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Showing posts from 2012

Creating your own Local Training Loop

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A few years ago while diligently studying a Mountain Bike magazine I came across an article that taught how to train for cross country races. It was built on the idea that you should create your own short loop. This is a trail system that is easy to reach and is reasonably challenging but most important of all, it has to be fun. It has to beg your attention more than once a week.
Simple concepts often whisper truth in a language we assume that we understand. My assumption was wrong. Hopefully others can benefit from the mistakes I made.

I thought the short loop was a great idea so I started tracking one out near my home in Massachusetts. Unfortunately I made a series of amateur mistakes. First, I couldn't settle on one set course. I kept changing my mind. Second, each time I altered the route it got a little longer. My desire to get in a complete workout while also advancing my abilities was like weight lifting on a treadmill.
I tried to include every hill, berm, drop, jump and c…

Night Riding in the Carlton Reserve

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One of the joys of Mountain Biking is the sense of exploration. The opportunity to escape the confines of paved lines and stop signs, to distance oneself from the sounds of honking cars and busy lifestyles. Nothing says exploration like trying something for the first time. Recently I got the opportunity to do three different things for the first time and all of them took place on the same ride. 
My new friends at Real Bikes Englewood told me of a regular Tuesday night group ride. They would all meet at an agreed upon location at sundown, armed only with the normal riding fare plus a few thousand lumens worth of light. I decided to give it a try. I bought a basic model light for my bike, clamped it to the handlebars and met the riders at the Sleeping Turtle Preserve in Venice, Florida.

Remember those three things I have never done? Here they are - I have never gone on a group ride in Florida, I have never explored the Carlton Reserve Park and I have never done a night ride. On this co…

Personal Record at the Frosty 5K

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Who says you can't have snow or a snowman in Florida weather? I saw them both at the Frosty 5K run at Twin Lakes on Clark Road in Sarasota. Ok, the snow came from a machine and appeared to be more foamy than frozen and the snowman was wearing running shoes. Regardless of these minor details, 500 competitors enjoyed the 60 degree weather during a fun morning of racing, charity and comradery.


The park is somewhat smaller than I imagined but it did have a fun 1/2 mile jogging course that circled round a small pond. This meant that most of the race course went through adjoining neighborhoods. These were quiet suburban back roads that made for flat, straightforward runs. Parking was packed, this is clearly a popular year end race. I know that the Zoomers Run Club uses it as their race series final so I was happy to get in at least one score in 2012.


The Frosty 5K is put on by the Active Suncoast Foundation and they did an excellent job. The goody bags were huge and full treats includi…

Englewood Triathlon Fat Tire Division

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I like big wheels. As hard as I try I can't seem to convince myself to buy a road/tri bike but it turns out that I don't have to change. As my aspirations lean more in the direction of doing the Englewood Triathlon I started talking to people who have been there, done that. The owner of Real Bikes Englewood, the town's newest bike shop told me that the Englewood Triathlon has a Fat Tire division. Perfect!
I checked the results from last year's race and sure enough there was a Fat Tire class with 8 competitors, 3 men / 5 women. That makes this adventure even more fun. Not only do I get to test my endurance in swimming, biking and running but I can do it on my knobbies.

What makes me excited about this venture is that I love to time trial on my MTB. Last summer I did two of them with the Tempo Cyclery group and managed a 10 mile time of 33:40. It was some of the most fun I've had on a bike.
With this in mind I decided to go to the actual location where the race will…

Photos from the 2012 Turkey Trot 5K Race

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The 2012 Turkey Trot 5K running race took place on Thanksgiving at Edison College in Punta Gorda, Florida. 540+ runners came to enjoy 50 degree fall weather, make space in their tummies for Thanksgiving dinners and to support a great cause. This Turkey Trot benefits Habitat for Humanity and boy did they make out well. In addition to the runners there were also hundreds of people walking the 5K distance.

The course created for the 5K never left the college grounds. They cleverly used each road as an out and back format adding in a lap around the pond. This was great because it allowed you to see the leaders and be motivated by their awesome pace. Timing was done by the Zoomers Run club, who always do a spectacular job. 

The first decision of the day was how to handle the 50 degree chill. Floridians are not comfortable in this kind of weather so each had to decide what to wear. Personally I arrived in my Charlotte BMX jacket, the only one I own but by race time I had to put it away kno…

There are No Magic Shoes

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A BMX friend who reads my blogs asked why I had suddenly become interested in running? As many of you now know my long term interest is that of competing in a Triathlon. Even a Sprint Triathlon has a short finishing run as part of the trio of sports. That's what started me on 5K running races. However, they have begun to fascinate me for other reasons.
I never imagined that this would be a part of my life. Having said that, my answer is simple: running is honest, local and cheap. You can't beat that combination of virtues. Allow me to explain.

Let's start with the costs. Most sports are pricey. For the past four years I have been competing in cycling races and they are very expensive. I paid $1,500. for my Fuji Reveal cross country race bike. I paid another $1,000. for all the parts to assemble my Sette Venom downhill bike. This didn't include hundreds of dollars in protective pads, spare parts and repairs. Mountain bikes break down a lot when you ride them hard. All …

Inspired by a Revolution

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At 35 years old I fell in love with the sport of cycling. Since then I have raced Mountain bikes in cross country, downhill, Super-D and time trial competitions. I've even crossed over to BMX racing but it wasn't until very recently that I paid attention to another sport that shares the same spirit as cycling but adds the benefit of developing a more complete athlete.
The sport I'm talking about is Triathlon. Now when I pictured Triathlon, my mind filled with images of runners and swimmers traversing incredible distances in crazy short times. What I forgot was that the cycling portion of these races would now be my strength. Most everyone who tries Triathlon comes into it with at least one strength so I'd be no different.

So what about the other two parts of the race? Most recently I competed in a 5K race and completed it in a reasonable time despite an almost total absence of training. It's a start I can easily build upon. The big challenge for me would be the sw…

Redemption in my First 5k Race

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Failure is both a beginning and an end. A couple weeks ago when I attempted my first Florida mountain bike race and then crashed during the first lap, I was deeply disappointed. However, my motivation on that day was fuzzy at best. Two weeks later I took part in my first ever 5k running race but this time my motivation was crystal clear - I was not going to fail again.

We arrived at the Ann Dever park in Englewood, Florida at the crack of dawn. The dark pavilion was humming with early morning chatter as runners confirmed their registrations, accepted their goody bags, pinned numbers to their shirts and zip tied electronic tags to their shoes.
The Howl at the Moon 5k was sponsored by the Bocca Lupo grill in Port Charlotte and was coordinated by the Zoomers Running club. The Zoomers did a fantastic job organizing the event. There was a friendly and relaxed group start, a well marked race course plus helpful volunteers along the way. A brightly colored finish line was set in place compl…

Getting Ready to Howl at the Moon

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When you're a kid you run because you have to. When you're an adult, you run because you want to. I have never been a fan of running or jogging but I always saw it as a necessity. Whether it was running from trouble, training for sports or preparing for the Army, keeping my knees high and my head forward was how I faced the future. Now I'm lacing up the shoes for fitness and charity.
Why the sudden switch from wheels to feet? You might assume that I was upset about my crash in the Alafia Mountain Bike race but not so, it's more about finances. The MTB races are just too far away and until my TV Show Fundraiser is completed, I simply can't travel for anything except BMX reporting. That only leaves running local races. So, it's time to huff it up.

After the Army I never thought I would run again but now that I'm creeping towards forty, my priorities appear to be changing. Living in one place, working as a writer and having the blessing of a loving wife allow…

Heartbreaking Crash at Alafia MTB Race

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You can plan for most anything except bad luck. One moment I was ripping through Shelly's Loop trail trying desperately to stay with the race pack, the next I was laying at the bottom of a ridge pinned between my twisted bike and a tree. It took a few seconds to figure out exactly what happened but one thing was immediately evident, my race had not gone the way I planned.

Let's start from the beginning. After spending an entire summer training for the Florida State Championships Series Race at Alafia River State Park the day had finally arrived. The morning started with a few mistakes. I woke up early, too early, a full hour before I was supposed to. While setting the alarm I had accidentally reset the time but early is better than late. My morning meal had been pre-planned to ensure enough energy for the race but the smoothie I chilled overnight had gone bad. In addition I had forgotten to pack ice in the cooler. That was strike three but still I had hope.

Unlike many of my …