Monday, May 30, 2011


It really was an epic month. lets see.... Trans portugal 9 stage MTB race, Ironman Texas and this weekend, one week after Texas, an Half ironman here in Portugal.

The race was fine, to be honest i had a terrific recovery from the ironman. and actually felt better leading to this race than to Ironman Texas.

I was second in a very close finish with Hugo ventura that is a tremendous athlete and one to watch if he gets into this long distance stuff.

Ventura has an amazing swim/bike strenght, i already had 4 min after the swim to recover as he was the first out of the water and i was somewhere around 10th. i felt better in the water too when compared to last week. I paced well in the ride, an out and back course of 4 laps with wind picking up really hard during the ride. hugo Ventura still managed to gain time on me, especially at the first 2 laps while i shaved a bit in the last lap. Still there was a big gap to the lead but i made my way out of the bike course in second already with a 1:14 ride while hugo posted 1:12.  I was already happy just for not dragging my body through the course and was even more happy that i was feeling well, of course considering that ive done an ironman right ;)

I was hoping that hugo would have problems on the run as it is his weak spot right now or at least it could be in this race. I started in a pace that i felt confortably fast as i had Rafael and Estrangeiro on my heels especially in that first lap (of 5) where they got closer like 30 sec after arriving 1 min later to t2. i wasnt properly counting og getting to ventura on the run, just ran hard as i was enjoying the race. second lap i got away from the duo chasing me and got closer but not much to the lead. 3rd lap i finally got a chance to see ventura on the 2 out and back sections of the lap and 4th lap i took a ton of time, at some point i tought i could do it and catch him i ran as i hard as i could an at the last turn around of the final lap, around 1km to the end i was VERY close to him and he was in all sorts of trouble. I didnt quite made it to the lead for a mere 25s aaaarg the run should be a few meters longer ;)

finished with 4h:01m with the joy of having a fun day of racing and the fastest run. Ill have to congrat Hugo Ventura for his win especially while digging so deep to keep me of his heels on the run.

With this crazy month over, ill have time to prepare for another great month of racing....starting with ironman France at the end of june.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

texas photos

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the race

First the venue... one of the nicest course Ive done, yes its hot and humid but it wasn't that bad.

I had a predictable result that translates the feelings i had during last weeks. i felt tired the whole day and had to manage the race with what i had.

The swim in lake woodlands is cool, water is dark has hell and the point to point swim was nice also. Right from beginning i was left alone pushing a group the whole way until the last stretch. i almost able to catch the group ahead at the first turn around buoy, they where just there but then i started loosing it. leaving the water i immediately knew that i was far back and of course away from the group i should have been. no worries.

The bike was by far the loneliest ride i ever had, really. i saw nobody. yes i passed some girls but that was it!!
it was kinda cool with even some light rain so heat wasn't a factor. i didn't felt very strong right from the beginning as well so trying to get the most of what i got was the only option but in reality theres no more to be said about the bike. lonely lonely, not boring.....just lonely ;)

the run was where i really tried to do something, i started at somewhere near 6:15 6:20min/mile but i was feeling that that rithm wasn't comfortable, i slowed down. by mile 14 15 it really hit me but it was actually by then when i finally started to go up in the board so that was of course ...nice. till the end it was just a matter of running and suffering a bit more. i had no idea of race situation until i got to the finish line, was 12th and i really dont feel bad about it the pro field was immense. i was of course in a whole lot better shape in south africa but that doesn't bother me at all.

till next week ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

post Trans pre Texas

It has been some dificult days ;)

as soon as i took my foot of the gas pedal all changed. I had some dificult days last week. I wouldnt expect being so long to recover from this although from certain point, with all the racing in the last days and still logging some non cycling workouts i was asking for a slower recovery. As today i still suffer from the very traumatic experience that my arms took at Trans Portugal. After getting rid of all the sweling the pain in the tendoms got worse and is still present with some better days and some worse days, im actually feeling it as i write. But, again, it was a wonderfull experience and with all honesty im looking forward to something like this in the future.

Im at philly airport, waiting for my ride to houston where, you guessed, ill be racing this weeekend at the inaugural Ironman Texas. I just hope to have a satisfatory race and that i feel good out there with all the great names at the race. I felt good during last weekend but last few days where more so so. We will see how this few easy days before the race will help or not ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

some numbers for the WOW factor ;)

Stages - 9
Total distance - 1170 km(there was a detour in one stage for the longer side)
Total elevation gain - 26471m
Number of massages - 0
Number of dinner plates (with food) in the 9 days - 27
Anti inflamatory pills for the arms - 10
Anti inflamatory Gel pack - 1
Shorts with most stages - 7 (they where "washed" of course)
number of crashes - 1 big 1 small and 4 totally inofensive
Number of Carboom gels packs - 81
Number of flats - 6
Times i washed my cycling shoes - 1 (there was no point with all the mud and river crossings)
Stages Won - 1 ....yeahhh ;)

and some photos from 9th stage

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trans Portugal Day 9

Last day, kinda frustration one...

All started with a flat at 4km in a downhill. Too soon. I changed as fast as i could and started pedaling like hell. the stage wasnt too bad in the begiing and i was in MDK mode. I was closing the lead group and had the information that they where working together.
I felt good legs and was pushing very hard to get there. at km 75-80 i finally had a glimpse og the lead pack and at the same time F$###$ another flat. Damnit!!! i lost the mojo. and after repairing the second time i cruised the rest of the way (knowing that i was safe at 3rd). Enjoying some Sightseeing of Sagres. i was bummed to be so close to get them and loosing it. more than the 4 flats in the first stage :(

Anyway, it is done. I absolutely loved the Experince great athletes great staff great race, super tough courses. ill come up with my numbers next.

now its back to full triathlon mode

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trans portugal day 8

2 days to go.

For me this was the day to try get Ignacio (with all the respect, like i said he is aas very nice guy).

The stage was  around 140 km with the first half mostly flat with lots of short and steep climbs and then at 110km the BIG Technical Climb followed with a very slipery techincal downhill would sure destry everyone.

I was sure of one thing. if i get there with Ignacio and Gijs, i would be dropped big time as those guys just are amasing going through those techincal climbs like it happended while arriving to Castelo de Vide.

Early on, Marco and Craig took advantage of a mellow pace and build a 3 min lead. My plan was to try leave ignacio before 110km, with a hard pace taking advantege of the easier terrain and with the climbs later on.

When the gap hit the 3min mark i made the decision of bridging the gap so i pushed the group in a pace that i could be confortable but that could make some damage to the group. We soon caught the duo, not sure at witch km and then it was the time for everything or nothing.

I lauched more than a dozen attacks, some of them where almost sucessfull but where destroyed by downhills, ignacio making his way to my wheel and when aparently he didnt someone would. I did it in short climbs, flats, roads, everywhere i could but i was left with nothing other than a very short group of 4.

at a certain point the route was a total mess, me and ignacio ended up in the wrong side of a big hole. Gijs and Sloan where at the right side. This ended up with some laughs between me and ignacio and we actually had to throw our bike 2 meters in the air to make our way beck into the route. Gijs and Sloan took advantage of that and disapeeared. We then where caught by the group behind as our pace was slow. One or two more attacks and the time was lost. it was time to get dropped ;)

And so it happened, as soon as we hit the climb Ignacio just floated through the rocks as i was batling them so hard. it was something like 3km up and 3km down followed by up and down the rest of the ride.

At the top i had already 2:30 down on ignacio, at the bottom i had 4min what could i do?? nothing. I turned off the racing switch back then it was time to call it quits ;)

i dont have a clue on how much time i lost at the end but honestely i dont care much, one more fun day out there. i just know that im safe at 3rd place unless something happens

To end the day nicelly a swim in this amazing hotel im at was great

more tomorrow

Trans- portuga day 7

An easy Stage??? 159km  since there was a detour...

the pace was easy indeed but there were a lot of attacks. i wasnt feeling very well for sure, but was abble to respond to everything. Ignacio tried to drop me severall times when there where some good guys up ahead. i of course was interested in Ignacio not Marco and craig that made their way for some times, ignacio then tried to join and i had to follow. My arms and wrists suffered like hell with all the sprints. i just cant get rid of the huge swelling i have on them. The winner was actually one of the handicaped riders.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trans Portugal Day 6

Castelo de vide - Monsarraz 169km

i woke up "feeling ok", not sure if that would mean something, my arms are really trashed and im still loosing strenght on my hands during the stage especially if the terrain doesnt cooperate.

leaving Castelo DE Vide the was a big techical climb followed by a very shaky downhill and then up and down that would take a long time to do.

The first climb was just 2km from the start, nice warmup, i was in the front, going down was another story, lost time...catch up to do with 15km (that took almost an hour to cover) and 3 minutes behind the group that included Ignacio.

I had still several people around me and caught marco that was alone and we made contact with the escapes.
i pushed the pace for severall kms especially in the road sections, at km 50 we would espect to hit the private land passes and thar would mean opening and closing Gates some of them with very tricky locks. as a rule a group cant proceed until the gate is closed and the man that closes the gate in on board his bike. there where 36!!!! gates wainting for us for 100km!!! ;) the other "rule" is if a group has noone in sight behing then it can close the gate, that makes break aways kinda tricky to actually happen.

with that in mind and since there was still so many guys around i needed to be concertrated, the pace was sow but you never know. there where parts that we where going really slow with so many gates to go through it was impossible to leave anyone behind. Curiously it was the part where i felt really bad, probably with all the stop wait and go's
peace reigned until km 85 where one of the few water spots was. I decided to be self suficient, like ive done in all stages so far, for this long stage i took extra weight,

everyone Except joao Mesquita stoped so i kept going with him in a rithm that would be enough for them to get to me easely. there was a steep hill in road surface and at the end of it i looked back to see where they where, close. Then all of the suden MArco and Craig went through me in a crazy speed, i looked back and WOW everyone got behing, ill get onboard this train!!!
there is my chance to try take some time of ignacio!!! from then on it was all about pushing as much as i could with the duo. My arms where more and more weak and i fell at around 110km since i didnt have strenght to hold my hadlebar properly, nothing serious other than my afected EGO ;) this is the second fall of the race.

the gap got bigger to the max of 4 min then it started do shrink,after the fall it got to 2:30, pure racing and i was loving it!! fortunately the terrain left wasnt too shaky or i would be in trouble with handling.

close to monsarraz the gap got to 1:30 (i was suposing that ignacio was with the brothers) then the climb to monsarraz.... again steep, stoned and freaking hard. MArco droped back in the begining and craig was in my wheel and i was almost sure he was just waiting for it to get steeper and leave me behind witch hapened. What i wasnt expecting was looking back and seeing the yellow Jersey getting close so fast!!! he passed me and got to craig, just WOW how he did that hill!!!! after getting to the top there was just a downhill to the finish line. Craig eventually won and i was just a few seconds behing them, did i say i was impressed with gijs in that hill???

i took some time off Ignacio not enough i think. Great pall by the way!!!

no more workouts today for me ;)
tomorrow is an easier stage

Trans portugal Day 5

Arrival At Castelo de Vide.

longish stage of 149km, mostly flat... yes but lots of mud at th begining, the result was of course catchup for me.
as i got back to the group, everything seemed peacfull. Ignacio is of course my rival right now as the second place is up for grabs. there was a massive group during most of the stage and i really didnt felt like pushing at the front, well at least until near the end as i was sure that we would have some fireworks with ignacio. near the end the group got smaller and smaller with the usual suspects. in a 30% climb, the twins took of and started to work together at the front leaving me, marco and Ignacio. in the last Water spot Marco decided to stop and as consequence i was left with ignacio chasing the dutch brothers, What a coincidence  ;)

we worked together to catch the boys at front, pure racing, fortunately one of the brother got a flat and gijs was left at front and soon after we caught him. There was nothing to do other than wait for the final climb that was VERY steep and VERY techical as usual with big and irregular cobble stones. what can i say, i was left behind in the very first few meters, they just took off.  in 2 km i lost around 2 minutes to ignacio and Gijs won the stage. Everything is good!!! more on day 6, the longest stage of the race!!!
im now around 4 minutes from Ignacio

i was left with a 50 min run to do today....not very fun but always nice sight seeing ;)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trans portugal Day 4

More and more tired!!!

yesterday there was a race leader change that is now gijs, im in 3rd a couple minutes away from ignacio and with Marco right behind me.

the stage begun, you guessed, with me dropping back on the leaders, today there was a lot of mud sections at the begining and with all the guys around me i get nervous ;)

after the firt climb of the day that was around 4km with some very hard parts i really was feeling dead. the downhill was Fast and i managed to go all out without worring about crashing.

there was then a flatish part where i could really pedal hard in direction to Fatela. I pushed a group all the way and dropped in the Fatela climb that was cobble stone and steep. at km 45 i finally got back to the lead group of 6, that was a relieve and also a surprise to feel a lot better at that time. from there i really didnt want to do much other than trying to hang wout with the boys. it was a constant up and down, river crossing, mud and water and i was already having a load of problems with my arms. especially the right one that make the shifting, to the point where i just stopped using the rear deralium and had only 2 gears, the big ring and middle ring ;) more and more torture!!!
despite some efforts of tearing apart the group it stood compact except for joep, the race leader bro.
i had several problem to follow whats left of the group in the last km as it was a terrain that forced too much my arms but was abble to get to the finish line and sprint in that group, i was last of course ;)

tomorrow we will leave monfortinho and have Castelo de vide as destination, a place where i did a small training camp last year so i know the MTB...right !!!

sorry for the lack of care with writing but i really need to get sleep in !!!! but you get the point

Trans portugal Day 3

From WOW to outch ;)

today was probably the hardest stager of the race closey followed by the first one.
Serra da Estrela say much to most portuguese, the stage would promise to be very very hard. At the begining the twins (dutch guys) tear everything apart with the front guys, me excluded ad i droped back at the first downhill. Im having real problems to handle my bike in technical sections as my harms and tendoms are really suffering from the lack of preparation for MTB stage race. The big downhill at the start just teared me apart. a very looong roman cobble stone road left me far away from the lead, then there was the first super steep uphill, i was glad to have my arms back from that traumatic downhill ;)

i gained some spots from the crazy downhill doodes and altough i was far away from feeling as strong as yesterday i settled to a good rithm. uphill was very technical and required more from my arms, something that i really didnt want its strange to worry more about your arms than your legs while youre pedaling right :)

anyway to cut things short from what i understand the twins and Ignacio where working really hard to gain time on the race leader. at the very end of the big climb, besides the breathtaking scenary i caught the Craig and then Marco the race leader. Nice!!! then another techincal downhill and more hurting. Craing and Marco took of and was never abble to catch them on the section where i could put some power to the ground. It was a awesome course and the best was yet to come!!! the Downhill to manteigas was pure torture for me as i didnt have strength on my hands to control the bike at speed, i was really afraid to fall in sutch a soned roads. When i was arriving to manteigas i passed Marco that was fixing a flat.

After getting to manteigas a 17km climb was ahead. I was alone so i tried to do it at a good rithm with the energy i had left. Very very hard with section where you really want to dismount followed with some road stretchs that fell like downhill :)

i passed kate, the Handicaped female racer near the end and had a glimpse of Craing again at the top but couldnt catch him but did passed one of the brothers (i still cant say who is who) tht was dead. brutal climb and a almost fall when i was trying to give some love to my arms. after that it was a closed road downhill, that was perfect to get rid of the remainder distance fast.

i finished in 4th, craig got a penalty so i got up one spot in the day. But a lost a lot of time to the stage winner and ignacio.

Great stage where i suffered going up and going down, you cant ask more than that ;)

tomorrow will be easier

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trans portugal Day 2

WOW, i didnt have a flat today ;)

the stage was awesome, very dangerous at some parts, enought to have me dismout, especially in the first kms. loosing time was of course inevitable. after that a loong climb that made me go up again in the ranks and soon after that i was surprised to see the lead pack WOW cool!!!

as i got there everyone started looking to everyone to see who was going to push, as i have nothing to realy loose on this world i did it. a climb made the group explode and even the race leader droped a few meters behing, hmmmmm.  i was alone in the front for 10 km and got caught by the rest of the group, a portuguese (leader Marco Almeida) 2 guys from holland and a canadian. we rode for a lot ok kms together in the flater section of the stage. with 40 km to go the next and last hard part was begining. hills, up and down all the time. a hard hill that started in pavement made me push big gears again, that made the canuck and one of the holies drop back and then another few kms later i was alone.

WOW i gained time very quickly especially when i could put power to the wheels frome there the diference was from 2:30 to 4 min depending on the terrain. the last few kms where really bruta withe very heavy terrain, mud and rocak all over the place, vary hard on my body and got me strugling a lot. but i did manage to get to the finish line in first, pretty darn cool. i am now in 4th overall as there was a ton of people loosing big chunks of time today.

tomorrow there is brutal stage in the high mountains, i ran and swam today and that actually felt good. not sure how i will wake up tomorro though, it was a hard effort today ;)

having fun the whole way

trans Portugal, day 1

Here i was in a diferent world ;)

day one was hard, 146km with almost 4000m of elevation gain. after the normal star i was somewhere near the front until the first puncture, only 15km!!! WTF

changing tube, and lost the company, after that it would be kinda doing my own stuff. The terrain was brutal on the body, very hard riding especially after half way where it started raining. i was pushing big number, i do have a powermeter installed ;)

i started passing the ones that where blowing up at the front then pfffffft second one. I had 3 spare tubes just in case. changed, lost a few places and regained then. pffffft 3rd one, changed tube but wasnt passed rode a long way and with 20km to go pfffffft, im screwed. i had nothing more to do other than waiting for someone coming behind me. gladly it was the firt one that tossed me a spare and the 2nd tossed me a co2. it was all about finishing.

6:50 around 20ish minutes from the leader. It was a ton of fun though i took quite a beating, im just not used to this mtb stuff ;)