Blog moving to new site

I'm moving my blog to a new site where I have more functionality. Please follow this link to http://www.vandertri.com/ and save the URL to your favorites.

If you're currently receiving posts immediately when I post you won't receive these anymore but my new site offers RSS feeds so you can subscribe to the feed and get the feed directly to your outlook or via your RSS reader in your web browser by clicking on the RSS link in my new training or racing blogs.

I will be sending an email to all subscribers who has wanted been subscribed to immediate, abridged or summary updates monthly letting you know if I posted or not.

I appreciate your ongoing support and interest in my triathlon training and racing and am looking forward to sharing more stories, perspectives and experiences over the next few weeks and months building towards IM 70.3 Hawaii, IM Coeur d'Alene and hopefully IM Hawaii.


Tucson Camp Pictures

Here's a link to a few pictures from the Tucson Camp. I'm wishing I was already back there it was so nice to ride, run and swim in the nice warm weather. But I'm back in the reality of cool tempeatures and wet conditions here in Seattle. Picture below is me smiling at mile 14 of the Mt. Lemmon climb.


Sam McGlone

I knew that there was a chance that Sam McGlone would be in Tucson as Cliff English was one of the coaches for the camp (and Sam's coach and fiance). Sure enough Saturday morning here comes this slender strawberry blond over to the group kickoff. My first thought was this is cool if she'll be riding with us. My thought as we were flying in the pace line with Sam pulling at the front on the backside of Gates pass on day two was crap this little lady is fast.
In all seriousness she's a pretty complex woman. Quiet and disarming and then she'll throw out a zinger out of no where that some could take as a little offensive (my sarcastic and slightly off color sense of humor found these hilarious). She's a small woman I'd almost say tiny but she's powerful (even though she won't admit it) and really fast. Above all when you get to spend a little time with her she is really cool and friendly.

I had the chance to chat with her on our run in Sabino Canyon. On the ascent up the telephone trail there wasn't much chatting as she and I really pushed the pace. I'm not sure how hard she was working to stay up with me but at least it made me feel good that I could lead her up the canyon. On the descent on the road I had the opportunity to chat with her about her run training, experience at Kona, and some of her hard training rides.

Specifically I asked her what she was thinking in the last miles of the Ironman Hawaii. I wasn't sure if she was thinking I just want to get to the finish line or I'm not going to catch this girl. She said it was a little bit of both. She was hoping that Chrissie would come back to her in the final miles but realized that she wasn't going to and was really just wanting to get to the finish. She also relayed the fact that if you get to Kona to really soak up the experience of running along Alii drive to the finish because there are few if any other experiences like it in the world.

We talked quite a bit about run training in particular how long her long runs are. Much like me she doesn't like to go much beyond 2.5 hours as that pushes you up around 20 miles and much more is really just too hard to recover from and really makes you prone to injury. We also like the long hard tempo runs. Six to eight miles at a hard tempo. She also talked about her transition runs off the bike which she does pretty consistently and are no longer than an hour.

I was very impressed with her bike training. She described doing 3 hour hard rides doing double loops up and over Gates Pass in Tucson. These just sound brutal but these are the efforts and workouts that make a champion. I can relate as when I was in my running prime I would hit the track and do 6-8 400's at sub 60 seconds and not surprisingly I would have great fast races in the following weeks.

All in all I was totally impressed by Sam and felt privileged to get the chance to spend some time riding (I won't go so far as to say training with her) and getting a chance to chat and get to know this talented woman. I was a fan before but now I'm definitely a fan.

Now just to see how close I can come to her in Kona in May. Yeah Sam I'm going to be gunning for you. If nothing else you can rest assured that you've provided motivation for me for the next couple of months of training. See you in Kona.


Peter Reid

It's a rare opportunity to get to spend some quality time with an athlete of Peter Reid's caliber and that's exactly what I got the past week in Tucson.

My first impressions of Peter is his unassuming quiet demeanor. He's calm and quiet, tall and still in really phenomenal shape.
This past week was an amazing experience getting to have a chance to listen to Peter speak about his journey and experiences through his career in triathlon in formal presentation sessions and pick his brain on the little things out while out on the bike and run.

How did Peter become the great triathlete that he was (well still is)?

He was motivated. Motivated by the alteratives in his life at that point he decided to pursue triathlon as a career (working in a factory). The underlying reason was much more personal however and took him years to figure out. Peter's underlying message about motivation was that it's personal and you need to figure out what motivates you to train, sacrifice and participate in triathlons. The most amazing story about motivation was his description of walking off the course in Kona as he passed his condo with just a few miles to go in second place and with the leader walking. He didn't know why he was putting himself through this so he quit.

He was committed. Peter was willing to make triathlon the most important thing in his life, it was his life. Peter was willing to do what it would take to improve and be the best. He talked about joining a swim team when he was first starting out since he wasn't a great swimmer. The coach was willing to accept him on the team but pointed down to the end of the pool and said you'll have to swim in that lane. That lane had 10-12 year old boys swimming in the lane, he was in his early 20's. He said the toughest part was he would have to swim in meets with the kids and he said they beat him. The next season though he was coming out of the water with the leaders. He was committed and willing to put up with some humility to improve.

He was consistent and methodical. One of the big things that I took away from listening to Peter was that he would do the little things to improve. The two big examples of this were his focus on run drills. He said he would do the drills weekly (consistent) and would focus on executing them flawlessly. Peter contributed this to him going from a guy that could only run around a 42 minute 10K in the Olympic distant triathlons to being a 2:42 marathon guy in the Ironman. The other story that stuck out in my mind was his focus on diet leading up to a race. He knew he had to eat healthy for the weeks leading up to key races and he said he would put that as a priority leading to the race cutting out the "bad" foods and things like coffee.

What I took away from my time with Peter aside from some great tips on training and racing was that you need to find your own path in triathlon (why your doing it) and to focus on the little things in your preparation and racing.

With all of his success in the sport of triathlon and his great physical abilities, in the end he is just a man on a journey to find happiness and fulfillment in life. I get the sense that he's well on continuing that journey.

Peter when you're ready to hit the water for some sailing give me a shout and I'll be happy to get you nailing your jibes.


Tucson Camp - Day 5

Today was the "big" ride of the week and it lived up to it's billing. This is no easy ride. The ride headed out of Tucson to the base of Mt. Lemon and then up to village of Summerhaven. The first hour we made our way over to the bottom of Mt. Lemon through the city at a pedestrian pace. After a quick stop at the base we started the climb. I was in a small group of three just behind Sam Mcglone, TJ Tollakson, and two other riders. We started up at a nice easy consistent pace and things just continued up and up and up. This ride pretty much climbs for 24 miles all the way to Summerhaven. This is a long consistent grind. After about an hour I dropped back to a group with Peter Reid and another rider after a refueling stop. Things were going great for a while then I started to feel the unmistakable signs of a bonk. I ended up dropping back about 100 meters for about 20 minutes where I didn't lose any ground and didn't make up any ground. Finally as we neared the Summerhaven I started feeling good again and started to catch the group as we arrived at Summerhaven.

The climb totaled 24 miles and we ascended 6300 feet over that distance. and according to my Garmin we topped out over 8000 feet of altitude. This is really a spectacular ride the roads are beautifully smooth, little traffic and spectacular views. The climb takes you from the desert and cactuses to an alpine forest we even had some snow on the edges of the road. Really great and I understand why it's considered one of the great rides anywhere.

We took a short break in Summerhaven and grabbed a slice of pie at the pie shop. I'm not a huge pie fan but it tasted pretty damn good after 2:50 of climbing.

I was itching to get back on the road as I was getting a little chilled so I headed out (can't get lost just follow the road back down the way we came up). You climb for about 15 minutes before really hitting the actual descent. Just as I was coming back to the true summit a rider was coming up the other direction (this guy was flying up the hill). We ended up heading down together which was wild. We were flying. This is the greatest descent you can literally fly down the entire way without hitting the breaks. This doesn't mean that it's easy. I was on the pedals the entire way looking for more speed and my average heart rate on the descent was just a tick below my average for the climb up. The descent which took me 2:50 to ride up took me just 50 minutes to descend.

There is one section where the road is cobbled sandstone but very rough and as I exited this section I noticed that my garmin was gone. Now I lost my first garmin just a couple weeks ago on a ride so I wasn't going to replace this one just a week after buying it so I turned the bike around and rode back up to the cobble section to look for it. Thankfully I found it.

I hit the bottom of the ride and pulled off to the side of the road to wait for a few other riders for the 10 mile spin back to the hotel. I ended up waiting 25 minutes for the next riders to arrive which included Peter Reid and Garth from Specialized who had raced down from Summerhaven. We did a casual spin (at 22 mph) back to the hotel through Tucson and headed out for a quick transition run.

This was the end of sessions for the week and we capped off the trip with a chat with Peter Reid and and a BBQ with all of the camp attendees and coaches. Overall a great week and I'm feeling energized and ready to keep the training going. I'm going to be posting a few other posts about the trip including my impressions and chats with Sam Mcglone and Peter Reid.


Tucson Camp - Day 4

Today was supposed to be a longer ride of 5 or 6 hours with a plan to ride out towards the Mexican border. Things rolled along for the first hour as a group then we broke into small groups. I was in the "A" group and our group began to heat things up for a few miles with the group pushing 25-28 mph on the flats on the way out to the town of Vail. Due to some new road construction we ended up getting turned around a bit so we headed back a little earlier than expected. During the ride back I hung at the back of the whole group and then rode through the group to rejoin the "A" group which tested the legs a big on the hills. We ended up riding up to an overlook for a quick break. One the way back to Tucson the "A" group was flying on the tri bikes and I was doing all I could to hang on but ended up getting dropped by about a half mile despite maintaining my 25+ mph. After a short recovery I went after the group and was able to catch them as we hit the Tucson city limits. The ride totaled about 64 miles.

Immediately after the bike we headed out for a 20 minute transition run and I felt really good at the end of the run. Later that afternoon we headed out for some run drill training. Overall I felt like it was a pretty easy day. I think they were resting us up for the big day on the Mt. Lemon ride.


Tucson Camp - Day 3

We got a break from the bike today with a longer trail run. We ran in the Sabino Canyon on the telephone trail. The trail is great. Probably one of the funnest trails I've ever run. The trail is technical but not too steep so you can really run up the trail. The views were spectacular unfortunately you couldn't take your eyes off the trail or you'd be rolling down the canyon wall through the cactus.

I led the group up the trail today and felt amazing today. Comfortable and very consist. Within a mile or so things separated a bit and we had a group of 4 with Sam McGlone, Harrison (young kid from Vancouver, BC) and Paul Cross. Towards the top Paul stopped at trail Y to give directions and when I looked back it was just myself and Sam. After cresting the top of the trail we headed back down on the road which goes up the canyon bottom. It was a fun, fast, comfortable descent back to the parking lot. The run was a little over 1:20 and about 9 miles. It was really fun getting to chat with Sam during the run and pick her brain on her run training.

We had a great afternoon session in the pool. It was great swimming in an outdoor swimming pool which I've never done. It was a relatively easy workout focusing on drills and a few laps which totaled probably 1700 yards. It was great to stretch things out after the morning run.

We capped off the day with great chat with Sam McGlone about tips for racing in Kona and then headed out for a group dinner which was really fun to chat with Paul Cross and Ian from Specialized at dinner. Off to bed now as tomorrow is the log ride to the border (or nearly to the border).

Tucson Camp - Day 2

After a "easy" warm up day we got things going on our second day in Tucson with a ride to and over Gates Pass. We eased your way through the city on city streets and finally began the short 5 mile climb up to Gates Pass. This is a pretty easy grade for the first few miles then gets a little steep just prior to the summit (gate). I was in the second pack about 2 minutes behind the leaders up the climb.

After a short regroup we headed down the backside of gates pass which is a short steep technical descent before flattening with some rollers. My group headed continued on for a loop of about 10 miles. Everyone else was on tri bikes and things got rolling in the paceline which was smokin fast. The group was rolling along at about 30 miles an hour. I was at the back of of the group trying to hang on but it didn't last long. I was feeling the effects of my sinus infection still. I ended up a couple minutes back at the end but still holding 25-27 mph on my own.

The group I was in were no slouches. It included Sam McGlone (2nd at Kona this year) and TJ Tollakson who was 3rd at Ironman Louisville in 8:46 and 30th in Kona in 9:03 with a 4:44 bike split at the front. Sam was leading this group and this little woman can fly, really impressive.

We then needed to go back up to the top of the pass which wasn't long but it was steep most of the climb was over 20% grade with the last section topping out at 26%. We finished off the ride back down to Tucson and through the city streets including cutting through the University of Arizona.

After a little downtime and refueling we headed out for a short 45 minute run as we're going long the following day. It was a great little run and I had the opportunity to run and chat with Peter Reid which was really cool. I'll post separately about our chat later.

No pictures to post as I forgot my cable for my camera. More updates to come from Tucson.