Monthly Archives: August 2008

Three random thougths

One of my favorite Simpsons episodes was on today. It is the one where Lisa turns into a vegetarian. So many classic quotes in that episode. The “you don’t friends with salad” congo line and I especially like when Lisa steals the pig from the BBQ and homer is chasing it, “It’s a little dirty, it’ still good it’s still good”, “It’s a little wet it’s still good it’s still good”, “it’s a little air born it’s still good it’s still good”.

I have heard a lot about Usain Bolt’s over the top celebration and lack of respect. It doesn’t seem to bad when you compare it to actions like this from the Olympics.


It might because I am paying attention to the news more then I have in the past but it seems like there a lot more plane crashes, commercial and private. I would like to see the numbers and find out if that is the case but it just seems that way.

If the numbers back up an increase in crashes what I am waiting for is someone in the media to link the increase to the high price oil. Here it is for someone to use High oil price –> Less money for airlines –> cut routes and employees –> Oil still goes up —>  lose more money —>  scale back everything including maintenance. I would guess you could find numbers to show that the % of money airlines spend on maintenance has gone down over previous years. That would probably be realted to running less routes and having more efficient planes but if you tried hard you could find something. Those numbers wouldn’t be telling the truth but like many of you know that by framing numbers the right way you can make them say whatever you want to.

If I were in the airline industry what I would really be scared about is a turn in consumer confidence because as soon as people start doubting the safety of airplanes the industry is headed south really quick.

Luray International Distance Triathlon [Update with official times and ranking]

2:33:13 (80/317 overall, 5th in Age Group)


This was actually an eventful prerace experience. I drove down after work on Friday and about an hour from Luray the sky just opened up and started pouring. It was difficult to see twenty feet in front of you and on top of that it was driving through twisty mountain roads, not to much fun.

Once I got down there I got the packet and headed over to the race site. The lake was tiny and had great views of the surrounding mountains, very picturesque. Lucky for me the cooler weather the last week meant the swim was going to be wetsuit legal.

After that I went to drive the course. It was about 3-4 miles out and then a loop that you did twice before heading back in. From driving the course it looked like there wasn’t going to be a flat spot out there.

Luray is a small town and becuse I signed up late I had to get a hotel in the ‘next town over’, New Market. It was about a half hour away but required going up and over the mountains to the other side. I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, Johny Appleseed’s. They had some really good apple fritters, I guess that’s where the name comes from.

The race started at 8 so I didn’t have to get up ridiculous early. Heading out there was a really thick fog. Going up and over the mountain it cleared at the top and you could see it sitting in the valley. By time I got to the lake it looked it had all cleared, I found out later I was wrong about that.

I got everything set up and got a warmup on the bike. I had long sleeves on and was still cold it was probably in the high 50s or low 60s. I was having a little trouble with the shifting so went to the bike support and got that taken care of. Then it was down to the beach and the start of the swim.

Swim 1500 m: (25:42, 93/317,5th age group, )

The course was set up for two laps of a clockwise 750 meter triangle. Just like last race I was in the first wave, which is a very good thing because the bike course is not crowded. I had my best swim from a sighting standpoint in this race and am feeling a lot more comfortable with open water swimming with each race.

This was an in water start and I started on the right and towards the front. I tried to stay along the buoy line so I wasn’t adding distance like I usually do. I got about 25 meters from the first turn buoy, I sighted it and put my head down to start swimming and before I knew it BAM! right into the buoy. I pushed it out of the way and did an underwater dive type thing to get around it. I made another tight turn on the second one and headed back in to start the second lap.

They had about five waves so I was expecting to run into a lot of slower people from the other waves on the second lap but it didn’t happen. On second lap I ran into another buoy making a turn. I think what made this swim successful for me was improved sighting and better rhythm which came from not sighting as often as I had been doing in the past. Oh and the fact I got to wear the wetsuit, that helped a lot 🙂


T1: (2:41, 157/317,10th age group)

There was a run from the beach up some steps to the transition area. I had some trouble getting my wetsuit on and then lost some time with the helmet. Apparently after my warmup when I put my helmet away the straps got twisted and I got frustrated trying to get them untwisted and wasted some time.

Bike 25 miles: (GPS 26 miles 20.2mph, 1:17:42, 80/317, 6th age group)

This was a tough bike course. I also got introduced to what a “false flat” is on a bike course. After getting out of the park you go up for a little bit and then down a big hill, I hit 40 mph coasting down the hill. It was back up again until the right hand turn to start the two loops. The loop started with another big downhill but this was one was twisty, again I hit 40 mph but this time I was making some turns at 40 mph which was new experience for me. I reminded me of the Tour of California Time Course from a few years ago but not as twisty as this video:

At the bottom of the big hill was the fog that I saw on the way to race. My sun glasses go foggy and made it hard to see making me a little nervous but I was ok. It was up and down with some more high speed turns until heading out onto Ida Road? to get back to the start of the second loop. When driving the course Friday I was wondering where the elevation gain was to make up for the big hill at the start of the loop because I wasn’t seeing it driving. Turns out the several miles back on this road where a “false flat” meaning it looks flat but is a slight constant incline. This was really tough to grind up this road, working hard and not going very fast. Once you got back on that road the fog had dissipated again. I tried to do the second lap faster which I was able to, and the fog was back again which I was surprised about.   

Heading back towards the park was two steep climbs that were really tough like 6-7 mph working hard tough. I had this course measured at just over 26 miles on the gps and to average just over 20 mph without biking as much I had been I was happy. I also paced myself a lot better then my last Olympic race when I went 1:07:xx.

T2: (1:02, 70/317, 5th age group)

It was quick, bike shoes off, run shoe on, grab race belt and visor then out the door

Run 10km: (GPS 6.01 miles, 7:39 min/mile, 46:09, 95/317, 5th age group)

This was a 10k PR for me by over 3 minutes triathlon or open 10k. It was two 5k laps and was hilly as well. I started out really fast and ran the first mile in 7 minutes. I felt good to the turn around and on the way back in my legs started to feel heavy and I slowed down to 8:15 min/mile. After I got in the park and the second lap I felt good again and got into a grove running 7:20 min/mile for miles 3 and 4 four. At around the five mile mark I started to get some craps in my quads above the knees but I gutted it out and kept moving along to the finish line.



Last race I noted I felt like I was racing, this one I didn’t. I never really saw anyone in my age group and when I saw the results I found out why. I was fourth, the third place guy was 10 minutes ahead of me and the first and second about 15 minutes. Then after me I think it was a ten minute drop off to the next person. The first three where out of the water before me and I never saw them again. I would also like to note that if I would have entered Clydesdale (200+) I would won first place just like last week, so 4th in age group and first in weight group is good. 

The awards for this race where engraved wine glasses. I guess Setup Eventsfigures triathletes love to drink because the Culpeper race was an engraved bear mug. Maybe they know what they are doing because I am drinking an adult beverage as I am writing this.

This race was also a qualifier for best of the US race. The top three overall finishers in each gender qualified for the race. It’s the same way for each state and the amount of people that qualify is based on size, it’s a really competitive race. This brought out a really competitive field, my time would have put me in the top 30 last year but this year looks like a top 50 finish. I also have noticed my age group has gotten more competitive with all the college kids out for the summer and having all day to train.


Also I went by Luray Caverns after the race.

This was the best part, it’s a shallow lake. The water is perfectly still and what seems like is under the water is actually just a reflection of the ceiling. Very neat.

More random notes

I found this videoof the 4x100m relay. It’s a really interesting view to have the race. The arm turnover on the stroke is so fast it looks like the video is in fast forward. You can also see the French guys stroke fall apart in the last 15 meters.

I have another race this weekend in Luray, VA.

It’s an Olympic distance race on a really hilly bike course. If I can finish top two in the AG I will qualify for the 2009 Age group nationals and check one of the goals for the year off. I finished 2nd in the last Olympic distance that I did so we’ll see what happens this time. The good news is it looks the cool weather the past week is going to make the swim wetsuit legal which should be a good 2-3 minutes of my previous swim time. 

I’m planning on stopping by Luray caverns after the race as well which should be fun. It’s one of those things I went to as a kid that I have no recollection of.

I’m also going to do my first ‘teleworking’ today tommorow. I am only going to work a half day to leave early for the race and also because I have to go to a meeting next friday, an off Friday 😦 so I can take the tme off and get 80 hours for the two week period. Work is starting to get really busy which is both good and bad.

Random Notes Monday

  • The marathon plan is going really well. I ran a 16 miler on Saturday and felt great the entire way. I have ran 22, 27, and 28 miles the last three weeks. I am definitely feeling a lot faster.
  • I changed the position on my triathlon bike and dropped some spacers to lower the handle bars since I am more flexable now. It feels a lot faster now. I’ll have to see at the race this weekend if is faster
  • I decided I am not going to do the Patriots Half Ironman, I want to focus on the marathon and doing that race would require about a week of recovery and I would have to miss a long run.
  • The weather has been perfect the last week it was 75 when I went up to the track this evening. There is definitely a lot more people out then when it is 95.
  • I had a pace car during my track workout today. I did 5×1000 meter repeats and a 3-5 year old was at the track on his bike and fascinated that I was running fast so he biked next to me. He actually cut me off a few times and almost ran me off the track.
  • I forgot to put socks in my swim bag this morning so I went sock-less at work today. It felt really good, I might do it again.
  • If you haven’t watched the mens 4×100 meter free relay watch it now!!!!! Wow what a race, US break the record in the premlims and the French start talking trash. The last leg by the US was amazing, 46 seconds! They broke the world record by over 4 seconds, and of the 8 eight teams in the final I think six of them broke the record.

Whites Ferry Commuting

As part of my commute I go across Whites Ferry to and from work every day. Depending on how the timing works out it can take as little as five minutes if you don’t have to wait or twenty minutes if it leaves just when you pull up. Usually I have to wait about ten minutes or less so I bring a magazine to read while I wait.

It seems like most people do the same thing or just listen to the radio. Today I saw a new one, someone got of their car and grabbed a fishing pole from the trunk and started fishing in the Potomac. I guess that’s one way to pass the time and maybe bring home so dinner

Culpeper Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Overall: 1:28:43  ( AG 7/25, 45/338 )

This was highest overall finish, top 13% males but my age group was stacked and I wound up seventh. The swim wasn’t what I wanted and I held back on the bike to try and save something for the run and  it seemed like that worked.  


This race took place in Culpeper, VA which is southwest of DC in the foothills of the blue ridge mountains. It was a really gorgeous place I would love to come back here for another race and will probably dive down here one weekend for some climbing on the bike.

I drove down with my dad on Saturday. We got into town and picked up my packet then went to drive the bike course. I have found this is a very useful thing to do and helps me with where I could push the pace and where the quick turns and bad parts of the road were. This is a picture of the lake from the road leading in to the park.


We went and got some food at Buffalo Wild wings. I enjoyed the food and it would be a great place to go watch a football game, I recommend it. They had a neat device that let you play games like poker and triva against people at other tables, very fun.

We went to the hotel and we stayed at Microtel. I had never heard of it before but it was less then a year old so it couldn’t be that bad. We got there, checked in and the room was really nice. We upacked when Dad noticed that there was no shower head. The front desk guy tried to install one but couldn’t. He said he’d try to find us a different room but since the triathlon was in town no rooms of the same type were available. Instead he upgraded us to one of the suites they had for the price I was already paying.   

The hotel was 5 minutes from the race site. Prerace was uneventful I got there early and got a good spot then took the bike out to make sure everything was good, and a quick jog. Flopped around in the water and it was time to get started.


Swim 750 meters: 15:14 (2:02 100m) ( 115/338 )

I haven’t been swimming very much so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, just try not to fall too far back from the top people in my age group. I wasn’t able to do that.

I was in the first wave that went off. This was a good thing because it ment the bike course would be empty. I started towards the front and on the outside. If you look closely you can see me in that picture.

 The start was a little confusing. Everyone got in the water and the director said we have 10 minutes until the start. About 45 seconds later he said 30 seconds til the start and then it was off.

 This was probably the roughest swim I have done. I got kicked and ran into a lot at the start. It cleared up around the first yellow buoys until I ran into trouble again. There was one guy who was swimming on my left who could not figure it out that ot swim to the next buoy you swim parallelto them not perpendicular. I drew a picture to illustrate. He ran into the side of my 3 or 4 time until I slowed down, got on his left and then I was fine.


T1: 1:22 ( 64/338 )

There was a long run through grass from the transition area to the bike mount line. I have no idea how my transition was this fast, it felt a lot slower.

Bike: 48:45 ( 17 miles, 21.1 mph avg. ) ( 36/338 )


Here’s my bike with the fancy wheels and all ready to go.

The bike started on top of a hill in the park and then you made a hard right turn at the bottom and went up another quick hill. It was steeper then it looks in the picture.

I heard from a lot of people that did this race in previous years that it was a very technical bike course. I would agree with that, lots of twisting and turning. Some big downhills and a few quick climbs. There was a lot of variety on this course which was fun. I hit a max speed of just under 40 mph going down one of the hills. Again, previewing the course was very helpful and is a must do before every race.

In terms of the actual race I got up on the top of the first hill and settled into a good rhythm. I was moving along good but heard some rattling and was worried I had another flat. I looked down and was releaved it was only my water bottle sliding off it’s holding, not a problem just annoying. I made sure I was drinking on the bike this time and staying hydrated, I learned my lesson a few races ago.

One of the first people from the 30-34 wave passed me and I kept in him in sight for the next 5-10 miles trying to keep an even effort and not go to hard up the hills and then passed him going downhill. I caught up to a lot of the fast swimmers about 10 miles into the bike.

For my ability and riding experience I think I did a good job of handling the turns and carrying my speed through them. In the last 3-4 miles things started to get bunched up and I saw lots of drafting 😦  

The entrance back to transition was a hard right at the bottom of a very steep hill so I was in the hardest gear making the turn. I underestimated how steep it was to get back to bike mount. I was lazy with the shifting and put a lot of pressure on the pedals to get there and wound up popping the chain off the ring 15 feet from the finish. I jumped off and ran the rest of the way back. 

T2: 1:05 ( 97/338 )

You had the reverse of the long out. Running back to the rack I somehow managed to cut my left leg on the bike’s chain ring and had a nice little cut.

Run: 22:17 ( 3.04 miles, 7:20 min/mile ) ( 70/338 )

I need to look it up but this might be a 5k pr for me. It stated out up a decent sized hill I tried to stay at a good heart rate and get my legs going. Once at the top of the hill I let it go and picked up the pace.

About a mile in I picked off someone in the age group who was fading lot. I kept up a consistent pace until less then a mile to go and it was downhill and started picking it up again.

I saw someone with in the 15-19 age group and tried to catch him going down the hill and then ‘whosh’ someone in my age group goes blowing by me. I tried to keep up but he dropped me. It turns out he ran a 19 minute 5k, 8th fastest of the day.

I had a great run for me. It was neat because for the first time it felt like I was actually racing, unfortunatly I lost the race at the end but it was really fun.  



I picked up my stuff, changed, and then hung around waiting for results. I looked at the first posting and I was 7th, I figured maybe 3-4 of the people were in the open division so they wouldn’t count in the awards.

Plus the awards where custom beer mugs with the race logo on them and I really wanted one. It turns out none of the people ahead of me were in the open division so I finished 7th. Overall I had a good race and I guess I got spoiled by placing in a lot of my earlier races.

As a note if I would have done clydesdale (200 lbs+) instead of age group I would have won by over 4 minutes. One of stretch goals this year was to qualify for the age group nationals for 2009. Usually that means winning the age group to get in the top 10% but since there were 25 or so in this race I needed to finish top 3, I thought I had a change to do that but I wasn’t able to get it done.

Goal number 1 for the this winter is to get better at swimming.

Increased Cougar Activity at UMD

Apparently there has been an increase in cougar activity in and around the University of Maryland campus this summer.

I didn’t think there was too much cougar activity during my time at UMD, DC was another story though! Lots of very aggressive cougars there, found that out the hard way.  

I could be wrong because I didn’t spend to much time on campus during the summer, I was always working somewhere else. I could see why there would be an increase in activity during the summer. I think it can be attributed to two main factors.

1) A large portion of the student population leave for the summer so the cougars will have less competition for their ‘prey’.

2) Most of the people that do stay on campus are upperclassmen and graduate students so the cougars are betting on the fact they will be more receptive to being approached.







Oh, you mean they were talking about these kind of cougars. Never mind then.