Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reactions to DNF in Spain

I've had about a week to take-in the unfortunate events that occurred in Spain at the Duathlon World championships. Going in, as you may have read from my previous posts, I was feeling confident in my running, having returned to a feeling I hadn't seen in quite some time. I had produced some promising solo results and was more than ready to mix it up with the world Duathlon elites.

Pre-race, I felt fresh. I had had a good week of laying low and the mini workouts leading up to the race were promising. Race day showed ideal weather and no big surprises. The gun went off like any sort of big running race. Immediately a lead pack formed with a few anxious athletes off the front - they would undoubtedly come back. I wasn't aware of any splits being given out during the first run but I did hear post-race that the first 5k was fast, around 14:30. At about the 6.5-7km mark, like an explosion, my entire right abdominal section from my waist to my ribs seized. I tried to run through it over the next 400 meters, attempting any anti-stitch technique I could think of but it only worsened. By the end of that quarter-mile, it seized up so much that I was having trouble breathing and I wound up tearing muscles in both the upper and lower sections of my abdomen. 

My race was over.

I couldn't decide what was more painful, my abdomen or watching the group run away from me. Again I say, my race was over and it was simply surreal. Everything was lost. I had worked so hard; put in so much time and for what? This? No. In disbelief, I tried once more to get back on course but it was unbearable. What I was hoping would be a top 10 finish or even better turned into a DNF - not how I saw this one panning out.

While this result was completely defeating and demoralizing, at times like this I must rely upon my ideologies. I am an optimist through and through and I believe these types of events happen for a reason (credit is due to my wife for reminding me when I didn't want to be reminded). 

It took a little while for all this to settle in which is why I'm getting back to you all only now. My conclusion of it all: I am still HERE. There will be ANOTHER day. I WILL race again. In this profession where bad days certainly happen, you must be teflon-like. You have to deal with the cards you're dealt on that given day and tell yourself there will be another hand of cards. Letting this sort of guff bother you for too long will only hurt you down the road. With that, my plan is to take what I can from this experience, channel it into something useful and get ready for next season. 

For those who had already heard, thank you for your kind, supportive remarks. I'm going to heal up as quick as I can and get right back into it!

Thanks for checking in, talk soon!

-HH

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arrival in Spain!

The Mrs. and I touched down in Madrid early Monday morning. Despite two LONG flights east, we were determined to stay up and acclimate to the time change as soon as possible. We stayed with friends in Salamanca, right in the heart of Madrid and since we only had two days here, we wanted to hit the ground running!

We dropped our bags and bike box (sigh of relief) and headed around the corner to a coffee shop for a quick croissant and cappuccino. I NEVER drink coffee (this was in fact my first cappuccino) and for some reason, after having drunk most of that cup all I wanted to do was lie down! What?! So, we weighed our options and decided to head back, get an hour of shut-eye and THEN hit the ground running… An hour of shut-eye turned into 2.5 and we didn’t get out the door until 2 at which point we deliriously shuffled over to the Thyssen museum. I have yet to look at the pictures we took on our stroll to the museum, but I have to assume they were pretty amusing because I don’t remember much of that part of the walk!

Happily, that 2-hour nap was all we needed to get us on Spain-time. We enjoyed some Paella with our hosts the first night and then the following day some botanical gardens, more croissants, the Palacio Real, more gardens, the Palacio Cristal (pictured) and a great inter-continental dinner again with our hosts to complete our trip in Madrid (another sigh of relief). I may be able to race triathlons full-time, but being a tourist for the better part of a day is EXHAUSTING. Before we knew it, we were headed to Gijon, Spain! USAT chartered a couple of buses to take their athletes from the Madrid airport to the northern coastal town of Gijon – about a 6 hour bus ride. Our bus route was as if we were driving through rural parts of the U.S. It started with open agricultural plains, followed by rolling hills, and then a mean, winding dissent to the coast. During this dissent, we hit a 5-minute tunnel that ventured through the base of a mountain and it spit us out into an entirely different climate. We went from dry, sunny and hi-80s to wet, socked-in fog and hi-50s!

We arrived in Gijon around 7:30pm, dropped our bags and immediately got some food. While Spain’s schedule normally consists of 9:30-10:00 dinners, today, mine did not! I wanted some food and then sleep! I woke up this morning, met with the USAT coach and a few other elite athletes and headed out for a little course inspection.

The course: 10km run, 43.2km bike, 5km run. Being an ITU-style (draft legal) race, the course’s main focus is being spectator-friendly. With that, there are 4 – 2.5km loops for the first run; 8 – 5.4km loops for the bike; 2 – 2.5km loops for the final run. Talk about being dizzy after all those loops! On top of that, the transition area is on a 400m outdoor velodrome track where the race starts, continues through, and ends!

The specifics: The runs will be flat and fast with only one out-and-back per lap. The only variable is that the out-and-back will be on 50 meters of cobblestones! The bike is slightly long but also flat and fast. What will make this portion of the race interesting is whether it rains Friday night, and how much?! There are a few technical turns and one out-and-back each lap so with a little added water to the course, this could make for an interesting ride..! If you're interested in more info regarding the Duathlon World Championships, click here.

I’m feeling good about the course and about my fitness. Barring any disaster, I’m ready to have a big race! Most of all, I’m proud to be wearing red, white and blue this weekend!

Thanks for checking in, talk soon.

-HH

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Road to DuaWorld: Series Finale, Part 4

Hey All,

With much anticipation, this is the final chapter of the The Road to DuaWorlds mini series! Thank you all for bearing these LONG entries! Enjoy and I'll see you on the other side!

The Road to DuaWorlds, Series Finale Part 4

My road to DuaWorlds continued this past week with a few solid training sessions, followed by my last road race before I took off for Europe. Again, my emphasis was on fine-tuning my run fitness, in addition to maximizing my level of comfort in an aggressive bike pack.


I’m no stranger to pack riding, as I’ve included these types of rides in my overall training regimen since the beginning. This type of riding can be like a game of Chess: each rider having to predict another riders’ tactics in addition to using tactics of their own. In order to be in a position to both predict and execute, one must ride towards the front, always aware, putting out a solid effort the entire time. In draft-legal races, like DuaWorlds, there are constant attacks and attempted break-aways. At this race in particular, preventing this from happening is crucial because it’s only a 5k run, not a 10k off the bike. As such, I’ve become a student of group riding as of late, so there won’t be any surprises come Saturday.

On Wednesday, I had my last solid track session before heading to Europe. It was another track-trainer BRICK: 3k run @ sub-5:10 pace; 16 minute TT with 4x30 second pick-ups during the TT; off and run 1,500 at 5k race pace. I felt smooth and comfortable during the 3k, knocking off 74-76’s per lap. I jumped on the bike and was able to locate that rhythm, even despite the 4x30 second pickups which jacked my heart rate. I got off the bike and powered through the 1,500. I hit the tape at 4:29, more or less the pace I want to be hitting come DuaWorlds! This was yet another confidence building speed-work session, just ahead of my Huntington Beach 10k.

Saturday rolled around and I was ready for a race! My legs felt OK and I was looking forward to putting up a good 10k effort. The gun went off and once again, I found myself racing the lead biker along PCH. I hit the 5k turn-around point at 16:00 and wasn’t too pleased with that time. Heading back against traffic, I decided to put in some consistent surges to keep the pace honest. I hit the tape around 31:30, negative splitting the 5k’s – 16:00 to 15:30. I felt better after the race than I did prior and better after this race than I had after any of my previous four races! And if that wasn’t enough, I won a nice little $150 prize, which subsequently helped fund my taking out the in-laws for a pancake breakfast.

Looking back on the last 5 or so weeks of training, I can come away with a few thoughts. For one, I stuck to the program my coach and I created and I feel great. I feel ready to take on the world’s best duathletes and ready to even surprise of few! Two, reconnecting with regular road races has been quite beneficial, not only physically but also mentally. Physically because I feel my running is at a place where it used to be and where I want it to be going forward. Mentally because it is what I used to do and what I used to love by itself before triathlons. With adding the swimming and biking, I lost touch with my original passion, but having found it again over the last several weeks, I feel rejuvenated and back to my old self! On the 24th, I’m going to give them hell in Gijon and I dare any of them to step up!

Thanks for all the support, as usual. I will check in with you all once I touch down in Gijon! Talk soon.

-HH

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Road to DuaWorlds Mini Series: Part 3

We meet again!

I have for your enjoyment the 3rd of 4 installments of the mini series - The Road to DuaWorlds! I've had a lot of fun producing these entries and hope you all enjoy them as well! Without further adieu..

The Road to DuaWorlds, Part 3

This past week I started off with a Labor Day race in San Pedro called Conquer the Bridge 3. It was a 5.3 mile out-and-back race over the Vincent-Thomas Bridge. For those who are unaware of this bridge, the center point is much higher than either ends, making it a very interesting location at which to hold a race!

Considering I had raced a fast 3-miler two days prior, I wasn’t looking to necessarily blitz this run, but rather see what I could do on tired legs. During warm-up I recognized a guy whom I had raced against earlier this summer. In our previous race, I was able to out-sprint Juan and he was not happy about it. Based on the looks he was giving me during warm-up, he clearly wanted to return the favor. Coincidentally enough, he was also last year’s champion and the course record holder for this race!

The gun went off and we found each other at the front in no time. Going up and over the bridge on the way out, every time I attempted to run on his shoulder, he proceeded to slowly veer in my direction, eventually pinning me up against the cones or the side of the bridge. I would then have to stutter step and bounce around him to his other side. Sure enough, he would veer in that direction! After experiencing this three or four times I said to him, “Juan, you’re swerving, pal!” He responded with a grunt and continued on with a little less swerving.

We reached the turn-around point and headed back up and over the bridge. At this point, I didn’t want him to think that I was a one-dimensional, “sit and kick” runner, based on our last encounter. At about 200 meters from the tallest point of the bridge, I put-on an enormous surge and he covered NONE of it. It was so big in fact that I quickly thought I may have bitten off more than I could chew! The top couldn’t come fast enough but once I got there, I glanced back and saw that I had opened up a 50 meter lead. I experienced a brief sigh of relief as I hit the downward section of the bridge. From there the race was in the bag and I wound up crossing the line in 28:09, a 30 second margin of victory over the swerving Juan. As if this victory wasn’t sweet enough, I also broke Juan’s course record by 13 seconds! This race was yet another confidence building, run-sharpening feat that is setting me up nicely for DuaWorlds.

After this run I had a solid week of training and followed it up with a 10k race in Studio City on Sunday. I didn’t know what to expect for this race as far as competition or the course was concerned. When I got my hands on a map on race morning, I was amazed! This course was like a pinball machine – riddled with 180 degree turns! I stuck with my plan to race nonetheless. The gun went off and I was immediately alone, trying to keep pace with the Mini Cooper leading us out. The victory was in the bag but I wasn’t here for the victory. I didn’t care about winning this race; I cared about the workout and using this race as a sharpening tool for DuaWorlds. With that, I pressed on as if someone was hot on my heels. I lost count but I believe there were 8 or 10, 180 degree turns which took the wind out of my sail every time. I crossed the line 33-mid, pleased with the solo-effort I put forth, despite a slower than normal time. A race official approached me after the race and mentioned that in respect to “normal” 10k’s, this race was about 3 minutes longer due to the myriad turn-around’s. Good news!

I have one more race – a 10k in Huntington Beach – the day before I head to Spain. This one is supposed to be fast and full of competition! It will be a great send off!


There was a piece written about my win at the Conquer the Bridge 3 run in the Daily Breeze. It's equipped with a few pics as well. If you're interested, check out the Daily Breeze article here. The FINAL CHAPTER of this riveting mini series will be posted Saturday night, maybe Sunday morning! I know I know, you're on the edge of your seat.. Only a few days away!

Thank you all for checking in. Talk soon!

-HH

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Road to DuaWorlds Mini Series: Part 2

Hello again!

Below is the second installment in my 4-Part Mini Series, The Road to DuaWorlds. Again, disregard any and all dates, for these are entries over the last several weeks. Enjoy!

The Road to DuaWorlds, Part 2

Over the last several days, I have really shelved the swim and have focused much more on cycling and running. On Tuesday, I found myself setting up my bike trainer at the UCLA track in preparation for a multiple-round BRICK workout. The workout: 3 x (12min bike, off and run 1,200 for time) - descend the 1,200s. Each 12 minute bike session consisted of a variation of hard-effort intervals. For example, 6 min strong, 1 min easy, 5 min strong. The purpose was to try and simulate the volatile pacing that goes on in a pack in a draft-legal race.

Amidst the fellow track goers, there were the entire UCLA cross country team and home run king, Barry Bonds. Particularly due to the presence of the X-country team, I really had to show them what this veteran could do, and that I did!

I popped off a 3:32 for the first 1,200 (just outside of 4:40 mile pace) and felt pretty good despite some tight calves from the 5k two days prior. Because this was a workout for a duathlon, I hopped right back on the bike and into round 2. On the next 1,200 I hit 3:30 (right on 4:40 mile pace) and still felt good. By this time, I had the attention of not only the cross country team but also Mr. Bonds. Onto the final round, I was starting to feel the late morning heat and the pressure of trying to descend lower than 3:30! I hit the last 1,200 surprisingly fresh and with about 200 to go, I received some words of encouragement from BLB himself - "come on now, push it! Pick it up!" I stopped the watch at 3:26, right in front of the Bruins. While they couldn't see the time on my watch, they knew I was moving and frankly, I saw a little intimidation in their eyes...not really, but maybe...!

I was really pleased at the result of this workout because that's about as close to a duathlon as I can get and even on the third 1,200 I still had some juice in the ol' pistons!

Today, I found myself in the Orange County Great Park for the Kevin Cook "5k". Quotations are needed because it was more in the range of 2.93 to 2.99 miles, as opposed to 3.1, according to the race director. The gun went off and immediately a three-man group was formed up front. The mile markers were a bit ambiguous so we didn't exactly know quite how fast we were going. With about a half-mile to go, the pace picked up significantly and before I knew it we were into our final sprint in what was a very odd, S-bend finishing shoot - a sharp turn to the right and then a sharp turn to the left.. They could've just gone straight. Seriously, the grounds permitted it! In any event, I was able to out-kick one guy and narrowly missed the other. I think the biggest thing was that he got around the last turn first and therefore had the upper hand. He and I crossed the line within the same second, 13:53. Because the course fell in the 2.95 mile range, the mileage averaged out to about 4:43s! I knew we were rolling but not quite that fast!

My running legs are slowly starting to appear..! Looking forward to continued progress on the Road to DuaWorlds!

Part 3 will come some time in the next couple of days and the final Part of this mini series will follow my last tune-up race in Huntington Beach on Saturday.

Thanks for checking in, talk soon!

-HH

Monday, September 12, 2011

4 Part Series: The Road to DuaWorlds

Hey Everyone!

Over the last three weeks or so, I have completely dropped the ball on keeping you all up to date on my training and racing. Many apologies! I am currently in a training block in preparation for the Duathlon World Championships on Sept. 25 in Gijon, Spain. As a result, I have lessened my swimming to 2 or 3 times per week and have mainly focused on fine-tuning my run and bike. The biking has consisted of some quality workouts, tempo efforts and various group rides. The running has consisted of numerous BRICKs, tempo runs, and a bunch of road races. During this time, I have kept a log or a journal if you will of my workouts and races. Why I didn't do this on my blog evades me..! In the following entries, please disregard the dates, for they are inaccurate since these sessions may or may not have occurred a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

The Road to DuaWorlds, Part 1

Yesterday I went to do my ride with fellow triathletes, Sean Jefferson and Omar Nour on PCH starting out at the parking lot at Malibu Canyon and PCH. What I thought was plenty of time to arrive (supposed to meet at 3pm, left house at 2:15) clearly wasn't as I spent the next hour in bumper to bumper traffic!

Sean and Omar were traveling back from Oceanside having swum in an open water race and they too were caught in the Saturday afternoon traffic though about a 1/2 mile ahead of me coincidentally enough. The traffic was so bad - multiple car accidents coupled with beautiful beach weather - we decided to pull over and park at the 22000 "block" of PCH, about 1 mile South of La Salsa.

We rode north from there and I was anticipating a moderate 2-hour ride with wattage in the mid-2's and cadence above 90. Oh was I wrong. They wanted to do a pace-line workout that their coach had given them which entailed: 20min warmup - 3 x (20min pace-line @ 300+ watts, 10min recover) - 20min cool down. While they didn't want to ride that hard and we therefore all agreed NOT to ride that hard, we rode that hard, and then some! The warmup turned into 30 minutes, the wind began to howl, and I definitely did not bring enough nutrition for a ride like this! To add insult to injury, we finished our final 20min pace-line heading South, just North of Zuma beach, which meant our cool down was a lot longer than 20min and not flat by any means! At the very least, we had the wind at our backs which was a big plus. To give you an idea of the intensity of this wind, heading North in our pace-line we averaged 18-20mph. Heading South in our pace-line we averaged 29-31mph!!

Needless to say, my legs were shot by the time we got back to the cars, a good 2 1/2 hours and 45 miles later! As a result, I had an early dinner and hit the pillow at 9ish in prep for my 4:30 wake up time to head out to Ventura for the first of 5 road races in what I like to call The Road to Duathlon Worlds.
The 5k race started at 7:15 but I had to register the morning of, which meant I needed to be there by 6am in order to beat the line of other 'registration slackers'. As expected, the race wasn't anything special and the field consisted of a few hundred moms and grandmas. By my speculation, the course was a little long and absolutely terrible footing. The first 2k was two loops around a landfill which was used as the parking lot. I stumbled twice and quasi-rolled ankles twice but to no avail pressed on and hit the tape at 15:27 - 4:57s (by my watch).

I'm feeling pretty good right now, despite yesterday's painful ride. I also ran the race in trainers. For the first time in a while I felt good getting out there and naturally pushing myself to try and keep pace with the bike leader. Quite a nostalgic feeling dating back to my Cate School days.

I will post the other parts of this series over the next couple of days. I don't want to flood the internet with such good stuff..I want to space it out..! Ha!

Thanks for checking in, talk soon!

-HH

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

GoHHGo August Giveaway!

Hey Everyone!

GoHHGo Giveaways are back this month! We’ve seen giveaways from K-Swiss and Zico and clearly the bar has been set! As such, I’ve promised not to disappoint and this month’s GoHHGo Giveaway comes from one of my original, most supportive sponsors!

Heralded as arguably the world’s premier high performance wetsuit manufacturer, Xterra Wetsuits has ponied up one of their very own suits for one lucky GoHHGo fan!!

For your chance to win a Vector Pro Full wetsuit, answer me this:

*What year did Xterra bust onto the scene, making their AWESOME wetsuits and where are they headquartered?*

As usual GoHHGo facebook fans with correct answers will be entered in the drawing twice. If you’re not a fan, become one! Check it out at Henry Hagenbuch Triathlete – GoHHGo!

Let’s get into it! Talk soon!

-HH

I Weathered the Storm, Literally

This past weekend, my tri-job took me to the lovely island of Manhattan for the 5i50 Nautica NYC Triathlon. I came in still trying to regain my fitness from my AWESOMELY BAD bike crash two months ago. Rather than sit at home and continue to mope about my lost fitness, I figured the best way to get it back would be to toe-the-line with the best and leave it all out on the course!

The week leading up to the race, I had anticipated the weather to be a factor because there were a slew of thunderstorms expected to hit the New York area over race weekend. Sure enough, race morning we were caught waiting in the rain at 6am to get the green light to jump into the “pristine” waters of the Hudson. The onslaught of rain and wind called for a tough, choppy swim and I exited roughly 17th out of the water. I was able to pull back two guys in the ½ mile run up to transition and headed out onto the bike in 15th.

The bike course was out-and-back on the Westside highway - a deceptively tough, rolling course - that met us with a tail-wind on the way down and an unrelenting headwind on the way back. My intention for this race was to really press the bike because that was where this race could be won or lost.

As such, I worked those rollers hard and came into T2 in 13th. There was a group of several riders a few minutes ahead that I was trying to reel in but based on their remarkably similar bike splits, it was thus difficult for me to take-on one or two riders, let alone 4 or 7!! I thought this was a non-draft race! Oh well…

Out onto the run, I was able to reel in a struggling Andrew Yoder and that was unfortunately it for me! My run legs eluded me on this day, which happily shed some light on where my fitness is at in its current state – just a few miles short… I crossed the line in 12th – 1:58:30.

Despite finishing outside of the top 10, and even with CERTAIN variables working against me, I’m not at all discouraged by my first complete race back. Lastly, I’d like to give a BIG shout out to all the New Yorkers who may or may not had even known there was a triathlon going on but nonetheless cheered us on as we ran against traffic in Central Park! Some of the best spectator support I’ve seen in a long time!!


Just a few more races left in 2011 and it will all culminate at the Duathlon World Champs in Gijon, Spain on September 25. But first, an ITU race in Kelowna, BC and then the Nautica Malibu Tri!

Thanks for checking in. Talk soon!

-HH

**I want to express my sincere condolences for the families of the two people who tragically died during the swim of the NYC Tri. This lifestyle we lead is often times precarious and daunting and it is one of the total downfalls of this sport when we lose a fellow triathlete.**

Friday, July 8, 2011

Treasure Hunt at SF ITU!

Hey Everyone!

I arrived in my hometown of San Francisco yesterday evening ready to take on the stacked field at TriCal’s Treasure Island ITU Race. This year it’s part of the USAT Elite Race series – a series of draft legal ITU races with larger-than-normal prize purses.

This will be my first race back since my bike crash back in May. It’s bittersweet, because while I’m elated to get back out there, my fitness isn’t where it was prior to that accident. I missed about 40 days of training and I’ve worked hard as of late to get as much of it back. What I would say, it’s not that I’ve lost too much time in each discipline (probably 2-3 seconds per 100 in the pool and that equivalent in the bike and run), but it’s really about how I feel. The time difference isn’t much but it hurts a lot more! Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to getting those competitive juices flowing again!

This course is unique. It’s situated on Treasure Island (the island in the middle of the Bay Bridge) and it consists of a two lap swim, a 6 lap bike, and a 3 lap run. What’s unique is the bike course. Each lap consists of at least a dozen 90 degree turns on what I consider to be pretty precarious road conditions. The Elite race, due particularly to it being a draft-legal race, tends to see a higher-than-normal number of bike crashes. Whether or not bike crashes happen tomorrow, it’s such a competitive field that there will be enough action going on to satisfy anyone!

If you’re in the bay area and are interested in seeing a fun, competitive race, come out to Treasure Island tomorrow Saturday, July 9 around noon and watch a number of Olympic hopefuls mix it up! Let’s get into it!

Hope to see you out there. Thanks for checking in. Talk soon!

-HH

Friday, July 1, 2011

..And the Zico GoHHGo Giveaway goes to..!

After much deliberation from the GoHHGo panel of hardworking judges.. (they clearly need some Zico)


the winners are, BRANDON and NIKKI!!!

Brandon exclaimed, “Zico Pomberry is the Bomb! I use it after cycling.”

Nikki exclaimed, “PiƱa Tropicale is my fav. My favorite way to replenish is to throw a bottle in my freezer pre-run or pre-ride so when I’m done, it’s super cold! Living in Arizona, I need all the help I can get to cool down in this crazy summer heat!”

Congratulations!! Please come forward and claim your prize by emailing me your contact info at gohhgo1@gmail.com.

Check back soon for yet another GoHHGo Giveaway!!

Happy tri-ing, talk soon.

-HH

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Do You Zico?

Hey Everyone!

Last month’s inaugural GoHHGo Giveaway received a great amount of participation and we saw LA Tri Clubber, Roy Silver, run away with a brand new pair of Kwicky Blade Lights!!

Let’s keep this party rolling! The June GoHHGo Giveaway is a CASE of the critically acclaimed ZICO CHOCOLATE FLAVORED COCONUT WATER for not one but TWO lucky GoHHGo fans!!! Examiner.com recently exclaimed, chocolate and coconut “a match made in heaven”.


This month, I’ll make it easy for all of you – simply tell me your favorite Zico flavor and how you like to replenish and your name will be entered in the drawing for a case! Like last month, if you become a fan of my page, Henry Hagenbuch Triathlete – GoHHGo, then your name will be entered twice!

Good luck and live the Zico way - naturally powered!!

-HH

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

3 DNS' and Counting..

Hey Everyone!

Been a little while since my last blog post…I didn’t anticipate the gap between posts to be this great, but I also didn’t anticipate missing three triathlons because of my lingering injuries from my bike crash on May Fifth!

When I went down on my bike going about 25-30mph downhill, my left arm was extended outward and I came down on that shoulder. Immediately after the fall, I knew I had hurt my shoulder and I had a feeling in my upper back as if someone was digging their knuckles into me. Despite some serious pain, a torn-up kit, and a broken aero-bar, I had to ride on for another couple of hilly miles (at every hill, I got off and walked) in order to get to a place where my wife could pick me up. There was no way I would have been able to navigate her to my crash site and there was no way I would have been able to ride home (another 6 miles through Los Angeles?!).

A long story short…I sustained a couple of cracked ribs high-up under my left armpit which sends reverberating shock waves of pain down through my chest any time I use that left side. I also have a badly strained rotator cuff and possibly a few micro-tears. ROAD RASH ANYONE?! Up until last week my training has consisted of a ginger breast stroke, ZERO running, and low-medium effort on the bike trainer. I did ride part of the mountain stage in the Tour of California, which was fine going up because we were averaging probably 7mph, but terrible going back down!!

Due to my fall, I have missed three races in the heart of my season, including my favorite, Escape From Alcatraz. As someone who LOVES a good competition, it has been very difficult to watch these races go by. The unfortunate part about ribs is it takes TIME to heal and nothing else – whether they’re cracked, broken or bruised. I have two races at the end of this month that I’m hoping to be ready for, but as of now, NOT ready at all!

If I learned anything from my experience, it’s that helmets seriously save lives! I broke my helmet in several places that day and had I not been wearing it, I wouldn’t be blogging right now! WEAR YOUR HELMET!

Thanks for checking in and hopefully I’ll see you all out there SOON!

I’ll be posting the June GoHHGo Giveaway in a little while so get excited!!!

-HH

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May GoHHGo Giveaway!!

Hey Everyone!

The month of May marks the first month of GoHHGo Giveaways! Each month, my amazing sponsors have agreed to provide swag for my fans! No, I’m not going to just give it away…I’m going to make you work for it! The criteria for obtaining these amazing products will change monthly, as will the products!

One month it may be a pair of Oakley sunglasses, the next it may be a case of Zico Coconut water or even a wetsuit from Xterra?!?! This month we’re going to start things off in a BIG way - K-Swiss has offered to fork over a pair of brand spankin new K-wicky Blade Lights!

But first…answer the following questions about each of my sponsors and email your answers to me at gohhgo1@gmail.com. If you successfully answer the Q’s correctly your name will be put in a raffle to win that swag!! However, if you “LIKE” my fan page on FB, Henry Hagenbuch Triathlete – gohhgo, your name will be added TWICE!! Each question is designed to steer you towards each of my sponsor’s sites. There you will find the answer you seek! If you don’t know their address, you can find it on my sponsor’s page at www.gohhgo.com.

You will have until the end of the month to participate, at which point the winner will be revealed not only on my FB page and website, but also around town sporting his or her new swag!!

Let the games begin! Good Luck!

(1)What year did K-Swiss first introduce their shoes to the world and at what specific sporting event?

(2)If Xterra’s eco-friendly wetsuits aren’t petroleum-based, then what are they?

(3)The amount of potassium found in one Zico beverage is the equivalent to how many regular sports drinks?

(4)Evolution PT is the home of what revolutionary training/rehab tool of mine? Hint: made by Alter G!

(5)NPN’s nutritional products and supplements are what percent pure and pharmaceutical grade?

(6)Who is the original mad scientist (founder) behind Oakley?

(7)With Compex you can (pick one),
(a) Build muscle strength and size
(b) Improve power
(c) Increase endurance
(d) Optimize muscle recovery
(e) All of the above

Monday, May 2, 2011

1st Worlds Team in the Books..!

Hey Everyone,

I know this race recap is long overdue but with all the Bruin Alums in town for the UCLA-USC dual meet, things got pretty hectic! If you’re wondering, the Bruin men marched into SC and came away with a WIN, earmarked by great performances in the throws (as usual), the pole vault (as usual), and the distance events (as usual)!

Now back to the matter at hand. On Saturday, I competed in my first true duathlon at the Duathlon National Championships in Oro Valley, AZ. I placed fifth in the Elite field, fourth American. Team USA takes the top four Elite finishers to Worlds (Spain in September) and I was able to grab the last spot! Couldn’t be happier about that!!

The race began with a 5k run that went out hard for the first mile and settled down into a sub-5 effort for the next mile. By the turn-around just past mile 2, the field had begun to spread out and I found myself trailing four competitors. The last ¼ mile of the 5k was straight up a tsunami-of-a-hill, and that’s where I made my move. From my ol’ running days, my high school coach, Karl Weis (shout out!), always told me to run through the hill because all the other racers were only running to the top. I took that advice to heart and charged up and over that hill into T1, passing every competitor and leading the race out on to the bike!

As mentioned before, the bike course was pretty rolling and by the start of our wave (around 10am) the wind had really begun to pick up. I held my own as best I could and wound up coming into T2 in 6th. Out on to the second run (identical to the first), I worked hard to move back into the top 5 but simply ran out of real estate for the podium. Side note – the tsunami-of-a-hill just about killed me the second time around!

I went out there, worked my butt off and owned my result! I’m really starting to round well into shape for the main part of the season. In two weeks I have 5i50 New Orleans and a few weeks later the best triathlon on the planet – ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ!

On another note, the month of May marks the start of monthly GOHHGO Giveaways!! Each month I’ll be giving away swag from my sponsors to GOHHGO fans. Check the site and my FB page, “Henry Hagenbuch Triathlete – gohhgo”, in the coming days for details!

Happy tri-ing everyone! Talk soon.

-HH

Friday, April 29, 2011

Duathlon Nat'ls: Hot and Windy in Oro Valley!

Hey Everyone,

The Mrs. and I arrived in Oro Valley, AZ (just North of Tucson) for the 2011 Duathlon National Championships. Hot, dry, and windy, but what else can you expect from an event in the desert!

The race course is as follows: 5K run, 35K bike, 5K run. Specifically, the course isn’t flat by ANY means. The run has a very tough hill towards the end of the leg and the bike is two out-and-back laps that consist of rolling hills throughout.

The Elite field isn’t incredibly large, but still high in quality, as the defending champ is scheduled to toe-the-line, in addition to a few other veteran duathletes. Tomorrow’s weather: sunny, mid-80s, 15mph winds. Tomorrow's goal: Top 5, Podium would be awesome!

In the past, I have always let the conditions get the best of me. Tomorrow will be different, as tomorrow I will go out and own my results. Tomorrow I will leave everything out on the course and won’t cross that finish line satisfied unless I’ve felt I’ve given it my all. Duathlons are new to me so it will be interesting to see how I feel coming off that bike. Nonetheless, I’m very excited and tomorrow will be an awesomely challenging day!

Good luck to everyone toughing it out at Avia Wildflower and St. A’s this weekend. Looking forward to reading some race recaps! Let’s get into it!

Check back Sunday for a full report. Talk soon!

-HH

Thursday, April 14, 2011

First Tri? No Prob! What You Need to Know

To TRI or not to TRI, that is the question…

Like with trying anything new, nerves and ill-preparedness can get the best of you. Particularly with triathlons, half the battle is being a well-oiled machine. Without a distinct amount of organization, things can go horribly wrong, and out-the-window goes that new PR, beating that arch-nemesis, and/or most importantly, forgetting the initial reason any of us are out here – for fun!

There are numerous facets involved in this “well-oiled machine”. First - Equipment. A racer doesn’t need the latest and greatest to get the job done. Unless you have the means or are vying for a world championship, a functioning pair of goggles, a bike with gears and two wheels (pumped up of course!) and a pair of shoes without holes will suffice! One tri-tip is quick-laces. Being able to slide your shoes on without having to tie them will save you 15-20 seconds easy. That could be the difference between you and the podium!

Second – Nutrition. This plays a major role in one’s success on race day. It’s important to dial down what works best before and during the race. By testing out various meals/drinks/gels/shot blox during training, one can avoid nutritional catastrophes on race day. NO ONE likes to BONK! I tend to find muffins and bagels work well before the race, although some people prefer oatmeal. Another secret trick is a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. That type of fat is the immediate energy and fuel one needs to be able to strive a little further. Also, extra hydrating with water or (Zico Coconut water if you want REAL results) the few days leading up to the race will go a long way in making sure your body is sufficient in hydration.

Third – Knick-knacks. While these may also fall under equipment, these embody the grease that keeps your machine from squeaking! BODY GLIDE. Arguably the most important piece in my tri bag. Don’t be shy with this stuff either! Cake it on as you see fit and then a little more just to be safe. Chaffing is a triathlete’s worst enemy!

CHALK. Often times, transition areas are located in a parking lot. When your #1183 and positioned in the middle of 100 rows of racks, it can be impossible to find your stuff. Use the chalk to make an “X” in front of your area and then a large arrow at the end of your row, pointing at your “X”. That way, when you come running down the aisle, spotting that arrow and then that “X” will be a lot easier than trying to spot your bike or shoes! BRIGHT-COLORED TOWEL. In the same way that chalk helps identify your transition area on the pavement, a bright-colored towel can do that in a transition area that’s found in a grassy field for example. Personally, I dawn a bright pink and white striped beach towel that I lay out underneath my shoes and bike. Hard to miss that pink!

Fourth – Visualization. I find that rehearsing race day in its entirety the night before puts my mind at ease. It’s almost like I’ve already completed the race. A certain familiarity, even if it’s in your head, goes a long way. Plans can go awry, but if you’ve rehearsed the key components – i.e. T1 T2, specific turn-around’s in the course, places for a reprieve – then nothing will come as an incredible surprise on race day.

Lastly, the most important thing to remember as you toe that start line is the reason you’re doing this in the first place. For fun! Maybe you’ve trained hard and are gunning for that PR or the person that always beats you, but in the end it’s an invaluable life experience and you need not take it for granted. It’s a real privilege to be able to do the things we do and it doesn’t hurt to step back every once in a while and reflect on this opportunity. With that, I leave you with a few TRIcks of the trade and hope your first tri experience is as fun and rewarding as it was for me. CAUTION: May be habit forming! Let’s get into it!

Hasta Luego!

-HH

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the What If's

Hello Hello!

Now that I’ve had a few days to let my latest result in Mazatlan sink in, I figured I’d share my reflections with all of you.

6th place was a real breakthrough for me. I had been working hard on my swim as of late, racking up long course workouts one after the other, and it paid off! Granted, this year’s field was not as strong as 2010, though with my swim from this year, I still would have placed in the top 12, which is still leagues ahead of where I sat last year at 23rd.

Athletes always talk about having breakthroughs and reaching a new level in their training. While I have, they are always few and far between, and I especially have never experienced something of that nature in an actual race. A breakthrough can be construed physically and mentally and I truly feel Mazatlan was all mental for me. Knowing that I can get into the mix and vie for a position atop that podium is such a psychological boost, I can’t even explain. This result alone has tremendously motivated me to get to the next level, and then the next, and then the next! That in turn raises my own bar of expectation, which can both be good and bad. Good, because it keeps me hungry for more, striving to erase every inch of that gap between me and the guy in front of me. Bad, because it allows for a lot of “what if’s” to come into the picture when something doesn’t necessarily go as planned. “Well if this hadn’t have happened, then I probably could have done this.”… “If only I was a little more aggressive here, then I might have been able to catch that guy.” While it’s great to analyze your performance so as to learn from your mistakes, it can be quite self-defeating when you go in too deep.


With that, I take this result in stride, learn from it, soak it in – the good and the bad – and get ready for the next one! I love the multi-sport lifestyle simply because of the first part of that phrase: multi. There are so many facets involved with making this lifestyle meaningful and there is no one way to go about it. Everyone has their recipe; it’s how you implement it to find that success! Let’s get into it!

Happy tri-ing everyone! Talk soon.

-HH

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Expect the Unexpected Down Here in Mazatlan..!

When I arrived in Mazatlan, the online hotel package that I had purchased came with a complimentary shuttle from the airport to the hotel. That was nowhere to be found! When I got to the hotel, they didn’t have me checking in until the following day. They also said there were no rooms available. After going back and forth for about 45 minutes, which included showing them my email correspondence with their reservation office/person, a room magically appeared! While crisis was eventually averted, initially these events weren’t the best precursors someone would want to see before an important, season opening ITU race!! Nonetheless, I weathered the storm, killed myself during the race and finished 6th and the top American!!! Not only was this my best ITU result, but it was my best pro result period!

I have worked hard on the swim as of late and it has paid off. As opposed to last year where my swim deficit from the leaders was 3:18, this year I was only down 2:06! There was a group of three Mexicans that came out of the water about 10 seconds ahead of me and I knew I had to haul-ass up the beach and thru T1 in order to get into their bike group. That I did and let me tell you, it was worth it! By the 2nd lap, fellow American Chris Foster and one other guy joined our group and from there the work started.
Before anything, I have to give major props to Chris for doing at least 70% of the work in our pack. I helped as much as I could, but I’m simply not a strong enough cyclist YET to be able to put forth more than that 30%. Chris’ relentless pulling got me to my 6th place today and there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it!

Sure enough, our pack grew to about 12 and after the first chase pack caught the lead group, WE were now the first chase pack and closing fast! Our 2-min deficit out of the water narrowed to about 40 seconds at T2. I was so pumped to be starting my run around 20th that I shot out of transition like a bullet! Within the first kilometer, I had passed 6 people. By the end of the first lap, I was in 12th. As my casualty toll (passed runners) began to increase, so did my fatigue from the bike work (and probably my lack of tempo runs)! By the time I hit the last lap, it became a real fight for survival. I got my last casualty on that lap and I hung on for dear life thereafter. I crossed the tape in 1:57:13, 6th Mother F-ing Place!!!

While I may have run into a few bumps in the early stages of my Mazatlan journey, the remainder of the trip was smooth sailing from there! It just goes to show that one should expect the unexpected down here, south of the border! One should also expect to ride in pick-up truck taxis to dinner and witness the new and improved family mini-van!

Later this month, I will be competing in Tucson, AZ at the Duathlon National Championships. A fellow triathlete told me today that while I’m out there I need to do some cycling on The Shutes? She said the roads are pretty perfect for cycling. Thoughts anyone?

Seeing as how this was a mondo race weekend in the tri world, I hope everyone killed it!

Thanks for checking in, talk soon!

-HH

Friday, April 8, 2011

No Oceanside...but South of the Border?

I´m sure some of you are wondering why I didn´t race in Oceanside, even though I said I would. In a perfect world, I wanted to race hard at Oceanside, my first 70.3, and then come back the following weekend and race hard at my ITU season opener in Mazatlan, Mexico. Frankly, that was wishful thinking! While ITU races are somewhat few and far between, 70.3s are not and so I felt it would be easier to reschedule my 70.3 debut than it was an ITU race. Not to mention, it took me a good four or five days to recover from my half marathon in February...I could only imagine what my recovery time would have been after a half Ironman!

The whole intention of racing Oceanside 70.3 in the beginning of the season was that I would need to build a larger-than-normal base during the offseason. That in turn would be enough of a foundation to carry me nicely through the rest of the season. Even though I didn´t race at Oceanside, and paticularly because I called a late audible, the plus was that I still benefitted from building that larger-than-normal base.

That brings us up to present day. After having survived the chaos that is LAX, I´m currently heading south of the border (for more chaos) to participate in my first Continental Cup race of the season. I raced here last year, finished 23rd, and was quite pleased with my performance despite ending up just outside the top 20 (what you would need to finish to score points).

This year´s field is slightly smaller, but still quality nonetheless. The course is a two-lap ocean swim, followed by a basic out-and-back bike along the coast (6 laps), and then 4 - 2.5km out-and-back laps on the run, also along the coast. The bike and the run are all pretty flat and fast. One of the major tests in ITU races south of the border is getting these guys to work efficiently on the bike. As a result, I hav brushed up on my Espanol and I fully intend to dictate when needed!!

The gun goes off around noon tomorrow so be sure to check back post-race for a full report.

Talk soon!

-HH

Sunday, March 20, 2011

So-So at MIT

Hey everyone!

I completed my first tri of the 2011 season earlier this morning and I have a mixed review about my performance.

I finished 24th out of a star-studded field (C. Lieto, M. Reed, B. Docherty, M. Charbot, Cam Dye, K. Leto, B. Collins, etc.), in a time of 1:53.xx. The results are still preliminary but I wanted to get the word out as quick as possible. I KILLED the swim, hitting the exit stairs in 18:41 – easily the fastest swim of my career! Even though there was a bit of a current, I still came out of the water less than 2:30 back from the leaders, which was a huge improvement from where I stood last season.

The bike is where I tanked. There was a fair amount of wind out on the course and I’m just not yet comfortable on my TT. Stupidly, today was only my second ride on my TT since last August (ridiculous mechanical issues out of my control, but still no excuse)! I split 1hr-flat on the bike and came into T2 around 30th (Pro field close to 40 guys). Out onto the run, I felt good initially but started to wane in the wind in the latter half of the 10k. Surprisingly, I split a 31:30ish which was one of the top run splits on the day. It was surprising because I didn’t feel too good on the latter half and I probably ran the last two miles at about 80% since I was kind of in no man’s land.

As usual, I try to look at the positive side of things. Despite battling a shoulder injury/annoyance for the last two months, my swim went GREAT. Clearly the 6 extra long-course workouts per week have helped A LOT! Pleased about that! Additionally, my run performance was above my expectation simply because I’ve been running more miles than normal (in prep for CA 70.3) and with virtually no speed work. To be able to split 5:07s on the type of training I’ve been doing lately speaks VOLUMES about my run fitness!

In all, a mediocre result but some good factors and important focus points (BIKE) came out of today and I’m generally pleased with where I’m at this early in the season, particularly in retrospect to the big dogs! Up next will be Oceanside 70.3 in two weeks, then ITU Mazatlan the following weekend (ouch).

A big weekend for a number of reasons – ’11 Season opener, Persian New Year, and LA Marathon...did I miss anything? Hope everyone had a great weekend! Be sure to check back in in the coming couple of weeks for additional blog posts and a new and improved gohhgo.com which will feature some swag giveaways from my awesome sponsors and an opportunity to purchase their product direct from gohhgo.com!

Talk soon!

-HH

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm Taking My Talents to South Beach..!

Hey Everyone! I hope this past off-season has served you as well as it has served me!

I'm currently flying to Miami for my season opener, the Miami International Triathlon (MIT), and I'm excited for 2011! During the off-season, I decided to mix things up in a couple of ways. First, I felt that my overall nutrition could be better. Working with New Performance Nutrition, I was able to shed about 8 pounds during the off-season, which in turn has allowed me to train and compete at a much higher level.

Secondly, while my first tri is MIT, my off-season training has been focused towards Cali 70.3 on April 2. I decided to pursue Oceanside for two reasons. One, I've never raced a 70.3 and I wanted to see what that distance was all about! And two, my coach and I figured it would be a great way to build a base for the remainder of the season. By training longer and creating a stronger foundation, this will in turn carry me through the season, only having to further focus on speed-work and maintaining my new-found fitness.

What would a season be without goals? 2011 Goals:
- Live in the Top 10
- Qualify for the 5i50 Hy-Vee Champs
- ITU Points
- Podium or Bust!
- Key Races: EFA, 5i50 NYC, Nautica Malibu, LA Tri

This weekend's race will be a great measuring stick for my early season fitness and it will also give me an opportunity to pinpoint specific parts of my training upon which I can improve. It's looking to be picture-perfect in MIA so LET'S GET INTO IT!

Check back Sunday-ish for a full post-race report.

Thanks for checking in. Talk soon!

-HH

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year!

I’ve been staring at my screen for the last 15 minutes trying to figure out what my first 2011 blog post is going to include. Do I talk about 2010 – my first year as a pro-triathlete; getting married; goals I may or may not have achieved? Or do I talk about 2011 – my goals for this year; continuing my pro-athletic career; being an ideal husband, a B-school candidate?


If I’m treating this post as one for reflection, it’s only appropriate to dawn on the past… but only for a brief moment, for I’m always looking forward and preparing myself for what’s to come!!

2010 was an incredible year for numerous reasons! Rather than giving you all an insanely long recap, I’m thinking a list will more than suffice:
- Turned pro – lifelong goal achieved!
- Competed in five different countries – GoHHGo goes global!
- First top 10 finish as a pro at Nautica NYC – lucky number 7th!
- Established relations with great sponsors -- Thank You All!
- MARRIAGE – Yes please!
- World Series Champions? – That’s right, my S.F. Giants baby!

Needless to say, 2010 was a memorable year, one for the ages, and one in which to build upon.

Looking forward to 2011, I’ve focused my energy towards improving the swim and the bike and have made some great strides during the off-season. Like in anything, you need passion to invoke genuine motivation in order to truly succeed. With that being said, I mixed things up in two big ways during the off-season! First, I joined the SQAC masters program (while still keeping UCLA) which gives me 7 more pools at which to train and a whole lot of talent in lane 1 to chase after! Second, to supplement my usual bike training I added a season of cyclocross! For those of you who are unfamiliar with ‘cross, google it, try it, love it – its awesome!


As far as the 2011 season, I’m starting things off in February with the Kaiser Permanente ½ marathon in San Francisco. I’m going to follow that up with my first career ½ Ironman somewhere in March or early April. All of this will be great base-building for the main tri season to begin in the second half of April. Two halfs (one run, one Ironman), a number of ITU races, some new 5i50s, Life Times, Duathlon Nat’l Champs, and a partridge in a pair tree!!

I’m very excited about 2011, which is why I couldn’t wait more than 2 days into the New Year to blog about it! Check out www.gohhgo.com soon for an updated schedule of races in addition to a few new features on the site! I hope everyone had a great 2010 holiday season and are ready to start off 2011 with a bang!!!

Talk soon!

-HH