What a year! 2017 IMWI did not disappoint, with great weather, amazing crowd support, and some excellent races by Team PBC. We truly became a family over the course of the season, grinding out sessions, training camps, and using each other for motivation ad support when times get tough. After months of preparation, everyone was ready to have THEIR best race.
Of the 7 of us that toed the line, 3 were first time finishers, 3 set Ironman PR’s, and 1 is going to Kona in 2018!!
The results speak for themselves. They are the product of smart work and hard work. Commitment day in and day out to get the best out of yourself. And an ability to execute under pressure. I’m so proud of these athletes!
Our Team has a great group forming for IMWI 2018. But first we have a few more big races on the calendar for 2017, including IMKY, AZ 70.3, IMAZ, Madison Marathon, and more!
As a coach, days like IMWI are the reason I do what I do. Seeing so many athletes accomplish their goals and learn more about themselves, it’s very rewarding to be a part of that.
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.
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.
It’s somehow nearly mid-July and if we take a moment to breath between backyard barbeques, bag toss, and s’mores, we realize that the triathlon season here in Wisconsin is a third over. Team PBC has had a busy little streak of success in 2015. It’s safe to say all athletes on the team have training days that test the will, which make the training days that don’t as sweet as apple pie. We’ve all had break-through moments mentally and physically. We’ve learned new things about the sport and ourselves along the way. Some of us have big goals looming in the latter half of the season such as Ironman Wisconsin or earning a professional license in the sport. Here are some mid-season highlights from Team PBC:
We have had a number of age group wins, podium finishes, and a handful of overall wins. Notably, Team PBC pro triathlete Molly Woodford took the overall wins at Lake Mills Sprint Triathlon and the Elkhart Lake Elite Olympic Triathlon. Keep your eyes peeled for her at Racine 70.3 in 2 weeks. Andrew Keily also took his first OA win in the Olympic Distance Wisconsin Triterium Triathlon. Earlier this season he finished Austin 70.3 with a time of 4:10:27, which was good for 5th OA age grouper. At that race he missed his pro card by just 19 seconds, but that just makes the journey even more worth it. Look for him at Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee this August.
Also racing at AGN will be Jen Anderson, who qualified for the race by dominating at Door County last season. Jen’s season is just getting started after a much needed early season break. We can’t wait to see how she measures up against the competition nationally.
Andrew Porn has had a competitive season so far, taking a few top 10 finishes and overall age group wins. He will also be competing at Age Group Nationals this August. The improvements keep coming as we approach his A race of the year.
Our troop of Ironman Wisconsin athletes includes Luke Gulbrand, Annie Hughes, Dan Perkins, Austin Kazda, Walter Langkau, and Jason Milesko. They have been putting in the miles and staying focused as race day approaches. They’re slaying minutes off previous PR’s in all 3 disciplines. We are nearly 2 months out and I cannot wait to see these athletes shine on race day. Come out and watch September 13th! Annie and Dan will be racing the Door County 70.3, and Jason will be racing the Racine 70.3.
Dana Kalina and Melanie Ott were new to Team PBC this season and we have loved having them as a part of group training sessions and out there competing at races. Both have had some amazing results including some AG podiums and top 10 OA’s. Dana has really started to turn heads with his cycling strength and now turns his focus to Door County 70.3 in just 2 weeks. Melanie is continuing to make gains across the board, and is 3 weeks away from Tri’ing for Children’s Triathlon.
Brandon Nguyen is just getting started with his race season, as he gears up for Pigman 70.3 and continues to progress toward Ironman Louisville. He will also be in Pewaukee for the sprint this weekend.
Dan Bradtke is in his first season of triathlon, he’s coming off of an Achilles rupture, and has still had some impressive results. Look for him next at Tri-ing for Children’s Triathlon later this month.
Our remote athletes are giving the Boulder community a run for their money. They’ve podiumed at a number of races and have more trophies looming in their future. Luke Gulbrand continues his impressive streak of great races as he prepares for his debut at Ironman in Wisconsin. Brandon Holm has become a very strong swim-biker, and as his run progresses will become very competitive at the front of the race.
We have a few athletes who have taken the 2015 season to focus on one sport specifically. Tyler Renk has seen his fastest ever 10k and quarter marathon times ever this year and our cyclists Dan van der Weide and Revere Greist have both had overwhelming success. Dan completed the Liege-Bastongne-Liege Sportive and is now rebuilding fitness after an injury from a crash. Look for him this weekend at Blue Mounds Classic Road Race and the Wisconsin State Championship Road Race. Revere’s highlights of the season so far were podium finishes in both the Time Trial and the Road Race at the Tour of Galena. He will be taking on the Blue Mounds Classic Road Race and is continuing to build his fitness for Cat 1 Masters Nationals in September.
Lastly, we have some promising new recruits coming on board for the end of the 2015 season and for 2016. We can’t wait to add their names to our roster and see them at team practices and races.
Best of luck to all of you out there as you Velcro up your cycling shoes and tighten your easy laces on race day… see you soon.
It finally happened. Winter. We somehow avoided significant snowfall here in Wisconsin until last week. And now we relocate to our dingy basement paincaves to hammer out intervals while sucking dry, dusty air and dreaming of warm summer days.
I was fortunate enough to be part of a story Trek Bicycle recently ran on paincaves. Read the article.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what’s going on here at PBC. Now that we made it through the holidays it’s time to put our noses to the grindstone and focus on the 2015 season. Here are some updates:
We have a solid roster for the coming season, with many athletes starting training this January.
Cycling classes at Pat’s Gym have been well attended by athletes who are putting in the work now in order to make their 2015 season a success.
Good news for anyone who works at Trek Bicycle: I will be teaching 1 hour cycling classes Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00am for the months of January and February. These classes are part of the Trek Wellness Program and will be free to all Trek employees.
T-shirt and hat orders are in. If you haven’t picked yours up already, contact me to set it up.
Kits have been ordered. You’ve seen the 2 piece triathlon kit and the road kit. Here is what the 1 piece tri suit ended up looking like (but with pockets). We are hoping to have them in hand sometime in February.
Looking forward to a great 2015! See you out there.
Cycling and Triathlon Coach, Madison, WII
Last week I had the pleasure of having a bike fit with Matt Gehling of Trek Precision Fit out at Trek HQ in Waterloo, WI. TPF is science and number based yet takes comfort into consideration. Using a stationary bike fitting tool, we made a few changes to my fit.
The first was we switched to a new saddle. Matt used pressure mapping to show that I was putting a lot of pressure on the nose of my previous saddle. I am now switching over to the Bontrager Hilo XXX and you can see from the before and after pictures below that the Hilo distributes my weight a lot more evenly.
We also moved my knee over pedal spindle back to take some weight off my arms and open up the chest yet maintain the aero position more comfortably.
The deliverable was a detailed report with an analysis on my new fit and why we made the changes we did along with photos to show changes in angles.
If you haven’t had a chance to get fit I highly recommend it. My fit with Matt will result in a more aero and more comfortable position for 2015. For those who live in the Madison area, TPF is available at the Madison Trek Stores. I have had a number of athletes see the specialists at the Madison Stores and have had great results. For those living elsewhere, start here: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/retailers/precision_fit/