Bike Fit

January 30, 2010

At the end of last year (2009) — in fact, on the very last day of the year — I went to Fitwerx(2) for a bike fit. I had been having issues with my current setup at the time and, after tinkering for months without ever getting it right, I finally decided to go to the professionals. Fitwerx, the area’s premier bike fitter, is where I went.

Below is a quick visual of the differences…

Bike Fit Pre-Dec. 31, 2009: video (done by me)

Bike Fit Jan. 4, 2010: video (done by Fitwerx)

And here’s a bike I’m toying with right now and will purchase from a trusted friend if I can dial in the fit (still having issues). If I can do that, and if I like the ride once I log a few miles on it on the Trainer, it will be a keeper.

Kuota K-Factor: video (fit based on new bike fit… close as of now, but still not there)


o New saddle – I went with a new saddle since the old one never worked for me even though I kept riding it. Too much pressure on the undercarriage.

o Seat Up – We raised the seat a smidge, which I was happy about since I tend to favor a taller seat height. I seem to be able to generate more power that way.

o Saddle Forward – We jammed my saddle forward since, mainly, I used to ride the rivet, like, all the time. I have a tendency of scootching forward farther and farther to the point where I’m riding with my ass at the very tip of the saddle, a position that is commonly referred to as riding the rivet.

o Drop Aerobar Assembly – The areobar assembly was dropped to give me an extremely aggressive aero style with a drop of 14 cm from top of saddle to aero pads.

o Shift Arm Pads – Arm pads had to shift forward some to allow me a ninety degree angle in the upper arm coming straight down to the pads so that I can use my skeletal system to support my body over using muscles.

o Aerobar Extensions Shortened – The aerobar extentions had to be shortened drastically so that the gear shifters would fall at my hands.

So far so good with the fit. It seems like a keeper. I’ll have more on this as the days tick by.

OMW: Encourage

January 13, 2010

One-Minute Writer: Encourage

When I think about how I got my start in endurance sports, there was no one single person who was responsible for inspiring me. Instead it was a gradual progression of interests that over time lead me to drive for personal challenges along these lines.

I was always the type of kid who played outside all day long, long after his father called him in for dinner. Growing up across the street from a park enabled me into athletics, as I always had a soccer ball at my foot. Even when I was bored, I would pass time by dribbling the ball around trees, as if defenders, or shooting the ball farther and harder into a backstop.

In my college days, as organized sports became harder to play due to life getting in the way, I started running, mainly to stay in shape for soccer leagues that by then were occupying my time fewer and fewer times per week.

As studies ramped up, so too did my running, and before I knew it I was morphing into a real runner. It didn’t take long until I got inspired to run a marathon. It was a natural progression from my youth.

Growing up, when the day would turn wet and the TV on, the only thing I would watch – aside from cartoons – was sports. I didn’t discriminate with sports either. I liked them all. Football, baseball, soccer: You name it… I watched it. But the sporting events that made the most impact on me were few.

Back then the New York City Marathon was aired on TV as an annual event. Even though this was years before I would consider running, I was drawn into the self competition each runner exhibited. This sport was far different than the rest. There was no money in it. Runners, even at the high level, did it because they wanted it. They were self-driven and motivated, encouraged by no one other than themselves. For whatever reason, this stuck with me.

RAAM, The Race Across America, was another event that I’d watch in my youth. I was enthralled by the notion that cyclists would ride their bikes straight across the country.

Ironman was another event that caught my eye. This, above the others, lured me in. It was intriguing, inspiring, and everything to me what sport should be. It even made me shed tears of happiness. Only I discounted this event – I even wrote it off – because, well, I didn’t swim, nor did I ever want to, for my fear of the water was far too deep.

As I matured into a young adult, now with fewer outlets to play soccer, endurance sports filled the void. Running was a staple, and cycling wasn’t far behind.

The progression into competition was natural. Road races turned longer and longer, and rides on my bike were longer and more fun. The marathon, inspired by the airing of the New York City Marathon, came shortly thereafter, and epic bike rides, although longer to take hold, became reality.

These were sports I could do on my own. Little organization was required. Fueled with encouragement from my youth, I set personal goals and drove myself hard to accomplish them. Encouragement was always there.

50th Celebration: Montreal Marathon

September 23, 2009

Montreal Marathon
Montreal, Quebec CANADA
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Marathon Celebration #50

Finish: 3:07:23
39th place overall of 1825
6th Age Group M35-39
1st American!
1st Half: 1:29:04
2nd Half: 1:38:19

Race Report

Sunday, October 27, 1991.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday.

Early that morning I had nervously toed the line of my first marathon, the Cape Cod Marathon, wondering if I was strong enough to finish. I had trained for and ran the every step of the race with my sister in law. Through the miles that day I had kept waiting to hit the “wall,” something many runners feared most about the distance and something that had controlled my nerves. The “wall” never came – although I would go on to hit the “wall” many a time in years to come. That day we crossed the finish line in 3:19. And as soon as we did I had known something special was happening, where this was just the beginning. I had later joked as if I had been bitten by a bug, the Marathon Bug. But even so, never in my wildest dreams had I imagined the passion to flow into, 18 years later, me toeing the line of my 50th marathon.

But on Sunday, September 13, 2009 that is exactly what happened.

I ran my 50th marathon.

18 years. 50 marathons. I remember each as if the first. I do. I really do.

This is what 50 marathons look like:

Laughable about marathon #50 is that I had a brief moment at the starting line where I actually questioned my ability, something I hadn’t done in a very long time. More bizarre was that I questioned my ability not about beating a certain time but about even finishing! I have run 50 marathons. I have never ever, well, not finished. But what if #50 was my first DNF?!

It was a good laugh while it lasted. I knew not to be so foolish. I knew to turn it around: Why would I not finish?

And so it was early that Sunday morning, with me standing on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge as it swayed up and down with other runners nervously awaiting the start, I toed the line of the Montreal Marathon, my 50th go at the distance.

That I would finish was a slam dunk. But finish time was not.

My goals were simple: I wanted to test my marathon fitness, something that was not as good as it had been even a year earlier, but something that was definitely strong. I would attempt to race this event. I had dreams of going under 3 hours for my 50th, but I also knew my training for racing this distance was not there, with only a 17 mile long run and a handful of 15’s. Not PR material. Not by a long shot.

And so my plan was to go out well under 3-hour pace as long as it felt comfortable enough, whatever the pace would be, and hold on for as long as I could. If I held on, I would have a great finish time, maybe even a PR. But at the first sign of a crash and burn, I would try best to salvage a decent time, even if it meant crawling home through hurt.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Through the first 5K (20:51 – 6:42 min/mile pace), I was running very brisk, breathing hard, and enjoying the course as it meandered around Ile Ste-Helene (an island). I learned from another runner that the course would start flat for the first half and then tilt up for the second. “It’s a tough second half,” he warned me. It made sense. Because in spying results from year’s past I noticed that nearly every runner had a big positive split – not just a mere slowdown, a substantial slowdown. Now it made sense.

After cutting through an amusement park, the course hopped over to Ile Notre Dame, another island and site of the Montreal Formula 1 race course. I had been looking forward to this, as I knew the marathon course took in several Kilometers on the race course itself. And that meant fast and flat and a very cool experience not to mention flat and FAST… Vroom-vroom! My engine was revving.

Problem was that by 10K (41:59 – 6:45), I knew my engine was revving too hot. I was working hard although my breathing was still okay. I knew I should be running 6:52 pace – not 6:45 – for a Sub-3 marathon! But I didn’t want to slow down even though I knew I should for a good finish time. It would get ugly; that I knew. I just didn’t know when. And I was okay with it all, because this, in my mind, was a test and a celebration. In the meantime, I knew I had at least another hour before the crash.

The course next moved off the island by way of two bridges over the St. Lawrence River and made its way over to the main island and the city of Montreal (Montreal is on a big island). On the bridge a spectator cheered: “Go 550!” I returned a smile knowing just what the number hanging on my race belt meant.

A week prior to the event I came up with an idea. I would write a note to the race director asking if it was at all possible that I run with bib number 50. My note went unanswered. But my message came across. The day before Heather and I left Boston for Montreal, I received a confirmation e-mail from the race with registration information, including an assigned bib number: 550. It was the best they could do, since numbers 1-100 are reserved for elites.

Back on the main island, now cutting through the city streets of Montreal, the wind was kicking hard due west, and since the course, over the next 10K would have us work our way east, I knew I had work to do.

Still running hard and even through 15K, it was the next 5K, up through 20K (1:24:14 – 6:46), that would make me realize that there really was no way I would hold on at this pace. The wind took too much out of me. I had run too hard to that point, and the wind was cutting me down even though my pace was still good. I knew it was a matter of time, a ticking time bomb lurking somewhere on the course. And now that the hills of the city started up, I knew the bomb’s fuse would shorten with each rise.

Another rise came, then another… I held strong, maintained pace, but was putting out too much effort. By then I was running by myself, far enough up in the overall placement where only three runners were in sight as far as I could see ahead. I dared not look behind. It would take too much energy.

Half came in 1:29:04 (6:47 pace). This is also when the course changed too. The hills, long and graduals, were plentiful, but the scenery and landmarks and city streets, most in very good repair, helped the kilometers tick by even though I was starting to hurt.

As the course made its way north past Mont-Royal, a huge mountain lurking every so closely, splaying upon our course even tougher terrain, the city streets started coming alive with spectators and fans and even patrons at outdoor cafes getting into the supportive spirit.

Wearing my sturdy Team USA triathlon uniform, I to that point heard many cheers of “Go USA!” or “Go Team USA!” But here, deeper in the fabric of Montreal’s weave, was a cheer that brought me to far wider smiles.

Approaching an intersection, I saw a guy in the middle of it banging two inflatable cheer sticks. He looked me straight in the eye as I neared. His smile, ever so infectious, caused me a smile of my own. “Go USA” the man cheered as he banged his sticks together with more force. “USA. USA. USA!” The man then changed course. “USA?!” he exclaimed as if a question. “Go Obama. Go Obama. Go Obama.”

I would hear that cheer at least 20 times more over the rest of the course. Canadians, as I’ve learned, love American politics, and by and large they like Obama and are always quick to ask how I feel about him and American politics. The “Go Obama” cheers were a precursor of a long week vacation deeper into the country, where many conversations with the locals followed suit.

Somewhere shy of the 30K marker, the slowdown started, with holding a yet slowing pace getting incrementally tougher.

Although the wind, hills, and now heat were slowly taking me down, I did whatever I could to salvage a decent finish time. I stopped fighting the pace and instead fought by effort, whatever the pace would be. Long gone now was my goal at getting under 3 hours, but by then I knew that my little fitness test otherwise known as the Montreal Marathon had already dispensed its results, and that was that I was in no shape on a tough course to go substantially under 3 hours, a pace I had started out at.

But none of it matter. I was enjoying the course even through its difficulty and now very much looking forward to the grand finish at the Olympic Stadium.

To this point I was passed by a few others and nipped a few dying soldiers myself. But slowly, steadily, I was losing overall places.

But none of it mattered. The course, the people, stole my attention. This being my 50th marathon, I knew there would be more. Instead, I stayed in the moment, enjoyed the course and people (as best as I could through my pain) and watched the remaining Kilometers tick by.

Finally a spectacular finish, with a descent into the covered Olympic Stadium, with a final lap around the track before crossing the finish line. For this wide-eyed little boy on his 50th celebration jaunt, it was a sure highlight.

And that was just it. I learned that this run was a celebration. The time on the clock, the way I ran it… none of it mattered. 50 did. And honestly, serious kudos go out to the Montreal Marathon race director for a magnificent course – not an easy one, but it was a good one with varied scenery and a course that covered much of the city for which it is named. I could not have picked a better course to celebrate my 50th.

After crossing the finish line, I thought back to my first marathon on Cape Cod so many years ago. Then I thought about the marathon I just completed and how awesome a course it was. And then I wondered what the next 50 would bring.

Finish: 3:07:23

Splits (Kilometers)

1 – 4:10 – FAST start.
2 – 4:10
3 – 4:12 – Legs feeling strong, body good.
4 – 4:09
5 – 4:08 – Why not try to hold pace as long as I can?!
6 – 4:09 – A nice experiment.
7 – 4:10 – Either I crash and burn.
8 – 4:14 – Or I hold on for a glory.
9 – 4:19 – Because I was suppose to do 4:16 Kilometer splits for just Sub-3.
10 – 4:14 – But I’m running much faster than that!
11 – 4:17 – So let’s do it!
12 – 4:23
13 – 4:17
14 – 4:08
15 – 4:07 – Still running fast…
16 – 4:07 – But by now know that I will not be able to hold through the finish.
17 – 4:12
18 – 4:13
19 – 4:14 –
20 – 4:14 – Start guessing when meltdown will occur.
21 – 4:22 – Minor slowdown but still well under 3 hour pace.
22 – 4:18 – Toughest part of course starts
23 – 4:17 – Pace still good.
24 – 4:21 – Pace good on hills, but effort is far too high.
25 – 4:19 – It’s coming soon.
26 – 4:43 – There it is… Meltdown Begins
27 – 4:21 – Started fighting the pace.
28 – 4:35 – Decided to conserve rather than face a complete meltdown by fighting on.
29 – 4:37 – Would rather a preserve a respectable finish than crash to walk.
30 – 4:37 – Hills.
31 – 4:37 – Wind.
32 – 4:41 – Hills.
33 – 4:41 – Wind.
34 – 4:34 – Finally a flat section.
35 – 4:45 – Head down into the wind.
36 – 4:46
37 – 4:45
38 – 4:46 – Beginning of meanest, cruelest hill ever.
39 – 5:10 – Damn hill kept going.
40 – 5:12 – And going.
41 – 4:46
42.2: 5:29 (1.2K split) – Olympic Stadium finish!

Team USA – In the Press…

August 22, 2008

Toward the end of Tuesday morning’s run, a run for which us regulars (Andy, Lori, and John and the M-Dawg) were treated to a nice surprise with many others showing up, I got into talking with another Lori about a training run on Saturday morning. We got into talking about it because I said I wanted to get in a final run before departing for Amsterdam, the Netherlands, later in the day in preparations for the ITU Long Course World Championships.

And that’s when John jumped on the community idea and said he would arrange a send-off run. And so when he did, he also forwarded the send-off run details to the North Reading Transcript, the local paper about town.

The Transcript published this…

North Reading Transcript Article - Thursday, August 21, 2008

North Reading Transcript Article - Thursday, August 21, 2008

Team USA – “The Uniform!”

August 16, 2008
After I babbled near incoherently for months about the Team USA uniform, Heather finally had enough and said, “You’re gonna wet yourself when the uniform finally comes.”

She was right. I wet myself when I opened the box and out fell the red, white, and mostly blue Speedo FastSkin II Team USA uniform.

When I was a kid, one of the days I looked forward most was when the big box of soccer uniforms arrived. Since my father was coach, I always had first dibs, and I’d always search excitedly for my lucky number seven. The feeling of finding it, and it being exactly my size, was only trumped by the feeling of putting it on for the first time and, come each and every Sunday, suiting up for the weekly game.

Now, with this Team USA uniform, if I could bottle that feeling of my youth, shake it up with healthy dose of pazzazz, and open the top, it would explode into the feeling I have now when I slipped into this most amazing yet comfortable yet tight blue uniform. Seeing the letters “U-S-A” across the front garners more pride than I have ever felt. I can only imagine what those Olympic athletes must feel when they wear the colors. Wow.

Blue (and red and white) Pride!

Proudly displyaing the Team USA Uniform!


WC Competitors will see only this!

WC Competitors will see only this!

Bike Fit - Side Profile View

Bike Fit - Side Profile View

Bike Fit - Rear View

Bike Fit - Rear View

IMLP ’08 Finish Video

August 1, 2008

Ironman Lake Placid ’08 Finish Video

Ironman Lake Placid Tracking

July 15, 2008

On Sunday, July 20, 2008, I will bob in the waters of the starting line at Ironman Lake Placid ( I have trained hard for this event and am excited for the challenge of the course and what the day may bring.


As I’ve shared this journey with many of you, I am happy to report I can share the final leg. So come Sunday, you can track my progress in the race via Ironman Live (


Ironman Live will provide athlete splits for each of the disciplines (click link for Track an Athlete) as well as a live video feed (click Live Video) at various stages on the course so that, yes, you can even watch me finish!


Ironman is…


Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. And run 26.2 miles. One after another. In one day. Midnight cut-off, the curtain draws. The event is… Inspiring. Awesome. Inconceivable. Long. Grueling. Powerful! That is Ironman. That is the dream. And that is what I will attempt to do.


Ironman Lake Placid is known to be among, if not the, toughest Ironman courses. The bike course is filled with long pace-killing climbs where you’re pedaling so slowly a sturdy breeze could blow you over, and descents so fast you’re on your brakes because the bike shakes when it goes above 50 mph. And the run course tops if off with rolling terrain and good climbs. In short, it is a bear.


So please send me strong thoughts, for I will need them, and I will lean on them when the going gets tough, because in a race as grueling as Ironman, the going will get tough, and my race plan will fall apart…. It’s the nature of a race so long.


Athlete Tracker


1) Go to on Sunday. The front page will have a link to the Ironman Lake Placid/USA Tracker. Click on “Track an Athlete” and enter Bib Number 840, or search by First Name (Thor) or Last Name (Kirleis).


2) A live video feed will also be available. Click around on the site, you’ll find it… and then look for me:


Swim: I will wear a full-sleeved Orca wetsuit. Wetsuit is black with the words “Orca” across the front. I’ll buy you a beer if you spot me.


Bike: I will be wearing my red Trifury uniform consisting of a dinky red Tri-top (aka my “sports bra”) and black with red on the sides Tri-shorts. My bike is a silver Tri-bike. I’ll buy you a beer if you spot me on the bike, too.


Run: Same uniform as on the bike. I will also likely be wearing a white visor (or perhaps a dark colored one) and my Rudy Project sunglasses (white w/blue reflective tint).


Photos on my blog of me in my race gear:


Estimated Times


Ironman is long. Race starts at 7 AM EST. It officially ends at midnight. So I have 17 hours to power myself 140.6 miles.


My goal is to finish feeling good about my performance, whatever that time may be. I, of course, want it to be quick and speedy, but Ironman is too long a race… anything can happen. Taking my best guess, expect me to finish in as early as 10:30 or sooner (absolute race of my life) and as late as 14:00 (something went seriously wrong). I will venture to say 10:45-11:30. But know that I will do everything in my power to break 11 hours.


Estimated Completion Times:


Race Start: 7 AM EST

Swim: 1:10-1:20 (8:20 AM)

T1: 10 minutes (8:30 AM)

Bike: 6:00 (2:30 PM – hope to go as far under 6 as possible, but bike course is hilly, and slow)

T2: 5 minutes (2:35 PM)

Run: 3:20-5:00 (5:55-7:35 PM – My goal is to run 3:30, ultimate would be 3:25 or under, but if bike course took too much out of me, figure a death-march walk of up to 5 hours)

Finish: 10:55-12:35 (5:55-7:35 PM)


Regardless of how I fair, even if something happens where I cannot finish, please do not feel badly for me because, at this point, I cannot lose. I can’t. I already won, for I am doing an Ironman. That is honor enough.


So crack a beer and watch me finish!

Lake Placid Marathon Photos

June 20, 2008

Photos from the Lake Placid Marathon on June15, 2008, where I lolligagged through half in 1:34:00 in about 11th place and, seeing how far I was up front, worked my way all the way to 4th place overall with a 1:28:57 second half good for a 3:02:57.

A very fun yet entirely lowkey challenging but certainly doable course. But insert this at the end of a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike, and it will suck. Badly.

LPM'08 Mile 2
Mile 2 – Settling into good conversation among my new Iron hooligan pals.

LPM'08 Mile 2
Mile 2 – Running with Eric (shirtless) through mile 7.

LPM'08 Mile 2
Mile 2 – Moving over to the side of the road for the second aid station.

LPM'08 Mile 16
Mile 16 – On the prowl, clawing my way from 12th place to as far as I could get.

LPM'08 Mile 22
Mile 22 – After clawing my way into 4th place, feeling surprisingly good but now running on edge.

LPM'08 Mile 22
Mile 22 – The heat on the day was growing, but with ample aid stations and a keen eye on my hydration and nutrition, I was only thinking about how far up the road the guy in 3rd place was. I was sure I would get him!

LPM'08 Final Lap on Olympic Oval
Olympic Oval – Streaming around a lap of the Olympic Oval with finish line in sight. Never nabbed 3rd place, but still, I was happy with how I felt and the performace. Solid run all around.

LPM'08 Finish Chute
Finish – Hammering through the finish line chute, finishing at the same time as a half marathoner.

LPM'08 Finish Chute
Finish – Done.

Finish – Official Chip Time: 3:02:57, 4th Place Overall.

For coming in 4th Place Overall, I was awarded a nice glass-looking trophy plus a Fuel Belt. The Ironmate, who’s in need of a hydration system, was pysched. So was I!


June 2, 2008

Got a new “Press” page.

Okay, so there’s not much there, but hey, any press is good press.

Stag Run – Bachelor Party!

March 25, 2008

For Stag Run details, please see here:

Stag Run - Group 3

More to follow!