Sunday, May 30, 2010

Future morales?

I realize each day, more and more, that the decisions I make and apply to the kids on my TriJuniors team, affect their perspective and personal decisions, as well as those from their families. Wow... It simply reminds me of the incredible responsibility of being a coach.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yeah, thanks Floyd...

It became public late on Wednesday evening that Floyd Landis wrote a series of emails to officials in cycling, and other authority figures, naming names and blasting "a charade" of anti-doping programs.

Though the actual emails haven't been released yet, the details were laid out quite a bit in this Wall Street Journal article:

I stood up for Floyd back in the day, because his argument was solid, and the lab screwed up the protocols and procedures, as the evidence showed. In short, the system cheated to catch him, and that was a scary precedent. I wanted to believe he could be innocent and win, and my patriotism helped me cheer another American. As an aspiring professional at the time, it gave me hope that doing things the right way could still get me to the top.

It's not that I don't believe you, but why this now? Floyd, your team got snubbed from the Tour of California, and during the race you decide to steal the spotlight? Sure, you wrote them on the 30th of April, but still timely with the snub, and right with the race. You come across as bitter. Accusing a guy who supported you during the accusations, and I know for a fact supported a few of your friends when they were suffering from cancer. Sure, maybe he cheated too, but he didn't force you. You made your choices. Your tests came back positive, his negative. Now you're pissed. If you were still getting negatives, would we even hear about this?

Here's a few other things you're forgetting Floyd...

- You blame the system, instead of standing up at the time and admitting, "Yes, I cheated. There's no way to win this race without cheating. Let's clean up the system for real." Or even pre-emptively writing the emails when the doping was going on.
- You attempted to ruin the reputation and life of perhaps our only clean Tour de France champ, and drug-use opponent, Greg Lemond, having your cronies threaten him and his family history of sexual molestation if he testified against you.
- You ruined the reputation of one of the best coaches in the sport, Arnie Baker. Not sure if you've accused him of being part of the systematic doping, but if he wasn't, you've cast a dark shadow over his career and relationships.
- After you tested positive, you stole money from those who supported you and wanted to believe your lies. You held town meetings, fundraisers, and any other charade you could to get the money to pay lawyers to continue your deceit.
- Not long after your downfall, one of your best friends and an asset to the cycling community of San Diego committed suicide. Incredible coincidence, or from the strain of the deceit along with his other problems?
- Nobody asked Floyd Landis to come back to cycling. If you cheated, your legacy would have been better to clean it up back then. Or lead a crusade to clean up the sport, instead of racing. Get a desk job if you hate it. Your chance to really make a difference has probably passed.
-(LATE EDIT) You nearly bankrupted the US Anti-Doping Agency in legal costs and proceedings, which is the only real agency trying to fight the drug use you are so upset about now, and claim needs to help clean up the sport!

Bottom line Floyd, you're selfish. You want to expose others because you're not getting the money and opportunities you once had. If you were riding on Radio Shack, your mouth would be shut. But it's not about doing good, it's about the fact you cheated, and got cheated. But you're too selfish to see the fans and future riders all got cheated by you. Not just once, but countless times. And you do this when the sport enjoys its biggest moment here in the states.

Yeah, thanks Floyd.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

So what's up???

Wow, long time no post. And according to my statistics, still getting a lot of visitors, so obviously people want to know what the heck I'm up to.

Here's the bottom line for me, perspective. I mistook my competitiveness as a desire to want to return to racing. I'm very competitive, and love the sport, but I just don't have the hunger at the start line for myself to win like I used to. The key part of that statement is, "for myself".

This sport is so selfish, in so many ways. That's not a knock on it, but it's the reality of why the divorce rate among Ironman is joked about being high. I'm not the same athlete, with the same responsibilities and life that I had 5 years ago when I was a single guy who left his teaching job to race full-time. I now have a wife, who now helps me with my/our business, but this even more responsible for our family, as our business is the only income.

I had to balance time, work and everything else. In essence, I was suddenly a regular age-grouper, with a day job, trying to race. However, I remember how committed I was to triathlon in the past, and I'm just not that way anymore.

The problem is, my standards are high, and I can't stand on the start line knowing I trained sub-par. I was so stressed before the camp in San Luis Obispo, because of all the work I had to get done, get taxes completed, get packed for Desert Tri and the camp, so many things! I wasn't able to ride for 7 days, and ran twice, swam twice. Not exactly great prep heading into your first race of a comeback. I had bike issues, so wasn't able to ride my TT bike, and the race was not looking good.

Then I get into the race and swim fair, dropped from the lead pack of 5 or 6, but holding close. Then I get my ass kicked on the bike, (which was hard to stomach), only to get off and have the fastest run split of the whole race. That really surprised me, and I even beat my boy Mike Clinch on the run, who had been dropping me like a bad habit in some training sessions. Coach Bob Seebohar had me impressed with the things I was accomplishing.

I was starting to think maybe I was driving myself mad with the stress of trying to train, and having life create stumbling blocks. I got to the SLO camp, and had a few decent days of training, and started to realize I was coming back pretty good! Then we had a camper get lost, and I realized my focus had to change to them. I backed off my training, and went to Mallorca with the same mindset of focusing on the campers.

Funny thing happened once I made this decision. The athletes had a great experience and raved about the camps, and I found myself enjoying coaching more. I decided in Mallorca that I was done trying to train and race. I just need to stay healthy and in decent shape, never ballooning to 200+ lbs again.

After I made that decision, it's been amazing how my stress level has decreased. I have thrown myself more into my TriJuniors program, and I am seeing the results! The team has doubled in size, and looks to quadruple by the first week of June. Most importantly, I'm really enjoying it. I am running for fun, riding my bike because it's fun, not because of training, or feeling I have to or I will get my ass kicked.

I've found I can still be competitive thru my athletes and kids, and once in awhile throw down in a local sprint, aquathlon or even group ride or run.

Things are good. I'm not afraid of missing races anymore, or getting my ass kicked. I'm excited to see these other things grow, and excited that I can still swim, bike and run.


Thursday, February 18, 2010


It was bound to happen at some point, and it has happened. I have had a couple of injuries so far, and the latest one is really frustrating.

The first injury was a piriformis issue in my right butt, and it was annoying, but I was able to ride without any real issue and swim fine. Running was the only challenge, and after a week off from running, I really hadn't missed much. In fact, one week later I was running again and had a 10 mile run that was making me feel like my old self again! And I mean old self as in back in the day of my running prowess! I was just clicking off sub-6 pace for a few miles, and it wasn't anything.

Then I did this Tri Club of San Diego duathlon last Saturday, and the run course was brutal. 1 mile downhill to 1 mile uphill. Everything was going great, and suddenly on the second run during the downhill, the right calf really tightened up on my, and I quickly decided to stop and walk.

I couldn't believe how it came on so unnoticed. In the past I could always look back and see some clear signs, but this one really didn't have that. I had healed up and the therapy had been great since my piriformis injury, but this one just came out of no where.

I've been able to balance it fairly well with a lot of time spent on work, and trying not to let it get me down. Even though I am not racing for money and letting my training and results control my happiness, I was really beginning to feel like my old self and enjoying training again. It was actually fun again! And when you can't go out and have fun, it's hard on you.

So I am back getting a lot of therapy, making getting healthy be my number one training priority, and hoping to step up my swimming in the meantime. As soon as the calf allows, I'll also be putting time back in the weight room.

Only 2 weeks from Sunday until my first race back. We will see how that goes. Probably won't be running until Monday at the earliest, which will mean 8 days off of running, and about 6 days off the bike.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Goals for 2010

In my last post about my race schedule for 2010, someone named Peter, asked me the following in comment, "Let's here about your goals for the year? What do you need to achieve to make this race schedule a success or not? As an outsider it looks like your plan is about participation rather than performance."

It was a great comment and question, and I felt it needed a post all to itself. Certainly, one can look at my race schedule and see it is MUCH different than what my past schedules have looked like, and that is on purpose.

Yes, participation is one of the main goals, because I will be stressing draft-legal racing this year, which my experience is limited in. I want to be an elite coach for ITU racing in the future, and this is one of the best ways to learn more about what it takes. I have been doing long course and Ironman so long, I want to change my approach. This is why I also hired Bob Seebohar.

I don't plan on just toeing the line, and that's all. I have goals for the races. Some of the races are so tough, just getting into them is a goal, like the Pan Am's and the World Cup, as you have to meet a standard. I have just made a conscious decision to do things differently this year, and I will not judge my success of the season based solely on results or prize money. I will no longer try to make a living solely as an athlete. I used to drive myself crazy with that stuff, and that's not going to happen again.

So I have individual goal races, but they are also based more on my fitness at the time of the events, because I have never had to come back from such a downtime, nor from long course racing down to short course.

I'm not going to post my goals yet, because in a lot of ways they are unclear and undetermined based on my fitness and experience, but I know I want to be on the start line at those races, and that is the first key to performing well.

We will see how it goes. Right now I'm just taking it one day at a time, one workout at a time, until I feel like I'm competitive.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Big Change for the Vance's

Today is a monumental day, signifying big changes in our household, my business, my season, my marriage, and many other things I probably don't even realize yet. No, Orlanda is not pregnant, (although that is what everyone first thinks when I begin to tell them this).

Today is Orlanda's last day at her job, and from this point she will be working with me full-time. It is an incredible opportunity, and one which we are really happy about. It is certainly a risk to leave a paying position during a down economy, but there is so much more to happiness than money.

My business is growing, and I need support, as I am already strung a little thin at times. The only way it can grow like I foresee it, is with support, and she is the perfect person to help me in this venture. She is such a great woman, who is smart and intelligent, that I have always urged her to work for herself, and take the world by storm. This is the first real step in that direction.

The fact I am back to racing is certainly going to challenge my ability to manage all my endeavors, and still perform at a high level, so this is an invaluable and exciting thing for me. We will be traveling to races together, camps around the world, (Spain and San Luis Obispo in March), and continuing with our business ideas together. My TriJuniors program, coaching, webinars, camps, clinics, speaking, training plans, articles, and real estate are just some of the things she'll be helping me with, and we will try to grow.

This is something she/we decided back in October, but waited to finalize. The day has come, and it is a great moment for us! I am so proud of her for having the courage to take this step. It is not easy to take a risk like this, as it requires a lot of self-confidence, trust in your partner to help you make it a success, and a focus on what is important in life, outside of the security of a steady paycheck and job.

The world awaits, and I know she will conquer it.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

So what's up in 2010?

That is the question I get a lot, because I have been pretty quiet about what it is I am actually racing this year. There are a lot of things which I honestly haven't decided on, or have changed my mind on already a few times.

Here's the first thing to know about my racing in 2010, there will be NO Ironman events, either full or 70.3. This means no Wisconsin, (which is what originally got me thinking about returning), but that changed when WTC announced their new professional triathlete membership program. Their greed and disrespect of elites is something I won't tolerate. They will not get my support until they change their policies. And in my opinion, any elite who is pandering to the WTC with this bogus program is doing ALL ELITES A DISSERVICE. But, that's just my opinion.

I'm all for the drug testing, but what WTC is proposing is a fallacy, not a drug testing regimen. An effective drug testing system doesn't allow the athletes to choose when to be tested. And to expect me to pay a large sum of money for something ineffective and worthless, while at the same time allowing WTC to use my name, presence, race performance and hard work to capitalize and promote their events with, all while cutting the prize purse and Kona opportunities, would be a crime against my own intelligence and dignity to continue to support.

So I will be turning back the clock, and going back to short course. It's something which I never really gave the attention and commitment it deserved. I'm wiser now, and I miss going fast. I feel like I missed out on the opportunities of draft-legal racing. I missed out on the travel. I missed out on the fun of racing on a somewhat regular basis.

So I'm not going to post a whole race schedule here, because it is ever changing. I might do Wildflower, but I'm not sure. I do know I will support TriCalifornia and their events, because they treat elites the way they should be treated.

I will also do some bike races, mountain bike races, and other fun things that I want to do. I was asked recently what was different this time, compared to when I left the sport. The difference is clear to me, in that I am no longer trying to make a living as an athlete. I am making a living separate from racing. I am enjoying the sport. I'm trying to balance my life better, between the happiness of the triathlon lifestyle, and the thrill and risks of racing at the elite level.

Here is a tentative schedule:
Carlsbad 5000
Desert International Triathlon
WildFlower Half
San Diego International
Treasure Island ITU
Alcatraz Triathlon - August
Elite Nationals - Tuscaloosa, AL
PATCO Championships - Mexico
Huatalco World Cup - Mexico

This list will grow and morph, and doesn't include a bunch of the local races around San Diego I hope to do as well.

More big news coming in the next post...