Saturday, July 30, 2011

London Triathlon Day 1


The London triathlon today started at the Excel Exhibition Center in London hosting 14,000 participants of all ages and levels.  I am competing on the Olympic Open category and my wave is tomorrow but I had to go and rack my bike on Transition today so I took some photos to share with you guys.  The atmosphere was unbelievable!! If you remember a few weeks ago I posted my Barcelona race report where I said it was the best event I have ever been to! Well, It just got surpassed by the London Triathlon.  Enjoy the photos and wish me luck as I race tomorrow! :)

There were of two of these sections for the thousands of participants
Maxifuel giving away free energy and recovery shakes


That's where I will be tomorrow after the race. Already booked it

That's me. My first race without my wife and daughters :(

It was absolutely packed throughout the day


This was the first guy out of the swim on one of the waves



One of the waves starting. Ever 10 minutes there was a new wave

Spectators providing a great atmosphere








Thursday, July 28, 2011

London Triathlon Motivation Videos

Browsing my typical triathlon sites and forums I came across these videos which I just had to share! 

Stan stays focused and motivated while on his bike.  Know no limits!


See Stan dive in head first to his swim training from the comfort of his own kitchen.

Stan gets all sugared up and caffeine crazy in the name of research.

lipping out of a wetsuit when you're up against the clock isn't an easy business. So when's best to shed the suit? Stan takes on the challenge to reveal the sporting truth.

I'm not sure I'm quite keen on following his training style but hey...whatever works for you! Good to you all at the London Triathlon or any other races you may be doing soon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summary Week July 18th - July 24th


Friday, July 22, 2011

Race Report - Polar Series Barcelona

It took me a couple of days to get my last race report out so I figured I would get this one done while everything is still fresh on my mind, however, I must say I did not have 5 days in mind when I first started typing this report.  I have been waiting for the official photos to come out and the sorry company who covered the event was not able to categorize them by bib number! Really, really disappointing!

RACE REPORT
I must start by saying that this was probably my favourite event ever.  As you can imagine, just the sheer beauty of the city of Barcelona makes it tough to beat, and then bring on the atmosphere, great camaraderie and the excellent organisation, I would give this event a 9/10, just cuz I wanted more free stuff! :) Anyway, alarm goes off at 5:15 and I get up, re-check my race day checklist, load the car and I head off to the Olympic Port of Barcelona by myself as Sonia and the girls would turn up a bit later.


I got there at about 6am, with 15mins to spare till transition opens, and I decide to go for a quick ride along the coast to loosen up the muscles.  Shortly after, when I got back from my ride, the crowd was starting to gather at both the transition entrance and at the "wardrobe" station.

As I go towards the transition entrance they send me back because no backpacks are allowed in the transition zone! "Hold on.. you guys just gave me this bag at registration"! Anyway, I then realised what the "wardrobe" station was for so I headed there, took the essential out and put the rest away.  I sent a quick sms to Sonia to let her know what wave I was on and what colour my swimming cap was so she could spot me, or at least my wave! No pink cap this time...go greens! This was supposed to be a 750m Swim but they had to shorten it due to the strong currents and it ended up being a 650m swim. Some of us didn't mind it too much!

Once I set up in transition I head down to the beach and start my stretches and watch how the pros and the Elites go at it on the first wave! DAMN they are fast, I thought! These Spanish buggers can do two things really well: Swim and ride a bike!  As I am stretching I see my mother in law looking at the swimmers obviously looking for me so I head their way to get a bit of family love before I shit my pants on the mass start!  I get my love, photos taken, kiss from my chicks (wife and two daughters), and off I went.  I decided to get in the water and feel how cold it was before the actual start, and it was great and cristal clear.

Me and my oldest daughter Sofia who gave me a big good luck kiss before I took off.
My wave must have been at least 300 people, and it was a completely new experience for me. We were all lined up at the beach behind a few marshals and two poles with a tape across them.  As soon as the beach was crowded with our wave a few of the guys up front started chanting "Vamos, Joder... con dos huevos, venga, venga, venga" pumping everyone up and we all started clapping and cheering as well "Vamos, Vamos, vamos". Im telling you, the adrenaline could be felt in the air and we were ready to hit those waves.  "Bring it on" I heard an expat yelling and I was like "Oh shit...who said that" looking for the fellow English speaker with a green cap on., but amongst a crowd of 300 there was no way I could find him.
This is the only photo of me on the event site :(
A few more yells, the gun went off, and the stampede begun: run, jump in the water, punch, elbow, kick, knee, elbow, dunk, gulp (thats me swallowing water) etc, etc.  It was mayhem. Crazy, adrenaline stacked mayhem.  I must have swallowed 1L of water, no joke, with all the punches and elbows I got, but surprisingly enough, the first straight to the buoy was easier than I thought, and then shit happened!! What happens when 300 swimmers want to turn left at a single buoy? Traffic Jam and punch, elbow, kick, punch, elbow, dunk, gulp (thats me swallowing more water...again) etc, etc.  At the traffic jam we could hear spanish swearing and guys telling everyone to hurry the fuck up so we could move on towards the shore, which we eventually did. Typical Spanish, but I love it!! :)
OFFICIAL SWIM TIME 16m:10s

video

I get off the water and I see my wife, my daughters and my in-laws waving and yelling my name! It was a great feeling which helped me go up the steep slope to T1. As we reach the top of the slope I hear a guy talking to me, in Spanish, and he asks me if I am Cuban.  I tell him no, Im from Angola, and he says "it doesn't matter, we are like brothers"!! WTF... Im trying to race here man!... I obviously didn't tell him that but thats what I thought! I smiled, wished him luck and got on my bike.
OFFICIAL T1 3m:57s

Me after the race as I was visiting the race expo
The bike leg was great as it was on the road parallel to the beach, on closed traffic! Ohh, the feeling of freedom on this particular road was great, specially on such a beautiful day with hundreds of bikes on this main road.  Fantastic.  The bike leg was a two lap loop and I must have passed about 100 people, no joke.  There were many mountain bikes, few TT bikes, and many regular road bikes so passing 100 bikes in really nothing to be too proud of.  I was passed by 2 guys at the beginning of lap one, and then by a group of about 8 people on the middle of lap 2. As I near the end of my bike leg, I see and hear my wife and daughters shouting my name close to transition.  Once again, I notice I had caught up to the Cuban guy and he yells out "HERMANO", which means brother in Spanish, and I was like "heyyy". This guys is gonna haunt me for the rest of the race, I thought!
OFFICIAL BIKE TIME 30m:44s


Shoes off, gel swallowed, running shoes on, cap on, off I go!
OFFICIAL T2 Time 2m:32s

"Almost over, almost there" is what most up uf think at this point of the race, but again, the venue, the atmosphere, the people cheering made it so easy to just keep going. It was an absolute breeze to run these 5km and, really, not much to say here.  As I reach the last 100m you can hear the DJ yelling everyone's name and shouting out in Spanish motivating people to keep pushing for the last few meters.

I cross the line and, this time, I see Sonia, Alexia and Sofia! My princesses and my queen. Nothing better to finish off the race.
OFFICIAL RUN TIME 21m:08s


If you are reading this blog and ever considered doing a sprint race while on vacation in Spain, you have to do this one.  I know I keep repeating myself but it was very well organised, great atmosphere, and the course was nice and flat.

As always my swim was my weak spot.  from my post race analysis, which the event website gives you with full details, this is where I place on each of the legs:

Swim: 1538/1800
Bike:    760/1800
Run:     517/1800

Pretty self explanatory and it reads "your swimming sucks Miguel". Oh well, I know my weaknesses and I am working on them, I promise I am.  Next challenge is the London Triathlon in two weeks and I am really pumped about it.  My first Olympic distance triathlon and, apparently, the largest triathlon in the world with over 20,000 participants. I can expect plenty of punches and elbows on that mass start.

OVERAL TIME 1h:14m:33s
OVERAL POSITION: 768/1800


I want to thank Fabio and Sophie for coming to show their support at my race.  Fabio is an ex student of mine from my PE teacher days here in Barcelona.  We have kept in touch through his University years and both him and his girlfriend, Sophie, came by to cheer me on. Thanks guys!

Also, I want to thank Inma for coming and saying hello.  I hadn't seen Inma in 9 years and it was great seeing her at the end of the race.  Gracias guapa.
Me, Inma and my wife. I hadn't seen Inma in 9 years
As I was saying goodbye to Inma I see my Cuban hermano again.  This time I did pay a bit more attention to him and we chatted about a few of the upcoming races here in Spain.  It was his first triathlon so I could relate to his excitement.  He ended up being a nice chap so I thought I'd mention him on my blog. Good going hermano!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Oakley Fast Jacket & Race Course

We got to Spain on Wednesday morning and the first thing I did was take the bike to the local shop to get it tuned up for the race.  Checked out some of the gear they have (as you do) and compared the prices with London prices to see if there were any bargains to take advantage of.  Nothing to spend money on.. I dont know if that's good or bad.  The following day, Thursday, I went to pick it up and rode it to my in-laws which is where we are staying.

Today I went for a nice early swim and did around 2000m in 1 hour, not ideal, I know, but to be fair I didn't really count the laps, I just kept my head down (literally), and finished my hour as per my schedule. I then went to meet some old friends who live here in Barcelona and, before I headed home, I went to a local sunglass store  which gives us up to 40% discount on all sunglasses and got me my OAKLEY FAST JACKETS for €160.50. Great deal, dont you think?

No photos of me with them yet, tomorrow I should have some :)

Tomorrow I have to go to the race venue to pick up my race number, backpack and other items.  It will be a great opportunity to get a feel for the environment around the venue, which promises to be great with a variety of different stands with great goodies to buy! I better leave the girls at home....

Below is the race course for the swim, bike and run on Sunday.  

750m from the Barcelona beach to the Olympic port to T1 (Boxes)
Two 10Km laps around the course. Lovely Bogatell beach bike course
5Km course down Bogatell beach as well

Tomorrow I hope to post some photos of the event venue and any other gadgets or goodies I end up getting from the event.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WOW...

"Andreas Raelert stormed to an amazing 7:41:33 at the 2011 Challenge Roth in Germany and Chrissie Wellington went 8:18:13, finishing well clear of all other females and 5th overall. Both athletes were well faster than the previous best times for this distance."


Read more here

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Bike Bag - Trainingpeaks.com

Its only a few days till we head to Barcelona for the girl's summer break and I finally got my bike bag in time for the flight.  I struggled to find an affordable bag as many of the sites I buy from were out of stock.  I suppose this would mainly be due to the fact that summer is here and many cyclists travel to compete and on vacation.

I did, however, find this one which does the job for me and for a nice £70 from www.chainreactioncycles.com.  It actually got here last week but I wanted to concentrate my previous post on my report, therefore the delay.  The bag is great and has plenty of compartments for water bottles, cycling shoes, tools, and even extra clothing you may not necessarily want to take with you on your suitcase.  I now have one major issue: I don't know how to take my bike apart. Ok, I can take the front wheel off... but thats it! I suppose Youtube will have to help me as we are flying on Wednesday and I don't have time to take it to the local shop.

On a different note, I signed up for www.trainingpeaks.com last night and I also purchased Joe Friel's Ironman training plan 10-15hrs/Week.  Im not sure if it is the most appropriate plan for right here right now, but I will keep it for later in the year as it is for to be applied 24 weeks prior to one's Ironman race.  I am now looking at Matt Fitzgerald's training plans to find one to accomodate my 6h-8h of available training time per week. Maximum 10h if I stretch it during the summer time when Im hone alone while the girls are in Spain... Let's see what I end up with.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Steelman Race Report

It's Sunday July 3rd and the alarm went off at 5AM as it does for all my triathlon weekends, but I turned it off and went back to bed this time! Thats right, I didn't skip my start wave, it just so happens that for this race all waves started after 11AM, which meant a nice long sleep....unusually long sleep for a Sunday, really. Well, I didn't get up at 5AM but I got up at 7AM to get the car ready as my car dealership was finally able to pull the finger out of their ass and get me the bike rack I ordered back in November 2010. Ridiculous!! Anyway, I get the rack up on the car and give it a good wash before the drive off.

We had talked to some Spanish friends about coming out to spend the day with us so when we finally got the girls ready and loaded into the car we drove off to pick them up before heading out to Dorney Lake.  It was a good 45 minute drive from my house but the ride was fun with the GL packed, and we finally get to Dorney. What a beautiful venue!


We arrive at about 12:30 and as the girls go off to the bouncy castles I headed out to the registration to get my number, pink swimming cap, and timing chip.  Whats up with the pink caps? Its the third I get in three consecutive races! I wonder if someone is trying to tell me something. Anyway, I go off to set up my bike and bag in transition and then I head up to the stands were Sonia, the girls and our friends were sitting. I waited  until 1:30 to go down to transition to have my gel and warm up a bit before the swim.

SWIM
"DAMN.. its a long swim!" Thats all I was thinking. This was to be the longest triathlon I'd ever done since all my previous races have been sprints, and I was feeling butterflies all over again. "PINK CAPS.... PINK CAPS" they called out, as to make us feel really manly about our wave.  Off we went to the water and we had to wait in the water for about 2 minutes before the start and then.....BANG! Massive start fun! Well, not that massive but still, about 40 people on my wave started swimming for the 2 laps we had to do.  I was able to keep up with the group until halfway to the turn, but then I had to relax a bit.  This is where I got passed by a large group of guys and all went to shit on this leg. I basically just wanted to survive the 1Km swim but it seemed to go on forever.  I have not been spending enough time at the pool, and the 25m:10s swim makes it quite obvious.

T1/Bike
I make it  out of the water safe and sound make it out of T1 in a whopping 3m:08s.  I really need to work on this but, if I may, this is mainly due to my lack of swimming fitness which makes me slow down in order to pick up my breathing once Im out of the water. That and the absence of triathlon specific shoes clipped on to my bike (summer wish list with the Exocet). Anyway, I hit the road for the 30Km around the lake and as soon as I leave I am able to pass a couple of guys who I am pretty sure were on my wave.  However, soon after that, I was passed by a group of what seemed to be 5 SWAT team triathletes as these guys were all wearing the same black tri suit, same bikes, same disk wheels, and they were ALL DRAFTING! WTF? Anyway, its supposed to be an event to improve your times so who cares, definitely not me.  
I got up to a group of guys who kept changing position between them and I joined in for a couple of laps.  While all this was going on a few more pro racers went by to add to my frustration, but hey, I was there to do my best, so forget the rest (how cheesy)! Back to the guys I was with, one of which had a TT bike: Right, so I stay with these guys for a few laps and I then get off my saddle and hit it hard for about 300m to get away, which I did.  I managed to be on my own and I did not get passed for the last 2 laps, which I used to chase two guys I could see in a distance.  I managed to get to them both before T2, but my legs were really hurting at this point. I finished the bike leg in 56m:41s. Room for improvement there as well. 

T2/Run
I managed T2 a bit quicker than T1, in 1m:40s, but I still feel I can do it quicker.  On this transition its the bike shoes again (summer wish list...again), and the socks. Check out my fashionably correct socks on the bike! Hell yeah.... :) Anyway, back to the report: T2 out of the way and I'm out of transition onto the three laps for the 7.5Km run.  Surprisingly enough my legs were actually ok after the long swim and ride.  Could the calf compression socks have anything to do with it? Hmm.. I hope so. On the run I managed to keep an OK pace of 5:22 for the distance while only being passed by 3 people.  I managed to pass about 8 people, many of whom were in my wave, and were on my age group, and that felt great! :) Total run time for the 7.5Km 37m:10s.
It was a great feeling to finish the race, specially after my initial thoughts of calling it a day during the swim. Looking back I can definitely say that my training needs to be a bit more focused on swimming or better yet OWS for these types of races.  I ned to shave about 10mins off my swimming if I want to compete with these guys.  The bike leg was not bad to be honest, specially if I consider the fact that I came out in 49/79 overall and the chap in the 17th position had a slower bike leg than me...but kicked my ass on the swimming! The run was abut average with the rest of the guys, but a couple more brik sessions would not hurt either.

On a personal note I must say I was bit pissed off with my wife as they spent most of the time (not to say all the time) watching the Wimbledon final and not my race! But oh well, thats one a year and I race every month.

Very cool venue, great atmosphere, and a perfect track to come back to and beat previous times as it is completely flat.

TIME: 2h:03m:49s

Next race is Barcelona on the 17th of July.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New PB on 10KM

Yesterday was another early morning for me as I needed to stick to the schedule and do some running.  Woke up at 5:30 and by 6:00 I was out the door.  I have this hilly course I do around my area, which is not the best to try and get a PB of 47m:20s, but I seem to have gotten the hang of it and managed to shave some good time form my past efforts.  It felt great, and so did the fact that I'm trimming down on the weight aiming to be under 80Kg by my Barcelona race, on July 17th.

Today I'm supposed to swim but since I am working from home I do not have access to the pool next to my office, and my local pool is closed for refurbishement, so I will go for a short 20K ride this afternoon followed by a 2Km run for a brik.

Tomorrow will be off from training as I have a race on Sunday.  We have agreed to meed some good friends there for the race so it should be fun.

I'll try and put together a race plan later today or tomorrow for the race. My T1 is really slow and T2 could use some improvement as well. Under 1min please....yeah right!