Monday, March 18, 2013

CSU Race Weekend

First full weekend of racing of the 2013 race season in the books with the Colorado State University Race Weekend in Ft. Collins! It was a great weekend with a 60mile Circuit Race Saturday and 50min Crit Sunday. As a coach for the University of Colorado Boulder Cycling Team, it turned into a marathon weekend of long days at the race venue!

To recap the collegiate racers. We won the C race Saturday, 2nd on Sunday. Took 2nd on Saturday and 1st on Sunday in the B's, and won both days handily on Sunday in the A's. The guys definitely showed their horse and firepower against the competition and are looking better and better with each ride they do!

Moving on to my races. Had 2 teammates in Matti Rowe and Mike Wolfner on Saturday. A 7.7 mile loop with a 1.5 min climb, a fast decent and a 2km dirt section were pretty straight forward. 50 or so toed to the line ready to start their 2013 seasons. The game plan was to be attentive to moves with Matti and I looking for breakaway's and longer moves and setting up Mike for a sprint at the end. Throughout the race, there were only a few attempts at breakaways as the only real good place for one was on the top of the course but the block 25mph headwind negated any attempts to get away, or were quickly swallowed up in the tailwind section. Legs felt great, but nothing was going to happen, so Matti lit it up on the dirt the last lap and I led Mike up the final climb, but went a bit too early for a great lead-out and actually gifted the win to pro mountain biker Bryan Alders as he used his quick 30-45sec power to gap the field and win with a great finish! Mike was able to blast up the hill for a 6th place finish. A good showing in the first race together by us 3. Legs felt good, and according to the power file below, fairly easy race! Placed 32nd/52 after leading out Mike doesn't seem so bad.

Strava File

Sunday, I was by myself at the Oval Crit in Fort Collins. A great course on the CSU campus. Only about 35 guys showed up on Sunday for the race. Got in a good 60min warm-up on the trainer to be ready to rock from the gun. Race started fairly calm and after a couple laps I ended up off the front with one guy, but the field was ready and chased us down. About midway through the race, there was a group of 5 that got up the road and it seemed fairly serious so I bridged up to this group. Unfortunately not one of the guys knew how to ride a breakaway/rotate and it became a surge/slow fest for the next lap until we were caught. A few null laps went by and as I was pulling off the front of the pack, FasCat athlete Chris Lundberg took off. A great attack as the pace had just been high and others chose not to follow. He quickly built up a gap and we never saw him again. After another lap, a group of 3 got away and still no one would chase. You can see as there is a major lull in power and HR in the 3/4 part of the race file below! Finally in the last lap a few guys hit the front and we had the 3 within striking distance as we hit the Oval. I was second wheel and punched it with about 400m to go, knowing that you had to be 1st coming out of the last sweeping corner. I had it right and almost caught the 3 guys just in front of us. But had to resign myself to 5th for the day. That's the first "Field Sprint" I have ever won, so I was pretty happy about that.

Strava File 
Race Photo of  "The Bridge Attempt" Courtesy of (Dejan Smaic)

                                                                 Bridging to leaders
                                                                Policing the Front
                                                       Sprint Finish! Almost caught the break!

So overall, a great race weekend!!! Had a blast getting back into the racing scene, and glad I chose to do it. Wish I wouldn't have downgraded from the 1 / 2's. But it will be good to learn how to win again! The only frustratin thing in Cat 3 racing out here in Colorado is the serious "Negative Racing". Everyone races not TO LOSE, and won't take the initiative to chase or make a race hard, and race TO WIN. In the Cat 1 / 2 and Collegiate A's field. It was so awesome to see such aggressive racing, where guys would race for each other and make things happen, not just sit and ride a group ride for 2 hours then sprint the last 200m. In the Crit Sunday, there were about 10 guys who ever saw the front, and I swear there were only 10 of us racing. It was nice to hear compliments from the other guys that were on the front during the race and trying to make things happen.

Moving forward, fitness is great right now and I am working on sharpening the knife over the next month and a half before the big goal of the Tour of Gila! Thanks to the Cycleton Race Team, Cycleton Bike Shop, Specialized, ClifBar, Camelback, Thule and all the great team sponsors! The season is only going to keep getting better.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Frostbite TT Recap: 1st Podium of 2013

Finally back on the bandwagon here the I will have things to chat about now!

Frostbite TT:
Toed to the line for my first cycling race in about 1.5 years Saturday during the 11 mile Frostbite TT up north of Ft. Collins near the Wyoming border. This course is on a frontage road right off I-25 and can bring about some horrible winds. The forecast was calling for a relatively "calm" day, with NW winds from 5-15mph. It all seemed to be going swimmingly when Will Buick and I were driving up there, not getting blown around. As soon as we hit the course, the winds really picked up, go figure! Had plenty of time to pin up the new Cycleton skinsuit, and get the bike prepped and ready to roll. My teammate Kevin Flanagan also made the trip to hopefully start the season out on a good note and get some BAT points for Cycleton. With about 1 hour to go, I hoped on the bike and started warming up. Adding in some Tempo/Sweet Spot and a few short Anaerobic efforts to open the legs up. Legs had been feeling good the whole week before with watts on the TT bike coming easier and easier over the last couple weeks. Downed my Clif Shot Gel with about 20min to start line and got ready to rock.Time to go, mentally prepping myself on the start line for the short and hard effort that was about to come. Positive mental reinforcement does so much for an athlete and visualizing the race can help calm nerves. I knew it was going to be a very fast course on the way out with a slight tail/cross wind and new I needed to be a bit reserved and let the wind get my speed up and not effort in order to save some for the return.

5.....4.....3......2.....1.......GO! I was off, and quickly brought the bike up to speed, seeing 30+ mph quickly and efficiently. Settled into the aerobars and off I went, keeping any eye on my 30sec man. I reached the top of the plateau and the cross-winds off I25 started to really hit. Good thing I had some 60mm wheels thanks to my buddy Gui Campos, a disk was too dangerous! HR was rising steadily and I was happy to see I had been a bit reserved in the first 4-5min. I passed my 30sec man about 1 mile from the turn around, and had my sights on my 1min man as well. At the turn around, I had clocked 12:00 flat and 28.7mph. After a quick turn around, I quickly tried to get back up to speed for the slightly uphill return leg. I was able to catch my 1min man after about another mile, and at this point, US Pro Triathlete of the Year Cam Dye came by me. Cam and I trained together last year when I was doing multi-sport and he offered up some good words of encouragement. I didn't let it get to me that my min man had caught me, he is probably the strongest US triathlete on a bike and won the whole day as it was. I told myself to stay as close to him as possible over the next 5 miles and it would help my overall position. I was able to keep him at probably 15-20sec for the remainder of the race. With about 1.5 miles to go, I was really starting to suffer and constantly had to reassure myself that it's almost over...Only 4, 3, 2, 1 min to go. With one last sprint to the line I finished and was left gasping for any amount of air I could find. The return leg was a bit slower because of the slight uphill and head/cross wind, with a 13:56 for a total time of 12:56, and an average speed of 27.0mph.
Here is a link to a picture by Dejan Smaic  HERE

I had done what I came to do, put out my best effort and was rewarded with a 3rd place finish on the day, behind Cam by 1:15, and a Nick Applegate (GS Boulder) by just a mere 15sec. If Cam would be allowed to race in an Open 1/2 category based on "Pro Status", I would have been 2nd. Poor Cam has to beg just to be a Cat 3 when he was the strongest guy on the bike!

Good finish to the first race of the season, and the races start coming hot and heavy the next couple months and I am so excited to start racing again and get some good results. I have never trained as well as I have so far this season and have never had Power numbers this high (even at lower elevations). So it's going to be a great ride this season! The season keeps rocking next weekend in Ft. Collins for the CSU Road Race and Oval Crit!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Direction

It has taken forever, but I am back on the blogosphere. Been quite busy living the life here in Boulder. Helping cyclocross athletes get fast, taking my post-season break, and enjoying some new friends has all taken up the last couple months without a blog post. Being a Hawkeye or Raiders fan hasn't helped, but it's not as though I should be rooting for CU Boulder either because they are down right horrendous. I was lucky enough to go to a game with my buddy Landon, and it wasn't pretty. But that aside, the Indian Summer type weather here in Boulder has been awesome to do everything and anything outside.

Here is a picture of Iowa native Amanda Miller in the FasCat Exercise Physiology lab for a MLSS test!

Moving forward though, I have decided to take a break from triathlon for the next season and re-focus my skills back on the cycling world. Part of my really missed racing with my handlebars 2cm away from others, and so I am going to attempt a full on road-season to race against some of the best competition in the United States here in Colorado. It's amazing how deep the talent goes here. I will be coached by my co-worker and professional mountain biker Jason Hilimire, and mentored by another co-worker and Collegiate National Champion/European Pro in the 1990's Jeff Winkler. It is going to be a blast, and I have already enjoyed getting back on a training program which has been focused on weight training for the past few weeks.

Picture from the new FasCat Coaching I'm A FasCat Campaign. Current US National  Champion Timmy Duggan is on our program, you can to! Be a FasCat for the 2013 Season!

I will be putting on the colors of the Cycleton Team next year, and we have some awesome support coming in the way of Specialized, Clif Bar, Tifossi, CEP, Thule, Camelback and the Cycleton shop in Stapleton. I can't wait for the race season to start and get back in the game, and all the guys on the team really seem as though they are a great bunch, and will be great teammates and friends.

Team Cycleton - Denver, Colorado

I'll try and start being a bit more regular on the blog here with training updates as the season get's closer. Enjoy the holidays and keep training! Consistency is the key, especially to gain that holiday weight!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Harvest Moon 1/2 Ironman

Post Hy-Vee it was a few days to hang out with the family, celebrate my 24th birthday and recover for what was going to come the following weekend. Flew back to Boulder on Thursday evening, and entered my 2nd race in as many weeks on Sunday at the Harvest Moon 1/2 Ironman. The WithoutLimits crew put on an amazing race, one of the few that are non-corporate run, and the scene was so much more laid back and enjoyable! I have always believed that my heart will be more in the long distance races someday, and so I decided with a full race season under my belt, I would attempt to just have fun and complete a 1/2 Ironman. Have fun?? I guess so!

Got up at 4am on Sunday morning, and headed down to the Aurora Reservoir with my friend and training partner Gui Campos and his wife Patricia. Good news was the weather was slightly starting to break and it was only supposed to be in the mid-80's for the whole day, much better than the 90's with humidity back in Iowa, or 100's in Boulder the week before. We arrived at the Aurora Res around 6am, got parked and transition set up for the 7:30am start. Being my first 1/2 Ironman, I was going in with some slight lack of knowledge and definite personal experience in fueling for a 5 hour triathlon. I have done 5 hour road stages before during cycle races, but never the physical punishment of a swim/bike/run. But I was confident in my abilities and what I had laid out. So lets move onto the race!

Pre-Race Food:
    Oatmeal, Almond Butter, Cinnamon, Strawberries, Banana, Coffee
     Breeze Bars Cocoa Espresso Bar

PhotoGui and I!

Swim:  27:38 (1st out of water, 8th overall swim)   STRAVA

    Pretty easy and laid back swim start, went off the front of the group and no-one ended up being within 2min of me out of the water. Swam through the group ahead of me as well, made me feel good about where my swim has progressed from taking 1.5 years completely out of the water. Still improvements to be made, and I am anxious to keep putting in the work in the water for next season!

Bike: 2:28:42 (1st off bike, 12th overall bike)   STRAVA

    After an un-eventful T1, I was on the bike for my first 56mile TT test. Settled into a rythm for what would be a 2.5 hour test. Thanks to Coach Grant and teammate Allen, the Carroll 85m and Disk wheel set up was awesome. Some stiff south winds made for a somewhat difficult East/West and North leg on the course. But the Slice and Carroll set up allowed me to catch all but 10 people on the course. Nutrition on the bike included a Breeze Bar right away and 3 Peanut Butter GU's for food. GU Blueberry Brew fueled the liquid calories. Felt as though I paced it very well, and ate enough......was it enough, probably not...continue reading!

Run: 2:10:22 (2nd Overall, 130th overall run)  STRAVA

    OUCH.... KABOOM...... That is what happened to me on the run. The first two miles went pretty well, and then my body just quit. 11 miles to go, and I had nothing left. Don't know how many times I ended walking on the course to finish, I lost count after 15 or so....Disheartening to say the least, but when I think about it, all I had come to do was finish my first 1/2 Ironman. I ate 2 GU's on the run, had a couple cups of flat coke/gatorate, and so much water, but it didn't help. I had never run longer than 45min after a bike, and only longer than 13.1miles say 5 times in a single training run. Coach stresses that the underlying fatigue of HyVee 7 days before added much more to the equation then you could expect too. So I lost my chance of winning with 3 miles to go, after having a 20min lead out of the water and off the bike. Did I already start my legacy as a Chris Lieto prototype (always getting passed after leading off the bike) I SURE HOPE NOT! But I was able to finish something I never thought I would, and had a great time.

OVERALL TIME: 5:09:23 (2nd Place AG, 44th Overall)

Photo: 2nd Place in first 1/2 Ironman ever.

Post-race, had some good food at the race venue from Wahoo's Fish Tacos and an always welcome Mix1! A pretty sweet plaque now sits in my room reminding me what hard work, dedication, and never giving up leads too. Enjoying my few days off here, and ready to start building towards next season! Thanks to GU Energy, Breeze Bars, Mix1, Coach Grant Holicky, FasCat Coaching personnel, and everyone who made this first season a success!

Monday, September 10, 2012

HyVee 5150 USA Championships

A bit late, but it was an amazing trip back home over the Labor Day holidays to compete in the US 5150 Championships at the HyVee Triathlon in Des Moines. Such a close race to home and my body and I enjoyed racing at some lower elevations where I could actually breath!

Flew into Cedar Rapids on Friday night to my parents waiting for me. Was great to see them again, hadn't seen them since March. We loaded everything up and went to Marion to watch the Decorah Vikings play some high school football. I hadn't watch a high school football game in probably 3 years, and it was awesome to sit outside on a Friday night and watch some gridiron live! Saw some familiar faces from the Decorah area.

Saturday, I got up, put together my TT rig (thank you Frontier Airlines) for transporting my bike for free and keeping it safe! Loaded up and drove to Des Moines for pre-race workouts and packet pickup. The biggest event I have ever taken part in, and HyVee really does a great job with everything. Sounds like they take care of the pros extremely well, and were able to bring in the male silver and bronze Olympic medalists. My training buddies Cam Dye and Travis Johnston were also present which made it fun to watch! Skipping through the day, everything went swimmingly, and I was ready to go! Coach Grant Holicky had done a masterful job with my taper, and I felt more fresh then I did all season. Laid down to sleep knowing it was going to be a good day! Major thanks to Dan and Heather for their hospitality and offering up their condo!

Race day! Woke up, had the staple breakfast and coffee and loaded up for Gray's Lake! Got into transition and heard over the loudspeaker that it was going to be a wet-suit legal swim. You're telling me the water temperature changed 2 degrees in 10 hours? I don't think so, they said it was 77.8deg, down from 79.7 the afternoon before. I know there have been some recent tragic deaths during swims, but there is no way it was under 78deg. Anyway, I prepped for the race, and moved down to the water for the group beach start.

Photo Cool picture before the swim.

Swim: 22:04
       Got off the pack early to avoid any collisions and settled in behind Boulder RACE swimmer Mitch Rider who would set the fastest split of the day. Ouch, when we made the turn back East, the sun had started peaking through and made it virtually impossible to see. Eventually I made it back, and out of the water in 2nd place.

Bike: 1:00:40
    Oh come on!!! 40sec is all I needed to break the hour mark! It was a fast course, and a group of 4 of us got together and kept the pace high for the rest of the ride, exchanging time at the front. Ended up with the 4th fastest bike split of the race, and left me in good position going into the run.

Run: 42:32
      Unfortunately, when I came off the bike, I had 2 strong runners with me. I quickly lost contact with the leaders, and throughout the run, would lose 2 more spots to racers behind me. The course was deceptively hard, as it got more and more hilly as you got towards the capital. A massive 10% 1 block hill right before the finish was the real kicker in the pants. I crossed the line, and knew I had given everything I could have give.

After the race, I found I had placed 5th overall and landed a spot on the podium! It was a great experience, and know with a full off-season of running, I will be able to improve my 10km time to keep that top 1-2 spot of the bike.

The rest of my time spent in Iowa included: Seeing family and friends, celebrating my 24th birthday, officially receiving my diploma for my Master of Arts in Exercise Physiology degree from UNI, and just relaxing. Some days I really have a hard time not being next to my family, especially when you see a face like this. I love my niece Brooklyn. So adorable, and is walking, talking and going to be the next Missy Franklin in the pool!
Photo: Brooklyn's new playhouse! When I was little we used boxes and sheets to make houses.My niece Brooklyn
Photo: Finally hold it and see it personally! Official diplomaDiploma

Friday, August 24, 2012

World Bicycle Relief Partnership

Hey peeps,
So much has gone on, but I won't take the time to bore you with my life. Instead, I'd like to focus on a company I have recently partnered with that has one of the greatest visions in the world. World Bicycle Relief is a company based out of Chicago and Golden, CO. The company's mission is to:
World Bicycle Relief is dedicated to providing access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles.Compared to walking, bicycles represent an enormous leap in productivity and access to healthcare, education and economic development opportunities. The simple, sustainable nature of bicycles empowers individuals, their families and their communities.
We accomplish our mission by:

  • Working with suppliers to improve bicycle design while ensuring all changes are culturally appropriate
  • Enhancing distribution with local sourcing, manufacturing or assembly whenever possible
  • Partnering with existing non-governmental organizations and government and community based organizations
  • Training mechanics in maintenance and repair while strengthening the existing supply of spare parts
  • Measuring and evaluating the impact of bicycles and communicating the results to improve programs and increase awareness
I have had the amazing experience of training with one of their in charge members, Rebecca Much, as well as volunteering and attending their recent Bikes for Bash Fundraiser in Boulder. During this event, I got to meet and mingle with pro cyclist Tom Danielson, and pro triathletes Mirinda Carfrae, Tim O'Donnell, and Craig Alexander. The event went out with great success, raising over $20,000 for the cause.
The reason I am posting about this great cause, is I have my own fundraising page set up to help out!! What is so cool about World Bicycle Relief, is that, the money goes directly into the field, without a middle man promising that things will get done. World Bicycle Relief trains mechanics in Africa to build these bicycles, and provides jobs for mechanics, allows Health Care workers to reach villages in less time, and schoolchildren the ability to get to school.
           1. A bike increases the carrying capacity by 5x
           2. Decreases travel time by 3x
           3. Increases overall coverage area of a person by 4x!
One of the bikes, costs $134 to be produced and put together, but little as $50 can be used to provide these mechanics with all the tools required to build and maintain these bikes over the rough roads of S.E Africa.

So this is the "Buffalo" Bicycle that they use. It has the ability to hold 200lbs of supplies on the rear rack, and is extremely durable. I have had the luxury of seeing this bike up-close!
My fundraising goal for this project to start is $1,340 dollars, or the cost of 10bikes. If anyone reads this blog, and would love to donate any amount of money to help me reach this goal, or tell others around you about it, any money goes on to help someone live a more prosperous and healthier lifestyle at the same time. Below is the link to my fundraising page!

As for my own life, season goals of HyVee triathlon is next week, and I am looking forward to being home and seeing some family and friends, and crushing the course in Des Moines!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012 Boulder Peak 5150 Report

Last Sunday was my second attempt at a 5150 Olympic Distance triathlon. It was the Boulder Peak Triathlon, one of the hardest Olympic distance triathlons in the nation, and I have heard the hardest Olympic bike course. I was stoked going into the race, as I had a great time in Kansas City back in May for the brother race. My swim, bike, and running have been coming along well, and I was eager to test out my fitness against a much more quality field in the 20-24 age group. I have already qualified for my Elite Amateur status, and HyVee as well, but have decided to probably spend the whole year as an age group in order to gain experience. And as the race played out, there is still much running progression to be made.
The race started bright and early, at 7am, so that meant a 4:40am wake up. Thank you coach Grant Holicky for having 5am swim practices. This made the wake up much more tolerable. I was up, already packed, and fueled up the body with my typical oats, almond butter, banana, cinnamon, and a mixture of berries. Add a couple cups of coffee, and it was off to the Boulder Reservoir. Upon arriving, I got the body marked and transition set up in a decent spot. Close to T1 entrance from the swim, and also T2 exit for the run. A quick run warm-up and it was off to the water for the start. My wave didn't go off until 7:30, so it was cool to watch the Elites take off. Soon enough, however, it was go time!

I lined up in the front, and waited for the air-horn. It came, and off we went. It was much more manageable during the 1 mile swim. There was not near the washing machine effect that happened during the sprint, but it is also twice as long. I settled into a group of about 5 guys and we took off. Soon enough, we caught up to 2 or 3 different waves of swimmers. Running over other people in the water isn't very nice, I wouldn't like it, but there isn't much to do. So I am sorry for the people who were pummeled in the head, body by my hands and feet, it wasn't personal. Heading into the finish, I came out of the water with another guy, and heard we were 3rd and 4th out of the water, in a time of 20:41 (1:23 100/yd), and 24th overall swimmer. Not too shabby!

Made it to T1, but had some trouble getting the wetsuit off, which probably cost a good 20seconds. I was off and onto the bike. This course is about 5miles of uphill right off the bat, with the first 3.5miles or so at a 2% gradient, and then a 1.5 mile section of anywhere from 8-12% with most at around 10%. I posted a YouTube video in the last post of the Old Stage Road climb. It is an awesome climb so close to home, but man, it never gets any easier. I made my way up the climb, and didn't get passed by a single rider, and picked off probably a good 20 or so (None from my age group). Heading down the decent, the roads were a bit slick, and the race organization strictly enforces a 35mph speed limit on the upper portions of the decent. A police offer with a radar gun, and pad and paper sat about half-way down. I was close to probably getting popped and kicked out of the race, but gladly got slowed down enough to where I should have been. It is a good safety measure, as an athlete has crashed and died before, but it should just be mentioned in the race waiver about the high speeds. Don't hold back speed on a decent. After the steep part of the decent, it is a ripping 30mph section of slightly downhill for a good 10-15miles. After this, a small gradual 1% slog back to the reservoir greets riders who may have gone a bit too hard. Still feeling good, by the time I had reached T2, I had ridden myself into first place in the age group, but with 3-4 guys within 1 minute, at an average speed of 23.1mph which ended up being 2nd in my age group, and 49th overall. A much faster T2, had me out on the run course in 2nd place.

I am not a fast runner, and over the course of the run, I was passed by 6 more guys in my age group. I still passed more people on the run, then I was passed by, but unfortunately, 90% of the guys who passed me were in my age group. It was rough running my first 10k up at altitude, but kept going the best I could and finished with a time of 43:49 (7:05min/mile) average. Pretty bummed about that time, as I ran 6:50's in Kansas City, but that was a good 4500ft lower in altitude. And for every 1000ft of altitude, you lose 2-3% of your threshold ability. So when you do the math, it's not too bad, and would have been faster had I been in KC again (roughly around 6:40's). That bodes well for HyVee!

Strava Files:

It was great seeing a lot of friends and training partners at the end, and one of the actually won the whole event (Cam Dye). I hope to follow in his footsteps someday, as he was a collegiate swimmer and also a great cyclist. But it took him about 6 years of development to run where he is now! Gives me something to shoot for.

So now, it's back to the salt mines of training getting ready for HyVee in September. I am stoked to have my grandparents and aunt/uncle out here this weekend. We are going to catch a Rockies game and hang out and about! Then, I believe the next race will be the HITS Series later this month. I was scheduled to come home in August for the Peregrine Charities race, but due to unfortunate happenings recently, the race was cancelled. Looks like the next time I'll be home is over Labor Day for HyVee and my birthday!

Also, pretty cool lately as I had my first coaching article published by Velonews!!! Check it out.