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Ride Report: La Tuna Canyon Loop. Pasadena – Glendale – Burbank

39.0 miles, 2:34 moving time, 2,746 elevation.

On a warm, sunny, summer morning, PTC rode to La Tuna Canyon. Meeting at Jones Coffee in Pasadena, Michel lead the club to Eagle Rock, Glendale, Burbank. We crossed the stately Colorado Blvd Bridge, and the rollers through the Eagle Rock highlands. We rode along Kenneth Road through Glendale and Burbank. The club regrouped several times and made good time this morning. As we turned up La Tuna Canyon in Sunland, my Garmin read 85F. It was heating up. Descending through Montrose and La Canada was awesome on my Felt TT bike. Super fast. [short potty stop on Verdugo, thanks for waiting]. We climbed up Chevy Chase Canyon to Linda Vista and down Lida, and back to Jones Coffee.

Bjeorn, Sven, MikeG, Kirk, Alvin, Phil, Dave, Ryan, Gregg, Graziano, Michel, Bill, MikeO, Marco, and Joe.

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Michel, Phil, Dave, Gregg

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Marco, Ryan, Bill, Kirk

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MikeG

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Snake on Linda Vista

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Race Report: Fontana Half Marathon

Fontana Half Marathon. 13.1 miles, 2:12 time.

We met at Lynda’s and hopped in the Sprinter van at zero-dark-dark-4:30am. We got out to Fontana and picked up our packets and leisurely woke up. We got on the old school bus around 6am and rode up to the top of Lytle Canyon, to the campground in the San Bernardino Mountains.

This was my 3rd year at this race. It’s a downhill, fast race. In 2014, I broke 2 hours for a half marathon. This is still my fastest ever. 1:58.

The downhill part is real, but not that big of a deal. We trained on Angeles Crest Hwy  (6-8% descent for 9 miles), which is much steeper than this 4% for 3 miles. Revel Canyon in Azusa is steeper and long. After crossing under the I-15, it seems flatter 2%.

The weather can play a lot into this race. While waiting at the top, you can freeze to death, but not this year. At the flats, you can roast to death, but not this year. It wasn’t that cold and it wasn’t that hot. There was a bag check on a flat bed truck, so I didn’t have to throw away a long sleeve shirt this year. I carried a hand held water bottle. There isn’t that many water stations. On the hot years, I’ve run out of water and overheated pretty bad. I wasn’t that fast this year. But, I felt pretty good and steady throughout. It was definitely warming up at the end. But, once you finish you don’t notice that much. I was lucky to follow a few people that had a steady pace and keep me moving down the course.

Jonathan, Bill, GT, Danny, Rudy, Friend, Lynda, Bob, Joe.

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This is the  old house at the campground where we hang out waiting for the start.

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Race Report: IMSR 70.3 Ironman Santa Rosa

IMSR 70.3 Race Report
First off, holy crap Peter Day, you are the man! I have so much respect for you and your accomplishments in these 50 milers. “I don’t really know what I’m doing yet…” is the best line ever. You totally do cause you are actually out there doing them and you are the man!

Second, Kirk, congrats on the PR even with the longer swim and our silly long T1. You would have easily been under 6 if not for those. And yes, there was a national anthem but I think it could only be heard towards the bottom of the ramp? I dunno.

So my race report has me coming off of two races that, unfortunately, were not great experiences for me. Oceanside 70.3 had me finishing about 15 to 20 min slower than I had hoped which included me not claiming an anticipated slot to Worlds 70.3 and then the Boston Marathon that had me finishing about 50 min slower than expected and without a requalification to which I was hoping so that I could run with Lynda next year. Sorry Lynda!

No matter the race, competition or placement, my goal is always to try to do the best that I can do at the time and feel good about it knowing the time I’ve spent training for that given event. That said, I was now in a place where I was in need of a positive raceexperience since I felt I had trained very hard for both Oceanside and Boston but subsequently had come up short on both. Heading into SR 70.3 I knew I had to do things differently in order to make a change for the better and it appears to have paid off. One difference for this race was actually setting ZERO expectation for myself, subsequently removing any kind of pressure from my shoulders. I wasn’t thinking about qualifying for worlds, I wasn’t going to try and set a PR and I was just going to do what I always try to do and that was just enjoy the race and have fun.

Race day morning was like all others for me. For those that are curious, food was oatmeal with brown sugar, one banana, a hard boiled egg, ciabatta bread with peanut butter, two blueberry muffins, coffee and a fruit smoothie from Odwalla. I had good sleep under my belt and felt rested. I was fortunate enough to be staying with the Gollers who provided me a lift up to the start along with two other VOLT team members. It was very comforting to not have to travel to town and deal with the shuttle bus (Sorry Kirk).

At drop off, air temps were chilly but not cold. I was able to setup transition very quickly (efficiencies are key in this sport) and got myself down to the front of the swim start before most made their way down the ramp. I hate feeling like I’m rushing so it was no problem for me to be standing all alone to wait. Soon the pro men and women filed past and before I knew it, I was also in the water with the first wave of AG swimmers.

With the new lake and course I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hadn’t even done a practice swim so this water was completely new to me. I found it to be perfect in temp and was quickly on my way through the swim. I did force myself a couple strokes on the back while heading out on the first leg, just so I could catch the spectacle of swimmers snaked up the ramp in queue for the swim start. It was an awesome sight.

The rest of the swim seemed to pass-by very quickly and before I knew it I was under the bridge again and heading towards the exit. Emerging from the water, I knew this was going to be a long transition (as Kirk mentioned) and I headed up the ramp. By nature, the bottoms of my feet are sensitive so I knew this run was potentially going to suck. The first part of the ramp was nicely padded but once at the first faux flat, the concrete heeds to the asphalt and the pain began. I slowed to a quick walk as I approached my bike and the pain became unbearable. Between numb feet and scattered pebbles, I was happy at the prospect of no longer being on my feet.

With my bike shoes and helmet on, I was finally on my way. I will admit that I’m notorious for hitting the first part of the bike harder than I should for 70.3 distance. The first part of the ride after the bridge is a screaming decent and near the bottom I managed to catch up with one of my teammates from VOLT. So instead of passing and hammering like I normally do, I decided to tuck in behind and see about trying to take it easy the first half while trying to stick to my coach-assigned wattage. And that’s what I did, for as slow as it felt, I stayed my 6 bike-lengths back and took it easy and I know it paid off for me in the long run. Eventually the two of us exchanged legal positions but at around the halfway point, I knew it was a good time for my to crank the watts a little higher and try to finish the bike as strong as I could.

I will say, even though part of the course is still the old course, I really enjoyed the bike course this year. Yes, some of the roads were absolute sh*t (which I don’t get why Ironman thinks this is ok for us to ride on) but they were so scenic and pretty. There were also sections that were smooth like butter and I love the speed you can feel from your bike when you are so connected to the road.

Before I knew it (which doesn’t happen to often) I was heading into Santa Rosa proper and heading into T2. Mind you, my feet had still not thawed totally out so the run from dismount ALL THE WAY to my rack (which was close to two blocks) was also very painful. I was happy to finally get my cushy Hoka’s (I was not paid for this comment) on my feet and head out on the run.

Coming off the bike I wasn’t sure what place I was in nor how I was feeling though I did know I didn’t feel poor. This was a major change for me from Oceanside. I started my watch but decided that I was actually going to try the run by feel rather than splits to alleviate the possibility of self-set pressure even more. I set it to the clock screen while it was recording and headed on my way. Miles one through ten were a blur and I knew things were going well. I started to struggle at mile 11 but this was the fault of my own for not having forced myself an extra GU in the previous 5 miles. Thank goodness for coke but miles 11, 12 and 13 could have been better.

That said I was still very pleased with my run as I know I had picked off a couple folks in my age group and hoped for the best. I also got to see some of the pro men and women’s race unfold in front of me. I also I loved this run course. The trails and paths were very shaded and very comfortable to run on all with minimal exposure to traffic or the sun. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to deal with much crowding too. I crossed the finish line and knew that I had put together a strong day. I was pleased.

I was also pleased to have had the chance to racewith my teammates and also be present to see a very close friend of mine cross the finish line of her first half ironman. Overall I finished 9th in my age group and 59th overall. I stuck around for awards with the hopes of seeing a rolldown for 70.3 Worlds but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up. My friends were nice enough to stick around as well and after waiting through every single age group award and then almost all the age-group rolldowns, we hit my age group.

Former Formula One driver turned AG triathlete, Jenson Button, was actually the winner in my AG. He took the first slot (there were 4) though he had actually qualified at Oceanside but was DQed since he broke the speed limit (go figure – obey the rules kids) in the safety-zone halfway through the bike of that race. I was so convinced, at this point, that the rolldown would stop right at 8th since he wasn’t even supposed to be at Santa Rosa! But low and behold, 2nd through 6th did not claim a slot and when 7th passed, I knew I was IN! 8th (who passed me with a quarter mile to go and beat my only by 40 seconds) took number 2, 9th (me) number 3, and 10th (Jenson’s friend who was going to travel to Japan to try and qualify if he didn’t get it. Rough life) number 4. And just like that, after forking over even MORE cash to WTC, I had a trip set for Chattanooga in September.

All-in-all, I really really liked the new course. Finishing in the middle of Santa Rosa was so much fun. The weather was perfect for us with some great tailwinds mixed in. The run course was a lot of fun and this was the preview for me for when I compete in the full there next July. I hopeful we get the same type of weather but I’m not holding my breath though I do look forward to racing there again. Here’s hoping I have another good report to provide when that race is complete.

Thanks for reading everyone and happy training!

 Tyler

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa

Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa, the kinder, gentler, Ironman 70.3 (as opposed to St. George or Oceanside!). Remember to be careful of drinking the Neuman punch!

I think this is my first race report . . . Ha! I do, however, feel obligated to provide some information to those who may have mistakenly signed up for the full Ironman Santa Rosa in July! (any signup for a full is pretty incomprehensible in my mind)

First point is that this was the largest field ever for a USA 70.3 and the second largest 70.3 in the world with 2,850 racers. About 500 more than last year’s Vineman 70.3.

Race day morning started, for me, with trying to find parking at 4 am in Santa Rosa. They published a nice map showing parking lots for athletes race day but the biggest parking structures at the Santa Rosa Plaza were all blocked off race morning!? I parked in another suggested lot under the fwy but the parking ticket machines would not accept payment that early in the morning. Myself and other racers left our cars there anyway. I made a comment to a race organizer who then went to a supervisor who said that they knew plaza parking would be blocked (Wtf!? No mention to athletes at the briefing) but said she would notify Parking about the other lot. I ended up with a note on my windshield saying “OK” and initialed and no parking ticket. Nicole Goller ended up driving Trevor, Tyler, and Jeff up to the lake and I didn’t get the story on that.
The bus ride was fine and worked out. I was there early, busses would run from 4 – 5 am, and I got on one of the first school buses. They had announced that they would provide pens so people could body mark each other on the ride up in the warm bus and to save time. It was going to be in the low 40’s at T1 that morning. I was a little amazed when a guy got on the bus to announce this and then passed out ONE pen for the whole bus to body mark each other. I was half way down the bus and we got the pen a couple of minutes before we got off the bus.
There were a lot of people already in T1 when we got there who must have driven up. There is very limited parking at the lake and athletes were strongly advised to take the shuttle busses. Set up was fine but the parking lot was an old dirty asphalt lot that they had not swept so it was painful to walk barefoot on and after the swim you had to wipe all the pebbles off your feet before you could put your socks on. They had morning clothes drop off bags for everyone to drop off before the swim. When I went to drop off my bag there was a HUGE line of athletes in wetsuits trying to drop off bags 10 minutes before race start because the volunteers were casually sorting bags by number as bags were turned in. Eventually everyone just started dumping their bags over the fence and getting down to the start. The volunteers had plenty of time later to sort bags.
There was no national anthem before the race start which I thought was a little odd. They had bins for swim times because it was a rolling start which were pretty well laid out. I went in the water to acclimate when the first age group started (for example, Tyler). This caused all the bins to start moving and I had to ask around to figure out where the bins had moved to. The swim course was changed the day before because of early morning winds and the chance of significant chop. I swam Thursday and it was fine but on Friday, when I dropped off my bike in T1, it was pretty choppy. We ended up swimming under the bridge towards the marina and then back clockwise. The swim start was good with plenty of space, single file water entry. I had no problems with the low 60’s water temperature (big plus for Lynda!) and I did have booties on. There was plenty of room between swimmers on the way to the first mark. After the first mark it seemed to get more crowded especially as we approached the second mark. I was getting passed slowly by other swimmers ( I got in with the 35-37 minute group based on my OC open water swim two weeks ago but ended up swimming a 41) and coming up on others. After the third mark, they kind of squeezed us close to the shore which made the crowding even worse and there was a lot of body contact going on. Part of it could have been the large number of swimmers in that time range but it was the worst crowding I’ve experienced that far into a swim. There shouldn’t be as much of a problem with the original swim course if there is no wind. The run up to, and into, T1 was a little crazy. They carpeted the run path up the launch ramp but stopped it at the road. The ramp was ribbed concrete which was actually easier to walk on than the road and I heard lots of athletes complaining about the painful run to T1. I ended up fast walking the whole way to save my legs. The booties helped too. Once to the top we had to run all the way around T1 (2900 athletes) to the other end, hence the long T1 (11 1/2 minutes . . Stop laughing). My Garmin showed .46 miles for T1! T2 was actually two blocks long on a four lane road in downtown Santa Rosa (you leave your running gear there Friday, in the middle of the street, and cannot access it racemorning). I was at the far end of T1 and T2 which required long runs with my bike for both. My Garmin showed .18 miles for T2.
Bike start was good. I could see all the swimmers in the water getting pinched close to the shore as I crossed over the bridge. The bike was a little windy the whole way. Sometimes headwinds, or tailwinds, or crosswinds. I think the new course also took us over more, and worse, rough roads. I was always around other riders and it was difficult to concentrate on maintaining power between riders, potholes, and crosswinds. Other riders also tended to push the hills and cruise the crest and downhills which meant I was passing the same riders over and over again.
The run started out well. I got into a cruise pace which was a little slower than some of the other athletes around me. The run course, close to T2, has runners in both directions on different laps sharing a pathway that is two runners wide in each direction. This meant there were runners with significant differences in speed trying to get through at the same time. The run course was basically dirt path on the south side of the river on the way out and old bumpy asphalt on the north side coming back. There was a nice cooling breeze with mild temperatures and lots of shade which made for great running conditions. I saw a lot fewer walkers on this course than I used to see on the Vineman course. The running course, at times, was really circuitous going through the pathways and bridge crossings and different laps. There were plenty of aid stations on the route. There was plenty of pizza and food at the end of the race.
Overall, I think the course is a faster course than the old Vineman course. The swim is open water and, with the rolling start, gets you out on the bike course a lot sooner than the wave starts did for most athletes. Wind and chop could be a problem though and the run to T1 is REALLY long and arduous. The bike is typical Vineman with some of the same roads. The run, though crowded at times, is much less exposed and cooler. The out and backs give you a chance to see other athletes ahead and behind you. The full Ironman Santa Rosa courses will be a little different (i.e. LONGER) so some of what I experienced is applicable and some not. It looks like the run goes out farther along the creek and doesn’t come back to the start like the 70.3 did. This should mean less problems with runners on the same path with different speeds and on different laps that I saw on the paths close to the run start.
Bottom line is I didn’t quite get my sub 6 hour race but I did have my fastest 70.3 yet.
Hope this helps any future Santa Rosa Ironman racers.

Good luck,

Kirk

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 St. George Utah.

Ironman 70.3 St. George UT: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.

The short story is that is was a long, hilly, tough, windy, hot day Ironman 70.3. I was happy with my swim. I had some great times on the bike, and some other times. I had a death march run. Summary stats below. Gory details begin below.

My friends had all kinds of crazy stories. Rudy had his goggles snap in half right before the gun went off. Bill’s swim relay buddy Charles DNF’d for an injury in the water. Steve was plain strong, with long T1 (what’s up with that?). Tiffany powered through the winds. Bob finished his first 70.3 and was pleased to survive the swim. Ryan ‘let’ Lynda pass him, while on her way to winning her AG. Yas was strong too. Jonathan had a squiggly swim on his Strava. Alvin fought through his med complications and finished. Gregg placed 8th in his AG. Strong.

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Triathlon Magazine: PTC Feature

Pasadena Triathlon Club was featured in the local club section in the May issue of Triathlete Magazine. Wahoo! They interviewed me via email. I was kinda hoping they’d print a pic from the Rose Bowl. Great to be in print!

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