Saturday, November 10, 2007

Race Day

Wow, that was an epic race. What a way to end the season with my second, 2nd place at a World Championship in a month.
To be honest, coming into the race I was not even sure if I could complete the run. I have been dealing with some injuries and recovery issues ever since Kona so until about 3 days ago I was debating even starting in Clearwater. But in the last couple of days I was feeling really relaxed and figured I would just give it a go and be happy with whatever I could do on the day.
My swim was definitely lacking and I didn't have great legs on the bike. I rode hard but still came into T2 very far back from the early leader Julie Dibens (man that girl can ride!).
I headed out for the run thinking maybe I could run myself into a top 5 - that would have been a great result. I started a little slow and worked into the run and just got stronger as the day went on. I was running on fumes by the second lap, but I was catching girls the whole way so that fueled me on. If there is one thing that comes from doing Kona 4 weeks ago is that it makes you freakin' tough. I dug in for the last lap and ran myself up to 2nd in the last couple of miles. I still can't quite believe that I did it. Mirinda Carfrae was awesome today - she would have been tough to beat even with fresh legs. She is a very deserving World Champion.
So that's it - end of the season. Kona was the big race of the year and this was pure icing on the cake. I am thrilled with the result and am looking forward to enjoying some time off now.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Off Season Countdown

After tomorrow it will be officially off season time so I figured I would share with you what I like to do in the off season for training.
First things first - take a week off. At the end of the season I always promise to do some "active recovery" but I am usually pretty smashed after the last race so I take a complete break from training for about a week. Then, for some reason, I always end up jumping into a local run race for "fun". Last year it was a 15 miler at 9000ft altitude, not a smart choice. I think it hurt way more than world champs did. But it is a fun way to blow the cobwebs out after a week of eating and drinking and sitting on the couch.
I love to do run races in the off season - just local events so there is no pressure and no gear to bring. It's refreshing to roll up to a race 20 minutes before the start with nothing but some race flats (I'll pretty much do anything that doesn't involve packing up my bike or getting on a plane.) Cross-country races are my favorite - it's a great reminder of being a kid and running through the mud just for the heck of it.
When its time to get back to triathlon training I usually spend a few months in the fall on my cyclocross bike. I had never riden cyclocross before, but when Argon 18 hooked me up with their Arsenic I was immediately addicted. In Colorado I can ride for hours on old mining roads and easy trails and my position is similar enough to the road bike that it provides sport specific training.
When winter really hits, Cliff and I will spend a few days on the slopes. That's one advantage of the Colorado winters - being about 2hrs from Vail and Aspen we can make it into a training day. Skiing moguls at 12,000ft is harder than any weight session in the gym; I am usually sore for a few days after a good day skiing. (I am not one for cross country...too much like hard work).
At least 2-3 days a week in the winter I do CorePower Yoga - a fusion of Ashtanga yoga and Pilates done in a hot room. (I mainly do it for the heat...I am a bit of a winter wimp).
When late winter rolls around it's time to get out of the snow and head south for a warm weather training camp. My favorite destinations include Tucson and Noosa, Australia. Even if you can't swing a month in Oz it really helps mentally to get away for a long weekend or so of warm training. A short camp provides a perfect injection of hard training into the otherwise long, monotonous winter months.
Other than that I try to do more strength training and stretching in the off season as well as taking care of any injuries so that I am healthy and ready to go in the spring.
Happy training!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Some random thoughts on race week

So I am riding down on the course in Clearwater this week and a cop car rolls up slowly beside me. I do a quick mental check; Did I roll through a red light or cut someone off? But as he pulled even I look over and hear "Good luck this weekend Sam - kick some butt again". Getting recognized on my bike with helmet and glasses on is a pretty uncommon occurrence for me, so I felt like a rock star when he pulled me over and asked for a photo for his buddy. Cool.
Did some interviews and the press conference today. That's when you know the race is really here; that's when the butterflies start. You get to know the media guys and race organizers after a while, so just seeing certain people triggers a Pavlovian response of race nerves. Welchy is always good to cut the tension and he was throwing down the gauntlet today. He offered me a cool grand if I could eat the entire menu at MacDonald's. I was pretty hungry so I thought about it for a few seconds longer than I should have. I'm a little on the competitive side so I'll pretty much try my hand at anything that seems like a challenge. I wonder where I would have gotten stuck, the triple thick shake or the fillet-o-fish..... Maybe on Sunday, okay Greg?
That reminds me of another good bar bet that's pretty much a sure thing : Challenge someone (after a few beers usually works best) to eat 4 saltine crackers in 40 seconds, no water. It can't be done - everyone gets to 2 crackers and chokes up. Its a good laugh and an easy way to pay your bar tab at the end of the night.
On another note, If you want to check out something cool, go to It's the blog of my friend Jasper Blake - he and his brothers and a team of 14 people are taking his mom (who has MS and is in a wheelchair) up Mt Everest. Pretty incredible - I'm rooting for you Jaz.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Day in the LIfe...

People sometimes ask me if the jet-setting, high-rolling life of a pro triathlete is as exciting as it seems so here is a day in the life of my taper week :
6am wake up (a little early but I have to train myself to be awake at race time otherwise the alarm on race morning comes WAY to early).
6:30 head out for a decaf. I know, I know, decaf coffee is like lite beer – it’s in that “why bother” category. This is a race week anomaly so that when I hit that triple espresso on race morning it is all the sweeter.
6:45 Realize that I am locked out of my condo. Oops . Try to crawl through the window but no luck. (thankfully the owners live next door and when I return from my coffee run they are just leaving for work and kindly let me back in).
7:30 swim session at the local YMCA. Love the 85 degree pool, it’s a nice change from the ice bath in which I usually swim in Colorado Springs. Swim is light with some pace work and a nice stretch afterwards
9:00 Breakfast of manna bread and almond butter and read the local paper. Do the crossword. (See, I told you this lifestyle is pretty exciting – when I am really feeling frisky I do the junior jumble too)
10:30 A knock at my door – its Terenzo Bozone and his entourage. Terenzo is an young kiwi superstar and probably the nicest guy you’ll ever meet (sorry ladies, he’s got a long term girl back in New Zealand). We head out for a ride together and he kicks my butt, but it’s nice have a wheel to sit on heading back into the headwind. It’s freezing here in Clearwater right now – seriously, I am wearing my winter gear in Florida! Good thing I have my flash new Zoot Multi-Sport tights to keep me warm…(check ‘em out at )
12:30 Roll around on the floor on my Yamuna Ball – it’s like a small plastic ball that acts like a massage. It is amazing at loosening up my hips and ITB after a workout.
1pm lunch of stone crab claws (it’s a bit of an addiction, I think I’ve eaten them every day here) on the patio in the sunshine overlooking the water. Life is good.
2pm Head into town to check in for the race and check out the expo.
3pm - Amazing Massage from Pete – I fell asleep on the table, half naked in the middle of the expo. I used to think massages were a luxury and a treat. Now they are often painful but a necessity. I must be getting old.
5pm Chill out on the beach and watch the sunset. When you live in the mountains you miss the ocean. I promised myself that every day this week I would head across to the beach to enjoy the sunset and it is spectacular.
6:30 Dinner - salad and chicken and a block of dark chocolate (I hear now it’s considered health food…)
7-10 chill out, read, watch movies, roll on the ball again, check emails etc. (I am a multi-tasker, even in a taper week I can’t sit still).
10 ish Bed time so I can wake up early and do it all again :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rock Sam's Winter Gear this season with this Special offer from Zoot Sports!




Stone (Crab) in Clearwater

Clearwater and Kona are two pretty different places. On race day its all very similar, swim/bike/run, the m-dot every where, lot's of powergels, too much sun etc. but the places themselves are night and day. They both have ocean but that's about it. Kona has lava fields and stony beaches, Cleawater has white sand and strip malls as far as the eye can see. Hawaii has plush resorts and fit surfers, Florida is home to snowbirds, big haired ladies and faded beach hotels.
There's plenty of new construction going on- after all the beach and the sunset here are pretty spectacular - but the little joints still remain. The Seaside motels built in the 60s, the little crab shacks with shells on the floor and the greasy spoon diners are still here, only now they rub shoulders with brand-new luxury condo towers. Its a mish-mash for now but sadly I think that gradually the condos will take over. But then again maybe not? The people on vacation here don't seem like the million-dollar condo types. I am renting a lovely little cottage right on the water with only one other unit next door. In Kona I had a overzealous rooster as a neighbour, here I have redneck baseball players in town for a tournament. One of the players young son is with them but that doesn't seem to deter them from smoking pot and drinking beer on our shared patio every night. I don't begrudge anyone their fun, but as the smoke wafts into my bedroom window I kind of wonder if Ross Regabliati was telling the truth when he claimed he didn't inhale and his positive test for marijuana really was from "second hand smoke at a party". (although really, if he can win an Olympic snowboarding event while stoned he probably deserves more than a gold medal).
Anyways, other than that I love Clearwater at this time of year - the beaches are empty the weather is balmy and it's stone crab season. Nothing beats a beautiful sunset on the beach with a pound of stone crab pulled from the gulf that very morning. And no roosters.