Saturday, August 20, 2011

Should I wear this?

There is so much to be excited about in the next two months and my coach, Michael McCormack just added to the pile.  He asked me if I wanted to wear his 1995 Champion kit from Canada.  I have some plans to wear my special Hello Kitty kit made to give a little back to the company I work for, but this is a great honor from my coach.  Let me know what you think!  Here's a taste of the Hello Kitty and M2 top.

I'll wear my Hello Kitty tri top version of the pic above for the bike, and leave it up for decision on the run with the Espana/Bike Barn top for the run.

Definitely having some fun for these last few races of the season!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

March, errr August Tri Madness!

Not only am I excited about racing Canada next weekend, but also very interested in how the weekend is going to play out in the Kona Points standings for the Pro's.  This is the last IM weekend for Pro's to get points for Kona, and the last ten spots for the men and women will get their invites to the big show.  Sort of like Selection Sunday for the NCAA, there are too many scenarios that may play out so its a bit hard to wrap your brain around. 

I haven't been able to locate who has declined their invitations from the first wave of July selections, but the women are vying to be in the top 37 at least (Wellington and Carfrae are automatically qualified) to get in.  The men's side has three additional spots to 43 (Alexander automatic bid, McCormack declined) since Patrick Evoe declined his invite so he can continue to improve this season and make a bigger impact next year. I really wanted to be able to scream "Pizza Pizza" when he screamed by.  Some other notables declined their invite to Kona reported from Hawaii 24/7's article. 

First off are the athletes on the bubble who would qualify before this weekend's races given a few roll-downs with athletes concentrating on Vegas and other late season races:

Simone Benz

 Marko Albert
 Hiroyuki Nichiuchi*
 Paul Ambrose*
 Joe McDaniel
 Torsten Le Abel
 Uwe Widmann
 Jason Shortis*
 Chris McDonald
 Simon Billeau
 Dirk Wijnalda
 Mike Neill*
 Markus Fachbach
 Christian Brader*
*Denotes athlete is registered for Canada or Louisville

While nearly half of the men and women on the bubble are racing, there will be a big shift in both KPR standings come August 29th.  Lets take a look at each race, who is racing next weekend in Canada and Louisville and what it all means.

All IM races are not created equal on the calendar.  Louisville is a P-1000 race for Ironman which means 1st Place gets 1000 points and has a total of $25,000 up for grabs.  Canada is a P-2000 which awards 1st place 2000 points and has $75,000 up for grabs for the Pro's.  That means Canada's winner has a better opportunity to move up in the KPR standings.  It also means more people will gravitate to the race for that reason.  There are some risky moves being played out as a few Pro's registered for both races and are probably weighing their options for their best points.  #1 option, go for top 10 in Canada and have some insurance for more points, or head to Louisville and go for an Ironman Champion title and max out at 1000 points.

It is amazing all the different scenarios that will unfold from these races and when you throw in the 750 points available in Brazil 70.3 this weekend.  Half the athletes on the bubble will be bounced out of Kona qualification, which is a tragedy as there are some fan favorites there.  There are 15 men and 12 women who sit on the outside looking in for the KPR race.  Trying to break it down as straightforward as possible, but who knows what will happen come race day.  Below are the athletes who are racing next weekend, current KPR rank, and their best outcome with a win.

Last First Rnk Pts Best Rnk Best Pts Race
ALLDRITT MIRANDA 31 4640 12 6640 Canada
GORDON JACQUI 32 4370 12 6370 Canada
NISHIUCHI MAKI 33 4355 12 6355 Canada
ELLIS MARY 34 4200 14 6200 Canada
GORDON JACQUI 32 4370 23 5370 Louisville
NISHIUCHI MAKI 33 4355 23 5355 Louisville
KELLER FERNANDA 44 3120 26 5120 Canada
HARRISON LAUREN 45 3030 27 5030 Canada
KESSLER MEREDITH 49 2805 29 4805 Canada
BEEBE KELZIE 65 2240 34 4240 Canada
WHITBY FIONA 68 2098 35 4098 Canada
MADISON MACKENZIE 76 1780 37 3780 Canada
COOPER-SCOTT HALEY 95 1430 41 3430 Canada
BEEBE KELZIE 65 2240 44 3240 Louisville


Last First Rank Points Best Rnk Best Pts Race
NISHIUCHI HIROYUKI 57 2785 25 4785 Canada
ABEL TORSTEN 60 2720 25 4720 Canada
SHORTIS JASON 63 2680 28 4680 Canada
NEILL MIKE 67 2520 29 4520 Canada
BRADER CHRISTIAN 69 2445 29 4445 Canada
JAMMAER BERT 72 2390 30 4390 Canada
DELSAUT TREVOR 74 2330 31 4330 Canada
RAPP JORDAN 75 2290 32 4290 Canada
NISHIUCHI HIROYUKI 57 2785 40 3785 Louisville
CURRY SCOTT 115 1320 45 3320 Canada
RHODES BRYAN 116 1300 48 3300 Canada
AMBROSE PAUL 58 2765 52 3765 Louisville
TOTH ANTHONY 138 1115 53 3115 Canada
WURTELE TREVOR 165 910 53 2910 Canada
BRETSCHER DANIEL 83 1980 53 2980 Louisville
SNOW TIM 86 1823 56 2823 Louisville

This is leading up to be a great finish for the KPR system.  While its benefits or shortfalls are yet to be seen, at least it will give us a great weekend of excitement as we watch what unfolds next Sunday.  I'm hoping for some great racing to watch as I'm on my out on the run course in Canada.  Should be a incredible battle to see.

Lets just hope Ironman Live can handle it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Welcome Home! Pittsburgh Triathlon!

The family and I were all fired up for a return to Pittsburgh to visit my brother and sister-in-law's home with triplets and all.  They are getting big and I was a bit afraid Charlie, Katelyn and Sarah were going to wear me out at the pool before the race even started like they did in Kona last year.  Getting back east is always a treat though and I was happy to do it while it was actually warm out and enjoy some things I never get to do living in SF where it is perpetually 60 degrees it seems.

Off to packet pickup Saturday, and I love getting into the burg in the summer time. Everything's so green and down by the ballparks has been done over to be a great place for a race.  The Olympic race has a third upstream, then two thirds downstream, finishing in front of Heinz Field.
Swim start up-stream to Roberto Clemente Bridge

Dad and Chuck are happy the Sprint only goes down-stream

Finish at the old railroad crossing in front of Heinz
Back home and dinner with all the family then to bed early with a 3:30 am wake-up call.  Race starts at 6:45!  Only had that form IM's, but that's how they roll out here where it gets hot and humid.

Morning comes and my normal bagel with peanut butter and honey.  In the car and down to the burg we go.  Nerves were building on me as this race has two of my favorite things going for it.  Non-wetsuit in fresh water did not agree with me in Texas, but I've been working hard in the pool for the last month, so lets see how I hold up.

Heading into the Allegheny for a deep water start, everything was mellow and it was really cool to be out in the middle of the river.  The Allegheny is the "cleaner" of the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, but we found out later that they found a body in the river in the wee hours of the morning.  (Glad they kept that to themselves)  Not much of a current which was both good and bad.  Good for heading up-stream, but bad for any major swim PR for the down-stream portion.  3, 2, 1 and we were off.  I charged in on the right side for some clear water, but a pack of seriously fast swimmers were charging up the middle and took off.  Felt better in the water than Texas, and I was staying flat in the water!  Around the bouy at Roberto Clemente Bridge, cruising downstream, and swim straight toward Heinz Field.  Out of the water and nothing spectacular, but  happy with a 27 minute non-wetsuit swim.
Time - 27:43, 93rd overall

Up next, a rip-roaring roller coaster ride on my bike.  This course involved the blocked off section of the HOV (Carpool lane for all the West Coasters).  Grind uphill for nearly six miles, then downhill for another six.  Completely fun 2 laps except for the amount of lap traffic you run into with three races going on at the same time.  Add to that rumble strips.  Wow, hitting a rumble strip at over 30 MPH nearly shakes your teeth out.  With the setup of the cones separating incoming and outgoing racers, it made a lot of people crowd near the cones, fearing the strips which made me do a lot of yelling "ON THE LEFT!" which I hope they heard, but near 40 MPH at times, I don't think they could.

Crushing the course and averaging 300 watts (350 up, 250 down) I started looking at my splits and an hour bike leg for an Olympic race was in reach!  Letting up a little on the short flats before finishing the second loop I see that opportunity slip by, but I still have to run 6.2 miles.

Bike - 1:00:27, 3rd Overall

1,400 feet gain

Feeling great off the bike, it was time to put in some work in the pain cave.  With a flat out and back along the river I knew I could open up and hold an crazy pace and not die, so it was on.  Passing a few guys here and there, but I'm not sure if they are in the Sprint or Olympic race so until I hit the 5k turnaround where people peel off, its just all mental and pushing.  Once at the Sprint turnaround there is a spotter who tells me I'm 7th and 7 minutes back from the leader.  There is a long straightaway ahead of me and I can't see anyone!  Head games start in to "take it easy", but I didn't fly all the way out to Pittsburgh to mail it in at the last minute.  All or nothing.

Finally after pressing for another mile I start seeing the leaders returning, but also catch someone on their way out.  Success!  With about 200 yards to the turnaround I see another runner and that is where I set my goal for the day, CATCH HIM!  Taking in some Gatorade at the aid station, I don't want much in my stomach for fear of puking on the way in.  I look at my watch and its going below 6 min pace.  I see my Mom out on the course here and she gives a great cheer.  Maxing out my effort and I finally see my target at around the 2 mile mark.  I plan to reel him in over the next mile and make the catch at the 1 mile marker and I do.  Unfortunately I start grunting when I'm over exerting myself and it gave me away withing 10 yards which gave him the opportunity to pick it up.  He turned when he heard me and it was a race.  Both of us are at our limits and we go blowing by my Dad finishing up the Sprint.  He gave me a "GO GET HIM BRETT!"

With the last 100 yards coming up, we were withing 10 yards of each other, but  the extended effort had finally taken its tool on me, I couldn't accelerate for a final sprint.  This was a great experience to actually race hard for the last mile of a tri, but it wouldn't be my win.  Crossing the line it was still a successful trip, 6th Overall and 3rd Age Group! (They gave me the 2nd place medal because the top Overall people are taken out of the AG standings).
Run - 37:28 2nd Overall

The guy I raced against is Ben Erdeljac who my Dad and I talked to after the race.  A good guy who is on his way to Vegas for the 70.3 Championships.  He'll do do great out there and here is his race report where he shares his bit from our battle mile.

The fun graph for the day, heart rate for the run!  I think I finally nailed down how to pace for an Olympic and not have anything left at the end.  Its been a while since an Olympic has been my A race, as I've been training for longer distances, and ignoring speed, but over the past two month I've gone back to shorter, more concentrated workouts to help build speed and threshold pacing.

Next up is Canada and then Kona.  Its been a long, but great year so far.  Canada won't be anything spectacular unless a miracle happens, but all plans go towards a strong and healthy Kona.  This was a great way to cap of the "fun" portion of my year and I was glad to do it with family.  Mom and Dad were out, along with my brother.  His family and in-laws were out to cheer us on too so all in all a great day.