Saturday, June 30, 2007

Solid Week

I miss Lake Placid! It's always great to come home after a brief time away from the family, but the training grounds of Lake Placid are hard to beat. The picture above is where the trail run ended on Thursday of the LP camp.

I came off camp a bit tired and very ravenous. It was hard to stop eating this week! You get used to downing lots of food at these camps, plus the metabolism is in overdrive, trying to make up for your depleted condition.

Even though I was a bit tired, I still managed to get in a few decent rides in the heat and some solid runs. Looks as though I'll be going into Griskus with only my two swims from LP and my one swim from Tucson under me. It is what it is.

One of my PT clients had a TV on yesterday morning and there was much discussion over this being the 10 year anniversary of Princess Diana's death. I can't believe it's been 10 years! Lisa was a huge Princess Di fan. The funeral was being broadcasted all weekend in late August of 97', and Lisa and her frined Amy were intent on not missing a bit of it. We had just bought ou first house in Shelton and were doing some renovating, so they were couped up in one room where we basically had everything we owned. I informed Lisa that I was heading out to ride early Saturday morning with Farber and might not be back until Sunday. She just said "fine" while she studied the TV, as if she didn't even hear me. I took a small backpack with a change of clothes and a credit card and rode from Shelton towards rt. 10 in Hamden to meet up with Farber. We then headed north on rt. 10, stopping in Simsbury for breakfast, then Northhampton, MA for lunch, then we were chased by a pig in Greenfield, MA, before finally rolling into Brattleboro, VT. I called up Lisa and told her I was in VT and she said something like "sure you are honey." Farber and I ate some bad pizza and drank some great beer, before waking up early on Sunday and riding home.

Thus, the VT ride was born. Baker joined us the next year on the ride and hasn't missed one yet since. We have done it every year, and even twice on a few years when I was training for Hawaii. We eventually smartened up and now we ship our change of clothes up to the hotel.

Looks as though we'll be doing it this year in August sometime. Have to keep these annuals going!



Monday, June 25, 2007

LP Wrap Up

I decided to do the long run yesterday morning back in the trails that we started the camp with. This would be beneficial in a number of ways; tired, fatigued legs would incur less damage due to the forgiveness of the trails, the course was beautiful, and going out the way we started, to name a few.

I gave the assignment of running out 1 hr 5 min at least, knowing that the return trip would be a bit quicker and wanting everyone to run at least 2 hrs. We started out of the parking area down the steep hill that we'd have to ascend on the return trip for 1 mile then bared right onto a dirt road then right onto a trail. Everyone was running very gingerly which made me grin, thinking that it was a good solid training camp. Jeff Molson and I hit the Damn in 41 minutes and before starting up the more technical single track, we waited for the next group of Juergens, Steve, and Bruce to come along. Soon, on the single track, it was just myself and Steve. We reached a bridge at the 55 minute mark that had a bunch of signs/arrows giving trail selections - one being Avalanche Lake, 1 mile. We headed that way and soon started the very, very technical climb straight up. In fact, we were not running much at this point yet our heart rates were well up there. We even came across a ladder made out of tree trunks to ascend. The trail became more and more amazing and enjoyable, discovering new things. At 1 hr 14 minutes, we reached Avalanche Lake, and man was it worth the trip. The lake meandered endlessly through two huge cliffs, sitting ontop of this mountain in the middle of nowhere. Steve and I took it in for a moment, and then turned back, not wanting to hold up the others at the parking area. As we left the more technical section and opened our strides more, we found ourselves running at sub 7 pace. Steve mentioned to me, "I never would have imagined I could have done everything that we did during this camp!" That made my camp. I go about putting these camps on so that people could challenge themselves and accomplish more than they maybe realize they were capable of. I try to pull this off with a fun, entertaining twist. I think those that have attended would agree that for the endurance enthusiast, it's a great vacation!

Anyway, I'm jumping ahead. Let me describe Saturday first:

Saturday seemed like race day. There were so many athletes out on the course, it made things quite fun. The weather was low 60's and sunny with quite a bit of wind. In fact, there was more wind than I have ever witnessed up here. The wind seemed like it was in our face all day. Ange took a group out at 6am, and I took another group out at 7am. My group was to ride the course - 112 miles. This is a big feat on it's own, but following what we did on the previous days combined with the competitiveness of tons of "others" on the course would make the challenge that much more interesting. As we climbed out of LP, my intentions were to see where everyone was at. I wanted people to do their own thing today, not letting others dictate their pace. As I rode comfortable the first 7 miles, I turned to realize the only one with me was Bruce cook! I decided that I would pull Bruce through a loop and let everyone else do their thing. Bruce sat tucked in nicely and we rolled through the 56 windy miles in 2 hrs 50 minutes. I waited a bit for the rest of the group to come along, but when they weren't coming, I headed out and figured I'd try and catch Trephina and Roy and see how they were doing. Both of them were riding 86 miles, their longest rides ever by far! I caught them after the downhill and assessed how they were before rolling on. I came out of the out and back and waited at the convenient mart there for the campers to come through. First came Bruce, then a threesome of Jeff, Gus, and Scooter. Next came Ange and Jen who was also having a "firsts" day, then Baker. I decided to head back up 86 myself and get my car and come back and check on everyone. The wind let up a bit and I cruised through the second loop at 2 hrs 39 minutes riding time.

After everyone finished their brick runs, we drove down 86 to the gorge at a beautiful spot on the river and soaked our tired legs in the running water. It felt great! There were some pretty fatigued people at dinner that night and I reminded them of what they had accomplished. Athletes seem to only remember their last workout. Lot's of wine and beer were drunk that night and then we, of course, headed to Ben and Jerry's.

Three camps in the books this year thus far! I have to commend Jeff Molson and Gus "Daisy Dukes" Ellison for attending all three! They are a bit whacked.
I have found the ideal camp locations between Tucson, CT, and LP.



Saturday, June 23, 2007

See you tomorrow.

It's been a long day. I'm full of pizza and beer and very tired, so I'll post tomorrow - promise.

Quickly though: 112 miles ridden today on a very windy LP course, followed by brick run. Big day! Felt like the race was today - there were over 200 athletes riding on the Haselton out and back section this morning when I was in there the first time!



Friday, June 22, 2007


This year seems to be the year of the cold camps. Today, we rolled out at 6 am to do the Whiteface Mountain climb in rainy, 50 degree weather. As we headed down rt. 86 towards the 8 mile climb of Whiteface, Sean G. gets his second flat - his first was before we even left the hotel. He tells us all to roll on because we have to make it past the toll booth at the 3 mile mark of the climb before the guard gets there around 8am. Cyclists aren't allowed on the road to the summit of whiteface during the day because of the steep, narrow road. We regroup at the base of the climb and everyone heads up. The rain is constant and I'm soaked before the climb even begins. As we ascend, the temperature drops significantly. I was alone from mile 2 on up and it was cool. Almost spooky as there was no noise at all but the wind and rain and visibility was nil because of the fog. I hit the summit 58 minutes later and couldn't wait for the others to reach it for the group photo - I was too cold. Jeff Juergens rolled in as I began to descend. He was wearing only shorts and a long sleeve jersey and looked comfortable! His new nickname is the polar bear. Next I see Gus, then Steve, then Scooter and Robbie McCewen, then baker then Dangle. Ange took another group out that road to the toll booth, then descended and road the out and back Haselton section of the IM course.

The descent was frigid! I was shaking so bad that I had a hard time applying the brakes. I reached the bottom feeling a bit hypothermic and stopped at the convenient mart for a coffee and then sat in the sag wagon to warm up while we regrouped. The ascent today was much more enjoyable then the descent because of the wet cold conditions. Everyone was frozen and shaking at the bottom and I made the decision to have everyone ride back up 86 instead of the long route which would have been the course in reverse.

I told everyone to take a quick, hot shower and then meet in the front parking lot to run. We all ran between 1 hour 10 minutes and 2 hours. So far, we accomplished quite a bit and it wasn't even noon yet.

At most of the camps, we eat lunch on the road - usually in the form of a powerbar or perpeteum while riding along at 20 mph. Today, we actually had the chance to go to lunch. We went to The Cottage which is a great spot. Baker and I were pretty famished and downed some nachos and chicken and black bean burritos. Everyone had an opportunity to do whatever they wanted for a couple of hours before we met to swim at 3:30pm. Most opted for a nap. Ange discussed some swim tips before we plunged into mirror lake for a 45 min to 1 hr swim. Yes, that's right - I swam again! Two days in a row. The lake was great, as usual. It's actually quite warm right now. There is talk that this may be the first year for a no-wetsuit swim at IMLP. I highly doubt it, but it would be interesting.

Tonight, we had dinner at the Adirondack Steakhouse, minus one of the campers. Sean G. didn't ride this AM because of his flats and wanted to do the climb up Whiteface so he set out alone at 4pm, hoping to begin the summit at 5pm when the tollbooth closed for the day. That is my kind of person!

The rest of us had a great dinner with lots of laughs, and guess what? We hit Ben and Jerry's again on the return trip. As we all walked back to the hotel at 8pm, who comes rolling up but Sean G.! Baker and I joined him just now at a cool restaurant across the street. He ate dinner, we just had some wine.

I have been very impressed by the athletes at this camp. No whining which is my number one rule and hard workers. I am also very impressed by my co-coach in this venture, Angela Forster. I coach Angela and also have assisted her in getting her coaching business rolling and she is doing a phenomenal job. She is a caring, hard working person and her dedication to her athletes and the respect they have for her is terrific. This has been great to see.

Tomorrow, we head out at 7 am to tackle the 112 miles of the LP course followed by a brick run and then, a bit later, a swim, so I need to get some sleep now.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 1 in the books

Today is officially the first day of camp. We started by meeting at 6:45am for the short drive over to the trails that I scouted out earlier in the week. It was in the low 60's and sunny - perfect running weather. We ran 90 minutes on the trails. The turnaround of the run was at a damn on a lake that used Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in New York, as it's backdrop. I took a bunch of pictures, so hopefully Alan will post them soon! There are a ton of athletes that come up here to LP to train and they never leave the IM course. Don't get me wrong, it's great to learn the course, but this area has so much more to offer. This is something that I wanted to show everyone attending this camp. They all seemed to really love the run today.

Everyone ran really well also. We finished the run at a beautiful lake where we soaked our legs while downing some warm bagels. Soulshine Bakery here in LP makes a graham cracker bagel that is amazing.

At 11am, we headed out on our bikes to ride a loop of teh course (56 miles). Since most here are racing LP in a month, I wanted to break down each section of the course and discuss how to tactfully race it. On the stretch along route 9, I gathered everyone up and had them paceline, taking short pulls at the front. Most did well, but Jen Collister earned the days mvp for hanging tough when the line was broken down to only four.

The weather was ideal - cloud cover and light wind and low 70's. On the ride back up 86 towards LP, a thunderstorm rolled through and gave everyone a soaking, only to let up and have the sun breakthrough for the finish. We were going to ride more, but it was getting late and I still had a nutrition discussion to do and then a swim.

The swim was in mirror lake. I doubled my 2007 swim mileage today! My second swim thus far of 2007. I used my new Nineteen wetsuit which is by far, the best wetsuit I have ever swam in. Here's why: it felt very buoyant, especially in the legs which was great, and the shoulders were way flexible, but the main reason is the comfort. The neck is very wide and low and never ever chafed. Plus, I swam somewhat decent today! Swimming in Mirror Lake certainly helps.

We just returned from a fun dinner at Nicolas followed by Ben and Jerry's once again. I talked at dinner how I noticed today that many athletes here would benefit the most from working on their limiters/weaknesses, yet most continue to play to their strengths. It was evident that many are still fearfull of their weaknesses. Overcoming this would make the most significant impact on the success of these athletes.

Tomorrow I'll update on the characters attending this camp. We have a fun group here. Tomorrow is also another big day, so time to crash.



Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Molson, Ange, Baker and I headed over to a trail near Mount Marcy to start the day with a trail run that took about 1 hour and 10 minutes. It was a great way to begin a busy day here in LP. I had a lot of last minute things to do before the Camp officially began, which was tonight at 4:30pm.

Later in the morning, Jeff, Baker and I headed out to ride a loop of the course. Ange waited for Chris Nook, one of the campers who flew in from Cleveland. We startred on the long, gradual 9 mile climb out of town, and I put in my headphones and settled into a strong pace. I wanted to get in a good solid ride today. The legs felt really strong as I made my way to the big downhill. I hit 51 on the downhill and then had a nice tailwind along the river on rt.9. This is where I received my first flat of todays ride. I changed it quickly and headed onwards, only to flat again, about 8 mile later. Same wheel (rear). I changed this one and again, got back into my rythm. I went through the 25 mile mark of the course in exactly 1 hour of riding time, when I suffered a third flat! I sat on the side of the road, having flashbacks of Hawaii 2002. Baker rolled up an gave me a spare and a CO2. I inspected the rim very closely as well as the tire, but couldn't figure out what was causing the punctures. I did use some plastic to reinforce some rough areas on the rim, changed the flat once again, and headed off. I ran into Angela and Chris on the out and back section and rode withthem for a bit and then attacked the headwind on 86 all the way back into town. I then high-tailed it to the bike shop and bought some new rim tape, a carbon-kevlar tire, and some new tubes. I should be good to go now, and hopefully got rid of all my flats for the rest of this camp.

The weather cooled off considerably since yesterday. We all met in front of the hotel at 4:30pm and did a short run around mirror lake. We regrouped at the beach and had a short discussion including introductions, camp expectations, blah, blah, blah... We have a cool group here. Everyone seems fun and ready to train hard, yet more importantly, have a good time.

After a nice dinner at The Boat House, we walked to Ben and Jerry's - you have to start camp out on the right note! On the walk over to B and J's, I ran into my wifes cousin who was up here over night on a business trip. Small world.

Tomorrow, the fun really begins, starting with a 90 min trail run! I'll keep you posted but until then, bye for now!



Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good Times

The 30 mile drive from rt. 87 to the town of Lake Placid through Keene never gets old. It's become a nostalgic 1/2 hour, bringing back great memories from the annual trips up here since 2000.

The first time I ever came to Lake Placid was in June of 2000. I was racing the IM the following month, and dragged my dad up here with me to do some reconnaissance training. That was the beginning of my love affair with this place. The thing that I loved most on that trip was that no matter which direction you looked, the views were stunning. We came up on Friday and I rode the 112 mile course on Saturday by myself, then ran 13 miles (1 loop) of the run course. This trip set me up well for a solid race the following month.

Every year since, I have come back up to watch my athletes race as well as get in some great training. In 2001, I remember coming up here. I was preparing for Hawaii (which I skipped because of 9/11). I never had spectated an IM before and thought I'd really hate it - sitting on the sidelines while others participated. I soon learned that spectating here is loads of fun. I got to train with tons of others that were here to spectate the day before. In fact, I remember riding one loop of the bike in a peloton that had upwards of 60 cyclists, including Karen Smyers and Ken Glah. This ride was a blast. I attacked at the top of the downhill and for the rest of the loop, the pace was crazy. Then I got to go out for a great dinner and plenty of beers the night before the race while all the nervous athletes tried to sleep.

I arrived up here around 12:30pm today. After checking in to the hotel, Jeff Molson and I made a short drive to meet Ed Sparkowski, Mike Morrow and Charlie Cowan for a trail run. The camp officially begins tomorrow evening, but I came up early to scout out some routes. Ed has a house up here and he and Mike were nice enough to drive up for the day to show me this trail run! Charlie is a local stud here. The guy is 55 years old and holds the record for 50+ here on the IM course.

The run was great - just what I was looking for. I want the athletes to experience not just the IM course, but lots of the beautiful surrounding area while attending this camp. Right as we finished up, the skies opened. It rained only for 15 minutes or so and then the sun came back out.

Jeff and I went out for some Mexican food to complete the day.

It's always great to be back up here and I'm really excited about this camp! Stay tuned.



Monday, June 18, 2007

Packing for camp is a bitch!

My car is full! You'd think I was leaving town - for good. I have a dufflebag that has clothes for all occasions (I have witnessed every type of weather at these camps!). If I were checking this at an airport, I'd pay a shit load of overweight fees. I have enough hammer schwagg products to open up a retail nutrition store (thanks Steve Born from Hammer!). Tools - you never know who's bike is going to break - and trust me, someones will. Plus, it's not a camp if I don't get to use my pipe cutters. Wetsuit - I have to swim sooner than later and what better place than mirror lake?! Thanks Nineteen Wetsuits for the beeeautiful suit - I can't wait to try it out and hope it compensates for the non-swimming this year. Three huge Hammer coolers for keeping the campers hydrated. Extra tubes, pumps, co2's, ... My laptop (I will try to update pictures and blogs while there - promise!) Lot's o' shoes: running shoes - 3 pairs, cycling shoes - 3 pairs (it may rain!), casual shoes - 2 pairs. Finally, I have my two bikes. Be sure that tomorrow morning, I will be backing out of my garage very, very, very slowly!

I can't wait to get up to LP tomorrow! Even the drive up is very cool. I do it only once per year and once you get off the throughway, the next 30 minutes to LP is to cool. It's going to be a great week.



Friday, June 15, 2007

Been Awhile...

I haven't blogged in a bit and was harrassed today by one of my good friends and athlete that I coach.

Let's see, what's happened since I last posted? I recovered quickly from that small cold I had. Things have been very busy. The Lake Placid Camp is next week, and I'm really looking forward to that. Business has been very busy - both personal training and coaching. That's always a good thing. We just renovated our kitchen here, and it came out great, although, we had the headaches you always encounter when doing a home improvement. Typical frustrating things like workers not showing or leaving early, project managers throwing their bull shit at you, which is nauseating. The job lasted two weeks longer than expected, but the end result came out great. Since I'm the cook in this house, I'm actually very excited about this new kitchen.

I haven't raced a triathlon yet this year. I set up a busy schedule, and soon realized that this year may be more of an off year. I'll certainly enter a few races, but only when it's convienient considering the other priorities taking place. This is actually fine. I'm in this sport for the long haul and I know that little racing this year will mean big goals next year. I'd like to race soon though. I've been self evaluating quite a bit lately. Maybe the fact that I age up in two weeks is part of this. I age up into a new decade as well. So I've been really focusing during my training and recovery to see if I'm on that downhill slide. The thing is, I feel quite fast. Faster than ever? I don't know. I have been doing some tests that show I'm not slipping. My recovery may not be as good as it was years ago, but my key sessions show that I'm not losing any speed or strength.

I really need to begin swimming. I have swam only once thus far in 2007. That was for a measly 1500 yds in Arizona. I think it's time. Next week at my LP camp, I promise to swim each day in mirror lake.

My first race may be the Griskus sprint race here in CT. This is the best sprint race in the nation. It may be my biased opinion but I think I'd find many that would agree. The competition is always great as well. I will race this this year whether I swim between now and then or not!

I have a lot of athletes that are racing, so I'm living vicariously through them. Many raced recently at the Mooseman 1/2 in NH and at Eagleman. Many PR's were set and everyone did well, so I'm very happy about that.

I am going to try and post at least every other day on here. Hopefully I can think of some entertaining things often. But next week, I'll definitely be posting from LP. This camp is going to be great - we have a terrific group and the agenda! Well, I don't want to scare the attendees in case they may be reading this.

Download this: Incubus, Dig, and Keane, Is it any wonder.