Emmett Triathlon 2013
Looking forward to celebrating with friends and family, the Emmett Triathlon was a welcome reprieve from my demoted bachelor status at home. Hortense, Lola, and Guillaume had all been in France for 14 days, it felt like forever and I was only halfway to having them home. I would often come home to an empty somewhat un-kept house; get slightly depressed and head to the lake for a swim. Get depressed and head to the roads for a bike. Get depressed and head to the trails for a run. Or I would linger at the Y working longer with that ever present need to be home with the family no longer triggering.
I did have one friend at home; after many years of trying to get an orchid to bloom I finally had a beauty come out while the family was away. She was the only thing keeping me company in the house. She didn’t need constant attention so I basically worked, swam, biked, ran, and ate to stay out of the house only returning for slumber.
The week before the Emmett Triathlon turned out to be one of the best adventure/training rides I have ever been on. Walter had a plan to ride our bikes from Boise to McCall using mostly fire roads, a 120+ route with loads of climbing through Idaho’s mountains. Walter easily talked Jeff and I into coming on his excursion and we all decided to do it on our TT bikes. Here are the Strava ride details
This was both my longest ride by distance and time standards. Riding my SCOTT Plasma like a cross bike on Idaho fire roads gives me a new found respect for the bike…it’s a tank (a really light one). However, climbing dirt roads with road wheels and tires with an aggressive 54/39 175 crank arm and an 11/23 cassette in the back made for the toughest climbing I have ever done. I couldn’t stand up or the rear wheel would spin out. You had to have an even absolutely smooth pedal stroke to keep from slipping in the dirt. And my legs were screaming for more gears. Add to this some high mountain heat and a climb that seemed to reach into the clouds. You are scared to put a foot down because then, you may not be able to get back on your bike and walking in road cleats or bare feet is not much of an option.
The dirt road climbs on TT bikes were at times excruciating but also rewarding. The scenery and the adventure and the exploration trumped the quiet murmurs from my legs to stop. It is an amazing sense of accomplishment to use your bike to travel over such vast terrain. I can’t wait to do it again. I also think my favorite bike in the world would now be a SCOTT TT/Cross-bike hybrid so I can ride all over Idaho’s backcountry.
So, just a week removed from this stunning leg fatiguing ride I was now going to ask my legs to powerfully sprint a chip sealed 40k course on country roads in Emmett. I was optimistic and skeptical. Emmett was mostly a tune up for the Lifetime Series Chicago Triathlon 2 weeks away.
Morning of August 9th; predicted high is 100 degrees.
Having done this race several times in the past I made some goals to better my 10k run split (basically getting under 35 minutes), have a PR in the bike (55:20) and to PR my overall time (1:51:…)
I was training smarter than ever before in every discipline. My form was improving, my enjoyment of the sport was high, my balance with family, work, and training was humming along and I’ve been learning so much from being a Coach to 6 year olds up to 70 year old aspiring triathletes at the Y.
I was also very excited to put some recent pedal coaching techniques to practice in a race situation. Tom Coleman the owner of WN Precision has been gracious with his time…and it takes a lot of time to master ones focus on the dynamics of the pedal stroke. He has certainly helped zero in on what and how to be more efficient with each stroke. I love the subtle frustration the mind goes through when gaining/learning a new skill. I’ve been obsessed with practicing the techniques with Tom’s helpful coaching always in my ear.
The swim was a tough solo effort with Matt Braun never too far behind. On the bike I went hard and felt fast while having a tough time losing my smile…I felt like a kid having fun racing his bike. It wasn’t easy but in a way it was. I almost always had more to put into the cranks and when the bike was almost over I couldn’t believe it was already time to start running. I knew immediately that the bike training had paid off because my feet were unusually chipper starting the run. The SCOTT race rockers were flying! They just wanted to get after it, my legs were carrying my body quickly and efficiently and it was just so much fun.
I crossed the line feeling great in the heat and with a time that left me satisfied; 1:49:24. It was a good day indeed.
Now, I had the pleasure of putting on my coach’s hat and watching several of the athletes the Y TriClub works with put on some stellar performances. Great work guys! My dad who waffled a few times on whether or not too race due to lack of training finally decided to give it a go. Well, he put out a very strong effort, used some stunning Grandpa Power and won his age group 60 to 65 (he’s 61) with an impressive time of 2:20:37. Now, we just need to find some time for him to get some training in and see what he can really do. As fun as my race was I truly get as much pleasure out of watching the 60, 70 and 80 year olds race with such vitality. Blazing a trail for what is possible. Jim Gaughran at 81 and Charlie French at 87 were both there to race the sprint triathlon and give us all that gentle reminder to always find your play. Charlie and Jim have blazed a trail for anyone paying attention; to optimize your health you need to find some fun movement and do it your whole life.
Here’s to optimizing your health…