Jan 30, 2011


The optimistic yet straightforward tone in the room was convincing. We all stirred in our chairs easily portraying the sixty hour training block that now lived deep within our muscles. Our brain, world class triathlon coach, Paulo Sousa, stood towards the front of the New Mexico classroom. We reflected on the two weeks of training that was in the midst of completion. Gracious “pats on the back” were forfeited for a hard-nosed lecture on accountability. Races wouldn’t be won and careers wouldn’t be made on a successful two week training block. Regardless of effort, these two weeks were trite; far from extraordinary. Success comes neither from days, nor weeks, nor months… but years of dedication. Listening intently, we all understood that notion. Just as quickly as we accepted this concept, the tone shifted. In true Klep fashion, Pedro Gomes, an accomplished Portuguese triathlete, strolled to the front of the classroom and took over the meeting. Intrigued and sitting at the edge of our seats, we watched as Klep asked for chalk and started writing the acronym, I.T.W.N.P. Fittingly, acronyms are commonplace within The Triathlon Squad. Phrases like G.T.W.D. (Get The Work Done) and D.Y.J. (Do Your Job) and have seen the surface of the workout white board many times. Today, we sat in anticipation as Klep turned and faced the room.

In broken English, he proclaimed, “I tink. We need… PAINTBALL!” The tone of the meeting was immediately changed as the room broke into laughter. Klep, notorious for lightening the mood of any training session, spun off into a story about his hesitance to leave his Portuguese training center in search of another elite training squad. Although the speech was slightly mushy, we all shared in his general feeling of total approval. His newly crowned acronym may have been a joke, but it pointed towards the idea of building an even stronger unity between the squad members. At that point, it was easy to see that although the training squad was filled with a hodgepodge of individuals, we all meshed in our quest for excellence. 

Jan 23, 2011

The City of the Crosses

It’s already been eight days since my arrival in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This is the first of many training camps for coach Paulo Sousa’s Training Squad. It may be early in the season, but like many athletes, we have started getting into shape early. Without going into too much detail, here is a glimpse into our first week of training.

Swim – We are lucky enough to get some pool time (I mean A LOT of pool time) at the New Mexico State University pool. I believe we totaled around 31,000 – 32,000 yards this first week. That is roughly 18 miles in the water. Most of the workouts have been between 5k and 6k with one longer swim set over 6k. Some of the most notable sets, for me at least, were 12 x 200 hard, 30 x 100 (every 3rd hard) on 1:25, and 8 x 100 best average.

Bike – Since IM Cozumel, my bike mileage has been pretty low. This has been the first week back to some longer intervals and longer days in the saddle. This first week has brought just under 15 hours of ride time. Besides the more traditional 3-4 “long” rides, we have been doing a fair amount of threshold and V02 max intervals. Some of the key workouts this week have been 4 x 10min @ threshold, 5 x 4min uphill @ V02 Max. Last season during my peak training, my threshold was just over 300w, allowing me to push 4.3 watts per kilogram. Right now, I am pushing around 280w at a slightly lower weight, allowing me to push about 4.1 watts per kilogram. Although this number is slightly lower, it is very acceptable my first week back to solid bike training.

Run – This has been my priority ever since breaking my heel back in April of 2010. After 2 years of disappointing run training, I am very eager to make this discipline my strength again. My running this season has been VERY steady and I am starting to feel fit again. I have officially run 42 times in 42 days. Since arriving in New Mexico eight days ago, we have run around 70 miles with 99% percent of running on soft dirt trails. The key to our run training this week has been a few 90min progression runs where the last 5 to 6 miles are done slightly faster than marathon pace. For this time of year, that pace has been between 5:50 – 6:10 per mile. Another good session this week was 20 x 30sec hill repeats. 30 seconds doesn’t seem long but the last 5 repeats left us all pretty broken.

Overall, this first 30 hour training week has been very challenging but will eventually be rewarding. The whole crew has worked together very well, and I can honestly say that everyone here is working incredibly hard. I can’t wait to see some of the results that this squad will produce by the end of the year.

For those who aren’t familiar with the training squad check out http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Triathlon-Squad/183206021698840

Here is a list of athletes -

AJ Baucco, 24, Tucson AZ
Amanda Felder, 28, Cupertino CA
Andrew Yoder, 21, Lancaster PA
Chris Coble, 28, Fremont CA
Greg Billington, 21, Winston Salem NC
Heather Wurtele, 31, Kelowna BC
Ian Mikelson, 30, Torrance CA
Janelle Morrison, 33, Penticton BC
Jennifer Spieldenner, 24, Findlay Ohio
Kate Ross, 20, Doylestown PA
Pedro Gomes, 28, Lisbon Portugal
Kelsey Withrow, 28, Park City UT
Trevor Wurtele, 31, Kelowna BC

Jan 10, 2011

The Power of Music

My glare could burn a hole through the wall. My eyes were fixed intently on the three inch dent in the wall. My legs turned over in a fluid yet effortless motion while the sweat began to glisten off my bare back. An abrupt loss of concentration forced my eyes deep into the blank television set sitting across the dimly lit basement. The dark shadow of a man running played across the vacant television. It seemed as if I was watching my own life unfold, however; I couldn’t seem to fight the feeling that I had seen this program before. As the music faded in, a penetrating shot of adrenaline made my fingers tingle. I closed my eyes for a moment and allowed the music to take me back through time.

With the moonlight guiding every movement, pure exhilaration carried me through the empty streets. Every motion was without effort and I had worked damn hard to make it that way. Trying to remove my mind from any thought about the task ahead, I took refuge in the music that seemed to penetrate deep into my mind. With a false feeling of immortality, I increased my cadence. An attempt to allow my body to feel fatigue was a seemingly impossible task that morning. I moved with the music; a harmonious movement that couldn’t be broken until the sound died away.

In total agreement, my consciousness faded in as the track faded away. The work gradually became a little more labored, and I quickly forgot about my mind’s momentary sanctuary. The clock clicked away as the miles absorbed into my already hardened legs. Again, I waited patiently for my mind to escape. The miles pass faster when the mind works absently. I silently prayed for the next track to take me away.