Michigan resident Dan Stubleski is a very accomplished age group triathlete, but not everything has gone to plan recently, and not just because of COVID19. He for one would like to put the last two outings to Kona out of his mind. Although not a man of many words he talked about that and more in our recent chat.
Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time Dan.
Dan Stubleski: No problem!
ST: While we often talk about recent events in interviews, I think your most recent adventure was being cut off by a truck during a bike ride. Can you tell us about it?
Dan: I ride at a local metro park and the traffic was lighter than normal that night. I was going about 22 mph and I saw a truck in the on-coming lane looking to make a left-hand turn. By the time I realized he was actually going to make the turn it was too late for me to try and stop so up on his hood I went.
ST: Did the driver stick around and what did he say after?
Dan: Yes he did. He felt bad, we exchanged information, filed a police report and went on our way.
ST: What about your injuries?
Dan: Thankfully no real injuries, just a bruise on my back and sore hamstrings.
ST: Any damage to your bike?
Dan: Yes. I am working with insurance and of course Fraser Bicycle to resolve the issue.
ST: What kind of training session were you doing that night? I believe I saw that your average speed after 11 or so miles was 23.5mph.
Dan: It started off as an easy ride. I was planning on riding 2 hours.
ST: With no races in sight any time soon, how are you motivating yourself to go out and do it?
Dan: It’s been hard to stay motivated, especially for my morning workouts.
ST: Why more so about your morning workouts?
Dan: Lots of reasons. It’s cold in the basement in the morning, like 64 degrees cold. I’m tired in the mornings and there are no races, so my mind says “it’s OK, curl up on the comfortable couch and go back to sleep.”
ST: Do you sleep on the couch usually?
Dan: No, I don’t sleep on the couch, but I nap on the couch!
ST: Also, some would likely kill to have such a comfortable cool basement to work out in.
Dan: I would much rather have warmer conditions. That is why I like winter basement workouts better because I can turn the heat up.
ST: What is your weekly training mileage right now?
Dan: It is hard to calculate actual miles because it varies, but I’m about 5-10 hours less per week.
ST: Less than what? Or compared to what?
Dan: I’m 5-10 hours less training per week. Normally I’d be at 22-28 hours of training a week and now I’m more like 12-23 hours per week.
ST: Let us talk about Kona 2019, a race that you seemingly had a hard time coming to terms with. What exactly happened?
Dan: Grrr, Kona 2019. My race was going as planned. I was on the bike around mile 72 or so going through an aid station looking down at my reservoir filling it with one hand on my bars. There must have been a bad bottle hand off because when I looked up there was a bottle spinning on the ground and there was no time to avoid it. I went over it and next thing I know I was looking up at the sky. I was a bit scraped up and my rear derailleur needed to be bent out, but I was able to get back on and continue. I had limited gears to ride in, but I felt physically ok at that point. I worked hard to make up the time I lost and was pretty confident about my run. When I finished the bike and went through transition I was still in the game. I left transition, went up Palani, rounded the corner onto Kuakini and felt a pop and instant pain in my right hip. I could barely walk. I managed to make it to about mile 1 where I knew my wife and kids would be and I couldn’t go any further. There happened to be a spectator there who could see things weren’t good and offered her help. It turned out that she was a medical tent volunteer later in the day and had phone numbers she could call and get the medical van to come get me. I’m not sure how I would have gotten back there if she didn’t help, thank you to her. I spent time in the med tent and was evaluated by a Dr who did some manipulation and things and in her opinion felt that I didn’t have a break because of the pain I was/wasn’t having from the manipulation and probably didn’t need an ambulance ride or necessarily the ER either. As a side note, she let me text Stephanie from her phone to give her updates so the doc had Stephanie’s number and actually texted a few times after we were home to see how things were going. Thank you to her too. The next morning my good friend Greg Taylor who had also raced and just happens to be a Dr too came over and did some manipulation and agreed with the IM doc assessment, that I could probably wait until I went home to see a doctor if it didn’t get better. I’ll thank him here too! We were leaving the next day so I was ok with that. I made it 2 days at home and decided something definitely wasn’t right. I was able to get x-rays before seeing the sports medicine doctor so I knew before I saw him that it was broken. A fracture of my right greater trocanter is what my actual diagnosis was.
As for my bike, it was repairable and was ready to roll way before I was, lol! I want to give a big thank you and shout out to Ron, Paul, Taylor and everyone at Fraser Bicycle for always taking care of my biking needs, I’m proud to be part of the FB family and appreciate those guys more than they know.
ST: How long were you impacted by that injury? And what did you do in the meantime?
Dan: I was non-weight bearing for 6 weeks, then weight bearing with restrictions and physical therapy. I did not require surgery. I was back to full training after 13 weeks.
ST: Was Kona actually your most recent actual event?
Dan: Sadly yes. This no racing is killing me!
ST: Had you hoped and planned to return this year for a bit of a revenge?
Dan: I don’t know if I’d say revenge. My 2018 and 2019 Kona races were both shitty to say the least, so what I was really hoping for was to just do well.
ST: What about virtual races? What have you done and how has it found you?
Dan: I have done a few. I quickly lost interest though because it was clear that even in VR there are people that feel the need to cheat. I think it is a great idea by Ironman to keep everybody motivated, it’s just too hard for them to police it. When we get back to real racing, the cream will rise to the top.
ST: Was there a specific instance of cheating that caused you to walk away from it?
Dan: I’m not going to point anyone out specifically, but if you look at the times they don’t make sense. There were a bunch of people who biked 56 miles in under 2 hours and the run times were also really fast.
ST: What kind of setup do you have at home that allows you to race virtually and train when the weather is really bad?
Dan: My setup isn’t really that impressive. I have an original Kickr that runs off of a MacBook which is where my Zwift is up with 2 TV’s so I can watch whatever I want, usually sports and a movie. And a stereo that is ancient that I listen to my music when nothing good is on TV or I am just feeling like music. I have a Boston marathon Proform treadmill that has seen better days!
ST: How much training do you actually do at home?
Dan: All of my morning training, when I do it, is inside. The reason for that is because of time constraint, amount of daylight and temperatures being lower. Normally I would be outside for my evening workouts everyday unless the weather is bad, but after being hit my recent bike workouts have been inside - but the runs are still outside. As soon as things are straightened out with insurance and such, I’ll be outside again in the evenings on my bike too, not just my runs.
ST: What is next for you?
Dan: As of now St George is still on the schedule, but we’ll see. I might try to do a marathon in January if the world isn’t still in the shitter!
ST: And to close it out. Which events are on your bucket list?
Dan: My normal bucket list is 70.3 Worlds in St George and Kona. My ultimate bucket list Switzerland, Australia and maybe Lake Placid.
Images 1, 3, 4 and 5 courtesy Stephanie Stubleski
Image 2 © Herbert Krabel