Thursday, March 29, 2007

Smack Recap

I had the privilege of meeting Jetpack today for a ride on Suncoast Trail here in Sunny Florida (I know how the fact that it was in the 60's when we STARTED our ride this morning really burns you Northerners up), and got to see, first hand how nice the BMC sponsored bikes are. WOW - awesome piece of work, all the right components, I mean, these guys are training with Zipp wheels, zipp crank, zipp aerobars, all DA drive train, wireless Power Tap...very cool! Jetpack only had an hour ride on his schedule, with a 1:45hr brick run afterward, so he was taking it easy, and we went part way together.

After he broke off at about the 12 mile mark, I continued on for the rest of my 83 miler (that's my speed above - lots of road crossings...) and listened to the Simply Stu raceAthlete interviews in their entirety (I got a nifty blue IPod Shuffle for my Birthday - thanks Ma!). Lots of Smack. I really, really like Smack, if you couldn't already tell. Can you see me salivating as I write this? Leading off, Rural Girl thinks her running is for crap, and since she hasn't run further than 18miles in a single week, it's no wonder. If you want to get better at running, you gotta run, right? "Cut her some slack, Bigun, it's all snow and ugly up there"...ok, WILCO. Stu's enamored and thinks shes the dark horse of the rA group - but Roman, we find out later, is gunning for her.

Roman, the Everyman, the Clydesdales of Clydesdales, will be relying on muscle memory to get him through an Ollie (learned a new one from Bold during the interview, but it's still spelled Oly), but we've seen the swimming results - so we know he's been in the pool ("shhhhh, c'mon Bigun, no one's paying attention"). He's on a crazy fast bike compared to last year, and we already know he's not giving up much on the run...With 5 training weeks left, I'm going with Roman by race number buckle...unless, of course, there's a completely unforeseen and tragic incident involving a large black snake and low sodium.

Stu and Bolder - now there's an interesting duo. They've got side bets and back bets worrying about each other's numbers and hair pants. Did you hear how Stu has future bike washing pictures being posted on "his or her" website? Who's the her? Bold - Stu's calling you a little girl. A little girl with long pony tails and freckles and a pink skirt. I wouldn't take that. Even if I was Canadian, I still wouldn't take that kind of abuse. Now that we have Bold fired up, I'm going with the Colorado boy by a bit more than a second. That's an American second, BTW and we all know how much faster those are...

Jetpack vs Brett - you've seen the movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, right? Well, I've looked at the numbers, and Jetpack better have one up his keester if he's got a shot at avoiding a bloody, limb-hacking, everything-is-bigger-in-Texas style beating by Mr. Texafornia. And I'm rooting for my homeboy! That's right, I want to see Jetpack pull off a screaming fast bike in the hills of Wildflower - oh, BTW - there's a good 3,650 ft of climbing on the Longcourse - so have fun with that! Brett seems to think that Jet is all about cupcakes and slow rides with the Mrs (to be) in the lap of luxury known as Tampa - Brett, you just go ahead and keep thinking that - the Bigun's on a mission, and that is to get my hommie ready...boys, we going into training mode! First ride together - that "easy" 42 mile trail (below) you were talking about - up and back, baby!

Now Iron Wil and Sweetiepie didn't have much smackin to do. This surprises me - Wil's been a running fool, and everyone knows that an Ollie (like that?) is won on the run. Set a good pace on the swim and bike, and she'll have Redneck Girl in her sights at mile 4. You watch. You read it here first.... Mr Sweet - he'll be all over this bad boy - he should be talking age group smack! The rA guys could always throw down the gauntlet and shoot for the fastest times through T1 and T2 - yea baby, kick some Sweet A**!!!

Oh, and give me a break! While talking to IronWil, Stu gets a call on his cell,
Stu: oh, I gotta take this, one minute Wil..

Wil: Sure...

Stu: oh hi, Jessi, yea, can I call you back in like 5 minutes? Great -

Wil: wow, you hung up with Jessi Strensland to talk with me?

Stu: aaaa, yea, Wil, of course, you're my teammate, right?

PAALEASE! Stu, that was your buddy Jessi Finklehoffer from Podunk, MI calling about scoring a bag of weed. You Wisconsonians are all the same! You can't pull one over on the Bigun! No way, brothah, No way.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


This blogger world is a weird place for me...I'm not making excuses, just sayin'. I got to get used to it. In the real world, you say something, you can see a reaction, you can gauge body language, you can tell when you are crossing a line or pushing too hard. In blogger world, all of a sudden, it's too late.

I'm from Jersey. Yea, I live in Florida now, but it's not always been suntans and alligators for the Bigun. I grew up with guys like Joey Greco and Billy Tedeschi and a whole group of Italians who just love to "bust chops" all day and see who can come up with the next zinger first. It wasn't much different in college. Anyway...I'd be lieing if I said that I don't enjoy throwing out a zinger or two myself - but without the body language, I really don't know when the line gets crossed.

This post is prompted by an e-mail I got today from a good guy that I'm pretty sure I touched a nerve with a comment I wrote to his blog - and while I meant to bust his chops, I did not mean to show any disrespect or cross a line that I couldn't retreat back over. I hope that hasn't happened, and in further analysis, I'll bet there are other comments and posts that I've written in which I've pushed too hard with people I hardly know.

So it's time for the Bigun to take a couple of steps back. If I seem a bit more careful in my writing in the future, it's on purpose, and it's out of respect for the folks that read this dribble and have so far been supportive of me. I feel like I let you down. And for that, I'm truly sorry.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Strawberry Century

The Tampa Bay Freewheelers put on an interesting ride through the Plant City area countryside. There were at least 500 folks pre-registered for the ride, and another 200 showed up on top of that to do one of the 20-, 38-, 62- or full 100-m rides. It was a crowded start to say the least. I met up with a couple of guys from work who were planning on doing the 62m ride, and they weren't interested in riding with the front pack, and neither was I, so we let just about everyone ride by us before we joined in on the ride.

Riding behind all those folks at 17mph took me about 18 seconds to get over. So began my test of my bike handling skills as I picked and choose my opportunities to pass individuals and groups riding all over the road. There are no "ride on the right" and "no blocking" penalties given out in a fun ride - so I rode hard to break out of this pretty large group of casual riders. After a few miles I checked to make sure the guys from work were still on my wheel - I saw John, but we lost Mark back there somewhere. John was a trooper and hung with me for about 60 miles - his longest ride before then was 50.

We stopped at 19 miles for a potty break, and carried on all the way to 62. The course was marked - note to self, make sure you read the printed materials and know which arrows are which BEFORE you start the ride. We broke out to where we were chasing down small packs of riders in drafting lines - and we blew off looking at the road for the painted arrows signifying turns. So did some of the riding packs. Twice we had to turn around because we got off course. I was working hard to get my average speed up over 20mph after that slow start, and got there just before we took the potty break around 19 miles in. From the Garmin chart (which I know is hard to read, and I even tried to clean it up with Photoshop) I kept it over 20mph for the first half of the ride - you can see there at 51 or 52 miles where we turned up into the wind, and it was bullocks from there on out. Those last 10 miles really beat up the Bigun.

The course was kind of "wack". I counted - we crossed over railroad tracks 10 times - after a couple hours in the saddle, RR tracks aren't any fun. We crossed over RT 60 - a 55mph highway a couple times - that was interesting...waiting on stop lights for one of the crossings, and just waiting on an opening in the traffic for the other. I've learned to appreciate the "groove" you get in a closed road triathlon instead of doing these rides where you have to obey traffic signals and watch out for traffic. I also appreciate my main training ground, Flatwoods - that 12.5 mile loop gets boring, but there are no cars or RR tracks!

I wanted to make my "stopped" time as short as possible - I only stopped twice for a total of 8:11, and my total riding time was 5:33 for a moving speed of 18.25mph over 101.32 miles. The course played a dirty trick on me - the 62m SAG stop was also the start and finish - I was tempted to call it right then and there. I drank 120 oz of Gatorade for about 780 calories, plus 1 gel, 5 cookies and 2 bananas. That's 21oz of fluid an hour, which according to this article my fluid intake was nearly perfect - without even trying! My calorie replacement was a bit off though, since Training Peaks says I burned up 7,400 calories. I'll need to practice that a bit more - I definitely felt lacking in the last half of the ride. I seem to say this each time I do a longer workout, yet I never practice taking in calories on long workouts.

The hills were very gradual - and not much of consequence with only 2,247 feet of elevation. The winds were the big limiter of the day averaging 10mph over the course of the ride; early there was nearly no wind, and as we got later in the day, it really picked up. I wasn't too excited about making the last 38 mile loop, but I met Chet who was putting in his last big ride before IMAZ, so I tagged along and used some of his energy for about 10 minutes - then I watched him ride off and tortured myself trying to keep him in my sights.

The prize was in finishing, of course. They don't call it the Strawberry Century for nothin'! I made sure I ate some chicken and mashed potatoes for the protein and carbs, but then REALLY got a glycogen load with a big heaping pile of strawberry shortcake. mmmmmm, strawberry shortcake... They gave us a nifty (ugly) biker hat type item, and a long-sleeved T, and the bummer was that the $5,000 worth of raffle items were already done being raffled by the time I got in there. I don't think I finished that slowly compared to much of the Century crowd but I felt I really missed the boat! At least I got a big, heaping sweet luscious bowl of strawberry shortcake. It's funny how a little whipped cream can make all the bad things melt sunburn (duh, this is Florida, use sunscreen, Bigun, ya big dummy). Oh, and yes, I did ride in my raceAthlete jersey, and while I noticed a bunch of "looks", no one asked what it was all about - hopefully some folks will check out the the end I was too tired to do much talking anyway!

Friday, March 23, 2007


What a great week to be on an easy cycle-break. I got hit, mid-week, with a nasty little stomach something or other, and am finally feeling better today. No swimming, no biking and just one little 3m run; I can say with authority that I'm rested. The final push starts Sunday with a Buck, and I'm itching to get at it again.

That's one of the benefits of taking a week off, I think - re-stoking the fire. Yes, your body needs the rest, and by all accounts taking the week off TOTALLY probably isn't the best thing for your fitness. You're supposed to cut back, not lie around eating girl scout cookies - like I did. The real benefit for me is mental. I went from being less than enthusiastic about "yet another 6m run" to "I can't wait to hit the road again" - lemme attem! all in the course of a week.

I spent most of the week concentrating on work instead of trying to squeeze in another swim. Because it was scheduled, I haven't stressed about NOT working out enough. I'm recharged and ready to go, and I'm going to need that mental edge leading into race season. Only 4 more training weeks left - that's it! 4 more training weeks. It doesn't seem like enough, but then again, I know I'm entering this race season in so much better condition, at a lower weight, and with more experience than last year - I can't wait to see what I can do.

An additional aspect of this season will be that instead of racing in a relative vacuum, with just me and Mrs. B and a couple of racing buddies close to home here to share all this with, I've got a community of fellow triathletes who's training and race experiences have as much meaning to me as mine do to them. Just when I thought this sport called Triathlon couldn't get any cooler, I find an awesome group of folks who think tri's are cool too - quite unlike the guys at work who think I'm freaking nuts! Here's to a great season (I'm raising a Hobgoblin to ya'll)!

Weekend Update

Welcome back for another bit of fake news, with your host, Bigun. Today we have the honor and privilege of having a lovely co-host on the show, please give a warm, Big-Bike welcome for Trimama!

Trimama - Thanks Bigun, it's great to be on the show.

Bigun - Nice to have you here, Trimama, and congratulations on your new Tri-workout program, I hear it was just published this week.

Trimama - That's right, we expect it to hit the infomercials within the month.

Bigun - Good thing I've got Tevo - on the phone today we have Mister Marine himself, none other than Gunny Highway who's called in from Camp Lejeune to comment on some recent developments - Gunny are you there?

Highway - If I were half as ugly as you, Bigun, I'd be a poster boy for a prophylactic!

Bigun - and a hardy welcome to the show to you too, Highway - how does it feel to have a tri-bike named in your honor?

Highway - What choice did people have? Cervesa O'Toole just doesn't make sence - and just because Tri-Dummy's named his bike after me doesn't mean we're going to be taking warm showers together until wee hours of the morning...

Bigun - aaa, thanks Gunny...Trimama, tell us about your new workout program!

Trimama - Sure thing, Bigun - it's called "3 Weeks to Ironman". You know how everyone wants instant gratification these days...

Bigun - Sure do...

Trimama - well, my tried and tested program can get your average couch potato from the Playstation to the Ironman finish line in just 3 Weeks. Following my 30-minutes a day workout plan, we'll burn the calories and build the fitness necessary to have any one of you hear those most hallowed words, "you are an Ironman".

Bigun - Trimama you ignorant slut! There's absolutely no way your program's going to work! I haven't heard something that ridiculous since I heard someone was going to publish a book about thier blogs! Like anyone would pay good money for a book like that...Lets move on and report on a troubling story brewing amongst the raceAthlete team members.

Trimama - It seems we have a group smackdown - a circle smack, as it were, amongst most of the members of Team raceAthlete. It started rather innocently as a friendly wager between Bolder and Stu and has grown out of control. Roman has laid down the gauntlet and claims he will squash our fair country maiden, Rural Girl. Poor Rural Girl. Those Po-locks must raise kids differently over there - here in America we don't pick on poor, helpless little country girls. As these things usually do, the Circle-Smack is already escalating - not only does the winner of the Bold-Stu Smack-Down have to wash the other's bike, he must also post pictures of said washing...recently the ante was raised even further - the loser has to break out the sheers and "de-pant" the winner..."de-pant"? Did I read that right?

Bigun - De-pant, un-pant, amongst these sick-o's, it's all the same, Trimama, it's all the same.

And that's all the fake news for today, but tune in next time for the continuing saga of the raceAthlete Circle-Smack! This is Bigun and Trimama - thanks and train hard everyone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Finally, Clarity!

I have a new goal, a new purpose in life. It came to me in a flash, like most visions, the result of a chain of events in-explicitly linked in a floury of seemingly unrelated yet perfectly interconnected occurrences. Perhaps inspired by late night blog perusal, or perhaps the result of a rapid fire Dinner-Done cooking spree, my vision is rife with purpose and a certain hope for the future. Fame and glory will forever accompany me wherever I go, should I accomplish this task - this one true calling I now face.

I will occupy TriMama's penalty box.

I can only hope this revered position is not solely reserved for Taconite Boy. That would be a let-down of immense proportions. I'm sure this will take advanced cunning, sharp whit, unyielding sarcasm and an elevated level of tom-foolery not uncommon in the realm of the Alliance or raceAthlete blog community. I realize this is an ambitious goal, but with steadfast determination I promise to cross whatever lines are necessary to succeed at what could be the most important and influential accomplishment of these past 43 years. Wish me luck, keep me in your prayers, and I apologize in advance for the collateral damage a task like this is certain to make.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ahhh, Easy does it

I've been looking forward to this week - an easy week. End of another training cycle. A long cycle - I added a week to make it four weeks on instead of my normal three. Called it a "Reach" week. Go ahead, you can use that one if you want, I won't mind. Turns out it wasn't much of the reach I had planned - life got in the way - but I did train sore all week. I would have liked to get one more swim (2500) and one more bike (50m) in...oh well.

I feel like I'm tapering for my Century this Sunday, my Buck (I love that!) - I've got no bikes planned (I've got no days off from work this week!) and really would like to stay off my feet as much as possible. These next 4 weeks are destined to be "Peak" weeks, starting with 100m on Sunday. I'm not sure if you can peak with a 4-week cycle, but that's my plan, and I'm sticking to it. I'll be upping the intensity - doing more intervals in my workouts and spending more time breathing hard. This is it - this is the season, after all!

Some big events coming up on the near horizon for Team Bigun. My "A" race - St. Anthony's - is just 4 training weeks and a taper week away. I really, really want to do well there. Well for me will be defined as 2:35 and a top 10 Clydesdale finish. The week after that will be a taper week for a "B" race - the One-O-One in Bradenton. While not entirely fair as an Iron-distance gauge...St. Anthony's will be a all out effort, and I'm sure there will be some residual fatigue left when I head out on that 3k will still give me an idea as to what will be required of me come IM day.

Three workout weeks (a nifty cycle) later, and off we go to San Fransisco to brave the 55 degree waters and Escape from Alcatraz - that's going to be awesome! I almost don't want to ruin that race with goals and just go over there and experience it. Enjoy the scenery and take it all in - the Golden Gate while swimming, the hills, the people, the Sand Stairs - all of it. I'm this close to biting the bullet and getting a camcorder to capture all of this. When we get back from Escape, the "first" '07 season is over - back into base I'll go and start my training for GFT...I mean, the Florida Challenge, yea, that's it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Crusty too?

Last night's function went exactly like I thought it would. Old graduates talked of how it was, younger grads talked of things new and exciting, and the Superintendent dove right into his "State of the Union - West Point Style" speech, complete with Power Point slides and pictures. Unlike my prediction of the evenings activities, I was impressed.

I quickly found myself caught up in the Supe's talk. It was very different than stuff I'd heard in the past. The Corps has changed, but I really like the way it's different than when I was there, and in the direction it's going. USMA will always be about getting a great education - and in that regard I never found my experience there lacking (if only I had taken it more seriously...). I truly felt, looking back after being in the Army for a while, that I graduated clueless as to what being a leader in the Army was to be "all about". To be fair, the nuts and bolts of leading a platoon is taught once in the Army - the transition from Academy life to the military was a hard one for me - and it probably shouldn't have been. I doubt it is anymore for Cadets graduating these days. The "M" in USMA stands for MILITARY - it seems, from the Supe's speech, that the military is more a part of the West Point experience now.

I know that's hard to believe. Sure, we did military stuff while I was there. It was just so basic. The Supe talked of advanced training at a place called Camp Buckner - it sounded realistic and awesome - something we were lacking. Our Camp Buckner was, for lack of a better word, social. We got to know each other with lots of off time and group activity that was hardly military in nature. We did do Army training - again, in my horrible memory it just seemed so insignificant. These kids, this past summer, did a non-stop, no break, like-it-was-for-real "Forward Operating Base" - and thought it was the greatest thing. What, no Camp Buckner Cotillion?

These days, Cadets can volunteer for spring break and summer training abroad with host nation armed services - the program is huge and a large percentage of Cadets take advantage of it. I have fond memories of going to San Fransisco and Hawaii for a couple of spring breaks while I was there. They've now got a Commandant's program that is more about weapons training than marching and drill and ceremony, all participated in a Cadet's spare time. Do I sound jealous? I am.

It's hard to say what my attitude would have been if this had been the way of West Point when I was there. Without hindsight, I might have resented any infringement on my personal time, however, if unexpected, the loss of social time wouldn't really matter, would it? Times are different now - well, we had the Iron Curtain and they have the War on Terrorism. Mine was a cold war, and this one now most certainly is anything but cold. These kids volunteered in the face of 9-11, knowing full well what they were getting into. I was just a stupid high school kid with very little understanding about the USSR and Communist Aggression. I really, really like and admire these young men and women!

My hat's off to the current leadership of West Point. I'm confident - albeit from an hour chat with the head honcho - that they are producing the finest Army officers that have ever been produced from the Academy - and there have been some good ones (Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton and Schwartzkoff quickly come to mind)! They've got some awesome incentive programs to keep these great folks in the ranks serving our country for years to come - incentives that I'm sure would have kept me in (guaranteed Grad School for a 3 year extension of mandatory service time - from 5 years to 8 years - an unbelievable opportunity!). They keep a conduit open with the regular Army with lessons learned in the field that are relayed in real time back to the 'Point. Awesome stuff!

And, they have a triathlon team - very cool - which was used as an example a few times in the Supe's discussion. I guess I'm hooked on these Founder's Day functions, and looking forward to hear of next years' accomplishments by my Alma Mater. Not only am I a plodder, I'm also now a crusty old grad. Good grief, what's next? Grey hair? Can I get a "take-back" on my last post?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Get out of my way!

I keep putting my runs off to the end of the week. I hate that! Now I have to try and sneak in 18 miles over the weekend...what am I complaining about? Oh, yea, life - it gets in the way! Instead of running tonight, I'm going to my Regional Founders Day celebration/dinner. A bunch of crusty and less-crusty West Point grads meet for dinner with their spouses and wax poetically about the way things used to be. The Superintendent of West Point, Lieutenant (3-star) General Frank Hagenbeck, will talk for a half-hour about how great the program is and how things will be getting better in the future, and some young 20-year-old Cadet will stand up and talk for a while after him, insuring us that it's still hard a West Point. Blah, Blah, Blah.

I'm as patriotic as the next guy, more so perhaps, but I just don't do military functions well. Having to "suit up", sit at a round table with 5 other couples I hardly know and pass salt around is just not my idea of a good time. You'd hardly guess I sell stuff for a living! I'd so much rather have not postponed my 2-hr run 'till Saturday.

Mrs. B is friends with Hope, who's a classmate of mine and who also is on the Founder's Day Committee -'s very hard to bow out of this event anymore. I've been good at it so far - missed it 4 years in a row! Well, time for an attitude check, mister - this will be fun, right? I'll bust bugs after work getting there, drink water while everyone else is drinking cocktails, including Mrs. B, hopefully =;-) and maybe I'll run into someone from my past military life that I used to know. An old friend. Who's name I can't remember for the life of me. Now that's FUN!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Season's first Brick!

Well, you know the tri season's started when you tie up those sneaks after ripping the Velcro off your bike shoes. The dreaded Brick. Your friend, your Nemesis; there's surely a love-hate relationship with the Brick. Oh, and running in ultra-tight Cycle-Ops bibs is no fun - note to self on that one...

I'm calling this week a "REACH" week. In the spirit of finding that fine line between "over-reaching" and "over-training", I'm throwing in this 4th week and flirting with a higher training level. It's dangerous, I know. Over-training is difficult to bounce back from. So, I'm taking steps to avoid the syndrome.

First, I'm making sure I get enough sleep - at least 8 hrs every night. 10pm - 6am last night, for example. Recovery is key, and recovery takes place, mostly, when we are sleeping. I'd have gotten more, but American Idol was 2 hours last night...

Second, I'm eating right. I've started using the principles I'm learning in the Paleo Diet for Athletes (thanks Bold) - lots of protein from animal sources, plus fruits and veggies galore. This is a delicate balance for me, since I'm also trying to lose a bunch of weight. Surprisingly, eating this Paleo way, I'm still losing weight even though I'm stuffing my face with all the fruit and veggies and meat I can eat. I like that.

Third, I'm supplementing with Amino Vital. I bought the capsules this time, and I'm taking the recommended daily allowance - which also includes necessary vitamins and minerals that I'm probably missing. Gotta get those BCAAs - branch chain amino acids - to facilitate the protein in repairing the damaged muscle - recover, baby, recover.

I'm doing ok, so far - I'm not sick, I'm not persistently tired, and I'm not overly grumpy (no more than usual) - and I can definitely tell the difference in speed of recovery with the Amino Vital. With any luck and the right post- and pre-workout nutrition, my Over-Reach will end with a recovery week and and increase in fitness, and not the dreaded Over-Train. Run tonight, and a long bike tomorrow (with another short brick thrown in for good measure) and I may be changing my tune. By Sunday, I'll be looking forward to a rest week for sure!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Shamrock Classic 10K

The Bigun's no speed runner...not anymore at least. I ran the 100-highs in High School, and was part of a 4x200m relay team that still holds my HS record, but deep down, I'm a shot-putter and discus thrower - a plodder. Yea, that's me, a plodder. Just for giggles, I decided to participate in this 10k just to see what I could do.

The time changing almost put a wrinkle in the works, but just before I fell off to sleep, I remembered and set the clock ahead. I got to the race around 7am - it was only 10 miles from my house, got registered and looked for my chip - alas, no chip timing for the day. So, I got my number on my nifty race number belt (why more runners don't use it, I don't know - those pins are a pain in the butt...) and did a short warm-up run; just enough to get the juices flowing. It was then I realized that there were no Port-o-Potties. Luckily we were in an industrial park - empty on a Sunday - so I ducked behind a building, and went about my business.

The route, I learned while running it, was a 3-mile loop - so that was a neat surprise, running by Bacon who was there cheering his wife on, and I guess me too. Mrs. Bigun has a pinched nerve in her neck and was in no shape to be around people this morning - bless her.

There was plenty of support, and there was a volunteer at every road intersection, so that made everything alright. Of course I went out too fast, and tuckered out trying to chase down that girl that passed me at mile 3, but overall I enjoyed the race and had fun. They gave me a card to fill out after I crossed the finish line - it did not have my time on it! Luckily I had hit the stop on my watch just as I crossed the line, and wrote my time - 51:42 - on the card with no illusions of placing.

I was 8:58 per mile for 13.2 last month, so even though it was only 30 seconds per mile faster, I was happy with my 8:20 average pace - I was 244lbs after the race, so with another 10 - 15 lbs to go before May 6th (the Bradenton 101), finishing that run with a 10-minute pace seems more and more likely. After all, I'm a plodder.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


The Bigun's still having a heck of a time with this new position on the bike. I brought it on to myself, so really I'm not complaining, but I had to stop at 50 miles again today. I didn't feel too bad though.

I got my buddy Bacon back out again - and that's a feat, let me tell you. He's been avoiding his steed now with the same zeal in which people avoid the dentist. But it was beautiful today; very little wind, between 75 and 85 degrees during the ride, and not a cloud in the sky. Perfect day for a ride!

I tried to goad him into 37 miles, but 25 was all he was having - 2 laps. I stopped when he did to stretch, figuring that would help to get another 50 in. In typical fashion, the Bigun forgot a vital piece of training gear - my Garmin - so I had no idea how fast (or slow) we were going. Turns out we averaged 18.2mph for the first go-around. Heading back out, all I had was the clock on my cell phone.

I thought I'd try and stay in the bars for at least 25 to get my back and hips used to being that low. Oh yea, I raised my seat about a quarter inch. With the new position, I just felt like I wasn't getting enough extension. With the seat raised that little bit, it felt much better.

I gotta say, I cranked for that 25. Finished in 1:10 - at about 22 miles I could feel my left hamstring tightening up, so instead of pushing my luck, I knew I'd call it quits at the end of that lap. It was a neat feeling - I was pushing hard, but not really breathing hard...not winded like when doing fartleks or intervals. I've got some more room there, some more umph. It's good to know that. Now all I need to do is get used to that darn new position.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Here's your proof! raceAthlete shirt and Cycle Ops bibs - out a beautiful Flatwoods park for a windy 50 miler. I'll admit, I intended on going a bit longer than that, but I just recently changed out my front end with a Bontrager 17 degree 120mm stem (my old one was 0 degree, 110mm) and the Ironman extensions (nice internal cables) with the Alumin-x base bar. I drilled out an extra two holes on the base bar to allow for a little bit more internal brake cable run - and the Nokon cables were also a change. If you ever decide to go with Nokon's, make sure you get the extension kit for the brakes. I almost wish I got two - I don't think I have enough left to run the Nokon cables for my Hed 3rd brake.

With all of spacers below the stem, this setup dropped my front end 2 inches - I used to have the stem as low as I could get it. That will take some getting used to. At the beginning of the ride - the first 25 miles or so - it felt great - fast and easy, even with the serious wind that was out there today. By 40 miles, however, I was feeling the different mechanics, and getting achy in my back and quads where it all felt..different.

So, it true Bigun style, I cut the ride short at 50 to make sure I didn't hurt myself and to give me time to get used to the new position. I'll be back at it Thursday - if it feels good, I'll make up the ride and do the whole 80. We'll see. In the meantime, any of you who do NOT have your rA Jersey yet, you can be super jealous of mine until yours arrives. Na na, na na, na.

My initial feelings on the shirt - great shirt! Cool colors, great fit and fabric. I get a little flapping (not the Nytro kind...) when in the aerobars by the fabric in the shoulders around the neck, but you know, I didn't have it zipped up all the way either.

Oh, an in case you were wondering, I left my waterbottles at home this morning, so I had to buy the little Gatorade bottles for the ride. Speaking of water - one thing I still have to figure out is how to mount my aero-drink bottle by profile design. The way this is set up, it's too wide for the bottle mounting kit - I'm probably going to have to tie two short pieces of PVC to the insides of the extensions and mount the kit to that. Hokey, yes, but until this straight-C college average guy figures something else out, that's going to have to be that.
The other people out at the park probably had a laugh at me setting up the camera and taking these weird pictures of myself and my bike. Jees, it' took me 5 minutes just to figure out how to work the timer! And YES, I'm a poser with my Cycle Ops gear and no power meter...Oh yea, and see all that green stuff - the grass and the trees and the leaves - yea, this is Florida, baby...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Weekend Update

Welcome - it's time for Weekend Update and your not-so-fake news with the Bigun.

Our top story for today, in a gruesome fiery crash Iron Benny crossed into the Publix parking lot on his roof for the win in the little known yet highly competitive Ogden 14. Benny is OK, physically at least, and after the race was quoted as saying, "ya know, I may not be the fastest Ironman out there, I got just 2 words for you - Shake and Bake!"

In a related story, Nytro is still a women, and we may have an eye witness that allegedly claims to perhaps have seen Nytro shed a tear - just one mind you - when Benny was given a clean bill of health. If she asks, I'll deny ever saying it, however. I think that the witness has...yes, the witness is officially missing...

Iron Pol is turning a nice shade of blue-green due to the onset of chlorine-induced skin coloration. Waterworld has become his favorite movie - and he swears that Kevin Kosner really does have gills - and Pol wants some.

I have, on the phone, a special guest today...Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome Iron Wil...Wil?
Wil: yes, Bigun - thank you for extending an invitation extrapolating and the juxtaposition of my pontification while the stars align and my feelings for all to see and hear.

Bigun: Wil, I have no idea what you just said...

Wil: let me explain, you see, aiding my rebirth into the exasperation that has become my life in the second coming of what has been widely known to be the sport of triathlon that I can't really explain or talk about now, alluding to the inner qualities of peace, love and understanding...

Bigun: Nope, you still lost me - but you've really been rocking lately, working hard and getting ready for a big season...what's that, Wil, I'm driving through a tunnel, I'm losing you...

That's right folks, the Bigun's a neanderthal - and in related news, I just ordered Bolder's book of choice, the Paleo Diet for Athletes. Speaking of Bolder, from the center of the country we have a tragic story of a man gone bad - kids, this is what happens when you combine foreigners with illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Bolder, a skinny, well-honed Ironman machine wanted more and wanted it fast. Now look at this exclusive "after" picture of Bold, post-juice:

What do you know, we have Boulder on the line! The P-Dawg Leader, Bold, thanks for calling in today.

Bolder: I am going to fly to Florida, ehh, and mess you up, Bigun!

Bigun: whoa, calm down big guy - that's just the 'roids talking - a 'roid rage! From this un-re-touched picture of you, it seems that you've been doing a bit more than just the Paleo diet (nice speedo, btw...)

Bolder: You've got no proof, this is all lies and fabrications!

Bigun: Oh really? We have now, on conference call, Dr. Shivago, USAT's official urinalysis and drug testing monitor - Doctor, tell us what you've discovered.

Dr. Shivago: ferst of all, leet me just say dis - I luf Canada and all Canadians and somedaaa vee vill velkom dem all to the Master...

Bigun: woah, woah, I warned you about that - just tell us about Bolder, please!

Dr. Shivago: ehem - ve found a large collectchion of illeeeegle perrrfformance-enhacing drugs in his system, incluuding but not leemited to; human growth hormone..

Studio Audience: 'gasp'

Shivago: Andrrrro and DHA with a testosterone patch derrrivitive...

Crowd: 'no...'

Dr. Shivago: and surprisingly, an elevated level of EPO with a estrogen chaser, vich ve at the laaab all had a rrrealy good laughhhh about...

Boulder: ahh, let me explain, really, the samples must have been switched - WHERE's MY "B" SAMPLE - DR SHIVAGO, YOU'RE A DEAD MAN!!!!!

Finally folks, disappointing news out of the Saris Group, specifically Cycle Ops, where apparently their shipping center has burned to the ground. That's right, everyone, the Cycle Ops shipping center blew to bits last week in a horrific chemical fire. It must have...since I placed my order for my highly sought after raceAthlete jersey on the 26th of Feb and it has yet to ship. I sure hope everyone there is ok, my thoughts and prayers are with them as they deal with these tragic events.

And that's the fake news, train hard everyone!
Edit: turns out I did receive my rA shirt and nicely matching Cycle Ops '05 bibs in Saturday's mail - it was in the mail box today, we just didn't check - still says, "not shipped" at Cycle Ops site, however...Love the shirt, it's truly AWESOME!