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“Take a breath and exploid like bullets tearing through the wind.” -Rise Against
I love adventure. Ironman was not about the sport of triathlon at firstt; it was simply the craziest thing I could find at the time. I am always on the look out for the that kind of challenge and adventure. That’s why I do off road tris, cyclo-cross, cross country skiing, road bike racing,
trail races winter hikes and ultras and now OBSTACLE COURSE racing with Rugged Maniac.
I had seen the sport pop up and explode in popularity and looking at the course with a 50 foot wooden mountain at the end; I got that same exciting feeling in my gut that I do at the start of anything I haven’t done before…that this was gonna be epic.
I got in line for my wave start sipping Drip Drop, the best hydration product on the market. I tightened my Brooks Launch, a good shoe for the day because it has enough cushion for jumping off stuff but it light enough to race in.
The vibe of the other athletes was awesome. We talked, wished each other luck and there was a sense of us teammates as much as competitors. The horn sounded and I took an early lead because I wanted the hole shot and first digs at the 20+ obstacles that stood between me and the finish over the 5k course. The course wisely starts with faster lower obstacles so the field can spread out and I ran through “speed trap” (I big dirt pit with water) and the first set of barriers then the ninja boards. At this point I was racing the clock but with waves all day long and 1000s of people I knew to not let off the gas as I kept going.
I can’t recall all 20+ challenges but I noticed I was excelling at them and think my history of triathlon which uses upper and lower body and also my balance from surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding parkour and off road cycling really prepared me for this. The focus required for the obstacles put me in a “flow state” one if the most wonderfully zen ways to be and is a real perk to this kind of racing. Well except for the sand bag carry. I mistakenly grabbed a 50lbs bag and my body really sunk under the weight as I huffed it out and around the carry route! I am not a power lifter!
By the last mile or so I could tell I was gassing out and had a Carboom energy gel for a burst of energy (anyone doing one of these should have one during it. It’s too long to do without calories). The obstacles really spike your heart rate. I though they would be “recovery” but in fact it was the exact opposite; they demand oxygen from both the upper and lower body at the same time. I found myself on fumes as I came into the final ones which were some of the hardest.
“Blogstacle” almost bested me near the end. It was a soft 10 foot inflatable that gave way and was slippery. I got a hold of a handle and put my foot to my hand in a rock climbing move I recalled and pushed with my leg and found myself on the way down the other side. After that it was to the big mountain which was when I learned why we all were acting like teammates at the start: as I ran the 25 foot skate board ramp like obstacle two hands reached out and hoisted me up. Teamwork and thanks! After that it was a rope net to the top then the longest most awesome water slide down. I was to focused to be scared until half way down when I realized I was going SOOO fast! We hit the pool of water at the end and I could feel my heart jump out of my chest! What a freakin’ rush!!!! I stumbled out do the pool and over two earth barriers but couldn’t find my legs to kick and just trucked to the finish stopping my clock at 25:47. I knew I won my wave but had no idea how I did over all.
At the awards I heard the time for third, then second, and knew I won as I was under them. Hooray! I was pumped. I had had a blast and loved this event so to win it was just a honor and I hung out forever afterwards because the party is awesome and unlike anything I had been to prior. Fun contests, great music, lots and lots of beer to get people loose ( I don’t drink but I also not the type of guy you want to make a party awesome and I was loving the vibe of those who do ).
I know some endurance sports purists might hate on this. Too bad. Because I have watched “pure” sports become corporations and the spirit of that sport lost. This had what that once had. It got 1000s of people outside and gave them a challenge and adventure that was authentic and epic not to mention all the training people put in to get to the start line.
If you build it; they will come and Rugged Maniac build something really special and I had a blast blasting through it. Thanks!
(Photo: me at the start in my lovely Champion System Tec tee, the mountain at the end, me claiming My prize and tossing up \m/, and my lovely Holistic Health nutrition coach winning the pie eating contest!)
Come join Team Continuum this Wednesday June 24th and. 6:30 pm at Columbus Circle, in NYC! DripDrop will be giving away the last eat in hydration and you can meet the squad and coaches and run a great 5k with us!
Visit www.teamcontinuum.net to join the team for the NYC tri or marathon! Free coaching by me!
I have never been a half guy. Even my 70.3 world championships spot was mostly luck, having a very good day on the right day. A lifetime spend aimed at going twice as long has left me with one speed and a diesel engine. Never the less there are a few halfs out there I can’t resist and with the death of the only non WTC pro race it looks like I will being a few of them. I had always planned on doing Challenge Williamsburg VA, it was meant to be a tune up for Challenge AC, but with that race cancelled for pros this got bumped up as a priority.
The story race week was the heat which had hit 99 during the weekend with all the humidity of the south. The race course however is mostly shade both on the bike and run making use of the very pretty dense forrest and woods. But the swim was wetsuitless, and while the water feels clean it’s dark and has currents. The result was that it was hard to draft and I got dropped from the group I can normally hang with. I swam ok solo but worked harder for it and hit T1 in 10th, thanks to my Xterra skin suit which is a big improvement over nothing when it’s not wetsuit legal and it kept me in the race for sure.
A fast t1 and some use of my cross skills had me pass buddy Tom Woods. Sadly for me toms TT skills had him repass and drop me shortly their after. Also Congrats to him on having another kid this season (we did some catching up on the bike). I got passed twice more on this flat fast course and passed one other person towards the end. sure enough my half split was only 6 minutes faster than my full split at AC X 2 and that course was windy. Gah! I should just get Valdora to make me a fixie.
Out o f t2 I tried to push to see if I could get back into some racing and was flying in my Brooks ST racers. Sockless and blister free in this light weight flats! I love the run course a mix of dirt roads through woods and then paved path. Sadly I was too far off the pace to make any headway however. I did manage to destroy myself and as the miles counted down I felt the “feels like 124″ degrees temps that had come to define the day. As I came unglued I found myself at POLAR: pace of last resort and I was just determined to gut it out and finish bagging a top 10 among the pro men. Thanks to Boom gels for getting me through the final 5k!
I can’t wait to try it all again at St. Andrews in Canada!
Photo: t1 was Jamestown wher the first European settlers ate each other before all dying. Given the conditions I think most everyone racing got a taste of how that felt.
“I am not sorry for the way I am…I am a god damn monster. ” -upon a burning body.
I came into Harryman the defending champ. Called “arguably the hardest half in the east” it’s a brut of a course due to the 2 mile steep climb
you do each of the 4 laps and a relentless run.
The race go going with a stud swimmer dropping everyone. I followed with another strong swimmer and we came out of the water in 29 minutes and after a nice transition I was not far behind and took the lead within 5k. It was a swim course PR for me thanks Xterra Wetsuits!
I felt good on the bike and just tried to push the bike as much as I could was way faster than last year. Valdora TT frames really are built to climb. The 4 lap bike give fair splits and good reminder to have a Carboom gel which I chomped on every 30-45 minutes.
Half way through I saw Mitch West, complete tri stud, 6 times kona qualifier and Am Zof champ coming up on me. I was in the mood for a fight and it took him a full lap to drop me but ultimately he dropped me. Again a course PR, I got to thank Strong Like Bull where we ride big climbs and then C3 Racing my new road team for making me stronger on the bike. I tried to keep it close into T2 because I always have faith in my run.
Out on the run I put on my Brooks ST Racers and the hammer down but couldn’t make progress and in fact Mitch has a lovely run too and quickly it became clear the podium was set with him on the top step and I cruised in second making sure third stayed third.
Lost my title but lost it to a stud and friend and had a course PR on the swim, bike and run.
I can’t recommend this race highly enough.
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“I am a goddamn monster.” Upon a Burning Body.
I love bike racing. Not enough to train for it; but enough to jump into it for some ass kickings among my swim and run training. I also love mma and fear this lack of survival instincts may cause me some broken bones in the future. Hahahah.
Over the years I worked my way up to a Category 3 card from USA Cycling. It’s like “good” non pro. The 1/2 are basically pro and AAA pros. I am also now old enough for ” masters” which has a lot of 1/2 athletes looking to beat the crap out of the rest of us. It would be like seeing a pro drop down into your age group then telling you if you can’t draft him the whole way your race is over good fun!
The first race was Coxsackie. Pronounced Cock-Sack-E, the jokes are endless. “It’s so long and hard ppl just want to ride it.” “When it’s cold, it shrinks.” “cocksackie exploded at the head.”
Anyways, the race itself is long, 50-60 miles and early, late march/early April. Racing that long that early is just sick training. It’s basically the perfect prep for a half IM. The wind splits the field like a knife and you need to be on the ride side of the divides that occur. So staying near the front is critical. That is WAY easier said that done however! After doing that for 40 miles I went off the front a few times in feeble attempts at glory and got barely a gap between being caught and spit out the back at mile 45 giving yourself 5 miles solo to sing the “you got dropped song.” Which doesn’t exists but with 5 miles of solo riding you can write it because of the wind and bravery a group of 4-5 hard men got away early and won. I love to see that kind of racing.
The next weekend is the Might Tour of the Battenkill. Battenkill is the largest participatory bike race in the USA and for good reason; it’s sick. Modeled after Paris-Roubiux the race that goes over cobbles, they North Eastern classic uses 8 dirt roads and climbs over it’s 70 mile route. The dirt adds some crazy hard riding as road bikes don’t exactly love dirt making the 70 miles feel like 80-90. Add the fact that the gentleman you are racing are trying at every moment to break you and you get THE classic of the year.
My race started out with a flurry of early attacks and counter attacks by Fin-Kraft a well organized team. Cycling is a team sport and it’s great to see it unfold as one. I was less appreciative at the time when I was full on sprinting 3 miles into a 70 mile race with all the hard parts yet to come.
We hit the first serious climb and 1/3 of the field was gone. We hit some dirt and people popped. People at the front driving the pace and each selector: dirt road or steep climb people got dropped. At mile 22 I got dropped but not by much and with a group of ambitious fellas that didn’t want their race to end and we worked together in a rotating pace line and chased for what felt like forever and tagged back on. Miles 22-50 are the easiest with the selectors being early and late.we had some time to try to recover and I needed it as the chase back on was; um, good training and had me seeing stars.
I made it over the next climb or two but then got dropped again. Amazingly I got dropped with one of the strong men from the prior chase back on 20 miles earlier and again we worked back into the field. Again this was sick effort; the type I can’t duplicate in training. Somewhere there was a third climb maybe with 10k to go and I get dropped and then road hard and caught others that got dropped. Our working group of about 6 road tempo and pretty hard until the end and even battled it out among us in the last 2k dirt climb for fun and pride, I took 35th over all and was smashed from it all. Good stuff! My teammate was top 5! Go him!
The next weekend was Quabbin. Obviously it’s throbbin’. The comment section if my blog is for your convenience should you want to put together a throbbin Quabbin and cocksackie joke. They pretty much write themselves
CCB strong man Kirin when on a solo break and then several men joined him. He road solo for 50 miles or so. Then we caught him. He took another flier after that. His suffer meter goes to 11. I watched a few splits in the field happened and did a few all out efforts to make the gap. A few more to not pop off the back as this race as 1200m of climbing over 100k. The end is a 5k uphill finish and I had nothing for it and took 35th or something leaving the pros, former pros and bad asses to duke it out for glory as I was just happy for the work and not to get blown off the back and as I road up the 5k climb my legs were trashed and I was pedal squares.
The last race of this 4 races in 4 weeks was the State Fair Grounds crit. The other events are pretty big, this is super small. Just a bunch of freaks trashing each other with effort on a Tuesday night for 60 minutes on a 2k crit loop.
From the gun the attacks started. I tried to not be foolish but also knew that breaks are serious and if you miss the right one you find yourself racing for best-of-the-rest. At 10 minutes the first prime went up, a race within the race, the winner if the next lap gets some swag. A guy launched and then I went. Sadly I wasn’t quick to go and them paused once I bridged up to him. We had a 100m gap but two pauses meant that we got swallowed up before the finish. 5 minutes later and the next prime went up and again we he attacked and this time I jumped without pausing and when I caught him passed him and together we stayed away. Sadly we had a third dude who was on another level with the sprinting thing and as we neared the line he dropped both of us. The next 15 minutes was more attacks and chases then At the 30 minute mark a guy attacked and I went too with a 3rd guy. We stayed away for a while a group of four bridged up to is and the 7 of us had a BIG gap. Sadly we didn’t work well together but we did work hard enough to build on the lead and it became clear this was the winning move. With a lap to go (2k) I went off the front. Someone joined me and we worked hard to stay away and for a moment I thought we had it but with 500m a
To go we got caught. I tried to rally for the sprint but then the reality of my triathlonness came crashing down and I sprinted like a triathlete taking 7th of 7. still too 10! Woot! Was stoked for the result and to be a player in a pro-1-2-3 race.
reg now to get 300 off! That’s a week of awesome training in a sublime place over mountains with a support can, swim, run, strength training and yoga clinics. A health food chef and support van! https://www.bikereg.com/strong-like-bull-training-camps
[I was on a long ride and feeling good for the first time in a while; so I turned on the voice recorder and this was what I said out loud to myself. ]
It’s awesome being talented enough to make something you love your vocation. It gives you the time to chase your dreams and passions. Only those lucky enough to chase their dreams however can know that bitter feeling of what happens when you have enough time and energy to give it your all and then for that fire to grow darker, from a flame to smoldering embers.
But that fire that burns inside is made of a truly combustible material once it’s ignited its sure to burn. Every athlete the truly gives everything will face the fact that by doing so it will smother their own fire. At such times it makes no point to try to find or to question what’s inside you and if you have the passion. Rather you just need to step back and let the fire inside you breath; always trust that if it was once there it will always be there.
(Photo: kicking at the Red Sea eating like a caveman!)
SLB X Diez Años De Delor
Strong Like Bull celebrated 10 years of bringing pain to people in sPain. Honestly, if feels like the camps have passed into legend status. So many amazing athletes; and even more amazing stories from extraordinary and this year felt both like a celebration of all the years we have done SLB and also it’s own chapter in this book.
The format is simple. Amazing weather when the weather in most places isn’t friendly to training. Epic rides over sublime over the Spanish countryside and all the support you need to push yourself the limit and beyond. The support comes in the form of material and non material. Material support is a van and driver following you with food, water, bike parts and a ride so you can go to your limit without fear of not making it. The material is nice digs so you can relax in the sun between workouts or in a old stunning Spanish villa. We have a yoga instructor to loosen you up and promote recovery and a certified holistic health food chef. We have a nearly empty swimming pool and do above and under water stroke analysis and three trips to dial in form and swim some quality meters and I really am a legit swim coach after 15 years of studying swimming.
But as much support as that is, it’s the non material support. The 20 or so athletes push and encourage each other. The ones that won’t let you give up or give in to doubt. People leave SLB changed.
For my part I love this thing. Even if every year it exhausts me, or maybe because it does! I feel like it’s caretaker and stewart but at this point after a decade SLB is way bigger than me or just a camp. It’s a community and it’s awesome to be a part of it. So with all my heart: gracias por su vista !!!!!
TO SIGN UP OR MORE INFO GO HERE: https://www.bikereg.com/strong-like-bull-training-camps