August 28, 2008

RS800cx - more info from informed source

In the discussion about RS800cx on Slowtwitch user wvarta.PolarRep provided more details about the Polar RS800cx. Here is a copy of the text.

RS800CX is a nice upgrade from the RS800 if you are active in mutlisport (numerous sports) and even tri. I have to admit, I do not have a BETA/ test unit yet and did not get a chance to try one at a Polar function, so I lack some of answers to ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS. Essentially it is the RS800 that when used with the G3 GPS will do a post run plotting of your route via Google Earth. With Polar Sport Zones and the colors associated with Sport Zones, your route is outlined in the color your Sport Zone. No uploading of a routes pria to run like Garmin. RS800CX can hear a WIND Speed Sensor from the CS600 as well as the Cad Sensor. RS800CX will not work with WIND CS Power Sensor, don't ask me why, but could be that the that the watch is RS based not CS and speed it speed and maybe they factored in Cadence with existing cadence feature??? Since I do not have one, I have not field tested it from BIKE to RUN so PLEASE hold off on these questions. Once I field test one, I am more than happy to post my experience. Still uses Protrainer 5 sofware which is more informative than Garmins Training Center when it come to REPORTS and plotting of time in zones, distance per sport, total time per sport etc. Garmin still has an edge when it comes to not getting lost via a route loaded beofre a workout, that is their specialty and HR and training is ours. Hope this helps some of you.
Disclaimer... I WORK FOR POLAR

Sounds pretty cool doesn't it? Google Earth path indicating sport zone in which you were on that particular part of the route. Wow. C'mon Polar release it so we can enjoy it before snow hits the ground in NorthEast :-).
If you want to read the slowtwitch post here is the link.

August 23, 2008

Pre-riding JerseyMan Half Iron bike course

Today I went out riding in Clinton NJ where I'll be racing the half iron distance course in late September in the first installment of the JerseyMan triathlon. Today was second official organized ride, but it started at 8am and I wanted to get finished little earlier so I headed out on the course few minutes after 7am. The course was well marked and if I did not goof off I would not need to back track few times I did. The ride started at the parking lot about a mile and a half away from the Spruce Run park entrance. The first few miles are rolling terrain with few small climbs, but nothing very serious. I missed one turn and had to repeat the little loop twice to backtrack. Adding good 2 miles and two nice climbs very early in the ride. Third time is a charm and I found the turn and got back on track. In the race the climbs will not be there so the first part is relatively easy ride. Once you make turn on the route 513 it is rolling hills which means that if you keep momentum going you will not have any problems and will not need to get much out of the saddle - unless you want to. Descend to Frenchtown is great and in the race I'll let it go. I did take it easy today and did not ride aggressively on most descends not knowing what follows. From French town the route continues on RT29 which sports a lot of flats and false flat sections. It is nice, scenic although towards the end I was little bored - you will definitely not want to leave your aero position on this section. Then after a short ride on Rt519 you turn onto Lower Creek Road look for rough road, few bumps and potholes. They are hard to see under the tree cover and you may be surprised few times. I'll definitely not hammer in that section and the course asks for 23 mm tires. Then you will ride through the covered bridge - I snapped photo of it and also the NJ Multisport has it on the main page of the event.

Covered bridge on JerseyMan Tri course

After sharp right turn after the bridge there is some climbing to do - pretty steep hill on which you may as well stand-up and get your lags straightened. I climbed all the way up, rode for about half a mile and then rode back because I though I got lost. Oh well I climbed the hill again, met with one of the race directors in the middle of the climb. He warned me about the open grate bridge few miles up and off I went. Don;t get me wrong the course was very well marked, I just goofed off and did not pay attention and missed turns or got unsure where I am because my bike computer crapped out on me from the beginning so I could not really go by the provided turn-by-turn directions. Lots of adding and subtracting miles. But from this point on I did not have any issues. Soon I was back on route 519 which is really fast and you can let it all go. From this part on the course is more open - no more tree cover and shielding from the wind. If it is windy on the race day a lot of us will struggle in the second half of the course - just be ready. On Rt519 I was passed by bunch of bikers and it was cool as they were easy riding and I was keeping-up with them for about two miles. I have no doubt that if they wanted to lose me they could, but it was fun to get a bit of draft :-). Then I had to turn to the back roads.

From this point on the course is mostly flat, but has quite a few turns so make sure to keep your momentum through them not to lose much speed. This part is not really technical, but it has a lot of flat sections where you speed-up and then you have to turn and accelerate again. Then the course back tracks the initial about 6 miles of rolling hills and ride through the neighborhood. You can probably stay seated on all the hills including the climb on Main road. Then you ride over the highway 78 back to the park. I took time to cool down and rode to the park entrance. Probably the most challenging will be the climb back to the park from the road 625. It is not hard climb, but it is pretty tough after 54 miles of riding.

Towards the end of the ride on White Bridge road I got another nice draft - see the picture below. I just kept my distance. Did not want to end up on the spikes. Just a minute after that I stopped to check the directions when one other athlete flew through the intersection. So I hopped on the bike and followed in his path - until my phone rang and I had to stop again and chat with Dasa about where we are going to meet after the ride.

Drafting - big tractor I caught-up with at the end of the ride

The bike course is nice, but it is a little deceiving course. I would not say it is pancake flat in the middle as some suggested - it has quite a lot of false flats and may actually be quite challenging mentally. You can easily maintain 23-25mph in many flat sections and it is probably worth getting more aero wheel set. To me I'll need to watch for the long flat stretches where it gets really boring especially on route 29 and route 519 on the way back. I'm more of a hills guy and enjoyed racing in Poconos this year. So we will see how I handle this course. I need to get my power meter together and prepare pacing and nutrition plan for the race otherwise I'll have troubles. It is no Olympic distance or Sprint. This distance will require more detailed planning than what I did for Steelman - "Go for it maintain speed over 21mph and never look back".

August 20, 2008

RS800CX in Sept confirmed CS600x next year

Yesterday I sent note to Polar asking for details about the release of the RS800cx and CS600x they will be showcasing at the Eurobike as I posted yesterday. I was asking about when we can expect the products on the market. Here is what I found this morning in my mail:

Hi Jan,

the RS800CX will be presented in the stores in the middle of September, CS600X is estimated for February. That is fact in Germany.
About US and the other European markets I have no safe information. Unfortunately you have to wait for three or four weeks but I am sure that you enjoy the new RS800CX.

Indeed good things are coming our way in September.

August 19, 2008

RS800cx models get pricing in Germany

Apparently the pricing for the German release of the Polar RS800cx is out. Someone posted the information (in German) on their site. The base watch for 399,95 EUR + tax, RS800cx RUN with S3 sensor for 499,95 EUR + tax. Same price for the RS800cx Multisport with the G3 sensor and Google map integration. And finally the RS800cx Bike for 429,95 EUR + tax. More details here. Someone on the Polar discussion forums also found more information about the RS800cx and new CS600X with GPS mapping capabilities on the Eurobike site.

I guess we are for a treat very soon.

August 18, 2008

Steelman 2008 Olympic Triathlon race report

Few days ago I posted a short report from the Steelman 2008 Olympic distance triathlon. This post is a little longer version of the report for you who want to learn more about the race prep, race execution and how well I did in my second A-race of this season.

As opposed to my training last year this training cycle was a full 24 weeks training plan based on combination of Olympic distance training plan from Training Plans for Multisport Athletes and I took the running plan for 10k from the Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster. I then balanced the plan not to exceed 10 hours of training per week to allow also some time for other stuff than just training. So that is as far as I'll in description of the preparation.

Saturday pre-race

On Saturday I did very short transition simulation around my house which involved number of T1 and T2 simulations including pretty good hill climb that I know is a killer after the swim on the Steelman course. I bet my neighbors had good time watching me do this silly run to my garage, get the helmet, grab my bike and run from the driveway to the street where I mounted it and sped towards the hill. Fun, fun, fun. After the transition practice I planned on very easy rest day. After lunch I took Ian and Iva to go with me pick-up the race packet. We got to the Nockamixon park my packet and went to check-out the swim course. As we were walking by the water Ian stepped into a yellow jackets nest and got stung multiple times before I had chance to grab him and run away. We checked his body and found large sting on his leg and multiple stings in his ear. Poor thing held the bee on his ear and got stung few times. I was hoping it would not be serious, but could not risk it since he has history of allergies. So we got some ice, got him in the car and went to Quakertown to the emergency room. We were seen by triage pretty quickly and when they saw that the stings are not health threatening they seated us in the waiting room. Ian was very tired and fell asleep in my hands and crawled up on my chest. He remained in this position for about 2 hours (yeah it was a long wait) before they got a free bed for him so we can be seen by a doctor. That took another couple of hours since that Saturday seemed to be a high-rate injury day. We have seen people that had accidents in a car, fell from tree, broke their hands or legs. Wow I could not believe it. Anyways the supposedly relaxing afternoon turned into pretty unnerving afternoon at the emergency room. Everything turned out well and Ian was feeling much better at the end of the day, especially since he got a new train to his collection. It was a big relieve for both me and Dasa. I was happy to go sleep at 9 p.m. with Ian and got very good sleep until the 4 a.m. buzzer.

Race day morning

The race is about 15 minutes from my house so I got to the parking lot at around 5:15 and had plenty of time to setup my transition. Actually the transition practice helped to figure out some fine tuning of the transition setup - like position of the pedals, exact way to setup the shoes on the bike to make T1 even faster. I grabbed pretty sweet spot on the rack - 4th from the aisle which is almost perfect. After I setup I went to walk the swim exit to transition, then to bike exit, then back to my rack and to the run exit. I did this race before, but I did not want to have any confusion and troubles during the race. Then I ran into Fred who was just getting into the transition as he and his wife got stuck on the way to the park. I guess the ace got quite big and people had to park on satellite parking lots. Then I went back to the rack, put on my running shoes and went for a short warm-up on the race course. Not much to report there. After the warm-up I double-checked my transition spot again, took off my shoes, got my racing stuff and went to the water for the practice swim. Water was very warm and it would be silly to try to swim in wetsuit - asking for overheating already during the swim. After the practice swim I was chatting with Fred and his wife and waiting for our swim wave. Then we got to the water and went for it.

Swim 1500m (30:31)

I held back at the beginning of the swim as I did in my last race in Jim Thorpe. I did not want to blow-up by the first turn buoy, plus I knew that this course is deceptive - the first turn buoy is about 450 meters from the start, but most people make a mistake and think it is half of the course. Then they blow-up in the last 300-400 meters of the swim. So I held back for the first 100 meters, watched for the arms and legs around me. When the pack separated a bit after about 100 meters I settled into a good pace and kept it through out the whole swim. I felt pretty good and did a lot of sighting not to stray too far off course. In the second half of the swim I increased my swim rate and kicking to get more blood into my legs for the run to T1. I exited the water at about the same time as last year only this year I did not wear wetsuit. So I guess I can claim a slight improvement of the swim time. But it is nothing significant since I did not really do much swim training this year. This certainly remains an area for future improvement. I ran up to the transition, put on my helmet grabbed my bike and flew out to the bike mount line.


Bike 40km (1:08:32)

The bike starts with a nasty climb and I needed to get my shoes on while on the bike before I get to the hill. I made it just in time and went for it. For this race I decide not to hold anything back on the bike and on the run and hoped that my training got me ready for this approach. So I flew-up the hill pretty fast passing about 10 people that struggled up the hill. I put on my sunglasses on the short flat section before hitting the main part of the course. And then I just flew. I kept the aero position as much as I could the whole two loops on the course and just kept passing people. The first lap I did not have anyone even get close to me and on the second loop one of the sprint athletes passed me and another one kept passing me up the hill, but was too slow on the flats and downhill. So we played cat and mouse for about half of the bike loop. That definitely made it more interesting.


I eased-up the gears before heading back to the park and got out of the shoes for the dismount. Knowing the area I did not want to wipe-out on the bike in the last stretch that has a lot of huge bumps and water bottle launchers as many people can attest (right Leah :-). I dismounted the bike and ran around two slower athletes into the transition. The relay teams were hanging around their rack, but some were dangerously close to my rack. So I warned them and then threw my bike on the rack. Took off my helmet, slipped into the shoes, grabbed the race belt and visor and went for the run. I was extremely happy with the bike.


Run 10km (48:07)

Well the run was not as good - my legs felt like lead. Especially my hamstrings were locked-up from the bike. Mental note - go hard on the bike in the next brick and test it out. It got worse before it could get better. I walked the first little hills in hope the legs would improve. They did a bit so I could resume running, but I was nowhere near the 7:30 pace I was planning. More like 8:00 and slower especially on the first lap. On the second lap I was working had to increase the pace a bit and made a plan to go for it at about 0.5 mi to finish marker. As it turned-out just about 200 meters before that sign another athlete from my age group passed me. And as I described in earlier post I did not want to be passed this close to the finish. I stuck with him for the next 400 or 500 meters and then decided to make my move. I sped-up and kept pretty aggressive pace until I could no longer hear his steps. Then I eased off a bit


When I turned to the gravel road that goes to finish line I just gave it all I had. If you look close enough you can see that I'm close to finish line here. Just about 25 meters away. And here is how I looked when I finished - the picture is speaking volumes about how much more energy I had left after this.


How did I do?

It has been few days since the results were posted so I had time to look at my splits and compare them to last year, best person in my division. Here is where I stand - this year I did very well and hit the goal pace for this race even given the workload in the office and flu I had few weeks ago. So here is the breakdown:

Swim: 30:31
T1: 0:39
Bike: 1:08:32
Total: 2:28:29

Compared to last year I had overall time better by 8:18 and I gained most of the time in transition and on the bike. My swim time was comparable to last year, but last year I was swimming with wetsuit which definitely helped a bit. I gained 1:21 in T1 and 0:26 in T2. My bike split was 5:17 faster than last year and I improved the run split by 1:26. I finished 55th overall from 330 finishers and 14th in the age group (out of 47 finishers). Not quite AG spots, but very good considering this race is very popular in this area and has very good awards for the overall and AG winners. I'm very happy with breaking the 2:30 in Olympic race and look forward to the last two triathlon races in this season. They are mostly B and C races that I do for fun. The next and last A-race of this season is my first marathon. I'll see you in Philly on November 23rd. It will be fun. I hope there are no yellow jackets near the marathon expo in Philly...

Polar advertising in August TrailRunner

I guess Polar will be really releasing some new stuff soon. They started to build anticipation with the new add campaign that appeared in the August issue of TrailRunner in the US. Did you guys see this in any other magazine or another country? I really hope that the RS800cx and the FT80, FT60 and FT40 product lines are coming out soon.


August 11, 2008

Steelman 2008 Olympic Tri - preliminary race report

This is just a short report before I have time to sit down and write something more detailed. The race was quite good and I felt strong through out most of it. The plan was as follows:


Based on my own splits (the official race results are not out on the web yet) I kept-up with the pacing strategy during the swim. I swam the whole distance freestyle with frequent sighting and course corrections which paid off. The split time leaving the water was 30:13 which is only few seconds off the pace, T1 was without any glitches. I did not bother to try to capture T1, I just focused on getting to bike mount area and then getting into my shoes and climbing up the hill. I only started my bike computer on the hill. Bike was very strong - I got passed by only one person during the whole two loop course. And the person that passed me was doing sprint. T2 was also very good - no running from my stall with the helmet as in my previous race. I guess the Saturday morning transition practice paid off. The run was slower than what I wanted. I had very stiff legs after the bike and it took me more than 1.5 miles to get my running legs back. I averaged around 7:45 or 7:50 and had to walk twice in the first mile. Not quite the 7:20 pace I was planning to keep.

But opposed to the B and C races I did earlier in the year this time I was not saving much for the final stretch to finish. Actually the last mile was quite interesting - someone in my AG passed me about 0.75mi before the finish line. I kept on his toes and toyed with the idea to do Macca to him (see it on YouTube). But about 0.3 mi to go I decided to make my move. I kicked in 6:15 min/mi pace and kept it until I can no longer hear his steps. I never look back when I do this. Then for a good measure I sped-up for the next 50 meters and kept the pace above 6:45 until the finish line. I so badly did not want to get passed in the last stretch. And so I got my new shiny PR - 2:28:36 (not sure about the seconds, but pretty sure it is well under 2:29). Overall very good race and I still feel it today. I left it all on the course yesterday. I'll need to take it fairly easy this week.

August 8, 2008

EMS offering Suunto T6c for 319 USD with free ship and 25 USD card

If you have been putting off the T6c purchase, now may be the time to take the plunge - EMS offers the T6c at very reasonable 319 USD with free shipping and 25 USD Gear Bucks Card. That is pretty good deal if you ask me. Just remember to use the Gear Bucks card before end of September.

September 15th - the release of RS800CX?

According to this Polar site in Netherlands the RS800CX will be released on September 15th. So only little over a month wait. I hope the release in the States will be at about the same time. If so I can even test it out in my last tri race of the season. Hey Polar can I get one, please.

RS800CX mentioned on

This morning the Google search returned this page on that shows more details about the planned models of the RS800CX. Just in case Polar will take down the page here is a copy of it:


According to the text there will be four versions of the RS800CX - basic watch just like RS800, model for cyclists, model for runners and model for multisport athletes. Although the details about sensors are missing for the most part I venture to guess that the cycling model will come with speed and cadence CS sensors, running model with S3 sensor and multisport model with the G3 GPS sensor. I wish the multisport version came with the S3, G3 and cycling sensors, but I guess that would be too expensive package. Interesting is the note next to the base model that indicateS compatibility with all W.I.N.D. sensors - I hope that includes Power. This would make the RS800CX the most complete training system on the market for sure.

In any case these are the options listed on the Polar site:

  • RS800CX - At the heart of your training lies the RS800CX wrist unit. With the ability to record a wide range of performance details, the unit works with the WearLink®+ transmitter W.I.N.D. to provide you with the most accurate measurement of your heart rate. This kit at the most basic level is compatible with all W.I.N.D. sensors, so you can create and build on your training system to keep up with all your training challenges - now and in the future.
  • RS800CX BIKE - Get the most out of your performance with the RS800CX. With its professional training software you can effectively plan and analyze every detail of your ride. See your route profile and total meters climbed with the altitude, ascent and descent features, as well as uphill or downhill steepness in percentages and grades to help you to track your efficiency effort while training.
  • RS800CX MULTI - No matter the terrain, whatever the sport, the RS800CX is the most accurate way to measure your speed and distance as well as plan, monitor and analyze your body's response to your training sessions. You can also see your route on a map after the training session. Ideal for cross-terrain sports like running, cycling, Nordic skiing, in-line skating, and kayaking, this is an essential addition to your training.
  • RS800CX RUN - For those who are seriously into their running, the RS800CX helps to plan, monitor and analyze every part of your training. Its range of personal training zones means you can train at the right intensity, and with advanced features, that come along with the s3 stride sensorTM W.I.N.D., you'll be able to track your progress with running index as well as stride length and running cadence.

I hope more news will follow as Polar seems to be readying to announce the product soon.

August 7, 2008

Polar RS800cx at Outdoor Retailer Trade Show

I guess rumors about Polar RS800cx are turning to be true. I did some random searching today and came across the site for Outdoor Retailer Trade Show where Polar will showcase the RS800cx Training System (as they call it). You will need to scroll down their page to see the description or if you are lazy to click, here is a copy of the text from the show catalogue:

The new Polar RS800CX Training Management System- now with GPS route tracking and multisensor compatibility- is the most advanced and flexible training tool for the multisport market. The RS800CX is essential for multi-discipline and endurance athletes looking for an accurate way to measure, plan, monitor and analyze their training. In addition to speed and distance, the RS800CX records positioning information with the G3 GPS sensor(tm) and enables users to download route information into the included ProTrainer 5 Software(tm). Route information can also be easily exported to Google Earth mapping software. The sleek, lightweight RS800CX wrist unit is compatible with the range of Polar W.I.N.D. sensors, including the s3 Stride Sensor(tm) and CS Cadence and Speed Sensors(tm). The multisensor functionality allows users to combine different sport sessions into one training file for an enhanced training experience. Available Fall 2008.


I can't wait for this watch to hit the market. I'll most likely be the first one in the queue. Just like the Apple fans lining-up for the iPhone 3G ;-) (that one actually did not interest me as much as this watch - I know what you think...). So it is to be out in Fall 08 which technically starts in late September. That is just after my last triathlon this season. Just in time for the long runs for marathon training.

Am I Ready?

As I taper for my next A-race this weekend I'm asking question that many athletes face in the final days before the big event. Am I ready for this race? Last night I was reading the RSS feeds and came across this article from Joe Friel discussing the consistency of training. As I use the WKO+ software to track my progress it took me only few clicks to prepare the graphs that Joe reviewed on his website. So let's see how consistent was I this season.

Let's start with an overview of the training time / distance per week - not really on the list off what Joe discusses, but it gives a good view of how many hours each week I trained. The graph includes all swim, bike, run and strength sessions as well as races.


You can see few things from this graph - my training schedule follows the 3 weeks on one week recovery periodization. My top week does not exceed 10 hours of training - this was conscious decision on my part. I did not feel I can squeeze the 10+ weeks into my already busy schedule. I was not 100% consistent mostly due to illness and business travel. But overall it does look fairly consistent even with the crazy B-Fit-B-Day thing I did in May.

Now the time and distance is all nice, but it does not really tell us much about the training stress this put on my body. So next up is the Training Stress Score by week.

The few dips in the training stress are related to two times I felt bad and came down with flu and one is related to business travel and office workload. Now let's see how this translates to the fitness progression.
Compared to the graphs shown on Joe's website my graphs are showing fairly consistent training and build-up to the race. What I do not know is whether should have perhaps gave myself little more rest after A-race half marathon at the end of April. It looks like my fitness build-up slowed at that point. Oh well I definitely put the training in the bank and we will see on Sunday whether I can cash it.

If you wonder which race I'm doing - it is one of the best organized races in my area - the legendary Steelman in the Nockamixon State Park.

August 6, 2008

Anthracite Olympic distance tri race report

On July 20th I participated in the first Olympic distance triathlon race of this season in Jim Thorpe. The Anthracite Triathlon as the event is called is popular amongst the hill lovers as the course features nice 1 mile climb, nice downhills where you can easily reach 45 mph without even trying and a nice wall climb into the city of Jim Thorpe. And that is only the bike course. On the run you will start with nice easy gradual downhill for few miles followed by the Anthracite Ass-kicker (see below) and then the long gradual climb back to the finish line. Just a great race that I'm sure to do again in the future.

I'll skip the usual - I woke up early to make it there - and just summarize the on-site prep. I'm pretty diligent about preparing for my races. I drove on the bike course the day before to assess where I can hammer it and where I better conserve some energy or where I could easily spill my guts on the road (e.g. tight spots, sharp turns, etc.). On race day I got my transition setup early and made sure to keep only minimum stuff in there. I took my wetsuit back to the car as soon as the race director announced that the lake is as warm as your afternoon Starbucks Latte. So the transition was just - bike, helmet on the bike, bike shoes clipped to the pedals, on the bike I had two bottles (water in front and Hammer Heed in the cage - 200 cal mix.), tissue, salt tablets and Hammer gel in the bento box and my glasses on top of the bento. That sounds like a lot of stuff, but it is all on the bike and I do not need to mess with it in transition. The I had a towel, running shoes, visor, race belt with two gels and race number. That's it. I put my bike in the right gear for easy exit, double checked pressure in the tires and went down to the water to check it out.

Transition setup


Then I walked back to the transition to see where I'll be exiting the water, running up through the parking lot to the transition. Then I walked to my bike and from there to bike exit. Then I located bike return and walked back to my rack and then out to the run exit. I do this at every race venue that I have not done before just to make sure I know what to do when I race. I hate being confused and losing valuable T1 or T2 time. Then it was time to go get in the water and do practice swim.

Heading out for practice swim

The water was actually warmer than the outside air so I stayed in the water little longer. The lake was the best I ever swam in during the tri - crystal clear water. You can actually see few meters deep. That was pretty good later during the swim - much better than seeing nothing until that leg kicks your goggles off you head. After the regular pre-race briefing and national anthem we were ready to go.

Ready, Set, ...


I approached the swim differently than the Black Bear Tri. I gave the group about 5 seconds before I plunged into the water and swam. I did not want to get too much to the front of the pack and expire like I did few weeks ago. Instead I started later and made my way through the back of the pack swimmers and found my place somewhere in the not so fast swimmer pack. I swam alone from about 300m point until the second turn buoy and then I got passed by few people. But what really counted was that I did freestyle all the way. I kept my own pace, easy breathing. I really needed consistent swim to re-gain some confidence after the meltdown during the Black Bear. I exited the water in not very fast 36:56 (70 out of 100 - yeah I know this is where I will be putting more time next season). I ran up the parking lot, put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and off I went. There is something on no-wetsuit swim I like in T1.

Getting out of T1

Jumping on my steed

The bike course was quite tough. It started with fairly flat section before we came to the almost mile long steep climb. Many people suffered there and I was glad I could pass most of them on the way up. I caught-up two more riders on the top of the hill and before we turned around the church I passed them. I kept going fast as what followed was a nice steep downhill. I was flying - not even checking my speed. Just making sure to keep control of the bike and focusing on the road ahead. Based on my post-race analysis I did 49.1 mph (79 km/h) on the down hill. I overshot the downhill a bit and had to do a lot of breaking before the sharp turn (almost taking down the volunteer and cop as I hit the pothole that launched my bike a bit). But all turned well and the police force and volunteers were unharmed. As I turned I saw another guy - I have to catch him. So I went for it - passed him some 2 miles later and kept passing people all the way to the wall back to the Jim Thorpe. The wall climb was pretty nasty as the wall had a little turn after which the wall was even steeper (if that is even possible). But all turned well and I caught up with group of four riders. Before we climbed back to the main road that leads back to the park I had them behind me. The rest of the bike were the regular PA rolling hills where you can easily ride between 23 and 35 mph so I did. At that time I had only two goals - not let anyone pass me and keep the average speed above 20 mph for the bike leg. All worked out well - although I almost wiped-out on the way back to the park just before the dismount as I was getting out of my shoes in the curve. But ultimately it worked out.

Cruising along at mile 20

Bike to run transition was ok. The only thing was that I forgot to take off my helmet and had to head back to my rack (about 10 meters). So I guess I lost like 10-15 seconds there. The run was very scenic and I loved the fact that most of it was in the woods under heavy cover of trees and quite cool compared to the sections on open sun. Everything was great until mile about 2.5 where we faced the ass-kicker. Half mile climb - very similar to South Mountain 10 mile run. What I liked were the big boards the race organizer put down. First read (if I recall correctly) "Name this mountain.", second about 200m up the road "Breast of Jim Thorpe", next one read "Anthracite Ass-kicker" and the last just before the turn point read "Now you name it." The down hill was ok and I was able to relax a bit and catch my breath. The return back towards the transition was another 2.5 mile gradual climb. It was quite OK in the woods, but once we got out back to the road it was really hot. But from there it was not far to the finish line and once I figured out where that is I kicked into overdrive and finished strong. I realized the finish line was close too late otherwise I would have kicked into the overdrive more than 400m earlier. But well - that is lesson for next time - check the finish area as well.

Fast and blury

I'm quite blurry on that picture, probably just kicked in the gear when photograph snapped it. My support crew was already in the park and we enjoyed nice swim after the race. Then I waited around for a bit to see how I did, but once I realized I did not get into the top three in my AG I left for home. It was an hour drive and we all wanted to go for lunch. I caught up with the rest of the crew in Red Robin and enjoyed a great burger. Nothing beats the good food after a good race.

Ian and Dasa getting out of the water

Dasa with Ian

The lake is really nice

For the numbers inclined crowd here is the summary: swim 1500m 36:56, T1 1:52, bike 40k 1:12:33, T2 0:51, run 10k 51:00 - overall 2:43:15 which put me to 22nd place overall in this fairly small race of about 100 finishers. I was 9th in my AG - did you notice that the 35-39 AG is very popular. My next race actually has 53 signed-up athletes in the 35-39 AG (it is this weekend). Anthracite tri is a great race, but I would not necessarily recommend it as the first timer race. I'll be back next year to conquer the mountains.

August 4, 2008

Blog cloud

This is interesting - the site Wordle can generate a word cloud from any text, RSS feed or blog. I did not have success with the direct address, but the RSS feed option worked for me. Here is what this bog looks like in the cloud:


Go generate your own cloud. I wish it would let me navigate from the words to most popular articles. But hey this at least looks cool when it has no real function other than visually please and show the frequency of words used on this blog. Apparently I use 'new' a lot.