Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kickin' it Ol' School

Well, I finally figured out how to work my scanner and as I have no shame I thought I might throw up a few snaps from back in the day.
I think if you click on the photos you'll see them full size.

Here's a shot of me in my first race. It's the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon, 1984 - the 5th running of it.

Sometime in early 84, I'd gotten a call from a high school friend, Rob Hanke asking me if I'd be willing to be his "handler" for the upcoming triathlon.
Rob explained the race to me - a 1 mile swim, 38 K bike and a 10K run.
Remarkable how close they came to guessing the Oly distance that would surface about 8 years after the first race 1979.
I told Rob I wasn't interested in being a handler. I wanted to do the race! After all, I'd played soccer in high school. How hard could it be?
I remember that night going for a run. I ran 17' - close to 2 miles.
In those days, 800 meters was a good swim. I never biked more than an hour and I logged my runs leading up to the race - 18 runs averaging 3 miles each. (I was always a journal keeper)
My time was something like 2:45 - I'm too lazy to dig up the results.
That helmet was a used one I found at the old Sport Traders. It was WAAAY too big for my head but you had to have a helmet.
I love my cycling gloves!
That first race costs $18 to do.

My first race

My Second race was a year later. Sri Chinmoy, 1985
The guy running beside me is Rob Hanke, who didn't want to do it the following year but came over to be my Handler.
The shorts I'm wearing are a pair of cut off rugby pants.
I have a new pair of cycling gloves for this one.
If you look in the back you can see a dude with some original compression socks on!
I remember I ended up going a few minutes slower this year and bonking terribly. Of course I didn't know what bonking was but wow - did I ever do it! I almost passed out.
Still I kept coming back for more.

My Second Triathlon

Here's a fun picture from a few years later. Probably 1988. I believe this is from the Pioneer 8k.
I was running around a 37' (for 10K) in those days. The guy behind is named Carl. He and I traded back and fourth a great many races before I finally notched things up and got faster.
In the background you can see a woman with glasses on her head talking to some folks.
That was my partner at the time. She didn't see me come in - or she was pretending not to know me, which would be understandable.
I'm wearing a jersey from The Tri Den. That was a tri specific store that I opening in 1987 - but, as many of my athletes could tell you, I'm a terrible businessman. I sold the store for a loss 3 years later. It closed a year after that.

Bring your A game or go the fuck home!!

Here I am training indoors. Yes, that's a sweatband on my head. Note the ultra cool socks. Also note the saddle bags - and my autographed album cover from Billy Joel! I still have that, of course. And dig that swag lamp and knitted plant hanger. My mom made that plant hanger. Those are a pair of very expensive Hind Tri shorts I'm sporting!
My stereo would have been cranking.
I'm 25 years old and 150 pounds.

Training in the 80's

I love this photo, grainy as it is. This is me and my friend Mike Basanta training in Palm Springs. We rode 3 hours this day. Those are Scott bars on our bikes. I think it must have been around 1989. The heat was staggering - well past 100!
Mike won a good many races in his day.

Me and Mike

My first and only victory. It was the first leg of the Coor Island Relay probably around 91 or 92.
Note all the neon shorts on the fans - but me sporting a cool pair of Tinley originals!
I still have those shorts but couldn't get one leg in them now!!
This was a 3 mile race. I don't remember my time.
But I remember the feeling of starting out with all those runners and finishing all by myself.

My First Win

Friday, October 24, 2008

Finally it's out

The Word is Out

There's more to this story.
It'll all come out in the fullness of time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A few Kona Shots

The problem with going away for a week is that you come back to a shit storm of stuff to do.
Anyway, I took lots of pictures in Kona but few of them are worth looking at. Here they are anyway:

Press Conference
Craig, Beke and Welchy (back to us)

I haven't even looked at the results but I heard Beke was 3:57 out of first with a 4' drafting penalty! Crap that's got to hurt if it's true!!!

My buddy Dan Smith after
the race. This was not a setup photo.
That's what he looked like!!!

I LOVE this photo of Sara Gross finishing!
It's blurry but her smile comes through!

I spent a little time with SG out on the run course. She has the heart of a lion. I believe this girl can be a giant killer.

Check out this broad! Smiling away like it was
a little fun run!

Since Kona I've been hearing some pretty crazy rumours but until I read it on slowtwitch I won't believe it's true.

CM X 2 plus Lisa Mensink
Three Olympians.

Rumour has it one of these girls may dip her toe into the long course waters. If that happens I'm predicting devistation!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm currently out of the office right now

I've been writing on Triathletemag.com

There will be more as well as an article or two on Pete's site as well. I sent Shawn (Pete's webmaster) an piece about 20 minutes ago. Not sure when he'll be able to get it up.
but it'll be at
Pete's Website.

A few photos.

My view at the pro press conference

Two Champions

Bennett and Normann exchanging digits.

Wonder what he's thinking about?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


"Next year your skinny ass is mine!"

I arrived in Kona at 8:30 AM local time this morning. Exactly one rotation of earth after leaving Victoria. I'm not a big fan of traveling at the best of times. I like my own home and prefer to be there over other places but you won't hear me complaining when it's an Ironman I'm going to - especially the world championship - but the was one arduous trip.
I booked the flight Expedia and was pleased to find a flight 2 weeks out from the race at about $300 less than any other flight I've gotten there.
So I leave Victoria at 11:30 AM, fly to Seattle, sit for 6 hours, fly to Honolulu, sit for 90 minutes, then fly to Kona - in theory arriving about 12 hours after leaving.
The night prior to leaving a wind storm hit Victoria with a fury, keeping me awake most of the night but by morning it had largely blown out and all flights were on time.
I arrived at the Victoria Airport with plenty of time to have a bit of lunch but didn't count on the power being out. There was no food. The flight leaves as scheduled and about 50 minutes later we arrive in Seattle with what was inarguably the roughest landing I've ever experience. Some residue wind from the storm the night before hit us hard as we hit the tarmac. I was at the back of the plane and for a brief moment I believed the pilot had lost control. We were fishtailing back and forth and cries from terrified passengers unnerved me as much as the turbulence - the pilot, bless his soul, did not crash us and I, along with a few of the Lifesport gang got off the plane head to a fish place in the airport for a really nice meal. We were all starving. We would learn that their flight on Northwest is delayed 2 hours and my later flight will also be delayed about 45 minutes.
I don't mind the 6:45 wait as I have lots of work to do and I get lots done.
When it's time for me to check in I get to the Northwest counter to find the computers are down and we can't board. After about forty minutes a few nerds show up and fix the problem and we're allowed on the plane. It takes off about an hour five behind schedule for the six hour flight. I'm sitting beside a lady so obese she's not able to have the arm rest dividers lowered. Her flesh pressed against me for the entire flight. She never even got up to pee. Neither did I.
After some quick math I determine I would have about 30 minutes to transfer planes in Honolulu.
The inflight movie comes on - a stroke of luck - it's the Kevin Costner's Swing Vote. I thought it was a stroke of luck because I hadn't seen it and I mostly enjoy Costner. I did not enjoy this one. What an ill thought piece of trash, but I watched every minute to try and distract myself from the discomfort of being smooshed into the window.
At long last we touch down in Honolulu and my name, along with about a dozen others, is called. We are to report to the Northwest man waiting at the gate. I knew then we wouldn't be going to Kona tonight.
Of course I was right, but not for a moment did I really care. It would have been almost 11 PM by the time I would show up at the house. I didn't relish the idea of waking people up to find out where I was suppose to sleep.
We, the inconvenienced travelers after 20 minutes in a line up, are given two vouchers, one for a hotel and one for a meal. I'm told the meal voucher will work at the hotel or any vendor in the airport. We are told also to grab out checked luggage.
But the conveyor belt won't start. Instead an alarm starts up. For 15 minutes we listened to the ear grating screech of that thing. The crowd was getting hostile.
Suddenly it stopped, the belt started to roll and luggage began to pour out to a loud cheer from the crowd.
My luggage along with several other passengers is lost. I'm not really concerned about this as I assume it's just gone on ahead without us. This turns out to be true but it didn't stop one big son of a bitch from just losing it on the poor airplane rep. A few of us tried to calm the guy down but only half succeeded.
Now we're told to head out the of the airport where a shuttle will take us to the hotel. We're also told the shuttle comes every 10 minutes. 22 minutes later the shuttle arrives.
At 2 AM 14 and 1/2 hours later I lay down in the hotel bed. The place was had the smell and ambiance of the 70s but I was just fine with that. I don't recall sleeping so soundly in a very long time.
This morning things went mostly uneventful. My flight was scheduled for 7:30. Unfortunately the hotel cafe didn't open till 6:30 so I would have to use my voucher at an airport vendor.
No luck - the airport vendors didn't accept the vouchers.

So 24 hours after leaving Victoria I arrive in Kona and it's perfect here.
The universe was kind. It gave me something to write about.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Starting to feel it

So tomorrow I'm off to Kona. I'll be writing the column again for Triathlete. I enjoy that gig but it's a bit of pressure due in part to the numbers reading it. I've got my nine regular readers here on my blog and you guys hardly ever pressure me to be bring my A game with every entry - it's a different matter with the crowd checking out the Triathlete Mag site.

So my swim game on Friday turned out to be a pretty fine success.
I'll do my best to explain it here if anyone wants to try with their groups.
First you make a game board:

I made mine with 33 squares.
The first sq is your warm up and the last sq is the cool down.
After that you put the name of each of your swimmers on an individual sticky note and start everyone in sq 1. They all do the warm up.
After the warm up the swimmers each draw a poker chip from a bin. The chips are labeled 1 through 6. Whatever number the swimmer chooses is how many squares they advance.
Then they do the set written in the sq. I made each set approximately 300 metres.
The first person to get to the cool down and complete it wins.
I had prizes for the first 3.
Some tips - have all the swimmers draw their first chip prior to doing the warm up. This will help spread it out a bit. They come in fast and furious.
Also make sure you have different lengths for the the level of swimmers - eg - a set might be 3 x 100 or 2 x 100 - one for lane 1 and one for lane 4.
Make the sets on rest interval and not on a time - don't have 3 x 100 on 1:40 have it 3 x 100 on 10" rest.
If anyone gives this a try let me know how it goes.
With thanks to Norm Thibault and Peter Reid.

Now I have to pack.