2013 Review | 2014 Preview

2013 Tri collage

Howdy and happy New Year to all! After three months of non-Iron things, I’m looking forward to get crackin’ on 2014. During the off-season, I’ve been dealing with a nagging running injury to my left leg. Looking at the positive, it’s allowed me to get stronger on the bike and spend quality time doing normal human things.

The 2013 season was a great one. I continued my upward trajectory as a triathlete that I started in 2009 and set myself up to keep it rolling in 2014. Here are some highlights, things learned (always plenty) and goals for 2014.

Quick Stats:

  • 6,000 miles swam/biked/ran/stumbled/poked
  • 500 hours staring at black, white or yellow lines on the ground
  • 80 hours of Netflx with Ali
  • 615 coffees/espressos
  • 27 pounds of peanut/almond/Nutella butter (conservative)

Top wins of 2013:

1. Another great year with old and new training buddies. Notable training events:

  • M2 Amgen Tour of California Stage Ride
  • M2/Ultra-U Tahoe Training Camp
  • Mt. Shasta Century (M2 training weekend edition)

2. Raced competitively within a schedule of world renown top-tier races:

  • USAT Ranking (25-29M): 3rd in California; 17th in US
  • Age group podiums in every race except IM Tahoe
  • Top 10 amateur at EFA, Wildflower, IM Boise 70.3

3. Became a more “complete athlete” instead of a runner-triathlete:

  • Won Boise AG on bike
  • Dropped swim time at SVIT by over 5 min
  • 2nd and 3rd amateur runs @ EFA and Oceanside respectively

4. The best training block of my life in the “second half” of my season:

  • Ironman Lake Tahoe build after 70.3s and Olympics.

5. Completed the hardest Ironman I could have chosen for my first:

  • IM Lake Tahoe – started off calculated, finished gutty.

Top learning moments of 2013:

1. Unforced errors in races. All scenarios that could have been avoided with better planning and patience during the race.

2. Stomach shutting down at Boise 70.3 and IMLT. A lot of variables at play, but closer attention to nutrition will be a good start.

3. More strength, stability and flexibility throughout season. M2 TBT (total body training) at the beginning of the year and I was healthy through mid year. As volume increased and time for training stayed the same, injury prevention took a back seat and I paid for it.

4. I can go faster: Must swim with faster swimmers; bike gets better every day, continue to challenge myself; I can still run faster, goal is to get 10K down to 31 min.

5. Balance: My training was at an all time high this year, but it’s tough as a full-time working person. I learned a lot this year about how I can do this better next year.

2013 Season in Review

And up we go

EFA Podium_crop

Escape From Alcatraz

A race I’ve always wanted to do and finally got in via lottery. The course is one of the most challenging short courses in the world and competition is premier.


  • Fumbled swim
  • Took “new watts” into the race, biked well
  • Ran into podium finish
  • Great way to start the season 
2013 Races, Results Date Type Time Age Group Overall Notes
Escape from Alcatraz 3-Mar Tri 2:29:17 3 36 2nd Amateur run, Sand Ladder
Oceanside Transition

Oceanside Podium

Ironman 70.3 California – Oceanside

Another race that I’d been chomping at the bit to do, Oceanside is another incredibly competitive race, attracting California’s best. A fun weekend with guys in a house by the ocean, this set up for a fast race and fun times.


  • Competitive swim
  • Solid bike, but could have been more aggressive
  • Ran into an “IM” AG podium (4th)
  • John and Vince bread eating challenge
2013 Races, Results Date Type Time Age Group Overall Notes
Iron Man 70.3 California (Oceanside) 30-Mar LC  4:24:10 4 63 PR @ Half, PR Swim, PR Run, 3rd amateur Run
Cruising step for step against the pace plan. Rocky and Apollo, in that order.

Full extension was so good, had to post again.

Silicon Valley International 

USA Productions puts on great races local to the Bay Area that attract a lot of local talent. For perspective, the overall winner was age grouper Yoni Doron-Peters (a stud by any classification).


  • Swim +5min faster than last year
  • Biked hard, but couldn’t respond as well to moves as would have liked
  • Same run as last year (34min), dropped by Vince when we’d planned to turn up the pace
2013 Races, Results Date Type Time Age Group Overall Notes
Silicon Valley Tri 21-Apr Oly 2:01:53  3  9  Woof
Just some dudes goin' to drink beer on a lake. Maybe a little racing.

Wildflower medals M2

Wildflower Long Course

One of the most storied and classic races in the world, the Woodstock of Triathlon was true to itself: hot, hilly, naked Cal Poly co-eds and campfire beers.


  • Swim to be improved
  • Solid bike that trailed off in the last few miles
  • Studying course elevation profile pays off en route to running down AG podium and top 10 amateur spots
  • Congratulating Jesse Thomas on his 3-peat & Virgilio on beating me, shortly before dry heaving by food and being ushered to med-tent
2013 Races, Results Date Type Time Age Group Overall Notes
Wildflower Lake San Antonio 4-May LC  4:41:48  3 34  10th Amateur
Doing my best Jaws impression into the wind

Stare into the sun and show everyone how happy you are to have a trophy!

Ironman 70.3 Boise

Traveled alone to and survived a logistical pickle at this unpredictable western race. Despite a late start (1:00pm) and some killer headwinds, it would be my first AG win at an Ironman race.


  • Swim through the masses as the last wave of the day
  • Assert self on bike through headwinds, stomach queasy by end
  • Fought stomach and poor mojo on run, but strong bike allowed to hold off pursuers
2013 Races, Results Date Type Time Age Group Overall Notes
Iron Man 70.3 Boise 8-Jun LC  4:32:44  1 30  9th  Amateur
Enter the abyss

Overcome. Family and Vince, arms raised in the background.

Ironman Lake Tahoe

The Bay Area went into a frenzy when California got its first Ironman and it was in Tahoe. I’m sure many people were second guessing their decision on race morning at 30 degrees. A day on a challenging course at altitude had an extra wrinkle on race day.


  • Swim was warmer than air temperature; swam slower to set up a solid day at altitude
  • Transition one was a nightmare with a full change in a crowded tent
  • Biked according to plan, but altitude bells rang in Martis Camp; slowed final 10 miles
  • Transition two wasn’t much better
  • Run started off well, wheels fell off at mile 13 and it was all guts to the finish
2013 Races, Results Date Type Time Age Group Overall Notes
Iron Man Lake Tahoe 22-Sep IM  11:23:12  8  118 Ironman Plus. Wow.
Berkeley Hills RR

Fitbit JP Morgan race

Non-tri races

Berkeley Hills Road Race:


First cycling road race, Cat 5. Played domestique to Virgilio’s podium race and nabbed a 7th place for myself. Very fun change of pace from tri racing.

JP Morgan Corporate Challenge:


Fitbit represented itself well among 11K runners from companies all over the Bay Area.

Competition was stiff and the 3.6 mile race was a good ole-fashioned, elbow bumping road race. I traded surges with the chase group for an 8th place finish in 18:12.


2014 Goals:

  1. Get left leg better, sustain strength to run healthy.
  2. Sport specific goals: swim with faster people, get 100m down; up watts on bike by 10%; get run to 31 min 10K.
  3. Age group podiums are great, but trajectory means overall amateur podiums, higher USAT national ranking
  4. Ironman 70.3 World Championship Mont-Tremblont
  5. Strike balance across training, relationships, work

If all goes according to plan, this is the tentative schedule for this year:

3/29/2014 California 70.3 IRONMAN Oceanside CA Pending run status
4/20/2014 Silicon Valley International Triathlon USA Productions Morgan Hill CA
5/3/2014 Wildflower Long Course Tri California Lake San Antonio CA
5/18/2014 Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon (23rd Annual) USA Productions Morgan Hill CA
6/1/2014 Escape From Alcatraz IMC San Francisco CA
6/7/2014 Boise 70.3 IRONMAN Boise ID
6/8/2014 Folsom International Triathlon USA Productions Folsom CA If no Boise
6/8/2014 Folsom Long Course Triathlon USA Productions Folsom CA If no Boise
6/29/2014 California International Triathlon USA Productions Pleasanton CA
7/13/2014 Vineman 70.3 IRONMAN Santa Rosa CA
8/10/2014 USAT AG Nat’ls USAT Milwaukee WI Maybe
9/7/2014 70.3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant Quebec Goal
10/5/2014 Rancho Cordova International Triathlon USA Productions Rancho Cordova CA Maybe
10/20/2014 Oceanside Olympic Lifetime Oceanside CA Maybe


Thank Yous

Friends and family – Thanks to the Ohio gang, Ali and all my friends and family for your ongoing interest in and support of my progress. It fuels me to keep rippin’!

M2 – I would not have seen the progress I have seen had I not started training with M2 and the crew. Studio sessions and weekend training are all hugely imperative to development and super fun with such a great group.

GU – Thanks to GU for the products to help me to fuel and refuel this successful year. Racing for you in Boise was a great and I was happy to bring home some hardware.

SFTri Club – It was great seeing all of you out at races this year. Being a part of the community is stellar always, but especially on race day!

Fitbit – The crew at Fitbit HQ was very supportive of my racing this year, either in the office, on the after work runs or on the bike (track cycling!). Using our products allowed me to keep on my activity beyond the workouts, monitor my rest and stick to my race weight.

So that’s all for 2013! It’s been a great year and looking forward to training with my buddies and getting better with the M2 group in 2014. Health, happiness and PRs to all!

– MV

Race Report: Wildflower

The camping, the naked spectators, the heat, the murderous course, the Cal Poly students manning the aid stations – with beer bongs. The one and only, Wildflower. This year I was locked and loaded after crashing out two weeks prior to last year’s race and having to scratch. The season was off to a good start with strong showings at Alcatraz and Oceanside and I was ready to keep it rollin’. Once it came time to load up the RVs with these clowns, I could barely contain my excitement.

Just some dudes goin' to drink beer on a lake. Maybe a little racing.

Just some dudes goin’ to drink beer on a lake. Maybe a little racing. Maybe a little nature hiking.

Executive Summary

  • Wildflower is a world famous, very difficult triathlon that has been around since the beginning of the sport, with the first race held in 1983. Racers camp at the grounds of Lake San Antonio, leading to the common reference: The  Woodstock of Triathlon.
  • I put together a solid all-around race, placing 3rd in my age group, 10th amateur and 34th overall. In true WFLC form, the competition was stiff so these are results to feel good about.
  • While I biked well, again it was my run on this ri-dic-u-lous run course that sealed the deal.
  • One of our RVs broke down on the way home, a day long ordeal for most of our crew. Looks like it couldn’t hang with the beers, margaritas and mass grilled meats the night prior. Pansy.

The Song

This song was playing in my head during the swim. It did two things at once:

1. It reminded me of Ali as it is one of her favs and one I quite like as well. This chilled me out with happy thoughts during the one wave where it’s really easy for me to be negative.

2. The pace was perfect for timing a swim stroke. FIND (left) ME (right) someBODY(left) to LOVE (right).

The Crew

As pictured above, we were a bunch of lame dudes going to a race who had no fun at all. Our vessels for this voyage were none other than two king sized RVs from Cruise America. Hats off to those who can do a Wildflower weekend sleeping on the ground, but we were going to class it up for our sleeping, eating and partying needs.

Mike and Vince RV

Cruise America, a (90s) family company.

Purple mountains majesty, brought to you by wonderful folks at Cruise America

Purple mountains majesty, brought to you by wonderful folks at Cruise America

Minor detail is that one of the RVs broke down on the way home and half of our crew waited for 8 hours, logging phone call after brutal phone call with the lovely staff of CA and it’s toe-truck buddies. The rest of us showed up 4 hours into the ordeal to ease the pain with parking lot football and ice cream before taking them home.

Pre-race at Lake San Antonio

After finding a lovely spot directly in the sun on the camp grounds, we settled in. Unlike other races where one can stroll over to registration, then relax with the feet up in air conditioning, we did our tune up run of 4 miles up and over a hill to get to registration. Goggles in hand, we got a dip in afterwards, where Virgilio put on his Euro-speedo show for all the Cal Poly girls volunteering.

Of course, you have to get home, so this meant trekking back up the hill and over to our site. We’d been in the sun exerting ourselves so we did all we could to find shade, hang out and drank as much water as we could. As if race day isn’t tough enough, it’s pretty brutal to head into it at a hydration deficit.

As the sun went down, the D’Onofrio brothers did what they do best and threw together a stellar pasta dinner. Score one for the RVs.

Race morning

The sun rose and with it the athletes out of their tents and RVs, ready to take their crack at be cracked by Wildflower. Between waiting in lines for the bathrooms, coasting down to transition, getting set up, etc., it was another morning with what Vince and I would consider a substandard warm-up. One of these days, we’ll get it right.

The Swim

Every bit the washing machine

Every bit the washing machine

Feeling confident in my progress in light of regular masters work, I toed the line with Vince, who was surely feeling the same way. We bumped fists with Santa Cruz based triathlete Julian Sunn, who Vince and I have gotten to know over the last year racing the local scene.  Off goes the gun and ^ that happened.

As we swam out to the first buoy, the group was aggressive – lots of limbs and closing gaps. But in my mind I kept calm and focused on my stroke….

“FIND ME someBODy to LOVE”

I was cruising along with what was a solid group, but all the way to the turnaround, the swim remained rough, with no one wanting to give up room. After the turnaround, where we started to hit traffic in front of us, a guy in our group actually popped up and shoved me. Apparently, the thought of contact in a triathlon was so unacceptable to him, that he stopped his forward progress to impede mine. I dutifully accelerated and thrashed a bubble sandwich his way.

After that acceleration, I saw a guy in a sleeveless suit ahead, and I had two thoughts: 1. Sleeveless suit usually means you’re really good or really bad; 2. If the former, I was going to continue the acceleration and try to make it in with him. His stroke looked good enough and it was tough to gain on him, so I went for it. We were moving along at a strong clip and I was feeling good about closing out the swim.

However, something caught my eye to the left and it was a group of swimmers. Either they were slightly off course, or I was. I looked up and given the lefthand turn to get into the swim finish, it would seem we were. BLAST! I peeled off his feet and joined the other group.

As we exited the water, I came out right behind Vince and chased him up the large hill that leads to transition (seriously, nothing about this race is easy).

Still plenty of work to do here

Still plenty of work to do here

Transition 1

"After exiting the swim, athletes will recover by running up a massive hill to get to the massive transition area."

“After exiting the swim, athletes will recover by running up a massive hill to get to the massive transition area.”

After Silicon Valley, Vince and I noticed that our transitions continue to be too slow amongst the competitive racers. The goal at WF was wetsuit halfway down by the time we had run up the hill. This would ensure our time at our bikes would be quick and painless. Of course, I slipped a pat on the butt into the uphill plan as I ran past Vince. As it would turn out, he was feeling a bit off after the swim, but we each executed T1 pretty well.

The Bike

Wildflower bike course

Wildflower bike elev profile

I’d studied more for this course than any I’d ever competed on. Mad respect. In addition to “Nasty Grade” that starts around mile 42, there are a series of rollers and more “steady grades” that, over time, can work you even harder if you aren’t careful.

I settled in on the way out of T1 and hit the first climb at mile 1.5. The topless young lady jumping with the sign on the hill distracted the other guys around me, and since I wasn’t looking at all, my steady pace dropped most of them. On the way out of the park, I was able to feel out the guys in my group who were out of the water and on the bike with me. By the time we turned onto Interlake, the hammer went down and the yo-yo contest with a guy in my age group was on.

Before long, we started passing some of the female pros. After you get out of the camp grounds and once you start putting distance between other competitors, the course actually gets quite lonely. It took some extra effort to keep the focus on the watts and I think I could have done better here.

Perhaps more challenging that any hills were the bumpy, holey, chewed up stretches of road that had my light frame (body and bike) jumbling around like a jackhammer. Maintaining a smooth cadence at the proper power was tough.

A couple miles before nasty grade, a familiar site rolled by as Dan Ross passed by, followed by another guy from his group. Dan has been cycling really well this year, and as I did in Silicon Valley I wanted to keep the gap between us respectable. It was no use as he blistered on.

It's pretty cool out here, climbing up this hill,  ya know?

It’s pretty cool out here, climbing up this hill, ya know?

I dug in for the rollers and finally: Nasty Grade. Truthfully, it was tough, especially in a triathlon, but it was nothing that the M2 group doesn’t tackle every weekend. In fact, we’d just climbed Mt. Diablo seven days ago. Twice. And that was the perfect thing to have done, as my muscles were firing away in such a familiar place.

The thing about Nasty Grade is that, after the insane descent, where I topped out at 47.2 miles per hour, you still have a lot of bike left. And not just miles (10 to be exact), but two climbs of consequence in addition to the rolling re-entry to the park.

I started to pass some of the male pros (who were surely having off days) and began to realize that I could have the opportunity for a special day. I hammered back to T2.

I passed 6 guys in my division on the bike, setting myself to capitalize with my Ace in the Hole.

I passed 6 guys in my division on the bike, setting myself up to capitalize with my Ace in the Hole.


I was about to head out of the second transition when I noticed none other than the Stallion himself, Virgilio heading in to his rack. Holy friggin sh!t! He did it. The gap between our start waves was 10 minutes and between the swim and the bike, the cycling monster did it. I was happy to see him there, because I knew that to have any chance at all for the M2 crown, I was going to have to run my butt off.

The Run

With almost 1,500 ft. of elevation gain, 70% on trails, this run takes some serious strategy

With almost 1,500 ft. of elevation gain, 70% on trails, this run takes some serious strategy

The fact that you have to bounce up stairs to even get onto the run course kind of sets the tone for this run. I knew that serious self control through mile 6.5 was necessary to survive. A female pro and I headed along the lake for the first 1.5 miles together, immediately passing a couple guys in my division.

As we made it onto the trails, the footing was loose. Shortly after seeing Dan again, I slipped and went face first into the dirt, caking my lips in dust. In mid-80 degree heat with no water until the next aid station, I can tell you that sucked. I bounced back up immediately and pressed on.

23.7% grade at mile 4.3. Sheyeza!

23.7% grade at mile 4.3. Sheyeza!

I shed some folks I was with and came onto the first massive trail climb. I slowly reeled in the guy ahead of me – we were both working hard. Not too long after passing we got to a grade so ridiculously steep (23.7% to be exact), that I slowed to a walk with my hands on my quads as I went up the trail.

Once I topped out, it was time to descend and do it all over again, with a climb topping out at 18.3%. In a race where my pace was 6:45, my mile 5 split was 8:12.

However, after this second climb, the next descent may have been crazier than all of it. As steep going down as the others were going up, I reached a pace as low as 3:35min/mile. My arms swung wildly like a windmill as I flew down the hill trying not to fall on my face. Not a soul in sight to witness the wild and crazy arm guy – I was solo in the fields.

After digesting the quad beating, I went to work at a tempo pace on the steady uphill. I had to get to mile 7 out of the red if this was going to be a successful race, so I controlled my pace. That slow uptick from mile 6 to 7 was challenging. Once I saw fellow M2 teammate, Alessandra, cheering wildly however (she would go on to be 3rd female overall at the Olympic the following day), it was solid affirmation that I was ready to take on this second half the way I knew I could.

I continued to cut through the field, bordering between confidence and second guessing my pace. Then I noticed my first threat. At an aid station, I heard a cheer not too long after I rolled through. At a cheering section shortly after, I counted until I heard a cheer again.

1…2…3…until 13. A 13 second lead over whoever was behind me.

Was it someone in my age group? Was it a female pro that I’d passed and was keeping my pace? It didn’t matter who it was, I did not want to let them pass me. So as I rolled through each aid or cheer station, I’d count, 1…2…3… They were keeping the 13 second gap, they were running well.

Up, down, up, down, up, down. Fin!

Up, down, up, down, up, down. Fin!

I got a burst of energy and surged up the hill to mile 9. From there was a matter of nailing the descent, churning the up, toughing it out to Lynch Hill and slam it down the tough descent to finish. The best thing about that is on the descent/climb is an out and back, so you see anyone you might be able to chase on the way down, turn on a dime, and see anyone chasing you on the way up. I felt pretty good about my position after that turn around and knew it was time to bring it home, so I began chipping up the hill on mile 10.

Wildflower run

It’s awfully quite around here…

Grooving along the flats between the final two climbs, I was literally the only one on the road. It was quite eerie, actually. In fact, I asked the first girl I saw walking a long side of the road if she’d seen other runners coming that way (she had).

Mile 11.5. It’s the final frontier – tough it up, let if fly down. The blinders were on, I was out of my skull, pushing myself up the hill. The surge you get cresting that hill and knowing that, literally, it’s all downhill from there is pretty special. The thing is – look above. That downhill is no joke. Almost a mile long and as steep as all get out, you have to be prepared to descend with solid form for a very long time, or you’re shark bate to the guy behind you, dangling below.

I as I was slamming along, I let myself enjoy the view and my position, which I was sure was pretty good. A cyclist who was finishing the bike zoomed by and I kidded, “Can I hop on?”

All I heard was “blehblahblekblu….mmmbehind you!”

wut?! o_0

I turned on my best descending chops and let it absolutely rip. I came to the bottom of the hill and saw another M2 teammate, Kari. Either she or someone else said the same thing, “blehblahblekblu….mmmbehind you!” Ok, no more messin’ around. Up on the toes I went, sub 5min/mile pace through the chute.

 I'll be hitting the weight room after being mistaken for final female professional podium slot

I’ll be hitting the weight room after being mistaken for final female professional podium slot

The Wildflower chute is something special, very similar to the Alcatraz chute. Flags of all the participating nations line the chute, with smiling, cheering supporters. It’s a special feeling to finish at Wildflower.

Until you cross the finish line and it goes something like this:

“And we have our #3 female professional finisher…oh, no wait that’s a mountain bike course finisher…oh, um…it’s actually one of our first age group finishers, Michael Vjklahlnaljndfnkjhdf from San Francisco!”

Passed eight guys in my division to take 3rd, 10 amateur

Passed eight guys in my division to take 3rd, 10th amateur


34th overall

10th amateur

3rd Age Group

2 IV bags after fuzzy convo with Jesse Thomas and kindly being asked not to dry heave next to the food

4 Burgers eaten for dinner

As many beers consumed before feeling schmammered

1 of 2 RVs made it home successfully the following day after 8 hrs of breakdown

1 hell of a time at the Woodstock of Triathlon too many days until we do it again

Thank you

As always, thank you to my M2 teammates who continue to raise the bar. Thanks to the fellas for making it a rockin’ weekend. Cal Poly student volunteers – you make this race incredible! Ali, family, friends…you da bomb.

2012: The Roller Coaster Year (Part 1)

Year in review Part 1 (detailed posts for events to follow)

A few days away from raging on some of mom’s sweet potato casserole seems like as good of time as any to reflect on the 2012 season. Personal bests, World Championship appearance, Boston Qualifying! It’s seems like just yesterday that I was under the beautiful Petaluma sun, lying on the side of the road being strapped on a paramedic’s board. Ah yes, how the season started…

Song of 2012

Other songs were bigger for training or for specific races, but this jam was on playlists throughout most of 2012. Enjoy!



January thru March: On Fia’!

I started 2012 with more energy than a kid eating a Skittle covered cake. Finishing 2011 with a podium at Big Kahuna, 4th at the Turkey Trot and 3rd at the North Face EC Championship Half Marathon made it easy to get amped for the new season. It would be the first full year in the studio at M2 Revolution and I knew that meant my biggest gains yet.

The group had formed quite nicely in the fall and throughout January and February we “built character” with some epic rainy season riding.

Warming up in Pescadero. Coffee and folk music!

Warming up in Pescadero. Coffee and folk music!

I was getting stronger by the day and had my eyes set on making noise at Wildflower on May 5th.

A slightly significant challenge loomed in March, however: March 9-April 6, I would be in India and South Africa for work. I had a plan – hotels with pools, running shoes, epic Cape Town ride – and the assurance from my coach, Michael McCormack (M2) that a solid block in Jan/Feb followed by some “sharpening” workouts while traveling, and I wouldn’t lose fitness.

I absolutely hammered myself with a Stinson Beach ride and hill repeat brick and then got on a 20 hour flight to New Delhi by way of Dubai. Totally recommend doing this for long flights, by the way…

The Trip

For all intents and purposes, I did as well as anyone could possibly do training given 90 hours in the air and 6 cities in India and South Africa over a month. Though the pools weren’t always, shall we say, “swimmable,” and the bikes not, we’ll go with, “sophisticated,” I was able to hammer out some great workouts.

While treadmills became my best friends when I needed quality, I was privileged to able to ride and run in some seriously iconic places.

The Lotus Temple

Delhi: 10 miles in the balmy park surrounding the Lotus Temple

Cape Town Ride
Cape Town: Riding the famous Cape Argus course

But, the truth of the matter is, I was in the air for 90 hours. In 6 cities across the world, working extremely hard, eating extremely mediocrely and becoming more fatigued by the day. By the time I got home, I was a shell of the guy who left in March, physically, mentally and emotionally. Instead of rushing to return to normalcy, I should have respected the weight of what I’d just done more. I did not, and paid for it dearly…

The Crash

Thirty-six hours removed from a thirty-two hour trip home, I was pining to get back on the road with my squad. As we began on the roads to Petaluma, Stefan and Virgilio put the hammer down almost immediately. Knowing I didn’t have it, I watched them go, sitting back with the rest of the group.

The group began to break up on the climbs and Andy Castaldi and I found ourselves in a duo for what would seem to be the rest of the ride. It wasn’t even mile 30 when I started to notice something just did not feel right. Taking a moment to regroup mentally, we hit a turn and started to alternate pulls on a flat.

A bump/pothole took us both by surprise and 28 days of mega-travel and serious jetlag meant I wasn’t regaining control of my bike that day. End-over I went at 25mph, hitting my face on the ground before skidding the rest of the way. Writhing in pain and in borderline shock, I was met by the rest of the group as they rode up. Tommy Nosek used his nursing chops to do an assessment, Pavel kept my mojo up and M2 shedded his termal jersey to cover me while we waited for the paramedics.

Ultimately, I was incredibly lucky as the worst that happened were broken front teeth and the deepest contusion I think possible on my left leg. No broken neck, ribs, limbs, internal ruptures – nothing. After being released from the hospital, Stefan and Pavel were as good of friends a guy could ask for, making sure my bike got to the Petaluma Fire Station and coming to get me from the hospital an hour from the ride finish. I was truly blessed to have the support of such an awesome group that day.

Fun wrinkle to this story, my mom was flying out to SF to spend Easter with me. Not the most fun call to make from the hospital bed while she’s connecting in Denver, but man was I glad to have her here for that week afterwards.


A busted up left leg, absolute fatigue  and fighting some personal battles led me to drop out of my warm up race at the Metro and ultimately Wildflower. I can’t tell you how bummed I was.

I took a hiatus back home to Dublin, OH on the weekend of Wildflower to be with my family as I tried to regroup mentally. Family time + hammering out 80 miles in less than four hours worked wonders as I was rejuvenated to take on 2012. I had some serious goals, after all. Not the least of which was qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Bleeding Buckey Red Ale

Home Brew