Charleston Sprint Tri (5/22/22)

(Photo courtesy of Paul)

As you may remember, Mother Nature was NOT kind to me the last time I visited the Carolinas to race. Apparently she didn’t get the memo that just because I was from the Chicago area didn’t mean that she needed to provide Chicago-style weather (32 degrees) for the race start… And the hits [almost] kept on coming for this trip…

Before heading down to Charleston for the race Sunday, Paul helped me to do the USAT Para Combine. Two weeks out from the crash, my knee was maybe 80% at best. And that missing 20% was the crucial hinging part. If I had to guess, I was only able to get about a 25-30 degree lift instead of the normal 90. Even still, the first ~550 of the 800 runs was OK. As we came to the back half of the 2nd lap, a gentleman joined us and ran in the rest with us. It was extremely helpful to have that distraction, especially during the end 20-40 yards when I didn’t think I could finish without falling down. All in all, it was on par with where I was prior to the Pandemic (11:40 / mi).

Having finished the run, we headed to the pool for the 300yd swim. As with the run, the hinging motion reared its head. This time, it caused real problems getting into and out of the pool. But as I kept warming up, I got a little more flexibility each time. We started the actual test as soon as I could get a full extension/push off the wall, and the times were a little better than when I was pre-Pandemic (2:24/100).

One other piece that we addressed before heading down was the new swim tether. It had been about a year of struggles since most of the similar tether had gotten lost in the Gulf of Mexico. The key feature of the new tether is that I’m not having to either shorten the stroke OR hit the connection.

As I mentioned, Mother Nature did not play nicely in April. With all of the rain on the way down to Charleston (including a couple of points where it was like a faucet had been turned on full blast), I was concerned that we’d be racing in the rain. Thankfully, we got a clear window Sunday morning to race in.

On race morning, packet pickup and set up went extremely smoothly. The only hiccup was that the bottom part of the tether kept slipping. Paul helped to triage it, and we got ready to race.

While the tether did come partially off a couple of times during the swim due to these issues, it felt to be a much smoother swim. I did find an unintended fix after the 2nd time, and it stayed in place after that.

T1 took a little longer, but we made it out onto the bike with a strong mount. As this was my next race after the crash in TX, there were a lot of nerves early on. Paul helped with that, and we did take the corners a lot slower than normal. As a comparison, I know that we were taking corners at 22+ last year in Cypress. If we took any at greater than 15 in Charleston, I’d be surprised. But it was all about being safe. I know that I’ll get back to being comfortable again in the near future. And even with the slower corners, it was still a strong (~19mph) bike.

Coming off the bike, we had a solid T2 and then headed out onto the run. Given the knee issues, Paul had come up with a plan of a 60s/90s-120s run/walk pattern. Even though the overall time was about 8 minutes slower than where I would like to be, going this route ensured that we finished with a respectable time. I truly believe that if we had tried for a normal run that mile 1 would have been about 13, and then I would have been in so much pain that we would have had to walk the rest.

As I can never make out the course maps, I rely on my guides. So I had no idea that we would loop through the area near the transition between loops 1 and 2. That energy, and all of the people cheering for us, helped so much.

Post-race, Nick front the Charleston County Parks took the time to interview us. I really appreciate everything that Allison had done pre-race and race morning to help things go smoothly, and we were glad to talk with him.

While there were a lot of positives from this race, there were also several things I need to focus on improving. One of those is going back to wearing gloves on the bike. About 5 years ago, I went away from those for Sprint races. However, I believe it’s once again worth the extra 30 seconds between T1 and T2 to have that comfort in the bike.

Thanks to Paul for guiding and all of his help throughout the weekend. And thanks to Para Guide for all of their help and support! If you’d like to support what they’re doing, please visit

ET Indoor Tri (1/23/22)

(Photo courtesy of Lee)

As I had mentioned last year, things did not go as planned.  What was supposed to have been a 1-2 week stint on IR after Cypress ballooned because of work and personal issues.  But I tried looking past all of that and towards the 2022 season.

For me, the season started with the ET Indoor Tri.  These are always fun, great events put on by Coach Joe and his team.

While I had hoped for better, the challenges from 2021 showed up in the first race of 2022.  My swim was shorter than normal by about 40m, my bike was shorter by about 1 mile, and my run was shorter by about a 1/4 mile. 

Even though the results weren’t what I had hoped for, it was still good to get back to some sense of ‘normalcy’.  I’m grateful to Coach Joe for continuing to bring back the series even while there were still some COVID concerns.  I’m also grateful to Lee for all of his guiding help as always. 

And the race will also serve as a ‘baseline’ for 2022.  I know that there are going to be challenges during the 2022 season as I work to get back into a rhythm after losing so much in 2020 and 2021. I’m planning for and looking forward to a successful 2022 season!

2020 Dare2Tri – 1/10/20

In 2016, I was first selected to Dare2Tri’s Development team. Since then, I have been able to grow within and outside of the sport because of all their support.

I am honored and grateful to be part of the Development team for 2020! I have a tremendous amount planned for the season, along with a few specific goals. I know that because of their help and support that I will be able to succeed throughout the season.

To follow my progress throughout the season, please subscribe to the blog. Or follow me on Facebook ( or Instagram (

Cali Fun (No Sight No Limits 2019) – 11/12-17/19

[Photo courtesy of Amy Dixon]

In 2016, I found out about the No Sight No Limits camp through Social Media. I was fortunate to be there for the first two camps (Jan 17 and Jan 18). When it moved to November (Nov 18), it became more of an advanced camp. The run just wasn’t where it needed to be, so I had to miss last year’s camp. A year and a lot of hard work later, I was headed back to SoCal.

Rather than deal with a 4AM wake up so I could make a 7 or 8AM flight, I flew out to SD the night before. Always fun finding out that your ‘1.8mi away hotel’ is actually 9 miles away at 11:30PM… While the staff at was less than helpful at about midnight PT, they did eventually make things right. 🙂

On Wednesday morning (day 1 of camp), Bob/Scott picked me up and we all headed to Encinitas. After having time to check in and get lunch, we headed over to Amy’s to do bike fit. Mike Jennings helped to get all of my stuff set while I waited for Chris to show up. When he did, Mike got the pilot area all set. Once that was done, we did a couple of laps to ensure everything was OK before doing the shakeout ride.

During this practice, we ended up with our first flat of the evening. It was changed out and we all left on the ride. About 250 – 300 feet from Amy’s house, we ended up with a 2nd flat. That was changed out, and less than a quarter mile later, flat #3 happened. At that point, Amy rode back and got a different front wheel for us to use. The ride went much more smoothly after the wheel swap, and we had a chance to get in some fun hill work as well…

Thursday (day 2 of camp) started out with Woodstock-of-war while breakfast was cooking. Tug-of-war implies that you can win at least 50% of the time. However, I’m moderately convinced that Woodstock covertly applies super-strong adhesive before he brings lamb, pig or gecko over. I believe he beat me 132-3 over the course of the week…

After some fun and breakfast, we headed over to the Y for swim with Chris Huxley. Seeing that the pool was 9 feet deep, I jumped in expecting to sink to the bottom. It was a weird experience when I didn’t really break the surface. We did a whole bunch of drills to help with our stroke / correcting it. It was an extremely helpful session, and I came away with a lot of new knowledge.

After lunch, we headed back to the Y to practice on the basketball court. The session started with bike skills (starts/stops, turns, a slalom and more) and finished with transition practice. I picked up a couple of things that I believe will help dramatically shave T1/T2 times. And that’s with going back to socks in T1.

At some point prior to this, Mike had noted that I should go to SPDs. While the last experiment in Colorado had been a complete cluster (see May Tandem Camp blog), I was willing to give it another shot. We were able to track down a pair of MTB shoes at Ride and they generously put the cleats on as well. Very nice being able to walk out with complete shoes vs. having to mess with the cleats later on.

Day 2 ended with strength at the Y. Let’s just leave it at lots of very uncomfortable positions with results. Using a bar to do push ups, erg rowing and inverted pushups were just part of the ‘fun’.

Friday (day 3 of camp) started with a run along the coast. While I have been working on my run throughout 2019, I still am not where I want to be. There was some ‘hill fun’ during the 3.5 mi run -> run/walk session. Even though it was a bit painful at times, Cindy kept it fun.

The afternoon was devoted to swim. We started at SwimLabs and finished at Moonlight Bay. I had never been in an endless pool, so it was quite an interesting experience. The ‘river’ is about 20×8, and staying within it while we were both there was a challenge. But Monica helped talk us through it and helped with stroke correction throughout. Right before we finished, Chris asked her to turn it all the way up (1:27/100). While it wasn’t perfect, I was able to survive it.

When we got to Moonlight Bay, the ‘washing machine effect’ was in full swing. Combine trying to time breathing with getting rocked around, and it’s a challenge. Add to that that residual salt was in my beard, and it felt like I was getting a salty snack with each breath. It was a challenge, but we made it through the set. Afterwards, I had a little bit of fun playing in the waves.

Saturday (day 4 of camp) started with a Track workout at CSU San Marcos and finished with a long ride. During the track workout, we went out waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too fast on the first 800 (9:15/mi) and I paid for it throughout. On the second 800, we were able to do much better with the pacing. The other pieces that Cindy worked through with us during the track session will be helpful as I continue to try and get the run sorted out.

After lunch and a break, I got on the rainer to get used to the SPDs before we headed out. After about 30 minutes, I was feeling comfortable enough to get on the tandem with them on. We headed out for a 25+ mi ride that eventually led us to the coast and PCH. There were a LOT of hills on this route, and at one point I apparently was mashing too hard to try and get us up one. The net result was that the chain broke. THankfully Mike was able to get it repaired and we were able to finish the ride. There was a lot of great scenery along the back half of the ride, so I’m glade we were able to complete it.

Sunday (day 5 of camp) started with a duathalon at the Y and then a 4mi ride to/from breakfast. And yes, we did end up with a 4th flat (rear this time). We were able to make it back to Amy’s safely though.

Even though there were some hiccups, it was an amazing camp! I learned so much during the time in Cali that I will be able to apply to my 2020 season and beyond. I am extremely grateful to EVERYONE who made this possible, including Amy, all the coaches, Chris (for guiding for me) and Forseeable Future Foundation (for all their assistance).

If you’re able, I strongly recommend that you attend the 2020 camp! Just start stalking Woodstock… um, I mean watch Amy’s page for updates.