Sunday, March 28, 2010

We're in day 2 of Tucson camp #2 and having a great training experience so far. This camp includes 17 athletes from throughout the country and Canada... and as always, everyone is as nice as can be. We have some very accomplished athletes at this camp too... including a couple Ironman Hawaii finishers and some top age group athletes. The balance of experience levels is great with several folks new to endurance sports competition as well.

Yesterday, we rode our now infamous San Manuel ride, which is a challenging 70 miler, followed by a 30-40 minute run. The weather was great, with temps in the 60's and sunshine, but with some steady winds. After a lecture on nutrition, we went over to a former camper's home for dinner and drinks. Situated high in the Tortilita Mountains, this new resort-like home offered incredible views of the valley and the mountains.

This morning, over half of the group ran (some pictured here) the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon or 5K Road Race. It was a beautiful morning with temps in the low 40's warming to the 60's. The course is touted as 'rolling hilly' ... but most would agree it's a very tough race. Everyone had a great time and we'll be planning on this event again for future camps. Go here for results,

Those who chose not to run rode 50 miles instead. The runners then went out on a 1.5 hr 'easy spin' at noon to loosen the legs, which felt great! Then we had a 3 pm swim, totaling around 2500 yds, followed by a lecture on bike fit at 5pm.

Overall it was a great day of training in Tucson with cloudless skies, warm conditions and a nice mix of high intensity racing with some lower intensity recovery. Tomorrow (Monday) is our ride up Mt. Lemmon... always a memorable experience!

Train Smart,
- Coach Troy

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CPR saves the Day

I just had one of those life defining moments I wanted to share with you. Still a little shaken, so it'll be brief.

This morning I was having a bagel and coffee at a local bagel stop in town when a group of cyclists rolled up for morning coffee. It's a local cycling club of retirees who take a little breakfast break each morning.

As I sat there, I noticed that one of them was on their hands and knees... a gentleman in his late 60's or early 70's. One of his fellow riders ran into the bagel shop yelling to call 911. All of a sudden, the gentleman slumped over onto his side.

I ran out of the shop as people stood around. Fortunately, a physician had pulled in to the parking lot to grab a bagel and quickly ran over the the cyclist. She assessed his condition and he was not breathing and had no pulse.

I quickly got down on my knees beside him and began giving chest compressions as she gave mouth to mouth. His eyes were slightly open and rolled back in his head and still showed no signs of life. I was counting my compressions, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and.... As she give 2 breaths every 15 or so, then reassessed his condition. After about 50 compressions, he gasped and started very labored breathing. He was alive. We rolled him to his side as paramedics arrived on the scene within 5 minutes to take over (pictured above).

Fortunately, the man had medical information with him. He had recently had a heart attack and several other life threatening conditions apparently. The EMT's whisked him away in the ambulance in minutes.

I had never been part of something like that... but was very glad to have gone through CPR training in the past and to be able to keep my wits during the situation. It was a bit of a blur while it was happening, but I remember his riding buddies standing around cheering him on , urging him to breath and 'come back' when he was non-responsive.

Afterwards, I was shaking -- and still am a little bit. I started to get choked up too , thinking about that poor guy and how close he was to not coming 'back'. It also reminded me how important it is to know CPR and to carry medical information with you as a cyclist. You never know what's going to happen out there.

Ugh, what a morning! It puts a new perspective on what it means to be healthy. I need to go for an easy ride now. Live every day to it's fullest.

Train safe,
Coach Troy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cycling in the Cold Rain

For 39 years I lived in Maryland and for about 20 of those years was a year-round outdoor cyclist, except in the very worst weather conditions. I can't even begin to tell you how many hours I've spent riding (and running) in crappy weather, from high winds to driving snows to cold rainy days...suffering for my 'art'. Of all the crappy weather I mentioned, the worst to me is cold rain.

I love Tucson for its's one of the reasons I relocated here from Maryland. 300+ sunny days a year with short winters where temps rarely dip under freezing (at night) and precipitation is low. It's truly a great cycling destination as each winter, pro teams and cycling enthusiasts from around the country come here to enjoy the high desert scenery and outdoor lifestyle.

So, today it was 64 degrees, winds in the low teens from the north and overcast with a 20% chance of rain in the afternoon. Not bad... so I got ready for my 30 mile aerobic training ride, wearing knickers, a thermal long sleeve cycling jersey and toe warmers...perfect clothing for a mild day. In looking at the sky, something told me to bring my rain jacket too.. just in case. The drizzle started to pick up as I rolled out of my neighborhood. As I got out to the main road (Oracle Road) and started to head north, the rain started coming down hard and the temperature started to drop precipitously. The winds also started to pick up too, driving the rain and me back as I headed uphill and north into stiffening headwind with occasional gusts. I was wet and cold to the core and started to shiver. Thankfully, I had that rain jacket and a base layer on underneath my jersey. My legs were soaked, but the knickers covered my knees, providing a little bit of needed warmth.

After 1.5 hrs on the road freezing my bootie (my 2 year old's favorite word) off, I made it back home. My fingers were so cold and numb, I had to get my 6 year old to help unzip my jacket and take my gloves off. After defrosting in a hot shower, I found out that the temperature had dropped from the mid-60's to 53 degrees and the winds were gusting to over 20 mph. Being cold and wet on the bike is no fun, don't you agree?! It's amazing how quickly and dramatically weather conditions can change here in the desert at this time of year... wow! It seems to be par for the course here lately as last week at camp climbing Mt. Lemmon, we went from comfortable 60 deg. temps at the base of the mountain to cold winds and temps in the upper 30's (with snow on the ground) at mile marker 17 and above!

My 'coaching moment' here is to remind you to always be prepared for changing weather conditions when there's even a slight chance of it. You're better off overdressing with multiple layers that can be peeled off (and carrying a rain jacket) then under dressing and risking hypothermia, or worse! Also, always have a contingency plan... or choose a route that enables you to get back home quickly if needed. For example, today I should have ridden for 45 min. - one hour and then hopped on the trainer (doing a spinervals of course!) for the balance of the time.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny and 70 degrees here... I'll be carrying a wind vest and arm warmers 'just in case'!

- Train Smart,
Coach Troy

Sunday, March 21, 2010

That 'A HA!' Moment & Bike Fit

I was out for a short recovery ride after my long run today and thought about bike comfort and riding efficiency. That's kind of a geeky thing to think about I realize - but hey, I do this stuff for a living!

Any way, I was riding my 2006 Litespeed Vortex with DA, Zipp 404 rear (w/powertap) and Mavic Carbone front with my Profile clip-ons thinking, "Man, this bike set up fits me like a glove!". It's a nice feeling when you feel 'dialed in'.

The truth is that it takes a ton of trial and error to find that 'right' fit. I know there are lots of formulas out there, as well as experts in the bike fitting industry, but I feel that the best fit comes from trial and error and seeing what works best for you. Certainly having a good baseline fit is important, but after that it's important to tweak your position incrementally until you have that 'a ha!' moment. Some people just go by the advice of their fitter... taking it for gospel and think, "hey, if he (or she) says this is how it should feel, I guess this is the perfect fit for me!". Well, that couldn't be further from the truth because no matter how experienced, smart and well-educated that fitter is, he/she still doesn't walk around in your skin. Make sense?

So, the moral of this story is to establish a good baseline fit with the help of an expert but be prepared to then ride with your wrenches for subtle tweaks here and there until you feel the bike fits like a glove... just like my Vortex does right now. :)

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tucson Camp #1

Just finished up a couple days ago with Tucson Camp #1. What a great 4-days and a nice group of people! Coming to Tucson from as far away as the east coast and Canada, we had a truly focused group of campers.

This was our 9th year for the March Tucson camp and each year it seems to offer something unique and different. This year, we decided to ride 2 hours up Mt. Lemmon before turning around. As the weather here has been very cold lately, we ran in to 35 deg. temps and arctic gusts of wind above mile marker 10 and there was a ton of snow on the ground past mile marker 15. The winds made for an interesting (scary) descent as you had to white knuckle the bars to avoid getting blown off the cliff. Mt. Lemmon is always an epic riding experience for everyone.

Here's what our training looked like for the camp:

Day One
70 mile ride, out and back, to San Manuel from Oro Valley followed by a 40 minute run. In the afternoon, we swam a light 2000 yd workout. Evening included a lecture and then we all went to dinner.

Day Two
65 mile ride. We warmed up with a nice spin to Saddle Brook (20 miles) and then reorganized and blasted out a timed, 7 mile TT / Tempo ride around Rancho Vistoso Blvd.! We finished up with a ride to Dove Mountain and back to the hotel, followed by a 30 min aerobic run. After a lecture in the evening, campers were t i r e d.

Day Three
6 am Masters Swim at the Oro Valley Community Pool. It was a 1 hr workout with over 1000 yds of kick sets!! (ouch!). Then we loaded everyone up and headed over to Mt. Lemmon. The idea was to ride 2 hrs up the mountain at a steady, comfortable pace and then turn around. It was about 3.5 hrs of total riding that day, including warm up and cooldown. Lunch after, followed by rest, a lecture and then a group dinner at Cayton's at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Dove Mountain. Great food and great views!

Day Four
6 am Swim. Longer sets of 300's. Then campers have the option of riding 40 miles or running 1.5 hours prior to departing at noon.

We have Camp #2 coming up next week with about 15 athletes in attendance. Some will do the 4-day program and some the 7-day program. Weather is expected to be in the upper 70's and sunny! I'm sure we'll have another great training camp.

I hope you can join us someday if you have not already! Early season training camps like this are a great way to build some fitness and some momentum for the new season.

Train smart,
- Coach Troy

Friday, March 5, 2010

IRONMAN... Yeah!

A really quick post... I wanted to thank every one who has sent me notes privately to congratulate me on the selection as "Official Coach of Ironman". I really appreciate it! Thank you!

I'm really excited about this designation and consider it to be HUGE honor. I did my first Ironman 'distance' in 1990 and my first Ironman Hawaii in 1991 (About 15 IM's total, including 7 Kona's), so much of my 20's was spent totally immersed in the culture of Ironman. It really defined and shaped the person I am today, including my career as a triathlon coach since the early 1990's, the incredible friendship's I've made in the tri world and more. It's such a cool feeling to be associated with a brand/culture/concept that has meant so much to me over the years ... and has helped transformed the lives of so many others (like many of you!) for the better as you strive for personal excellence.

I'm really excited about helping people discover triathlon as a lifestyle sport and perhaps aspire to do IRONMAN as a long term super goal. I know at Life Time Fitness, we want to help people achieve personal fitness goals and IRONMAN can be part of that process. I'm also really fired up about continuing to help competitive athletes take it up a notch and beat a PB or maybe even get a slot to Kona!

Any way, enough of my dribble for now... I've got to go burn off some energy with a bike ride! See ya!

- Coach Troy

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Finding that Silver Lining

2010 is flying by already and we're already well into the month of March! Does anyone else feel the way I do... that the older I get, the faster time floats by? Hmmm...

I am 85% over my flu with but still a few lingering symptoms of feeling crappy. This is the worst case of sickness I've had since I can remember and I hope not to have a repeat performance anytime soon! As I look for the silver lining in this cloud, I do see one ... it makes me appreciate even more the times I feel really good. It's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling entitled to be able to use your body as an athlete and make it go further and faster in training and in racing. You can take it all so much for granted...until an injury or serious illness derails your health in an instant and all of a sudden, you go from being active to sedentary. It's a harsh reminder that we're all so vulnerable, no matter how 'fit' and 'healthy' we think we are.

I remember years ago I used to give pre-race talks to my athletes at Ironman events and one of the things I always pointed out to them was to have a sense of gratitude out there on the race course. That no matter how horrible they felt at times during the race, to be grateful they were able to use their bodies to take on the challenge... because it won't be this way forever. I think this concept resonates with all athletes who push themselves to their limits.

So, today I going to try and get out for a short bout of low intensity "post illness" training and start regaining my lost fitness, getting ready for my Tucson camp next week. I know I'll have a great appreciation today for my improved health and ability to ride my bike, if even very slowly at first.:)

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mile 24 of the Flu Marathon & Indoor Training

Day 5 of being hammered by the flu and I think I'm at mile 24 of the 'flu marathon'. If you've done a marathon, you know that mile 24 is the worst mile marker... it's so close to the finish line, but still soooo far away. I'm feeling better though and anxious to resume normal life and to get back in to training. I feel I've lost all the benefits of my 3 months of base training... but am confident it'll come back pretty quickly. Bottom line is... don't get sick! I want to thank everyone for their suggestions, advise and well wishes. I tried the 'executive workout' yesterday (hot tub, steam room, hot tub), and felt that had some benefit. :)

Today I might try a very light workout of 30 minutes on the trainer and 20-30 minutes of treadmill work, finishing up with 10-15 minutes of dryland swim training. It's interesting, but when you really think about it ... a triathlete can maintain and gain fitness in a very small area. Here's a pic of my personal training area... including my bike on a trainer, my treadmill, my stretch cords and my TV/DVD player for entertainment. It's amazing how much quality (and high volume) training one can accomplish in such a small space. I decided to come up with my top 10 reasons to train indoors...

1. You have to!: If you want to gain fitness and race strong in 2010, you've gotta get the volume in... no matter what. Remember, while you're sleeping your competitor is outside riding somewhere on a tropical island.
2. It's safe: Ever heard of anyone getting hit by a car or having an angry motorist throw a bottle at you when down in the basement?
3. It's focused: Get that HR monitor on or that power meter fired up and 'train with a purpose'. Indoor training eliminates the variables of outdoor riding.
4. It's convenient: It takes 15 minutes to don your tights, booties, layer up with undergarments, balaclava and claw gloves but only 2 minutes to walk down the steps (or hallway) and hop on the trainer or treadmill.
5. You can do it anytime of the day or night: Short of getting lights for your bike, you can do trainer or treadmill work at any hour, before or after work.
6. It can be social!: Ever heard of 'no drop rides'? With indoor training, you can get a bunch of your cycling buddies together for a workout and enjoy their company without the 'super stars' racing down the road and dropping slower riders.
7. It allows you to catch up on the news and movies.: Workouts that are 'aerobic' can be done while watching the news or new movies you wouldn't have the time to see otherwise.
8. Nutrition is nearby.: No need to carry tons of food and fluids with you as the fridge is right down the hallway or up the stairs.
9. Your family gets to see more of you.: Refer to points 3, 4 and 5.
10. You have to!: Go back to point number 1!

What do you think? I'm sure there are more reasons to add. Sure, it's boring as hell at times, but in the end, training indoors is a necessary evil that really does yield great results when it's time to 'hit the road'.

Train Smart and avoid the flu! :)
- Coach Troy