Monday, September 7, 2009

April - May 2009

Ironman California 70.3

I love racing "Ralphs" every year as it is a great gauge of my fitness against a very high quality field. After finishing 6th in my age group last year I hoped to finish in the top 5 and get on the podium this year. I knew I knew based on my bike at the desert triathlon a few weeks earlier that I was riding fast but was not sure I had the fitness to ride well for 56 miles. I had been running very consistently this year but had not done many longer or faster runs.

Kylie and I drove down on Friday to register and catch up with a few friends. We stayed with a fiend of Kylies that now lives in the San Diego area, which was greatly appreciated.

Race morning was VERY cold and I eventually put on my wetsuit just to keep warm. The water though was not nearly as cold as last year. We were also very fortunate as the swim conditions were the calmest I have seen at this race. Unfortunately, my swim fitness was not as good this year as it has been in the past and despite the fast conditions I was about a minute and a half slower than I typically swim here. On the bike I felt very strong and purposefully held back in the first half of the ride so I would be strong on the back half of the course which is much hillier than the first half. Over the course of the ride I ended up in a small group of about 5 athletes of similar ability. We raced our way through many people from earlier waves, pushing each other to ride fast and fortunately everyone in our little group rode cleanly, keeping adequate distance from the rider in front. this winds were a bit more favorable this year and I rode significantly faster this year.
On the run I made sure to hold back as last year I had gone out too hard and ran the second lap much slower. I was more consistent this year and was a couple minutes faster despite having to deal with running through about a 1/4 mile of sand each direction on each lap.

I ended up going 4:34 this year versus 4:41 last year but dropped from 6th to 8th in Men 35-39.

Run Through Redlands
The Run Through Redlands is a big running race that has taken place in Redlands for over 20 years. There is a 5km, a 10km and a half marathon. Between the 3 races there a few thousand participants. Having just done Cali 70.3 a week earlier I did not race but we set up a booth in the expo to promote Redlands Spine and Sport.

PossAbilities Triathlon

This race is held each year in Loma Linda, California and is a special race for Kylie and I as it is the race we met at in 2006. It is another reverse triathlon with a 5km run, then a 10 mile bike and a 100 yard pool swim. Due to the short distances and the pool swim, a significant number of the participants are new to the sport of triathlon. However there is also a prize purse for the pros, so each year there are a few fast pro men and women competing for the money. I always enjoy racing against these elite athletes as it is a chance to get a first hand look at how fast they are.

This year was fun as I went back and forth for the whole 5km run with Bryan Rhodes, last years winner of Ironman Canada. Of course once we mounted our bikes he dropped me very quickly as he rode to the front of the race. I caught another of the pro men right at the end of the bike and was making up ground on the 3rd place guy in the race, but he passed me half way through the swim and we ended up just a few seconds back of the 3rd place guy. Bryan ended up second as he had to take the time to remove his socks before the swim - that sock change cost him over a thousand dollars! Michellie Jones won the womens race as she has done numerous times here before.

Wildflower Triathlon
The following weekend Kylie and I headed up to watch the Wildflower Triathlon at Lake San Antonio in Central California. We had a dinner party to go to the night before, so we did not leave until almost 10 PM. We made good time and pulled into the campground around 3AM. Since we would only be sleeping a few hours Kylie slept in the back of the CRV with Gracie and I laid my sleeping bag on the ground and slept until the sun came up an the athletes started milling about. As we walked to watch the start we bumped into Jocelyn Wong a friend of Kylie's from Harvey Mudd College who now races for Team TBB. We walked by the huge transition area and then watched the pro start. Once they were underway we walked a mile or so into the course so we could watch the athletes make their way up the tough climb known as Beach Hill. It was fun to see all these great athletes and surprise a few friends that were racing that did not expect to see us out there. Just before the first women started to climb the hill A mother deer and her young got spooked by a race motorcycle and got separated. The mother bounded up the hill but the young ones could not make it and were running scared up the hill right in front of Leanda Cave (pic above). We eventually walked to the "hot corner" where we could watch the athletes come in on the bike as well as catch them part way through the run course. Finally we headed to the finish and were able to see most of the top pros finish including our friend Scott Curry who had a great early season race coming out of a cold Calgary winter. Unfortunately, Tereza had a mechanical problem and was unable to finish the race.

Big Bear
One of the great things about living in Redlands is that we have such easy access to the local mountains. We finally took advantage of this and headed up to Big Bear with our friends Sean and Heidi and their dogs Walter and Misty May. We parked at one of the trailheads in Big Bear and hiked along a beautiful trail to the top of one of the local peaks.
After the hike we had a great lunch a a local Mexican restaurant.

We also went to one of the beaches on Big Bear Lake. Gracie REALLY wanted to play with some of the ducks ;-)

OC Duathlon
Kylie and I were scheduled to race the OC Duathlon along with some of the EE kids. This race brought out some strong competition as it was the USAT Southwest regional duathlon championship. It consisted of a 5km run, a 40km hilly bike and another 5km run.
It was a chilly morning and we knew it would feel even colder on the bike as some fog, clouds and rain were hanging in the valley where the bike course was located.
I started the 5km run running behind Luke Bell. At about one mile I knew that if I did the whole first run with him, I would not ride well, so I dropped back into the small pack that had formed a short way back. I had a quick transition and was out on the bike in 2nd place. After a few miles one of the pro men, Karl Bordine (former pro cyclist as well) flew by me, followed by Mac Brown another pro. Once I reached Santiago Canyon itself a few age group cyclists came by on one of the biggest hills. Initially I could not respond and keep up with their pace, As the ride went on, and I got more warmed up I was able to bring these athletes back and came into transition in the lead age group pack. Chad Walton who had won this race last year was a short way ahead of me out of transition and I bridged up to him by the first mile. At the turnaround I went by him but he stuck with me and we went back and forth until the climb to the finish with a half mile to go. At this point he surged and I just did not have the top end speed to stay with him. In the end I was 5th over all and 2nd age grouper.
1st run: 17:15, bike: 1:00:35, 2nd run: 18:06.
Kylie had a great race as well and was third in her age group.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

March 2009

Redlands Classic Road Race

The Redlands Classic is one of the biggest events in the Redlands area. The city is very much behind this historical race and is probably one of the reasons there is such a large cycling community here. My new office is located downtown right on the biggest corner of the crit course. We erected our EZ up and a bunch of lawn chairs in front of the office to catch all of the action. We also had a table set up offering free water and lemonade for the spectators and encouraged them to take some of our office literature. The first picture shows the mens pro race spread out along an entire block as they picked up the pace accelerating out of the sharp turn in front of the office. The second is Gracie with a new found friend ;-) This little boys dad was watching the race and stopped for some lemonade so his boy decided to lay down against Gracie to play with her.

The following week we headed up the mountain to Xantusia - the home of Dan Empfield and his neighbor Mark Montgomery, two legends in the sport of triathlon. There was a BBQ, numerous bike fittings by Dan, Jordan Rapp and John Cobb, and a group bike ride up to the local ski resort. The first pic shows some of the group just pre ride.
Down in the valley floor where Dan and Monty live it was a beautiful day for a ride and actually quite warm. After a short loop on the desert floor we began the climb towards Highway 2.
As we climbed higher the flora changed from desert vegetation to mountain pines. Along the way the temperatures also dropped. By the time we reached Highway 2 across from the ski resort there was a fair bit of snow on the ground but we were working hard enough to stay warm. After a short chat at the top we bundled up for a fun descent back down to Xantusia.

Here's Kylie approaching the top with snow visible through the trees.

Desert Triathlon

Kylie and I traveled to La Quinta with the kids from Exceeding Expectations for the Desert Triathlon, which is a 1km swim, 40km bike and a 10km run. Between the triathlon and duathlon we had a number of kids at this race. After helping the kids get registered and helping to make sure their bikes were ready to race we got our own transition area ready and then headed to the start.
I sighted well and stayed right on the buoy line but had a very lackluster swim. I tried to make up some time in transition and got quickly onto the bike. The bike takes you out from the lake area to a loop which you do twice. The loop is very flat and did get a little crowded on the second loop as we started to lap those on their first loop. I started out near a small group of guys on the first lap and dropped them on the second lap. Just before turning back to the lake I was passed by a guy in my age group. Onto the run I passed a number of people and got to within 10 seconds of the guy who passed me on the bike before he extended his lead back to about 20 seconds by the finish to win our age group. So 2nd in Men 35-39 and 8th overall. Swim and run are not yet where they need to be but I was quite pleased with my bike ride.

Redlands Spine & Sport

Redlands Spine & Sport finally opened in February 2009. This first picture shows the front of the office with our new sign over the door.

I had a grand opening coupon produced that I gave away at local races, at chamber events, my networking group and anywhere else I could make people aware of our new office.

We had a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Redlands Chamber of Commerce which brought dozens of people through the office. Many stayed for a couple hours to enjoy the food and wine!

Our Adjusting Room. The computer is part of our Electronic Health Record system. The Leander flexion distraction table is great for patients with low back pain or lumbar disc bulges.

Reception Area.

Our Examination Room includes a digital x-ray system.

January - February 2009

Our first race of 2009 was the Highland Half Marathon. This is a local race, less than 10 miles from our house. The course is actually part of one of our regular rides we do on weekday mornings. As a result I knew this race would be a steady uphill on the way out and a fast downhill all the way back. Once again we were volunteering with the Exceeding Expectations kids so our day started early as we picked up some of the kids to bring them to the race and then helped to make sure they all got registered and got their numbers. It was a cool morning and I felt cold the whole time, even during my warm up run.

Once the race finally began we had a short straight away before a right hand turn up a steep hill, by the time we got to the top of this hill we had a group of 5 with a large gap on the rest of the field. After a couple more right hand turns we turned downhill before making a left turn onto the road where 90% of the race would take place. By about mile 2 I realized that I did not yet have the fitness to hold onto this group for the rest of the race and I had to let them go. For the next 5 and a half miles or so we continued to climb towards the turnaround where we would descend to mile 12.5 and then climb the last half mile to the finish. If I thought the uphill was tough on the legs, the downhill was just murder on the quads. (My toes were not too happy about all the downhill either). Once I let the lead group go the race was pretty uneventful. I didn't catch anyone and no one caught me, so I finished 5th overall in 1:22:53. The time is actually quite deceiving as I believe I had the fitness to run under 1:20 on a flatter course.

Kylie had an AMAZING race! She ran 1:48 which is her best time for the half marathon distance. Unbelievable to run a PR on that course. Her training is really paying off.

The following weekend Kylie and I traveled to the Santa Clarita area to do our first cycling race - a 20km time trial. We really enjoyed being able to really push ourselves on the bike without having to worry about running afterwards. We had fun and will probably do more of these in the future. We both won the public division which was an added bonus!

To finish off our three consecutive weeks of racing we raced our hometown event, the Redlands Triathlon. I have won this race the last two years so I felt a bit of pressure to repeat as champion. Fortunately we were so busy helping the Exceeding Expectations kids get registered and getting their bikes ready that there was no time to dwell on what was going to happen in the race. Unfortunately though, as is typical with this race the3 weather refused to cooperate and we had to deal with cold rain throughout the morning.

The race is a reverse triathlon with a 5km run, an 8ish mile bike and a 150 yard pool swim. As soon as the gun went off there were a bunch of people that went out VERY fast, but I knew that most of them were doing the 5km race and that many would start to fall back by the 1st mile mark. The only person I was worried about was another local athlete Kyle Simmons, who had finished 2nd here last year. He is a talented athlete who will be leaving to run track and cross country at a university in Arizona this fall. My plan was to try to limit the time he put into me on the run so I could catch him on the bike and then win the race on the swim. I did a pretty good job finishing the run within striking distance to Kyle and was confident I would catch him within the first lap of the bike just like last year. However, it was not to be. I felt like I was pushing hard, but just couldn't make up any ground and felt like I was struggling to maintain speed. On the way out on the second lap I finally realized I had a slow leak in my back tire which explained why I felt so sluggish! I was a little worried on the downhill coming back to transition and rode very conservatively to make sure I stayed upright. From transition I ran to the pool to see Kyle almost finished the swim and knew the race win was his.

A big congratulations to Kyle as even without my flat tire he was very strong today and would have won regardless.

We were able to catch two stages of the Tour of California this year. On Saturday we headed down to Pasadena and met up with friends Rich Sawiris and Vickie Appel of to watch the finishing laps around the Rose Bowl. Kylie and Gracie are on the hill across the street with Lance and eventual Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer in foreground.

The next day we drove down to San Diego to watch the start of the big stage that included a climb up Palomar Mountain. It was the first time we have been at the start of a stage of a big cycling event like this. The atmosphere was very cool with all of the team buses, team cars, riders and fans everywhere. Of course the biggest groups of fans were around the Astana bus as people hoped to catch a glimpse of Lance Armstrong in his first big event since coming out of retirement. I did manage to get a pretty good picture of Lance as he headed to the start line from his bus.

Friday, August 7, 2009

December 2008


Kylie and I raced the Tinsel Triathlon in Hemet, CA for the first time. We knew a lot of people at this race as there was a good showing from Inland Inferno and we were volunteering with the Exceeding Expectations group. It was a VERY cold morning, we actually had to scrape frost off of the car window before we started to drive. Once at the race site we registered, set up our transition area and then helped to get the kids ready to race (pumping bike tires, making sure they all had numbers and got them set up in transition).

The Tinsel Tri is a reverse order sprint triathlon that has been going on for many years. This was by far its biggest turn out ever with over a 1000 people in the tri and accompanying 5km race! I found it tough to get going initially in the cold and was a ways back after a mile, but I slowly closed the gap to the front and passed a number of people by the end of the 5km. I had a quick transition and on the bike I quickly caught a couple of runners that were just ahead, in another mile or so we passed the guy who had led the run so it was just three of us. The bike is about 12 miles long and is very flat and fast. None of us was able to get away by the end of the bike so we entered transition together. They were in trisuits so just got off their bikes and ran to the pool, I had worn a long sleep cycling jersey that I needed to get off but the zipper broke and it took me a while to get it off. I figured I had lost the race right there but ran to the pool, and jumped in. On the second length I caught one of the guys and realized as I made the final turn that I could catch the first guy as well. I pushed the final 50 meters hard to pass him and get out of the pool and to the line in first place!

Kylie also had a great race and finished first in her age group!

As I mentioned in the November 2008 post, I finally found office space! Here is the picture of the space right after I signed the lease. After all the difficulty finding a space I really lucked out with this one. Its downtown, has 6 of its own parking spots and the build out was done by the previous tenants. I spent a lot of time in December shopping around for deals on furniture, equipment and supplies to get ready for the opening.

We had a huge December snowstorm and decided to take a drive into the mountains to check it out. We drove up to Angeles Oaks and hiked some fire roads which were closed due to almost 2 feet of snow! Gracie LOVED it!

We spent Christmas this year in the Bay area with Kylies family. We enjoyed a number of runs and hikes in the trails of China Camp State Park. Kylies mom and Dennis have a trail that leads from their backyard and connects to this park which is awesome. Picture is of Gracie enjoying the smells, the trails and the views over the bay during one of our walks.

After another awesome Christmas morning run in the State Park we came back to enjoy Christmas with family and opened presents. Rope toys are Gracie's favorite, so she was very happy to receive a new one ;-)

Monday, December 8, 2008


Can't believe that November is already behind us and the holidays are just ahead. Much of November was spent working toward the opening of my new office. Things are moving along but not nearly as quickly as I might have hoped. I finally found a good location and signed a lease! I got the key last week and hope to open in January. The difficult part has been securing the funding I wanted to purchase equipment and supplies as well as cover overhead for the first few months . The credit crunch has made lenders very leary about lending to start up businesses. The equipment vendors I am dealing with have never seen someone with credit as good as mine have difficulty securing loans in their 20+ years in business. Oh well, Redlands Spine And Sport will open in January, we just may have to wait a year or so to add some of the equipment and services we had hoped to have at our opening. I can't wait to get out of the house and into the office treating patients and helping them to get well!

Run training has been very consistent as we have continued to run every day. I am now doing more of the runs on my own so more of my weekly miles are at a faster pace while we still have "family runs" on other days. Unfortunately, my swimming and cycling have not been nearly as consistent, which is something I want to work on in December and January as I build towards California 70.3 in April.

In early November we made a road trip up to Santa Cruz and the Bay area for a wedding and visited with Kylies family.

A couple weeks later we went to Arizona to cheer on a number of friends that were racing Ironman Arizona. It was fun to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in many years. I swam with Scott Curry at the Gatorade swim the day before the race. Scott and I used to race against each other 10 years ago, he has continued to progress in the sport and is a phenomenal athlete. We also reminisced about the Trisport Series with Graham Fraser as I raced in his series throughout most of the 90's. We were also cheering for Marky V who is Kylie's coach. We brought Gracie with us and she loved it all - the drive, getting petted by tons of different people, walking for hours while we cheered and especially getting to sleep on the bed.The next day after watching the race we headed out to Tucson to visit Kylies brother and his family. Coincidentally her dad and bonus mom Wendy were also visiting that weekend as well so we got to have an early family Thanksgiving dinner! We had a great time and a great meal but it sure was difficult keeping my eyes open on the drive back to California with that tryptophan in my system. ;-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

October Running

Over the summer, I was dealing with some chronic shin issues that never had the chance to heal. After our last big race of the year - Muskoka 70.3 I took a break and did not run for the rest of September allowing my legs the chance to rest and recover.

After those couple weeks I began a new running regime. I ran frequently but for short periods of time and at an easier pace. I want to allow my legs to build up their strength slowly to avoid injury. Since the beginning of October I have run every day. The first week I ran only 10 minutes, the second week 15 minutes, etc. I am now doing 30 minutes every day and my legs feel GREAT. Not a hint of discomfort.

Typically my running speed will be in the 7:00-7:30 range for almost all of my runs. In this build though I have been enjoying running with Kylie and Gracie for all of the runs and have thus been running around 9 minute miles. Not only have we been able to enjoy a lot of family time on our runs but the runs have benefited us in different ways. The reduced speed for me has allowed me to increase my run frequency while allowing my shin to heal. At the same time, Kylie has enjoyed the the company on her runs and has benefited from the consistency.

While I will start to increase the speed on many of my runs as I build towards next years races, we will keep a couple family runs each week as we both love them so much.