I'm a debatable gentleman and endurance sport activist living in Los Angeles. Here, we'll talk about the second of those two things...

twitter @burnsmittyburn

 

"I ain’t here to give ya no mamby, pamby talk, kid. I just ain’t. But now ya gotta get up. I heard what happened out on that road in Canada and the damn cowards everywhere. I heard, kid! And I heard ya let it get to ya and ya lost your spittin fire and that’s not how I built ya. That’s not the damn fighter I been raisin! So show me some fight now, kid. Be damn fierce every minute ya get from now until that race in Hawaii. Damn fierce riding, damn fierce running, damn fierce swimming. Then be fierce buying your damn groceries, kissin’ yer damn girlfriend, driven’ yer damn car, kid! It’s the only way. The only way. I’ll be watching, kid, cause I believe in ya. Now what are we waiting’ for?!?!"

"I ain’t here to give ya no mamby, pamby talk, kid. I just ain’t. But now ya gotta get up. I heard what happened out on that road in Canada and the damn cowards everywhere. I heard, kid! And I heard ya let it get to ya and ya lost your spittin fire and that’s not how I built ya. That’s not the damn fighter I been raisin! So show me some fight now, kid. Be damn fierce every minute ya get from now until that race in Hawaii. Damn fierce riding, damn fierce running, damn fierce swimming. Then be fierce buying your damn groceries, kissin’ yer damn girlfriend, driven’ yer damn car, kid! It’s the only way. The only way. I’ll be watching, kid, cause I believe in ya. Now what are we waiting’ for?!?!"

"Reilly-san, everything do next 29 days, must do sharp focus. No more, ‘Out door.’ No more, ‘Get mile.’ Only then Hawaii be what Hawaii be. Fast no matter. Hawaii, pure heart only thing matter."

"Reilly-san, everything do next 29 days, must do sharp focus. No more, ‘Out door.’ No more, ‘Get mile.’ Only then Hawaii be what Hawaii be. Fast no matter. Hawaii, pure heart only thing matter."

Mt. Tremblant 70.3 WC - 4:24:38

Shit. That’s an expression. Has nothing to do with the course, or the day, or the place. Mt. Tremblant was everything is was advertised as being, and a perfect place to take on a world championship. There’s a lot to talk about on this one regarding the race, so let’s roll.

I didn’t have a good day. It’s not like I came here and laid a total, complete egg. Or, I didn’t lay an ostrich egg. Quail, yes. I didn’t rise to the occasion, and that hurts. I was ready for it. I believe that still.  

The day was challenging. I had a plan and was ready to roll it. Forgot what World Championship swims were like until I was in the thick of a mass of madness. I was hit with an elbow so many times on an exact spot on my side, I became convinced I would later be peeing blood and that there was a conspiracy plotted against me in the water. Swam mid-27, coming out with a couple buddies I’m usually just behind, so it was fine. Not great, but fine. Felt ready to ride.

The bike. Oh, the bike. This was the most frustrating ride I’ve ever had in a race. Oh, the World Championships. Started off rolling out of town and finding legs. Power felt good and like I had something in there. Maybe not everything, but something. Lots of ups and downs all day long. Before the highway and all through the highway, packs started to form. I said this on twitter last night - there is a difference between a pack riding single file, “legally,” and groups 3 wide by 4 deep, just gliding. I told myself I would make a break on the highway, about mile 10-15, and did, working my ass off to get away, only to eventually hit a hill, and get swallowed up by the group again. I tried this several times, always failing. It was gutting. It was heartbreaking. It made me sit up and wonder what the hell I was even doing in the race anymore, as I eventually gave up on a hopeless and self-sabotaging pursuit. So instead, I sat in the back “legally” at about 225-240 watts vs the 320-340 I’d use to try and get away, waiting for the big hill to break people up before trying to rally and muster something of a move around mile 35 or so. Tough day for a cyclist. Woe is me. But what could you do? I was thinking about it a lot when things were in cruise control, as I saw packs everywhere on that highway. If you weren’t around one, or aren’t experienced in World Championship racing, you would scream at them as they went by. If you were, you either didn’t give a shit or felt helpless and guilty and sat on the back, out of the mess. Or you’re an asshole and spent your day checking over your back for the motorcycle, thinking about how great the 5-8 free minutes would be for your run and placement. Or you were Colom. Refs didn’t do anything really - not surprised by this anymore. Personally, this course just trapped me. On a power course like Kona, I could have made a committed effort and rode away. These hills stopped me every time. Probably as emotionally challenged as I’ve ever been too - but it happened in moments when my heart rate was 120, not 170. Go figure. You learn something new about yourself all the time in this game.

Since I ran like tourist, the run was pretty spectacular. No real fade, but no  pop. I didn’t run well…been a theme lately, but been a theme on tough run courses…in Canada. So I’m looking ahead. Got to. Excited to move on…

I already have many great memories of this place. I had some friends I’ve been racing with this season and for a while who had remarkable, inspiring days out there. Couple of world champions, couple of gritty, gutsy pro performances. All of that is special to me on the really challenging days - speed and success by distant association.  

Time to clean up and stand up. 4 week block into Kona. At this point, I honestly don’t know what is going to show up. So that’s haunting. And fun.  I still believe in what I am doing. My training is always inspired, and will especially be heading into the last dance of 2014.

Still a pretty damn special Autumn Day in Canada, even with a struggle. Got a puzzle to solve before Kona. That’s the game. The method behind the puzzle is key.

I don’t like getting punched in the face. Also key.

Still a pretty damn special Autumn Day in Canada, even with a struggle. Got a puzzle to solve before Kona. That’s the game. The method behind the puzzle is key.

I don’t like getting punched in the face. Also key.

Mt. Tremblant 70.3 World Championship Eve
Things are calm here, and quiet. I’m not talking about the place, but the person. Maybe it’s maturity, and that I’ve been through this or something similar so many times. I should have my paces down by now. It’s certainly not apathy. Tomorrow is going to be fun. Brilliant chaos and fun. Without a doubt. Tremblant is a triathlete playground wonderland.
I went out today for last paces and felt horrible. I just hate day before. Useless nonsense. Everything I try and do, my body is double middle fingers, arms crossed, swiping beneath its chin while spitting and pissing in my direction. Water take outs felt okay because, as Tim Reed (last year’s #5) ((root for this guy!)) called out mid-stroke in passing, I was the only cold and all adrenaline “idiot swimming without a wetsuit.” Either he’s a ninja, or spotted my Tower 26 swim cap going by. I’m just not a fan of the wetsuit day before. Later went 3x5 at race pace on an hour ride, or 340 watts and hated every garbage second. Finished with a run around town at a 9 minute pace with a few pickups and felt like I weighed 300 pounds. But whatever. By now, I know the game, and that it’s all okay, even if I ALWAYS wonder. Because when the gun goes, something else happens. I find what’s in there, and what’s alive for the day. Some days, there’s more than others. Coming up with a race plan going into this one, I have convinced myself speed is directly tied to how deep I am willing to go. If something isn’t showing up, I will have to demand it and not waste any time doing so. I am going to bed tonight expecting to find more than I’ve ever found before, because I’ve checked myself after a season of hits and misses and made the decision that THAT approach will bring me to my fastest possible self tomorrow. It’s a World Championship. No choice but to make this body scream like a GD Banshee. 
Tough course for a big boy. Sure. But cool temps in the 60’s should even things out, and means this big boy can and HAS TO let it all hang out. 340 (effort) will not be enough to do what I want to do. I’m ready for that. Maybe that’s why things are so calm in these parts. Because things know. They know, baby. I have other thoughts on this race, but will save them for my upcoming NY Times bestselling novel titled, “How Happy I Am To Be 2,600 Miles Away From and Mostly North Of 100 Degree Las Vegas For a 70.3 World Championship.”

Mt. Tremblant 70.3 World Championship Eve

Things are calm here, and quiet. I’m not talking about the place, but the person. Maybe it’s maturity, and that I’ve been through this or something similar so many times. I should have my paces down by now. It’s certainly not apathy. Tomorrow is going to be fun. Brilliant chaos and fun. Without a doubt. Tremblant is a triathlete playground wonderland.

I went out today for last paces and felt horrible. I just hate day before. Useless nonsense. Everything I try and do, my body is double middle fingers, arms crossed, swiping beneath its chin while spitting and pissing in my direction. Water take outs felt okay because, as Tim Reed (last year’s #5) ((root for this guy!)) called out mid-stroke in passing, I was the only cold and all adrenaline “idiot swimming without a wetsuit.” Either he’s a ninja, or spotted my Tower 26 swim cap going by. I’m just not a fan of the wetsuit day before. Later went 3x5 at race pace on an hour ride, or 340 watts and hated every garbage second. Finished with a run around town at a 9 minute pace with a few pickups and felt like I weighed 300 pounds. But whatever. By now, I know the game, and that it’s all okay, even if I ALWAYS wonder. Because when the gun goes, something else happens. I find what’s in there, and what’s alive for the day. Some days, there’s more than others. Coming up with a race plan going into this one, I have convinced myself speed is directly tied to how deep I am willing to go. If something isn’t showing up, I will have to demand it and not waste any time doing so. I am going to bed tonight expecting to find more than I’ve ever found before, because I’ve checked myself after a season of hits and misses and made the decision that THAT approach will bring me to my fastest possible self tomorrow. It’s a World Championship. No choice but to make this body scream like a GD Banshee. 

Tough course for a big boy. Sure. But cool temps in the 60’s should even things out, and means this big boy can and HAS TO let it all hang out. 340 (effort) will not be enough to do what I want to do. I’m ready for that. Maybe that’s why things are so calm in these parts. Because things know. They know, baby. I have other thoughts on this race, but will save them for my upcoming NY Times bestselling novel titled, “How Happy I Am To Be 2,600 Miles Away From and Mostly North Of 100 Degree Las Vegas For a 70.3 World Championship.”

The Team Behind an 80-mile Run Week
Definitely my biggest ever. Put in a 71 earlier in the year and had my best run of the year. Miyagi told me to do it again…but to handle it this time like a man and to stop being so dramatic about it. He was more eloquent than that, of course. You know what it feels like you’re doing other than running during an 80-mile run week? Nothing. It feels like you’re doing nothing else.
You know what it feels like getting off the bike of a major race knowing you’re 7 days off from a 80-mile run week? Yeah, neither do I. But that’s why we do these things. It’s World Championship season. 

The Team Behind an 80-mile Run Week

Definitely my biggest ever. Put in a 71 earlier in the year and had my best run of the year. Miyagi told me to do it again…but to handle it this time like a man and to stop being so dramatic about it. He was more eloquent than that, of course. You know what it feels like you’re doing other than running during an 80-mile run week? Nothing. It feels like you’re doing nothing else.

You know what it feels like getting off the bike of a major race knowing you’re 7 days off from a 80-mile run week? Yeah, neither do I. But that’s why we do these things. It’s World Championship season. 

Anonymous asked
First of all. I am impressed. It looks like you know what you are doing. And I like your attitude. But there are a few things. You look like a fucking grandma on your bike. You could be 10x more areo than you are now. Why spend 5000$ on an sworks shiv if you are going to shit the bed on a good fit? 2. The run course in st. George was short. I have heard it from numerous sources including the top pro. Maybe thats where your inflated run ego has comes from this year.

Now we’re talking. I like to talk. Most people just write in and tell me I remind them of some friend named Jessica, or suggest that I die. The rest, I really should spend more time answering. I appreciate your appreciation of my attitude — I’m proud of it. I try to do things right. Your tone is slightly trollish based on exaggerations, but also ballpark astute, so you are welcome here. I do know what I am doing - or at least I know more about what I am doing than I did yesterday, and the day before. Still much to learn. Does your grandma look like me? Can I meet her? She sounds very well built and handsome. If I were able to be 10x more aero, how fast would I be able to go? Mach 7? Mach 8? As fast as Chevy Chase sledding in Christmas Vacation? That would be ideal. Okay, okay, but seriously. My position is actually not as horrific as you make it out to be. Do you think I always ride like I am riding into transition at IM Canada, with my right aerobar snapped at the bolt and clinging to my left by a Specialized rubber band? Or do you think maybe, as you offered, I know a little bit about what I am doing?

Let’s be real here. I owe you that much for your backhanded compliments. Last year, I rode a pretty incredible bike, a Shiv TT. It was a large, but likely too small for someone 6’4. Wildly aggressive, wildly aero. Wasn’t so bad when I only had to cover 56 miles. But in Kona, chafing became raw, torn skin and so much pain I didn’t even care about staying aero the last 20 miles home into a brutal headwind. Didn’t care. Left a rusty puddle of blood-water on the seat of a T2 plastic chair, and at some point of my limping most of that run course I maybe told myself…how bout aim for a little more comfort in 2014. It was a traumatic experience that lasted about as long as it took me to stop walking crooked. Now that I’ve offered so much, and have spent the good part of this season getting comfortable on a bike that fits me, I will say “more aero” has been a conversation I’ve been having with my coaches lately. They’re still undecided. 

I’m a lot of things, but I’m not inflated. Sometimes, you can catch me in the process of reaching, but that’s different, and eventually, I come up with what I’m reaching for - that’s why you like me, because I am fucking relentless, in spite of your inherent desires, being an internet commenter and all. I don’t believe I’m Steve Prefontaine — that’s the most important thing here. Everyone knows the run course was short in St. George. But by what? 2 minutes? 3? Still. A 1:28 St. George does not equal 3:35 Whistler. One of my boys who outran me by 6 minutes in St. George outran me by 34 in Whistler. Are those margins equal, or can we agree that my shitting the bed should have been a reference dropped on my marathon run instead of my bike fit? I guess we’ll see, won’t we? Because I’ll be back at it soon enough. Because that’s what I do. It’s you I’m worried about, friend. Or should I call you…person? There’s a great expression in the world that’s been recycled in many forms, probably throughout time. One of the more recent versions you’ve probably heard — you either build or destroy. My question is this…how’s the view from the side you’re sitting? Cause my view is a damn beauty.

Ironman Canada - 9:42:46 AG #4 (Amateur #8) OA #16

Well, it’s been a bit of a mad dash in June and July, with a lot of racing, and a lot of chasing. Wasn’t pretty most of the time, but the dust has settled and it seems I have kicked and screamed my way back into the Ironman World Championships in Kona. And that feels right.

Whistler was extraordinary. The venue and part of the world has absolutely left a mark on me. The air was invasively clean compared to Los Angeles and I can’t remember anything I ate besides blueberries and wild salmon. The views, scenery, active people everywhere, fun town, the way Canadians talk…it was all great.

So the race…I knew it was going to be a big one. I thought coming off Vineman, even though it was only 2 weeks ago, was going to set me up to drop a hammer on this thing, even with 6500 feet of climbing on the bike and a very hilly run against a big body. I didn’t care. I was going to transcend all that. Swim was absolutely stunning. It reminded me of exactly a year ago when I was in Zurich for Ironman Switzerland - cannot give much higher marks to either venues. A business casual swim brought me out of the water in 57 minutes. Top pros swam around 51. There weren’t any top, top end swimmers, but 57 was still a great result for me. I can attribute this entirely to my skill work with Tower 26 and just being comfortable in pack swimming. Last year, I often went into swims with something to prove and would kill myself for every second - and most of the time, I also sought out clear water so I could swim alone. This year, I just kinda cruise, hunting for feet or hips or shoulders. Lazy. When you have the skills, this approach works. But now I need to swim more. I need to graduate a pack before the big show, before they take my fancy wetsuit away. 

In my mind before the race, I thought best case I could swim a 57 and bike a 4:55. I thought if I could get onto that run before 6 hours, I would have a good gap to hold off the runners and contend for overall amateur. My bike was solid, not spectacular. I think it’s hard for me to be spectacular on a course like Whistler. Came in with a 5:04. Normalized power was 290, average 273 - and I don’t have enough experience breaking things down to know if on a course with as much 0 watts as Whistler if losing 67 average watts between Vineman 70.3 and this full is a huge drop…but I have a feeling it is. I came into transition in 10th place overall and second amateur - there was a 56/4:57 ahead of me. 

The run won. I thought 3:18-3:25 coming in. I ran a 1:25 in St. George - so I still believe that’s an earned estimate. Planned on heading out at a 7:30 pace, which would have actually been a 7:15 pace in the early miles and set me up well for the long, slow, bleed out that is an Ironman marathon. Instead, I started out in the 7:30’s and just couldn’t find rhythm. The course was rolling…rocks, pavement, dirt, planks — absolutely beautiful but I was struggling. Third and fourth place amateur passed me around mile 10. I think a couple more got me around 17. The last 3 got me in the fog of the last 9. But I fought for it. When I had to walk steep hills, which was often coming home, I took them on like a power-walk psychopath and then picked back up into good, committed running. Like I said before, by no means was this effort pretty, but I got the job somewhat done in a 3:35 — a huge failure based on estimates, but I am taking heaps from it. And I’m excited for the coming opportunities to make it the outlier I know it is. Even in the bastard swelter of the Queen K. Bet on it.

Time for a break. Time for a reset. I know Mt. Tremblant and Kona are the next two up, but the one thing I have to do right now is take 10-15 days and just clean out and reset. First three races of the year were great. Sharp, focused, executed. These last 3 have been a little funky. My run has been seriously funky. I’m excited to make inspired revisions and move forward. Now that I’ve been around this game long enough I know - everything is pattycake before the WC’s. They are a rack of money balls.

Ironman Canada
I like to talk about things. Before they happen. Has something to do with my processing of large endeavors. This Thursday, I am flying up to Vancouver to drive to Whistler so that I can race Ironman Canada. Full distance. Before 2014 started, and probably somewhere during or right after my injured march on Ironman Kona commenced in 2013, I decided I was through with the 140.6. I had flown to Zurich in July last year after already having qualified for Kona at Honu, and ended up walking carefully the last 7 miles after coming to a belief that there was a broken bone in my foot - wasn’t the case, but things were beginning to fall apart. I came into Kona pretty injured, and off-center, and I told myself it was enough, to put the full distance behind me with my hands up, admitting defeat. I had taken it on twice and stumbled mightily both times. As a result, I let the full go to make space for an obvious and welcome focus on 70.3. I wanted to win an Ironman amateur title and qualify for a pro card during the early part of 2014…and even though it seems like ages ago, I did both those things, the first at Galveston 70.3 in April and the second at St. George 70.3 in May.
Then in June, after I had already crossed off the season’s major goals, something sudden happened. I needed to go long. Sure, a good part of that urge was born out of a desire to get back to Kona, the thing I swore off, and put my new bike legs to the test on those legendary 112. But mostly though, the driving force behind me was a particular voice I had buried - that I had told was not tough enough to go long, or not built right enough to go long — the voice that had most likely put me into this sport in the first place was fighting back. It shot out of hiding to tell me exactly, “This is your mental shit, not my physical. And you can go fuck yourself for all I care, we’re going to Whistler.” That week, I signed up. This week, I’m taking that voice and all of his friends and family to Canada.
Straight up, I’m daunted by the full. I’ve never been good at it. I like to puff my chest going into a 70.3 - it’s my process — it keeps me moving. I feel like I know what it takes - to train, to win, to make leaps forward. This is so different - I feel careful and almost cowering…but that’s the greatness of it, and why I absolutely need it - that long conversation with something that has a long history of chewing me up and spitting me out. 
And yet I concede nothing…you bastard…Whistler. I’m coming.

Ironman Canada

I like to talk about things. Before they happen. Has something to do with my processing of large endeavors. This Thursday, I am flying up to Vancouver to drive to Whistler so that I can race Ironman Canada. Full distance. Before 2014 started, and probably somewhere during or right after my injured march on Ironman Kona commenced in 2013, I decided I was through with the 140.6. I had flown to Zurich in July last year after already having qualified for Kona at Honu, and ended up walking carefully the last 7 miles after coming to a belief that there was a broken bone in my foot - wasn’t the case, but things were beginning to fall apart. I came into Kona pretty injured, and off-center, and I told myself it was enough, to put the full distance behind me with my hands up, admitting defeat. I had taken it on twice and stumbled mightily both times. As a result, I let the full go to make space for an obvious and welcome focus on 70.3. I wanted to win an Ironman amateur title and qualify for a pro card during the early part of 2014…and even though it seems like ages ago, I did both those things, the first at Galveston 70.3 in April and the second at St. George 70.3 in May.

Then in June, after I had already crossed off the season’s major goals, something sudden happened. I needed to go long. Sure, a good part of that urge was born out of a desire to get back to Kona, the thing I swore off, and put my new bike legs to the test on those legendary 112. But mostly though, the driving force behind me was a particular voice I had buried - that I had told was not tough enough to go long, or not built right enough to go long — the voice that had most likely put me into this sport in the first place was fighting back. It shot out of hiding to tell me exactly, “This is your mental shit, not my physical. And you can go fuck yourself for all I care, we’re going to Whistler.” That week, I signed up. This week, I’m taking that voice and all of his friends and family to Canada.

Straight up, I’m daunted by the full. I’ve never been good at it. I like to puff my chest going into a 70.3 - it’s my process — it keeps me moving. I feel like I know what it takes - to train, to win, to make leaps forward. This is so different - I feel careful and almost cowering…but that’s the greatness of it, and why I absolutely need it - that long conversation with something that has a long history of chewing me up and spitting me out. 

And yet I concede nothing…you bastard…Whistler. I’m coming.