Counting down to Challenge Roth

The past few years I have focused on Ironman brand events and this year I decided to take a different direction to choose events purely by my own interest in them.  The main goal was selected as Embrunman in France in August because I love to ride in the mountains and that is an epically hard course in the mountains.  I recently realized I could fit in Challenge Roth into my schedule and thats been an event I have long wanted to do.  Many have told me how special the event and the atmosphere is, so now I finally get a chance to do it!  Of course I have my own targets in regards to time, as the course is know for being very fast.  But mainly I am excited to experience the world's largest event with a long prestigious history.  

Like everything this year my buildup to Roth has been very different than in years past.  I have done a lot more work in the gym for one.  And now I have cut back on the total volume but really focused on the key tough sets to push those better.  In two weeks i will know if it has worked but so far I am quite happy how my body has responded.  Today was my last long run of 30km and now its mostly about getting rested up and staying fresh.  I will do one more short race here in Finland with Finntriathlon Vierumäki then make my way to Roth to see what this whole event is all about!  

Bye for now.


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Complete reset.

I choose to focus my attention forward.  It’s easy to get caught up looking backward into the past to analyze the successes and failures but to truly go where you want to go, you have to look forward.  2016 was a year I won’t regret but also a point where I recognized by the end that I needed to make some big changes to keep going where I want to go.   It was time for a complete reset.  I sat down and analyzed my priorities as an athlete and as a person, which allowed me to start writing my script for the coming year.  While I could easily look back on 2016 with disappointment, I choose to put my eyes on the open road ahead of me. 

Changing of the guard

The past 5 years I have had the honor of working with one of the best coaches in triathlon with Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems.  He really is a magic worker with his athletes and I have the utmost respect for him.  When it came time to look where I wanted to be as an athlete in 2017 I recognized I needed make major changes on what was my ‘driver’ for my daily, weekly, and seasonal routines and unfortunately it meant I didn’t have space in my life to continue trying to follow Jesse’s rigorous programs.   I needed to have the main driver come from within myself and match better with my life as a parent of three young children.

In order to come up with training plans and racing schedules that are centered around my everyday life, I have partnered with my original coach and trusted friend, Mika Luoto, to help generate the overall strategy, while daily trainings I am building myself.  I also decided to place a much bigger emphasis on strength training.  Maybe I am just getting old, or maybe I just want to spend less time on the trainer this winter, but I’ve begun a cooperation with Juhani Pitkänen from K3 fitness to really push the boundaries of where strength can help to build endurance success.   I also have the support of Hanhivaara fitness center with one of the best gym and fitness setups I have seen to give every opportunity for success.  

Narrowing the focus

The 2016 race season started in January in Panama and culminated in Malaysia in November, while training began in October 2015.   This meant I had an almost 14 month training season without any breaks longer than a couple days.  As you can imagine, this didn’t match too well with a family of three kids and wife working busy schedules too.  So looking forward I have decided to narrow my race season to focus in a smaller number of races in a shorter season.  I am quite confident this will not only produce better results but also be much more enjoyable for my family and myself as we are all in this game together. 

While I am still considering some options for my 2017 race calendar, I will start off the season in May with a couple half-Ironman events and build toward the main goal of Embrunman in August.  The French classic is a treasure chest of suffering and with 5000m of climbing on the bicycle segment; it’s incredibly well suited to my abilities as a cyclist.   A second full-distance event will likely be scheduled for September or October.   This narrowed focus is a breath of fresh air and I am excited to embrace it and make it my own.  Looking forward to a new year and a new season!  Cheers!





Oh, the Places You'll Go

“Where ever you go, you will top all the rest.  Except when you don’t. Because sometimes you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly it’s true that bangups and hangups can happen to you.  You can get all hung up in a prickle-y perch.  And your gang will fly on.  You’ll be left in a lurch. You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.  And chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.  And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.  Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”   - Oh the Places You Will Go,  Dr. Zeus.  Perhaps my favorite book to read to my kids.

Bangups and hangups can happen to you

Ups and downs are going to happen to everyone throughout life and my disaster of a race in South Africa pulled me quickly to a low point.   Like in Dr. Zeus's book, "Un-slumping yourself is not easily done".   After a couple weeks of feeling bad for myself, I tried to get my motivation back and find a goal to shoot at.   I first thought I should refocus to Ironman Nice but quickly realized I was mentally not ready to go through the necessary process of building up for another Ironman so quickly.  I took a step back and continued to train lightly but spent more time with my kids and also began the long promised project of building my kids a playhouse. 

Ironman South Africa:  Lesson learned:  DRINK ENOUGH!

Ironman South Africa:  Lesson learned:  DRINK ENOUGH!

Un-slumping yourself is noT easily done

I kept my original schedule of racing 70.3 St. Pölten but after a couple weeks of ok training, our whole family got a nasty stomach virus and bam, I was in a Slump again.  One week before St. Pölten I was still questioning how smart it was to be trying to race but I decided to go anyways and enjoy without any pressure of a result because perhaps it could be the kick I would need to get myself un-slumped. 

The view of wine country.  Not bad!

The view of wine country.  Not bad!

The two days before the race in Austria were a blast.  My travel companion and I went riding through vineyards and even got to take a private tour of a historic winery.  I maybe even did a bit of wine tasting.  I made sure to enjoy the travels but kept my eyes on the race with an open mind.

One of the largest and oldest wine presses in Europe.  500 years old, made out of 500 year old oak = 1000 year old oak tree!

One of the largest and oldest wine presses in Europe.  500 years old, made out of 500 year old oak = 1000 year old oak tree!

Race day rolled around and I was excited to get out there and enjoy no matter what my body said.  Pretty quickly I found I still had a good feeling and was able to push well.  As the race continued I felt better and better.  I came home with a respectable 10th place finish and more importantly I had managed to "un-Slump" myself as well as very much enjoyed the day of racing. 

Photo:  Marcel Hilger

Photo:  Marcel Hilger

You're off to great places, you're off and away!

My feelings after St. Pölten are best explained with a couple more quotes from Oh the Places You’ll:  “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.  And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go…  you’re off to Great Places!  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!


Upcoming events:

5.6 - 70.3 Rapperswil, Switzerland

16.7 - Finntriathlon Joroinen

24.7 - Ironman Switzerland (My mountain)

13.8 - Challenge Turku