Monday, October 29, 2012

And now for something completely different.

First, in the spirit of keeping my posts triathlon related (at least to some extent) I'll recap how things are going on that front this past week.

- Running mileage is still on the rise. Sadly East TN has taken a decided turn for the worst in terms of weather... from shorts to coats over the weekend. Being the hater of the dreadmill that I am, I snagged this little life saver for 1/2 off on
Makes all your cold feelings into warm feelings!

I'm usually not a big fan of running jackets, but this one is just breathable enough that I can stand it on my long runs without overheating. I wouldn't say Saucony makes a handsome jacket, but it's undeniably nice!

- I'm about halfway through with the CAAD8. Which is to say I just applied the second layer of primer this morning. The magic solution for getting your paint to look good is... strip, prime, sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint, sand, stickers, clear, sand, clear, sand. For the most part I use 1500 grit... you really just want everything nice and smooth before you move on to the next part.

And that's really it in the tri related world. Adding mileage to runs, maintaining swimming and biking (or at least trying to minimize losses) and working on the projects. That's how "off season's" tend to pan out for me... work on something specific and try to take a little extra time to catch up on life (read: Drink more)

-------------------------------------end tri stuff-------------------------------------

So in my Clark Kent life things have been busier. That's pretty normal for the end of tri season too... I'm never in lack of projects to keep me busy, and with extra time (not driving to the pool every day or two is huge haha) it always seems like I get in over my head pretty quickly.

- As a used car salesman it's always a "perk" to get to play with the interesting cars that come in. We generally try to keep a few "classics" on the lot, and low and behold if this little fellow didn't find himself a new home (with us) last weekend.
70 Coronet Super Bee! 383 w/ factory Air... nice.
  Fixing up old cars is basically the same game as fixing up bikes, except on a grander scale. This guy is a good 20 footer, but with a little work (and some serious ebay/online parts grinding) I'm hoping to turn a pretty nifty profit. Enough to keep my other addictions going at least!

- My old roommate got married last weekend!  He had an absolute blast of a reception (that is, an open bar) and we all managed to get our boogie shoes on and dance the night away. I feel a bit sorry for the bride's father (he thought we were all nuttier than squirrel poo... which... may be accurate) but on the whole everything went off without a hitch.
Groom (far right) and the rest of us jokers. I'm rocking the Red Solo Cup of course.
I wish I could convey how happy I am for the bride and groom, but since I can't... I'll just repeat my congratulations! Hopefully when he comes home from now on if anyone is naked it'll be his wife and not his roommate passed out in the floor. Not that that's ever happened...lately...

- Great joy to the world! I was doing my grocery shopping last night and was struck by a glorious sight!

Build your own hangover!
Eggnog is back on the shelves! Now, I won't lie to you, I'm a Christmas man for all the wrong reasons. One of my favorite movies of all time is Christmas Vacation... and I absolutely love the campiness you can get away with around Christmastime. I also love some good ole' Jameson Irish Whiskey... together we have a winning combo. Just add a cheesy Snowman (or Moose) mug and...well... things don't get much better.

- Finally, I've started to work on my (majorly) backed up paintings again. It feels weird picking up a (overly expensive... hey, I love nice bristles) paint brush after so long away from the canvas. No, I'm not throwing a picture of my canvas work on here... I'm a bit too shy when it comes to my work for that :) I will throw a random picture out of my sketchbook on here though...

Terrible Scan... Link and Zelda
I've been thinking of painting something Tri related for a while, no idea what it will be though. Actually, who am I kidding... I accepted my last commission (what I'm working on now) last year and it's not even halfway done :( (Hey, it's done when it's done) so I suppose I am not going to have much time for my own stuff in the near future!

Well, that's what I've got this week! Thanks for stopping by and seeing what's up in my life.
Next week... my Birthday!

- Christopher Morelock

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What else is there to talk about this week...

The weather... politics... religion... women's suffrage... I'm not sure anything I could write about has been more heatedly "discussed" in the past few weeks than...


Patriot. Hero. World class cyclist. Wait...

You don't need (or want) me to repeat what you've already read on every forum or news source on the internet. You know what has went down, and you have already formed your opinion on the situation... and nothing some no-name blogger from East Tennessee has to say is going to sway you. So I'm not going to try. That doesn't mean you get a free pass from reading me pan on about some of my thoughts though... I mean, seriously... it's my blog.

First, let me get this out of the way so that we have perspective in regards to anything else I say. I'm primarily indifferent to the situation. I think at this point (years later) everyone was already riding down the rail road tracks they layed years before, with no opportunity to de-rail or change course. Could they have made better/different choices? Maybe... but then we wouldn't be at this crossing would we? Even the UCI had no "true" choice IMO. Either uphold the USADA's recommendation, or go down with the sinking ship. (they quite possibly are anyways...)

So now we're left with this, from what I've seen.

- People are attempting to get money back from Livestrong... which IMO is not only ludicrous, but just skeezy in general. C'mon people, what were your intentions (well... tax write off excluded) in the first place. At some point doesn't the ideal overshadow the idol? The same thing goes for the raging debate of whether to wear your bracelet or not. If you were wearing that bracelet to support Lance, (and you no longer do) then take it off and throw it away. If you were wearing it for the symbolism (originally the "Wear Yellow Live Strong" program) then for the love of baby Jesus...keep it on.

Do you wear it for the meaning or the man?

- Landis is still running his mouth... which, I suppose, is a good thing. The first tour I ever watched was 2006, and man, I remember thinking how insane it was that he made up SOOO much time just by being a tough b#stard! Then came the fallout, and then of course the book (I have a signed copy... I'm going to start a book shelf with a new category... Cyclist Fiction) and the biggest scummery of all... the Floyd Fairness Fund. Hopefully he really will pay the people who donated back, but really dude... geez that's low.

Floyd after finding out he was stripped of the 06 Jersey.

- They are just leaving the 7 years Lance won the tour as blanks... no winner for the history books. Why? So we can look back in 50 years and say "wow that was a shitty time in cycling history... all those dirty dopers sucked!" as the future generations ride on breaking records with metal legs and stem cell fueled GU. Not to mention... remember when Andy Schleck won the tour? Remember all those fans cheering for him on those glorious steps? Remember the toy Lion, the podium kisses, the... oh... wait... that's right... he got his award later, after everybody went on with their life. It was Contador that stood up there and got all the cheers, kisses, and recognition... was on the news the world over, in the papers... you know, page 1. (Well, 1'ish most places) as opposed to Andy who might have got mentioned as being the "real" winner on page 8B. You can't strip all those memories and accolades, so why try? Just throw the * up there and let us move on. Especially when you can't look back in the records and find a *clean* rider in the top rankings... ANY of the years we're looking at. Maybe Cadel? MAAYYBBBBEE.

Not my idea of podium girls... but whatever floats your boat.

- The other fella's are pulling out all the stops for the "Most Loatheable" award. Hincapie really left a sour taste for me... retire and then admit to it... of course not after 2006. Even though in his own statement he says he needed to dope to be at the top level, he then quit doping and or 6 more years continued to stay competitive. (for him) Sure thing George.
Then you have Hamilton and his crusade for book sales (it actually was a good read) and media attention.
And Garmin... I don't even want to go there. The "Clean team." I'd run from that roster like the plague if I heard the term "clean" being thrown around.

Hamilton at his book release signing.
Then there are the triathletes. Where do we fit in to all of this. For some precious few, there is hope that triathlon is not riddled with the same "dirt." I would like to say I was one of those people, but I am not. I think that besides triathlons extremely lax testing protocol, the desire to win (at all costs) will cause men (and women) to cheat at, well, basically anything. Obviously Moats getting popped in the heat of the Lance debacle has opened a couple of eyes, but I suspect that we have a long time coming before we really get to taking steps towards cleaning up triathlon. I hope I'm wrong and that the few isolated incidents in triathlon are just that...but... well I'm no Optimist. I know firsthand what people will do to get what they want, regardless of how silly it is.

~~~Flashback Time~~~

Once upon a time, I was in college. I lived with a couple of fellas and we were exactly what you would expect from 20-something year old East Tennessee boys. That is to say we were immoral jackals who's greatest aspiration in life was to make it until Thursday night. (Party Thursday - Sunday! ... hey, it's a college town, cut me some slack.) This, oddly enough, is where I first ran into Steroids. Not on the football field (I was about as dexterous as a dead cat) or the swimming pool (hah, couldn't swim) nor the track (hated running... strange looking back how I ended up in triathlon...huh) but in my friends room, helping him poke a needle into his bare ass.

Yep. I am guilty of helping a friend dope.
For Glory? Nope
For Money? Nope
For a Spot on the team? Nope

Why then? For a much nobler purpose. Because he thought it would help him get girls.
That's it ladies and gentlemen... all it takes to get somebody to dope... a pretty set of legs.

And, at the very least it helped his confidence...which in turn became a self fulfilling prophecy. He got more girls. You could ask him today and he'd tell you it was a great choice. (He's married now)

What about me? I was tempted. Fortunately I had a couple of things working for me.
1.) I was already a pretty witty fellow (especially with a little liquid courage) so I had no real "need" to be the big guy to impress the ladies.
2.) I didn't have the money to buy the stuff. (I spent it all on booze)
3.) I'm basically terrified of needles. (Manly I know)

Coming from an athletic background including 12oz curls for reps,
quarters for dexterity, and a power hour for endurance!
Yes, I was a screwed up youth adult
So that was my experience with the stuff. It wasn't for me, and I'm glad I didn't do it then, but I certainly wouldn't look down on my friends who made those choices. Same thing with the guys that get busted doing it now. I don't agree with their choices, and I think they are getting what they deserve when they get caught (well... they are getting some of what they deserve at least) but I know they are doing what they think is *best* for them. We can all internet keyboard jockey about how much slime they are... but when it all comes right down to it let me ask you this... and really consider it.

You're *almost* there. Pro. They come to you and say "we'd like to have you on the team, but..." you know what's implied. It's going to end up being the difference of going home and being a good home town cyclist, or getting to fly around the world and train / race with the best... and get paid to do it. What would you say? Now imagine that it was your dream (as it is for many of those guys) from the time you were a kid riding your 7-Eleven Huffy. Would your answer be different when you were 17-24 than it is now?

There you go... that's what I've got. I know... a lot of it is opinion... hell a lot of it isn't even a all that well informed opinion... but it's what I think.

Bottom Line. Let's hope that all that has been done and will be done is for the good of cycling, triathlon, and all other sports. Let's hope that the next generation looks back and says "If not for them, it would have never gotten any better."
Let's hope.

-Christopher Morelock

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to blow all your money on Strippers (and a short review on one)

This is an actual photo from my garage. garage isn't nearly that neat.
Or nice... actually it's nothing like my garage. Awkward.
Sanding... sanding... sanding. It seems like all I've been getting done the last little bit is sanding. My CR-1 is being extremely disagreeable with the carbo-lift I've been using (Scott is serious business when it comes to layering white paint and clearcoat!) and the newest addition to the stable, (my CAAD-8) while much easier to strip to the bones, has quickly become yet another money sink (really guys... this is my budget build!) after you start factoring in $10 spray cans of stripper and $3-$5 sanding blocks. All that whining aside I suppose I am making some considerable headway on both fronts. The CAAD is already naked and waiting for some primer, and I've got the front 1/3 of the CR-1 down to the carbon. (mostly) There's still a lion's share of work to do on the CAAD, and probably months of work left on the Scott, but hey, that's why they are winter projects...right!?

Before getting nekkid!

Now, on to a little review on the only stripper designed for composites (that is, you can use this on your carbon parts and not destroy them in the process!)

CARBOLIFT - the review

Al Gore might even approve of this stuff!
Well, I've spent enough time playing with this stuff that I feel I can give a fairly in depth review of it.
First, check out the website here, and the video of it working here. That should give you a quick intro to what we're talking about.

Getting the paint off of a carbon bike can be a massive pain. Aluminum and Steel are so much easier as you can basically head down to the local Advance Auto and get a couple of spray cans to strip it bare. When we start talking about carbon life gets a bit more complex though. Most paint strippers are harmful to the epoxy (what holds the bike together) so you can't take off the paint without compromising the structural integrity of the bike.

Now, you may be asking yourself, why would I want to take that sweet paintjob off of my $2k+ road machine? Well, there are plenty of good justifications reasons, but mine was pretty much because...well... I love to try new things. After doing some pretty heavy (for me) research, I discovered that I needed to get my hands on some Carbolift if I was going to save myself the misery of having to sand the frame down by hand. (and I wasn't extremely comfortable sanding with a lower grit paper - what you really want to get the paint coming off - on CF) So begins my experience with Carbolift.

Problem 1: If you did some exploring on the carbolift website, you probably noticed that the link to actually BUY the stuff didn't work. Well... it hasn't in quite some time. Now far be it from me to judge anyone's business model, but let me present exhibit A.

You just can't sell out of one...

After my e-mail inquiry went unanswered I decided to try to find some of the stuff from a second hand source. Fortunately a nice shop in Canada had a few 500ml jugs. After waiting forever for customs to clear it, I was ready to start wiping paint off my bike!

Problem 2: Now, if you watched the linked video as well, you are probably thinking to yourself the same thing I was thinking... "Man, this stuff works just like metal paint stripper! Awesome!" Well, the bike they used in the video was either *very* generous or very poorly painted to begin with. The first coat I administered did just about a hair over nothing. Following the sparse instructions, I slathered the goo (I won't tell you what I think it looks exactly like... but it rhymes with gum.) onto the frame, waited 15 minutes, re-applied, wrapped it in shrink wrap, and waited an hour.

Imagine my dismay when, after making a mess getting the goo off the frame, I was left with basically the same amount of paint and just a little less clear coat... Sigh. After tracking down some fellows who had used the stuff before (to positive ends) I was told to leave it on considerably (20ish hours) longer, with heat if possible. I was also probably being a little bit generous with the amount I was slathering on... there's no need to be shy when you are applying this stuff... you'll waste a lot less by going overboard than you will by using too little and then having to start over. It also won't hurt to knock out a layer or 2 of finish/paint with some sanding blocks... it would have made my experience go by much faster if I had started with sandpaper.

Finally... we were making headway. The head tube was almost totally cleared off and I could see all the carbony goodness beneath. I couldn't wait until I got down to the beautiful weaves on the tubes.

Problem 3: Except, that's not how it works. Naked carbon frames (just cleared over the weave) aren't actually "naked" in the way you (or at least I) would have thought. After finishing the structural carbon/epoxy, a final layer of "cosmetic" weave carbon is put over the top to give it that nice pretty look. The real thing (that they paint over) isn't exactly "ugly," but it doesn't have the weave patterns that are commonly seen & looked for. That ended up being my biggest problem, as now I am in the scenario of either needing to re-paint the Scott or add a layer of cosmetic carbon myself... but I digress, my incompetence has nothing to do with carbolift.

So, what have I learned, and what advice would I give. If I could go back and start over, this is how I would have done it.

Step 1: Strip the bike all the way down of components (should be a no brainer but worth repeating)
Step 2: Start sanding on the frame/fork with a medium(ish) sanding block (no power tools) all you are really wanting to do is knock out a layer or two to cut the carbolift a break.
Step 3: Apply the carbolift generously (seriously, lather it on thick) to a specific part of the bike (start with a chainstay maybe)
Step 4: Wrap with kitchen cling wrap.
Step 5: Wait for at least 12 hours, probably closer to 20
Step 6: Unwrap (you should see some paint bubbling) and use a sponge/paint remover/towel to get the carbolift/flaking paint off.

- Now you probably see that the carbolift didn't just remove everything. That's ok depending on how far you want to go with removing the old paint... personally I want to save all the grams I can (and I'm a bit obsessive) so I wanted it all gone. Follow on then.

Step 7: Get a plastic spatula that's pretty sturdy and start scraping away the leftovers. The carbolift should have softened the paint enough that it rolls off, and a plastic spatula makes it tough to "dig" in too deep.

Repeat until the bike is stripped down to satisfactory levels. (I'll update with getting it back up to looking nice in the future.)

So, what do I think of carbolift?
Well, it's no miracle solution, but it doesn't exactly claim to be either. It's a safe paint stripper for composites, (and also safe for the environment) so you can't expect it to just melt paint off like some of the metal ones (which will also handily strip the skin off of your arm if you aren't wearing gloves) do... but it also won't melt your epoxy (which is a good great thing!)

It will save you some time and is "safer" than just grinding down into the carbon with sandpaper. Of course it's not without risks, but then... we are talking about stripping paint off a carbon frame.

So, A+ in my book.
If only I had got a few more of these in paragraph structure.
Until next time.
-Christopher Morelock

Monday, October 8, 2012

Paradise Regained (Part 2 of 2: Moving Forward)

Ohh Jesus! I left the stove on AGAIN!!!
Well, much as I alluded to in part 1, I spent the last week catching back up on life and getting back in my mojo after Augusta. I had plenty of house work (laundry, sigh) and projects (stripping the paint off my CR-1, building a new computer) to keep me busy, so I had a very productive week.

Oh who am I kidding, I loaded up Diablo 3 and grinded my monk to lvl 60 while imbibing in a few too many Bloody Mary's and having french fries or tex mex every night. Hey, we all have our own special way to recuperate... right? Mine just happens to be mindlessly clicking a mouse. R&R at it's finest. 
Mooove over tri training!

The good news is that the break did what it was intended to do. About Friday afternoon I had the urge to get out and get a workout in (not enough urge to get me up and moving though :P ) and re-lighting the fire is really what these breaks are best for, besides letting the body get back to 100% of course. Preemptively fighting "burnout" is probably the only good way to succeed at it, especially after (like me) you've had a bad race. Here I'll try to outline what the future has in store for me.

Diagnose what needs work
Easy first step. My run is in need of an overhaul. 25-30 mile weeks (I was hitting around 100-110mi/months) just isn't enough to get things down into the time range I'd like to be in. The next couple of months I'll be knocking back my bike and swim training to about 2x a week (each) and increase both the number of runs per week and the total amount of time running (albeit not quickly) until I get to the 50ish mpw range. At that point we'll be re-evaluating where things are and how to proceed. I might even try one of those nifty 100 runs 100 days type challenges, just to stay motivated.

Next on the list (and farther down the road) is the swim. I improved a lot last year in this, but there is still plenty of room to work. I had a 6:5x / 500m the last time I tested,  I would really like to get that down closer to under 6:20. I think I have some low hanging fruit still in my form (and a lot in my flip turns) so... with a little help this one should be fixable. Also, it would probably be a boon for me to spend a bit more time practicing in open water.

On the bike, 300w FTP has been something I would love to hit before 2014 rolls around... although it'll probably have to wait. I'd be more excited to be able to hold higher watts (230ish) for my 30+ mile rides though. I also need to continue to adapt to my position... I had some lingering hand numbness and a little shoulder pain after Augusta, which I assume is due to the position.

Continue to work on my projects
As we speak my CR-1 is being Carbo-lifted. I may end up doing a review on the product, and will certainly write something up on my "experience" with it (and the bike) at some point. I will say that SCOTT is very liberal with their paint application. The area's that are painted white are an absolute nightmare to try to get down without sanding, which I have been forced to do sadly.

Trust me, you don't want to see the Scott right now.

I also just bought an older (2004ish) Caad8 to build up for the winter and possibly some crits next year. It's also going to get stripped down, albeit it should be much easier (since it's aluminum) than the Scott. Now the question is what to kit it out with. (on the cheap) I could probably piece together some older 105-Ultegra pretty cheap, but I've been reading some great reviews about this stuff.

At $256 (group buy) it's hard to imagine a better deal for a semi-complete group.

Microshift is what team Exergy uses (Felt has also started speccing bikes with it, and Vision's new component lineup is as well) and it certainly seems to get the job done. The price is right as well, and if you don't mind downstepping to the "White" (confusing since it comes in different colors) group then you can save even more. That's pretty tempting, especially since I've already got a spare crank sitting around. I have been looking for an excuse to try some of this out for a while...looks like I finally got one.

And of course there is this little project. I'm still just getting my feet wet with my blogging, with plenty to learn still ahead of me. The good part is that I really enjoy doing this, so it has a good chance to only get better with time. (Like fine Wine)

So, there we go. I'll be back with some more updates! Stay tuned and feel free to comment away.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paradise Lost (Part1 of 2: the race report)

And so Ironman Augusta has came and went, and my showing there was nothing to write home about. No special performance, and no horror story blow up... just a quiet appearance and disappointing, mediocre finish. However, we can learn more from a bad day than we can from a good day (as it requires much more self examination...and in the end growth) so let's get right into it.

It didn't start on a good note. About a week before the race they released swim waves. Wave 20?!? Seriously? M25-29 were starting as the last male wave, over an hour after the pro's went off. Jeez. Last year we weren't first or anything, but last?? Oh well, just more people to pass (cue ominous music for the first time)

My taper was uneventful, and the trip down to Augusta (Aiken actually) was also not worth much mention. My mother and I (how's that for English lessons) drove down in a little under 6 hours and got checked in pretty early. After sign in they exit you out into the Ironman Shop. Ok... well, my mom wanted a shirt and I wanted a poster so what's the harm. As we're walking out a shirt catches my eye so I go to check out whats on the other side of it. Splayed in giant letters is "FINISHER." Holy SH#*(@, I drop it immediately (unceremoniously on the floor) but the damage was done.

- Rule #1 of a race. NEVER, EVER touch, pick up, or even look at anything that says finisher on it until you've already finished it. Even if you've finished it before.

Keep it away!

On Saturday my Grandparents and Dad were driving down. About halfway my dad's car broke down (leave it to him... 30 cars on our car lot and he drives the one with 300k miles on it) and my grandparents had went a different route. After waiting on a wrecker for a few hours he decides he's had enough tom foolery and just packs it in and heads home as opposed to trying to make the drive back on no sleep. It sucks, but he let me know at least he got all the mechanical trouble out of the way for me. Then it's a quick drive of the course and checking the bike in.
UT didn't have a good weekend

I get a short run in, meet up with the grandparents, and we all go out to dinner. Then I turn into bed fairly early... despite being forced to miss "Tombstone" on TV (the sacrifices we make!)

Evidently Mr. Morelock's an educated man. Now I really hate him.

 Race Day arrives as you'd expect... with a blaring alarm.Nothing to shock the nervous system into working like 6 different devices going off like it's Defcon 4. I'm up and start taking in my breakfast. I'd go over it here, but nutrition is so personal that it's somewhat pointless.

The Following is pretty much a copy pasta from my race report on (link here, it's a tiny bit different I guess)

When I got to Transition that morning there was quite a bit of dew on the bike. I noticed the tape I had stuck to my trispoke to cover the valve hole was a bit loose, but figured it would stick or just fall off at the worst. All ready to rock and roll. I ended up in my wetsuit pretty early in the morning as it was noticeably cold (I had chills) standing there. We do some joking in the wave, and then it's go time.

The Swim - 27:26 (27:48 last year)

 Well, it's difficult to predict what I "wanted" to do. Last year my swim was pretty close to the same time, but with a stronger current. I had hoped that with similar current I would be closer to 24 minutes with the increase in swim speed I've had. That said, looking at the move in overall placing (almost 200 spots better) I assume that I was quicker, but the current was slower.

The swim itself was fairly uneventful. The beginning was pretty physical, moreso than usual. I never really found a good pair of feet to draft off of, and on a few occasions trying to find some nearly got me hurt... there were lots of different colored caps still floundering around ahead of us, so I would see a kick ahead of me and assume it was somebody in my wave, then have to get out of the way when I realized it was a slower swimmer from the waves before us kicking around. Finally I settled out by myself and the rest of the swim was uneventful. As I came up I saw my watch was at 28 minutes and I kind of had that sinking feeling that it was going to be a hard day at the office.

The Bike - 2:28:24 (2:27:54 last year)

One of the few times I was down in aero for any stretch

 Oh boy. Here is where my day takes a decided turn for the negative.
I come out onto the main highway in Augusta feeling good. There's plenty of people out here, but I expected that coming out of the water... just like last year. About half a mile in I hear an odd noise... kind of like a baseball card stuck in the spokes. I start to panic, thinking I've flatted, or that my derailleur is messed up. Despite the sound, the bike is working fine. Finally I notice that every time my front wheel is spinning around, something is slapping the fork. It takes me a minute until it dawns on me... that friggin tape! How it was not sticky enough to hold onto the side of the wheel, yet sticky enough to get stuck on the tire and slap the fork I will never know. It sounded BAD. Not just bad, but loud as well. I tried to pick it off, but couldn't get it off the tire (even after the race it took me some muscle to peel it off the tire) without risking digits in the spokes. Finally I just accepted the noise and tried to move on.

A few more miles in (about 10) I started to notice something... the crowds weren't thinning out. I would pass 5 or 6 people and another hundred foot there would be another "pack." Even worse, there was rampant "blocking" going on, so I was often having to attempt a pass 2 or 3 people wide. This was killing my time in Aero... as every time someone would pull out in front of me I'd have to brake and sit up and let them complete their pass before I could finish mine. My voice is cracked today from all the "on your left"s I had to repeat.

Here is where I lost it. My goal was Avg watts around 205, with np close to 215, not going above around 270 on hills. Well, as I would look down at my Joule I noticed I was running low (about 183w avg) and so I thought to myself "I'm fine." Well, yeah... if AV and NP were all that mattered I would have been. Unfortunately, I was spending a lot of time passing on hills, but at 300+ watts. I mean, when you are passing a line of 15 people, all you can really do is get past... but I was not cycling smart.

From mile 1 to mile 56 I was never out of a group, and never spent more than a couple of minutes at a time in aero... it was just too dangerous (for me) especially after seeing ambulances go flying by and a cyclist on the side of the road. I rode in the last few miles knowing that 4:30 wasn't happening.

The Run - 1:56:12 (1:44:33 last year)
Two DeSoto suits in a row. My craptastic form

Just putting down the time it took me was embarrassing. I ran the same course nearly 13 minutes faster last year with a bum hamstring and in the blazing heat. My garmin did a great job of letting me know I was going to slowly every couple of minutes, and I very strongly considered throwing it in the trash... although I restrained myself. I saw my mom on the first loop and she had that "putting on my best face because I know you are getting crushed" look that just made me feel worse. I will say, this was probably the toughest run I've ever gutted out. It's really hard to dig deep when you know your race is already over.

I cruised into the finish line at 4:57:52... over 10 minutes slower than last year in much hotter conditions. To say I felt disappointed would be understatement of the century.

- end of the copy / paste.

So, what went wrong and what went right?

As the swim goes, I don't think anything went wrong. I was faster than last year and the current was considerably less powerful. I'm still not where I want to be in the water, but it was a fine swim for my current abilities.

On the bike... it was just a bad day. Maybe I was too timid, but going down because somebody pulled out in front of me and I couldn't get to the brakes didn't seem like the way to end my season. I'm as happy as I can be with the day... 10 less watts than last year and within a minute of the same time. I did likely blow myself up passing people, but once you start a line long pass, you are somewhat committed.

The run wasn't good. On a good day, a 1:40 would have been possible, but it wasn't a good day. Most of my running weeks have been on 20-30mpw mileage, so I guess there isn't much way to expect a blazing time.

 So that takes us to the end of part 1. In the next update, It'll be less report and more how I'm dealing. I don't have much to report on that now, since basically all I've done is sit on my butt and read / work.

Until Then

- Christopher Morelock