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Winter training is kinda “blah” but at least we can plan out the rest of the year. I haven’t actually done that yet, but I do have some Spring / early Summer plans that I can use to help me keep my eye on the prize.

In spite of the 6 or so hours a week on the bike trainer, I have to confess I don’t have any major bike races coming up. I know, I was surprised too! (OK, that’s me just wondering if my coach ever reads this stuff…)

Seriously then: First event of the year will likely be the Three Creeks Half Marathon on April 4th. Wait – a half marathon?!? Yeah, I’m pretty surprised too. But I’ve never ran more than 6 or 7 miles before so I guess I should see what this is like. Hopefully it won’t be snowing.

Next up is the Barkin’ Dog Duathlon two weeks later. In a fit of madness, I registered for the long course. More practice for running and I am hoping to get a good shakedown race of the new bike. My main concern on this one is how rough the roads are around Cherry Creek state park — some of those cracks can be very jarring.

Looking at Bolder Boulder on May 25th for another run. “Just” a 10k for that one but my wife and older son tell me it is a lot of fun so hopefully one or both will join me. I haven’t registered for this one yet but I suppose I should soon.

Those all lead up to the Ironman 70.3 in Couer d’Alene on June 27th. That’s my big race so far. Definitely what all this training and coaching is about.

After that? Who knows… we’ll see how things go up to June and plan accordingly. I would like to consider doing Evergreen tri again. And the Reuter-Hess reservoir swim again (long course this year). Something in Steamboat? Maybe a gravel bike race? And then, finally, figure out what I will end the season with? Tempe maybe? Stay tuned…

The Maul

Darth Maul

Managed to get an outdoor ride on the new bike today. Mid 50’s and sunny so couldn’t really pass it up. My feet were freezing, my butt was wet and my pretty new bike is absolutely filthy… but it was worth it.

Side note: There was just enough random ice and snow patches on the roads and trails that I was very nervous about crashing her on the inaugural ride. Also, this ride was my first time passed the spot where “the crash” of August happened. I confess I got a little weird as I went by it

The bike was everything I had hoped for: Fast, controlled, and fun to ride. I’m looking forward to spending more miles on it. Seriously — I was very pleasantly blown away.

And she has a name now. The Maul. Heavily inspired by Leslie’s suggestion of “Maul.” Which is reasonably obvious, right?

However, I’m going with “The Maul” as the name. Because sometimes you gotta drop the hammer. And what’s a big hammer? You got it…

Hopefully the engine (that would be me) will live up to the bike. Right now the bike is way faster than I am! I look forward to more miles on it.

12/30 Random Monday Thoughts

Gear:
Wore the wrong watch to the gym tonight. It was probably very amusing to watch me stare at my calculator watch in confusion when I was ready to record the treadmill workout.

Bike:
I’ve had almost 6 hours of indoor trainer rides with the new bike. I am feeling really good about the fit — once again, Erik at Adventure Cycling did not disappoint. The seat, however… not so sure. I did make a small tweak before today’s ride that seemed to help so I’m not giving up on it quite yet. I will go another week or so and see how things develop.

Nutrition:
I have been following a very low carb diet (aka Keto) for the past year and a half. Helped me drop 45 lbs quickly and pretty effortlessly maintain it. But (and there’s always a but, isn’t there?) as training intensity starts to ramp up — or maybe I should say as I get healthy enough to train more — I have been having my doubts about sustainability as an endurance [quasi]-athlete.

Being in ketosis seemed to work out well for my few longer bike rides last year. Burning the fat I carry around is far easier than having to carry around food and remember to eat it during the ride. But I have to admit while I had pretty great endurance, I didn’t have the power or “pop” that I used to.

Hopefully with help from Coach Jenn I’ll get that figured out for this upcoming training season. I’m fine with going back to a more “normal” diet as long as fat Chris doesn’t make a return appearance. Stay tuned…

Health:
Shoulder rehab continues but it isn’t holding me back from swimming anymore. Swam over 2800 yards yesterday with minimal issue. Sure, some soreness later but nothing at all during the swim itself. That’s progress! Still doing PT for whatever I did to the triceps but somehow that doesn’t bother me much swimming.

The knee is getting better as well. Cycling doesn’t bother it much anymore — even the almost 3 hour spin on Saturday just left it a little stiff. Did a 10 minute trot on the treadmill tonight with minimal issue too. I’m thinking maybe this is the last week of no runs. Hopefully next week we can get the runs back into the training schedule. Yay(?).

It Arrived!

Just over a month from my “Coming Soon…” post, the new bike showed up on my doorstep today. Literally. I came back from a bike ride and there it was, sitting there.

I might have squealed a little.

When I ordered it, I took the cheap (heh) option that would involve more assembly (which saved me $100). I had been told to plan on taking 5 hours to get it together.

Took me about an hour to unbox, unwrap, and then get it all together. Took me another half hour to figure out why the rear derailleur wasn’t quite right. But really, a piece of cake for anyone reasonably handy with tools.

Which is good, as there is no printed documentation included. The youtube link included in the box is definitely not for this bike or this box either. I did find a better video link in their web site’s support center (not a disc brake model, but closer to what I was looking at).

I did have to supply my own 4 and 5mm allen wrenches which surprised me a little. Not a big deal since I own plenty but I had just expected they’d be in the box.

I have a few random pieces left over that just don’t seem to go on this bike. I guess I’ll call the Quintana Roo folks tomorrow and see what’s up.

Oh, here’s a really nice touch that I hadn’t even realized was part of the bike. The “QR Box” (storage area behind the seat post) has a tail light molded in. Aero yet functional. How cool is that?

Next up will be getting it fitted and then a maiden voyage! And some sort of naming ceremony. Very open to ideas there.

The Obligatory Pain Cave Post

If you’re in Denver and tri training in the winter you may not be riding outside as much as you like (or prefer). Riding indoors on a trainer historically was a drag, but these days it doesn’t suck so much — with the right equipment.

Here’s mine:

The key to all of this is having a smart trainer. Paired with some software, it does a great job of simulating a real ride by increasing resistance for hills and then smoothing it out when on the flats. I have the Garmin Tacx Flow trainer. Maybe not the fanciest but seems to be working well for me.

As for the software to make the smart trainer smart, I’ve been experimenting with options. I really like Rouvy for the actual real video courses but I’m finding myself in Zwift more and more lately. A bit cartoonish for graphics but a LOT more people using it. I’m never alone on a course and, if you gotta suffer, it is more fun to not suffer alone.

What I love about either option is they integrate in with Training Peaks and can pull in an assigned workout, have me ride it, and then upload the results back to Training Peaks (and, of course, Strava).

The rest? Well I frequently work from home so I’m leveraging my standing desk and big monitors to make it all comfortable. Zwift on one screen, something to watch on an another (currently The Mandalorian) and another monitor for Slack and other work stuff that always comes up when I’m trying to get in a training ride. With this setup I can usually keep pedaling while I respond to the latest crisis of the moment.

And finally, currently using my trusty ol’ Pinarello road bike with a super hard training tire on it (which means it is a bit of a pain if I want to take it outside…). Eventually my tri bike will arrive and then it’ll be the trainer queen.