By Jon Maule (@jonmaule)
Last year I wanted a mulligan on my LT100 attempt, knowing I could have finished under the time limit – I was among the first five stopped at the last cutoff with ~25miles to go. Not being selected for the lottery this Spring, I had to either race my way in (not likely) or hang around and snag one of the ~100 tokens available.
The Leadville Race series events are very well run and schwag abounds with vendors taking advantage of the big draws. I scored two cups of coffee and a muffin while checking in which was a lifesaver as the Copper Mountain gas station wasn’t yet open. I passed through too early opting go cheap and get some decent sleep in a familiar bed à get up at butt-crack for the ~2hr drive to Leadtucky.
I did this race last year and crumbled in the second half of the course coming in at 6:56. This year I had a target of 6hrs with a stretch goal of 5:30 for the 48miles and ~7.5k of climbing. Previewing the course last weekend I decided to run a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 up front (~25#) and a Geax Saguaro 2.2 (~28#) as there was enough loose stuff, baby heads and moon dust that my regular setup (Ardent 2.25 and Geax aka2.2) was occasionally washing out at tempo pace. With this being an out and back course I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s day let alone my own.
The race starts off with a run up a short ski hill (about 50yards). Nothing like sprinting uphill at ~9k ft with your bike and 600+ of your friends to get you anaerobic. I lined up towards the back and walked instead, probably ending up in about the same relative place had I decided to run. After that the course begins a reasonably graded 10 mile climb topping out at ~11,600 largely on jeep roads followed by a descent to an aid station at 13.5 miles. This part went well, I felt strong on the climb, made some moves to get around slow people and did a decent job pacing at what seems like an underwhelming 177w average (np = 216w). This section includes about 13 minutes of hiking and I arrived at Aid#1 right around my target of 1:30.
From Aid#1 (aka Printerboy – named for a nearby mine) to the turnaround at Aid#3 (aka Stumptown – a small “town”, now a ghost town, serving the surrounding mines) is roughly another 1.5 hrs away and involves a two trips at or near 12k on loose jeep roads. My big tires paid dividends on the rideable sections here, particularly the descent off the high point, but there was a lot of hiking here too.
I was at Stumptown in around 3hrs, the bulk of the climbing (~4k) was done and I felt I might be able to come close to my stretch goal of 5.5hrs…
The reverse of the section above involves a 20+ minute hike (going back up the loose, rutted 15+% slopes), the downhill as you head West and then another hiking section that took me a ~13 minutes – this is where I had some trouble. I kept getting rocks in my damn shoes. Not small ones you can sort of work around but pointy almost crippling ones. I stopped at least 3 times here to try to get the stuff out and cinch up my shoe to maybe keep stuff out. Annoying as hell. I arrived back at Printerboy/Aid#1 for some refreshments about 20 min behind where I wanted to be for the final real uphill grind (~3 miles and 1k).
The final section is a 10.5 mile downhill section, losing ~2.1k feet but with a handful of short punchy climbs. Again my tire choice came in handy as I used my gravity assisted mass to (safely/politely) pass people like mad still clinging to the possibility of finishing in under 6hrs
I ended up clocking 6:06 on my garmin. Not quite where I wanted but I know 5:45 was within reach. Anyhow, ended up with a 6:15 “official” time as apparently they base timing off of the shotgun and not when you cross the timing mat. Regardless, that was good enough for 41 minutes off of last years meltdown.
Fueling – I’m digging the combo of Chews and Enduro bites with lower strength skratch (probably ~75% strength). Except when you eat the whole enduro bite at once, that seems to get… …gassy. Very quickly. Always a great feeling.
Weight – I still weigh too much at ~180# for climbing events. What’s it like to ride near the front where you don’t have to dodge as many triathletes on mountain bikes?
Fitness – Thanks to Brad I came into this season with a pretty big base. This year I’ve expanded a bit on that and am at (or close to) the point where I can actually “race” these events. Enough so that I felt great the next day save for some slight fatigue (riding for 6hrs duh) and calf cramping from the long downhill. No more “wiped out for days” feeling like I had last year. It feels awesome!
LT100 – I just didn’t feel like doing it so I skipped out on the post-race ceremonies, opting instead for Carnitas Tacos and Margs at La Rev with my wife as a recovery meal. The opportunity came up to do the Laramie Enduro in two weeks and the Dakota Five O at the end of Aug. Maybe LT100 is in store for next year, maybe never…
By Adam Gordon (@icfantv)
About 12 days ago my body said enough and I hit a wall training-wise. Fatigue, lack of power, and general disinterest took its toll and without taking too drastic measures my coach scaled back my training and by the end of last week I was tired, but felt recovered to have a good race. I wasn’t.
I was chatting with a pro triathlete at Master’s swimming last Wednesday and he remarked that he didn’t know how we age groupers did it. Working full-time with kids and training 10 hours a week. That was good to hear.
My pre-race went by-the-book and my swim warmup was good and I felt good. I realized that I’d forgotten to take my GU chomps but got them in first thing on the bike. I lined up at the front of the swim next to Steve Johnson and Eric Kenney, two VERY fast guys. Eric asked me if I was going out hard. I said yes. He asked “20 minutes?” “Probably 23,” I said, “I’m finding Steve’s feet and hanging on.” Eric followed with he needed 10 minutes to stay with Steve. I said I needed 20. Eric beat me out of the water by a little over a minute and I over Steve by around the same amount. Of course, both then proceeded to crush me on the bike and run.
T1 was fast. This was the first race where I left my bike shoes clipped in and while it was weird getting my feet in my shoes and closing the velcro, everything was fine. Even with the shoes being a little lose and my feet having sand still on them, after a few minutes I didn’t even notice. Climbing out of the res on 51st and then on Jay was fine, but I should have realized something was up during the long, false flat up to the 36/Broadway merge. My power was only slightly low, but I couldn’t generate it in my aero bars – which was not normal. By the time I hit the flats on 36 before and after Neva I was riding in my aero bars, but my power was off. By the end of the bike, my average power was in the low 190s and it should have been between 210 and 220. As a result, my projected bike time was way off. I easily lost 5 minutes.
T2 was fast. I remembered to roll my socks beforehand so I could just unroll them onto my feet (next season, I’m going to start training again without socks. It’s free speed and they’re completely unnecessary). Heading out onto the run, I realized I forgot my Garmin on my bike and had to race by feel. I held back going out and felt ok until around mile 1 when I noticed the fatigue started setting in. I didn’t have to gut through anything just yet, I just kept running. No stopping at the aid stations, but grabbing water to hydrate and douse to cool off. By the time I hit mile 4, I was wiped and was struggling to just stay running. At one point I had to stop and walk for a minute but forced myself to start jogging again. At some point past mile 3 after the turnaround, my teammate Jeremy passed me still on his way out. My first thought was that he was going to catch me and my second was that I really didn’t care. He caught me between miles 5 and 6 and later said that I wasn’t looking great by then. I’m sure. I was able to pick it up a little the last half to 3/4 of a mile, but it was all I could do to get to the finish. One positive was that while the run was hot, it didn’t really bother me much. I need to be better about dumping water on my front and and not just the top of my head and down my back.
165th overall (149th out of 557 men, 948 total athletes, including relays)
32nd out of 98 in age group
Swim (1500m): 21:59 (3rd fastest in AG, and 21st fastest overall)
Bike (26 mi): 1:13:23 (37th in AG)
Run (10km): 53:16
By Adam Gordon (@icfantv)
Two things were clear after the Boulder Sprint Triathlon: first, my running needed work, and second, so did my taper. To be clear, the latter was more a result of a week of poor sleep leading up to the race than training too much. To mitigate the first, I had my coach, Billy start giving me structured running workouts. Read more about that here. In reality, it’s too far into the season to expect awesome results from the running but I had to try. My run workouts had been going well (arguably at the expense of my bike).
We adjusted my taper accordingly and I made damn sure I was in bed as early as is possible every night with two young kids. As a result, I went in feeling fairly fresh.
The race was an hour from my house and a wave start time of 6:30am meant getting up at 3:30. I don’t remember what time I got there but I was definitely one of the first few competitors and got a really good rack spot right by the bike-in/out. Set up was uneventful and with the several bathroom breaks I didn’t have to worry about what to do with my time. With about 50 minutes until go time, I got the bottom half of my wetsuit on and walked the 1/4-mile to the swim start. (Yes, 1/4-mile. Which meant after coming out of the water, there was going to be a nice run to get to T1.)
I got the rest of my wetsuit on and started warming up. I felt awesome and fast. I knew I was going to have a good day. This was also the first time I was going to wear a watch in the race so I could get power data on the bike. But rather than just keep it on the bike, I wore it the whole race. This can be a mixed blessing because it’s easy to get in one’s head if you’re not hitting your numbers.
In retrospect, I probably should have gone over the course maps because I realized about a minute before the start that I had the wrong swim course plotted. Thankfully the elites were paying attention and I got behind them at the start with about a minute to spare. We got a 10-second countdown (which was nice as usually there’s a 30-second warning and then a horn). Right away I found some fast feet and for the first time since I raced Vineman 70.3 in 2008 I had feet the whole way. One take away from the swim is that I need to be a lot better at sighting when I’m following in case the person I’m following leads me astray. I had this thought at some point during the swim and tried to be good about looking for the buoys but I wasn’t as good as I should have been. The second turn on the swim had us swimming directly into the sun and I couldn’t see shit. I just trusted the guy in front of me could and wasn’t going to lead me astray. He didn’t, but it was still really unnerving.
I don’t recall knowing where I was position wise until I got out on the bike with the two lead elite women and looked at my watch. I knew then that’d I’d really rocked the swim. The bike course is hard and it bites right away with uphill rollers heading west out of T1. With some short downhill recovery, it’s basically a climb all the way to Horsetooth Reservoir. Eventually the lead female started pulling away but I passed and dropped the second place female in the first five miles. I’d never been this close to the front of a race before and it was really weird only seeing one or two other riders. At some point I realized that to this point, only three other riders had passed me to this point and I was feeling really good. I crested the first major climb about half way through the bike and ripped down the descent knowing the next climb was a lot shorter before the long, screaming descent into Ft. Collins. About 200m from the top, I felt my back tire get a little squishy and realized that the worst thing that could have happened (short of an accident) had happened and I got a flat. I had put tire sealant in the tubular but my guess is that it didn’t kick in until too much air had escaped rendering it essentially useless. I probably should have tried to refill it to see if it would hold air but wasn’t thinking straight and all I could think about was getting the tire off and switching it out. Instead of using glue, I used Tufo tape to adhere the tire to the rim. And it’s tacky. REALLY tacky. I couldn’t get the tire off even though I’d left a several inch gap with no tape opposite the valve stem. It felt like it took forever to change but in reality it was like 6 minutes. But during that time, all the riders I’d been ahead of were passing me. I was pissed and any semblance of a race plan went out the window (as indicated by my wattage from that point on as it was all over the map) and I stupidly tried to make up for lost time. I even yelled at a guy to stop drafting (he wasn’t). The last stretch from Ft. Collins back to Loveland is on S. Taft a very straight stretch of road but it’s very exposed and has massive rollers (which doesn’t help with trying to maintain a consistent wattage).
The rest of the bike was fine but I was a mental wreck. I flew into and out of T2 and ran the first mile faster than I should have and finally my body was like “enough” and I struggled through the rest of the run even having to resort to walking a few aid stations on the way back – something I NEVER do. I was just holding on when I crossed the finish line.
My biggest takeaways were that my taper and recovery were spot on and I need to be able to deal with shit that happens during a race. Pro triathlete Ben Hoffman raced Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday and flatted twice on the bike. He could have said “fuck it” and quit or coasted the rest of the way. But, despite losing 15 minutes on the bike, he ripped off a 2:43 marathon and ran his way to 3rd. That’s how you deal with mental issues. I got lucky, as I only lost one place due to the flat and the bike course was really hard – which is a great equalizer. Also, I wonder if my run would have been better.
79th overall, 58th male (185 men total, 338 total athletes)
7th out of 28 in age group w/ flat (6th w/o)
Swim (1500m): 23:57, 2nd fastest in AG and 14th fastest overall
Bike (30 mi): 1:35:49 w/ flat (1:29:06 w/o, 7th fastest in AG)
Run (10km): 53:38, 18th in AG
Total: 2:55:40 w/flat (2:48:57 w/o)
By Adam Gordon (@icfantv)
UPDATE: The silicone case is brilliant. It fits like that snug, comfy feeling you get when putting on bib tights…or maybe that’s just me. It protects the 510 on all sides with the exception of the most important part, the screen. But that’s where the Zagg screen protector comes it. Installing the Zagg was a snap and it doesn’t inhibit the touch screen at all. Given that the videos of these screen protectors in action show them using a Dremmel tool to show how tough the screen protector is, you can be assured that your screen will not get scratched with it in place.
First a caveat: I’m a triathlete. My review is solely from the point-of-view of a triathlete who’s used the Garmin 910XT exclusively for nearly two years. It may be that none of the cool features or issues I’ve experienced apply to you. My motivation for getting the Garmin Edge 510 was the larger screen and thus, the ability to view more data points at one glance rather than having to scroll like I have to do with my 910. Many of the other selling points (color screen, Bluetooth, touchscreen, live tracking, real time weather, etc…) don’t really do it for me. Sure, the live tracking is cool, but unless I’m racing, I don’t need the entire Internet knowing, within 10ft, where I am on the planet. Part of the draw of training is completely disconnecting from the world, not becoming MORE connected.
Setting up the device was a mixed bag: the large screen is great, but the touchscreen is kludgy and doesn’t always recognize intentional finger presses. As someone who does full stack Java development and UI development, the UI is pretty bad. It’s not polished and it looks terrible. It’s functional, but it’s SO basic it feels like it was designed by a kid in elementary school. That said, it’s mostly obvious what each item does when selecting and adding all my bikes was pretty painless. With the exception of heart rate, pairing all your ANT+ transmitters (speed/cadence, power, etc…) is done at once and on a per bike basis. If you aren’t using Bluetooth, just a tip to disable it as it’ll only help in draining your battery and I’ve had many friends who’ve left it on in transition in races and it’s gotten confused with all the other electronics present that it doesn’t record anything (or if it does, it did so sporadically). I believe, however, Bluetooth is required for the live-tracking feature and for wirelessly downloading your data to Garmin Connect.
Setting up the data fields in my screens was a snap and like my 910, there’s gobs of data points for those statistically inclined. I use seven fields on my ride (in no particular order): lap time, lap power, 3s power, lap speed, lap distance, lap cadence, and lap heart rate. The data is displayed in five rows and as more fields are added the number of rows increases until five are displayed. When less than five rows are displayed, the rows (and thus the data text) become larger. This is a nice feature for those folks who might be visually impaired. To switch screens during a ride, simply tap the screen and select either the left or right arrow that displays at the bottom of the screen. I’m used to buttons for everything so the fact that the navigation buttons are rendered is a bit odd. There’s plenty of room on the device for more buttons but it’s like Garmin was going for a minimalistic design. The lap and start/stop buttons, however, are actual buttons.
Turning on, one absolutely huge improvement is the nearly instantaneous time it takes for the 510 to find satellites. My 910 can take several minutes if it’s feeling ornery enough. Prior to riding a quick spin of one’s pedals is enough to wake up your ANT+ devices and the Garmin will tell you what it’s found. One really annoying thing is that it will not prompt you to calibrate your power meter. You should ALWAYS do this before a ride to ensure consistent and accurate readings and the 910 does prompt you, but for whatever reason, they didn’t make the 510 do this. Instead, the calibrate feature is buried under your current bike profile and is accessible by tapping on the dumbbell icon. This icon is only present and clickable if a power meter is currently paired and connected. I found that calibrating a PowerTap hub is significantly faster (at most a couple of seconds) than doing the same for my Stages power meter which has taken up to 15 seconds. If you start moving and neglect to press start, the 510 will helpfully tell you that motion has been detected and tell you how to start your data gathering.
I have the 510 mounted on my stem which I’m sure is what Garmin has intended. Unfortunately, I ride a tri bike and instead of my head being higher up and a lot further back like on a road bike, it’s low and forward. This makes reading the screen a little more challenging and if you have a positively angled stem, you might find reading it impossible. Mounting on your aero bars is a possibility, but the unit is so big it not only looks ridiculous, your forearm will touch it when riding aero and I don’t know about you, but I don’t like any distractions when working out or racing and this is a huge distraction. The other major issue with the stem mounting location on a tri bike is that it’s so strategically placed that when riding in the aero position, sweat droplets come off my head and fall directly on the large screen of the 510. Thanks to surface tension and friction, the droplets just sit there making it hard to read. Wiping them off is actually worse because not only does it smear and dry with opaque, white, salt streaks, now the touchscreen has, for some reason, become super sensitive and all that touching makes the 510 more than obliged to pop up menus and options over the top of your data fields. I’ve ordered a 510-specific Zagg screen protector for it and will try putting some RainX on the Zagg to see if that helps act as a sweat repellant. I’ve also ordered a silicone case for the 510 just in case I drop it. The screen is large and all it has to do is fall face down on uneven ground to get a nice scratch or crack. And you just know Murphy’s Law dictates that it WILL land screen side down if you do drop it.
After your ride, hitting stop won’t automatically save your workout. You are prompted to either discard or save it. This is another change from the 910 and I think is completely unnecessary. Just save the data, and let the user delete it after they sync. I’ve not tried the wireless synching because it requires Bluetooth and a smartphone app. It does work with Garmin Express, but you have to use the USB cable because the device cannot, apparently, transmit via ANT+ to Garmin Express. You have to turn the device on before connecting the USB cable or it will think you just want to charge the unit and won’t turn on, even if you press the power button. I am very happy to report that it works great with the Training Peaks Device Agent and works just like my 910 – even better actually since the software hasn’t yet been updated to reflect the new file storage location for Garmin Express with the 910. I should note that the .FIT files Garmin creates for your 510 workouts remain on your device and ARE NOT transferred to your hard drive when synching. If you want a backup of your data separate from Garmin Connect (or Training Peaks, …) the 510 mounts like a USB PIN drive and you can see the data in your OS’ normal means of browsing an attached drive. In fact, this is from where the Training Peaks Device Agent pulls your workout data.
Bottom line, as a whole I’m not thrilled with the device. It’s certainly not meant for triathletes (but I knew that going in) and as a whole is just a poor user experience with a kludgy UI and ornery touchscreen. That said, the most important feature for me was the large screen and easy viewing of my data points and if I can solve my sweat droplet problems, it’s good enough for me. I will say that I’m quite curious to try it out on my road bike to see if some of the annoyances will either go away or become less.