Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Coaching Team!

Team as in more than one! Team as in working together to squeeze every last bit of speed out of me by October! If you read the Evotri team announcement you'll know that one of the big changes for me this season is the switch to Vision Quest Coaching. I'm super-stoked about the Vision Quest match-up because they are based out of Chicago. Even better than that though, is the fact that VQ has a local training group right here in Bloomington. That means I get face-to-face interaction with ONE of my coaches at least twice a week!!

In my last post I updated everyone on my slow return back to the fitness world. Now I'd like to introduce everyone to both of my coaches. Stan Watkins is my cycling coach and leader of the local VQ group. Prior to joining up with VQ I'd done a few training rides with Stan and even raced against him during a trainer race for charity in the local mall.

Me, suffering during Bromenn!

Here's a bit more about Stan:

Stan rediscovered his love for the bicycle in his early 40’s when a friend introduced him to club rides all around the Midwest . Little did this friend know that he was creating a monster in the process as Stan’s passion for the bike grew through the years and competition became a goal? At the age of 49 Stan decided to see what he could do at a competitive level of bicycle racing and first attended a VQ camp in Arizona to see if he was in the right place to pursue this dream. The camp was a hit and Stan convinced Robbie to sign him up as VQ’s 1st remote athlete. In the years since Stan has learned more about the sport and training smart from all the coaches and fellow athletes to afford him the opportunity to mentor and teach other cyclist along the way. In 2001 Stan started the “VQ Bloomtown Ratz” training group in Bloomington , IL – the 1st VQ training group outside of Lake Bluff . This continues today with athletes from all around central IL participating in VQ over the years. Stan has earned his Level 3 USA Cycling coaching license in 2006. Stan resides in Bloomington , IL with his most supportive fan and wife Sue.

My swimming and running workouts will be coordinated by Ruben Figueres. I think Ruben and I have been at some of the same races, but I probably won't meet him in person until the Evo team goes to Vision Quest for an assessment camp. Ruben has a long sporting background and has raced in Kona himself. Here's some more on Ruben:

Ruben Figueres was born in Spain in 1974. He got His MBA in 1997 and has been working in advertising for the past 10 years. His sports resume starts as a tennis player. After playing in juniors against players like Carlos Moya and Alex Corretja, he turned pro in 1991. He only played one year in the tour and got burnt out. As part of his tennis preparation he used to run with some local runners, and shortly after quitting tennis he ran his first 10k in 37’20”. Then he joined the track and field team, which led him to sign with the Nike Barcelona team until 1996. His best times include 14’51 for the 5,000 and 1h08 for the half marathon. During his running career, Ruben discovered triathlon as a way to stay active during injuries, and ended up switching his focus to this sport.

At the end of the 1996 season he stopped racing and started a new stage in his life, traveling and partying. In 1998, he moved to Chicago and in 2001 he started doing triathlons again for fun. In 2006 he qualified for IM Hawaii at Wisconsin. He raced Hawaii in 2007 injured, but managed to finish (he was also the 12th overall amateur out of the water). He has been part of the Powerbar Team Elite for the last few years.

Ruben is also very involved with the triathlon community. He has served as coaching advisor for many coaches in Spain and maintains strong relationships with key leaders in the sport. He also coaches Pro triathlete Brad Zoller, and has a wide circle of friends in the pro circuit like Hunter Kemper, Dave Scott, Simon Lessing, Joana Zeiger, Michael Lovato and Julie Swail.

Ruben is married to Elizabeth since 2002 and they have a 14 month old son , Kai.

My current training according to the coaches:

"Training wise this time of year we are working on building a good base while maintaining some short intensity efforts to keep Chris's aerobic system in tune while being careful to stay away from sustained anerobic efforts. We have merged Chris's Training Peaks plan so we can see how he handled last year's training, observe the progressions and evaluate both his improvements and any limiters to give us coaches a better view of how to design his training leading up to the big goal in Kona. Right now we have Chris spending about 10 hours a week training and from early indications he is ahead of where he was this time last year".

So this is really an experiment for all of us. One of the most important elements of successful coaches is communication. In this case, all three of us have to communicate very closely. Training Peaks is a great tool to help us do that. Like last season all my workouts, data, and comments are available to anyone on my public Training Peaks account.

Stay tuned for the results of the experiment!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


After Ironman Wisconsin in September I took about 3 months completely off from training. First I worked on a couple house projects that were neglected during the season and then I was busier and more sleep deprived than I ever thought possible when Jonah was born.

So I dug myself into a pretty deep fitness hole. It is good to take some time off (I usally take a full month after an Ironman), but in order to keep some of that hard-earned fitness you need to do a little maintenance work. That would be exercise-related maintenance work, not the kind I was doing!

After the New Year I am working my way back towards what will be my new "normal". In the last three weeks I've had a number of good cycling workouts with my new Vision Quest teammates as well as a few long, easy runs. Swimming will still be on the back burner for a bit.

Having the opportunity to train and race like a pro is a big part of what Team Evotri is about. If you jump over to the Evo site, you can see a video of me doing some baseline testing on the bike as well as some functional strength testing with Robbie Ventura!

In order to set precise bike workouts it is essential to have a number of data points. My first test was 40 minutes all-out on the bike to determine my functional threshold power and lactate threshold. In the test you see on the video I averaged 255 watts. Pretty good since my threshold going into Ironman Wisconsin was 275 watts. Sounds good to me, but I had to point out that this wasn't an apples to apples comparison. My 275 test was done outside, but only for 30 minutes. The test I just did was inside for 40. So bottom line, yeah I lost some power which was to be expected! Hard to quantify how much til the snow melts and I can get back on the roads.
Here's Robbie doing a true blood-lactate analysis
on my new VQ teammate, Steve.

My second baseline test was to find Vo2 max power. This is four minutes all out on the bike. Doesn't sound that bad until you try it. Actually the first two minutes aren't all that terrible. The last two more than make up for it though! The Vo2 came out at 349 watts. When this number was converted into maximum amount of oxygen in millilitres, one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight (Vo2 max) it came out at: 59 ml/kg/min. Fascinating thing is that this was precisely the same number that I got doing an official test hooked up to monitoring equipment this time last year at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Lesson learned: you can get pretty damn close to lab-quality results by doing your own field testing.

Last year's V02 max test in Boulder.
The last part of the video shows a functional strength assessment that Robbie puts everyone through. There are three main components: core stability, flexibility, and strength (upper and lower body). You get to do lots of fun stuff like hang from a chinup bar until your arms give out and balance on top of a stability ball with no hands! Even after a few months off my strength and stability were pretty good. Flexibility was not! Never been my strong suit. Something to work on maybe, but in this sport there is always something that needs work and something that is getting neglected.
So I've started my long climb out of the fitness hole. Feeling good and lots of motivation to get back after the training. I've got a cyclocross race in February then a 1/2 marathon in March that will definitely tell me where I am at fitness-wise!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Team Evotri: Press Release

"Making the Team"
January 16, 2008
Madison, WI
In 2007, it began with a vision to take eight people farther than they'd ever been with top-notch coaching, industry leading technology, and the finest in precision equipment. Follow along as the former members of team raceAthlete 2007 take things to the next level in 2008. It's a new year and they've evolved into a new team: Team Evotri. Committed to giving back to the endurance community, they once again want you to be part of the journey.

On March 1, 2008, the first of three lucky age-groupers will be asked to join the team. Each will be awarded a prize package from new Team Evotri sponsors: SRAM, and Robbie Ventura’s Vision Quest Coaching, as well as returning sponsors BMC Bicycles, CycleOps Power, Zipp Speed Weaponry and 2XU.

Over the course of the next few months the team will be looking for three people with a certain passion for endurance sport, a certain tirelessness for giving back to the endurance community, and a certain determination to reach new horizons in personal endurance performance. Do you have what it takes to make the team?

Winners can rest assured their performance will undoubtedly be taken to the next level with the following prize package:

Swiss based BMC Bicycles will provide winners with the precision engineered and fiercely designed TT02 Time Machine, the exact bike ridden by Ironman bike course record holder, pro triathlete, Tyler Stewart.

CycleOps Power will provide each winner with a new Fluid2 trainer and a cutting edge wireless PowerTap SL 2.4, which will allow athletes to unlock their potential and monitor their growth throughout the season just like the top pros.

The experienced and passionate team of professionals at Vision Quest Coaching will take members to the next level with a professionally individualized coaching package.

SRAM will outfit the Time Machines with world-class Force drivetrains and brake components, engineered for top performance and efficiency.

Also, Zipp Speed Weaponry will provide 606 wheelsets, cranks and bars for the excellence in endurance sport trifecta.

Wetsuits and race kits provided by 2XU, the industry experts in state-of-the-art style.

Certainly an exciting adventure begins in 2008. Team Evotri and their sponsors invite you to submit your videos for round one of the contest by reading the instructions below. Stay tuned to for forthcoming team information, including how you can compete to make the team in 2008.

TT02 Time Machines provided by BMC, a company driven by style, passion and precision. Innovative design features, rigorous testing, and a vast history of working with the industry's top athletes have set BMC apart from the pack. Visit for their full line of men's and women's road and mountain bikes.

CycleOps Powertaps and trainers are provided by the Madison, Wisconsin-based Saris Cycling Group; makers of industry leading power meters, racks and indoor trainers, as well as home to the top minds in performance science. Visit for an up close and personal education.

Professional coaching provided by Vision Quest: a dynamic, hands on, fully involved coaching program designed to provide direct interaction between the athletes and the coach for triathletes and cyclists. Please find more information on the diverse and flexible programs at

Wheels of Team EvoTri provided by Zipp Speed Weaponry, flawless craftsmanship makes these wheels the industry leader in speed and aerodynamic efficiency. For more information, and for a complete product catalog, visit

Drive and Brake components provided by SRAM, manufacturers of world-class bicycle parts including the new Double Tap & Exact Actuation technologies designed for faster Tri, Road & CX machines. See & learn more at http:/

Cutting-edge and sleek, 2XU will assure teammates maximize their potential with the industry's most revolutionary wetsuits and race kits. Visit for the latest innovations.

Making the Team: 2008 - Round One Contest Guidelines

Endurance sport enthusiasts, do you have what it takes to make the team? Tell us how and why in a video submission no longer than three minutes. Videos will be narrowed down to ten by Team Evotri and their sponsors, and displayed on the team's website ( where they will then be voted upon by the endurance sport community at large for creativity, quality, and how well they address the following questions:

1. How will you benefit the team if you're chosen? What are your personal attributes?

2. How have you, and how do you plan to give back to the endurance sport community? Nothing is too insignificant, list it all.

3. Why tri? Please be as creative as possible in explaining why you are passionate about triathlon and endurance sport?

From the ten, Team Evotri and their sponsors will announce the winner on March 1, 2008 and the winner will be notified.
*Entitle all videos with your name and the subtitle: Making the Team, 2008.

*Upload all videos to You Tube and send the link to by February 15, 2008.

*Videos not within the time constraints will not be viewed or posted on the team website for voting.

*By sending a video link to, candidates grant Team Evotri and their sponsors permission to use said video for promotional purposes affiliated with Team Evotri and the Making the Team: 2008 contest.

*Winners of the team slots forfeit all awards should they be unable to continue as a team member for any reason.

*Winners of the team slots agree to maintain a personal website or blog documenting their training and racing experience for as long as they are members of Team Evotri.

*Winners of the team slots agree to attend the WIBA training weekend in Madison, Wisconsin in June, 2008, and race Steelhead 70.3 in August, 2008.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pimp my blogger profile!

As part of my blog updates I need a new profile pic. I wanted something fun, so had Cara shoot a couple tonight. I need your input! Which should I go with?

Super Retro Vintage

Euro Cyclist

Goofy BMX helmet

So last night I was hanging out with Robbie Ventura...

You know just hanging, shooting the shit, doing a 40 minute threshold test that I was completely not trained for! It's all part of the Evolution!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Never too early!

A few days back, we had the opporunity to take Jonah swimming for the first time! We really wanted him to have a good experience, so he was only in the water for about 5 minutes. We were at the Y and the water was pretty warm, so he never cried which mommy and daddy considered a successful first swim! Here's a little video: