Saturday, September 27, 2014

The WBWC

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:
Owweee
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 http://coaching.iamwithoutlimits.com/ 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

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Welcome Back to the Program

You're probably wondering what I've been up to these past few months (or not, it's ok, you can tell me), and why I was absent from Azalea Fest Worlds yesterday. Long story short, it's been a rough winter. I don't really feel like getting into all of it, so I'll give you the bullet points.

-Calf injury caps off the end of last season
-Calf heals with rest, but mysterious patellar tendonitis pops up in other knee with no activity
-Both clear up (for the most part), and I'm back to training
-Super cold morning run, calf flares up again
-1 week off, no good; 2 weeks off, still no good
-Possible tear, 6 more weeks off
Damn you Phil
To cap it all off, I recently missed a full week of training due to the flu/bronchitis/some gnarly s#!@, that lingered for another week or so. I figure if I go Bill Murray style from Groundhog Day, and take out Punxsutawney Phil, I should clear right up. What's the worst that could happen.
Don't drive angry
Alright, enough Debbie Downer crap. On the bright side, not being able to run has it's perks. Today, I competed in the Tom Dula's Revenge gravel road race up near Wilkesboro. This is a really fun 50 mile road race that includes about 15 miles of dirt and gravel roads. It was a very challenging course, and my form was a bit lacking, but I had fun with it.
A couple of these stream crossings spiced things up on the final 11% gravel climb.
credit: Andrew Stackhouse 
If I go too long without some sort of race stimuli, I get a little crazy. The race was just the kind of ass whopping I needed to get me fired up for the rest of the season. Had I raced Azalea Fest yesterday, I would have never had a chance to do this race. I am already planning on doing Boone-Roubaix (same style race, but with bigger climbs) at the end of the month to keep things rolling and race myself into some good form.

Still reading? I admire your tolerance to pain.

Oh, and one final note. In case this blog just isn't fulfilling your Matthew Wisthoff needs (let's be honest, can you ever be fully satisfied?), you can check the Star News sports section, where 4 local triathletes and I are being featured in a year long story about triathlons and junk. Here is a link to the first article, and here is a link to the blog.

Thanks for reading. As a parting gift, here's a super throwback/OG pic from one of my first races. Enjoy.
Azalea Fest, circa 2005 I think. It was a bit wet that day.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

For Grey

I've been trying to write this for a while, and it's been tough. Today seemed like a good day.

On July 20, 2013, one of my best friends in the world passed away. Grey Liston was on his latest of many adventures, climbing Mount Olympus, when he fell and lost his life. I've known Grey since we were freshman in college swimming for UNCW. Grey was my roommate, teammate, fellow WB lifeguard, but most importantly, a loyal friend. Truly great friends are hard to come by these days, and I'm just glad to have known Grey while he was on this earth.

One of the great things that Grey and I shared was our love of open water swimming. Whether it was a pier to pier swim with the team or a horizon swim with the lifeguard squad, we both craved the challenge and adventure. Last weekend, I competed in the Pier2Pier race at Wrightsville Beach. This is an event Grey dominated on numerous occasions. While I didn't have the greatest result, getting the chance to honor Grey's memory (as well as another former Seahawk, Ryan Young) was comforting. Seeing former teammates and lifeguards who knew Grey was a great experience.

Today, I competed in another race that Grey enjoyed, the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon at Wrightsville Beach. True to form, Grey would absolutely annihilate the swim portion of this race, swimming so fast that one year he finished the swim before they even had the timing matts out. It was a bit nasty today, as it rained all morning long. I was feeling a bit sluggish warming up, and started to doubt my form a bit. I thought about what Grey would do. He'd charge the swim so hard that no one would have a chance to stay with him. He wouldn't think about how tired he felt or bonking later on; just start hammering right out of the gates. So that's what I did. I went out hard and didn't look back. When I thought about backing off, I could here Grey telling me to quit being a bitch and go! Even when victory was all but certain, I continued to drive on, turning myself inside out. That's what Grey would have done. No mercy, just charge it. Crossing the line, I knew I had done Grey proud.

Grey meant so much to so many people. Those of you who knew him can surely attest to his fun loving attitude and genuine nature. His passing came too soon, but his legacy will continue to inspire friends and family to never take one day for granted. There's so much more that I can't even put into words. In the end, I miss my friend, but we'll meet again some time.

I've been combing through old photos, trying to pick a good one. I think this sums it up well. Love ya Greyman.
Full tilt at Park Ave, keep charging Grey