Monday, December 14, 2009

Super Foods. Go Get Some!

It's nearing the holidays so we're all supposed to talk about food, how much we've eaten, how many desserts we've made, but don't you dare talk about how fat we're getting. That's a no no at this time of year. I do like deserts though, but have realized I need to focus on chomping down the good for you stuff, not just the taste good stuff. Only the good things about food. Ok. I last wrote about how my cramping issue will make or break my pro triathlon quest. I've tried everything...legal: salt tablets, electrolyte salt, powders, pills, vitamins, coral calcium-magnesium (I know, it got a lot of hype with a multi-level marketing scheme a few years ago, google the Okinawa people and coral calcium in their diet. Still, I had to try it, I was/am in need of a solution). While reminiscing about my youth, although I didn't watch that many cartoons, Popeye came to mind. .
All I know is that I have not cramped in 2 weeks, had no massages, and have been downing 2 bowls of spinach a day, one right before my swim. Spinach is a high alkaline food, and from my understanding, could help balance out lactic acid levels. It's still trial and error, but I'm going to stick with this for a while, along with my Garden of Life Perfect food green powder, although I have to gag it down at times. Everyone's blood type is different, and some need more alkalines to neutralize acid levels (if I'm wrong, please tell me, I'm still a newer self-experimenting and self-named nutritionist). I know the cramps are from lactic acid buildup, which is why massage helps me, as it clears out lactic acid. Costco is the only way to buy spinach if you're planning on eating it rabbit-style like I now have to. $3.50 gets you a HUGE tub of it, which would cost $20 for that much elsewhere.
I'm pumped for my new discovery. If the cure is this simple, I'll be jumping for joy. It may be not this easy, especially as training volume/intensity increases the next few months, but a good discovery. I have realized that doctors and many experts all have their own opinion, and I've always taken it with a grain of salt. Some know a ton, but I think we know our own bodies better than anyone else often. I've explained my alkaline-acid theory to a few doctors, and they insist I'm still low on salt or magnesium. I don't buy it, as I've had blood tests done when I had my nice health insurance, and my levels were great.

Mix1 also has been helping me a ton. It's a great co. out of Boulder who supports our team. Check out their protein/antioxidant drink, filled with tons of good stuff and perfect for a light snack before a swim or a good recovery drink after. Check it out next time you're at Costco, Whole Foods, King Soopers, etc. Zoey the dog agrees to as you can see in the picture... ok quick story. My 2 year old niece Anna was getting sick, so we put her on the high fiber/antioxidant (tan color bottle) drink for a few days, pumped her full of good stuff, and she was better in a day. Check it out at www.mix1life.com !

Justin's Nut Butter has also been helping keep me energized. Another local company who is very supportive of our team, they make bomb organic peanut butter and almond butter. No goopy oils, all natural, lots of flavor. Just plan good stuff. The squeeze packs are good for long rides too, like a gel, just squeeze it out. mmmmmm. You can pick some up at places such as REI, Whole Foods, King Soopers, Toys R Us or online. They now have chocolate flavors mmm.

In other news, training is ramping up again. I took an easy November, worked a lot on a house remodel with my bro, got in 1-2 workouts a day, but nothing at too high of intensity yet. I did my 1st swim meet this weekend, first one since age 12...and still racing head to head against 15 year olds. I swam the 1650 yd/mile, in a sweet 25 yd pool in Ft. Collins with touch timing and all. Felt like Phelps out there..timing pads, not speed-wise. I swam 19:41, had some goggle issues and was messing with them a lot to get water out, and went a bit too conservative having too much left at the end. For my first race, I now know my fitness and that I can push harder the first half of that. 66 lengths in the pool is a bit long, so I didn't want to blow up half way through it. I am fitter in the water than on land right now as far as endurance goes, which is probably a first. I need to get in the 18:00s in the next few months to be where I want to be. That should be doable I believe. We do these youth meets just for training and a good workout. And to intimidate little kids before the race who are 12 next to us on the blocks, since we know we can't do it after the race since they may beat us. These kids are the fast kids who swim for club teams before the high school season starts. The serious ones!

Train hard. Treat every day as a gift from God. Chase your goals and don't look back.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The End of Season 1: A Look Back

Wow. It's October again. 1 year ago I remember laying on the floor in Santa Barbara of my bedroom thinking to myself, "I wonder how good I could be if I trained for this sport." So I decided to go for it, for 1 year, & was ridiculously motivated from last October thru about April. I didn't want to go 50%, not even 80% at it. I wanted to give it an honest effort. I probably missed or cut short only 1 or 2 workouts from my training schedule those first 5-6 months. I got fit pretty fast, aerobically at least. As I look back and analyze my first season, getting ready for season #2, there are definitely lessons I've learned. I'll outline a few of them below. Looking back, yes I've come a long ways and have gotten a lot better. I did my first Olympic distance race in about 2:12 I think, and now have a PR of 1:58. Am I pleased with the improvement? Yes, but I have a new mindset and goals. I don't plan on stopping until I'm a pro triathlete..and then I'm sure I won't plan on stopping either. I now know where I stand, and know that goal is well within reach. There's no reason I shouldn't earn the pro card this next season. Before this season I had no idea where I was at, or what this pursuit takes.. Would 1 year be enough? I honestly didn't know. Maybe you can get great at this sport in 1 year, I thought. If I ask myself that now, I'd say it does take more than a year, especially for the cycling muscles to come around. Oh yea, and the swim technique. I think that takes 25 or 30 years. I now know more about my potential, as well as what it will take to get where I want to be. I didn't plan on continuing for over a year necessarily, but deep down I think I knew I would. I'm now in Colorado and in a completely different surrounding than I was in Santa Barbara. My life has changed a ton. There are a lot of unknowns here...I moved and everything is kinda up in the air. The only thing I really know about this new life is I want to keep doing triathlon. I need make some decisions in the future, such as work, should I go to school, should I just train for a year unemployed? I have the Riptide team now to swim with daily and also do a few other weekly workouts with, which is awesome. I was used to biking & running out my front door to the hills, and driving a short way to the pool, instead of being in a real bigger city. There will be a bit more travel time here to get to the training spots, but that's just part of it. There are a lot of benefits to life here, or I wouldn't have moved,, like the team, much cheaper living, altitude (although still getting used to it), and more balance in my life with things like family, a 2 year old and a dog around, friends, etc.


Some lessons learned from season 1:

1. The season is long: It's important to have fun, have variety in training, and find people to train with. Last year I trained alone, every day at lunch and every night after work, either a night trainer ride in my room or a night run in the dark. Until I met up with the guys at the pool for lunch workouts. I was maybe too motivated if that's possible, and when I got to around May, June, and July, I was feeling the effects of the long season and was still only halfway through it. I would read Slowtwitch.com or Triathlete Magazine before bed, which caused me to wake up half the nights thinking about swim technique or training methods. I struggled with sleep a lot for a while, tried some sleeping pills here & there, which I refused to take more than once in a while, and I think my lack of balance in life had something to do with that. I began to stress over sleep, knowing not sleeping would affect training, and thus couldn't sleep even more with my mind upset. All this to say.. the triathlon season is long, and maintaining some balance will help keep me motivated and healthy. There's no reason to think about the sport 24-7, which gets your life way out of balance, and be patient gaining fitness in the the off-season, as it needs different training intensities than mid-season workouts. Fitness will definitely come.

2. Cycling legs don't come overnight: With my running background, and my weak chicken legs I had, I thought I could just hammer bike workouts for a few months and be able to ride fast. I realized consistency and as a family- friend/former pro-cyclist Eddy Hilger told me in an email (I'd hassle him with training questions, such as those on how to get fit/fast on the bike in the off-season, nutrition, etc). He responded, "just keep riding." I wanted a 2 page email with the 'secret workouts', not a 3 line response. But in a sense he's right. It wasn't until about August or September, 10 months after I started real cycling training, where my legs began to feel a bit powerful. I have a ways to go, but am encouraged to have a year of cycling legs under me now. Year 2 is where I expect to really see the benefits.

3. Swimming speed doesn't come overnight: I thought if I just put in the time in the pool, I'd get fast, like running and cycling (eventually). Wrong. Well, and right I guess. This one is hard. I swam a lot, I thought, about 3500m - 5600m per workout, 4 days a week this season. I didn't see my 100m speed get much faster in a year, however, endurance is gained which helps you come out of the water less fatigued. What do I do then, if I don't have the swim speed I want? Keep swimming. And swim more. There's no other options. Lifting weights may help, and I'm starting to lift more. But what I've realized, especially through talking to people, is 1) I really wasn't swimming that much, 2) to get better, you gotta just swim tons! And 3) focus on technique!! That's more important than just putting in the yards. I am bringing my swims up from 4x/week to 6-8 sessions per week this off-season.

4. Cramping: Keep Trying Things: I would likely have my pro card right now if I could have figured out my cramping completely this season. I got 5th at the LA tri in the elite amateur race and needed top 5. Like often, I cramped on the run and ended up getting passed. It's the most frustrating thing, since I want to hammer, but the body doesn't let you. You literally start to hobble and can't keep running normally. I tried salt tablets, green nasty powder drinks, Calcium/Magnesium vitamins, salty drinks, etc.. everything. All but massage, until late August. I went in about 5 times to Kim Freetly in Ventura, who really helped me. My legs were soooo screwed up she said. I had a horribly painful first massage of 'muscle-stripping', was sore the next day, but my legs started to feel much better. I went in 2-3 times before my next race and had NO CRAMPING at Malibu, for the first time in a race! Massage is something I will NEED to do this next season, once a week. As a stingy and currently (semi-)unemployed person, I may need to bite the bullet on this one. It's the only thing that seems to be helping my cramping in races. When I run prior to swimming, I often cramp in the pool. In races on the run, I cramp. My body is different than anyone else's I've realized. I talked to Chris Lieto on the phone one day (2nd place at Ironman this year) about salt loss, etc, and talked to Terenzo and Faris when I trained with them. I've talked to doctors.. and everyone says electrolytes, salt, etc. But I've realized I know my body more than others I think. I know I cramp 15 min into a lake swim in a race, where I'm not sweating yet or losing salt. That's why I think it's purely muscular. I'm not losing salt 15 min into a swim! Anyways...massage hopefully is the answer. Now who wants to be my massage sponsor?!

5. The Pursuit Must be Fun: At the end of my life, how good of a triathlete I will have become will matter sooo sooo much. More than anything else I do in life. Right. Just kidding. Having fun in the pursuit whenever possible is important. Why? Because at the end of it all there are bigger and more important things in life, and if you chase a goal not enjoying it, and living in it selfishly, then it's pretty pointless. There are more important things we'll realize looking back on, like how we lived our lives to help others, etc. There's no need to stress over triathlon goals or achievements. Have fun with it. Pursue the goals, enjoy the journey, know it's not the most important thing in life (though yes it's still important to us, or we wouldn't do it), give it 100% since God's given the opportunity and talent, and use triathlon as an opportunity to meet, serve, and enjoy others.

6. Take More Pain in Races: Mental & physical toughness is the key to being fast. This sport, especially the run, hurts like crazy. There were races where I simply didn't want to hurt enough. I need to work on simply taking the pain, sucking it up, and hurting. It's a race, it's supposed to hurt. I know for a fact if I took more pain in several races this year, I would have run 30+ seconds faster. Period. I did hurt bad in some races, but not every single race. That needs to change. I hurt a ton in training, especially on bike intervals, and need to really get back to hurting and taking more pain on the run. Not that I don't hurt, I just know I can hurt more. A good article I saw on this is at :http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/fashion/29FITNESS.html?_r=3&hpw

7. Training: The term training is so broad, but I think there's a ton I've learned about training this year that I need to incorporate into next season.. we'll see if that happens :) I can't pinpoint just one area I need to change. There are many: higher swim volume, more track/speed work on the run (this is huge I think), more sleep, and massage are some. Did I say MASSAGE?!!! Oh yea and swim technique and kick. Oh yea, and 10 other things.. My bike workouts were pretty on target I think, thanks to Josh Merrick who would write up my workouts. Looking back, I did some crazy hard bike interval workouts and brick workouts with hard runs right after the bikes. I trained a ton last year, and was pretty consistent, yet in about July I hit a low point, lacked mental toughness and didn't feel well physically. I may have been a bit over-trained or mentally needing more variety in my life. All these things are things to think about and learn from for this next year. I can tell already with more balance in my life, some of these issues naturally go away.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last 2 Races of '09: LA & Dallas

My last 2 races didn't go spectacular. I finished 5th in the amateur elite div. at LA, top 3 was needed for the pro license. I struggled that day all around, which makes me kick myself I couldn't take advantage of a good opportunity. After cramping on the run I was passed and finished 5th. The swim was by far the craziest swim of my life. The waves were HUGE, I thought they might cancel the swim. There was a crazy current too, bringing people near the rock jetty. My friend Ant is an LA lifeguard and was working the race out there in the waves. He said they were pulling people out one after another. It was very hard to see the buoys. After the swim, I was rather tired from what felt like a wrestling match, and was out about 7th or 8th in my division. The bike for me wasn't much better; my legs never got going and it was super windy with my disc wheel which I shouldn't have used. The run was 2 loops basically up this huge hill and back down, twice. I tried to regain my focus I had lost for most of the race, settled in, until cramping with about 1.5 mi to go. I ran a 35 min 10k again. It's important to focus on the good things of the day though. I won a sweet TYR backpack, which was much needed. I also met a guy named Jeff Petersen. He finished 4th and passed me on the run and finished about 20 sec ahead of me, 12 sec from 3rd. Cool guy. He won the Pac Grove race a few weeks earlier where top 3 earned the pro card also. We both weren't going to pay the $25 fee to shuttle back to our cars from Staples Center to Venice beach, so we biked the course back with all out gear on our backs. So my broken Westmont track back will be replaced by a sweet TYR bag with straps! No more aching backs while riding back to the car after races I to ridiculous fees!
I slept a few hours, packed my truck, and drove to Colorado the next day. Two days after arriving I flew to Dallas, where I got to stay with a bunch of friends from Multisport Ministries at the Four Seasons. It was incredible, and was probably the first and last time I'll get to stay in a hotel like that. That race was rough. I started cramping in the water, got through the freezing rainy bike, and settled in on the run for another 35 min 10k again, still sub-par. My buddy Derek Yorek, who raced the pros- which included Matt Reed and Greg Bennett, was unable to finish the bike as he froze up. It was a great trip though besides the race. I thought I could still race ok off no sleep and after the hectic week with the move, and wanted to give it a shot at least, since I didn't have many costs to race there with a free airline ticket (& arguing out of the 2 bike baggage fees..somehow, after making a scene about it) and the hotel hook-up.

I racI biked the whole time with my sunglasses like this below my eyes, since I couldn't see a thing with the rain.. I still don't know why I didn't throw them off somewhere. Guess I didn't want to go back and find them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Malibu Triathlon & Team Abu Dhabi

I've got 2 more weeks left here, it's kinda crazy. Then on to my new life in Colorado. I've got mixed feelings of course, but am excited for change. I've been doing some training lately with Faris Al Sultan and Swen Sundberg, both German Ironman athletes who I met at the pool. They're here for 3 weeks until Kona for the Ironman on Oct. 10. Faris won it in 2005, and is a powerhouse especially on the bike. On Friday we met up at 8:30 am, where I got a lesson on how to strap road flats to the aero bars (see pic), something I hadn't seen before, and rode 2 hours and ended up at the UCSB track for a track workout (after stopping for Coke and Twix of course.. crazy Ironmen, what's the deal with Coke in training, Terenzo drinks it too) with the main sets 5x200m w/200 float, followed by 5x1200m w/400 jog. It was a good workout, and while talking with them I realized I haven't been on the track enough this season, especially as an Olympic distance athlete. We rode another hour back to town, and later ended the day with a swim at the awesome Los Banos 50m pool at night, a pool I'm going to miss a lot.

Yesterday we all did the local group ride, along with Andrea and Werner. Andrea is also on their team (team Abu Dhabi - which is sponsored by the tourism district there, in the United Arab Emirates) and Werner is an ex-pro who's their team manager. It was one of the fastest rides out to the top of Hwy 150, I think because the local racers wanted to TRY to give it to the triathletes. We were flyin' on the way out with about 50 people. Aaron Olson, a local pro who used to race for T-Mobile and Bissell, and Kim Anderson, another local pro on Columbia-HTC who won the women's version of the Tour de France was there, along with Cody who is rides for the Bissell pro team. Most of the group turned back at the top of the hill, where about 12 of us did the whole 70 mile loop with Faris, Cody, and Aaron pulling for most of it. I took a few pulls for a few minutes but knew my legs were feeling the track work from Friday, so I stuck in 2nd or 3rd position staring at Faris' butt for most of it, shaking my head in amazement at their strength!
We all went out for steaks last night with Swen, Werner, and Faris treated, but said when I win the Ironman and get the paycheck he expects me to treat. He's a super nice guy and a lot of fun.
That's it for the update, I might race the OC Tri next weekend, haven't decided yet. Then it's the LA Tri on Oct 4, a move to CO on Oct. 5 or 6, then another race in Dallas to end the season Oct. 11.
pic: always-smiling Faris & a great shot of my right shoulder, Werner had some camera issues :)


I camped out in Malibu in tents with friends, always exciting with no sleep, and raced the Malibu Olympic tri last weekend; I took 2nd in the amateur field, which I'm pretty pleased about since it was a big race of about 1000 and my time was faster than a few pros. My bike is really coming along, as I've just hit about the 1 year mark of real cycling training. Finally I am seeing the rewards of the training as now I am much more confident in riding harder. 8 months ago my cycling was weaker than my swim. I had the fastest run split and 3rd fastest bike. I need to get my swim around this next off-season, as I can get stronger and need to improve the swim to come out of the water with the lead pack. Can't wait to get with the Riptide team in a month or so. They swim a ton from Nov.- Feb., exactly what I need, with a few double swim days every week.

Until next time.. Ryan
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Santa Barbara Group Ride videos: some Saturdays we get up to 80 people, about 10-15 do the full loop
video video

Friday, September 4, 2009

Colorado - bound

Well, I'm moving to Colorado in a month. I think it's time. I was accepted to be part of Riptide Multisports (www.riptidemultisports.com) elite tri team for next season; composed currently of 1 amateur and about 8 pro guys, so it will be awesome being part of a group, which should help me continue to progress as I aim to earn my pro card by the end of next season, as well as give me a little social balance with training. Finding a part time job will be the not as exciting part of the move, but I'll be living with my sister for a little while to save $. It's a great opportunity, and I look forward to the change. Last week I got offered another job here as well as a good local sponsorship, but unfortunately will not be able to take advantage of them. I know there are good things in store in Colorado..I'm headed back "home" for a while. I know I will miss living in paradise though. That's inevitable.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SB Long Course & Sprint Nationals

I wish 'almost' counted sometimes, haha. I had a good learning experience and have mixed feelings today looking back at the SB Long Course tri yesterday, my first race longer than Olympic distance. I finished 5th to some good pro's, and was having a great race entering the run in 2nd a few minutes behind Pro John Dahlz & a few minutes ahead of 3rd. Dahlz won in 2:53 (while I posted a 2:57), he's the '09 College Nat'l Champ & recently placed 4th at Vineman 70.3, where he beat the likes of '08 Ironman champ Craig Alexander by over 5 minutes. Congrats to John, who also sports the Breathe Right nasal strips like me..thatta boy, they help! I was 4th in the elite wave out of the water, passed a guy in T1 and another 2 miles into the bike and remained in 2nd for the next hour.
I just needed to not blow up and hold on for the 10 mile run and 2nd was mine. I guess easier said than done. I cramped 2 miles into it in the quads, grabbed my baggie of salt tablets, and found I had dumped them out somewhere. Apparently I still managed 6:15 pace on the day but had to stop a few times in the race to rub out cramps, once for the restroom, and a few times the last mile since I was really feeling horrid and struggling bad. Patrick Baldwin & pro Mac Brown passed me around miles 6 and 8. I gutted it out to finish the last 200m strong and made it to the line where I fell over in the sand, and then blacked out for a bit to find people soaking me with sponges, which felt really really good. I tried to be mentally tough on the run, but sometimes the body just won't go.
I gained good experience from my first longer race ever, learned about nutrition and how a longer race feels, so I will take positive things from it.
I used my new Hed Stinger disc wheel that they Brian & Josh at Inside Track Ventura helped me get, which was pretty fun. Unfortunately my Garmin GPS flew off my bike on Toro Canyon Rd somewhere after hitting a huge bump; after searching for over an hour yesterday after the race it was nowhere to be found. My water bottle flew off a mile into the bike too, which couldn't have helped my hydration; stuff was like popcorn yesterday flying off my bike. They said they would DQ anyone who's water bottle flew off the bike and didn't stop to get it, as they were very concerned for safety of other riders since a lady died on the course last year. The bike has some big up and down hills with sharp dangerous curves. But I wasn't about to stop going 25 mph and look for my bottle in the weeds. Everyone..keep looking for my GPS along the road. Thanks!
A few weeks ago I won the 25-29 age group and took 3rd at the USAT Sprint Nationals in Newport. So I guess they give me the age group National Champion title, but really I wouldn't call it a true Nationals. It was turned into a duathlon since the waves and current was too dangerous apparently. It was a fun sprint. I ran a 15:43 3 mi split on a tough course with 2 very steep hills.
Here's one rather funny pic of the little fainting spell yesterday. It was awesome having my friends out there cheering and Meyers there to help drag me to the medical tent.
I also got to meet Matt Laferty from Lifewater Int'l who I'd been in touch with via email for a few weeks, a non-profit helping bring clean water to villages all over the world for the first time. I may try to race some tri's and try to raise $ through their Team Lifewater events. Check out http://www.lifewater.org.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Strawberry Fields Tri & HyVee

Today I raced the Strawberry Fields olympic tri in Oxnard, and got some encouragement from it. I still have a lot of work to do but am pleased with my improvements. A year ago I won the sprint race there on my birthday, which was my first real dabble in triathlon, although I didn't train much for that race. So I realized I've been in the sport now exactly one year, and started real training around November of last year. It was nice to be able to drive there the morning of for once. I didn't sleep the night before the previous races this season, which I'm working on, but I slept better last night after takinga sleeping pill, and got 4 1/2 hours of sleep, which is 4 1/2 hours more than I have gotten in past races so that felt great.
I finished 4th in 1:58:15 and lost to 2 pro card holders (Brett Brown, and Henry Hagenbuch, an ex-UCLA steeplechaser who just won the Escape from Alcatraz amateur race and earned his pro card there a few weeks ago. He had the fastest run split in that race by 50 seconds, faster than all the pros..Andy Potts, etc.. Impressive.) Brown was 3rd at the Wildflower olympic this year. I lost by about 2:15 to Brown & 1:40 to Henry today. The swim was crazy wavy, a true ocean swim. Swim times were super slow with the chop and a nice current and I think the distance was a little long. We swam straight out to sea for the first 7 min. or so...true shark territory. It was crazy how far that buoy was out there! For some reason my cramping has been less severe in ocean swims, and I don't know why (different stroke/less kicking? swallowing salt H20 helps? Who knows?). In retrospect, I should have hammered the swim harder though, as I felt pretty fresh the whole time. I came out of the water 7th. We all got our butts kicked by Brown in the swim, but I came out in front of Henry by 4:00. Talk about spread out early between the top group. Basically that says Henry is a beast of a bike/runner (he split 31:50 on the 10k!), and I need to work on my swim! The bike was flat and fast and was probably 3 minutes short, but the swim may have been equally long to make up for it.
No one passed me on the bike, but I didn't know what place I was in entering the run. Turns out I was in 3rd, then Henry flew by me about 5k into it. I knew he was coming fast since it was a 2 loop course, and was going to try to latch on, but it didn't happen. I ran a 35:07, which is rather poor for me. I need to be mentally stronger when I'm hurting. I've run much faster off the bike, so I wasn't necessarily excited about my run. Overall I was pleased with the result though, and had no cramps for the 2nd time ever which has been my huge issue, so no cramps was great. I tried lactic acid buffer pills before the race, salt tablets on the bike, and got back on my probiotics/super green veggie powder this week, so one or all of those might have helped.
Hy Vee in Iowa was a cramp fest from the start. No wetsuits allowed. 2500+ people. 83 degree lake water. I cramped in the quads 14 min. into the swim, hobbled into T1, cramped off and on during the bike in the hamstrings and hips (that was a new place for me), and struggled on the run. The course was slower than I thought it would be, and a lot of competitors showed up. I finished 25th in 2:06:08, very disappointed and frustrated with my body, but that stuff happens, and I need to learn from the big race experiences and take something positive from it. I was very impressed by the race organization. It was an incredible production, with the world cup pro race which had all the Olympians, grandstands, helicopters, NBC cameras all over, $2 million in prize $, etc.
It was a long day, as my race started at 6am. After we Dutched as much free food and drinks our bags would hold, my cousin Brent and I hopped in the car and drove 10 hours to Denver and arrived by 9pm

Friday, June 19, 2009

IM Training, Tahoe Relays Altitude Fun, & LA Tri - Bonelli Park

As the season continues, I’m trying to change my mind set a bit, focus more on enjoying myself in training and racing and less pressure to perform well. I've realized the pursuit is not worth it if you’re not enjoying the journey, not to save every workout will be fun; the results will come from training. My two weeks training with Terenzo Bozzone is over as he’s off to Portland for a few weeks, fresh off 3 wins including the Eagleman 70.3 last weekend. I’m excited to see how he does this year in Ironman Germany in July and the at the World Champs in Kona in October. Over those few weeks, I learned a lot about Ironman training, which is quite different from the shorter stuff. I know it’s not the exact type of training I need for olympid distance racing, but base work never hurts and it was an awesome opportunity and I got a good friend out of it. Within 3 days, I did my longest bike and my longest run ever. They were not the hardest workouts that I've done, but most volume single workouts.

One day consisted of a 100 mile ride, a nap, then a 11 mile run, and I only joined him on the end of his run. Two days later was a 17.5 mile morning run (21+ miles for him, of 5 min 1200m hill repeats in Hope Ranch) I wasn’t feeling too great but hung on for most of it. We cooled the legs in the ocean after, got soaked, went out for an omelet breakfast after. I got to lie down for 10 minutes on the couch before heading to the pool for a 4000m swim. Again, got to lie down for another 10 minutes after that before my phone rang and it was time for a 3 hour bike to Ventura and back. It was a big training day for me to say the least, with my longest run ever plus a swim and bike after. By the end I wanted to crawl in a hole.. it was pretty mentally tiring. I was supposed to get up and ride 5+ hours the next morning with him, over the mountains, but wasn’t feeling great and stayed in bed. I probably should have just sucked it up.

I decided to race the LA Triathlon @ Bonelli Park since I hadn’t really raced in a while. At midnight the night before while I was pumping up my tires, my tubular race wheel valve stem ripped off and my race wheel was done for. Luckily I found an older road bike in the garage of a house I was staying at, stole the front wheel from it, and raced with that thing on the front. It made me realize how much I love my Zipp 808s! They’re fast and light! It was hard to stay mentally focused the whole race, maybe due to the big training week, I don’t know why. I won by a few minutes but it was nothing too impressive. I didn’t hammer as hard on the swim start, which helped keep my arms feeling decent, and swam a 20:11. I cramped again the last 3 miles of the run though, so stopped a few times to rub it out and stop hobbling, and just tried to relax to the finish so my muscles wouldn’t spasm again since I had a decent lead. I should have used the electrolyte salt in my H20 bottles like last race. I really need to figure out this cramping thing. It’s frustrating.

The Friday before I did a short fundraiser bike race at Sandpiper Golf Course. A short time trial on the cart path!! It definitely requires more handling skills than a tri that’s for sure. Good thing I decided to bring my road bike and not my TT bike. I clipped a pedal on a sharp turn, flew off the path, went over a curb, and somehow managed not to go over the bars. I dumped sideways, but was able to clip back in and get back on track. It was pretty fun, a new experience for me racing a curvy narrow course like that. I won a raffle for a pair of $400 Mavic cycling shoes, the highlight of my day! I also raced the local Echelon Goleta time trial the Monday after, so 3 races in 4 days. I got 2nd to Gary again, but times we a little slower for both of us…don’t know if that’s b/c no front race wheel for me or the fatigue. Like always, a good time at the local TT.

Last Saturday I headed to Lake Tahoe with some friends for the Lake Tahoe Relay race: 72 miles, 7 men, up to 7,000 ft altitude. I got in a ride and a 5 mile easy run the day before. It was a fun race, my first chance to see what type of run shape I’m in coming from sea level the day before. I ran 5:45 pace for about 10 miles, which is decent for me at that altitude. My lungs were feelin it at the end though. One hilly mile must have been 7:30 since I was crawling, but I flew down the back side of the hill to the handoff zone. We got 2nd to Chico State like last year..those guys are good. It was great to be with the guys again and get away for a weekend. Our team consisted of Andrew Dixon & Kyle Louv (ex- Westmont/UCSB runners), Brian Ball (ex-Biola runner training in Mammoth this summer), 3 of us ex-Westmont guys (Aaron Megazzi & Robby Cherry) and a random Chico St. kid we found since one of our runners bailed the day before. Going to the mountains makes me feel alive again..fresh air.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Training with Terenzo

It's been great to train with people lately! I've been training with my new kiwi friend Terenzo Bozzone who's living here in SB for a little while ('08 Ironman 70.3 World Champ). His place is close, just about a mile from me. I enjoy finding new people to train with; he's a really cool guy and I've really appreciated him letting me along on workouts. His girlfriend Kelly and brother Dino are super nice too. They joined us for the Nuggets game last night at Sharkeez after we ran... and yes the Nuggets won. I love being a Nuggets fan when they're playing the Lakers, everyone here worships the Lakers while I enjoy hating them.
It's interesting to see the type of training the top long course pros do. His volume is incredible, some 8 hour days. I've swam with him in the mornings, go to work while he's out for a 4 hour ride, then run together in the afternoon. Also, I never knew how coke can be a staple training drink for long rides and runs ha! I'm still pondering it all, trying to figure out half and full Ironman training and how it is similar and different Olympic distance training as a current working amateur trying to move to the next level. It does make me want/feel the need to do more..man if I could put in 5-8 hours a day, think of the fitness I'd gain. I'm very impressed with what people like Terenzo does day after day; it's a full time/8 hour a day job..and more than just 5 days a week. I look forward to (well..scared might be a better word) trying to hang on his hard bike and run days coming up... tomorrow at 6:30am is a 5+ hr ride mostly along highway 101..we'll see how long I last hanging onto his wheel.
(4/24/09: I did my first 100 mile ride yesterday. I left my house at 6:15am and met Terenzo at his house, from where we rode the Montecito hills, followed by a 2 hour/50 mile time trial for him while I latched onto his wheel and went along for the ride. He was flyin!!. We then rode up Old San Marcos - a long steep climb up the hills and back down thru Montecito again. During the TT I hit a bump and launched my full water bottle early on and wasn't about to stop and get it, so had to conserve my small bottle for a few hours. Luckily we stopped at a gas station for some Coke and bars, so I got to refuel. I got back 5 1/2 hours later, 98 miles later, and had to do a few laps around my place to hit the 100 mile mark. I wasn't going to stop at 98! I wanted to join Terenzo for his hour run after, but figured I needed to be smart and refrain from it even though I felt pretty good. He advised it and knew that ride was nearly 30 miles more than I'd ever rode. He asked me how my legs were feeling a few times after 4 hours.. I'm just gettin' warmed up!. Really, I felt good.
Yesterday's morning swim was a tough one, with the main set of about 30+x100m on the 1:30 interval (split up 8x100, 100ez, 7x100, 100ez, etc..). He swam faster than I of course, but I was able to stay on the 1:30 interval for most of it, starting out the first set in 1:19s, and a bunch of low 1:20s for a while. I did have to take a short break in the 4th set though, and I got a calf cramp in the 5th set..so I guess my body didn't like my mind trying to will itself faster than the body could handle. I downed some magnesium pills and finished the last few sets and the cramping was gone. Nothing crazy fast but after 30 of those you feel it in the arms. It's crazy how fast 4000m goes by when you're mentally in a zone. Today's pool workout was a longer ladder workout, with some paddles, and i was feelin' yesterday. Terenzo is 10x the athlete I am, but I definitely can see how being pushed like that in the pool a few times a week would really help me. It's been fun getting to know new people from another country; I'm always curious to what life is like elsewhere, and would love to travel to New Zealand some time. It's good to get a little motivation back, and not ride and run alone like most days.I will say though, there's the temptation to compare training and tell myself I've got forever to go to get to where I want to be.. but we're training for different types of races in a sense, have completely different backgrounds, are at different places as athletes (unfortunately, ha) etc. He's been in triathlon for 10 years or so. But I'm getting there..give me a year. I need to learn a few things from it, not get hung up on training stuff, keep sticking to my plan, and enjoy the new friendship.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snowing Ashes



We had another huge fire here this past week, the Jesusita Fire. It affected this week's training and sleep, and it kinda forced me to take an easy week, which was the plan anyways. But that's not of any importance, I don't want to act like my ripple in training is of any relevance as far as effects of the fire goes. 85+ homes were burned; I feel terrible for everyone who lost everything. Unfortunate. This one was closer to my house than the last. We were under the evac warning until yesterday. The first afternoon we were 3 houses away from the mandatory evacuation, as our street corner was barricaded and the cops were manning the corner 24-7 not letting anyone past; but I could still get home by going the back way to our street. All the neighbors across the street were forced out. The cops told me to get ready and pack up, and said they left messages on all our streets phones saying we're under a 'reverse 911' and to be ready to evac soon. We don't have a house phone, nor a TV, and our internet was down so I didn't really know what was going on the first night. I shouldn't have stayed since I didn't sleep that night. My roommates left, but I had already packed and unpacked my stuff twice. I was ready to go, then thought it was kinda silly to be freaking out since the fire was still a ways away, so I unpacked. My neighbors and I watched some flames on the hill get closer, so I decided to repack the truck again with my bike and a few clothes. I watched it for an hour, then decided to unpack and try to sleep. It must have been over 100 degrees in my room that night. It was around 100 that day here in town, and windy, which didn't help the firefighters, and I couldn't open any windows because the smoke and ash. It was a fun night of lying in my sweat and listening to helicopters shake the house. At about 11pm I heard the megaphones from the street, something about an "evacuation by the City of SB...pack your belongings and leave immediately."
(Here's a picture I took from my street). The next night I stayed in Goleta at my friend Chris' house, she's awesome, she let my buddy Taylor and I crash on her couch. It was night to get away from the ash.
The pool was closed most of the week, and I didn't want to ride or run outside for a few days. I took 2 full days off this week, almost a 3rd but I decided to 24 hour fitness and found a 15m long pool, and lasted about 15 minutes. A flip turn every 4 strokes gave me good turn practice though. I was going to use this past week as a recharge week, mentally and physically, before I ramp up the volume and start the 2nd building phase of the season. Mentally I've been trying to stay motivated lately, don't know why it's been hard lately. I still do the workouts, but need to stay focused more on the hard days. I am going to try to find people to train with more.
Yesterday I drove 40 min north with my bike to get away from the smoke, and found a road from Refugio Beach and started up it. 90 minutes later I had climbed over 4000 ft and to an amazing view, overlooking the green hills above the ocean. At the top I road about 5 miles south, and was above the layer of smoke and fog. It was incredible; didn't have the camera though. Good workout on my TT bike, as my HR was between 155-162 BPM for a lot of it, which is pretty high for me. I was wishing I had my road bike though :) . I decided to run 8 miles at night here in SB, after it seemed like the air quality was better down by the beach than it was that morning. I ran another 13 alone today around UCSB; I think the fires are completely out and the air is clean again..so nice. Tomorrow I start up the swim volume again, and I'll probably do the local monthly 10 mile time trial race tomorrow night. This week I only swam twice! Yikes. Gotta get back in that pool!
In other news, my buddy Derek Yorek graduated yesterday from Adams State (finally..jk Derek). Yea buddy! He's gonna tear it up on the tri scene this year..this guy can (and has) run a 30 min 10k at the end of a tri!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wildflower... helmet issues to bike issues

Today was a really disappointing day...just one of those days you can't control what happens, and you just gotta go with it and move on. It started off plain bad. Wildflower is a HUGE race - 3200 people in my race, top 3 get their pro card (if they don't already have it). I never knew the magnitude of this race, with 8000+ people camped out everywhere around the lake the night before. Craziness. This race was huge! It started off with no sleep in the tent all night, but that's normal before races, not a big deal. I was about to warmup before the race; I had about 50 minutes til my wave start time, and a guy at my bike racked in transition said they were going to DQ me for my aero helmet, and I should try to track down the USAT race official. What??? I was pretty confused. He pointed me to her; she'd gone through the 3200 racked bike spots, happened to come across mine and tell me my aero helmet was not legal and I couldn't race with it!! Are you kidding me??? Apparently my CSPC sticker was missing, so it was not a certified helmet. Nike joke lady! It's the Giro Advantage 2, probably the 2nd most common aero helmet in triathlon, and of course it's certified & legal. "There's no sticker. It's illegal," she said. I tried to be polite and explain about the helmet. I took off a few peeling stickers a few months ago since they were flaking off..no clue what there were, that they'd ever be needed, or that it would come to this. I told her with her job she must know it's a legal helmet..it's super popular. She knew the Giro Advantage 2 was legal.. but apparently without the sticker it's not?? It doesn't change the helmet though does it, I explained. Anyways.. she said I'd have to try to argue it with the head USAT judge. We searched for him for about 20 minutes (there were 3000 people in transition..difficult task), but finally found him. I again tried to be polite..but got fired up in a hurry. He said the same thing. Can't race with it. They literally weren't going to let me on the course with it they said. Meanwhile he was busting another kid with a Bell Meteor 2 helmet (which is illegal in USAT races), but his had the sticker! It was removed from another certified helmet and not the original. He couldn't race with it either. I tried to explain to this judge how his logic is flawed here. He knows my helmet is legal but I can't wear it b/c no sticker. He knows other kid's is illegal, no matter the sticker. So, really he's saying the sticker doesn't affect anything nor change the status of the helmet legality. The Bell helmet is an illegal helmet, that's all there is to it. I explained, so the sticker doesn't affect anything... Either the helmet is legal or it's not. So sometimes apparently the sticker is important, other times it's not? Anyone can stick that sticker from one helmet to another. That's when I blew up, told him this was absurd and USAT has no respect for it's athletes to treat them like this. I know they need to have certified helmets, but when he knows it is certified, acts like it might not be b/c a sticker is rubbed off...are you kidding me? Apparently Giro sold a version of this helmet pre-2006 in Europe that wasn't CSPC certified, he said... perfect, I still had a sticker on there saying "Giro Advantage 2 - 2007" ..he still didn' comprehend. Also, that Euro version was the Advantage, not the Advantage 2. I also had the Ad 2 sticker on the outside.. I also found another guy's idential helmet, 100% identical..nope, didn't work. Anyways, I'll stop with that. Can you tell I'm fired up! :) I then had 10 minutes til start time, hadn't done my warm-up run nor my swim. I scrambled to try to find another helmet, got the announcer on the mic (Sean, who works at a local SB bike shop) to announce if anyone had a helmet. I was freakin' out, pretty frantic, just upset about the circumstances.. That's when my MsM team came to the rescue and Reed McGinnis ended up getting a new helmet from a vendor for me to use. He's amazing! He'll do anything for anyone else, the guy is awesome. I threw on my wetsuit and headed to the lake.
The swim was ok, my arms were feeling it and legs starting to cramp a little at the end, but not too bad. I got to T1 and still was cramping a bit getting the suit off, but got the bike out and felt better and off I went up Lynch Hill. The bike starts on about a mile long crazy super STEEP hill. It rises about 800 ft in elevation I think. My bike gears were acting kinda funny, not shifting well and jumping from one to another, but I made it up. Then the stuff hit the fan again when I started to crank on the flats. I'd shift into a larger gear, and my chain kept getting thrown off into my axle and jammed in the cassette, so I'd shift out. Long story short, my gears were screwed. They got jammed 5 times and completely locked the pedals, so I had to coast without being able to pedal until I could slam on the brakes, hop off, yank the chain out and back onto the cassette. This happened about 5 times. The last time the chain got so jammed I couldn't get it unstuck from the crack. My day was done. My pedals were frozen, and I found myself watching people from the side of the road for about 10 more minutes. A motorcycle marshal came, asked him if he had a screwdriver..nope. I finally got some tools from another motorcycle, rigged the chain back on, and got back to transition eventually. I ran the run course for the workout after walking around for about half an hour, but mentally I was beat, frustrated.. it was unfortunate. I completely blame myself. I should have gone through the gears with my race wheels on (I usually do a bike warmup, but not with the helmet issue). I've just never have had any gear issues in the past swapping between these wheelsets since the cassettes are the same size. Ahh..another learning opportunity, gotta keep things positive.

Kyle Leto from UC Davis won the race in 2:02. Studly performance on the crazy tough course. In the UCSB regional college race a few weeks ago he finished about 4 minutes ahead of my time in the open race. I don't know if I could have pulled off a 2:06 or 2:07 today, but 4th and 5th were in the 2:08s so sub 2:10 and top 10 was definitely doable. It was the hardest and hilliest course I've ever seen. Insane, especially the 1/2 iron long course...gotta be the toughest half iron course there is. It's not really rolling hills...just plain hills.

Just one of those days I need to keep a healthy perspective, take some lessons learned from it and apply to to the future. The season is early. I got to spend some quality time with the MsM guys this weekend and meet some new people. We talked to a lot of people about the group, and people everywhere are getting pumped!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

UCSB Tri... welcome to 55 degree swims

Posted by Ryan Borger on Sunday, September 6, 2009
Last Sunday I used the local UCSB olympic tri as a training race, to get some experience and a very hard workout. Results at http://www.sbtiming.com/ucsb_open_2009.htm. I was hoping to get the time a little under the 2:05, but it was ok considering the hard training week I had, the course, and the wave 4 start. It was a collegiate regional championship race also, with all the CA teams (Cal, Stanford, UCLA, UCSB, Cal Poly...) so the top college guys and "elites" went in wave 1. I was hoping to race the college guys head to head, but the race director refused to put me in wave 1 after several email exchanges, since I don't have an elite license yet (although he put Mike Smith, a 45 year old stud and 7-year pro who I swim with often at the pool, in the first wave, since he's won the race the past few years). Mike finished 2nd to me by 3:18, but he said he made a wrong turn on the first run loop so he would have been closer). He's a fellow Westmont grad, who still trains 2-a-days. He told me about a junior college track meet 5k a few weeks ago, and we both hopped in it for a hard workout. I ran 16:16, nothing too special but a good hard workout, and he was only a few seconds back at age 45! Anyways, Mike tried to convince the RD to move me into wave 1 also. I told the RD I'd raced in the elite wave at the Toyota race and explained it will make for a better overall race, and it's dangerous to pass 3 waves of people on a 5 foot wide narrow bike path (open to public) the first 6 miles of the bike course. It was a little frustrating trying to get around everyone as I started in the last wave of the day, but that's part of racing sometimes. The top college guys were flying in the college race, as this was their tune up for nationals. Chris Stehula, who got 2nd in the college race, is a pro. I've seen him race last year when he was 4th at the Scott Tinley race in a good pro field. So there were a few current and future pro's in that race. Props to the college boys.
The swim was poor for me. The ocean was 55 degrees and brrrrr!! I tried to do a warmup and lasted about 30 seconds before heading back to the beach. I knew it would just make me colder. I wore 2 caps which probably helped some. I shivered for about 15 min since it was cloudy and windy, waiting for the other waves to take off, then on we went. My timing chip fell off (the 3rd time this has happened, you'd think I would learn :) as I dove in, so I had to stop for about 15 seconds to grab it and re-strap it on my leg, which meant a horrid start and the fight to get around everyone. I hadn't done an ocean swim in 5 months, and felt like training with a water polo team would have helped better than swimming laps in a pool, fighting the choppy waves. The swim exit was rough with huge rocks I slammed into and kept falling over, but I made it out and up the 3 flights of stairs to T1.
The bike went ok after getting past the weaving slow girls on that narrow path the first 6 miles, and the 2 loop run was fine. I'm still learning how hard I can push on the bike. I ran 17:26 then 16:57 for each 5k loop, which was decent coming off the bike and on that course, which had some rolling sandy hills on the lagoon and 3 flights of stairs to go up each lap. I know I can run low 33s at least on a fast course when I'm fit. I put some electrolyte salt in my drink on the bike, seeing if that would help my cramping issues. I only felt the cramps starting to come the last mile of the run, tugging a little but never actually cramped up!! It's a first! I was super worried too, since I had a bad night cramp in my hamstring the night before. I have no clue why, since I was on my vitamins and super hydrated the 3 days prior. It was like college XC season all over again, I'd wake up weekly with a painful leg spasm. I'm excited my body is adapting to the training and I'm figuring out what nutrition I need to help the cramping. I didn't sleep again the night before the race. I need to learn to turn off my mind somehow. I haven't gotten a wink of sleep the 2 nights before my 2 races so far this year. It gets frustrating but I'll figure it out.
Training is going pretty well. Last week had some tough/good workouts with a hard swim and bike Monday, a brick that included a 50 min bike with 12 min all out time trial followed by a 9 mile run with 3 mile repeats around 5 flat in there along the beach path, and Friday a track workout that included 12x400m, then the Sunday race. Mom, Kristyn, and Anna came out for the weekend, which was good to give my life some balance and think about something other than triathlon. I need more balance in my life. I am starting to think about some possible changes for the future, that could involve grad school or a move, as well as trying to find a training team. Training alone has forced me be to disciplined and self-motivated, which is good in a sense, but I think I could really benefit from a group, both for training purposes as well as social.

...I'm racing the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Iowa June 28, my cousin Brent lives there so I'd have a place to stay and a chance to see him and have a little vacation and race together. It's a huge pro prize $ race on Saturday where all the best in the world come, and a pro card qualifier race for top 3 finishers in the age group race Sunday, so there will be some good competition. I've been wanting to visit Brent for a few years now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

(Last Minute) Season Opener: Toyota Desert Int'l

I got a last minute call Friday night by Erik at MsM asking why the heck I wasn’t racing in Palm Springs on Sunday. I’m trying to stick to my training plan and whatnot, was sick the week prior and had a hard training week last week, and wasn’t going to race til the end of March. I checked the race site and registration was still open the day before the race. I got the offer to sleep on the floor of their hotel too, so I said let's do it. I sped to Fastrack where Dave, the owner (ex-Olympian and Lance’s tour mechanic of the past) glued my tubulars within the hour for me that I was in process of trying to glue myself. I just had to let them dry overnight and hope they were good to go by race time. I didn’t sleep the night before, after driving 6 hours, a 4am wake up, a loss of an hour with daylight savings, and my mind that always spins all night before races. I don’t think that mattered much though, since it's 2 days before that sleep is needed.

I finished 3rd behind Kirk Nelson, a super nice pro guy from Colorado (http://www.trikirk.com/), and another guy who was a pro in ’06 & ’07 he said. Props to this guy, entering T2 he hit his front brake too hard and flew over the bars and cut up his face and legs, and still hammered the run. It was not quite a full Olympic/Int’l, being a ¾ mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6 mile run. I finished in 1:52:01. My swim went decent, got out of the water about 30 sec back and in about 3rd or 4th just ahead of Kirk. My transition was poor as my wetsuit was stickin' to me, and 2 or 3 guys passed me in T1. The 24 mile bike was flat and fast; I averaged 24.32 mph, staying fairly conservative, worrying about cramping which has happened on the bike. Looking at the splits, this is where I lost it, the top 2 got me by 3-4 min. on the bike split. I tried to be conservative and stay fairly relaxed, and found it feeling better to spin around 100+ cadence vs. 90. It was my 2nd int’l distance race ever, so I lack experience on how hard to push, but am learning. Two of us almost slammed into a fire truck that suddenly swerved in front of us right before a narrow turn down to T2. People we yelling at the truck to stop. I got off the bike in about 7th, feeling decent. I hadn’t cramped yet so that was good.

I wanted to start the run conservative, so went out in 5:30 and passed 4 guys that first mile. It was a 2 loop half sandy/rocky beach type path for about half and then a road for the rest, back on the beach for the finish. I was flying by people and feeling good. The last 3 miles my quads started to cramp, so as I ran I tried to rub them out as much as I could every 15 sec or so. They felt super stringy so I new I might be in trouble. They got worse and I battled it the rest of the race, stopping 4 times to rub them out when they seized up to the point of making me hobble. But I managed to get to the line, and still averaged 5:40 on the run and got the top 2 guys in the run split by quite a bit. I lost time from cramping, but don’t know if I could have gotten the guy ahead still, I think he was about a minute up on me, and no way I’d have caught Kirk who was about 2 min. ahead. Congrats to those guys! I know one of the guys behind me a few minutes has his pro card also. (I entered in the "elite" category although don't have the card yet. Why not, right :). I know with time that goal is within reach for me.

Overall I’d give it about a B grade race. I will try salt tablets in the future, and have only done 2 brick workouts so far, so that should help. Results at http://events.bazumedia.com/event/DTRI2009