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Race Report: Steelman Olympic 2015-Finishing on a High Note

This year hasn’t really been one of my favorites. It started off finding out that our dog Yuki had Lymphoma two days before we were supposed to leave for Sedona, AZ. We then had to cancel our trip only to find out that his cancer had spread throughout his spleen and liver. Fortunately, we were able to have 5 months of quality time with him while we battled his disease. During that time, he had returned to the vigor he had as a puppy while we fed him with the best home-cooked meals we could make. This extra stress on top of my heavy training load was surely not optimal.

In June, we traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho so I could compete in my “A” race of the year, Ironman Coeur d’Alene. I had spent the past 8 months busting my ass to prepare for what I had hoped would be my best Ironman performance yet. Then, a freakish heat wave moved into the Pacific-Northwest just in time to peak out at 107 degrees exactly on race day. The result was a DNF.

After returning back home, we saw a very quick decline in the health of Yuki. On August 3rd we then had to say our last goodbye to my little pal after almost 13 years. Six days later I had my last race of the year, Steelman Olympic Triathlon. I was determined to put forth my best effort in honor of my little buddy and finish off the season with a decent result.

Me & Yuki-Hiking Three Pond Loop, Adirondacks, NY
Me & Yuki-Hiking Three Pond Loop, Adirondacks, NY

The last time I competed in the Steelman Olympic was back in 2012 where finished in around 2:43 and 23rd in my age group. I was eager to see how much I had improved since then and my hope was to finish in the top 10 of my age group. After IMCdA I figure I had plenty of endurance built up, so I focused on speed and instensity in the 4 weeks prior to the event.


One thing I hate about Steelman is that you have to be there so early and then you are stuck there until at least 10:30am or whenever the last cyclist finishes. So, I was up at around 3:30am and we had left for the 45 minute drive to Lake Nockamixon by 4:15 so we could get there by 5:00am. Well, that was until I realized I had left my water bottles with Skratch Labs in the frig when we were about 5 minutes away from home. Ugh! Nonetheless we still made it to the marina by 5:10a thanks to my wifes’ lead-foot. We were early enough to still get a spot in the main marina parking lot and avoided the long trek from one of the overflow lots.

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Pre-race sunrise on Lake Nockamixon-Photo compliments of Sports-In-Motion Race Photography. Straightened and color corrected by me.

I quickly setup my transition area and there was some good real estate on the rack too. I was only about 4 bikes in from the main aisle too. Usually Steelman transition is crazy since there are no assigned spots on the racks.

I ran over to the single port-O-John line and waited my turn. For some reason people form only one line for about 20 port-O-johns at this race. Every other race has several smaller lines spread across the toilets. So annoying!

The morning went pretty quickly and before I knew it we were all gathering at the swim start for the national anthem and the start of the waves. I somehow ran into my wife amongst the masses of athletes too. I also ran into a guy I met at Todd Wiley‘s LP camp this past Spring and chatted with him for a bit. Before I knew it they were calling my wave. Swim time!

The Swim

Getting ready to start – Photo by Denise

I was one of the first few guys to get in the water for my wave. I quickly moved up to the front and outside of the lane which was on the right side for the counter-clockwise odd rectangularish swim. There were tons of guys streaming in behind me and I think they were still coming in when Dale the RD blew the start. And we were off.

I started off a little faster than I nornmally do, with thoughts of getting out ahead. I quickly realized that I am still a slow swimmer as I never really made any progress doing this only managed to hold my own. I settled into a pace which was a bit faster than my IM pace but still fairly comfortable.

The only issue I had was in between the first and second left turn when I swallowed some water while spotting the turn buoy and had a bit of an choking episode. I think I have had one in every race this year! I eventually calmed down enough so I could breathe again and returned back to my pace. I felt as though I was have a really good swim and was thinking of possibly being around 25 minutes. I didn’t look at my watch at all during the swim as this would lose a few seconds and could play with my head a bit.

The last couple turns into the marina area were a bit hard to navigate since I was having trouble seeing the buoys. I think they were smaller ones too. Eventually, I reached the slippery boat dock platform and exited the water with the help of a throng of volunteers. I glanced at my watch while crossing the timing mat…27:53. Eh!

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Steelman Olympic-Swim Exit

At first I was a little disappointed with that time. But after comparing it to my 2012 time of 32:05 I realize that this was a 4 minute improvement on a 0.9 mile course. Not too bad! 🙂


The 1st transition went pretty smoothly. I did struggle a bit with my wetsuit, but nothing major. I chose to just put my bike shoes on in T1 and skip the attempt at a fly mount with shoes pre-mounted and rubberbanded. I hadn’t practiced doing that in a long while, so no reason to try it here. Onto the bike in 1:53

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Steelman Olympic-Bike Exit

The Bike

The start of the Steelman bike is always a little tricky. While it starts out pretty flat, it quickly shoots up to a dandy little climb after the left turn out of the marina parking lot. It is usually quite the jolt to the legs after you have been swimming for 25-30 minutes and all blood is still working its way out of your upper-body. My advice is shift to our one of your easiest gears as you make the left turn and spin your way up the hill. You can easily burn some matches on this hill very early.

The park has decided to add these really obnoxious yellow plastic speed bumps to the road in and out of the park. They are not rounded and more like a triangle coming to a point. I have never tried to ride over one and can’t imagine that being a real pleasurable experience. They also stretch across most of the road only leaving us about 10 inches skirt around them. If there is oncoming traffic that only leaves you one option. So, unless you have supreme bike handling skills you have no choice but brake to get around them. If there are other riders near you you will have to go through single file.

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Steelman Olympic-Bike

Eventually I survived the obstacle course of exiting the park and made my way onto Route 563 where the majority of the bike course is. The first section is mostly downhill and pretty fast to the first turnaround near the Haycock boat access. Unfortunately the condition of Route 563 has really deteriorated in the last couple years. They also patched and oil & chipped a bunch of potholes which are right in what was previously the best line. Now the best line for riding is basically the shoulder of the road now. The main part of the road is really bad and the surface in general is much rougher than the shoulder surface.

Riding on the shoulder was not an issue on the first lap of the course since it was mostly just the Olympic distance athletes. The second loop is a different story. Now you have all the sprint athletes to contend with and the slower riders blocking the left side of the shoulder. Not fun.

The longer stretch from turnaround to turnaround seems to be a mix of ups and downs. There is one tricky stretch right past the main marina entrance that forces you into a little passage on the right of the whiteline because of the hideous condition of the road covering the entire lane. I didn’t get past a slower rider quick enough on my second loop here and was forced into a very bumby ride.

I had gotten behind another guy in my age group and we played hopscotch a bit for most of the bike. I also got stuck behind another younger rider who would speed up everytime I would try to pass him. He would give this quick turn of his head when I was coming up past him and then he would then take his cadence from 110rpm to 130rpm. It was so annoying. I then finally passed him after the 2nd turnaround and then I didn’t see him again.

The stretch from the 2nd turnaround back to the marina entrance starts out with fairly decent climb. I usually go right down to my small chainring here and get into nice easy spin. Once you crest the hill it is pretty flat most of the way and then you hit a pretty fast downhill which seems fairly long. You quickly ascend again and then there is a section of patched road that covers the entire right side of the road but a small little opening on the side. You really have to make sure you are single file here or it could be a bumpy one. It will definitely cause you to lose momentum doing up the incline.

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Steelman Olympic-Bike

I felt really good the entire bike and I think I picked up a little speed on my second loop. I had two bottles of Skratch Labs hydration and one Amrita bar for nutrition. How easy is that?!

After a little over an hour, I was headed back in to the marina entrance towards T2. There was another yellow plastic speed bumb ahead which I had planned to go around on the inside of the lane again. When I approached it there was a pylon on the inside and I had another rider to my left taking the other side. I had no choice but to brake and go behind him. I then had to speed up a bit to get back to speed since there was a little incline ahead. It totally threw off my momentum. I grumbled about the pylon to the other guy as I sped by.

I cruised in to the dismount area, calmly dismounted and crossed the timing mat in 1:10:20, about a 20.6 mph pace. In 2012, the same course took me 1:17:27 at 19.2mph. So we gained another 7 minutes over my previous PR. So, now we are up 11 minutes total. Looks look it is going pretty good so far!

Looking at my Training Peaks actual bike stats, I managed a Normalized Power output of 224 watts with an Intensity Factor of 0.89 over the 24.6 miles(not sure why TP only has 24.1). Comparing that to my Bike Plan on Best Bike Splits(below), you can see I was just a little under what that predicted for watts and intensity, but time-wise was pretty much dead on there. I found BBS’s to be a little high on my IM Coeur d’ALene project too, but at least it is consistent.




T2 went pretty well. I put socks on for the run, which cost me a few minutes but still better than dealing with blisters later. Despite that I was still 15 secs faster than T2 in 2012. I also had to take my bike shoes off and in 2012 I slipped out on the bike and dismounted in barefeet. I thought about doing this this year, but said the heck with it. WIth my luck this year, I will probably stub my toe or something. Better safe than sorry. Gotta run!


The first quarter mile was a little rough as I worked the bike out them. I finally settled into a about a 7:45 pace which would be great for me. My PR pace for a lone 10k is only a 7:42, so trying to hold this for a olympic triathlon 10k would amaze me. I heard someone yell my name as I popped out of the trees along the first part of the path. I looked back and it was Todd Wiley from the Lake Placid Camp I went to this year. Always nice to have some unexpected fan support out of the course! Thanks Todd!

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As I meandered through the winding and more uphill sections I settled back into a more of a 8-8:10 pace. The run course is pretty narrow. It gets very congested when you have a few hundred people trying to run both ways on the same 6 foot wide path. Passing people forces you into more of karaoke or grapevine motion instead of a run. You defintely lose time as you get later into the run.

After the first turnaround I heard one of the volunteers at the aid station yell “hey bri-tri!” as I ran by. I was past them when I realized what he said but gave a “hey!”  and a wave while turning around. I wasn’t really sure who said it either, but was anxious to see who it was on my 2nd lap. Anyway, it was kind of cool to know I had some supporters out there that I wasn’t expecting.

Things were really starting to hurt by the end of the 1st lap. My legs were screaming and it seemed to be more uphill. I saw Denise standing along the side right before the turnaround for the 2nd lap. I was struggling to put a smile on my face as I was really hurting now. I think I managed to squeeze one out but it wasn’t easy.


I made the turn and headed back onto the second lap. I really don’t remember too much from that second lap other than it really hurt and I had this inner dialogue going on where I was just fighting with my mind to keep pushing as hard as I could. I was trying to think of things to really push me harder. I was thinking about Ironman Coeur d’Alene, my dog Yuki and that this was my last race of the year. Leave nothing on the table today! I really think I gave it all I had.

Noone, at the aide station where someone yelled to me, ever said anything when I went by again. I don’t know if they left after that or were maybe embarrased to admit they knew this guy struggling to run an 8:00 min/mi or what. I did end up finding out later in the week that it was one of my Strava buddies, which was cool. I have the greatest ways of meeting them!

I ended up running the last mile with a young girl in front of me. She couldn’t have been more than like 11 or 12, but she was running a solid 8:00 pace. I passed her once and then she came by me again, so I decided I was going to let her escort me to the finish. She ended up making the turn around for the second loop and I kept on going. I finally made the left to the gravely road to the finish. My legs were smoked and I was slowing down before I reached the finish. I crossed the line in 49:31 which was about a 7:58/mi pace. It was a little over a minute faster than my last Steelman 10k, but an improvement nonetheless!

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Steelman Olympic-Run Finish

Race Finish: 2:30:47

Previous PR: 2:43:40

Overall Race Summary

 I would have to say it was a pretty successful race for me. I succeeded in getting in the top 10 of my age group with 8th place and I PR’d the race by about 13 minutes over my 2012 result. I improved in each discipline, except for T1 was 3 secs slower. So I may be getting older, but I am still getting faster, which makes me happy. I can safely say that I ended the season on a high note, but there is always a lot of things to work on going into next year.

I don’t really have anything planned for the rest of this season, but I may pick up a running race before the year ends. We have some vacation plans too, so I want to enjoy that a bit. Thanks for reading along this season and I hope that if you are reading this you got some enjoyment and maybe a few tips out of this. I would love to hear from you if you are reading and am open for suggestions. I hope to do a few reviews on gear and the books I have read throughout the year.

Enjoy your off-season!!

IMLP Training Week 6-A Change of Seasons

My sixth training weeks went from one extreme to the other in terms of weather. The first part of the week2013-03-09 11.10.07 consisted of all indoor workouts due to cold and very windy conditions. I can handle the bike trainer, but I really try to avoid the treadmill as much as possible. After failing to secure a treadmill at the fitness center Monday night, I decided to utilize their indoor track instead. Mistake!

The indoor track at my current fitness center is located on the upper floor and overlooks the strength training area below. The track is about a elongated circle, so you are constantly turning. It does not have any banking on the turns either. So with that and a race pace tempo run and new pair of New Balance led to some nice blisters and some bloody shoes. Bummer. Fortunately it didn’t affect the rest of the weeks runs a all. Wednesday night I kept to running straight on the treadmill.

All that indoor training was quickly forgotten come the weekend. The temps soared into the high 50’s(deg F) and the sun was blasting. Ahhhh! I also utilized a massage credit I had at the fitness center on Friday after my swim. Oh man…that was good! I wish I could get one of those every week.

Saturday I got out for a nice ride. Temps were perfect and the wind was pretty mellow(6-8mph N-NE). It was a gorgeous day. I was only supposed to ride for 1:50, but I stretched it out to 2:15. Legs felt good, but it was a pretty easy ride too. One thing I noticed later in the ride was some strangeness in my rear wheel that concerned me. It kept engaging like when you are freewheeling and you start pedaling again and the cassette engages the wheel. It just kept engaging. Hmmm….

I also picked up a new pair of Reynolds carbon fiber race wheels. They were on sale at Performance Bike for less than I could get a used pair of Zipps on eBay. I checked around and could not find any bad reviews. I consulted John at Sleeping Dog Pro Cycles and he thought they had some wind issues with over 15 degrees of yaw. Most of the reviews said they were good in the wind though. We shall see. I got the Assault/Strike combo which gives you a 46 front and a 66 rear, which should make steering a little more forgiving.

On Sunday, I was able to coordinate training with the Wifey which was cool. She was set to do a 9 miler and I needed to do 1:30 which was pretty close. We decided on doing the Ironton Rail Trail since she prefers a asphalt surface and this trail is mostly that. It had been a few years since we last toured this trail and it was on mountain bikes when we did it. This was an excellent path for running. Pretty flat too except for a long gradual climb near the Coplay Kilns area, which isn’t too bad. It was a nice day, but not quite as nice as Saturday though. A few more clouds, wind and lower temp. I ended up with around 9.5 miles which was cool Felt like I didn’t do anything.

We also turned the clocks ahead on Sunday morning, so now we got some extra light for my after work runs. Only thing it is going to be a little dark in the mornings. I sure hope the temps hold up again.


Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 5-6-The Big Chill

Wednesday and Thursday of the week brought about temperatures in the -20 to -30 F range. I had planned on taking a rest day on Wednesday anyway, but with 10-20MPH winds on Thursday, it wound up being back-to-back rest days. We attempted to do a snowshoe at the Flume Trails, but it was so brutally cold and windy we only lasted about 10 minutes. In addition, the snow was frozen so solid that our snowshoe crampons did not even penetrate the snow surface making for extremely awkward walking. Like walking on concrete! It was just not fun. So, what else to do but eat and shop…

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On Wednesday, we stopped over to the new Good Bite Kitchen, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Main St. This is a breath of fresh air in Lake Placid. When we first starting coming up here everything was either steak or pasta, but the last couple years have brought about some more healthy and flavorful options. The Good Bite Kitchen is both of those. The place is quite small and superbly nestled into a little side entranceway to a larger building. Kayte has very creatively made the most of a space that most would deem as not useable. The food here is really great and I highly recommend the Hand Pies. Yum! She is only open for lunch and brunch on Sunday unfortunately, but worth a stop in town. She posts her menu daily(prior to the 11AM opening time) on her Facebook page, and it does change everyday so check it first.
We ended up putzing around town the rest of the afternoon. Stopped in Starbucks for a bit and then Denise did some shopping. Fun 🙁 I was really wishing that the old Aroma Round was still in operation. If you don’t know what that is it is the round UFO-looking building at the end of town on Saranac Ave. It was originally built for one of the Olympic teams during the last Winter Olympics in 1980 and eventually became the original building for High Peaks Cyclery. When we first came up here it was a cool coffee shop called Aroma Round. It was a great place to hang out on a freezing cold day. It has been shut down for the last several years though.

For dinner, we tried another new place called Alegria Garden Cafe. Alegria is also located on Saranac Ave(just down the hill from the Aroma Round bldg) at the front and lower level of the Lake Placid Summit Hotel. They had several vegetarian options on the menu and they also do their best to use local, organic meat and vegetables. We had the Brussel Sprout & Walnut appetizer which was excellent. I cannot believe I am saying that anything with brussel sprouts is amazing, but this surely was. Denise had a Lamb Burger for entree and I had the Beet Risotto. That was the first time had plain lamb and the typical “gamey” taste that I had warned her about was ever present. Not at all a knock on Alegria, that is just how lamb is. The Beet Risotto was awesome. It was quite cheesy and I have not had cheese in awhile, so I was loving life with this dish. We will definitely be coming back here again on our next trip up.

After dinner we headed to the movie theater in town to catch a flick. This is really the only place I ever go to see movies. It is one of those real old type theaters too which is pretty cool in a nostalgic kind of way. Denise wanted to see Les Miserables and I cannot stand musicals, so I ended up seeing Django in the other theater. They have 4. Although Denise showed me the one she was in and I think it was more of a closet than a theater. Django was a Quentin Tarantino film, so it was lots of blood and guts with a little humor thrown in. Every time someone was shot a large, splash of blood would go flying. It was so ridiculous that I could not help but chuckle every time someone was shot.

On Thursday, after our failed attempt at a snowshoe we headed into town for lunch at The Good Bite Kitchen again. Another fabulous lunch! Afterwards I hung out at Starbucks for awhile while Denise did some more shopping. We also stopped at the Fallen Arch Running Store on Main St. which had 40% off Newton running shoes. We talked to the salesman, Bob Tysen, who we later found out was a RAAM competitor. It was a bit ironic since we had just watched the movie “Bicycle Dreams” about a week before, which was about that race. I would highly recommend checking this movie out. I can lend it to you if you live close by. Anyway, Bob had made it all the way to Louisiana in his attempt and was pulled out by his team due to a miscommunication issue and they ran out of gas. Pretty interesting guy with a very decorated past in endurance sports such as long-distance speed skating, mountain-biking, ultra-running, and cycling.

We eventually made our way down to High Peaks Cyclery to peruse their goodies. I usually try to stay away from here after the horrible runaround service they gave me a few year back trying to get my skis waxed. I lost two days of skiing because of their incompetence and they did not do anything to make up for it. They do have some good markdown deals on the upper floor, which are hard to pass up. Denise ended up getting a $200 Patagonia down jacket for $100. So I guess it was worth it. Don’t want to make a habit of it.

Thursday night we headed down to Keene and had dinner at the ADK Café again. Denise got the Earth Plate this time, but was a little disappointed since it did not have all the goodies(i.e. a pile of Kale) like mine did. I ordered the vegetarian Lasagna, which was crazy good! Of course with all the cheese in it, how could it not. No shortage of Vitamin B12 here! I really need to chill on the cheese after this vacation.

Well, that was our two days of inactivity on our vacation, not including travel days. Who says we never relax on vacation? Of course –28 deg F will do that. It is not going to last 3 days, cause I am busting at the seems to get out skiing again. Friday looks to be a little warmer. Well up to 9 deg F anyway…Never thought I would call that warm!


Thanks for reading!

It’s Mountain Biking Season!

[singlepic id=179 w=240 h=180 float=left]The tri bike is in for maintenance and re-fitting upgrades. The running shoes have moved to the back of the closet while I heal my IT Band. So now it is time to get out the old mountain bike which has not seen the light of day probably at least a year. My wife and I checked out some new trails(to us) that we had never ridden before too. It is a great time of year for mountain biking with the cooler temps and we have hit two gorgeous weekends in a row.

Last Saturday I decided to check out the condition of my bike and my MTB skills and run up the road to Bear Creek Ski Area’s mountain bike trails. Bear Creek has always been pretty technical, rocky and it seems like you are either climbing or descending. It is usually a very humbling experience for me. I was really surprised at some of the improvements they had made to the left side of the mountain. It was actually rideable for the majority of that side of the hill. The right side is a different story though. If you are not a hardcore mountain biker, I would not suggest venturing this way unless you stay on the lower part to the right of the lodge. It took me an hour to ride about 3 miles here if that is any indication of the terrain. Regardless, I was fairly happy with where I was and my bike seemed rideable too. I didn’t suffer any major trauma which is always a good thing.

On Sunday, the wife and I headed down to the mountain bike trails at Lake Nockamixon. Commonly referred to as “The NOX”. These trails are relatively new and a mountain biking friend of mine had highly recommended them.The Valley Mountain Bikers group and the park officials appear to have worked together on this effort and have done a standup job. Trails were well marked and maintained. They were very fun, with lots of singletrack, and also allow riders of different levels to enjoy them equally. I was really impressed how the trails had already been cleared of downed trees from Hurricane Sandy which was only a couple weeks before. There is around 10 miles of trails here, but we only ended up doing around 6 or so. I am saving the South Park section for another day.

This past Sunday we decided to check out the trails at Wissahickon Park since we were planning on making a trip to Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting anyway. MountainBikeBill’s website seems to have the best information that I could find about the park. He does mention the Philly Mountain Biking Association’s website as being a good source of information, but all I could find there was a couple dead map links. When we reached the recommended starting point, we were a bit taken back by the amount of cars and people. It was apparent that we were in the city. We fortunately got a good parking spot, popped the bikes off the rack and headed to the trailhead. There were two possible directions to go. One was a very flat, wide rails to trails lane were most of the runners and walkers were. The other was a narrower doubletrack road to the right and up a hill. My intuition naturally directed me the right, but my intuition was wrong. This was a nature area that is closed to bikes. There was a bypass road that took you out of the park altogether. It was a good warm-up ride up the hill.

We headed down to the starting point again and made our way down the recreation superhighway.  I then consulted the map from MountainBikeBill’s website and immediately realized our mistake. The MTB trail did not start until after the next crossroad down the main path. We immediately spotted the marked MTB trail which lead to another nice climb up. This one a little longer and more technical than our first. Once up on top we enjoyed some nice and winding singletrack. It eventually made its way down to the main trail again. It seemed to follow this pattern of up, across and down again most of the way down the west side of the river. The singletrack made the few climbs well worth the effort.

When we reached what we figured was the south end of the trails, we decided to make our way back the recreation superhighway. My wife was getting tired and had taken a pretty good spill up one of the more technical climbs. As we road back were were amazed at how far it was back to the car. We really really didn’t realize the terrain we had covered. The sweet singletrack had distracted us from the distance. As we road back we noticed some nice looking trails on the eastern side of the river too. You could really spend a good day here. Again we left something new for another time. This will definitely be a regular stop on our Whole Foods runs.
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Long, Hot Run On The D&L Trail

On Sunday I decided to check out the D&L Rail Trail for my long run of the week. I am registered to do the marathon there this fall, so I thought it would be good to get acquainted with it. The race starts where the Nor-Bath trail ends(see map) so I decided to start there to look for the trail. There was no D&L Trailhead there so I headed in the direction of the river and eventually found the Northampton Canal Park. I put my running shoes on and loaded up my Fuel Belt and Nathan hand-held water bottles and headed up the path. I needed to run for 1:30hrs today and it was very hot and humid. I also didn’t get on the trail until around 11:00AM which didn’t help either.

Map picture

It didn’t take too long until I came to the end of the path in Canal Park. I saw the bridge over the Lehigh River just at the end of the road, so headed there and crossed the river. Immediately on the other side was the official trailhead for the D&L trail and a small parking area. Next time I will park there as the Canal Park didn’t really do much for me. Once on the trail I got into my normal cruising pace. The trail is extremely flat and has a crushed stone surface. Firm but yet still has some give for those with bad knees. I was testing out my new pair of New Balance Minimus Zero’s so having a more forgiving surface is probably a good thing. It didn’t take long before I was drenched in sweat. The trail is partially shaded, but there are a couple sections where it is pretty wide open. The middle of the day doesn’t help either.

I passed a few other people on the trail, mostly bikers, but I would not call it crowded by any means. I eventually reached the Laury’s Station trailhead which is another good option to get on the trail, especially if you want to head more north. My only two complaints about this trail is there is no toilets/porta-potties or sources of water. So if you are going to do a long run here, make sure you are fueled up and emptied out before you go. Smile  The trail is opened for quite a ways up river so you could probably go all the way to White Haven if you wanted to.

I continued on to the overpass at the Cove Road trailhead. There were quite a few cars there and it looks like it is a popular put-in site for tubers and kayakers. There was also a little mound there that was the only real uphill I encountered. After a few chugs of water, I turned and headed back to the start. I went through 32 ounces of water before I go to the end. My shoes and shorts were totally soaked. It looked like I was swimming. I increased my pace a little on the way back just to do some negative splitting, but still kept my heart rate down in Zone 2. The trail was really nice but it would be a lot nicer if it was 70 degrees and low humidity. Should be prime for the D&L Marathon in the Fall!

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History of the Lehigh Parkway

One of my favorite places to run in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania is the Lehigh Parkway. It is a beautiful stretch land that follows the banks of the Little Lehigh Creek. It provides a great crushed stone path for running and walking as well as large fields for many other activities. It is a utopia plopped right in Allentown and is home to many local races. The link below is a great article by Frank Whelan that describes the history of how the park came to be.

History’s headlines: Little Lehigh Parkway: Man and nature working together

Hills du Jour

Sitting here watching the Tour de France while Cadel Evans is flying up beyond category(HC for Hors Category) mountain climbs puts my evening ride into perspective. Nonetheless I thought my hill ride tonight was rather challenging with a 3rd and 4th category climb. This week has been chock full of some high intensity training and the stiffness in my legs are testament to that. As I headed out on my warm-up ride down Mertztown Road, I was wondered how I would perform on the route I had planned. I have a love-hate-love relationship with doing hills. I love the thought of doing them. I hate them when I am on them and love it when they are over.


The first hill of the evening was up Schlossberg Road. Schlossberg Road is a short but steep little climb but not categorized. The worst part about it is the oil & chipped false flat section of road that leads up to it. This section just sucks the life out of me. I frequently ride this part at the end of most of my rides and it kills me. The Schlossberg climb was a little rough to start, but it cleared some of the stiffness from my quads. I thought it would be a good warm-up for what was to come. My ranking on this climb is only 21st which is not that impressive. Got a long way to go on this one.

After little downhill and steady up Mountain Road, I made a hard left turn up Hensingersville Road. The start of this Category 3/4 climb is really steep and can almost seem like you are hardly moving then it levels out and gives you a little rest. The next uphill is very gradual at first but then increases in grade as you reach the top. The climb up to the stop sign at State St. is a category 4, but if you go up to the intersection at Benfield Road which adds a couple nice more steep climbs to it becomes a Category 3. So of course I rode it out to Benfield because I just can’t get enough! I am actually ranked 8th on this climb, which surprised the crap out me.

My original plan was to ride Benfield road out to Huff’s Church, pick up Dogwood down the mountain and up Centennial. As I cruised down Dogwood though I noticed what a nice consistent climb that was. I thought it would be around a Category 3, but found out later it is only Cat 4. Instead of doing Centennial, I rode back up Dogwood Road which was quite challenging. There seems to be no flatter parts to give you a chance to flush out some Lactic Acid(Lactate actually). It just keeps climbing the whole time. It is also very shaded and minimal traffic too. Have to keep this one in mind for future hill climb rides. One other note is that Huff’s Church Road, which runs along the top of these climbs is also nice too and has been recently paved. I really didn’t think the a-holes at PennDot actually pave roads anymore. They just oil and chip everything, even crappy roads. Anyway I even managed to tie for 8th on this climb. Not too bad for my first run up it.

I am now glad that is over with. Looking forward to some Zone 2/LSD workouts over the weekend. Hope it isn’t as hot as last weekend!

Chilly but Gorgeous

When I left work tonight I was looking forward to a nice evening bike ride. The air was cool, but the sun was glaring and sky clear, so it should be too bad. There was a slight breeze, but it didn’t seem too bad. When I started out on my ride, it seemed a bit cooler and windier that I thought. The wind was coming out of the north, so I decided I would do Centenial Hill Road which would put the wind at my back and warm me up a bit with a climb. Centennial did not let me down there. After that, it was quite cool and the wind just seemed to always be in my face. Besides all that it was one of those super clear, blue sky days.  The farmland around the Kutztown area was bursting with green and new buds of Springtime. It was a bit surreal at times. When I got home it took several hours for my toes to regain feeling again. Screen Shot 2012-04-05 at 11.03.07 PM

New Bridge in Breinigsville is Open


Trexler Road in Breinigsville has been reconfigured with a new bridge and road called Shaeffer Run Road. This road has been closed for a few months now and has been a real disruption in my cycling route. I know alot of cyclists riding from the “Velodrome” come through this way to head out towards Kutztown and Berks County, so it will be welcome for many. I noticed that many were testing out their “cross” skills and riding through the mud to avoid detouring around.

This excavation is so that Kay Builders can destroy farmland and put up more houses. Like we really need more around here. I would bet that this was formerly Jaindl land that was sold off for development.