After Action Report – Chattanooga

Overview: My first Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, another chapter in my journey.

Goals and objectives: My goal as always, is to be consistent, and adaptable. This time I was also focused on being relaxed, and patient.

Analysis of outcomes: Chattanooga is beautiful, green rolling hills, the Tennessee River, lots of cool bridges, a fun, and historic downtown. I feel a great sense of accomplishment for what I achieved. My planning, and preparation gave me a lot of confidence which helped me to stay relaxed.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: As is my usual approach, I flew in the day before to get settled, check-in, get my bike setup, and checkout a little bit of the course, and the city. I had a couple easy training sessions, a quick run on Friday after I got of the plane. On Saturday I picked up my bike from TriBike Transport and gave it a quick test ride, then in the afternoon I was fortunate to get a quick swim in the endless pool at C26 (thank you very much Robbie!)

On Saturday afternoon I setup my transition bag, clothes, wet-suit, sunscreen, water bottles, hydration. I ended up bring homemade nutrition with me, I am a really big fan of using recipes from the Feed Zone Portables book from Skratch Labs. It took up a bit of extra mental space, but ended up working out fantastically. On race morning I woke up early ate breakfast, got centered, and headed down to the transition to get setup.

Once setup in transition, they started calling out the swim times to head over to the start. We walked from the transition area (where you go from swim to bike, and from bike to run) up to the swim start, it was a little confusing, and slightly disorganized. The race start was scheduled for 6:50, with racers entering the water every 5 seconds, it did not move that quickly, and the rolling start times were not marked, or called out. I ended up fending for myself a bit, and ended up walking to the front at around 7:30, I should have gotten in earlier. Once in the water, I felt relaxed, and comfortable, my training at Barton Springs pool paid off I felt confident with my sighting, and didn’t loose any time zig-zagging all over the place.

I came out of the water feeling great, struggled a little bit in transition getting out of my wet-suit, drying myself off, and getting into my bike jersey, socks, and shoes. I can probably work out a slightly better plan the next time I do a wet-suit race. Once on the bike, I felt great, the weather was really mild, there was a slight headwind most of the way, I nailed my nutrition, and hydration plan and played it a little conservative, holding back knowing that it was going to get hot. At the last 10km of the bike, I eased up, lowered my gear, picked up the cadence, and got out of aero to prepare myself for the run.

My transition from bike to run was more straightforward, however, I forgot to get sunscreen on the backs of my legs. Burn calves are not awesome. I opted to use a hydration backpack for the run, which was smart, unfortunately, I didn’t set it up right, and ended up spilling a bunch of water, I got it fixed, and didn’t have any other issues with the backpack. I started out the run a bit too fast for the conditions, and had a really hard time getting my heart rate to settle down. For nutrition, I used dates, skratch chews, and salt tabs every 15 minutes. The heat, and hills really slowed down my usual pace. At each aid station I poured water over my head, and put ice under my hat to keep from overheating. At mile 7, I decided to walk through the aid station to get my heart rate down, which did the trick. At mile 9 I got a really nasty side stitch that slowed me down even more, I was able to walk it off pretty quickly, and get back to running however, slower than I would have liked. At mile 10 I ran out of my chews, and dates, and ended up using a Gu gel with caffeine, that I kept in reserve in case I started to bonk (next time I will pack other options).

Summary: For my first official Ironman 70.3 it was a success, I fell a little short of my goal, but am happy with my performance, and feel that I performed well given the conditions.

Recommendations: I will focus on improving my FTP, keep working with Felix at AASA for the swim, and incorporate more hills into my run training. Additionally, I need to work through different strategies to make for more speedy transitions.

How I am Using My Time

Kids at home (going to home school math/science using, and Lego Boost). The school sent us some great suggestions for a schedule, and activities so will make sure to balance out the screen time with outside time, and other types of learning.

Image result for lego boost

Meanwhile, I launched the website, will have the platform hosted there. Getting the beta ready, planning to use (GraphQL), and Vue for the backend/frontend.

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The marketing stack will be Clearbrain/Amplitude/Segment, with BigQuery as the backend, and Datastudio for reporting visualization,

On the racing front I am working on VIR for May (hope it still happens), using VRS/iRacing, and Racer360

Continuing to make investments into improving my the platform, building out some customization for FogLamp to manage Driver/Suspension/Balance. Utilizing AI Platform Pipelines with my GKE/KubeFlow cluster to get everything organized.

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On the more creative side, I am having fun working through some cool plug-ins in Ableton, and doing a Houdini/SideFX Foundations Tutorial.

Recently upgrade my DonkeyCar with a new diff, and a Raspberry Pi 4. Got it all set up with a cool retro bluetooth controller, really fun to drive, and train

To keep myself active, I have been biking, and running quite a bit, still able to get some private training in, and hope to get to a pool this coming week. Also, looking into a wetsuit for some open water swimming, looks like Austin Tri Cyclist has some for rental.

I’ve been enjoying the switch to eSports, and iRacing with both IMSA, and NASCAR this weekend, great coverage, and adaptability by everyone involved.

165, How I Cut Myself in Half

A little more than two years ago in November of 2017, I weighed 330Lbs, and wanted to be a racecar driver. This is the story of what it took for me to get there. Yesterday, Friday February 7th 2020, I stood on the scale and achieved one of the harder goals, I have set for myself, 165Lbs, 10% Body Fat. I feel incredible, relieved, and ready for the next goal.

My journey toward a complete lifestyle transformation started, while I was working with my dad on the 1974 911 that he was graciously helping me restore. He noticed that I was struggling with my weight, and suggested I look into getting some type of gastric bypass, or lap band surgery. I explored the options, and discovered that most of them started with some type of liquid diet, I then found Nestle Health Science Optifast program, which then led me to a local clinic, the Oakhill Wellness Center. After consulting at length with Dr. Vinay, we both agreed Optifast would be a good fit, my goal was to move from food as pleasure, to food as fuel. After 6 months, and working down to 800 calories a day, just Optifast, water, and regular exercise at my local YMCA, I lost 98Lbs by April of 2018. On the advice of Dr. Vinay, I started working with a nutritionist who help me move slowly back onto solid foods. Over the course of the proceeding 6 months, I got my body into homeostasis,

226Lbs December, 2018 to 165Lbs February 2020.

By the end of December 2018, I decided to work with a trainer, and was kindly referred to Phil Gephart, in my initial assessment I weighed in at 226Lbs, and 31.7% body fat. Over the course of 2019 I continually made progress every month focusing on my macro-nutrients, and an undulating periodization program based on the Poliquin method. In November of 2019 I decided to set my sites on working down to 165Lbs, half of my starting weight. Starting at 176Lbs. I knew the last 11 pounds was going to be difficult, so this is what I did to get there. I started an auto-immune protocol, and picked up my activity level significantly, working up to two-a-days, 7-days a week. After completing nearly 4-months of a restrictive diet, and extreme activity level, I am both proud, and relieved to have made it to my goal. Thank you Phil, I would not have been able to get here without you!

From 330Lbs June 2017, to 165Lbs February 2020.

So… what’s next, it has always been my dream to do a triathlon, I am going to work through the reintroduction phase of the auto-immune protocol, get back into homeostasis, and will keep you posted with more to come.

Goals for 2020

Had a very relaxing holiday break, lots of time with family, and a little travel, it was great to disconnect for a little bit, reflect, and plan the new year.

Driving – Rally, Spec MX5, TC, and GT4 in short, I am going to get a bunch of seat time in a bunch of different cars, I am going to sign up for Rally Ready Driving School, I am building a Spec MX5 and plan to run that in a bunch of different series, and will see if I can rent a seat in one of the new Honda TC cars, and find a ride in a GT4 car (ideally a Porsche).

Startup – 30 Customers, find a Co-Founder, working on both have a really exciting opportunity that will hopefully land, and have started talking to potential people that I can share the business, and workload with, I am really looking forward to it!

Health – Cut (Half), Body Composition, I almost hit my goal of cutting myself in half before the new year, when I started my weight loss journey with OptiFast I weighed in at 330Lbs, I am now 170Lbs, and am on pace to get to 165Lbs (or half my body weight) over the next month. From there I will focus on my body fat percentage, and work on my body composition.

Thanksgiving Break

Looking forward to a hopefully relaxing week, spending time with my family, and working on pushing some of my projects forward. Here are some of the things I have on my list.

Road Surface Detection
I have been working on a real-time AI/ML solution for predicting coefficient of friction based on the input from an optical camera. I am using an NVIDIA Jetson Xavier AGX (thank you ADLinkTech) , I have trained a SSD_mobilenet, and but would like to see if I can get some better performance (lower latency), and improved accuracy, so I am porting it over to the Google Cloud AutoML Vision Edge, this will allow me to test a bunch of different ML models automatically without having to run it through my ML pipeline based on Kubeflow, I am excited to see the results.

CAN bus CDDS, and FogLamp
Part of the solution I have been developing uses CAN bus data to do validation, and verification. I’ve been using FogLamp to help manage the data streams, as part of this solution, I am going to continue work with Eclipse Cyclone DDS, and the ROS2 implementation, the plan is to get all of the sensor data from CAN bus to CDDS, then use FogLamp to send everything northbound.

Cyclone DDS is a standard-based
technology for ubiquitous, interoperable,
secure, platform independent, and real-
time dat...

Simulation Environments
A lot of my testing happens in simulation, I started out with IPG which I am very happy with in terms of performance, and accuracy, however, I like to keep my options open, and have been working on porting my base model to the Simulink Vehicle Dynamics Blockset, while I was at it I decide to survey the landscape a bit more, and see what other platforms are available, it looks like some of the game engines are starting to provide robust simulation environments, so I am also testing Unity3d Simulation.

Radar and ground truth

Spec MX5
Going to start working on the build sheet for my spec MX5, found a really nice donor down in San Antonio. I am going to drive her as a street car for a couple more weeks, hoping to get out to Harris Hill Raceway once or twice, to work on my heel-toe.

Decisions for 2020 – Back to Basics

The plan for 2020 is to get a lot more track time. I need to work on my technique. Over the last two years with my GTB1, I have only been driving practice sessions, and races. I am looking to see if I can find the holy grail, a completely race ready car that is streetable, probably too much to ask. I want to be able to drive down to Harris Hill, COTA, Driveway, MSR Houston, or Cresson do DE’s or work with an instructor, then drop off the car to do an arrive/drive for long distance races. I want something that has a clear class definition with all of the sanctioning bodies (SCCA, NASA, WRL, AER). Additionally, I am interested in learning the racecraft associated with running in a Spec class. The GTB1 class I have been running with in PCA is a modified class, and can feel a bit like an arms race.

So far my research has led me to two possible choices, which have similar price points, and are philosophically aligned to my goals: Spec MX-5, and Spec E46. Both have reasonable price points both in terms of the up-front cost, and TCO. Both are well defined, with lots of cars on the market. So part of the decision will be build vs buy. I am leaning toward my previous approach which was to buy something proven.

Along side the desire to go Spec racing, and have a streetable track car, I am also going to pursue renting a seat in a couple different classes within the SRO, or possibly even the upcoming Creventic 24hour race here in Austin. There seem to be a number of seats available in TC, TCR, or GT4 cars. I am interested in learning how to drive a touring car, there might be a good opportunity for this, more to come on this topic at a later date.

The GT4 program that Danny, and I were planning is not going to happen, we could not close the funding gap, which was significant. Here are a few stats on what we were able to accomplish between Jun, and Oct of this year. We prospected over 125 opportunities, of that number we disqualified 35 (with the goal of: “get to no, fast”). We closed contracts with 10 partners, and have an additional 3 contracts pending, we progressed 17 deals into contract/negotiation, and built a number of very strong partnerships along the way. These partnership will bear fruit over the course of 2020.

Our goal was a 1-2% conversation rate on 1000 opportunities, at just slightly over 10% of the total opportunities prospected our conversion rate was 12.5%, not too bad. The real challenge was prioritization. I have a full-time job, a start-up, a family, racing, and my health. Adding the sponsorship/partnership activity on top of all that was very challenging from a time management perspective. I am happy with what we accomplished, and learned a lot about the business side of motorsports. I plan to continue down a more focused path for 2020.