Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A 10% Grade

A ten percent grade.

Somewhat like a hard climb is where it gets its name. Enter a keyframe at the start, choose your distance and add another keyframe. Zero is flat and anything over 20% usually indicates pain of one sort or another. Ten percent is an honest grade. It separates a lot of folks, fast. Ten percent is why there are triples. It is why carbon-fiber is so popular. It is where the big lessons are learned. The University of 10.

I look at every race as an opportunity to learn something about myself. As complete disclosure, it is why I started to do Ironman events fifteen years ago; I had to know if I could do it. And then do it better. Faster. Make it easier. Race in Hawaii. It has taken me down a most interesting, challenging, enjoyable and relentless path. Still, the lessons come at you fast. Sunday's race down in Bend was no exception to the rule. I learned a lot about a lot. It seems that the lessons have changed a little, more subtle perhaps, more introspective, esoteric, odd. They seemed to create a gradient on Sunday and as I swam, biked and ran under the high desert sun, I had a chance to somewhat sort them out. The gradient:

Start: (enter keyframe) I haven't been in the pool in almost two years. Sorry but I just find it boring. I also detest the fact that I have to pay $4 a visit to the pool that my taxes paid to have built and that I repeatedly pay property taxes to maintain each and every year. Talk about getting soaked. I also can't stand the manager, or the attitudes of the staff, so I just don't go. I'll get in another CompuTrainer session, a spin, long ride or a run, thank you very much. So I stand on the boat ramp at the Wikiup Reseviour at 0900 Sunday morning facing a 1500 meter swim to start the day. Am I apprehensive, nervous, frightened? Not at all. I am so calm I start to wonder if Dad made decaf this morning. My strategy is this: I am going to take it so easy and relaxed and smooth that to the untrained eye it might appear as if I am actually having fun. A water leg first for me. I am going to practice technique and try to slip through the warm green water like a happy brown trout, expending as little energy as possible. I am going to rotate my neoprene hips like never before and breathe deep and reciprocally, my arms will reach way out in front, grab bucketfuls of water and finish with a curt little triceps squeeze. I will glide as if I am coated with WD-40. And all this comes to pass. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I was passing others in age groups that had started ten minutes before our blue caped geezer class. Before I knew it I had rounded the last buoy and was stroking towards the red carpet of the finish. WOW, maybe this is the way it's supposed to be, actually self propelling forward with quasi-gusto.

LESSON: Relax.

The Bike: I see Dad in T1 and he is snapping photos with a Rite-Aide disposable camera and smiling so I figure all is well. I have a terrible transition as the X-Terra wetsuit that I am frantically peeling off is one size too small and I am only wearing it because my good DeSoto T2 suit is lost somewhere. I tell Dad as I leave the pen that the race starts now. He smiles and says "Go get 'em." I will.

LESSON: Be present.

28 miles. The Olympic Distance bike course is a 40K, or 24.8 miles. This course just works out to be 28 miles, a little long, but everybody has to do it so who cares? I am feeling good, surprisingly good and it is quickly apparent that today I have some mojo. Major Mojo. As I pass the first thirty people who are better swimmers than I, the thought hits that maybe today is the withdrawal day paying the dividend on all that HIT spinning we've done over the years, and especially the last one. Yah? Two ways to find out mate, and the one you can control is to DO IT.

LESSON: Manage your day.

If it feels good, push, it it doesn't, well, push anyway. And I start the push. And immediately pass another thirty. And then come across my pal Lynn who I didn't know was racing here, so I brake down and chat for a few, bid her adieu, and return to the task at hand, namely, finding a powerful sweet spot and holding it for another 20 miles. I can't believe how fast the miles markers are coming on. I am flying. The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful and have a GU. Please remember to hydrate and work the axis from the core. Keep pushing. You can go harder, the run is only a flat 10K. Seek and destroy. As I hear this voice crackle over the headphones I hear a rattle from what seems like the front wheel, God, I have broken a spoke? Just when everything was going along so smooth. I check the brakes on a 30-mph decent and can't locate the noise. Shit, why today? As I try to locate the source of the irritating rattle, now getting louder, a skinny guy passes me on a Trek Madone. Hum-mm, first time that has happened today, guy looks very fit, probably a good runner, and I see he is wearing my age on his right calf. OK, fine, we got us a race here, let's go. But this rattle is now loud and starting to concern me. Should I stop and try to fix it and allow Mr. Skinny to get a mile ahead, or hope that it will hold up for another 15 miles? Remembering that I have been comped to the event and that race day insurance could be an issue, I think about what would happen if I have a mechanical failure at 35-mph, my current speed on the downhill, where I decide to pass Mr. Skinny because I now have a weight advantage. It is more important to me right now that I put some doubt into his brain that he might not be able to counter such a powerful move, and one coming from a competitor who looks to be a touch "focused". I slam the hammer down with a surge of endorphins and sweat and keep an impossible pace for five lung-burning, leg-turning, fire breathing minutes. When I take a peek behind he is nowhere to be seen.

LESSON: Never underestimate the power of power.

I cruise through the remainder of the course, passing everything that isn't nailed down or dead. My question is now, at what price? Will I even be able to keep a 10 minute/mile pace up for the 6.2? Has my race wad been shot into space? Is the tank on E? Have I learned nothing in twenty years of racing?

LESSON: Endurance is the result of power, speed, efficiency and repetition.

The run: Why do I feel so good? I have no reason to feel like I can catch an antelope at this stage of the race. I drink some water at the first aid station and look around. Everywhere are signs of carnage. I have seen this all before, many, many times. Lot's of fans out today, sitting in lawn chairs, sipping lemonade. I smile, and wave and talk to a few runners and say thanks to all the traffic control volunteers as I snake my way through the field. I see a guy with a 55 on his calf and blow by him so fast he probably lost his cap. I look at my watch and start doing some math. The mileage makers are coming on faster than they were on the bike. Mile 3, 4, 5 and then I start to hear the PA announcer and the crowd. I have less than 500 meters to go. Already? I push. The crowd is growing and clapping and kids are holding out their little hands for low fives. I get 'em all as I do my little airplane approach to the landing strip. There is just a trace of lactic acid in my legs as I hit the timing mat. I take one deep breath and I am recovered. That's it?

LESSON: If you spend all your time training for an Ironman, this is just another workout, you may go hard, race well, and go fast.

MORE LESSONS: Not everybody wants to do it this way. Competition isn't everything. But it is something. And the lessons learned here today were all good. With even a few big ones. This, to me, is the fun.

Footnote: The final results were somehow scrambled with the official times showing the winner of our age group at 2:53.12. My time was 2:50:10. An honest, albeit ironic, grade.

Enjoy the video.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Sometimes life can be really simple. If the look on Junior's face isn't reward enough, I have it all wrong. (you can clink on the image to enlarge). The video of Saturday's 58 miles came out pretty crisp as did a lot of the other footage from the weekend. I will have the sample teaser- trailer cut and wrapped by this time tomorrow for your entertainment and motivation. You can then, swim, bike, run or raft to your hearts content. As mine is right now. Whoooo.


Back from the wild weekend in Bend. Great days for racing and rafting. A coupla quick pix as I continue the render of IM CdA and get caught up. I will post some video of the Pacific Crest events, of our running the Deshutes and try to cut the weekend highlight vid and post as soon as I go to the store and allow my sore quads to mend.

Top is of four fearless river runners just before Big Eddy, Michael, Travis, Elliott and George.
Bottom is at the start of the long PCT long course at Wikiup Rez on Saturday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Listen Up


The key is in not buying into the spin. Know the difference between injury and fatigue. The more you train, the more it hurts. The more it hurts, the greater the value. When your legs try to tell you (sell you) that they are tired and deserve a rest, HEAR-BUT DO NOT BUY.

Off to Bend. Adios amigos.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Since 1949

Yesterdays "Bad Boyz" video post created a bit of a stir over at our sister YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/RCVman site and on Slowtwitch.com with almost 500 views in a day ( hence becoming the fastest RCVman vid to do so). Just think of what we could do with some T&A to go with that violence. Drop an f-bomb or two and we could get some serious attention! Just so you know we will NEVER stoop to that level (cheap exploitation) unless it becomes absolutely necessary to sustain this luxurious lifestyle. A guy has got to have some principals ya know (although I do kinda like the Richard Branson approach).

Until we launch RCVman airlines then, we will continue to promote our work in more traditional ways, such as T-shirts (Jim shown here sporting one of our event T's from 2003) and bumper stickers (since 1949?). Also included in today's gloat-post is a shot just seconds before the canon blast to start IM CdA Sunday. If that isn't a visage of quiet confidence, RCVman doesn't know what is.

Off to Bend, OR tomorrow for Pacific Crest Multi-Sport weekend. The 58 mile scenic long course gets the RCVman treatment on Saturday and the Oly distance will test his limited training on Sunday.

Enjoying the ride since 1949.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


More from CdA. This incident happened around 17 minutes into the ride. I saw it as I rode past on the scooter and thought to myself, how sad. Upon download of the video and a closer inspection (in super slo-mo) it tells a clearer story of what really happened. Although there was an absence of malice and seemingly no criminal intent http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea, the perp still ended the victims day and most likely sent her to the ER. Not the way you want to have your race day end.

So as a PSA, what do we do with this? I have listed a few options in the video and suspect that there are a few others. Your thoughts?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Just back from the CdA shoot. Went well as attested by the download. The .2 version of IM Coeur d'Alene will put the initial release back in the can from which it came. This one, shot from the pack on the (aging rapidly) Super Shooter Scooter (see photo) is the RCV real deal: You want spills? we got 'em (first ever RCV crash literally in front of camera), you want thrills? (how about 50 mph downhills with opposing riders less than a foot away), you want hills? Duh. You want chills? (with the wind chill, cloud cover and pending rain, it got downright COLD out there). All meaning that this one was worth the effort. I will post a trailer highlight vid before we head south this time for the Pacific Crest Tri weekend down in Bend, Oregon. One of these days I'll tell ya the story of how I covered both events, Pacific Crest on Saturday (which I filmed) and IM CdA (in which I raced) on Sunday. THAT was a weekend!

From Idaho: (bottom to top)
The SSS ready to go - just add camera.
Kurt had 'em lined up wanting to test the latest RCV, IM Canada.
I pull into a driveway at mile 30 to change tape and who is there spectating? Former champ Wendy Ingraham. http://wendyingraham.loopd.com/Members/WendyIngraham/Default.aspx Gotta love an IM.

More, much more on the way.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Out to Coeur d' Alene this morning for my sixth trip to IM CdA. This to re-shoot the course that was the first RCV to hit the marketplace over a year ago. It is currently our number two best seller, behind only Kona. There are some early course lighting issues that we can improve upon and of course I will be shooting from the pack vice off the front. I will try my best not to run over any cones, Ray. The plan is to start with the last 25% of the AGers, probably around 0830. That way we always have bikers in frame. It has been an interesting couple of days in preparation, but I am now as ready as I'm gonna be to point the rig East. Hope to get in three or four posts while there. Have a great weekend folks and for those who are racing Sunday, we'll see ya out on the course!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who & Where

Who was this moving eulogy about and where can it be found?

For your dedication and loyalty
To your principles and beliefs...
For your love, warmth, and friendship
For your family and friends...
You are missed by so many
And you will never be forgotten...

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Weekly Vibe

Not really a new feature, per se, more another web-sweep to gauge RCV buzz. Something I am told savvy marketeers do to add metrics to brand trending. A sampling then, of cyber stories, tests, testimonies and tales. My personal fave is about Dede's dog (above photo).






Sunday, June 14, 2009

Once a Runner

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of the hardbound edition of this cult classic last week. I had heard of it in certain circles, always referred to with superlatives. First published in 1978 and marketed from the trunk of the authors car at Florida track meets, it soon became "the best piece on running fiction around."* to the extent that there was even a YouTube faux
trailer cut announcing the upcoming movie. Consistent with the tone of the book, this too was a prank, a common activity practiced by the odd collection of athletes known collectively as "runners". Quenton Cassidy is the captain on this bus, and this is his story. He reminds me of a person I once thought it might be fun to be, but had neither the skill, talent nor wit to train into. Although I tried. Maybe it's not too late as in my research on the author http://www.gainesville.com/article/20071223/NEWS/712230318/1002/NEWS I see there is a sequel about to hit the tape. It also strikes me as altogether appropriate that two of my literary heroes share the same surname. Here is a sample from On the Road, er, Once a Runner:

They were lass than a half mile from the finish. Cassidy ran slightly behind O'Rork off his left shoulder, eyes fixed on the freckled neck. He was drafting without malice or humor. If O'Rork minded being used in this manner he gave no sign.

Somewhere up ahead Jerry Mizner was sauntering into the finish chute with the more tolerable fatigue of victory on his face. He had employed the simple expedient of running away from everyone. Similarly isolated from the rest of the runners, the two milers bruised each other in the tensionless grind of those who struggle for second place.

Cassidy was in extremis. They had gone through the first mile in 4:37 and Cassidy thought with alarm: Godamighty that hurt. The heavy training of the past several weeks had sapped him; when he reached down for an extra surge just to hold pace, he found only a searing strained feeling with which he was intimately familiar: redline city. He was not enjoying this weekend.

* Runners World

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chapter 90

She immediately recognized his tone of voice. He was looking for some free advice, a sounding board, the proverbial 'somebody to talk to'. She was pretty used to it by now, having provided this service pro bono for almost two decades now. Most often he would ramble for twenty minutes, outline his consternation and then methodically work through them verbally ending with a pragmatic solution. She was lucky if she got in one complete sentence during these 'dialogues'.

"Just got in another argument with Dad. I was suggesting to him a "better' way for him to position his brand to an audience that has, to this point, been unresponsive. He got defensive, using the tactic that always seems to be his debate weapon of choice; the fully-automatic sarcasm gun. (The Russian FASG-30 to be exact).

After the exchange, I went back to work answering several of the wonderful e-mails we have been receiving about the recent releases. In each, I took the liberty to say that although I very much appreciate the kind words, we have plenty of room for continued improvements to the product. This got me to thinkin'.

My thought was that maybe it's me. As in:

When Dad and I argue and I see him getting defensive, closing up and lashing back with bitterness and bile, maybe it's me. Am I causing this?

When I get compliments about my work, and I cite the glass as half empty, maybe it's me. How fine is the line that separates tenacity and stubbornness?

When I am confronted by a clerk in the grocery store who is less-than-thrilled to be there, maybe it's me.

When my brother has trouble using the right word or phrase in conversation, maybe it's me.

When I get a curt customer service rep on the phone causing a harmony rift, maybe it's me.

When the boss wonders if I am trading secrets with the competition because I was brazenly complimented on a video, maybe it's me.

When the kids in class aren't responding as quickly, as robustly or as enthusiastically as I, maybe it's me.

When it seems that the entire population of our little Island community is in a collective funk, maybe it's just me.

It appears that the more Obama tries to change the status quo, the more it stays the same. This perception is solely mine?

When every now seems like a then, when many a here feels more like a there and when an honest yes comes out as a spun-off no, maybe it's me.

When love is constricted and conditional, maybe it's me.

When even American Beauty sounds cliched and out of date, I KNOW DAMN WELL IT'S ME.

But everything else is my fault. So I am taking this unique opportunity to apologize for my frailties, failings and neurosis'. There. I will try harder starting this farking instant. So please bear with me. This is a process."


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Love, Pain and Dreams

This was the piece I cut after Andy Potts won his first 70.3 Championship in Clearwater, FL in 2007. He says some very nice (very nice) things about CompuTrainer. He says some ever nicer (is that is possible) things in this article from the eXaminer.com as sent over by UK Special Agent Ward in Leeds.

"I train on a CompuTrainer six days a week. It's a very controlled environment and you can document your progress very methodically. It could be that I gravitate towards that because of my background in swimming where it's a very controlled environment. I don't do the computer with it. I just ride ergometer mode and train towards watts and power. I probably ride outdoors maybe thirty times a year. I don't ride very long. The longest CompuTrainer workout would be 2 hours 20 minutes.

The strength training I get is derived mostly from the consistency and the repeatability of the workouts that I do. And the same on the run. My college coach used to say that the only way to swim fast is to swim fast and feeling good only counts in lovemaking. There's a reason why some people can race consistently and always get a good performance out of themselves. Some days a good performance just means you have to deal with a little bit more discomfort."


Sunday, June 7, 2009


Just so you don't think that I spent my entire weekend biking and running, here is the intro for RCV release numero 9, Ironman Canada, the race many feel (including RCVman) is the best IM on the planet. As you may have noticed, I have been trying to keep the RCV trailers (and most others) to around two minutes. This one clocks in at almost 12. With the simple explanation that cutting this beautiful, energized and joyous video review in two minutes is like dong it Sub-9, pretty dang tough. So here ya go. FYI, I ended up cutting about half of my little narratives because they, got, ahem, a little tiresome. I think. But there are moments.........

Friday, June 5, 2009

RCVman on the HCB

As promised VBA, here is our first hand (eye witness) account "LIVE" from the Hood Canal Bridge. I also took the liberty to post a piece from the Peninsula Daily News (and picked up by The Seattle Times) that puts a somewhat different slant on this $500 million dollar improvement.

You please tell me which version is closer to reality. Hedging my bet, this repair did not have cyclists foremost in mind. Still.........

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Alright multi-sport fans, here is this week-ends event. And I used the term casually. We have a camp site reserved Saturday night at Kitsap Memorial State Park. Michael, Elliott, RG and possibly Jack are going to make camp Saturday afternoon after their games. We are riding out from the usual take off spot at 305/Day Rd. around 6. That gives me time to get in some more video work. We'll camp Saturday night and get up early (duh) and do a little 7 miler before a pancake breakfast, and then we'll ride home. That will give me time to get in some more video work. If you want to camp, you are welcome, but please let me know so we can haul your gear in one of the two SAG vehicles. Sound fun? RSVP by hitting the comments icon and letting me know. You are also welcome to just ride one of the two legs. The two day event looks like this: Ride 15 (approx), camp, run 7, eat, ride 15 (approx).

Did I mention that all this will give me time to get in some more video work?

Oh yeah, and we released IMC today. http://racermateinc.com/

RIP Panuzi

This is a very sad day. The bike that I have been racing on for ten years is broke (as is her owner). The carbon beam on Panuzi failed for the second time, and as Softride no longer manufactures this very fast (and very fragile) tri-machine, I am stuck between retrofitting a bolt to stabilize the beam and dedicating it to a retirement of exclusive CompuTrainer use, or finding her a good home where somebody might be able to use the components, wheels, fork or bottom frame.

Paul at Classic Cycles (the best wrench this side of Colorado) suggests that parting her out might net me a grand, which he also suggests I seriously consider putting towards something a little more 'conventional'. He evidently isn't impressed much by my sentiment and emotion that this circumstance implies. After all, Me & The Great Panuzi (named after its color Panama Red, and later extended to include my GF at the time Suzi = Panuzi), have together intrepidly charged into battles in Canada, Coeur d'Alene, Oceanside, Pacific Crest, Hawaii, and even in the Indian Ocean! We have set course records, won overalls and crashed twice. We have made sweet music together and stayed up till midnight in heated debate. 'Twas a time she rocked like no other. But all that is now in the past. And I can't take looking at her hanging on the hook like a side of slaughtered beef any longer. It's over.

So big thanks to Peter at PJ Walter for giving me the chance, Rob at Softride, and to everybody who rode with us all those years, races and miles. It was fun.

RIP Panuzi. (You may now make me an offer)

Taylor on the CT

Here is a great clip of Taylor Phinney http://taylor.bikecamp.com/on the CT, tell ya what, for a contrast in riding styles, take a look at his form (above) , power output and position and then compare it to Devon on the VeloTron who is doing some pretty serious mashing. Good thing the VT can handle up to 2,500 watts!

We are sending a RCVman film crew out to the Hood Canal this afternoon to get you (VBA) a "live" first look at the new bike lanes on the re-opened bridge. That should be fun, news you can use.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

37 in 86

Other than the Husky Women winning the NCAA National Championship in softball (big woof!), Osama berating Obama for having a sit down in Cairo, and the weather hitting 80 today in Seattle, not much is going on. As The Stranger used to put it in their weekly wrap-up, Nothing Happened Today. Or did it? You tell me.

In the interim, or before anything else hits the fan, I had the ScoTri Long Course Triathlon on the RCV time line, and decided to have a little fun with it and test Einstein's (special) relativity theory (as it relates to standard verbal encouragement, marshmallow delayed gratification and the walk-run marathon training protocol).

We concluded that the 37 miles of The ScoTri is best viewed in 86 seconds (average attention span of triathletes) at 1,548.837 mph (well under the 670,616,629.4 mph of the speed of light) and with the reward of a 10K run afterwards. The formula then: Bike Split= txd/CT. Or, time times distance divided by hours spent on your CompuTrainer. Try it and see for yourself Einstein.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

3K on the CT

I guess after my post last week of us riding the CT for 24 hours, it shouldn't surprise me that somebody else would try to do it longer, LIKE 2,200 miles!! This fund raiser by the coaches at City Coach http://www.citycoach.org/site/v2/services_computrainer.html in NY are on the CT as we speak raising money for the Young Survival Coalition. http://www.youngsurvival.org/

They are doing this ride in the window of Jack Rabbit Sports in NYC's Union Square. And just as a disclaimer, they are doing it in one week! WOW (like the look on the kids face in the window).

Good Luck mates on a fine endeavor. CompuTrainer and RCVman salute ya'll.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Robert Lamberts in the Lab

As promised earlier today, here is the interview with Robert Lamberts we shot last week at the ACSM meeting in Seattle. I especially like the part when he talks about the integration of high intensity indoor CT sessions with your outdoor riding. You might have to watch this twice to get all the wisdom contained, as Robert rides as fast as he talks.


Big Thanks to VBAer (and 29er) EJ for passing this article over to Global RCV HQ. I am sleeping in my Mickey Mantle flannel PJs tonight to further this experiment.

More on clinical studies coming later today (cyclists).


Blue Jays T-Ball

An official Blue Jays video production.