MICHAEL LOVATO | Professional Triathlete




Bridging the Gap – Q&A

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Since the season is now fully wrapped up, and the New Year is a stone’s throw away, I thought I’d take the opportunity answer a few questions I received over the past several weeks. It seemed like a great way to sum-up a few things – by addressing a few thoughts of my own and a few queries from the crowd.

Question #1: What made me chose to race IM Cozumel?

The answer is a long and multifaceted one, but for the sake of brevity – something I normally ignore – I’ll sum it up by saying that I really wanted to close out 2010 with a competition.  Despite completing the Ironman in Hawaii, I did not compete in it.  I was never in the mix, and I did not ever get the fix of racing the other athletes.  I did have a few chances to battle it out on course, but in the grand scheme of things, I did not get my competitive fix. Fortunately, Amanda and I had already talked about both of us racing Cozumel – back in July – so the trip and race had been on the back burner for quite some time. When she opted out of racing, it only made sense for us to keep the event on the calendar, and to just swap roles of supporter and athlete.  And in the end, my goal of getting one more competition for the year was accomplished – and it sure was satisfying!


Question #2: Where Kona Pro Ranking (KPR) points on my mind when I chose to race Cozumel?

It would be wrong to say that I did not care about grabbing a few points – points are points, and we all need to amass enough to find our way into the top fifty by next July.  However, I can truly say that my decision to race in Mexico was not driven by Kona qualification.  My schedule for 2011 will not change based on the points I acquired in Cozumel.  I will race Rev 3, I will race an early Ironman, and I will race some 70.3 events.  These races were on the calendar regardless of my KPR standing.

Question #3: How did I bridge the gap from Kona to Cozumel?

With only seven weeks between the two Ironmans, it was very important to play my training cards right.  My body was still very beat up after Kona, and I needed to take that recovery very seriously.   I knew that I was in great shape, so all I really wanted to do was hit a couple key workouts to maintain that fitness, and perhaps boost up my top-end a bit.  I really wanted to avoid getting too beat up, knowing that Ironman recovery has a way of sticking around much longer than we think it does.  So what did I do?  Well, after the first week of barely moving, I did four weeks of 15-17 hours of training. My main focus was on logging a lot of time in the pool – a great place to boost fitness with little impact on the body.  I did two long runs of 16 miles, and I did two long rides of 4 hrs to 4 hrs 30.  And I punched out a couple of high-intensity sessions on the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro.  Those were geared toward pushing the LT up a bit, so I could handle a higher pace on the bike in Mexico.  Aside from my  big push in the swim, most of the training was very “light” by pro Ironman training standards, but I felt that it was a truly effective way to bridge the gap.

Question #4: How did you like that Kestrel 4000 with the Zipp Firecrest 808′s?

The answer to this question should be short and sweet: I loved my set-up for Cozumel – it was the fastest ride around!  But to dive further in, I will rewind to about five weeks before the race.  I was accompanying Amanda to a Retul fit with Mat Steinmetz here in Boulder.  She was getting positioned on her new 4000, and I was there to observe.  Or was I?  I had a few questions for Mat, and one question lead to another, which lead to me signing up for my own Retul fit.  For some odd reason, it took me a long time to get dialed in on my bikes this year.  I had some fast bike splits, but never seemed to be getting the most out of my ensuing runs.  I felt there was something off.  Mat determined, with one quick glance, that my saddle appeared to be too low. Once he took a few snapshots with the Retul, he determined that I could stand to move my seat height up, a lot.  So we went ahead and raised it (about 1.2 cm).  We compensated for the significant saddle height adjustment by raising the front end, too.  He wanted to keep my hip angle open, so we pushed the ISM Adamo Racing seat all the way forward on the rails, to allow me to achieve a more forward position.  We made some pretty drastic changes to my set-up, and Mat cautioned me to take things slowly as I adapted to what we did.  I informed him that I didn’t have much time to take things slowly – with an Ironman in five weeks, I had to get right after it. I joked with Mat that I’d fully blame him if I did not have a good bike ride in Cozumel, but that I would give him all the credit if I rode well.  So with that in mind, I’d like to attribute my 4:30 bike split (for those 114 windy miles) to Mat’s brilliant fit techniques, and his masterful use of the Retul.  Thank you, Mat.  (I hope none of my competitors see you in 2011!)


Question #5:  What does 2011 have in store for you?

The plan right now is to travel to as many REV3 races as I can. I’ll probably be supporting Amanda at those events, and will likely do some commentary for those races. I really love what that series is doing, and enjoy being a part of its growth. In fact, the REV3 series will be coming on as a main sponsor of our Trakkers Team, so look for all of our athletes to be targeting those events more seriously.  As for my own racing, I am planning on hitting a couple half irons in the spring, with the new Ironman in Texas being a first-half focus of mine.  At this point, I’ll be in Costa Rica for REV3, Puerto Rico and St. Croix for 70.3, and the Woodlands in May for IM.  The next trip will be to Quassy, where I plan to cover the event, hopefully with others of the Trakkers Team.   My season focus will be Kona, once again, and I look forward to getting back there for the 12th time, and to notching my best finish ever.  Stay tuned for the full 2011 schedule to be updated soon.

Thanks for checking in on my end-of-season recap.  Please go to the contact page of my website to submit questions for next month’s Q&A feature!

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