Thursday, December 6, 2012

Season Finish!

OK, the following is a much overdue race report and season recap.  August and September are challenging months in South Texas!  Growing up in Iowa the winters are long and seem to never end.  Well in San Antonio you get the opposite; wonderful winter training but a brutally long hot summer.  By the time August rolls around you are well into 3-4 months of hot and the end is not in site.  The challenge for a South Texas triathlete is making the last couple months count.  I’ll give myself an award for improvement as this summer I finished much better than last summer but I still have a ways to go!
After racing in the TX3 Series last year and being impressed by both the race quality and great competition I put the entire series on my calendar in 2012. The series consist of three races, two Olympics and a Sprint sandwiched in between.  I was pleased with my 5th place showing at Kemah (race report here) the first race and even more thrilled with my win at the second race Bridgeland Tri.  Bridgeland was especially satisfying because I was battling the entire race. From the swim to the bike and into the run I was in the mix with a group of 4-5 guys.  We were throwing punches back and forth the entire race (figuratively, though the swim was roughJ) with guys covering and countering.  Finally once off the bike and onto the run I put in a good surge the first mile gapping the other guys and giving me enough breathing room to hold on for the win and fastest run prime!
Mid-September I added a last minute race, Trifecta Triathlon.  The race was hosted at the beautiful Possum Kingdom Lake about 90 minutes west of Dallas.  The race director put up a great first year pro prize purse so myself with two other pros from San Antonio (Mark Saroni and Robbie Wade) headed to Possum Kingdom to battle it out.  Well needless to say I was a little off this day and Snapple teammate Robbie Wade was red-hot.  Robbie and I swam together the entire swim and then headed out on the bike to chase down race leader Peter Mallet.  Peter’s an excellent Pro racing out of Austin by way of New Hampshire.  By the turn-around of the bike Robbie and I had caught Peter and now the three of us were challenging for the lead.  We broke away from Peter then Robbie broke me the last few miles.  The run was brutal; I was fighting cramps and checking my watch the entire time, complete survival!  In the end I was able to hold off Peter and a hard charging Mark Saroni, for second place.  San Antonio pros swept the podium (Robbie 1st, Me 2nd, and Mark 3rd).  We all headed home happy with money in the pockets!
Fast forward two weeks and I was in East Texas for the Houston Triathlon and TX3 series finale.  Two other pros and I were all within striking distance of each other for the series win making this race very interesting.  Mother Nature showed up on the night before the race in the form of heavy rains and athletes showed up that morning to find out the bike had been cancelled due to wet conditions. This was a tough call by the race director but the correct call for athlete safety.  Cancelling the bike added some stress to my race strategy.  Looking down the list of starting athletes, I was looking for guys that had a strong swim and run combo.  Not having the bike leg to make up for any lost time from the swim (my weakest leg) concerned me.  I knew Peter Mallet was going to be one of the favorites to watch as he has a fast swim and closes well on the run. In the end I pulled out a great race.  I swam where I normally do coming out of the water with 4-5 guys in front of me.  Most of the guys I chased down within the first mile however Peter was really making me work.  I caught him around mile 5 and slowly put enough of a gap in too cross the finish line the winner!
At the end of the day I won the race with the fastest run prime, took the overall series win, and a nice cash purse.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Riding Dirty!

On a whim I decide to try an Xterra race.  For those not familiar with Xterra, it’s an off-road triathlon where your triathlon bike is replaced with a mountain bike and you swap your racing flats for trail shoes.  Why do an Xterra?  Why not!  I’ve heard great things about the group of people it attracts and that the races are a real blast.  I’ve also heard they are extremely challenging races and not to be taken lightly.  Race Revolutions host a series of Xterra races in Texas and Magnolia Hill Xterra was touted as a great beginner’s course.  The race sounded perfect, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve rode a mountain bike in the last 6 months and if I counted all the fingers on both hands you have pretty close to the total number of times I’ve rode a mountain bike in my life.  To say I’m a novice would be an understatement so a beginner’s course was a little comforting! 
Picture of Race Site
They say misery loves company so I talked my wife Erin and friend Sean Blasko into coming along.  They both have even less experience on a mountain bike than I do!  On Saturday morning we made the drive towards College Station to a ranch called Magnolia Hill.  This area of Texas is just awesome and the ranch was great with lots of timber surrounding a nice little lake. We went to packet pickup where they were handing out beer with your race number (loving Xterra already!).  It looked like rain was about to be pouring down so we all grabbed our bikes for a quick pre-ride.  The pe-ride was horrible!  What we thought was going to be nice rolling paths through the woods ended up being just the opposite.  The trail was winding with corners full of sand.  There were these little wooden bridges you had to ride across and plenty of ups and downs, the race organizers were nice enough to put skull and crossbones signs on the extra dangerous sections!  To top it off we were getting rained on turning sand into muck, falling off our bikes and wiping out at every corner.  We were all laughing hysterically after the pre-ride, lets just say it wasn’t the beginners course we had imagined.  Magnolia Hill is kind of out in the middle of nowhere but we found a great little country inn to stay at.  We ended up finding a little Mexican dive to eat at that night, we all agreed in hindsight that wasn’t the best choice! 
The next morning we got up at 6:30 threw down some breakfast and headed to the race sight for a 9 am start (another reason I love Xterra, late start!).  I was feeling weird that morning, this race almost felt like I was doing my first triathlon again.  There are just enough variables between Xterra and road triathlon that I had to rethink race strategy.  For example in transition I’d normally have my shoes pre-clipped into my bike pedals.  I’d run into transition, grab my bike, run out, execute a flying mount and be off pedaling saving precious seconds by not having to stop to put bike shoes on.  In Xterra though there is no nice smooth and straight road to allow you to slip your feet in your shoes while pedaling.  I opted to leave my shoes on the ground and put them on then mount the bike to pedal.  
I headed over to the swim start did a quick warm-up and lined up for the race to begin.  A few minutes later we were off swimming.  I was first to the first turn buoy and settled into a pace excited that I was leading the swim.  About half way to the next buoy I was swimming side by side with two other guys that were about 10 feet to my right.  I decided to tuck in behind the lead guy and enjoy his draft for the rest of the swim.  I exited the water second and over took the guy in front running up to the beach.  It was great to get on my bike first as I knew that any lead I had would be quickly swallowed up on the bike.  In my haste to get out of transition I forgot that my shoes weren’t mounted to my pedals (like a road triathlon) and ran towards the mount line.  When I was about to hop on my bike I realized there was no shoes there, I turn around grabbed my shoes and then excited Transition (see beginners mistake!).
The bike was a three loop course.  I spent the first loop working very hard to keep my lead and also spent a great deal of time falling off my bike!  The problem being my bike handling skills were not able to keep up with the speed I was moving the bike.  The more I rode the more I was learning and picking up tricks as I went along the way.  I managed to make it through the first loop in first place but was immediately passed starting the second loop by 2 guys.  When I watched them pass me I was in awe.  They made it look so easy, they were hardly pedaling! They seemed to be just floating over the ground one with their bikes.  I was stomping on the ground fighting my bike!  By the end of the second lap I was burnt up and tired of falling of my bike.  I was covered in rain, sweat, mud and even a little blood!  By this point I had been passed by several more guys and decided to just enjoy the rest of the bike and make sure I didn’t kill myself.  I was having problems with the shifting on my bike (probably due to the massive amounts of mud) and the chain kept dropping to the small ring on the front.  Apparently I spent the race with a death grip on my handlebars and wore out my hands and forearms.  At one point my chain dropped again, I took my thumb and pushed the shift lever to bring the chain back up and nothing happened.  I laughed out loud; my hands were so tired that I didn’t have the strength to push the shifter. I resorted to using the palm of my hand and chest to wedge the shifter forward when needing to shift.  I can’t remember once during a road triathlon my hands being tired!  I ended up coming off the bike in 9th place. 
I made it through transition without any problems and then headed out on the run.  The run was a two loop course totaling 4 miles.  It partially cut across a field and partially ran on a sand loop around the lake with a fifteen foot sand cliff that you had to crawl up thrown in for good measure.  I managed to run myself back into 3rd place.  The finish line greeted us with cold beer and cookies!  I grabbed a beer and then headed back out on the course to cheer Erin and Sean on. 
After the Race, we all survived!
I was super proud of Erin.  Mountain biking on these trails was way out of her comfort zone but she finished the race with a big smile!  The ride home was a blast with all of us sharing our own war stories.  In hindsight this was probably a good beginner’s course.  The sand and turns made for tough steering but also helped control our speed and gave us something soft to fall on.  There were no ledges to drop off and no rocky rough terrain.  I’m so glad I went and did this race and recommend everyone get out and try an Xterra you’ll have a blast and a ton of good stories to tell.  If you live in Texas check out Race Revolutions races at  The race organizers Joel and Will I met for the first time at this race and they really go out of their way to make athletes feel welcomed.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 29, 2012

June Race Recap.

Heading out of T1 at NOLA 5150

It has been a busy last thirty days with lots of training and a few races. My short term training goals for the last month were to build more speed work into my training without producing injury and get into the season full swing with lots of racing. Mission accomplished! In terms of racing I raced three of the last five weekends and experienced a few ups and downs along the way. Ups and downs are part of the process and without them we wouldn’t see improvement. Here is a recap of my races.

First in the chute was Capital of Texas tri. This was the first big race of the season with a stacked field including many past Olympians from all over the world! It is a real mental challenge going into a race like this. Even on my best day firing on all cylinders I can't touch many of these guys (yet!). It is however an amazing opportunity to learn from the best in the business first hand. I spent the majority of the race swimming by myself but kept a steady pace resulting in a solid improvement in my open water swim time. The bike leg is technical which makes it a challenge to get in a groove. Anytime you add hills, 180 degree turns, loops, and about 2000 athletes on a course it makes for both a mental and physical beating. The week leading up to this race I rode routes similar to what I expected to find here and it paid off with solid bike. Once off the bike I had a little bit of a challenge with cramping in the quads. I had to "run" a thin line between pushing hard enough to keep the pace up but not too hard that my quadriceps would lock up. In the end I finished 19th pro in just over an hour and fifty-eight minutes. This was a personal best time for me and overall I was pretty happy with how the race played out. Congrats to Hunter Kemper for the overall win.

The next weekend I jumped into a local Triathlon in San Antonio, the Tri Pearl. A few of my training partners were doing this race and most of the top triathletes in San Antonio were there. I was excited to race as I felt like I'd been making solid fitness gains in the last few weeks. It was a 400 meter pool swim, 15 mile bike and 5k run. The pool swim went well and the bike went better until the end when I got routed of course and lost a minute or two getting myself back on course. I was first onto the run course with Snapple teammate Robbie Wade hot on my heels. Well the run was a little bit of a disaster, not clearly marked and short on volunteers. Robbie and I both went off course. I ended up with the overall win but the race would have been much closer if we both would have stayed on course, too bad I was looking forward to a sprint finish!

This past weekend my wife and I packed up and headed to New Orleans for the NOLA 5150 race. This is one of the qualifiers for the Hyvee championship race. I was pretty excited and more confident then I've been in a longtime going into this race. Training was spot on prior to this race and I just felt really fit. New Orleans is a fun place to visit so Erin and I were looking forward to the mini vacation. About 15 pros started the race with a couple big names like Conrad Stoltz, David Thompson, and Chris Foster on the roster. Swimming has always been my Achilles heel in triathlon. I'm a solid swimmer and improving but still a long ways off the pace I need to maintain contact with the lead pro pack. My goal going into this race was to hold onto the pack as long as I could. Maintaining contact in the swim is key because it allows you to benefit from drafting. Also, getting on the bike with guys around you is a huge advantage for pacing. During the swim I held with the pack for about the first 300 of 1500 meters and then slipped off. No problem I'll maintain pace and come out of the water in decent shape right? Wrong! I managed to go off course on the swim setting me even farther behind. The bike was a two lap course. I spent the entire first lap deflated and just wanting to give up. I was ready to take my toys and go home! Well on the second lap I told myself I've finished every race I've entered and wasn't going to be that guy that walked off the course just because he had a off day. I decided to look at the rest of the race as a good training day. So I picked it up and actually caught a couple guys on the run. I ended up finishing in 11th place, discouraged but not defeated.

Next up is the Texas State Team Time Trial Championships this weekend!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kemah Race Report!

This past weekend I headed to Kemah, TX for my first triathlon of the season.  Kemah is a neat little coast town 25 minutes Southeast of Houston.  This was the race I made my pro debut at last year and I was excited to head back.  Onurmark runs this event; Aaron Palaian and his staff do an excellent job of producing races and I highly recommend you check them out. 
On Saturday morning pro triathlete Peter Mallet and I headed to Kemah for packet pickup and to scout the course.  It was a pretty uneventful day just the normal prepping for the race.  Reviewing the start list for the Pro/Elite amateur race it confirmed that this was going to be a competitive race with some established pros, up and coming pros and some of Texas’ top amateurs toeing the line. 
Sunday morning came early as I rolled out of bed at 4 am.  Peter, Snapple Teammate Robbie Wade and I made our way to the race site and started getting set up.  One of the unique things about this race is that everyone is loaded up on a paddle boat, taken a mile out to sea and then dive in to swim back. 
About 7am The Pro men and woman were lined up on the boat deck and before we knew it the washing machine start typical of triathlons was underway.  There was a lot of kicking, smacking and bumping the first 200 meters off the race as we all jockeyed for position.  What made this swim especially challenging was the large waves we had to deal with.  This makes navigating a straight line and sighting difficult, not to mention really tests your swim endurance.  I came out the water much slower than I was hoping for as 12th male with 4 or 5 pro woman in front of me.  I had a smooth transition and was off on the bike.
Kemah is named for the Native American word meaning “wind in my face.” And the city definitely lived up to its’ name on Sunday!  The bike course was an “L” shape with the long section being 10 miles out.  I had a strong “wind in my face” the entire ride out.  I decided pre-race I’d push the way out in the wind and then enjoy the tail wind back to transition.  I was passing riders at a pretty good clip and finished the bike sitting in 6th place one spot out of money. 
As I headed out of Transition I passed Pro Justin Daerr to put me in 5th.  I was happy with the first 3 miles of the run as I opened up a small lead on Justin and closed down on 4th place Grant Glauser. Just after mile 3 I passed Grant to ease into 4th.  Now I was just focusing on maintaining pace and enjoying the pain. The last 2 .5 miles took us up over the causeway and back giving us two a nice challenging climbs.  Justin closed in on me and passed at mile 4 opening up a gap.  I responded as we headed back up the causeway to close and started running on his hip.  The last hill took it out of me and I fell back in the last half mile to cross the finish line 5th.
Overall, I was pretty happy with the day’s performance.  I was out front racing for the podium and finished on it.  It was pure joy to be competing again and I am even more excited for Capital of Texas Triathlon coming up in 4 weeks. 
Congrats to Barrett Brandon for the overall male win and Sarah Gray for the overall female win.  Shout out to Snapple teammate Robbie Wade ( for a 6th overall finish and winning the run prime with a crazy fast 10K.  Congrats to fellow San Antonio triathlete Mark Saroni ( who made his pro debut on Sunday!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Race Rehearsal

Every year at the beginning of the season I do a couple race rehearsals to prep for the real deal.  Sometimes I use an early season local race or sometimes it's just me out at a lake.  This year I headed to Boerne Lake (Texas Hill Country) and did a practice sprint triathlon.  I swam about 750 meters, biked 10 miles and ran 2.5 off the bike.  The goal was to complete each segment at Olympic Race pace.  This is a great way to get a feel of race effort with all three disciplines combined, try out any new race gear and hit transitions at speed.  The goal being to shake off the rust and make sure things go smooth race day.  

New Gear:  I had 3 new pieces of race equipment I was excited to test out thanks to Xterra Wetsuits, Rudy Project, and Champion Systems. I tested my Xterra Vendetta Wetsuit (, My Rudy Project Wingspan TT aero helmet ( and my Snapple Champion System race suit (  

Video:  This year I had my wife Erin video me running through my start and transitions.  This is a great way to review what you're actually doing versus what you think you are doing and will let you see areas to trim easy seconds off the clock. 

Take aways:  I was very happy with my new gear.  The Wingspan TT is a great fit, with enough room to quickly put the helmet on but tight enough to maximize aero dynamic performance. Another thing I like about this helmet is wind tunnel testing has shown it to be just as fast with the tail up.  This makes the helmet very versatile allowing you to position your head in a way that's both comfortable and aero! The Vendetta wetsuit fit tight but wasn't restrictive (exactly what I what in a wetsuit).  The wetsuit I swam in last year had a habit of filling the sleeves up and trapping water causing my arms to feel super heavy by the end of the swim, no such problem here! This year I'll be racing my short course Tris in Champion System's Evolution Elite Tri Suit.  I was excited about this suit because its form fitting, made with sleek materials and has no pockets making for a very fast suit but I was concerned about it not containing a pad for comfort.  The suit fit like a glove and was surprisingly comfortable on the bike, I'll have no concerns riding in it for 40 kilometers! 

Reviewing the video I saw a few areas of improvement needed. I need to make sure I'm familiar with gear placement.  I did an extra bounce from one side of the bike to the other that cost time.  I need to decide on placement of my GPS as I use it for both the bike and run to read heart rate and power but I don't like to swim in it, this caused more fumbling than I would like on the bike course.

First race of the season is The Kemah Triathlon this Sunday, April 29th.  With a very solid Pro start list and some cash to race for I'm excited to see how it goes. Stay tuned for the race report!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Base to Build (Building that engine!)

Base training is that cycle in a triathlete’s program where he or she sets the foundation for the season to come, what you do during this phase helps build the engine and keep you injury free for the rest of the season.  You’re logging long aerobic (easy) miles, hitting the weights for sport specific gains and working the heck out of technique.  Each year I learn more and more how important it can be to set up a solid base. Build is that phase where I start to get excited, when you start adding threshold training intervals gearing the body up to race. The key to this phase is to become more efficient (faster) at a certain distance or go further in a certain time period. This is usually done by adding ‘interval’ training to your workouts.
Well I was hoping to write this blog about 5 weeks ago but as fate would have it I got an upper respiratory infection which set my training back over a month. I’m back on track now; I spent an extra month in base training and have officially made the transition to build!  I love to race and often use local races for race pace efforts.  I started this weekend with the Beethoven 5K.  This 5 and 10K was put on to support Youth Orchestra’s of San Antonio.  I took the overall win for the 5k.  Snapple was well represented with Mr. Robbie Wade winning the 10K.  It felt great to be racing again and I’m looking forward to a few more blowout sessions be for my season opener, Kemah Triathlon, on 29 April.
Hope everyone’s training is on track and best of luck as you start racing!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 update!


My last Blog ( I mentioned I would be expanding my “team” for 2012.  Well, I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be racing on Snapple’s National team ( ).  Snapple has both an elite team (National Team) and a club team (DC Tri/Snapple Team) made up professional triathletes, elite amateurs, and everyday warriors. The team is going to present me with a great opportunity to race with some of the best athletes in the country and be supported by top notch sponsors.  I want to thank Team Manager Bart Forsyth and Snapple for the opportunity to race and represent an outstanding Company and Team.   Here is a list of the National team members and sponsors we’ll be supported by (click on their name to read more about these awesome athletes). 
Wes Anderson                    Seeley Gutierrez                   Chris Glibert                  
Nathan Birdsall                  Barry Lewis                          Kristie Timmer
Morgan Chaffin                  Stephanie Liles-Weyant       Dave Slavinski
Gregory Close                    Lucas McCollum                  Holly Ann Geldhauser
Caitlin Dorgan                    Robbie Wade                        Erik Reitinger
Rick Fesler                         Chris Nocera                         Chris Ganter                  
Maggie Finley                    Matias Palavecino



Sunday, January 29, 2012

2011 Recap!

  What an exciting 2011 season!  I’m very proud of my first season as a pro and am already looking forward to the 2012 season.  This year was filled with highlights, lessons learned, and most importantly a lot of fun.  Below I’ll hit some of the highlights.
First I would like to thank my family, friends, and supporters for all the help you’ve provided me this season.  Even though it is an individual sport, it is most definitely a team effort, without my team around me I wouldn’t have been successful!
-        As many of you know this is a very time committed sport.  I dedicated substantially more time this year than previous and my wonderful wife Erin was very patient with me as I set out to achieve goals and she sacrificed much to allow me to play, thank you Erin! 
-        I started working with Coach Zane Castro this year and developed a great relationship with someone that is as committed to my success as I am, probably couldn’t have made it through the year without him and definitely not have seen the gains I did this year, thanks Zane! 
-        I had some great training partners this year that helped to keep me motivated and the sport fun, thanks Robbie, Sean, Carlos, the Wednesday Tri-sition Area run group and many more. 
-        I was lucky enough to partner with Trisition Area again this year and had a blast doing it.  Marco and Lorena run a first class business that focuses on the sport and helping progress it in San Antonio.  I received support from them on numerous occasions be it in the form of help getting me the gear I need to race and train on or just listening and providing guidance on ways to approach this crazy sport as a professional.  I can’t thank them enough for their help. 
-        I would like to also give a shout out to the fitness club, Spectrum at Rogers Ranch, and their GM Paul Schoenberg.  I benefitted from a great partnership between Spectrum and Tri-sition area, not only by having a fabulous facility to train in but by being associated with a fitness club that supports the triathlon community, if any of you had a chance to watch the Tri to be spooky Kids triathlon at Spectrum this fall you know what I’m talking about. 
So to all my team members’ Thank you so much and I am looking forward to our future endeavors.
Now onto the season recap.  Nathan White, a great guy from Iowa and fellow professional triathlete ( has a Carmichael training systems ad running in Triathlete magazine right now.  Part of the caption reads, “I knew after my first triathlon that someday I hoped to turn pro.  What I didn’t know was how much I still had to learn.  About training.  About racing.  About how to succeed.  Eventually I made it, and guess what?  It got even harder…”  This really sums up the year.  A few years ago I set the goal to become a professional triathlete.  I worked hard and last year I accomplished that goal.  Well this year guess what?   IT GOT EVEN HARDER!  Qualifying to race as a professional and actually toeing the line to compete are two very different things.  I raced 10 events this year with 5 having a strictly pro field, 3 having an Elite amateur race and 2 local open races.  Those 5 Pro races showed me that I have a lot of hard work to do to become a top tier professional but those 5 other races showed me I belong in the professional field.  I ended up with;  two 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd, two 6th, a 12th, a 19th, a 20th and a 25th for overall finishes.  I finished ever race I entered though not always in top form and not once did I finish as the last pro.
Some of my highlights of the season were;
-         A few local wins, especially enjoyed Marble falls Tri
-     Running down guys at New Orleans 70.3 after a hard bonk on the bike and the post race celebration with Carlos and Erin.
-         A 40 kilometer Time trial PR at the Texas state TT championships, winning the CAT 5 title.  Then rocking the Team TT championships the next day with Robbie, Mark and Chris.
-        Getting a “big check” at the Bridgeland Triathlon.
-        A 10K PR in the Captex triathlon
-        The underwear run in Kona!
-        Epic training rides with Robbie Wade.

-        And a lot of fun just being outside putting the work in.
Now that I’ve officially closed the book on the 2011 season I’m looking forward to 2012.  With training already under way please stay tuned for some announcements in regards to the expansion of my “team” in the form of sponsors and my tentative race schedule.  Thanks for reading!