Riding for a Reason

Changing the world, one mile at a time

The 2010 Training Season is under way!

I’m back and I’m ready to take on the world!  It’s been a quiet several months.  Winter is always slow to retreat for the year up here in Wisconsin, so often when it’s nice enough to ride in the spring, the southern winds like to push my bike from side to side.

So far this season, I’ve ridden 200 miles on my bike.  I will begin to keep a more accurate count of the miles now.  My goal for the year still sits at 1,500 miles, so I have work to do, but I will get there.

Another personal link to cancer…

I just found out about a week ago that my aunt’s mother had a brain tumor.  The performed surgery and removed most of the tumor.  After further tests, it was reveiled that she has stage 4 cancer.  Grandma Benjamin was like family to all of us.  I keep her in my prayers and think about it often.  Keeps reminding me that there is a reason for doing all of this and someday, maybe it will make a difference.  I just ordered my LIVESTRONG Jersey and Shorts, so I will be a rolling advertisement before we know it! :)

Scenic Shore 150

I’m all registered for the Scenic Shore 150 on July 24th-25th, benifitting LLS of Wisconsin.  I’m riding with Team Destroyer.  This year, we’re riding in memory of Dennis “The Destroyer” Werra, who lost his long battle with cancer late last year.  We have a big team this year which should be a lot of fun.  So far my fundraising total has passed $300! 

If you’d like to contribute to the cause, please click here.

Miller Lite Ride for the Arts

This weekend is the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts in Milwaukee.  This will be the first year that I’m participating it.  I signed up for the 75 mile ride, which I’m a little nervous for, but I think it will be fun.  It will be a good warm up for the Scenic Shore.  I will have a report next week on it.  This ride kicks off the week long Bike to Work Week in Milwaukee, which is always a lot of fun.  Although I’ll be traveling part of the week, I hope to get out several times for a ride.

Ride/Race Schedule Updated

I just updated my 2010 Ride/Race schedule so everything is current.  I’m still looking for a triathlon to do on August 1st, so if you know of anything, let me know!  All I know is that i can’t wait to start racing!  I’ve finally recovered from my sprained ankle, so I’m eager to get out there and see what I’ve got!


June 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Closing the Book on My First Season

 Last Sunday I competed in the Latebird J-Hawk Triathlon.  This was the same course as the first triathlon I competed in back in April.  The weather for this race was much better than in April, but the conditions still weren’t ideal.  Six of us were competing and all got placed into the same wave, which was nice.  We all arrived at about 7:30 for our 9:12 start time.  It was calm when we got there, but the forecast was for the winds to pick up throughout the day… not a good sign considering out in Whitewater there isn’t a lot of buildings to block the wind. :)  A big of change from the Earlybird race was the now everyone had race chips which allowed for accurate split and transition times.

I started out strong on the swim.  I was feeling good and wasn’t getting very fatigued.  My first split clocked at 9:50, which is about on par from my previous three races.  Still I know if I focused more on training for swimming I could probably get another minute trimmed off of there.  However, I have bigger weaknesses to focus on. ;)  The T1 transition I still need to focus on.  I’ve cut down how much I need to do in that transition to trim some time, but I still have difficulty getting my barrings together after getting out of the water.  About 3:14 later I was on my bike and off on the route.

 Bike Route

Bike Route

 Doing this route for the second time definitely was an advantage.  I knew what turns were coming next and what kind of terrain to expect.  Unfortunately, the winds are what got to me.  Starting out there were strong winds coming from the west.  Considering that most of the ride was heading north and south, that gave me no help and really just kind of pushed my bike all over the road for most of the ride.  I had about a mile of having the wind at my back, otherwise I was fighting the winds and riding in the drops most of the way.  I managed a respectable time of 46:23 on the bike with an average speed of 18.1mph.  My goal was to get at least 19mph, but on a day like this, that just wasn’t going to happen.  I had a great T2 time of 1:48, but I felt pretty gassed getting off of the bike.  I headed out to the cross-country trail for the 5k.

Run Route

Run Route

 It was nice to do this running route when it wasn’t drenched from the rain.  After getting a sip a water and walking for a few seconds to get my heart rate down, I was off.  I felt pretty good running.  Going through the nature preserve was pretty peaceful and helped me stay focused on the task at hand.  I didn’t really see anyone on the run, which made it difficult to try and pace myself, but for the first time, no one passed me during the race.  That was a first for me. :)  Granted there were only about 200 people total in the race, but hey, you have to have your achievements somewhere!  I finished the race strong and finished with a time of 1:35:27, about 13 seconds off my PR.  It wasn’t the time that I wanted to finish in, but given the more difficult bike and run courses, I will take that time into the off-season.  In all, I would say I had a successful season.  The first triathlon I did I finished in 2:03:38 and 5 months later I managed to trim more than 28 minutes off of that time.  Not too bad!  Like I’ve said before, this is a great triathlon to do for anyone who’s looking to get into the sport.  The swimming is in the lap pool which, for many people, is the biggest deterrent for doing a triathlon.  There is plenty of helpful staff around and they understand that many of the participants are newbies.

What’s Next?

Next I am going to spend the rest of the month of October resting my body.  My shin splint is still hanging around, so I’m going to stay away from running.  I’ll be hitting the pool once or twice a week to keep that fitness level going and I will probably try to bike to work a couple more times before it gets too cold.  After that I’m looking into getting a coach for the high expectations I’ve set for myself next season!

In regards to my Riding for a Reason campaign, I am getting ready to order my LIVESTRONG jersey and shorts.  After that I will be setting up my 2010 Grassroots Fundraising page and begin some preliminary fundraising.  I’m looking for corporate sponsors to place on my jerseys, so if you’re interested, check out my About page or feel free to e-mail me.


October 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work Travel = Stationary Bike

So this week I’m traveling for work which definitely limits what I can do in regards to exercise and mainly cycling.  I’m less than two weeks away from the J-Hawk Latebird Triathlon in Whitewater and I really didn’t want to start tapering already.  I managed to get a solid 3 mile run in at lunch on Monday before we left, but I still wasn’t satisfied.  So I’m left with two options…  Option A) Calculate a random route in Laredo with lots of stop lights and run in the dark in 85 degree temps or B) Workout in the “workout room” at the hotel.  And I use that term loosely.

I decided on option B.  After trying to run on the treadmill Continue reading

September 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Common Worst Case Scenarios for Open Water Swimmers and How to Avoid Them

I found this great article on active.com about worst case scenarios during an open water swim and how to avoid/deal with them.  Here’s the article below…

By Alex Kostich

Every athlete ever to skid, stumble, or crawl across a finish line has a race-day horror story to share.

Triathletes and cyclists recall getting a flat or going down on the road. Runners compare notes on excruciating cramps, blisters and shin splints. But perhaps the most anxiety-inducing tales come from swimmers, who live in constant fear of experiencing their worst open water moments again and again.

Lots can go wrong in the water; after all, we evolved to live comfortably on land. From losing a pair of goggles at the start of a race to experiencing a debilitating cramp in deep water, swimmers have it rough.

Below is a list of the most common open water Worst Case Scenarios, and how you can prevent them from occurring—or at least cope with them should they come up in competition.

Ways to Avoid Having a Worst Case Scenario Become Your Worst Race Scenario

1. Losing Your Goggles

Nothing is more dispiriting than rushing into the water at Continue reading

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Triathlon | , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Lance Armstrong News

Seeing as how Lance Armstrong is one of the most influential cyclists in the world both for his efforts on and off the race course, I will have some info about him from time to time.  Three quick updates about what’s new with Lance…

Lance to get back into Triathlons?!?

In a recent interview with Outside Lance flirts with the idea of doing the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in the future.  For those that don’t know, before Lance became a world class cyclist, he actually compete in triathlons as he was growing up.  It would be pretty awesome to see how he can measure up to the other top competitors in multisport.  I think it’s easy to assume that he’d be the first one off the bike, but would he have enough legs left to run a marathon???

Leadville 100 – Lance dominant in another big race… a MOUNTAIN BIKE race!

Lance early in the race before he decided to leave the competition in his dust.

Last year Armstrong placed 2nd to Dave Wiens who added to his streak of six consecutive Leadville wins.  That was before Lance started training for a return to the Tour de France.  This year with the Tour already under his belt, Armstrong spent most of the day pedaling by himself.  Continue reading

August 18, 2009 Posted by | Cycling, LIVESTRONG, Triathlon | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gear-Grinder team ride and Lessons Learned (Doogie Howser Style)


Today was my first ride with the team I just joined called Gear-Grinder.  I noticed them at the Tri-ing for Children’s Triathlon and they seemed pretty fun and were a very good team, so I decided to join to improve my own performance and meet some other fun people.

I was getting ready to leave work and head over to the Highland House in Mequon where we were meeting.  One last look at the website and something caught my eye.  They have some world class athletes on the team!  Just about every race that the team enters, there are people finishing on the podium for them.  It’s pretty impressive.  I thought nothing of it and went about my business. 

I was planning on this being like the Monday ride I had with Beans & Barley.  Continue reading

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Another unfortunate triathlon death

I read the new this morning, only to find out that the third life has been claimed from triathlons in Wisconsin this year.

It is very unfortunate.  As  the popularity of this sport grows, so too do the deaths.  The basis of doing a triathlon is so positive and has the capability of changing your life for the better.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in those feelings, that you overlook the physical challenges of competing and any potential health risks that you have.

Triathlons are great because it’s an experience shared by people of all walks of life, all shapes, sizes, and ages.  It has the ability of sucking you in and pushing your body to it’s limits.  In reading about the last 2 deaths, it appears that all of these individuals had been training for at least 8 months, which is about average for a new triathlete.  They had most likely already made that lifestyle change and gotten into the routine of building their endurance.  Unfortunately, I think that sometimes the least amount of training comes in the most serious leg of the race.  I too, am guilty of this.  It’s very difficult sometimes to plan for training in a pool.  If you don’t belong to a gym and don’t have the availability of a local pool to practice in, it can be difficult to build up your endurance.  While it is true that the beginning of the race generally gives you an extra boost of andrenline, it also can put more stress on your heart, especially when the water temperature is still relatively cool in the early morning.  On top of that, many times, that first triathlon is the participants first time swimming in the open water.  The current, waves, 50+ people in the water with you, and not having a lane line to follow adds stress on your body and anxiety that can cause you to rush your breathing and shorten your stroke.

For others that are preparing for their first triathlon, make sure you have had a physical in the last 12 months.  Try to discover any Continue reading

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

A day of personal records!

So Sunday was the Tri-ing for Children’s Triathlon benefitting Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee. It was a great cause and the triathlon that my buddies from home Cam, Steve, and Adam all decided to do on New Year’s of this year. So really, this race was my New Years resolution even though I have already surpassed the “Do one triathlon” pledge. :) Steve’s wife, Jordan, and Jordan’s brother Jason also participated in the race. Ot was pretty coold knowing multiple people throughout the race. Kept my attention during the race focused on finding them and giving some words of encouragement.

After the Olympic waves, which included Cam, the Sprint waves started. Adam, Steve, and I were all in the same wave. I got some more use out of my wetsuit, which is a pretty nice security blanket for some extra confidence in the water. My swim stroke remains very efficient compared to the other swimmers in my age group. The only issue I had was that half way through the race, I couldn’t really get a deep breath in, which is usually a sign of my asthma kicking in. When I was younger it was originally thought that it was because of my allergies, but I’m starting to notice, especially on more humid days, that it can be exercise induced as well. After my swim there was maybe a .1 mile run to the transition area. This was where I wanted to make the biggest improvement. Last week it took me 6+ minutes to get on my bike, so I was determined to be better than that. I succeeded!!! I even had to pull my wetsuit off, but with some concentration and waiting to put my socks on until the ride, I was off on the bike in 3:37. Still room for improvement, but I was happy with that.

Continue reading

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Triathlon | , | Leave a comment

Mid-Season Form

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was hoping to get one last tune-up ride in before my Triathlon. I went out on the 15th after work with Katie and we did an abbreviated ride since there were some strong winds coming from the west. The types of winds that make you feel like you’re really going fast when it’s at your bike and make you feel like you’re worthless when you’re riding into it! But nonetheless, it was a solid last ride of 7 miles. Just enough to get the muscles activated and eager for Saturday’s race.

THE BIG DAY! Katie and I left the hotel at about 5:30am so I could get there plenty early and setup. Of course there was a chance for rain the entire day as I’m noticing seems to be a trend whenever I want to do a triathlon. It was drizzling pretty much the entire way to the course. We got to Murphy Park and I went to setup my bike. I noticed that the waves in Green Bay were nice and big. YAY… ugh… not an exciting way to start a race! After setting up my stuff and then later covering it with a poncho to keep it dry the rain stopped. Unfortunately the wind still hadn’t stopped. Continue reading

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Triathlon | , | Leave a comment