Naperville Sprint – 8/7/16


(Photo courtesy of Diane Gilliard)

This is truly one of my favorite races Not just because it’s put on by an amazing Race Organizer (RO) and Race Director (RD), but also because it gives me an opportunity to thank those who have and continue to support me. Between the Tri kit, hat, body marking and race belt, all of them got a shout out.

As with last year, I suspected that I would be the only ParatTriathlete (PT). I was surprised to see two of my Dare2Tri teammates that are headed to Rio soon and the Executive Director of Dare2Tri show up! Very nice surprise, and I found out that they all did it last minute.

The swim played out pretty much like last year. We entered the water right after the Elite athletes, had assholes trying to swim over us and through the tether, and having to fight said assholes off. I understand competitive drive, and it’s a race. But FCTFOL, you have decent vision; USE IT and observe the fact that we’re tethered.Even with getting tied up twice in the water because of these ‘lovely’ people, we still made it out in about 12 minutes (4:15 decrease from 2015).

T1 and the bike mount went well, and we were off for 12 miles. While I still don’t have clips, I was trying to consciously pedal the way I would if I was clipped in. It seemed to work a bit better than bike has in the past. While everything went well for us, we did see someone completely total out on the course.

Back to transition and then out on the run. We walked for about 3-4 minutes before starting to run so I could get the legs stretched out. And when we started to run, instead of doing the 5/1 interval, Terri did it with a distance interval. The run still wasn’t perfect, but it seemed to go a lot better. During it, I had a lot of people encouraging me on, and even had a few people recognize me from last year. One of them commented that I was looking better than last year.

We finished about 20 minutes faster than 2015, including a sprint of the last 100 yards. Great to see this improvement, but still much more to do. I would like to shave a few more minutes off of that before Chicago at the end of August.

This was an amazing day and only possible because of the help and support of so many. Thanks to those who came out to cheer us on, and expecially to Terri Hayes of Artistic Creations Salon for guiding me along with everything else she does, and Art Black of Oswego Cyclery for letting us use his tandem.

And while my focus is on Chicago Tri for now, I will also be stalking 2017 Naperville Tri registration. Yeah, it’s that damn good of an event…

One and Done – 8/1/16


Last summer, Terri and I made it out to Oswego many times to practice on the tandem which Art Black of Oswego Cyclery has generously let us use. This summer, the timing just hasn’t worked. We were supposed to get in at least two sessions, but Mother Nature had other plans about that…

So yesterday was our one and only practice session on the bike before the Naperville Sprint Tri. While we were waiting for the previous pair to return the tandem to the bike shop, we went for a walk along the path. During this time, we experienced this very odd situation. We were walking against traffic and a bicyclist was going with traffic (both as we should have been). But instead of doing the normal thing and going around us, the bicyclist kept heading towards us. Terri saw her and had to put her hand out to physically stop the bicyclist. We saw that same bicyclist on the way back, and she apologized for being an ass. 🙂

When we actually made it out on the bike, things went very well. While the Fox Valley path still needs a lot of work, it was nice to see they had patched a few places. We did have a couple of issues with the 2nd restart (having to dismount/remount after crossing at light). But for not having ridden together since last August, it went very well.

While we didn’t get much bike practice in this summer, I know we will starting next spring. I am extremely grateful to Art for letting us borrow his tandem for the last two years. I will hopefully have my own tandem before year’s end (still working with Comotion).

Final Bike Training Session – 9.12.15


Saturday marked the final bike practice of the year. We did about 9.5 miles on the usual path. It was a nice day out and a great way to end the season.

While I’ve mentioned it several times before, I wanted to thank Art Black of Oswego Cyclery again for his generosity. Being able to use it throughout the entire spring-summer season helped immeasurably, and I’m truly grateful. I hope that he’s able to rent the tandem out to people for their fall rides!

If you’re in the area, stop by for your cycling needs and bike maintenance.

The Most Important Bike Ride – 7.28.15


For those of you that have been following the blog, the title and date may look odd. You may be thinking – ‘Isn’t the Tri on Sunday? (making that the most important one?)’ While Sunday will be an important bike ride, last night was the most important one.

It was the most important for this simple reason — it was the first time we’d been able to make it out in more than 2 weeks. The last two times had been complete scratches and total frustration. And last night started off the same way.

But we were able to get things going, figure out a plan for Sunday, and get 6 miles in. I’m feeling much better after that bike ride. We’re all set for Sunday now. 🙂

For those of you that are planning to come out — Centennial Beach in Naperville. Race start is 7A, but we should be starting 10 minutes early so we’ve got a little distance before the masses start. I’m grateful that the RD is doing that for us.

Some Good, Some Bad – 7.26.15


On Sunday, we took advantage of Adult Float to swim the course. There were still some obstacles (ropes, lane lines, floats, etc.), but we made it through. We did 1 M in wet suits and 2 without. The non-wet suit went well, and I’m in favor of going that way on race day. But I will listen to what my coach says.

After doing 1300m in the pool, we headed to Oswego to do some bike training. It did not go well – the balance just wasn’t there. The frustration pushed me to a breaking point (but not past it). I was grateful to have a friend help put everything in perspective and give me additional long-term advice as well. 🙂 Oh, and ice cream makes everything better. 😀

We will be back in Oswego tonight to give the bike another try.

A Bad Day – 7/19/15


Last Sunday, we headed to Oswego for a bike/run brick. Since we were an hour early to do the bike, we went for a run first. Everything seemed fine until we turned around at about 2.5 miles. At that point, I got some kind of heat exhaustion/heat stroke. I’m confident that it was caused by heat, humidity and dehydration, as I was fine by the time we walked back to the bike shop.

While that was bad, the training day got worse when we got back to the bike shop. We’ve done a minimum of 10 sessions on the bike (both here and in WI), and in the past it’s takes maybe 2 – 3 tries before we’re on the bike and off. However, on this day, I had to give up after about 35 misses.

While this was not a good day, I’ve moved past it. I know that there will always be bad practices, and bad days. But you need to move past it. And hydration is key.

The Finished Product (1 of 2) – 7.17.15


As I had mentioned in earlier posts, there are two main sponsors that I wanted to make sure got visibility on race day. I’m grateful to ALL of those who have helped to sponsor me and help along the way. And you’ll see representation for all of them on race day. These two have been key, so I wanted to do something special to say thank you to them.

Earlier today, I received the printed tri suit back from Kiwami Triathlon. They did an AMAZING job and got it turned around extremely quickly. Including all of the transit, it was out of my hands for less than 4 days from start to finish!

At the beginning of the summer as we were trying to find a reasonable tandem rental, Art Black of Oswego Cyclery offered to let us just borrow a tandem that he had. This has helped IMMENSELY, and I am extremely grateful for that. So I decided to go with his logo on the tri suit.

As mentioned in the title, this is just 1 of 2. I will share info on the other main sponsor and what I’m doing for them when it’s ready. That probably will happen July 31st.

Crazy Wheels – 7.12.15


Today’s forecasted temp was supposedly in the low 80s, and they claimed the ‘feels like’ was 86. It may have been 82, but with the humidity, I would have put it closer to 95.

We headed over to Oswego, checked out the tandem from Osweg Cyclery, and did our normal ~9mi trek. It’s got a few steep inclines and one major hill. Normally, it’s not too bad — I’m able to stand up and push until we get to the top. But with the humidity, that just wasn’t possible. It was a challenge a couple of times to make it up, but we always did. 🙂

One other note about the bike ride — I think SOBOBJ123 on BirdBook told all his orange-winged friends to follow us. Two days in the forest, and 3 orange-winged blackbirds. Thankfully, the one today just stayed where it was. In the humidity, I’m not sure how well we could have outrun it.

Normally on the bike->run bricks, while it isn’t easy, I’ve still got something in the tank. But today between the humidity and the extra exertion on the bike, it was fumes of fumes as we started off. We still went two miles, but more than half of it was walking.

Here’s to hoping that Mother Nature gets all of her pissing and moaning out of the way overnight so we can get a swim in tomorrow afternoon.

T minus 20.5 days… 🙂

Oswego Bricks – 7.3.15


As a finale to the first three-day run of sessions, we headed to Oswego for another bike/run session. It was great to see the new Oswego Cyclery store — great layout and more space for them.

With the Camelback on for the first time, we headed out for the normal ~9mi ride. It had been 2 or 3 weeks since the last bike session, so there were a couple of hiccups along the lines of the first one. But once we got going, it all came back just like riding a bike!

One of the challenges for me was learning how/when to grab the straw from the Camelback. Doing so meant taking one hand off, which was a concern. But it all worked out well. More practice is definitely needed with both the Camelback and the drinking process.

After returning the tandem, we went for the normal 3 mile run. Unfortunately, about 1.75mi in, the IT band on my right side got extremely tight. Yes, that was painful both during the last 1.25mi and even more so post-run.

But no pain, no gain. At least tomorrow’s a day for R&R before the second three-day run starts.

Oswego Bricks


Yesterday, we headed over to Oswego for a bike/run brick session. We did about 9 miles on the bike through the Fox Valley Trail. As always, Oswego Cyclery lent us the tandem for the day. I am so grateful for Art continuing to let us use it!

Montgomery still needs to fix their part of the path. It’s got so many bumps in it that I joking said to Terri ‘stop saying bump – just say no bump when there isn’t one.’ As soon as I can figure out exactly who to report that to, I will be sending an e-mail. Everything I’ve found so far points to Aurora instead of Montgomery.

After the last bike/run brick, I could barely run. On this one, I was able to do small stretches before the jello in my legs took over and I had to walk. As we were headed back into the park, a couple of guys called ‘where’s the double bike?’, so we’re evidently getting noticed in Oswego when we ride. 🙂 We only did 2 miles of the ‘run’ because today was a planned swim. More on that in the next post…