No Man Left Behind (aka EBC North Shore Century) – 9/18/16


(Photo taken post race once we were off the bike. We both wore helmets throughout the ride.)

From the outside periphery, I’ve heard the phrase “No man left behind” when speaking of our Armed Forces. What it really boils down to is loyalty and not leaving a team member behind, as you know they wouldn’t leave you if the solution was reverse.

Earlier this summer, my uncle and I decided to do the 50 mile version of the North Shore Century. And a couple of weeks ago, one of my Dare2Tri Development teammates (Alberto) and his pilot Andrew decided to join us. So Sunday morning, we all met up at the park in Evanston and set off for the ride.

Things went well for the fiurst 4 or 5 miles, but near the bridge over I-94, they started to have issues. Andrew was able to get things tightened back up and we were back on the way. But that didn’t last. Shortly after that, they needed to pull over and we waited for the SAG wagon. Once the SAG crew had helped to tighten it up, we were back off again. But that didn’t last for long, and we eventually ended up at REI so they could have a bike mechanic look at it. Long story short, an internal bolt being too tight was messing things up.

They tapped out at REI, and we continued north towards the first rest stop. At this point, we were about 4 hours in and had only gone 10-11 miles. For others, it might have been easy to say at the second or third issue ‘you’re on your own’ and ride on. But in this order, (a) it’s not in my makeup to leave a friend behind and (b) I know that if things had been reversed they would have stayed with us.

After leaving the first rest stop (18.6 miles), we kept heading towards Lake Forest and then into Lake Bluff, which was the turnaround. On the way back, my body started getting unhappy with me. By about mile 32 (our own rest stop at Starbucks), my calf muscles had started to hurt. And by the time that we made it to the next rest stop (mile 44) in Winetka, it was hard to ride for more than a mile or two without it really hurting. I think part of this is that by that point, I’d been on the bike for 7 hours.

Even with the pain, we still made it back to the van by about 4:30 and back to much needed beer at the house.

Even with all the hurdles, it was still a great ride and a fun day. I look forward to doing the North Shore Century again next year!

Indoor Riding – 9/17/16


“I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like” (Queen)

Last fall I joined a gym so that I would have a place to workout during the winter. I thought I’d get a lot of use out it like I did the previous one. But with displays on the machines hard to read, the only things I ever used were the bikes (spin and trainers). When it got warmer in the sprint, I put things on hold and thought about looking for an Airdyne to replace the monthly membership.

But thanks to my uncle, I don’t need to look for one. And I will be cancelling the gym membership at some point this week. He gave me a 10 speed bike and a bike stand, which I’ve now got set up in my bedroom. It’s a manual version of the CompuTrainer system and will help tremendously this winter. I’m very grateful to have this now!

Bicycle Ride – 9/4/16


Earlier in the year, I decided to do the North Shore Century (NSC) ride with my uncle. The NSC offers distances from 25 – 100 miles, and we will be doing the 50 mile ride. To get ready for the NSC, we did a training ride on Sunday.

After he got the tandem set up, we headed out towards Evanston and Lake Michigan. The first stop after about 7 miles was at the Bahai Temple. Really neat building from the outside. We continued on through Evanston to Glencoe, eventually stopping at a small convenience store. Once refueled in one sense and removing fuel in another, we headed back to their home.

On the way back, we went through the Frank Lloyd Wright street that’s in the area, stopping for photos. We also stopped at Lake Michigan on the way back for another break. I should have taken a gel when we stopped at the lake, but felt fine. A couple miles from the goal, I ran out of energy and had to stop and use it.

In all, we did 37 miles of riding for the day. And just like every long race deserves a beer, so did this ride. We headed to Ten Ninety afterwards for some great beers! I’m confident that we’re all set to ride 50 miles on 9/18. Come out and join us if you’re looking for a really fun ride and a great event!

No word in English – 9/2/16

D2T High Res

On a daily basis, we use all types of language. Whether it’s in our native tongue or a foreign language, there are always words that we’re searching for. But there’s no word in English for ‘season break’; although I’ve heard the Eskimos have a lot of words for ice.

Yes, the Triathlon season is over for me. But that doesn’t mean I can or will just sit around until next spring when the season resumes. That would be a bad idea for far too many reasons to mention (including coaches yelling at me… 😉 :P). So in addition to several training opportunities between then and now, I’ve got a 50 mile bike ride and a Half Marathon scheduled before year’s end.

While it would be nice to take a chunk of time off, I know that doing so will derail my progress. I have several goals set for 2017, and the only way to reach them is to keep pushing forward. I realize it won’t always be perfect, but I will keep pushing forward. Nothing good ever comes easy.

And while I’m looking forward, I still wanted to reflect back on the season. During 2016, I did a total of 12 triathlons (6 indoor and 6 outdoor). I was able to cut significant time off of my swim and improve on the bike/run. I had to push through some obstacles, including 3 flats during 2 races, and work through some of the mental pieces (see 8/26 blog). All in all, I consider it a successful 1st full season, and a starting point to improve from for 2017.

Even though it was a success, I wouldn’t have made it this far without support from my coaches and Dare2Tri. The amount of support on so many different levels has helped to push me, to motivate me and to help make races possible. As well, because of their support, I will soon have a tandem to use. That will make a HUGE difference as we practice for / during the 2017 season. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that I am extremely grateful to both my coaches and Dare2Tri. If you would like to help support Dare2Tri, please click here It will take you to my fundraising page.

Leave it all on the course – 8/28/16


With the Chicago Triathlon being the last triathlon of my season, as well as PT Mid-East Regionals, I had a lot I wanted to accomplish. One set of goals was related to the time ahead; the other set was to a final show of the 2016 effort. I’ll have more to say on both of these in the future. For now, I want to just focus on the event.

After arriving and getting transition set up, we all made the long walk to the starting area. I am glad that Luke convinced me to keep my shoes on instead of going barefoot, and I now see why they give you a swim check bag. Trying to do about 1/2 mile in bare feet would be a VERY bad decision. We did a team photo and then got into line for the start.

Lake Michigan was very calm and with a 70 degree water temperature, I went without my wet suit. We were the second Sprint group into the water, and it went very well. I’m still slower in Lake Michigan than I am anywhere else; not sure why. After about 28 minutes in the water, I had a little bit of trouble getting up the stairs (swim exit). But Luke and others at the exit helped steady me and we made it towards transition.

As I mentioned earlier, swim out to transition was a LONG way away. We made it back and headed out on the bike after about 12 minutes (swim out to bike out). With the exception of the second turnaround, the bike went great. On that turn, we ended up hitting the curb and having to do a quick dismount to avoid falling.

Up to this point, things had gone extremely well. Perhaps not as fast as I had wanted, but a good swim followed by a good bike. Then things unraveled a bit.

Whether the sun had been behind clouds or the breeze had masked it, it got extremely humid on the run. To the point where I was struggling to run for even a full minute. I had some tighthness a couple of times, but managed to stretch it out. So after crossing the finish line, I was surprised when I could barely stand. Long story short is that I was dehydrated and didn’t realize it. Enough fluids fixed that pretty quickly.

If you would like to see photos and full result information, please click here

While it didn’t go exactly as planned, there were still a lot of good things that came out of the day. As well as some benchmarks to push forward from for 2017. I also learned a very valuable lesson about hydration, which I will have a chance to put to use during the remainder of my 2016 events.