Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hawaii Ironman World Championship

NBC will be showing the 2010 Ironman World Championships at 1:30 Pacific Time today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Event Calendar

Time is just absolutely flying by. It's only a week until Christmas, and it's been almost a month since I signed up for Ironman Arizona. I really need to get some endurance events on the calendar so...

I'm going to sign up for the 13.1 Los Angeles half marathon on January 10. I'm not really prepared to run a fast half, but I need to get something on the calendar to get me out on the road, and I know I can finish a half without much trouble.

I'm also going to sign up for the Tour de Palm Springs Century ride on February 13th. My brother-in-law is going to ride this one with me so it should be a good event. I've heard it's a very fast and flat event so maybe I can also get a PR on the 100mi distance.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Motivational Movie Monday

Wow, it's Monday again. Sorry for the lack of posts last week.

Here's a motivational movie from an age group competitor in this year's Ironman Arizona

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spunky Canyon Ride

Saturday will typically be my long ride day.

Here's the Garmin Profile info for the 46 mile ride we did today.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ironman Arizona Registration

Apparently, when you register on-site, it's just a place-holder. Sometime between November 30 and December 14th, on-site registered athletes need to go online and complete the registration process.

My registration is complete!

Dear Jeff,

Congratulations! You are now registered for 2010 Ford Ironman Arizona. Please check the event's official website for updates:

2010 Ford Ironman Arizona


Contact info:

Please notify immediately if your information changes.

Thank you and good luck!

Ironman Athlete Services

Registration Details
Date & Time: 11/21/10
Location: Tempe Town Lake (Map)
Purchased at: 12/01/09
Team: Jeffrey Wrigley
Category: On-Site Registration
Name: Jeff Wrigley

Monday, November 30, 2009

Motivational Movie Monday

Here's a fun motivational commercial featuring one of my favorite cyclists.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Race Day Jersey

I spent a little bit of time watching cyclists go by during the 2009 Arizona Ironman race last weekend. I was trying to determine what color jersey and helmet would stand out and be easy to spot on race day.

Most people wear different combinations of black, blue, red, and white - making people wearing those colors more difficult to spot. The only color that really seemed to stand out to me, was yellow. It didn't have to be a completely yellow jersey - just some yellow stripes were usually enough to make the jersey stand out. So my new mission is to find a race-day jersey with some yellow in it. Ideally the yellow will be up in the shoulder, sleeve, and chest area where it will be most visible while riding. I also don't want to wear a jersey that advertises for a different race or a cycling team.

Here's one I found online at that fits all of my criteria. It's also a racing cut jersey (tighter fit), so it might be perfect!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Volunteering at the 2009 Arizona Ironman - Third shift

After my second shift ended, I took the opportunity to go run a full loop of the run course. The marathon portion of IMAZ is a 3-loop course, so by running one loop, I was able to preview the whole course. It was a fun run because the course was all setup with cones, motivational signs, chalk drawings, and directional arrows, but no athletes. It was great to be able to see the full marathon course, exactly as it will be on race day next year.

My third and final shift on race day was from 7pm - 9pm.

I arrived around 6:30pm for my final volunteer shift of the day. I was expecting a relatively easy shift. My assumption was that there would just be a handful of volunteers 'standing guard' at the gate, making sure only athletes or people with the correct 'ticket' were allowed in to transition, and then checking again to make sure that that number on the gear bag matched the number on the wrist-band or ticket.

The reality was quite different. When I strolled over at 6:30pm, there was a HUGE line of athletes waiting to get their bags. I'm not sure if they were worried about a stampede, or theft, or maybe a combination of both, but the athletes (or their designates) were only being allowed into transition if they were escorted by a volunteer. So here's how it was working:
  1. Athletes lined up at the gate
  2. Volunteer checked the wristband on athletes, or tickets on non-athletes to ensure they were allowed to enter
  3. Each person had to wait until a volunteer could escort them in
  4. Another volunteer checked to make sure their race number matched the bag number when they left
So, I was one of several volunteers escorting folks to their bags.

About half of the people in line were athletes that raced that day. The other half were people with a ticket allowing them to pick up the bags for a specific athlete. I always tried to line up with and escort an athlete so I could talk to them about the day.

Whenever I escorted an athlete, I would ask them if they wanted to walk with me to get their bag, or if they wanted to wait by the exit and I would get it for them. It was about 50/50, with half asking me to please go get it for them because they were having trouble walking, and half saying that they wanted to walk or else they might stiffen up too much. Whenever they wanted to wait - I would run to get their stuff so they didn't have to wait too long. Whenever they wanted to walk, I would ask them how they did, if they ran into any problems, and congratulate them on their day.

Although it was slower when they wanted to walk, it was very cool to get to interview all of those athletes right after they finished an Ironman. I talked to one guy who was thrilled with his day even though he had three flats on the bike course, and only had enough equipment to change two flats. So he ended up waiting for the course mechanics to help him fix his third flat for almost 45 minutes! I walked with two different pros - one who finished 12th overall, and one who didn't even start the run because he said he was having such a bad day. I talked to several first timers, and just as many multiple-finishers. I got advice on everything from where to line up for the swim start, to what to put into my special needs bags, and what to eat before, during, and after the race! But the coolest thing was that every single athlete was so thankful for the help. And not just the help I was giving them, but the help they got all day from the 3000+ volunteers. It was very gratifying to receive thanks on behalf of all the volunteers that helped make the race happen

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Volunteering at the 2009 Arizona Ironman - Second shift

My second volunteer shift was immediately after the first.

9:30 - 12 noon:
By 9:30am, the transition area was clear of all athletes and everyone who was still racing was out on the bike course.

During the first transition, athletes come out of the water, take off their wetsuits, grab their bike gear-bag, and then change into cycling clothes. The wetsuit, goggles, towel, cap, and any other equipment or clothing from the swim get stuffed into the T1 bag and tossed in one of several large piles and bins.

Our job during this second shift was to clean out the changing tent and gear bags area of any trash or misplaced equipment. Then re-collect all 2500 T1 gear bags, and put them back in order from 1 - 2500 so the athletes would be able to recover them at the end of the day.

This shift wasn't nearly as fun as the first shift, but since there were so many volunteers, we had the tent cleared out, and all the gear bags in place and in order by 10:30am. Since nobody would finish the bike section of the course before noon, it meant the second shift was essentially over and all the transition area volunteers went and ate lunch together in the volunteer tent.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Volunteering at the 2009 Arizona Ironman - First shift

The 2009 Arizona Ironman was held on November 22 this year.

I volunteered to work in the transition area, handling Gear Bags

GEAR BAGS: Like Bikes, athletes are required to rack their gear in separate bags the day before the race. These bags will be checked in the day before the race as well as race day retrieval and assistance to the athletes with these transitions. Volunteers will help get athlete bags and help re-rack the bags so the athlete can retrieve it post-race.

All the gear bags, lined up and ready for racers

I signed up and worked three separate shifts on race day:

7am - 9:30am

The gear bags transition area is a mad house during the morning swim-to-bike transition. I specifically picked this time slot because I wanted a high energy, exciting volunteer job.

The race starts at 7am, and the transition area is right next to the swim start. So all the volunteers in the transition area walked over to the swim start to watch the start of the race. If you've never seen the start of an Ironman, it's definitely something to put on your to-do list. Over 2500 athletes are treading water, just waiting for the gun to go off. When it does, the relatively calm morning lake is quickly transformed into a churning, white water river with feet and elbows flying everywhere. It's really amazing.

Around 7:50am, the fastest swimmers start to come out of the water. These are mostly the pro athletes, and since there aren't too many of them, it's pretty easy to spot them as they come up the chute and have their gear bag ready as they run by.

At 8:10 it's starting to get really busy. Numbers are being yelled out by the volunteer with the bull-horn as we rush around trying to locate bags for each person as they come through.

By 8:20 - the age-group athletes are coming in 100's at a time. At this point, it's better to get out of the way and just point the athletes toward the right section because there are so many of them coming through at the same time. Luckily, this mad rush only lasts about 10 minutes, and then it slows down enough to be manageable again.

This video is taken during the 'rush'. Posted on YouTube by govenice

By 8:30, the massive wave of people has started to slow down a little, and over half of the bags have been handed out, making it easier to find bags for the remaining athletes.

At some point during the mass of people coming through during the last 10-15 minutes, one guy picked up his bag and went into the changing tent to get ready for the bike. Several minutes later, he came back out to the gear bags area in a bit of a panic because he was missing one of his cycling shoes. Our volunteer captain announced that we had an athlete missing a shoe, so all 30 of us quickly searched our area to see if maybe it fell out of his bag and was lying on the ground. Unfortunately, it was nowhere. We even started looking in the remaining bags to see if we could find a matching shoe - but no luck. I can still see the look on his face, and I remember thinking how that might just be the most horrible way to end an Ironman attempt. It was pretty clear that the shoe wasn't in the gear bag area - so I could only imagine two possibilities: 1) the guy didn't pack his shoe, or 2) some other athlete ended up with the shoe in his bag and brought it into the changing tent. So I immediately ran over to the changing tent and started scanning the floor for a single SIDI genius, size 10.5 shoe. After only 30 seconds of looking, I FOUND IT! I asked the guy standing next to the shoe if it was his, and it wasn't. Then I picked up the shoe and held it over my head. "Is this anyone's shoe?" I yelled. No reply. So I ran it back out to the gear bags area and shouted to the athlete, "Is this it?" His face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. I really felt like I saved his day. I wrote down his number (#837), so I could keep track of him online and make sure he finished (he did).

By 9am, most athletes are through transition and on the bike. The few athletes that are still coming through get lots of help because the ratio of volunteers to athletes is very good at this point.

9:20am is the swim cut-off. From transition, I can hear the announcer at the edge of the water encouraging the swimmers who are close to the stairs to hurry up and get out before their time runs out. Then he announces that the swim is cut-off. Anyone still in the water is DONE. After the cutoff, I took a rough count and there were around 40 gear bags still left in the transition area. That's 40 people who paid close to $600, and probably trained for the better part of a year, and didn't finish the swim.

Overall, it was an awesome experience. I only got yelled at by one athlete when I mis-heard his number and held up the wrong bag for him. I thought I heard 1054, but he was 1064. So I quickly switched bags and he was on his way. I didn't take it personal - he was jazzed and racing. Everyone else was very thankful and polite. And finding that shoe for #837 was the highlight of the morning.

Things I learned during the first shift:

  • Tie a ribbon or use bright colored tape on your gear bag so it's easy to spot. I'll probably be coming through transition during that 8:20-8:30 rush, and the bags with a ribbon tied on them were much easier to spot.

  • Go into the gear bags section in the morning before the race and figure out where your bag is (which aisle and which row) so you know exactly where to go after the swim.

  • Yell your number to the person with the bull-horn as you come through the chute. He'll relay it to the volunteers, and they'll have your bag off the ground and ready for you.

  • Pre-open sunscreen bottles before you pack them. I saw some athletes struggling to open the foil cap on new bottles of sunscreen.

  • Cinch the top of the bag closed to make sure nothing falls out. Around half of the bags were not cinched closed. I'm honestly surprised only one athlete lost an important piece of gear.

  • Stay calm and smooth going through transition. Some people were really acting like a chicken with their head cut off and it just made then slower, not faster. "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Motivational Movie Monday

The countdown has started! I'm heading back over to the Arizona Ironman finish line area this morning to sign up for the 2010 race.

It may seem a bit crazy to take time off from work, vacation in Arizona, and wake up at 5am every single day of your vacation just to sign up for a race that costs over $500 to enter, and might take as long as 17hrs to finish. The truth is, it often seems crazy to me. But I've had this event in the back of my mind for over 20yrs. My first exposure to Ironman was back in the early 80's on a show called Wide World of Sports. Take a look back to 1982 and the televised race that started it all for me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting ready to get ready

It's less than two weeks until the 2009 Ironman Arizona race in Tempe Arizona.

For those that don't know, an Ironman is a combination of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run - all completed in one day, in 17hrs or less.

I'll be heading out with the whole family on Friday November 20th. Volunteering at this years event on Sunday, November 22nd. Then signing up for next years event on Monday, November 23rd.

The goals for this years Arizona trip include:
  • Sign up & pay for next year
  • Volunteer - handing out gear bags during the T1 transition
  • Book a hotel room near the event for 2010
  • Ride one loop of the bike course
  • Take a look at what food and drink is offered at the aid stations, and how efficiently the bike course hand-offs are made at aid stations and special needs
  • Scout the course for the best spectator spots
  • Figure out what athlete colors are easiest to spot on the bike and run course
  • Figure out how to keep the kids occupied and entertained during the race
  • Try to track an athlete using GPS to see how accurate it is
I've started to put together a loose annual plan. Roughly 4 -months of speed work, 4-months of distance work, then a much tighter schedule during the last 4-months specifically training for the 2010 Ironman Arizona event.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Strawberry Fields Triathlon: The Run

Transition #2

The run was pretty uneventful. It was a 2-loop course that was very flat, but there were a lot of turns and no mile markers so it was a little difficult to tell what my pace was until I finished the first loop and turned around for loop #2.

My overall time for the run was 50:06 for a 10k. Exactly 1 minute slower than my previous Olympic distance PR.

At the end of the day, my total time was 2:39:29. That was my fastest overall Olympic distance by 5:47.

My swim was 10:41 slower
T1 was 0:40 slower
Bike was 18:17 faster
T2 was 0:08 slower
Run was 1:00 slower

So the bike really carried the day. I've got my sights set on a new goal of sub 2:30 for an Olympic distance. All I really need to do is get my swim down to 30 minutes for a 1500 and keep my Bike and Run the same. Under the right conditions, I'm sure I can do it - I've done a 30 minute 1500 before.

On the 10k run

Monday, July 27, 2009

Strawberry Fields Triathlon: The Bike

This triathlon was my first real race on the new Felt B2 Pro bike. A combination of the training I've been doing to prepare for the double century, a super flat course, and the new bike allowed me to get an Olympic bike PR of 1:03:29. That's over 18 minutes faster than my previous Olympic bike PR!

It's the bike portion of this race that actually gave me the overall PR. EVERY other section of the race was slower for me, including the two transitions - but that 18 minute PR on the bike allowed me to get an overall PR for the race.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I launched my first bottle during this race. It was within just a couple miles of exiting the transition area. I had my Profile Aero drink bottle on the front, and one extra bottle of water on the back. I hit a dip in the road, and heard a 'clunk" behind me. I looked back and saw my full water bottle sitting in the gutter. I'm not sure if I had the bottle seated all the way down in the cage or what, but obviously this is something I'll have to test out over the next year as I prepare for IMAZ.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Strawberry Fields Triathlon: The Swim

I've always been a middle of the pack swimmer and this event was no exception. I came in 151st place on the swim, which was right smack in the middle of the pack (53%). Unfortunately my time was much worse than I expected. I went into the event predicting a swim time somewhere around 30 minutes, but my actual time was 40:77. That's over 10 minutes worse than my swim time at my previous Olympic distance event.
It's always hard for me to analyze why certain swims are better or worse than others. On the bike or run, it's usually easy to tell why a particular course is fast or slow (hills, wind, heat, etc) but some of the likely factors for my slow swim include:
  • Less swim training time since I've been focusing on the bike this year.
  • Course distance could have been wrong. The race director had the swim course reversed on the morning of the race because ocean currents changed direction, so maybe the markers were not placed exactly right when they moved them. (How do they measure that in the water anyway?)
  • Ocean currents could have both slowed my forward progress and also moved me off course enough to make me swim a bit farther than intended. Since there's no good reference point out in the ocean, it's always hard for me to tell how bad the currents are. It's not like I can see the bottom of the pool and tell how fast (or slow) I'm moving.

The good news is I was able to get a new PR in spite of the fact that my swim time was 10 minutes slower than I expected it to be. That means I could realistically set a time goal of 2:30 for an Olympic distance race since I know I can finish a 1500m swim in under 30 under the right conditions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Strawberry Fields Triathlon: Overview

On July 19, 2009 I raced in the Strawberry Fields Olympic Distance Triathlon.

I signed up for it several months ago when I found out my friend Ray was going to be flying in from Ecuador - visiting family & friends in California. He's a triathlete, and we keep in touch via email and social networking. It's been 6 years since the last time he was in LA, so when he said he was coming to town and he wanted to do a triathlon while he was here - we signed up.

This was the first time I've competed in this particular triathlon and I'd say the organizers put on a great event. The race consisted of a 1500m ocean swim, a 40k bike, and a 10k run. It's definitley a flat and fast course. I got a new PR of 2:39:29 in an Olympic distance tri.

My split times for the event were:

Swim: 40:77
T1: 2:59
Bike: 1:03:29
T2: 1:38
Run: 50:06

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A pain in the neck

In addition to a new PR at the Strawberry Fields Olympic Triathlon, I also got a pretty good wetsuit hickey (picture below). I was careless the day before the Triathlon and got a slight sunburn on my neck. I assume starting the day with a sunburn was enough to let that wetsuit really dig in and rub my neck raw during the swim.

I will post my report sometime this week. I'm waiting for the event photos to be posted so I can add them to the report.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

10 things I learned during my first Double Century

10. The LA Wheelmen's Grand Tour is a great event with very good support and awesome rest stops.

9. The lowland double century is the perfect first timers double

8. Hill training is a great way to prepare your legs for a double century

7. Hill training is not sufficient for training your butt to be in a saddle for over 11 hrs

6. "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette is NOT a good song to have stuck in your head for a double century

5. Ojai looks like a nice little town. I had never been there before, but now I want to take a walk around there some weekend

4. Riding along the ocean from Carpenteria to Malibu is really a treat

3. I can eat a bagel with peanut butter, a large glass of milk, 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a ham & cheese sandwich, a bean & cheese burrito, a bag of potato chips, 3 power gels, a bar, 2 chocolate chip cookies, 2000 calories worth of carbo pro, 3 12oz sodas, a bowl of chili with cheese, pasta salad, a cup o noodles soup, and lots of gatorade -- and still lose three (3) pounds by the end of the day

2. After 165 miles of bicycle riding, a warm "cup o noodles" soup tastes like food prepared by the goddess Hestia

1. Text messages and Facebook comments delivered to my phone are a GREAT motivator during a long day of exercise. Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

San Diego Century - Dos Picos 103

The San Diego "Dos Picos" 103 mile bike ride was last weekend. I went with my brother-in-law and two of his co-workers to ride in this event. One guy did the metric century, the other two guys were first time century riders.

We got started a little later than I would have liked, but by 7:30am we were on our way. We stayed together for the first 10 miles or so, and then the group splintered a bit and we rode separately until we got to the first rest-stop. The rest of the day we followed a very similar pattern. We would gather at the rest-stop, ride together for a short while, then break up until the next rest stop.

My average speed was a little faster than my speed during the Conejo ride the previous week. That might be partly due to the longer rest breaks I took while waiting to regroup. It was a good challenging ride and well supported. I'd definitely do it again.

Here's my gps log from the event

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cruising the Conejo

2009 is my Bike focus year, hopefully leading up to a 200 mile bike ride this Summer.

Last Saturday was the 25th annual Crusin' the Conejo Century ride. The Century ride was labeled as a 103 mile ride with 6,000 feet of climbing. According to my gps log, it was 100.8 miles with about 5400ft of climbing.

Either way, it was a challenging ride, and I felt really strong at the end. I started the ride just after 7am and finished in a little over 7hrs (including a few short rest-stop breaks).

The ride was really well done and well supported. Most rest stops were manned by Boy Scout troops who helped pour water, hold bikes, and prep food. I'll definitely consider doing it again next year because it's local, cheap, and well done.

I love doing organized rides, but it's always a bit of a bummer to have to stop at lights and stop signs. I guess I'm spoiled by Triathlon and Marathon running where the streets are closed down and traffic is controlled for the athletes. Then again, the Conejo Century was only $40, so it's hard to complain about traffic lights. I'm sure it would be 10x more expensive if they had to shut streets down.

Next Saturday is the San Diego Century

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Double Century

I haven't posted anything new in months, but I have been training.  I've got a couple century rides I'm thinking about riding in May (Cruising the Conejo and the San Diego Century), and then maybe a double century (200 miles) towards the end of June.  2009 is my cycling focus year, so most of my events will be cycling events. 

I was doing my long training rides on Saturday, but I just found out this week that all of my son's T-Ball games are going to be on Saturday morning, so I'm going to have to figure out a way to get long rides in on some other day.  If the June double doesn't work out, then I'll try to find a good long ride in the Fall.

I have signed up for the Strawberry Fields Olympic Triathlon in July, but that will probably be my only tri this year.