100 Triathlons
Go to the early blogs to read how I got into triathlons. Click on any picture to enlarge it. I'm now in USA Triathlon's Century Club; go to
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." Theodore Roosevelt 1910

Monday, December 31, 2012

Year's end 50 Mile Trail Run

Sunday was the long awaited 50 Mile Run in Wekiwa Springs State Park.  Rick, Bernandette, and I planned this several months ago as part of Bernadette's training program for the Iron Horse 100 in Plataka in February.  Bernadette did the Croom 50 Mile Run (Brooksville) in April and Rick did the 50 Kilometer race the same day.

Even though I have kept my run training mileage high, between 15-18 miles every Saturday, I was a bit leary of signing up for the 50 Mile race at Iron Horse.  This was a great opportunity to test my fitness for ultramarathon events.

We had planned to run on Saturday but a cold front pushed through early Saturday morning with rain and thunderstorms so Sunday looked better even with the cold.  It was 38' under a clear, full moon sky when we started our run at 6:00 AM.  Even with the headlamps, we proceeded slowly at first until the sky lightened at 7:00 AM, before a spectacular sunrise appeared.  Using the Sand Lake parking lot (with restrooms) as our starting point, I had laid out a 7 mile trail loop that featured both service road and singletrack followed by a 4 mile asphalt road loop.
We all ran steadily throughout the day with occasional walking breaks and the miles ticked away.  We'd see deer now and then and after noon the trails began to see day-hikers out for a stroll, something extremely rare.  With the temps hovering around 55', it was comfortable in the woods running or hiking.  I started hurting a bit around mile 22 but oddly enough, it never got any worse.  I passed my previous distance mark of 26.2 miles (4 Disney Marathons) and kept going with a new goal of reaching 50 kilometers (31 miles).  Upon reaching that point, I felt good and kept going as we were into the third road loop by then.  Around mile 33, I realized that I was near my limits and eased back, arriving back in the parking lot with 35.01 miles under my belt (56.33 kilometers).  As I had started at 6:00 AM, my total time was 9 hours and 14 minutes which included food and bathroom breaks.  That would have given me a mile pace of 15:49.  My Garmin GPS, which only activates when it detects me moving, showed 35 miles over a time of 7hours and 41 minutes for a mile pace of 13:10.  The 9:14 time, though, reflect more of an actual race time but rest stops would not be so leisurely.  During an actual race, breaks are grab and go.

I stayed well fed during this experiment, using four 250 calorie bottles of Hammer Perpeteum, one 330 calorie bottle of Hammer Sustained Energy, 4 Hammer Gels (90 calories each), including a Espresso near the end with 50 mg of caffeine, and a Clif Builder's Bar that contained 20 g of protein along with 230 calories.  I also took Endurolytes and Anti-Fatigue caps all day. 
Post event was my usual bottle of Hammer Recoverite and a light meal with lots of water.  The Garmin, which tracks not only speed and distance but also elevation changes, showed I burned 4,210 calories while consuming 1,920.

Rick and Bernadette continued on after I left with Rick finishing at mile 40 and Bernadette reaching her goal of 50 miles in the dark at 7:30 for a total time of 13.5 hours.  Her Garmin showed her 50 mile run time at 11 hours and 58 minutes resulting in a 14:10 mile split.  Well done Bern and  a great day for all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The 11-28 Experiment on Sugarloaf Mountain

For several years, the hills have gotten a little higher and harder and as I want to continue riding as long as possible, I needed some help.  While my Trek 1500 road bike, the Burley tandem,  and the Softride 360 hybrid bikes all have triple chainrings, the bike I ride the most (and the farthest), the Litespeed Tachyon tri-bike, has a double.  When I built the bike, I had the foresight to swap the stock crank to a FSA compact crank.  I felt the change from 52 and 39 chainrings to the compact 50 and 34 would definitely help my climbing.  While the bike has a 10 speed cassette, I was using the original 12-25.  Shimano offers an 11-28 and I finally purchased one last month and Phil at David's World swapped it out.  Shimano also makes a 12-30 but it requires a new long-cage derailleur.

I rode several times with the new gearing and liked the wider range of gears but the real test would come out in Lake County.  I passed on doing the Great Floridian Intemediate Tri last Saturday (which was combined with the Great Floridian Ultra Tri the same day).  So today, I decided ride the 39 mile bike leg starting in Clermont.  To simulate race conditions, I ran 17.4 offroad in Wekiwa Springs with Bernadette on Saturday, then washed and waxed both cars to boot.  This meant I was not the freshest when I arose at 5:00 on Sunday morning.  Plus, Hurricane Sandy was stirring up the Atlantic Ocean about 100 miles offshore, pulling winds across the Florida penisula at 15 to 20 mph.

  Sugarloaf Mountain, at 345' above sea level, is the highest point in penisular Florida.  It climbs about 274' from the base to the top.  On a clear day, you can see the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico from the summit.  The picture above is near the top looking back down the road.

Arriving in Clermont at 6:30 AM, it was still dark and conditions were a bit fresh, with a stiff wind blowing across the swim course at Lake Minneola.  I headed out and as dawn broke I got lost for the first time at mile 6.  The bike course map I had to guide me did not have all the streets marked and I missed a turn at Cherry Lake Road.  However, I hit State Route 19 and headed north, eventually passing Cherry Lake Road.  There were plenty of hills but my real goal was to climb Sugarloaf Mountain, which is famous for it's steep grade uphill.  I reached the base at mile 23 and began the climb.  It's deceptive as it doesn't look steep from the bottom; the fooler is that it gets steeper as you climb.  I stood for a bit but quickly shifted down and began pedaling in my new super low 34 x 28 combo.  My speed dropped to 6.1 mph which I held for a while, dropping to 5.9 for a few seconds.  I kept on cranking though and made it to the top without stopping or walking which is a first for all the times I've climbed it!  I stopped to chat with a few cyclists at the water stop provided by the Fenstads  at their home at the top.  My downhill speed peaked at 39.7 mph coming off the mountain and I headed home, happy that my experiment had worked out fine.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mike's First 5 Miles!

My friend Mike O'Leary did his first 5 Mile run this morning at the U Can Finish (UCF) 5 Mile Run at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  Mike first saw me run a 10K in Dublin, Ireland, four years ago and that inspired him to begin running.  Click on a pic to enlarge it.
I normally bike 50-70 miles each Sunday and found that the UCF campus was 26 miles from my house, which was a perfect distance.  I left the house at 5:30 AM and got there at 7:05.  The weather was good, clear, and 65' F at the 7:30 start.  The course wound around the UCF Campus so everyone got an idea of how big the campus is.  I met his wife Louise right after the start and after I rode down the course to get some pictures, I joined her back at the finish line as Mike came in.  His time for the 5 miles was 50:50, which was his intended goal.  Well done Mike!

Here's a pic from that Dublin 10K (yellow jacket on left) from 2008; 50' F, rain and wind (typical Ireland!).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

# 118 Moss Park Olympic Triathlon

Today was the last triathlon at Moss Park for 2012.  I did all four Olympic-distance triathlons there this year.  Today was great; lake was cool, bike ride was fast and dry, and my run was quick.  I finished 2nd to Joe Trettel for the third time this year (I won the second race) but I will leave him behind next year as I will graduate to the 60-64 age group (he's very fast). 

But happy as I was with my performance today, I was pleased to meet an amazing family.  Eric and  Lisa and their 6 children are on vacation from their home in Georgia and decided to throw some triathlons in the mix.  Eric did the Olympic distance today (winning the Clydesdale division), Lisa is doing the Sprint tri Sunday, and several of their children are doing the Children's Tri next weekend in Clermont.  Eric is a U.S. Marine Corp helicopter pilot and Lisa is an ex-Marine who now takes care of the family. 
No mini-van for this big family, a Mercedes Sprinter is perfect.
Their oldest daughter presented me with a very nice drawing of the sun rising behind the clouds over Lake Mary Jane before the race start.  Meeting this wonderful family was the highlight of my day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

# 117 Moss Park Olympic Triathlon

Saturday's Olympic-distance tri at Orlando's Moss Park produced a few surprises for me.  After last Sunday's Daytona Beach Tri, I felt I was primed for this race 6 days later.  However, that afternoon I knocked off the big toenail on my left foot with a door.  It was a bad black toenail and didn't hurt much and after a visit to Dr. Mason on Monday, he said it would be healed enough to race on Saturday.  Even so, I approached the race with a bit of trepidation.  The race itself was uneventful though I did have a bit of a dice on the bike for several miles with Dave Smith.  I worked hard and opened up a 1:30 minute lead by the end of the bike leg.  I think the swim was a bit long as everyone's times were increased from previous events here.  I finished at 2:32:59, giving me 2nd out of 5 in the age group to "Super" Joe Trettel, who beat me by 12:33.  He beat me in June's race by 14 minutes so I'm getting closer! Joe was 28th overall and I was 38th so I never feel bad losing to someone that fast.   During the awards, the skies opened and it poured.  Oddly enough, my toe didn't bother me at all during the race.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

# 116 Daytona Beach Max-Sprint Triathlon

Today was  the last and longest of the 3 Tigershark Daytona Beach Triathlons.  I signed up at the last minute due to an erratic tropical storm in the eastern Carribean Sea that appeared to be heading towards Daytona a week ago.  But it changed course and dissipated so the stage was set for a great race.  Rob Wallace of Tigershark stages 3 tri's a month apart during the summer, each one longer than the previous.  Today's was the final, with an 800 yard swim, 15 mile bike, and a 4 mile run on the beach.  The announcement that the swim would be wetsuit legal at 77'f was greeted with cheers and groans in transition early Sunday morning.  Since the temp was 81'F yesterday, most people left their wetsuits at home.  However, when we hit the water at the start, the water felt more like 70' !  Surf was OK with waves about 2 feet high and I finished the first leg in 19:57.  By then the sun was up and the bike ride on A1A was fast, covering the 15 miles in 44:00, for an average of 21.0 mph.  After a quick transition, I headed down the ramp to the beach for the 4 mile run.  Heading south, the course was a simple 2 miles out and 2 miles back along the shoreline.  Passing morning strollers (coffee in hand) and the early sunbathers dozing in their chairs, I pushed hard for a finish time of 35:05, averaging 8:46 per mile.  Total time was 1:42:05, which gave me a 1st out of the 5 in my age group.
Also at the race today was the founder of Seminole County Triathletes, Billy Price (photo above), along with members Deanna Abdin (photo right) and Tim Rowand.  Everyone had a great time battling the cold water and hot sand today.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1,000 miles today!

Went for a 15 mile ride in Wekiwa Springs State Park on my Salsa Mukluk this morning.  A few miles into the ride, I checked the odometer and discovered my total mileage was 998.9.  A short time later I made the 1,000 mile mark; this is the distance since I got the bike in May 2011, 15 months ago.  I still enjoy my rides in the woods and the variety of wildlife I see.  With the heavy rains recently, several trail sections were flooded, adding to the fun.  Click on a pic to enlarge it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

# 115 Moss Park July 14 Olympic Triathlon

Today was the 2nd Olympic tri of the season at Moss Park in Orlando.  Upon arriving in transition, I met 2 fellow St. Pete Maddogs, Bobbie & Glen Gullickson.  She was doing her first Olympic distance and he was doing the Aquabike. (Bobbie eventually won her age group and Glen got a 3rd OA) 
A few minutes later, I ran into my co-worker at Ernst & Young, Chris Louthan and his girlfriend Amy.  Both had done the June tri here but Amy "touched the floor' on her bike last weekend, so she was sitting this one out.  I gave her my camera and she took some great photos.
The sun in front of us rose in a crystal blue sky and we were off on the swim.  I had a great swim, taking 4+ minutes off my previous time last month.  Heading out on the bike, a surprise was waiting for us.  A large dark cloud was looming up in the east, and around mile 8, the sky opened and it poured.  It actually felt good and I negotiated the corners slowly in the wet.  I passed 1st and 2nd place on the bike and increased my lead as the race continued.  I was cheered on when a tremendous rainbow arched over the road near the end of the first lap.  The showers moved away by mile 15 and I concentrated on putting on some speed, finishing with an average of 20.2 mph.
I had a quick transition and headed out on the run course, passing a yoga-in-the-park class in session near the west boat ramp.  The shaded trails are nice in spite of the heat and I averaged 8.17 mile splits over the 5.8 mile course.  I finished 1st out of 4 with a time of 2:24:15, much better than my 2:30:23 in June.  Chris also had a great 12th overall finish, taking 1st in his age group, with a 2:07:38, nearly 9 minutes faster than his June time.  Afterwards, I headed home to my wife Sandy to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

# 114 Father's Day Olympic Triathlon

Today was the first of the summer Olympic-distance tri's out at Moss Park, just southeast of Orlando Airport.  The day promised to be perfect after a week of heavy rains.  A co-worker at Ernst & Young, Chris Louthan and his girlfriend, Amy Bailey, joined me for their first triathlon at Moss Park.  Epic Sports' more casual approach is a welcome change after the congestion at St. Anthony's.  I arrived at 6:00 AM just as the sun was beginning to show itself.  Setting up in transition was a snap and I headed down to the water to warm up.  Chris was in the first wave, I was in the second, and Amy started in the third.  Amy blew by both Chris and I on the swim with a blistering 22:06  for the 1.5 kilometers.  Next, on the 2 loop bike course, I managed to average a respectable 20.1 mph over the 40K distance.  It was starting to get warm at the run start but I was able to post a 46:39 for the 5.6 miles, translated into 8:19 mile splits.  Thanks for the shade on the run!  My final time was 2:30:23, good for 2nd out of the 5 in my Age-Group.  Chris, however, vanquished the 25-29 competitors with a 2:16:11 and Amy (Awesome Amy!) finished 3rd Female Overall with a very quick 2:12:22!  Chris informed me afterwards that "I've been chicked" is an expression used when your girlfriend beats you in a race.  A great day for all.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#113 Baldwin Park Sprint Triathlon

Today was the 8th Annual Baldwin Park Triathlon.  Held in Baldwin Park, the former U.S. Navy base near downtown Orlando, I've done this race every year since it's beginning.  This morning was clear and 70', perfect for an short urban race.  Besides the close-by location, it's known for the hydrilla (weeds)  in your face during the swim and the five lap bike course, reduced to four for 2012.  One change that was welcomed on the bike was allowing the first wave elites to almost complete their bike laps, eliminating the high speed passes that occured earlier years.  Somehow, I ended up with race number #59, which is my current age.

I saw a number of familar faces there including David and Yvette Sanborn, owners of David's World Cycle.
After my week's vacation with lots of intense training, I felt primed for this race.  I had a great swim followed by a quick transition to the bike.

  I averaged 21 mph for the bike leg and had another fast transition to the run.  I felt great coming off the bike so I pushed hard for the entire run.  I was amazed to see my mile splits were 6:56 per mile for the short 2.8 mile run.  My final time of 1:07:28 was good enough for a first place in 55-59.  I have now won this race 4 times and finished 2nd twice; I'll do this race again next year (when I turn 60).
I did meet Donna and George, some new residents to Orlando, transplanted from San Diego, the birthplace of triathlon.  Here's a photo of them with Kurt, who moved back to Orlando from California.

David Sanborn won the Corporate Challenge and I grabbed a photo of him with Z and Kim Buttar, the race directors.

While I was doing this race, Lance Armstrong won the Florida Half Ironman in Haines City, just southwest of Disney World!  His bike split for the 56 miles was 2:02 and half-marathon time was 1:15!  Very fast!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

# 112 St. Anthony's Triathlon

Today was my first tri of 2012 and my 11th time at St. Anthony's since my first in 1995.  Much has changed through the years.  When I first competed in 1995, there were 1,500 triathletes; now the race is capped at 4,000.  We stayed at Dickens House Bed & Breakfast on 8th Street, just a few blocks from the Start/Finish, Expo, and the Transition Area.  Very nice place (though a bit pricey) and Ed is a great host.  We arrived on Friday afternoon to be able to go to the St. Pete Maddog's party in the evening.

We had a great time at the party and met a nice tri-couple, Jack & Tina.  Also, 18 Pro-triathletes from around the world were there, talking to everyone.  The Maddogs offer homestays to all the pros which is a great way to share your love of the sport.

Saturday morning, I went over to watch the Meek & Mighty Mini-tri at the North Shore Pool a block away.  The race consists of 10 laps of the pool, a 2 mile bike, and a 1 mile run.  Very inspiring seeing all the children competing along with a number of adults.  Some of the kids had expensive bikes; our future pro's.  In the afternoon, we went to Clearwater to eat at Columbia's on the bay and then I put my bike in transition.  Close by the Expo was the first portable wind tunnel; really cool!  You could rent time in it to improve your speed.

Sunday morning I arose at 4:45 and went down to transition to get body marked, lay out my gear, and look at the water.  While wetsuits were legal with a temp of 76.4', there was a debate by guests at Dickens House if they were really necessary.  I thought about it and half an hour before my wave start, I decided to wear mine, a decision I regretted a few minutes later.  As I was struggling pulling it on, despite liberal applications of Suit Juice, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back.  I discovered I couldn't bend over without more pain.  I could stand and walk though, so Sandy and I headed toward the beach start.  The gun went off at 7:45 and I began swimming the 1.5K/.9 mile course, surprisingly free of pain.  This is a new swim course for 2012 and the first half was great, then we turned left out into Tampa Bay.  It got quite choppy quickly but not really rough and I finished the swim in 36:51, not bad considering.  I climbed up the stairs (ow, ow, ow) and headed towards my bike. 
It hurt a lot to put on my shoes and climb on the bike but once I settled in the aero position (after the cobblestones), I was fine.  The 40K/24 mile bike course stretched out in front of me and I began a very steady effort of chasing riders down from previous waves.  The course was crowded in spots but having a target ahead always spurs me on.  I rolled into transition at 1:14:05 with an average speed of 20.1 mph; the 2nd fastest bike split in my 11 times here.  Leaving transition for the 10K/6.2 mile run, I quickly settled into an easy warm-up pace, happy there was no pain while running.  The run course is always fun, with lots of spectators and great vistas along the waterfront.  Crossing the little bridge to Snell Island always means the warm-up is over and I began concentrating at reeling people in.  I passed a lot of people and got passed a few times too.  After the turn-around, I saw a friend, Kent Richardson from the Bahamas, behind me.  Then at the mile 4 waterstop I caught up with Sister Madonna Buder (82 years young), who started several waves ahead of me.  Sandy and I had met "The Iron Nun" years before at a Maddog party and I had given Sandy her book, "The Grace to Race" for Christmas.  We chatted briefly and then I pulled ahead.  Near the finish, I saw a series of signs on the left side of the road, laid out as a poem expressing a marriage proposal (it turned out to be a song lyric).  After the race I found it is was from one Seminole County Triathlete to another; Walter Choroco proposed marriage to Tracey Stein at the finish line and she accepted.  You can watch the cool video here: http://vimeo.com/41381290
I finished the 10K run (56:28 with 9:05 mile splits) and crossed the finish line at 2:53:09, my 3rd fastest time at St. Anthony's. Sandy met me there after chasing me around all morning and a few minutes later Sister Madonna crossed the line too. Sandy got her to autograph her book and we chatted a bit before heading over to the food tent. I finished 38th out of 83 in my age group; happy my injury didn't slow me down much.