Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Starts, Winter Comes, Mountains Bikes?

Okay so here we are in 2012. And so far the year has be starting much the way the last one ended. I hit the pool, I run when I get the chance and I commute to work by bike come snow (rain) or sun, warm or cold.

I did just attend the first 2012 Tri Nova Scotia Triathlon training camp. These are great sessions that I rather enjoyed last year. I wasn't going to be able to stick around for the full day, but as the bike portion was held last I was okay with that. The track sessions and pool session are the best for me. And this year they filmed our stroke in the pool and will give an analysis of that. Can't wait.

Anyway, I signed up for the first triathlon of the year. This one is being held in February and is a 5 km skate on our local outdoor long track speed skating oval, followed by a 6 km mountain bike ride, and a 4.2 km run. Now my skating is rather poor, though once I get used to it with a few sessions I will be adequate at that portion. And with the oval open I plan on hitting that bad boy  more than a few times to get my skating legs (and muscles) are ready. So that is taken care of.

Winter running on snow and ice is tricky, but I have trail shoes, it is in the city on cleared sidewalks mostly, and I can train for that any day. Again it is just getting some winter running legs under yourself.

Mountain bike? Well I don't own a mountain bike so training just got a little tougher. Also racing as well, as you must use a mountain bike to race. So I checked in at Sportwheels and my good friend Mike Phillips. He said, no problem and lent me his great 2011 Devinci Desperado.

(You can tell I was the roadie as no one else put a water bottle on their bike)

What a fancy nice bike it is . 26 inch wheels with hydrolic brakes and SRAM drive train, not to mention that awesome shock up front and the fact that it is white. But now how do I actually ride this beast with any confidence.

Well Sportwheels does a group mountain bike ride weekly, so last night I joined up and headed out to Shubie Park. Everyone's first group mountain bike ride should be in pitch darkness with a headlamp, snow and ice covered ground and unfamiliar terrain. Seriously though, it was a blast. We went out for close to 1.5 hours and when through hills, loose gravel, single track, tight corners you name it. I definitely want more. So for the next few weeks, at least, I will be throwing this beast of a bike into my car and heading out to these fun rides to get the hang of riding fast on a mountain bike on rough and uneven terrain.

If you check out Mike's bike you may see the 29 inch front wheel and 26 inch rear. Way to go on that setup. Mike realized after loaning me his bike that he didn't have a suitable winter bike to take out on the ride so through the Kona together. Awesome.
And yes, it was dark.

So maybe I will see you all on the trails sometime soon. Trust me, the cold goes away quickly once you get riding. And for those competing against me at Tri-the-Oval,  well you better get a good head start on your skates, ha ha.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 By the Numbers

So here is is January 1, 2012. Today I went for a 10km run at a balmy 2C. While I was running I thought about 2011 a bit and what I may wish to do with my 2012 season.

Well I know that race-wise I will probably end up doing many of the events I have done the last few seasons. They have been fun, and I have done well at them. At least one new challenge for me will be the Tri-the-Oval winter triathlon this February. I am a bad skater and who knows how good at Mountain Biking, but it should be fun anyway.

As for training I am probably going to stick to a not too dissimilar plan that I had last year as well. My goal then was to get a whole bunch of good base endurance with a little bit of speed work. That, of course, was up and down as I had some nagging injuries that I was dealing with. But they weren't serious and hopefully this year I have a better handle on them.

So how did I do last year? And what can I do to better that?

Swimming: Well this was probably the first year going into swimming for me, where I could actually swim. Not well, and not far. But still, I could at least do it. the swimming portion of my races was mediocre, but I didn't die, so hooray! Last year I managed to swim (or at least log) 126650 meters of swimming. I like it in meters so it seems huge. Some of that was drills, some open water but an awful lot was just plain old laps. So what is up for next season? Well more open water for sure, which will include swimming with others, but also just more laps. In the last few months I have gone from an average swim session of 1500 m to 2000 m. Endurance is my weak point in swimming (well speed as well). I can get my speed up a bit but cannot hold it for any length of time. So here's 2 more twice a week sessions this winter, but many more laps in total.

Cycling: Well I cycle a lot. Much of that is "short" 16-18 km trips to work or about 32 km a day round trip. I tend to ride long or hard on the weekend, as the thought of a bike ride after cycling home from work is rather odd. I managed around 6058 km of cycling last year. Not too bad. But this season I would love to get a few more long endurance style rides in. The one century ride I did last year left me very worn out. And while I don't race at those distances, I would like to be able to complete long rides feeling more refreshed and maybe a little faster. I was so focused last season on my half marathon that I neglected early season bike training other than commuting. I hope to get out a little earlier this year and get some solid long rides in.

Running: Well here is where I had really hoped to make gains. With my first half marathon planned I had wanted to get loads of easy long runs in to build my endurance. And I did start out with that in mind. But alas, some form issues and bad weather reduced my long runs to medium, then short runs and a lot more rest than I had hoped for. I did get that half marathon in, but trying to keep my weekly totals up over 30 kms did not happen most weeks. I did manage to get about 1027 km in of decent run training which I was happy with. This coming season with a new running gait I am working on, better info about my shoes and access to the Dalplex indoor track I am ready to go. At this point I have been getting a few medium runs outdoors at a moderate pace with 2 speed session indoors prior to my swims. Currently the total mileage isn't super high, but as I adjust to a more forefoot running style I don't want to push myself too hard too fast. I am already adapting quite well and hope that soon I will be getting back above 10 km runs, especially with this super easy winter weather we have been having.

Well back to my rest on this great day. We will see where 2012 brings us. And maybe soon I may post about my goals for the year.