigan.

Today’s run was an 80 to 100 minute heart rate 1 or 2 run and I ran it with Bill and Paul. We chit-chatted all the way around. I did 10 miles and they did 10.5 or so. I felt surprisingly good after the century ride yesterday. We’ll see if we can keep it going ’til September 10th at Madison.

Sayonara. Nap time.

Just (Looking For Grandpa Walker’s Sore Butt Cushion) Jack

What Goes Around Comes Around

 Last week I went on and on about my dismay in “aging up” at USAT sanctioned races. Yesterday was my first foray back into competition. I did Johan’s Trifest, an Olympic length triathlon (.93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run…or for you that conformed to the metric conversion in the 70s and 80s…1.5 k swim, 40 k bike, 10 k run). It was my first race since Ironman Wisconsin 2004 and it wasn’t pretty.

I made at least 4 trips from my car to the transition area to get things I forgot. Usually you take everything at once and everything is there. Not me. I took my bike pump to top off the air in my tires before the race. Everyone else takes their bike out of the car, pumps the tires, then wheels it over to the bike racks. I wheeled my bike over, then went back to the car to get the pump.

As far as the race went I didn’t have a good one. I thrashed around in the swim and had my worst elapsed time ever. Between not getting into a good rhythm and body position, I zig zagged up and down the course and turned it from a .93 mile swim to at least a 1.2 mile delayed drowning.

When I exited the swim I got to my bike and couldn’t get my wetsuit off my feet. The Xterra sleeveless just doesn’t come off like my Ironman Stealth did. I finally got it off and proceeded to put on my bike shoes. I had rolled up my socks to make them easier to slip on over wet feet. I put the right one on, had a mild brain attack and unrolled the left one before I put it on. What was I thinking?

I got on the bike and didn’t feel like I could get in a good pace. Maybe riding 83 miles of hills isn’t the best preparation for a race three days later. Anyway, half way up one of the hills I thought the chain was making a strange noise and may not have gone solidly onto the small ring in front. So I nudged the lever over and the chain popped off. I thought I was in the small ring and I wasn’t. I was cross chained in the big ring (53) and the Big Cog (25) on the back. I had to get off the bike, grab the chain with my right index finger and put it back on. I hope I didn’t pick my nose because my finger was black with chain oil. Then I had to start back up on the hill. I couldn’t get my cleats to seat in and weaved around the road trying to get them snapped in while blocking two riders who I had just passed.

By the time I got to the run, my race was over, but I felt comfortable and ran well for me considering the time off and the hot, humid day. A guy in my age group passed me at about 2 1/2 miles and stayed about 100 yards ahead. He would walk every little while, I would almost catch up with him, and he would start back up and get another 100 yards ahead. At 4 miles he walked through an aid station and we ran out shoulder to shoulder. We stayed together for a half mile, I ducked in front of him to run through a sprinkler, took a hit of Hammer Gel and, as Emeril LaGasse would say, I “kicked it up a notch”. I expected him to run after me, take me within a hundred yards, and that would be that. He couldn’t come and I never saw him again.

So back to the aging up issue. I ended up 4th in my age group out of 8. If I hadn’t aged up I would have been in the 55-59 age group and would have ended up 6th out of 9. So as it often happens, when you whine about something it can come back to bite you in the behind later. So I admit it. I’m happy to have aged up even if Jim Dyke is in my age group and, yes, he did win the 60-64 age group handily.

By the way. As I wheeled my bike back to the car I noticed the front tire was flat. It was only pumped to 115 lbs so I don’t think it expanded and blew from the heat. I’d like to say that it probably started to lose air out on the course, I probably rode in on a soft tire and that’s why I had a crappy bike time. Chances are it picked up something on the course, developed a slow leak and just went flat while it sat there for two hours.

Larry, Jean and I had a good ride over at Verona, Wisconsin this last Wednesday. We all made peace with the hills, are comfortable with the course and know what we have to work on in the next 12 weeks. I found as I thought that the 42-25 gear combination isn’t quite enough for the three major climbs. I got up them all OK, but it took a lot out of my legs and I slowed way down the second half of the second loop.

Other than traffic around Chicago and Jean wetting the bed (she says she went to take a drink in the middle of the night from her water bottle and the top came off…yeah, right) it was a good trip. We are all looking forward to the race…at least I am.

Better go. The Father’s Day presents are all piled up under the Father’s Day tree and I’m anxious to open them.

Just (Missing My Dad) Jack

Aging Up

 When we enter Triathlon races we compete with people our own age in age groups. The age groups are divided between men and women and go from 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, etc. Until this year the age group you were placed in was based on your age on the day of the race. I’m 59 and will be 60 in December. So for the past four years I’ve been in the Men’s 55-59 age group. The USA Triathlon group decided to conform with many other sports and place people in age groups based on their age as of December 31st of each year. Any races that are USAT sanctioned use the new age group criteria.

When I first started in Triathlon, there was a guy in my age group named Jim Dyke who always won. Now I’m sure he hasn’t won every race he’s ever entered, but he’s come in first in his age group in all the races we’ve both been in. Jim’s birthday is in the summer sometime and he’s slightly more than a year older than me. Every five years he would advance to the next age group in July or August (I think) and I wouldn’t advance until December of the following year. That would give me 15 or 16 months without Jim in my age group.

Before you think that would give me a better chance of winning my age group you don’t know me very well. I’m not overly competitive and I’m just an average athlete. Not slow…not fast..just half-fast as the old joke goes (if you don’t understand just say it fast and you’ll get it). So, for me, it means that instead of being in the middle of the pack, I’m one place better than the middle of the pack without Jim in the same age group. For me that’s a victory.

So last year Jim competed in the 55-59 age group for most of the Michigan triathlon season. This year he’s in the 60-64 age group. Since I’ll be 60 on December 1st (no large presents please … money would be fine) I’ll race this season also in the 60-64 age group. So instead of not having Jim in my age group for 15 months, it was only 3 months and, due to old age maladies, I didn’t race at all last year so I’m just out of luck.

The competitive members of our Triathlon Club would look at Jim as the enemy, set their sights on “the big gun”, and do their best to knock him off. The problem is (in addition to me not being competitive) that I’ve met Jim and consider him to be a “race friend”. One of those people you enjoy talking with and being around but you only see each other at races. He’s easy to talk to, he doesn’t brag, he’s humble and is just a genuine “nice guy”. So how can Jim be the enemy? OK. I get the argument that in four years there will be another year when Jim will move to the 65-69 age group and I’ll be in the 60-64 age group, but based on my race accidents on the bike I may not live that long. It just isn’t fair!

On a repetitive note…yesterday Larry, Paul and I did our bike ride together. Larry and Paul started at Larry’s house, met me on Lindsey Road, and we rode Larry’s best guess of the hilliest roads in Barry County that would match the terrain of Ironman Wisconsin. It was a 150 to 210 minute heart rate 2 to 3 ride for me and I was in heart rate 3 most of the time. It was great training, but I cut my portion of the ride down to 2 1/2 hours due to my annual “doing something dumb induced back spasm” on Thursday.

Larry and Paul told me to ride ahead and set my pace (they’re both better riders than I am) and they’d tag along. After 20 minutes of riding Paul rode up next to me and said “I’ve tried to ride behind you, but those bike shorts are really worn out and I just can’t look any more”. As I said last week, what are friends for? Then he proceeded to tell us about last week’s race when he got behind a young, well-built girl who was also wearing worn out bike shorts. He didn’t mind riding behind her for most of the race even though he could have ridden faster. OK. OK. The new shorts are on their way from Performance Bike.

Jean, Larry and I will be going to Verona, Wisconsin Tuesday, riding the 40 mile loop of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course twice Wednesday, and coming back on Thursday. Jean will have to stay with us on the first loop since she doesn’t know the course. If I had to guess, I would predict that once Jean knows where all the turns are she’ll make some feeble excuse about having to get back to the room to straighten out her suitcase and take off leaving Larry and I in the dust. Larry will follow close behind her and I’ll not see either of them for the last 39 miles. That’s OK. Remember, I’m just half-fast.

Just (Destined To Be The Sweep Bike) Jack

Boys And Girls

 Our Saturday long bike rides have always been a mixture, but this week it was boys and girls riding separately. Jon, Martin and (I think) Jim took off early (the plan was 6 AM). It’s not that they are the “fast riders” of the group (which they are) but they take off early because they have young families or work commitments or both, so they need to get back at a reasonable time.

Jean and Diane wanted to get out fairly early since they were both on call, but didn’t want to leave at 6, so they opted for 8 or 8:30. Bill, Larry and I didn’t want to get out while it was still cold, and we like to have coffee at State Grounds at 8, so we shot for between 9:30 and 10. So it was the boys, then the girls, then the boys. I’m using the terms loosely since I’ll turn 60 this year and it’s hard for anyone to call me a boy except my mother.

I made it 24.5 miles before I called out to Bill and Larry that I was stopping to adjust my bike seat. I started to squirm at 15 miles, and by 24 I was in agony. I dropped it an inch (back to the height it was before the professional bike seat fit) and shoved it back a centimeter. It was much more comfortable, but by then the damage had been done, and I was glad to get off the bike at 58.5 miles. I gave it three rides and it wasn’t improving, so I’ll go back to where it was and make changes more slowly.

After I adjusted the seat I asked Larry to ride along side me or slightly behind and tell me if my leg went to full extension on the downstroke. It felt shorter than before (duh!! It was an inch shorter!!) and I wanted to be sure it wasn’t too short. I didn’t want to look like Arte Johnson in “Laugh In” on the tricycle (you young kids don’t know what I’m talking about…look it up on Google).

I had mentioned earlier that my bike shorts were worn out and I needed new ones. Larry and Bill got behind me and, since the bike shorts had been washed so many times and the fabric had broken down, you could see through them to places no human eyes should ever have to look. I tried to ignore them but I heard comments like “How much caulk do you think it would take to fill that crack…chuckle, chuckle” or “At least his butt isn’t any wider than an axe handle”. What are friends for anyway? A few miles down the road we all broke the law together (public urination is still a crime) so I guess we fit the profile of “a gang”.

We did the run from Becky’s house today…a hilly 10 miles for some of us. It isn’t an easy run but it’s great training. Diane and I ran together for a time. As we came from Broadway onto Quimby Road, Diane stopped for water and I kept going. On our right was a swamp and I could hear something walking along next to us in the water behind the brush. I’m sure it was a deer, but it sounded like “Bigfoot”, so it was a little eerie. I asked Diane later and she said she didn’t hear anything.

After the run I was changing clothes in Becky’s bathroom. If you’ve never been to Becky’s house, the dogs are confined to a back room separated from the kitchen by a doorway with a large gate. The bathroom is off that same room, and a door with a glass window separates the dogs from being right in there with you. I don’t have pets, so I’m a little self-conscious standing naked in front of dogs toweling off and putting on dry clothes. So, you people with pets…do you ever get in the middle of a romantic episode with your spouse/friend/acquaintance/one-night-stand when you open your eyes and there stands the dog on the end of the bed looking at you? Doesn’t that break the mood?

While I was standing there with nothing on but a smile and my running shoes, one of the girls came back and reached through the gate to pet the dogs. All I could hear was “You are a big one aren’t you?” and it took me back to the Florida YMCA episode when the guy in the locker room told me I had “…a nice healthy p&%$er”. (If you started getting these e-mails after the YMCA story, let me know and I’ll send it to you, but be prepared, it’s downright smut!!) She said she was talking to the dogs because they are big (in stature, not …..) but I’ll always wonder.

Just (I’m Really Just Average) Jack