Monday, October 22, 2012

The end of one season the beginning of another and a National Championship medal..

It was a great weekend of competition for my athletes. I had a couple who were ending their season (including myself) and some who are just beginning their next season.

Tim Jenkinson, who has already won three Cat 1 cross races this season, took home an Omnium Bronze medal at the DII Collegiate National Championships racing for Mars Hill College. This came by way of a 5th in the Cross Country race and a Ninth in the Short Track race. Making this all the more impressive, the races were all at an altitude of 9000+ feet in Angel Fire, NM. Mars Hill College sits at about 2000ft.

With that Tim's mountain bike season ends and the serious work of Cyclocross begins. The goals are another national championship medal to add to his last year's silver and also score enough UCI points to get to represent South Africa at the U23 World Championships. Watch this space for more results to come!

Master's crosser George Berger has gone from solid middle of the pack to legitimate top 10 threat with a 12th this weekend in the packed Singlespeed category at the NCCX series and a 3rd at the masters tune up race in Spartabburg a few weeks ago. The original goal of "wanting to beat some friends I raced against last year" has turned into, "Let's see how far up in the top 10 I can get."

On the multisport front Daphne Kirkwood, Adam Nessen and I all went down to Wilmington, NC for the sold out Beach2Battleship half iron distance race. If you ever get a chance, this is an incredible event to race.

Daphne won her age group, set a new PR and was 12th overall! To say that I'm proud of Daphne's performance would be an understatement. She has battled with an SI joint issue for a good chunk of the season which had us working on her swim and bike.  It was only in the last 10 or so weeks that we able to do any consistent run volume. On top of all that she also has managed the tough training schedule despite working her day job and putting on 5-6 races in the area as well as launching the new Asheville Marathon at The Biltmore Estate.

Despite being an obvious overachiever I was still convincing her with a couple of weeks to go that she had the fitness to do well. She raced a bit conservatively which definitely bodes well for next year now that she is healthy.

Adam had a great race as well. He's worked super hard and been dedicated to the plan. That paid off with a Half Ironman PR. He beat his previous best by nearly 1.5 hours!

I had a good race too placing 5th Overall.

I think that there is nothing that makes me happier than for my athlete's to do well. It validates all the hard work they've done and the joy and satisfaction of a job well done confirms that the sacrifices were all worthwhile. Happy athletes=Happy Coach, I'm a very happy coach this week!

Speaking of new beginnings, be watching the space for announcements soon. I can't tell you what it is exactly (it will be coaching) but it is going to mean bigger and better things for all of my current and future athletes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Hits Keep Coming

It was a good weekend for several HD Coaching athletes. On the road front Tim Jenkinson turned 21 then proceeded to race to 2nd in the French Broad Cycing Classic Road Race ahead of Kenda Pro John Murphy and Bissell Pro Andy Baker. He finished off the omnium with an 11th place in the criterium and 4th overall in the Omnium.

Courtesy: Leah Graham Stewart
Technically he should have been 3rd overall and had another top 10 in the time trial. Unfortunately, the official was using a different clock than everyone else's cell phone and GPS's, which caused mass confusion and several missed start times. Overall an incredible performance from the young South African who only just upgraded in March.

Mark Ruscoe, racing in the 50+ division against rider like John Patton, and Kent Bostick was 7th in the Time Trial, 14th in the Road Race and 9th in the Criterium. All led to a 9th place Omnium Finish.

At the Asheville Tri, organized and promoted by HD Coaching athlete Daphne Kirkwood, Lonnie LaPorre was 3rd in the 60+ AG.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Don't call it a comeback!

Congrats to HD Coaching Athlete Daphne Kirkwood for coming third in the Open Female class at the Swamp Rabbit Triathlon at Furman University. It has been a tough season for Daphne. She's been dealing with a sprained SI joint which has made running difficult. However, it seems every time she lines up she brings home some hardware.

Also congrats to HD Coaching sponsored team Earth Fare/ Industry Nine for bringing home a bronze medal in the Pro 1.2 North Carolina State Championship. It was a long hard 104 miles. Team rider Caleb Welborn came in third in the field sprint. It was a  nice start to the second half of the season after a long mid season break

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tri Camp Asheville July 12-15

Accelerate 3 coaching & HD Coaching are excited to announce a four day triathlon training camp. This camp will be held in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC.  Join us July 12-15 for some of the best riding and running on the east coast. 

We’ll cover a mix of flat and rolling roads with some stout climbs thrown in to test your legs.  Come pick our brains, ask us all the questions you always wanted to but never have.  Join your fellow athletes and campers for a 4 day training extravaganza.

Asheville has been called home by pro riders such as Ted King, Davide Frattini, Lauren Tamayo with current resident  pros  John Murphy (Kenda), Ally Stacher (Lululemon/Specialized),  Johnny Clarke (UHC) and Tour de France Veteren Brent Bookwalter (BMC). These pros, along with the many top amateurs, know that the combination of mild year round weather, low traffic and terrain that ranges from flat riverside roads to 12 mile steady climbs make for some of the best on-bike preparation of anywhere in the country. During camp we’ll be riding some of the same roads and climbs that were once covered in the famous Tour DuPont.

Asheville is also home to 100’s of miles of running and hiking trails. The running trails range from very technical single track on the Mountains to Sea trail, to groomed double and easy single track on the Bent Creek Experimental forest and DuPont National Forest preserve.  We’ll be taking a little break from pounding pavement to explore some of these areas.

Outside of training, Asheville has one of the most vibrant and diverse food cultures in the south. It has also been declared Beer City USA for the last 4 years.  If you are into that sort of thing, there are over 12 different Breweries in and around the area for you to explore and most recently Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Oskar Blues have decided to open up their East Coast operations in the area.  Don’t explore too much, since there will be no mercy for any hangover induced grousing. 

What is included? 4 days of training in and around beautiful Asheville NC.  Pool access, daily rides and runs, swim stroke analysis, dinner one night as a group.  Please be prepared to ride and run 4x per camp and swim 3x.
Who is it for? This camp is geared towards intermediate to advanced multisport athletes.

What is not included? Lodging and most meals are not included. You will also need to bring at least 2 spare tubes and the knowledge on how to change them.  We will have support during the camp but that is not a guarantee that support will be next to you when you need it the most.

What is the cost? Camp cost is $450, Accelerate 3 and HD Coaching athletes are offered a discounted rate.  Athletes are responsible for their own hotel and food costs.  Accelerate 3 and HD coaching will be providing a BBQ dinner one night during camp for participants. Participants are required to be USAT members per 
insurance requirements.

For more info contact either Heath - or Brian-

Monday, April 30, 2012

Race Report: Try Charleston Half

I figured I had better write this up now since I have another half iron-distance, 70.3, 4:xx hours of pain, or whatever you want to call it race coming up in a few days. I know if I get behind on writing the report, it will never get done. So here it is short and sweet.

I did not taper for this race. The Thursday and Friday before I took it a bit easier mostly due to a nagging sore throat and not great sleep before. On the way down, I was doing my best to ignore the scratch in my throat and be positive. I woke up race morning feeling pretty normal. My allergies have been murder this year so I was hopeful that was all it was.

A very special mention goes out to Andre Bennatan at Kiwami USA. I had been scrambling getting graphics and sponsors lined up and sent him everything on Monday before the race. By Thursday my suit (the best in the world Amphibian Prima!!!) was printed and waiting for me at the hotel. I can't speak highly enough for the customer service and the quality of products. Thanks again Andre!
Swim: 34:00

So disappointed with that. I've really emphasized swimming in my training and from about November through the end of February I was swimming 4-5 days a week. I've lopped off a good 10 seconds per hundred and finally I'm not wondering around like a drunk person looking for my locker after every workout. 

The start was normal enough and swimming in the open category I knew everyone would be much faster than I was used to. I  felt like I was ready for that. The first lap was good and I was holding feet fine and then for some reason I lost the feet of the person in front of me. I then swam the next lap pretty much on my own. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to get into a rhythm on my own that is too slow to be competitive. That's it really. Let's just say I swam below my potential.

Bike: 2:10:30

Immediately onto the bike I was not super comfortable. It wasn't my position, but it felt like someone had punched me in the right inside quad just above my knee. The legs were turning over but didn't feel super powerful. At this point I wasn't super confident about how things were going to go on the run so I just tried to hold between 270-300 watts and see what happened.

Apparently, on a not great day for me, the fastest bike split of the day happened. The next person was around 3:00 back and then third fastest split was around 5:00 back. One thing I noticed on the bike, was there were a couple of "packs". One I passed and the other one was the group of leaders who had come out of the water together. The winner, Patrick Farwell, was a bit off the front of this group. To me drafting is no different than cutting the run or swim course. Obviously that is not the case for everyone.

In the end I had an average wattage of 270 which was about 20 watts under goal. I think my position is dialed in since almost 26mph for a 6'4" guy on that wattage is pretty darned fast. Super fast wheels courtesy of  Industry Nine didn't hurt either. On bike nutrition was handled by CarboRocket Half Evil Endurance Fuel along with some salt stick caps added to the mix for extra electrolytes.

Run: 1:38
My plan was to try to run a 1:30. That obviously didn't happen. The rough feeling legs on the bike continued on the run and despite a few fast early miles I went into survival mode. It is funny to me now that last year I would have been happy with 1:38, and this year it is a survival run. 

I started the run in 5th or 6th position and then got run down by 8 or 9 people. That's not much fun. In the end I still PR'd with a 4:25:58. I was shooting for 4:20 or better. 

Final: 14th Overall and 1st Open Master Male 

Post Race:

Jenn and I spent the next few days relaxing in Charleston. We stayed in small neighborhood right off of King Street. The nice part, besides being away from home and relaxing in a nice place was the $14 pitchers of margaritas and $1.50 tacos at Juanita Greenbergs. We also discovered a bunch of new restaurants and perhaps the best burger I've ever eaten. If you get a chance try the burger at HOM, you won't be disappointed.

Next White Lake. Or as it is affectionately known, White Bake. It looks like it is going live up to it's name. After and unseasonably cool last couple of weeks, White Lake is turning up the heat to a forecasted 92 degrees, just in time for the race. Wish me luck, hopefully I won't be seeing dead relatives like I did last time I was there...

Thanks to my supporters: Jenn (aka the wife), Kiwami, Industry Nine, Jus' Running, Motion Makers Bike Shop, Carbo Rocket, iDaph Events, EarthFare

Friday, April 6, 2012

Together We Will: Be Part of Something Bigger

Last weekend, I was reminded that success has many forms, and it isn't just about personal success. One of the best things is to be part of a winning team and contribute to that success.  I've been writing this in my head for the last four or five days during every one of my workouts. It is pretty much the only thing I've been thinking about.

I've been away from real bike racing for almost nine years. I've raced some in the last two years, but on Sunday I felt like a bike racer again. I rode well and smooth and avoided falling down. The entire race was on feel and the power was there when I needed it.

The course is one that I've done many times. I've won there, been in breaks, been the last guy in a successful lead out train there. In short it was kind of like going home again.

None of that really excited me though. If I had been racing solo, I probably would have gone home and simply chalked it up to a nice training day. What excited me was to be a part of team performance that exceeded expectations and sent a shot across the bow of all the other teams in attendance.

Our Earth Fare/ Industry Nine team, one that I have had a stake in building, came together and raced like a well drilled machine, not one that had only really done a hand full of races together. It was just simply amazing to be part of a success like that again. I would say that we rivaled the team work of the last team I managed.

One Step To Go.
Our team captain Evan Fader led by example and initiated the break and our young South African rider Tim Jenkinson rode like a seasoned pro (not someone riding his first Pro 1/2 crit)  by taking a free ride across and then slaying himself for Evan in the break.

The rest of the team was then able to sit in the field and let other teams do all the work. In the end we didn't win just barely being beaten to the line by a Bissell pro rider. But two podiums in one weekend shows that we have a team to be respected. I know much more success is to come.

I think that is the essence of a team. When someone on your team wins, you win with them. It doesn't matter who it is crossing the line as long as the jersey is ours. That is so often lost with so many other so called "teams". You can't fight each other for leadership as there are different leaders on different days. I know that  any of these guys will turn themselves inside out for a TEAM victory. They also know that one day their time will come as well.

Earth Fare has a slogan "Together We Will", I think this weekend the team lived up to that slogan.

Coming soon to a race near you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Power-itis- (n) pow-er-i-tis- An affliction befalling cyclists and triathletes upon immediately acquiring a power meter. Symptoms include half wheeling, pedaling excessively on  every down hill, over exertion on every rise and an obsessive desire "to make the number bigger".  In rarer cases often afflicting triathletes, waiting on every hill may occur because the afflicted rider does not want to exceed his/her target zone.

Just last night I had a friend send me a message on Facebook all excited about purchasing a new power meter, his first. I had actually encouraged it. He's been doing a lot of work at a local Computrainer facility and most of our discussions revolve around power; power on the climbs vs. flats, normalized power vs. average power. etc. He's also an engineer, and like most engineers he's a bit obsessive about numbers, charts and graphs. In short, getting a power meter is perfect for him (I think it is perfect for almost everyone but that's a different topic).

After discussing what he got and how excited he was to get it, I think he was a bit surprised for me to tell him that I would ride with him again after a month has passed. I simply told him that he would have a case of power-itis and that I didn't want to deal with it until it he was over it.

Of course he had no idea what I was referring to, and how would he, since I just made up the term on the spot. But it is a real affliction and one I've seen time and time again with the proliferation of power meters in the ranks.

Sometimes this is the only solution.
Just like everyone, I've been afflicted with it as well. Only it was a long, long time ago. With me it started on the Computrainer in 1994 and then on the road in 98-99 starting with a Powertap and then later moving to an SRM. The trick to overcome it, is to treat your power meter for what it is, a tool and not a challenge.

My number one suggestion is if you are doing a group ride and have a specific power based workout to do, leave the group and do it on your own. No one will get upset if you leave and go hammer, but I guarantee people will say nasty things about you if you are hammering every climb and decent in the group.

Just remember, used properly and with the right guidance and analysis a power meter can help you realize great gains in fitness. Use it improperly, and you're probably just pissing everyone off.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Enjoying the Ride

Sometimes, you have to put away the numbers and the training and schedule and just enjoy the ride. Yesterday was that day for me.

The recent early spring weather has kicked my allergies into high gear. This has left me feeling listless, tired, fatigued and generally unmotivated to hike my butt up on the saddle. It was an abnormally warm 70 degree 1st day of March and riding in shorts and short sleeves was enough to get me out.

Did I have my SRM recording all my ride, of course I did, but I really wasn't paying much attention to the numbers looking back at me on my Garmin. I just rode. I rode up the Blue Ridge Parkway, down into and around town. I stopped by Chainheart bike store to say hi and socialize a little bit. I was in no hurry, and had no intervals planned. It was nice!

I saw probably 35-40 other people just out enjoying the ride. No one else really seemed in a hurry and everyone had a smile on their face. It was during this time I was reminded of something very important, if you aren't enjoying yourself then what is the point. It was nice to turn off my brain, turn on my legs and just tune into my great fortune of being able to ride in one the greatest place on earth.

I am lucky that I was able to take the day in and remind myself that there will be plenty of time for intervals and "training". Sometimes, you just have to go out, breath deeply and enjoy the ride.

Monday, January 2, 2012

So you say you wanna Hoka? Initial impressions of some big shoes..

What are these Hoka's you say? They are shoes, running shoes actually. But they look like and feel like nothing you've probably ever worn before.

I have been wanting to try out a pair of these shoes for some time. A good friend of mine, former pro triathlete and super stud duathlete, Jay Curwen recently reviewed the shoes in Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. I wanted to talk to him about the shoes, and as luck would have it he had just started repping them after his article came out. He offered to put me in a pair for some feedback. I obviously jumped at the opportunity, and so here we are.

The full name is Hoka One One (HO-ka O-nay O-nay). It is Maori (native Polynesian New Zealanders' language) for fly over earth, hence the brand tag, Time to Fly. The particular model I'm using is the Bondi-B (Bond-Eye) named after Bondi Beach in Australia. To make things more complicated, one of the founders of the company is French and is a mountain runner. 

Suffice it to say the name is and probably always will be pronounced wrong, and no one will really know where they came from. This is not a problem for the company as long as people are buying them, and they are. If you find a pair in your local running store they will be full price, and if they have your size you better buy them since the demand is currently outstripping production.

Reminds me of the big fish eating little fish illustrations
Now on to the shoes themselves. At first glance they look big. Actually, at every glance after the first they look big. To be honest, even though I had done a lot of research on them, I was still surprised at the look of them. I don't mind flashy attention grabbing shoes at all, but these would probably only generate more looks if they were actually on fire. The ones I have are the black colorway, I can only imagine what would happen if they were the bright neon soled ones. 

If you are self-conscious or have a burning desire to match you running attire you may want to skip over these. Actually, if you fall into the above category, you should probably just stop reading since this article will not be geared towards you.

The Hoka's are a low ramp/drop shoe. This means that the difference between the heel and toe is less than a typical running shoe. Most traditional running shoes have about a 10-12mm heel to toe difference. The Hoka's have only a 4mm difference. That is exactly the same as my preferred shoe, the Saucony Kinvara. Most racing flats are somewhere between 4-7mm difference.

The idea behind the low ramp/drop shoes is that it puts your foot in a more natural position and allows you to run the way nature intended. I'm not sure how much I truly buy into the whole natural running movement, but to me a low drop shoes feels better and faster. I however, know plenty of fast people, and have friends that have no issues running circles around me in a traditional shoe. I say this so that you know where I am coming from in my preferences.

I will say that even though these have a minimal drop, they are not minimal shoes. They have about 250% more blown EVA foam in the sole than a typical shoe. This is what makes them truly unique.

My initial try on of the shoe at Jay's house showed that, for me, they run about a half size small. This is pretty consistent with what I've read. I wear an 11 in Saucony and a 11.5 Hoka.

Gene Simmons says your shoes look funny!
The out of the box feel is kind of crazy. They don't really feel so much like running shoes as they do supportive cushions for your feet. It is about like walking on newly laid down plush carpet with a thick padding underneath. They feel great.

What I was surprised about was that while they look huge, they don't feel huge. I was kind of expecting some sort of awkward Gene Simmons KISS boots moment, but instead I got, well, normal. When looking straight down on them they look fairly normal as well. They aren't heavy either. Even with all that foam, they were still in the weight range of a typical lightweight trainer.

Normal enough?
Because the soles are so thick they are rockered (Click Here for Tech Info) to make up for the lack of normal flex. The soles are also wide. There is no supportive devices incorporated into the shoes, but the shoes are inherently stable just by design.

After my first couple of runs in them, I have to say, I was a bit less than enamored. As I said, I run in the Kinvara which are super flexy shoes with very little support. The lack of flex in the Hokas have taken some getting used too.

After about 50 miles in the shoes they've broken in and I feel much more comfortable running in them. I think I run a little differently in these shoes than I do normally. It is hard to pin down, but switching back and forth between shoes has not been a problem.

Wide=Stable but not restrictive
The shoes really shine in two places, downhills and on the trails. This is not terribly surprising ,as that is what they were originally designed for. My driveway is a tenth mile 25% grade ramp. Generally I walk down to the road before starting my run.  With the Hoka's, I just run down the hill. The jarring of the typical downhill is reduced to floating.

On the trails these shoes are ridiculous. I've been running in an INNOV8 f195. It is again another super flexible and light shoe. It is fast and free except that you really have to pick your lines on the rooty, rocky Mountains to Sea trail that I run on. With the Hoka', it is like strapping all wheel drive to your feet. You just go, rocks and roots be damned. The shoes just completely eat up everything in their path. For trail running, I think my Innov8's are retired.

I recently did a longish run in my Kinvaras. I hadn't run much in them since I got the Hoka's. I used to think the Kinvara's were cushy marshmallow shoes. The Hoka's made them feel like racing flats. I'm kind of afraid to see what my racing flats are going to feel like.

The big "WHY" for me to try these out was the hopeful side benefit of all the cushion. Being a multisport athlete who was a Cat 1 cyclist in a prior life, I'm constantly looking for a way to save my legs. I've come late to running and quite frankly running trashes your legs for the bike. I feel like these have helped ease my pain a little bit. My legs feel a bit fresher after the long runs and the following day's long ride.

Personally I think these are an ideal distance shoe and a really good trainer for multisport athletes. I also think it would be good for someone who may be prone to injuries since they are so cushioned. The inherent stability, but lack of posting, also makes it work for just about any running style.

I'm planning to do a follow-up post to this once I've actually had time to put more than a couple of weeks on them. Overall, I'm pleased with the shoes. They are definitely going to be my general training shoe. They aren't, for me, a very fast feeling shoe. I feel like I can get by with some light tempo in them, but anything much faster, I feel I'm better off in my Kinvaras. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thanks again to Jay Curwen for the shoes and trusting me to write a decent review.
Just .3oz more than Asics Sky Speed

The Quiver..