August 30, 2009

Training Update

I think this the first time I have ever added a blog entry on a weekend... Yesterday was just so good it feels like the weekend is complete and today has become a true lazy Sunday. Ah, this is nice.

stress + rest = success

Yesterday, I finished up my first of a two week training build and it proved to be the best quality week of training I have put down all year. Feeling 100% ready to put in the effort and recovery needed is such a huge motivator.

Running - I have been working on my running frequency and got in 5 sessions last week. The first time I have ever ran 5 times in one week and my stride is starting to feel so natural now. Volume is still low but I am feeling better and better on my feet and I plan on slowly adding in some duration to each session. I just hope I can layer on some speed by the time Xterra Nationals and Worlds comes around but running more and injury free is pretty awesome in itself. Frequency, duration and then the secret sauce. All in good timing.

Swimming - I have never felt more comfortable in open water and finding a nice pair of feet for a draft but I need to work on bridging gaps and staying with the lead pack. I need some speed! I just signed up for Masters Swimming so starting next month (tomorrow) I will be getting my arsh handed to me most mornings before most of you are off to work. I am really looking forward to it and just like my running it is better late than never...

Bike- I love riding bikes ;-) I am still seeing my power numbers go up with just about every ride. Its motivating and I know I still have a lot more I can do to get faster on the bike. I logged just under 250 miles on the bike this week and finished it off with a fun group ride. James was right about group rides too. They motivate and make you fast! Yesterday, I joined Beth, Alison, James, Luke & Justin for the Celo ride. The group thing is still a bit new to me... I felt like I was in the tour! ha! So cool. Taking turns pulling with these guys was awesome and it felt like we were on a big team. I'm hooked and searching for group rides like a crack addict on the hunt now.

After the ride some of us headed north for a little surf session and some beach time. Its been way too long for me and it capped off the day/weekend/week for me. Good time, I hope to repeat again soon.

my nephew Kadin taking his first paddle lesson

Next week is round two of the training block and it is going to be hard as hell. I am looking forward to it and and am resting up for it now. Hope to see ya out there!

August 28, 2009

Slow and Steady Builds the Base

The last few weeks have been FULL for me at work, training and life. Keevin and I often joke about "getting it right" when we are in our sixties. Making the right decisions and perfecting daily time management. Its all about the little things and not sweating the small stuff!

Last weekend, we had a good crew up in Santa Barbara to enjoy "Chucks world" and race some triathlons. A few girls with us did their first ever triathlon and I think they got the bug now... Nice! Tiffany and Wes were in town to race and hang with their families and Paul, Sean, Lisa(2), Monique and I were taking over Chucks place. Good times were pretty much a guarantee.

I made a good decision NOT to do the run and looking back it was a 60 year olds wisdom. I just started running "injury free" again and 10 miles off the bike at race pace was just to risky. Watching everyone cross the finish line and knowing how it feels to swim and bike without holding back was a welcomed change. Turns out I am not really holding back and running to the first aid station felt pretty good but I stopped the run there and grabbed the camera.

Lisa RULING the bike!

Monique bringin' in home -Took 30 minutes off her time from last year!

Inspiration from the Parent Kid race was off the charts

Paul floating to a top finish

Sean and Lisa ready for more

Last year we did this race we decided it is a must every year and I was so glad to be back. With the long course race on Saturday we get to explore and enjoy SB for an extra day on Sunday. We had plenty of time to cruise around town on Chucks bikes from his house and we could not ask for better weather. This race is a winner!

the real race begins! ha!

My call not to run off the bike at the race landed me one of the best quality training weeks I have had all year. By Tuesday, after a long ride I was feeling 100% injury free and recovered. . . physically and mentally. I cannot tell you how much having closed a few projects at work, personal/family stress down and my body ready to go to work has me motivated. Ahhgggg!!! Ready for a fun weekend again with some friends. Happy Friday!!

August 18, 2009


Heading into this weekend I expected two of the biggest days on the bike yet and possibly some new perspectives. After some emails and a few route changes we planned on riding a big 90ish mile Palomar loop on Saturday with some really strong riders and some trails on Sunday we had El Grande on tap. A ride starting in Big Bear and riding down to Redlands with Team Sole and crew. I got new perspective but it was not from the bike

Saturday morning, I got up before my alarm clock at 3am and just decided to stay up, stretch and get ready for a big day. I got down to our start early (for once) and was getting ready when I got some news that put me on the ground. My only grandfather had suffered a massive heart attack driving back from Reno the night before and was able to drive into a hospital outside of Ridgecrest. The hospital only had my cell number and had been trying to reach our family. My Grandfather passed away at 3am Saturday morning. I didn't know what to think, say, feel... I guess I have been lucky that I have not known anyone close to me pass away before but it does not make this any easier.

When I got the news I thought that it was probably the best thing to just ride...turn the cranks out and let this unreal news fade to reality. I decided to go on the ride and I think initially it did help me absorb it. It helped me clear my mind and let it settle in a bit.

I have climbed Palomar two other times but each time I made a stop of about 3-5minutes during the climb. My ride time was about 1:15 each time. After we were riding for about 20ish miles we reached the start of "the climb" and I thought we were going to stop at the Taco shop because someone behind us dropped a bag and dropped off of the back. I pulled in and the group kept going. I took the opportunity to go number one and use the lead pack as motivation to chase down once I started.

I moved up to see the lead guys about a half a mile ahead of me and slowly started to real them in... I caught a few guys off of the back and then at about the half way point the pack blew apart and I didn't see anyone for a while. It also made me start too fast and I posted a ugly positive split and just dragged it in at the end after riding solo for the entire climb. Whatever, I made my first uninterrupted climb in 1:11. Baseline set.

Time: 1:10:51 Normalized Watts: 280 / 277avg / 502max

1st 35min / norm 290 / avg 287 / 10.9mph
2nd 35min / norm 268 / avg 265 / 9.1mph

Then, reality just worked its way back into my head once we stopped at the top and it put perspective in place. I realized that I just needed to be with my family and I wanted to get back to my truck as soon as possible. James, Luke and some of the fastest guys I have ever ridden with continued on with a monster ride and Sean, Lauren and I headed back.

I realized pretty quickly that I didnt have the focus to keep up with the almost 40mph descents on the way back. I dont even know what I was thinking about but I just could not focus and really didnt want to ride. I had to make the calls to my brother and parents and the conversations were just ringing in my mind. I decided to sit it out and Sean was going to pick me up when he got back to the car.

My Grandfather was an amazing man . He instilled a love in me for the outdoors, adventure and people. I remember camping growing up when we would crawl out of our tents and he would have the camp fire roaring and coffee brewing in the mornings. My brother an I would listen to stories deep with wisdom and humor. He made a few trips to Canada and back on his dirt bike and was still riding trails with us in his 70's. He lived an amazing life in some exciting times. Raised in Berlin during World War II he came to America with my Grandmother to live a better life for his family. Mission accomplished. I am grateful to have spent so much time with him and keep his stories of life. Its all good.

August 14, 2009


I have had my share of bikes in the last few years and just like I am working out the kinks with my body I am figuring out how much having right gear goes into making big differences in performance. About three years ago, I moved to a 29er and have not looked back. Somewhere in between I got stuck on having my 29er lighter than most 26 inch bikes and it was easy to see the numbers when you are measuring grams. BUT just like the ideal body race weight there is a sacrifice for going too far on the skinny.

Riding a rigid hardtail may feel faster but the studies have shown time and time again that a full sus is faster and takes less energy to hold the same speed as bouncing around on a hard tail. When you mix in the multisport aspect of having to run off of the bike or racing an endurance mountain bike race (my favorite two sports) it is obvious why suspension is just plain better.

Dowhill was an obvious advantage that I saw...even peddling on the flats but climbing? When I moved from my hard tail to the soft tail this was the first thing I noticed. I was climbing better . . the Moots did not really have a full shock but it was much better than a hard tail. The downside was no lockout and a pedal bob that slowly got to me. In Mammoth, after switching bikes with Ryan I noticed I could flex (laterally) the entire Moots frame by steeping on the pedal with the front brake on... I really never took into account the "flex" of a frame until this point. A little thing that makes another big difference.

Long story but to make it short I found the first frame that has ZERO bob when I am standing, soaks up enough bumps to keep the tire in contact with the ground when I am climbing and makes the downhills feel like I am a kid on a dirt bike ripping it... It is Intense!

My Intense Spider 29er

With Intense Cycles team of guys like Mike Vine, Chris Legh and girls that are faster than me like Lesley Patterson racing Xterra, Intense frames have been proven again and again to be podium promising. The fact that my hero couple Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren have been racing Intense bikes literally around the globe in multiday adventure races and winning 12hr to XC mountain bike races would be enough for me to see the value of a great frame design. After riding one it was a done deal. I was in love with a Spider.

I was even more blown away and honored that Intense extended a sponsorship to me. I am seriously more stoked than ever to ride and know that this is THE bike for me. After just one ride on the Spider I knew it would make me faster. I was climbing faster at lower heart rates, descending faster without unnecessary risks or wasted energy. Being able to climb without my tire or my butt hopping around offers a consistent power to the ground... the VPP is the real deal and descending was fun and effortless....and the longer the ride or race the more this all adds up.

I always got sharp pains in my back this year and I thought it was from paddling... I didn't realize how much my body was taking the shock where suspension should have. . . and that is just the beginning. This is the first bike that makes me want to sign up for a 24hr solo race because I feel like I could ride it around the clock. I can enjoy some rougher trails without getting beat up and at 25 pounds I really am not loosing anything to gravity either. Light, stiff but plush...hmmm... Sounds pretty intense huh.

More details and pictures to follow but for now I have some routes I want to log on it!

August 12, 2009

Working out the kinks

I have been keeping things rolling and just put down the first week of my new training plan. This is the first time I have managed to keep a training schedule but I think it is a perfect fit so it makes it easy. I am just riding about three times a week but swimming five times a week and have the biggest focus on running. I am working on my "limiters" and working out the kinks.

My biggest issue recently has been my ankles and foot. Sometimes adding volume just highlights a weakness or bad form. Keeping a good training log is a huge help in trying to "figure it out" so I started looking back and all of my injuries have been around my ankles and feet. A good and bad thing I guess. I decided to do something about it and to make a long story short I discovered I need to do some very basic core and stability exercises and that I have wide feet. Strange but it is the little things that make such a big difference!

I often logged my working noting that my feet were going numb and recently that I was bruising my feet. I have been riding without my insoles in my shoes to give me more room. I would have never guessed I had wide feet.

I should have known when I cut the straps off of my specialized shoes to stretch them out a bit more. I just dropped some bills on some new E2 wide running shoes and some wide and comfy road shoes. Agghh...feels so good to comfortably push along!

With my feet behind me...literally, I jumped into another open water swim this weekend at the Surf Monkey event and I feel like I am more comfortable than ever in the water. My muscular endurance for swimming specific muscles is increasing and now that I stopped paddling and everything but swim, bike, run I have more time to work on stroke details too.

Sean and I headed out into the waves and were planning on meeting up with Luke and James for a ride after but that will just have to wait until this weekend. . . Palomar and SART on the lineup and it is going to be big fun all weekend long!

We finished up last weekend with a day out on the San Juan trail. Good times for sure and really made me miss those long mountain bike rides. Then more running!

. . .and running

. . . and running

I am loving running more than ever and working on my biggest limiter. I keep thinking about what Eric said about run fitness crossing over to everything else and I can feel it. Its true and hopefully I can drop some of the weight I gained from paddling too ;-)

I am only racing the Santa Barbara tri as a tune up and but the focus is now all about two more Xterra races to finish off the year. Hopefully my fat feet get me there quickly.

August 03, 2009

Family Fun

Just got back from mammoth and my abs and cheeks are seriously sore from all of the laughter...
The last few years I have always logged ton of time training when we made our trip(s) to Mammoth but this year was a bit diffrent. It was all about enjoying the time with my friends and all I needed was to act like a child and enjoy....

I thought that my "cankle" would be ready to go by the weekend but it was not quite there on Thursday when we drove up so I shuttled Monique and Luke on Rock Creek. This is a pretty technical trail so they suited up with all of the downhill gear they had available. Darth Vader and Princess Leia?

Watching them rip the downhill and just being in that mountain air was enough to get me going. I took along my tri bike for some road rides and ended up riding into Mammoth lakes after the shuttle session was complete. Riding on the road was a little easier on my foot and the ride was better than I could have imagined. Thunder storms brewing in the backdrop of the mountains, ipod blasting in my ears as I rolled up into town on hwy 395 to meet up with friends for four days of adventure. Did I just arrive at paradise on earth?

I am consistently inspired by friends. These girls and guys who (some of them) only ride once or twice a year pulled an all day epic around the mountain on some of the most technical trails. Makes me really think about what our true limits are when we have the motivation and support from people around us...

Riding into the eye of the storm!

Some fun pix of the crew

the dudesthe girlsself explanatoryRyan ripping it up!

We all got tired enough to start the giggles and enjoy some recovery drinks before we headed out on a night hike up the Juniper trail and over to the concert at the brewfest. Let the adventure begin!

This was the first time in about 12 days I had zero issues with my left foot or ankle. After the Juniper trail we headed through the woods just following the music. It was drawing us in.

The group got split in two but we somehow managed to find each other again on "the other side". We made it all the way over to the concert and I was dancing across the golf course on the way over. It felt so good to be able to put pressure on my feet with no issues...

Then... in true Slater style I did it again. After we made it out of the dark and uneven trail...after we were walking in the light, on a flat road I found the ONLY rock in the road and was on the ground before I knew what happened. What happened? I sprained my RIGHT ankle with a big pop. I was in shock and some dude was trying to pick me up off of the floor thinking I had one too many drinks. Limping back on my left foot just flared up the bruise again.


BUT this was not the time or place to feel sorry for myself and I was with the right crowd to keep things in perspective. I took the next day off while the group did a hike and enjoyed some village time with Monique watching the clouds and light rain. Mammoth is beautiful! By night fall the only pain was in my abs and cheeks. I have not laughed that hard in YEARS and it was nonstop for over 3hrs. The Corbot, Tiffany's food, Joisah's sex life and half eaten random sandwich will never sound the same again!

Sunday was Monique and my sixth anniversary and we got a card from everyone...Wow...We didn't even get each other cards or gifts. We feel so blessed to have such a good family of friends. We rolled up some trails in mammy and then I hit the TT for a ride back down to Bishop. The ankles are fine, the mind is better.

Much love...until our trail crosses again my friends.