2012 Year in Review

And you thought 2011 was bad? Straight to the stats... 

Biking info (2011 results in parenthesis to compare)

Number of rides: 74 (down from 125)

Miles biked: 734.32 (down from 1690.30)

Elevation gained: 45,902' (down from 108,485')

Total Saddle Time:  57:54:19 (hh:mm:ss) (down from 138:08:35)

Run info

Number of runs: 17 (down from 24)

Miles: 58.34 (down from 91.91)

Elevation gained: 3,574 (down from 8,274')

Total Run Time: 10:11:19 (hh:mm:ss) (down from 17:31:48)


Starting weight: 288.4

Ending weight: 299.6 (net change: +11.2 pounds)


Races/Events finished:

Issaquah Triathlon (Sprint)

Ocean Shores Sprint Triathlon (Sprint)

Federal Escape Triathlon (Olympic)


Overview: (see the race reports for details)

My own advice to myself from last year still rings true: "Be a man! Take some Pepto Bismol and ________!" (Fill in the blank with every event I missed last year)

Wow broken record time? Another quote from last year: "No more excuses. This year was lame. Next year will be better." I say that every year. How will this year be different, considering I am already way behind last year, which I said was a bad year?

Last year started out strong but ended poorly. My poor performance in the Federal Escape Olympic forced me to rethink everything. I spent most of August with family trips and other non-training activities to regroup. Then in early September I had a minor setback: I broke my toe just before going on a long ride into Seattle (more to come on that later). Breaking my toe (only a minor break) was just the wind up. When the pitch was actually delivered I struck out big time. That strike out was our back-to-school schedule, which I am still trying to figure out. 

In the last 3 months of 2012 I rode my bike a grand total of 10 times. No so impressive when you consider that in the same period in 2011 I did 33 and in 2010 I did 25. 

This year I'm starting out slow and just now beginning to see how to coordinate my ride/training schedule with all the personal appointments (i.e. pickups/drop-offs for the kids' classes, swim, sports, etc). The next few months will really tell the tail. It really scares me that I am less than 90 days from the Issaquah Tri (my traditional first race of the year) and my training is horrible. 

But I have an ace up my sleeve...

Patrick at the start of the Federal Escape Kids' Tri...Or rather a young man. My son decided that he wanted to do the FULL Issaquah Sprint Tri this year! I promised him that if he trained hard enough he could do it and, not only that, I would stay with him to make sure he finished the race. A sprint tri is a big jump up from the little kids races he has been doing. In 2012 he finished 3 such races and barely broke a sweat. So far this year he has significantly improved his swimming and can do 250 yards in the pool without stopping (a personal best for him). He has a long way to go but is well on his way. 

So what happened to the Grand Columbian? I decided top drop this race in July after the Federal Escape and good thing I did! The broken toe incident (ride report coming later) happened less than a week from when I would have been racing in my first half-iron distance race.

Did I do Cycle Oregon 2012? Short version: no, I didn't get off the wait list. My strategy of waiting until it sold out backfired. I was so far down the wait list that there was no chance of getting into the real ride. Too bad, since 2013 appears to be not nearly as exciting (i.e. I most likely will not do it).

Lessons learned:

  1. Broken toes suck. Must join the "protect our toes" society.
  2. I need to find a new way to deal with illnesses and still train. More to come...
  3. Focus earlier in the year on distance running and cardio volume.
  4. My best and more consistent results are still from bike commuting, which I try to do 3-5x per week during the spring/summer and early fall months.
  5. Commuting home on foot on Fridays are a great way to get in an 8+ mile run once a week. That will start in April.


Rubber side down...

April 2011 Wrap-up

Training Summary


Number of swims: 0

Distance: 0

Improvement over previous month: None



Number of bike trips: 13

Total Distance: 128 miles, 9016 feet of climbing

Improvement over previous month: +9 miles



Number of runs: 2

Total Distance: 7.3 miles 

Improvement over previous month: -12.98 (much lower this month)


So my training fell off what I expected in April. May should be much better with the commute challenge and bike-to-work day. As usual I joined the team from work called "Up Hill Both Ways" which describes the route we take. Yes, we seriously go up a big hill both directions.

Cat-6 riders in NYC, courtesy of Good.is

Cat 6

I posted a couple months back on Cat-6 racing.

According to Gustavo, a fellow triathlete from work, "Cat-6 is ON!" What in the world is Cat-6? Well, it started out on the BikeRadar.com forum page in 2008 with a thread titled "Silly Commute Racing." 1039 pages and 3 years later the thread is still going strong. They even came up with a scoring/ranking system to see how well you are doing each day. A blog entry from the New York Times got a lot more people thinking about it.

Even more links: Commute racing from Good.is who I think is credited with coming up with the term "Cat-6", and a view of Cat-6 from Shanghai.

Cold Weather Commuting

I thought I was tough because I tried to bike commute through the Seattle winter. Nope, I'm a wuss because I don't ride when it snows/freezes outside. While looking for articles on Cat-6 I ran across this video about bike commuting in Chicago, even through the winter. The helmets and clothes make me think that the video is a few years old but it still makes me look bad. The coldest temp ever seen while I was riding was 28F. A guy in the video doesn't have a problem with 22F. Chicago does have a leg-up on the Seattle in one way: Chicago is pancake flat (compared to the hills in Seattle). If I knew my commute was going to be cold for 1/3 of the year I would probably invest in the studded tires to do it. For now I'm not willing to drop the coin.

Fun Articles

Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs - I know I hate them (while on a bike anyway). This article does a fine job of explaining in a somewhat-scientific manner why cyclists should be able to treat stop signs as yield signs. Yet another reason for car drivers to hate cyclists.

The Truth About Running Vs. Walking - I've always heard from various sources that walking and running 1 mile required the same amount of energy so, if you are trying to lose weight, it made no difference if you were walking or running. My father, a life-time distance runner, has always disagreed with me. Looks like he was right all along. Or was he?

How To Get Your City To Notice and Fix Potholes  - This is priceless. One of these days I'll actually try it. Click to link to see why it is so funny.