I took the back half of 2017 off of my race photo blogs, but wanted to bring it back. Ironman Texas proved to be a challenging day for me, finishing 19th. That being said, here's some photos from race day and in the weeks (and months) leading up to it. Enjoy!
Over the last three months I have been involved in an official appeal with USA Triathlon regarding my disqualification of 2nd place at Ironman Boulder in June. Fellow pro Leon Griffin also filed an appeal for his 5th place disqualification at the same race. I’m pleased to share that this past Friday, September 22nd, we were both given written notice that the Appeals Panel “upholds the appeal of both Daerr and Griffin and finds that Ironman shall reinstate the results of both Applicants for the Race.”
The last three months have been the most challenging of my 11-year professional career. I felt every emotion from humiliation and devastation to anger and sadness. I tried my best to move past those negative feelings by racing as quickly as possible, competing in both Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Wisconsin over the summer, but this was always hanging over me.
Since Friday I’ve stared at this screen, trying to find the right words to say. What I really want to do is thank all those that advocated for me when I was too weak to advocate for myself. More than anyone else, that would be my wife, Brooke. I didn’t feel a whole lot of emotion when I read the Panel’s findings, but when I told my wife I came close to breaking down. I had to lean on her more than she even realizes.
Going forward, I hope to put all this behind me and continue to compete in the sport I love. For all the kind words and actions that many of you have put forward over the last few months: Thank You. It has meant more to me than you know.
For those following my race today, you saw me finish Ironman Boulder in 2nd place. Sadly, my placing has been negated with a disqualification. I was notified about 90 minutes after finishing that I had been DQed for missing a timing mat at the far east end of the run course on the first loop of the marathon.
During the race, I came within 30-50 meters of the actual turnaround, but I misunderstood the way the run course had been marked, as did the biker accompanying me. The actual turnaround was just above a rise on the path so I could not see it as I turned around prematurely. I’ve since learned that another pro made the same mistake.
Unfortunately, in these cases, there is no grey area. While my mistake was unintentional, there cannot be a time adjustment, a penalty, or a place relegation. Regardless of the shortness of the distance, it is required to complete the entire course. The DQ will stand and I take full responsibility for the error.
My wife, family, friends and sponsors have all done so much to help me prepare for this event and I wish with all my heart that this is a mistake that I could go back and correct.
To my competitors on this day: please know that I had no intention of ever trying to gain an unfair or illegal advantage over you while racing. I hope that the way I have raced over the years will allow you to take me at my word.
I’m heartbroken, to say the least, but with time I’ll be ok.
Thank you all for your continued support,
With Ironman Boulder this weekend, I sat down with Sanitas Brewing to talk about triathlon and my journey in the sport. Always fun spending time (and enjoying a beer) with these guys. Hope you enjoy the video they pulled together!
Last month, I started off the season with two races: Galveston 70.3 and Peru 70.3; finishing 11th and 8th respectively. Earlier this week, I sat down with Rob Mohr and we discussed the two races in further details via video skype. In this video, or audio file, you can hear more about how I approached the races, how they played out and how it all ties into the season as a whole.
Splits from the races:
Swim: 26:48 (non-wetsuit), Bike: 2:07:29, Run: 1:18:37, Finish: 3:55:56 (winner: 3:45:35), 11th Overall
Swim: 24:51 (wetsuit), Bike: 2:11:27, Run: 1:18:52, Finish: 3:58:36 (winner: 3:44:53); 8th Overall
Link to the Audio File:
Some shortcuts for the video/audio:
:30 - Texas 70.3
13:40 - Training Session for Dialing in Power
18:20 - Peru 70.3
30:30 - Using 70.3s As Part of a Training Build
36:50 - Ironman Boulder
39:30 - More on Peru Trip
The last couple months since traveling to The Woodlands, Tx have kept me quite busy. Shortly after my trip to Texas, I traveled out to Scottsdale, AZ for a five-day trip with my bike sponsor, Ventum.
The trip included a full day photo shoot as well as a full day session in the wind tunnel. The photo shoot ending up being quite the adventure as we were met with some unseasonably cold Arizona weather. Regardless of the temps and conditions, all the athletes, photographers and staff worked extremely hard to put together a successful shoot and also maintained a great sense of humor throughout the day. In the end, we all had a great time making it happen.
The next day I headed into the wind tunnel for my own testing. This year's testing primarily consisted of helmets, tri skinsuits and a couple wheel options. Helmets were one of the most interesting equipment pieces to test, because every athlete was getting different results based on position, body type, etc. In the end, my best testing came with the Giro Aerohead which is what you'll see me racing with this year. One thing I can say without a doubt is that any aero helmet tested MUCH faster than a standard vented road helmet. It's certainly a fairly small equipment upgrade relative to other pieces that still yields a good return.
One additional note; following the photo shoot, Ventum told all the athletes about a new trade-in program they were creating for Ventum purchases. The have since launched the program which includes: a valuation of your current bike for trade in; then Ventum will offer 110% of that value towards the purchase of a new bike. If you are interested in learning more about this program, you can find that information HERE.
Following the camp I was able to stick around Scottsdale and managed to ride out to Bartlett Lake for the first time. Certainly a cool ride if you ever get a chance. If you need a route map, you can check out my strava file from it HERE.
After returning from AZ, I had a solid three weeks in Boulder before making a 16 day trek to Tucson for two camps: a personal 8-day training camp, then another 8 days with the Endurance Corner Tucson Camp.
During the first camp, I stayed with Chris Leiferman, Kennett Peterson, Adelaide Perr and Frankie Sanjana. The house we rented was pretty amazing primarily because it included its own retired beauty parlor chair that I found myself sitting in whenever I could. We had a solid camp together and quickly fell into a great SBR routine. The training primarily consisted of general mileage with a couple structured quicker days and some impromptu TTTing when we found ourselves running late for a phone meeting.
Following the camp, I transferred down to a hotel for the tenth annual Endurance Corner Tucson Camp. This year the EC camp consisted of:
Day Zero: Arrival and welcome dinner
Day One; Morning run on flat river trail for ~50 minutes. Late morning ride of 30+ miles including a 5.75 gradually uphill TT (with a strong headwind as well). The afternoon consisted of a 75 minute swim with a mix of pulling and steady state swimming. The evening presentation was from Mickinzie Lopez, a certified nutritionist who traveled over from Phoenix.
Day Two: Long ride to Madera Canyon; just under 100 miles with a peak elevation of 5500 feet. Afternoon run on river trail for 30 minutes; yoga for 45 minutes prior to dinner. Evening presentation from yours truly about "Time, Energy and Risk Management."
Day Three: Morning run up Tumamoc Mtn (steep!). Late morning threshold swim including two distance time trials varying from 200-400 yd in length based on speed and ability. Afternoon ride up the front and backside of Gates Pass. Evening presentation from Coach Marilyn Chychota on "Program Planning" including an interactive session of writing out individual training plans.
Day Four: Ride to Mt Lemmon topping out over 8000 feet with optional tack on to the Cookie Cabin. Total distance between 80-85+ miles depending on turnaround with 6000 feet of climbing. Afternoon run for 30 minutes on the river trail. Evening presentation from Coach Jeff Fejfar on the Fast/Long balance approach to racing and training (Jeff won a silver medal at Short Course Worlds and qualified for Kona at an Ironman three weeks later).
Day Five: Morning long run with 10 and 12 mile options over hilly terrain up Starr Pass in Tucson. Late morning swim including some fast repeats and fun competitions. The afternoon consisted of massages and a strength routine led by Marilyn Chychota.
Day Six: Kitt Peak ride. This is just shy of 110 miles with a 20K climb situated in the middle with a high point elevation close to 7000 feet. I think a few people managed a short transition run, but most of were happy to just put our feet up after that one! Dinner out on the town.
Day seven; Everyone departs. I was in town one more day so I included a ten mile run on the river and an easy afternoon swim.
All in all, it was a great two weeks in Tucson, both on my own and with the Endurance Corner crew. I managed about 60 hours of training in the two weeks with nearly 40 of those hours coming on the bike, which was much needed after a lighter bike volume Dec+Jan. I'm now back home and after an easy week it's time to put in a quick block before the first race of the season at Galveston 70.3. I had originally hoped to race in Puerto Rico, but I needed a couple more weeks before getting the season rolling.
Now we'll close with a few photos from the camp.
Last week I traveled down to the The Woodlands, Texas to do a swim-focused training camp with Coach Tim Floyd of Magnolia Masters. In past years, I have set aside 2-2.5 weeks for this training camp. Unfortunately, this year I was limited to only attending for one week; my typical observation of a 2 week training camp is that the best work is done between days 4-12 of the 14. Sometimes, the qualitative work can happen earlier, but it's been my experience that it takes several days to really feel on point. With that in mind, we did our best to maximize the time I was there with the real focus of the camp taking place on the back half of the week.
When I was in college, I read a number of books about training and endurance athletes. One of my favorites was simply titled "Pre" about the famous distance runner, Steve Prefontaine. This book had a biographical element, but it differed from many other books because it included so many numbers related to Prefontaine's training and racing. I'm not a purely analytical person, but I enjoy hearing about both sides of a performance: the training completed and the subsequent results. Giving context to an athlete's performance based on what numbers they posted in training is always fascinating, no matter how many different ways, and times, I see it.
With the above in mind, I am going to try to give context to last week with as much detail as I can remember (or I recorded).
Sunday, January 8th: Travel day; arriving in Houston around 7:00 p.m. and The Woodlands around 8:30 p.m. Training in Boulder included a moderate swim in the a.m. before heading to the airport.
Monday, January 9th:
7:00 a.m. Session
400 swim w/fins, 300 kick w/fins, 300 paddles
4 x 100 on 1:30 1-4 as 1:15,10,06,02
12 x 75 as 25k/50 swim 1-4 3x on 1:25 down to :55 on last two rounds
40 x 50 on :45 steady effort holding :33 to start, then eventually settled at :32 to finish
200 cool down
At 11:00 a.m. I did a 65 minute trainer ride that included a gradual aerobic build in 20 minute blocks that essentially broke down to 20 min easy, 20 min 200-250, 20 min 250-300 watts
At 2:30 I returned for the 2nd swim of the day and that workout looked like:
500swim w/fins, 300 kick w/fins, 200 paddles, 100 swim
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50; 2nd round hit :28 on last 50
4 x 100 kick on 2:15 gradually descending to 1:33 on last rep
12 x 75 on 1:10 6 swim, 6 pull down to :47 on the swim and probably :49-50 on the pull (no paddles)
All in all a pretty easy day; though I only felt mediocre at best in any of the three sessions.
Tuesday, January 10th:
7:00 a.m. Swim
400 swim w/fins/400 kick w/fins, 400 paddles
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50 down to :28 on 2nd round
6 x 100 as 50kick/50 swim on 1:45 eventually finishing under 1:20
Two rounds of 20 x 25 on :35 holding :12+/:13- on all with some easy swimming between rounds
500 cool down
Within 20 minutes of finishing morning swim session; I did a 13K steady run on the IMTX run course.
Afternoon 2:30 swim session:
4 x 100 1-4 on 1:30 down to :62
12 x 25 as 2 fast, 1 easy 3x on :40; included some kick
6 x 50 for time on 3:30; easy recovery swimming on the balance. Fastest time 26.9, slowest 27.2 so pretty tight standard deviation.
500 cool down
Immediately upon returning from swim, did another 65 minute trainer ride building in similar 20 minute blocks as I did the previous day, but slightly improved results/
On this day, I made sure to block the run immediately after the first swim so that I would still have about a four break before the two workouts in the afternoon. This worked well and allowed me enough energy to the keep the quality up in the afternoon.
Wednesday, January 11th
No swim today
Morning run of 14K included 6 x 3 minutes fast on 2 minute float on the back half.
Afternoon trainer ride of 1:45 included 10 x 3 minutes; mostly moderate with last few intervals above 300 watts
Felt pretty tired to start the day after the Tuesday sessions. Run session was fine in terms of numbers, but felt lousy. Ride felt much better relatively.
Thursday, January 12th
7:00 a.m. Swim session
Missing some details from this morning session unfortunately, but it was an easier session at about 3500 yards. Shorter than usual
11:00 a.m. Trainer ride as 3 laps descending (London Loop) on Zwift; last lap of 24 minutes or so at 300-320 avg. This was the best I had felt all week so far, falling in line with what I mentioned about about taking a few days to adjust to a training camp.
2:30 Swim Session
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50
5 x 100 as 25kick/50swim/25kick on 1:45
Two rounds as 4 x 25 as fast/easy on :40, 3 x 200 2:45. First round of 200s paddles in 2:15,13,12; 2nd round 200s were swim at 2:17,15,13.
400 cool down
Ride and 2nd swim felt good today; a good lead up to Friday which is typically the hardest swim training of the whole week.
Friday, January 13th
7:00 a.m. Swim
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50
8 x 25k/50 1-4 2x swim on 1:25
20 x 100 on 1:30; suggested target 1:04. Held 1:03 on first half, then once settled I held 1:02 and a couple 1:01's on back ten
400 cool down
It took me a while to really fall into line with this workout. When we do these 'hold pace' sets, I often find myself needing to literally 'warm up.' I find when I'm on point, I will start to feel myself heat up and loosen up, making the pace work more manageable.
2:30 p.m. Workout
4 x 75 1-4 on 1:10 down to :45
Can't remember the lead in set, but another 4-500 of work before main set of
12 x 100 on 1:25 target 1:03; held 1:02 the entire time. Opposite from this morning, I was able to find the pace and rhythm immediately and felt comfortable even with 5 seconds less rest. I am typically an "afternoon trainer" in that, I find I perform better later in the day; particularly the further I get into training blocks.
400 cool down
Saturday, January 14th
Morning 10K steady run around 9:30 a.m.
Afternoon Swim Meet:
Showed up at about 12:15 p.m. Warmed up for about 2500 before swimming:
100 yd in 56.35; this felt pretty awkward. Lacked much rhtythm. Swam easy for 5-600 yards, before then swimming:
500 yds in 5:25. This felt much better; held 1:05/100 on this rep and seemed to be more switched on than I was for the 100.
Did some easy swimming, then later we did a 200 yd relay. I swam the anchor leg in 25.2. This also felt much better than the 100. Cool down after. Over 4000 yards between all the race, warm up, transition, cool down, etc.
After returning from the swim meet, I did another trainer ride with some 3 and 1 minute intervals; hitting the highest power of the week.
Sunday, January 15th.
Tired this morning; the Friday/Saturday intensity combo had definitely left its mark. Ran an easy 8 mile run with a friend in the morning, then packed up and traveled back to Boulder. I wish I could have stayed for a second week as I was finding form late in the camp, but that will have to be saved for another time.
Some notes about the training:
You will see a lot of uniformity in the warm ups and this can be very helpful in determining how ready we are for faster training. If descend times are coming easily, there may not be much more warm up needed. If they don't come easily, it means a more lengthy warm up is likely needed. If the extended warm up is still not yielding better times, it might mean the day's goals might need to be altered.
Within the descend sets at the beginning of each workout, I like to do the 8 x 50 1-4 2x the most. I can typically have a good idea of how I'm feeling by how the 7th and 8th rep go. If I comfortably hit 28+/29- on the 7th rep, I'm ready to go. If I only hit :30+, I'm either not warmed up, tired, or both.
Some photos courtesy of Magnolia Masters:
Last weekend I traveled out to Tennessee to race Ironman Chattanooga. I had never been to this part of the southeast and I enjoyed getting a chance to see a new part of the country.
The race turned into one of the hottest races I have ever done. It wasn't quite as hot as Ironman Texas in 2013, but it was close with temperatures in the high 90's and not a cloud to be seen.
In the end, I finished up in 5th place behind some quick dudes. I felt as though I was racing from the start of the swim to about mile 10-11 of the marathon. After that, I had to shift to a bit more of a survival approach in the heat. While I do prefer warm weather races, this was a bit too much. Fortunately I was able to hold it together and finish in the top 5.
And now the photos:
That's all I have from this trip. I'm heeading over to Kona next week to help out the Endurance Corner team. I will try to get a good group of photos while I'm there.
That's going to be a wrap for the 2016 season for me. I will follow up in a few weeks time with some thoughts as to how it all went and what I have planned for next year.
As always, thank you for the support.
This year I went back to Ironman Canada in Whistler, British Columbia. Last year, the race conditions were so difficult (cold and rain) that I honestly felt as though I was doing this race for the first time. With better, seasonal weather, I set out with the following goals:
Assuming, 4 minutes total for two transitions, it would put me right at 8:30.
Actual splits were: 50:25, (T1 2:22) 4:48:07 (T2 1:02) 2:56:16. I managed to beat my swim goal and even banked some extra time with the quick T2. The bike was close, but I didn't make up as much time in the final 35K as I thought I could. The run was a little better than the time reflects as I had a bathroom stop and accidentally ran off course for a few hundred meters and had to turnaround and run back to the turn I missed. However, being a bit off here and there starts to add up and in the end I finished in 8:38:12 and 4th Overall.
Now, in the continued spirit of less words and more photos, the 2016 Whistler photo blog:
I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Whistler and racing Ironman Canada in back to back years. Hope to get back there again some day.
Until the next one,
Ironman Texas started in 2011 and I have raced 5 of the 6 races since then. Last year was the only year I missed; I had to pull out the day before the race because of pneumonia. Having sat out a year, it was great to get back out there again. This year's race had the deepest, and biggest, field I have ever gone up against in an IM outside of Kona.
My last two races in Kona, in 2014 and 2015, have been less-than-stellar, to say the least, and I really felt that this year's IMTX would be a good opportunity for me to improve on my "big race" execution. While the bike course was entirely new, and only 95 miles, I felt that my familiarity with the the rest of the course could help me in this respect.
The day turned into a mixed bag of ups and downs, as any race does, but IMTX continues to come down to the final loop of the run for me. Every year, my position has changed in the final 8-9 miles and this year was no different. I was still outside of the top ten around 30K into the run and came across the finish line in 6th. I had a goal of trying to get into the top 5 at this race, but ultimately came up 40 seconds short. After a two year hiatus, it was a great feeling to cross the finish line in The Woodlands again.
Now, the pictures.
And now we are on to the rest of the season. I have not finalized all my race plans yet, but I do plan to toe the line at Boulder 70.3 in four weeks.
I would like to give a big shout out to the Noyes family of The Woodlands. They have been so generous and helpful to me and Brooke and have treated us as an extension of their family. Thank you for everything.
Until the next one,
Last weekend I headed back to Wildflower to start the 2016 race season. I really enjoyed racing here in 2014 and was very much looking forward to toeing the line again, especially since I now felt I knew the course much better and hoped to improve on my 5th place finish from two years prior.
I got through the swim and the first run feeling ok, then got onto the bike. Unfortunately, about a mile into the course, I took a hard turn and my aerobars dropped. The base bar ended up being loose in the stem and I had to ride rather cautious until I got to the first aid station. I stopped there and asked for bike tools and proceeded to try and tighten the loose bolts. However, these particular bolts are angled and without a bent allen key, I could not access it. I tried to maneuver things around to try and make it work, but I just couldn't make it happen.
After about ten minutes of getting nowhere, I got back on the course and tilted the bars upwards and tried to keep leverage with my elbows. It wasn't the best set up, but it got me through the bike leg and I was able to finish out the day (and race) with a steady run.
I had not had any issues during pre-race rides and even though I presumed all was well, I should have rechecked all my bolts and made sure all was race ready. It is a mistake I had to learn the hard way and one I will be sure not to repeat.
At any rate, it's on to Ironman Texas on May 14th.
Now, the photos:
Really love racing Wildflower and hope to be back for the 35th anniversary next year. For those who have never raced here, you need to put this one on your list.
Until next time,
Since 2013, we have helped raise money for disabled veterans and their families. This year, we are partnering with a new charity, the Semper Fi Fund. This charity was founded in 2004 by a group of Marine Corps spouses and has earned the highest possible rating from charity watch dog groups. We all want to know that the money we donate goes to the causes we support and the Semper Fi Fund manages to do just that, setting aside an astonishingly low 6% of its revenues to cover their overheard expenses.
My father, Lt. Richard Daerr, USMC, was severely wounded in May 1967 during the Vietnam War. At 23 years old, he received injuries that would change him for the rest of his life, receiving a disability rating of 100%. After nearly a year of repeated surgeries and hospital residence, he entered into a world with a "new normal."
Despite his physical disabilities, Lt. Daerr went on to earn his law degree from the University of Texas and his MBA from George Washington University, leading into five years of service as counsel for the United States Justice Department in Washington D.C. Eventually Richard entered the business world and transitioned from a role as lead counsel to an executive position, ultimately becoming President of a Houston-based company called CRSS.
In 2000, Richard helped teach a course on International Business at Arizona State University as well as a rotating professor for a course on Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston. Several years later, Richard became a professor of International Business, Business Law and Business Ethics at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. He also established the college's Business Internship program and helped create a new Landman program in the College of Business.
In the early 2010's, Richard stepped down from his role in education and returned to Texas, where he resides with my mother, Karin, in the country outside of Hico, Texas. Never one to stay inactive, he continues to help advise emerging companies and serves on the board of several as well.
Richard has always enjoyed his time in the country and I think if he had the option, he may have chosen to be a cowboy if he could do it all over again. He finds his peace in the countryside of Texas just as I find it in the mountains of Colorado.
My Dad often speaks about my athletic accolades the way I just spoke about him: with ultimate pride.
Richard came back from Vietnam and had to face a 'new normal.' Many of our veterans today are faced with the same thing. The difficulties and the challenges they face are real and will last their entire lifetime.
My father has never lived one day of his life since May 26, 1967 without pain.
The physical and emotional scars of war will never be erased, but with our continued help and support, they can be eased.
Please consider making a donation to the Semper Fi Fund to help veterans, like my father, and their families.
Donations can be made HERE.
Thank you for reading,
"A lot excuses, none of them good."
I heard this once from my friend and colleague, Sue Aquila, and I think it pretty much sums up my thoughts about Kona this year. I had tremendous support from my family, friends and sponsors and for that, I want to say a very sincere, Thank You.
Hopefully next year I can give it another (better) shot.
Now, in the continued spirit of less words and more photos, this year's Kona Photo Blog with commentary: