Sunday, June 23, 2013

Asheville - Beer City and Bike!

Last weekend, I had the choice to either go home for the weekend from Clarksville or go to Asheville.  You ask, why Asheville.  Well, one Asheville is known as Beer City USA.  There are more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US.  Also, I've always wanted to go riding in mountains.  Asheville is located just on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains.  So, it was an easy choice to go to Asheville.

I decided at the last minute to go, so I had to find a hotel or a hostel.  The hostels were all booked, so it was time to look for a hotel.  I tried to priceline some really nice hotels and didn't find anything, but I did get a last minute deal that was 2 star hotel for $68.  Hmm, should I choose it.  I went ahead and took the risk.  The hotel was the Ramada Inn on Pike Ridge.  I read the reviews on Trip Advisor and found the reviews encouraging.  I arrived around 5:00 and saw that they had a shuttle downtown which was the first good thing.  Second, the room was good.  It was simple room that I would barely see the whole weekend.

I took a quick shower and it was time to go downtown and explore.  The shuttle from the hotel runs from 5 until 10:30, so knowing that I was going to ride in the morning the 10:30 time would be fine with me.  I ended up tasting beers at Wicked Weed, Green Man, Asheville Brewing Company, and the Tasty Monk.  All beers were very good.

The next morning it was time to ride up to Mt. Mitchell.  This would be my first time to actually do a ride with a really long climb.  The ride was going to be about 35 miles up hill and and 35 miles back downhill.   The ride started at my hotel and went up the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was a beautiful ride up.  I was able to wake up early enough to miss much of the traffic.  The climb was long and I was ready to reach the summit and about 3.5 hrs later I was at the top!  Now, it was time to go down.  The downhill was the best part of the ride.  I was ticking off the miles quickly and was back at my hotel an hour and half later!

After the ride, it was time for some lunch and hit the breweries up again.  The beers today were from French Broad Brewery and some more around Asheville.  It was another great night and day!

The next morning I planned on driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway to 441 which would take me over the Smokies.  Along the way, I stopped and did some hikes and took some pictures.  It was a beautiful day for driving and the hikes. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Hot Springs Village Triathlon 2013 A little late Report

Let's see here, this race has come and gone.  This was my first tri of 2013.  It was on May 16th, so I'm not quite a month late with this report, but here it is!

Like most triathlon, your day starts early.  I was up around 4:45 am and proceed to start with a little breakfast of a cliff bar and a banana.  I washed it down with a gatorade on my down to Hot Springs Village.  The drive was about an hour, so this allowed us to arrive around 6 am for the 7 am start!  This would be the second year I've raced here.  The course is a 500 yard swim, 13.5 mile bike, and 3.5 mile run.  The event takes place in the largest gated community/city in the US.  The roads are well maintained and traffic is at a minimum for this event.  The only difference in the course this year was the run was taken off the golf course and would run through a neighborhood that runs along aside it. 

I prepped my transition area like usual trying to keep things to a minimum since this was a sprint tri.  I had one small bottle of water in my bottle holder which had a Nuun tablet in it.  Other than that, no other nutrition would be needed.  I set out my sunglasses, shoes, socks, helmet and I was ready to go!  The weather for the day was starting off a little cool with temps in the mid 60s and cloudy.  Once the race meeting was over, it was time to get a feel for the water.  I knew the race would be wetsuit legal, but since it was only a 500 yard swim I decided I would do a warmup without the wetsuit and see from there.  The water was around 72F and after a warmup swim I decided no wetsuit would be needed.

As with any triathlon swim start, this is the time I am most anxious.  Also, this would be my first triathlon of t the year.  There were about a 50 people lined up for the knee deep swim start.  5,4,3,2,1 Go, I'm off and swimming.  Of course, no more than 75 yards into the swim, I start to feel uncomfortable and have to tell myself to relax and swim.  I don't know what was in my head that day, but I never got comfortable with the swim.  Well, I finally finish the swim in 11:24, and now it's off to the bike where I know I'm ready to ride! My swim was actually only 30 seconds slower than last year, even though I felt the swim took forever!

2013 - 11:24  45/71 Males
2012 - 10:56  63/122 Overall

Now, it's my time to shine.  I'm off on the ride.  The course is a combination of numerous rollers with a couple of smaller climbs.  The key to the course is to ride hard and fast.  You need to have momentum to carry you over the rollers.  This is a faster course than it appears.  My only concern going into the bike this year was that I had not been doing many intervals so far.  I've done a lot of zone 2 long rides.  Moving through the bike, I could feel that my legs didn't like the pace I was pushing, but I was going to push on and ride hard.  The ride went very smoothly.  I came in feeling pretty good and ready for the run.  My ride actually turned out 10 secs faster than last year.  I was happy with that especially with very little interval/tempo work.

2013 - 40:26 Avg 20.0 mph 9/71 males
2012 - 40:36 Avg 20.0 mph 21/122 overall

Last year, everyone came in talking about how hard the bike course may be, but left talking about the run course.  The run course in 2012 was on the golf course, and a couple of climbs with some nasty little rollers that were some what steep.  For 2013, the course was moved to the neighborhood along the course, so it would be interesting to see the change.  I started out the run well.  The first mile is overall down hill, but after hearing, some talk before the race, the next 1.5 miles would be the tough part.  The course proceeds to go up hill followed by a flat and then uphill again, short flat, before finishing out heading back downhill.  Throughout the run, I tried to keep my heart rate in check, fat chance, but continue to push.  The last mile would end with an uphill towards the finish.  I was able to push hard to finish and finished strongly.  I was happy with run.  The pace this year was much faster than last years.

2013 - 27:06 - 7:45 min/mile - 11/71 males
2012 - 28:30 - 8:09 min/mile - 20/122 overall

Final Times
2013 - 1:21:07  - 3rd AG 30-34 - 12/71 males
2012 - 1:22:07 -  3rd AG 30-24 - 21/122 overall

Overall this was a good race to start the year with.  I will have improvement on my swim and with more bike intervals, should be able to push the pace more on the shorter races.  I was happy with my run.  I'm happy with the PR for the race, and will be back again next year.