Friday, June 3, 2016

2016 Season Opener

Hey... I'm back. This is where I'd normally make some lame excuses for not posting in over a year. I've been super busy, blah blah whatever. Of course that would all be bullshit. The truth is I simply haven't felt like writing anything. I do what I want...

The Most Interesting Man In... Golden Valley?

The more observant among you may have noticed that the masthead on this fabulous little slice of the internet has changed. Over the winter we relocated our operation to the mean streets of Golden Valley, MN. Anyway, the new house is sweet. The best feature is that it's 1.8 miles from the front door to my desk at work (the actual desk mind you, not just the parking lot), so my days of sitting in rush hour traffic are officially over. Seriously, now that I've tasted the freeway-free life I'm never going back. If my choices ever come down to manning the fryer at the Golden Valley McDonald's vs. an engineering job across town, I'm choosing the fryer without a second thought.

Beside all that we've got a ton more room for the kids and all their shit, and a nice big yard for them to play in. Even 4 months after the fact I still don't feel like we're completely "moved in" (there are still some unpacked boxes), but my home office/trainer room is looking fucking magnificent.

I refuse to utter the words "pain cave" on account of that being the corniest thing to ever escape human lips. If you use this term, please reconsider and/or just go ahead and remove yourself from the gene pool. And yes, that is a giant portrait of Andrew W.K's bloody-ass face on the wall. We party hard at the Payne compound.

Speaking of the mean streets of Golden Valley... if you're trying to drive anywhere on said streets you're likely to find this taking the lane in front of you.

They see me rollin'... they hatin'...
With the help of the fine folks at Gear West Bike and Triathlon I've upped my child hauling game considerably via the acquisition of a Surly Big Dummy. This thing weighs about 9000 pounds and handles like a river barge, but the kids enjoy it way more than sitting on top of each other in a trailer, and it's obviously a hell of a lot better than wasting away in car traffic with the plebes, so we're keeping it.

Multisport Stuff

I managed to bag more than my fair share of post-season awards over the winter. Locally, I took home the Minnesota Multisport Awards for Triathlete of the Year, Duathlete of the Year, and Performance of the Year. Nationally, USAT named me the Duathlete of the Year and gave me an honorable mention for Triathlete of the Year. I'm still not sure how I qualified for the latter given that I had a total dumpster fire of a race at Oly Distance Nationals, but an honorable mention for Triathlete of the Year nets a fellow approximately $0.00, so no bricks have come flying through my windows or anything. But anyway, collecting a bunch of post-season awards is always cool.

USAT comes correct with the AOY trophies... this thing weighs a ton.


So I've already got a couple of races under my belt for 2016 -- Gear West Duathlon and Apple Duathlon. Between moving and an annoying knee injury that kept me sidelined for much of March and April I'm way behind where I would usually be training-wise at this time of the year, so I went into these races without any great expectations. Luckily they both ended up going about as well as they could have and I took home two wins.

Both races followed roughly the same script. The pace off of the line on the first run was absurd, thanks to a couple of new fast guys. At Gear West it was Nate Ansbaugh, who recently moved here from Colorado for a medical residency at HCMC, and at Apple it was Wade Cruser, who's been racing locally for a while but is obviously stepping it up quite a bit this year. Both of these guys took the 1st mile out at a pace I couldn't even begin to fuck with. It had to be well under 5 minutes in both cases. This is pretty good practice for Nationals coming up in a few weeks because I guarantee there are going to be a few guys there with the same game plan, and I'm going to have to have the discipline to let them go and trust that I can reel them back in on the bike... or that's the plan anyway.

At Gear West I was able to get back up to Nate toward the end of the first run and made it out onto the bike course in the lead. The bike felt sluggish as hell, and now that I've been equipped with a power meter for a couple seasons I can actually quantify this... 20W lower than last year... shit. Oh well, hopefully that's just because I'm very light on mileage so far this year and I'm setting myself up to peak for the championship races later on in the season, and not just because I'm getting old.

Nothing real interesting happened on the 2nd run. There are quite a few turns and switchbacks so you generally have a good idea of where everyone else is, which allowed me to run at a non-pukezone effort level and still come across the line with the win.

Apple had quite a bit more drama. In addition to the aforementioned Wade Cruser, I had Patrick Parish to contend with. I ended up coming in 5th off the first run, although I'm pretty sure I passed a dude in transition and started the bike in 4th. I felt a little bit more like my early 2015 self on the bike. Checking the power numbers I was only 10W down from last year... progress! At any rate that was good enough to get me into the lead at about mile 8, and from there I simply tried to squeeze every additional second out of that ride since I knew I would need to start the 2nd run with a substantial lead if I wanted to win.

Out on the run again, I'm kind of surprised I didn't trip over my own feet because I spent so much time looking back over my shoulder. The bike effort had left my legs feeling super flat so I wasn't running all that well. About 400m out from the finish line I thought the race was a done deal when I heard someone cheering another runner on behind me. So I turned for like the 837th lookback and sure enough, there was Patrick. How I managed to not see him until precisely then is a mystery. The lesson here is that I should probably just focus on running hard and give fewer fucks about who may or may not be running me down.

Anyway the running pace plot from my Garmin is kind of funny. You can spot the exact moment in time where I realized Patrick was closing in. The chart goes vertical when I instantly go from 5:50 pace to 5:20 pace, which I manage to hold for all of 20 seconds before my legs are like, "Fuck this shit, we quit," and the pace falls all the way back to 6:20-ish.

Absurd pace changes aside, I managed to hold him off and took possession of my 2nd overall winner's apple, which are pretty much the coolest race trophy ever.

So that's that for the local duathlon season. My next race will be the Buffalo Tri in a couple days, then 2 weeks off until Duathlon Nationals out in Bend, OR on June 25th.

1 comment:

  1. Nate Ansbaugh is my literal next door neighbor. Small world. -john, your old old bass player who doesn't run unless he is chased.