Friday, March 30, 2007

Wildflower Training

Two cupcakes and I...oh and bikes too

Long, Long Post. Eat in slices.

Friday morning I rolled out of bed groggy and tired but excited. I was up till the wee hours of the morning finishing work related stuff and packing. Spamsi was my ride down and being the Social Director in charge of the whole show she had to be there early to get things rolling. As I got ready I started to have a craving for coffee and donuts. That's me when I'm tired, a desire for coffee and sugar. Well it was my lucky day, after getting coffee from the coffee shop downstairs, waiting for me in the car was a pleasant surprise - two cupcakes.

Spamsi, besides all the other stuff that she needed to do had also been baking like a fiend. She made cupcakes and bread for her cabin as well as a three layered cake for Coach Neil whose birthday was on Saturday. Even the cake frosting was made from scratch. Spams my birthday is in November. I ate my two cupcakes on the way down and managed to sneak out another from Cabin 5 later that evening. I picked the right time to attend my first WFTW.

Image courtesy of Spamsi.

So off we went. Picked up some supplies along the way, met up with other folks as well, had lunch. We got to Lake San Antonio around 2:30PM. It was nice and warm. I was tired yet excited. I couldn't decide whether to nap, swim or bike. Unfortunately it wasn't up to me, there was stuff to do before the rest of the club checked in. By the time I was done it was 5PM and time for my shift at the welcome table. I managed to get it covered however, got some folks from cabin 7 to join me and off we went to the lake for a swim. By the time I got back I just had enough time to shower and head out for my free 30 minute Chiropractor visit. Yup free. One of our sponsors sent down two of their guys to perform free chiro tuneups for Friday and Saturday. Pretty nice huh. Space was limited and the online sign up was full in minutes. It was however not a feel good thing, it was downright painful but I felt loose and better afterwards. The chiro guy, Adolfo, made a comment that he'd never worked on someone with such tight legs. Haha, I didn't tell him about my slacker habits with stretching and the type of miles I put in on the weekends. The rest of the night was spent at Cabin 5 (event headquarters). There was a meeting the coaches session and an ice breaker. During this whole time people were coming in, not everyone was able to leave the city early and registration was open till 11PM. A lot of folks choose to carpool which was a great thing. I'm sure new friendships were made just on the way over. Good to have company on a 3 hour drive, 4 with traffic. In between all the activity at C5 I managed to get some food down, wasn't the dinner I was thinking of though. No one was cooking at my cabin, good folks but no cooks.

Bike clinic / briefing.

We were up by 7AM in my cabin. I had the couch, everyone else had the rooms. I choose to be in the living room because I snore when tired, besides I had it all to myself. We made breakfast and hung out for a bit. By 8:30AM we were down at C5 for the Bike Clinic. The coaches from Endurance Mill Valley and Coach Neil from TriMoreFitness was holding court. I was snapping pictures with Spamsi's camera while trying to source out a pair of bike shorts since I had forgotten all of mine's. The long ride on running shorts would have been uncomfortable, I wanted that padding. Fortunately Alan was able to lend me one. I wasn't worthy to wear his shorts being that he consistently places in his age group but I was very grateful. There were 2 rides that day; long course of 56 miles and the short course of 24. I was with the long folks. Matt of Endurance Mill Valley had a lot of good points on the bike, the one that stuck with me was the "circles on the hips" advice. I've been practicing that since Saturday. Basically he told us to stop focusing on our feet so much, a mistake a lot of people make since the foot is the interface with the pedal. Instead he had us focus on our legs, hips. Make the circles of your bike stroke in your upper legs not with your feet. I thought that was genius. I always focus on my feet.

Ride started easy enough, there was about a 100 of us, maybe more and we managed to stay together at first. As we were riding out of the park there was a pack of Deer on our left watching us go by. One of them even moved to the edge of the field to take a good look at us. I thought it was cool but didn't think much of it until 5 minutes later when I saw a brown streak to my left closing in fast on a perpendicular path to the road. I applied the brakes and the lead deer came flying across about 20 yards in front of me. I made it through but the riders behind me started yelling, "DEER! DEER! DEER!". The other deer in the pack came running through like a mini stampede, galloping right across the path of the bike group. Fortunately no one was broadsided, something must have spooked them.

After the little excitement I settled in. I was still riding alone until I fell behind a group that was making good progress, a bunch of folks that I knew. I latched right on to the back of Lori's wheel. She in turn was behind three other strong cyclists who was leading the group. In cycling you are faster, save more energy when you ride in a group, provided you're not the one in the front. The phenomena of drafting is illustrated well by boats. The lead boat(s) plow through the water creating a smoother path of water behind it. Boats following behind use less energy, travel faster because of the smoother path. Same with cycling. The person in front creates an air pocket behind them, people riding behind encounter less resistance, you can imagine how much more beneficial this is when there is a head wind. Lori and I were the slower riders in the group and couldn't contribute by taking our turn in the front. The group traveled at a good rate of speed and we passed a lot of riders this way, especially those who were traveling alone. Eventually however the people in front kicked it another gear and Lori and I got "dropped", the cycling word for getting left behind:) Once you fall away from the slipstream you will find yourself being rapidly left behind. As Lori fell back a few bike lenghts I jumped ahead of her to see if I could bridge us both back to the group, her riding behind my slipstream as I inched back to the group. No dice, they were just moving too fast at that point. Both exhausted we pedaled along until a couple of friends passed us and we hung on their wheel. Again we rode together for a few miles until ultimately we got dropped again, we had wasted too much energy trying to hang on to the first group. Hahaha! We were like orphans looking for a family. It stayed this way until the first aid stop. There we met up with a group that was riding a few minutes behind us and we rode out of the aid station with them. This group Lori and I rode with for the rest of the ride. I knew Lori but never ridden with her before and it was a fun experience working together like that. Cycling really emphasizes teamwork and I love it when it happens. Unfortunately drafting is illegal in triathlon. The course was beautiful and not too hilly. The weather warm but not too hot. Towards the end of the ride there was one substantial hill, "nasty grade", it was nothing. About 1500 feet for 1.5 miles. It's a good climb and I'm sure come race day it will hurt but it ain't all that. If you're not used to hills it's a big deal but here in the bay area there is not a lot of hill free rides. The climb up Nasty Grade was followed by some long downhills. The women in our group was absolutely fearless, they took point and pushed their bikes to 47-48 miles an hour. I was at the back at 43 mph. I'm not ashamed to say that I do get squeamish on the downhills, all it took was a couple of falls. By the time we made it back it was about 12:30PM. Some of the folks in our group were extending their ride by a few miles, Lori and I declined and made a beeline back to headquarters. There were a select few that was riding the course again for 112 miles, race distance of an Ironman bike event. I was happy with my 56 miles. Ran into the cabin, inhaled more energy gel and energy drink and I was off to the 1PM Swim.

Swimmers Blur
Swimmers headed down to the lake. Image courtesy of Spamsi.

The swim was great but oh so slow. It took me forever to swim a mile. I won't post the time here because I am greatly embarrassed. One of these days I'm going to sign up for one of those swim clinics where they video tape you underwater, go through the tape with you, prescribe exercises that you can work on. Maybe in the summer. Anyway it was slow and steady. I am however comfortable in the water. Come race day that swim will get done one way or another.

From the swim it was off for a 2 hour run. I had no idea where to go so I just followed the bike course until I found some trails. Great thing about this area is there are a lot of trails and fire road but even the fire roads here are softer than what I'm used to. It would have been longer but I promised to help out, take pictures during the "transition contest", the video of which was taken by Brian McNitt (see previous post). I had just literally finished running when I joined the crowd. The ladies were not pleased:) I was sweaty and very salty. Most people had already cleaned up and were ready for the BBQ. Bah so what. I had a beer and took pictures of the event.

The Saturday evening BBQ was delicious. Just the food I needed after a day of eating nothing but energy gels and energy drink. The beer slowed me down but made me hungrier. After my one beer I was done, I was content for the rest of the night to just sip lemonade. The first one mellowed me out so much that I didn't want to fall asleep in the middle of dinner. I had a good day and now I was just coasting through the evening. Everyone was in a great mood and all seemed to be having a great time. If you came into this event not knowing anyone you would have no problems.

With pals Mari and Alyssa at the BBQ.

Saturday night found me bouncing from a couple of cabins. C5 had snacks and Cranium, C11 were having drinking games and dessert. The campers up the hill had a fire going and were enjoying the scenery. Most people were done before midnight from what I heard, I know I was. The day wore me out.

I was up at 7AM again to finish packing and meeting Kelvin at 8AM for our long run. We had early checkout so I got my stuff in order and trucked it to C5 before the run. Kelvin was at C5 which made it very convenient. The afternoon before he approached me about skipping the 8:30AM Swim Clinic and doing a run instead, then re-joining the group when they did their run at 10AM. In triathlon you are supposed to spend the most time in your weakest event, for me that would be the Swim; however I needed my long run. It seemed like a win-win situation, I get my long run in with a running partner. Kelvin was one of the folks that did the 112 mile bike ride the day before. He's an animal when focused. No wonder he seems to never stop eating. Skinny but eating non-stop. So off we went by 8AM, both heavy with breakfast, both a little slow from the day before. Kelvin is a faster runner so our pace was a bit faster than I'm used to. But it was a pace I could keep up and I welcomed the challenge. After an hour we were grooving and we ran the half-marathon course in 1:46. The course is 40% asphalt 60% trail on rolling terrain. Again like the bike there was supposed to be this difficult was nothing but it does come at the 9-10 mile mark of the run. If you're hurt or wasted by this time, this hill will take your name. I still remember Big Kahuna last year where my back muscles cramped up and every incline was torture. I will do my best not to make that mistake again, besides I've been riding this season. We got back in while people were just getting started on the Run Clinic. Kelvin and I spent the time getting something to eat and doing some easy jogging to stay warm.

As we started on our second loop, I felt great but it passed quickly. As they say in Ultra, "if you're feeling good don't worry it will pass". It was a struggle to maintain my earlier pace and my heart rate was close to or at max. Then my legs started to feel really tired, undoubtedly from the activities the day before and from keeping up with Kelvin. 4 miles into it I let Kelvin go, backed off and settled on a slower pace. The second half was definitely more challenging and it was good to experience because come race day I would probably enter the run feeling much like this or worse. Good to get that practice now. The silly hill wasn't so silly anymore but it still made me laugh, this ain't no hill. I managed to get lost which is so like me and tacked on an extra half-mile to my run. That's so typical Rick! The second half cost me about 2 hours this time. That run did me in. I was no longer maintaining a normal walking gait after that. Cleaned up and called it a weekend.

WFTW After Run
After the run.

We stayed until most people had checked out and then it was off to the outlet malls at Gilroy, there we met up with other folks at Inn-n-Out for burgers, fries and a milkshake. It tasted great after such a weekend. By this time I felt like sitting at every opportunity. While Spamsi did a little shopping I sat outside and greatly enjoyed all the sitting. I wore myself out! What a great weekend.

WFTW weekend was everything people said it would be and more. Endurance Mill Valley and Tri-More Fitness did an excellent job coaching. The people were great. People have made comments expressing the same especially from the new kids. The caterer for the BBQ did an excellent job and we have them again for race weekend. The weather was fantastic. I thoroughly immersed myself in the workouts and the socializing, not a wasted moment on my part. And most of all, Spamsi did an excellent job of putting it all together. This is her second year as Social Director so the torch is going to get passed to another at the end of the year. Whoever it is has big shoes to fill.

There was only 20 people at track on Tuesday and most of those who showed up were at WFTW. We must have all looked worn out cause coach M2 canceled the benchmark workout we were supposed to do that night and gave us a recovery workout instead. Kelvin only completed half of the exercises which put a smile on my face, you just couldn't see it cause I was having my own problems getting my 200's done:) Tonight at Spin I was back in form, still a little tired but crankin like a fiend even with my 4 layers of clothing. Sweating like crazy, hot but having a good strong spin. This was followed by a 23:32 5k on the treadmill, although by this time I shed the layers - couldn't handle the heat anymore. Mari who was on the second class complained of being tired all week, hahaha good job Mari now just give your body some time to recover.

I took a lot of pictures, we also opened solicited images from the club and I took ownership of editing, organizing and posting all the pics to our team Flickr site. If you want to see more images here are the two options we gave our members. Enjoy.

WFTW07 Highlights

Complete Set


  1. Squirt =P10:08 AM

    I cannnot believe I just read that whole post, but good report =]
    and those hills and you talking about not being a speed demon like the ladies on the downhills with the bike made me laugh a little lol.
    You and those cupcakes.
    That one guy in the group picture you have who's on your right..he's HUGE, but looks friggin strong.
    Anyway, PROM IS TONIGHT! whoop whoop!

  2. Rickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk Good post so far BUT I have to come back to finish :-( running late but I will be back later on ( i need a speed blog reading course-lol)

    and love the " Two cupcakes and I...oh and bikes too ) Picture that is a classic

    Later Bro,


  3. Sounds like a very eventful and fun-filled weekend. I'm tired just reading about it. : ) Great job getting in all those workouts!

  4. I'm exhausted just reading your post and I'm also hungry from looking at the baked goods.

    So , glad it turned out great for your group!

    Yesterday when I was at Aquatic park, I told my racewalking buddies that this is where crazy Rick swims..

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. ooops had to EDIT so deleted--

    Rick Said:I made it through but the riders behind me started yelling, "DEER! DEER! DEER!". The other deer in the pack came running through like a mini stampede, galloping right across the path of the bike group. Fortunately no one was broadsided, something must have spooked them.
    YIKES, that would hurt to get body slammed by a DEER...Hi Honey how was your bike ride and what are those antlers sticking out your side...oh it was fine and that was just a DEER that plowed into me :-)

    Great event Rick & Spamsi sounds like a perfect social director-good job Spams

  7. Wow, do I ever feel lazy by comparison, Rick! :) That is what I call an active weekend.

    That was an awesome report. Sounds like a fantastic weekend with some really great people. Nicely done. And I am certainly glad nobody collided with the deer! Wow, that is kind of scary.

  8. I want tha bread!!!
    Can you have any more pictures of yourself hugging girls?

    Awesome weekend, indeed:)
    Did you book your tickets for BH yet?

  9. Squirt =P3:09 PM

    Blades of Glory?
    So where'd you find the time to even watch that in your "social life?" lol