April 4, 2016. Madison, WI. It’s 34* at 11:00am and when I look at the forecast I see two days of rain cloud icons followed by two days of snowflake icons. We’ve had two weeks of “spring” but it sure feels like winter still. Mother Nature and our 2016 race calendar clearly need to get on the same page.
We’ve put in hours of suffering on the trainer and endless laps breathing dry, dusty air at the indoor track this winter. They know us by name at the indoor pool and we’re sick of our hair freezing after workouts. But alas, that all comes to an end this week as Coach PB and Andrew Keily head down to Galveston, TX for the triathlon season opener Ironman Texas 70.3. WE MADE IT!
This season we have some great sponsors on board for Team PBC including Trek Bicycle, Bontrager, Roka, and Champion Systems. We were fortunate to have a very talented Trek designer, Zak Seifkes, create our kit. He drew it all by hand and we think it’s pretty badass.
Coach PB additionally has Powertap, First Endurance, and the Great Dave Velo Club as sponsors.
I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of our sponsors. Our contacts at each company have been so helpful and great to work with. We are blessed to have companies that believe in us and support us in our efforts. We absolutely could not do this without them.
Next week look for Dana Kalina at NOLA 70.3. He has been training hard and making some big improvements. This race will kick off a big season for him as he heads towards IMWI. Stay tuned for more athlete and race updates as the season progresses.
We are excited to announce ROKA as a team sponsor for 2016! ROKA, is “dedicated to empowering athletes with products that make them faster — faster than they were yesterday, faster than they were last season, faster than their competition.” We at PBC are always striving for that faster, and having ROKA to support us in that mission is a great honor. Looking for a way to join the #FindFaster mission? Take a look at our OWS Program starting in June, and visit http://www.rokasports.com/
Last January I was introduced to the great cycling in the Santa Monica Mountains by friend and athlete, Revere Greist. The riding there is absolutely incredible, with coastal views, great canyon climbing, and some excellent weather, especially when compared to January in Wisconsin. Revere and I had a great time riding, and he enjoyed being able to show me around a place he lived and rode for 3+ years. It was later in 2015 that we decided to head back again to break up the winter routine and enjoy the LA sun once again. This time I would be going for 2 weeks, the first 9 days solo, and meeting Revere and the rest of the Great Dane Velo Club P12 team for the final 5 days. Here is a little recap with photos of the trip:
My arrival at LAX was wet. The previous day LA had experienced some long overdue rain, only maybe a little too much this time. Some flooding closed certain parts of the highway and threatened my riding in the early part of the trip. Fortunately for me, the rain slowed after the first day and the weather was manageable. With my carry on and my bike bag I called an Uber and made my way to my AirBnb, which was the cheapest AirBnb you will ever find in Brentwood, CA… a 1979 RV parked one block from where OJ Simpson “didn’t” kill Nicole Brown Simpson. Very classy.
Yeah, this thing was awesome mainly because of how bad it was. The slant made it impossible to stand in with cycling shoes. Peeing in the bathroom required aiming far right and letting gravity do the work. Sleeping was always a decision of whether to elevate my legs or my head, as well as trying my best to convince myself that a plywood mattress is good for my back. It became clear that this RV was strictly for sleeping. The rest of the trip would be spent either training or working in a cafe.
After settling into the RV, building my bike, and learning my surroundings, I was in full training mode. Because cooking in the RV was nearly impossible I was going to need to find a way to eat, and eat a lot, on a budget. That isn’t easy in LA. I was able to find an IHOP a mile away that became my morning hang out for the next 8 days. For $6.99 I was able to get 2 eggs, 2 bacon, hash browns, and all you can eat pancakes. Such a deal. Especially compared to the closer cafe that was $15 for 2 pancakes and $6 for a latte. Every morning I woke up, rolled out of the RV, made my way to IHOP, sat in the same booth, and ate as many pancakes as I could to fuel the day. By day 3 they knew my name. Potential sponsor?
After my IHOP breaky it was back to the RV to jump on the bike. I ended up doing a lot of riding, especially for this time of year. It was hard not to ride that much when you know back home its 50 degrees colder and the trainer is calling your name. I was fairly smart about how much intensity I would do each day in order to not overtrain and get sick or injured. It can be easy to over do it and end up sick halfway through the trip. Also, I wasn’t just riding. I did a fair amount of trail running no San Vicente Blvd and swam every evening. The PALI pool in Pacific Palisades was my end of the day routine because I needed to keep up the swim volume AND the RV shower was not an enjoyable experience… so I finished with a swim every day. Oh and now I know why some people shave in the pool locker room… Maybe they live in an RV too.
My home each night. Awesome to be swimming outdoors in January.
The coast after a nice mid January ride. So great to soak up some sun.
The Trek Emonda SLR did the job on some big days of climbing. 8ooo feet of elevation on this sunny day.
Post ride coastal bike shot on a cloudy day. Always taking some time to look around and take it all in.
Without getting into the gritty day to day details, that’s about it for the first 9 days. I woke up, ate pancakes, rode my bike, ate more, ran on San Vicente Blvd, ate Whole Foods hot bar, swam at PALI, ate Chipotle, and fell asleep around 8-9pm on a plywood bed in an old RV. It was awesome. Training was going very well and I was able to maintain a pretty high volume, especially on the bike. Then, the GDVC guys arrived. Ready to go!
One of the best parts about being out here again was that I could compare fitness from this January to last January. It was very motivating to see PR’s across the board on every climb I had done in 2015. Including an 8min PR up Full Latigo Canyon Climb, going 38:11 on day 10 of the trip, and my 3rd time up Latigo that week. That was one of the highlights for me. On a coaching note, PBC athlete Revere Greist came out flying on day 1 with a great climb up Latigo in 36:45. That’s 20th on the Strava leaderboard… out of like 6000… without a pull or a group… behind the likes of Levi Leipheimer and many other pros. Sorry, but this was a proud coach moment for me. Any local Strava users know how strong Revere is. He practically owns this area in terms of KOMs and he is still getting better at age 42. Revere has been an athlete I’ve worked with for just over a year and it’s been great to see the gains and the way his cycling continues to evolve. He’s a great example of what hard work, dedication to the plan, and strong coach-athlete communication will do for your fitness and reaching goals.
Unfortunately on day 2 of the camp Revere had a low speed slip on a slippery descent during a large group ride and left some skin on the road. After lightly tweaking his hip flexor and some road rash he still was able to stay with us and ride strong the rest of the camp. John K in the background proving that when the sun’s out, the tongue’s out.
The rest of the lads, John, Julian, and Dave all rode really well. We all took turns throwing punches up climbs as one by one we all dropped off, in different orders each time, really going at each other to ride hard to each summit. “Young Julian” really gave Revere and I a taste of punishment on the Fernwood to Saddle Peak climb, forcing us to ride upwards of 360w for 15mins or so (on day 4 tired legs!). Thank God we called a truce before the false flats!
Here’s a shot up the backside of Stundt as we rode through a foggy mist up in the clouds, about 10mins after Young Julian had me keeled over my handlebars gasping for air.
By day 5 (my day 14), we had enough of the punishment and road pretty easy-moderate up the PCH to Big Rock. Revere survived the crash, John was fighting a cold, Dave was heading home, Young Julian handled the verbal punishment that comes with being the baby of the group, and I was pretty toast. 75 fairly flat miles doing some pace line work was exactly what I needed. We ran into Caitlyn Jenner at Starbucks in Trancas (what an athletic specimen), that’s my 1 celebrity sighting. After the coffee break we had a serious conversation about a 25 mile Uber ride home. Instead we just relaxed for an hour or so and soft pedaled back. Good decision.
Trek Emonda SLR DA9000 Di2 Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3 TLR. Seriously, if you want an awesome ride, check out Trek Bicycle Store of Madison now.
Our group met up with another couple Madison area cyclist, Narayan Mahon and Rod Duncan, who were out there for their 2nd January trip to LA. Revere cooked a nice dinner, we had some laughs, and talked about our riding. Good times!
And that about does it. I caught a flight back to MSN after 14 days, 720 bike miles, 55,000 feet of elevation, 67 miles of running, 36,000yd swimming, 20+ pancakes, some good friends, great memories, and an awesome start to 2016.
The streets of Madison have been sprinkled with happy cyclists logging unexpected and welcomed winter miles. We have had a number unseasonably warm days so far this season and our science friends are calling 2015 the warmest year on record.
That all ends today, as we are being hit with our largest snow storm of the season to date. Fortunately, we are able to move training operations indoors. I coach a number of athletes who work at Trek Bicycle HQ in Waterloo, WI. It’s about a 30 minute drive through the country and the only traffic jam you’ll encounter en route is the occasional tractor. I’ve been lucky enough to coach cycling classes for Trek twice per week this winter again. Not only do they know about bikes, but they know how to ride them. Even indoors. I must apologize to the Train Dirty class, which follows my cycling class, as they are routinely left to work out in a hot, stinky room full of puddles of sweat (we clean up, I promise).
My non-Trek coached athletes have had the pleasure of enjoying 2-hour indoor cycling sessions at Paceline Indoor Cycling in Madison on Sunday mornings at 9:00am. One of these athletes recently posted his ride to Strava and titled it “Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering”. Sounds about right. They are a tough group.
We’ve been putting the miles in at the pool and taking some off-season time to really focus on technique and drills. Swimming in groups has been beneficial and we’ve pushed each other to finish sets when it just sounded better to go home and eat more Christmas cookies. I recently invested in an underwater GoPro camera, which I’ve used to film athletes and evaluate stroke technique. It’s been well worth the investment.
Lastly, PBC water bottles are in! Get your hydration situation in order for the 2016 season. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase. They are $5 each.
Happy New Year to all. 2016 promises to be the best season yet.
You can’t win the race in the swim, but you can definitely lose it.
If open water swimming is your weakness or if you simply wish to have an open water group to train with next summer, join me for the inaugural year of PBC Open Water Swim Coaching.
Coaching sessions will be instructed by PBC athlete, distance freestyle specialist, and Ohio State Swim Team Captain & Alumni, Andrew Keily. Take this opportunity to work with an experienced NCAA swimmer to improve your open water swimming. Learn how to swim the shortest distance. Practice drafting to save energy and gain speed. Experience the open water in various conditions. Overcome your fears and anxieties about racing in a mass start swim.
There are so many benefits to this program. Andrew is an incredibly qualified swimmer and coach. He has the insight of a trained distance freestyle swimmer, not just a triathlete. So often we wetsuit up and swim around a few buoys without any structured plan when open water swimming. Having a workout for open water swimming is just as important as it is in the pool, but you should focus on different things.
Coaching Sessions will include:
full SUP support
structured group workouts
OWS training and race tactics
stroke technique and sighting instruction
triathlon entry and exits
Hour long coached sessions will be held in Lake Monona every Tuesday/Thursday at 6am starting June 2 and will run right up to Ironman Wisconsin with the last session being September 6. There will be twenty eight sessions in total. All ability levels are welcome.
**I am so confident in the value of OWS Coaching that the program will be included for free as an additional benefit for all non-remote coached athletes with a 9 mo+ contract.**
About the instructor: Andrew Keily is an All-American HS, 4 year Ohio State University Varsity distance freestyle swimmer and served as Captain his Senior year. In the pool, he has a personal best of 15:58 for the 1500 Meter Freestyle. In his first year of triathlon, Andrew had numerous overall wins, first overall swim splits, and swam a 25:05 in Galveston, beating all but 7 Professionals. On the coaching side, Andrew brings 20 years of swimming instruction experience. He combines a hands-on approach with video analysis to assist athletes in their specific needs as a swimmer. Andrew has led swim camps and taught 1-1 lessons for experienced swimmers and beginners.
Andrew Keily exiting the water in first place at the 2015 Olympic Distance Capitol View Triathlon in Madison, WI, with a swim time of 17:28 for 1500m (1:04/100yd).
This year I’ve had the pleasure of coaching an amazing individual, Luke Gulbrand. He approached me in early 2014 about running and triathlon coaching which rolled into Ironman Wisconsin coaching. Not too long before the race Luke launched a new Facebook page and started a blog about his journey. Luke’s challenges with triathlon are unlike those that most of us face. He has Crohn’s Disease, which has made simply completing some workout challenging, much less an entire Ironman.
Luke persevered last Sunday and not only completed the race, but posted a great time of 14:41:09. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
To read more about Luke’s story and his plans moving forward, visit his blog, Facebook page, or check out the news story that he was recently feature in.
Next time you think you can’t make it through a tough workout or a grueling race, think of Luke. He did.
Spots for the 2016 Team PBC Ironman Wisconsin roster are filling up. Every day I continued to be more and more inspired by people’s stories, commitment, energy, and drive. 2016 is going to be a great year for Team PBC and I’m already looking forward to team camps and training sessions. Furthermore, I’ve had a number of athletes commit to doing Ironman Wisconsin in 2017! I feel so fortunate to be a part of this journey for so many inspiring and motivated athletes.
A handful of spots are still open for the 2016 Ironman Wisconsin roster. I’m offering a special from now through the end of September. Any athlete who signs a 12 month contract will receive a discounted monthly coaching price, a free 1 piece PBC tri suit, a free PBC t-shirt of your choice, and a free PBC hat.
Competing in Ironman Wisconsin can be described as… challenging, empowering, enlightening, and inspiring. This year I didn’t compete but had 6 athletes out there on race day and I felt all those same emotions secondhand. I was thrilled to be a part of the journey and very proud of what everyone accomplished. Some moments left me considering getting teary-eyed. Being able to see the athletes I have trained through thick and thin for the past year reach their goals… it simply cannot be described in words, which is why I will do so in pictures…
Team PBC Ironman Wisconsin Race Report
The morning started with dropping my out of town athletes at transition then heading up to the square to get some Colectivo Coffee… everyone must have read my blog on Discover Wisconsin about spectating on race day because the line was literally out the door. In any case, a latte and a PB walnut chocolate chip muffin later I was back at the swim start herding my athletes down to the water. One thing I’ve always loved about the PBC kits is you can see the stars on the back when your wetsuit is open…
Per usual the sunrise was beautiful and made for an epic start…
Team PBC had a solid performance in the swim and athletes exited looking happy and laser focused. Off to the bike!
The weather conditions continued to be perfect for the bike with temperatures around 70* at the high and a cool breeze for the afternoon. I watched from the top of “The Hill” on Timber Lane with a crowd of enthusiastic fans, including those dressed scantily clad and a kind father daughter duo handing out free brats.
I was anxiously awaiting my athletes, checking time splits on my phone and getting race updates from friends elsewhere on the course.
They all showed up looking strong and taking no prisoners on The Hill!
After a quick fro-yo stop (guilty) it was back to the run course to cheer my athletes across the finish line. Everyone looked strong on the run. I stuck around past midnight to see the last finishers and help peel athletes off the concrete and load them into cars… and I can tell you that last hour gives me goosebumps every year.
I couldn’t be more proud of how Team PBC performed at Ironman Wisconsin. Everyone left their hearts out there. One athlete in particular was rewarded for her effort with a Kona slot. Congrats to Annie Hughes!
For those of you interested in signing up for Ironman Wisconsin for 2016, I am offering an Ironman Wisconsin Exclusive coaching deal from now through the end of September. Sign up for 1 year of comprehensive coaching and received a discounted monthly rate as well as a complimentary PBC hat, t-shirt, and a `1 piece race kit. Email email@example.com to inquire.
On a final note I want to thank all my athletes for the pleasure of being a part of your journey. You did it! You’re Ironmen(women)! That is something only a small percentage of people can say. It’s something no one can every take away from you. You’ll have it forever. And I’ll always be grateful that you took me along for the ride. Congratulations!
Ironman Wisconsin is truly a unique event. It’s known for a beautiful sunrise mass start, an incredibly hilly bike course, and thousands of enthusiastic fans. It’s always been one of my favorite venues. I won’t be racing this year as they’ve eliminated the men’s pro race (women’s will be back for 2016) but I will be out there spectating and cheering on Team PBC. I have confidence that my athletes will nail it on race day (missing a few from this pic)!
I was recently fortunate enough to be interviewed by Discover Wisconsin and was given the opportunity to blog about spectating Ironman Wisconsin on their The Bobber. Enjoy!
IRONMAN WISCONSIN: Spectate the Right Way on Race Day
Triathlon is a rapidly growing sport in the state of Wisconsin. Google will tell you that there are nearly 30 triathlon races in Wisconsin in the month of August alone. Every year new races pop and established ones fill quicker than you can change a flat bike tire.
Ironman Wisconsin is perhaps the most well-known triathlon in the state and also the longest with a 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. That’s a total of 140.6 miles as triathlete’s bumper stickers across the state will proudly remind you. I’ve toed the line several times on hot September mornings (it’s the 13th this year) to measure up against the competition at Ironman Wisconsin. This year I won’t be as they have eliminated the professional race in this venue. The silver lining of course is I get to enjoy the race as a spectator. I’ve raced or attended this race every year for over a decade so sharpen your pencils and get ready to take some tips from a pro.
Here are my top 5 ways to win the day as a spectator at Ironman Wisconsin.
On your way into town stop by Waterloo, Wisconsin and visit the Trek Bicycle Company. Weekly tours are led by enthusiastic employees Wednesdays at 10:00am. Guests can drool over championship bikes in the lobby and atrium and feast their eyes on those of the future in the race shop and the custom paint booth. Many triathletes will race Ironman Wisconsin on bikes hand built in the Trek Factory in Waterloo, WI.
Colectivo Coffee on Pinckney St. opens at 6:30am on Sundays.
Sunrise on race day is 6:35am.
The race begins at 7:00am.
Here’s your plan: Get yourself a fresh brew from Colectivo Coffee, a trendy little café located in an historic building in downtown Madison and loved by local cyclists. Then follow the pedestrian traffic to the rooftop of the Monona Terrace where you can watch the sunrise dance across Lake Monona in front of a crowd of excited racers and spectators. The nearly 3,000 Ironman Wisconsin athletes start en masse as the gun goes off and it’s a beautiful sight to see.
OLD SAUK PASS AND TIMBER LANE, SOMEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY BETWEEN CROSS PLAINS AND MADISON
So 112 mile is a long way to bike. If you look at a map you’ll see athletes leave the Monona Terrace and weave their way out of the city towards the fair town of Verona, do a loop, then do it again before heading back to transition. I’m often asked about where the best place to watch the bike portion of the race is and my answer is always Old Sauk Pass and Timber Lane. This stretch of road is the longest hill on the course and athletes get to do it twice. Watching from this location is nice for spectators because you’ll see your athlete two times and they will be going a bit slower than average so they’ll likely see (and hear) you. Having fans in this location is great for athletes because you’re likely in the pain cave and a familiar face might be all you need to get through it.
STATE STREET, MADISON WI
One of the best places to watch the run is on State Street. Athletes do a half marathon loop twice and go up and down State Street both times so if you stand still, you’ll see your athlete run past 4 times. The street is closed off to vehicle traffic and lined with spectators sipping frosty beverages and snacking on unique Wisconsin treats such as cheese curds and popcorn. The race finishes between the State Capitol and the Monona Terrace so from the top of State Street it’s a short walk to the finish line.
On the other end of State Street you’ll find the Memorial Union. This gem of a hangout is another local favorite. On any given summer evening you’ll be hard pressed to find a seat but the scavenger hunt that ensues to find one is worth the pay off. On race day athletes will run right past the Memorial Union as they exit State Street and trudge up the only real hill on the run course. After you’ve cheered your athlete on grab a pitcher of tap beer and enjoy people watching and a glorious view of Lake Mendota. If you stick around past sunset you’ll likely hear some live music. Make sure you don’t leave without a scoop of the Orange Custard Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Sounds weird. Tastes amazing.
Ironman Wisconsin is an amazingly well-run race and is known in the triathlon community as one of the best when it comes to rowdy and supportive fans. As your friends and neighbors get ready to toe the line Sunday, September 13 make sure you’re putting in the recon work to make this your best day of spectating. See you out there!
Everything you need to know about the race can be found here.
If we experience a cold spell in June we all it “June-uary”. In August we just pray that it’s not the beginning of fall. Those competing in Ironman Wisconsin lay awake at night thinking about what if it’s this cold on race day… When you wake up on August 20 and it’s not even 60* you can’t help but think that a cold Ironman Wisconsin is a real possibility. We had one year when it was in the 60’s and raining but for the most part we have been lucky and the weather on race day as of late has been just about perfect. So we are crossing our fingers that will happen in 2015.
Meanwhile we refused to show weakness last night at bike group and everyone still dressed like summer…
If you’re wondering about good ways to track the weather I’ve recently discovered a pretty cool website called www.windyty.com. This site shows live wind patterns, temperature, snow, rain, ocean waves, etc. You can view the entire globe or zoom into a certain area. You have the option to view patterns at surface level all the way up to 13.5k in the sky. For those of you about to head out for training, it’s work checking out. It’s worth it for the therapeutic attributes of watching lulling wind patterns alone.