Boston…We Have A Problem

photo courtesy Naveed Nour

Photo courtesy Naveed Nour

One of the reasons to have a plan is so you’ll have something to change when things fall apart. The more complex your plan, the more you have to adjust when something unexpected arises. I guess that why there are backups, contingencies, plan B’s…

My plan for the 2016 Boston Marathon was simple: run the first half comfortably, ratchet up my pace on the Newton Hills, and then run all out down into Boston. But when I lined up in Hopkinton in Wave 1, Corral 5, beneath a sun that was already hammering me hard and temps already in the upper 60’s at 9:45 AM EDT, I knew my plan would not survive the day. Continue reading

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All Systems GO


Less than 24 hours to go until the 120th Boston Marathon. The miles have been run. The muscles have been massaged. The carbs are being consumed.  There’s nothing left save get to the start and run the race.

My legs took a hammering this year. Up until Wednesday, my quads and hip flexors still felt like garbage. But then they started to come around and, if I’ve timed everything well, the legs will be solid in those later miles.

The only curve ball at this point is the weather — predicted temperatures in the 60’s F at start time, which is 20-30 degrees higher than what I’ve been training in. It’s not super warm, but that delta over the distance can play games as dehydration becomes a factor.

Otherwise, my race strategy is very simple. Run the first half “easy”, the next 10 km steady tempo until I’m over Heartbreak, the last 10 km as fast as I can manage. Last year, I saved a lot for the finish — maybe a little too much — but it worked out well so no reason to change. But every race is unique and with this just my fourth marathon ever, there’s not too much of a pattern to work worth.

Next stop, Boston.

Tiny Robot

A few years ago I started working on a short film with my friend, Naveed. He had become intrigued by the rituals related to cycling: the preparations, the superstitions, the motivations.  The project turned into something quite more meaningful.

Those of you who have followed my writing over the years will understand the role Romeo has played and how I’ve used cycling to work through the loss. This film communicates more, in many ways, than simple words ever could.

For more details and credits, checkout tinyrobotfilm.com

1996: El Hombre Furioso y Luna

Luna - Penthouse

1996 was my make or break year in cycling.  I was single for the first time in a long time.  I had worked the fall and winter and saved up some cash.  I had given up on spring racing campaigns in Europe and decided focus on the “Fresca Cup” which was a national race series for riders without pro contracts.  My strategy was to race as many of these races as I could, place well in them, and finish somewhere in the top 10 overall.  It was an ambitious goal and one that I thought would help me to secure a pro contract.

The tenth stage the 38th Vuelta a Guatemala, 140 kilometers from Guatemala City to Sololá, went nearly from the gun. There was a brief détente during the ceremonial rollout from the capital city, but once we hit the Interamerican Highway, it was full-bore toward Antigua and the major climb of the day. This early in the race and with no descent to follow, the climb would be decisive.

I was desperate. It was already late October, I had been racing since February and I still needed a solid result to secure a contract for the coming year. This far into the race, I was running out of chances.

The past ten days had been a cluster fuck of tired legs, dehydration, crashes, exploding derailleurs, bike changes and long, lonely chases far behind the race just to make the time cut. Any G.C. hopes were long gone.

Things has started well. On the first day in Avenida de las Americas, a dense, busy shopping district in Guatemala City, I had placed 7th in the prologue criterium and climbed onto the podium in front the crowd.

But then things began to unravel.

Continue reading

Less

Snow at mile 19 on the Marathon route today. All bets are off for what race day will be like.

30.5 km run yesterday in the cold rain, far too reminiscent of last year.

10 km today.

That’s 10 k less I have to run before the Marathon.