Saturday, August 7, 2010

So, I'm sitting here in front of my computer updating this blog on a Saturday morning instead of being out on a bike training...why....a swollen left ankle was my reward at the end of yesterday's run. Bummer. I've had bad ankles for years and I love running trails, which tend to have plenty of rocks, ruts, etc...the two don't go together well. I was doing a bunch of 20 second intervals during my run and never saw the rock that turned my an instant I was hopping on one leg and cursing at everything around me. The good news is that the ankle feels good enough now that I think taking today off as a precaution will be enough and I'll be back on the bike by tomorrow...probably running (on nice smooth pavement) in less than a week. Time to get a little more serious about doing the exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle.

Focusing on the positive: A good week of training otherwise. Got in some good hard intervals on sunrise climb in the McDowell Preserve. I feel good and I feel ready to work hard in the upcoming weeks. Oddly enough, I tend to enjoy biking the most when I'm doing structured workouts and feeling like I'm working hard. Looking forward to getting past this minor bump in the road and hitting it hard next week!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gearing up for the Fall

So today I started preparing myself for a few races in the fall. These are pretty laid back races and they're fun. I'm not doing any competitive post-season races this year as I've been pretty much consumed with the antics of businessownership. I've been training a ton and feel like I'm faster than I've ever been, but no racing to prove it. I'm looking forward to some good Fall races to get me back in the swing of things. Here's the schedule:

8/21/10 - Absolute Bikes/St Mary's Food Bank Mountain Bike Race - Flagstaff, AZ
9/11/10 - Gettysburg Century (tentative) - Gettysburg, PA
10/2/10 - Tour of the White Mountains 60 mile MTB race - Show Low, AZ
10/9/10 - DCB Adventures Dust Devil MTB Race #1 - McDowell Mtn Park, AZ
10/30/10 - DCB Adventures Dust Devil MTB Race #2 - Estrella Mtn Park, AZ
11/7/10 - Amica Sprint Triathlon - Lake Pleasant, AZ
11/20/10 - DCB Adventures Dust Devil MTB Race #3 - White Tanks Park, AZ
12/4/10 - DCB Adventures Dawn to Dusk MTB Race - McDowell Mtn Park, AZ

Should be fun. My coach, Trevor Glavin, has had me doing tons of strength work on the bike. I'm pushing a bigger gear than before. Looking forward to racing and seeing the results of all the work!


Oh how luck I am to live in the great state of of the best places for mountain-biking. Every time I travel somewhere other than AZ, I'm asked how we manage to live here in the summer...particularly when the other person is a triathlete/cyclist, etc..."how do you train in the heat." I'll admit, there are some tough days. But 90 minutes in the car gets you a 15-20 degree drop in temps and your biggest risk is crashing on the bike because you can't stop taking your eyes off the trail to stare at the views. This is Mountain-Biking!!! Got in a great 3 hr ride here last sunday - 95% singletrack - starting from Absolute Bikes and added a 30 minute run for good measure.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tommy O; Semi-Pro

Wahoooo!!! Below is the response I received from USA Cycling regarding my request to race at the semi-pro level. I'm extremely excited to get the opportunity to compete with the pro/semi-pro field. I've got alot of work to do.

Dear Tom OBrien,The following request to change your NORBA category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:obrient6 - 2008-09-25 23:50Member: Tom OBrienLicense: Cross Country RacerRequest to change category from Expert to Semipro

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Semi-Annual Update - one day I'll be more active on this blog!

Ok, so I try to update this blog about once every six months...running a couple of weeks late on that. The first half of this year's season was fantastic. I raced in four mountain bike races in the spring as a warm up for the off-road triathlon season. I was a bit nervous going into the mtb races because I upgraded to the expert level and was worried that the competition would be intense. There was a ton of competition, but I ended up placing first twice and third twice. One of the first place finishes was at an NMBS race (national level). This was a big confidence-builder for me. The Xterra season kicked off with a first place amateur finish (3rd overall behind two pro's). This gave me even more confidence going into the first and one of the most difficult Xterra races of the year - the West Championships in Temecula. A 5th place amateur finish (3rd in Age-Group) was enough to qualify again for the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii.
A somewhat solid race in Richmond, VA closed the first half of the racing season.

Unfortunately, the second half of the season never actually picked up. During a planned mid-season break I had to make the decision to take some time off from racing for the remainder of the year. They say that sometimes in life, you are given signs that you hopefully notice and pay attention to - In early August both of my bikes were stolen from atop my car. This was my sign. I just hope the sign was to "take a couple months off and make some changes" not to be done with racing altogether. I have continued to train, but the racing needed a break. While it was very difficult to concede my spots in Tahoe (us nationals) and Maui (worlds), I am confident that the decision to do so was a good one and will serve me well in the long-run. The re-adjusted training program begins next week. I plan on focusing on mountain bike racing next year, while still doing enough with Xterra to make a run at qualifying for Nationals and Worlds.

Can't wait to get back to training!!

Friday, February 29, 2008

So Far This Year....

I'm entering my third year of racing. Each year, I line up at the starting line of the season-opening mountain bike race wondering where I stack up after everyone's off-season. I was a bit intimidated this year as it would be my first year racing in the expert class. So far, things are going well. Race reports below:

Desert Classic Duathlon (2/24/08)

The morning greeted us with a beautiful sunrise. Today would be my first race on a road bike. Got a killer Velovie from Bicycle showcase. If you know me well enough, you know that the only reason I know its a great bike is because other people who know about bikes told me it is. The first run was solid for me, not great, but solid. I think my pace worked out to be 5:51 per mile for 3.5 miles. I thought, based on MTB races, that once I got on the bike, I'd excel. Not the case today. I was served a nice pice of humble pie, and I ate every last bite. The second run, a 2.7 mile jaunt, was traversed at a 6:28/mile pace. Again, good, but not great. Final result - 3rd in the 30-34 age-group. More work to do before the season starts! Positives on the day, Brian Barrett and Stephen Stromberg - good friends of mine - both looked strong. Stephen qualified for Duathlon worlds in Italy and Brian showed everyone that he's ready to kick some a** this year. We were all podium finishers and as such are all now proud owners of a Phx Tri Club cowbell.

24 Hours of Old Pueblo (2/16-2/17/08)

Myself and Trevor Glavin, James Walsh , and Brian Barrett - three Xterra triathletes - good ones, too - all decided to do this race together. This was one of those things where we signed up back in October or November or something before we remembered that it could get pretty cold and nasty down in Tucson in February. Have you ever had to speak to a group and you know you should sit down and organize your thoughts, but instead you just say - ah, I'll just say whatever comes to mind at the moment? That's about the level of preparedness we exhibited as we rolled up to camp in 38 degree weather with nothing but tents and sleeping bags. I don't think James and I got out of the car for more than 10 minutes at a shot. Within the first twenty minutes, it was snowing. It didn't take long for us to retreat to the nearest form of lodging. We sought out the most luxurious of accommodations in San Manuel, AZ and dined in style at the town's mexican restaurant. On race-day, my eager teammates made two decisions - 1) we were going to run for an hour just before the race started and 2) I was going to pull the first leg of the race. The le-mans start was different - I probably was 40th on the bike and within the first minute on the bike - 5th or 6th and feeling good that I could keep up with the lead pack. Unbeknownst to me was that my front tire was leaking air and within 5-10 minutes, I took a digger (see picture at the top of the page). I felt like crap - we had to pull out of the race as I was in need of some stitching up. I offered to go and get stitched up and return to ride, but my teammates felt bad about me going to the hospital on my own. I think we were all secretly relieved to have a solid excuse not to ride through a 30-some degree night with no form of heat at all. I was more than fine bailing on this one.

White Tanks Whirlwind (2/9/08)

The second MBAA race was at White Tanks. I couldn't believe how green the desert was. We've been getting a ton of rain (by Arizona standards) and there's green grass growing in the desert. In any case, my first goal in this race was to make it to the starting line on time and actually start at the front of the pack. I made it to the front and had a good race. Once the gun went off, five to six of us shot out and held a pretty good pace for the first lap. Race strategy for me was to have a hard first lap, settle into a solid pace second and third lap while staying with the lead pack, and then to ride hard for the last lap. It worked and I ended up winning the 19-39 expert class. I even had enough energy to go for a 2.5 mile run immediately following the race. I wasn't setting any records - 7:45-8:00 miles, but it was a victory for me because I was able to ride hard and run fairly well afterwards. I'll miss the next MTB race due to some traveling, but will be back to the starting line for the 3/15 race in Sonoita.

McDowell Meltdown (1/19/08)

I nearly missed the start of the first race at McDowell Mountain Park and ended up lining up at the back of the pack. Climbed and clawed my way back to third - missed first place by something like 46 seconds. The riders in the MBAA series are a strong group and it definitely helps me to push my riding up to their level. Final result - 3rd place - Expert Men 19-39
The off-season...

This off-season has been hectic. I was given the opportunity to buy a business at the end of last year and it was too good of a match to pass it up. The unfortunate timing of things was that this opportunity came right before Nationals and Worlds. It's been busy, but even with the stresses and pressures of running a business, I've managed to get a good amount of training in during the off-season (Thanks to a great staff of employees and an extremely understanding wife).

On a promising note, I've been given the opportunity to represent the Phoenix Triathlon Club as a supported team member. They're a great group of people with a mission statement that I feel I can stand behind. There aren't many fat-tires in the group, but I'll convert a couple before the year is done! I've also been selected to Team Aquaphor and will do my best to represent them well.

I'm looking forward to another good year for me and all of my fellow competitors (I just hope mine's a little better).