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Jul 13

So what do you do the day after a Triathlon?

Boise Stack Rock Baker Boys Sunday morning I met up with the Baker Boys, Shane and Dan, for a little morning excursion on the mountain bikes.  These are trails that we are not with so Shane got a disclaimer signed by Dan and I before the ride that we may run into some trouble, that the mileage scheduled may differ from the planned mileage and that he was not to be held accountable.  We agreed and we were off.

The first 5 miles of this trail were awesome.  Nice little technical ride with a steady climb and very nice scenery, and I’m not just saying that because the Baker Boys were riding in front of me.  There was a lot of trees and shade for most of this climb and the wilderness looked nice 🙂 .

We hit mile 6 and started a little steeper climb.  By this time many of our participants were bleeding from a tree limb that was straying into the course with some nice thorns on it.  Shane and Dan had a couple of pretty good cuts.  Being the guy in the back I learned from their experience and was able to maneuver through with a minor scratch.

We missed the trail that we were looking for and ended up at a dead end.  We doubled back and headed up another trail to another dead end.  This is where the fun part for any mountain biker began, hike a bike.

Shane Hike a Bike We headed straight up the hill with no trail trying to reach the ridge that somehow kept getting further and further away.  We used our stealth ability to avoid poison oak and ticks, I hope.  We got er done with bikes on backs and finally reached the ridge where we were able to hook up to another trail.  Surprisingly there were very few words from the “athletes?” on this hike that rhymed with truck.  It was a brutal climb.  We knew that we were out on an unfamiliar trail and that the odds of a hike a bike were pretty good, so it didn’t phase us too much mentally when it happened.  The hill, however, was steep so the thighs were burning pretty good.

stack rock boise Finally, we reached Stack Rock and stood by a tree hoping to get a higher concentration of oxygen.  We toured around the rock for a bit and then climbed up it to get a better view and eat some Powerbars, a couple Swedish Fish and maybe some GU.  We also took a break and reminisced about the hike a bike that just occurred and how trails are so overrated.  Even with the hike-a-bike we were all still having a good time.  However, we all knew we were going to be home later than we had told the wives, oops 😉  love you dear.

We spent a little time trying to find the correct trail to travel down to get us back to Avimor without having to make the same hike downhill.  We finally reached a turn off that took us straight down the hill, I mean straight down the hill.  This hill had you puckered so tight the seat was going to be there for a week.  The only thing that stopped this was the milk duds going the opposite direction which equaled things out.

Hike a Bike Break Time About a quarter of the way down I felt as if I was going to endo.  Somehow I laid the bike down fairly softly, got my feet out of the clips and took a 30 yard run down hill trying to stop.  I could hear Dan behind me laughing pretty good.  As I was climbing back up the hill to retrieve my bike I saw Shane about 10 feet off the trail on his bike.  This was his strategy as apposed to the bail and run I implemented.  The rest of the ride down was sketchy but I made it.  I managed to stretch the new rear break cable pretty good laying on it for the majority of the downhill.  There were two paths running side by side.  One had a runoff ravine in the middle of it that made staying on the trail a good challenge.  The other one had the Grand Friggin Canyon down the middle of it.  For this reason we chose the ravine side.

As I got to the bottom I looked uphill to make sure that Shane was making it ok.  I couldn’t see him.  I looked forward for a moment and then looked back and there he was, standing there beside his bike.  Shane had decided to take a nap behind a sage brush bush.  He billy the kid on peyotemade this involuntary decision rather abruptly.  Shane walked the bike the rest of the way down the hill and as he got closer he said, “I ate shit hard”.  I could tell when he got there that he was not joking.  His helmet had a few weeds in it.  I refrained from laughing until I knew he was ok, he did bite it pretty hard but he looked the Billy the kid on Peyote.  His helmet was full of weeds, dirty and kind of a dazed look on his face.

The rest of the ride was uneventful for the most part.  I hugged the right side of one turn and let my leg go through a bush that happened to be a bush with a giant rock inside of it.  It left a pretty good mark on the right leg and knocked my foot out of the clips for a little bit of an adventure ride with one foot in the pedals trying to navigate some rocks.  This scene also led to a little chuckle from Dan.  He said my bike was still riding pretty smooth, it was just me doing convulsions on it trying to get my foot back in the pedal that was funny.

So it was a highly eventful and blood drawing event but a great time and a great ride.  18 miles in about 4 hours.  Not bad considering the stops we made for injuries, pics, map reading, break time at the top with a tour and bush whacking.

Apr 14

This weekend I decided to take it a little easy since we have The Race to Robie Creek next weekend.

Tuesday we did an 11 mile mountain bike ride.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been on the single track and it felt really good.  It was a really windy day so we did the climb through Rocky Canyon so that we could have a wind shield.  This worked well until we got to the top.  Now we were riding at about a 65 degree angle leaning into the wind just trying not to get blown over.  Shane, Dan, Brent and I had a great ride despite the 40 mph breeze.

All last week I’d been craving a hill run.  Not sure how you can crave a hill run but I just had this itch to get into the foothills.  Tuesday we did the ride.  Wednesday the weather was awesome.  However, my day to pick up the kids since my wife had to work late.  Thursday was raining.  Ah, Friday.  Perfect weather.  Even though we do our long runs on Saturdays I decided to hit the foothills for an easy hill run.  It was a great run and a really nice way to start the weekend.

Saturday morning we decided to limit our run to 8 miles so we turned around a little early.  We did the Bardenay Route starting in Eagle an running the Green Belt.  I love this run it is mostly dirt trail and runs through a lot of wooded area along the river. 

Sunday I limited my ride to 40 miles and again the weather was perfect.  A lot of hills on the Cartwright Loop running through Hidden Springs.  There was very little traffic and almost no breeze.  Perfect for riding.

Feb 01

A group of us are training for an Ironman.  A few of us are doing Coeur d’ Alene Ironman and a few of us, myself included, are training for the Boise Half Ironman.  Last years, 2009, finish in the Boise Ironman had to have been one of the closest in Ironman history with Craig Alexander passing Chris Lieto in a final sprint to the finish.  Just watching this finish makes you want to get out and run.

IMG_8331 Training for marathons and triathlons with friends and setting goals in the same races is one of the best ways that I stay motivated.  There are some Saturday mornings where getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for the run just doesn’t sound fun.  These are the times that training with friends comes in handy.  You feel an obligation to be there in the morning and it pays off with some of the greatest runs you’ll have.

This morning we had a 40 mile ride planned out.  Even though the weather wasn’t cooperating 3 of us decided to give it a shot.  We headed out in a wet snowfall in 34F degree weather.  We made it out 1.5 miles when we discovered the water combined with the temp was just going to make this a miserable ride.  We ended up turning around and only getting in about 3 miles.  We got back to Todd’s house and Todd, Brent and I set up our trainers and turned the wheels for 2 hours.  Trainers are not the most fun when compared to riding outside and Todd, Brent and I all admitted that if we wouldn’t have been there as a group we probably would have only lasted about a half our on the trainer instead of two hours.

IMG_8341 Training for a Triathlon can get into your blood.  All of us enjoy getting together on Saturdays for a run and Sundays for a ride.  Eventually we’ll end up doing brick training on one of those days.  We all mostly do our own training during the week.  Some of us get together on Wednesdays for an interval run and spin class.  As soon as we have enough light in the afternoons, we will replace this workout with a small brick.

The foothills of Boise were full of runners this weekend and it is truly an awesome feeling to be up in  the hills looking over the city when the sun rises.

Jan 22

Lance Armstrong has said that he will race the Kona Ironman in 2011, 2012 at the latest.  I’m more than curious to see how he is going to do against the current standouts Craig Alexander and Chris Lieto.  He announced that he would race triathlons again in this interview with everymantri.com.

Jan 20

I asked this question when I started out and recently I’ve been asked the same question from friends thinking about doing Triathlons, “road bike or tri bike”.  When I started most of my friends were also just beginning and for the most part they all rode Road Bikes with clip on aerobars.  These friends, the ones that told me it really didn’t matter, are all now riding Tri Bikes.  So do I keep up with the Jones or keep my Road Bike.  I’ve only done 2 races and I’ve been training for about a year and I have been bitten by the Tri Bug.  Because of this I decided to do some researching on this question, Road bike or switch to a Tri Bike?  Ryan_Bike_2

The number one question to ask yourself , “what are you going to be using the bike for”?  Are you going to be riding with roady friends where drafting and handling are important or is most of your riding going to be for Triathlon training?

The biggest argument that I’ve read about in favor of a Road Bike is handling.  This can be important if you are riding with friends that do a lot of drafting or riding with non-triathlete friends.  Starting, stopping, moving in and out of drafting positions and the need for fast handling are all better on a Road Bike.  This is not to say that an expert rider on a Tri-Bike isn’t going to be able to handle that bike just as good or better than a lesser skilled rider on a Road Bike.  I’ve actually read about riding groups where a Tri Bike is discouraged because of handling.  Then again I’ve seen and heard of individuals in the same types of groups riding their Tri Bike.

You can put a set of clip on aerobars on your Road Bike and make your longer rides a bit more comfortable.  However, if your going to do multi-sport races such as a Triathlon or Duathlon a Tri-Bike may be better suited for your needs.

A Road Bike is going to set the position of your body back away from the handlebars compared to the Tri Bike.  This you may want to take into consideration when finding a bike that is more comfortable for you.  Notice the position of Lance Armstrong on his Tri Bike as apposed to my position on a Road Bike with aerobars.  You can really tell the difference in the angle of the arms at the elbow.  Also notice that on a Road Bike you gears are located on the brake lever.  On a Tri Bike the gears are at the end of the aerobars and the brakes are on the handlebars.

Lance Armstrong Paul_Bike_2

The Tri Bike has been specifically designed for a comfortable ride when positioned in the aerobars.  It is also believed that the transition from bike to run is easier because of the positioning and that you will be using more hamstring muscles leaving your quads feeling better for the run.  I’ve talked to a couple of riders that say their average speed was increased between 2 and 4 mph when riding a Tri Bike on long runs as apposed to the Road Bike.  However, keep in mind they were not really designed for group rides.  There is no drafting in Triathlons.  They were built for flat and rolling courses with less climbing.

So after researching this on the web, talking to the owner of Meridian Cycles in Meridian, Idaho and talking to my friends there are a couple of items you wan to take into consideration when choosing a bike.  What is you main purpose for the bike?  For what types of races are you training?  What type of riding does your group of friends do?  Most importantly, which bike is more comfortable for you?  Would it be cheaper to wait until one of the Jones family upgrades and buy theirs at a friend discount?  Unfortunately for me the Jones already upgraded and the new Jones snatched them up before me.  So it’s buy new or Craig’s List here I come.