Archive for August, 2009

Good News

Posted in Random Stuff on August 31, 2009 by brianestover

No root canal today!  Bad news, I have a temporary filling in for a week to assess if I need one or not.

Exciting.

Happy Birthday Tricia!  Hope things are well down in Oz.

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Here we go..again.

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by brianestover

It seems everytime I want to change something on my bike there is a problem.  In the Antwerp 70.3 race, I lost the cap to my rear brake lever.  It’s a vision tech lever mounted on modified vision tech base bars.  Instead of just getting a new brake, I figured lets throw on the perfectly good pair of Zipp Vukas I have sitting around. Why not? My Vukas are defective, thats why not. The rear cable gets kinked when routing it internally reducing brake function by ~50%.  Every time I go to change something, there is a problem. Part of that is my fault for being unsatisfied with much of the stock crap that is out there and part lies with the makers of bike stuff.

It’s rare, at least in my opinion, when company X is going to make base bars, brakes and clip ons that meet my exact needs. Typically I find that it’s rare when I run a complete set up in anything from one maker.  Have SRAM Red, then use the Force front derailleur. Vision tech base bars? Well you are stuck with rattling brakes that lack a return spring. You can use an aftermarket brake that needs to be chopped in length (in my opinion it needs chopping) and still lacks a return spring. I went with the VT brakes and fabricated my own return spring.  VT clip ons?  No way, different brand because in my opinion the VT clip-ons at that time sucked.

But this incompatiblity issue is predominate across the industry.  Want to use a DA BB SRM with a BB30? Get a sleeve for your BB shell.  Want to use Brand Y bars, you need a special tool to adjust them. Want to use Brand Z rims with your 20hole PT?  Nope, it’s proprietary drilled and only two or three hubs, ironically made by Brand Z, can mate to those rims. Want to use this base bar with those brakes? Oh the diameter is different, get a dremel.  Just because I’m picky about the stuff I want on my bike doesn’t mean it should be a pain in the ass to get it to work.  I was this close l———l to getting some Oval aerobars.  To get them set up how I wanted them, I was going to have to buy the bars, brakes and extensions seperate from each other, then buy a proprietary stem cap. Sorry Oval. I’ll hope my defective Zipps will become undefective or I can dremel out my base bars enough to get brakes from a different brand to fit.

My computer is plug n play.  Is Plug n Play too much to ask for from bike equipment?

What to do?

Posted in Swimming, Triathlon with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2009 by brianestover

Finally. I’ve reset back to AZ time.  Waking up at 4:30 really sucks, not as bad as 3:30 sucked, but still not my ideal time to wake up. 5:15 seems pretty good for now. Another week or two and that will get moved back 5-10 min. It’s not as light as it used to be that early in the morning.  I refuse to use lights on my bike until September.

Now that I’m set back to normal time, my hamstring is killing me.  My seat was too high on my road bike. Coming off almost no riding over three weeks caused some inflammation.  The NSAIDs seem to have knocked most of it down. It was a lackluster week for running and riding. Maybe 8 miles of running and 90 miles of riding plus a few swims.

I need to sort out my swimming. There are three options. I can continue to swim on my own, I can go to Ford Masters or I can go to the JCC masters.  But lets face it, swimming on my own, I don’t do a good job of that.  No frequency, not much intensity and very little volume.  I did finally roll over 125,000 yards for the year during Saturday’s swim.   If I go to Ford they have a set swim schedule. One day IM, one day long freestyle, one day short intervals, one day is a kicking set day etc. Not a good job of managing intensities or variety throughout the week if you ask me. The morning coach writes the workout and it gets repeated 3x that day. That really has to suck if you swim doubles. I swam there one day this summer and was not impressed at all by the coach on deck.  No control over the workout, or what was going on in his lanes. On the plus side, they have 3 workouts each weekday so getting to the pool shouldn’t be hard. The JCC option is appealing.  Very close to my house, it’s on the river path that I run and it’s from 5:30-7am.  Appealing because 90 min is much better then 60 when it comes to swimming. I can roll out of the pool and do most of my running right after. Unfortuantely it’s only M,W,F Sun in the morning. Sunday’s are out.  I usually run long on Wednesday morning, too hot to do that in the evening still and I run ~65 min on Friday.  Typically I ride T, TH, Fri mornings and have to run on the treadmill those days. If I swim in the mornings, I could run right after most mornings but would need to do something about my long run. Or I could swim M,F there, then Sat/Sunday on my own. 4 days on 3 days off, not ideal but more then I’m doing. Two solid workouts would be 1.5 more then I do per week. On the other hand, I’m swimming fairly well off of half assing it.

Morning

Posted in Random Stuff on August 9, 2009 by brianestover

Inside my head it’s foggy from the combination of sleep meds that I took almost 9 hours ago. This is my favorite type of in-between.  It’s not light. Yet. Darkness is slowly melting away both outside and inside my head. It’s neither here nor there. The Mountains in the east are outlined by the rising sun still 20-30 min away from appearing as a sliver over their peaks. It’s in the low 70’s, cool, yet warmly embraced for this time of year.  The dogs, their pent up energy dragging me down the driveway to the corner as we begin our walk.  Quietness. No people, the sound of an occasional car in the distance.  Just their nails lightly tapping on the pavement in rythmn with their breathing. Inevitably this in-between will yield to something.  Less.

Antwerp Half – The Race

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by brianestover

WOW!  What an amazing race.  I’ve been fortunate enough to race in 4-5 countries, Worlds 2-3 times, lots of Nationals, several 70.3, other Half Ironmans and even an IM.  I’ve also volunteered at multiple races.  By miles, this was the best run race I can remember.  It was impressive right from the get go.  All RD’s should make the trip over to witness what you should be doing with your registration.  You register, get your chip, bottle of wine, race shirt and number packet at one stop.  No going to multiple tents which seem to be the norm in the US.  Next to registration, they had a huge plasma TV.  It was showing the course maps, what drafting is, what blocking is and how to avoid those situations.  It was more informative then any pre race rules talk I’ve been to.  Races in the US always say they will have marshalls.  But never 15-17 moto’s with refs on them.  I witnessed 2 red cards, 1 black card and multiple verbal warnings when someone was riding on the fence between clean and not so clean.  The course was completely closed to traffic, both the bike and run. Antwerp shut down the tunnel leading from the west bank to the east bank for this race.  The run went through the Grote Market, not once, not twice, but 3 times. This is the place everyone goes to visit in Antwerp. The market is ringed on three sides by cafes and you had to run up a street filled with cafes to get there.  There was cheering, bell ringing, clapping, yelling and the sweet smell of tobacco wafting through the air.
Here are after and before shots:


Was a little nervous before the race seeing all the bike in transition as well as the scooter.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t think I had the fitness I wanted to have going into this race.

The swim went off, and four of us cleared immediately from the start. There were two guys ahead of me and one to my right. Did I mention each wave had a lead kayak? Completely bad ass! A quick glance back confirmed there was no one latching onto us. The guy to my right and I were sharing the draft of the second swimmer. It was pretty clear, I was in over my head. We started shoulder to shoulder, slowly I drifted back to his ribcage, then his hips, next I was staring at his knees and slowly I eased my way onto his feet. What a relief. They were drilling me and I was barely hanging on. Each time I started to lose contact we started to run into traffic, slowing up the lead three and I latched back on. Rounding the last turn, those three sped up, I started doing a 300m TT effort and it was all I could do to only lose about 5-8m by the end of the swim. A quick run up the stairs and to the bikes had me leading the wave though. I think the swim was about 100m short. I’ve never swam faster then 25:10 for 1.9km that 24:42 is far, far above where I’m at.

I’m an idiot. I left my PT head unit in Tucson. No computer and only a watch. It was old school riding, doing math at the km markers. I only saw 40 and 80km though, thankfully as people can attest to, I didn’t have to use my lacking math skills. It was raining, there were several turns, roundabouts and train tracks. I got passed by the guy’s whose feet I was riding and the pace felt sustainable for 2:30 so I kept him ~10-20m in front. I figured when someone passed from our wave, I’d make a decision, to go or stay, when it happens, no need to plan ridigidly too far ahead. About 40min into the ride, we got rolled by number 795. The swimmer dude looked at me shrugged, I shrugged back and we both threw down the hammer. Hit 40k in 1:02 and 80k in 2:01. The cool thing was watching the main pack of elites head back on the loop section and realizing we’d only lost about 200m to them during the loop around a quaint village. Seems we lost more, lots more, about 8 minutes more, elsewhere.

A short pee break later I was all alone, hammering to get back up to the group which had splintered. By transition I had clawed myself back to :10 behind the wave leader. Number 795 was given a red card then a black card. DQ’d – goodbye. You had to be somewhat dumb though for riding 4m off the back wheel with the moto and ref 1m to your left.  Just drop through the line, the white helmet kid was letting everyone back in. There were a few people from earlier waves doing a 300m penalty loop for getting a red card. The announcer was letting people know why they are running around transition.  Pretty cool and an idea I think the USAT/IMNA/WTC should adopt.  Much safer then trying to pull someone over in a group.

Onto the run we started on a old large cobbled street. This run course is brutal to your feet and legs. Cobbles, hard bricks and concrete. My shoes I discovered the day before were dead.  It made for a painful run that couldn’t end soon enough. About 2 min into the run I rolled the guy leading my wave and held that until about 10-12k into the run. I started on a pace I figured I could maintain for 3 loops and never tried to speed up except for when Rutger Beke and 4 other elite’s ran by. I latched onto the last guy for 6 min. The run was uneventful except for getting passed and my feet were glad to call it a day.  Didn’t know how I was going as I didn’t look at my watch except for running out of T2 in 2:44:xx and then just before the finish line. Ended up in a 4:12:08. Rather surprising result and I’m quite happy with the time. Add another :90 to it for the short swim and it’s still one of my faster half ironmans.

There were some other cool things out on the course. AA energy drink in 4 or 5oz little bottles. Grab and go. This race also had different run and bike numbers then US races. Numbers that actually fit on a race belt!  Brilliant!

No more frame sticky numbers that don’t ever come off clean. Or maybe it’s b/c I only clean my bike 1-2x per year. Either way a bad ass idea.