Wednesday, November 06, 2013

end of the road

Wow...this season has flown by.  It is hard to believe that it is already over! Since I last blogged I have raced quite a bit, so I will try to catch you up quickly.  And with Pictures.


Dallas Lifetime:  A great swim, decent run and I finished 10th.  It was cold.  Again.

After the Dallas race it was time to head to Oceanside California for 2 races in back to back weekends.  The first was the finale of the Lifetime Fitness series race.  It was a stacked field competing for over $150,000 series prizes.  I has a great swim, and ended up biking and running with BoomBoom Matty Reed.  I lost the sprint finish to him and finished 12th....only about 20 seconds out of 10th and a paycheck. 


After the Lifetime race was the Fearless Supersprint in sunny San Diego.  I stayed in Carlsbad during the week between the 2 races with a great homestay in Lori Westbay and Alan Sakal.  They made Lauren and I feel like family and we had a great time!  Meeting great people along the way is one of the best parts of racing.



The super sprint was fast really fast and included 2x through 300m swim / 8kbike / and 2500m run on done on a tight multi-loop course.  It was definitely a shock to the system! 

I had a great time and ended up walking away with 8th place prize money.  Need to be a bit sharper to be on the pointy end of these races, that's for sure.

After the SuperSprint, it was time to head to what definitely was the season highlight: The UWC Bahamas Triathlon.  Barbara Ann Bernard of Team We Win had the vision several years ago to create a race that raises money for Bahamians to receive scholarships to UWC universities.  She is a pretty incredible person, and it is hard to describe how much effort she puts into making this race a world class and truly one-of-a-kind event.

While we were there we were also taken on a 2 day trip to the private island Highbourne Cay for an open water swim race and an unbelievable experience.  Mark Holowesko was generous enough to let us invade his island and show us an amazing time! 

I led the swim race for 98% of it, but made a ill-timed and poorly navigated sprint and got out-sprinted by 3 people!  Good thing 2 were women (one was my wife), so I "finished" 2nd.  And yes, Sara McLarty and Lauren spanked all the guys!
 
Highbourne Cay
 Post Race

The triathlon race went pretty well for me too.   I actually led out of the water (for the imaginary swim prime), rode well, and race into 5th place.  It was a great way to end the season, and a great group of athletes to end it with.  I can't thank BA, Mark, and Chris Farnum enough for their hospitality and generosity towards the pro's. It was a great way to experience the Bahamas and the island culture, and I cant wait to go back next year.

High stepping like a champ, but still waaay behind the Aussie!
 
Still too many people on my feet.... 
 
 little jog along the beach.
 
What is a post-race party without limbo!?!?
*All these fine pics from the Bahamas belong to Paul Philips.
 
Well, that is a season wrap for 2013. It has been fun and interesting.  Had some great experiences.  I am looking forward to next year and starting the planning process with LB, but that will be put on hold for a few weeks....now it is time to let the body and mind rest before the next big push!
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Cheers,
B 
 


Friday, October 04, 2013

more racing

If there is a theme for me this fall, it is racing.  After a pretty slow start to this year, and a mid-year training camp in Flagstaff (blog on this later), it is now time to race.  A lot.

Not all are "big races."  I haven't really raced locally too much the past few years, and this year I aimed to change that.  This past weekend was one of those local races: Stonebridge Triathlon. 

Stonebridge is a race put on by Ahmed and Stacy at Playtri.  I can't really say enough positive things about them.  They are one of the few race directors in the country that not only put on great races for Age-Groupers, but also are very interested in the Pro/ITU-side of the sport.  This coming June they will host the Pan-American ITU Championships in Dallas.  It will be their 3rd consecutive year to hold an ITU race in the same location.  Not many can say that in the US.  They have a long-term vision to promote ITU racing in the USA, and as an elite athlete I love to support race directors like this.

Back to the race.  I did the sprint and had a lot of fun.  Here are some pics from the weekend:


 
 
 
This coming Sunday is a big one for us: Lifetime Fitness Dallas.  It is an important race, but also a very rare one where we get to sleep in our own beds and don't have to pack our bikes or fly!
 
Will keep you posted.  Cheers,
B

Monday, September 16, 2013

back from the dead!!

Well, I took a little hiatus from the blog, but I am happy to say that I am bringing it back.  After 5 years of blogging, I decided to take a break during 2012...and that blogging break ran that ran into 2013.

Here we are, in September, and so much has already happened this year it would it would take ages to blog about.  The goal for 2013 season was to qualify for Hyvee.  I did that, and had a solid race against a really top-notch field.  I really cant think of any non-draft Olympic distance racer who wasn't on the start line.  It was great to be a part of such a fantastic event.  As for the race itself, I had a good a good swim and bike, struggled a bit on the run, but held on to finish 24th.  A decent result, but room to definitely some room to improve on. 

My parents were able to come watch Lauren and I race, so I got a few snaps from Mom:


Lauren and I also have some exciting news as we have joined Team Cambridge and will be racing for them for the next season.  It has only been a few weeks, but already it is a lot of fun to be a part of a community team and race alongside them.

After Hyvee, I did two local sprints on back-to-back weekends.  It was my first couple of races with our new teammates and they went really well.  I ended up winning both races, but the 2nd won was a much more contested affair.

The Rose City Triathlon is a great little sprint race in Tyler, Texas.  The race director puts up a good little prize purse, and it was just enough to drag some local pros from San Antonio out to race.  I led from wire-to-wire, but started to get run down by Robbie Wade late in the run.  I had to dig pretty deep the last 800 meters, but was able to hold him off, win the race, and get the course record.  The course record only really matters because they threw a bonus in for it!

It was a really great weekend out in Tyler, and on top of some great racing we got to meet lots of new faces and teammates.  I am looking forward to doing some more races in DFW and cheering everyone on.

Next up for me is the Super Sprint Grand Prix which is this Thursday on the Strip in downtown Las Vegas!  It is a super sprint format (300m/3mi/1.5mi) with prelims in the morning and finals under lights at night.  I cant think of a more exciting venue and place to race.  The event will be televised on Universal Sports in October. 

After Vegas, it is a quick recovery, and off to Tempe, Arizona on Sunday for the next round of the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon series.  The form is coming around, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

It feels good to get the blog running again and I am going to keep it better updated from now on.  I have also added some pages to the blog which have my schedule for the rest of the year, and some other odds and ends.

Thanks for reading and welcome back!


Cheers,
B

Sunday, November 06, 2011

importance of belief

A young Hungarian lieutenant sent one of his reconnaissance units out into the Swiss Alps to complete some training maneuvers. Just as they headed into the mountains, it began to snow. The snow worsened, and the unit quickly became lost. After missing for two days, the lieutenant feared that he had sent the entire unit to their death. Then, miraculously, on the 3rd day the unit returned.

What happened? How did they survive? How did they navigate in the snowstorm? These questions raced through the mind of the lieutenant. One of the men spoke up:

“When the snow started we became lost, and feared we would all die. Then one of us found a map in his pocket…it gave us great hope. We made camp, outlasted the storm, and then used the map to navigate out of the wilderness back to camp. Without the map, we would have never made it off the mountain”

The lieutenant was overjoyed, and asked to see the map that had saved his men. The man gave him the map and the lieutenant looked over it closely. A look of shock came over his face.

What he was holding was not a map of the Alps, but a map of the Pyrenees.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

updates

Hey yall!

It has been an eventful second half of the season for sure! Since my last blog I have been to Washington, Canada, Hungary, Switzerland, New York, and I am currently sitting in the airport in South Korea. I am blaming the ridiculous heat wave in Texas on my lack of posting.

Racing this season has been all over the place....some solid results and some lacking. Since hashing out all the races between June and now would be way too long and boring (for everyone save my wife and parents), I will present some highlights and some photos. 8 photos is like 8,000 words, right??

Monroe Pan American ITU Cup-8th. This was my fourth Top-9 ITU finish this year.

My Tizzy World Cup, Lausanne WCS, and ITU Team World Champ results were varied (all one big trip). The highlight? Finishing 5th at the ITU Team Triathlon World Championships with these three great athletes!! It was an awesome race and hopefully the ITU can successfully get it into the 2016 Olympics. You even got to see my derriere on Universal Sports for a few seconds as I chased some guy named Brownlee.


l'equipe americain
The lowlight of the trip? Crashing in that same race! Crashing barefoot is highly underated....you need your feet for just about everything!

Lasusanne is pretty (yes I took this, Mr Fretta)

No pictures from Nationals in Buffalo because, well, it was Buffalo.

Tongyeong World Cup was this past weekend in South Korea. It was my first ever World Cup back in 2008, and I like coming back here. It was a smooth trip over as I had Ethan Brown and Greg Billington to roll with. I had another bit of a rough swim, which made for a ridiculous 32k chase to make the front bunch. Good news is we made it. Finished 34th.


pre-race game face


I dont have anymore pics from the race, so here are some new ones from Seoul this past May(same country, right?)

The season is pretty much done for me. There are a few World Cups left and we are at the pointy end of Olympic qualifying, but it is time for me to shut down and get ready for next year. I am going to make an early push next year to try and get a start at the WCS in San Diego in May. That's our Olympic Qualifier, and the goal. I am not quite as high in the rankings as I would have hoped after this year, but I am still in the mix. Time for a quick break, and then the hardest winter's training of my life!


I am racing Galveston 5150 this weekend and it should be a fun, low pressure way to end the season.

Cheerio,

B

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

girl shorts, kimchi, yellow mountain, and ATX

It is already June. Crazy.No, I have not been injured....just not blogging. Instead of giving a play by play of the last 3 months, I will just do it in rapid-fire succession:

Moololaba World Cup, big training block, back-to-back Continental Cups in Asia, Lifetime Fitness Series-Capital of Texas, and finally back to training.

There is 3 months for ya! What follows below is a slightly longer version of the past few weeks.

Here is a pretty picture of the Moo'ba beach...I have not so pretty remembrances of the actual race
After Mooloaba WC and the disappointment with the result there, I came back to Texas to put the disappointment behind me and get in some hard work. The positive thing from the race in Mooloolaba was that it exposed some big holes in my fitness and training. It has to be one of the hardest courses on the ITU circuit, and with the best field in years, there was nowhere to hide.
I needed some points to get into later season World Cups, so I looked at my options for ITU races. I can't stand Mexico, so Asia was the only other choice. The first race was in Seoul.....
It was pretty similar to the ITU WCS course last year: cold swim, technical bike, and a run on the footpath. I had a great swim and came out in about 8-9th position and after a good transition made the initial "front pack" of 6. For Asia, this race was stacked. Tim Don, Reto Hug, Sapunov, Gaag, and 60 others made it a full field. The bike pace was on from the first pedal stroke, and it never let up. It was by far one of the hardest bike rides I have ever done. I can only imagine how hard the WCS bike was last year....

It made me feel a little better when I was riding next to Reto on the lap 6 and he was slobbering on himself gasping for breath trying to close a gap. I started to fade a bit towards the end of the bike, and when I got to the run, my stomach was toast. I struggled through 5k's or so of cramps, and pulled the plug. I do not like dnf'ing, but I was trying to play it smart as I felt horrible, and had another race in 6 days. On to China.

This time around was in Huangshan, China in the Anhui province. The "Yellow Mountain" is a popular destination choice for Chinese tourists. The scenery was nice and there were lots of green mountains and small villages. I have raced in China quite a bit and edible/race-week approved food is sometimes tough to find.....but not on this trip. Enter Breadman. I am convinced Breadman saved my life, or at least my stomach. Delicious naan-style bread made in a trash-can barrel right in front of you. Can street food get any better? Couple that with oreos and coke and you have a 3 course meal!






This is the lake....the water was cool and clean (The mountains don't look yellow to me, though)Traffic Chaos. They don't obey the traffic lights, honk incessantly, and often drive on the wrong side of the road, but stand in the middle of the intersection and you somehow will not get run over. Probably.The week between Seoul and China was tough. I felt terrible all week, and was wondering how the race would play out. For every session I was tired and the legs ached. I tried to push it towards the back of my mind and relax. There was a great group of guys racing in China and it was nice to chill and commiserate with the other internationals. I shared a room with Jens Toft fromDenmark. Legend.That guy puts out more watts than his car (which incidentally is a smart car, so that is probably true). The Aussie boys are always a good laugh and then there is Dickie Nicholls. He probably deserves his own post......

Race day came I was nervously confident. Jimmy Seears and I swam next to each other for the first 300m and then had a had a bit if a shocker when we exited the water on lap one in pack 3! Hit the panic button and swim for your life! We clawed our way back up and barely latched on to the end of the first pack running up to T1. Crisis averted. We all worked really well on the bike and had a 1:15 lead on the chasers. Onto the run I felt solid and ran just off the back on the lead group of 6. I tried to bridge the 10s gap or so several times, but just couldnt and was stuck in no-man's land. In the end, I got outsprinted and finished up 8th.

To add to the insult of being outsprinted, the Chinese gentleman that beat me was wearing biking gloves. Not kidding. I was less that 30s out of 3rd so we were all pretty tightly bunched. So close. I am happy with how things went, and I also feel that my running is coming back around and heading in the right direction! As coach says, "no amount of training will give you as much confidence as a good result."

I came back to the US, recovered for a few days and then hopped into the Capital of Texas Triathlon. It was a great fun to do a low-pressure non-drafting race, and even with getting mis-directed in the swim, it was a great day to race in front of the fam and friends in Austin. I finished 16th.....still have to work on my time-trialling if I want to do any of more of that stuff!

Next up in Monroe Continental Cup just outside of Seattle, Washington in 2 weeks. My head is down and I am ready to go race hard. Happy training yall!

Cheers,
B

Friday, February 25, 2011

the horizon

In the crazy world of ITU racing, it can be very difficult to nail down a set racing schedule. You often don't know what races you can get into until the last minute. Or, after you have a good result, the door suddenly swings open to races that you thought were previously not possible. It can make planning a season quite difficult!

Up Next: Lauren and I are heading to Clermont, Florida next week for the USA Sprint National Championships. It is quite a big field and will be a great race to see where the legs are. It is hard to hide when 70 guys are on the line. It will also be Lauren's first race of the year and her first pro race, so this race will be super exciting for the both of us. She has been training really hard and it will be a great experience for us to do our first race together.

After Clermont, I will have 3 weeks until I head to Australia for the Mooloolaba World Cup on March 25th. I just found out I got a start, so instead of a mini-training camp over spring break, I will be heading down under to mix it up with the big boys and race. Pretty excited to say the least!

Happy Racing.....the season has started!!!!!

Cheers,
B

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

link to the interview

Here is a link to the recent interview that Slowtwitch did on me:

Travelling Man Barrett Brandon

It was pretty cool to get "slowtwitched." If you haven't read it already, check it out!

Cheers,
B