27 July 2006

Employment Opportunities // Short List Filled @ Aug 14th

Also... if you happen to speak Italian fluently and are interested in helping with Epic Italy (summer 2007) then please drop Johno (or me) a line.


Team MonGo Employment Opportunities

Related to my 2007 outline below…

Monica and I are planning a trip around the Southwest USA for the Spring of 2007. We are looking for two people to run our support.


***Trip will start mid-March from Boulder, CO

***Trip will end mid-May in Boulder, CO

***Return airfare will be provided to/from Denver, CO

***Total duration will be ten weeks with two five-day “rest periods” that will be paid

***Group size will be four to six persons (including support team)

Transport & Accommodation

***I’ll be buying a Class B RV to act as the Mother Ship

***We will stay in modest motel accommodation and there is likely to be some camping. When we camp, life will be pretty basic!

***March planned as California & Nevada

***April planned as New Mexico & Nevada

***May planned as Nevada & Utah


***Weekly schedule will include five days of point-to-point training/travel

***I’ll be racing most weekends (running; duathlon; triathlon)

***Travel will be between race locations

***Support crew focus is work. However, there will be daily training opportunities (not high volume, though).

Duties (Split Between the Support Team)

***All food shopping & lunch preparation

***En route drink stops & sag

***Post meal cleaning & basic cooking


***Massage (see below)


***Travel to/from Denver

***All expenses covered while on the road

***$500 per week per person ($5,000 for the entire trip)

***If certified massage therapist and willing to do ten massages per week (on top of standard duties then $1,000 per week ($10,000 for the entire trip).

***A couple with one being a CMT could bank $15,000 for ten weeks work.

Interested parties please send your application to me via email (gordo at byrn dot org).

Summer Vacation

My summer vacation in France is coming to an end and I am pretty whipped. Eight days ago, I told M that I was “going to enjoy my summer” and “have some fun”. Well, if you read Molina’s Epic blog entries then you’ll know that our definition of “fun” is a bit different than most. I extended myself a bit in my training and that was a lot of fun for me. Right now, I’m working through my fatigue from the training-festivities of last week.

In a few hours, I’ll be back on the road for work. We were very fortunate to be able to spend a month in France. We were mainly in the south but a little up in Paris. That photo at the top was taken at a great restaurant in Paris called Chez Georges – I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good place to eat.

Here in the south of France, we’ve been staying with Pyrenees Multisport and I highly recommend them if you are thinking about a cycling trip to Europe. If you do come here then Ian will be able to chat you through the “house records” for both mountain and flat riding – I took distance and total climbing titles from a group of Kiwi lads (sorry fellas).

Another benchmark that you can take a shot at is the “Pyrenees Triple T” – Tourmalet Time Trial – the current benchmark is held by Ian’s son, Lewis, who dropped my brother-in-law the other day. As I had the “full sit down” half way up, my last time wasn’t eligible. The route starts at the last roundabout leaving Lourdes and finishes at the top of the climb (about 45K total distance and 6,000 feet of vertical). If you are with Ian and Lewis then… be ready to get seriously motorpaced at the start (the I-Train) and save a little bit for the last 3K – that’s where Lewis likes to make his move!

When I get shelled, I think a lot – mainly because I am too tired to read/write and don’t watch TV. As I spend most of my holidays either shelled (or training), I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking!

So far we have not instigated a wholesale change in Team MonGo’s strategic direction but we have been filling out a few details. When I use “we”, M likes to point out that I must be talking about “me and the mouse in my pocket”. It seems that I often pull her into the mix without consulting.

Forum status – quite a few folks have dropped me a line to ask about the Tri Forum. Here’s the game plan. We’ll get it back up and running before the end of the year but not before the end of the summer. We need a bit of time to review software options, configure the new software and get the board running the way I want.

When we relaunch, the moderators will approve each member account. The board will be free to search and free to read. To post, you’ll need to subscribe for a small fee. That fee will go towards my hosting, software and IT costs. If we generate surplus cash beyond my expenses then I will give it away to a worthy cause.

If we get hacked again then I’ll pull the plug – so your subscription (and my time/IT/software investment) will be at risk. I’ll also reserve the right to put members on break if they get a little too feisty.

Some folks asked about the dbase of the old board(s). They are gone. I didn’t have confidence that I could offer them up without the risk of Trojans. So we wiped them off my server. Sorry about that but I didn’t want to be the source of any IT nightmares.

Ironman Seminar – we’ve got the dates agreed – the afternoon of Friday, November 3rd and all day Saturday, November 4th. Speakers will be George Dallam, Tim Hola, Bobby McGee and me. Pricing (including meals/accommodation) will be around $140. The schedule is being cleaned up and the registration details are going up on Active.Com. I’ll post more here once I know.

My talks are going to be on – The Nature of Ironman; Bike Training and Effective Race Execution. The focus is going to be towards coaches – how do we help our athletes – but the presentations will be interesting to athletes as well. Clinic is open to both coaches and athletes. The camp opens with a session on effective swim coaching that Monica is going to lead.

In my handouts and discussions, I’ll be expanding the workouts (swim, bike, run, race simulation and combination) that you see in my Coaching Long Course Athletes article on my website. Each of the presenters will submit their written material so all attendees will get a binder that should be pretty useful.

The presentations are going to cover the full range of athletic abilities. Our main focus is going to be the athletes with whom coaches spend the majority of their time (adult, working full-time, mid-pack). Bobby is going to specifically address run training for novice and time-limited athletes – an important topic that (I think) he covers better than anyone I’ve met. He’ll explain his run-walk protocol.

We’ve allowed time (both days) for open Q&A to let attendees discuss topics outside of the formal presentations.


CoachGordo – I rewrote my coaching website last week – suppose that I have been reasonably busy after all. Anyhow, I simplified it and the changes will come on line once Brian gets a chance to upload them.

Coaching 2007 – I’ve decided to increase my coached athletes from three to six. Five of the slots are spoken for currently but I have an opening for the 2007 season.

I think that I am a good fit for:

(a) an athlete that has read my gTips as well as Going Long;

(b) an athlete that has trained with me in the past, or will be able to train with me in early 2007 (Epic New Zealand in my preferred location for that);

(c) an athlete that is looking for a multi-year relationship working towards performance at the highest levels; and

(d) ideally some overlap with our key races as well as training geography.

Male, female, elite, agegroup, young, vet, supervet – I have worked successfully with many different types of athletes.

If you are interested then drop me a line and we can start a dialogue.


Dangerous ideas – I was sent this link a while ago… www.edge.org and have been working through that site from time to time. The guy that sent me the link asked me to consider what my own dangerous idea might be. My dangerous idea has always been “what would happen if everyone came to their senses?” If you read the second part of this entry then you’ll see that someone already wrote that one out – http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#krause. Just goes to show that there are very few truly original ideas. In fact, that’s why much of what I write resonates within folks – a lot of us are thinking quite similarly.


I’ve been thinking about my tri-future.

Currently, I’m working towards being speedy in August 2007. I’ve pretty much finished the schedule from now until then. There are a few gaps that I’ve been mulling over but, broadly, I know where I’m heading. I’m going to build a mini-business around myself (as I did in 2004) and figure that I’ve got at least one more speedy IM in me.

It’s been pretty straightforward to organize – that is a big benefit of having supportive folks in my family and business lives. My six years of mixed training/working have also enabled me to fine-tune my ability to work by combining excellent IT, effective time management and frequent 10-14 day business trips.

Beyond 2007, I’ve been thinking… What would be fun to work towards? What would be fun to achieve?

Here’s the list so far…

#1 – do a really fast IM, win the amateur race overall and qualify for the AG race in Kona. I’m thinking Florida 2008. I’ll be ITU-40 for that event – not sure how they will count ages at that stage. The gap between the elites and the agegroupers would enable me to race a-la-Evans; push the swim/bike; and see what happens.

Dr. Tommy races with honour and class – if I am swimming AG then I’d like a chance to ride off the front and see what I can do. We can save the five-meter-hoax-a-thon (wink) for other events.

#2 – with a 2009 Kona slot in hand; do some ITU-AG racing (World’s; Europeans; Shorter Stuff). While I won’t try a Molina (ITU-short course champs the weekend before Kona), it might be fund to train specifically for some different events.

#3 – end my 2009 season by targeting the AG race in Kona. I have a few theories about racing there that I’ve only been able to try on my athletes and in my training. I’d like to see what I can do trying them out in the race. I also think that I’ll have the swim skills and physiology to do well by then.


Two trends that I’ve seen in IM racing… split starts and less elite slots for Kona. Personally, I see this as an interesting development.

Split starts (as well as male/female-only elite fields) – these give the AGers a chance to “win” a race. In my view that’s a lot more fun than waving good-bye to the elites 200 meters into the swim leg.

Less elite slots for Kona – not sure if anyone has noticed but it is getting really tough to qualify for Kona as an elite. Basically, you need to be Top Three to get a slot at early races and Top Five to qualify later in the year. I have no problem with this because if you can’t podium at an international race then you aren’t going to cover your expenses with a trip to Kona. The fact that you are getting didly prize money and no slot will also send some folks a message that they might not otherwise hear.

What’s the impact of this? Well, great athletes like Ken Glah and Fernanda Keller are going to be pushed into the AG race if they want to get to Kona. Younger second- and third-tier pros are going to realise that they might never get to Kona. Older pros (like, say, me) are going to see that the competition in the agegroup race is very solid. Speedy AGers are going to stay amateur longer to build their experience.

Take all of the above together… and I expect you’ll see ever increasing quality in the elite fields (athletes rise to the standards placed on them) & some ripping fast times in the agegroup ranks (consider the elites that are 37+ today). We’ve already seeing some of that in the 45+ division (Molina in Arizona last year). If there is a “weaker” elite field at a race then we might even see some “old” pros win the overall race. Peter may have retired but think about what a guy like him could do racing AG in four years time. Dave’s still racing elite in his 50s but, even he, might decide that it’s OK to race AG (perhaps when he’s sixty). Winning the AG race in Kona in his 50s would be quite an accomplishment and I’d like a benchmark to shoot for!

Anyhow, that’s a sample of what’s been running through my mind. There’s more but I’ve got to get ready to hit the road.



24 July 2006

Preparing For Kona

A very fast AG buddy asked me for my thoughts on preparing for Hawaii. These might be useful if you happen to be a speedy person preparing for a late season IM.


General Ideas

1 -- July should be about getting moving rather than hammering yourself with race specific work

2 -- Beware of excessive heat stress in August -- key workouts should be positioned to maximize performance -- easy sessions will give enough heat acclimatization -- don't do any key sessions across the middle of the day. Because the swim in Hawaii generates a lot more fatigue (rough water, non-wetsuit) than usual // and // given the heat index in August... I think that it is worthwhile considering a swim camp (9-14 days long) for August. Get your swim volume right up -- say 28-35 km per week equivalent. Put the run/bike onto maintenance for this period. You can really step it up in the water when hot without any risk of heat exhaustion -- nice way to spend the hottest time of the year.

3 -- September...
a -- week of sept 25th is a very good week to shed all fatigue and end with that Specific Prep weekend that I designed for you
b -- if you go for that strategy then make the weekend of Sept 23/24 lighter than you think you need -- in other words treat the weekend of Sept 30/Oct 1 like it is a B-priority race and freshen for it
c -- I would place your greatest training load in the first half of September -- that is when I would challenge myself from a training point of view -- again, watch the heat stress

4 -- October -- be smart, be patient, keep it rolling, build inwards towards the race

5 -- Weekday Training -- maintain your strengths during the week -- challenge yourself on key weekends -- freshen on both Monday and Friday with Friday being very light

6 -- Take more weekly rest that normal in October


A -- to work on reducing bike "fade"
210K ride
First third of the ride place HR _cap_ of 3bpm _under_ the bottom of your steady zone -- ride 10+ meters behind a strong buddy and do not exceed cap (he will pull away a number of times when warmed up -- that's the point)
Then sit on your steady zone for 50K (you might reel him in)
10K easy -- load up on drinks
Then (3x) -- 3K mod-hard/12K steady (you should reel him in)
Then 10K easy
Then 30 minutes building to the top of your mod-hard zone (he'll be gasping on your wheel if you get your pacing right)
easy home

===> this is one tough ride when you combine with a long run within 48 hours
===> ensure proper hydration and eat at race levels

B -- Once you've done your key period in September -- I'd consider shifting the long run to 48 hours after the long ride. That will increase quality.


Pacing in Hawaii is tougher, not easier than CDA

a -- very strong AG field
b -- deep pool of decent swimmers
c -- lots of climbing in first 40K
d -- massive arousal and poor decision making
e -- VERY hot start to the marathon with the out and back on Ali'i

#1 reason though... if you screw up your early marathon pacing then the heat/humidity totally punish you. It's a lot tougher to regroup from early run mistakes. So your downside risk is magnified.

Overall, I think that it takes a number of years for most athletes to get their personal pacing correct. That probably explains why the folks that figure-it-out remain pretty consistent.

Be wary of basing your pacing off other athletes -- a lot of them are DNFs or on a suicide mission. Race your best race.

On the bike hold back until you hit Waikoloa on the _return_ leg. At that stage you'll likely need to focus to stay aero and avoid power fade.

On the run, I see merit in holding back until after you have completed the Palani climb -- by then you'll have a sense of how much the heat has hit you. Once you go through the turnaround in the Energy Lab I'd build it all the way to the finish. This is where you can make real time on folks.

Remember that you're in great shape -- have had high consistent volume for the last 6+ months. Your key sessions should be aimed at assisting with your execution rather than adding a lot of fitness. From a fitness perspective, you are in a great position. The key will be giving yourself the best chance to get your fitness from the practice field to game day.


17 July 2006

Tri Talk, Edinburgh, July 31st

31 July 2006, 7:30pm
Royal Ettrick Hotel
13 Ettrick Road
Edinburgh EH10 5BJ

Open to all
A general chat about endurance training as well as audience Q&A

09 July 2006

Epic France 2006

Epic France 2006

I am in a hotel room in Pau, France after a dozen days of training across the French Pyrenees. Over the last few days, I had a chance to run through various thoughts on the camp as well as training in general. Nothing too earth shattering, for me, but perhaps some of you might find them of interest.

Oh yeah, my site’s been acting up with various viruses/Trojans. I’ve decided to pull the plug on the board. Seems a shame as the board exists as a vehicle to help people, perhaps it was time for a change.

This was our sixth attempt at Epic. At our fifth camp last January, I’d had a lot of struggle with fatigue/injury and only managed to complete about 80% of the schedule. This time around, I wanted to complete the entire camp as drafted.

When Scott put together the initial program for this camp, I was a bit concerned that he’d built a camp that was impossible for anyone to complete as drafted. Running a few numbers on the distances/average speeds I calculated that the second group would need to ride 90+ hours (over 11 days!) to complete the cycling, let alone being able to swim/run every day.

So we trimmed things down a bit to bring the camp into a range that would be feasible for the top guys to complete. The camps are always a massive stretch for the agegroup athletes to complete as drafted. Placing stubborn, highly motivated athletes into a position where personal compromise is highly likely is part of what we seek to achieve on the camps.

It’s also interesting to watch how the ride dynamics change. On day one, Monica rode with one athlete and I rode with nine. On day eleven, Monica finished with nine athletes and I finished with one… The process of personal compromise is often painful for the guys – generally, these are guys that resist getting dropped, seeing it as a form of personal failure. Personally, I think that the transformation is an essential lesson from the camp.

First… the goal is not to overcome (or survive) the efforts of others – rather – the goal is to place one in an environment where we are able to overcome the limits that we impose on ourselves. By (repeatedly) overcoming self-imposed limits we learn a few things. Quite often, I heard athletes saying that they “couldn’t do” something that we had scheduled. More accurately, they might be reflecting a fear that we might not be able to do something and that could “force” us to view ourselves as a failure. That brings the second point…

…failure isn’t fatal – over the course of the camp, we all “failed” in various ways. In fact, that is a part of the structure of the camp. To place people in a position where they might not make it (whatever “it” happens to be). Certainly, if an athlete arrived with a goal to ride at the front of every single ride then they would probably be forced to compromise at some stage (as Monica’s Day Eleven ride buddies might attest).

There is a form of freedom that comes from the realization that our performance is independent from ourselves. Some great athletes never manage to achieve that distinction – we were talking about that at our celebration dinner last night. Fear of failure stalking them throughout their careers and following them throughout their lives. Lives that are often filled with a lingering dissatisfaction with themselves (despite outward success). This cycle drives a number of high achievers that I know – you can get a lot done by tapping this source. However, it won’t really be all that satisfying and (I think) that, to truly breakthrough, one must free one’s self from the tension and distraction that comes from fear.

So the camps are designed in a way that at least half the folks won’t be able to do the whole thing. We have optional sessions, open days and the ability to tack on. This really bothers some people because no matter how much an athlete does… there’s likely someone doing more. Learning to choose how much is enough and learning what constitutes too much – that’s a valuable skill for an athlete.

The combination of our non-athletic commitments (work, family, other) impose constraints on us that limit both our training and our ultimate performance. Most people take comfort in these limits because they obscure the fact that most athletes are not doing everything that they can to achieve athletic success. That’s not a value statement – that’s a statement of fact. Most people make daily choices that result in limits being placed on their performance in all areas.

If you want to beat someone then you have to be willing to out-train them – consistently and for a long time. Sitting around telling yourself that you are doing “everything you can” won’t achieve that ultimate result. Results come from a relentless drive to remove anything that isn’t connected to your ultimate goal. Of course, few people have an idea on their ultimate goal either.

Epic removes all the distractions, all the excuses and lets the athletes experience what we often say we’d like – wouldn’t it be great to train all day, with support, with the best athletes… many are surprised to find that, actually, it would be pretty darn tiring! Now elites don’t train like we did every day – nobody can do that. However, the best athletes do front up for many years when tired, sick, injured – take a group of outstanding athletes, support them as best as possible and still… it’s darn tough to swim/bike/run every day for twelve days. The distractions of “superior” performances (am I measuring up); weather (its OK not to train today); fatigue (I did enough yesterday); and personal mental noise… these all add up.

But for each athlete that realises that elite athletics might not be the joy that they had envisioned – there are a few that have an “a-ha” moment on what it really takes. At least, they come to an understanding about what the journey of athletic discovery is really about. Being able to play a role in that discovery is a big part of what makes the camps fun for me.

During the camp, my total contact with the outside world consisted of a couple of secondhand email conversations and a telephone call from the side of the Tourmalet. The increase in personal energy that resulted from a total focus was amazing Eliminating all sharing of thought with the outside world. Even writing this article, Monica has noted a change in me.

The camps are intended to be very hard. We provide the athletes with an environment where they can nuke themselves or lift their fitness to new heights. There was quite a bit of talk during the camp about things being a bit too hard. I don’t really have an answer for that. Looking at my own performance, I had life best absolute bike performance on Day Eight of the camp (311w for 90 minutes through Andorra).

***this followed a week of 50+ hours, where I was smashing myself most days

***that followed two weeks where I trained less than ten hours per week

***that followed two weeks completely off

***that followed Ironman Brazil

Conventional wisdom says that I shouldn’t have been able to do that. Mine wasn’t the only example – all the guys were consistently doing things that amazed themselves. Much of what we seek in the camps is to demonstrate to ourselves (and the campers) that conventional wisdom doesn’t always apply. I’d go further and note that most of the people setting the conventional wisdom are (by definition) pretty average in terms of personal achievement. There is a lot that can be learned from studying and participating with outlier performers – for me, bring a group of “outliers” together provides a very interesting case study.

Personal lessons from epic camp…what did I learn this time?

Last December, I was wondering if I’d ever get fit again – there’s a blog entry on that somewhere below. At the time, I had three types tendonitis going on in my knees, my feet were shot and I got _really_ tired with 2-4 hours of training per day. Seven months later, there’s been a massive transformation in my fitness. It’s tempting to call it miraculous but I know how many hours went into my body from 2000 to 2004.

The questions that I’d been wondering since last summer have now been answered and replaced with new ones.

Will I ever get back to elite-level training? Well, I answered that with this camp. It was the first time since February 2005 that I’ve been able to train “properly”. Properly means long and high quality main sets – 60 to 120 minute steady-state pulls mixed with 45 to 90 minutes of mod-hard to hard climbing. I melted everyone at the camp except Mike (one of the toughest guys that I’ve ever trained with) and myself.

The six months of base training that I did for Brazil Ironman enabled me to tolerate a surprising amount of hard training – long periods of mod-hard to hard intensity (most days) on the bike.

I did very little between Brazil and Epic – favouring recovery over preparation. That turned out to be an excellent choice for me as well as Dr. J (who had a great camp following Brazil).

Coming off a successful training camp, it is tempting to keep-it-rolling with very challenging main sets and “race focus” training blocks. However, I’ve made that mistake before and won’t be repeating it. My goal remains to be speedy in August 2007 so I’ll keep doing the base preparation to absorb the training required to lift myself next year.

There’s a good article about training in Outside Magazine – read the Floyd Landis piece. Much of what I’ve been talking about above is in there.

At one level, I kept waiting to collapse during Epic. I figured that I’d wake up one morning completely nuked, or sick, or unmotivated. That kinda happened on Day Nine when I had a two hour nap in the morning. However, I was fine by lunch and strong for the following 48 hours. The lack of distractions and large amount of fun that I was having must have helped my happy mind overcome my fatigued body.

So I’ve seen that I can tolerate “proper” training again. More importantly, I learned that by trimming (eliminating?) my exposure to distractions, I enjoy that training immensely. Athletic “greatness” is there for the taking. The question is whether I will make the choices and commitments required to achieve my personal potential. My immune system; my non-athletic commitments; my wife… none are going to provide me with an easy out. I’m faced with a healthy body, supportive wife, and understanding business partner. If I don’t take this opportunity then it will be 100% down to my choice.

The realization that I have the ability (and opportunity) to again be a great IMer is a bit surprising. I am eight months ahead of where I expected to be.

I’ve been skipping around a bit. Hopefully, you’ve gotten something out of my thoughts. One last concept that I want to pass along.

Athletic Leadership

Who is the leader in a training group? What is the role of a coach or leader within a training group?

For me, athletic leadership comes from helping others get the most out of themselves. It doesn’t imply being able to shell the entire camp at will. This camp we started the Green Jersey award for the athlete that most exemplified “epic values” for the day. For the camp, we awarded the jersey to Jeff Shilt. Jeff earned it by helping the entire camp get more out of their experience as well as demonstrating (daily) what we seek to achieve at Epic – a combo of JFT & Back-It-Up. He did it with a smile on his face, mostly.

Off to Paris for a combo wedding anniversary and birthday party.



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