Saturday, May 30, 2009

random jibberish once again

  • If you live in CT and didn't get a chance to get outside and ride, run, or do something this weekend, then that's a shame.
  • The past three Saturdays, I've been starting my rides at 5am due to busy family commitments taking place throughout the rest of the day. It's tough getting up early, even though I'm up at 4:30am mon through fri, but I am actually really enjoying these rides. They have been hard efforts, with a good portion of them at LT. But the roads are empty and the surroundings are peaceful. It's my time - my sanctuary, and I finish at 8am just when most are waking up.
  • Lisa and I had a fourteenth wedding anniversary last week. We went out to a great restaurant (Union League Cafe) in New Haven. Of all the anniversary cards out there, we both got each other the same exact one. During our conversations, her 40th birthday which is a few years away came up, and how I have to plan something way out there considering the trip she gave me. I mentioned how "it's going to be a great trip". She was very curious as to "where" I had planned, but it doesn't matter. I asked her to name one bad trip we've been on and she couldn't think of any. The bottom line is that when you find the right person, it doesn't matter where you go.

  • Back to the early morning ride - I'm at my daughters 8:30am soccer game and the parents sitting around us are bitching about the early 8:30am game. There something very empowering, and yet peaceful, knowing that you already got in a three hour ride before most were even awake. It just makes the rest of the day that much better, and as you sit there half dazed, listening to many complain about things, it makes the tedious task of viewing u6 soccer that much more tolerable.
  • My athletes are continuing to kick ass. Peggy C. won her age group at Ridgefield tri today and Matt C. and Matt W. came in 6th and 8th overall, respectively.
  • It's amazing just exactly how much the weather effects the moods of most.

  • This is definitely the worst allergy spring season to date!
  • After a very busy day, it's hard to beat sushi and a few glasses of good wine.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Guest Blogger David Uri: Remembering Steve Larsen

Below is an email I received from my friend David Uri:

Dear Friends,

I hope this note finds you and your family well. As some of you may be aware, Steve Larsen, one of the most accomplished cyclists and triathletes, tragically died May 19, 2009, at the young age of 39. While the exact cause of death is not yet known, he was in the midst of doing what he loved most, running with a group of athletes. Steve leaves behind his wife Carrie of 16 years and five children – Amalia (13), Massimo (11), Gunnar (4) and twins Marco and Mateo (2). Steve was extremely well respected in the business and athletic communities, and was seemingly able to balance his family, professional and athletic commitments with amazing skill and dedication. Most of all he was a devoted father of five young children. If you are unfamiliar with Steve’s biography take a moment to check out I am sure you would agree that someone with his talent, on many levels, is a rare find today.
I have followed Steve’s athletic career for many years and only recently came to know him on a personal level when I moved to Bend, Oregon a few years ago. Steve and I worked on a few business opportunities together and shortly after I arrived in Bend, Steve and his family moved across the street from us.
With the tragic death of Steve, our entire community is mourning his loss. As a father of three young children, I cannot even imagine how difficult it must be for the Larsen Family at this moment. Just imagine you or your spouse vanishing and the enormous void that would be left behind. What do you tell your young children and just imagine how devastating it would be to them. Their tragedy is so “close to home” that I felt compelled to reach out to my network of friends, as well as the broader athletic community, to ask you to join me in supporting Steve’s family.
A few days before Steve’s passing, I was discussing with him an upcoming race that I was contemplating – a 100k ultramarathon. Steve gave me encouragement to participate in the race and with that I entered the event literally the day before he passed away. In recognition of Steve and to support his family, I have set out to raise $100,000 for the Larsens. While this is no way will ease their suffering, it will give the family some financial breathing room for the long road ahead of them.
It is in this spirit of helping those in need, that I personally ask each of you join me in this helping this wonderful cause. Specifically,
Please give generously and help support the Larsen family during their time of need. Checks can made out to the Steve Larsen Memorial Fund and be sent to Umpqua Bank, 390 SW Century Drive, Suite 100, Bend, OR, 97702 or you can donate directly at All funds received will be directed to the Larsen Family. If you are so inclined, take a moment to write a short note to the Larsen Family with support and encouragement.
Without any delay, forward this email to 10 friends or colleagues. This is an opportunity to get many people in your community involved. In fact, I am hopeful that some of you will take it upon yourself to lead such a fundraising effort yourself and further expand the reach.
Like you, I typically don’t look forward to receiving monetary requests or chain letters, but this is simply one cause that cannot go overlooked. It is times like this that we need to do the right thing and support someone who offered a tremendous amount to others. Steve was the type of person who always had encouraging words for people and his life should be an example followed by others. Please “pay it forward” and assist this most deserving family during this time of need.
Thank you for your time and I am hopeful you will be supportive.
Best Regards,
David Uri

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tragic News About Steve Larsen

Two days ago, while doing a track workout in his hometown of Bend, Oregon, Steve Larsen, professional cyclist, triathlete, business owner, and father of five, collapsed and died from a heart attack.

I now know what the term flabbergasted actually means. Same with dumbfounded. I really still can't grasp this.

I have been lucky enough to have met and talked with Steve on a few occasions. He came across immediately as a sincere, intelligent, honest guy. On all occasions, he looked me in the eye and actually seemed interested in our conversations. As an athlete, I really admired how he raced. He changed the dynamics of triathlon, taking control of the race on the bike and working his ass off to put time on his fleet footed opponents. He first raced as a professional cyclist, and was part of the motorola professional team. He set the course record at IMLP in 2001 which I was lucky enough to be a spectator at.

I am really saddened by this tragic news, and at the same time, can't help but be narcissistic and equate it to myself. I use to think that if I were to suffer from a heart attack, it would have happened already - based on what I put myself through. I'm irresponsible in regards to my regularly getting physical exams. In fact, I don't even have a general health care practitioner (a doctor). I can't recall the last time I had a physical. Having a family, I have no excuse not to. It's not about me anymore. I have to believe that Steve had some underlying issue. Or maybe I'm just justifying my own lameness. Just because I exercise a lot and eat fairly well doesn't mean I'm out of the woodwork in terms of life threatening illness.

Back to Steve - he appeared to be a very grounded guy who led by example and lived more in his short 39 years than many do in twice this time. I can't help but think about Steve's wife and kids. I have certainly spent the last couple of nights hugging my family a bit more.

I planned on finishing my blog about the CT camp final day, but it seems a bit mundane right now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

One m'fer of a ride!

Yesterdays route was one of the toughest ones I've had at any camp thus far. It was a five hour trek that included multiple tough climbs including Geer Mtn and Carter Hill. The first three hours went nnicely and the group rode well, especially considering what they had done the previous day. We stopped in Kent for some red-eyes and muffins and I sent half the group with Baker on a still challenging, yet easier and more direct route back to Lakeville. The other half came with me up Carter Hill. Carter Hill has three steep parts to it with gradients over 20%. What goes up must come down though and we had a ripper of a descent where I hit 54 mph. As tired as the group was getting, we still managed to motor past another group of cyclists at the four hour 40 minute mark of our ride.

The ride was followed by a one hour brick run, then more stretching and soaking the legs in the lake. Short post today - need to do a long run in a few minutes! More later.



Saturday, May 16, 2009

tri state tour - day dos

Cyclists and triathletes love numbers. How many miles/kilometers did I ride today? What was my average speed? Where's my heart rate at? How many rpm's am I pedaling? What wattage am I riding at up this climb? The problem with numbers is that A.) they may not reflect what actually took place during the ride (power would however, but not everyone uses a powermeter), and 2.) if you spend all your time looking at and analyzing numbers during a ride, you may miss out on a spectacular experience.

Yesterday started with an almost perfect ride. I'd say perfect, but is their such a thing? If there is, than this ride is it. The air temperature was perfect in the mid 70's. The sun was out. There was a light breeze. We rolled along beautiful country side for the first 75 minutes, where we then regrouped and did the 8 mile time trial. I sent each camper off one at a time, one minute a part. The course is marked each mile and is a straight shot along route 63 with little traffic, nice rollers, and no intersections to worry about. Greg Pelican was the second to last to go, and then one minute later, I headed out. There's nothing to like about a time trial if you do it right. It should just hurt like hell. If you are very fit, it should hurt like hell - you are just going faster. I was impressed by the effort put out by all. In particular, Annmarie posted the fastest woman's time to date on this course. I did look at my power quite a bit during this ride, managing the ride and gathering some data.

We then rolled onwards around twin lakes and then up 41 into Massachusetts. The scenery was really amazing today. We made the left in Egermount and began the five mile climb up over Mt. Everett, and down the descent on the back side into NY, before stopping and having lunch at Bash Bish Falls. Bash Bish Falls is a place that never gets old, and each time there I see something different. Soon, it was back on the bikes and on the rail trail pass that follows route 22 south towards Millerton, NY, then back into CT. Some numbers; We began riding at 8:30am and got off our bikes back at The Interlaken at 3pm. What the numbers don't show are the fact that this was Sue's longest ride ever, or the huge hawks we saw, or the turkey vulture hovering over Annmarie, ... What they do show is that this ride had it all - long stretches of rollers, long climbs, steep climbs, great descents, a time trial, lots of quality. This was just an amazing day and if you love to ride your bike, well, as I said, it doesn't get much better.

We headed out for a brick run in the trails around secret lake, and then walked down to the lake behind Hotchkiss Boarding School and soaked our legs in the cold water. Then, I did some assisted stretching with each camper. The day wasn't done yet though! We headed over to Hotchkiss to swim in their $25 million pool. I kept the swim session on the easy side to let the athletes loosen up. I did some stroke work with each of them and then, the training day was done. Another great meal - I had a nice NY strip steak, and the full day was done. Not bad at all!

Friday, May 15, 2009

CT Camp Day 1

Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.

Oh, wrong camp.

The first rule at all my camps is: no whining.

Not that I'm a hard ass or some tough guy. I just explain that whining gets you no where. When you are out on a ride and it raining and cold and you are miserable, the person next to you is miserable as well. There's no need to voice how miserable you are. My buddy Farber, The Mexican, knows this rule well. He never bitches. We have ridden in some nasty awful conditions and we just get quiet and ride. Because, when it comes right down to it, what are your options?

This camp started with a ride. As we stood in the parking area, discussing the details of the ride, it began to piss on us. This didn't stop through the whole ride. The group didn't bitch at all. Well, Annmarie did for a bit, but I cut her slack because she's honest and her Italian emotion is hard to keep bottled up. Plus, she's tough as nails and I didnt want her to beat the crap out of me.

Even with the rain, the ride was still beautiful. We did a few long gradual climbs and then I had the group do some hill repeats up Music Mountain road. I planted a water bottle and they had to do three repeats to the water bottle up the road, the first at a higher cadence seated, the second at a low cadence seated, and the third standing the whole time. I then moved the bottle back further and had them repeat this sequence of three. Finally, they did it once more with the bottle even further up the road. We ended up riding three hours total.

After a hot shower and some homemade warm chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, we did the short drive over to the parking area for the Appalachian Trail and headed up. The trail from where we ran winds up hill for over 30 minutes and you reach a peak on a ridge that looks out over Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. It's an amazing lookout and an amazing run.

The day finished with a nice dinner, a glass or two of wine, and a solid, fun day one. Sue got the mvp award for the day. This is her first camp, and she has yet to even do a triathlon! She was smiling most of the day, albeit nervous, and she performed unbelievably well. I could tell she will fit in great and her first tri is going to be a breeze. She's due to post something on my homepage now.

Until later...



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

prelude to CT camp

After a one year hiatus, I'm back up in Lakeville, CT for my ninth CT Camp. I came up today, a day early, a bit unmotivated yet with work to do before the camp begins tomorrow. I had a small turnout for this camp, with five cancellations in the last two weeks. On top of the fact that this camp will be a net loss business wise, I have a ton of things going on at home with kids activities, pt clients, ... So, my motivation was a bit lackluster to say the least.

Driving up, it was a perfect weather day and I didn't back up my car with my two expensive bikes on it into anything, so as Bill Murray would say, "at least I got that going for me". I met Jeff Molson up here today who was going to get in some training while I rode and marked some of the courses. Soon into our ride, I began to relax. The weather certainly was perfect today, but more importantly it not only felt great to be back up here, it felt right. This is hard to explain unless you have been here and trained up here. We talked about certain memories over the years on specific roads and it was just a great f'n ride. We then did a nice trail run and followed that up with a great dinner of seared tuna chased with a few local pale ales. I have other camps in more exotic places, but, and again, if you have been here, you'd understand and agree, this camp is the best one out there. Yes, it's better than Tucson, and yes, it's better than LP. Those are both great camps, but this one has everything, and it's as scenic if not more, and definitely more challenging than the other two.

I still remember the first year that Gus E. was considering coming to this camp. His dilemma which he voiced to me was "it's a bit expensive and it's just in CT." When he witnessed first hand what he received, - well, Gus has been back every year since. One year, he would'nt leave - we all left on the last day and he hung around! Hopefully, in the future, some more will take advantage of this experience. And if they don't, it's their loss. Bottom line is that it didn't take long today for me to get charged up for this camp. Also, it didn't take long for this place to de-stress me, and make me realize how cool my life is.

The campers have some serious fun in store, and I'll keep reporting on it here.



Thursday, May 07, 2009

Early May Report Card

My first "A" race is in early July, so right now is a great time to do a self analysis of where I'm at and what I need to do to get the results I'm looking for. I suggest that anyone who may be reading this do the same for your own records and awareness - and if you use a coach, share it with them as well. It helps the coach in seeing if they are on the same page as the athlete they are working with. Here's my self-report card:

Swimming D- I haven't been in the water. At all. Although I'm at a point where I'm ready to count the 25 yds I may swim during a swim lesson I'm giving. I'd give myself an F, however, I have been doing my vasa trainer workout religiously a few times each week. Mark my words; I'm in the pool Monday.

Cycling A- My cycling is really strong right now, but more importantly, I feel smooth and efficient, connected with my pedal stroke. I often advise my athletes to focus more on pushing forward and pulling back in their pedal stroke, as though cross country skiing, rather than pumping up and down. But the best analogy I can think of is for those who have baked. When you are stirring a mixture and as it thickens, you can feel the resistance or pressure around the whole stirring stroke. You don't stir clockwise getting resistance on the spatula for the first 2/3rds of the rotation, then feel nothing for the remainder of the circle. When you are feeling your cycling form, you'll get this. Anyways, my wattage for my training rides is up there and my FT is close to where it was at it's peak the past few years. I still have room to improve and my volume has been low, but I'm on the right track. One reason is that I'm finally getting a little wiser and heading my own advice, taking rest days when I need them, not just when scheduled.

Running B- I've been doing well with my base here, getting in consistency. I love running trails and I can get to comfortable in just running, rather than doing some specific work. I need more work at threshold or even slightly above. I started that this week though, heading to the track yesterday to run with Chris Thomas. Once I get through allergy season which is hitting me hard at the moment, I should come around quickly. It feels as though I'm running at altitude the past week with everything blooming.

Sleep D I'm still working on this one. the 4:30 wake up Mon through Fri never gets any easier and getting to bed by 9pm is a challenge in itself.

Nutrition B I'm about 75% here, close to the 80/20 rule I preach, but a bit off where I want to be. Planning is the key, and laying off that extra glass of wine or beer or licorice now and again. I am perplexed though how at my camps, athletes will skip on a glass of wine yet they will have a soda. Listen, I certainly get it if they have an alcohol issue. If they don't have alcohol issues or concerns and think that soda is healthier choice though, they are quite mistaken.

Speaking of camps, my CT Camp is next week beginning either Thursday or Friday depending on which day the attendee signed up to begin. I have a small group so there will be lots of personal attention. We are getting all the rain out of the way this week so it should be great next week. If anyone is still interested in attending, contact me soon. It's a great way to learn a bit more about what you may be capable of.