Thursday, May 27, 2010

TrySports Group Ride last night

We rolled out of the TrySports parking lot for our Wednesday ride last night at 6pm. But not before being given a speech on road etiquette. Because of the number of cyclist now riding in the Marvin and Waxhaw area, the cycling groups have asked the police in these towns to more closely enforce the laws related to motorist and cyclist.

Not that this is a bad thing. I am all for cyclist riding single file and not taking up the entire road. I am also in favor of motorist driving responsibly when passing cyclist as well as giving cyclist the appropriate amount of space while passing.

Just in my short cycling history, I have more than my fair share of close calls.

What I learned last night was that Marvin and Waxhaw police officers will now cite cyclist for moving violations (I hope I have this right). For example, if you come up stop sign, check the traffic in both directions, and then roll through it without coming to a complete halt, they intend to ticket you. As I understand it, the same can be applied at red lights and you must have the green before proceeding. And if you are riding in a group, each cyclist must come up to the stop sign and make a complete halt. There can be no "clear right" "clear left" signals.

While I understand the spirit of these laws, I still struggle with them. Starting and stopping on a bike are the most dangerous times for a cyclist. While you are rolling along you have more control over the bike.

Now, I am not in favor of blasting through stop signs or red lights. In my opinion, stop signs should be treated as yield signs for cyclist. If another vehicle is coming, give them the right of passage and come to a complete stop. Otherwise, in the cyclist's own good judgment slow appropriately and proceed through the intersection.

For red lights, I am in favor of stopping, but waiting on a light to change is ridiculous. Depending on how the light is coded, the light may never change. In this case, a cyclist should be able to check traffic in all directions and when safely able to do so proceed through the intersection.

If you went down to city hall and checked the books, I'll bet there are many of laws that are no longer enforced. I remember reading about one city which had a law that every car must be preceded by a man walking and carrying a red flag 50 feet in front of the car. Just image if they tried to enforce such a law in today's world.

And much like the laws related to copy rights infringement which many were written before the onset of the internet, many of the laws related to the bicycle were written before such things a clipless pedals and group rides.

Maybe it is time to rethink these laws and adjust them for the world that we live in today.

When I ride, I ride responsibly and I only ask only that motorist do the same.

Okay, now that I have this off my chest, last night's ride was awesome. We added a few extra miles after the hill section to push the ride mileage to 34 and averaged about 19mph. The pace was a little quicker than last week but after riding with the Inside Out guys on Tuesday night, the pace felt a lot slower.

Last week, when I hit the hill I choose the wrong gear and dropped through the group like a stone. Last night, I learned from previous week and down shifted appropriately. This time, I was able to stay with the guys all the way to the top. Experience, you can live without it but life is so much harder.

Later on the run in on Rea Road, I guess I got a little too froggy and was trying to really push the big gears. I pulled up so hard on my left pedal that I pulled my shoe completely out of the clip. By the time that I reclipped, they were 40 meters in front of me. There wasn't any chance of catching them.

Next time, oh, I am looking forward to it.

-btw I saw Chris wearing one of the retro TrySports jerseys. Definitely, it was a keeper. I have to have one.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inside Out Sports Group Bike Ride

Yesterday afternoon, I emailed Melinda Yelton from Inside Out Sports to learn more about their Store Group rides.

Her email came back pretty quickly and I learn that their group rides were at a pretty quick pace. Not being deterred, I replied that I still wanted to try it.

The Inside Out Sports guys hand out turn by turn directions because their rides are "NOT" no drop rides. So I showed up early met and met Melinda. She was kind of enough to give the directions for yesterday's ride.

I looked at the directions and while I didn't know every road on the ride, I was familiar with the general area and if I got dropped, I figured I could still find my way back to the store.

The ride leaves the store around 6pm and everyone heads out together. However, it doesn't take long to see the groups forming.

The "A" group rolls through a yellow light while the "B" waits. Or this is how I characterized it.

Heading out and around the air port, I thought my brakes must be rubbing until I realized it was my tongue dragging the ground. Sorry, my poor attempt at humor.

These guys indeed ride very fast. When we finally stopped at a light somewhere on the SW side of Charlotte, I looked at my Garmin. We had been riding for an hour and ten minutes and had already covered 25 miles. One thing to be prepared for is sprint points. I wasn't told about this before the ride, but I learned about it pretty quickly. At certain points along the course, they just take off sprinting. You will realize it quite easily. They open a 10 to 15 meter gap on you before you know it. Lucky for me, they don't do this for very long and I am able to ride back up to them. Next time, I am going to ask where the sprint points are located so I can be a little more prepared to keep up.

Most of the time, I rode from the middle to the back of the pack. These guys ride together every week and I didn't want to screw up their ride. Nor, did I want to cause a wreck that might get me disinvited back to their future rides.

We caught a little rain just before West Blvd but it wasn't anything that would affect our ride.

Back at the store, I hung out for a while before heading out.

Overall, the ride was fast but pretty good. The roads were not busy for being in the Charlotte which made the ride even better.

I definitely want to do a few more of these rides. Maybe they will toughen me up.


Here's a breakdown of my ride.




Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Harvest Bread 5k

Saturday morning, I ventured over to the start of the Great Harvest Bread 5k to watch many of my friends take on this tough course.

If I didn't capture a shot of you, next time, please run closer to the camera.


Video from the Cool Down Runner while at the Great Harvest Bread 5k.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Rudy Project Cycling Helmet

I dropped a few more $$$$$ at TrySports last weekend and picked up a new cycling helmet. My previous every day cycling helmet was several years old and was in bad need of replacement. There had been more than few dings on it.

My new helmet is a Rudy Project helmet – white with Gold trim.

The fit is much better and the ability to adjust the fit allowed me to dial the right snugness for my head.

I have attached a few snap shots to the right.


New helmet for the Cool Down Runner

Free Sample - Power Bar Energy Gel Blasts

Yesterday evening I preparing for a long ride and was looking through my assortment of energy snacks when I saw this pack of Strawberry – Banana Energy Blast.

The Power Bar guys sent me this free pack a few months ago. I put it on the shelf until I found a good time to try it. Today seemed like that day.

I clipped off the edge of the pack, slide it into the back of my jersey, and headed out the door.

I popped first one in my mouth just before pushing off.

The Strawberry – Banana flavor is pretty nice and not difficult to chew while riding.

There are 6 pieces to a pack which worked out pretty well over my 46 mile ride. Also I don't have the messy gel wrappers to stick back in my jersey after using them. I am pro – no littering along the road.

One thing that I might change is to put the energy blast into a zip lock baggie. Getting them out of the original package while riding is tough

If you are interested in getting a free sample from Power Bar click here


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It’s Official – Twin Cities Marathon in Motion

It is finally official. I am heading to the Twin Cities Marathon in Motion on October 3, 2010.

I have been checking into this race for a few weeks now and the chance to run against some of the best Masters in the US was just too great. This race is the Master's UST&F Marathon Championship so this will be a great opportunity for me to see how I stack up.

The ladder will be tough one to climb. After checking the results from the race last year, I would have to run a PR just to finish in the top 10. While that is a lofty goal, I am not deterred by the odds. On marathon day anything can happen and there will be plenty of good runners to pull me along.

On a side note, my marathon training plan will be coming out in a few weeks and in it I plan to have several marathon paced training runs. As always, these efforts are open to anyone and everyone that wish to join me.


Fall marathon plans for the Cool Down Runner


TrySports Wednesday night Group Bike Rides

Last night, I headed across Charlotte to check out the TrySports Wednesday night group rides. For three years that I have been hanging around the TrySports I have never been on one of our store's rides so I added it to my bucket list and checked it off last night.

TrySports does a group ride every Wednesday night at 6pm during the summer. Typically, the rides are broken into 3 groups: 20+ mph going 25 to 30, 17-19 mph going 25 to 30, and a 16 mph group going 20 to 25.

Since most of my rides are solo and I typically average between 15 and 17 mph, I was a little hesitate to jump into the B group and really didn't have any thoughts of jumping into the A group. Cyclist much like runners can be hard to judge just be looking at them. A guy that you think cannot ride at all will be flying down the road while someone who looks like he should be fast is barely hanging onto the group.

Just after 6pm all three groups started rolling out. First the A group rolled out. Then the B and C groups rolled.

I settled on the B group. I figured if they drop me, I could still find my way back to the store.

The first few miles were fairly easy. I found myself a nice sweet spot in the pace line and just tried to stay out of trouble.

The first few hills that we hit took a little bit of adjustment. They ride the hills pretty hard. Pick the right gear and you can stay with them. Pick the wrong gear like me and you struggle to the top. Luckily, I only did this once last night.

Most of the hills, I hung on pretty well.

Around 15 miles we hit this really long climb to the turn around. I struggled in the lower part of the climb but made it over the top and the ride back down was a piece of cake.

On the way back, we were passed by the A group. Man, they were moving. They looked like they were working hard and riding fast. Within minutes, they were out of sight.

Our group continued on staying together pretty well until we hit Rea Road again.

I guess these guys could smell the barn because the pace really picked up. My Garmin logged those miles at 27 mph. I was doing all that I could just to stay on the wheel of the guy in front of me and not once did I have any thoughts pulling out of his slip stream.

Definitely, it was a great experience and those were a lot of people in the B group.

The only negative point happened when this driver in a huge SUV passed us going 60+ mph and blowing his horn. Yeah, I know a huge group of Cyclist can be annoying to pass but if he had hit someone it would have changed his life and the life of the cyclist forever. Was that road rage really worth taking that chance?

I hope to become a regular on these rides and if my rides continue to improve maybe just maybe I I will try out the A group before the summer is over. I would love to join Chris and Layne to see what it feels like.

If you have a bike and enjoy riding through the Carolina country side, check out the TrySports Wednesday night group rides


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Very Cool Morning for a Miner’s Run

Rolled out of bed early this morning and headed across Charlotte for our regular Tuesday edition of the Miner's Run. At this hour Charlotte roads are pretty much empty but during the last mile to PDS, I fell in behind this pickup truck. For some reason, I wondered where this guy was going at 5AM in the morning.

Following him along, he turns into PDS and into the parking where we park. It was then that I recognized the truck which belonged to Mike B. Go figure.

This may be our last cool morning for a while which gave me extra incentive to stay in my nice warm car. In addition, I took advantage this last opportunity and I closed my eyes just for a second. Oh, the feeling was so good. Always before this run, my thoughts drift off to "why do I get up so early and do this". Then Jay, Steve, and Megan arrived. Stan put in a cameo appearance – just kidding Stan. Later we picked up Aaron, Mike K, and Paul on our way to Mc Alpine.

Then somewhere around 7 miles the realization sets in – as it usually does. I would rather be out here running and hanging with these guys than doing anything else.



See you guys next week and I will be filming at the start of the run so dress nice. J


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 17, 2010

Garmin 310 XT Review

I picked up the Garmin 310 XT from TrySports a little over a week ago and spent the last week putting it through it paces. So far my experiences have all been positive.

Syncing the 310 with the Heart Monitor and the Garmin Cadence was very painless. As soon as I got within 5 meters, the 310 picked up the signal and paired with each device.

Transferring the data to the device is not totally painless but not extremely difficult either. To obtain the software, it does required download from Garmin support and installation of a client ANT program. Then, the 301 XT has to be paired with the USB device. But once this hurdle is overcome, the rest is all downhill from that point.

Leave your Garmin 310 on after your workout and bring it within 5 meters of the USB device will cause the data transfer to automatically start. First, the data will be sent into the Training center and if needed, you could push it up to Garmin Connect. I definitely see this as an improvement over the 305 which had to be physically attached to your PC

There are some other differences between the 305 and 310. Starting, stopping, alerts will cause the Garmin to vibrate. At first, I was a little irritated by it, but as I used it more, it started to grow on me. A little vibration gives me an extra verification that I have started or stopped my session.

Another difference is how the history is maintained. The 305 has a history of running and biking, but on the 310 workouts are described as activities. And, it only appears as an activity once the Garmin is reset via the lap button. (Honestly, I am still learning on this one so there maybe another way to see it without resetting it)

The other feature that I am starting like is the main display scrolling. Being able to scroll various attributes during the current session is really nice.

The charging of the device works a little differently from the 305. There is a clamp that has contacts to push power into the battery. According the documentation, I can get roughly 20 hours of battery life. So far, I have not preformed a longevity test of the battery, but at some point, I am sure it will happen.

The last item that I want to point out is the booting process. The 310 boot process is much faster than the 305. So far, within 30 seconds of turning on the Garmin, the display comes up. The 305 could take several minutes before it booted to the normal display and longer if it were a cloudy day.

In my opinion, the 310 is a nice upgrade over the 305.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Enjoying my downtime

As I set here enjoying a "Dr. Pepper", I am a week into my down time and to be brutally honest, I am enjoying it. For the first time since August of last year, I spent a week not doing any type of running workout. No strides, no track workouts, no fartleks, no long runs are on my schedule. I just get up, go out the door, and run whatever feels good. Sometimes, I run 7 miles. Other times, I run 14 or 16. Just go out the door and let the body do what it feels like doing.

After each hard training cycle I look forward to these down periods, because it gives me an opportunity to reflect on both my successes and my struggles.

Since last summer, I have run 2 x marathons both in 2:43, 2 x halves in 1:16 and 1:17. Picked up several titles: 8k RRCA Masters Championship, USATF&F Marathon, 10 mile, and ½ marathon Master's Championships. Added on 2 x Duathlons and a Biathlon – one of which I qualified for Duathlon Worlds. Between all of this I sprinkled in some 5k (breaking 17 minutes), 8k (breaking 28 minutes), and 10k road races and capped it off with several Time Trials and Dilworth Criterium. When I list it out, I have really don't have any idea how I completed all of it.

But my successes were not without struggles: hours spent running and cycling followed by hours covered with ice bags scattered from the hips through my ankles. Sometimes, I pushed things to the breaking point when I had weeks of sore ankles and feet, shin splints, and Achilles Tendentious. More than once I found myself racing with a body that wasn't truly 100%.

Somehow, I managed to survive it.

This rest period will last through the end of June. Then, it will be time start the building process for the fall and hopefully more successes.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kuota Kalibur

TrySports had their 3 year anniversary party today and as part of the festivities, the Kuota Bike Rep was giving customers a chance to ride the store's Kuota demo bikes.

When I saw this listed in the activities schedule for today, I made a mental to drop by the store for a test ride.

And, what a test ride it was.

Rob, the TrySports bike mechanic, fitted me on to the Kuota Kalibur and sent me out for a test ride. I guess there is some level of trust that I would bring it back.

An hour later, I was back at the store after having ridden 20 miles.

And wow, there was huge difference between my Windsor and Kalibur. Riding 20+ mph on my Windsor drains me pretty well, but the Kalibur was totally different. My legs had plenty of bounce left and I could have ridden another 20 miles at the same pace.

The biggest difference that I noticed was the stiffness of the Kalibur. Riding my Windsor, the energy seems to be absorbed into the bike. On the Kalibur, every pedal stroke seemed to be sending every ounce of energy into the drive train.

I am a pretty quick study and knew pretty well that dollars equal speed on a bike. What I didn't have a true appreciate for was the feeling that you get from riding such a bike.

Now, I have that appreciation and at some point, I want to move up.

If you are thinking about a buying a bike, ask them if you can take it for a test ride. Don't take for a short ride around the parking; take for a long ride of an hour or more. If the bike truly suits you, then you will know it. That's what happened to me today.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

TrySports – Charlotte turns 3 today – Happy Birthday

For those of you that don't know TrySports Charlotte located down on Rea Road opened their doors 3 years ago today. Funny, looking back it seems like only yesterday that I met this you guy name Cody Angel who brought me onto the TrySports Team. From there I met this other guy named Rob Dietz. Together those two made TrySports Charlotte one of the most successful stores within the TrySports Company. Now, the momentum has shifted to Angi K. and Justin B. who are caring on the tradition started by Rob and Cody.

Hopefully, you had a chance to swing by the store and check out the games, deals, massages, and demo bikes – including the Birthday cake.

I made my visit this morning and took one of the Kuota bikes for a test spin. In addition, I picked up a new Rudy Project helmet to replace my current aging helmet.

The store will be open for a few more hours so check it out if you are in the area.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rock Hill Bicycle Club – TT Recap 5.12.10

First, let me apologize. I wanted to get this recap out sooner, but I didn't get home from the TT until after 9 pm Wednesday night. I had to have some dinner and then it was off to the bed. Thursday morning, my middle daughter was going to Raleigh on a School field trip which meant getting up at 3:30 AM to knock out my workout.

But let me get back to the RHBC TT. I had been pointed to RHBC web site a while back and when I saw they were putting on two TTs per month, I contacted Chris Reinke the club completion director. Before driving down, I wanted to confirm that these events were open to everyone.

Chris responded quickly to my email and indicated that the events were open to everyone and free but they do encourage people to kick a little something into the "kitty" (they put out a jar) to help out the club. Hey, you cannot turn down this type of offer.

The club has a couple of different courses that they do. As I understand it, we did the hill course (Series 2) on Wednesday. They have a second course (Series 1) which I am told is flatter.

I left home a little early so one, I could find South Point High School and two, I wanted to drive the TT course. This would be my first open road TT which is a little scary. I am not exactly the most stable when riding in the TT position.

The club meets in the front parking lot of South Point High School. When you sign the release document, they ask for your expected finish time for seeding purposes and hand out numbers to everyone.

We all then head down to the starting point. It probably takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes to send everyone off.

I estimated that I could ride the course in about 25 minutes. I thought this was fair guess since I had just road 25:05 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they lined us up, I guess my seed time must have been faster than most because I lined up toward the end with all of the really fast guys.

I was counted down and took off pedaling hard down the hill. I then tried shifting onto the large rung and promptly throw my chain off. Ugh. So right at the foot of the hill, I came to a complete stop, got off to put my chain back on the large rung. I then have to dig hard to get rolling again. My effort was made tougher because I was now climbing the hill. The guys right behind me in line just flew by me. Definitely, I was starting this effort in the toughest way possible.

But I finally got things rolling. It took a few miles for me to settle back down and get my rhythm back.

There is a link to my Garmin Connect below. I am pretty happy with the analysis. My heart averaged 151 with a max of 164 while for my cadence I averaged 96 rpm with a high spin of 121. If I can get stronger where I can push bigger gears while maintaining the same RPM, maybe I can start to catch up with these guys.

The first mile of the course has tough little hill in it. There is a slight up grade between the 6 to 8 miles and then coming up finish there is an upgrade. In two places, you have to cross rail road tracks. The first one is rougher than the 2nd because it is on the open road. The 2nd is just after a right turn so you are not going as fast. Trafficwise, I didn't have any issues. A few cars passed me, but I would say more riders passed me than cars. The RHBC does a good job with course monitors with someone at every corner. Not once, did I feel if I was lost on the course or in danger of being hit.

This is a low key event but they do a good job with it. If you are looking to get out on a Wednesday night, I would suggest making a trip down to Rock Hill. They meet around 6pm and the TT kicks off around 6:30.

Here are the dates for upcoming events:


First rider off at 6:30 pm


Series 1 schedule (New Life 7th day Adventist Church, 1375 Ogden Rd, Rock Hill)

May 26

Jun 30

Jul 28

Sep 8

Series 1 route can be found here:


Series 2 schedule (South Pointe High School, rear entrance off Robertson Rd, Rock Hill)

Jun 16

Jul 14

Aug 18

Sep 22

Series 2 route can be found here:


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Garmin Exchange Process

Okay, I finally broke down and got the Garmin support guys on the phone so here's the scoop on the exchange process.

If your Garmin is under warranty, you are solid because they will replace it. Unfortunately, my Garmin's warranty had long since expired.

After explaining the issue and determining that my Garmin was no longer under warranty; Garmin support informed me that they could exchange my Garmin for nominal fee – $79 plus tax which brought the total to $84 dollars. This also included shipping it back to me but not to them.

So $84 dollar to keep spare Garmin around seemed like a good idea as much as I use my Garmin.

Following more discussion about the issue with my Garmin, I "ponyed" up my card number and got a RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) number and a Dock Door number along with the shipping address. RMA, Door Dock, and shipping address must be on the shipping label used to return your Garmin to their support center.

Also you don't send any of the accessories back to Garmin – the Garmin unit its self.

According to the support guy, it takes about 7-10 days before you get your "Exchanged" Garmin.

My plan is to swing by the Post Office on Friday and ship it out.


-btw when I get my refurbished Garmin back, I think I will run with one on each arm. Let's see which is more accurate. LOL


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Large Race Bibs

Large Race Bibs seem to be more the exception than the rule any more. But two of my most recent races used rather large race Bibs: Tar Heel Ten Miler and the Capital City Classic 10k.

So why did they use such large race Bibs? The answer can be found in the timing system used by these races. Each race used the race chip which is housed in a pouch on the back side of the Bib. After the race, they scan your Bib as you cross the finish line and then reach into the pouch and pull out the chip.

From a timing perspective, the chip seems to work just as well as any other chip system.

For the Capital City Classic 10k, the race included your name on the race bib which I found to be a nice touch. Your number was actually on the bib as well but was much smaller and located in the right hand corner.

Hopefully, no one takes this as complaining but I do wish they would really use smaller Bibs.

Because these particular Bibs are quite large and you cannot fold them due to the chip being behind the number, you basically have to pin the number to your shirt as is. There is no folding and wearing the Bib on your shorts. Or, I guess you could pin the number to your chest. But then, ouch, this option would certainly hurt. And the blood loss could affect your performance. LOL

On a hot day, the Bib acts like a wind shield and prevents any air from circulating across your chest. Saturday morning by 4 miles I was overheating badly and behind my Bib my race singlet was soaked. I so wanted to just pull off the Bib.


Just some random thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Miner’s Run

Getting up early for morning runs can be mentally challenging. Having to drive another 30 minutes for it just gives me an added incentive to stay in bed.

But I am not one to sweat the small things like losing sleep and driving to keep me away from a run.

My day started by rolling out of bed at 4:01 AM and then laying in the floor stretching before pushing out the door for Mc Alpine.

Mike's truck was already in the parking lot when I arrived. Jay and Justin were next to make an appearance. They were followed by Steve Spada, Paul, and Megan.

Word on the street was that Aaron was going to be joining us but as we headed out of the park, there were no signs of him. Jay commented that he got a late email from Aaron which I guess is a bad sign. If Aaron is up late then he doesn't get up early. Or at least that is my take on it.

However, when started down the hill toward Mc Alpine Old Bell entrance, we could see what looked like a red tail light coming up the hill. To me this was strange because you don't usually see brake lights coming toward you. Usually, they are moving away.

As the tail light drew closer, we were able to put a face with the red light. Sure enough it was Aaron, our glorious CRC leader was coming out to bless our run and help us make sure that all was right with the world.

My favorite runs are the runs with large groups. Mainly, I like them because there are so many conversations going on that you listen in and catch up on everything going on in the running community. Mind you, if someone was talkative, I could run an entire and never say a word. I just enjoy listening that much. LOL

Most everyone made one loop around the Mc Alpine course and headed back to the parking lot. I wish I could have gone back but I needed 16 this morning. Megan decided that she could use some extra miles. Even thou, she said she was taking it easy this week. Somehow, I think she had bounced back pretty fast from her race on Sunday. We averaged 7:14 per mile for 16 miles. Mind you, I was getting a little tired toward the end and supposedly I am taking an easy week this week.

If you find yourself wanting to get in a mid week long run and need someone to discuss the current hot topic of the day, please come out and join us for a few miles on Tuesday mornings – Miner's Run 5:30 AM.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Saturday, May 8, 2010

Capital City Classic 10k 5.8.10 Race Recap

There is an old saying "Sometimes you are the bug, sometimes you are the windshield". Today, I was the bug – splat.

Going into the race, I knew John Hinton was faster than I was. Therefore, my game plan was to go out with him and hang on. If the legs were feeling it, maybe I could throw something at him in miles 5 and 6.

John went out hard and I was hanging just off his shoulder. For 3.5 miles, I was hanging tough.

Then, my engine started running hot as the temperature and humidity started to climb. There was way too much tape over the opening to the radiator. Which meant, my race pace was slowing to let the engine breathe.

John slowly inched away from me.

In reality, I had nothing to lose with my strategy. If I didn't go with him, I was destine to finish 2nd.

Blowing up at 4 miles was just part of it. I still finished 7th Overall, 2nd Male Master and picked up a little cash for my efforts.

The morning started off with a 2 and ½ drive to Raleigh and I hadn't been there more than 15 minutes when I ran into John Crews.

Later I was Delvin S. at the starting line. Both guys ran the Flying Pirate ½ marathon a few weeks ago with me or ahead of me.

Before the race, they introduced each of us.

Something that I didn't realize was the John Hinton was an Olympian. He was fast and continues to be fast. Also he had never lost a Master's race which is something that I plan to make a little more difficult for him. (Just kidding)

Bobby Mack, John and Delvin took off at the start. Bobby would miss a 250 bonus when he finished just a few seconds over 30 minutes.

After the race, John and I did a warm down together. You can learn a lot about someone as the miles click by. He is a very interesting guy.

The Capital City Race guys did a great job with the race. Plenty of water was available on the course. Tons of volunteers were giving directions on the course.

The only thing that I would change about the race is remove those 2 miles i.e. 5 and 6 which are uphill. They are not steep but they are long and straight. Mentally, the hills during this portion of the race are total character builders. This is putting it nicely.



Thoughts from Cool Down Runner


Friday, May 7, 2010

Bike Maintenance – REI Class

I am a firm believer that one should never stop learning and should seek out every opportunity to expand their knowledge.

To that end, I freely admit that yes, I can take my bike a part but am I doing it right, I have no idea. To be honest, I am probably doing my bike more harm than good.

When I receive an email from REI last month that they were providing a bike maintenance class at the store near my house, I signed up. After all, the class was free.

I really didn't have any expectations going into the class and was very surprised when I entered their little store conference room and found 20 to 30 people already present.

My first thought is "Wow". This many people are interested in keeping their bikes in good shape.

And while the majority of the attendees were women, there were more men that I expected.

The class was slated for 1.5 hours but ran just a little long and covered the following topics: Changing a flat, Bike cleaning, and Lubrication.

Did I learn anything? Yes. Some of the stuff like how tight to clamp on my wheels, how to clean the chain and cassette, and what is the best stuff to lubricate your bike. A lot of stuff that will help keep me and my bike on the road.

REI plans to hold another class next month. He called it an advanced class, but wasn't specific to the agenda. If my schedule permits, I will probably try to check it out.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Road Racing – the Weekend at ahead

This weekend I am off to Raleigh for the Capital City Classic 10k. This is a new race on my schedule for this year. Normally, I would not make so many trips to the center of our great state but this year, I have been chasing the USAT&F – NC Championships at various distances.

To date, I have captured the 10 mile and ½ marathon championships. This weekend the Capital City Classic race will be the 10k Championship and may be my biggest challenge yet.

This weekend, I will go up against John Hinton. He is a very fast Master's runner from the Triangle area. During the Tar Heel 10 miler, John ran the 4 mile race in 21:47 so definitely my work will be cut out for me.

Game plan for the race, I'll probably go out hard and hang on as long as I can. From what I can tell, John races a lot of short distances events i.e. 8k, 5k, or shortly. If I can keep gap between us relatively close, then maybe the last mile my endurance factor will kick in and I can close on him.

Well, at least this is my plan. We all know that once the race starts; a race plan can just as easily go out the window.

Then it will be on to some well deserved down time and my opportunity to enjoy the drink of my choice "Dr. Pepper". Many long months have passed since I last tasted one. Oh, I can just savor the sweet taste of it going down now.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

12 x 1 min. w/ 30 sec

This morning I was over to Mc Alpine for some miles on the greenway and a little up temp effort.

Normally, I would skip any hard effort on Thursday before a race but my workout on Monday was sluggish. The same can be said for Tuesday and Wednesday workouts so I opted for actually doing something this morning.

Crossing the bridge, I headed out on to the 5k course. Megan's car was in the parking lot so I assume she was putting in her usual 10 miles this morning. I saw her for a quick second last week as she flashed by. Today, she ran me down from behind.

We chatted for a few minutes before I started my intervals.

Funny, the legs actually felt pretty good this morning. There was some pop in them and I was pushing each 1 minute effort harder than the previous one.

I made two loops of the 5k course and then picked up a little extra for 7 miles.

Runners should always finish a workout wanting a little more. Mentally, this helps because a runners then anticipates the next workout rather than dreading it. This is something that I will do on occasion.


Just a couple of more days until my final race of the spring.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Carolina Cycling Time Trial 5.5.10 Recap

Have you ever finished a race and felt like if you could do it over again, your second effort would be so much faster.

This is what happened to me last night. When I finished my time trial, I knew perfectly well that I didn't get everything out of myself.

Before the race, I had been adjusting my seat height. Then, I road about 12 miles to warm up and didn't have any issues.

When I went off the starting line, I noticed on the first lap that my seat was slipping down. By 5 and ½ miles, the seat had slide completely down to the frame. Oh, the frustration was all over my face.

I had 2 options either continue riding or stop and adjust the seat. Stopping would have been a disaster to my time. Otherwise, I had to keep riding. I choose to keep riding

Oh, this was tough. If you can picture an adult riding a tricycle, then you have a pretty good picture of me. My knees, quads, glutz were all scream that this was the dumbest thing that I have tried to do.

While the mechanical issues slowed me down, there was a bright side. I rode 25:04 for 10 miles which is 12 seconds slower than my best time last year.

Barring my mechanical woes, my 24:52 time would have went down for sure.

Stepping back and looking at the entire evening, the time trial is pretty cool activity. Slower riders go off starting at 6:30. The riders going off later will ride progressively faster. What is really cool is going off late when the lights come on. The lights give a totally different aspect to the time trial.

After my efforts on the track, I went over to the smaller to track for some cool down miles. While spinning along, up rides this guy who calls me "Dude". I quickly recognized him from the Morganton Biathlon Sunday. We rode together for a short time and talked about the toughness of the Morganton Bike course. We also talked about how dead the effort left our legs.

After splitting off from him, I put my bike away and headed out to watch the other riders. Tom T. was out and looking pretty fast on his bike. Tom is my gauge for riding. During my first Duathlon, Tom blew by me like I was sitting still. Since that day, I have been working hard to close some of that gap.

Here's a breakdown of my splits. As you can see, my legs were really struggling after the seat went down. Except for the last mile where I pushed the frustration aside.


Avg. 23.8 Max 28.2


2:28 - 24.2 27.8

2:35 - 23.2 27.5

2:31 - 23.8 27.8

2:24 - 24.9 27.3

2:29 - 24.0 27.4 - 12:29 (5 miles)


2:33 23.5 28.2 (seat malfunction)

2:22 25.3 27.4 (Adrenaline)

2:36 23.1 26.4

2:42 22.1 26.5

2:20 24.1 26.8 - 25.04 (10 miles) (Adrenaline)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carolina Cycling Time Trial up next

The dust hasn't quite settled on my bike from the MayDay Biathlon yet which is good because it will get blown off tomorrow night when I head to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Yes, tomorrow night is the first in a series of Wednesday night Time Trials.

Last year, I did the last 4 of these events and really enjoyed them.

This has brought me back again this year.

My fastest time last year was something like 24:52. I hope to come out of the box riding at least that fast this year but we have to see. Sometimes my legs like riding in the evening and sometimes not.


-btw I am hoping to put together a Team of 4 riders for the Team Time Trial in August. If you are interested in joining me, let me know.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Garmin Woes

For the past 2 ½ years I have been using my Garmin regularly and it has never let me down. That is until yesterday.

For no apparent reason, my Garmin suddenly would just shut off. At first, I thought that I hadn't recharged the batteries. Since I was racing all weekend and tracking all types of data, the battery could have easily run down.

But I set it on the charger yesterday afternoon, and yet, it was doing the same thing yesterday evening and again this morning.

So I resolved to do some Google searches and see if I could find an answer to my Garmin woes.

Well, I did find the answer but not the one that I wanted.

The Garmin 305 has a design flaw and over a period of time randomly starts shutting down. The shutdown occurs most frequently when the Garmin is bounced, shaken, or jarred. Hummm, doesn't sound like anything that I have been doing to it either by running or biking. LOL

Basically, by chasing down some leads on the internet and through the support stuff on the Garmin web sight, there appears to be a loose connection between the on board unit and the battery.

There appears to be 2 ways to fix it. One way involves a do-it yourself fix while the other involves sending the Garmin 305 into Garmin for repair.

I am going to touch base with them later today and explore my options.


Leaves me in a tough situation for my Time Trial tomorrow night.

I had better be prepared to keep track of my laps.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Miner’s Run this morning

There was small crew out for the Miner's Run this morning. Jay, Mike, and I headed out for the Mc Alpine Greenway around 5:30 this morning. But before leaving, we did catch up with Paul. He and Steve were meeting at the PDS track from really fast stuff.

Jay, Mike, and I cruised down Sardis to the Old Bell entrance. My legs were never happier than to get on the soft dirt.

Jay and Mike keep the conversation moving and so the miles passed too quickly. Jay broke off first since he was only going to an hour. Mike was next. He was going for an hour – 15. Me, I was going for 16 with Garmin woes – more about that in another post coming shortly.

Made some extra circles around the 5k course and then head back to the Old Bell entrance. I followed this with two more uphill miles back to PDS.

My legs were really starting to feel the drag during the last 2 miles. Sometimes I wish the last two miles were downhill.

But all in all it was good to get my run out of the way early this morning. Now, I can get to work early, finish early, and go for a ride.

Temperatures should be perfect for riding this evening.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Garmin too tired for 8 x 2m w/ 1m recovery

Scampering around this morning in an effort to beat the rain wasn't really working for me. The weatherman said the rain would arrive in Charlotte within the next two hours so I wanted to make my circles at Mc Alpine before trail became flooded.

However, my Garmin had other ideas. I don't know if it was the heat, the clouds, or my Garmin was just too tired from a weekend of racing. But it would not connect up to the Satellites.

Basically, I think it was trying to divert my attention from running because it kept asking me these dumb questions.

"Are you inside" – ah, no, I am standing in the parking lot at McAlpine. There is no "inside" in sight. LOL

"Are you more than 100 miles from home" – again, no. Maybe 20 miles at most. LOL

"Is the today May 3" – okay, I can say yes to this one.

Then, it went back to looking for the Satellites again.

Eventually, I just gave up and turned off the GPS mode. I have been to Mc Alpine enough that I could run 7 miles pretty close even in my sleep.

After moving on from the disagreement that my Garmin and I were having; I headed out for some running at Mc Alpine.

Following a 2 mile warm up, I kicked it into gear for 8 x 2 minutes with a 1 minute recovery. Surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good. Well, after the first couple, they felt pretty good. It takes me a few intervals just get things up to speed. I finished things off with roughly 1.5 warm down.

I still don't understand what was up with my Garmin, but it better get rested up because Wednesday night, it has to go back to work again.

-btw I was getting into my car just as the rain started to fall. Maybe things are looking up for me.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Garmin Breakdown from the May Day Biathlon

Okay, the break down is
in two parts. First, the run portion which was a 5k and the Bike portion which was "30k". Actually, I measured the bike course at 19.4 miles

Run Segment,

Bike Segment,

Garmin Breakdown from the Dilworth Criterium

This morning, I am pulling the Garmin breakdown from a weekend at the races. First up is my analysis from the Dilworth Criterium.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day Biathlon, Morganton, NC 5.2.10 Race Recap

The alarm went off at 4:30 this morning and I was heading out the door for short drive up to Morganton, NC for May Day Biathlon and 5k race.

Truth be known, I was really tired from two days of racing and the thought of racing again somehow just didn't seem that motivating.

But I had preregistered which helped push me out the door.

The May Day Biathlon and 5k has the small town feel but was pretty good size event. The Biathlon alone had 115 people.

The Biathlon and 5k both start with a 5k run at the same time. We hit the mile mark in 5:20 and there was about 6 of us running in a pack. Over the next mile, things started to string out. I ran the 2nd mile in 5:20 and was right behind the leader.

I contemplated trying to stay with him but the effort vs. the actual time gain was too great – at least in my estimation.

I let 3 guys go by and ended up 5 OA in the 5k with a time of 17:21. Roughly 40 seconds of transition time and I was off and riding.

Jay Curwen a former pro rider was right behind me in the transition and took off riding. He has been coming to this race and winning this race for years.

I noticed that his transition time was extremely quick and his riding equally fast.

I rode in 2nd place for about 10 miles before the real cyclist started catching. I was trying to hang tough. This course has some monster hills. My quads were screaming for me to stop.

Once I got back to route 126, I tried to ride a fast as possible. I caught a couple of guys that had passed me earlier.

Coming into the finish, I was a little too hot and flat spotted my rear tire.

The bike course was advertised as 30k but my Garmin registered about 19 miles. Also, my average speed was 20.4 mph which is my fastest ever.

I finished 6 overall and was the 1st MM in a time of 1:15:23.

All positive signs for my bike days ahead.

I like this race enough that I hope to put it on my schedule for next year, but with a little less racing the previous two days.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


Dilworth Criterium 5.1.10 Race Recap

Okay, knocked out a hard 5k last night and was up early this morning getting ready for the Dilworth Criterium.

This was my first Criterium race so I was really nervous going into it.

But once things got rolling, the nerves went away and it was time to focus on the task at hand.

I have watched several criterium races and knew the pace would be extremely fast. But watching a race and riding in a race at two different things entirely.

When they took off, it was like going from 0 to 100 mph in 2 seconds. Or to put it another, I went straight into oxygen debt and stayed there for the next 30 minutes.

When I finished, I had ridden faster than ever before.

The Latta course is extremely tough with a very sharp turn at the foot of the hill.

Fortunately, I didn't wreck here or anywhere else and didn't wreck anyone else.

So coming out of it, I only had positive feelings about criterium racing

I'd like to do a few more criterium races later in the summer. Maybe pick a course that isn't technical.


Thoughts from the Cool Down "Criterium Racer" Runner