Friday, August 31, 2012

Lance Armstrong

This news is everywhere and it's almost impossible to ignore if you keep up with triathlon and cycling news. Its a shame since I would have liked to see Lance in Kona.

First of all, I don't care whether he doped or not. Given the people he was associated with, he more than likely did. The problem I have is with the process USADA has put him through.

In short, it seems this is how a conversation between LA and USADA would have gone:

USADA: We say you doped and we want to suspend you.

LA: Did I fail a drug test?

USADA: We're not telling but we have evidence.

LA: What is your evidence?

USADA: We're not telling. You should already know.

LA: That hardly seems fair.

If an unregulated quasi-government body was attempting to "convict" you of something but refused to turn over any evidence wouldn't you feel the same way? Even though it's not a criminal court, doesn't this completely go against everything our legal system stand for? Shouldn't any process in the US wherein the outcome is guilty or not guilty of something be held to the same due process standard of a criminal court? Who oversees USADA? No one...unless WADA decides what they did was unfair. USADA is like a Monarch. They have policies and rules but it seems they chose to ignore them.

Maybe this is already out there but, I would also like to know how the USADA has the authority to strip him of TdF victories from before the USADA even existed; how they can ignore the statute of limitations and how they can strip him of victories from a race in France?

What if you were accused of murder and the DA came to you and said: We know you killed someone but we're not going to tell you who you killed, who saw you do it, what the penalty will be, how you killed them or any other evidence we have until the trial starts. How could you possibly defend yourself?

Maybe I'm completely wrong.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Interesting Articles

Some blogs have Wordless Wednesdays and Three Thing Thursday but, I'm not a girl. It's too bad there isn't some clever phrase for a day of the week for news articles.

Anyway, here are some I've come across this week:

  • Since I used to live in DC, I still read TheWashCycle. This is a short blurb about riders being ticketed during a ride. If you're not familiar with the DC area, Reston is a City just to the west of DC between DC and Dulles Airport.

Cyclists Ticketed During Century Ride

  • I'm sure everyone is aware of the Lance Armstrong case so, here is the Sports Scientists point of view:

LA Fallout

...These guys write good articles and probably know what they're talking about but keep in mind they are PhDs not MDs. I'm not saying being an MD makes you more qualified, just making a note of it.

  • I'm going to go out on a limb and say, this guy is more than likely a better biker than you. 

  • Some A-hole thought it would be funny to put tacks on the IM Louisville Course

Whoever this lazy, pathetic, coward is, I hope you feel good about yourself knowing that you put lives at risk for your own pleasure, amusement, satisfaction or whatever. You're also messing with people's jobs. Some people swim, bike and run for a living. How would you like it if we put nails all over your driveway or road each day so you couldn't get to work due to flat tires? I'm sorry if you're inconvenienced once a year so that triathletes can have some fun. If you have a problem, go talk to your Mayor, Councilman, Alderman or whoever. Don't try to kill people...yes, kill. Crashing at 25 mph on a bike due to a sudden flat tire can result in death. You're lucky that didn't happen or you could be charged with murder. 

If you'd like to voice your concerns publicly to the athletes and not remain an anonymous coward, I'm sure there are at least 2500 people that would be glad to meet you in an empty parking lot. Also, if you'd like to attempt to kick my ass for calling you a lazy, pathetic, probably fat, coward, I would be more than happy to oblige. Just let me know when you're available.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Mysterious Rolls

Everybody poops, even dogs. Therefore, every morning I take Loki for a walk around the block so he can perform this task since he hasn't quite mastered performing it in the back yard in a timely manner. Most mornings, about 3 houses down, I come across this or a similar site...some sort of  flour based product which has been leavened with yeast, in the front yard. (Try reading that sentence without the last comma and it might sound like someone is making bread in their front yard.)

Today they appeared to be dinner rolls. The other day it was hot dog buns. This happens at least 3 times a week and I have yet to see anyone put the rolls in the yard nor have I come across any of the occupants to ask what the rolls are for.

Using logic, I have to conclude there is at least one small child in the house attempting to feed the group of rabbits that terrorize the neighborhood. I say terrorize because most nights the dog sits at the door to go out front every 10-15 minutes to see if the rabbits are there and attempt to stalk and I assume eat them. His attempts have been unsuccessful because he is on a leash and neither of us can accelerate fast enough to catch the rabbits. I have considered letting him loose to try and catch one but, I don't want to be responsible for the clean up if he is successful...I suppose I could make a stew. He  hasn't quite figured out how to stalk as he slowly takes a few steps and waits for the rabbit to run rather than getting as close as possible before making his move. It's fun to chase them but sadly, I'm going to have to break this behavior so he can be walked off leash in the future and so I'm not going outside every 15 minutes. (I take him out so often because this is how he lets us know he has to "go" so, if I stop taking him out I'm worried he'll start going in the house.)

Anyway, Loki also likes the rolls. He also sees them on our walks and goes after them just as he does with the rabbits...minus the whole stalking thing. He has also be unsuccessful in this plight. Mainly because I don't want him eating that many carbs.

This could potentially be a hilarious situation if the parents don't want their kid(s) throwing rolls on the front lawn but they run into this kitchen, grab the rolls, and throw them outside. Maybe someone in the house gets pissed about the rolls because they're doing the Atkins diet and doesn't want to be tempted.

I hope it's the rabbit theory. If it is the parents might want to teach their kids what rabbits eat. When I had a rabbit growing up we fed him carrots and celery, not bread.

Although I'm putting this family on notice...I may let Loki eat the carrots if you start leaving carrots on the front lawn.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Electrolyte Needs

A few weeks ago I inadvertently started and argument with a "local" running store and Hammer Nutrition (edit: over an article written by the running store). The article was pushing endurolytes for replacing lost electrolytes while training in the heat. Hammer Nutrition is a great company and I use their products however, the amount of sodium, potassium...etc in endurolytes for the price is a joke. I was simply trying to make the point that endurolytes are extremely overpriced when compared to say Salt Stick. I also made the comment that I would need to carry at least 2 bottles ($40) for an Ironman. I wish they would lower the price and add a second product with more sodium and price it at a reasonable price.

There has been an ongoing discussion (that has mostly stopped) between myself and a few other tri club members regarding electrolytes. One person has resorted to making his own electrolyte tablets...which is a great idea IF and ONLY IF you know what you're doing. That same person from the tri club is now on a first name basis with someone from Hammer and went back and forth about electrolytes during training and Hammer had the opinion that you couldn't possibly need 1000mg of sodium per hour. I disagree.

The author assured me that he does an IM with maybe 20 endurolyte tablets. Great, this might work for you but, I'm one of those people who needs 1000mg+ of sodium and the appropriate amount of potassium per hour when it's hot out. What makes this more interesting (to me at least) is the amount of sodium and potassium one of the pros took during IMNYC:

Sodium: 6632mg (1494mg/hour)
Potassium 2014mg (454mg/hour)

...on the bike

Sodium 5316mg (1778mg/hour)
Potassium 1216mg (407mg/hour)

...for the run

That would be almost $60 worth of pills. Imagine spending $20 on sodium pills for every long ride you do and then another $10-15 for long runs.

Granted the pros are going fast but, I weigh more than the pros and sweat just as much if not more. So, I don't understand how an argument against high electrolyte consumption can be made. Even Macca admits that he couldn't win Kona unless he loaded up on electrolytes in the days before the race. He figured this out from talking to bodybuilders, which when you think about it bodybuilders walk a fine line between dehydration and not cramping during competition.

So, to sum up...I suppose I'll stop listening to "experts" since my electrolyte needs are clearly not close to the needs of the majority.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Slight Blow to my Pride...Distracted Walking

This is sort of a funny story...

I still read TheWashCycle every few days even though I don't live in DC anymore. A post yesterday points to an article which suggests "Distracted Walking Laws" are needed. I partly agree as many people walking around in DC are oblivious to the world while talking on or looking at their phones...One day, I was one of them.

A couple years ago, Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart held the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on The Mall in DC. It was the day before the Marine Corps Marathon so the g/f was in town. Two of her friends were driving up for the rally and we decided to go with them. As we were walking back from the mall we found that the closest metro station was closed because it was too crowded. I knew the vicinity of another close station that less people would attempt to go to but, I wasn't sure exactly how to get there since I never used that station. That part of the city also has a lot of dead ends due to 395 and all the fly over ramps. Anyway, we were walking fast and I was looking at my phone trying to figure out which way to go when BAM! I walked right into a pole. It hurt. I was a little stunned but not seriously injured. I was actually amazed at how I felt as you wouldn't think that walking into anything would really hurt.

So, not all distracted walking accidents involve another party...sometimes they just involve inanimate objects.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Triathlon Swim Deaths and A Lesson in French

Deaths in triathlons has been a hot topic for the past couple years and the discussions emerged all over again with a death during the IMNYC swim. Many people have very strong opinions about the swim portion of the triathlon and just as many dread the swim. This begs the question, why do you love triathlons so much if you hate the swim?

Personally, I love the swim as much as the chaos that goes with it. I'm a firm believer that if you're not properly prepared for the swim, you shouldn't even bother showing up for the race. You can't always rely on your wetsuit as a crutch since we've been experiencing record high temperatures. In a recent IM in Europe, I heard there were people in tears because they weren't going to allow anyone to wear a wetsuit. Seriously? You should know that there is always the possibility, even a one in a million chance, the water temperature might be too high. If you need a wetsuit, Idaho has some nice races as long as you can stand the cold.

Dan Empfield was a pioneer in the triathlon world. He designed the first triathlon wetsuit and the first bike "built from the aerobars back." Recently he wrote a detailed article about swimming deaths in triathlon. It's worth reading the whole article. The first article may be what prompted Dan's article.

Death During IMNYC Swim

Limiting Deaths in Triathlon 

Yesterday, whilst running, I heard something I've never heard before in St. Louis...a bike trail riding lesson in French. I had a little kid coming past me on his bike and I hear: Continuer a guache, continuer a gauche...allez vers a droit. (Keep to the left, keep to the left, go to the right.) While St. Louis is a fairly diverse city, you'd really never know it. I realize St. Louis founded by two guys from France, Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau, named for the King of France then bought from France by the US. There are also many towns and cities with French names (that failed to retain their French pronunciation) but, I don't think I've ever heard French spoken since I moved here.

So, if you'd like to teach your kid how to pass on a trail in French, now you know.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Training in Temperature Extremes

I have a policy that I try to uphold when it comes to training. It is never too hot or too cold to train. I've run and biked in 100+ degree weather with a bike ride while it was 105. I think I saw less than 10 other idiots people dumb dedicated enough to be out there in that weather on the 8 mile trail. I've also gone for a run during a blizzard in DC. That was actually one of the most fun runs I have ever done since it involved running across the frozen reflecting pool.

St. Louis has been having an extreme heat wave with temperatures regularly over 100 degrees. This weekend that is supposed to change. Here are the highs for this weekend:

Friday: 82
Saturday: 83
Sunday: 87

Great weather for training. I might actually need a jacket to walk the dog one morning. The only downside...every casual walker and biker and their mother will be out. The only thing I hate about decent weather. While I can't get mad at them for getting out there and exercising, it is a bit annoying...You're out there running and biking in the freezing cold and heat all alone with the trails all to yourself, then with the first hint of nice weather BAM, the trails are a zoo. Really the only solution is to wake up earlier than everyone else.

Does anyone else sometimes dread the return of nicer weather?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quivering Quads and Map My Ride BS

The Tri club starts a "Hills of Fury" ride in August every I've been told. The first one for this year was on Saturday. Since I've been told that Branson 70.3 is hilly, I figured my legs could use the hills. Something also interesting about Missouri and Illinois, I don't think either state has more than a Cat 5 climb. If a Cat 5 climb is even recognized.

As is usual with triathlon training, the day started early. Unusually, the ride started at 8...mainly due to the location of the ride. It took over an hour to get to Pere Marquette State Park. The ride was scenic but, I don't think I'll be making this trip every weekend. Especially since it screws up my training plan.

To get to the start of the ride, we had to take a ferry. That was a first...kind of fun...until you get off the ferry after the ride and realize you still have 2 miles to the parking lot.

Anyway, this ride started off great with some easy rolling hills for the first 15 miles. I was following 2-3 people in front of me and having no clue where I was going I trusted them with directions. They missed a turn and we got "lost". Not really lost as the "island" has 2 roads running mostly parallel to each river and all the perpendicular roads connect the 2 roads. We just went down a different road but ended up losing the rest of the group. The ride went great and we got in 55 miles total with 3 decent hills and a few steep rollers. However, the steepness of the hills combined with the length of the ride made this the toughest ride I have ever done. I felt fine until the last 3 rolling hills, after that I was wrecked and barely made it to the ferry. There was a sign for 3 miles to the ferry...those were the longest 3 miles of riding I have ever done...did I mention there was a headwind?

The ride was so tough, for me, that right as I hit the parking lot, and thankfully not anytime sooner, my legs cramped up and I could not straighten them out without an intense pain. I'm not sure how I made it off my bike in time before I fell over but I did. Then I sat on a wall for 5 minutes and walked the 50 feet to my car. Yes, that's correct...I couldn't even coast another 50 feet to my car.

I also barely made it home without falling asleep.

Now, to the BS part. The only reason I discovered this is because I forgot my Garmin. Very disappointing due to this being the toughest ride I have done to date. I think I may have reached my max bike heart rate on the second hill. Here is a map of the ride with the climb information according to mapmyride:

According to Mapmyride there were two Category 5 climbs on the route. (There were supposed to be 3 but we screwed things up.) I agree with this. However, the second climb was clearly steeper than the first as it was impossible to sit in the saddle and I thought I was going to fall over at a few points. According to MMR, the second climb has an easier grade. If you look at where the climb starts according to MMR, it doesn't even start at the What's the point of having this info if it's not going to include the whole climb.

I decided to head over to Strava and see if anyone made a segment out of these climbs. According to Strava, the first climb has an average gradient of 4.7% not 3.0% and the second climb is 5.6% not 2.6%. The second climb has a few periods of 17.5% gradients. How can the difference between these 2 websites be so much? A 2.6% climb should be a piece of cake. It wasn't even close.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Women's Olympic Triathlon

Did anyone stay up for this? I know one of the tri shops around here is having a computrainer class to watch the men's race but the women's race was at a crappy time. I considered staying up but, I wanted to wake up to bike. There was rain in the forecast but, I figured the rain would hold off as it normally does around here. Sadly it didn't and I haven't biked yet today. So, I could have stayed up to watch. Through the magic of the DVR, I watched the race this morning.

Too bad for Gwen Jorgensen, it looked like she flatted and lost any chance of catching back up.

It was great to see Sarah Groff finish 4th. I was hoping she could at least pull out a bronze but, it was clear she was struggling to hang on inside of 1k. The sprint at the finish left her in the dust. Given the popularity of triathlon in the US when compared to the rest of the world, 4th place is pretty good.