Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2018 - A Year in Review and the Year Ahead

Looking back, 2018 was a season of ups and downs, but in the end, I can say that it will largely go down as a success. I managed to pick up two big top ten finishes at St. Anthony's Triathlon and Escape from Alcatraz (8th place at both). Unfortunately, my season was ended shortly after Alcatraz due to a nagging calf injury that reared its ugly head after over two years of hibernation.

For St. Anthony's, this finish was long in the making, as it's the first time I've cracked the top 10 at this event in the ten years since my first appearance. The caliber of competition is always quite high, and putting together a solid race after a few tough seasons was very rewarding.
Did so well, I had to pee in a cup (I passed, shocking, I know)

In regard to Alcatraz, this was my first start at the historic event, and a very memorable one at that. This years event marked the culmination of the Escape Triathlon Series, a short course race series comprised of 5 events across the country. Due to my performance last year at the Nations Triathlon, I secured a start position in the pro division at this years event. I'd always considered this event in the past, but the cross country travel, combined with an extremely demanding bike and run course had always given me pause. However, with short course racing opportunities being scarce these days, I figured I'd roll the dice, and I'm glad I did. Although I would've rather finished a bit higher in the standings, and made some silly errors in the race, I can't be unhappy at a top 8 performance at this iconic, and brutally challenging event.
Calm sunrise shot, before the mayhem begins

As mentioned above, my season was unfortunately ended prematurely due to a reoccurring calf injury. I've had calf issues similar to this in the past, but haven't had troubles for over two years. I set to getting in treated as quickly as possible, which, in hindsight, seems to have set me back even more. Instead of allowing the muscle/fascia to calm down a bit after the initial onset, I got aggressive with the deep tissue treatment. I finally acknowledged this, but only after several weeks of minimal progress. Though, I'm now happy to report that all systems are go, and I'm slowly building up my run fitness and strength, while putting a particular emphasis on calf and hamstring stretching, as these seem to be directly related to all of my lower leg issues.

Looking forward to 2019, there are big changes already in the works. The biggest of all would have to be the fact that, after 15 amazing years, I'm no longer residing in the Wilmington/Cape Fear region. I've made the move over to the western side of the state, to the town of Boone, to be with my significant other, Samantha, and my equally significant other, Mimsy the puggle.
Sam likes the water. Mimsy, not so much.

This move has been long in the making, and it feels good to have us all living together again, and not separated by 900 miles. Boone also provides great opportunities for training, that will prove invaluable. With some of the most challenging terrain on the east coast, the Appalachian region in North Carolina will be a prime base of operations for next season, and seasons to come. I've already begun a new partnership with one of the best cycling resources in the area Rhoddie Bicycle Outfitters in near by Blowing Rock.

Rhoddie, and it's owner Brian Sain, provide a wealth of knowledge for all things 2 wheel related in the region. You can find me at Rhoddie several days a week, helping folks explore everything from the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the lesser known gravel roads that make this place special. Stay tuned through the winter for more updates as I expand into new opportunities in 2019.

Monday, September 28, 2015

One Year, One Update (you can thank me later)

So, a year has passed. I'm a little older, a little wiser...well, maybe just older. No doubt you've been wondering what I've been up to this past year. Here's some incoherent ramblings about some things and stuffs.

US Pro Tri

I'm excited to announce that this year I have been, and will continue to race for US Pro Tri. The team is comprised of pro triathletes primarily from the east coast of the US. I'm very excited to be a part of the team this year, and hope that our partnership continues into the future.
Yes, the kit is quite...uh...distinct. I will say this though, you can't miss us at a race


Last weekend, I raced the Savageman triathlon at Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. For those unfamiliar with this race, it is most famous for the bike course, which features numerous climbs above 20% gradient. The most famous of these climbs is the Westernport Wall; a brutal climb that averages 12% for 1.2 miles and maxes out at 31%. The road is so steep and in such poor condition, that the steepest segment has long since been closed to motor vehicle traffic.
Rock Street. Fitting name as it appears it was originally paved with rocks.
The scene at "the wall" is quite a site. Spectators line the road on the toughest sections, cheering people on as they attempt to make it up the wall without putting a foot down (or falling). Those who make it up successfully are rewarded with a personally engraved brick that will be used to pave the upper section of the wall. If you don't want to make an attempt, there is an alternate route (longer) that you can take to avoid the hardest sections (but what's the fun in that?). You'll see folks absolutely burying themselves to make it up. The cruel joke is that once you make it, you're only 19 miles into the 56 mile bike leg. Oh, and you still have to climb another 5+ miles before you top out on Savage Mountain.

The remainder of the bike is riddled with climbs maxing out in excess of 20%. I managed to hold the lead until about mile 23 on the bike. Fading a bit towards the end of the bike, I came into T2 in 7th place. The run course is still quite a hilly affair, with approximately 1700 feet of elevation. I managed to pull back one person to finish in 6th place overall. I was only three minutes out of 3rd place though, which was a bit annoying for such a long race, but that's how it goes.

Though it may be tough, I can't say enough good things about this race. The scenery is spectacular. You hardly see a car the entire time you're on the bike. I would highly recommend this race to anyone looking for a change from your typical boring, overcrowded triathlon. And if the half distance is a little intimidating for you, there's an olympic distance race the day before.

Other Races

I did some other races. Some were good, some not so good. This past weekend, I managed to successfully defend my Swim the Loop title from last year. Swim the Loop is another race that I can't recommend enough. It's a course that rewards a well rounded open water swimmer, due to the changing currents and conditions throughout the race. Sighting is crucial on this course, and if you're not good at it, you'll quickly find yourself adding distance to your swim.

Earlier in the season, I had to deal with some IT band issues, which proved to be quite frustrating. Though I'm happy to report that I'm healthy, and training is going according to plan. My last race of the season will take me down to Venice, FL for the Challenge Florida half iron distance race. I raced this same course two years ago when it was owned by Rev3. The course is familiar, and the flat, fast layout tends to suit me well.  

That's all for now kiddos, you can go back to watching cat videos now.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


As the Wrightsville Beach World Champioships (aka: the WBWC, aka: Wilmington YMCA Triathlon, aka: the "At least we're not in Myrtle Beach" Triathlon)  draws to a close, let us take a moment to reflect on past editions of this glorious event.

Ok, you done? Moving on.

It's unfortunate, almost sad in a way, that this years edition of the WBWC coincided with the week long UCI Road World Championships. Clearly, the attention that the WBWC has received all week (what with all the tri pundits weighing in on odds), another great event is forced to take a back seat to one far superior. Bradley Wiggins must not know how to feel. On the one hand, the guy wins the World Time Trial Championships, on the other, his accomplishment will go largely unnoticed.
Wiggo, nonplussed indeed
It's like solving a crossword puzzle in a TV guide. I mean, good for you, those things are hard, but no one gives a crap (and why are you still using a TV guide anyway? who are you, Frank Costanza?).

On to this years edition. I am pleased to announce that I was able to defend my title yet again at the 36th running of the WBWC. Solid swim, bike, and run splits across the board lead to another course record breaking performance. This marks the sixth year that I've won this event, and it feels good to bring home La Tasse Pourpre (the purple coffee mug).
Be jealous, it's ok
And while I don't drink coffee, I figure this mug should be equally at home with the adult beverage of my choice (rubbing alcohol, for the good times).

One final note on the day. Hats off too Mr. Shawn Spencer and Mr. Patrick Farwell, who may have had you thinking you were in Myrtle Beach with their colorful addition to the beach cruiser division.
Don't forget to stretch those hamstrings
Fighting off some serious chaffing, these guys hammered along on a single speed beach cruiser tandem. And for their efforts, they shall receive a free six pack of Schlitz and a half used tub of chamois cream.
Chamois cream application available upon request (from this guy ↑)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chicago Tri

My apologies for leaving my loyal followers without an update from my last race. You all deserve better. Come on, stop crying. It's not you, it's me.

So, I made it all the way to Chicago and back in one piece. Not that I didn't feel safe while I was there, but driving in the city was nothing short of treacherous. Needless to say, once we reached where we were staying, I didn't drive again until we left.

Waking up on race morning was an interesting experience. The race started at 6am this year, which meant waking up before 4am. The sheer mass of people heading into transition on race morning was a bit overwhelming, especially considering I was running late (as per normal race protocol). I managed to make it to swim start with some time left to warm-up, and we promptly got underway at 6 on the dot. The swim was quite a choppy affair, due in part to the wind coming off the lake, causing waves to reverberate off the adjacent sea wall. I felt pretty good in the water, and comfortably settled into around 8th place for the duration of the swim.

Heading out onto the bike course, I was about 40 seconds down from the front of the race, which was not bad considering the company I was in. They were trying out a brand new bike course for this year, in hopes that it would help with the logistics of running an international and sprint distance race concurrently. The new course took us on a 7 mile out and back section before we entered a maze of upper and lower roads, tunnels, and 180 degree turn-arounds. While this made for a very interesting course, it made it hard to settle into a rhythm. My legs were already not feeling great, and the course only compounded that. I still managed a decent split, but the front-runners (Cam Dye, Greg Bennett) were setting a blistering pace.

Moving on to the run, I tried to get my leg turnover going, and settle into a strong pace. I managed to catch one person, and pull back some time on others, but wasn't quite fast enough to do any serious damage. I did have some great encouragement though from my cheering squad.
Mimsy, Official Support Puggle of Matthew Wisthoff Racing

 Overall, it was a solid race, but not my best. Some days, you just feel flat. I was wondering where my form was from two weeks earlier at Lake Logan. Looking back on the two weeks between though, I can see that I went too hard on some workouts that should have been active recovery. I usually don't have a problem with taking it easy (duh), but when you feel good, it can be hard to rein yourself in. Lesson learned.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A whole bunch of something

Apologies for the post overload; we have some catching up to do.

Where to begin. I have been quite busy lately and haven't really found the time to address my five loyal followers (they may be spam bots, but like true friends, they will never leave me). So, here's a quick rundown of my latest competitive exercising exploits.

As you may or may not know, I often compete with the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue squad at lifeguard competitions. Being a former full time guard and current sub (though I'm so far down on the list I'm not on the list proper), I still enjoy going to these competitions for fun. Our regional competition was held down in North Myrtle Beach this year, so the decision to attend was easy. Due to the outstanding from performances of everyone on the squad, we were able to defend our overall title from last year. We compete in the small beach division (beaches with less than 100 guards), but managed to score more points than all of the large beach squads as well.

The 2k Beach Run is a painful event, in case you couldn't tell from my facial expressions
Even better, the squad just got back from the national championships, where they placed third amongst small beaches, and 10th overall in the country. So, as is the custom, the beer flowed like wine at the awards ceremony, and shenanigans ensued (did you know that with enough people, you can make a lazy river flow in reverse? neither did I).

A few weeks later when I came too, I found myself in Asheville for the Lake Logan Triathlon. This race is held in one of the most picturesque venues of any race I've done. Definitely one to do if you haven't already.
Purty, ain't it?
(Photo courtesy of the person I took it from)
As an added perk, the international distance race (there's also a half, new this year, and a sprint) has a some money up for grabs for top 3 overall and fastest swim, bike, and run splits. I had an awesome race, and managed to walk away with first place, plus the fastest swim and bike splits. Everything came together, and I felt really solid the whole way through.

So thats it as far as racing related activities. In other news, I have recently taken the position as primary class-setter-upper-guy at the Without Limits Computrainer Studio, aka the CPWWTGDOTGT. If your'e unfamiliar with what the computrainer studio is, read the following post I did a while back outlining, in detail, the features and benefits of the system. In short, it is the most effective and efficient way to gain fitness on the bike. Even just one ride a week on the computrainer can have dramatic impacts come race day. Most folks just get out on the road and just go through the motions, without focus or purpose. The computrainer forces you to take control of your workouts so that you receive maximum benefit. You can click the link here to see the schedule of classes and sign up.

Looking forward, I've got the Chicago Triathlon coming up on August 24th. This race is apart of the highly competitive, olympic distance focused, Life Time Series. Now, I know what your'e thinking. Why is the network famous for movies and shows about dead-beat ex-husbands, and strong, independent women running a nation wide triathlon series? Will they add in a forth leg where you have to fight off a drunk divorcee, or evade a purse snatcher? Sadly though, it is a different Life Time that sponsors this series, not the one that has provided such a plethora cinematic gold. For example, we need not look any further than the 2007 blockbuster, I Me Wed. 
Woman marries herself, sheer brilliance. Watch out M. Night Shyamalan
If you want to borrow the DVD, let me know (killer deleted scenes and interviews).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Swim, Crap, Run

Swim, Crap, Run

So, as you may have inferred from the title, things didn’t go quite as planned this weekend. This past weekend, I traveled to Philadelphia for the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon (formerly the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon). Due to my injuries over the winter, this was my first major race of the year. I know I’m not in peak shape right now, but I figured the race would be a good indicator of where I’m at. 

Ok, the race wasn’t total crap, more like it was sprinkled with crap, primarily focused on the bike leg. The swim was fairly average. I let the lead pack get away from me, but led the chase group into T1. For how I’ve felt in the water lately, I was ok with this. 

Here’s where it starts to get stinky. On the bike, you hit the first of 4 climbs (per lap) a couple miles into the course. Primarily due to the bad winter Philly had, the roads were in bad shape. On the descent of the first climb (a relatively technical stretch of road), I managed to nail some rough patches, which in turn broke some of the zip ties that were holding my bottle cage in between my aerobars (I’ve been racing this setup for years, never once had a problem). It was so loose, that I nearly lost the bottle (which, at this point in the race was completely full) on the next few corners. I decided then that the only solution was to shove the bottle down the front of my trisuit. So, approaching full on Fred status at this point. The only time I could drink was on the climbs, because I had to get out of my aerobars to remove the bottle. Not ideal, but not devastating either. I just figured I would get it down fast, and toss it at the aid station. However, it wasn’t long before I got dealt another steaming pile of misfortune. On another particularly fast and pothole filled descent, I drilled another chunk of pavement, which caused my seatpost to slip down quite a bit. Sounds like I need to fire my mechanic, don’t ya think? And we haven’t even hit the second lap yet; it gets better.

Under USAT pro rules, you are required to follow the stagger rule. The stagger rule states that no matter how far behind you are, you always have to be staggered off the person in front of you. As we started the second lap, we were joined by some age group athletes starting their first lap. On the approach to an uphill, right hand turn, I was passed by an age grouper. I continued to ride the ideal line leading up to and through this uphill corner, which just so happened to be behind the rider in front of me. I’m usually very sensitive to my position to avoid receiving a penalty, and thought nothing of the line I was taking. Apparently, the official didn’t approve, and I was handed a 1 minute stand-down penalty (i.e. you have to come to a complete stop, unclip both shoes, and wait 1 minute) for stagger rule violation. I’ve been racing under these rules for 6 years now, and I’ve never received a penalty until now. However, I think the official had me confused with someone else, because he remarked that he has had problems with me in the past. Regardless, it was a quite the kick to the gut, while I was already in the fetal position. 

At this point, I was well out of touch with the race up the road. I decided I would get through the rest of the bike as best I could, and try to salvage a decent run. I figured I was going to see someone finish while exiting T2, but I was pleased to see that there were still some guys around that I could race, and my deficit to the front hadn’t reached “pity clap” levels. I managed to stick with one fellow through about 2.5 miles, until he slowly pulled away from me. Much like the swim, my run split was satisfactory. I could feel some tightness in my hip flexors, most likely from having to slide back on my saddle after it slipped, pinching off my hip angles. 

Boy-o-boy, what fun. As bad as it was, I can still say I’ve had worse. While in Germany 2 years ago, I combined much of the misfortune above with a flat tire, which I rode for the last 7 miles to get to T2. To make matters worse, my chocolate flavored gel exploded all over me, make it look like I had quite literally “s#!% the bed.”   

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring Update

So, I know many of you have been sitting around the past few months, feeling depressed and sensing something missing in your lives. Fear not my followers, for I have a new blog post. Please keep the crying and hysterics to a minimum. I know this is an emotional time, but seriously, keep it together, it's embarrassing. There's a lot to cover, so lets get started.

Since my last post, things have been looking up. I managed to compete in my first and second triathlons of the season, as well as an open water race. The tri's were fairly uneventful, but good indications of early season fitness. The first was the Buck Hurley Triathlon up in Salisbury, NC. This race was a sprint with a 300 yard pool swim to kick things off. Buck Hurley is a small race, but one that offers a decent little prize purse. I was able to secure second place, and a $250 check for my efforts. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the time trial start, I did not know that I had finished second until after the time gaps were factored in. Had we been racing side-by-side, I would have tripped the guy and won. Still, I had a good performance, and was pleased to be back racing again.

Fast forward one weekend, and we come to the second triathlon, the Carolina Beach Double Sprint. Many of you may remember this event from when it was held in Kure Beach for several years. Due to some falling out with the Town of Kure Beach, the race took a one year hiatus, and returned this year a few miles up the road in Carolina Beach. The race features a unique format, which involves swimming 375 meters, running 1.5 miles, biking 12 miles, running 1.5 miles, and finishing with another 375 meter swim. I love this event for the two swim, open ocean format. It's also great because it gives you several opportunities to work on transitions. I managed to improve my placing from the week before to finish first overall, and claim my first victory of the 2014 season. I was a bit more tired for than the week before, but managed to stay controlled and put in an even paced performance.

Moving right along, this past weekend I had to great honor of competing in the first ever Stoked to Go Out! Grey Liston Memorial Swim.

For those who have not know, Grey was a very good friend of mine who passed away last year in a climbing accident. You can read my post about Grey here. I am so glad I was able to make this event. A few months ago, I had already planned to be racing a tri on the same weekend. I had to cancel the tri because I didn't feel I could reach top form in time due to my injury. As the weekend drew closer, I realized I could probably still race the triathlon, but in the end I found it was more important to be with the Liston's, and everyone else who loved Grey. As for the race itself, the conditions could not have been better. Prefect offshore, glassy conditions under sunny skies. We were allowed to wear wetsuits due to the 70 degree water, but I chose to go without. Having done so many open water swims with Grey over the years, I knew that he liked to keep things pure and hated wetsuits. It felt great, and I still managed to pull out third place. The best part of the whole weekend was being able to see all of the people who traveled to be here for Grey. My house turned into a little bed and breakfast for a few days, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Still with me? So you may be asking yourself, "how do I get awesome like Matthew Wisthoff?" Well, at the Center for People Who Want to Triathlon Good and Do Other Things Good Too (CPWWTGDOTGT), aka Without Limits Coaching, we are always thinking of new ways to inflict pain on yourself, so that you can inflict said pain on others. I present exhibit A:
If you don't know what this is a picture of, It's a good chance that the guy/gal that beat you last week does. This is a simulated hill workout that we did at the Without Limits Computrainer Studio the other morning, and I can tell you it is one that will bring grown men to tears. Every year, more top pros are turning to indoor training tools, such as the Computrainer, to get the job done effectively and efficiently. My first major goal of the season will be the Philadelphia Triathlon on June 22nd. It's not the toughest course around, but it has a few punchy climbs that can zap your legs for the run if your not ready for them. Doing workouts like this will get me ready to handle to the power surges that you experience on hilly courses. Being that the biggest climb around here is a bridge, this is the only way to properly prepare. If your'e doing a race with any appreciable elevation gain, this is the best way to adapt and make yourself ready for race day. Heck, even if it's a flat race, the ergometer mode can essentially program your body so that you settle into your pace without even thinking. You can go to to get started and sign up for a class.

So, all that writing and only two pictures. Gotta fix that. You guys ever seen a stuffed monkey on a swing, with a bottle of Patron, and a plastic sword?
His name is Squirrel